She sat down next to the unconscious Pokemon, rested her head on its cold body. The hut was always so different from what she was used to... weird skulls adorned parts of the walls, vials full of unidentifiable substances littered the area, dried plants she’d never seen before lay in bundles around the room...
A low hiss, some squawks from the back room, and Lamia finally emerged from within.
“Ahhh, it’s been a while, Anana. How may I best sssserve you, today?” Lamia asked. Most were scared away from this colorful and decorated Pokemon’s hut, despite Lamia’s gentle nature.
Arboks as a whole were generally seen as wretched creatures intent on eating small Pokemon and their eggs. Well, most of them were like that. This one was not. She liked helping Pokemon, not eating them. Her only request was that any helped Pokemon return later with interesting plants for use in remedies. It was a win/win situation for her.
“I found this Bagon after it washed up on the shore. It wasn’t dead yet, but it’s close. It’s very cold. I can’t warm it myself, and I don’t know how to treat this. I’ve never been this cold...” Anana told the doctor. She really hoped it would be all right, hoped Lamia would be able to perform a simple fix.
“Hrrrmmm, I sssssee,” she said, slithering back into the recesses of the hut. “I’ll require Azif for this...”
Azif? Was that one of Lamia’s new familiars? She thought only Zabi helped out, but she supposed she’d been wrong. She then guessed it was probably hard to grind things when you had no arms or legs. Zabi, being a Murkrow, probably wasn’t much help either in that regard. A couple of muffled hisses came from the back. Then Anana heard a young voice.
Suddenly, a masked Chimchar came forth. A single eye showed behind the strange, carved mask. He was certainly an odd-looking critter with that accessory. It was... tribal? Well, lots of things in the Alomomola Bay were that way, so it wasn’t that odd.
Lamia returned with a big jar on her head, carefully balanced the entire way. Zabi flew in from the back room with a couple of Aspear berries. Ah, yes, those would definitely help counter this Bagon’s rapidly declining body temperature. The Murkrow dropped them to the Chimchar, which in turn took up a mortar and pestle and began to grind at the fruit. Zabi next took the jar from Lamia’s head in his talons and placed it neatly alongside the Chimchar.
“I am going to have Azif and Zabi prepare a brew.” Lamia slithered around the Chimchar, watching his progress. “It is very ssssssimple. A heated Assssssspear brew. It will warm the insides of the Bagon in two different wayssssss. The berriesssss will work their natural magic, while the brew itsssself will be warm to the touch. It will be conssscioussss ssssoon enough.”
Anana sat up straight and watched intently. It didn’t take long for Azif to heat the crushed berries with his rear flame. It was placed into the jar, water was added as a supplement, and then Lamia motioned her head toward the Bagon.
Well, it was time to see if Lamia’s simple concoction worked. Anana expected it would.
She grabbed the Bagon under the armpits and lifted it up so that its head was properly placed to take in a brew.
And so, it was poured in. Slowly, the Chimchar tilted the jar to let it trickle down into the unconscious Pokemon’s throat. With luck, the warm mixture would heat up the Bagon’s belly and work to defrost it.
Anana waited. And waited. The jar was empty and yet, nothing.
“What’s the deal? This is gonna’ work, right?” she said, a hint of agitation along the edge of her voice. “I didn’t bring this little fellow here for nothing, did I?”
“Quiet, Anana, it takessss time. Be patient.”
“Yeah, dying also takes time. This Pokemon isn’t going to die, is it?”
“No. I told you, it takessss time. Or, can you not wait? Are you like your sssssisster?”
Anana froze, glared at the bright pattern on Lamia’s body. “No, I’m not. I can wait.”
Lamia turned to slide back past the grass curtain and into her quarters. Zabi and Azif wordlessly followed suit.
“Wait!” Anana said. “Wait a second, you’re just done now? That’s it?”
“What more issss there to do? Jusssst wait.”
“I can’t carry this Pokemon back! I’m absolutely tired from even carrying it here!” she said in protest, her tail uncurling, flicking about near the tip.
“Ssssso don’t. Leave it here.” That was it? Just leave it here? She couldn’t do that... she already had invested time into making sure this Pokemon was okay, and here Lamia was, just ready to retire for the evening.
Anana sighed. She knew Lamia was honestly interested in the welbeing of Pokemon, but sometimes she was so impersonal about it. How could Lamia make sure of anything if she just stayed in her back room?
Well then. She would just have to take matters into her own hands. It was good she had the foresight to leave her keys behind; Nibble always made sure the shop was run properly if Anana had to go out for some reason. And, as it turned out, Anana had a reason to be out.
She looked around, found a blanket draped over a shelf. It would do. She knew Lamia wouldn’t mind. Anana grabbed the Bagon, rolled it onto the blanket, and pulled the blanket by its corner over to Lamia’s fireplace. It was time to rest. She lay down next to the Pokemon, resting her head on one of its legs.
It was only then that she realized how physically tired she was. Finally, she’d stopped thinking so much about just doing things and getting the Pokemon out here. She suddenly was able to actually feel the exhaustion in her muscles and bones, as if she had been ignoring it before that point. Well, she had been, really. It was necessary not to think of herself as she carried it here.
But now... now she had the chance to think about everything. Not that she had seized the chance. No, it was no sooner than she had wondered if a life would be saved or not than she had drifted off in front of the dancing flames.
Anana woke with a kick to the face. What the hell had-- what was she doing he-- OH! Yes, the Bagon! The Bagon was stirring! And, better yet, it was warm! She forgave it for its minor misdeed and sat up. Slowly, its eyes opened. It shuddered, yawned, and turned toward Anana.
“Hi... is this your house?” The voice was high pitched, this Bagon had to be female. Anana laughed at the direct question, finding the tiny dragon all the more charming for it.
“No... this is my friend’s house. You were cold, I found you in the water,” Anana said. She looked into the fire, tilted her head down, and bit her upper lip. When she spoke, her tone was hushed. “You almost died. What were you doing?”
“I was trying to fly,” she replied. Anana shot a look in her direction, her mouth slightly agape.
“I was trying to fly.” There was no joking here, her tone was completely serious.
Anana still didn’t get it.
“You don’t have wings, what were you thinking!? I don’t get it!”
“Well, yeah. That’s why I failed at it. What more is there to get?”
For once, the Kecleon was at a loss for words. She had no idea how to ask the correct questions to get anything meaningful out of the girl. She thought for a moment, carefully phrasing her thoughts.
“Okay. So you were trying to fly. Where were you?”
“What do you mean what?”
Anana sighed. It was going to take some getting used to, but all of her questions had to be phrased just as directly as this Bagon had answered them.
“What cathedral? Where is it?” Anana slowly asked. It wasn’t as if asking slowly would help the Bagon answer in a useful way, but it helped Anana retain her calm.
“There’s more than one?” she asked. Was she... was this Bagon really that confused over this? It wasn’t a hard question!
“Have you never been outside of it or what?! I just want to know which one you mean!”
She stopped to consider. “Well, it’s built into the cliff.”
Built into the cliff. That was... the ring around her neck... being a dragon...
Anana remembered. Remembered why it all seemed so familiar.
“You’re... you’re from his place? Won’t he miss you?”
The Bagon yawned and leaned closer to the fireplace, obviously preferring its warmth to Anana’s line of questioning.
“Come on,” Anana said, “you’ve got to tell me some more. I don’t even know your name.”
“More! I still don’t know about you, despite all I went through to rescue your life!”
Terra paused. “You did?”
Another silence. “You don’t think you just ended up here by yourself, do you?” Anana was incredulous. “ You ended up being a frozen little thing on the beach! I carried you here!”
“Oh. Thank you.”
If Anana had hair to pull out, that’s what she would’ve been doing. Instead, her tail whipped around in a controlled frenzy. Aside from that, she was still, contemplating her words carefully, trying to craft sentences that got more talk out of this frustrating little runt.
Somehow, she started to laugh. It was so absurd. It was as if this Pokemon lacked the ability to respond to anything other than what was right in front of her. And she, herself, was so different. It was very interesting, if frustrating, the contrast between how the two considered conversation. To Anana, it was a game. It had subtleties and complexities that allowed for her to manipulate as she pleased, but Terra... Terra wouldn’t be a part of that, Anana knew that right now. She was much too direct, too blunt for that. So, she decided, she liked this Bagon. Quite a bit, actually.
“What’s funny?” Terra asked. She couldn’t even begin to mask her confusion. Anana suspected Terra wasn’t capable of masking any of her actual thoughts. It was too much for the Kecleon, she found it all too ridiculous. She kept laughing. Tears lined her eyes. She was so grateful this little dragon hadn’t perished. The world was a better place for it, and she was glad.
Eventually Anana realized Terra was waiting for a response. “Nothing... nothing’s funny,” she said, grinning. “Though I was thinking, do you have plans? Are you going back to the cathedral?”
Terra placed a stubby arm to her chin. “Hmm, I suppose not, since I can’t fly and all. I don’t think I could get back up there.”
Anana clapped her hands together. “Perfect! Would you like to work with me? I need a reliable assistant.”
“Me? Huh. I don’t have experience with working.”
“I don’t care. You surely have experience with being an assistant though, right?”
“Well... yeah. You knew that?” Terra asked, wonder in her eyes.
Anana stood up. “Of course I did! You’ve got a brass collar! That’s the mark of an assistant!”
“Oh, you’re right. It used to be tin, but my master rewarded me with a brass one for my hard work.” Suddenly, a troubled look crossed her face. “You don’t think he’ll come back to take my collar, do you?”
Anana grabbed Terra by the hand. “Nah, probably not. Well, if he does, I’ll get you a new one. How about that?”
Relief replaced Terra’s concern. She seemed happy with that promise.
Anana stretched. How long had she drifted off for? According to the sky outside, dawn was fast approaching. She wasn’t late for opening shop, thank goodness! Not that she would have worried much if she had been. She and Nibble had good arrangements and she knew things would be all right at the pier.
“C’mon,” Anana said. “Let’s go. We’ve got a shop to run.”
With that, they exited the witch doctor’s hut in time to watch the sunrise. This time, Anana was able to enjoy the warmth and colors uninterrupted. Even better, she now had a delightful, quirky companion by her side.