The Tao Tailor building. Built in the shape of a Leavanny’s head, it was by far the least scathed building. Fortunate, since someone was stuck inside. In fact, someone had to be inside at that very moment, as Rhodes heard faint noises. The shuffling of minor movement. Could Gnasher be in there? Maybe Winston re-entered the building since Gnasher kicked him out. Given that neither outcome was particularly threatening at this point, Rhodes simply walked right on in.
The place was a bit of a shambles since the last time Rhodes had been there. The building may not have been destroyed, but many of Chrysanthos’s supplies laid scattered. Some was clearly from the shelves, while others were likely being worked on at the time of the disaster among half-finished accessories. In the middle of it all, a familiar face toiled over the table.
“Hey kid,” the Banette welcomed, as though nothing was wrong.
“Don’t ‘hey kid’ me! You stole my scarf! Give it back!” Rhodes demanded. After all he’d done for the ghost, he didn’t feel entirely out-of-place being a bit upset at the theft. It didn’t help when he glanced down at the table and noticed that whatever was being worked on was suspiciously green.
Gnasher paused what appeared to be some sort of needle-threading to roll his eyes. “Like I’m gonna just take your stuff, give me a break! It was just theatrics. I like to show off...” he alluded, before threading a few more loops into whatever he was making. Just then, he lifted Rhodes’s scarf from the table, letting the end hang over one of his hands to show it off.
The ripped end of the scarf had been worked on... but not in a usual manner. The rips were still there, but smoothed and masked by the addition of Sneasel-like feathers over each gap. Their ends were heavily sewed into the scarf itself to keep them bound to it, though this was hidden by another addition: an oval, amber jewel, much like the ones that adorn any given Sneasel’s forehead. The jewel itself had a slot on the underside that the scarf slid into, bunching the scarf’s width into it snugly so that the jewel stayed on with ease, yet not so much as to cause an overt crease in the rest of the cloth.
Rhodes stared at the surprising addition to his accessory, and couldn’t help but be impressed. Not only by the job done on his scarf, but the fact that it was completed in such a short time. He must have had it in mind the moment he made it back to the building, and even then, it was quick!
“Those rips took part of the thing clean off. There was no way to really fix it up like new without remaking the whole damn thing, so I thought you might appreciate a custom job, yeah? I picked out some good-lookin’ feathers from what’s left on the shelves, and I even made sure the weight of the jewel wasn’t enough to be significant,” Gnasher explained, pointing at each part as he went on about it. He handed the touched-up scarf over to Rhodes, who graciously accepted it into his claws. Proud of his work, the Banette crossed his arms and scoffed, “Heh! Ya wouldn’t get more than a patchwork fix from that little cotton ball!”
In truth. Rhodes wasn’t even entirely thinking about everything Gnasher had said. The gesture itself was actually rather kind, and to him, the result actually looked pretty nice. Just as he had many times before, the Sneasel wrapped his trusty scarf over his neck, looking down at the new addition. It felt natural. “Eheh, I like it!” Rhodes eventually declared, managing a smile. Needless to say, this gift did wonders in taking out a lot of his tension from the earlier encounters. “Thank you! I didn’t know you were good at this kind of stuff!”
“Eh, neither did I,” Gnasher replied, shrugging in a mildly smug manner. “Good for showing off, though. I ain’t gonna complain about an outlet for everybody to see my genius at work!”
Had he created a lesser monster..? That sure was some confidence! Still, however grateful Rhodes was, there was still business to attend to elsewhere. His feathery ear perked as he stepped forward, placing his claws on the table and leaning forward, “Hey! Why don’t you come to Merlot’s castle with me? I bet the villagers would like to see what you can do!”
Gnasher looked away awkwardly. “Uhh... I dunno if I’m ready to tolerate that many Pokemon yet. I mean... now that I don’t have a bunch of unfinished thoughts nagging at me, it’s actually kinda peaceful to hang out on my own, and I’d kinda like it for a bit, y’know?” he explained, giving a hopeful smile. A smile that hoped for some privacy.
Looking a little saddened, Rhodes stood upright again and sighed. “I guess I understand... oh!” he perked up, looking about and leaning in order to see behind some of the shelves easier. “Um... where’s Winston?”
“Who knows, who cares. He ain’t coming back in here as long as I’ve got anything to say about it,” Gnasher declared rather nonchalantly. His distaste for Winston was almost as impressive as his good qualities, somehow.
Impressive as it may have been, it still worried Rhodes. “Don’t you think you’re bein’ kinda mean to him..?” he questioned, crossing his arms as though he was making a point. After all that had transpired before, he’d expected a little better.
“Look, I ain’t gonna go killing or torturing anybody... but I ain’t here to be nice to little no-talent fuzzballs who slice my perfect face open,” Gnasher complained, rummaging through various things until he found a blank piece of paper, and a pencil with which to write upon it, “so he can plant himself outside the door if he really wants to be here. I’ll be in here, enjoying the peace and quiet.”
It was definitely not nice to Winston, and Rhodes still didn’t like it. Still, compared to what it could have been, it was at least fairly harmless. As the Banette began scribbling ideas onto paper, Rhodes decided to turn and take his leave. “Everybody’ll be coming back here soon enough, probably. See you then, if you’re still here.”
“Yeah yeah, I’ll be here,” Gnasher replied, looking up from his work briefly. He flashed one last grin at Rhodes, “Got nowhere else to go.”
The Banette was left to his devices, for the time being.
Rhodes took one last look at the destruction around him before he’d attempt to catch up with everyone else. It gave him the same feeling as when he observed the forest, like his home was destroyed. In a way, he could appreciate that both locations gave him the same feeling. A silver lining, of sorts. With his newly-adorned scarf in tow, the Sneasel hastily made his way for the imposing Draclugia Castle.
The villagers of Tao would have a strange new addition to come back to, indeed.
Final part of "The Pulled String" by
I hope you all liked it! I know I did!