Restful slumber, followed by a listless day. Time went on, and yet every day after his arrival seemed to adhere to that formula. Still, there were bright points to keep feelings of hopelessness at bay, such as catching up with his childhood friend or spending time with his brothers. In fact, he spent the following few days doing just that, rather than setting foot into the Commerce Mushroom as he usually enjoyed. For roughly two weeks, Shroomsworth would instead aid Ginko in taking care of the little ones. His mind would wander back to what Arianna said to him. It was within his choice to lead the commerce in his village... but her foreboding warning stuck with him. It bred doubts, and that indecision about something he felt so right about before brought a sour feeling with it.
At the very least, the tasks weren't unwelcome. Keeping the Shroomish in line wasn't terribly difficult, as they were fairly well-behaved. Rounding them up for bedtime was the hardest part, as they tended to be very lively.
Four days later and in the very late afternoon, Shroomsworth found himself quietly tidying up as Ginko read a book titled “Outlaws Outlawed” aloud to the children. It was a wholesome, simple, and comical story set in far-off Gambitville, in which a group of bandits miserably fail to rob a saloon. All of the children were listening closely, except for one.
“Brother..?” the little tie-wearing Shroomish quietly spoke up from behind Shroomsworth, who was just pulling himself upright after picking a wooden toy car from the floor.
The toy was promptly discarded into a nearby appropriate box before Shroomsworth turned to his little brother. The weariness in his expression spoke volumes where he did not, but the small Pokemon did have his attention.
Also less energetic than usual, Sporegard waddled forward and looked up to Shroomsworth curiously. “I'm very happy that you are spending so much time with us, but... it is terribly unlike you to stay around the hub all day with not a single complaint. Is something wrong?”
Let no one say his closest sibling wasn't very perceptive. Shroomsworth sighed, allowing his posture to slump uncharacteristically. There was little sense in hiding his displeasure at that point. He looked down at his brother, and was once again stricken with the urge to comfort him as a child. However... he then remembered his own words to Rhodes. The Shroomish before him was treated as a child, yet he was not even that much younger. After all he'd been through abroad, all he'd seen... it was no longer right to him. Honesty would be best.
“... I am tired of everything, Sporegard,” the monocle-wearing Breloom admitted. He took a few steps to the nearest seat and settled into it as he continued, “I spent nearly my whole life under the Elder's teachings, and apparently the respect for my endeavors died with him. Those I thought closest to me do not respect me in the slightest.”
“But that is not true at all!” Sporegard worriedly exclaimed, though not loud enough to interrupt the reading going on across the room. “I have the absolutest respect for you, and I am certain others feel the same! I know Miss Arianna and Mister Ginko do!”
Shroomsworth could only shake his head. Such optimism was nice, but he certainly wasn't feeling it at the time. “I'm not so sure. Miss Arianna does not trust me to fill our late Elder's position, and it is apparently in her hands to dictate such things, as the new Elder.”
“Oh, the Elder told me all about that!” the smaller Pokemon proclaimed with a sudden smile, gaining Shroomsworth's surprised attention as he went on. “Miss Arianna would be the next Elder after him, but he knew she would most certainly dislike the job. He assured me most assuredly that she would eventually seek someone to fill in his role if he were to depart. I'm certain it was you, brother!”
“He told you all of that..? Just how much time did you spend with him in my absence?” Shroomsworth inquired. Though he'd never admit it, there was a tinge of jealousy within him. Such important things that he was never told.
“Very much of it! I was very unhappy when you left, so I asked to see the Elder. He began allowing me to accompany him until I felt better, and spoke with me about many things. I did not get to sell things myself, but I was allowed to help at many stalls. It was quite fun!”
While the jealousy reached a point, Shroomsworth managed to quell it for his brother's sake. After all, at the same time, he was proud. They were carrying a mature conversation, something that he'd never thought of doing with the 'childlike' Shroomish. “I see...” he paused, pondering a question briefly before he resolved to ask, “Sporegard... what do you wish to do when you are considered of age?”
The inquiry brought a boggled expression from the little Shroomish. His eyes wandered off in thought, all while the story reading continued in the background. A brief fit of childish laughter filled the air at the tale's progression, just as Sporegard's face lit with inspiration, “Oh, I enjoyed helping at the market very much! I would love to simply stay in the village and continue doing just that... though I know I will likely have to travel abound, as you did.”
“Mm, perhaps...” Shroomsworth replied thoughtfully. The gears were turning in his head. Maybe there was a way to solve everything! With his first smile of the day, the Breloom stood and looked upon his brother amiably. “How would you like to accompany me to the Commerce Mushroom again tomorrow? Perhaps we can get back into the swing of things, and all that rot.”
Such words brought the characteristic excitement back to Sporegard, warranting a bounce of joy. “That would be perfect! We can even say hello to Miss Arianna!”
“Yes... yes we will,” Shroomsworth assured.
Ginko's story came to a comical, but heartwarming end, leaving the many Shroomish happy. However, many disappointed whines sounded as he closed the book shut between his vines, set it aside, then laid out those dreaded words, “Now then, bedtime is soon for you all! Get yourselves nice and ready.”
And so, one more night passed. It was one of optimism, though. As Shroomsworth once again laid his head down to rest, he felt good for once. Like he finally had a direction again.
Part 9 of "Successor" by