Payapa grinned. “I want a ride too! But you gotta be more careful than that, or someone could knock you around like I did. So I’d say your speed needs some work, prolly.”
This sent Gail into a little flurry of rage. “What’s your problem?! You wanna make me crash? What’s your deal you little snot? Get out of here!” she shrieked, hopping forward and puffing her chest out. If the intent was to make her look more intimidating, it didn’t really particularly work. All she managed to do was look a little bit puffier. “You’re too fat to ride anyway, you’d break my back!”
Payapa’s good mood held steadfast until that last remark cracked it a bit. She would have figured out a way to get a ride out of the girl, but now she just kind of wanted to beat them both up.
Chulo didn’t say anything, merely watched. He seemed to be racking his brain for something, trying to recall some life-saving piece of information. Finally, recognition washed over his face, and he whispered something to Gail. Payapa couldn’t quite make it out, but she was getting pretty steamed.
Whatever Chulo had said to Gail had shifted her demeanor entirely, however. Gail did a complete 180 in a matter of moments. “Just playin’ around. I’ll give you a ride if you want.”
Payapa was caught off guard. What had changed? She wasn’t entirely sure, but didn’t dwell on it lest the little bird change its mind. Flying was something she had always liked, and finally someone was going to let her in on this awesome experience. She made a mental note to gloat about this later to Anana. She made a second mental note to remember to leave these two behind before Anana was done working so that she wouldn’t have the chance to ride as well, for what fun would it be to gloat if her sister had also gotten to fly?
Payapa approached the two without visible caution, though she was eyeing them warily. Just in case. Gail seemed to be eyeing her just as warily. The Pichu extended a paw in friendly greeting as she got close enough to them, though, and dispelled the tense atmosphere. “Hey chica, I’m Chulo. This is Gail. What brings you out to our little place?” There was something about the way he said the words, something that implied she wasn’t supposed to be here in their territory. Or perhaps she had imagined this subtext.
She shrugged it off and introduced herself. “Well, I’m Payapa. I’m just looking to play and stuff. My sister’s busy til like, I dunno, noon or something. You guys know Rionna? She has a cool ball.”
Chulo’s eyes widened. “You know that kid? She doesn’t really talk to a whole lot of us...”
Gail fluttered her wings a little. “She’s kinda weird. Whaddya do with her?”
Payapa considered this. “I dunno, sometimes we try to hit the ball over stuff. We practice a lot of moves and stuff together. It’s kinda fun. Why? What’s wrong with her?”
“She’s quiet and weird!” Chulo answered hastily. As if in afterthought upon realizing those reasons weren’t very adequate, he added, “Plus, she always finds us in hide and seek. I feel like she prolly cheats or something, it’s garbage.”
Payapa took this as a personal challenge and leaned forward aggressively, as if to close the gap between her and the other two. “I didn’t know she played that game! I bet I could beat her, I’m pretty much the best at it.” It was easy to state such a thing with confidence. Kecleon were, as many knew, able to turn invisible at whim. Except for a small stripe across their belly, that was.
Chulo furrowed his brow. “You really think so? She’s never lost a game, y’know. This chica’s got some mad skills, I don’t think you’d be winning.”
Agitated now, Payapa’s tail uncurled and whipped around erratically. “I’m the best, I’m telling you! I’m even better than my sister. She’s no good at fighting or hiding or anything like that. But I
am. I’m awesome at it.”
Gail looked uneasy. Chulo continued on anyway in the same manner. “Nah, I’m tellin ya, I’ll even bet on it. I bet you... a whole box of berries that this Rionna’s gonna blow you outta the water. She’s got some way.”
Payapa instantly ate up this bet. “Uh huh, whatever! Sure, I’ll bet that. I’ve never lost a game. Never.”
However, Chulo still wasn’t shaken or moved at all by her confidence. In fact, he looked delighted that she had taken him up on this challenge. It was then that she realized that despite her confidence, he had bet anyway
, and that they probably had nothing to offer in exchange. But they would surely bother her to death for the food in the event that she actually... No, that was stupid to think. She wasn’t going to lose. What was a better trump card than near-complete invisibility? There was really no way to cheat against that. As a matter of fact, it was more likely that she
would be branded the cheater here, despite using a natural ability.
Part 2 of "Complementaries"