That was good enough for her. Maybe it’d be a really fine pastry, or it could even be a cake, or perhaps... well. It was probably best she didn’t get her expectations up. It would be even better if they weren’t set high to begin with. It was easiest to fully enjoy things that way: no hopes to be crushed if they didn’t exist to begin with!
Instead of getting out of the carriage as they reached the city’s limits, they kept going. It did slow down considerably, though. PK expected them to stop, but they didn’t. They kept traveling through the city, to the annoyance of pedestrians walking through the streets. Eventually, the pier was in sight. Not any pier, but the main one, the Merchants’ Pier, matching--no, exceeding
--the Merchants’ Hut of Tao in importance. PK had hoped another destination was in mind, but her hope was in vain. They stopped right in front of the pier, at the very end of the wooden walkway. Twigs didn’t even ask the Zebstrika to stop. It seemed that particular destination had been their goal from the beginning.
PK reached for the handle. “So... where are we going from here?”
“This is it.”
“I’ll be out in a moment.”
PK shrugged. “Kay. Well then.” She tentatively climbed out, expecting... something. What? She was unsure, but this definitely broke the normal schedule their dates had taken on. It was a little thrilling; their outings had become predictable up until that point.
Strangely, a small crowd had started to mill about around the carriage. It made PK anxious. So many eyes looking in her direction!
And then Twigs emerged, a tiny black box in his mouth, hanging by a silky, black ribbon to match. Clearly luxurious.
Suddenly, dread and realization filled her to the brim. This... was not at all the type of present she had expected, nor wanted. Especially not with so many watching. Twigs sauntered up to her, willfully dismissing his audience (despite the fact that PK was certain he had arranged for them to gather at this time!), and very carefully placed the box on the ground in front of her. He tugged off the ribbon, gently pulling one of the two tails, and then flipped up the lid with the flick of a claw. It confirmed PK’s fears and suspicions of the situation.
It was a pair of rings. One was plain and golden, one was ornate with multicolored gems lining the perimeter of the ring (one for every color of the rainbow, she guessed), and they were perhaps an inch in diameter each.
Twigs lowered himself close to the ground. The audience’s excited murmur was slowly fading in anticipation. PK found herself wanting to cry. She didn’t actually succumb to tears, no, but the urge was there. The spotlight was absolutely not the place for her, and here she was, player in a little performance that she hardly wanted to be a part of. Great.
In her desire to leave the scene, she searched for a thousand other topics to think about in that instant. Why here? Why had they stopped here? Why in front of everyone? And then it struck her that the location was very important indeed. It had been specifically chosen, there was no doubt. It was right at the entrance to the biggest pier; precisely where she had first met Twigs, this was where they were both standing. Every landmark around her was the same. This was really, truly that spot.
PK would have given anything to just escape and crawl away. She heavily considered what might happen if she substituted out, but decided that wasn’t something she cared to do in front of many attentive eyes. Besides, it kind of ruined the magic of the trick if someone was watching from every angle.
Enough of that. She had almost been lost in her thoughts, but Twigs brought her back with dizzying speed when he spoke. She felt mildly ill.
“My darling, I think it’s time, don’t you?” Hushed, yet energetic whisperings from the crowd. “Would you do this for me?”
PK’s throat was dry. She tried to say something, but it merely came out as a raspy cry. Twigs didn’t notice.
He spoke again. “Will you marry me?” There was a dead silence, an expectant
silence from the bunch encircling the two.
Marriage. Why? Marriage was hardly... it was hardly suited to PK. Everywhere she had been, it was uncommon, mostly for the fact that it signaled an extreme commitment between two Pokemon. Commitment wasn’t unusual, though. That wasn’t the issue. It was that it heavily linked together two Pokemon as one unit. It was kind of like a brand, combining a couple into an entity. It was used a lot in business relationships as a tool to bring separate branches together, out in Alomomola. The very idea sent a chill down her spine. It felt somewhat like she might lose her identity, so it was hardly something she was ever interested in. Over the course of her dates with Twigs, she had hoped that he would understand her lack of desire for marriage, but her suitor apparently was not one for hints.
Unless he was purposely ignoring them.
PK racked her brain, wishing to find a way out of the situation. She very badly did not want to be around so many goddamned eyes
scanning her every move. Was that on purpose? PK didn’t want to let down a crowd. But... that was stupid. Who cared what they thought? She must have, because she stammered, not managing to utter any complete word or phrase. Twigs watched, statuesque, with an intensely focused gaze.
PK looked hopelessly one more time for escape, for some way out of the situation, when she saw something to egg her on. Slightly out onto the Merchants’ Pier, about 30 feet out, she saw Anana, looking rather manic.
Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if she just said yes.
Final part of "The Question"