Following Serenity and Alicia away from the docks and down several snow dusted streets, Chris tried his best to apologize to the two jealous women, the abrupt kiss from Sally burning at their possessive sides leaving Chris in an awkward and guilty position combined, with Rose doing her best to be the supportive one as she pat him on the back while he slumped along. Eventually, the two finally stopped before him, looking around in silence before giving each other a puzzled look. "Uhh... We good now?" Chris asked, walking up to the bewildered looking Pokemon as they faced him with a scowl. "Th-That a no?" he laughed nervously, inching back. "Come on you two! Enough's enough!" Rose suddenly lectured, the two jolting and blinking at the small rabbit in surprise. "Th-That is... It wasn't his fault it happened... He couldn't help what that girl did!" she point out, the two scowling at her. "He not have to look like he like it so much. He stand there forever looking goofy!" Serenity replied, crossing her arms. "Indeed. It's inappropriate for one deemed an equal to myself to allow himself to be stricken to such a degree by a kiss from another. An appropriate man would've been on guard and avoided such an act outright." Alicia added with her nose up, Rose scowling at the two before recalling Ninetales words and suddenly putting her foot down, causing Chris to jolt in surprise at her firm behavior. "Now you listen!! That human had bad legs!! If he avoided her she would've fallen flat on her face!! It took everything she had just to stand up, and she did it all just so she could show him she appreciated him!! She had to fight really hard just to get out of that chair!!" Rose scolded. "She fought just to show him a little bit of thanks. That's something the two of you NEVER do! Instead you just fight over which one of you owns him the most!!" she point out, Serenity and Alicia jolting at the remark.
"He spends time with you every single day. He thinks of you every single minute! He buys you stuff constantly to show his love and appreciation, and still you act like you have some right to get all stuck up whenever he's in contact with someone else. You should encourage him to make bonds with other people! That's what he's done for you after all!" Rose reminded. "I don't like violence, I don't like any kind of fighting, even arguments like this. But what Ninetales said was right, if I'm gonna be here with him, I've gotta be able to make myself stand out more, and I think a pretty good first step is being able to stand up to you two whenever you act stupid and treat him like he's beneath you. So get over yourselves and apologize!" the rabbit ordered, Chris giving her an awe stricken look while Serenity and Alicia looked at one another before facing him, glancing away for a moment before bowing their heads. "Apologies..." the snake replied. "I sorry..." Serenity added, Chris looking at the two and back at Rose, remaining in a surprised state before nodding. "Y-Yeah. No worries." he replied, Rose crossing her arms and nodding with a grunt. "You two let yourselves act all high and mighty over a crippled human, saying he should've avoided her." Rose continued, looking at Alicia. "I don't think you have any right to call yourself a Serperior if you're going to say that kind of stuff to someone with that kind of problem. Even if you're some kinda noble species, there's nothing noble about being that smug at all. That's just being vile, and I don't think you're making anyone proud being that stuck up. I bet other Serperior's would shake their heads at you for spitting venom at someone with her kind of problems." she affirmed, Alicia looking at her wide eyed.
"G-Geez Rose..." Chris muttered, the rabbit suddenly looking up at him and responding with a firm "shush!" before facing Serenity. "I get that you don't like humans. I don't have a problem with that in itself. But when you walk around treating him like you treat any other human, that's when you go too far. Threatening to slap him, making ugly faces." Rose went on, facing Alicia again. "Walking off with your nose up and making him tag along behind you, forcing him to beg until he earns your forgiveness, dragging along behind you until he deserves your attention again, that makes you two as sick as any bad human we've met. In fact, that makes you worse because of all the love he's given you! What, are the two of you using him as a means of getting revenge against the humans that treated you bad? The past hurts so much you've gotta spend your time hurting him now?!" she asked, both Pokemon looking more and more dumbfounded at her as the rabbit sent knife after knife through them. "The real truth is neither of you deserve to walk in front of him, not even beside him after acting the way you did! Just because a human kissed him... A human whose life he saved need I remind you! She had a right to thank him that way, especially after how hard she pushed herself to do it! You should've been proud of that human! But instead all you care about is how he's supposed to belong to you. Why don't the two of you start begging HIM to forgive you now?" she asked before suddenly taking Chris's hand and pulling him along ahead of the girls, leaving them behind as Chris blinked in shock at the rabbit, facing back as Serenity rubbed her arm while glancing at Alicia, the snake glancing back before both faced down in silence and followed.
Nearby, a familiar figure had been watching the scene unfold from behind a lamp post, the persons face hidden in the shroud of a thick hooded and full bodied winter coat. "My my, that one has grown a bit it seems... Standing up to those two, a surprise indeed!" the person exclaimed before stepping out from behind the post. "And a certain someone else has gone through an extraordinary growth of her own as well... Congratulations will be in order." the person chuckled before trailing along in the distance behind the group, wanting to examine them more as they made their way through the town. Along the way, Rose point out various cabin like shops, each built with a luxurious, country-esque design using wood and stones, the windows crystal clear with countless extravagant displays set up for tourists and locals alike, perfecting the Christmas village atmosphere around them as the rabbit pushed a brighter mood for Chris with a smile on her face. Occasionally looking back, Rose would give him a tug each time, shaking her head and waving a finger, reminding him the guilty party following had to learn their lessons, the rabbit making him respond to their behavior towards him with similar behavior. Not used to giving the girls a cold shoulder, Chris couldn't help but show a nervous look, scratching his cheek with slight sweat on his face and unable to avoid his guilty conscious nagging within. Eventually, he'd finally given into his conscious and was about to turn around, Rose letting out a sigh and shaking her head, when they suddenly heard Serenity speak up just before he turned, causing him and Rose to pause. "I-I sorry. It bad to treat way I did." Serenity confessed.
"A-Agreed, especially after our..." Alicia added, clearing her throat nervously. "Moment on the ship, after you gave me this necklace I mean... Normally I latch onto my lessons, but I've let myself slip in the surprise of the moment and I've done an injustice to my kin in the process as well. My apologies for being... Admittedly rather ugly." she nodded. "I not do that to you again... So we okay?" Serenity asked. Turning back to the two, Chris looked at them before nodding with a smile. "Mm! Don't worry about it. I guess in a way it's flattering, the way you get so jealous over me. But it's not really healthy either so... Just work on it." he nodded before motioning for them to come closer, giving Serenity a hug and poking her nose with a chuckle before putting his hand on Alicia with a smile, Rose crossing her arms and nodding with a smile of her own. "Wadaya say we just focus on enjoying our time in a new place now? Deal?" he asked, Serenity and Alicia nodding before the snake suddenly let out a sneeze. "Ah, the energy not helping much?" Chris asked. "It's helping, but over an extended period the atmosphere still seems to get to me. Apologies but I'm really not built for this environment. Just looking at the ice makes me feel a tad low." Alicia point out, rubbing her nose with the tip of her tail with a "gah" as Chris looked around. "Mmm..." he muttered as they made their way along, his eyes continuing to scan their surroundings before finally spotting a nearby cafe. "There we are! Who's up for a warm dink? We can sit a spell, have something tasty, and take in the scenery in an environment even Alicia can enjoy!" he point out, the girls looking at the cafe and nodding in agreement.
"Certainly sounds like a plan to me." Alicia nodded as snowflakes started falling, the snake jolting and letting out a "blech" as the flakes vanished when coming in contact with the thin barrier of heat around her. "Ha ha. Okay, okay. Lets head on in then. Feels like Ninetales would like a break too." he nodded, looking up at his forehead before leading the group along. Once they were inside, their discrete follower stepped out once more with another smirk. "Much has changed, yet much hasn't. I suppose it's comforting in its own way, knowing some blemishes remain. It's part of their charm, after all." the person chuckled while watching the group sit at a table at one of the cafe's windows, Alicia relaxing along a bench while Serenity and Rose sat next to Chris on the opposite side of their table as a waitress approached with a notepad in hand. "They haven't been gone that long, yet at the same time, looking at them now makes it feel like its been forever. I wonder how they'll react to seeing me again... How he'll react." the person chuckled, looking up as the snow drift down. "Despite their quarrels, it's still clear as day how much they love him. The fact that one came here, despite it being a death wish to her kind, certainly proves it on her part." the person smirked, referring to Alicia before looking at the group through the window once more. "Well then, I do believe it's time I offered them my own welcoming to the Valley." the person finished before heading toward the cafe. Inside, the group had ordered their drinks and were sitting together in silence, Serenity and Alicia sitting with their thoughts full while Rose stood with her hands and face against the window, watching the snow fall and noticing the person cloaked in a winter coat heading toward the cafe, tilting her head curiously while Chris looked around the interior.
"Man, you really get major country vibes in this place. Reminds me of the elders village, only colder." he chuckled, looking at Serenity and Alicia as they sulked. "Hey now, lets just focus on enjoying ourselves, alright? Don't worry about what happened." Chris coaxed. "It just surprise is all." Serenity replied. "What's a surprise?" he asked, raising an eyebrow. "I believe she's referring to the lecture. I'll admit, that's something still weighing on my mind as well. Of all people, it was the tiny, meek bunny who stood up to us." Alicia point out. "Well, eventually anyone would stand up to someone who's in the wrong. What should sting the most is the fact it was me who stood up, more-so than what I had to say. Because it was me should really tell you something about you two." Rose affirmed. "We get it. Not push it. Not need smart mouth." Serenity scowled. "I'm just saying..." Rose scowled back, Chris looking between the two bewildered. "Say, what was that about Ninetales again? Something about telling you something?" Chris asked, looking at Rose curiously. "W-Well, after you passed out that time after taking us on those dates, she showed up and talked to us. One of the main things she mentioned was how nonexistent I was. Kind of like I wasn't even here because of how I acted. So... I thought I should work on it some." the rabbit explained. "Really? Huh..." Chris muttered, looking up at his forehead. "Looks like someone's feeling their maternal instincts kicking in again!" he grinned, only to jolt and let out a groan while clutching his head. "Are you alright?" Alicia asked, the three blinking at him in surprise. "Y-Yeah. Ninetales just didn't like what I said. She always gives me a, well, I guess you could call it a kick or a slap in the head basically when I cross a line. She's still pretty touchy." he smiled nervously, shaking his head before noticing the waitress returning with their drinks.
Each taking their own, they thanked the waitress before taking a sip, the group letting out a simultaneous coo and shuddering. "My this tea's heavenly. It's like I'm in the forests again. These herbs are superb." Alicia sighed. "Humans bad, but food and drinks they make good." Serenity nodded, enjoying a tea mixture of her own. "Never gonna let go of that hate are ya?" Chris smiled nervously while sipping his coffee, sighing himself. "Few good humans not mean should like all humans." the Pokemon point out. "Progress is progress, you gotta admit she's better with humans than she used to be!" Rose point out before taking another sip of her own drink, a cocoa formula exclusive to the Valley causing the rabbit to swoon. "That said, this stuff really is great." she added. "They certainly must have first rate concoctions here to make the lot of you behave in such a euphoric manner!" they heard a voice chime in, the group jolting before facing the person cloaked in the winter coat. "Uhh, yeah. Good stuff..." Chris nodded, raising his cup. "May we... Help you?" Alicia asked, raising an eyebrow. "What you want? It weird for stranger to butt in." Serenity added with a scowl. "A stranger? Oh, hardly." the person replied with a hand raised. Tilting her head, Rose blinked curiously. "You do sound familiar." she point out. "I'd certainly hope so! Surely you haven't been away long enough to forget a friend so easily." the person replied, the group noticing a smile on the exposed portion of the figures face. "Say... Wait a sec..." Chris muttered, squinting his eyes as he noticed facial hair. "Perhaps you're starting to recollect? A tad slow I must say!" the person laughed, Alicia and Serenity blinking in surprise. "My word, this fellow does ring a familiar tune." the snake point out. "I know laugh! It..." Serenity point out as the person removed the hood and grinned at the group.
"GERALD!!!" they shout collectively, Chris shooting up causing the table to rock and suddenly grabbing the old butler in his arms with a wide grin as the girls held their drinks, avoiding them spilling all over the place and sighing in relief. "It's you!! It's really you!!" Chris shout excitedly, those in the cafe blinking at the group bewildered as Gerald gave him a hug as well and rubbed his head. "Good to see you dear boy! Congrats on making it safely to Arcticu Valley! And for... A lot of things really!" the old man chuckled. "You ladies are looking ravishing as ever. It's good to see all of you safe and well also." he nodded, the girls waving with smiles in response. "Good to see. Look good too." Serenity nodded. "Agreed. It's good to meet another with class around these frigid parts." Alicia nodded. "You know, you shoulda seen Chris when we left the city, He was crying like a baby for like an hour after we left you!" Rose laughed, Chris suddenly flushing and pulling away from the butler. "N-Not true!!" he snapped. "No, she right. You not stop crying." Serenity affirmed before making "waah" noises in an infantile manner, causing Chris to turn all the redder while Gerald laughed and pat him on the head. "My boy, you knew we'd meet again in due time! I must admit, I'm flattered though!" the old butler grinned. "But heavens, crying over me for an hour you say?" he asked, Chris facing down with a humiliated groan. "Indeed, he wept until the city was out of view. I'd say parting ways with you resulted in him being the most emotional we've ever seen. He fancies you quite a lot." Alicia nodded. "You like Grandpa to him, and you treat all us good, so I not mind bond you have. It one he need." Serenity added with a thumbs up.
Looking at her, Chris scowled with a "so glad you approve" in response, Gerald unable to resist laughing once more before asking to join them at the table. Once they were all sitting comfortable and Gerald had his own drink, they began catching up on all that had occurred during the voyage. "So that's how it all really happened... I must say, that was quite a shock to Madam Angela when she found out. They've been broadcasting various tidbits of the voyage throughout the regions, but it's nice to hear the whole story. The world's still shook up over the ordeal." Gerald point out while sipping his own tea. "You can't find a single news station that isn't still covering the events in some shape or form. The disaster of the Arceanic and the hero who claimed it for his own. Quite the tale!" the old butler grinned, nudging Chris. "Bah, it was no biggie! Just another day for us, right girls?" he asked with a smirk, the girls looking at one another with sweat on their faces and responding with a collective "yeeeaaaaah..." in response before glancing away while sipping their drinks. "Gee thanks." Chris muttered. "Now now, I'd wager it was quite a trying experience for all of you." Gerald replied. "I didn't just get ownership of the wreckage though." Chris point out. "Oh?" Gerald replied, raising a curious eyebrow. "Check this out! This is the deed for the Arceanic..." Chris explained, taking the deed out of his coat and handing it to Gerald, the butler unfurling it and looking the paper over. "Extraordinary... You know, Madam Angela was actually quite pleased when it was revealed you now possessed the ship. You should've seen the look of relief on her face." he chuckled. "That's not all though! Check this out! I'm gonna build a new one! It's gonna be called the R.M.S. Legend!!" Chris revealed, handing him the second rolled up paper.
"A-A second one? A new Arceanic? That was approved?" Gerald asked in surprise, blinking at the sheet wide eyed before unfurling it and looking everything over. "Yeah! It's gonna be way stronger and have the best stuff put in it!" Chris began explaining, the girls watching him grow all the more excited with a look of pride on his face, a grin showing from ear to ear while Gerald listened with a smile. "You know, they truly do take on the appearance of kin when together..." Alicia point out. "I think it's really cute, the way he acts like a kid in a way when Gerald's around." Rose giggled. "It make me kind of jealous though. He get so peppy when Gerald here." Serenity added. "Well, he's like another grandfather to him, it's to be expected. After all, his real one was lost before we met." Alicia reminded, causing the two and herself to show a sudden somber and guilty look before brushing off the conversation and watching Chris and Gerald in silence. "Astounding... I departed before that bit of information was released. Always a surprise with you!" the butler chuckled. "Pretty awesome, huh? People all over the world that are sick will be able to see all the regions no matter what's wrong with them!" Chris grinned. "Oh yeah! There's this too, check it out!" he added, taking off his medal and letting Gerald look it over. "It's in remarkable condition considering its age... The original medal of honor carried by Henry Rostron himself one hundred years ago... Quite breathtaking." he muttered, squinting his eyes while looking over the details. "The value of this is likely far beyond anything we can fathom. You'd best make sure to care for it properly." he instructed, Chris nodding with a smirk. "I thought you not like to show off and gloat?" Serenity chimed in with a smirk, causing Chris to jolt and scratch his cheek with slight sweat on his face.
"W-Well, you know. We all have our moments." he replied, Gerald smiling with a nod. "My boy, after everything you've done I'd say that's a well deserved right!" he assured, patting Chris on the shoulder. "That aside, I hope you don't mind me putting the striking madam in the spotlight for a moment." Gerald smiled while facing Alicia, the snake jolting and freezing in the middle of sipping her tea, blinking at Gerald before quickly setting her cup down and clearing her throat. "Something on your mind?" the snake asked. "Well, you've evolved for starters!" Gerald point out, Alicia tilting her head before looking herself over and showing a sudden smirk of pride, her head held high. "Ah yes! It was nothing really." she replied with a wave of the tip of her tail. "Oh? That's not what the world saw on TV!" Gerald grinned, causing her to blush slightly and glance away. "What an act it was. Sprinting along the length of that colossal liner like a beast gone mad, then suddenly flying through the air like that of a jet! Who knew such a small thing could have such spunk?" Gerald laughed. "Then the moment of truth, when you burst forth from the surface of the deadly grip of the frozen sea and lassoed our boy here, snatched him from the brink you did! I've never seen a more spectacular evolution in all my years!" the old butler praised, Alicia's lips quivering before showing a wide smile. "Here we go..." Serenity groaned before covering her ears. "Now you've done it." Rose smiled nervously before the snake let out a sudden burst of haughty laughter, the tip of her tail under her chin with her nose up proudly. "It was rather remarkable, wasn't it? Surely only a feat one such as I could accomplish! It's only natural that one would be stricken with utter awe at the sight of my actions!" the snake exclaimed proudly.
"Yeah... You did it alright." Chris muttered with slight sweat on his face and showing a smile. "Forgive me, but it had to be said." Gerald replied. "I must add to that and say I truly cannot thank you enough for risking so much for this young man. I know he's near and dear to you all, but there's a special place reserved for him in the hearts of so many others, it would be a great loss to more than you could imagine if anything like that took him away from this world. You've done a great service to so many, myself included of course." Gerald praised before facing Chris. "This one truly is like a grandson to me after all." he added with a smile, Chris blinking for a moment before showing another wide grin and hugging Gerald once more, the old butler laughing and patting him on the head. "My word, such affection. One could wind up spoiled!" he point out while facing the girls. "Although, as far as I can tell that's not a bad thing. It has certainly benefited the lot of you a great deal." he added, the girls looking at one another and glancing away embarrassed and nodding collectively. "But yes, I'm proud of you madam. Of all of you really. They've shown glimpses of all of your actions during that incident." he chuckled before facing Serenity with a smile. "And you remembered what I told you and used your gift to your advantage. It was a last moment act, but you've surpassed expectations yourself, madam Serenity... I know words of praise from our kind aren't likely to affect you very much, but know that I've never seen such a competent protector in all my years either. All of you performed spectacularly on that cruise, and it's an honor more than ever to know each and every one of you." he nodded, the girls looking at one another before nodding back.
"You right, words from humans not mean much to me. But... Not mind your words. You give stone that help me get power when need most. I not really like saying it, not to humans, but to you I can say thank you. Did good job for us when in city, and do good job keeping us safe when we leave by giving stone. You care lots, that I respect." the Pokemon nodded, Gerald giving her a surprised look before grinning. "Glad to be of service my dear!" he replied. "The more you ladies grow, the more breathtaking you become, and the more lucky I find myself feeling this one is for having you by his side." the old butler praised, giving Chris another nudge as he showed an embarrassed look. "Come on, you're saying too much!" he replied, hiding his head between his shoulders as the crowd around them continued looking at the group curiously. Looking around, Gerald smirked with a sly look before standing. "Forgive us for interrupting your time here everyone, but I'd just like to point out the man and his family that saved the Guardian! What say you, shall we give them a hand?" he asked, everyone looking at one another in surprise before smiling and clapping for the group, Gerald joining in with a hearty laughter while Chris flushed and slumped into the bench embarrassed, Alicia raising her head with a proud smirk and nodding at the crowd while Rose waved with a shy and nervous smile, Serenity looking around before crossing her arms and looking out the window with her tongue slightly out. "C'mon Gerald..." Chris groaned, the old butler putting his hands up for everyone to stop. "Haaah, my apologies dear boy. I just wanted to experience being in the center of your applause again. You deserve it you know!" he point out.
"That aside, I don't suppose I could have you and yours here come with me for a moment?" he asked as Chris raised up. "Uhh... I guess? What's up?" he asked. "Well, do you remember your conversation with the master and Madam Angela? About them wanting to send you something?" Gerald explained. "Oh yeah... Wait, that's why you're here? You came all this way just to give me something they shipped out?" Chris asked in surprise. "Well, that, and I couldn't resist the opportunity to see the lot of you again."Gerald smiled. "You've all done so much, I had to praise you in person! Although I'm afraid I still need to see to my duties back at the mansion, that doesn't mean we can't make the most of this meeting, right?" he asked, Chris showing a slightly somber look in response before nodding with a smile. "There's a trooper." Gerald grinned. "Well then, shall we? Your surprise is waiting for you at the nearby hotel I've been residing at since my arrival. The delay due to the incident was unexpected, but on the positive side it gave me ample time to spruce up what's waiting for you." he point out. "You make it sound like something big." Chris replied. "Oh, it's certainly sizeable to be sure. You'll see." the butler replied. "If the ladies here have finished their refreshments that is." he added, looking at the girls as they finished what was left in their cups and nodded. "Very well then. If you would, please follow me." Gerald bowed before heading toward the cashier. Once the group arrived by his side, the butler had already covered the cost of their drinks, affirming they were on him. "You didn't have to do that." Chris smiled nervously. "Nonsense dear boy! It's the least I could do, especially after causing you that bit of embarrassment. 'Twas worth it though!" Gerald smirked while ruffling Chris's hair playfully.
"They really are closer, huh?" Rose asked. "Indeed, it is rather endearing." Alicia giggled. "I happy he happy." Serenity shrugged before they made their way outside once more. However, when Alicia slithered out she froze abruptly, her eyes shooting open wide in response to the blast of cold air and the frigid wood of the porch beneath her. Pausing, the group looked back at the statue-like Pokemon, blinking at her before Chris jolt with a "whoops" and quickly reached his hand out, creating a flash around the snake before she let out a gasp of relief. "Y-Y-Y-You oaf!! H-How d-d-dare you forget my ssss-s-sensitivity?!!" she snapped, shuddering with a "brrrr" as the cold left her body. "S-Sorry about that!" Chris apologized with a nervous smile. Looking at him, she scowled for a moment only to jolt and reel back her attitude, taking a deep breath before replying with an "it's quite alright" and slithering up to the group. "Her sensitivity?" Gerald muttered before raising a finger with an "ah!" look on his face. "Something, uh, up?" Chris asked, tilting his head curiously as the girls looked at Gerald as well. "One extra surprise Madam Angela threw in as I was departing from the mansion. It's a device for Pokemon like Serenity that can't handle extreme temperatures." the butler explained before reaching into his coat and pulling out a large black collar looking object. "This is for Madam Alicia, it'll keep her comfortable while you're here in the Valley!" Gerald smiled, holding it up as the group looked it over, Alicia showing a wary look. "It's rather... Uh..." she replied. "I know it's not very fashionable, but sometimes comfort, and survival especially, come at such a cost." Gerald point out.
"How's the thing work?" Chris asked as the butler approached Alicia. "Pardon me madam, do you mind?" he asked, the snake letting out an "eeehhh..." in response, looking the device over before sighing with a nod. "Very well." she nodded, glancing at Chris. "If nothing else to be more self reliant I suppose." she added before lowering her head. Nodding back, Gerald reached up and latched the collar around her neck. "All you have to do is press this here..." Gerald explained as he activated the collar. "Now, please undo whatever it was you just did for the madam here." he instructed, Chris and Alicia looking at one another warily. "Okay then." he nodded before doing as told, the snake freezing up for a moment when her body came into contact with the freezing air again. "S-Sure I shouldn't...?" Chris asked nervously, about to raise his hand only for Gerald to reach out and shake his head. "Just give it a moment." he coaxed, and sure enough Alicia gasped once more as the device took over keeping her system warm and stable. "Y-You okay? Everything feel alright?" Chris asked, looking the snake over as she sighed in relief and looked down toward the collar. "Actually..." she replied before looking over the rest over body. "I feel pretty good." she added in surprise. "What does it feel like?" he asked, Alicia taking a moment to enjoy the heat before nodding. "Like sitting in the sun I suppose. One way to describe it is a radiating feeling. The heat just runs through me is all I can say... Even with the frozen surface beneath me, I actually feel like I'm atop lukewarm pavement at worst." she explained. "Wow... That thing's got some juice." Chris replied, blinking at the device in surprise.
"I'm guessing you were relying on Ninetales to tend to the madam. So long as you've got that collar, there won't be any need for such concern. It works on its own by determining the appropriate temperature for the body of the Pokemon it's attached to. It analyzes the Pokemon, then sends an equal amount of heat throughout its system, and it sends extra heat to particularly cold areas to ensure every inch stays nice and cozy. Since her underside is in constant contact with the frigid surface, it sends a particularly strong wave to said area to provide a well balanced sensation of comfort at all times. Although granted it does require a bit of charging at least once every 24 hours, it has an extraordinary lifespan, especially considering the size of Madam Alicia in her new form." Gerald explained. "The necessary equipment to charge it is included within your surprise. It's not much different than plugging in your typical appliance really." he assured as the group looked over the collar. Pausing for a moment, Chris looked at his forehead before nodding and facing Gerald with a thumbs up. "Ninetales says thanks." he nodded, the butler looking at him for a moment before letting out an "ah" and nodding. "Not a problem. Glad to be of service." he replied before showing an "OH!" expression and bowing, Chris blinking at the butler in surprise and tilting his head, the girls doing the same. "And an extraordinary thanks to you, Madam Ninetales, for doing so much for this family and those they've come into contact with. What you've done to him originated as a curse perhaps, but truly it has become a blessing to the world, a blessing I dare say has yet to be seen, nor experienced in quite some time and was greatly needed! You're a truly spectacular being for having done something to benefit so many." Gerald praised.
Looking at the old butler, Chris was about to respond only for Ninetales voice to interrupt, echoing out a "You're welcome... Human..." in response, causing both Chris and the girls to show a collective awe stricken look. "Th-That's DEFINITELY a first." Chris muttered, looking up at his forehead with his eyes widened. "Oh come now, it's not the first time I've spoken to her." Gerald chuckled while waving his hand. "Now then, lets be on our way, shall we?" he added, motioning for the group to follow. "S-So, uh, still feelin' okay?" Chris asked, looking the snake over as they moved along. "Oh yes, quite comfortable actually." Alicia assured with a nod as he noticed a trail of melted snow behind her. "Huh, okay then." he nodded back. "So how did you get here exactly?" Rose asked curiously. "The master and his wife permitted me to use one of their jets for the trip. Arrived in no time at all really!" Gerald explained. "You know, if you've ever the need to get anywhere post haste, I'm sure they'd be more than happy to see to it your needs are taken care of!" he added. "Although that's overstepping my boundaries a bit. Unfortunately I've really no say in the matter regarding their property, but I'm still certain they'd provide anything you requested nonetheless. So long as it's reasonable, of course." he smiled nervously. "I appreciate it but I have a hard enough time accepting gifts, remember?" Chris point out. "Ah yes, ever the humble one." Gerald chuckled. "Really the only major flaw I can think of." Alicia chimed in with a scowl. "Have to agree. Still think you should relax and take what others want to give." Serenity nodded. "Hey, if we need anything I can cover it myself! You don't take advantage of others." Chris point out. "Is it taking advantage if someone else is the one offering something in the first place?" Rose smiled nervously, Chris scratching his cheek with a groan. "I-I dunno..." he replied. "I sense the taste of defeat. Quick as a whip that one!" Gerald chuckled.
Making their way along, they finally reached the hotel Gerald had been staying at, a surprisingly small and simplistic place far from the extravagant life Chris and the girls had discovered him living at the mansion. "Kinda looks like an average two story cabin... Seriously?" Chris asked, pointing at it in surprise. "My dear boy, I needn't tell YOU the importance of simplicity in life. An abode like this can provide the same comfort as any other. The only things I require are peace, a pleasant scenery, and a few delightful culinary treats and I'm perfectly content." Gerald explained as they walked past the building, the group looking back confused. "So uh, that's where we're supposed to be going, right?" Chris asked. "Oh indeed. Your surprise is here, just not in that part." Gerald smiled as they followed him around the hotel toward a barn. "I'll have to ask that you and yours wait here for a moment." he instructed, Chris and the girls looking at each other bewildered. "O-kay then. If you say so." Chris nodded, the girls doing the same as the old butler made his way along, entering the barn from a side door. "Huh, didn't expect that. Guess this place was a farm or something." he point out. "In this frozen tundra? I'm sorry but that sounds absurd. If that's the case no wonder they turned it into a hotel instead." Alicia replied. "I think it's a pretty place anyways." Rose smiled. "It okay." Serenity shrugged as they looked around. After a moment, Gerald finally appeared again as he opened the barns main doors before returning inside, and next thing they knew he came out atop an extravagant carriage, pulled by the shiny Rapidash that had accepted Chris back at the mansion, the proud horse trotting in the groups direction with its head held high.
"SURPRISE!!" Gerald shout with a grin as he halt the carriage before them. "It may seem a tad old fashioned, but rest assured this carriage has been painstakingly modernized! It's large enough to hold you and yours comfortably, and this Rapidash has more than enough power, and then some, to take you wherever you wish to go!" he point out before climbing down, the Rapidash looking at Chris and giving him a nod. "H-Hey there." he replied in surprise, waving at the horse before looking over the carriage. "You've got a heating unit that keeps the inside nice and cozy, with lighting as well! Inside the design is like that of a circular sofa, made of the latest memory foam material that's perfect for allowing Madam Alicia to curl around and relax while the others enjoy their own room to stretch and unwind. The underside is built to endure the terrain around here so travel is quite smooth to boot!" Gerald point out as the group looked the carriage over, Chris opening the door and letting out a whistle while looking over the interior, with the walls covered in leather and the cushions looking and feeling like clouds. "Niiiiice quality." he muttered. "It actually feel pretty good." Serenity nodded in surprise, touching the cushions. "I'm surprised one of these has so much room. It really can fit all of us." Rose added. "Are you quite certain this beast has enough power to pull something of this size, combined with our weight?" Alicia asked in doubt, the Rapidash sneering at the snake and letting out a grunt. "Ooohhh best you be careful madam, they take great pride in their strength and such statements easily set them off." Gerald warned, Alicia looking at the horse before sighing. "Very well, we'll see." she nodded, the Rapidash twitching an eye.
"You've plenty of storage space in the compartment here in the underside as well." Gerald explained, opening it up. "You can fit everything you've got right here, and it has a built in combination lock for added safety! Although your staff may be a tad hard to squeeze in." he laughed while testing out its space, helping Chris stuff his backpack inside along with the bags he'd been toting before closing it up. "There we go! Now, combination has been reset so you can program it yourself, just like setting a password on your Pokedex really." he added. "By and large most still rely on this sort of transportation in the Valley, especially locals, although there are many who use the convenience of modern day transportation, the master and Madam Angela felt this would be far more of an enlightening experience for all of you." he smiled, Chris continuing to look it over. "I really appreciate it but... I'm worried about damaging it." he replied. "No worries lad! It's yours, so whatever happens to it should be no cause for concern. Think of whatever happens to it as reminders of your journeys together." Gerald assured with a wave of his hand. "Th-They're not just loaning it to me?" Chris asked in surprise. "Certainly not! And once you're through with it here in the Valley, they'll see to it that the carriage is transported to any location you wish for safe keeping." Gerald assured, Chris tugging his collar nervously. "That's uh, a major freebie to accept. I mean, this thing looks like it really cost something." he replied, the butler sighing and shaking his head. "Go on my boy! Accept it!" he coaxed. "No is stupid answer if ask me." Serenity point out. "Agreed, this is a necessity. Assuming..." Alicia added, glancing at the Rapidash. "Well, it's a necessity." she nodded. "Come on! Take it!" Rose grinned excitedly.
Looking at them, Chris let out a sigh and nodded, accepting defeat as he reached out and shook Gerald's hand. "Alright, alright. I accept. Thanks a bunch." Chris smiled, Gerald nodding with a smirk while the girls continued looking over the carriage, Alicia curiously poking her head inside before slithering in and coiling around the sofa. "Ooohhh... This IS quite lovely." she cooed while resting her head, the cushions molding to her size and shape. Looking at one another, Serenity and Alicia climbed in as well sitting back and relaxing before jolting when they started sinking into the cushions, both Pokemon looking down curiously. "It feel weird. But in good way?" Serenity point out in a confused tone. "Sooo weird." Rose muttered, pressing her hand into the cushion and lifting it to see her paw print left behind which slowly disappeared as the material returned to normal, the rabbit giggling and pressing her hand down repeatedly leaving several prints. "It's like playing with the snow, but without the cold!" she laughed, Serenity tilting her head before she began making hand prints of her own and showing a smile. "This stuff so weird." she repeat. "Come try out!" she coaxed, motioning for Chris to join them. Looking the carriage over, he noticed it was actually managing to support the girls without a problem, and as he made his way toward it for closer inspection, the girls suddenly grabbed him and pulled him inside, causing the carriage to rock slightly as they cuddled him together. "H-Hey!! I wasn't done looking at stuff!!" he struggled. "Well, no better time like the present to break in a new abode!" Gerald laughed. "It's not particularly large, but it'll do just fine when you're traveling about between towns." he nodded.
Giving in, Chris sighed and smiled. "I'll be sure to send Arthur and Angela my thanks for all this. It's really awesome what they've done for us, especially Alicia here. It really does save a lot of trouble, and it'll help her do whatever she wants whenever too." he nodded back. "Well then, shall I take you on a test run? The lot of you can sit back and enjoy the ride while I carry you off through town here and there. It'll be a tad like how things were in the city! How's that sound?" Gerald asked, the girls looking at one another before nodding in agreement. "You sure the cold won't be too much on you?" Chris asked in concern. "No need to fret dear boy! My coat here works in a similar way as Madam Alicia's collar there. I'm perfectly comfortable!" Gerald assured. "Now you just enjoy yourselves while I take us on a stroll through the town!" he added before closing the door. "Ah yes! There's a light switch just beside the door inside, can you flip it on?" they heard Gerald's muffled voice point out. Doing as the butler point out, Chris felt around before finding a tiny switch and clicking it on, causing an overhead light to flicker on and several small lights built into the walls. "Got it!" Chris replied. "Good! Next to it is a knob you can turn to adjust the brightness of the lights, and if you look above the light switch, you'll see a row of other switches. Try flipping them one at a time!" Gerald instructed. Looking at the girls, they nodded in response before he did as told, flipping one causing a section of one of the walls to pull up, revealing a window on the side of the carriage. "Oh that's awesome." Chris muttered before flipping another, causing another section of the wall to pull up on the opposite side exposing another window.
"Dude!! This thing is sweet!!" Chris grinned while flipping another switch, causing a section of the wall on the rear of the carrier to pull apart exposing a rear window as well, followed by another switch that revealed a smaller window in the front of the carrier, showing where the driver sits, with Gerald already sitting and leaning over, giving the group a wave. "That should be all of them! Now there's one more dandy feature. Whenever you're feeling a tad claustrophobic, look in the center there, there's a small panel you can open on the floor." Gerald point out. Tilting his head, Chris nodded before he looked around the center of the carriage, finding a small lid of sorts. Lifting it, there was something with a handle underneath. "Give it a pull my boy!" Gerald grinned. Looking back at the old butler through the window, Chris let out a wary "uhh" before looking at the girls and doing as told. Reaching out, he gripped the handle before pulling it upward, and once it was out enough, they heard a sudden click before the roof of the carriage opened, and next thing they knew the couch was pushed up out of the carriage. Once it was just above the ceiling line, the couch clicked securely into place, providing them a comfortable view of the sky and their surroundings out in the open. "Well? What do you think?" Gerald asked, looking at their expressions and laughing as the group looked around bug eyed and dumbfounded. "It so weird!" Serenity exclaimed. "My word, what will you humans think of next?" Alicia asked. "It's really neat! From up here you can see lots of stuff!" Rose grinned. "P-Pretty cool." Chris nodded. "Whenever you'd like to return to ground level, just push that device back down." Gerald instructed. "Let me do!!" Serenity chimed in, suddenly grabbing it just as Chris reached out. "O-Okay then. Just be careful with it." Chris smiled nervously, the Pokemon nodding as she gripped it before pushing it back into the panel.
Once it was all the way down, there was another click and the group found themselves lowered back into the walls of the carriage, the ceiling coming together above them and latching together as the couch clicked into place where it was before. Looking around, Chris and the girls grinned at one another excitedly. "It really is neat huh?" Chris chuckled. "I wanna do again!" Serenity giggled. "I'd like to try too!" Rose added with her hand raised. "How easily amused you are..." Alicia smirked, despite herself being caught off guard and excited by what the carriage could do. "Bah, you know you loved it." Chris smirked, nudging the snake with a wink. "Yes, yes. It's certainly... Nifty." she nodded, giving Chris a soft noogie with the tip of her tail. "Well then, is everyone settled in and ready to enjoy a few sights?" Gerald asked, "Ready!" they replied collectively, and with a nod Gerald gave the reins a soft snap, making a clicking noise before the Rapidash nodded and started pulling the carriage along.
"We're off to do a little exploring!" Gerald exclaimed, Chris and the girls taking a window for themselves as the carriage moved along...
Some time ago, a young man named Chris, now 23, discovered he was chosen to carry a curse passed onto him through his bloodline by a Ninetales his grandfather saved long ago, having grabbed its sacred tails to save it from falling to its demise. Burdened with this fate, which the young man now calls a blessing, Chris accepts the life chosen for him and allows the curse to guide him freely in life, destined to forever put others before himself, to forever follow the path the curse guides him along towards those in need most...
Along his journey thus far, Chris has come across a Ralts who was abandoned by her former trainer for being blind, hurled off the edge of a cliff and left to die that has since evolved into a full fledged Gardevoir by his side, swearing her life to the young man with the mysterious and terrifying ability to use the power of a Shadow Pokemon, granting her the title of a mysterious new Shadow Hybrid... Also traveling by his side is a Snivy who has since become a Servine, abandoned by her former trainer for refusing to evolve after a terrifying battle she had with a Serperior that left her mentally scarred, resulting in her former trainer neglecting and starving her in an attempt to persuade her to evolve, until he finally left her to die as well followed by a Buneary who has since evolved into Lopunny, who's former trainer became enraged due to her refusal to battle and tried to kill her off when he discovered she could only evolve via friendship...
Chris has met many people and Pokemon alike along his journey, each left as inspired by his presence as the last... He's nearly sacrificed himself to save Gardevoir and Servine from a deadly attack by a pack of Houndoom, lead by a Mega formed leader by hurling himself off a cliff to catch the two and nearly dying... Resulting in his lengthy stay in a location called Millennium City where he provided a hospital full of children an awe inspiring play room full of wonders any child would adore... Saved thousands of Pokemon eggs from dying out when their colossal incubation system malfunctioned in one of the cities many centers, and it's the location he saved Lopunny when she was a Buneary from being struck by a massive truck after being hurled into the highway by her former trainer... He's met and inspired a kindhearted old butler named Gerald who served the group during their stay in the city, and even came across the mysterious N from the Pokemon series, inspiring even this strange person during his stay in the city resulting in Chris being deemed a man worthy of keeping an eye on...
Most recently, Chris had become a criminal during his efforts to free Lopunny from her former trainer altogether, having forced his way into the city's top prison the man was held within and taking not only the Pokeball belonging to Lopunny, but taking all of his other Pokeballs to free the Pokemon within them as well only to discover the mans father was the Warden of that very prison in the process. Finding himself intrigued by Chris, the Warden gave him a chance to avoid prison time by revealing he was also the city's Gym Leader, striking a deal that if he won he would be pardoned of all crimes and allowed to leave the city.
Before the day of the match arrived, Chris found himself becoming close friends with the city's top scientist, Professor Rose, and together along with her staff they managed to complete Project Celebi, a device that could transplant sight between two people without surgery! The project turned out to be a success after Chris offered the sight in his left eye to give Gardevoir the ability to see the world for the first time via her right!
After this, the time for his showdown with the Warden arrived, and after a lengthy two part battle, Chris turned out the victor with the support of all those attending the event and beyond... To thank them for fighting for his sake, Chris gave Gardevoir, Servine, and Lopunny their own unique names, gaining the titles Serenity, Alicia, and Rose respectively, with Lopunny being named after the professor who had done so much for the group during their stay in the city...
After regaining his freedom, Chris and the girls spent a week at Arthur and Angela's massive manor on the outskirts of the city, followed by a first class cruise aboard the brand new S.S. Guardian, the first pollutant free ship in the world relying solely on solar power reservoirs! With its maiden voyage celebrating the 100th anniversary of the loss of the R.M.S. Arceanic, fate played its hand along their way to Arcticu Valley and led the Guardian to the exact location of the ships wreckage. Attacked by a massive Gyarados swarm, the Guardian was sank to the bottom of the sea, protected by a barrier crafted by Serenity which resulted in the discovery of the remains of the legendary ship.
In turn, many truths came to light in the dark depths, and after garnering the aid of the souls aboard the remains of the vessel, the Guardian managed to return to the surface of the sea once more and the Gyarados were defeated! Criminals were justly punished, a company was repossessed, and Chris was given total ownership of the entirety of the Arceanic wreck site! And now, they've finally arrived at their destination, and many more adventures are about to unfold...