"Boy, just goes on and on, huh?" Chris asked with a yawn the following morning, looking around at the mountains spanning as far as the eye could see while the girls nodded. "Lot of them. I not mind though. It make me feel more further away from other humans. I like way it feel like they not exist here." Serenity smirked. "Aw come on, you know you miss SOME humans. You do have a thing for kids after all." Chris reminded teasingly, causing Serenity to scowl with her arms crossed with a "bah" in response. "I still remember when I saw you playing with em' way back at the hospital. That was adorable." he grinned, giving Serenity a playful nudge. "That really was cute... You have a way with kids. They really seem to like you." he nodded, the Pokemon glancing at him before scratching her cheek with a slight blush. "Not mind kids. Not know why but feel like can't hate them. They not have chance yet to be kind of humans most turn out to be. Even if hate humans, not right to hate kids, they not have chance to give reason to hate." she explained before fidgeting shyly and looking toward Chris, making him raise a curious eyebrow. "Is uh, something wrong?" he asked, causing her to look away. "No, I okay." she replied, Rose looking at the two before giggling. "Somebody wants a ba--aby." she teased in a playful, singing manner, causing Serenity to flush while Chris cleared his throat embarrassed. "Rabbit talk too much." Serenity scowled. "Well, you know it's true." Rose grinned before facing away. "I really wouldn't mind one either if it's with the right certain somebody..." she hinted, glancing toward Chris with a shy smile causing him to flush as well. "O-Okay, so! About those mountains!" he laughed nervously making Rose giggle while Serenity continued to fidget.
"You DO realize what an undertaking it is to have and raise children, right?" Alicia asked, slithering up to the window behind them. "It's simple to say you want them, but caring for them is an entirely different beast. For instance, my kind in particular find it challenging due to the fact we don't merely have one in most cases, but rather lay in bunches. It's a stressful lifestyle, and it's an extraordinary toll on ones body. A very trying time from conception to adulthood." the snake affirmed with a nod. "It not wrong to talk about." Serenity scowled. "It's not easy but it's still fun to consider, especially when imagining having them and raising them with the right person." Rose added while leaning against Chris, causing a nervous lump to form in his throat. "W-Well, both sides make a good point." he smiled with slight sweat on his face. "Trust me, more than anyone I love the idea of having that kind of family thing going on. But at the same time, more than anyone I also know how hard it can be when it comes to raising kids." he point out. "I'm all for em', but at the same time it's pretty scary for me. I'm not sure how good a parent I'd be since I kinda lacked em' myself growing up. I don't remember much about my folks either so I'm pretty clueless in the whole father field." he laughed nervously, the girls giving him a somewhat somber look in response to the reminder. "Then again, living with gramps, I still learned a few things I guess even without my dad around... So maybe I wouldn't do too bad a job. I'd give it my all no matter what, even if I would be terrified!" he laughed, the girls expressions turning to that of a smile. "I appreciate you girls wanting to have something like that with me. I also appreciate Alicia's thoughts on it too... More than any of us I think that makes her the most capable." he smiled, looking back at the snake causing her to blink before glancing away with a blush.
"Being realistic is all. Thank you for supporting my thoughts however." she nodded. "It's great to be gung ho about starting a family, but it's just as important to know the problems and risks involved. I think it's a good thing to have that stuff balanced out." he agreed. "Bah, snake just not want babies." Serenity scoffed. "You don't feel we're a tad too young for such a thing?" Alicia asked with a raised eyebrow. "Pregnancy can have lifelong tolls on ones body as well. Figures can be more of a challenge to maintain and such, and I take great pride in my own." she added with her nose up proudly. "Have you not heard of muffin tops and such?" she added. "I not mind what it do to body." Serenity replied, looking down at her stomach before glancing at Chris shyly. "That is, if person who put baby in me not mind what it do to body." she point out, Chris glancing back at her before focusing ahead. "I-I don't really care. I think you girls would be just as attractive no matter what. A figure a mother has after having a baby can be a sign of maturity and a turn-on in its own way... That's how I feel." he nodded with an embarrassed blush. "And what of it making one more "loose" in certain places? I've heard that's another consequence for some." Alicia reminded, Rose suddenly perking up. "Loose?" she asked before looking at Chris and blushing, facing away shyly while fidgeting. "At least it would make certain things easier to take." she chimed in before giggling, causing Chris to flush. "O-Okay!! Enough of that kinda talk!!" he ordered in a flustered state. "I-I don't care, okay?" he affirmed. "So... We sexy no matter what?" Serenity asked, showing a sly smile on her face while leaning against him and twirling a finger on his chest.
Letting out an embarrassed groan, Chris tried to focus as Serenity and Rose giggled against his sides. "G-Geez, you girls. Come on..." he muttered, trying to focus ahead with a shy look on his face making the two let out a simultaneous "awww" and cuddle him. Looking at the group, Alicia watched them silently while her thoughts ran through her mind, looking her body over and back at Chris before glancing away. "You know..." she spoke up, causing the group to pause before Chris looked back. "What's up?" he asked curiously, the girls looking back as well. "I'm not as supportive of giving birth as they are... I do feel there's a matter of youth involved that makes it feel rushed." she affirmed while glancing away. "I don't like the thought of the affect it cold have one ones body as well, especially after... But if anything along those lines were to happen, I supposed it wouldn't be too terrible a thing to occur so long as the right person WAS the cause of it, and if that person didn't mind the possible result it'd have on ones body. I'd still be furious over such a thing happening, but at least it would have happened with someone preferable. IF it were to occur!" she emphasized, Chris blinking at her in surprise before nodding with a slight blush. "Y-Yeah..." he replied before facing ahead. "It's like I said, I think the figure a mother has can be, y'know, sexy in its own way... Mature and stuff." he affirmed, Alicia looking at him for a moment before showing a smirk. "I'll hold you to that." she assured. Continuing to trot along, it wasn't long before Serenity started showing a nervous expression, looking down at herself before glancing at Chris warily. "I have second question." she spoke up. "Oh boy..." Chris smiled nervously while facing her. "Yeah?" he asked.
"You not mind what happen to females body when have baby, right?" she asked. "Yeah... That's how it is." Chris nodded. "What if body change..." Serenity paused, glancing away while poking her fingers. "Because eat too much? If gain weight?" she added, Rose and Alicia paying attention to his response. "Eat? Gain?" he asked, looking at the three of them before scratching his cheek. "Well, we eat a lot of stuff so I guess that's something to expect, plus there's all the sweet stuff we have and we don't exactly exercise much to work it off, I admit." he laughed nervously. "I guess you've noticed the extra pound or two on me huh? I think most of that came from when I was stuck in the hospital." he point out while showing an uncomfortable and embarrassed look. "I'm not really judgemental on that. I mean, if we got HUGE then yeah, it'd definitely be a problem we'd need to work on. But a few extra pounds I think is pretty attractive too. It can give a girl some nice curves, something more to grab onto I guess." he nodded, the girls suddenly scowling. "D-Did I say something wrong?" he asked with a nervous smile. "Not sure how feel about grabbing fat parts." Serenity replied. "I'd kinda feel self conscious I think." Rose nodded with slight sweat on her face. "I'd certainly be agitated to have it exploited in such a manner." Alicia affirmed. Looking at them, Chris showed a puzzled look on his face, sitting in the middle of a difficult subject to survive through as the girls thought about their bodies and poked themselves. "I uh..." he muttered, Rapidash looking back at the group before rolling his eyes and shaking his head with a grunt. Suddenly, the group felt the carriage bounce as they crossed onto a bridge, making them jolt and look around curiously.
"Sa--ay... That's some pretty nice scenery." Chris point out as they crossed a river beneath them, the girls nodding in agreement. "At least this frigid locale has a few things worth noticing." Alicia replied. "Water really shiny, sparkle lots! I like way it sound." Serenity smirked. "It does sound nice. Kinda makes you feel sleepy." Rose added as they looked around. Making their way over the bridge, the group suddenly heard a massive splash about half way across, causing them to look around before hearing a loud "CLANG!!" of sorts from above. Halting the carriage, Chris and the girls were about to look up when something suddenly smashed onto the back of the carriage, causing them to shout as they bounced in the air before freezing up. "What are you doing?!!" Alicia snapped from within. "I-It wasn't us!!" Chris panicked, he and the girls looking at one another warily. Looking back, Rapidash raised an eyebrow before his eyes widened, noticing something large laying atop the carriage and tilting his head. Noticing this, Chris and the girls tilt their heads with an "eh?" before slowly looking back, noticing something like that of a fin hanging off the carriage over their heads. "The hell...?" Chris muttered before setting the reins down and standing, turning around to see a Magikarp laying lifeless on the roof of the carriage. "Uhh... Girls?" he called out, the two looking at each other before standing, Serenity jolting wide eyed while Chris lift Rose in his arms to look for herself, the rabbit blinking bewildered. "I-I not sure what right question to ask... How?" Serenity asked. "I-I have NO idea on this one." Chris replied. Looking around, Rose tilt her head back and looked at the beams helping to support the bridge above.
"I think that's why." she point out, Chris and Serenity looking at her before tilting their heads back and noticing a large dent in one of the beams. "Tsss... Oohhh." Chris winced. "I know that hurt." Serenity shuddered before they looked at the Magikarp again. "What is it? What's going on?" Alicia asked, poking her head out of a window. "We uh, I guess you could say we've caught us a Magikarp. Looks like the guy tried to leap clear over the bridge and didn't quite make it." Chris explained, reaching out and poking the Pokemon curiously. "Err, hello? You okay dude?" he asked, the Pokemon remaining limp. Reaching out, Serenity and Rose poked it too, with Serenity lifting a flipper only for it to limply fall. "Aw man... Really?" Chris asked, noticing the wound on its head and shuddering. "Dang, what a way to go..." he muttered. "Go?" Serenity and Rose asked, looking at him before facing the Pokemon again. Setting Rose down, Chris climbed atop the carriage and looked the Magikarp over, checking its eyes and nudging it before letting out a sigh and shaking his head. "Yep... It's gone alright." he confirmed. "You mean it dead? Seriously?" Serenity asked, putting a hand on her hip with a "you gotta be kidding" expression. "Well, they're not particularly strong Pokemon, and judging by how hard he hit the beam up there... I'd say it was an instant thing. At least he didn't suffer." Chris smiled with slight sweat on his face before looking at the wound on its head. "Now that's what I call an Icarus ending." he point out. "Icka-who?" Serenity asked as he climbed back down to the drivers seat. "Icarus, it's a pretty old story." Chris point out before muttering "what to do?" while crossing his arms.
Looking at the Magikarp, he tilt his head back to look at the damaged beam. "A long time ago, there was a man and his son... They wanted to escape the place they lived at, and to do so the dad made them wings out of feathers and wax." Chris began, the girls looking at him curiously. "Before they took off into the sky, the boys father warned him..." he paused before deepening his voice. "Don't fly too high, or the sun will melt your wings! Don't fly too low, or the ocean will do the same!" he continued before his voice went back to normal. "For a while, the boy heeded his dads warning. But he got too full of himself, got too wrapped up in the moment, and because of his excitement, he flew higher and higher against his dads orders. Of course he got too close to the sun, and sure enough his wings melted and he fell from way up in the sky, right smack dab in the ocean and was gone forever. That boy was called Icarus." Chris finished, crossing his arms with a nod. "Only in this guys case, I guess he went a little too low." he sighed before shaking his head. "Both are pretty crappy ways to go." he added. Rubbing her forehead, Serenity muttered "ouch" while Rose did the same. "That's a little too much pain for me." she point out quietly. "So a fish killed itself by hitting its head against a bridge?" Alicia scowled before smirking. "Well, if nothing else I suppose it means you aren't the dumbest in the land after all." she teased with a sly grin toward Serenity before laughing, the Pokemon scowling and crossing her arms. "Y-You know, a Pokemon DID just die here. Not exactly appropriate." Chris reminded before glancing at the fish, Alicia apologizing in response. "Even if it did happen in a pretty out there kind of way." he admit.
"So... We throw in river?" Serenity asked. "No, it'd be wrong to do that." Chris muttered while rubbing his chin. "Well, it's a fish. That's like burying it, right?" Rose asked curiously. "Just shove it off and lets be on our way." Alicia shrugged. Looking at the group, Chris raised an eyebrow before facing the fish again. "No... I'd rather not." he affirmed before climbing off the drivers seat and rummaging through their storage. "What going to do then?" Serenity asked as they watched him curiously, blinking when he pulled out a roll of foil with a nod. "That should do." he muttered before climbing back up the drivers seat and atop the carriage. Looking back, Rapidash watched curiously as well. raising an eyebrow as Chris began wrapping up Magikarp within the foil. "Do you remember that meal we had way back when? That time I went fishing?" he asked, Rose showing a puzzled look while Serenity and Alicia thought it over. "It's wasteful to just toss it back into the river. Even though it's pretty crappy how it died, the fact is it still makes for a good meal. I think it would feel more respected by having some use made of it instead of just having its body shoved aside." he affirmed, adjusting the Magikarps flippers as he wrapped it bit by bit. "Is that not just a tad... Sick?" Alicia asked. "It depends on how you view things, what your beliefs are and stuff. There's a lot of people who'd consider wasting stuff like this a sin." Chris explained. "When you're given a good meal by grace, you don't just shove it aside and reject it. That's a good way to get yourself some real bad karma." he affirmed. "It might seem a little wrong or weird, but it's still doing what I think is right anyways. Besides, haven't you ever heard about how good these things are for people? Some say they make you live longer. With that kind of benefit in mind and their taste, I'm not complaining." he shrugged.
Looking at one another, the girls sighed before showing a smirk as he finished wrapping the fish, adjusting it atop the carriage while Rapidash showed a smirk of his own and nodded before facing forward. "Alright then. At least we know what's for dinner now!" he grinned before jumping down onto the drivers seat, stumbling as the girls caught him. "Th-Thanks." he nodded. "Not smart to jump on carriage. Very bouncy." Serenity lectured. "Yeah, I should keep that in mind." Chris chuckled while sitting back down. "It should be alright up there until we find a place to stop, especially with it being so cold around here." he point out. "So we're really going to eat it? A fish that fell from the sky?" Alicia asked, causing Chris to scowl at her. "I'm not complaining! It's just surprising is all." she affirmed. "Well, that's what's on the menu now." he nodded before clicking his tongue and the reins making Rapidash trot along once more. "I must say, it's a tad awkward knowing there's a giant fish looming over my head." Alicia point out while looking up at the ceiling within the carriage. "Have fin flopping over head." Serenity added, she and Rose looking up as Magikarps tail hung over them within the foil. "He's a big guy, no denying that. At least we'll be full." Chris shrugged. Eventually, they reached a split in the road that made Chris stop the carriage, looking down both directions before noticing a sign ahead of them. "Alright then, lets see." he muttered, squinting at the sign curiously before pulling out his Pokedex and bringing up a map. "Which way we go?" Serenity asked. "Looks like we should head down the left road, but..." he paused, looking the map over before looking down the right path.
"It's a dead end, but it says here there's a shrine just down that direction. Considering our load I'd say it'd be a good idea to head down that way. We can stop for dinner and stuff, and it'd be a good place to pay our respects too." he added, pointing back with his thumb toward Magikarp above them. "A shrine?" Rose asked, tilting her head curiously. "Shrines are places humans build to pay their respects to stuff like relatives that have passed away, or to pay respects to certain spirits they believe in. They also use them to make wishes, like for a better year ahead and stuff." Chris smiled. "I make wish!" Serenity grinned. "Heh, nothing wrong with that." he nodded before heading down the right path. "Dunno what I'd wish for." Rose muttered while thinking the idea over. "I suppose I wouldn't mind taking part. It sounds interesting." Alicia nodded before they looked at Chris, causing him to give them a nervous look in response. "S-Something wrong?" he asked. "What you wish for?" Serenity asked. "Me?" he replied, pointing at himself before looking up and thinking it over. "I don't think I'll make any wishes. It's like I said, you can do that, or you can pay respects and stuff. I'll probably just give thanks." he shrugged. "Whatever there is I could wish for I've already got really. Making a wish for anything more would be selfish, kinda greedy in my opinion." he nodded. "So... Yeah, for me I'll probably just let gramps know I love em' and miss em' and let whoever's listening up there know how grateful I am for everything I've got now!" he grinned, the girls looking at him for a moment before facing down silently. "I'd still say I've been given way more than I deserve though. I've basically been given more than I could ever think of wishing for, so I've definitely gotta give props to those who made it all possible." he chuckled before facing the girls, noticing their expressions causing him to blink with an "uhh..." before jolting and panicking.
"Th-There's nothing wrong with wanting to make wishes though!" he assured. "You can do whatever you want, really! If you wanna wish for something then you should do it!" he encouraged with a nervous laugh. Looking at him, the girls showed a smile before Serenity and Rose leaned against his sides, with Serenity resting her head on his shoulder while Rose held his arm. "No, think I feel same. What you want to do is better idea." Serenity nodded. "Yeah! We have a lot of fun now! I dunno who to say it too exactly, but saying thank you does sound nice." Rose giggled. "It does sound like a nice idea. Though if there's one thing I'd still wish for, I'd have to say it's something more fashionable to wear during our stay here." Alicia point out while looking at her collar docked in its charger. Looking back at the snake, Chris smirked with a nod before focusing on the road ahead. "Alright, it should be somewhere around..." he muttered as they progressed, looking around curiously until finally coming across a large red gate marking the entrance to their goal, tucked between trees blanketed by the snow. "What that thing supposed to be?" Serenity asked. "It's kind of a traditional thing from eastern places in the world." Chris explained. "It's a custom to mark special places with things like that. Sometimes they mark a place that might be about some old legend, but in most cases they're used to mark the entrance of shrines and stuff." he added, turning the carriage and passing through under the gate. Trotting along through a path in the woods, the group looked around curiously until they reached the end of the path, coming out at an opening revealing the shrine next to the large river they'd crossed back at the bridge.
"What the...?" Chris muttered, his eyes widening in surprise as they trot along the plaza before the building ahead of them. Showing the same expressions, the girls and Rapidash looked around at the area, finding it heavily littered and filled with remnants of what appeared to be a party and campsites combined that had made use of the area. In the center of the plaza was an impressive statue of a Froslass, made of various crystals and covered in toilet paper, graffiti doodled all over it with the shrine building itself in the same state, covered in toiletries and graffiti with the plaza itself beneath them covered in random drawings as well. "My word. Are shrines not meant to be sacred to you humans?" Alicia asked. "Th-They're supposed to be... Normally they have people working in them that keep stuff like this from happening." Chris point out, taking in all of the damage to the area as he stopped the carriage in front of the building. Climbing out of the drivers seat, he walked up to the entrance where a massive donation box lay sprawled out at the top of the stairs, its top having been pried off, likely with crowbars and used as a trashcan with its bell cut from its mount above, laying nearby on the porch. "Oh man..." Chris muttered, looking at the trash in the donation box and suddenly urking, pulling himself back and fanning the air. "How the hell?" he thought, looking around before noticing a sign on the doors. Walking up, he took the note in hand and looked it over before returning to the carriage. "This place nasty. Not want to stay..." Serenity complained with a disgusted look on her face. "I-I don't like it much either. This looks like the kinda place where shady people could pop out from at any moment." Rose added, sitting warily. "It's certainly not my ideal location to rest at." Alicia nodded.
"No... I think the place is safe." Chris replied while looking around. "It's filthy, but safe." he assured while looking over the note again, the girls giving him curious looks. "What got?" Serenity asked. "The people who work here left this. Apparently everyone here has left for the Aurora Festival and won't be back for a while." Chris point out. "It asks people to help maintain the shrine and leave donations during their absence." he added before looking around again. "Some donation... I don't think anyone who lives in the valley would've done this. The place looks pretty important so my guess is it was tourists on their way to the festival themselves." he speculated, the girls looking around and nodding. "So... What we do?" Serenity asked as Chris turned back to the building. "Well..." he paused, looking back down at the note. Thinking it over, he looked at the Magikarp atop his carriage. "I never seem to go anywhere without there being some kinda purpose behind it... I guess..." he paused before facing the building. "We clean." he added, the girls jolting with a whiny and simultaneous "wha--at?!" in response. "It's the right thing to do!" he affirmed. "Why we clean mess?! That not fair!!" Serenity complained. "Do you really expect ME to have any part of this?!" Alicia added. "Icky..." Rose muttered with a "blech" expression, noticing fruit peels on the plaza nearby. Looking at them, Chris scowled before walking off with an agitated grunt in response. Scanning the area to sum up all the damage, he found a shed behind the building. Pausing, he went up and tried opening the door, thinking there might be supplies within. At first, it appeared locked, but as he shook and pulled on it, there was a sudden chill that ran down his spine causing him to jolt and shudder before he heard a click, causing the door to fly open and send him falling onto his back.
"Ou--uch-ch-ch..." he groaned, sitting up and rubbing his back. Looking around, he tilt his head curiously from the sensation he'd felt before looking at the opened shed before him. Getting back on his feet, he warily poked his head in before walking inside, noticing a string attached to a bulb above. Pulling on it, the light flashed on revealing what he'd hoped to find lining the shelves. "Ha!! Now that's what I'm talking about." he smirked before rummaging through the supplies. Back at the carriage, the girls were warily looking around, with Serenity and Rose remaining close while Alicia poked her head out from the windows within. "Nngh... What's taking him so long?" Rose asked. "I not like this shrine place at all. Have bad vibe." Serenity muttered. "Why must he always insist on things like this?" Alicia added, all three remaining unsettled and disgusted by the location. Continuing to wait for Chris's return, the girls gradually grew more and more wary of his well being, looking at one another in concern before finally deciding to leave the carriage and seek him out. Donning her collar, Alicia joined the search, the girls remaining close while Rapidash stayed behind, remaining attached to the carriage and rolling his eyes at their behavior. Making their way around the building, the girls followed his footprints in the snow before coming to the shack Chris had entered, noticing the door cracked causing them to stiffen and warily make their way toward it. "L-Look." Rose point out, noticing the spot in the snow Chris had fallen making it look like there had been an attack. Losing their color slightly, they showed a stern look on their faces, nodding at one another and taking an offensive stance as they inched up to the door.
Reaching out, Serenity was about to open it when they suddenly heard scratches coming from the other side of the door and an eerie voice moaning, making them freeze up. Signalling one another to keep silent, they nodded again before Serenity reached out once more and gripped the knob. Taking a deep breath, she was about to open the door when it suddenly flew open and a figure jumped out shouting at them, dressed in an old ruined trench coat and scarecrow-like hat as it swung sharp claw-like objects causing the girls to scream collectively and jerk themselves back. Shouting again, the figure jumped toward them with its claws out, and just as it landed Serenity retaliated with an intense kick between the legs of whatever it was before them, the strength behind her attack causing the figure's body to lift in the air making the character freeze as she pulled her leg away, all three of them taking on a fighting stance as the figure stood frozen and suddenly dropped its claws, revealing them to be garden tools. Letting out a collective "uhh..." and blinking in confusion, they watched the figure collapse on its knees in front of them, bending over while letting out a familiar sounding groan causing its hat to roll off onto the ground revealing Chris beneath the disguise as he fell onto his side in a fetal position, clutching himself as the girls turned pale and sweat. "D-Deserved... That..." he groaned before forcing a nervous laugh. "G-Good kick." he added, giving a shaky thumbs up before clutching himself again. "Wh..." Serenity replied before panicking. "Wh-Why you do that?!!" she asked, hurrying to his side. "Ohhh, that was a bad kick." Rose winced. "Indeed, but he DID have that one coming." Alicia scowled.
Circling him together, the girls helped Chris stand and coaxed him to walk about to shake off the pain. Feeling as though his sack was now in his throat, he nudged the girls back and assured them he'd be alright while making his way back into the shed, groaning as he walked along. "Well, at least you've got good aim." Alicia nodded. "It's not like we knew it was him!" Rose smiled with slight sweat on her face, patting Serenity's back. "Should have sensed it was him. I off game since getting eye. Not use senses way I used to when blind." she sulked. Waiting outside of the shed, the girls jolt when they heard a giggling sound echo, looking at one another curiously. "That you?" Serenity asked. "Not I, you?" Alicia replied, both of them looking at Rose only for the rabbit to shake her head. "Wasn't me." she shrugged before they looked back at the shed. "Likely attempting another prank. I wouldn't pay it any mind." Alicia scowled. "I kick balls hard. If he still able to joke, in way I respect that." Serenity point out. "T-True, your leg lift him off the ground." Rose laughed nervously, causing Serenity to hiss in guilt while rubbing her arm. "Not hold back with that one. Feel bad." she replied. After a moment, Chris finally returned, having removed his costume and donning his coat once more while pushing out a wheelbarrow full of supplies, stumbling slightly and biting his lip as he stopped in front of them and straightened up. "A-Alright." he nodded, his voice slightly higher in pitch as he cleared his throat. "You uh, you gonna be okay?" Rose asked. "S-Sorry for kicking balls..." Serenity apologized. "I asked for that one. No worries." he assured, waving his hand. "Just... Remind me never to do that again." he groaned.
Grabbing the barrow, Chris started wheeling it around the building, the girls looking at one another before following as he made his way back to the statue of Froslass, setting it down and wincing. "Alright then." he sighed while looking around. "You girls wanna help or...?" he asked, looking back at they glanced at one another. "That was a rather rotten trick you played. We were concerned over you!" Alicia lectured. "Bu--ut, seeing you get kicked like that made us even I think." Rose smiled nervously. "T-Too even. Feel bad." Serenity added. "So you'll lend a hand?" he asked, the girls looking around at the ruined area for a moment before sighing together and nodding begrudgingly. "Well then, I'd say the blue balls are worth it!" Chris laughed before wincing and letting out a groan. "Whoo... Shake it off." he muttered, the girls facing one another warily as he rummaged in the barrow. "Alright, you take care of the stuff way up high Serenity, your psychic can be handy for bagging up whatever trash is on top of stuff like the roof, trees and all." he instructed while providing a bag, the Pokemon nodding. "The rest of us will focus on picking things up we can reach and doing some scrubbing, got it?" he asked, handing Rose and Alicia a bag as well. Looking at one another, Rose slumped and nodded before walking off and beginning to pick up the plaza. "Must we, really?" Alicia asked. "I actually think it'd be a pretty humbling experience for all of us... Could you use your vines to clean the stuff off that statue there and scrub it for me?" he asked, the snake twitching an eye in response. "Me...? Scrubbing...?" she asked, causing Chris to scowl. "F-Fine..." she nodded. Showing a smile, Chris went to the river and brought back a bucket of water, adding soap to it before handing Alicia a rag.
Looking at it, the snake let out a groan of detest before she started clearing the toiletries off the statue. "Good! I'm gonna handle cleaning the donation box and fix the bell first." he nodded. "You know, Serenity COULD clean all of this in a split moment..." Alicia point out, glancing toward Serenity causing the Pokemon to scowl at her before thinking the idea over. "Actually, snake have point... Not have to touch nasty stuff that way." she nodded. "I don't think so." Chris lectured, both giving him a curious look. "Why? It makes sense." Alicia affirmed. "Be done in no time!" Serenity agreed. "Nobody learns anything by taking the easy way out in life. You'll all get way more out of doing it the hard way than using the cop-out method." he emphasized. "We've had things on silver platters for the most part. This is a good chance for us to get down and dirty, show some sweat. Be real grease monkeys!" he grinned. "Grease... Monkey? Excuse me?" Alicia asked, raising an agitated eyebrow. "I'm just trying to say you'll appreciate everything more if you do it this way... Please, do it for me?" he asked, looking at them while Rose stood nearby watching, remembering the peel in her hand and showing a "blech" expression before tossing it in her bag. Facing one another, Serenity and Alicia let out a dreary groan and agreed before the snake continued cleaning the statue and Serenity walked off, using her psychic to clear off various trees. "That's more like it." Chris smirked before taking supplies up to the donation box. Looking inside, he once again found himself urking, pulling his face back before taking a breath and grunting confidently. Donning a pair of gloves, he began digging into the box and tossing everything into bags.
"Reduced to the maid of a place that isn't even my own..." Alicia grumbled, picking off the remaining trash off the statue before tying her bag. Looking at the bucket, she showed a hesitant look as she lift the rag within using her vine, shuddering as she slapped it against the statue causing the water to splash outward onto her face. Twitching an eye, a pulse of frustration appeared on her forehead as she began scrubbing away at the graffiti, grumbling to herself once more in the process. Walking along the plaza, Rose continued picking things up, passing by Serenity on occasion as she focused on the trees surrounding the shrine. Meanwhile, as Chris cleaned out the donation box he found many coins within mixed with the garbage, taking the time to separate cash from trash until he'd reached the bottom. Tying everything he'd bagged, Chris filled his own bucket with water and soap before scrubbing the tub-sized box, working out the filth and stench within. "Ha ha, he looks kinda funny." Rose point out, Serenity and Alicia looking at her curiously before facing Chris, his butt sticking up while leaning into the box to scrub the bottom, nearly falling in at one point making the girls snicker and giggle. Once he was satisfied, Chris turned his attention to cleaning off all the money that has been soiled by garbage, sitting with a rag and cleaning it bit by bit, tossing the coins back into the box as Alicia began focusing on the smaller details of the statue, having cleared off the trash and successfully removed the more prominent graffiti. Squinting her eyes, she grumbled as spots continued to appear, taking a separate cloth and breathing against the crystal before scrubbing it. Finishing up with the trees, Serenity gathered her bags together, tying them and wiping her forehead with a sigh before looking around with a smirk on her face, nodding at the now litter-free branches.
Strolling about the plaza, Rose continued filling her bag with things people had left all over the grounds, and once Serenity and Alicia were satisfied with their current tasks, they joined in to help the rabbit, almost in a subconscious manner as they tossed things into bags themselves. Looking up from his coin scrubbing duty, Chris blinked in surprise as he saw the girls working together, even somewhat playing as they tossed things like cans into each others bags as they held them up like goals. "Now that's what I'm talking about." he chuckled, tossing the last of the coins he'd found into the donation box before lifting the lid back on it. Taking new hinges and nails he'd gathered from the shack, Chris began hammering the lid back in place, the girls jolting from the noise and watching him as he did his repairs. Randomly adjusting and lifting the lid, he held several nails in his mouth with a stern look on his face while hammering away, carefully fitting the new hinges in place until he eventually put new latches and locks on the box as well. Once he was finished, he stepped back with a satisfied sigh, crossing his arms with a smirk and nodding at his craftsmanship. "Not bad." Serenity praised from behind, causing him to jump and shout in surprise before jolting and letting out a groan. "Th-Thanks." he nodded, still recovering from her attack making the Pokemon sulk slightly. "It looks good as new." Rose smiled. "You fixed a box..." Alicia point out. "Er, yeah? I did?" he laughed nervously, the snake looking at him before glancing away. "Good job." she added. "Appreciate it." he thanked with a nod, Alicia showing a small smirk. "I put new latches and locks on it and everything!" he grinned, unlocking the box before lifting and lowering the lid several times. "Not a creak to be heard either!" he point out before holding his head high.
"You girls did pretty good too!" he added. "That statue looks incredible, almost blinds ya tryin' to look at it! Got a nice sparkle goin' on." he praised, causing Alicia to hold her own head high. "Perfection IS a natural quality of mine after all." she affirmed. "Awesome job on the trees too. They look nice and clean, happy even!" he point out, giving Serenity a thumbs up making the Pokemon show a smile and wave her hand. "It nothing." she giggled. Looking around, he nodded at the surrounding grounds in approval. "Sweet job yourself Rose, and I noticed you two stepped in to lend her a hand when your own stuff was done! Real proud of ya'!" he grinned, nudging Alicia before rubbing Rose on the head and patting Serenity's shoulder. "We're making pretty good progress... All we've gotta do now is clean up the stuff people threw all over the building, get all the graffiti on it and the plaza scrubbed up, and I'd say it's a job well done after that!" he nodded, the girls letting out a long sigh before nodding. "Oh! But first..." he paused, picking up the massive bell meant to hang over the donation box and setting it atop its lid. "They snapped this thing off from..." he muttered, looking up before climbing atop the box and working off the remnants of the old rope. "Say, one of ya' hand me the new one down there?" he asked, pointing out the replacement. Nodding and lifting it up, Alicia handed it over allowing him to attach it to the bell before stringing the rope up where it belonged near the ceiling. "There we go! Now..." he nodded before pulling the rope down making the bell lift and hang high above their heads. "Ha ha! Sweet!" he grinned, finishing securing the bell where it belonged.
Making a kissing motion like a chef, he proudly shout "finito!" before jumping off the box, causing him to pause and groan when landing on the porch. "Jumping... Not smart." he muttered before backing away from the box, joining the girls as Serenity gave him a guilty look before they sized up the donation area. "Trash is out, box and cash is scrubbed clean, bell's up and lid's fixed... Alright." he nodded. "It look good." Serenity smiled, giving him a pat on the head. "Hey hey..." he scowled. "That's right. Well done." Alicia smirked, giving him a pat on the head herself with her vine making his eye twitch. "Good boy!" Rose chimed in, patting him on the side. "Come on!! I'm not a dog!!" he snapped, the girls laughing in response. Letting out a sigh, Chris smirked before turning and heading toward the wheelbarrow. "Say, since we're probably gonna be sticking here at this rate, you wanna be let loose?" he asked, stopping by Rapidash making the horse shrug in response. "Sticking here? You intend to stay overnight?" Alicia asked. "Well, it couldn't hurt. I wouldn't think so anyways... After all, we're putting a lot of work into the place. I don't think it'd be too wrong of us to hang here for one night." he point out. "I guess it okay. Not seem so bad now that it not so... Nasty." Serenity replied with a "blech" expression from how it looked upon their arrival. Leading Rapidash along, he stopped the carriage out of the way near the river before releasing the horse, allowing Rapidash to help himself to a drink. "Say, we could all use a good drink I bet!" Chris smirked before heading to their storage, digging out a bottle of water for each of them before opening each and handing them over.
"Haaaah. One thing to love about this place, stuff stays cold! No fridge required!" Chris laughed after chugging from his own bottle. "I suppose it's useful when it comes to that." Alicia shrugged. "Oh I needed that." Rose sighed in relief. "I feel same. Hit spot." Serenity nodded. Looking around at their progress once more, the group suddenly froze with a surprised look on their faces when they felt a chill run up their spines, causing them to shudder before shaking it off and looking around. "Huh, maybe this stuff is a little too cold. Has a bit of a delayed kick to it!" Chris chuckled while holding up and looking through his bottle, the girls doing the same and nodding. "Anyways, best we finish what we started. Standing around in the middle of a project is the best way to wind up off your game. Then stuff never gets done." he point out. Coaxing them to follow, the group went back to finishing their task of restoring the shrine. Working together, Chris along with Alicia and Rose focused on using scrub brooms to remove the remaining filth and graffiti from the plaza, covering it in soap and water while doing so as Serenity focused on removing the trash that had been thrown atop the building, filling several more bags by the time she was finished before joining the others in brushing the area. Once they had the plaza looking on par with their expectations, they used what drive they had left to scrub the porch and walls of the building, finally finishing their to-do-list just before they ran out of the last of their pep and collapsed at the stairs in front of the donation box. "Not clean no more! I done!" Serenity groaned. "I'm sorry but... I can't either." Rose agreed. "I can't believe how I've lowered myself." Alicia complained.
Relaxing against the steps, Chris leaned back with a sigh of relief before showing a smirk. "You know, this isn't a bad kind of exhaustion." he point out. "You're saying there's a good kind?" Alicia scowled. "Of course! Think about how you got this tired. Look around you." he reminded, the girls raising up and hovering their gazes along the now glistening shrine surrounding them. "We might have had to spend a whole day doing it, but we turned a total dump..." he point out, pausing while looking back and saying "no offense" to the building before continuing. "Into a place anyone would be proud of. There was trash and food everywhere, toilet paper out the yin-yang, stuff was broken and all. But between the four of us, we turned THAT into THIS in just a days time! Look at the trees now! That statue there! The plaza looks spotless... You girls made me real proud of ya today." he grinned before showing a teasing smirk. "Even if you did groan about it... You still pulled through. Doesn't it feel good?" he asked, the girls continuing to look around before smirking themselves. "My arms and hands are killing me but I guess it was worth it. Does kinda feel good doin' all that stuff and seeing everything turn out so shiny!" Rose giggled. "It not bad. Body kill tomorrow, but not bad." Serenity nodded. "I'd still say the statue turned out better than anything else." Alicia smirked with her head up. "Ah! See? You think it was degrading and lowered you, but think about how proud you are after working so hard!" Chris affirmed, the snake looking at him before glancing away. "I suppose it's true that this sort of thing has its own reward in a way, but it's still not something I'd stoop to very often." Alicia affirmed.
"Eh... In my opinion it's kind of like testing the waters." Chris shrugged while sitting up. "Test waters?" Serenity asked, looking toward the river. "That what we do?" she pondered. "Ha ha! Not like that." Chris waved. "Today was basically a chance to see what it'd be like if we had our own house in a way." he clarified, the girls looking at one another and tilting their heads curiously. "Our own house?" Rose replied. "It's like I told you girls, I don't really plan on settling down for a while, and with the curse and all, that's another thing that makes setting up shop in a single place kinda hard." he reminded while standing and looking around. "But thanks to the shape the shrine was in, we got to have a little taste of that kind of life. We cleaned the place up together, did repairs and all, even had some fun in the process... That's part of what it's like living at your own home. Keeping it in shape, keeping it tidy, and just being together like we've been. It's kinda nice getting this experience, don't you think?" he asked as the girls looked around again. "Our own home huh?" Rose asked. "Humans treat MY home that bad THEY get it bad." Serenity sneered. "For once I'll agree. I'd certainly not have anyone littering my abode." Alicia nodded. "Ha ha. Well, being possessive and protective of your home is only natural." Chris replied. "I don't think there's any harm in doing a little pretending and acting like this is our home though. Especially now that the place looks so great!" he chuckled. "A day of hard work and cooperation can make some pretty great stuff happen." he nodded before making his way toward the carriage. "And the best part is..." he paused, turning to the girls as they followed before pointing toward the Magikarp atop the carriage. "It works up one heck of a well deserved appetite!" he grinned.
Looking at one another, the girls recalled how the fish died and shook their heads with a groan. "Really, what way to go." Serenity sighed. "It certainly brings the term humans say... I believe it's look before you leap? It brings it to a whole new level." Alicia nodded. "Well, only thing I know is we've got a good meal out of it. I'm not gonna concern over the details too much." Chris affirmed before climbing atop the carriage. "Look out below!!" he warned, lifting the fish with a grunt before tossing it over the carriage into the snow. Climbing back down, he gathered his usual materials for making a fire, including rocks which he lined in a circle and wood he could pile with plenty on the side. "It's best we don't build the fire on the plaza since it could leave burn marks on the stone." he warned while prepping his fire by the river instead. "Not only that, but I think in a way being near the water will kinda help bring the fella some extra peace." he added, looking at the wrapped Magikarp as the girls gathered around. "I dunno if you wanna be around during the prep work for cooking em' so if you girls want you're free to do whatever in the meantime." he smiled while pulling out a pocketknife, causing them to jolt and glance away. "Y-Yeah, think I'll go look at the river." Rose smiled nervously. "I do same. You, uh, have fun with fish stuff." Serenity nodded, both she and Rose heading toward the water. "Well, you wanna hang with me th...!!" Chris began, cut off when Alicia gave a "pass" response, already slithering off toward the carriage. "Just you and me then I guess." he sighed, looking down at the Magikarp and nodding. "Should probably still pay respects before preppin' ya though, even if you're already gone." he affirmed.
Clapping his hands together, this caused the girls to jolt and look his way as he lowered his head, muttering quietly making the them tilt their heads curiously. "What's that about?" Rose asked. "It some human thing. Think they call grace?" Serenity shrugged as Alicia went inside the carriage and shut the door. Once he was done, Chris let out a satisfied sigh before flicking out the blade from his pocketknife, pausing when he noticed the girls looking at him. "Uhh, something wrong?" he asked, causing them to jolt and shake their heads before turning away. Tilting his head, Chris shrugged before he started stripping Magikarp atop the foil he'd wrapped the fish in, the girls distracting themselves with the view while Alicia relaxed within the carriage as he pried off scales and scraped away at the fish. Once it was prepped, Chris brought out utensils to cook with and started dividing the Magikarp, forming bite sized pieces, strips and fillets, making sure every bit of its meat would be used before putting its bones and parts he knew they wouldn't touch in a pile atop the scales he'd stripped and wrapping it all together within the foil. Prepping flour and marinades for the meat, he piled wood and started a fire, readying everything before letting out a whistle to get the girls attention, causing Serenity and Rose to perk up before turning his way. "Done now?" Serenity asked. "Yeah, it's done." he nodded while walking toward them and up to the water, squatting down to wash off what had been left on his hands and arms and his knife. "Kinda makes you feel uneasy seeing blood like that, especially from another Pokemon, even if it was one of them." Rose point out with a nervous smile.
"Well, it's all part of the deal. We usually get meat and stuff already prepped for cooking. When you do it all yourself, things do get messy." Chris replied. "Any who, I'm gonna start getting everything marinaded and breaded. Then the frying can begin and who--o BOY is that gonna smell good!" he grinned before returning to the fire, working the meat into his marinade and flour bit by bit using tongs and spreading things out atop his cooking sheet. Once the fire was low enough, he used the stones circling the flame and cinders as a rack of sorts to support the pan while frying the fish, the meat soon coming to a crackle making the girls perk up before joining him by the fire. "Oohhh, that DOES smell good." Rose swooned. "Good stuff. Not bad." Serenity nodded. "Don't get too close though! It's easy for it to pop in your face or on your skin. Believe you me, that can burn pretty bad." Chris cautioned, the girls nodding and inching back. "Yo! Alicia!! Come check out the grub!!" he shout out. After a moment, the snake slithered from the carriage into their circle and looked the food over. "Oop! Not so close now." Chris cautioned, nudging her back. "I won't deny, it certainly smells delicious." she nodded. "What can I say? My cooking's the best." he smirked proudly. "Getting cocky are we?" Alicia asked with a teasing smirk of her own. "Pssh. Please, you're one to talk?" he jokingly replied, giving her a playful nudge. "Oh? Are you saying I've no modesty?" she asked, nudging him back. Smiling at one another, Chris leaned forward to smell the fish again, only to suddenly shudder when feeling another chill run up his spine followed by a strange whisper in his ear, causing him to pause before looking at the girls.
"One of you foolin' with me?" he asked with a scowl. "Eh? I not do anything!" Serenity scowled back. "Not me. I'm just enjoying the food." Rose shrugged. "I've not done anything." Alicia affirmed. "Why?" she added. "Dunno, thought one of you were messin' with my ear." he replied, rubbing and giving it a tug. "Maybe it was just the river, or the cold's getting to me?" he pondered before shrugging and continuing to cook. The more fish he fried, the more its scent filled the surrounding shrine, and it wasn't long before local Pokemon began picking up on the trail and followed it to where the group was. Picking up on the ever growing presence around them, the girls felt their spines tense while glancing around warily. "We not alone." Serenity muttered. "Indeed, seems our little feast is dragging out some guests." Alicia nodded. "Dunno what but it feels like there's a bunch showing up." Rose added. Looking at the girls, Chris raised an eyebrow before looking around, noticing small figures moving beneath the porch of the shrine as well as several moving behind nearby trees. "Aw, you girls get worked up too much. Chill out." he waved before snickering. "Get it? Chill?" he asked, picking up some of the snow causing them to sigh. "Again with bad joke." Serenity replied. "You'll laugh eventually." Chris shrugged. "Oh, we already laugh. Out of pity." Alicia smirked, causing Chris to scowl. "Whatever, it's a good line." he affirmed. Taking out several plates, he started portioning out the fish for the girls before putting more on the sheet to fry, serving them each a drink to go with it. "Careful, hot stuff there." he cautioned, making them pause before blowing on their food. "There ya go." he chuckled while stirring and flipping the fish.
Eventually he finally managed to finish cooking all of the abundant meat from Magikarp, setting himself aside a plate before collecting the rest in several large bowls, the girls watching him curiously. "You're not going to, you know, do the thing you usually do with that?" Rose asked. "Eh? Oh, you mean the containers." he replied. "Nah, we shouldn't have any leftovers." he replied. Looking at all the meat, the girls looked at one another nervously before looking at their stomachs with slight sweat on their faces. "N-Not that I'm unappreciative, but that's a bit much to expect us to eat." Alicia point out. "Why would I expect you girls to eat it?" he asked, blinking at them and tilting his head. "YOU gonna eat all?" Serenity asked in surprise. "Of course not! I'd burst open!" he laughed before pulling the foil containing Magikarps remains close to the fire. Unwrapping them, he put all the remains into the fire and covered them in wood, causing the flame to grow once more. "There we go." he sighed, balling up the foil. Standing, Chris clapped his hands together and bowed his head a second time, muttering one more while the girls watched curiously. "So... What's that about? It's the second time you've done it." Rose point out as he finished. Looking at her, he smirked while crossing his arms and looking at the fire. "It's a tradition from a long time ago. Different cultures do it in different ways. Some do it like I do, others do it while sitting at a table." he began. "It's giving thanks for your meal, giving thanks to the one that lost its life so you could eat and survive. You offer your hopes that their soul passes on peacefully, and there are cultures that burn the remains of the dead to help their soul pass on too, sending them into the sky with the smoke and cinders." he explained while watching them waft into the air above them.
"Bein' a shrine and all, I thought I'd go the extra mile for the guy. Once the remains are burned away I'll bury the ashes properly by the river here. Especially considering the way he went, kinda feel he deserves the affection too." Chris smiled with slight sweat on his face. Looking at one another, the girls shrugged before clapping their hands together, Alicia doing so with her vines before they lowered their heads as well. Looking back, Chris blinked at them before grinning with a nod. "That's my girls." he thought to himself before facing the fire and watching more of the smoke rise. "So, what exactly ARE you going to do with the rest of this meat then?" Alicia asked, looking at the bowls as they continued eating their own portions. "It's really good but I don't see any of us having that kinda room." Rose added. "Well, you girls DID say you felt like we had some guests showing up. And considering how much food we've got and the fact they're probably the residents of the place, it only makes sense that we'd share what we brought to the table!" he chuckled, the girls looking around before facing one another warily. "Luring out strange Pokemon might not be very wise." Alicia point out. "I not sure. Can sense lots of Pokemon, but seem small. I guess it not hurt" Serenity shrugged while taking another bite of her portion. "Don't worry! It's just like back when I first started traveling. I just hope this time I can share some food without being peed on!" Chris laughed, the girls giving him a "wha?" look before shaking their heads. "That nasty, we eating." Serenity scowled. "Yeah, what's with you and pee?" Rose added, remembering his recent snow joke. "A dirty dog is a dirty dog." Alicia shrugged. "Oh whatever." Chris grumbled while picking up a bowl in each hand.
Walking up to the porch, Chris squat down before holding one of the bowls out, small figures in the shadows inching back in response. "Don't worry. Help yourselves!" he coaxed, leaving the bowl before taking the second to nearby trees. Setting it down, he returned to the fire and began scattering the other bowls about the plaza, inviting the Pokemon in hiding to come out and feast with them before returning to the girls and sitting to help himself to the plate he'd left. Looking around, the girls kept a wary stance as they ate alongside him. Eventually, they started to notice their visitors poking their heads out and gradually inching their way toward the food. Once the Pokemon were certain of the safety, they finally started gathering around the bowls and looking the fish over curiously, poking at it before they started nibbling away with satisfaction in their expressions. "Ha ha, now that's more like it. Dinner's always better with friends!" Chris grinned. Around the porch, countless Snorunt's came out from beneath and gathered together, tearing up the pieces of fish and handing it out among themselves. By the woods, a mixture of Pokemon from Cubchoo to Swinub, Snover and Amaura, and other species gathered, feasting on the fish among themselves. The more at ease they became, the more the Pokemon journeyed to the bowls Chris had placed further into the plaza, until eventually the shrine that had been filled with trash was now littered with Pokemon instead, making Chris show a wide smile on his face. "Ya see that? We did that!" he point out as the girls looked at all of their kin. "This place was left a dump, and with hard work it's now sparkling and full of life. Doesn't that feel good?" he asked, the girls looking at one another before smiling.
After a moment, they paused when Pokemon that had noticed the fire warily made their way into their circle with food in their mouths, including Hoothoot, Swablu, Sentret and Furret, and even a Deerling felt safe enough to enjoy the fires warmth with them while nibbling the treat in its mouth. Blinking at them in surprise, Chris smirked as the girls sat unsure of what to make of the situation, not normally so close to so many other Pokemon at once, especially wild. Nearby, larger and evolved Pokemon stood around the border of the shrine, watching all of the smaller Pokemon eat while being brought food of their own by the young. "One great thing about Magikarp, with their size they're the perfect dish for crowds!" Chris grinned, his excited voice causing the Pokemon near them to jump. "S-Sorry..." he apologized before they warily continued eating. "My, rather trusting bunch..." Alicia point out. "They're probably used to humans around here and get fed by em', so it's not much of a surprise. Places like shrines are perfect for them to find a bite to eat." Chris replied. "They probably gathered in a bunch like this when they noticed the shrine had been cleaned up on top of smelling the food we were cooking. The place has likely been pretty empty, what with most heading to the festival, so they probably haven't eaten as much either. My guess is they're on edge because of what the tourists did to the place during the owners absence too." he scowled. Looking at the fire, he showed a smirk and nodded. "Hope you approve of all this..." he chuckled as they all continued eating. Looking at the Froslass statue, Chris raised an eyebrow with a "hmm" before grabbing a napkin and standing, the Pokemon around them jumping nervously as he made his way to the statue.
Backing away from him as he made his way along, the Pokemon kept a watchful eye, the girls watching curiously themselves as he stood before the crystal figure. Looking up at it, he set the napkin down on top of the podium it stood atop of, using his fork to lay out some of his portion at the foot of the statue. "This shrine seems to be all about you after all..." he muttered before stepping back and looking up at its face. "Sorry about what happened to the place. Hope you like how it looks now though!" he smiled before bowing. "Please forgive the people who messed it up, and look after us as we make our way through the mountains." he added, paying tribute and respect before raising with a satisfied grin. "Sorry about the crowd too! Folks can't help it when there's good grub!" he laughed before turning back to the girls and making his way along. However, he found himself pausing when a sudden chill ran through him, much more-so than the times before followed by a more prominent echo in his ear. Blinking with an "eh?" in surprise, he was about to turn when a blast of wind encircled the statue, causing the Pokemon to panic and scatter as the snow kicked up around it before abruptly ceasing. "What that?!" Serenity asked. "That was rather random." Alicia added, blinking bewildered. "What did you do?" Rose added. Turning around, Chris returned to the statue, warily looking it it and tapping the crystal with a "hello...?" before noticing the food he'd placed had vanished. Standing silently for a moment, he let out an "uhh..." and made his way to the girls again. "Alright then." he added, sitting back down as the girls continued looking between him and the statue bewildered.
After a moment, the Pokemon poked their heads out from where they'd darted off to and gradually returned to the bowls, finishing what they'd left while Chris and the girls nibbled on the last bites remaining on their plates. "Ah, more?" Chris asked, offering to refill their cups, the girls nodding and thanking him in response. Glancing at the statue now and then, the girls decided to shrug off the phenomenon and return to enjoying their time by the fire amidst their visitors, many Pokemon relaxing around the shrine with full stomachs while others returned to the wilds with some of the larger Pokemon that had been keeping watch, the sun gradually beginning to set on yet another eventful and fulfilling day for the Guardian family...
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...