“Curse this damnable heat!” Barnette wanted nothing more than to collapse into bed and would if not for two things. The first being the prospect of learning local customs of Geoda, never before had he seen such a fascinating place, he found himself enraptured with the culture despite everything and tonight’s pollen assignment was just the way to learn more about it! The other more pressing issue was the severe sun burn over much of him, he had foolishly taken off his coat during the long march and since then he had not gone a moment without hearing some comment that they had never seen a red machop before. “Perhaps I can ask the locals if they are aware of any plants that work well as a salve?” with that he walked out of his small tent to join Dimtail outside.
The massive Linoon stood awestruck as he stared up at the stars, this land was unlike anything he had ever seen, as a full-fledged shaman he now had a duty to see what kind of spirits dwelt within the vast dunes of the desert. “Amazing, is it not?” Dimtail turned around “Aye, I wounder what we’ll find out there…” he mumbled to himself “Oh I see your still cursed with evil spirits, don’t worry about it Barnette my spirit will take care of it and you’ll be better in no time.” Barnette nodded “Yes we will have to talk about this “spirit” you mentioned in more detail, but for now we have an assignment.” “Is it about those spiny plants?” “Yes Dimtail.”
Under the shadow of night the two went out into the desert to collect their samples, the silence of night broken by Barnette’s shouting “Another Peteya, if there is another type of plant that grows in this forsaken plain of dried earth I would be surprised!” “Uh huh.” Barnette snapped around “Dimtail, do you even remotely care about the scientific process!?” he shook his massive head “No? Sorry Barnette I’m just thinking.” “And what would that be?” “Well now that I’m a shaman I need an apprentice.” With that all of Barnette’s frustration seemed to evaporate “Apprentice you say, I do not suppose I am eligible?” Dimtail simply laughed “Oh no Barnette, your too old to be an apprentice, but it’s nice of you to offer.” “I wasn’t offering I was simply curious about the-“ “HEY!”
The duo turned around to see an agitated cacturne with his quills drawn, two cacnea behind him “Who are you and what are you doing on my land?” Barnette rolled his eyes “Sir I am Barnette Furnivall Malinowski of the researchers guild and I am on a very important assi-“ a single needle shot out from the poke, tearing Barnette’s coat inches from his side “I won’t miss a second time, now who are you what are you doing here? And say it in a way that makes sense.” While Barnetter stammered in fury Dimtail stepped forward, as he got closer the cacturne lowered his arms, surprised at the linoone that easily met him eye to eye “Hi, I’m Dimtail and he’s Barnette, we’re collecting bits of spiny plant.” He found himself at a loss for words, quickly reconsidering his odds “I uh, well-“
“Oh wow look at him papi, he’s as big as you are!” “And look at his muscles, I bet he could lift our cart over his head!” the two cacnea scurried out from behind their father, running around Dimtail “Who are? What are you? Why are your eyes all pink?...” Dimtail fell to the ground with a heavy thud, blowing up a cloud of dust “Ooh so many questions, I’m Dimtail, a Linoone, and that happened when I became a shaman.” The children looked at him “What’s a shaman?” “You don’t know?! Well let me begin, Listun noaw, Childrun of dis world, open yur eyes dat do not see, and yur ear dat do not hur…”
As Dimtail told the children the story Papi walked over to Barnette, pulling out his needle from the dry earth “So listen, I’m sorry about shooting at ya, but ya got to understand that out here ya have to protect what’s yours. So what are ya and the big poke doing out here?” “We are with the Researchers guild from Alderust, we are here collecting samples of the local cactus, pollen and fruits especially.” “Well why would you do something like that, don’t ya have fruit in the city?” “In the city there is no such thing as enough food and cactus require little resources to grow, making it a beneficial crop to produce, not to mention the possibility of crosspollination.” “Crosspoliwhat?” Barnette took in a deep breath, rubbing the bridge of his nose in frustration “Let me begin.”
Papi scratched his chin “So let me see if I get your science right here, I can take a cactus that grows bigger fruit, put some of that pollen on a cactus that don’t rot easy, and then get a cactus that grows big fruit AND don’t rot?!” “admittedly botany is not my field of expertise but at the root of it yes.” Papi swung his head back in a harty laugh “The “Root” of it! I had you pegged all wrong Mr. Malinowski, heck seeing as ya and the big poke couldn’t seem to find dirt in a desert me and my kin will help you collect your samples, so long as yours are willing to show me how to do this cross-pollinating.”
“So when do you believe exactly your people began living in the Gigant cactus.” Papi thought as he picked “Well since my papi, and his Papi, and his Papi before him and so on.” Barnette nodded in rapt attention “fascinating, so do you place any signifigance on the cactus, either social or religious.” “What?” As Barnette and Pappi were discussed traditions while collecting a verity of samples Dimtail and the children we’re having an altogether different experience “Hay mister Shaman!?” “Yah?” “We want to show you something, it’s a special cactus.” The two lead Dimtail by the paw to a small patch of cactuses no bigger than Dimtail’s palm, each possessed a single white a flower with small bumps rather than the spines of other cacti “What are they?” “It’s called Peyote, its mucho yummy, ya should try it!” the two giggled as Dimtail took one of the tiny cacti and shoved it into his mouth. The two waited for the inevitable reaction, but none ever came “These are tasty, mind if I take some?” the duo nodded, dumbfounded “Uh, sure.” “Dimtail where are you, we have more than enough samples, come on let us get back to Solstice!” “You two better get over here or I’m going to tan your needles!” and with that the trio departed to their respective parents, wishing the other a fond farewell.
Barnette and Dimtail could hardly hear themselves amongst the din of the Cacturne “Why anyone would want to stay here is beyond me Dimtail.” “I don’t know, kind of like it, sounds like everyone is having a fun time.” Barnette groaned “I suppose that’s one way of putting it, anyway let us just drop of these samples and get some must needed rest.” Solstice did her best to make due with a makeshift office, thou the best room in the Cacturne did make a good one. She was quick to get everyone in and out as quick as she could “Yes thank you excellent work, yes thank you excellent work, yes thank yo-“ the duo put their myriad of various samples down, all meticulously labeled by Barnette “Oh it’s you two, Dimtail it is good to see you haven’t run off again.” “Aye mam, we found a whole lot of samples for ya!” “I can see that, Mr. Malinowski I can presume you didn’t have any trouble?” “Less than in fact, we have made the acquaintance of a local cacturne and while initially hostile once I informed of crossbreeding he was more than amenable to helping, provided we send over a botanist to explain the process to him, I will have a full report in the morning.”
“Good work Mr. Malinowski, we need all the contacts we can get out here, and a native will be invaluable asset.” She went back to her organizing, looking up again at the briefly “If you’re interested there’s a cookout underway, or if that isn’t your style you can always help with the distillery.” “What a distillery Mrs. Solstice?” she put a claw to her chin, thinking for a moment “Hmm, how to explain it in a way you’ll understand. I suppose the best way to put it is that it makes what you put in it stronger then it was before, its used for making alcohol primarily.” “Sprits?! That sounds fun, what about you Barnette.” “Frankly Dimtail as tired as I am I am much more hungry so I suppose I will be aiding in this cook out.”
The air in the kitchen was thick with the smell of cooking and spices, each poke working on their own dish. Luke was wandering around helping and sampling when he could “Oh heya! I don’t think I‘ve really seen much of you, you’re a researcher right? Wow that’s a bad sunburn, never thought I’d see a red machop. Well help yourself to ingredients, or you can help find plates.” Barnette said nothing to the swampert, only going to grab a large pot, a handful of meatroot, various vegetables and a fair amount of dough. As he diced the greens he looked over to Luke, the water beginning to boil “Does this place have any rum?” “I think so, why?” “I need the whole bottle.” Luke didn’t ask, only getting the bottle as Barnette began to make meatroot dumplings, putting them and the greens in the pot, then adding the rum as soon as Luke returned. “So what is it, smells good.” Barnette had a far off look as he spoke “It’s ta Old MaWe special, had it all da time when I was ‘ust a liddle skipper, it’ll put some green on yer guills boi, dat’s a sailors promise!” Luke blinked for a moment “What did you just say?” Barnette shook his head as he came back, if not for his sun burn anyone could have seen he was blushing “N-nothing, here taste this and tell me how it is.” Without warning or permission a spoonful of “The Old MaWe” found its way into Luke’s mouth. First was the heavy burning of rum as it made its way down, followed by a meaty aftertaste. *Cough* *Cough* “Good.” “Perfect.”
The distillery, although beaten from time and efforts to make it work, seemed beautiful to Dimtail as he watched the other pokemon at work. “I know she ain’t much but she’ll do…hey you okay buddy?” he simply looked at the milktank “How do I make the spirits work?” she shrugged “We’re making tequila, you put agave and salac juice and what have you and pull some levers and there you go, tequila! You’ll be okay right?” Dimtail simply nodded, slapping him on the shoulder “Okay then, can’t wait to try what you make big poke!” Dimtail did his best to follow her instructions, sampling the “tequila” from another poke, it was fine, but could be better. Then he looked to the peyote in his paws, he threw it in with the agave and watched as the liquid turn pink as it flowed throu the tubing and steamed bellowed “Powerful spirits…” grabbing a few empty bottles he quickly collected his brew. As he admired his work he heard someone say “Now don’t that look funny. What did you mix it with?” he turned around, looking at the bulbisaur who had spoken “Peyote, tasty spiny plant I found when I was getting samples.” “Golie, mind if I have some?” “Sure, there’s more than enough!”
Barnette had to admit, a “barbeque” as he was later corrected, was actually rather nice. As it turned out the “Old MaWe” didn’t set well with most pokes, but fighting types absolutely loved it, to the point where Barnette was needed to make a second pot. He had even managed to find a cure for his sun burn in the form an agave salve, which helped with stinging for the most part. For a moment it seemed he could finally relax…almost. “Barnette of the Researchers guild, we need you in the distillery now!” It was an Solstice and Chell followed by Sherman “We have a problem, it seems Dimtail, your partner, created something in the distillery.” “A good waste of agave and salac…” “I knew this was a bad idea…” Solstice shouted “Enough both of you! Anyway Barnette you know him best so we think you would have a good idea of where he went.” Barnette quickly got up from his spot“What do you mean where he went? Never mind, just show me.”
Several sat on the ground, some jabbering incoherently, others simply staring at the walls. The room smelled heavily of sweetness to point of nausea, Solstice quickly explained the situation “They’re eyes are very dilated, experiencing auditory and visual hallucinations. We’re examining the “tequila” to try and discover what the second ingredient is. It will take some time I thi-“ “Peyote.” All eyes went to the balbisaur in the corner, sputtering out words between giggles “Peyote, spiny plants, the colors, oh my…” Sherman shook her head “That would explain it, of all the things that giant could use…” Chell raised her brow “Now I’m confused what is Peyote?” Sherman shook her head “It’s a cactus that grows around here, it makes you see things so most don’t touch it. It’s strong enough on its own I can’t imagine what it’s like distilled! How that giant is still walking around is amazing enough.” “He has experience with hallucinogenic, he must have a tolerance and most likely did not notice its effects before he chose to add it to the distillation.” Chell simply sighed “I can only imagine what he’s going thou right now, well we had better organize a search party for him, and maybe we should ask the explorers to help…” “That will not be required.” all three looked at Barnette “This is not the first time Dimtail has gone on in a trance like state, he will return as he has before, trust me.” “You can’t possibly be serious.” “I always am, now if you need me I have a barbeque to return to.”
How long had she been out here in the endless stretch of desert, the snubble didn’t know, she didn’t even know who “She” was. Her limbs felt like stone, but then why did the cold go thou them so easy? Was she even walking anymore? She didn’t know that either, maybe the best thing to do was to stop not not moving and close her eyes, yeah that seemed like something she would know. Sleep came easy, dreamless sleep that came from a lack of eat, drink, and utter exhaustion. It was when she woke she thought she was dreaming, she was in a cave next to a fire, with the biggest linoone she had ever seen, so she knew what a linoone was, but did they have pink eyes? “Ah you’re awake. So you sleep okay?” slowly she got up “Um yes?” “Good, so who are you child?” “I’m….I don’t know? Who are you?” “Dimtail, do you know where you came from?” “No.”
Dimtail nodded sagely, toying with a bottle in his hand, speaking more to himself then to her “So you don’t know who you are or where you’re from. I think I know what’s going on.” Her eyes went wide “What!?” “Evil spirits child, they’ve stolen your old spirit.” “Wait does that mean I’m dead, is this what being dead is, are you dead?!” “No, well the old you is dead, but the new spirit, the one you have isn’t.” the poor girl tugged her ears in frustration “This is all very confusing.” Dimtail put his paw on her shoulder “I know, but this should help.” He handed the bottle to her “Only a little now, don’t want you getting stuck.” Would she know not to take a drink of something a stranger offered her? She didn’t know, but what she did know is that she was thirsty, and gladly took a sip.
The entire world seemed to explode into a chaotic storm of bright and vibrant colors, mesmerizing and awesome “Don’t be afraid, this is the Otherside, and nothing can hurt you.” She looked over to Dimtail, who had also become a myriad of colors and patterns in the shape of a linoone, each time he spoke gouts of psychedelic fire emitted from his mouth “It’s so…pretty.” Dimtail nodded, smiling warmly “What you’re seeing is spirits child, of all kinds, rock, earth, fire, river, and even my own.” “Do you think my old spirit is there, with the others?” “Maybe, but I can’t find it, only you can.” She sighed, once again tugging at her ears “But I don’t know how!” “Hmm…I think I can help you.” “Really?!” “Aye, I’m a shaman, and shamans have apprentices. So what I’m saying is child, do you want to be my apprentice?” she looked one more time at the infinity of colors, spirits, all around her “yes….But what will you call me? You can’t just say “snubble go do this!” I need a name!...Right?” Dimtail smiled “You already got the makings of a shaman with thinking like that! Just look at your paw, your own spirit, and it’ll tell you your name.” she did as Dimtail told her, staring intently on her palm, a pane of colors in it of itself. After what felt like the longest time a single word escaped her lips “Jreeku” Dimtail laughed, the fire almost encompassing the two “You’ll make a great apprentice, Jreeku.”