The creature before them was small, but not to be taken lightly. Vincent Sage crouched down, a gentle smile on their features as they reached out one tentative hand, clicking their tongue to gain the Pokemon's attention. "Hey little guy, you lost?" It was dark, a warm breeze running through the air and ruffling their thick hair. It needed to be cut soon, but the thought was abandoned as the creature slowly turned. It was a Larvesta, the fire bug tense and jerky in it's movements, but that was when the human themself froze, green eyes widening as the mistake in their actions was slowly realised. "...Easy, bud," Vince murmured, cringing as the beady eyes slowly turned on them. Glowing crimson eyes.
All too late, Vince realised the mistake. Recoiling, they scrambled backwards as the undead lunged, snarling horribly. Suddenly shot with fear, they swiped out with one hand, able to bat the Larvesta aside with a sharp hit. Taking the chance to attempt a get away, they fought for their footing and stood before immediately racing away. They were in a forest... trees? Suddenly a sharp breath of air escaped them. Oh God this is Route 120. Vincent was right by their old home, Fortree City before the decline. Their heart raced faster. Suddenly they heard wings, massive, flapping wings, and the panic grew. "Pollux!" They screamed, calling out for their partner. But the Xatu was nowhere in sight. The trees thinned out, the wings were louder.
"Castor!? Florence! Hawthorne!!" None of the Pokemon showed up, tears biting at his eyes. Had they abandoned him?! The foliage gave way and immediately a huge fiery moth fell from the sky. Vince cried out in fear as the Volarona flew closer, it's jaws opening and closing as it moved to attack the human. "No-- fuck off!!" He screamed, expression changing to fierce though his eyes were fearful. The undead did not care, hissing before flames built around it's wings. Vince recognised the fiery dance before it hit, his heart pumping as it braced for the pain. The fire exploded towards the trainer, him crying out again as his skin singed, burned, and his organs boiled--
"Vincent!" The jostling of his bed snapped them awake. Wait... it was-
"Oh," they breathed out in a sigh. It had been a dream. They were in their personal home, the former house of the professor Cozmo from before the fall of the world. It hardly mattered, but Vincent never did call it their home. It was still Cozmo's. Vincent's eyes slowly adjusted to the room, transitioning back to reality after the nightmare. The room itself was the same, but rearranged. The telescope had been bucked back, assumed damaged, and the bed moved to the higher level, where Vince was laying; beside them was Hawthorne, a Linoone. She was standing on her hind legs, staring at her trainer with concern in her blue eyes, though her stance was tired. They had to wonder if she had slept much at all that night.
In the rest of the small house were bookshelves along the sides of the walls where the bed had been, all removed from the PokeMart early on to keep the salvageable and entertaining books safe and all in one place. The table in the middle remained, as did the desk and computer, though the desktop hardly had any use since the internet went out. There were various other boxes strewn about behind the ladder training from the upper floor to ground level, and random items and articles of clothing tossed over the chairs. There were currently no other Pokemon in the home, and as the human blinked the exhaustion from their eyes, they could glance out one window and see that light was already above the horizon. "You able to get up?" Hawthorne asked casually. Her words both encouraged them to get up and greet the day, but also understood if the trainer was not able to yet.
"..Yeah," Vincent sighed, sliding to the side and setting his feet on the floor. He never slept beneath the blankets unless it was winter, as it was already naturally hot outside. Thankfully there was a broom about, so dirt and dust was able to be kept to a minimum, allowing the trainer to wear socks in the house without worrying about dirtying them. "It'll fade," he assured the normal type, who only nodded in return.
"Good to hear. The rest should be up by now. Can I get you to eat this morning?" Vincent pulled himself to his feet with a dull sigh, not reacting yet to the inquiry. She meant well, but she also understood how nerves killed his appetite.
The human jumped down the yard or so to the ground, the Linoone following behind a moment later. "Maybe. Just let me get dressed first." His 'comfortable' clothes involved a lab coat and thin shorts, hardly proper pajamas, but he was far from being picky by that point. He stumbled to the closet, one of the few rooms that break off from the main room, the others being the bathroom and tiny kitchen. Least he was able to keep the semi-clean clothes... semi-clean.
Hawthorne nodded, heading towards the door. "Someone will meet you by the Hall then."
"Think it's Nima's turn," they murmurred, to which the Linoone agreed.
"Should be Nima, yeah." Ever since the settlement had been made by the small family, no one allowed their trainer to be alone at any time, someone always with them. The mongoose pushed open the door and vanished, leaving the trainer on their own.
While digging through the clothes, Vincent released a sigh. "Volcarona... who did I know that had a Volcarona?" he muttered to himself. Pulling out the shirt and pants, he quickly pulled the more-or-less clean clothes onto himself while chewing on it. Larvesta... WAIT. Green eyes widened in the middle of pulling shoes on. "Din." The sorrow in his voice was evident, something any of his Pokemon would have picked up on had they been there. Chris. He sighed.
This was going to be a long day.
After getting a slice of bread and some berries, Vincent had set to work looking around the town with his Ninjask loyally by him. Nima was a rescue, taken in after the fall, but she had proved to be as loyal as any of his other lifelong partners. Pollux had not come by to say good morning, but he had to assume the Xatu was tired and busy. Time passed easily, Nima hanging onto the human's shoulder and quietly chattering on about good crops and weather. Sam Tsui was cutting weeds, as the grass and unwanted plants had begun to get too high within the limits of their living area, and Vince had passed on the last of his breakfast to the Sableye.
"She needs it more than me," they insisted when Nima glared at them.
"You need to eat, Mister," she retorted, defiance in her crimson eyes. But the trainer merely shrugged. Not like the bug was wrong.
By the time the hours passed and the sky was much higher in the sky, Vincent was already feeling better than he had woken up. The weather was always perfect in the beautiful town. Winters were chilly, but the volcano kept them warm enough to be far from freezing; summers were not even stuffy or truly hot, instead enjoyable as the crops sucked up the warmth. He moved through the town, idly looking through each building without much of a purpose in mind.
The PokeMart was a storage place, not a lot of healing items left by then, but it was far more empty since the shelves were almost all removed for better placement. Like te bookshelves in his house.
The PokeCenter was not changed at all; some cots were moved, to make temporary beds in what used to be the lobby, but behind the desk, medical supplies were very heavily watched and used as sparingly as possible. In the back there were many things none of them knew how to use, like needles for stitches and syringes or various shots,
but thankfully the building was only ever used when a Pokemon was harmed. Hawthorne's shock wave was just enough to power the healing machine and allow a rapid healing when needed.
The contest hall had become a storage center for keeping food good for weeks on end. The various grains and vegetables were carefully watched and prepared there.
When walking out of the PokeCenter, Vince flinched when a Xatu dove down from the air. "Vincent!" Pollux barked out, his stance tense and eyes on edge.
Vince immediately hardened his own features, instinctively gripping one Pokeball at his side, even though none of them stayed stored up anymore.
"There is a stranger approaching from Route 113, past the crops," the bird growled, reporting with a nod of his head towards the East. He usually had sentry duty there, watching for undead and intruders alike, due to his reliable eyes and sharp psychic senses.
The trainer nodded. "Lead the way."
Following the bird as he flew through the air, Vincent did the math in his head. Pollux was his strongest partner in need of retaliation against an attack, but with only him and Nima, they could be easily outnumbered. The Ninjask kept close by his side while Pollux took them through the town and past the crops, rows upon rows and plants that kept the group thriving. They were the town's pride and joy, and despite the potential situation, he could not help but give the smallest of endearing smiles at them.
His heart was pounding, his hands shaking enough that he clenched them to fists in order to steady them. Easy. Easy. Pollux is with you. No one will take your home. Swallowing his fear, Vincent entered the forests of Route 113 with two of his partners.