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Sofia Gallagher

Family will always be family, no matter what.

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a character in “Pokémon: Darkness Unbound”, as played by Electric Pool

Description

Name:Sofia Gallagher
Picture:
Image

Description:When one looks at Sofia, it’s not hard to imagine that she is a butterflier. Strong, broad shoulders, a stockier build, somewhat top-heavy; you can tell she works out. Her wavy russet brown hair usually stays up in a ponytail, unless it’s soaked, in which case it stays down to dry out. Sofia’s forest green eyes are usually hidden behind mirrored goggles or sunglasses, but they do have a smile to them. She has what she calls a ‘perpetual tan’, although she gets darker in the summer and her hair gets a bit lighter.

Sofia prefers to dress casually, if at all possible. In the colder months she wears a knee length parka that matches her eyes, black fuzzy boots, and jeans. In the warmer months (when she is not clad in a one piece and shorts) she can usually be seen in a grey v-necked t-shirt with a Dunmetaal Swimming logo on it, long-ish jean shorts/ basketball shorts, and tennis shoes/flip flops. She abhors having to wear makeup, formal wear, and jewelry, but she makes exceptions for the sapphire earring and necklace set her siblings saved up to buy her. She wears them on special occasions, but always has them on her person to remind her of home.

Age:23

Sex:Female

Date of Birth:September 8th, 1990

Birthplace:Dunmetaal

Current Location/Residence:Dunmetaal

Sexual Orientation:Eh? Eh.

Height: 5'6"

Weight: 157 lbs

Body Type:Stocky but muscular

Voice Type: Alto

Trainer Class:Trainer/Athlete
Equipment: She always carries enough non-perishables for a couple of days, as well as her suit, towel, cap and goggles, and a spare set of clothes. That’s on top of her bedroll, cooking equipment, and other trainer items. She’s prepared.

Starter Pokémon: Treeko (normal Pokémon Trainers who seek the regional badges only)

Current Pokémon Team:

Gardevoir, Quagsire, Graveller, Grovyle, Smeargle

Family:

Mother: Convallaria Gallagher
Younger Sister: Rosalinda Gallagher
Younger Sister: Minerva Gallagher
Younger Brother: Hugo Gallagher

Personality:

Sofia is a brash, but caring person. She is fiercely protective of her family and her Pokemon, since family has always been important to her. Sure, she had to learn some things the hard way at a young age: money wasn't something to waste, people weren't exactly accepting of differences. Sofia learned to fuss early on, especially over her siblings, so she feels like she needs to take care of everything. The few friends she had in school can vouch for this.

Sofia is very vehement about treating people like they deserve to be treated. If you're kind or in need, you'll receive kindness (and probably food) in return. Don't ever insult her family or Pokemon, or you'll be on the receiving end of quite the painful beating (no matter who you are.) Social classes mean nothing to Sofia, and the highest noble is just as good a dinner guest as a street urchin.

Strengths:
Strong swimmer/runner
Great cook (learned it from her mother)
A bit mothering (in a good way.)

Weaknesses:
Claustrophobic
Paranoid/Worried
Headstrong (to a degree)


Biography:
Technically, Sofia Gallagher was the only one related to her mother of the four children. She didn’t remember much of her father, but she did remember a huge fight, and a man storming out of their little house on the beach in northeastern Dunmetaal. Her momma told her they were much happier without that man in her life, so Sofia never gave it much of a second thought. She and her momma were happy enough by the shore, growing berries in the backyard and cleaning and cooking. Her momma did a couple of different jobs for the nobles with summer houses in the area, and Sofia often came along to ‘help’; i.e., entertain the other little ones. But, it was fun, and her momma made decent money, and they were happy.

It was on a return trip from one such job, in the evening, that they found the twins. (Sofia remembers this pretty clearly. She was around five and three quarters at that time.) The two couldn’t have been more than one, sitting by the side of the little fork in the road that you could either take to the Gallagher’s house or to a nice little part of the beach. The pale, red haired babies looked sad, and a bit hungry, so her momma handed some of their equipment to Sofia and took the babies home. (Sofia was just happy to be a big girl and carry the broom.) The girls got along swimmingly (quite literally; the twins were just as much like fish as Sofia was) and, despite the extra mouths to feed, the house was happy and cozy.

As Sofia grew older, she began to take more of an interest in swimming than just splashing around. Her momma, bless her, took the extra time out of her work day to take Sofia to swim lessons, and shortly after that to swim practice. Sofia was eleven when her mother bought her a bike and trusted her to go into town to the pool to practice. (Convallaria had had to work a couple of night shifts at some of the diners in town, but the look on Sofia’s face when she got the bike was priceless, and definitely worth the lost sleep.)

The twins, while loving the water, decided to start taking music lessons. Rosalinda could often be heard belting out music while Minerva played on a beat up old piano that had come with the house. Of course, once she got older Sofia was usually the one to hear it, since their mother was out working. She learned to cook for the twins pretty quickly.

High school was when Sofia’s swimming career really blossomed, though. Sure, the two practices a day plus dry land wore her out, but the improvements at meets and the proud look on her momma’s face when she won all of her events her freshman year were worth all the pain.

Sofia had just gotten her lifeguarding certification (to help Momma out with money at the house) when she’d run into Hugo. He was a bit scraggly, with curly blonde hair, and he looked like he’d been crying. Sofia asked him where his family was, and he said they’d left him here for no good reason. Kid couldn’t have been more than four. So, Sofia scooped him up and put him in the basket of her bike (he was so little and scrawny) and took him home. Sure, the extra mouth to feed made money a bit tighter, and they couldn’t afford as many lessons for the twins, but Sofia’s part time job as a lifeguard (and full time as soon as she graduated from highschool) definitely helped them get by.

For her eighteenth birthday, the twins and Hugo presented her with a beautiful necklace and a pair of earrings that must have cost a small fortune for the three of them. Her momma, having noticed her increased interest in the Pokémon side of sports (especially the Pokeathalon and swimming events) and the Pokémon battles being conducted on the beach, had managed to get her a Ralts from a breeder. This was when Sofia decided to take on the Dunmetaal League. She trekked down to the professor, who presented her with her adorable Treeko, and a few months later she caught a Wooper and a Geodude. The Smeargle was a recent addition, and was thrust upon her (quite literally), but it had needed a family. She now travels from town to town, taking up odd jobs, teaching swimming lessons, and taking on the league. She writes and calls her family often, and sends money for the twins’ music lessons and Hugo’s newfound love of paint and crayons. Sofia does remember to keep all of her certifications current: lifeguarding (both people and Pokemon), First Aid/CPR (both), and Water Swim Instructor (both).

So begins...

Sofia Gallagher's Story

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SPLASH!

"Pwuh! Okay, that is the last time I let Flora pick a camping spot!"

Sofia Gallagher had probably been on the road a little bit longer than was a good idea. (Obviously, or she wouldn't have let her Quagsire, Flora, pick their spot to settle down for the night. Getting pushed into a river fully clothed was not her idea of a wake up call.)

Completely drenched and a bit muddy, Sofia glared at the culprits: her Smeargle Samson and her Grovyle Gideon. "As soon as I get out of here, you two are gonna get it big time!" They just snickered and ran off a ways, where Flora was helping Antimony (Sofia's Gardevoir) and Calla (her Graveller) clean up their little breakfast. Looks like they had eaten without her.

"Jeez, guys," she called at them as she climbed out of the river, "you shoulda woken me up earlier and I would've eaten with you!" The girls just smiled and shrugged in their little way. She had been up late, at any rate, so she understood why they didn't wake her up. "Did you make any for me?"

Antimony nodded, gesturing to Sofia's camping plate. Some fresh eggs (she wasn't going to ask where from), roasted Oran berries, even some of the jerky she'd been saving. Had she had that bad of a night?

Sofia made her way over and sat down at her place. Samson and Gideon had already gotten some food, apparently, and as such were running around like Torchics with their heads cut off. Goofs. At any rate, her food smelled delightful. Looks like they'd been picking up some stuff here and there from her. "Who cooked?" she asked as she dug into the meal with vigor. Calla gravelled that she had. That explained it; Antimony was better with sweet stuff and Flora, ironically, wasn't overly fond of an open flame. "Thanks, Calla. You guys didn't have to do this." The girls said it wasn't a problem and finished cleanup almost as quick as Sofia had finished eating. She hadn't realized how much she'd needed that. Yum.

Even though it had been a bit, she was still sopping wet. They'd been out of a town for a while now, and so the only things left that were clean were her swim suit, shorts, and thankfully a pair of socks. Guess she was going in that for a while; not that she was complaining. Meant she could even out her tan on her shoulders and back.

"Hey, don't think I haven't forgotten about you two!" Sofia yelled at her Grovyle and Smeargle as she changed. "You're in for it as soon as I figure out what to do with you!" They knew she wasn't going to come up with much of anything. She spoiled her team a bit when she could afford to, and she hardly punished them. Sure, they got reprimanded, but they were fairly well behaved. The boys just liked to play pranks, and often convinced Antimony and Flora to help. Calla was a bit more straight laced.

"You got the food stuffs all packed? Or what's left of it, pff," Sophia asked Calla, who laughed too. They were down to about a day's worth, maybe, and that was only because Gideon, Samson, and Flora had found a couple of Oran trees and basically raided them of anything edible. Not that that was very funny. Food is serious business.

Sofia finished changing and packing fairly quickly. Their campsite was little more than a little ash pit and some flattened grass. Nice and clean. No embers or anything. Although she might have to pick up some more matches, or some sort of lighter... and definitely some more jerky if she could pick up some lessons or a cleaning gig in the next town. But, necessities first.

"You guys wanna walk today, or stay in your Pokeballs?" Unanimous decision of Pokeballs. They knew there was a bit of ground to cover, plus they'd walked yesterday and Flora had dried out a bit. The Quagsire hadn't been happy about that. "Fair enough. Alright, let's get this show on the road!"


As she walked, Sofia liked to calculate about how long she'd been walking. It passed the time better than talking to herself, and she preferred to leave the singing to her sisters. She was pretty sure that she'd gotten up around eleven. (She really, really needed to buy a watch. Preferably waterproof. But food first...) That being said, she'd probably been walking for, oh, a total of five or so hours today? Sure, they'd taken a break for a small lunch, and on travel days she usually tried to get pretty far, but she was just exhausted. She was seriously considering blowing money on a night at an Inn, just for an actual shower and a good bed. Her bedroll was getting a bit battered, and could probably stand a good wash like the rest of her clothes. Bluh. Fortunately, judging by her map, they were only two miles from the next town. If she kept going on the road, it wouldn't take very long. Plus, nice scenery. The cottage up the road looked lovely against the trees. "Hugo would love the sight," she mused quietly. "He'd probably break out his brushes and go to town on that canvas to get it just right, too." Sofia was probably more than a little homesick, but she needed to get some more money before she visited next. Ah well, she'd figure something out. It wasn't like she was completely broke, anyhow.

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Character Portrait: Sofia Gallagher Character Portrait: Ricky Rolland Character Portrait: Leocadius Carles
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Sofia was approaching the cottage as two guys came on to the pathway. One of them was fairly normal-looking, with brown hair and a tan. The other one was a bit more... eclectic? Was that the word she was looking for? She was pretty sure that's what she was looking for. At any rate, the guy's jacket made him kinda look like a Typhlosion.

And both of them were very, very tall.

Not that that bothered her too much. Sofia'd rescued guys around 6' before, and they were much heavier-looking than these two. She'd be good, although if she had to do a double rescue she'd have to get Flora to help. (Sofia probably needed to get Flora certified the next time she went home. It would make lifeguarding so much easier.)

Sofia figured they looked friendly enough, and from what snippets she could hear they sounded friendly enough, though you couldn't be too careful. She pulled her sunglasses back onto her head to get a better look at the pair. She noticed the... the... what Pokemon was that? Some sort of fire flying type, she knew that much. Sofia felt Flora's pokeball wriggle a bit nervously, and she readjusted her pack in assurance. They were close enough that they'd probably been spotted (or heard) by now, so there wasn't any point in trying to skulk around and gather more info. Sofia was a bit loud to be stealthy. Oh well.

"Hey Leo, would Ray mind some company as well?"This came from the Typhlosion guy. She was just in range to hear them clearly now.

"Well I don't mind at all to be honest. I say the more the merrier! Plus Ray hasn't met someone new in ages and it's time he got to be social again anyway," the tan guy (Leo?) said cheerfully. Eh, Minerva always told her not to worry so much about this kind of stuff. It wouldn't kill her to at least introduce herself, and if worse came to worst Sofia had faith that her Pokemon could help her out of the situation. Although Flora was a bit iffy right now with that flame bird flying around. Flame bird? Talonflame, that was it! She'd figured it out.

"Heeyyy!" Sofia called, jogging a bit to catch up. The pots and pans clanked together, giving an interesting sound to her jogging. "If you guys are headed to town, d'you mind if I tag along?"

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Character Portrait: Sofia Gallagher Character Portrait: Ricky Rolland Character Portrait: Leocadius Carles
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Leo's perception of Ricky was quite astute. And Leo's excitement could very well set off a chain reaction that would increase Ricky's own excitement as well. Which would in turn create a lot of excitement. Ricky was just happy enough that this guy wasn't put off by his exuberance. As Leo told the story of him and Ray, "Sounds to me like a lovely twist of fate! Ain't nothing like kindness to fuel the fires of friendship, or some sort. And hey, I been to Sharaana once. Well, not very long, I caught me a scraggy over there. It was a nice trip, though I do kinda wish I stayed longer."

Ricky laughed again when Leo told him the tale of the talonflame having tried to chase him down."Is that right? Well geez, I must'a been pretty focused on that center not to notice something like Ray blasting towards me. If I knew that I would let him caught me just to seen what would'a happened."

Ricky then grinned as he touched the button on one of his pokeballs. The more the merrier, now those were some words to live by. Light was released from the pokeball to the ground as a jolteon exited it's confines but a few feet away. "This here is Louie, and we been together for years now. Was given to me on my birthday, not the most dramatic of meetings, but we do be closer than two peas in a pod." He introduced as the jolteon shook out its yellow fur and stretched, before quickly coming to take pace with the walking duo. "Louie, this here is my good buddy Leo, and his good buddy Ray." He continued, gesturing to Leo then to Ray in turn. Louie trotted beside Ricky as it looked at the talonflame with it's head tilted.

He was about to recommend they go play but then another voice rang out and he paused in his stride to track down it's source. A girl swimsuit and shorts, Ricky loved summertime. Though he should probably get some swimming trunks... Now he had the sudden urge to go jump in a river with Monty. The jangling of the pots sounded comic enough to Ricky's ears for his grin to widen "Heeey!" He called back to the girl, "O'course you can! So come on and step in stride, we two were just now getting to know each other so you'll fit right in." He said as welcomed her. Now with a group like this, Ricky was sure this little trek will go by in a flash.

"So what's you're name? You can be calling me Ricky. And this jolteon here goes by Louie." He said, holding his hand out to her as he had done for Louie. Ricky wasn't shy when it came to introductions. After all, it wasn't easy to meet anyone if you held back.

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Character Portrait: Sofia Gallagher Character Portrait: Ricky Rolland Character Portrait: Leocadius Carles
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As Sofia ran up, the taller boy called back, “Heeey! O’course you can. So come on and step in stride, we two were just now getting to know each other so you'll fit right in." She clanged into rhythm with the boys’ steps. "So what's you're name? You can be calling me Ricky. And this jolteon here goes by Louie." He stuck out his hand in a greeting to her.

Sofia took his hand and shook it hard, like she’d been taught by her old boss. It usually left a good first impression; as long as she didn’t crush the other’s hand. ”I’m Sofia! It’s nice to meet you guys. Your Jolteon is a cute little thing, isn’t it?” One of the other guards had had one; his brother had a Vaporeon and his sister had a Flareon. The other guards liked to joke about the three being Eevees in a past life.

Antimony’s Pokeball was wriggling now, but not in nerves. The Gardevoir wanted to meet the Jolteon and Talonflame and the two new people. She loved meeting new people and was extremely friendly. "Okay, girl, okay! Hold on!" Sofia said to her, then adjusted her pack so she could grab Antimony's Pokeball. With a flash the Gardevoir was out and stretching. "This is Antimony." She took an elegant bow, making Sofia laugh. "She's a bit of a show off but she's a good kid. She's been with me the longest out of my little group, haven't you?" She patted Antimony's head. The Gardevoir blew a raspberry at Sofia and grinned. She was being far more mischievous than this morning. Probably had something to do with meeting new people. Such a goofy Pokemon.

"So, what brings you over to this side of Dunmetaal?" Sofia asked the boys as the trio walked, accompanied by their Pokemon and the quiet clanking of some of her cooking utensils.

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Character Portrait: Sofia Gallagher Character Portrait: Ricky Rolland Character Portrait: Leocadius Carles
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Leo smiled at Ricky's Jolteon. The little guy looked adorable as it walked along next to his master. Those two had a very close connection that no one would be able to break, a friendship that could last until the end of their lives. "Louie huh? Well it is a pleasure to meet you little guy. As much as I would love to pet you, I think I'm gonna hold off on the account of your spikes." Leo placed his hand behind his head and ran it through is hair, sticking his tongue out in a humorous way to show he was kidding around.

Ray glanced down at Louie and flew closer to the ground, about a foot above Louie's head. Ray, not wanting to be too aggressive, made small circles in the air with soft caws in an attempt to initiate a conversation. Ray never had it easy getting along with other Pokemon since he was always in the air and never could walk along with the others if they were in a group. Leo always encouraged him to try though, and he would so he wouldn't disappoint his master.

"Heeyyy! If you guys are headed to town, d'you mind if I tag along?" A girl's voice came out from behind the duo, and a strong looking woman came out to provide a face for Leo to match it. Leo was cut off from responding to Ricky's comment about Louie, but he didn't mind much. Leo continued to smile but looked over the girl as she was talking to Ricky. She looked very self assured and powerful, not succumbing to anyone easily. He figured she wouldn't like being told what to do since her air of confidence made her seem like she was her own person. While she definitely did not look like his ideal woman, he could tell that he already liked her because she was so independent.

Leo waited for Ricky and Sofia's introductions to be over before he introduced himself. "Well it is a pleasure to meet you Sofia. I'm Leocadius Carles, but please just call me Leo." Leo extended his hand as a sign of good faith and hoped she wouldn't reject him. (Author's note: Just gonna move on from this point to speed us along)

When Sofia brought out her Gardevoir, Leo was impressed by how close they were as well. Most Gardevoirs he had seen were very regal and proper in their every day lives, but Antimony treated Sofia like a close sister, portrayed by the raspberry directed at her. Whoever this girl was, she definitely was a lot kinder than Leo first thought. "Wow, Antimony looks amazing, I must say. Both of you must have really raised each other well to look this amazing."

Ray would typically jump at this moment to snap Leo out of making stupid comments like he just did, but there was something stopping him... or rather distracting him from doing anything. Ray was smitten by Antimony's looks and couldn't help but fall for her, literally. Ray fell onto the ground right next to Louie, beak wide open and eyes filled with hopes, dreams, and aspirations about their future together. Ray made a swift recovery though and flew back in the air, this time trying to land on Antimony's shoulder out of a sign of friendship...

Leo was perplexed at Ray's actions, but decided not to make a big deal about it since his Pokemon made a swift recovery. "Well Ray, I'm glad you're alright from that, but you should be more careful. You almost hit poor Louie." He silently wondered to himself what his Pokemon was up to though. As he became lost in thought, Sofia interrupted his thinking.

"So, what brings you over to this side of Dunmetaal?"

Leo decided to be honest with his answer since he wanted these people to travel with him for some period of time. "Well, I'm a traveling musician. I go about learning songs to play them at different events or on the street so I can make enough money to go on with my life. I usually save my money though to get information. See, I was abandoned at birth and I'm out looking for my biological parents. All I have from them is this guitar on my back." Leo motioned to the case residing on his shoulder. "I don't even know their names to be honest. I've already gone across a few continents looking for them, but I have nothing to show for it. I just want to know why they left me really."

Leo realized he said something sort of depressing and tried to recover from it with something optimistic. He didn't want to come off as alone and afraid to Sofia and Ricky. "I'm doing fine though, and I have more than enough family traveling with me wherever I go. I always find it important to look towards the people you are with anyway than back on those in the past." Leo felt he was slowly digging himself deeper into a hole of depression. The subject needed to change quickly.
"Hey look! I can see the town. Last one there buys drinks for everyone else!" Leo sprinted off from the others, hoping they wouldn't think too much about what he said. (Author's note: Leo is fit. He isn't nearly as impressive as Sofia and Ricky though, so it's up to you if you let him win or not).

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Character Portrait: Sofia Gallagher Character Portrait: Ricky Rolland Character Portrait: Leocadius Carles
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When Sophia shook his hand, Ricky knew that he had found himself another winner and he shook her hand back with an equal vigor. And at Sophia's comment, Louie's chest puffed out in pride. Quite pleased by the compliment. This coupled with the attention from Leo and Ray had left him a pretty happy camper.

Ricky ran his hand through the proud Louie's fur, showing to Leo that it was soft,"Well it only get's spiny when a current runs through it. When he bein' docile like this, then it's perfectly soft. Though... there do be a few night I wake up and got to pull a few of the needles from my backside." He said with a laugh.

Now regarding Ray and Louie, he was taking this fine opportunity to take a good sniff of the talonflame. His nose in the air to satisfy his curiosity and learn more about the bird. Normally he was blasting birds out of the sky, so meeting up close was interesting change of pace. Louie would yip back at Ray's caws in response. He certainly didn't mind any aggresion, and as Ray flew around him, Louie was getting excited. He had quite a bit of pent up energy, especially with the prospect of something to play with.

The Gardevoir that Sophia revealed, Ricky found it very amusing. He wanted to teach his pokemon to give raspberry's! "Whatta beauty!" Rick exclaimed."I tell you what, I don't think I seen a gardevoir in person yet. But ain't nothing wrong with being a show off, everybody has be gotten something about them to be flashy about. I bettin' you she gots some energy. She be awesome!" He complimented with a grin. Ricky liked energy, and Ricky liked flashy. This gardevoir sat real well with him.

Louie too found interest in Antimony, and skipped over to her with Ray. Though it was a skip because he was trying to keep himself from running. And his ever active nose was sniffing around at the ground, before looking up at her and Ray. Bouncing on his front paws in excitement and anticipation. Louie seem to have entirely forgotten, or didn't mind in the least, about being almost hit by Ray.

"Me? Well I been a training these past few years. And I be fixing to take on the gyms again. Maaan, they beat me down pretty hard last time. So I be making sure that I am ready for them next time. Heheh, though I have been kinda procrastinatin' on that. Grandpa wants me to challenge the League. My mother wants me to join the Rangers. But there is just so much out there to see! I have no idea what I am doing and I'm lovin' every day of it. I plan to make it big one day, I ain't got no clue how or what, but a guy can dream of having a dream, ya know? So to sum it up, I'm just kinda wingin' it. Flying by the seat of my pants and whatnot." He said with a hearty laugh. "What abouts you, Sophia?"

Musician? Hell! Ricky loved music! Why didn't Leo say nothing? Well... that guitar was a pretty big giveaway on that... But still! Ricky was definitely going to have to ask Leo to play now. Though upon Leo's continuation, Ricky's mind did not immediately register anything he said as depressing. It sounded very life affirming to him. Something important. And before Ricky could give Leo a pat on the back and some positive reinforcement... Leo issued the challenge.

Now, things immediately switched over in Ricky's head, and everything prior forgotten. His fiery and competitive spirit was jump started. He loved a good challenge! That reason, and Ricky didn't exactly have any money to buy anybody drinks, which was even more reason not to come in last. "Hey! No fair!" He shouted, but he wasn't unhappy in the least. Like a flash, Ricky launched himself into a full on sprint to catch up with Leo and pass so that he could set a pace for himself. Louie had quickly sprinted to catch up to and pass Ricky, wanting to be a part of the race too. It was like morning all over again!

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Character Portrait: Sofia Gallagher Character Portrait: Ricky Rolland Character Portrait: Leocadius Carles
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Sofia was certainly getting good first impressions of her possible new travelling companions. Both boys were friendly, as well as their Pokemon. Ricky seemed a little more exuberant, and Leo looked like he needed a hug and a quiche, but still good guys. Especially if their partners were anything to go by. Ricky's Jolteon came off as jolly as Ricky himself, and Ray appeared to be more of a caretaker for Leo than the other way around. Sofia couldn't say much on that, though. Calla and Antimony had had to make sure on occasion that Sofia didn't run herself into the ground, so...

The compliments to Antimony probably would have gone straight to the Gardevoir's head, had Ray not tried to land on her shoulder. Antimony stuck out her arm a bit so that the Talonflame had a bit more room to perch and smiled at the bird Pokemon. She laughed when Louie bounded over and started a conversation with the two about something or other.

Sofia rolled her eyes at Antimony and gave her a look, which made the Gardevoir laugh even more. Such a goofy Pokemon.

She listened to Ricky's reasoning for travelling, a little surprised at the comment about his mother wanting him to be a Ranger. Sofia couldn't imagine this guy as a Ranger. He was too.... what was it? Not arrogant? Too flamboyant? Granted, she'd only known a handful of Rangers, but none of them had left good impressions on her about the group as a whole. In her opinion Ricky was better off taking on the League. He'd probably be a lot happier there.

Aannd Sofia was doing it again. These guys were probably older than her! They could take care of themselves. But...
Ricky's laugh shook her out of her thoughts. "What abouts you, Sofia?"

"Me? Good question. I'm supposed to be training to take on the League myself, but I haven't gotten around to taking on a Gym yet. I've only been on the road for about two years, so." She shrugged. "I like the idea of being a famous Trainer, but Hugo- that's my little brother- keeps telling me to open a battling restaurant. My sisters think I should try going pro in Pokemon swimming, and I still don't know what I want to do." Sofia really didn't know, and it bothered her more than she let on. She knew she was still young, but if she went off and did something (more than this travelling business, that is) then who would take care of her family? Her momma was getting older every day, and even with the twins almost out of the house she still had Hugo to take care of.
But enough with the negative thinking!

Leo's story reminded her a bit of Minerva and Rosalinda, especially since the twins were so musical. Sofia's mothering instincts kicked in and she was doing her best not to try to comfort him. She did make a mental note to figure out what Leo's and Ricky's favorite dishes were and make them at a later time. (Sofia figured she was going to be with the two for a while, considering how well their Pokemon were getting along. If Antimony approved, they were probably okay.)

Of course, before she could do much of anything, Leo issued the challenge. Now, normally Sofia was a competitive person, and a great runner. Antimony, however, despised running almost as much as Sofia hated dresses. And while Ray and Louie started off as soon as the boys... Antimony decided to sit daintily on the path.

Sofia had to literally throw Antimony's Pokeball at the Gardevoir to get her to go in. She almost ended up passing Leo but was far enough back when she started that she came in third. "I never was much of a land sprinter," Sofia panted lightly, "so it looks like drinks are on me, boys!" Not that she minded too much. These guys were good company, if nothing else. She laughed. She hadn't bought drinks in forever. This'd be good for her.

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Ricky stopped as soon as he reached the sidewalk into the city, where Louie was waiting on him. He won! It looks like all those early morning runs were paying off. Taking a deep breath, to catch the breath that had left him, he put his hands on his hips and stretched his back. Looking over his shoulder he waited for the others to catch up.

He had considered his victory the fact that he wouldn't be put on the spot to pay for drinks with money he didn't have. "Ya know... I think I am good on racing for a few days. I am ready to do some sitting for a change." He commented. "You know what, Sophia? Why don't you start a battling restaurant, but instead of it being a building. Make it a battleboat restaurant!! Where you got ta swim to your tables and fight for your food,and all the while relaxing on the waves while you get to watch the employees master the water to make sure you have a good time!" He exclaimed as he spread his arms wide."Imagine! It would be famous! You sail the beaches of every region and become a welcome rest stop for every swimmer in between! You can give it, like, cannons and diving boards, and maybe even make it go underwater where they can dine on seafood and watch professional swimmers do tricks and awesome stuff! That would be awesome!"

At least Ricky thought it was a good idea. Maybe a little over the top, but Ricky was an over the top kind of guy. "And you can be the famous trainer that is the champion of the battleboat! That way you get the best of all those suggestions." He said with a laugh. As he was ranting on about his idea, Louie went awol and decided to investigate a trashcan near a close by alleyway. And as Louie was sticking his nose inside, Ricky called out."Louie! There ain't never anything good in those trash cans, get out of there. We got company, show some class, mate. I know you ain't going to be wanting Monty to give you no bath." And the threat of the bath did seem to do the trick, Louie came trotting, playing it rather coolly.

With Louie at his heels, Ricky scratched him behind his ears and pulled the map that Xia had given him from his fanny pack and folded it open. "Well... Let's see here... I think this is whereabouts we are right now." He said pointing at the edge of the city."And we got a cafe that is pretty close by. How about we rest some there and decide what we wanna do next? I know that I gotta earn a few bucks before I move on. I got some stocking up to do."

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A battleboat restaurant… That sounded kinda ridiculous. Not in a bad way, though. Sofia laughed heartily at Ricky’s enthusiasm. She’d have to remember that one. She did like boating, and she could definitely get on board, so to say, with that kind of idea. But she had other things to take care of first. ”That’s a pretty crazy idea, Ricky, but that’s definitely not out of the question,” Sofia grinned.

Sofia could clearly see the cafe that was on Ricky’s map through her sunglasses. ”Sounds good to me! I could use a bit of a rest,” Sofia said. She probably needed to take a good inventory, and she bet that Leo and Ricky both could as well. Plus, it was getting close to food time, considering Sofia hadn’t eaten in a few hours. (Pesky swimmer habits. She couldn’t seem to shake the whole ‘I have to eat every few hours because if not I won’t have fuel for practice’ mental thing. It was probably because she was walking and running everywhere now.)

So, the trio headed over to the cafe. It was a nice little place, nothing too fancy. It had a home-y kind of vibe from it, even if it was a bit small for Sofia’s taste. There were some delicious smells coming from the kitchen as they walked in that made her stomach gurgle a smidge. They grabbed a table over by the window, and Sofia offered to buy the group something to eat or drink. (She hadn’t even touched half of her savings; she could afford to buy these guys a meal and a round. Leo looked like he could use some kindness, and Ricky looked too skinny for his height. Sofia supposed they both did. Or maybe not. She guessed she was just used to her mother feeding anyone that needed food.) {Note: It's up to you guys if you take Sofia's offer. I'm just going to go ahead a bit to catch us up with Xia, if that's cool.}


The meal was pretty good for the price, and did pretty good at killing some time. Sofia’d gotten a chance to check up on her supplies to see what she needed to get (a portable washing machine had jokingly been suggested at one point.) It had gotten later, around five-thirty six-ish if Sofia was reading the clock right.”So, what now? You two have any specific plans for the rest of the day?”

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Leo's mad dash paid off in more ways than one in his eyes. For one he was completely able to avoid the conversation he started himself; plus he was able to get a free meal out of the deal. When Leo ran off from the group, Ray was quick on the uptake and quickly chased after his trainer to make sure he didn't make any more stupid mistakes. Leo loved a good run every now and then, the wind blowing through his bangs and the pounding of his heart with every slam of his foot. The run itself was longer than he anticipated though, leaving him more out of breath than he initially expected though. He made a mental note to himself that he needed to exercise more as he watched an enthusiastic Ricky sprint past him like it was nothing.

By the time he made it to the end he was able to recover his breath and make it seem effortless on his part. Ray silently perched himself on Leo's shoulder, tilting his head as he looked around the new town. Leo himself also did an excited spin, arms out and smile stretched across his face like he was ready to fly across the town to learn everything about it. His daydreaming of unrealistically sitting on Ray's back as they flew around town together was quickly interrupted when Sofia came running in as a close third.
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"You know what, Sophia? Why don't you start a battling restaurant, but instead of it being a building. Make it a battleboat restaurant!! Where you got ta swim to your tables and fight for your food,and all the while relaxing on the waves while you get to watch the employees master the water to make sure you have a good time!" As Ricky explained his reasoning on why this was such a good idea for Sofia to pursue, Leo himself got excited with the idea of it, getting equally as excited as Ricky was to show his support.

"Yeah! That would be so awesome. I've seen too many restaurants that do the same exact thing and it does get boring." Leo was clutching his fists with his arms pulled tightly into his body, shaking them up and down like a five year old does when they get excited. Leo was easily influenced by those he wanted to befriend so he got hooked into the act. "I would love to come and be one of your first customers too! Maybe even perform for you if you'd like. No charge even! Just as anyone on the west, they can vouch for me!"

Ray made a little jab at Leo's neck for getting excited again, snapping Leo into a much more polite person. "Uh, that is if you'd want to. You haven't even heard me play anything so I don't see why you'd want to. Give it time though, you'll hear me at some point." Leo placed his hand behind his head and begun to scratch it, a silly face was plaster across his head to hide his embarrassment for being too blunt about what he was wanting.

Eventually they made it over to the cafe, the kind of home that hosted Leo's first shows with their open mic. Eventually he was picked up by several larger business owners and private parties to play for them, resulting in a larger savings that gave him a bit more luxury to live with than most (i.e. he could stay in a hotel for a week straight instead of a inn if he wanted to. Still not a lot but more than most) He loved their environments with their calming atmosphere and 'cool' vibe to them. It was a place to socialize and grab a quick bite to eat, which he quickly snatched up the opportunity when Sofia offered.

After drinking a round and eating eating a BLT (Tepig noooooooooooo), Leo was feeling more than satisfied. He was able to think his best with a full stomach, and he was able to come to the conclusion that the best way to obtain any information on his parents at all was to get his name know to the public.

"So, what now? You two have any specific plans for the rest of the day?”

Leo knew that even if he wasn't going to travel with these two for a while he would at least leave a clear image of himself in their minds. "You guys don't have to stick around if you don't want to, but I just want to play one song here - It'll only take a few minutes and then I'll be done. It reminds me of when I first started to play for people and I just can't pass up the opportunity... plus maybe my parents could be here and recognize this guitar... Oh if you guys stick around I'll come with you wherever you go."

Leo turned towards a small stage in the back of the room, pulling off the guitar case from him back and tossing his satchel to the side of the stage. As he was walking up, Ray remained at the counter, watching what his trainer did best. Leo pulled up a tall, scratched up wooden stool and calmly sat down on it, unzipping the case that carried his prized possession. The guitar showed its age with a failing finish and dents all around it, but what really stood out was the carvings on the front of it. A knife carved in C47 in large block writing, but it didn't look sloppy at all - rather it was elegant with details like shadows to each symbol and a wet look to them like they were soaking in the rain and left to dry out.

Leo rested the guitar on his right knee, let the neck of the guitar rest softly in his left hand with finger softly stroking the metallic strings. He knew it was in tune without even having to play it. He decided in the moment he was sitting up on stage that he was going to play a song that he was taught by a young man the first time he visited a town with his adopted father. The man himself had been on a long journey and faced many struggles, but still looked towards the lighter side of life.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYI2Og2Ps-g
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MO60ahwc8FI

(One of these is the acoustic part he plays and the other is the lyrics. If you don't feel like listening its SAO opening theme translated into English - and no I did not enjoy the show [animation and music were good though])

The song was perfect in his eyes as he played the last note. He took his right hand and wipe the hair away from his eyes as he got a standing ovation from the crown, a pleased smile came across his face.

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Ricky was rather pleased with himself that they were at least amused with his idea. Which was good because he had thousands more. But he tried to refrain from showing too much crazy at once as they chatted over the meal. Which his empty stomach greatly appreciated, he had gotten a BLT, having gotten a sudden craving for one after Leo had mentioned it. He told himself he would pay her back, especially as it seemed that they would be hanging out a bit longer after this. He told them of his plans on what he needed to do while he was here, to earn a bit of money to fund his adventure some more. But when Leo said he was going to be playing, procrastination set in and Ricky knew that he just HAD to attend.

And he did, even ending up humming along. He claimed himself a seat in the front row, and did his best to cheer the loudest for his new friend at the end. And it was not just so that he could cross off being a groupie from his bucket list. Ricky loved music! Especially when the words seemed to hold the kind of passion that Leo sang with. All seemed to be going great!

At least until something unexpected happened. The ground trembled and a thunderous sound of an explosion seemed to drown out everything, followed by screaming and pandemonium. "What the friggin' fuck was that!?" Ricky exclaimed over the screams of the denizens of the cafe, forgetting to censor himself in the chaos. "Sophia? Leo? Ya'll alright?" He called, well he knew where Leo was, on the stage, but the rush of the crowd made finding someone within it a little harder. And he didn't want to leave them behind.

He had half expected Louie to run between his legs, but he should have known better about the bravehearted jolteon. Louie had ran to the window, barking his head off towards the center of town. Knowing something was wrong.

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Sofia wasn’t quite sure what it was about Leo’s singing, but something in it made her even more homesick. The lyrics just struck a chord with her that made her want to check up on Minerva, Rosalinda, and Hugo. And her mother, of course. She wasn’t sure why that was, though. At any rate, Leo certainly deserved that standing ovation. Ricky especially looked pleased with the performance, cheering Leo on at the end. Sofia managed some half hearted clapping herself, but something was bothering her. When was the last time she’d phoned home? How was Momma doing, and had she let the twins get jobs at the theatre like they’d wanted to? (It had been a fight for Sofia to convince her mom to let her work, much less the twins.) And did she need to send money to keep the girls in music lessons and Hugo in paint and pencils?

That worrying was quickly pushed to the back of her mind. A tremendous tremor and horrifyingly close explosion jarred Sofia out of one set of worries and into a rescuer mindset.

"What the friggin' fuck was that!?” Sofia heard Ricky swear loudly in the confusion. She’d stayed at their table, and in the panic it was all she could do to not get pushed to the ground. "Sophia? Leo? Ya'll alright?"

”I’m fine,” Sofia yelled back at him, ”but my Pokemon are freaking out and there’s bound to be injured, considering how big that tremor was. I’ve got to get down there to make sure no one got hurt.” She would have gone even if either of the guys had protested. Even if the emergency was on land, it was her job as a lifeguard to at least help with the injured. In a smaller town like this, she might be one of the only people with any kind of medical training (other than the other Trainers, although her lifeguard first aid had been somewhat more in depth.) ”You and Leo, meet me by the explosion when you can, okay? I’m heading there now!”

Sofia was far closer to the door than the boys, and managed to get outside fairly quickly. Louie had been barking towards the center of town, which had to be where the explosion was. She ran as fast as she could, doing her best not to drop her pack as she went. Sofia followed a dark trail of black smoke to the local Pokemon Center, where the roof was on fire. Screams of Pokemon and people alike could be heard inside. And of course, her only Water type was pyrophobic.

”Damn it!” Sofia cursed. (She only cursed when the situation called for it. Sofia was pretty sure this was an acceptable situation to curse in.) She sent Flora out of her Pokeball. The Quagsire was already trembling from the explosion, but her eyes widened in fear at the flames.

”Flora, I know you’re afraid but you have got to help me out here. I’m scared too, okay?” Sofia definitely did not want to go in. But there were people in there that needed help. ”You don’t have to go in. Just try to help put out the fire on the roof, okay?”

The Quagsire nodded, still trembling. ”Good girl! Now, try to see if you can get your Water Gun up to the roof.” Sofia looked around. She noticed that another girl, around her age or so and well dressed, had also arrived on the scene. Flora busy with figuring out how to get her Water Gun to the roof, Sofia finally dropped her pack on the ground and dug for her first aid kit. As she was doing this, she yelled over to the girl. ”You got anything that can help with this mess? Cause I have no idea what kind of situation they’re gonna be in if somebody doesn’t get in there soon.” And yes, Sofia knew that going into a burning building was completely against her training, but she’d be damned if she couldn’t at least find a way to help out herself.

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Leo scanned across the crowd to see where Sofia and Ricky were, hoping they decided to stick it out. Immediately he noticed Ricky applauding like a maniac in the front row, a reaction he didn't see too often. Leo gave a small smirk and a nod to the exuberant man as he placed his guitar back in its case. As he took a final bow, he noticed Sofia had a worried expression on her face, as if something was bothering her. Was it his music; what if it wasn't good enough; what if she thought he was mediocre? Leo made a mental note to confront her on it later to see if there was any way he could improve.

Leo was stepping down off the stage, satisfied smile spread across his face, when mass panic ensued. Just outside the cafe Leo saw an explosion burst open a building like a rock being thrown through rice paper. The tremor caused by the explosion caused him to trip and fall off the stage, landing flat on his chest - knocking the wind out of him.

"What the friggin' fuck was that!?” Leo looked up, out of breath as his friend was showing concern by looking around for the both of them. "Sophia? Leo? Ya'll alright?"

Ray flew off from the stool he was resting on and came to his trainer's aid, clutching his shoulder and flapping heavily to get Leo to stand up. With some effort, Leo regained his breath quickly and was on his feet scanning the crowd with its hysteria. He turned towards Ricky and gave the affirmative response, "Yeah, I'm all good. We need to get out of here though - too many people are just confusing me."

”You and Leo, meet me by the explosion when you can, okay? I’m heading there now!” Leo was just able to catch the last part of what Sofia was saying, prompting him to follow suit. He was able to get up to a brisk jog to grab his bag from the bar they were sitting at, he motioned towards Ricky to follow him, and then ran out the door a minute after Sofia did.

Because he was still a little out of breath, it took Leo a little bit longer to arrive at the scene of the explosion. Ray flew on ahead to scan the area above the Pokemon Center, despite the smoke impairing his vision. He saw Sofia and a few other trainers trying to put out the fire with their water Pokemon, so he figured he would do the same. Leo pulled out two Pokeballs and called out their contents. "Elise, Tenzin come on out, we need your help."

Elise the Marshtomp and Tenzin the Bronzor emerge from the white light, alerted by their master's call. "Alright Tenzin, Elise, we need to work together without any messups here. " Leo's voice became much more serious due to the heavy tension, dropping his bags next to Sofia for safe keeping. "Could you keep these safe for me? I have a feeling there are still Pokemon or trainers trapped inside."

Leo sprinted towards the front door of the center, both Pokemon in tow. He knew Pokemon centers were always filled with racks of Pokeballs that trainers left there so their Pokemon could be healed while they walked around town. He wasn't willing to let their lives be ruined just because they were trapped in their containers. "Elise, use water gun on the door. Tenzin, use psychic to keep the door frame up so it doesn't crush us when we run in." Like in synchronized fashion, both Pokemon performed flawlessly and the trio ran into the flaming center in search for anyone that was trapped inside.

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Leo, accompanied by Elise and Tenzin, sprinted into the buring Pokemon Center. Despite the intense heat and choking smog, Leo wanted to help every Pokemon he could find. As he sprinted across the cracking marble floor, pieces of the ceiling were falling down around him. Tenzin, to the best of his abilities, was able to redirect falling rubble just in time not to crush the trio inside.

Elise on the other hand was attempting to douse the floor with her water gun, but to her dismay, it was too hot inside for her to produce any water without it evaporating instantly. The panicked Marshtomp began to break down at the thought of disappointing Leo, failing at the one thing he requested her to do.

Leo quickly glanced down at Elise who looked like she was going to cry. On one hand he wanted to stop and comfort her, saying he understood why she couldn't do it and it was alright; but the building was going to collapse on them at any moment and he needed to get a move on. He pulled out her Pokeball and said "Elise, I know you want to help, but right now you need to be back in your Pokeball." Leo saw this crushed her emotionally as the red beam went around her and pulled her back into the capsule. While he couldn't help but feel bad, he kept pushing on until he reached the medical bay for sick Pokemon.

When he reached the medical bay, he noticed that all of the operating tables were empty... weird for a Pokemon Center. Maybe they all were taken out by the panicked staff? A lot of the chords and medical equipment looked like they were recently used too and were hastily ripped off of the Pokemon, blood and chunks of flesh were resting all over the instruments themselves. Leo felt like he was going to be sick from the smell of burning flesh, but he remembered that Pokemon Centers also had racks of Pokeballs that employees held for trainers.

"Tenzin, collect as many of these as you can and get out of here! I'll be right out after you!" Leo was fully aware that his Bronzor would only be able to carry about a fourth of the Pokeballs, but it was something he would have to accept. They only had one trip in them before the building collapsed on them. Tenzin collected all the Pokeballs he could and flew out of a hole in the ceiling, delivering them all safely to the crowd of people outside.

Leo took off his jacket and made it into a little carrier, allowing him to hold more Pokeballs easily compared to using just his hands. To his dismay, he was only able to gather around thirty himself, leaving over half of the Pokeballs still on their shelves. As he began to turn around and run out, he noticed Ricky running in through the burning archway of the center.

"Ricky! Grab as many Pokeballs as you can. We need to give every Pokemon here a figh-" Before Leo was able to finish his exclamation to his friend, an enormous chunk of the ceiling came collapsing down onto one of the shelves, eliminating a quarter of the Pokeballs that were there in the first place. A look of horror spread across Leo's face - the slaughter of dozens of innocent and defenseless Pokemon.

Then it came to his attention that the smog was starting to suffocate him. He became lightheaded and started to sway back and forth towards Ricky, who was running over to him. "Ricky..." Leo was barely able to to speak with the lack of oxygen in the area. Another part of the ceiling came crashing down and destroyed the remaining Pokeballs on the shelves. "Take the Pokeballs and get out. Keep them all safe."

Leo began to lose consciousness, collapsing to his knees and coughing out soot. He quickly succumbed to the lack of oxygen and passed out as the flames around the area were pulled away by some outside force.




When Leo regained consciousness, both Ray and Tenzin were next to him, but weren't staring at him. In fact, the large group of people weren't looking towards his direction at all but rather towards an area with a loud, sharp ringing. Leo struggled to stand up, coughing out black spit as he wobbled towards the crowd. After a few steps, he collapsed again forehead digging into the cobblestone road. Blood ran along with the soot as he stood up again and wobbled along the streets. Ray and Tenzin followed him, but kept a safe distance around him as well, unsure how he would react to what he saw.

All Leo saw was the lady from the Breeding Center covered in blood, her Rapidash with scars and gashes, and his two friends already looking over at her.

All he heard from her was "No..." over and over and over... It was a crushing noise she was making like the world she lived in was shattered right before her eyes.

Leo's mind was not there though, and he began to pass out again, right into the girl's pool of blood, face first.

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Ricky had fallen a little behind, haven gotten caught in a crowd of fleeing people. And he would not blame them. When he got to the pokecenter. He stopped beside Sophia in time to see Leo run into the burning building. "Leo! Leo!" He shouted at the dangerously heroic boy. Good lord. He was going to get himself killed! Frick... Ricky wasn't going to about to let him handle this alone. Running towards the building he brought his handkerchief down around his face, to help block out some of the smoke. In turn he released his swampert and his scrafty.

"Monty! Make sure we got a way out." He ordered the swampert, who nodded in confirmation. Though did not like the idea of letting Ricky inside. Monty would take his place by the entrance to keep the flames under control there. "Homer! You are coming with me." The scrafty pulled the skin over his head like a hood and charged in behind Ricky. Homer was lazy, but he always had Ricky's back. This stunt was reckless even by Ricky's terms.

"Leo!" He called when he finally found him. The pokemon, there was no doubt that they needed help. And he began gathering up as many as he could, using his own jacket much like Leo was using his to hold as many as he could. But there was still too many for just the two of them of carry. This was where Homer came in, without even asking, Ricky began shoving pokeballs into the scrafty's baggy elastic skin as if it were a bag...

Then came the explosion... Ricky covered his head to protect himself from the falling debris, he grit his teeth in pain as the stirred up embers fell upon his bare shoulders. But the burns seemed insignificant when he opened his eyes to see the destroyed pokeballs... He felt his stomach churn... what if that had been Louie? Or Winnie? They just died...

Things were taking a turn for the worse now, Leo seemed to not doing so well. "Leo!" He exclaimed as he watched him fall to his knees. "Don't worry bro, I'll get them all out. But I ain't leaving you-" He was trying to say but was cut off by the strange activity of the flames and Leo's passing out. Shoving the rest of the pokeballs in scrafty's skin, he tried to pull Leo up to try and carry Leo on his back with whatever pokeballs he could fit in his pockets and scrafty's skin.

Then came to finding a way out... Someone had put out the flames, but Ricky did not believe that they were safe. The ceiling could collapse again. The aftermath was not very pretty... Many times he had to swallow pretty hard. It was slow progress, but Monty was there at the entrance, waiting loyaly.

There was so much commotion outside, but Ricky was more worried about Leo. Pulling him over to the crowd, Homer on his heels."Sophia! Help!" He called, trying to find her. She was a life guard wasn't she? Surely she could help him. But when he saw the reason for the crowd, that girl laying in on the ground, the dead and injured pokemon, the blood... What on earth happened... The scene was horrifying. And with what Ricky had already scene inside the pokemon center, his grip on Leo weakened and the boy slid off.

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This evening was going to haunt Sofia for… well, she wasn’t sure how long it would take to get over this...

She’d stood there and watched as the girl, then Leo, then finally Ricky ran into the building. She couldn’t bring herself to do so, though. She just couldn’t. Which was probably for the best, since there became an influx of injured people and Pokemon. Trainers that were still okay began to care for their own Pokemon to the best of their abilities, and most of the people were just badly bruised or suffering from smoke inhalation. Nothing too hard to handle.

At least, until the girl came back outside.

The men in black had shown up out of practically nowhere. One moment, Sofia was encouraging some people to keep coughing, and the next, she heard a Growlithe snarling. She had turned around quickly to see what was going on, only to recoil in shock at that thing. That Pokemon had something seriously wrong with it. Before she could help the girl, though, her off coloured Ponyta had knocked the… (Was it entirely appropriate to call it a monster? It had seemed to intentionally draw blood.) Whatever it was, the Ponyta had easily knocked it out with a hard blow to the head. ”Whew,” Sofia had sighed to herself quietly.

She’d said it too soon, though. As the girl cradled the Growlithe in her arms, a gunshot had rung out. The girl had fallen.
And there wasn’t anything Sofia could have done to stop the men.

She’d frozen.

Entirely unlike her. She wasn’t sure why she’d frozen, even. Something about the situation had said ‘run, run, run as fast and as far as you can’.

Sofia had stood there as the paramedics came in.

She hadn’t helped Leo when Ricky had pulled him out of the building, or when Ricky had called out for her to help him.

The paramedics had checked Leo out and verified that he was okay. Not that Sofia had seen this. She’d fled down the street a ways, leaving behind her bag. She still had her pokemon, though. Sofia wasn’t going to forget them.

After she was clear of the scene and out of the way, Sofia slumped down in an alleyway, panting. What the hell was wrong with her?!? She should have been there helping! She could’ve at least patched up that girl, and made sure Leo didn’t have a head wound… That girl could wind up dead, and it would be all her fault because she didn’t assist.

Sofia was a monster. A heartless, selfish human being who couldn’t put herself in the heat of battle.

A coward.

Sofia curled up into a ball against the wall of the alleyway and wept quietly into her knees. She'd failed her new friends.

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Character Portrait: Sofia Gallagher Character Portrait: Ricky Rolland Character Portrait: Leocadius Carles Character Portrait: Xia Leingod
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Ricky had been sitting cross legged off to the side, he had lit himself a cigarette to try and calm his nerves and was trying not to let it get wet. He had his shirt off, and Monty was insisting to drool cool water over his bare shoulders to try and help ease the minor burns he had received from that shower of embers. The paramedics had already checked him out, nothing serious so they had left for more serious cases.

Homer had dumped out the rescued pokeballs to the proper authorities, then returned to his own... This situation was something else... All those pokeballs and the lives within squashed out without them even having a chance. At least they had saved some. But there were other pokemon in that building... ones that were not in their pokeballs. Ricky saw several on his way out that hadn't had any chance. Dead pokemon, not something he ever thought he would see. Then there was that one growlithe that got shot. Who would shoot their own pokemon like that?

Ricky was not feeling very good. Part of him wanted to turn up the meal he just had eaten peaceably but moment before, and he doubted his knees were strong enough to walk from the shock of it all. But he would not complain. Others had it worse. Like his buddy Leo, who he had kept casting worried glances towards. Sophia looked pale as a sheet... But his mind kept going back to that girl, the one who got shot. That was the girl he had met earlier. She was so nice, why did bad things have to happen to good people...

As the streets began to clear, slowly but surely. He had lost track of Sophia, it worried him some, especially with those bad guys out there. He hoped she was okay. He needed to find her. With a tired groan he got up, Monty giving him another splash for good measure, and happened to have accidentally put out the cigarette in the process. Ricky had too much on his mind to care about that, though his shoulders immediately began feeling warm again and he began missing that cool water pretty quick.

He stopped, something in the street catching his eye. A blood covered pokeball, just lying there. They should have all been turned in. A quick glance around revealed to him it's likely occupant. That blue ponyta, one like he had never seen before... But that was Xia's pokemon, or at least the one she had used against that growlithe. Looking down to his hand, he began to wish he hadn't picked it up. The blood on his hand was Xia's. He swallowed hard and looked away, towards the ponyta. It was just left here. That should not be the fate of any pokemon.

Ricky recalled back to that morning, he had told her that he would return her kindness. Now was a good time to do so, though he wished it was under different circumstances. But why was he just standing around? The poor thing was injured and without it's owner. He would approach warily, not knowing how the ponyta would react to the stranger approaching her.

He held out the pokeball,"Is this your's?" He asked, trying to gentle as he attempted to get its attention. "Your owner went to critical care, will you let me help you instead? Then we can see about bringing you back to her." He was half afraid of getting burned again, but walked slowly forward anyway. He could imagine how helpless and alone it must feel. And sure as hell not want any of his own pokemon in the position that the ponyta was.

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Character Portrait: Sofia Gallagher
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"Where am I..." Leo's eyes slowly cracked open, his vision blurred due to the lack of oxygen in his system and head trauma from when he hit the ground. Colors were not independent of each other, but part of a pastel landscape like a Van Gogh painting. Blues fused with whites, the yellow dots in the sky meshed with the black void of the space around them.

He shifted his vision so his sight was parallel to the ground. The brownness of the floor seamlessly came together with the red. "Wait," Leo thought to himself. "That isn't normal..." As he tried to focus on distinguishing the colors, the white and blue blobs above him took his head and reoriented it so he was looking up. They placed a mouthpiece over his mouth and air started to get pumped into him lungs. Now Leo was really confused. Sounds started to seep in from around him, different colored blobs were swiftly moving across the black landscape, yelling things that Leo was barely able to catch.

"Get the paramedics over here!"

"This girl needs a doctor!!" She's bleeding everywhere!"

"Where are the police?? Get the man who did this!"

"Huh..." Leo's vision started to clear up the more commotion he heard around him. Very quickly it became apparent to him that there was a cop and a paramedic over him. He had an assisted breathing device attached to him... because he ran into the building. His head slowly slid back to look at the redness of the ground and it became clear to him. It was blood. And a trail of it was leading to him. He saw that he was dragged from the puddle of blood a huge mass of people were around and his clothes were partially soaked in it.

"Oh, you're awake sir. Before you panic or anything, you are a hero. You saved a over half of Pokeballs from the burning building and confirmed no one was inside. And don't worry about your belongings, your Pokemon and bags are just over there." The cop motioned just a few feet over to his four Pokeballs, satchel, his white over shirt, and guitar bag. Oh, and you only got a minor bruise to the head. You need to sit here for a bit to regain your breath though. You haven't received nearly enough oxygen to keep you functioning normally. You just stay here sir while we go and tend to the issue at hand."

Leo sat up and scratched the back of his head, taking in as much air as he could from the machine. He suddenly realized that Ricky and Sofia were nowhere around him. He started to look around him, panic in his eyes. He couldn't be alone. Where are his friends? Where are his Pokemon. Why isn't anyone he cared about around him anymore? His Pokemon would rather be kept away in their balls than be with him, and his friends just outright abandoned him. He began to choke on his own air, gasping and struggling not to cry.

Leo saw Ricky was meshed together with the crowd, looking at what seemed to be the scene of the crime. He was hurt, felt abandoned when his friend could have been there for him. He turned around and saw Sofia, with an expression of pure horror spread across her face, sprint away with nothing in her hands. Suddenly Leo felt like a jackass. He was blaming his friends for abandoning him when they obviously had their own problems. Hell, even Ricky saved him from the fire, something he shouldn't ever be mad at.

Leo removed himself from the machine and grabbed his guitar and Pokeballs - his satchel could wait later. He knew Sofia needed him in some way, and he was determined to comfort her. He hated being alone and he saw she was.

After a few minutes of running around in the streets of the town he heard Sofia sobbing down an ally. Leo stopped, panting, trying to think of something to say. He knew he couldn't be blunt like he usually was, and words really weren't his forte.

"Sofia? Hey, are you OK?" Leo walked to where she was sitting, put his guitar to his side, and slid down to sit next to her, legs crossed. He noticed her crying hadn't subsided, so Leo placed his hand on her shoulder in a comforting manor. "I know what happened was scary and you felt alone when Ricky and I left, and I'm sorry. We shouldn't have left you alone. Don't be mad about what happened either, no one could have -" Leo's minor coughing fit interrupted his attempted talk to Sofia. "Heh, sorry. No one could have stopped or helped what happened. Life is random at best and it isn't easy to try to throw your hat into the ring to help. What I did was reckless and could have seriously hurt myself - I was stupid. I just..."

Leo knew his words weren't doing what he was thinking justice. He pulled out his guitar and figured it was better if he expressed what he was thinking that way.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvvJ7MYaK8o

Leo set down his guitar to his side and then sat in silence with her. He knew that was the best he was capable of himself. Silence was the best option for him at that point out of hopes to getting her to cheer up.

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Character Portrait: Sofia Gallagher Character Portrait: Leocadius Carles
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Sofia wasn’t expecting anyone to come after her, much less Leo. She fully expected the boys to forget she was there (at best) and heal up before they figured out what they were to do next. So when Leo came up and sat down next to her…

”Sofia? Hey, are you okay?” Leo asked her, then placed his hand on her shoulder. his hand on her shoulder.
Sofia flinched when he did so, but let him ramble (his coughs made Sofia feel even worse.) She should have started giving him rescue breaths, after stabilizing the girl, and-

She didn’t expect him to start singing, not in the least.

Sofia fought to stop crying quickly. It was bad enough that he’d seen her run, but crying? She hated being seen when she cried. Her siblings had seen her cry once, maybe twice? It wasn’t something she liked to do in front of other people.

”You shouldn't have to do this," Sofia said quietly in the silence that followed. "You hardly know me, and besides that, it's not your job to deal with shit like this." That was her job. Drier of tears, bandager of knees, healer of bruised egos: all in Sofia's job description. (Almost quite literally.) "You've dealt with a sight more stress today than I have, and yet look at me. I'm a damn mess." She laughed quietly, but not without humor. "If my mother were here I'd probably end up with a bar of soap in my mouth, what with how much I've been cursing." Sofia had stopped her crying at this point. It was likely she'd start again later, but she was fine for now.

"Are you doing okay?" Sofia asked, changing the subject. She sat straighter against the wall, adjusting her legs into a criss cross applesauce position. "You're clearly suffering from smoke inhalation, and you did take a good hit to the head..." Always good to worry about someone else to take the focus off yourself; it helped Sofia to calm down before focusing on herself.

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Character Portrait: Sofia Gallagher Character Portrait: Leocadius Carles
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Leo heard Sofia's sobs coming from next to him after his song finished. He understood better than anyone that showing any sort of weakness does nothing but make the person feel public opinion around them was lowered. He couldn't help but watch as her pride seem to slick off of her like wax from a lit candle, ebbing away until the candle was put out.

”You shouldn't have to do this, you hardly know me, and besides that, it's not your job to deal with shit like this."

Leo set his guitar down on its canvas case, careful not not damage it in any way. Instead of turning towards Sofia, he turned towards the sky and just started to look up. He took out a guitar pick from his pocket and started to roll it between his fingers as he tried to have a lighthearted expression on his face. "Well, it never is anyone's job to be honest. The way I see it there are two kinds of people in this world: there are those who pretend life goes on without issues and never look them in the face to begin with; and there are those who know life isn't perfect and reach out to provide support to those who need it. So what if I hardly know you? You at least deserve to have someone be your rock every now and then."

"You've dealt with a sight more stress today than I have, and yet look at me. I'm a damn mess."

"So what? That doesn't mean you're a horrible person in any remarks. To be honest I think you are a caring person; so you kinda broke when there was a situation where you couldn't help everyone you saw. I could just be making an ass of myself here by assuming, but that's what I believe." Leo chuckled at his last statement, and then he laughed at the image of a bar of soap in Sofia's mouth. He didn't know why he was laughing, but he couldn't help it. Maybe because he was happy that she regained a little sense of humor now.

"Are you doing okay? "You're clearly suffering from smoke inhalation, and you did take a good hit to the head..."

Leo pocketed the pick he was playing with and looked back towards Sofia. She seemed to have finally calmed down, allowing Leo to at least not feel bad if he looked at her. "The police man that I woke up to said I was fine for the most part. No concussions and just a little cough. As long as I don't think about it I should be alright." He felt the patch on his forehead from where he hit the cobblestone ground, wincing at the pressure he put on it. "Then again, I also kinda ran away from them when they weren't looking... soooooooo I could just be some idiot or something along those lines." Leo chuckled again, giving her a smile to show that he was just being there for her.

Leo came at a loss for things to say though... giving him a feeling of awkwardness. He didn't have Ray to give him signals of what was right and wrong to say and he never was really ever alone with a person before. This was weird to him, but he tried not to show it. "We should probably check up on Ricky... make sure he's fine... right?"

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Character Portrait: Sofia Gallagher Character Portrait: Leocadius Carles
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Sofia rubbed at her eyes to get rid of the few tears that remained on her face. Leo was being far too good to her, considering what she’d done mere minutes ago. She hated having to rely on someone else (especially someone as new to her as this) for emotional support… But she’d needed it bad, and might again later. And he was trying so hard not to be awkward, too. What a good guy. He had such a nice laugh, too.

Of course, she was a bit mad at him for ditching the paramedics. ”You are an idiot!” she laughed after he told her. ”If you weren’t already injured…” She was glad that he was okay. Even though his awkwardness was kind of showing. Maybe that was why he always had Ray with him? Speaking of beings whose names start with the letter R… where was Ricky?

Leo got to it before Sofia could. "We should probably check up on Ricky... make sure he's fine... right?"
”Yes, definitely a good idea. He’s probably wondering where we are, huh? I need to make sure he’s okay, too.” Sofia stood up, wobbling a bit when she got up. She’d stood up too fast. Oh well. ”Bluh! Definitely need to cook tonight. It’s been one of those days,” she said to herself as she shook her head free of the black fuzzies.
Before she forgot to, though…

”Hey, Leo? Thanks. It meant a lot to me.” Sofia didn’t specify what. She wasn’t sure herself what, honestly. ”Just… thank you.” Sofia smiled softly. She wished she had her sunglasses right now. They were with her stuff back at the scene. Hopefully.

”Now, come on! Let’s go find Ricky!” And with that, they were off to find their other friend, who was hopefully in as good a condition as Leo. Considering the scene, though...

Nope, Sofia was sure he was going to be okay! Right? Right!

And if not, she hadn't used much of her kit.

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Character Portrait: Sofia Gallagher Character Portrait: Ricky Rolland Character Portrait: Leocadius Carles Character Portrait: Xia Leingod
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As Leo put his guitar back into its case and slung it over his shoulder, he felt it was necessary to get Ray back out into the open again. Ray never liked his Pokeball and was only in it when forced to; and in this case it was probably the paramedics who put him back just out of consideration.

Ray came out of the light in a majestic flash and flew around in the air, happy to be free from his prison. After a few circles in the air he landed on Leos shoulder with a pleased expression that Leo was still fine. "Good to see ya pal. I'm happy to say I'm as healthy as can be." Ray gave a pleasant caw in response and gave a little nibble to his ear.

"”Hey, Leo? Thanks. It meant a lot to me.”"
Leo didn't know how to respond to this. He'd never been thanked in this kind of context before. He couldn't describe the feeling he had inside of him when she said it. Proud? Satisfied? Whatever it was it made him feel good. "Yeah, same to you. If you ever need to talk just call me over."

As the duo walked out from the alley, Leo kept replaying the conversation they just had in his head. Normally by this point he would be abandoned by whoever he was with because he was seen as annoying. What'd he do differently? He was honest with what he said, just as usual. He was lost in thought as they walked together, making occasional glances over towards Sofia trying to analyze her again. Why was she so different? Ray made occasional pecks at his head if he lingered too long looking at her as well. The last thing he needed to be was creepy.

When they arrived at the scene of the crime, most of they bystanders and paramedics had left. There were still several groups of cops roaming around the scene of the crime, gathering any and all evidence they could on who was the cause of this. Before Leo even noticed, Ray flew off from his shoulder straight towards Ricky. Something was going on over there and Ray was obviously worried.

"Hey Ricky! What's going on?" Leo yelled as he jogged over to the young man. Before Leo yelled again though, Ray came flying back to him and started to flutter his wings in Leo's face. This both slowed Leo down and shut him up, considering Ray never does this unless he needed to be quiet. As soon as Ray moved from in front of his face, Leo saw Ricky embracing a bloodied Ponyta. In a whisper, he motioned over to Sofia saying, "Hey, you have any idea what's going on here? Where did this Ponyta come from?"

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Ricky smiled again as the ponyta began calming down. That was better. "See? I'm not a bad guy." He said further. Petting her mane gently. He heard his name shouted, it was Leo! Though he was half worried that the sudden shouting might undo his attempts to calm the ponyta, he was rather glad that the result was an intimidating flair rather than something more substantial.

Looking over his shoulder at them, Ricky held out his hand for them to slow down and take it easy. He didn't want to spook her,"Don't worry, these are my friends. They won't hurt you either. And they do not need to come over here if you do not wish them too. Now I got to fix you up, you have bled a lot and you are tired, the sooner I fix you up, the sooner you will feel better. Now just relax."

He removed her hands from her head and reached down to his fanny pack and checked inside to see what he had to work with. He had the basics crammed inside, but he was low on his potions and hadn't yet had the chance to restock before this happened. He had enough to make due for now. Setting the spray bottle down, he pulled out a spool of black thread and a needle. For when his pokemon got lacerations such as these to help them heal faster. The thread specialized for an electric pokemon, but it should still stand up to heat.

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Character Portrait: Sofia Gallagher Character Portrait: Ricky Rolland Character Portrait: Leocadius Carles Character Portrait: Xia Leingod
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Sofia knew exactly where the colorful Ponyta had come from, and at the sight of it she blanched a little. It belonged to that girl that had gotten shot. She wasn't going anywhere near that Pokemon, not in a million years. Too much guilt, and besides, Flora was terrified of fire.

"I, ah, think it belongs to the girl that got shot..." Sofia murmured to Leo. She flinched when the Ponyta flared up. Calm down, girl, it wasn't your fault, no one's mad at you. Well, except for yourself. And maybe everyone involved.

Ricky looked pretty proficient with cleaning up the colorful Ponyta, which Sofia was surprised about. She wouldn't have pegged him as that type of Trainer. (Not that she thought he was a bad trainer, mind. She didn't think he would have taken that part of the course since it was optional. At least, any time she'd taken the course it had been for Trainers.) He didn't look like he needed any help.

"If you guys don't mind, I probably need to make a call, since word of this will definitely spread quickly." If news of this spread quickly (and it probably would, considering that a couple of reporters were already on the scene) her mother would, to say the least, be very worried. Plus she needed to get away from the scene, maybe cook a bit to calm down. Something like that. "If you guys want to meet up, I'll probably be at the Inn, so just ask for me and they should tell you where I am or where I'll be." Sofia found her bag (everything was there still, thankfully) and resituated it on her back. She needed to check up on her Pokemon, too. They'd been awfully quiet... Now, where was that Inn?

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Ricky had plenty of experience patching up pokemon. He had been a trainer for some years now, and had a fair share of losses under his belt, which resulted in a fair share of injuries he had to take care of. He wasn't the greatest trainer out there, but his pokemon's enthusiasm matched his own 'give it your all' mentality. And Ricky loved his pokemon, they were his foundation and Ricky worked hard for them. Learning how to patch them up was one such way of showing he cared. Just because Ricky looked like a slacker, didn't mean he was one.

Bites and cuts were relatively easy to take care of, though these were a good bit more ferocious than what he was used to. It was still the same basic concept. Using all the potion, he sprayed the solution onto the wounds to clean it and help speed the healing, as well the anesthetics in it would also help relieve the pain to lessen her suffering as he worked in stitching her up. He was sitting crosslegged as he worked, with the ponyta's injured leg propped up on his own to give it more comfort than the cold hard ground... The thread should hold up to the heat well enough, though he would still need to keep an eye on it just in case. Once he got the wounds closed, he felt much more comfortable that they would heal up with little to know permanent physical damage. Using his wet tank top, which had been cleaned from Monty's washing, he began to clean the ponyta up. Speaking gentle things to her as he worked to help keep her in a calm state of mind.

Sophia was leaving them? Oh... well Ricky would be sure to find her later. He could understand she had it rough as well. Though it would be selfish of him to ask her to wait on him. He would certainly go and check on her after this. But right now the ponyta was a more pressing matter, "I'll definitely meet you there, Sophie." He said with a small smile, one that he held throughout his stitching. He didn't realize when he said it, but he hoped she didn't mind her calling her a familiar Sophie instead of Sophia.

By the time he was done, Ricky was covered in blood, but he didn't seem to mind at all. He was trying not to think about it. "This is just to start her on the path of healing. These bites ain't gonna heal overnight. We need to take her somewhere she can rest and where I can clean her up properly. Should the potion do its job, she will be able to walk on it tomorrow with a bit of TLC." At the last question, Ricky gave a sad sigh."She got shot, Leo... There is only one place they would have taken her. And likelyhood is they be working on her right now. We'll ask around while the paramedics are here, they will at least be able to give us a location of the hospital. But until she is stable, I don't see them giving strangers visiting rights to a girl in critical condition. If that ends up being the case, I will see if I can watch her at the Inn where Sophie is staying, if not then I will carry her back to the breeding center." He said, he didn't exactly have the funds to pay lodgings at the moment. Hadn't had a chance to earn anything yet. He had been planning on sleeping in an alley somewhere, but the ponyta needed shelter.