Diego sat down next to the small table. He was sitting on the floor, seeing as there were no chairs. He looked around the small hut and saw the same old fireplace, the same old stove, the same old wooden door and the same old straw beds. He had thought long and hard about the news he was to deliver that night. He then heard a clicking noise and turned his head to see the wooden door opening.
A pair of Charmeleon, his parents, entered the room. Raul, his father walked over a small crate and deposited some coins. At the same time, Lenora, Diego’s mother carried a large pouch over to a small counter and emptied it. She then divided the berries and seeds, which had been inside the pouch into three portions. Lenora carried the food over to the table where Raul had sat down with Diego.
Unlike Kyla from the first story, Diego knows who his parents are when the story starts. I wanted to contrast the main protagonists of the stories and that was one example of that.
As the small family began to eat dinner Raul asked his son, “Diego, have you accomplished anything today? You know that money is still short and we need everyone doing whatever odd jobs they can.”
The young Charmander sighed and then looked over the concerned faces of his mother and father. He told them, “What I have done today, is make a decision.”
Lenora cocked her head and then asked her son, “What decision have you made?”
Raul sternly said, “Whatever it is, I hope it involves supporting the family because we have no need for ideas that do not help us out financially.”
Diego sighed again and said, “I have decided to leave home. I have made just enough of my own money to afford a one-way trip on a shipping barge headed north across the sea to the frontier. Once I arrive, I plan to do everything I can to make a name for myself. I want to bring some glory to our impoverished family and eventually send back for you two.”
I think that the poor hero leaving home in search of fame and fortune is an old concept. It has been done many times, but I hope that I did it somewhat uniquely in this story.
Raul placed his head in his claws and replied, “Diego, even if you have enough money to afford this trip, you would be all alone with almost no money, in a foreign territory. I know that you do not want to live in Kez village forever and that we are just scraping by, but this is not the way for you to succeed in life.”
Diego did not seem discouraged, he then added, “Father, Ned is going to go with me. He has far more money than I have. His parents have already, albeit reluctantly, approved his leaving and he will make sure that I am not alone.”
This is the first we hear of Diego’s friend Ned. Having the “Partner” character already be a friend of the protagonist when the story begins is another contrast in this story compared to its predecessor.
Lenora told her husband, “Raul, if Ned is going with Diego, then I think we should consider letting him go. He has clearly thought this through. Besides, this might be our shot at a better life, or at least our son’s shot at a better life.”
Diego nodded his agreement and said, “Dad, listen to mom. I will miss you both terribly, but I plan to do something, whatever it is, that will make Ned and I heroes up in the wild frontier. I am doing this not only for myself, but for our family!”
Diego care about his family, he was not only going on his adventure for his own personal gain.
Raul sighed deeply and thought for a moment, he then looked his only son in the eyes and said, “Ok then, go, but if it turns out to be too much up there, then have Ned give you the money for a trip home. Now, when does this shipping vessel leave?”
Diego quickly replied, “Tomorrow, Ned and I have already purchased our tickets. I did not want to leave without telling you. However, I had already resolved to go with or without your permission.”
Like Kyla before him, Diego can be quite determined when he wants to be. He does not back down easily.
Lenora saw a bit of anger in her husband’s eyes and then changed the subject, saying, “Let’s eat then. This will be our last meal together for a long time, it seems.”
The small family ate in silence and soon after that, they quietly went over to their respective beds and went to sleep.
The next morning, Diego had said an emotional goodbye to both of his parents as his father went off to find work for the day, as usual. His mother went to gather food in the nearby forest, as usual. Diego walked over to the docks, after parting with his parents, where he saw a Squirtle waiting for him.
As Diego approached, Ned called out, “Well, there you are, buddy! I was getting worried about you. The barge has been sighted. Soon, we will be of this island and away from this small, boring, village of ours!”
Diego smiled back at his friend and responded, “Well, since your father is a well-paid dock manager, you do not really need to leave.”
Ned took it in stride and smiled back, saying, “I find the ideas of adventure and heroism most intriguing. Not necessarily glory or pay, like you do.”
As the pair walked to the edge of the dock to await the approaching barge Diego said, “We may have different motives, but we have both made this commitment. Let’s go do our best out there.”
That totally sounds like what a PMD character would say.
As the barge docked and the pair showed their tickets and boarded the vessel, Ned said to Diego, “I have been able to confirm that our destination is one of the frontier’s southern coast’s larger settlements, Semberta Town.”
Diego nodded, as the two found a place among the cargo being loaded and unloaded to sit down. He then said, “Thankfully, the trip will take less than a whole week, only around five days. At least according to the Prinplup who sold us our tickets.”
Ned nodded and replied, “Well, old friend, get cozy, it’s going to be a long ride.”
The shipping barge set sail and traveled northeast across the ocean for five days. A school of Sharpedo, who had been hired as protection for the barge, followed it for the whole route. However, the well-traveled sea-lane was relatively safe and no serious issues were encountered on the way.
Diego was nudged awake five mornings later. He slowly opened his eyes and saw Ned standing over him, smiling.
Ned said, “Hey Diego, we have arrived. We are coming in just as the sun is rising.”
I wonder what that’s a reference to?
Diego got up just and stood up next to Ned. The two of them then quickly moved up to the front of the barge. They could see that the barge was navigating between two arching barriers, with watchtowers on top of them, into a small harbor. The harbor of Semberta Town was at least the size of Kez village’s harbor. The pair could not get the best view of the town due to the lack of light, however they did see that the docks were not very busy. Only a couple of the docks had vessels in them out of at least eight total slots.
The barge docked in the harbor as the sun continued to climb into the sky. As the barge’s cargo was being unloaded, Ned and Diego walked off the barge and into the town.
As the duo were walking through the harbor area, Ned pointed to an empty dock and said to Diego, “Do you see a Pokémon by that dock? I wonder what she is doing, just standing there?”
Diego looked over to where his friend was pointing and saw a Riolu standing on the dock. She was just looking out at the sunrise, alone. Diego then responded, “There’s no harm in asking her what she’s doing, right?”
Ned nodded back and the pair of friends walked down the dock until they reached the Riolu. Even when they were directly behind her, she did not turn around. She simply asked, “Zane, Paul? Is that you two?”
Diego looked over at a confused-looking Ned for a second and then replied, “No miss, we are not Zane and Paul, whoever they are. We are new here and were just curious as to why you were out here by yourself so early in the morning?”
It won’t be long until Zane and Paul show up, though.
The Riolu turned her head around to partially face the two friends. She then replied, “I just come out to the docks every morning to watch the sunrise with minimal obstructions. My name is Ana, by the way. What are your names?”
Readers who just came from the ending of the previous story should remember her.
Ned responded, “My name is Ned and this is my close friend Diego. We just came to town. By the way, while we are talking, do you know where the local inn is?”
Ana replied, “Oh yes, the inn, it’s the largest building in town. It is actually just north of where we are standing now.”
Diego finished, “Well thank you miss, we will be on our way now.”
Ana nodded and returned to looking at the sunrise as the two friends left to find the inn. Diego and Ned walked quickly away from the docks. It did not take long for the two friends to find themselves at the inn, just north of the docks. As the pair approached the inn, Diego suggested, “You know Ned, for now you have the most money between us, by far. Once I get enough money, I can pay for my room, but for now…”
Diego is politely asking for Ned to pay. Thankfully, Ned understands his situation.
Ned interrupted, “I know, I will pay for our accommodations for now. Let’s just go inside and see how much a room with two separate beds costs.”
Diego opened the door for Ned and the duo walked inside the inn. The wooden interior of the building was filled with many tables and chairs for eating. A large bar, flanked by a pair of staircases, was present at the back of the room. A Mawile was tending the bar, using her large pair of secondary jaws like a third arm as she moved glasses around and washed them. As Ned and Diego walked over to the bar the Mawile asked them, “And who might you two be?”
Diego replied, “Two friends wanting to rent a single two-bed room for the foreseeable future. What does that cost?”
He was pretty upfront there, now that I am re-reading this I notice that.
The Mawile gave Diego a bit of a look as Ned retrieved his money pouch. She then responded, “A single room with two beds is 14 Poke per week at the moment. I was also wondering who you two are.”
I guess that she agrees with me.
As Ned got out 14 Poke, which he handed to the Mawile, Diego continued, “My name is Diego and my friend here is Ned. We just came in and are hoping to find some work out here.”
As the Mawile finished counting the money Ned had given her, she said, “Well, my name is Sherry, I am the barkeeper and apprentice manager of this establishment. Welcome to Semberta Town. We serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, but only two meals a day are covered by the normal room package. Also, a lot of the other guests come in to drink juice, milk, etcetera in the evening after dinner just so you two know.” Sherry then gave Diego a key for the room. The key was numbered 211.
I never mention alcohol in my ROC stories. I honestly wonder if it even exists in this world?
Diego took the key and said, “We will try remember all of that information.”
It was a reasonable amount, after all.
Ned nodded and added, “Thank you Sherry. I think we will check out the room, then explore the town and return for dinner.”
Sherry nodded and went back to washing a glass with her actual arms as Diego and Ned walked up the right staircase to the second floor.
The two friends walked into their room, which, as promised, had two beds. Next to each bed was a very small crate, presumably for storing items. There was also a window, facing north and equipped with curtains. The two friends each picked a bed and Ned placed most of his money in his crate. Diego kept his few Poke in his pouch and each of them sat down on their bed and faced each other.
Diego told Ned, “I think I have a plan. Why don’t we spend most of the day getting our bearings in this town so we do not get lost in the future. Then, when evening falls, we return to the inn and see who we can talk to about getting jobs in the area that will start us on the path to glory and adventure.”
Ned nodded his agreement and then said, “That actually sounds like a decent idea, we should get breakfast and head out as soon as possible.”
The two friends then left the room, locked the door, got breakfast from Sherry and set out into the town to do some exploring.
That concludes the first chapter. I will have a few more serious development insights to share in later chapters. This story ramps up a bit faster than its predecessor did.