Chapter 1 - Drowning In Booze
“Another.” Mycaelis voice, that usually held with it a sense of rusticity, had now dropped to a near wheeze.
Upon making the request, his empty and well-used beer mug was taken and promptly shoved back under him with its contents full. For a moment Mycaelis simply gazed down into the golden liquid with the same mournful expression of a child gazing upon a bottle of putrid medicine.
“Hey, buddy,” chimed the stand-in barkeeper. “Don’t you think you’ve had enough?” With the usual keeper now lost in the voids of thin air along with half of Tao Village, the Spinda Café needed whoever they could get their hands on to keep the place running. The Ursatang, who served him, was obviously unfamiliar with his drinking habits.
Mycaelis grumbled. A blurred sight of vision accompanied by a desire to vomit where signs that he had pushed to the back of his tainted mind. He preferred these feelings to those he was feeling several hours ago before entering the bar.
“Just keep them coming,” he mumbled. He knew she was right, but even so, Mycaelis knew needed the drink. Sober was a state he wanted to be as far from as possible at a time like this. He didn’t want to know about Vagus or his self-appointed Riolu friend. The very thought of the pair made him instinctively empty half his glass in a single gulp in an effort to wash away the thoughts.
The Ursurang expressed a look of disapproval. She did nothing else to try and deter him from drinking. “Just like all the others in this place, you are. Drinking yourselves into stupors won’t bring them back.” The joyous conversations and occasional music of the bar were absent. Groups of friends and teams huddled around tables, too small to accommodate them, now sat scattered around the unusually empty café. Like Mycaelis, it seemed that everyone here wanted to be alone with their grief.
Through his beer induced solace, Mycaelis still managed to make out a set of footsteps behind him as someone approached the bar next to him. “He asked for another drink, woman. Not your opinion.”
The voice was familiar and made Mycaelis smile for the first time in days. Its owner, a Dewott of a strong stature came to sit at barstool next to Mycaelis. The Ursutang looked as though she wanted to the Dewott alive. “Now just who do you--”
“Ack!” He thumped the bar with his paw, his patience beginning to wade. “Just shut up and go get me one, too. Now.” With a growl, the Ursurang turned away and returned with full mug for the Dewott. “Good. Now, get.”
The Usurang went nowhere. She didn’t take kindly to be treated so rudely and regarded both him and Mycaelis and the Dewott with a nasty glare. Mycaelis was quick to take notice of it. “Oi. Didn’t ya hear him? Fuck off.”
“To hell with the both of you!” she snarled before throwing down her tea-towel and storming out of the café. Despite the noise she made not one of the café’s patrons looked up from their respective drinks. It was clear that they have had their fair share of drink that afternoon.
Mycaelis, in his semi-drunkin stupor, turned to the Dewott and regarded him with a huge grin and subtle chuckle. “Nick! How are ya, mate?” He threw an arm over his old friend and held him close. Half submersed in his alcohol-induced daze, he was too disorientated to notice he was crushing the Dewott with the strength of his right arm.
“Ah! The fuck?” protested Nick, yanking himself out.
“Shit. Sorry, mate.”
Nick simply responded with a grin as he massaged his injured neck. “I see you’ve been keeping strong, Michael.”
“Aye,” affirmed Mycaelis. The smile from his face faded. “At least…I have been.”
In a split second Nick’s mood became as sombre as Mycaelis’. He took a large gulp of his own beverage before speaking. “I’m sorry about Vagus. You’ve heard nothing from the guild heads that remain?”
Mycaelis said not a word, but simply shook his head and finished his half-empty glass in a single gulp. He slammed it down on the counter. The sudden motion was enough to make Nick jerk in surprise.
“Fuck all…” hissed Mycaelis. “All Fresnel wanted us to do was…deliver a letter…to PK’s sis, of all people.”
Nick smirked. “Knowing you, you didn’t do it, did you?”
Mycaelis chuckled. “You know me too well. ‘Course I bloody well didn’t.”
“Yup! To hell with him. I preferred things when Chill was running the guild.”
“Aye,” whispered Mycaelis, laying his head down on the counter. The booze was getting to him. “Good times…good times.” Before the Charmeleon could close his eyes and drift off into a world of his alcohol-spawned dreams, Nick spoke a set of words that took hold of his attention.
“Speaking of missing ‘mons. I’d thought I’d see you amongst the horde of ‘mons standing outside the Merchant HQ.”
No response came from Mycaelis. Even in his blunted state, Nick’s words were still able to flip switches within his brain. Something was going on. Something he didn’t know about that involved Vagus, Meri and all the others that had gone missing. “What do you mean?” he moaned.
“The massive crowd standing outside, you drunk! They’re demanding answers from Shroomy and every other guild head that’s left!”
Like a snake rising to the music of a charmer’s flute, Mycaelis looked at Nick with a pair of focused eyes. “How long ago was this?”
“Heck, they’re still out there now, man!”
In an instant, Mycaelis became a blur of cumbersome movement. Moving as fast and smoothly as his clumsy limbs would allow, he sprinted from the stool. Unfortunately for the rushed Charmeleon, his foot caught on the leg of the bar stool, pulling both him and the stool to the ground with a loud thud. The noise attracted a series of nasty glares and hisses from the café’s patrons. Mycaelis payed them no heed and instead clambered back to his feet and staggered towards the door.
Nick was left alone with only Mycaelis’ empty mug for company. His eyes remained fixed and motionless on the door that Mycaelis had departed through. Regarding the door with a shrug, he turned back to his drink. “See ya ‘round, man.”