“She doing alright?”

Templar paced. He was worried about the Misdreavus he saved the night prior. They were now in a small encampment, a few tents pitched. A fire was in the middle of the small spot in the middle of the woods. Matron was sitting on a log, the ghost in her lap. A cool, damp cloth was over the ghost’s eyes, a few bandages on her being.

“For the thirty-fifth tine, yes, she is doing fine.” Matron’s voice was annoyed as she grabbed the cloth and wrung it out. “You don’t have to ask every hour on the hour.”

Templar shrugged. “You should know as well as I do that this is kind of action is a normal Gallade thing.”

“Of course, but you could at LEAST hold it at bay to every few hours, you know.” Matron replaced the now freshly dampened cloth on the head of the wounded Misdreavus as an Arcanine and a Rhyperior came out of the wood line. Matron turned to them and waved a greeting. “’Lo, Diego. Brutus. Any progress?”

“Nothing.” The Arcanine said, taking a seat next to Matron. “Whoever they were, they were good at hiding their tracks.”

“Damn…” Templar kicked the dirt. “Might want to report it to Master.”

“Of course. Come, Brutus.” The Rhyperior followed Diego into the biggest tent. Some chatter could be heard from within.

“If I could only get my hands on that Dusclops…” Templar punched a tree and punted the Pineco that fell out. “Pisses me off when crap like this happens.”

“Templar! Control yourself!” Matron glared at the Gallade. “What’s done is done, and there’s nothing we can do about it!”

Templar scoffed. “I’m going to take on some Wilds.”

“Have fun.” Matron looked back down to the Misdreavus, who was starting to stir. “Hey, wait. She’s starting to wake.”

As the cloth was removed, the ghost slowly opened her eyes. What she saw was a smiling Gardevoir hovering over her.

“Hey there, little one.” Matron said calmly. “How’re you feeling? Doing better?”

The little ghost looked around her surroundings. Her sight led her to looking at Templar, back turned, but returning the look back at her. They locked stares until Templar finally smiled and turned around.

“Don’t worry, little one.” Templar approached the two. “You’re amongst friends now. We would never hurt you.”

The Misdreavus looked suspiciously at the two. After all that had happened in her life so far, she remained skeptical in the presence of strangers.

Templar chuckled, rubbing her head. “Believe me, I wouldn’t hurt you unless you were trying to kill me. Even then, I doubt you could do much to harm me.”

The Misdreavus hesitated, but she finally spoke. Not in the human speak that Templar and Matron used, but in Pokespeak.

“Um… H-hello…” In the presence of these strangers, her voice was timid, but unusually calm.

“That’s the spirit!” Templar let out a hearty laugh. “Come now, tell us about yourself! You’ll be soon to join us once they get done in the big tent.”

“O…kay… Well… I’m a ghost.”

“We know that, silly!” Matron couldn’t hold back a chuckle. “Like, what kind of ghost are you.”

“A… Misdreavus…” She couldn’t comprehend what they were talking about.

Matron continued to chuckle. “I guess we’ll find out later. Are you hungry at all?”

Now that she realizes it, the ghost hadn’t eaten in well over two days. “Y-yeah… I am…”

“Splendid!” Setting the Misdreavus aside, Matron got up and set up a cooking area. She started to prepare a soup in the cauldron she pulled out. Templar took Matron’s spot and cradled the little ghost.

“You really are beautiful.” He said, admiring the ghost’s appearance and caressing her cheek. “Kind of like something from a fairy tale.”

The Misdreavus blushed. “T-thank you…” She didn’t know what to think. These strangers saved her life, took her in, and offered her hospitality at their own expense. All in the matter of two days. “That’s what my family and friends always said…” Sadness filled her eyes as she said that sentence, the sight of everyone dying in front of her eyes still burning fresh in her mind.

“Don’t worry. I’m sure there are survivors. We can check after this.” Templar sat down with the Misdreavus, Matron serving a bowl to them.

Templar took one bite of his soup and grinned. “Matron, you always cook well. Especially your soups. Love them.”

Matron smirked. “Least I know how to calm the ravenous beast.”

“Hah! Gonna take a lot more to sate this beast!” Templar beat his chest. “I can eat a whole Tauros if I wanted to!”

Noticing the Misdreavus not eating, Matron turned to her. “Need help with that? I’ll take care of it!” Matron grabbed the spoon and started to lift it to Adelade.

She was stopped by a spectral hand. “I…I’ll eat when I’m comfortable with this strange food.” The ghost said, eyeing the soup wearily.

Both Templar and Matron turned to each other, seriousness detected in their faces. They kept the stare for a few minutes.

“What? W-was it something I said?” The Misdreavus was confused as to their sudden change in attitude. “I-I’ll go ahead and eat now…” Taking the spoon with the spectral hand, she slowly opened her mouth and put the soup inside, shakily. After a bit of tasting it, she perked up a bit and took another bite, less hesitantly. Pretty soon, she was eating her soup at a normal pace. The soup not only boosted her confidence, but the refreshing nature of it boosted her strength as a whole.

Finishing her soup, she held up the bowl. “More, please!” Her voice was now strong and confident.

Templar and Matron finally finished their stare, Templar getting up and moving to the big tent. Matron turned to the Misdreavus and served more soup to her.

“Tell me… How long have you known how to do that?” Matron questioned the ghost with seriousness.

“Well… It’s something my father taught me.” The Misdreavus was practically drinking from the bowl. “He said it’s because of his blood in me. He’s an accomplished Illusionist!” She states that with pride.

“A natural-born Illusionist… Never thought I’d see one.” Matron stared openly into the night, reveling in having met one.

“Yep. And my Mother was a Ghost Witch!”

This made Matron spit out her soup and drop her bowl. “WAIT, WHAT?” she was surprised, shocked, amazed, and worried all at the same time. “You mean to say… You’re a Ghost Witch as well? Like in those legends?”

“Legends? Is being a Ghost Witch really that much?”

“You don’t know the HALF of it. It’s a pretty big deal to explorers and adventurers like us!”

“Wow. Well, With my mother’s heritage and my father’s Illusions, I’ll be ready to take anyone on!”

“Well… Hold on, I need to do something real fast…” Matron got up and made her way to the big tent, leaving the Misdreavus there, alone.

“Huh… I wonder what that was all about…” The ghost continued to eat her soup, happily enjoying her meal. However, after some time of waiting, she started to wonder what was going on inside the tent that was so important. What could they be talking about? Curiosity was brimming from her, eventually taking her over. She got up and made her way to the tent, cloaking herself so she wasn’t noticeable. She started snooping in on the conversation.

“…worth it. Those two powers combined could mean mass destruction!” Matron’s voice could be heard.

Then Templar’s voice. “To an untrained user. We have the means to train and teach her how to use her power, and use it for good!”

“The question is: How willing is she?”

“You saw it yourself. She’s warming up to us pretty well. We also saved her life, so the LEAST she could do is accept our offering.”

Diego’s voice perked up. “Does that seem fair, though? Freedom for her life?”

“With us, we’d give her a family she so lost, a fresh start to a new life.”

An unfamiliar voice rang out. “I will approach this one and offer her a new home. If she either accepts or declines, then so be it. We will leave it at that.”

Detecting this as the end of the conversation, the ghost fled back to the bowl, serving more soup and acting like nothing happened.

A few minutes later, Templar appeared out of the tent. He looked at the ghost and approached her. He looked her straight in the eyes, a serious presence about him. “What is about to happen may change your life forever. In a few minutes, Master will appear and give you a choice. I am to act as your interpreter. Are you ready?”

The ghost finished her soup and returned the look. With a calm, strong voice, she replied, “I am ready.”

“Good.” Taking a seat next to her, Templar called out, “We are ready.”

From the tent exited a human. A male, looking to be in his young twenties. A chinstrap goatee, flat-top hair, narrow eyes and a physical complexion suggesting peak conditioning gave him his basic appearance. A short-sleeved shirt with an opened vest, baggy pants and worn leather boots adorned his body, tipped gloves covering his hands. In one of them,he held a Dusk Ball etched with a ‘K’.

“Hello there, little one.” The man said, sitting across from her. “As you may have figured, I am the one that these ones call ‘Master.’ Such a crude term… I prefer ‘Father’ over it, to be honest. Has more semblance of family to it.” He placed the Dusk Ball down next to him, grabbing a bowl of soup and proceeding to eat.

Quick chatter between the Misdreavus and Templar could be heard. “She says to cut to the chase. She doesn’t want to wait.” Templar spoke on her behalf.

“And not let me enjoy Matron’s cooking? Fine…” He set aside the bowl and looked at the Misdreavus, straight in the eye.

“I understand that you lost your home. I understand that you must be feeling a lot of pain from this. I make a proposition to you: I can give you a new life with myself and the fine gentleman next to you, one filled with challenges, adventures, you name it. Should you accept, we will accept you graciously as one of the family. Decline, and I will let you leave, no strings attached. You will be free to go at your own leisure. Take note that this decision will be made now, so think it over, and choose wisely.”

The Misdreavus thought hard, before turning to Templar and speaking her piece. “She would like to know what kinds of adventures we will be going on.” He translated.

“Adventures? Discovering new areas, checking out rumors, completing the Elite Four Challenge in all regions.” He pulls out a case and opens it, revealing ten of forty badges. “It’s a challenge, for sure, but I believe with you joining the team, we can accomplish all of it.”

The shiny badges tempted the Misdreavus, but it still wasn’t enough. She turned to Templar to discuss some things. It took them a while to finish.

“It took a bit, but I believe I got it.” Templar said after the small debate.

“And?” The man turned to the Misdreavus, “Will you join us?”

With a determined face, she nodded.

"Good. Now, touch that Dusk Ball.” He motioned to it.

The Misdreavus floated to the strange object, eyeing it suspiciously. She turned to Templar, who only nodded. With a bit of hesitation, she hit the ball, trapping herself inside it.

Ding. Ding. Ding. Click.

The man smiled, picking up the Dusk Ball containing his newest acquisition. He kissed the ball, turning to Templar.

“Well well… Whatever you did or said worked. I’m impressed.” He put the Dusk Ball down, returning to his soup.

“Um… Well… There was one condition she laid out to me…” Templar muttered nervously. “She said she’d join if I was the one training her.”

Milling the thought around in his head, the man finished his meal and put the bowl aside. “Not a problem.”

That took Templar aback a bit. He didn’t expect such a reaction to such a big deal. Normally, his Master would be a bit more tense. Relieved, Templar sighed. “I’ll do my best. By the way, how about a nickname? Can’t have her going around without one.”

“Already have that covered.” The man grabbed the Dusk Ball and released the Misdreavus. Turning her towards him, he smiled and hugged her.

“Welcome to your new home, Adelade. I am the Father of this family, simply known as Keller.”

Adelade smiled, her eyes alight with a fire of determination and confidence.