If Clay had the capacity to blush, sweat or cry, he might do some combination of the three. Between the wrath of Sylveon (whose attitude betrayed her absolutely adorable, cuddly exterior), the subtle acknowledgement of one of the Guild’s most decorated Ace, and the stares from the other beginners, Clay wanted to curl into a ball and roll right back to the quarry. However, he knew this would only make his status in the guild more perilous. “Sorry, yes, I’ll fix it, sorry...” he muttered, too quiet for most to hear.
Even though Clay had worked for the Explorers’ Guild for a whole year, he did not quite feel as though he belonged. From the start of his tenure, the Guild had never intended to induct him as a member. When his long-dormant body had been dug up and reactivated, the little golem seemed to have entirely forgotten where he had come from, who had created him, and what his purpose was. Apricoatl, the sweet shopkeeper, had taken Clay under her wing (or in her case, fluffy white tail) and helped him find work to make himself useful. Clay did not need to sleep, and worked almost around the clock to try and “earn his keep”, despite others’ insistence that this wasn’t necessary. Unfortunately, this meant that aside from Apri, Clay seldom spoke with his fellow guildmates.
Frankly, Clay needed to make some friends. He had thought about it for a long time, and decided that the best way to do this was to sign up for his first real expedition. Maybe he’d also find something about his past in these dark and mysterious caves.
Clay had already taken steps to register as an explorer, and Alakazam naturally already knew this. “Yes sir!” Clay proclaimed, saluting the mustachioed guildmaster and standing at attention, “Thank you, sir, I promise I won’t let you down, sir!” He remained frozen in this salutatory position for some time, until Alakazam had finished speaking and the beginners were starting to give Clay odd looks as they broke away from the group to go about their various daily activities. Clay then sauntered over to Apricoatl, either unaware or not caring how strange he must have seemed to the rest of the Guild.
“Hi Apri,” Clay said. It was sometimes hard to read Clay’s emotions, given that his face didn’t move and his voice was more robotic than most. However, the golem was clearly excited by whatever he was about to say next. “I brought you some stuff,” he began, placing the clothen sack on the ground where she could easily pick through its contents. Clay was great at finding things while digging, but couldn’t always tell trash from treasure; that was Apri’s area of expertise. This haul seemed to be better-curated than the last, though; perhaps Clay was learning from his mentor?
"Ohoh? Let's evaluate what you found," Her eyes shined at the sight of potential loot, Clay always knowing how to catch the girl's attention. Half of her tiny body was practically scrambling inside the bag within moments to take a peek at what he'd found. Although unsure of what some of it was, noting some broken sort of pottery and a rather gleaming stone. That stone was identifiable, Apri popping out of the bag with it in her paws. She squinted as she stared at it, allowing Clay his moment to talk about the real situation at hand.
“Apri, I want to go on an adventure. A quest. A real, bona-fide, exploratory expedition!” He paused. “... Will you come with me? Please? I’ve never been on one before and I’m worried that I might get lost or mess something up. I’m immune to Electric-type attacks, so you won’t have to worry about shocking me by accident, and I can carry anything you want to bring! Also I don’t sleep so if we need to camp out I can keep watch.”
A sly smile curved onto Apricoatl's features, looking away from the stone to instead address her large mineral-laden friend. The thought that, after a year, he'd now be trying to go out on an expedition? How much had he prepared for it, she had to wonder. She thought it was little suspicious to have needed a type-chart reference, but didn't think too hard on it. It wasn't like she was about to tell him no by any means. "Of course!" She answered positivity, but one of her eyes closed in a prolonged wink as she continued: "But, there's a few things you have to account for before making a venture out there! Don't forget what we were just told. About the storm, you know?"
Clay nodded. “That’s okay, we’ll be inside of a dungeon, won’t we?” Clay paused. “But if it’s raining hard enough, I guess I won’t be able to do my quarrying. Hopefully Glaceon doesn’t mind...” He seemed to trail off towards the end of his sentence, his attention split between the repairs and construction he was meant to do around the guild, and the exploration he wanted to engage in. “How long do these trips usually take? I don’t really eat, so I don’t need to pack much aside from tools. And how many Pokemon usually come along? It’s my first time and I’m really nervous. Do we just go and pick a mission from the bulletin board?”
Apricoatl didn't want to embarrass her big beginner friend, but she couldn't help but giggle at least a little. "Yes, we will be. But if the storm's bad, we want to try and be back before it gets serious." She rested against her bushy tail momentarily, preparing to explain. "Even the simpler jobs can take up a lot of your day. You account for prepping for the job, travel time, the work itself, then traveling back? It all adds up." She took note of the warnings again in her mind, realizing today was probably going to be a slightly odd start for him with the storm, but it wasn't a bad introduction. "For groups, we usually keep it to four or under. Any more and we'd attract too much attention out there, and get swarmed by angry Pokemon. Plus, the more teammates you have, the harder it is to properly split up rewards among your team."
Figuring her relaxation for the morning was over, she gave in and stood up properly so as to not doze off on her own tail. "And jobs? We've got plenty on the boards. But you've got to be careful on what you pick up, some of them are pretty dangerous, especially for a beginner." She explained, fiddling with the stone in her hands. "Plus, we're on a tight schedule. You've heard of the 'Mysterious Wind' that exists inside of a Mystery Dungeon, right?"
heard of the winds, though he didn’t know much about them. “They throw you out of the dungeon if you spend too long in certain areas. I read that there’s strange forces in the dungeons that we don’t really understand, and the Winds are just one of them.” It took him a second to realize what Apricoatl was getting at. “I know I’m not as fast as you, but I promise I won’t slow you down too much.” Despite being three times the Pacharisu’s size, Clay was clearly deferring to her experience and judgement. “If we need to move quickly, I’m sure there’s adjustments we can make. I can pack light! And bring an umbrella in case we get caught in the storm; I’m too heavy for the wind to blow me away so I’m not worried about that.”
The lumbering golem ambled over to the notice board, still speaking to Apricoatl. “What sort of missions are good for a first time out? Lost-and-found? Search-and-rescue? ... These, uh... ‘rampage’-type missions seem rather frightening.” He shuddered at the thought of being obliterated by some aggravated Gyarados or Aggron. “I’m most comfortable in caves and mountains and such, since I’m usually underground anyways, but I’m not overly partial. Just nothing near large bodies of water my first time, please.”
"No worries, there'll be enough water potentially atop our heads!" She cheerily remarked, tugging Clay's bag over and looking towards the requests. Tongue sticking out the side of her mouth in a moment of deep thought, she let out an opinion and observation based on what he'd said. "Slow and steady works just fine in dungeons, we just have to find a task that suits the approach. If it gets too late, those Winds won't let us camp inside the Mystery Dungeon, so we'd have to worry about being brushed out and left in the storm outside if we stay too late." She couldn't expect Clay to just be
faster, though maybe at some point they could ask a move learner or dojo master about moves that'd raise the round-boy's speed. A lot of those TM's were in circulation in shops, all you had to do was keep an eye out and eventually you'd find what you seek.
Her eyes scanned the board, although she felt conflicted on what would be best for her friend's first real venture. "Hm," She audibly mused, uncertainty filling her features as her head tilted slightly in observation. "Tough call... There's got to be something decent plastered up here somewhere!" She scooted closer to the boards, eyes scanning each request with intent to suggest one that'd be fitting for Clay's talents. That being said, he'd have to learn to operate in conditions outside his comfort zone too, but that could wait. Nobody needed that much stress on their first adventure. Being a tad short to see the higher requests, Clay held out a helping hand for Apricoatl to climb up on his shoulder so that she could see the board more clearly, and the squirrel accepted the extra height with a giggle of appreciation, taking advantage to look at the requests on the top as Clay scanned the ones on the bottom. The two poured over the list of missions, wondering which one would be the best to undertake...