Performance anxiety can bring down the mightiest of entertainers. There are many, in fact, who find it slightly beneficial to be afraid of what they might expect from an audience; it keeps them on their toes, and can give a rush that is quite otherwordly. Unfortunately, Grete decided she didn’t want to FLASH the Rock Tunnel this week, so I had her teach the moves to Amanitas, who was more than happy to puff up and be all weird in her endeavors to light up the place.
With that, I took my Pokédrag boys and girls into the tunnels to see what we could (now) see. It wasn’t long before we were approached by two rather not shy performers. The first was what I heard called a Machop, and he had long endeavored to be a star. His diva of choice, and the stage persona he wished to adopt? She-Hulk. When I pointed out that I could possibly see his muscly similarity to her, I found it difficult to square his only slightly bluish-green skin (I was being generous, it still looked fairly blue to me) away with an attempt at real cosplay. After all, some of the Pokéfanatics I encountered in the tunnels seemed rather ardent cosplay enthusiasts and critics.
Well, She-Hulk informed me, I was obviously not aware that She-Hulk was more than just a mean, lean muscly fighting machine, but also a brilliant lawyer. She presented her argument well, and after giving her a few trials and tribulations against other wild Pokémon, she started tossing them about with ease, while citing various case studies. As lawyers seem to have an oversaturated job market, this career choice only seemed to work in her favor.
Next was an Onix. He boasted and flexed his rocky, serpentine body as he told me he was a fan of a different diva: Nagini. So, adopting that persona, she went about flinging rocks at people. I don’t recall that particular method of attack in the Harry Potter books, but I wasn’t about to have a boulder thrown at my own head. She fit in rather well with the other Poké-monarchs in my troupe, and we ventured forth. Soon thereafter we came across a young man who wanted to teach us how to do the Rock Slide, and sure enough, Nagini was there to give it her all.
Now, dear reader, you will perhaps notice that I interchange pronouns quite freely. Since my drag troupe enjoys the best of all worlds, they rather enjoy playing with the pronouns we use. During my travels this week, however, my poor Pokémon were confused more than once, when someone decided to call them it. Some took umbrage at it, as they were rather proud of their performative identities, and I had to calmly assuage them that this was the case for everyone! They still seemed displeased. Alas.
This trip gave me many flashbacks to my last tunnel experience, and since it was a bit higher level, I found myself, despite having spent a training montage hour or four during last week, going back to the entrance to rest up my little army quite often. Thankfully this time I had a bicycle! Cycling around in a cavey tunnel may not be the most grand experience, but it certainly is something different. I’m not entirely sure I would recommend it, however.
During the fights here, I had brought Koko because of her martial abilities. Since so many rock-type Pokémon were about, her low kicks at shins (heels are pointy and hurt) and karate chops managed to make the trip slightly easier. Of course, she grew rather tired of this routine and eventually decided she was done with the Mankey persona. Instead, she insisted on trying out the stylings of a Primeape. Suddenly she filled with a rage, put on some boxing gloves, and I had a very good case for a tomboy queen.
Eventually — as all good tunnels should — the cave came to the end, a light shining on me. As I stepped outside, I only encountered more Pokétrainers, and at this point my poor group was utterly exhausted. We barely managed to squeak by through to Lavender Town. However, lavender being such a beautiful color, I used it as a banner and rallying cry. We would march on. We would enjoy Lavender Town. We would shop for new outfits!
Of course, I was not quite prepared to be assaulted with news of the atrocities Team Rocket were inflicting on the mothers of Cubones. While I had fought a few and found the fashion choice of wearing a skull to be a bit too macabre for my own tastes, I was not quite aware of how it was wearing its mother’s skull.
I … That was a rather unexpected turn of events, wasn’t it? Children, if your mother happens to be killed, please do not feel the need to wear her skull.
Lavender Town itself seemed a ghost town. There were people, surely! However, there is apparently a tower filled with ghosts? I decided I didn’t want to put my Pokémon through that just yet; they’d already fought their way through one particularly rough enclosure this week. Instead, I talked to various townspeople. There was one who offered to rate my nicknames! He even suggested a few changes (which I politely rejected while gritting my teeth).
However, when I brought both Ms. Nido and Ch’Ding to be rated, he declared them exceptional names and refused to change them. I was slightly chagrined, to be quite honest. Both of them looked so unhappy. I told them secretly they would remain both Antoinette and Daisy (as Ch’Ding had decided she wished to be called) to me.
After that it was a quick stroll on the docks, where various fishermen decided to cast a lure my way. While their water-type Pokémon tried to flush the mascara down our faces again, Ororo was on hand to give them a shocking little performance. Alas, I did try my own hand at fishing, but Magikarp is the only Pokémon who seemed interested. Perhaps my queens needed be a little bit more fish [Warning: Urban Dictionary link] to grab some attention.
Ah well, I suppose next week we’ll have a spooky adventure ahead of us.