Chapter 8: Tart Making

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Chapter 8: Quest for the Tart
The group headed towards the botanical gardens after class. To assist them, (Y/N) had Beautifly, Tropius, and Shaymin (in sky form) accompany them. The three would make the task simple.
"Woah! There's so many chestnuts here!" Grim grinned. "With all these, we can have all you can eat marron tarts! Let's hurry!"
The cat reached out to grab a nut from the tree, only for Beautifly to shoot a String Shot at his paw. He yelped and ran behind (Y/N).
"Thorns, Grim. Watch the thorns." She explained, nodding gratefully to her Pokémon.
"It's going to be impossible to them all with just our hands." Deuce pointed out. "It would be nice to have a bucket to put them all in."
"Maybe we can find one at the botanical garden?" Ace suggested.
"Shall we go look?" Deuce offered like a gentleman to (Y/N).
She smiled and nodded, motioning for Beautifly to come with. They walked inside the greenhouse and were dazzled by the beauty of it. Beautifly almost immediately went for the flowers.
"Woah! It's a lot bigger inside." Ace noted.
"We should be able to find what we need here." Their blue haired companion assured. "Should we split up and look?"
"I'll take right." Ace called.
"We'll take the middle part." (Y/N) said. "I need to make sure I don't loose track of Beautifly."
The group of four parted ways and Grim was immediately trailing after the Butterfly Pokémon.
"Look over here! There's a lot of fruits here! They smell delicious!"
"Grim, remember why we're here." (Y/N) sighed, not noticing a brown tail in her path.
"Ouch!" A low voice grunted.
"Did I just step on something?"
She felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand up as a tall, imposing male appeared behind her, towering over her. His skin was dark, his hair was long, wild (save for some braiding), and he had piercing green eyes, his left have a scar over it. Most striking of all was his lion ears and tail. He was very handsome (yes Leona is my favorite, no I will not apologize. Besides, my MC likes them wild), but right now, (Y/N) felt a little intimidated as he was clearly in a bad mood.
"Hey. You've got guts to step on someone's tail and not apologize." He growled.
Grim clearly could not sense danger like his dorm mate could. "Are you the guy taking care of this place? Well, he's got a scary face."
"Shut up, Grim!" (Y/N) hissed through clenched teeth.
He glared at them. "And here I was thinking I'd have a good nap, but you had to go and step on my tail. This is the worst."
"Your tail!? Arceus! I'm so sorry, I didn't see it!" (Y/N) quickly apologized, knowing full well how delicate tails were and how much one could hurt.
He suddenly wore a smirk. "You, you're the little herbivore with the beasts, the one that the Mirror said can't use magic. Hmph."
(Y/N) whole body stiffened and her cheeks flared as the male got very close and began to sniff her. This lasted a second before Beautifly swooped down to smack him with his wing, angrily huffing from his trainer's shoulder. The male seemed only amused.
"Ha, I don't smell any magic on you. And that little thing? Seems pretty disappointing compared to that other monster you had."
Grim gulped and grabbed (Y/N)'s leg as she held Beautifly back. The little guy looked ready to strangle the stranger.
"I don't know why, but the way he's looking at us is sending chills down my spine!" Grim squeak.
(Y/N) bit the inside of her cheek. She didn't want to pick a fight with this guy.
"Look, I'm sorry I stepped on your tail, but in my defense, maybe you shouldn't have it laying on the path. Now, if you'll excuse us."
The male growled. "I'm in a bad mood now after being woken up from a good nap. It doesn't matter if you're a girl, I'm not just gonna let you or that bug of yours get off scot free."
"Well, why don't you go back to your nap then?"
"Beautifly, Sleep Powder!" (I am only now aware Beautifly cannot learn Sleep Powder. Seriously Butterfree and Vivion learn Sleep Powder, but not Beautifly?)
The bug/flying type leapt from his perch and circled the stranger, a strange green powder falling from his wings. The stranger lashed out, which he dodged, only to inhale the powder. He was peacefully snoozing against a tree a second later. (Y/N) let out a sigh of relief before grabbing the two monsters and bolting deeper into the garden before the guy woke up again.
"I'm sweating bullets! What's with that intimidating caretaker?!" Grim squeaked as (Y/N) huffed for breath.
"I seriously doubt he's the caretaker..."
Ace and Deuce suddenly emerged from the foliage.
Ace called out, "We found a basket of tongs over there!"
"...Did something happen to you two?" Deuce asked, noticing the sweating and (Y/N) being out of breath.
"Close call with a predator." She explained.
"Ah, that's right! The chestnuts! Our tart will get smaller if we don't get a bunch. We'll talk about our encounter with the caretaker while we work." Grim decided.
They relocated back to the woods to get to work while (Y/N) explained what had happened.
"There is absolutely no way that was the caretaker." Ace said after she finished.
"Told you." She said to Grim.
"If I think back now that I've calmed down, that guy was wearing a yellow vest, so he must be from the Mackerel dorm." Grim concluded.
"You mean Savanaclaw, Grim." (Y/N) corrected.
"Yeah, that dorm!"
Deuce mumbled something to himself about delinquents being common among the students, only for Beautifly to poke him to try and lift his spirits.
"All right. Our chestnut pile is pretty big. Let's get them back to Trey!" Ace announced.
"Nyaha! This tart is gonna be awesome."
Trey had set everything up in the school's kitchen and was waiting for them. He greeted them with a smile.
"Welcome back. I see you've picked a lot."
"You can make big tarts with al, these!" Grim boasted as Beautifly and Shaymin found a nice perch and Tropius settled down.
"Peeling all these will be a challenge. Do your best."
"All of this?" Deuce asked. "I feel like we'll be here for a long time."
(Y/N) nudged him. "Lucky for us, I have the baking dream team! Beautifly, Psychic. Shaymin, Air Cutter. Tropius, Razor Leaf."
Beautifly's eyes went blue as several chestnuts were raised into the air and were peeled by either blades of air or sharpened leaves, before being set down. The boys looked at her in amazement.
"That was so cool, (Y/N)!" Deuce said with starry eyes.
Ace grinned. "Yeah, they're gonna make this so much easier!"
"Don't think they'll be doing all the work." (Y/N) clarified. "Get to peeling."
They drooped their heads and got to work.
"That was pretty impressive." Trey admitted.
"Oh, you haven't seen anything yet. Meet my ultimate ally in the kitchen. Come on out Alcremie!"
A small Pokémon appeared on the countertop. It had bright blue eyes, it's body was pink, yellow, and blue, and seemed to be made of whip cream. It even had little blueberries on its head. It chirped cheerfully at them as Deuce pulled out the Dex.
"Alcremie, the Cream Pokémon. Rainbow Swirl Variant. The evolved form of Milcery. The moment it evolved, it took on a complex flavor. It treats humans they trust with their sweet cream to complement all kinds of desserts. When content, the cream they make becomes sweeter and richer. The taste of the cream changes depending on the fruit they eat."
"Really is the ultimate dessert partner." Ace said as Deuce blushed.
Alcremie was almost immediately drawn to Trey and the senior gently pat her on the head.
"Wow, you're a friendly one. My parents would probably love to have an Alcremie for their shop."
"They run a sweets shop or a bakery, don't they?" The trainer asked with a smile.
"Wow, how did you guess that?"
"Alcremie's naturally drawn to bakers. It's like part of her instincts."
"Well, I'm glad to meet you, Alcremie."
The group went about the peeling, and even with the Pokémon's help, it was a lot of work.
"My arm hurts." Deuce complained.
Trey laughed. "Good work. With all your hard work, I'm sure it will be delicious."
"The smell is making me hungry!" Moaned Grim.
Shaymin yipped in agreement, to which Tropius passed him some fruit.
"I added some butter and sugar to the Marron paste." Trey explained. "And finally the secret ingredient, Oyster Sauce!"
"Oyster Sauce!?" Ace and Deuce yelled as the Pokémon all gagged.
"That's right. The umami that comes from the Oyster Sauce gives the cream a rich flavor. There is no famous patisserie that doesn't use this in their tart."
"Seriously?" Deuce asked, "it's a very salty sauce."
"Well they do put chocolate in curry, sooo...I guess it kinda makes sense."
(Y/N) rolled her eyes. "Guys, he's messing with you."
Trey burst out laughing. "She's right! There's no way I'd actually put Oyster Sauce in the tart! What gave me away (Y/N)?"
"Common sense....and Alcremie looking like she's ready to throw up."
Ace glared at Trey. "What!? I thought you were serious!"
"Haha! If you would have thought about it a little bit, you'd realize it's impossible!"
"That's asking a lot of these three." (Y/N) murmured under her breath.
"Don't believe everything you hear without questioning it. A lesson learned."
"This guy looks all nice, but he had no problem lying to us." Grim mumbled.
"Next is the fresh cream." His eyes widened in panic.
"What's wrong?" Ace asked.
"You all gathered so many chestnuts that I got ahead of myself and made too much Marron paste. We're a little short on fresh cream." Trey admitted.
"Can't Alcremie make up the difference?"
(Y/N) quickly shook her head. "No, no, Alcremie is good for small doses or to add to cream to enhance the flavor."
"I can go out and buy some." Deuce volunteered. "Is it sold at the school store?"
"You can find anything at that place so it should be there. Could I ask you to pick up a few other things? 2 cartons of milk, a dozen eggs, aluminum cups, and five cans of fruit."
"I don't think I can carry all that alone. (Y/N), do you mind coming with me?" Deuce asked.
(Y/N) nodded, curious about this new spot. "Sure. It's my first time going to the school store. Shaymin, you too."
The little reindeer like Pokémon flew over to her and landed on her shoulder.
"I'm going too! I'm tired of mixing flour endlessly." Grim said as Trey and Ace were baffled by Shaymin flying.
The group of four all made it to a strange looking shop on the campus. A sign labeled Mr. S's Mystery Shop hung above the door. When they entered, they were greeted to a variety of the items on sale. The inside was very spoopy like and (Y/N) would make sure to visit with her ghost types.
"Pardon us... Wow, what an amazing shop. Crystal skulls, magical texts, and...wh-what sort of animal is this...?" Deuce was baffled by the questionable accessories lying around.
"Whoa. Do they really sell fresh cream here?" Grim asked, looking around.
Shaymin flew around a bit, poking a voodoo-like mask propped on a chair. Suddenly, a man in purple popped up in front of them.
"Hey! Little lost lambs, what can I help you with? Welcome to Mr. S's Mystery Shop. What is it that you wish for today? A charm against cheating? An ancient king's mirror? Or maybe, some cursed tarot cards?"
"Wha-?! You scared me!" Grim heaved in fear.
"Um, we'd like to buy the things written here." Deuce handed "Mr. S" the list.
"And some tuna cans!"
"No, Grim! We don't need tuna cans." (Y/N) scolded the cat, much to his disappointment.
"What do we have here? Fresh cream and eggs... What a sweet line-up. Okay! I shall bring them out now." He then scurried off.
"Whoa... He really has them." Deuce said surprised.
The shopkeeper returned quickly. "Sorry 'bout the wait. It's a bit heavy, you got it? If you order now you can get a 1/100 size floating platter to carry your purchases for 30 percent off." He offered.
"What's that? It sounds cool!" Grim cheered.
"W-We'll have to decline! Let's go, Grim!" Deuce said, grabbing the monster and running out with the purchased goods.
"Give me a minute, Deuce! Shaymin, come on buddy!"
The Gratitude Pokémon landed on the table and eyed the shop owner. The guy smiled and ruffled his green fur.
"You're a funny looking thing. Never met something like you before."
"That's true for a lot of people back home too." She then scooped up the rest of the groceries and got Shaymin on her shoulder. "Thank you!"
"Okay, okay. I shall be waiting for your return, lost little lambs! Bye!"
He waved goodbye and (Y/N) ran after Deuce. It was dusk by the  time they were crossing Main Street.
"That store was crazy." Deuce said.
"Agreed." The trainer said. "Though it is convenient. Plus the shopkeeper seems nice."
"Boo, you're so stingy, Deuce." Grim said with a frown.
"Who are you calling stingy?" Deuce then looked over at the girl. "(Y/N), that bag of cans looks pretty heavy. I'll carry it. I'm used to carrying heavy stuff."
He was already taking the bags before she could decline, and seeing him be so comfortable with it, she didn't argue.
"Do you usually buy a lot when you go shopping?" She asked.
"Yeah. My mom always buys more than we need during timed sales, and I get stuck carrying all the heavy stuff. Since I'm the only boy it was my job to take care of anything requiring hard labor... Oh, my bad. I've just been talking about myself."
(Y/N) smiled. "It's fine. You're amazing for helping your family out."
"Must be nice having a mom who cares." She thought. Shaymin licked her, sensing the dark thoughts.
"...No, that's not true at all. I... Mother was..." His face was gloomy, but before she could ask, Deuce bumped into a student, dropping the eggs in the process.
"Aaah! The eggs!" Grim exclaimed.
"Shit, half of the eggs are destroyed!" Deuce cursed. "There's egg all over the bag...!"
"That hurt! Watch where you're...wait... You're the guys that wrecked the egg in my carbonara earlier."
(Y/N) recognized the student Swampert had run off earlier and his friend was also with him. "Damn, it's you guys again. You can't catch a break!"
Deuce was frowning deeply, clearly suppressing his anger. "You were the ones who jumped out from behind the corner. At lunch, it wasn't like you couldn't eat the egg anymore but you still came to pick a fight... Just now, you destroyed half of our eggs."
"Yeah, that's right!" Grim agreed.
"The hell? You sayin' it's my fault?"
"Yes. Please pay for the eggs. And please apologize to the chickens, too." Deuce warned.
"Hah? Makin' a ruckus over eggs, are we?"
"It didn't hit the ground so you can still eat it, right? Stop makin' a fuss over little things."
"We saved you the trouble of breaking them!" The two students laugh.
(Y/N) clicked her tongue, annoyed the idiots hadn't learned their lesson. Before she could motion for Shaymin to attack, Deuce began to mumble.
" laugh about."
"This ain't something to laugh about!" Deuce said in an uncharacteristic outburst. "You don't get to make decisions for us! These eggs... Instead of becoming a chick they were gonna make us a delicious tart! Do you understand?! Huuuh?!"
"Um, Deuce, that's not-," he obviously wasn't listening to his female companion.
"What's this guy's problem all the sudden?!" The student yelled.
"If you don't wanna pay for the six eggs you broke... I'll punch you six times instead." Deuce cracked his knuckles.
"Grit your teeth, assholes!"
The Ramshackle residents stood by and watched Deuce beat the jerks into the ground. No magic, just fists. It was quite the sight really. Maybe (Y/N) should've stopped it. but she was done with patience today.
"Th-This guy's a total madman! That was more than six hits, you liar!"
"Oh, crap! Let's run! I'm so sorry to all the chickens!"
"Apologize 100 times next time you eat eggs! Dumbasses!" Deuce yelled as the two students ran away with their tails between their legs.
"Easy Deuce." (Y/N) told him as she placed a hand on his trembling arm. "They've learned." Deuce was panting heavily, before suddenly he gasped.
Grim and (Y/N) watched him, bewildered.
"What's wrong?" Grim asked.
"I-I screwed up... I vowed that I'd definitely, definitely be an honors student this time...!" He looked torn up over this. "I wanted to be different from who I was back in middle school... I always skipped classes, and I got into fights every day. I disrespected all my teachers, hung around sketchy upperclassmen, and bleached my hair to death. Even ran around all over the place riding a magical wheel."
"Magical wheel?"
"I was a terrible person that went as far as to use magic on guys who couldn't." He glanced shamefully, or he tried to. Shaymin flew to his shoulder and brushed up against his cheek, forcing him to look back at the other two,
"Just now you went full bad boy on those guys!" Grim remarked.
"I never would've guessed." (Y/N) said. "You've really turned around by how respectable you act."
Deuce still seemed crestfallen. "One night... I saw my mom hiding away in tears as she called my grandma. 'Was the way I raised him wrong? Would it have been better if he had both parents?' But that's not it at all. Mom never did anything wrong. It was all me! So when the carriage from Night Raven College came to get me, my mom was so happy and I don't want to make her cry again. This time, I'm going to be an honors student my mom can be proud of... And yet... Damn it!"
(Y/N) came up to him and gave him a hug, making him blush.
"Well I think you're doing a pretty good job."
"But, y'know... Is enduring all that part of being a model student?" Grim asked.
Deuce eyed him, confused. "Eh...?"
"Those delinquents deserved another 10 punches if you ask me! You fought them off before I could, though." Grim said.
(Y/N) grinned. "If you hadn't done it, Shaymin here would've."
"You guys..."
"Honor students get mad, too, everyone does." (Y/N) assured him. "I'm in a position of responsibility back home, and there are days I let Swampert run wild against people who get on my last nerve. I respect how you want to improve yourself, though this side of you is also refreshing. I like it."
Deuce blinked at her with wide eyes. "(Y/N)..."Shaymin gave him another reaffirming lick and he smiled, petting him. "I see... Hehe. May those baby chicks rest in peace."
"Those eggs aren't fertilized. They wouldn't hatch in the first place." (Y/N) clarified.
His eyes widen like dinner plates, and his screaming could be heard across the whole of Night Raven College.
"E-Eeeeeehhhh?! You've gotta be kidding?!"
The group finally returned to the kitchen. Ace noticed the dejected look the spade boy was wearing.
"Oh, they're finally back. That sure took a while."
Trey, seemingly having a discussion with Alcremie, turned to them. "Let's finish this up."
After mixing the Marron cream in the tart, and adding some of Alcremie's special cream, Grim put the Marron glacé on top and fortunately didn't mess up the tart.
"All right, the last step is to sprinkle some powdered sugar on top and then..." Trey said as he added the finishing touches."We're done!"
Everyone cheered, save for Deuce who gave a sad hooray.
"Did something happen while you were out shopping?" Ace asked (Y/N), since Deuce was obviously in no condition.
She nervously chuckled. "Let's leave him be for a while."
"For 16 years I've believed that..." The navy-haired boy mumbled, shaking his head.
"Who knew that making desserts would take this long? I'm so tired..." Ace moaned, slipping his upper body over the counter. Cater then appeared.
"Good work! Is the tart finished? The decorations are super cute! It's totally magicaammable! Let me take a pic!"
Once he took a flashy snap of the tart, Ace shot up. "Ah! What'd you come here for?"
"I came to check on my cute underclassmen working so hard." Cater replied. "Ahaha, you look beat!"
"Doing things you're not used to can be tiring. In any case, sweets are the solution for a weary body. Go ahead and try the marron tart we made." Trey said.
Everyone reached for one, including Cater.
Ace shot him a look. "Cater, you did come here just in time to eat the tart?!"
"Now now, you can just think of me as the taste-tester." Cater said, avoiding the topic.
(Y/N) handed each of her Pokémon a piece as Grim sniffed the tart. "It smells so deliciously sweet. The chestnuts on top are so smooth while the cream underneath is so fluffy! Let's eat!"
Everyone took a bite.
Ace's eyes shot open. "Holy crap!"
A wide smile appeared on Cater's lips. "So good!"
All the Pokémon cried happily, loving the sweet taste. Their trainer nodded. "So worth the prep."
"Amazing, it's like what you get in stores." Deuce said.
"It's not overly sweet but still has richness to it! It's like a garden of chestnuts in my mouth!" Grim remarked.
Trey sheepishly smiled. "Is that a compliment?"
"Oh, yeah. Hey, Trey, do the thing." Cater told his fellow third year.
"The thing? Ah, that."
The first years looked at each other in confusion.
"The thing?" (Y/N) asked.
"You guys, what are your favorite foods?"
"Mine's cherry pie and hamburgers." Ace replied.
"Mine is canned tuna. And cheese omurice, and grilled meat, and pudding."
"If I have to pick, omurice, I guess." Answered Deuce.
"Mine is grilled lamb with diablo sauce." Cater chirped.
(Y/N) thought for a moment. "Malasada, I guess."
"All right, here we go." Trey lifted his magic pen and waved it over the Marron tarts. "Doodle Suit!"
A trail of sparkles were sprinkled atop the tarts, though nothing seemed to outwardly change.
Deuce's brow quirked. "This is?"
Trey smiled. "Now take another bite of the Marron tart."
Following the order hesitantly, the group bit the tarts again. This time, the familiar taste of the Alola Region's favorite dessert hit her tastebuds.
"Hm? This is...Marron tart but it tastes like cherry pie!" Ace yelled.
"It tastes like canned tuna!" Grim gobbled another few bites. "Ohh, now it's cheese omurice! And grilled chicken, and pudding!"
"It's interesting, right? Don't you think this'll fly well if you do this at a tea party with girls? Right, (Y/N)?" Cater asked the only female among them.
"Eh? I guess?"
"It's amazing. Is changing the flavor of food your unique magic, Clover-senpai?" Deuce asked.
"To be more precise, it's magic that 'overwrites a component'. So not just taste, I can also overwrite the color or scent or anything. The overwrite only lasts a short time so that's why it's like a doodle or scribble. That's why I've named this magic 'doodle' since it's not permanent." Trey explained.
"That's so cool!" (Y/N) exclaimed. Alcremie cheered in agreement.
"With your Doodle Suit my dream of all you-can-eat canned tuna isn't just a dream. It's so much better than the magic Riddle used to bully people." Grim said.
Trey's face fell. "No... My magic is nothing more than child's play when compared to Riddle's. He's on a different level."
(Y/N) noticed the light dim a bit in his eyes before he perked up. "It's gotten late. Let's go home and give Riddle the tart tomorrow. Tomorrow is the Unbirthday Party. Don't be late."
"(Y/N), will you let me sleep over again?" Ace asked, passive aggressively glancing at Carter. "It seems like this bully upperclassman won't let me back in yet~"
"Oh, my. What passive-aggressive wording...Wait, 'again'?" Cater blinked.
(Y/N) whistled innocently as to not have that awkward conversation.
"Ace, don't force (Y/N) to spoil you too much." Deuce said, crossing his arms sternly.
"Yeah! You better pay rent if you're gonna stay with us again! Ten cans of tuna!" Grim demanded.
"Whaaat! Are you telling me to sleep outside?"
"The ghosts will keep you company, I can guarantee it." (Y/N) joked. "And Scorbunny and the outdoor Pokémon might too if you ask nicely."
"That's not reassuring!" Ace retorted.
"How about we have Deuce stay over in (Y/N)'s dorm, too, to help keep an eye on Ace." Trey suggested. "As the vice dorm leader, I give you permission."
"Trey, aren't you spoiling the newbies?! How nice. Hey, (Y/N), can I go too?" Cater asked.
She scratched her cheek. "I don't think my Pokémon will like an older guy sleeping in our dorm."
"You're not included." Trey said sternly, putting a hand on Cater's shoulder.
He slumped dejectedly before pouting. "Tch. Bringin' me down."
She sheepishly chuckle at this.
"Then, (Y/N), I'm sorry about forcing these two on you. We're counting on you tomorrow." Trey nodded to me.
She nodded back. "Okay, see you tomorrow."
"Tomorrow is the Unbirthday Party. This damn collar is definitely coming off! Just you watch, Dorm Leader!" Ace swore.

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