and one of her Pokémon, Paladin the Golisopod, takes the stage!
Towards the back of the café sat a smaller adolescent, her size dwarfed by the massive bug-like creature that insisted on watching the crowd with unblinking eyes. The two were at least similar in color: mainly white with hints of red, and neither were meant to look like it, but it’s what the albino woman and her shiny Golisopod did to manage that counted.
It was still rather intimidating that the isopod-like Pokémon stood well over seven feet even when hunched, and having her giant black claws flaring protectively wasn’t helping either.
“Pal, you’re scaring others away from us.” Giima chided in a hushed tone, her cheeks reddening as other patrons in the space watched her bug Pokémon warily and some even chattering nervously to one another, but still her Golisopod, Paladin, stood guard. She poked towards a large plate with food for the bug draped on it in the form of a burly-sized fish, hoping her stimulation would get the Golisopod’s attention. “Look, you haven’t even touched your lunch, honey girl.”
Giima peered over to one spot in the café and watched some sort of exchange occur, a small sack of something seemingly important and a piece of paper were traded from one person to the other. She noticed it was that table where Paladin was watching the most, and now she understood why the bug Pokémon was being protective of her.
One of the two people seemed to confidently slink out of the café after the ordeal, leaving the other standing by the table and grinning to herself. Giima sucked in a breath, she didn’t want to be nosy, but she also didn’t want to have seen some pre-emptive action that would lead to something she’d get caught in the middle of anyways.
Taking a deep swig of her tea, the albino woman slipped out of her chair and approached Adrienne, watching as Paladin followed suit and literally acted as her shadow.
“H-Hello, hi, uh–” Giima sputtered, flushing when Adrienne gave her a look of bewilderment. “–I, uh. My friend here was interested in you for some reason, would you like to sit with us?” she gestured toward their table, using Paladin as a scapegoat whose behavior would hopefully validate this claim.
The other woman looked her over, looking astounded that Giima was shorter than her, but then her attention was turned to the bug Pokémon who towered over both of them. “Your friend, huh?” Adrienne responded, her amber eyes giving Paladin’s a reciprocated gaze. earning a low rumble from the giant insect. She pursed her lips, the deal with Alex was done, and what tie could this kid possibly have with either Alex…or the person of interest?
"Sure, I’ll join you for a bit. It’s gonna be a while before I get used to your friend."
An internal sigh of relief. Maybe Pal will calm down a bit now. Giima thought, offering Adrienne a warm smile as she showed her to their table. Paladin’s face was relatively small compared to the rest of her, but her heavily armored shoulders and neck stretched to sniff at the new woman who had purposefully sat at the other end in hopes she was out of the bug’s reach. Giima yelped, pulling at Paladin’s shell to yank her back. “Ack! Bad bug!”
“It’s alright, I guess.” Adrienne corrected, pushing back the hair that the Golisopod’s breath had fluffed up. “It’s not gonna hurt me, is it?”
“Oh no, Paladin here wouldn’t hurt anyone outside of a battle.” Giima explained, elaborating a little further. “Meaning, she’s harmless unless I tell her to attack. Very well trained, but a little motherly sometimes.” she jested, rolling her eyes as Paldin eagerly sniffed Adrienne over again, scuttling closer so she’d get a better look. “And curious. Very curious.”
“Well, I must smell good to her, because I–” Adrienne started, only to be cut off when the giant bug Pokémon ran her tongue across the side of the woman’s face, a happy gurgle coming from her chest. “Ugh! But she smells like rotten fish guts!”
A moment passed, and Giima couldn’t help but giggle. “D’aww, she likes you!” she cooed, clicking her tongue to bring the Golisopod back to attention. Paladin waddled back to Giima’s side, a visible smile on her bug face with her mouth hanging open in joy.
“…Thanks.” Adrienne replied, trying to feel the viscosity of whatever spit was left on her cheek. She smiled back at the happy bug, though, as she stood once more. “It was nice meeting you, too.” she replied before heading out of the café herself.