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Private/Closed Murder in the Circus?!? ((FINISHED))

This RP has now been completed. Well done!

((Signup thread is here.))

It is said that once every three years, a very special circus comes to Kanto's Celadon City to perform, staking their tent behind the Game Corner. Humans and Pokemon alike travel from all over the region to marvel at the fantastic feats; not to mention the unusual Alolan forms on display. Knife-throwing, tightrope walks, a freak show, and even chariot stunts, all taken to a new level by Pokemon helpers - this circus really has it all.

But... this year, things seem just a little off. Tensions have always been high between the performers, sure, but the acts seem sloppier this year. People seem to be making an awful lot more errors than usual, even yelling at each other in the arena in a totally unprofessional manner. The ringmaster himself has started drinking during the performances, to try to calm his nerves. And when a high-stakes trick goes tragically wrong... could there be foul play involved? Will the culprit be discovered before they claim another victim? And, for god's sake, will someone please stop the ringmaster from drinking in front of the children?

All will be revealed! Or not.

Welcome to Murder in the Circus, in which someone did a Very Bad Thing and it's your job to figure out who did the Very Bad Thing. Good thing you didn't waste all your time on that godawful Game Corner place; this is definitely a more interesting waste of time. I mean, look! It's a corpse! : D

In this RP, you get to investigate the circus and its occupants, to try and figure out who is in need of a long long stay with Officer Jenny, and who's just kind of a jerk. Do watch your step, though... letting the killer know you're onto them might just mean another Very Bad Thing.
- All of the site rules apply.

- Please keep discussion, questions, ect in the signup thread.

- You must write at least two paragraphs per post!

- If you're RPing as a Pokemon, don't expect to talk. (You can still have human intelligence though, for... obvious reasons.)

- The move Mind Reader is banned. So is using any other move/ability to do more or less the same thing. No social godmodding, basically.

((Starter post!))

The first four days of the Intrepid Alolan Circus's arrival had been rain, rain, and more rain, so day five was quite the relief. It was a gloriously sunny day - maybe a little too sunny, but the ice cream machine still appeared to be holding up. A show was to start in half an hour; the line was long, and the circus tent was absolutely enormous, towering over the caravans and smaller attractions placed strategically in view of the queue. There was a freakshow, a petting zoo, and a display of the Alolan forms the group was so known for; not that anything was in use, due to the line, but certainly something to go and have a look at after the show.

Trainers chattered to each other as they waited in line, some buying food or trading Pokemon on the way into the big top. Even those with little to do in the line were hardly bored; the circus had a couple of performers out to tease. A very handsome young man, tanned, green eyes and dark hair, trotted about pointedly on a Shiny Rapidash with the collar of his white shirt hanging riiiiight open, encouraging women to buy front-row seats simply with his presence. And a clown appeared to be keeping children in line with balloon animals, a very soft and cuddly Eevee, and really godawful dad jokes. Like, really bad.
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Ryuji and Pandora (His Audino) had only traveled to Kanto to see if Team Flare had moved their base of operations after their devastating defeat. But, he had learned about the circus while eavesdropping over a conversation. He decided it would be nice to have a fun little break so he and his pokemon decided to go.

Ryuji stood at the gates with Pandora, Aquamarine (Vaporeon), Malos (Zoroark), Alaendra (Gardevoir), and Orchid (Lilligant) beside him. He walked over to the ticket counter and took a glance at the handsome guy "Damn this place has some eye candy." He thought to himself as he bought six tickets from.
The man known as the "Snake Man", could be seen at the Freak Show attraction. He was just lazily sitting behind a pane of glass to protect him from the outside world, while his snake Pokemon lazily coiled around each other and him. He loved it when people marveled at his appearance. It filled him with glee, as he absorbed the gazes of the other people outside. Sometimes after the show, he will walk around and allow the audience to make a line so he could sign autographs. If they were nice enough, he would even allow them to pet his snake Pokemon. His Seviper hissed as she heard something from behind the fake wall. They were needed for their performance. The lights dimmed in their display room, as his snakes slithered through the curtain, Salazar following behind them. The disappointed onlookers went back to the ever growing line.

He walked up to find the place was getting filled with audience members. He whistled, and his snakes followed him to the back, where everybody was to get ready. He already had on his outfit for the show, since it was a little mandatory for him to have that on if he was going to be in the display room. He had his snakes come with him to his special room, a place where he could talk with his snakes alone and figure out what they were going to do. His Seviper, Arbok, and Serperior coiled a little around themselves, and raised their heads so they were eye level with their trainer. He then spoke to them in a hush, hissing voice: "Since these people are new here. I would like to repeat the performance we had 3 years prior. I don't see any older faces, except for a few. For those people, we'll spice things up. Which one of you would be able to swallow me whole and deliver me onstage?"

His Pokemon looked at each other, confused as to whether or not that was safe, but their trainer was all about danger and a dramatic entrance. Arbo, his Arbok, decided to do the deed. Salazar nodded and said that Arbo would have to swallow him whole right before he had to be up there. If it's taking a little longer than necessary, Sevi and Jalorda, his Seviper and Serperior respectively, would have to act like they were fighting until he arrived. He told them to use the stage and the props as necessary, just don't actually hurt each other. His Pokemon nodded and understood. Sevi and Jalorda left his room, while Arbo got his throat and stomach ready to swallow his trainer. Arbo went to a large bin and began to drink the water from there, hoping to keep his throat slick enough and to dilute the acid in his stomach, so he wouldn't harm his trainer.

Meanwhile, Sevi and Jalorda had both ran into other performers. They expected to find the ringleader, but where is he?
At present, the ringleader was selling tickets, as ringleaders tend to do. According to his nametag, the name of this older, greying man was BEN, and according to the bottle at his desk, the day was way too long already. "Are you sure you don't want front row?" he whispered conspiratorially to Ryuuji, motioning with his head to the very handsome guy, who took the cue and winked right at the trainer. "Our charioteer's a good catch."

He wasn't just being playful; front-row tickets were more expensive, and Ben was hellbent on selling every last one.
"H-hold on..." Someone had followed Salazar from the freak show, and now stepped out to question him. Rippling with muscle, his ears pointed and teeth sharpened, Stan was a hell of an intimidating giant without his usual suit and round glasses. In the sideshow he was supposed to have been brought up by Houndoom; in the show he was supposed to be the strongest man alive. His, nervous childlike demeanour and broken English didn't suit either act in the least, but as nobody had been able to fix it, Stan never spoke when he performed.

"Stan thinks that dangerous. You done before?"
Seeing that someone had followed him, Salazar just nonchalantly waved it away with his hand while petting his Arbok with the other hand, whilst responding.

"I know it's dangerous. It will make the crowd go wild. Just as long as Arbo doesn't move too much while making his way to the stage, and just as long as his stomach acid is diluted enough, it would make for a dramatic entrance and a great, but disgusting show. Besides, I trust in my Pokemon. You won't get anywhere if you can't trust them. I know they are hesitant, too, but the show must go on, as the ringleader always says."

He smiled wryly with his canines poking out of his mouth. They were quite sharp, and they would do some considerable damage if he hardly bit anything. Although, they do get in the way, as they weren't exactly practical for a human. Although, he didn't really answer Stan's question as to whether he had done it before. He actually didn't, but he was boasting with confidence that it would go well, almost like he had done this before.

Meanwhile, his Pokemon had found out that the ringleader was selling tickets. They slapped themselves on the head with their tails. How did they forget? It wasn't time to perform, either. They slithered back after watching over the others with their glowing eyes. They found a very large brute of a man standing before their trainer. They almost struck him if they didn't find his scent familiar. It was Stan.

They looked at each other with a dumbfounded expression as they slithered their way to their trainer, coiling at his feet and nuzzling his shoulders. Salazar just chuckled, which sounded quite raspy, as they showed him some affection. He kissed them both on the forehead before he signaled for Stan to leave with the flick of his wrist, saying: "You must go and practice. Besides, you're the first performance. Don't disappoint by staying here for too long."

He couldn't help but reveal that same wry smile again. To be honest, he liked bossing people around, but only if they seemed stupid enough to not care, like Stan.
"Doesn't Ben-bo normally say 'I need a dr'- oooh. Trust like... friendship trust?"

Stan cocked his head to one side, like some massive and vaguely ugly puppy. Friends were good. I mean, he only had the one friend himself, but if one friend was okay, friends had to be even better. This thought alone took over his little brain; Salazar hardly had to boast further to convince him it'd be okay.

"Be careful, Snake Man. Stan has bad feel about this... so trust your good friends. It cancel."

And he lumbered off. Salazar was correct, after all; he had some stretching to do.
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Salazar just clicked nonchalantly as Stan left, chuckling at his realization of "trust" and "friendship". Man, this guy was really stupid, wasn't he? But Salazar had been here long enough to know that Stan, even though his limited vocabulary and slow brain made him seem stupid, he's actually quite smart when it came to canine-like Pokemon or just performing with brute strength. Although, he had to struggle to figure out what he had meant by "It cancel." Did he mean the show, or the act? Or the fact that his Pokemon, or his friends, would help cancel the danger? Either way, he just helped his Arbok stretch his throat and stomach muscles by shoving his hand into his throat, going slow at first, but then wriggling around to stretch everything out.

Sevi and Jalorda just watched as he tried to be careful with touching any other organs through the thick esophagus. He had to duck his head into his Pokemon's mouth to be able to get any further. He finally reached his stomach, and helped to stretch it by pushing at the sides. Although, Arbo slammed his mouth shut while his trainer was inside. Thankfully, his fangs weren't flex outward. That would've hurt. He slowly escaped from his Pokemon's throat, as he saw Arbo looked a tad exhausted. He told his friend that he wouldn't have to do much, and he could just sit back after the entrance. He would like to exit the way he would enter, but he knew his partner's limits and wouldn't want to do that twice to him already. Arbo just nodded in understanding and licked Salazar's face affectionately.
As the time for the start of the show came nearer, the loud rumbling of an engine could be heard, drawing interest from the queue. This would be a certain acrobat's latest stupid and somewhat desperate idea. Tyler had been working on the ute for some months, and damn if he wasn't going to make good use of it. As far as he was concerned, cars were really cool. Maybe even cooler than Pokemon - make that a definitely. Especially when they had flame patterns on the sides. Admittedly, Tyler's love of cars had nearly seen him thrown out of the circus on several occasions, and he was on thin ice now - but if this act turned out to be a huge hit, he was sure to stay.

The idea of the opening act was that Stan would pretend to pull a ute full of Alolan Golem, while Tyler would obviously be driving it. But then, once it had been pointed out to Stan that the act was a sham, he would proceed to rip Tyler out of the ute and continue to 'pull' it himself, jogging around the arena while Tyler chased comically after his ute. In all actuality, a tiny Espurr, crouched low in the cabin so nobody could see her, would be making sure the truck moved along slowly enough to be believable, using her Psychic to work the wheel. The loud neutral roar of the truck would disguise the slight changes in sound caused by operating the pedals.

...Needless to say, why the hell Ben had approved this act was anyone's guess. It was utterly ridiculous. While they had practised a great deal, and nothing had gone wrong with the routine in the previous four shows, here was an awful lot that could - and probably would - go pear-shaped. From the ute accidentally reversing or rolling forwards, to Tyler getting his neck broken by Stan, to the Espurr not hearing an instruction to turn over the crowd, it was agreed by most of the older and more sensible performers that the thing would be axed next season.
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Ryuji had bought into the ring leaders deal and the guys charm. "I can't believe I wasted 5000 poke dollars on a circus." He sighs as he sits down in the front row. He took the last bite of his ice cream and Pandora laughs. She couldn't help but find it hilarious that he wasted all that many to see a cute guy. His other pokemon were laughing as well. "Oh shuddup." He says as he crosses his arms, clearly embarrassed.
((Please make sure to write at least two paragraphs in the future, as per house rules for the RP! :) Forum rules also state you need to keep RP in past tense. ))

As the lights dimmed, Ben strode to the centre of the arena. Clad in that typical red and gold ringmaster outfit, the older man cut quite a majestic sight. The hat even hid his bald spot nicely. He wasn't even holding a bottle; truly a man doing his best to impress. The audience looked away from the vehicle, giving him their full attention.

"Ladies and gentlemen-" Ben attempted, but a particularly vehement roar from the ute drowned out whatever he was going to say. He smiled, refusing to show his irritation, and threw up his hands before stepping out of the ring to go get himself another beer. Because, yes, he really needed another beer right now.

"Ladies and gentlemen," Tyler shouted from the ute's cabin, as Stan picked up the harness attached to it, "May I present the Strongest Man Alive?"

Shouts and jeers as Stan pretended to pull, and Tyler drove along. So far, so normal - until the ute abruptly shot forwards, spraying sand every which way. Tyler yelled and stamped on the brakes, but in the ring, it was little use; whether he wanted to or not, he flew forwards, right at-

Stan's Incineroar?

It had leaped out of the crowd, and took the blow of the vehicle with ease, holding the ute back until the wheels stopped spinning. Admittedly, it also crumpled the bonnet, but that was hardly an issue given how it had just saved at least one life. Tyler gulped, thankful for once for Pokemon, and the crowd all cheered. He of course pretended everything had gone to plan - but as soon as he and the big guy left the arena, his cocky smile was replaced with something resembling the sort of look a deer has when it sees a wolf. After all, no way was he going to keep his job with a performance like that. The Ringmaster would have his head for sure when he heard about it.

Stan, on the other hand, seemed entirely nonchalant about nearly dying. "Good act. Maybe warn next time?"

"Maybe", Tyler grumbled. "Just lemme know when that knight in shining armour's done his stupid thing, I've got a costume to put on."
Backstage, the Incineroar was working with the Golem to drag the ute out of the tent. It was an effort, but they seemed to be succeeding. Apparently the show was still continuing, either because the crowd hadn't realized the mistake or because Ben was just really drunk and making very poor life choices; a clown, a knife thrower, and a contortionist were all scrabbling for props and outfits.

To one side of all this, a gorgeous golden chariot with white wheels gleamed; standing over it was a tall, dark, and incredibly handsome man, with gorgeous green eyes. He could have been a model, if not for the tattoo of running Rapidash that circled his neck. He nodded to Salazar, his lip curling with slight disgust as he registered what the other guy was about to do. "Make it quick. The crowd doesn't have all day to wait for me."

This was Ben's nephew, Chad. Few didn't know his name in the audience; he was heavily advertised on every poster. The shining star of the show, really. A fact that Chad unfortunately knew very, very well.
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"That was some performance..." Ryuji said as he chewed on his popcorn. Pandora on the other hand, didn't like it, she had really sensitive ears and hated loud noises, so those two combined make for a terrible combo. Ryuji noticed this "Do you wanna go back in your ball?" He ask Pandora, but she shook her head no.

Aquamarine and Malos were living it! They were literally screaming in excitement "ZORO! ZOROARK!" Malos cheered as the performers left the stage. "VAPE! VAPEOREON!" Aquamarine jumped in his chair as the daredevils left.

Orchid and Alanedra simply clapped. They kind of don't get excited by anything as they both like to keep a stern, and calm demeanor. Orchid didn't like the fact that could've gotten seriously hurt, but Alanedra was impressed on how they pulled it off, as she realized the mistake.
Salazar came outside of his room and saw the model himself: Chad. My, oh my, what a wondrous sight to see. Even though Salazar didn't exactly find anyone too attractive, he liked how he looked. Although, the guy had a bad attitude and a bit egocentric at best. Salazar just rolled his eyes and smirked as he curled up into a tiny ball. Arbo then proceeded to swallow him whole, feet first. He continued as his jaw went into four pieces just to swallow this man. After he was done swallowing him, he had quite the large bump in his esophagus. It was a little hard to breathe, but it wasn't all that bad. It just felt a little uncomfortable.

For Salazar, he could feel the acid slowly rise to digest this "meal". It wasn't all that bad, just as long as he got out on stage in time, so his skin doesn't peel off or become numb. Salazar tapped the walls, which meant Arbo had to go on stage and regurgitate him. Jalorda and Sevi went first, slithering their way on stage, waving to the crowd with their tails. Then some snake charmer song came on, as the two snakes dueled. They wrapped around each other and attempted to bite one another. Jalorda getting a successful hit on Sevi, but Sevi swiped at Jalorda's face, causing the Regal Pokemon to back off before he lost his nose. They separated and shot forth once again. Then, the very bloated Arbo slithered oh-so slowly into view. Arbo tried to get up, but couldn't. He just settled with regurgitating him so he would lay on the ground.

There was a weird burp until Arbo shot forth Salazar from his mouth, the saliva coating his body and making him look slick, while his feet narrowly dodged the acid that rose to Arbo's mouth. Arbo had to immediately leave the arena before bowing and getting a kiss from his trainer, where he could retreat to Salazar's little room to get better and to throw up, if needed.

Salazar then walked forward as the two snakes dueled. They tried to get at each other with teeth bared and their jaws open, trying to swallow their opponent's heads. Salazar then rushed up and slid on his knees, putting his hands up to the warring Pokemon. He then slowly got up and began to dance to the song, his belly dancing to the beat and his arms making these slow, hypnotic gestures, causing his Pokemon to slither with the beat. He twirled, and they twirled with him, coiling around him. With their strength, they bowed their heads backwards while Salazar was pulled up to the sky and he raised his hands up. He then slowly fell downwards, doing a flip before the tails of the two slid him to safety, and he bowed to the audience. He then flipped backward on to the tails, landing on his hands. The force of the tails pushing him upward and his own arms sent him flying, as he did aerial acrobatics. The snakes constructed some kind of stiff bar while he flipped continuously in the air. He then grabbed on to the stiff bar part, and it looked like he was doing some olympic stunts, as he was swinging on the bar and letting go at the optimal time to get a few twirls and somersaults in. He then flew off toward the front of the audience, spotting a man with an Audino and some more Pokemon. His momentum carried him right to him, as he was saved by his Pokemon once again. He landed on his Pokemon's backs as all three hissed at the people in the front row, and Salazar stole a bite of popcorn from the man with the Audino. His Pokemon retreated him back to the stage, and all three bowed before the audience, with Salazar loving the salted and buttered popcorn bit he stole.

They then sauntered backstage, happy with their performance. They heard the audience clap and gasp at the right moments. It wasn't his all-time favorite performance, but he liked it all the same. He retreated toward his little room, ignoring anyone else who might be talking to him or trying to get his attention. He walked inside to see his now pale Arbok was getting sick. He felt upset at his poor Pokemon, and went to his side to try to calm him down, petting his scaly head while he vomited. The poor guy wasn't used to regurgitating any meal, let alone a meal that size. He told his Arbok that he was extremely sorry, and they won't be doing that stunt ever again. He held his Pokemon, while Arbok vomited again, but Arbok's tail hugged Salazar around the waist, appreciating his commitment and apology to his own safety.
And with that little display over, the real show could begin. Chad admittedly wished he hadn't seen Salazar get thrown up (as much as he respected his co-worker's ability), but he wasn't about to let a little stomach upset stop him from performing. He was, after all, the star of the show.

His two Ponyta, Blitz and Blaze, stood placidly in the middle of the arena, while the knife–thrower – a girl dressed all in black leather – hitched them to the golden chariot. The crowd really didn’t need to hear the announcement to know that it was time for the man they had been waiting for, but Ben opted to shout it out anyway. Get some hype going for his nephew and all that sort of thing.

“And now, may we present… our very own ‘Chariot of Fire!’ ”

Out strode Chad with his very favourite Pokemon at his side, white teeth gleaming under the lights as he smiled. Brutus, his great Shiny Rapidash, didn’t need reins, but Chad liked to have them there for show; make the viewers think this act was more dangerous than it really was. Leaping up onto his mount and kicking his heels into its sides, he cantered about the arena, waving as was customary, and scanned the crowd for anyone he might like to wink at, for a little post–show action.

Much cooing at the enormous Shiny, much cooing at his muscles. A few eeks when Brutus huffed and puffed some fire from his nostrils. Good. Today was going to be a fine performance.

Now, for the chariot. He couldn’t just get into it – such a thing was beneath a talented acrobat as himself, and besides, he had to show off Brutus’s capabilities. No, Chad was going to do a drive–by of sorts; rush up behind the chariot, take control of it, and then Brutus would leap clear over him. It was always a fantastic start to a series of speedy tricks.

As usual, the Ponyta had started to gallop on the opposite side of the arena, towing the chariot behind them. Urging Brutus into a fast run, the young star quickly caught up with them – then vaulted over the Rapidash’s head, landed safely in the chariot, remembered to grin cockily, picked up the reins and–


Something snapped; the chariot came loose. The Ponyta rushed forwards, away from Brutus, but their human did not. Chad didn’t even get to see the beast coming for him, let alone scream. In a splitsecond, the distance was closed, and the Rapidash went down with his owner in a great tangle of harnesses and splintered wood. Needless to say, Chad's spinal cord was almost instantly crushed under his hooves.

Truly, a horrible accident.
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Hearing a great and terrible crack from the stage, Salazar immediately whirled his head around to the noise. He kissed his Pokemon, and told him that he needed to see what was up. Arbo just nodded, as he was intending to stay by the tub, just in case he had another stomach upset. With now a semi-alright Pokemon staying by to protect his stuff, he rushed out and peeked from behind the curtains to find the mangled figure of the man. Jalorda and Sevi followed suit and widened their eyes at the corpse laying there. Salazar quickly rushed toward Chad to see if he was going to make it. Apparently not.

He looked at the chariot to see what had happened. It seemed that the reigns had snapped loose from the Ponytas guiding the chariot, and Chad's own Rapidash took him down. Salazar knelt to see if he could help move the body, but from all the tangled mass of human and boards from the broken chariot, it seemed like it would be a feat best left to Stan. Salazar sighed as he let anyone through to see him. Most likely the ringleader. His Pokemon just stared at the scene in awe, while Salazar bit back a tear, but couldn't hide his whimpering.
"O-oh my..."

The knife-thrower had seen everything from her position in the middle of the arena, and just about flew over to the scene, her eyes very wide. "He's not really, is he-?" she demanded, though the hope faded from her eyes as soon as she got a good look at the mangled corpse. Yeah, no way was that about to be alive. Chad was burned in three places, his neck twisted at a horrible angle. He likely died the instant that hoof hit him.

In terms of what had caused the accident, it seemed that for some reason the long wooden beam on the front of the chariot (used to mount the horses) had snapped in two, disconnecting the horses from the vehicle. Their combined strength had likely ripped the reins out of Chad's hands, and so they had run off and basically left him to die. Even if he had managed to hold on - doubtful, as he'd only just grabbed the reins - he would only have been yanked out of the motionless chariot and dragged behind his own team members.

Speaking of those, Ben was at present wrangling the two Ponyta into line on the other side of the arena. He seemed to be in shock, or at least showed absolutely no sign of emotion whatsoever; just grabbed each by their reins and started talking softly to them, edging them carefully towards the exit. Chad's Rapidash, meanwhile, was ripping and flailing his way out from under the chariot, accidentally setting fire to the wreck with his mane and not even caring, just bellowing again and again for his master. Chad's first resting place was fast becoming his last - a literal funeral pyre. "DAAAA! PIIII! RAPIIIIII!"
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Seeing the reigns were intact, and that the fault was the beam breaking, he immediately then realized that the ever-flailing Rapidash was causing quite a bit of ruckus. He wasn't good with horses, especially when they're distressed. Luckily, the horse had his reigns. He reached and grabbed the reigns, pulling on the Rapidash's reigns to try to drag the horse away from the rubble and the now burning corpse. It took all of his muscles to drag this quite heavy and distressed creature off of the burning mess.

After about a couple of minutes, he succeeded in dragging the horse away from the rubble, only to jump out of the way from getting kicked with an emblazoned hoof. He slunk away, trying to avoid the very distraught beast. He made it to the entrance to the backstage, only for his snakes to coil around him protectively. Strangely, his Serperior seemed more protective. It seemed like a genuine accident. After the Rapidash had left or gone to the opposite side of the stage, Salazar decided to investigate the break. He just couldn't believe that the chariot would just break like that, especially when it was fireproof. The manes of the Ponyta wouldn't burn it up, right? Even if it wasn't fireproof, the Ponyta were trained well enough not to burn the chariot. He left the safety of his coils and cautiously checked the rubble. If anyone was near, he stayed out of their way while he investigated the beam that broke.
Freed from the wreckage, Brutus started running great upset loops about the arena, snorting fire and braying at the top of his lungs. Whatever he was saying seemed to upset the normally calm Ponyta pair - Ben nearly had them out of the arena when they started to buck and call out themselves. Not even Tyler's appearing in the arena in a truly glorious Moltres outfit and yelling at everyone with a megaphone could control the crowd; some fled for the door, some jumped into the ring to try and help or investigate, and some just sat there in complete shock over what had happened.

"Stay calm! Stay calm, dammit! What the hell do you guys think you're doing?!?"

Muttering a curse under her breath, the knife-thrower stalked over and snatched the megaphone. "Ladies! A-and gentlemen! There has been a terrible accident. The company would like to ask that you all remain seated. Please!"

The sheer command was at least enough to get some people back to their seats, though certainly not all. She continued to repeat herself, waving Tyler away to go and try to catch Brutus - you know, a fierce, notoriously bad-tempered, currently either panicking or rampaging Pokemon with only one, currently deceased master. Needless to say, he was less than enthused about his task.

The protective fireproof coating on the beam seemed to be intact; if not for that, the evidence could really have gone up in smoke with Brutus's efforts. And evidence, because something was clearly wrong with the beam. Only part of its end was splintered and jagged - the majority of the break was quite clean, and bore long, distinctive grooves. A saw, maybe, or a toothed sword, or just a really good claw swipe. What kind of accident could cause such marks?

Against the black of the fire-proof coating, the dark grey was almost invisible, but a close inspection on Salazar's part might just net him another piece of the puzzle. The visible side of the beam bore odd, almost identical lines of ash, spaced further and further apart the further they got from the break. Maybe Ponyta manes were just really symmetrical or something.
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As Salazar investigated the beam, he furrowed his brow at the extremely clean break. That doesn't happen. Even he had an idea of how a break coming from an accident should look like. This wasn't the first chariot to break, nor was it the first wooden item to break. But this clean break made him think somebody sabotaged his performance. Horror flooded his body as he realized that one of them was the killer.

It must've been from a Pokemon either using Cut, Slash, or Fury Swipes, or someone sawing it in half. The problem was, most Pokemon can learn those moves, and there were a couple of magicians who used a fake saw to "slice" their "volunteers" in half.

Regardless, he found something that had caught his eye. The strange burn marks being symmetrical. He knew from the fire ring man that fire was random and when it licks wood, it doesn't usually look thin or precise like that and Ponyta manes were definitely not precise. Maybe a Pokemon used a laser, or had a really precise Fire-Type attack. He took a step back and rushed to help the ringleader with the horses, his snakes looking alarmed. He caught up to them and took the other one by the reigns, trying to keep one of them from bucking and petting and patting him on the neck to calm one of them down. But why was Brutus so upset? Did he see something happen, or was it just shock and guilt from killing his trainer? Whatever it was, maybe he could find someone who could understand Rapidashes.
Ben was glad to leave one Ponyta in Salazar's hands and just deal the other instead. He knew how to handle the smaller horse Pokemon, and even handling both at once wasn't too much of an issue for Ben, as the two were twins. When one started to calm, then usually the other would follow. If it wasn't for Brutus making such a fuss, he'd have had them out of the ring by now. "Easy, girl. Easy..."

Pulling his hat lower on his head, Ben weighed up his options. Worst came to worst, he did have an option to make all three horses leave the arena in a hurry, but he didn't want to cause damage to the cabins, the wreckage of the chariot, or both. "Come on, girl", he said quietly, tugging on the reins until the Ponyta started to respond, its mane burning a little less fiercely as it calmed once more. "That's it. That's the way..."

Bit by bit, step by step, they moved back towards the ring entrance, Ben indicating that Salazar should follow. Best to get both Ponyta calm and secure in their pen before moving onto the crazed Rapidsash; call him a pessimist, but he didn't particularly fancy Tyler's chances. (To be fair, the acrobat had somehow decided the best plan was to ride Brutus bareback and backwards, and try to lasso the giant's mouth shut. It was wholly unclear how he'd decided on this plan, let alone managed to execute it, but it sure as hell was happening.)
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Salazar decided to wait until Ben and him were alone to share the news of the apparent sabotage. He didn't know who did it, but he wanted to tell Ben after they took care of the Ponyta, and before he started to drink away his sensibilities. As if he sensed what options Ben was weighing down, Salazar spoke up, his raspy voice breaking the silence and the whinnying of the Ponytas: "I think we should keep them in the stable. All of this, especially with Brutus, would probably suffer from some PTSD or something of the like."

Sadly, PTSD was what his father had to deal with when he was a part of the war. He wondered if the symptoms were similar with a Pokemon, but he didn't want to find out. He kept patting the neck and headbutting the head of the Ponyta softly, acting as if he were a Pokemon himself (which wasn't that hard). The Ponyta, feeling their twin calming and feeling the strange, yet oddly comforting soft headbutts from the Snake Man, calmed down, its mane not being as fierce.

When Ben went back to the ring entrance, Salazar followed, following the orders of his superior. But maybe there was a better way to get through the stage without needing to see the mess. He caught up to Ben, the other Ponyta Salazar was holding walking in a fast-paced nervous gait. Salazar then told Ben: "Maybe we should go another way, so that the Ponyta won't have to see the rubble. The ring entrance would surely give a full on view of the stage."
Ben glanced over at Salazar, his expression unreadable. The Snake Man seemed chattier than usual today - was he just trying to help a disastrous situation, or was he trying to take the second-in-command position Chad had held? Granted, he was a fine performer, but telling the ringmaster what to do was... hardly in good taste.

"I... They've seen the thing already." And to be honest, he needed to have a quick look at the broken chariot; make sure that there had been no miraculous recovery. Chad was... maybe not the world to his uncle, but certainly an awful lot. Raising him had been much like what raising his own child might have been like, had Ben had any luck with getting an heir.

If he was dead, then all the alcohol in the world would not be enough.

Bowing his head, Ben led his Ponyta quickly past the chariot, and through the entrance to the backstage area. There was a bit of a flare-up as they passed, but the ringmaster's grip was like iron. He only slowed and started to tear up when they were out of the big top altogether, finally registering what he had seen under the wood. His nephew had definitely not gone peacefully. "F-Fuck..."
Salazar brought the scared Ponyta along behind Ben, trying to make sure the Ponyta doesn't get away from his equally steel grip. All that time trying to hold on slippery snake scales payed off. When Salazar was about to leave the stage, he heard Ben choked up. He looked back, feeling pity and sadness for the poor man. He then asked, trying to make this sound more like a suggestion than a demand: "Please, may I speak with you when we get the horses back in their stables? I may be on to something."

He more than whispered that. He didn't know if the ringmaster heard him or not, but it was loud enough for him to hear. Hopefully, the ringmaster wasn't stuck deep in his reverie. His snakes had retreated to their stage room, finding that Arbo was sleeping peacefully in his straw bed. Salazar heard hissing from within his room, and wanted to investigate, but couldn't since he had to hold the Ponyta down. He hissed toward the door, and Jalorda's head peered out from the side, wondering what he needed. He asked her if everything was alright and she nodded before retreating and coiling around Arbo to keep him warm, while Sevi looked about, obviously nervous.
"Gee, you think something's wrong?" Ben growled, just about dragging his poor Ponyta behind him as he stalked towards the stables. He didn't need to be seen crying on top of everything else he'd suffered today. "I- I should have seen this coming, really. Cancelled the show. But noooo..."

He roughly forced the Pokemon into the stable and slammed the door on it, tears running down his face and his hands shaking with a fury just barely kept in check. Part of Ben was screaming that it was all his fault, part of him wanted revenge, and part of him was just screaming and screaming and screaming. God, why did it have to be Chad?

...Why couldn't it have been Ben? He was just a depressed drunk, he could have gone instead. He'd rather have gone, for the sake of the circus he so loved. Having his nephew drop dead before he did was just... wrong. Ben felt sick just thinking about the whole thing, but he couldn't stop thinking about it - shit, he was falling apart. He needed to get wasted, pronto.

Ben stared at the Ponyta instead, keeping his back to Salazar. He could drink later; he had to stop choking up first, and thus keep his dignity in one piece when he turned around. "Tch... Out with it. N-not like today can get any worse."
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"What...just...Happened?!" Ariana said to her buneary. The buneary, along with her meowstic and sylveon were in complete shock as well as Ariana. Someone just died?! she thought to herself as her eyes widened. "Maybe it wasn't a good idea to come here..." She said.
"Meow!" Meowstic replied, it appeared she didn't like it here either. As her sylveon held on to her hand with her ribbon-like feelers, they walked out of the room where the tragedy had happened.

"Maybe we should leave this fricking asylum of a circus!" Ariana shouted, quick tempered.
"Bun?" Buneary tilted her head as Ariana lifted her up and cuddled her, she knew buneary wanted to stay.
"Ugh. Maybe we'll stay a little bit longer. But, we need to keep ourselves safe." Ariana took a deep breath, feeling completely relaxed. She sat down on a bench, her Pokémon beside her. She smiled Everything is going to be fine she thought.
Ariana was not the only one to be leaving the big top. Quite a few Trainers were either not heeding the knife-thrower and her megaphone, or simply not able to deal with the huge Rapidash running around the arena, and were instead heading out of the place. At the singular exit, some teenage girl with about half her face done in white makeup and a large red nose - an unfinished clown, presumably - was apologizing profusely to her customers, some of whom were demanding refunds.

"Well, I'm really sorry- uh, discount tickets for the freakshow? Balloon animal for your kid? No refunds, sorry, sorry, th-this was all an accident. You can come to the next show for free, or maybe not, um, I don't actually know if there'll be a next show, this could really be the end for us- geez I said I'm sorry- I'm sorry!"

With a dramatic noise, the girl pulled off the nose in a great huff. Perhaps she was going to say something about how she was a person and not a freaking object- but the nose honked as it came off, causing some awkward laughter and her to run off crying, presumably headed for her personal caravan. At least no-one seemed to pursue her; the huge guy coming at the mob from the other side saw to that. Stan made for a rather large and intimidating bouncer. "Money back...? You wait for Ben-bo. Even Stan wait for Ben-bo. Ben-bo good friend someday, once he sober."

Baffled by the baby talk and scared by his strength, even the more troublesome Trainers on their way out of the tent were forced to back down from Stan. Even those that were brave enough to ask questions couldn't look him in the eye.
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Ariana felt sorry for the girl who had ran off crying, "Should we go after her?" She said, turning to sylveon.
"Sill!" She replied, nodding. Ariana nodded back and trailed after her, only to see her go into her personal caravan. Shoot she thought. She began running towards it , but failed as the large, strong man had stopped all trainers from going after her.

"Oh, Come on!" She exclaimed, annoyed. "Just let me through! I wanna make sure she's ok!" Sadly, this did not work as everyone else was shouting way louder than she was. She kept pushing through the mob but wasn't getting much luck. Eventually, she gave up and stood at the back of the mob, cuddling her buneary.

"If we ever see her again, I'll be sure to make sure she's okay." Ariana smiled.
Ryuji tried heading for the exit, but it was no use. People were running a screaming and he couldn't find his way through the panic. "What the fuck?!" He says as somebody pushes him down. He looked around him, his pokemon were gone. "Pandora? Orchids? Malos? Alanedra? Aquamarine?" He said as he ran through the crowd trying to find them. He then ran into Ariana and felt himself on the ground again. "Shit... Oh! I'm sorry." He exclaims.

Pandora and the others just huddled in a corner after being separated from Ryuji. Alanedra and Malos guarded them, as they were k kind of the big brother and big sister of the group. Orchid and Aquamarine tried calming down Pandora as her sensitive ears were ringing with all the commotion.
A slim, very much petite girl, wearing a very long and lacy dress, approached the group of lost Pokemon. With her rosy cheeks and flawless skin, she looked like some sort of childlike doll, but her stern expression betrayed her age. As did the whip in her hand, with which she had brought Brutus to his knee-equivalents. The Rapidash was lying in pain on the other side of the ring, Tyler trying to get his leg out from under the giant horse with little luck.

The girl lazily snapped her whip to get their attention. "Hey. You lost, or just waiting?"

She didn't usually talk to Pokemon, as she wasn't all that fluent in their speak beyond the basics, but this was a pretty unusual situation. After all, Brutus had been yelling something about murder. While he was sort of... known for being overdramatic, she figured it might be best to ask what exactly these Pokemon had seen.
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Pandora flinched at the sound of the whip crack as Malos and Alanedra went into a guard stance. Aquamarine and Orchid peeked out from behind them, trying to get a view of the doll like child. Alanedra answers the woman with a yes.

Pandora looked at her Audinite necklace and tried to spot Ryuji from where she was, but it was no use. She was worried about him. He normally is really shy without Pandora with him and Pandora always feared the worst when it came to Ryuji.
"Are you lost, or just waiting?"


Well, that was an answer that made no sense whatsoever. Presumably the Pokemon meant yes to the first part, or the second part, or she just really sucked at translating what was being said.

"I'm Kit," she said, then repeated her question another way. "Do you know where your Trainer went?"

(You can have them 'speak' here, if that makes things easier for you; the rule against Pokemon talking only applies to them speaking English, like Team Rocket Meowth. If they're talking to each other or to Kit and her very bad translation skills, it's fine.)
The pokemon didn't seem up for conversation. "Zoro..." Malos had whispered something to Alanedra. "Gardevoir..." She whispered back. "Garde, Gardevoir." Which translated too what's it too you? Pandora studied the girl and then whispered to Malos.

Pandora had noticed that the girl meant well, she read her like a book. She knew her appearance and attitude were for show. She noticed a nice and sweet girl under her mean exterior.
Kit thought before she spoke, for once. Maybe their Trainer had... done something, and so they were trying to protect him-? The theory made little sense - surely the whole thing had been an accident, whatever it was - but it was enough to make her take a step back and try to be diplomatic. Kit had a career to manage; she didn't need a bunch of Pokemon coming after her.

"Well, I'm with the circus. And it's my job to make sure nobody ends up lost or hurt... besides that, I wanna know what happened out there, and you guys seem more convenient than all those people running off. I mean, you're staying still, so."

Digging around in her dress, she found a hidden pocket and let her Cutiefly out. "Honey here can find your trainer's aura and lead you to them... if you'll tell me what you saw."
Alanedra and Malos looked at each other. Malos explained that when the accident happened they saw somebody who was on the stage run off. Then Alanedra explained that she spotted people laughing when they saw the guys body. Orchid looked at the Cutiefly, studying it.

Pandora and Aquamrine began whispering to each other. Nobody heard what they said, but Aquamrine and Pandora definitely looked scared. Pandora sank down in the corner.
People laughing? Kit honest to god hoped she'd gotten that one translated wrong. Still, that person who was onstage... could only have been one person, right?

"Uh, tell me about the person who ran off", she asked, just to check. "Were they carrying knives?" She knew that the knife-thrower was supposed to have hitched the Ponyta to the chariot at the start of the whole thing. If she had run off, too... then Kit definitely needed a word with her. Or maybe she'd just go to Ben about it; Kit wouldn't mind seeing that bitch get thrown out of the place.

Her Cutiefly just hummed and buzzed to himself, slowly making his way over to the Pokemon. Much like a scent, the aura of a Trainer tended to cling to the Pokemon they spent a lot of time with. Honey seemed especially interested in the Audino, perhaps for a reason; he flew round and round the unfortunate 'mon's head, buzzing something about nectar and sweet things and... Gogoat sacrifices? None of it made much sense.
Malos responded with a I think so. Alanedra noticed the Cutiefly and asked it what the hell are you talking about. Malos continued to describe the person who ran off stage as Alanedra tried to comprehend what was going on.

Pandora didn't notice the Cutiefly. She then noticed through all the commotion that Chad's body was gone. She just let out a scream that alarmed all of the other pokemon.
Kit nodded; she'd not understood everything being said, but she'd gotten the gist. Sky, the knife thrower, was going down. "I see... Thank you very much. Honey, go find that trainer."

The Cutiefly flew off, possibly because she snapped her whip at him, and Kit was turning to follow when Pandora started screeching. "Owww!" she yelped, covering her ears. "Hey! What was that for?!?"

(Hope you have a reason for the body moving/vanishing, since it has nothing to do with my cast or the actions of the culprit-?)
(I do actually, it's gonna be one of my future OC's)

Pandora pointed to the stage and all of the other pokemon looked as well. Everyone was at a lost for words. Pandora didn't exactly know what was going on, nor did she care. She really only worried about Ryuji. Alanedra began to notice that parts of the carriage are also gone. She tells Malos and the others and they don't know how to respond.

Meanwhile, Ryuji ran frantically through out the crowd. He bumped into ten people and tripped like twenty times. "Damn, I won't be able to find them with everyone running around like chickens who got their heads cut off." He sighs and then notices the Cutiefly flying at him.

Kit stormed over to the chariot, casting a vengeful eye over the general lack of Chad. And... parts were missing? Who would even take random chariot parts? Why would they even do that?

Still, at least she didn't have to... look at the corpse. She'd never had much of a stomach for that sort of thing. Kit paced around the chariot once, twice, then turned and made her way backstage, fully intending to confront that bitchy knife-thrower she kind of hated anyway. Little did she know that Sky was still trying to calm people down near the front entrance, megaphone still in hand. Perhaps that was for the best, all things considered.

The Cutiefly accidentally (?) stabbed Ryuji with his long proboscis, and not so accidentally performed a Leech Life. Having taken his very small fee (or... something), Honey then flew back to the Pokemon, leaving Ryuji to follow.
Salazar sighed at his response as he sent the other Ponyta in an adjacent stall and locked the door, running his hand on his scaly and bumpy head. He then brought up a question after trying to stifle his whimpers: "D-... Does anybody hate Chad here? I know you don't, and I know I don't, but I don't remember anybody else hating him."

Even though he disliked him a little, he didn't know if anyone else hated him more than he did. He ended the question with that little statement to let the man know that he wasn't a hater of Chad, but also that he didn't know. He never hung out with Chad, nor anybody else. He just preferred to be with his snakes, and only talked to the ringleader and the Stan every now and then. Then something hit him.... He remembered when Stan first warned him about before they performed:

"Be careful, Snake Man. Stan has bad feel about this... so trust your good friends. It cancel."

Why did he say it like that? Was he just having some danger premonition or was he somehow a part of it? He didn't want to point fingers just, yet though. The guy may be a brute, but he's a gentle giant. Hell, he was one of the first guys who tried to start a conversation with him when he joined. He just never got to know him enough to even care about him as a person.

Anyway, he continued on as to why he had asked such a silly question: "I ask because this was no accident. The beam that the reigns were tied on was sawed in half, or at least had a clean break. Wood in an accident can't have clean breaks like that. And I saw something strange on the fireproof coat of the chariot. Symmetrical burn marks that radiate out neatly. I know that we both know that Ponyta manes aren't that symmetrical, or make lines that thin. It had to be from some other Fire-Type or a laser or something. Someone must have murdered him. The evidence I saw couldn't have been an accident."

He looked quite upset with this realization. He couldn't help but tear up and his lips quivered as he spoke. Hopefully, Ben wouldn't hurt him in his blind rage and depression.
The Ponyta reared and bleated, but Ben didn't so much as flinch at the revelation. Mostly because to him, it wasn't a revelation at all. From the moment he'd witnessed his nephew's death, he knew what must have happened. This just confirmed that ugly thought.

"Do you really think I'd believe it to be an accident? I woke up to a knife in my desk. I... should have cancelled the show, but..."

He turned, head lowered, and began to count on his fingers. "Ugh... I don't like to think about who, but perhaps one of the girls had something with him. On account of the looks. Or maybe this is more to do with me... some sort of blackmail. But I-I know Tyler hated his guts. And... to be honest, I was going to fire him after this week. Chad was just a- a superior acrobat all round. Never missed a beat, never tried to do stupid bullshit with cars." And Ben seemed to drift off into a sort of quiet reminisce, thinking about all the godawful things Chad had not done.