The following day, the programmer once again found himself in the conference room. The director was once again speaking, but today his message was far more relaxed in nature:
"Well, I'm not fully sure how you all managed to do it…" the director said, pausing for dramatic effect, "But this is it. Mission accomplished."
The people gathered in the room cheered and hollered. Their ordeal was finally over! Sure, there were bound to be problems discovered later... but that was not their problem anymore! They had somehow made it- the games they made worked well enough, it would go gold in a couple weeks after final quality assurance, and they would be sold in stores about a month afterward.
The festive mood abruptly halted as the door to the room opened, and a girl with bangs in red-and-white clothes strolled in. The young man with the Tropius and Corphish noticed that a pall fell over the room.
"Oh… Hello! I didn't know that there was a party here! Who are all of you?"
"I'm the graphic artist! Aren't the Pokémon of Hoenn interesting?" the graphics artist hastily interjected, deftly unplugging the projector to hide their notes from the girl's eyes. He hushedly asked the programmer "Do we still have those Eevee?", desperately hoping for a distraction for the intruding girl.
"Uh… I guess?" she said, "Anyways, I came because the hotel staff said-"
The young man shook his head at the graphics artist's question and also joined in on the effort to try and get the intruder out of the room, and plied her with some boring-sounding banter, "Me? You're talking to me? I'm the programmer. I wonder what the slots are like here."
"That's really nice, but-", the girl said while getting a bit flustered.
"I'm the game designer-", the director began.
"They said that I should come here for my Pokédex," the girl interrupted, frustrated with the way the strange people in the room were complicating her simple errand so much.
"Oh, is that right? You're working on a Pokédex? It's tough trying to complete it, but don't give up. If you do complete it, please come to me."
The director attempted to then shoo the girl out of the room, only for her to thrust a small red machine with an LCD screen into his face.
The man sized up the readings on the machine's screen, as he attempted to come up with some manner of contrivance to be rid of the girl.
"Er… Wow! That's awesome! Yep, it's totally awesome!" he exclaimed while looking around for a distraction. "This Pokédex is completely filled! You really must love Pokémon! I'm so impressed!" the director cheered as he hastily grabbed a sheet of Pikachu and Wynaut stationery that was bought from a tourist stand a few months prior.
He quickly scribbled a congratulatory message onto it and thrust the paper into the girl's hand, cheerfully exclaiming, "Let me give you something in recognition for your feat!" before pushing her towards the door.
"Now, do go on. Be sure to show your trophy to your mom and dad!"
"But you just gave me a piece of paper and a st-!"
The director cut short the girl's protests by shutting the door behind her the moment she crossed the other end of the doorway. He quickly turned the lock and turned back to the rest of the people in the room.
"Now… I believe we had a party to continue?"
After the party died down, the programmer took the opportunity to treat his Corphish to a rare mid-day opportunity to play in the pool. The creature happily swam about, happily engaging in a splash war with his only companion, the Tropius. Their trainer took in the scene bemusedly from a pool chair, when he suddenly heard a loud call, which jostled him from his rest and seemed to catch the attention of his Pokémon from the pool.
The three looked up, and took in the peculiar sight of a small herd of sauropods flying overhead.
"He was right, they really do fly past here…"
When much to their amazement, one of the larger creatures in the group circled back from the group, and flew down, coming to rest on the pool patio after knocking down an umbrella and calling out to its smaller counterpart in the pool.
The man's Tropius abruptly clambered out of the pool and ran over to the grown Tropius, eagerly nuzzling it. The man at first was at a loss as to what would cause this, when he thought back to about around seven months earlier… And realized that although the Tropius he cared for had grown since then, perhaps this other was one who recognized her.
"Oh… So this is who you got lost from, isn't it?", he said quietly, beginning to understand just what this moment represented.
The smaller Tropius looked at the man, at the Corphish which was just climbing out of the pool… And at the larger creature which she was still pressed up against, and began to visibly falter. As if she were on the precipice of two worlds, and unsure to which one she ought to go to.
The man looked down at the green and yellow ball that belonged to the faltering Tropius, and after a long pause, answered her.
"It's alright… If you want to go, go."
The smaller Tropius appeared surprised by the programmer's attitude, and at first started to head over to the man, thinking that perhaps the sleep deprivation was affecting him... only to be interrupted by her trainer patting her head.
"It's fine. I can see that you two mean a lot to each other… And I'm sure that we'll meet again."
The younger Tropius nuzzled the man, and began to turn to head off, turning back in time to catch the man doing something to her Nest Ball that caused a blue light to connect to her, and then dissipate.
"You stay safe, you hear. I'm totally putting you back to work debugging the next time we meet!"
The Tropius gave a bemused toss of her head, and then, as the Corphish and the man waved her off and bade her farewell, took to the skies with her larger counterpart, disappearing into their herd and fading as they headed off into the distance.
While the Tropius was leaving, the director was engaged in a teleconference with his superiors, wrapping up his account of the project to a few men gathered around a table on the screen.
"And that is how the project managed to make the timetable's final deadline."
"Ah, so I see that Hoenn wound up contributing more than just a convenient place to meet," one of the men mused.
"It's quite fascinating, really," another added, "When we started to base game settings off of real-world locations more with the second set of Capsule Monster games, at first I thought that we'd be making a massive mistake. But I see that perhaps the strategy lends itself well to development."
The director chuckled, "What can I say? In a big world full of wonderful things, you'll never run short on places and things to draw inspiration from." And it truly was, he thought, especially if his junior roommate's account of the last-minute discovery that saved the project's timeline was remotely accurate.
"That is true," one of the men on the screen replied, "But… I think that perhaps the local weather didn't lend itself well to an orderly development, even if things wound up pulling together at the end."
"Perhaps for the next Capsule Monster games, we should consider having the developers work someplace a bit colder," another man jokingly suggested. Both ends of the conversation couldn't help but laugh.
About a week after the project concluded, it came time for the man to leave Hoenn. He looked out from the deck of a ferry, towards the town that had been his host for the past year vanishing over the horizon.
Yet the man could not help but be troubled by something that had been said towards the beginning of that year… The director had asserted that the bonds that he would form during his project would far outlast its end. While the man had indeed developed a number of contacts with his partners and roommates from his experience…
He couldn't help but feel as if they somehow rang hollow.
The programmer's thoughts were interrupted after he felt his Corphish tugging at his pant leg and pointing off in another direction.
"Huh? What's it that you see, buddy?"
The man turned, and saw that it was a herd of flying Tropius passing nearby. Among them was a smaller individual, who as she passed, made eye contact with the man and his Corphish and gave out a joyful call.
"Heh… Guess we're not the only ones taking away something from this project."
And in that moment as two worlds fleetingly brushed up against each other, the programmer's doubts about the director's words were laid to rest.