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Welcome once again to another installment of PokeTour! As always, our intrepid adventurers are setting off to bring you up to speed on daily life in the Pokemon world's exciting cities. After our last stint in chilly Snowpoint City, we all agreed to head somewhere a bit warmer. Fortree City, located deep within the rainforests of Hoenn, seemed like the perfect change of pace. This issue, our resident biologist Layell takes an in-depth look at the local species in the area. The always informative sandshrewz teaches us all about the architecture of this city among the trees. Jellicent brings us the latest on economical trends in the city, and Level 51 examines the culture of the native peoples. Our rough and ready battler Superpowerdude covers the many competitive draws that Fortree has to offer. Finally, our music-loving Birkal tells us all about the nifty beats produced among the treetops. So, lets take a look at what our adventurers have to report to us!
While resting atop the trees, I learned from a local that the nearby Bug Pokemon are known to fly through the windows from time to time. This struck me as odd, since most flying Bug-types are rather large and would have little purpose to fly in and terrorize the typical tree-dwelling resident. What sort of nasty bugs could possibly be in the immediate area, and do they taste good? I set off to take a look at any of the local critters and, more importantly, to see if I could eat any of them. The PokeTour isn't exactly generous in the food allowance department.
My journey began on Route 119, just west of Fortree. The path was filled with a variety of the exact same species of tree. Within them, I did see one lone banana tree, but as I tried to rustle my way into the forest, the trunk moved and awoke the mighty Tropius. Their bananas are known to be tastier than from any regular tree; this is probably why the locals hunted them into their currently dwindling numbers. He flew off in a jiffy, leaving me with no fruit to bear. I continued to walk the path, which revealed to me a beautiful river. I stepped down to its base under the bridge and busted out the trusty fishing rod. My first nibble pulled out this unsightly little fish, a sewage brown color with even uglier spots. Whatever this was, it looked as appetizing as roast Nidoran, so I threw it back in. My next nibble nets me… the exact same fish—except this one is even uglier. Its wide fish eyes begged me for freedom, and I gladly gave it to the unappetizing creature. As I walked over past the Weather Institute, a researcher offered to give me a Castform in an act of wasteful government spending. I gladly took one and I am sad to report that they don't taste like ice cream. No wonder they are free. Now the thing is following me around like it has a bond with me.
I headed back into town to get to the other end of the city and reach Route 120. The tall grass had swarms of Linoone and Mightyena along with their pups waltzing around. Both species are incredibly common among Hoenn, and I suspect it's because they taste of burnt fur. Species that taste bad tend to be the ones not hunted into extinction. It's an odd experience seeing a Linoone and her Zigzagoon pups rushing through tall grass. You see one straight line followed by some endless criss-crossing swarm. There are some nearby Oddish as well, and I've learned from some of Kanto's greatest chefs that they can really spice up a meal. Sadly, I did not pack my weed-picker and five minutes after trying to catch one I had wasted more Pokeballs on the tall grass than actual Oddish. After about the seventh wasted Pokeball, I saw a white flash—the mythical Absol! Perhaps it was him causing all of my bad luck? It was time to hightail it across the bridge and away from any bad omens that may try to follow me. So far, I had not seen any of these giant bugs that locals say fly into houses. I suspected the locals had been smoking one too many jungle leaves. Down in the pond, there was a colony of Marill; a fun cooking fact is that the oil in their tails—which can be extracted while they are alive and squirming—is a really good dressing for salads. The Marill don't exactly enjoy this culinary practice, though maybe they would if some of them tried it first before objecting so loudly. I kept walking down the bridge and seeing the clouds rolling, which was probably not a bad omen in the slightest. That is just ridicul-oof. What the heck, what is blocking me from getting across this rickety pile of logs? Now I'm worried; it has started to storm and I can't walk past whatever it is blocking my way. I turn back and the same Absol from before is blocking the other end of the bridge. How Absolutely terrific! No, this is certainly not the time for making puns; this is the time to fear for my life! This Castform that has kept following me around is now more of a sentient puddle that keeps repeating its name in an annoying falsetto. The white terror threatens to approach. I send off this report in the hopes that my fellow Poketour mates find me before I'm made into dinner.
I didn't realize I had stepped into Fortree City until my PokéNav's beeping sound alerted me that I was now out of Route 119. Slowly creeping into the city, I was amazed by the scene of the many houses that dotted amongst the trees as if they were floating. The uniformity of the small houses immediately caught my attention; all of them were circular with a semi-spherical roof made of leaves. I ascended the wooden staircase closest to me to get a closer inspection of those treehouses. As I climbed the stairs, I couldn't help but admire the huge interconnecting networks of canopy walkways that spiraled and intersected all the way up. Those bridges weren't built randomly, either—they spiraled inwards to the top and some of them crossed to form a nice symmetry. It looked like a spiderweb or a giant snowflake from the bottom.
I stopped at about midway as the vertigo began to kick in. Surprisingly, the walkways were pretty stable and didn't tremble as much as I thought they would. A kind old man invited me into his house after seeing me exhausted from the journey. From our conversation, he explained to me quite a few things about how they built the treehouses. The roof was made of many layers of tightly bound leaves spread evenly and perfectly cone-shaped, supported by six planks of wood. It's said that wild Tropius would help them build the roofs by fetching broad leaves from trees and using Leech Seed to secure them. The roofs can even withstand the greatest of torrential downpours experienced by Fortree City, yet not trap any water among the leaves to prevent bacterial growth from affecting the tree which the house is built on.
He brought me outside and pointed to the door which had intricate carvings that I did not previously notice. Several Oddish and Tropius were etched onto the door; he explained that the number of Oddish and Tropius was used to identify the houses. The nature-loving people of Fortree also took measures to not pose any harm to the trees which they built their houses on and the Pokemon that lived around them. The wood they used for building came only from aged and dying trees which they chopped and replanted with its own seeds. Houses were also spaced some distance apart from the tree trunk to let the host tree grow normally. I thanked the old man and bid him goodbye as I noticed the looming dark clouds in the sky. Quickly making my way down, I saw the Fortree Gym nested amongst trees at the ground. Even the highly modern Pokémon Center and PokéMart were well camouflaged by the trees and did not disrupt the uniformity of the treehouses. Then, the crash of a thunder reminded me to keep moving.
As the first few drops of rain hit the ground, I hurriedly tried to exit Fortree City via Route 120 but ended up hitting a strange invisible wall ... only to find a familiar person lying face down. "Layell??!!! What happened to you?" I shouted. He groaned as he awoke and then immediately pointed upwards with a shocked look on his face. I turned around to face a gigantic sphere of water plummeting towards us. Oh dear...
When I arrived at Fortree City, I was a bit surprised. Despite the fact that most people lived in Ewok-inspired tree huts in the rainforest, the area was actually quite affluent. The people living high up in the trees were truly skilled woodworkers. Not surprisingly, they know all about how to decorate a secret base, and actually sold the vast majority of all secret base furnishings. I'm not sure how they worked on the giant stone slabs required to make a Hard Desk while living in tree huts, but they were certainly skilled craftsmen. Woodworking in general is a major boon to the local economy, from the furniture to the rope bridges to the actual housing development itself.
Like pretty much every city, the Poke Mart multinational conglomerate has set up shop in Fortree City as well. While most of its wares consist of standard Devon Corporation products, there's one item found there that is unique to Fortree. Not surprisingly, it's made of wood. More specifically, it's Wood Mail, a Slakoth print letter that you have to carve your message into. While it's not the most convenient method of mailing, it's become a popular pseudo-postcard for tourists to mail to their loved ones while staying in the city.
As surprising as it sounds, tourism is actually quite a big industry in Fortree City. The Feather Carnival, which celebrates the sky and Flying-type Pokemon, has become a major draw over the years. Vendors from all over Hoenn travel to sell their wares, and the boost to the local economy allows it to prosper. Everything from cheap confectioneries to rare Pokemon such as Chimecho are sold during the festival. If you're looking to buy a Chimecho, however, be careful that you're getting the real thing. I hear there's one traveling merchant that tries to pawn off Hoppip in disguise...
The people of Fortree live like so many stereotypical sages atop icy mountains, with little or no possessions in their houses. In fact, somewhat ironically, most of them seem to prefer owning televisions to owning beds! This just goes to show how much prevalence their thirst for knowledge has over their personal comfort... ugh, who am I kidding, most of them probably don't know a thing about economics or even how to spend money. Or how to make it, for that matter; some of their locals are trying to sell me wonderfully comfortable chairs for about the same price as four bottles of MooMoo Milk.
That said, the population residing here is in no way unpleasant. Their local culture places heavy emphasis on giving to and blessing others, as I learned upon entering the house of a certain old lady. The furnishing within was no less sparse than that of the other houses; however, what immediately struck me was the huge stack of TMs which stood in a shady corner of the already somewhat cramped house, limiting movement even more. Before I could inquire as to its purpose, she held out her two clenched fists, asking me to guess which one held a coin. I did, and she asked me again after some fancy hand motions behind her back. After another correct guess, I had the misfortune of guessing wrong during my third try. Unperturbed, she let me try again and again until eventually I had enough luck to win her little game. Upon this turn of events, she smiled and slid a disc off the huge stack, passing it to me. I read the words on it, astounded—"TM 10 — Hidden Power". Seeing the look on my face, the magnanimous old lady explained that she was distributing her collection of TM10s to all who came by, as she had neither kith nor kin to pass them on to. When I asked her why she didn't simply sell them off for a neat sum to the local Pokémart to actually get some furniture for her house, she inquired as to what a Pokémart was. The glint in her eye, though, told me she may not have been entirely serious....
As I stepped foot in the tall grass on Route 119, I instantly became soaking wet from the heavy rain pouring down from the sky. Although the rain did mess up my hair and leave me soaking wet, I couldn't really complain because it did make the Water-type moves of my Marshtomp much stronger, letting me have an easy time getting through the tall grass. Along the way, I found a few Sitrus and Leppa berries that are very nice to have for healing my Pokemon or restoring PP. After hiking a little further, I came across a building. Could it be the Fortree City gym I have been looking for? Getting closer to the building, I realized it wasn't the gym but in fact a building that observes and controls the weather of the Hoenn region. For people who love to catch Pokemon and train them like myself, the Weather Institute is surprisingly not a complete waste of time. If you are nice enough to the scientists, they may give you an intriguing Pokemon named Castform. Castform has the very cool ability to change its form to adapt to different weather conditions. Walking out of the Weather Institute, me and my new companion Castform started heading west, then went up to Fortree City.
After making it to Fortree City, I decided I wanted to talk to some locals and see if I could grab any cool items off them, but I couldn't see any houses in the city! Just a Poke Mart, Pokemon Center, and some very tall trees. Looking up, I finally saw where all the Fortree residents live. They have their houses located on very tall trees! Excited, I started climbing up the trees and across wooden planks to make it to the doorways of these unusual houses. The houses weren't the only things unusual; the people were to. I came across a house and I asked a woman if she had any items that could help me in a battle. She replied yes, but told me only if I could guess the hand she was holding a coin in three times. After finishing her test, she gave me a weird TM called Hidden Power, which changes type depending on the Pokemon that uses it. I then thanked the woman and walked off; man, some people are weird! There is also a kid willing to trade his Skitty for a Pikachu or his Plusle for a Volbeat if you are into trades, but I kindly declined his offer. I didn't have enough time for trades, because it was time to take on the gym leader Winona!
Or so I thought. An invisible wall was blocking my entrance into the gym! Frustrated by the invisible wall, I decided to say goodbye to Fortree City and moved on to Route 120 to train my Pokemon a little bit more. Along the way, I found a mysterious man named Steven who gave me this contraption called a "Devon Scope." He simply told me that the Devon Scope will make any invisible Pokemon appear. I couldn't think of any use for an item like this and I went back to Fortree City to sell it at the Poke Mart. I then remembered about the invisible wall and I used the Devon Scope on it to reveal a Pokemon named Kecleon. I was impressed by this Pokemon's camouflaging techniques, so I decided to capture him for my team. I was very amazed to see that Kecleon's type changes to the type of move your opponent hits it with! With the gym in sight and no obstacles ahead, I went in to challenge Winona. Winona has a lot of Flying-type Pokemon with different secondary typing, giving her a pretty well rounded team. However, by packing powerful Electric- and Ice-type moves, I was able to beat her eventually. Upon beating her, I received TM44 Aerial Ace and was able to use my Swellow to Fly back to PokeTour HQ.
The tune of the luscious Fortree City is a bit sparse in comparison to the detailed musical arrangements of other areas in the Hoenn region. The two measure introduction is sweet enough; it establishes the tonic key of F major with a swift authentic cadence for the two measures leading into the main drive. The second measure of the main melody does a quick resolution from first inversion minor supertonic to major four. The interesting twist comes in at the following measure, where it borrows the diminished supertonic from F minor to add an extra bit of flair to the melody. The entire measure, in fact, borrows flats from the parallel minor to resolve peacefully to the original key of F major by the entrance of measure four. Of continuing intrigue are the follow measures, which consist of a ii - iii - IV - V progression. This progression is typically against the rules of classical composition, yet has found a way into more modern music, which emphasizes the "new and growing" vibe of Fortree City. The repeating melody in the following measures continues in a similar fashion, minus some of the borrowed flairs of the first melodic entrance. It all ends on a non-completely satisfying fifth in the melody, which ends the song with an imperfect authentic cadence. In layman's terms: this song was meant to loop indefinitely. That musical device served well for another area in this region that I spent a considerable amount of time... I would go into detail, but it's a secret ;)
In terms of orchestration, the song does contain some unique qualities. The driving bass piano plays in a sort of honky-tonky style, which is a breath of fresh air in a region swamped with vertical beats. This swing feel allows for a lot of triplet patterns, many of which contain some quirky accidentals. The ever-present bass and snare rejoin us, but with a laid back feel, which is also an inviting change of pace. To me, the flute melodic line is very intriguing; it soars above the other instrumentation, yet doesn't force the sound like a saxophone or trumpet would. The harmonic synthesizer is also of equal interest; it provides the "bite" of the piece with some vibrato that accompanies the flute well on held out notes. Having an instrument in the foreground with an accompanying synthesizer is a reversal of what usually occurs in the world of Pokemon, so visiting Fortree City was a blessed change of pace to my ears.
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