Jasmine froze a little at the question, but he asked so politely, the stress quickly rubbed off her body. Still, what was she supposed to answer? Not with the whole truth, at least. “Uhm…” she started hesitantly. “It’s a long story. It wasn’t exactly… planned, though. A collapse in Mt. Silver. I happened to be there to train, and afterwards… I wasn’t in much of a condition to continue taking care of the gym. I have to apologize, I can’t really tell a stranger all the details. N-not because I don’t want to, or… it is, but, I don’t think you really want to know. I’m sorry.”
At the mention of exploring though, she seemed to lighten up. “The building is very big, I can see why you’d want to find your way around. I think I know most of the important locations now, like the infirmary, cafeteria —” she nodded towards her books. “— library. So if there’s a place you wish to see, don’t hesitate to ask.”
As he offered to help her with her books, she quickly looked down on them as they rested in her arms, then up at him, then down again, almost as if she didn’t understand the question. Then it seemed to dawn to her. “Y-you’d do that? It’s okay, honestly, but… if you want to help, I’d feel rude to say no.” she replied with a flash of a nervous smile. “It’s a little embarrassing. I’m actually borrowing books with tips of how to take care of smaller pokémon. I’ve only taken care of bigger ones, but now I’ve gotten a few for presents. Super-small, some fluffy, I’m not really used to it at all, but I want to make them feel at home. Most people would say that after taking care of pokémon such as Steelix and Metagross a little Shinx or a Joltik shouldn’t be any trouble, but I constantly find myself struggling.”
As Jasmine had begun to tell the pieces of her story, Steven froze, intent on connecting the few phrases she was offering up. An accident on Mt. Silver… had she been injured to the point that she had to drop her position? It seemed like a likely situation,but she seemed so fine and able now. None of that would explain why she was here now.
Steven knew very well that it wasn’t going to be a simple, clean-cut answer for anyone, but he figured he may as well give it a shot. After all, he was just trying to familiarize himself with more and more people around here. And so, with that in mind, he was perfectly understanding of the situation when she refused to tell, if not more curious than ever before…
"Don’t be sorry," he said confidently. "You’re right - we just met. Hah, where are my manners?" And just like that, he brushed off the entire topic, deciding it best to bring it up later… much later.
Once again, Steven was listening intently to every word that came out of Jasmine’s mouth, this time much more interested in her peculiar predicament. “Really? It’s funny that you should mention that; I’m so used to working with Pokemon as big as Metagross and Aggron that the minute I get an egg to hatch, I find myself struggling to raise the little guy.”
"Just three months ago, my Archeops gave birth to several hatchlings. Most of them were adopted, but I wanted to raise one for myself. Little did I know how difficult it’d be handling the little birdie, hahaha."