! Ralts Line

!! Morphs [Oak Catalog #]

* Ralts [#280]
* Kirlia [#281]
* Gardevoir [#282]
** Mega Gardevoir [#282-M]
* Gallade [#475]
** Mega Gallade [#475-M]

!! Appearance

Ralts is a small humanoid Pokémon, a little over one foot tall. It is covered with short, glossy white fur that obscures the tiny fingers, ears, and nose. The upper half of its head is covered with thick, lime-green hair that drapes over its red eyes and resembles a bowl-cut; a pair of triangular red horns protrudes from the front and back of the skull. Much longer 'sheets' of white fur drape around each leg, giving the impression that the Ralts is stumbling about in an oversized dress.

The first evolution, Kirlia, stands approximately twice as high. The hair grows at the sides into bangs and splits around the eyes to allow unimpeded vision; the horns have rotated around to the sides of the head in a manner that visually resembles hairpins. Their fingers lengthen, becoming visible through the fur. The sheets of fur gather up and stick out like a tutu, revealing a green lower body with slender legs.

The primary final evolution, Gardevoir, is nearly the height of a grown human (about five feet). The green hair curls around three pairs of white ear spines and hardens below the jawline to form a protective helmet. Their red horns migrate to the torso, appearing to spear the Gardevoir through the heart. The arms grow a green covering that extends from the shoulders down into a vest-like pattern. The fur sheets, meanwhile, lengthen and loosen into a simple gown; their inner surface becomes coated with the green covering of the lower body, leaving their slender legs a pure white.

Gardevoir are capable of mega-evolution, and undergo a number of radical changes when they do so. A faint silvery coat, all but white to the naked eye, develops on almost their entire body, leaving only their head and back untouched. The extra fur flares out the dress structure, causing it to resemble a ballgown, and gathers densely around the forearms in such a way that it appears the Gardevoir is wearing gloves. Their hair curls even more tightly around the skull, and their ear spines flare out to create an intense arc. Most impressively, the rib-horns push forward, unfolding from the chest into a bow-like shape.

The alternate final form, Gallade, is only attainable by males. He stands at about the same height as a Gardevoir, wiry but deceptively muscular, and the horns have again moved to the chest and back. The dress extensions had tighted into two 'pants legs,' bunching around the waist like a cummerbund. A Gallade's green hair hardens into a skull-tight helmet, wrapping around two pairs of thick earspines; a cyan stripe runs from the front tip to the back, enveloping the large fin-like crest jutting from the rear. The green coloration moves down the neck, making a triangular shape on the torso and enveloping the shoulders down to the hands. A Gallade's lower arms harden into thick bludgeons that extend backward past the elbows in a tonfa-like shape.

Like Gardevoir, Gallade are capable of mega-evolution. Their ear spines flare out dramatically, the helmet crest grows dramatically curved, and the front tip of the cyan strip splits two smaller lines off in an arrow-like formation. All the fur on and below the neck becomes white, with an oddly jagged pattern forming near the waist; two 'capes' of sheet-like fur sprout from the shoulders, their inner surface gaining a cyan coloration. Most interestingly, while their torso-horns shorten to near flatness, their already long arms lengthen even further, gaining serrated edges made of the same material as their horns; an orblike projection forms on the arm itself near the elbow.

There is, as always, a rare breed of Ralts line with a unique chromatic mutation. In this case, a lack of a certain pigmentation generally causes the horns and eyes to appear more orange than red, and all green portions of the pokemon become cyan. Gallade have the additional side effect of their normally cyan portions becoming entirely white, even in their mega evolution; the mega evolved Gardevoir also surprisingly has black fur in place of the usual near-white silver.

!! Notable Biology

The signature dress-like fur extension present on all elvolutionary stages of the Ralts line is somewhere between the consistency of cotton and silk. This, in combination with their somewhat frail appearance and the empathy that all forms naturally have, has caused the line to be seen as feminine by modern standards (with the obvious exception of the Gallade). Also of note is the way the green hair on top of the head gradually hardens as the pokemon grows. Whereas the Ralts has soft hair, the Kirlia has a firm baleen-like texture at the forehead and back of the head, and both final forms have resolved all of the hair into protective helmets. This process is caused by the horns, which produce excess keratin to fuse hair and fur together as they shift around throughout the individual's various stages. Over time, the final forms exhibit similar toughening of the fur in the upper torso around the current position of the horns.

The horns also function as foci and receptors for psychic energy. The line is very receptive to empathic psychic emissions, with a number of them being able to either make opponents feel as they feel or outright copy unique special abilities; a small minority have even been taught to read their allies and dodge large area of effect attacks. As the line evolves, their psychic capabilities increase dramatically; a Ralts can resonate with positive emotions and mindsets, a Kirlia has learned to manipulate reality and move things from afar, and there are numerous reports of the Gardevoir literally generating ''miniature black holes.'' Furthermore, a mega-evolved Gardevoir can imbue ordinary actions with the psychic force it uses to feed, effectively turning them into high-powered fairy-type moves.

Gallades gain smaller, decentralized foci across their whole frame, particularly in their lower arms. Their long-range psychic powers and empathic senses weaken considerably, but their bodies toughen to compensate. Their powers and combat style shift to optimize swift and brutal close combat via supercharging physical strikes with psychic energy; most of the time, this manifests in the form of increased speed after being lightly stunned, but some Gallade have trained specifically to fight Dark-type pokemon and grow more aggressive if hit with such moves. A Mega Gallade grows even more concentrated and is incapable of being stunned.

!! Habitat

Wild members of the Ralts line live relatively far from large cities, as they dislike the emanations of monotony and "daily grind" from the humans within. They also dislike the deep forest due to claustrophobia and the occasional empathic death throes of nearby prey creatures. Thus, they tend to live on the edges of forests near clearings, close enough to hide if they sense danger. They tend to be quite reclusive, though Ralts will approach a human or Pokémon emitting positive emotions.

In captivity, a Ralts will form an empathic bond with and become very protective of their trainer. Like most psychic Pokémon, more mature forms will attempt to blend into the trainer's life as equals. Due to this line's empathic nature, they dislike the isolation of a Pokéball, though they will seek it out if the environment emanates negative feelings and they are assured of their trainer's protection.

!! Diet

While the Ralts line is biologically capable of processing meat, they find hunting quite distasteful due to empathic backlash of killing prey, and remain herbivorous unless their trainer or offspring desperately need food. Furthermore, their Fairy nature requires them to feed off some form of positive emotion; Ralts will seek out minds that resonate that way, while older members of the line will simply encourage good feelings through nurturing empathy.

!! Hazards

The Ralts line are naturally skilled psychics, capable of mentally warping reality at their full power, but dislike causing serious injury due to empathic backlash. Most hazards are related to direct threatening of the pokemon, their family, or their friends, of whom it is very protective.

It is, however, unwise to antagonize a Ralts or any of its evolutions. Though it will almost certainly refrain from causing physical injury, a sufficiently annoyed specimen may find many ways to retaliate nonetheless, and antagonists may soon find themselves speaking incomprehensibly, or in need of a change of clothes.

Fully grown Gallade are fond of ceremonial duels, and in spite of their best efforts accidents are always possible. Thankfully, they also tent to be very formal and polite and will rarely attack unless provoked.

!! Courting and Childrearing

The Ralts line reaches sexual maturity at the Kirlia stage. They form empathic bonds with mates, and mate for life. They attempt to choose mates within their current evolutionary level due to an awkward three-foot height difference between the intermediate and final form. The mating process is distinctly unusual; two individuals will touch hands, a glow will form between them, and shortly thereafter an egg will be grasped by the new parents. It's unclear how this happens, but the Ralts line can mate with such creatures as Grimer and Slugma, so they are placed in the amorphous egg group. A child is raised by the parents until it leaves to seek a mate, but may return to talk to their parents, introduce their new mate, or simply help raise their younger siblings.

Males tend to prefer evolving into Gallades — in the wild this is mostly just a status symbol, though in captivity they may grow self-conscious about their species' feminine appearance due to nearby and prominent human perceptions. As this requires finding and use of a rare Dawn Stone to trigger their latent genes, families may hand down Everstones to sons to give them more time to accomplish this.

!! Social Structure

The Ralts line has a family structure very similar to that of humans. Nuclear families stay together until the nest empties, so to speak, and family ties are kept afterward. Due to their sharp empathic senses and protective families, it is unusual for one of this species to be captured by a trainer unexpectedly. The capture is usually voluntary unto a trainer that the specimen has already befriended, like many of the more evasive Psychic-types.

!! In Human Society

Ralts and its evolutions enjoy a positive reputation in most stories about them; both Ralts and Kirlia are considered very adorable by the world as a whole, and Gardevoir have gained a well-deserved reputation for being as motherly as possible, while the Gallade is usually seen as a gentleman in the truest sense of the word. Trained Gardevoir will find themselves usually employed in 'helpful' roles where they interact with many people on a day to day basis, such as secretaries, therapists, nannies, medical professionals, and in one notable case tech support. The fact that many of them learn to communicate either telepathically or through written word generally affords them more respect than the usual pokemon, and a rare few have been granted full on citizenship. Gallades, while they also gravitate toward high-interaction service roles, appear to prefer some physicality to their tasks; they can be seen as bellboys, chauffeurs, bodyguards, coaches, and camp leaders.

Because of the Gardevoir's reputation as a motherly figure, there is a minor trend among some artists to represent them with [[MsFanservice well-endowed]] [[ImpossibleHourglassFigure hips and breasts.]] The pokemon themselves tend to respond to such depictions with bemusement; while they can see how it is intended to be a complimentary portrayal, they do not have or need such accouterments in their own reproduction and, indeed, half of them are male anyway. It's not unheard of for a Gardevoir to tease artists who make these images by promising them a fun time... and then taking them to a local amusement park or some such. Indeed, the line's view toward sexuality on the whole is surprisingly apathetic; it happens between lovers, and beyond that the details don't really matter. More than one couple has had to explain to their pokemon that it is considered very rude to walk in on them while they are privately engaged.

For all the positive portrayals of the Ralts line, though, there remains a dark edge in some older stories. An ancient Sinnoh story speaks of armies of Gallade and Gardevoir marching against some ancient and powerful enemy; while the details aren't clear, it is generally agreed that they won at the cost of many lives and a 'terrible curse' that weakened them (most likely reducing them from their mega-evolved forms to the typical ones in the modern era). A tablet recovered from a ruined city speaks of 'the form of a white lady, eyes glowing red, whispering madness and twisting the air as she shattered the slaves' bonds.' Both of these were incorporated into [[Literature/TheLordOfTheRings a famous fantasy series]] and many stories made in the later years remember this, giving the Ralts line a kind but still otherworldly depiction.

!! Trainer's Notes

The Ralts line is potentially very powerful, but very difficult to capture and even more difficult to handle in the long term. It is not recommended for beginner trainers to bother attempting. While not aggressive enough to be a direct physical hazard, this Pokémon presents social hurdles unusual to most species ordinarily trained by a competitive battler. If handled improperly, especially by an inexperienced trainer unfamiliar with the psychology and dynamics of the rest of the team, this may catastrophically undermine team cohesion.

This Pokémon is as intelligent as most Psychic-types, but lacks Psychics' usual aloofness. Though incapable of human speech, it is not unheard of for one of the Ralts line to become literate or communicate telepathically with humans. As such, this Pokémon will attempt to establish itself as a social equal with its trainer, which may confuse other Pokémon used to a pack mentality. In particular, a "pack beta" (typically one's starter) may see the Ralts as threatening its position as the trainer's second-in-command, or worse, the ''trainer's'' as the leader.

This Pokémon is very affectionate to family, and applies the term rather broadly — that includes but is not limited to their nuclear family, you, your own family, your entire team, any traveling companions and their teams, and any other close friends. It tends not to approve of trading away other Pokémon unless the one to be traded has been extremely unpleasant or is going to another trusted friend, and it will be deeply offended if you try to trade itself. This often impairs competitive trainers who need to adapt their teams more fluidly than hobbyists, and is often found uncanny and "clingy" to more casual trainers. Bringing a Ralts or its evolutions onto a team will most likely result in either a long-term core member of a largely static team, or a friendship that deteriorates badly enough to warrant release back to its nuclear family, with rather little in between.

This line tends to not enjoy battling at first, and may never develop a taste for it due to the unpleasant empathic feedback of striking an opponent. Those who adjust usually do so by learning to filter their sensitivity, and Gallades are particularly adept at this (see a licensed Psychic-type specialist if they have difficulty doing this). Like most Psychics, they are poor multitaskers in battle, but unlike other Psychics are at least not too headstrong to admit this, and will not need much persuasion to defer to a trainer in combat.

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[-Written by {{@/Pykrete}}. Updated and rewritten by Masterweaver.-]