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Evelyn: -trying to shake off her worry- S-Sure. Let's go.
Me: Same thing as always, Kim? Want me to record?
Star: -nods- It's been around...8 years since I attempted a league challenge. It's been tricky balancing both this and work, but luckily I can do both at once, kind of.
"Halfway there," Isbrand remarks. "Feel free to forfeit at any time."
"Feel free to piss off, Isbrand."
Isbrand shrugs. "Just saying. Alright...well, at least we're predictable now, the two of us. Mako?"
"Qrow," Shaun whispers coldly. "Gigantamax."
The storm overhead takes on a reddish-purple hue and begins to swirl quickly over the field. Isbrand idly wonders when the rain's going to hit, but shakes her head clear and swings her sword again, the darker metal in the hilt glowing the same color as the sky above. "Dynamax!" Mako's ball swells to beach ball size and Isbrand effortlessly tosses it one-handed to the sound of cheering fans.
Shaun latches an Obscura chain around Qrow's ball and whips it into the sky. The Gigantamax Corviknight appears with a glorious cry, free of his confines and ready to fight. <Sorry about this, kid,> he mutters.
Mako stretches, almost cat-like, glaring up at Qrow. <Don't worry. I'm not gonna be the one who gets hurt.>
Qrow screeches and sends a barrage of feathers at Mako as the Mightyena jumps into the sky to meet him.
It was a close match, but I pulled it off and that's eight badges. Time to celebrate!
-The stream was already underway in front of the castle on the east side of the city; a few of the pieces that needed to cook for a while were already roasting and bubbling away. Gale Knight, wearing all eight of her badges, had started prepwork for a salad-
So here's my open invitation to those who like me are taking the Gym Challenge; come along and have some food and just... Celebrate, no matter where you are in the challenge so far. It's been a long year since the opening ceremony so we might as well meet up again. Anyway; for those of you tuning in for the stream well not only will I hopefully get a few of the people from the party to say hi but we've got some guest chefs today, though you might know them better for their musical pursuits! After all, who better to help make a meal fit for a dragon than a pair of dragons! Come in and introduce yourselves!
-Onto camera stride a pair of familiar twins. One of them that we've seen more recently than the other has gotten a full proper chef's outfit on including a hat. The other one has settled for just putting on an apron over their casualwear-
Takcorian: Hello internet! It's me, Takcoria, from TB—D!
Luperian: And I'm Lu. Yo.
-Gale lets off a soft laugh as she stands off to the side-
Takcorian: Now, it was a smidge short notice calling us in for this little soiree so I've had to come up with something using mostly ingredients you already have so we're prepping the salad.
Luperian: Well you are, I'm gonna attend this pork spit over here.
Takcorian: Alright I guess I am prepping the salad, alone.
I can help. You did run the recipe by me earlier.
-The chef (/dragon) clicks their tongue and nods before getting to work-
You follow the scent to the source, a little field kitchen set up with a camera crew and a few people talking to the camera. You ponder for a moment if you recognize any of them, but can't put names to the faces at least from this distance. With a little huff you simply decide to approach.
"I guess I am prepping the salad, alone" you hear as you come into earshot of this little field kitchen and wander towards the back end of the camera so as not to interrupt things. "I can help. You did run the recipe by me earlier" comes the reply from the girl with the tinted glasses; you take a moment to appreciate your similar clothing sensibilities. Eventually you decide to make your presence known to the little group.
Commentator: "Once again, a tie! Seems the Sapphires are of an equal cut. Gutsy move from Isbrand and Mako, driving Qrow to the ground to finish him off, but the Corviknight's scythe-like wings ensured he didn't go down alone! Riveting stuff, innit?"
-Isbrand glares at the press box.-
Isbrand: "I really don't like you."
-That storm's finally picked up. Wind whips around the field, battering the competitors as ice-cold rain stabs into what bare skin they have, lightning and thunder flashing and roaring in the sky.-
Shaun: "Well, Isbrand. Looks like I'm in my element now."
-Shaun weighs his options - lightning strikes don't bode well for an Empoleon. Even if she could make a storm work for her.-
-Goodra and Umbreon. Interesting choices.-
Eclipse: <Shall we, Woomy? I have no interest in dawdling.>
Woomy: <Fine by me! A good fair fight!>
Eclipse: <Fair? In your dreams.>
Eclipse: <You wouldn't hit some poor girl like me with those horns of yours, would you?>
-Goodra just straight-up shoots her with a Dragon Pulse.-
Eclipse: <I ain't gonna take that lying down, ya know.>
-Eclipse glows with Obscura, changes it - Copycat turns the Dark energy into Dragon - and launches her own spherical Dragon Pulse in retaliation.-
As Ian followed the directions, a door would open and he would enter into a large room. At the room were three berries, "You may only take, the right one," a voice said, "Which one is the right one?"
There was an oran berry, a pecha berry, and a leppa berry.
As Evelyn took her first step into the pit, she would find a solid surface underneath, cameras would swing around and show that the pit was cleverly disguised, there was a bridge hidden in the pit through clever visual tricks.
Edited by EchoingSilence on Apr 22nd 2021 at 9:48:41 AM
-Evelyn feels the hidden bridge under her foot and immediately realizes something.-
Evelyn: -telepathically to Axon- ~Axon! There's a bridge here!~
Axon: -telepathically to Evelyn- ~Most interesting. There must've been an illusion hiding the bridge from view.~
Evelyn: -telepathically to Axon- ~Then that would mean...~
Axon: -telepathically to Evelyn- ~There was no bridge on the other path!~
Evelyn: -telepathically to Axon- ~It's a good thing I trusted your guidance like I always do.~
Axon: -telepathically to Evelyn- ~Indeed. Now, let's keep moving.~
-Evelyn stumbles across the bridge to the other side.-
Me: -telepathically to Raru- ~Alright, Raru. Whatcha got?~
Raru: -telepathically to Ian- ~From where I am, I can see a big room with a line of three berries all in a row. From left to right, there's an Oran Berry, a Pecha Berry and a Leppa Berry.~
-At that moment, Ian hears the voice.-
Me: -telepathically to Raru- ~Did you hear that?~
Raru: -telepathically to Ian- ~Loud and clear. It says that you can only take the right berry.~
Me: -telepathically to Raru- ~Right as in "correct" or right as in literally?~
Raru: -telepathically to Ian- ~Maybe, those two meanings are one and the same.~
Me: -telepathically to Raru- ~Well, I'm letting you call the ball.~
Raru: -telepathically to Ian- ~Very well. Walk to the right and pick up the Leppa Berry.~
-Ian stumbles to the right of the line of berries and picks up the Leppa Berry.-
Edited by AnimeboyIanpower on Apr 22nd 2021 at 7:32:26 AM
-Eclipse can barely hear Isbrand, but still sidesteps the incoming Focus Blast, the ball of raw Aura harmlessly slamming into the stadium's wall.-
-Well, harmless to her. Not the stadium. These things simply are not reinforced for the raw, no-holds-barred combat Shaun and Isbrand conduct.-
Woomy: <Hold still! I wanna bask in this rain for a bit!>
-Angry, Woomy stamps the ground, Feinting into Eclipse and catching her off guard. The hit barely registers - but the slime coagulating in her fur and weighing her down does.-
Isbrand: "Eclipse, move! The rain won't wash-"
-Woomy splashes in a puddle gleefully, celebrating her victory.-
-Short-lived, however, as neither Shaun nor Woomy hear the beeping of a Lock-On and crackling of an attack charging.-
???: <Target acquired. Data downloaded.>
Penny: <Salutations and goodbye.>
-A red targeting laser draws a bead on Woomy.-
-A green beam of energy, raw electricity firing from constructed prongs, almost burns Woomy as it hits.-
-Penny experimentally watches as a constructed claw in front of her melts into a gray, oily substance.-
Penny: <Excellent. My next opponent, please.>
Shaun: "I can barely see you through this rain. Monsoon. It's time.>
-Shaun releases a Prinplup, who tilts her head up.-
Monsoon: <It is time then. A storm. Fitting.>
-She reaches for her neck, grabs a smooth pebble with a hole in it, a rope threaded through to make a necklace. She rips it off and crushes it in her flipper, dust falling onto the ground. Monsoon glows - her body stretches, melts, reforms.-
Empoleon!Monsoon: <I will hold nothing back. I have my honor to uphold.>
Penny: <Excellent. I would like to fight you, Monsoon. There seems to be a lack of data on you. Interesting coloring - most Empoleon don't have the feathers of a Staraptor. Parents are Tsunami and Ace. Data trends suggest your tactics are a blend of their methods. Wonderful! I apologize in advance for what I am about to unleash on you.>
Kim: "Indeed. Same as always; you can record the battle. Now, the question is... would you like to know which Pokemon I'll be using?"
(Seconds after the Velvet Room fades, Kim suddenly wakes up, breathing slightly heavily. She looks around, then looks down at herself and realizes that she's in her regular clothing again.)
Kim: "Thank god. That felt very real."
Braker: "Ah. That's very sweet. Now, as for Janice... what's she like?"
Penny Locks-On, tracking Monsoon as the Empoleon circles, claws digging into the ground. She lunges forward, Metal Claw out, but Penny sidesteps and retaliates with a Foul Play, digitally-constructed claw swiping down and slashing the thick feathers of Monsoon and lacing them with a binary goo.
<Hmmph. You're calculating, I'll admit.>
<I was designed for it.> Penny whirrs, hovering. <I->
<Calculate this!> Monsoon takes a sumo stance and fires a blast of water, the storm amping it up as it crashes into Penny, knocking the digital bird out of the air.
"Error: Water damage detected. Converting..."
Penny's body glows, the gray parts of her body becoming a bright purple.
Monsoon grits her beak, the wet keratin grinding against itself. What would Father do? She squints, looking through the curtains of rain.
"Do it," Shaun instructs.
Monsoon cools off - literally, as the temperature of her hydrosac drops to subzero - and exhales Mist.
<Smart.> Penny Locks-On again, her laser cutting through the mist. <Fire at will, Isbrand?>
Shaun's glowing eyes pierce Isbrand's. "What are you planning?"
"A winning strategy.>
Penny's appendages float off, spin, charge - fire. Another direct hit. Monsoon hisses in pain.
"She can't take too many of those," Shaun murmurs. "Sharpen!"
Monsoon nods and clangs her flippers together, metal sounds like music as she feels adrenaline course through her.
<Hmm.> Penny weighs her options. Let Monsoon buff, and one attack will do her in. League Rules mandate she sticks to her current moveset - Zap Cannon, Lock-On, Foul Play, Conversion-2. Conversion v.1 would've been better, but Lock-On was technically her first move. But if she can bait Monsoon...
<Hey, bird brain!> Penny taunts (lowercase). The red laser from before trains itself square on Monsoon's center-of-mass.
"Over here, you big bag of bones!"
Monsoon charges, taking the bait. Claws out, she jumps - performing the same spinning attack her mother favors. Penny moves into range, crackling as she takes the blow.
"What did you - Monsoon, move!" Shaun shouts.
Isbrand smirks and flourishes Shadowcleaver. The crystals embedded in the hilt, though not visible to normal vision, seem to sparkle in Shaun's night vision - one pure black, one stark white.
Penny closes her eyes, channeling her Z-Power. The white crystal in Isbrand's sword glows as Isbrand flourishes it more, ending with her arms in a "Z" shape, blade still in hand.
Isbrand pants. "Make it count."
"Alright then." Shaun takes a deep breath and slots a Waterium-Z into his Z-Power Ring/Mega Bracelet/Dynamax Band. "Even if you hit her with Metal Claw, she'll resist it. Ready?"
Monsoon nods, letting the storm guide her and her Infinite supply of Energy fuel her.
Shaun goes through the fluid graceful emotions of the ocean, praying that Monsoon's heritage and this weather is enough.
A geyser of water the size of a Mega Rayquaza rams Penny, hitting her with the strength of a fallen moon. Isbrand, at least, had enough awareness to hunker behind a hardlight tower shield.
Monsoon gasps for air, utterly spent. <Never! Doubt! Me!>
She's too tired to notice the red laser trained on her.
Penny floats over the field, her physical form cracked, bursts of electricity leaping out of her internals.
Isbrand and Shaun both recall their fallen mons and stare at each other silently. Everyone in the stadium is silent, the storm providing the only ambience.
Isbrand takes a few steps forward, boots squelching in the wet grass. She holds her hand out. Shaun looks her up and down and meets her in the middle of the field, clasping her hand. "Good match."
"Yeah, you too." They stare at each other in silence again. Neither of them are good with words.
Shaun breaks the (relative) quiet. "Go take your spot as a Sapphire tomorrow, Issy. You've earned that Hall of Fame spot."
"Still gotta beat Leon."
"You beat me. Leon's gonna be a pushover for you." Shaun winks. "You want to fight the strongest Champ, take on Sinnoh League next."
Isbrand smirks. "I'll pass. Galar's enough for me. We've been at this too long."
"Maybe." Shaun tilts his head up, letting the pouring rain droplets splatter on his face. "Let's get out of this rain."
Isbrand nods and spins on her heel, walking out of the stadium with Shaun at her side.
"Is-Isbrand Sapphire wins the finals!" The stunned commentator finally blurts out. "She will be challenging Champion Leon tomorrow for her spot in the Galar Hall of Fame! Unbelievable! What a match! Shaun's unbroken winning streak-"
Isbrand taps a short command into her wristpad and the commentator's microphone goes dead. Shaun chuckles, devolving into mad laughter as he and Isbrand walk into the small tunnel that connects the field to the locker room.
Edited by SwiftSeraph on Apr 22nd 2021 at 4:07:06 AM
As the Fire-Dragon's shell absorbed light, Helmsman scoffed, not aiming for them anyway.
That was 9-Volt's job.
9-Volt used Thunder!
Turtonator's Shell Trap failed!
Raihan whistled, impressed, sending out his fourth against the challenger's second and third.
Flygon used Earthquake!
Helmsman used Ice Beam!
Three challengers shared a picnic table seat, looking out over the growing party with minor satisfaction.
"Y'all got your badges?" The one with the shirt numbered 312 asked, holding up the solid circle composed of the emblems given to her.
While her close friend held his up soon as well, showing the 210 on his sleeve, the girl numbered 283 shook her head.
"Hm." They looked at her and shrugged, casually looking at the goodies they had both worked on, an aluminum tray of cinnamon rolls and a couple pitchers of lemonade, one normal and the other pink.
The day started with a hearty breakfast for Isbrand and her team, courtesy of the last of Shaun's funding. He's not going to retry the League, both out of respect for Isbrand and since it doesn't matter to him. Maybe one day he'll come back, mid-20s crisis, rush every League with his ace team. Either way, he's still technically repping Sinnoh, with Isbrand going to fight Leon.
There aren't any nerves as Isbrand walks onto the pitch today. Out of the corner of her eye she spies Shaun in the bleachers with Jessica, Kaiiseii, and Cereza. She knows that her girlfriends are cheering her on, and is very much looking forward to celebrating with them after she wins.
There is no doubt in her mind that she's going to win.
Leon smiles cheerfully as he and Isbrand meet at the center of the field. "Trainer Isbrand! Just the person I wanted to see. Saw your matches last night." Leon lets out a low whistle. "I'd almost say I'm scared." He chuckles. "Gotta say, you J-Teamers really help turn out a crowd. Champion fights are usually packed, but..."
"People know what they wanna see."
"I suppose!" Leon throws his cape out, a gust of wind dramatically billowing it. "Ready for a Champion time?"
And with one final Max Lightning - via fangs to the throat - Hellfire finishes off Leon's Gigantamax Charizard.
"Well." Leon watches his ace Pok駑on, his pride and joy, literally explode before passing out. "You sure kept me on my toes!" He recalls his Charizard, rolling the Ball in his hand.
Hellfire shrinks down and nuzzles Isbrand; she gives him headpats. "Well, we do our best."
Leon grins and shakes Isbrand's other hand. "And that certainly was your best." He holds Isbrand's arm up like a boxing referee holds up the arm of a winning fighter. "People of Galar! Your newest League winner, Isbrand Sapphire!"
Cheers from the crowd. Jessica is especially loud. Isbrand allows herself a small smile.
"Anything you want to say?" Leon asks.
Isbrand frowns. "That's family-friendly?" She taps her chin thoughtfully. "No. My actions speak loudly enough."
Leon nods. "I respect that. Shall we get you officially registered?"
Isbrand nods and follows Leon out of the Stadium field. A photo with her team and a signature later she's now a Champion-level Trainer. Isbrand Sapphire, number 31.
-Having arrived under an SEP Field-
Rakshasa: -Wearing a baby-sized hoodie- <What does this have to do with training? From what your team said, haven't you beaten this Galar League already?>
Observations of humanity, if I wanted to crap out an excuse. Remember, if anyone gets suspicious, you're just a variant Teddisura from another region, or even a Delta. That's what I say when people ask me about Limna.
The first thing you notice is that one of the folks here; the one dressed in full chef regalia, they tense up as soon as you say that greeting. A few moments later, the lady in the cool dark clothing glances up and also tenses.
"Heck" she mutters, immediately redoubling her efforts on stirring something in a bowl before shoving it onto the table and doing a little stiff walk over to the camera, "I gotta take a quick break to discuss things with guest chef Takco, how about you go check on our friend tending the pork roast and ask her"
"They/Them" corrects the chef. "ask them about the glaze?" finishes the stylish girl before she and the chef wander off elsewhere. You decide to follow the little instruction and wander over to the big hunk of meat slowly rotating above a big burning brazier. There's a Vulpix perched on the rim of the brazier, tending to the fire and occasionally catching a little bit of glaze and grease to that drips off to taste. But you're pretty sure the 'friend tending the pork roast' actually refers to the ambiguous person wearing an apron over jeans and a t-shirt who's casually turning the spit and occasionally applying more glaze. You barely register that the camera crew has moved the gear over to get a better frame on you and the meat-tender.
"Heya! How's the meat coming along?" you say, trying your very best to hold back on letting Pal control your instincts as the scent of cooking meat fills the space around you. The person attending the roast gives a curt nod to the camera before replying "It's coming along. Might be ready soon (tm)."
You hum a little, staring at the glistening rolling roast before remembering that the presumed presenter of this cooking show gave a request to be done. "So what's the glaze on this thing?" you helpfully prompt at which point the meat-tender sticks a pinky finger into an awaiting bowl of glaze off to the side and sticks it in their mouth.
"Sweet, a little hot... Come on I know this one... I think this might be maple and mustard" quips the spit-spinner, taking the opportunity to apply a fresh coating. You blink and smile, memories flooding back of that trip you took to Alola when you were seven to visit the family. "Just like Grandpa likes it!" you exclaim without any kind of context. It's getting harder and harder to keep everything under wraps when your memories and Pal's memories of delicious meats mingle together. Actually it gets hard enough that you decide to pop on just the smallest expression of power to act as appeasement to your companion. A pair of ears and a swishing tail suddenly appear on your person but the meat-tender seems to be completely unstartled by this change.
"Just 'Grandpa'? If you wanna give a shoutout I'm gonna need a name" you panic, now on the spot and being requested to give a name. But you don't... You don't want to bring too much attention onto Grandpa J so you improvise.
"My Grandpa forgot his name! He's very old."
It's at this moment when the presenter and the chef return, the presenter shouting out "Yo! New girl!" in your direction. Of course, you're currently involved in this conversation with the meat friend so when they say "Oh come on, surely you'd know even if he forgot" you immediately try and find a solution that you state quite clearly in the utterly false assertion of "The memory of my Grampa's name died well before I was born!"
This seems to provoke some reaction, not in the friend working that roast but in the presenter and the chef. The chef is the first to react, outright collapsing into a lawn chair before the presenter blinks slowly and wanders off back to the salad. You shrug, gaze drifting back to the meat. This is going to be so good when it's ready.
-Oh that's not Angus. That's-
-Gale immediately tries to get this damn vinaigrette into a stable enough situation and almost throws it onto the counter as she scrambles to get back in the main frame of the camera to speak directly to it-
I gotta take a quick break to discuss things with guest chef Takco, how about you go check on our friend tending the pork roast and ask her—
Takcorian: They slash them
—ask them about the glaze?
-Gale shoots a thumbs-up at the camera before carefully ushering herself and the dragon-chef off to the side, somewhere private to talk-
I'm so sorry if I knew this was going to follow me I—
Takcorian: You know this girl?
I don't! Well, I do but like. ... Maybe we should establish some things about you? When in the timeline are we talking about here? Post-S-and-S or are you meta-aware during L-Cent or..?
Takcorian: Mmm, buddy? Bud? I am not the elf. And if I can help it, I never will be the elf.
... You're going to need to explain that. But I'm guessing by that metric you're kinda like me? Aware of stuff, seeing stories?
-The dragon takes a deep breath-
Takcorian: Mmmmmmno, not now. I'll explain later, if you're good. But yeah, I know that story.
Okay well I know this girl in the same way; never met but know her from a story. And unfortunately it's a story that stubbornly wishes to intrude upon my life. I'm torn about whether to confront her, maybe see if she was sent by someone I can go punch to stop this bullshit.
Takcorian: Well if you find anyone eager to remove scales let me know so I can do the same.
I really hope you explain later, for now I guess we have to deal with my problem.
-Gale closes her eyes, takes a deep breath and whispers out a quick prayer to the Trio before striding back to the feasting area-
Yo! New girl!
Luperian: Oh come on, surely you'd know even if he forgot.
Gregarious Girl: The— the memory of my Grampa's name died well before I was born!
-It's at this point that somewhere over the course of Gale and Tak's little heart to heart, this new girl has obtained dog-like ears and a tail-
Gregarious Girl used Deep Cut Reference!
-Takcorian faints (into a convenient folding chair). Gale goes a little stone-faced and just silently walks back to her salad prep to try and just ignore the problem until it goes away-
-Both the tense salad-making Gale and the confused but happy new girl are available for interaction-
Edited by Pentigan on Apr 22nd 2021 at 9:32:21 PM
-Scarlette and Reaver have arrived! They seem more sociable than they've been in the past.-
-Rogue is also there. Their presence seems warm, like a sunny day — or a campfire. But it's probably just an issue with the thermostat, right?-
-...We'll get back to Mason in a little while. He's running late.-
Me: Nah. I'd rather be surprised.
-Ian sets his Xtransceiver to record.-
Me: Shall we, Evelyn?
Evelyn: -nods- Let's.
-Ian wakes up and looks around the room he and Evelyn share. It no longer looks like a jail cell, he's back to wearing his pajamas and his ankles aren't chained anywhere.-
Me: Wow... That was... something.
-He then looks to Evelyn, who's still sound asleep and rather comfortable. Ian decides that it's not worth worrying about too much before tucking himself back in and going back to sleep.-
Ba'al, in his pompous disguise, receives the message from Bishop. He knew what he needed to do.
Ba'al, as the flamboyant Machoke Majordomo: <His Grace demands the review of the following files!>
He presents a digital slate with a list of very specific files, many of which were unrelated to the task at hand but very plausible things for someone like Lord Abarata would want to examine.
Ba'al: <We demand this posthaste, his lordship appreciates delays not!>
Jane and Tommy watch rather awkwardly at the stream from a safe distance.
Jane: You're part of a webshow production crew. See if you can help.
Tommy: I think they already have a floor director. They'll be fine. Plus, your dad has me on a strict non-compete clause. I can only work in productions for the company and stuff I make myself, and Arceus knows the Lets Play channel didn't go anywhere.
Jane: Well, if you weren't such a noob at Smash.
Tommy: That was before [Sephiroth] was introduced.
Jane: Please, you've played [Palutena], Sonic the Sandslash, and Little Mac in each one of your playthroughs where you didn't lose. You gravitate toward crutch characters like there's no tomorrow. Would it kill you to play Oliver Capsule for once?
Tommy: Oliver Capsule is OP and you know it.
Jane: You get your ass beat by everyone who mains Oliver Capsule when you play literally anyone else. I can see why you would believe that.
The two approach the scene, being careful to remain behind the camera and lower their arguments. They observe.
(CW: brief misgendering)
Mason: ...Would you take "rumors of my death were greatly exaggerated" as an answer?
Bren the Scorcher: It was more than merely rumors, Carbon. A second-year prodigy suddenly is found dead and rotting from the inside. The remaining traces of her mind are unresponsive, but the psychic signature is unmistakeable. Yet you live now — not even a ghost, but a real, living person. You've aged, and you've even made a name for yourself.
Mason: That name is "Mason", if you don't mind.
-Bren the Scorcher pauses, and nods.-
Bren the Scorcher: Mason. Understood.
Mason: Yeah. Anyway, what can I say? I was made to lie. So I lied.
Bren the Scorcher: It was quite an impressive lie that you had built, Mason. I was tasked to destroy the body myself.
-He puts a hand to his chin.-
Bren the Scorcher: A mere second-year, capable of creating an illusion so perfect — solid, breathing, dying, lingering — that even as the corpse turned to ash, even as the records of escaped Phantoms were compiled, we were none the wiser.
-The Espeon perks their head up.-
Mason: Like I said, I'm a very good liar. And I have a reasonable idea of whose grave you robbed to make me that way. But maybe you'd like to confirm that suspicion?
Bren the Scorcher: ...There are many sources. But I believe the one you would be referring to is the bloodline of Annoski, is—
Mason: I thought so. Incidentally, who did they take from to make you? I've had a run-in with another "scorcher" uncannily recently, so color me curious.
-The Espeon hops off the table, trotting toward the library doors. Bren the Scorcher blinks, glances where they're running off to, then back and forth between the door, and Mason in front of him.-
-The realization dawns on him, and he can't help but chuckle.-
Bren the Scorcher: Oh, Mason, you are quite the liar after all. Tricky, tricky.
-The air just outside of the library vibrates with an ear-popping pressure, and then the illusion of Mason at the table suddenly vanishes as firelight shines through the windows.-
A certain pink and purple clad young woman is here, accompanied by a Hattrem. Aislinn looks around, taking in all the other challengers.
Blair the Hattrem: ~.... Hmm... That person over there is giving me really weird vibes...~ She points at Rogue.
Aislinn: "Hm? Oh, I've seen them around. Aren't they that person from the... " She trails off, thinking.
Rogue might notice her staring a little.
-Aislinn's staring catches Rogue's attention. They don't say anything, but they do raise a glass of water in an acknowledging gesture, before taking a drink.-
-...They don't take off their helmet to do so. But it doesn't spill. It just... disappears into their helmet screen.-
Kim: "Very well, then. Let's go in."
(And with that said, she enters.)
(Kim promptly goes to the locker room and changes into her Gym Uniform. Peechee, meanwhile, stares at the door to the stadium for a few moments—before his claw starts shaking.)
Peechee: (with Tranquil Fury) <I'm going to oobivat her. I'm going to oobivat that Gardevoir and razrez her to shreds.>
(As soon as Cuddles sees 9-Volt faint, he immediately starts to whimper.)
Cuddles: (saddened) <Noooo~> (whimpers) <Why didn't you return him...?>
(Walter and Braker go up to Cuddles and start petting him on the back. Braker is still filming.)
Braker: (into the camera) "Ladies and gentlemen, as you can see, the adorable Galvantula has fainted." (He focuses the camera on Cuddles.) "Cuddles is very sad about it."
Walter: <It's okay, Cuddles. Battles sometimes go this way. Besides, that Galvantula took a Fire Blast.>
Cuddles: (sniff) <He... he did...>
(Kim promptly enters the feast— with Braker right behind her.)
Kim: "Well, here we are. It seems there are a lot of people here."
Walter: <Yes... but the question is... who should we talk to first...?>
(An Orbeetle- who is much larger than a normal one, about 5 feet tall- and a Centiskorch are talking to each other about something when all of a sudden, they hear the commotion of the feast near them. They turn to face each other in slight confusion.)
Orbeetle: <Bloody 'ell, what in the world's going on over there?!>
Centiskorch: <I'm not sure... but I think we should go investigate.>
Orbeetle: (sighs) <Bunch of crazies, aren't they, interrupting my work.>
Centiskorch: <"Crazies"? They seem to be having a wonderful time.>
Orbeetle: <I bet you a hundred every Trainer in there is either mad, stupid, or both.>
Centiskorch: <I bet you it's quite the opposite.>
Orbeetle: <I bet you you're wrong.>
Centiskorch: (sighs) <Should we still go investigate?>
Centiskorch: <Why not? They seem to be having fun.>
Orbeetle: <That fun's gonna be gone pretty soon, I can tell you that.>
Centiskorch: <Come on...>
(The Orbeetle sighs.)
Orbeetle: <I cannot believe that I am actually agreeing to do this. Fine, whatever. I still think the people in there have gone completely and utterly mad.>
(With that said, the Orbeetle and the Centiskorch head off to the feast— but while they're walking, the Centiskorch turns to face the Orbeetle.)
Centiskorch: <They might be playing Silly Cobra movies, who knows?>
(And the Orbeetle's eyes go wide.)
Orbeetle: (now excited) <Silly Cobra...? SILLY COBRA—?!>
(And with that said, he floats off to the feast in excitement.)
-Ian and Evelyn follow Kim into the stadium.-
Me: Well. It's almost time for the Gym Challenge.
Evelyn: And from what we saw of Hoops' challenge, the puzzle here is a quiz.
Me: We'd best get our knowledge of trivia in gear. So let's get studying!
-Ian and Evelyn take a few books out of their bags and start to study them while they wait for Kim to finish changing into her Gym Challenge Uniform.-
-Evelyn and Ian fly their broom in to Hammerlocke to check out the banquet and talk to some of the people there. Evelyn lands the broom (without crashing it this time) and the two trainers get off.-
Evelyn: This is the place.
Me: So the banquet is happening here. I wonder who Kim wanted us to meet...
Piku-chan: <More importantly, when's lunch?>
Me: -chuckles- I think now's lunch.
(Eventually, Kim exits the locker room. She is now wearing her Gym Challenger uniform with her lab coat over top of it. Kim turns to face Ian and Evelyn.)
Kim: "Alright, then. What do you suppose the puzzle will be?"
(Kim turns— and notices Ian and Evelyn.)
Kim: "Ah. There they are."
(She walks up to them and motions for Braker, Walter and Cuddles to follow. They do.)
Walter: <Well, I must say, Braker, this should be fun.>
Braker: "Indeed it should."
Cuddles: <Oooh~! I can't wait to meet these new people~!>
(Eventually, Kim approaches Ian and Evelyn.)
Kim: "Ah. Hello, Ian. Hello, Evelyn."
Jessica tosses a frozen pizza into her toaster oven, then grabs the phone nestled in the crook of her neck. "Again, Shaun, you haven't told me what your job is yet. All I know is you have to live in Castelia City, and it pays well."
"Have I really not told you?"
Jessica sighs. "Maybe letting you run off on your own for a bit was a mistake."
"Well, our careers are literally based in different regions."
"It's [Hololive-JP], Shaun, where else would I be? And since when do you have a career? You freelance."
Shaun's silent for a moment. "I took a teaching job."
"There's a local school, for kids."
Jessica rolls her eyes. "As most schools are."
"It's a trainer school, Jess. I'm going to teach these kids how to battle professionally."
"Since when are you big on kids?" Jessica frowns. "Your personality isn't...condu-condus - you're pessimistic and don't get along with children."
"It's not like I have any other skills. Not exactly a big market for archery coaches, and the only people I'll teach Obscura techniques to are Mason and Issy."
It's Jessica's turn to be silent. "Why are you doing this?"
"Why are you-"
"Because I was popular enough to get an offer. But we both get paid plenty thanks to Gio. You don't need a job."
"No, I don't. But I want to see what it's like to be a normal person. Living in an apartment in the city with a small team, going to a job. Not camping in the woods and hunting food, or taking an airship to the next worldeater."
Jessica drums her fingers on the counter. "I understand." She bites her lip, fox fangs sharp on the flesh. "Don't be a stranger."
"I'll keep in touch, hot stuff."
Jessica snickers. "Dork. I love you."
"Love you too. Talk to you later, divine vulpine."
Jessica shakes her head and hangs up the phone. "Idiot." She grins. "What a stupid nickname. I gotta come up with some for him. Or maybe I'll just send him a fruit basket."
Ace: "Well, it's good to see you, Isbrand. Congratulations on the win."
Isbrand: "Not mad about Shaun and Monsoon?"
Tsunami: "She fought well. Still a child."
Ace: "Penny's a strong opponent. No shame in losing a fight like that. Only in not trying."
Isbrand: "I guess. Hey, why the fuck are you human? You're never in human form."
Tsunami: "Ace is human more than bird now. In body. Was always more human in mind. Easier to work in a lab with fingers than feathers. Stay human to keep him company."
Ace: "Which I appreciate."
Isbrand: "I mean. I respect that. Anyway, um - fuck, what was I here for?"
Ace: "My refined version of your artificial Ink. Which needs a real name, by the way."
Isbrand: "Glitch juice."
Ace: "...I've already delivered the compound and brewing instructions to Penny. It should be more efficient now. Here's a small sample. And also..."
-Ace glances around and pulls out two vials for Isbrand.-
Ace: "Ditto stem cells, as requested. And I also found some Nihilego toxin..."
-Isbrand takes only the stem cells. She decided to keep some around in case of lab mishaps.-
Isbrand: "I have one shot of Booster. Keep that poison."
Ace: "Carry on, then. I have some experiments I could conduct with it. Go tinker with your warship."
-Isbrand rolls her eyes and leaves - heading not to her workshop.-
Zelel: <Troop carrier, M-Series, number 51. Former Mobius tech, no arms. I will update the IFF to read as a shuttle for the Shadow Rout. Designation?>
Gabrielle: "M-51...Call it the Heart Unyielding."
Luca: "Where to first?"
Elizabeth: "Uh...here. Glimwood Tangle. I felt...something, when I was there."
Gabrielle: "You heard her, Zelel. Plot a course."
Aislinn looks like she's trying to figure out how Rogue did that, before smiling at them and waving.
Hm.. Do I pry about what Blair mentioned? Maybe not.
...I'm gonna pry.
"Hey there!" She approaches a bit.
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