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Lux asks Mike, who simply nodded in approval.
'Yer not wrong. Woulda made me feel superiah to them.' Mike thought, to himself. Lux simply decides to just see if there's anything he can do now.
CW very minor suicidal ideation at the end
As it turns out, the abandoned house Ama co-opted in her own timeline is here as well. When she's not doing things for PEFE she lives here, in this slightly ramshackle cabin that somehow still has running water despite having not been touched in years. Yeah you gotta treat the water and yeah she had to steal legally acquire a solar panel for electricity and sure you have to be careful when you go to the bathroom, but it's free and no one bothers her.
Well, no one until recently anyway.
Ama: "She's still out there, isn't she."
Strelitzia: <I-I th-think we both know the answer t-to th-that...>
Alstroemeria: <Do you want me to deal with her, boss?>
Ama: "No, I can deal with her myself. And stop calling me boss."
Alstroemeria: <Alright boss.>
Ama stands from her position at the front window and heads out the door, Alstroemeria and Strelitzia watching from the doorframe behind her.
Ama: "You're not so great at hiding yourself, are you? You can hide from our eyes but you can't hide from-"
A child shaped blur darts out from the underbrush, a psychic blade aimed straight at Ama's throat. Ama just grabs the kid's arm in a vice grip inches in front of her face.
Ama: "You're going to have to try a lot harder than that."
The child squirms uncomfortably a bit. Realizing she can't get her arm free, she brings her leg up to try the psychic foot knife trick again. Ama is more prepared this time, though, and just grabs the girl's leg before it can reach. She then twists and throws the kid bodily across the clearing. The girl makes an ungainly landing into a bush.
Ama: "Do you want to keep going? I don't enjoy beating up children. Please make this easier for both of us and just... Run off and frolic in the woods or something. I can't imagine why your superiors would want me dead, it can't be that important right?"
Ama: "Or you can just say you killed me. That's fine too. If you need proof I'll give you hair or a chunk of flesh or something, just leave me out of whatever this is will you?"
Child: ~Only your death will satisfy me.~
Ama: "Ah. Wonderful."
Strelitzia: <Th-this feels familiar, somehow...>
Ama: "Don't you start-"
The girl vanishes from the bush. Ama squints and whirls around, sweeping her leg out and catching the girl in the side. There's a slight crack. She flies across the clearing again, but this time she sticks the landing. After taking a second to catch her breath, she pushes herself back to a standing position and recklessly charges Ama again, blade outstretched. The blade nicks Ama, but she redirects most of the force to the side and throws the girl to the ground.
The girl is left flat on her back, the breath knocked out of her.
Ama: "... Now are you done?"
Ama: "Even I don't kill children. If you just agree to-"
Child: ~The only way this will end is with your death.~
Ama: "I'm not opposed to that but I'd prefer if I went out in a manner of my choosing."
Child: ~I'm retreating today, but don't think you've seen the last of me.~'
Ama: "I didn't think I had."
The girl blurs out of focus and disappears. Ama does not appear to have the energy to chase after her.
Strelitzia: <Should... Should we contact someone about this?>
Ama: "Probably. But it's a pain so I won't."
Strelitzia: <But she's t-trying to kill you!>
Ama: "I don't trust the cops to deal with this and I'd rather not have to deal with the J-team more than I have to. If she kills me she kills me."
Alstroemeria and Strelitzia both frown.
Ama: ".... I doubt she will, if that's the extent of her ability, but there's always a chance. She'll probably give up eventually anyway."
-it's amazing she has the discipline to keep an SEP field up in the midst of all this-
-because she looks like she's losing her mind-
Ramona: -chuckling darkly- And don't I know it. It's why I do it as little as possible.
-sharpening to fury- It's despite her! I'm her legacy that she didn't kill me when she had the ch
-the memories go back in their hole with a click-
Ramona: -stare- Whose legacy? No, don't tell me, we've got things to do.
-she dangles the pendant in front of Celeste's eyes-
Ramona: -chewing her lip- Sentiment's killed more people than I ever have. Does most of the work, really.
Everyone thinks determination or anger or love will carry them through, so they don't bother checking their weak points. Learned that, too.
-said with such an even, objective rage—she's used to holding her hand to the stove to keep it from the flame-
Ramona: And since yours might encourage you to kill me, it's best you let me go, isn't it?
-it's funny, what lands-
-Ramona can talk herself in knots, for days and days and days on if what happened to her was right or wrong-
-but she's never had to defend it as interesting-
-the problem with an unexamined life is you can't assess it for what others see, either-
-the bulwark of Ramona's mind is layered and dense, each layer more offensively labyrinthine than the last...and riddled with holes, one for each memory she isn't dwelling on-
-those holes hold sharp angles of their own, but...someone's projecting, isn't she?-
-in the light Celeste gets a flash of a small chair with straps and electrodes-
-an array of faces, some Pokémon but mostly human, pinned like Celeste isn't-
-and someone, somewhere is having a gentle conversation at knifepoint—that she remembers having every day-
-and every day, the reward for success was just-
-more of the same-
-she's prepared to wipe what she could and bolt, Celeste—entranced Budew rise from the lawn, Sleep Powders churning-
-but they're all...lost in thought, momentarily, the mill undriven-
-what will you do?-
Edited by Asterisk395 on Aug 4th 2022 at 8:12:24 AM
It took a bit before Gardenia was eventually able to respond again, as she stared down at her fainted Sunflora for a good few seconds before finally returning her. Once she did, she turned to face Owen, laughing somewhat nervously.
"W-well..." she said. "I certainly wasn't expecting that! You definitely have a pretty powerful Kabuto there..."
Owen laughed, returning Eurypedis back to his PokeBall.
"Yeah, I... I guess you could say that," he said. "Honestly, I didn't think that the Sunflora would go down that quickly, either. Especially with Eurypedis' typing."
"Well, you may have brought my Sunflora down," said Gardenia, taking out another PokeBall, "but this next mon of mine won't be as easy for you to defeat! Go, Cherrim!"
The ball promptly opened, releasing a Cherrim— that very quickly glowed and instantly bloomed into her Sunshine Form. Seconds later, she started jumping around like crazy.
Owen instantly took notice of the red Focus Sash around her neck.
<Yippee~!> she cried. <Let's get this battle started~!>
Owen nodded, taking out another PokeBall.
"Alright, then," he said. "If that's who you're going with... then this one should be able to do the trick! Go, Saura!"
He threw the ball into the air and it instantly opened up, revealing a half-asleep Saura on the other end. She took a glance over at the Cherrim and smiled.
<Oh, hello there,> she said.
<Hiiii~!> said the Cherrim, not even seeming to care that an Ice-type was in front of her. <I can't wait to see what you can do~!>
<Same here,> she said.
Gardenia, meanwhile, recognized the danger.
"Oh, don't think you'll have an Ice-type take me down that easily!" she said. "Cherrim, start things off with Growth!"
<Aaalright~!> said Cherrim.
Seconds later, she began glowing with a pure green light and instantly began growing in size as her Special Attack and Attack stats promptly went up.
Owen nodded, instantly realizing what he needed to do next.
"Alright, Saura!" he said. "Use Aurora Beam!"
Saura nodded, before opening her mouth and releasing out a rainbow-colored beam of ice at the Cherrim.
It knocked her backwards— but didn't do enough damage to the point where she'd have to use her Focus Sash.
As a result, Cherrim's Focus Sash was promptly knocked off.
<Nooo...> muttered Cherrim sadly. <My Focus Sash...>
"Don't give up now, Cherrim!" cried Gardenia. "Use Petal Blizzard!"
<Right!> cried Cherrim, perking herself back up.
Seconds later, she began spinning around, releasing a flurry of petals out at Saura.
They hit, and knocked Saura backwards a bit— but not for massive damage.
Saura remained more or less unfazed, but she took one look at Owen— and that was all that the latter needed to know what she wanted to do next.
"Glad to see you're alright, Saura," he said. "Now... do what you do best!"
Saura nodded— and then promptly fell asleep, before glowing in a pink light as all of her strength came back to her.
She smirked over at her opponent, but Cherrim didn't catch it.
Gardenia, not knowing what Saura had planned next, smirked.
And then the sunlight finally faded.
The minute that Laurie and D'Autry entered the Oreburgh Gym, the first thing they noticed was the crowd that erupted around them. Laurie blinked in shock for a few moments as they took it all in— they'd seen Oreburgh Gym on TV before, but never like this. Apparently, after the Galarian stadiums became such a hit, Sinnoh had figured "might as well".
"Whoa..." cried Laurie.
D'Autry just glanced around in awe and excitement, secretly wondering if any of the crowd members had heard of the GO2 before.
Eventually, Laurie noticed Roark standing there and approached them, returning D'Autry to their PokeBall as they did so.
They had someone else in mind for this first battle.
"...Hello," they eventually said. "You must be Roark. Laurie Hitoki; it's a pleasure to meet you."
Roark nodded. "I sure am! I assume you're here to start your Gym Challenge?"
Laurie eventually responded. "Uh... yes. Yes, I am."
"Great!" he said. "How many badges do you have?"
"...None?" asked Laurie. "I haven't battled in any regions."
"Alright, then," said Roark, taking out a PokeBall. "In that case, I'll start you off easy. Are you ready?"
Laurie nodded, reaching for and taking out their first PokeBall. "Ready."
"Alright, then! Let's do this!" cried Roark. "Geodude, you're first up!"
He promptly threw the ball into the air, and it opened up to reveal a Geodude standing on the field.
<Alright!> he cried. <Come at me with all you've got!>
Laurie didn't understand any of the Geodude's Monese, but nevertheless continued, throwing out their first PokeBall.
"Alright, then!" said Laurie. "Let's do this, Plant!"
The ball opened up— and Plant emerged onto the battlefield.
The second he did, the Geodude's eyes went wide, Roark looked over at him curiously, and the crowd absolutely lost their minds.
Plant, meanwhile, stared up in awe at the crowd.
<Whoaaaa~!> he cried out. <Is this that "Pokemon Gym" thing that Emcee was telling me about?! Look at how many people there are here? What on Earth are they wearing? It looks odd...>
And then— a glance over at Roark.
<Also who on Earth are you?> he asked.
The Geodude just laughed.
<Well,> he said. <Yer clearly not from around here, are ya? That's my Trainer, Roark. Ya beat him— ya beat me— and you've got what it takes! But be warned; I'm tougher than ya think!>
Plant smiled, detaching his scalchop. <Alright then! This sounds fun! You go first, then, my Geodude compatriot!>
The Geodude smirked. <Heh. Now you're talkin'!>
And with that said, he started the match off by throwing out a ton of rocks in Plant's direction.
-Noting the Lar sending its searchlight up-
We need to hurry this up so we can deal with the Palace Ruler.
Now, while it's distracted!
-Cue attacks from behind-
Chiyo: -Holding what appears to be a pill case- So this is what the PEFE was able to cook up on such short notice from what they saw in my DNA. From what they were saying, it's less of a cure and more something that stems the bleeding, but that alone is still better than anything else we've got.
A Staraptor perches at the top of a large wooden pole and chirps loudly as it sees a young girl walking slowly up the path to the small hut. She looks nervous to be here, and yet determined at the same time.
Vana knocks on the front door, and it's answered a minute later by Steven, a man in his thirties who runs this sanctuary.
"You must be Vana," he says, with a warm smile. "Why don't you come in?"
He puts on a cup of tea for the pair and serves Vana a cup. She hesitates, but decides to drink it - if this does turn out to be some kind of School trick, Hoops is waiting outside.
"So, about what I explained on the phone," she says slowly.
Steven nods. "Of course. First of all, I'm so sorry that this is happening to you. But I can assure you, your Honchkrow will be very happy here."
She nods. "I considered a few options, like giving her to friends, but this seemed like the best thing." She pulls out Feathery's pokéball and presses the release button. Feathery squawks as she lands on the wooden floor of the hut.
"So you're Feathery?" Steven says. "It's very nice to meet you." He looks at Vana. "Would you like to come with us while I give Feathery the tour?"
Vana shakes her head and stands up. "I probably should go. I have a couple more stops like this to make."
"Ah." Steven stands up as well and puts a hand on Vana's shoulder that she manages to arrest flinching away from. "Well, Vana, if things do turn around and you get better, you're welcome to come and take Feathery back at any time."
"Thank you," she mutters, and hands over the pokéball. Then she turns to Feathery. "We didn't know each other all that long, but I'm going to miss you," she says.
Feathery caws sadly and hops over to Vana, wrapping her wings around her. Vana returns the hug, and then soon leaves.
She meets Hoops outside. "You okay?" they ask.
Vana hesitates. "I don't know. Let's go to the next place."
Celeste looks at Ramona, slightly puzzled, but decides it's not worth her time to try to interrogate her about it. She'll probably learn about it later, one way or another.
Celeste: <You're a strange one, aren't you.>
Celeste: I won't kill you. I don't have a taste for killing, and I'd rather not bring the consequences down on my current trainers. I suppose it's in both our best interests if I pretend I never saw you.
Celeste, in her 200 years of life, has seen or heard of her fair share of atrocities. She'd prefer to never see another, but unfortunately she's not stupid enough to think her life will be peaceful forever.
She tries not to become too hardened but the problem with experiencing enough is that you eventually become... Inured.
That is to say, Celeste's expression does not change as she's shown these images.
Her thoughts, as far as Ramona can experience them, are mostly on how that sort of treatment is terrible, horrible even, but in the grand scheme of things still... dull. Needing permission to live? Being tested just to earn the right to participate in the next test? Celeste doesn't understand such things. Humans love to claim such things for the greater good, but what use is the greater good when it comes on a mountain of bodies?
The heat recedes... for now.
Celeste: Do you want help, dear?
Celeste becomes... relatively unguarded for the moment. She knows, ultimately, that she's probably making a mistake, but her motherly instincts can't help but read this all as a cry for help.
Celeste: Do you need help?
Spinny squeals happily as it finishes covering the pile of poffins in a rich cream. Catrina, the old woman who owns the place, takes one and smiles as she bites into it. "It's delicious," she declares. Spinny cheers and begins to twirl.
Catrina turns back to Vana and Hoops, who sit across from her at the table. "I think Spinny will settle in here perfectly," she says.
Vana is quiet, so Hoops makes sure to fill the silence. "Thank you, ma'am. You're doing us a big favour here."
She smiles warmly. "Oh it's no problem dears. If the cream that Spinny just produced is any indication, you're doing me a favour as well. The customers will be queuing around the corner."
Vana sits up slightly. "But you won't work her too hard, right? She takes a rest between three and four every afternoon, and she has to stick to that. And I should probably say, her favourite food is Chesto berries, but she can't eat them past nine pm because it makes it difficult for her to sleep. And she can't go too close to a window, because she catches a cold if the air is damp. And -"
Catrina lets her finish as she rattles off a long list of ways that Spinny needs to be taken care of. "Rest assured, Spinny will be looked after properly," she promises. "My sister runs the pokemon day care in Solaceon Town, so my family has a certain knack for making sure that pokémon are comfortable."
Vana gets down from her chair and approaches Spinny, who is still twirling on the spot in celebration of her achievement. She stops when she sees Vana coming. Vana sits down cross-legged on the floor to speak with her.
"So, I guess this is the end," she says. "Catching you... I suppose that was the day when I really became a trainer, whatever that means. And I did train you, you even evolved. I suppose what I'm trying to say is, I'm glad I got to spend this time with you."
Spinny doesn't fully understand, but she knows that her trainer is leaving, which is enough to bring tears to her eyes. She leaps forwards to embrace Vana, who hugs her back. They sit there together for some time.
-Rogue and Amaterasu freeze-
-and then are released, and Rogue doubles over, catching their breath.-
Rogue: Suiko, dammit, this is your problem, and you're just leaving us to this?
-nevermind that Suiko is not present to hear their scathing remarks-
Rogue: Rgh, whatever. We've gotta keep moving, right? If this won't let us escape, then give it a reason to turn tail!
Amaterasu: <A bit early for a victory howl, but we've got places to be!>
-Amaterasu takes a stance, brush-like tail swishing in a spiral pattern, before giving a piercing howl that seems to carry on the wind, the gust offering encouragement for the Lar to back off.-
Deep in the heart of Eterna City, Mark and Chopper could be seen idly navigating their way through the streets while thinking aloud and discussing matters with his Machoke companion in an odd dialect of Monese, <Hard to believe it's been this long since we've heard anything about Team Lightning's whereabouts, especially with all the attention they got from crashing The Techspo,>
<You think they got shut down or stopped causing trouble once they got what they wanted?> Chopper asked, shifting his attention between where he was going and the old yet interesting architecture of the city while Mark answered, <Nah that'd be awfully convenient, and we still don't know their motive beyond chaos for the sake of it...besides, they owe us for fucking up the Machastery,>
The last half of Mark's reply caused Chopper to make a concerned glance at his trainer, <You know we've probably been gone long enough for The Machastery to be fixed up by now. Besides, didn't Master Miyuki say—-> <Yeah I know: 'Seeking revenge is like using explosion and expecting your opponent to faint without fainting yourself,' I already told you it's bigger than this. We gotta make sure they're never coming back,> Mark interrupted to explain while omitting, Besides if you win does it matter if you faint or not as long as they lose?
<I guess, but The Machastery has been safe since we left and I want to go home one day. Exploring Sinnoh's fun but we were happier back there and—-Wait what's going on over there?!> Chopper started to say before noticing a massive crowd gathered around the entrance to the Eterna City Gym.
“Looks like a gym battle going on, and a tough one from the size of the crowd.” Mark replied in human speech, thinking to himself as he tried to navigate his way through the crowd, I remember when I used to care about being the World Champion...even if I got back into it, I wouldn't be able to fight this gym leader yet I'm pretty sure.
Seconds, hours, weeks...time itself lost whatever meaning it still had to Travis as he, Tricky, and the rest of his pokemon team remained floating yet and near-paralyzed in the abyss of temporal stasis. Somewhere yet nowhere in particular, both existent and non-existent like a subject of Schrodinger in a state between sleep and consciousness. Travis found he was able to move, but it was impossible to tell whether he was actually going anywhere or doing anything, and movement seemed to be abnormally slow while flashes of ambiguous events through time flickered like dying light around him. Travis couldn't help but notice the lack of a HEV Suit that he had previously worn, now returned into his usual attire while looking at his reflection cycling through the years before returning full circle to his present age. Travis was barely able to start uttering a semblence of speech as he saw those same cryptic words typing themselves out again as the black void began to white out, this time reading:
SUBJECT: TRAVIS WILSON RENAULT
STATUS: DISMISSED (INTERNSHIP CANCELLED)
RETURNING TO LAST KNOWN HOME OF RECORD_
Edited by ParadoxialStratagem on Aug 8th 2022 at 2:14:49 AM
Of course, Cherrim wasn't actually asleep- just Overcast.
Regardless of the obvious strategy, Gardenia didn't dare use Sunny Day just yet. Instead—
"Use Solar Beam!" she cried.
Cherrim nodded, and then turned to the sky, before opening her mouth as streams of sunlight started coming in.
And with that said, Owen spied his chance.
"Now, Saura!" he cried. "Use Sleep Talk!"
Saura nodded, and then let out a massive snore... before ultimately shooting out a massive beam of ice directly at Cherrim.
Cherrim, still charging energy, barely had any time to react before finding herself slammed in the face with a giant beam of ice— and promptly knocked backwards into the wall.
<NOOOOO—!> cried Cherrim.
"Cherrim!" Gardenia exclaimed.
When the resulting dust ultimately faded, Cherrim was lying on her side with swirly eyes.
All Saura did was smirk in her sleep, triumphant.
<Well, that was fun~!> said Cherrim weakly.
"Alright!" cried Owen, running up to Saura and hugging her. "Great work, Saura!"
Saura smiled in her sleep.
<Thanks for that,> she said— even if Owen couldn't understand her.
<Alright, are we back?>
note <We're back, chuu~!>
<Alright, then! Let's do this!>
And with that said, Ananpi promptly pulled out a microphone from hammerspace and stepped into the middle of the field.
<Hello and welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to Ingrid Anderson's second battle of the Galar Gym Challenge!> he cried. <As always, I am your commentator, Ananpi the Galvantula, here to provide subtitles for free to anyone who can't speak Monese, and you know the drill here, folks! This will be a 6v6 battle, and the battle is over when all of the Pokemon on either side are unable to continue, chuu~! And of course, if Ingrid ends up winning— and I have a feeling that she will, chuu~!— then you know what that means! I get to paint Nessa's face to look like a Pikachu's, chuu~!>
note <You didn't do that the last time with Milo, chuu~!>
<Yes, I know... but I'll be sure to get him back for that, later, chuu~!> said Ananpi. <Is everybody ready?>
Then, to Ingrid:
<Ingrid, are you ready, chuu~?>
Ingrid nodded. "Y-yes. Yes, I'm ready."
<Alright, then!> said Ananpi. <And assuming that Nessa is as well...>
"Alright, then!" said Nessa, taking out a PokeBall. "Let's do this! Go, Golisopod!"
She threw the PokeBall out, and it opened, to reveal a Golisopod standing there.
<GRAAAAAAAAHHHHHH~!!> he cried out.
Ingrid gulped, staring up in fear at the giant Golisopod.
<Well, lookie here, folks! Nessa's sent out her first Pokemon, chuu~!> cried Ananpi. <And it's a Bug-type like me, chuu~!>
note <It looks much more intimidating than you, though...>
<Oh, silly head-voice! That Golisopod is cute, chuu~!>
<What did you just call me?!> snapped the Golisopod.
<Awwww~! Hi, cutie~!> said Ananpi.
Ingrid, meanwhile, glanced down at her PokeBalls, realizing immediately that Golisopod's Bug-typing would beat Bjorn in a heartbeat. She was saving Bindi for the Gigantamax mon— assuming there was one, which there likely was— and Ananpi wouldn't probably do any good either. Benny definitely wouldn't.
Which left only one option.
She reached into her bag and pulled out a PokeBall, hoping that the mon she sent out A) had good moves under her belt and B) wasn't too afraid of the Golisopod.
"Alright, then," said Ingrid. "Let's do this! Go, Amity!"
She threw the ball, and in an instant Amity emerged, glancing around herself for a bit.
<Oh...?> she asked. <Oh? A-are there any ghosts here?>
"No, Amity, there aren't any ghosts here," said Ingrid.
"B-besides you, of course," she said.
<Wait, SHE'S A GHOST?!> cried Golisopod. <L-like, a real ghost?!>
<Thaaaaat's right~!> said Ananpi. <I'd tell you more, but the last thing I'd want to do is spoil it all for the viewers, chuu~!>
<Oh dear Arceus...> muttered the Golisopod.
Ingrid, meanwhile, turned to face Amity.
"Alright, Amity," said Ingrid. "W-what moves do you—"
And then it hit her.
"Wait a minute," said Ingrid. "You... you know Electric-type moves, don't you?"
<I... I mean, I don't think I do...> she said.
Ingrid looked down. "Hm..."
She promptly pulled out her dex and began scanning Amity again, and instantly, moves started popping up: Minimize, Gust, Focus Energy, Shadow Ball, Payback, Hex, Will O'Wisp—
"Y-you know Will O'Wisp?!" cried Ingrid.
<I... guess I do,> said Amity.
And just like that, Ingrid spied a strategy.
"Alright, then!" cried Ingrid. "Use Will O'Wisp!"
<O-okay, then!> said Amity.
She raised her tassels.
<Alright, then, let's see... how do I do this...?>
<She doesn't know how to use her own moves?!> cried the Golisopod.
<Well, I mean... I have mainly been doing nothing but travelling around and searching for my friend after my initial death...> said Amity.
<Well, duh!> Ananpi piped up. <Isn't that what a ghost is, chuu~?>
The Golisopod sighed. <Oh for the love of...>
Braker and his crew would meet a tall, pale-looking [French Canadian] man wearing a baggy blue hoodie over a suit and the holographic render of a Porygon2.
Jonathan: Bienvenue, M. Braker. Enchanté; Pas de probléme. I speak Galarian, eh. My name's Jonathan Halliburton; I am the showrunner for the Halliburton Report news broadcast on our [YouTube] channel. Likewise, your messenger, my partner Walter.
Walter: A pleasure to have you on board.
A spearow emerges from a pokéball, hops on Jon's shoulders, and starts pecking at him lightly.
Jonathan: And my spearow, Kodak. She and her father are part of the flock of fearows we use for aerial shots using the PokéCam.
Kodak chirps happily.
Jonathan: You're probably wondering what this is aboot. I hope you're prepared, because I'll need a spare set of hands to cover what just happened here. If you have anyone you can interview who got themselves into a bind, now is the time to do so. Got it? Sooner we get this event done, the sooner we can move to our other, bigger assignment.
Walter: You might want to slow down, Jon.
Jonathan: Right, no pressure. I mean, it's like being burnt at both ends sometimes— I'm getting ahead of myself. If you're as good as your résumé suggests, you'll have no problems. Welcome aboard.
A grizzled old sea captain looks at the documents sent to him by PEFE HQ, which apparently came from the Aurabolts. Apparently, this so-called superteam had captured someone of great interest. The authorities have also been called in to apprehend said arch criminal and would be collecting evidence.
The Aurabolts apparently suggested that the ship be left in PEFE custody, but the report warns of the need to clear the ship.
A younger sailor enters.
Capt. Andrej: This is a lot to take in. I'm glad you're here, Nikola.
Nick: You wanted to see me, Gramps? Whaddya need me to tell the crew?
Capt. Andrej: Follow the good doctors' guidelines on talking to law enforcement to the letter. Have the security personnel be on standby.
Nick: Wow, all this for a ship we'll be salvaging? Can we paint it yellow?
Capt. Andrej: It's not just any ship. These so-called "super heroes" managed to commandeer the submarine of a powerful criminal. Interpol will only be here to send them to prison and pick up incriminating evidence on him, or so they say. The ship is given to us to salvage as we're the only organisation they can trust to have that on our fleet.
Nick: That explains the cop inspection. Nice to have a bit of backup.
Capt. Andrej: I don't want them getting their hands on anything other than what came with that boat. You know as well as I that powerful men aren't to be trusted even when they're down.
Nick sees a photo his aunt Stephania. Andrej was not happy at all with being reminded of these kinds of people.
Capt. Andrej: No one gets that powerful without getting any help from the authorities. Watch them like talonflames.
Nick: I'll make sure we do just that.
Capt. Andrej: Overwhelmed, Nikola?
Nick: Yeah, of all the days for your first mate to be out sick with the flu. And Rikard's still on his honeymoon.
Capt. Andrej: No crewmember will be forced to work in such a sorry state. Not while I'm his captain. I don't make it a point to default to nepotism but he personally recommended you.
Nick: I'll try not to disappoint the two of you.
Capt. Andrej: I know you won't.
Nick gestured politely and left. Meanwhile, the captain looked out on his window and into the horizon, waiting for the sign of the ship's arrival. He wasn't pleased with what was placed on his shoulders, but criminals like Delta are seldom brought down, even by the superheroes.
And if it meant that fewer people and pokémon would be harmed by him, it was worth whatever unpleasantness that happens.
Edited by MasterJayAM on Aug 8th 2022 at 5:35:58 AM
Mark would continue trying to move past the crowd, occasionally shoving through them albeit unintentionally. “Dude come on! The line's moving as fast as it can!” One of the crowd members said in offense, with another one chiming in, “Yeah wait your turn man! We were here first!”
“The hell does this line even start? You're all crowding around here like idiots, looked like you were trying to watch the battle through the windows,” Mark explained in annoyance, shooting a glare at some onlookers giving him dirty looks while finding a place to stand around and wait with Chopper.
“You know what? That's a fair point, quit getting distracted up there! This line's not going anywhere you y'all keep trying to stare through the windows or at the screen. It's a better view inside!” One of the people ahead of Mark conceded, which would result in petty bickering and clamoring while the line slowly advanced. You guys act like you've never seen a gym battle in your lives. You've seen a few, you've seen them all... Mark thought to himself, crossing his arms and unconsciously tapping his left foot, his attention being drawn to a TV above the main entrance showing a live broadcast of the battle between Gardenia and Owen, which snapped Mark out of a trance he almost fell into.
“Wait a minute...I know that guy! What was his name again, Oleson? Edwin?” Mark wondered aloud as he moved up with the rest of the line. <Oh yeah, the guy with the shovel at The Techspo. I think his name was Owen!>
<Yeah, Owen sounds familiar...and the guy's about halfway through fighting this gym leader...might actually stand a chance, he's got the type advantage I think...> Mark replied with a light amount of genuine gratitude, trying to get an update on the battle only for the duo to walk inside and lose sight of the screen.
“Oh man, I really hope we're able to get seats before the fight's over!” One of the crowdmembers ahead of Mark complained, voicing what most people here were thinking. Thankfully the line would die down over time, and by the next 5-10 minutes Mark would find himself in the stands and immediately thought aloud, “This is a gym? Looks more like an indoor camping ground to me, but I've seen crazier.”
As Travis whited out, the blinding light would dissipate into every part of the visible light spectrum and radiate through and around him before getting bombarded by the return of sound. After catching various blips and half-seconds of moments throughout history he couldn't have possibly lived through, including a snippet of his father as a young child and a part of Sinnoh history he couldn't have possibly known, Travis would find himself in free fall toward a growing portal storm, screaming and flailing the whole way down until getting deposited back into the present setting and right into the ground in front of the Eterna City Statue. Travis would try and pull off a super-hero landing seen way too often in modern media, but flew into the ground too fast to do anything effective and instead slammed face-down into the ground, yet was miraculously no worse for wear...save for his leg giving out while trying to stand up the first couple of times.
“Woah, what happened? Where am I?” Travis wondered before suddenly spotting Tricky falling above him and almost reflexively catching her, managing to catch his Manectric for a split second before the sudden shift in weight made Travis fall on his ass. Tricky would almost immediately flail and roll/throw herself off after noticing Travis caught her, but would almost as quickly help her trainer back onto his feet and guide him as long as he needed her until he could walk on his own again.
“I've only been on one multiversal jump, but that has got to be the worst one I've ever been on so far!” Haxx would gripe, animating himself as a small Rotom Icon one would see in the games on the corner of Travis' modified Poketch before noting, “But boy am I glad we all made it out okay, I just wish I could have been given the chance to prove myself to you [NEW USER]”
“You'll get your 15 minutes of fame one day Haxx, you just don't know when it will be until it happens you know?” Travis replied, brushing himself off before looking around to take in his surroundings before asking, “Say Haxx, what happened and where are we? How did I get here?”
Haxx would turn himself into a loading circle before turning into an interrobang and replying, “ERROR: NO DATA FOUND FOR RECENT EVENTS: [ERROR: INVALID DATE FORMAT!] What I can tell you is we're in the middle of Eterna City in the Sinnoh Region, modern day.”
“Show up in the middle of nowhere with no real memories of what happened? I know I definitely didn't drink anything, so that only means I phased in and out of reality again. Wouldn't be the first time..” Travis figured before muttering to himself and awkwardly moving through the city trying to find his way around.
Edited by ParadoxialStratagem on Aug 8th 2022 at 6:34:40 AM
Gardenia promptly returned her Cherrim, staring down at her PokeBall for a few moments before smiling.
"You were great, Cherrim," said Gardenia. "You deserve a rest."
With that said, she promptly put the Cherrim's PokeBall away, while Owen in return put Saura back in her ball.
"Well, I must say, your Amaura has a bit of a penchant for sleep!" said Gardenia.
"Yeah, she... she sleeps a lot," said Owen.
"Well, she knows how to use it to her advantage!" said Gardenia, taking out another PokeBall. "And speaking of status problems being used to their advantage, here's my next Pokemon! Go, Breloom!"
She threw out the PokeBall, and in a flash of blue light, a Breloom emerged from it.
<Yeee-haw!> cried the Breloom. <Well, now, this just got interestin'!>
Owen stared over at the female Breloom for a few moments, immediately catching sight of a purple, poisonous orb in the Breloom's claws. His eyes widened for a few moments, and he turned to face Stipax, who was still standing on the side.
"She's got a Toxic Orb..." muttered Owen.
<Her Ability's got to be Poison Heal, then!> said Stipax.
Owen nodded. "Right..."
He glanced down at his PokeBalls, before realizing that out of the three mons he intended to use, only one of them could take on a Grass-Fighting type and not have to deal with the status conditions that would inevitably come.
The only thing he'd need to take down Grass... was more Grass.
He promptly grabbed a PokeBall.
"Alright, then!" he cried out. "Let's go, Crina!"
The ball opened, and Crina promptly emerged from it, gazing over at the Breloom and catching sight of the Toxic Orb she had before running over to her.
<Ooooh~!> she cried. <That a Toxic Orb?>
<Yeah,> said the Breloom.
<Oh, goodie!> said Crina. <Your ability's Poison Heal?>
<That's right, it is,> said the Breloom. <An' I ain't afraid ta use it!>
Crina just giggled.
<Well, you may have a Poison Heal ability, but the last thing I'll do is let you use that Toxic Orb~!> she said. <Just cuz ya can heal yourself whenever you get poisoned doesn't mean you're not weak to poison itself!>
And with that said, she let a burst of poison out at the Breloom.
And surrounded Breloom with a poisonous burst on contact.
Breloom looked down at her Toxic Orb, then tossed it aside.
<Well,> she said. <You just made this useless.>
Seconds later, she threw her fist back, and began loading up a punch, all the while staring over at Crina.
As she did so, she glowed in a purple light as some of her energy returned.
But Crina wasn't about to let her have it.
She promptly shot out another Sludge Bomb again.
For maximum damage.
Seconds later, Breloom was thrown backwards into the wall, while Crina smirked all the while. When the dust faded, Breloom was on her side with swirls in her eyes.
<Dang it...> she muttered. <How'd yer Cradily get that powerful...?>
Owen blinked, looking on for a few moments at the fallen Breloom before turning to Crina.
"Well," he eventually said. "Nice work."
Walter smirked. <Heh. He's got the same name as me. Wonder if we have the same namesake, Braker.>
<Braker?> asked Walter.
Braker glanced over for a few moments at John, Kodak, and Walter (the Porygon-2)- and then those last few words hit everybody's ears.
Walter's eyes widened, Cuddles gasped in shock, and Caboose blinked.
<What, is he going on a train?> asked Caboose.
Cuddles immediately squealed with delight, and ran over to hug Caboose.
<HE GOT HIRED—!> he cried out. <HE'S WORKING FOR GEOSOC! Ohhh, happy, happy day~! Congratulations, Lenny~!>
Braker, meanwhile, grinned, as those last two words, and the news of the assignment in question, confirmed what he had already suspected and known. After the initial delight wore off, he nodded.
"...Right. Thank you so much again for this opportunity."
He promptly turned to face Walter and Cuddles, smiling at them.
"Surprise," he said.
Cuddles was still squealing in delighted happiness, while Walter raised an eyebrow.
<Is that what you came here for?> he asked. <You got hired by GeoSoc and you didn't tell us?>
"Got the letter two days ago," he said. "I wanted to surprise you here and now."
<Oh, it was an incredible surprise~!> said Cuddles, immediately jumping in for a hug.
Braker nuzzled him, before turning to face John and the rest.
"Don't worry," he said. "I'm not going to let you down."
And with that said, he began looking around the room for any potential people to interview.
"Now... where to get information about this whole Kecleon thing...?"
While he was looking around, Walter (the Wobbuffet), Cuddles, and Caboose turned to face Walter (the Porygon-2), John, and Kodak.
<So,> said Walter, <your name's Walter, too? Charmed.>
<Hello there, Mr. Halliburton~!> said Cuddles. <My name is Cuddles! I... certainly hope you don't mind me asking, but would you like a hug? Or a cookie? Or both?>
<Hello birdie!> Caboose said. <My name is Caboose! I like you, birdie!>
Jonathan: Glad to see someone so eager. I remember my first day on the job. I'll tell you all about once when we're on break, if you want.
Walter: The 'mons are saying hello, by the way.
Jonathan: Way ahead of you. Well, hello there, too. I can't quite understand monese well, mes amis, but if you ever need to tell me anything, Walter's got you covered.
Walter: He took the class but barely passed and forgot most of what he was taught.
Jonathan: A minor class, Wal.
Walter: You're already trilingual. Would it kill you to give a bit more effort to speak a fourth?
Jonathan: Is being rusty in that class really that bad?
Walter: Forgive him; he misses out on conversations a lot because he barely passed monese in uni.
Jonathan: ''Pas de probléme; We'll work on it.
Walter: A pleasure to meet another Walter. If you happened to be named after the late great Walter Cronkite, then we're certainly kindred in that regard.
Kodak: <Hi! You've got to meet my dad sometime. You can give Jon the cookie; he's kinda wary around electric types. Mareep incident when he was 6. But don't tell him I told you.>
Jonathan: Walter will tell you where we can rendezvous later. We'll meet up again in around 2 to 3 hours.
Edited by MasterJayAM on Aug 8th 2022 at 8:19:10 AM
Not long after Mark finally took a seat, he got the opportunity to witness Gardenia's Breloom get defeated by a familiar Cradily. “And this is why Focus Punch is one of the worst moves out there. Too predictable, frequently misused, and too dependent on whether you truly stun-locked your opponent,” He commented before turning to Chopper whose focus kept shifting between the fight, scenery, and random observers both human and pokemon alike. “Besides, focus has never been your strong suit,”
<Hey, what's that supposed to mean?!> Chopper asked, taking a bit of offense which Mark brushed off with the kind a smirk an older brother teasing their younger sibling would make. “Nothing at all Chops, but you might want to pay attention to the fight. We were lucky to make it when we did,”
Chopper and Mark would continue spectating Owen's fight, with the latter wishing he brought something to drink but figuring concessions would have been price gouged at best.
Under the watchful guidance of Tricky, Travis would stumble his way through Eterna City, his leg hurting more than usual and limp noticeably apparent but manageable. Despite recovering to the extent he could and having to live this way for enough years to normally not give a damn, Travis would on rare occasions feel more self-conscious than usual and today was one of these days. While he refused to pay much attention to any looks he got from passersby, Travis' body language radiated a clear message of, “Leave me the hell alone, the fuck you looking at?” that Tricky picked up on and felt solidarity with. Fortunately whatever lingering tension Travis might have felt would immediately dissipate when his Pokeball-R suddenly opened itself, releasing the Starly Travis managed to win from The Techspo on his way out.
<Freeeedoomm!> Wingo screeched, flying around in circles before perching himself on Travis' left shoulder. <Sorry about that New Friend, I just couldn't take it any more. I'm bored, I want to see the outside, and I'm hungry!> Wingo would chirp, with Travis completely unable to understand what was being said.
“Don't worry little buddy, I haven't forgotten about you...but why did you break out of your pokeball?” Travis tried asking Wingo, with Tricky chiming in, <You try living in a pokeball for longer than an hour, see how you like it,>. Before Travis could do anything else, Wingo would begin lightly pecking on his trainer's shoulder to try and emphasize his hunger, which while annoying did no real harm to Travis but clearly got the message across.
“For feck's sake Wingo I'll get you something to eat, just give me more than half a second!” Travis shouted, scaring the bird enough to flap his wings about, leaving Travis' shoulder and gliding onto the ground nearby while the human dug through his backpack and eventually found a bag of bbq potato chips he forgot he had until now. “Sorry in advance, it's probably stale but all I've got right now,” Travis said while opening the bag and tossing a few chips that shattered on impact, with Wingo immediately rushing to devour said food.
<Thank you, thank you! It's not very good, but it's better than starving!> Wingo chirped with gratitude, even though Travis still felt bad that he didn't have any real food at the moment to offer, trying a few of the chips himself only to grimace in disgust and give his starly the rest, which Wingo would misattribute as an act of generosity.
Edited by ParadoxialStratagem on Aug 9th 2022 at 4:17:08 AM
The wood continues to creak, even held down by psychic power. It gives precious few moments of extra preparation before the Buzzwole-esque monster crawls free and starts trying to climb back into pursuit.
You need a solution here, before it can exit the pit...
-Onwards the group of thieves wanders alongside the conveyor belt of formless meat... The next door is in sight when the PA crackles into life again-
Shadow James Crowley: So! I spy with my mounted eyes that we've got visitors in the factory again. Great, just great. I'm guessing you lot want the backstage peak, want to see— pardon the expression— how the sausage gets made? Yaknow, I'm willing to put past how you trashed reception, but I'm still not providing liability if you get hurt...
-Rakash rolls his eyes behind the mask and prepares to open the bestiary again-
Shadow James Crowley: How about you all come up to the brains of this operation and I'll show you the miracle powering the new tomorrow? Heck, maybe I'll let you take home some free samples. Whatcha say, intruders?
-The Nightingale takes in the information and has a simple follow-up-
... This Council. Who are they and what role do they hold in the Guild?
Jack smiled. "Well you'll just have to trust me word then, after all I have no further reason to lie to you, I'm being arrested," he told Lamb.
Silas frowned as Jack looked at him. "...He's right, he's pragmatic, lying gets him nothing at this point, he's going to prison and with all the files we've got and him in the suit, lying is just gonna make his position worse."
Jack smiled. "Oh Jackal, you truly understand how I work. We'd work well together."
"If you were not evil and maybe 20 years younger maybe."
Jack blinked. "What?"
Silas smirked, Roxy let out a laugh, and let Nightingale ask hers.
Jack shrugged and let out a sigh. "The Council of 5 is more or less the head administration of the Guild, Castle, Vault, Lock, Storm, and Club. They decide the direction of the guild, chart jobs and markets, plot out our blacklists, and ensure tight control in keeping things under wraps."
"Discretion is our Weapon" is how you'd say it?" Roxy asked.
Jack nodded. "Yep. We're not some all encompassing evil, we're professional hunters."
~Poachers,~ Hacks corrected.
"No!" Jack responded aggressively. "Not. Poachers. Poachers are sloppy, ill tempered butchers with no self control, who strip pokemon for pieces for sale, we're refined and calculated. A bog standard poacher has nothing on the lowest rung hunter, we're better than that, we don't kill our targets."
~The materials we discovered in the vault in Orre.~
"Recovery jobs, we grab those and keep them in storage, might as well make use of them."
Silas sighed. "No matter what you say, you're someone who tears family apart and hurts others for your own personal gain... you're a multi-millionare heir to a international company working in eco systems. The King Industries Knightmare Phone is an affordable and useful alternative, you already had everything... what would you gain from all of this?"
Jack... Delta smiled. "I never needed the money, I wanted to be the best."
Roxy scoffed. "So for all your "nothing personal" nonsense, everything was very personal. To think we were worried about you, you're just a criminal. Not even a supervillain."
Silas let out a sigh. "I'll get our contacts ready, if anybody has any questions, ask em, we're leaving soon. I'm done with him."
He stepped out the door with Hacks following close behind him. Roxy walked over, and swung a punch into Jack's stomach. "That's for all your tauroshit!" she said before leaving.
Jack took a few deep inhales as he looked to Lamb, Oran Obliterator, Taipan, and Nightingale. "...What?"
"We can't keep doing this!" Kamui barked in frustration, her other four Pokemon appearing with intent to keep the Buzzwole both grounded and burning.
Katsuragi paused, recalling something he had seen before. With a little bit of focus, debris fell from above, a Rock Tomb raining down atop his caretaker's aggressor, hopefully burying the Bug-type in the pit.
Kokonoe stopped using Extrasensory and threw a Fire Blast into the mix of boulders raining down, Akatsuki soon doing the same with Thunderbolt.
<Stay down!> Akatsuki barked.
As Jack staggered from the sucker punch to his chest, Lamb rushed over as though she could help tend to his injury, or at least make the recovery a little smoother as they returned to the ship.
"All I will say, is that some of us have experience with Pokemon being ripped from those who care for them," she recalled, a corruption of Jackal's true name crossing her mind as she hefted Jack's arm over her shoulder, her other hand slipping a calling card into his pocket.
Disgusted, R n' L refuses to comment.
Edited by AbsentCoder on Aug 12th 2022 at 11:23:31 AM
Once again, Gardenia stared out at her fainted Breloom before ultimately returning her to her PokeBall, looking slightly embarrassed at the idea of never getting to use her.
"...Well," she said. "Your Cradily is extremely powerful."
Owen returned Crina (who was sticking her "tongue" out at the fainted Breloom), laughing to himself a bit.
"Yeah... I used her the most often in the Kanto League, so let's just say that she's gotten extremely powerful in the year since Kanto happened," said Owen.
"I can see that," said Gardenia. "Well, since you've brought me down to my fifth, I suppose I might as well strike with something truly hard-hitting!"
She promptly took out another PokeBall and threw it out.
"Go! Torterra!" she cried.
There was a burst of light as the PokeBall opened up, and when it faded, a massive Torterra was standing there.
<ALRIGHT-!> he exclaimed. <Let's get this started!>
Owen stared up at the massive Torterra in front of him for a few moments, somewhat intimidated, before ultimately looking down at his PokeBalls.
He knew in that moment exactly who he needed to send out.
Quickly, he grabbed a PokeBall, allowing for his fear of the Torterra to fade.
"Alright, then!" he said. "Steggy, let's do this!"
The ball opened, and Steggy the Shiny Grotle emerged from his PokeBall, still with the Voltorb on his back, before glancing up at his own evolved form in front of him.
<Hello!> he said.
The Torterra looked down at him.
<Oh, hey there,> Torterra responded. <A Shiny, huh? Don't think I've ever seen one o' those before. Well, I suppose I might as well take you down while I'm at it.>
And with that said, he started the fight off by slamming his foot into the ground, causing it to shake.
Owen staggered a bit under the weight of the massive Earthquake, but Steggy, despite facing his own evolution, didn't even budge. He just stood there and shook off the damage, holding on to the Voltorb on his back in desperation.
Once it was done, he turned to face the Torterra.
<Alright,> he said, promptly pulling a sword out of hammerspace. <Not bad~! But here's a new move I've learned that's really gonna get to you! Eventually!>
With that said, he raised the sword up high above him and started dancing around it as the sword duplicated. Soon afterwards, his Attack began to rise.
And while that happened, he— and Owen— took notice of another purple glowing orb that was on top of the Torterra's tree.
Owen's eyes widened, as he recognized it immediately as a Life Orb— just like the one Roark's Rampardos had been holding. And Steggy had torn him to bits.
Seconds later, the Life Orb hit, and Torterra cried out in pain.
Mark and Chopper would continue observing the fight from above, with Mark noticing the next pokeballs being thrown but not registering the Grotle's opponent until the Torterra used Earthquake.
“Holy fucking shit, that's a pokemon?! Looked like part of the stage!” Mark exclaimed while trying to keep his balance, almost falling forward only to be saved by Chopper pulling him back by the collar into his seat before Mark would even have the chance to start facing the ground. Mark sighed in relief, <Thanks for the save, what would I do without you?>
<Not be as strong as you could be?> Chopper replied in confusion, not recognizing the question's rhetorical nature with Mark simply scoffing dismissively before both of their attention got redirected to the fight. <Why's that pokemon hurting itself?> The Machoke would then ask.
<If I had to guess, it's probably boosting its stats somehow with self-damage, clever too since whatever that pokemon is looks like a tank with a lot of HP. I don't know what that item is, but that's probably what's hurting it.>
“Could you stop blabbering in Pokespeak?! Some of us are trying to watch a battle, we don't need your commentary!” One of the spectators demanded, prompting Mark to reply dismissively, “Fuck off, I didn't see any rules that said you had to watch the battle in silence,”
“Do you have to use so many cuss words mister?” One of the younger attendees asked, prompting Mark to answer impishly, “...The fuck you talking about?” At this point an annoyed parent would cover the kid's ears and escort them away to another side of the stands, while a few people glared at Mark, silently asking, You happy with yourself? While he apathetically continued watching the battle, kicking his feet up on some unused seats.
Wingo would continue devouring the stale chips as quickly as possible, working himself into the bag Travis unintentionally dropped until fluttering about in a panic. <Help me, I'm stuck! I can't get out, oh no I can't breathe!> The Starly frantically chirped.
“You gotta be freakin' kidding me...” Travis muttered before raising his voice to order, “Aiyt hold still! This will only take a sec!” as he tried to approach the bagged Starly. Removing the chip bag proved more difficult than it had any right to be, largely because Wingo refused to hold still, determined to run and fly about attempting to free himself until Travis caught hold of the trapped pokemon in one hand by sheer luck, at least long enough for Travis to remove the bag with his other hand. Wingo would immediately fly around more chaotically than an overexcited zubat chirping, <I'm free...again! Yaaaay!> before perching himself on Travis' left shoulder again and nuzzling it in gratitude. <You saved me again, thank you!>
Not understanding what Wingo actually said, Travis would simply reply as he continued his wandering, “You ditzy birdbrain you...”. Moments later, he would notice a group of stragglers walking into the gym broadcasting the battle between Owen and Gardenia, deciding to follow suit. “Not like I've got anything better to do, might as well have some fun before worrying about what I'm going to do next,”
Edited by ParadoxialStratagem on Aug 9th 2022 at 8:25:44 AM
Emerging from her Pokeball in a flash of light, Rebecca gracefully falls through the air, landing in the pit opposite Roark's Rampardos. Unfortunately, she stubs her right foot on a Stealth Rock right at her landing point.
<Owowowowow!>, Rebecca squeals, hopping on her left foot as she clutches her right.
Mitchell, Roark, the Rampardos, and the youngster all wince in sympathy.
"S-sorry, Becky!", Mitchell blurts out. "I should have war-"
Rebecca cuts Mitchell off with a look of determination. <I'll live, Chief,> she says, as she turns to face her opponent. <Just give the call and watch my show!>
Mitchell does not understand the last thing Rebecca says, but he's assuming it's a declaration of her resolve. "On your mark, Rebecca," he says.
<Heya, tiny girl,> Roark's Rampardos innocently says. <Can I go easy on you? Squishing small girls ain't my->
"Rampardos," Roark commands. "Let's give the challenger a fair shot. Use Leer!"
<Kay!>, the Rampardos replies, before he sets his baleful gaze upon the Cleffa before him. <You're in big trouble, now!>, he rumbles, putting on his best tough mon persona.
"Rebecca," Mitchell commands, his heart pounding at the Rampardos's look. "Meet that Leer with your Charm!"
Rebecca smirks, despite the chill running down her spine. <So that's your play,> she remarks, before swiftly adopting a frighteningly adorable expression. <Aww,> she murmurs, locking her gaze into that of the Rampardos. <Aren't you just the most adowable, pwecious widdle Pogeymonsta!>
The Rampardos loses his composure and stumbles backwards, furiously blushing. <B-b-but Imma big boy!>, he protests.
"Hang in there, Rampardos!", Roark calls out. "Get back in there and use Bulldoze!"
The Rampardos swings back to his feet and begins stomping the ground, shaking the ground. Rebecca loses her footing, as she slams into the floor back-first. <AAAAAAAAAA!>, she cries.
"Oh no! Rebecca!", Mitchell blurts out. He almost recalls Rebecca back into her Pokeball, but two things stop him.
An idea on which move to use next.
And, Rebecca back on her feet, overflowing with resolve.
"Now, use Copycat!", Mitchell commands.
Right on cue, Rebecca copies the Rampardos' stomping, sending weaker tremors through the pit.
<That's my own->, the Rampardos protests, but his words are cut off when he loses his footing, slamming into the floor right-side down. <OWWIIIIIIE!>, he cries.
Roark, having realised what just happened, tuts at himself once. "Well done," he says to Mitchell. "Using a Ground-type move against a pure Rock-type is common sense, but turning my Rampardos' own move against him? That takes luck and guts." He then pushes his glasses firmly against his face, and continues. "But we're not giving up yet. Rampardos and I are going to rock your world. Rampardos, can you stand?"
<Y-yep!>, the Rampardos says, unsteadily back on his feet.
"Here we go!", Roark orders. "Rampardos, use Headbutt!"
The Rampardos lowers his head and charges, aiming straight for Rebecca. At the speed he is coming, it is all but certain that a direct hit would knock Rebecca out, just like Auguste and Esmeralda fell before her. However,-
"Just like Gus taught you, Rebecca! Use Grass Knot!"
Mitchell's command is loud and clear, and Rebecca knows exactly what to do. Plunging her hand into the ground beneath her, she pulls out a length of grass-formed rope right in front of the Rampardos' legs.
The Rampardos trips and falls, but he lands on top of Rebecca. Both Pokemon let out cries of pain, as they roll away from each other.
Both trainers scream out the names of their Pokemon.
A few moments pass, but then the Rampardos raises his head. <M-Mister Roark?>, he says. <Did I do it? Am I the w, the wi->
But he could not finish what he says, as his head collapses back to the ground, and he falls unconscious.
A moment later, Rebecca slowly sits up. Her whole body is bruised and battered, but she manages to smile. <I could do,> she jokes, <with a hot bath, now.>
"Rampardos is unable to battle!", the youngster announces. "Leader Roark is out of usable Pokemon! The winner of this battle is Challenger Mitchell!"
Both Trainers jump into the pit and comfort their respective Pokemon. Roark feeds his Rampardos a Revive to get him back awake, while Mitchell sprays Rebecca's injuries with a Potion to take away the pain.
"You did great, Becky," Mitchell whispers. "Thank you so much, for carrying my-"
Rebecca pokes a finger onto Mitchell's lips. That is her sign to Mitchell, telling him that he needn't say more.
"Congratulations, Mitchell," Roark calls from afar, still hugging and doting on his Rampardos. "It would have been embarrassing if you had no badges before I lost to you, but you have two, so it's okay. You were just a hair stronger than me. That's all there is." He then notices something. "Now, this would be where I give you our Badge, but I think your Cleffa's doing something."
"She is?" Mitchell asks, before looking down on Rebecca.
Sure enough, she is starting to glow with an inner light. It is the same kind of light that, just moments ago, signalled the evolution of a Cranidos into a Rampardos.
Rebecca the Cleffa is about to evolve.
"Ah, there we are!", Mitchell exclaims, as he spots a listing for literature-themed booths in Hall B. "That's a good spot as any to start book-hunting."
Gus, looking over Mitchell's shoulder, notices a word on the map that was familiar to him even with his limited literacy. <'Kecleonman'?>, he reads aloud. <Isn't that the thing Becky and Ed rave about?>
Hacks and Silas crept through the shadows, Hacks keeping an eye out for patrols. ~So, what's the goal?~
"Other than scare former CM Klara Strauss? Keep in mind why make a base this deep unless you have more information to hide."
Hacks considered that, as he pulled a geodude into the darkness and hit with a swift punch. ~So standard stuff?~
"It's about sending a message," Silas answered as he pulled on a face mask and flipped a set of darkvision goggles onto his face, all human visage gone. "Let them know that they're not safe, and I will find them."
~Fear factor is fun.~
The two approached the final door, it was closed of course. Silas looked about as Hacks placed a palm against it. ~5 auras inside, 3 human, 2 pokemon. One Ghost type judging by the grooves.~
Silas nodded. "Over then, drop down rather than through."
~And the ghost type?~
"We'll deal with that when we get here, we at least have Snakeye, dark type moves on hand."
Miss Strauss sat, biting at her fingernails in anticipation. Ever since the Governor's edict, a lot of her fellows were- in her opinion -being unjustly persecuted. Sure they had supported The Company, but the Company had always been good for Angela, it had provided business and industry, economic boons for everyone! Well her and her fellows but still they mattered!
And now somebody was in here, picking her guards off. "You 4 better make sure I don't get hurt!"
One of the guards turned to her and said, "Don't worry Ma'am. My Tyranitar and I got it, plus my buddy has a Trevenant!"
Strauss relaxed a bit... and then out of the darkness. "Should have packed more than one Pokemon."
Before anyone had time to say anything, out of the dark came two silent *thwip thwip* noises, as darts struck the guards in the neck. Followed by a Cacturne and a Typhlosion leaping out at the Trevenant with a Flamewheel and a sucker punch... followed by a Aura sphere from a Lucario into the Tyranitar.
Out stepped a man in black gear, no human face underneath the heavy material that covered his head. The Tyranitar was hit with a force palm as it tried to react, the Trevenant was under siege by a flamethrower as it attempted to crawl away. The man in black stared at her, he made a watching motion.
"You are always being watched, there is nowhere you can hide, nowhere you can run. We will find you, all of you."
Miss Strauss had turned pale, and collapsed. The man in black smirking behind his mask.
He tapped his earpiece. "Mission successful, call it in."
Over the earpiece. "Took you long enough! I'll let the local authorities pick her up, another one down."
Vana stands on the hill and looks at the sprawling countryside in front of her. A strong wind grabs at her as though it threatens to pull her into the sky, but she regains her balance.
In the distance, Mount Coronet towers over Sinnoh like a beacon. Between her and it, endless fields and forests and lakes. And people and pokémon living in them, all together in this beautiful world.
"This place is kind of like where we met," she says.
Hoops, who is sitting on the ground next to her, nods. "We were both pretty different back then," they say.
Vana looks at them. "I wanted to say thank you for forgiving me."
They look back at her. The truth is that they haven't forgiven her for what she did at all. The anger is still there, bubbling just under the surface and masked by a blank expression. But there is also the concern that still lingers for the scared little girl they met in the wild area over a year ago, the one who changed everything. For now, they can pretend that she is still that girl. "Sure," they say in the end.
Vana turns back towards the view. "In the School, all I had was a small room, and that was a prison. Not even mine. I finally got to experience the world like I always wanted to. I'm glad I could."
She collapses. Hoops catches her before she hits the ground, their bandages cocooning her gently. "Vana?"
There is no response. She has collapsed before, but she usually recovers after a few seconds. Something is different this time. "Vana!?" They shake her, but she still doesn't rise.
Yes, something is different this time.
Owen glanced over at the Torterra flinching in pain from the Life Orb draining his HP, before turning to Steggy as he realized the other thing that the Life Orb did.
"Steggy!" he cried. "Look out! The Life Orb makes Torterra's attacks stronger, too! Use Swords Dance again!"
Steggy turned to him.
<Wanna see me dance around this sword again?> he asked. <Okay!>
So he did.
Gardenia's Torterra glanced up at Owen and smirked.
<Well, the kid's a smart one, isn't he?> he remarked. <Pretty astute of you to pick up on the secondary effect of my Life Orb here.>
Owen blinked, not understanding a thing. "Huh...?"
The Torterra rolled his eyes, turning to face Steggy.
<Anyways... you can keep your Swords Dancin' up, kid. I'll give you a sword of my own!>
Seconds later, his tail started to glow with a silvery light. Steggy, however, quickly recognized the Iron Tail move and proceeded to jump out of the way of it, shaking the ground underneath him a bit.
<Huh-?!> cried the Torterra.
<Heehee! Oh, silly you! Haven't you heard the news?>
Seconds later, in Black-Bordered-Drawings-On-A-White-Background Land, a newspaper suddenly appeared, turning to face the audience before speaking.
"If it's not 100% accurate, it's 50% accurate!"
Afterwards, Steggy just continued to perform Swords Dance.
The Torterra just blinked for a few moments, then shook his head.
<...Never mind,> he said. <If yer gonna keep Swords Dancing, I might as well take you down here and now.>
With that, he slammed his foot into the ground, causing stones to appear all around him. One of the stones promptly lifted Steggy upwards— but just like what happened with the Rampardos, it barely did a thing, especially now given Steggy's weight gain due to his evolution.
Seconds later, as Steggy jumped off of the stones and back down to the ground...
And at that moment, Owen spied his chance.
"Now!" he cried. "Use Crunch!"
Steggy nodded and ran forward towards the Torterra as he opened up his jaw and bit down on the Torterra's leg.
Which, thanks to the 3 uses of Swords Dance beforehand, was extremely hard.
And extremely powerful.
Gardenia's Torterra was knocked backwards, looking a lot worse for the wear after the dust faded. Steggy smirked over at him and put the sword away, while Torterra got up and started to head towards him.
<...Alright,> he said. <Time for my last stand.>
With that said, he promptly lifted his foot— and seconds later it proceeded to glow orange and take on a log-like shape. Owen's eyes widened.
"Steggy, look out!" he cried. "That's Wood Hammer!"
Steggy glanced up— and saw that Torterra's foot was coming straight for his shell.
Torterra wasn't even paying any notice to the Voltorb attached to the back of it.
Realizing victory was within reach for him, Owen's eyes widened in shock— and as for the Torterra's foot, it stopped dead on the Voltorb on the back of Steggy's shell, causing Steggy to be shielded.
<H-huh...?> asked the Torterra.
And on cue, Steggy looked up at him.
The Voltorb exploded.
Torterra was promptly thrown across the room.
"Torterra!" cried Gardenia.
Torterra promptly got slammed into the wall of the stadium. Seconds later, a cloud of dust went up, and when it faded, Torterra was lying on the ground with swirls in his eyes.
<Awww, dangit...> he muttered weakly to himself.
Owen blinked, glancing over at the now-fainted Voltorb on Steggy's back.
"...Well," he said eventually. "That's one way to defeat your own evolution."
Then after a beat:
"Is that... is that legal? Because that Voltorb isn't mine; Steggy just... carries it on his back..."
"Ah, so long as it's not yours, it's fine," said Gardenia. "And even if it was yours, the Gyms are open for mixed battles. You won't be fighting pure 1 v 1s until the League."
Owen nodded. "Got it."
He turned to face Steggy, who happily ran over to his Trainer to glomp him.
<Yay~! We won!> he cried.
"Great work, Steggy," said Owen, chuckling a bit. "Evolution made you really powerful, huh?"
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