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The Baleful Beast of the Beauteous Baccate Backcountry
Kamaitachi
post Mar 22 2013, 12:48 AM
Post #41


I'm dying to see how this one ends.
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Taggarty Lee



Taggarty Lee boasted a surprisingly graceful team of Pokemon. While his Ledian, Vulpix and Bellossom were certainly in the running, his Froslass was the one who shone when she chose to.

Knowing Tag's battle style to be primarily utilitarian, she avoided the flashier attacks and stuck to his guiding; he had not often steered her wrong. However, now she was on her own, and did not have his commanding tone to navigate the battle. She had to rely purely on her own instincts. As a timid Snorutnt and an equally shy Froslass, Orin never had been one to stand out.

But as the battle erupted around her, and the odds overwhelming, she trusted in the training she'd received under Tag. She trusted in her own ability. She could not watch herself over the course of the battle, but a part of her secretly wished she could.

Diving forward, she carefully navigated a flashy signal beam, scooting along its perimeter as it slammed into the central Gastly in the cloud. As the beam faded, she took its place in the center, much to the surprise of the poisonous gas pokemon around her. With a spin, ectoplasmic energy launched out from her 'sleeves' mouth, eyes and whole body, sending out a wave of Ominous Wind in all directions, scattering the swarm as best she could.

It would be more difficult for her makeshift Mantyke ally to aim, but the attack itself had been most efficacious. The enemy reeled from the stinging blast of ghost power, naturally a supereffective attack.

As the began to retaliate, the blasts of their own Night Shade attacks screeched towards her eerily, momentarily allowing her ally some respite from their onslaught. As they apparently slashed through her body, the graceful snow ghost disappeared from sight, only to reappear as a triplicate of herself; double team had been an effective means of evasion.

As another Signal Beam slammed violently into another of the comrades, the Gastly cloud appeared to get wise to the hurried strategy. Orin, while more powerful, was the one providing distraction, leaving Mantyke as a powerful artillery from long range. They laughed eerily before sending off a combined wave of their dangerous Night Shade attacks careeing towards the "Little Fish", as they'd so mockingly called her.

As if flashing to her side, Orin appeared just above the little Manta Ray creature, forming a protective bubble, easily dispelling the next attack. She panted a bit, not being a pokemon used to rapidly utilizing her techniques so quickly in succession; it made sense as to why Tag often waited for her to counter the attacks, rather than sending her recklessly into the fray. She and her partner remained mostly unharmed, but signs of dwindling stamina were already showing on the Froslass.

<How dreadfully tedious.> Orin sighed as she placed a sleeve over her mouth, covering a bit of her slightly ragged breathing. <While I'm quite sure we've the advantage in skill, I'm afraid their numbers are problematic.>

Her head snapped to one side as she felt something in the air. It was a sensation that she recognized, that a part of her ghostly nature recognized as a foe. A psychic. The energy in the air had twisted in a way that she recognized from her partners Tobi and Tonbo. Perhaps it meant another Pokemon was near, and perhaps it meant that their enemies would soon gain reinforcements.

<Would you mind terribly if we retreated?> She peered down at her ally, but as she looked back up, she caught the eye of the Haunter, whose eyes seemed to have melted together, forming a single, horrific, vertical eye at the center of his body. She felt her own form lock up a bit, and instinctually she knew her urge to retreat would be a futile one. They had to fight the battle. <Ah, well...scratch that. Any ideas, my dear?> she raised her arms protectively as the Gastly advanced. In her periphery, the sun began to crest through the trees.

* * *

When Liz re-entered the Pokemon Center, Tag had awakened, and was sitting upon the wooden bench, blinking repeatedly as he focused his sight into the room. In his arms, he still held his Spinda, who likewise was blinking her great, big, spinny eyes as she looked around the room. Cheerfully, she waved a good morning at Liz and her Kirlia, uttering a pleasant: "Spinda!" as they passed. Tag nodded at them silently, looking a bit bedraggled. He rose slowly, still holding his partner, and followed wordlessly after Liz, though in truth, he was simply walking towards the smell of breakfast, which was what had roused him to begin with.

"You're up early." He muttered in a voice that sounded like it had never been used before. The tone had sank deeply into his chest, turning his normal baritone to a full on bass, still crackling from the lingering sleep. "Get any sleep?"


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Dragonwish2
post Jun 1 2013, 04:31 PM
Post #42


Take a story and craft it well...
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Guini paused at the small cry behind her. Turning with newfound grace, she nodded to the small Spinda, pleasantly surprised to see someone closer to her species. <Hello, little one.> She said softly, her voice like the pleasant hum of a harp.

Liz barely glanced over her shoulder at Tag. “Yeah, I just woke up early. The doctor’s still sleeping, but I’ll wake her up if she isn’t already after breakfast.” Her gaze lowered to the tiny panda Pokémon in his arms. She crouched down to meet it at eye level, smiling sweetly. “Who’s this little guy?”

<Girl,> Guini corrected her telepathically.

Her trainer shot her a glance and straightened. “Uh, girl. Sorry, I seriously suck with genders sometimes,” she told Tag. “I’m surprised I didn’t mistake you for a girl.” Realizing the awkwardness of her pitiful attempt at humor, she looked away and searched for a change of topic. “What do you think they serve here? I’d guess waffles, or maybe toast. Wonder if they have jam.”

The halls wound to a larger, open room with glass doors and floor to ceiling windows that revealed a beautiful garden behind the center. Small berry bushes crouched under the shade of several trees that held larger fruits. Wild Pokémon plucked at the free tokens and darted out of sight in the undergrowth. A bar lined the glass to allow visitors to watch the wildlife while eating, with several signs, distinguishing the glass as a one way view, with the other side reflective for the Pokémon’s comfort, as well as dissuading viewers from tapping the glass or feeding the wild Pokémon without permission.

On the other side of the room, several buffet stands were held, each covered in large dishes of eggs, potatoes, biscuits, sausages, and rolls. Pancake and waffle makers were held on a table in the corner, alongside the toaster and the juice machine. A fresh coffee pot lay steaming inside the machine beside several plastic mugs. Jam, creamers, and sugars lay between the two stations, held above serving utensils and napkins.

Liz went to the first stand and took a plate off of the stack held on the buffet station’s corner, filling her plate with sausage patties, biscuits & gravy, and a cinnamon roll. She balanced the meal in her left hand while snatching up some napkins and utensils with her right, setting a fork and knife on the edge of her plate to reach for a plastic cup and pour herself a glass of apple juice. “Guini, why don’t you see if there’s Pokémon food here?”

The Kirlia gave a small hum of acceptance before turning her attention to the Spinda. <Care to accompany me?> She asked the Panda Pokémon.

Her trainer waited patiently for Tag to find his own meal. “Care to sit with me?” She asked him. At his reply she scouted out an empty table for four, setting her plate down at a small table for four. Liz rearranged her items into neater positions and placed an unfolded napkin in her lap with her drink beside her plate. “I haven’t eaten with anyone but my team for a while; at least, not since Gigarte. It’s a nice change,” she commented, cutting out a bite of her roll. “What about you? Do you travel with people a lot, or are you on your own?” She looked up from her plate briefly and met his eyes with the intent gaze of a careful listener. It was pleasant to speak with someone who could easily reply, unlike her Pokemon, and she enjoyed the company immensely.


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Kamaitachi
post Jun 2 2013, 02:17 AM
Post #43


I'm dying to see how this one ends.
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Taggarty Lee



<Hello, Big Sister!> Kana's cheerful voice echoed back at Guini. The little Kana's thought-speak was surprisingly loud and clear, perhaps stemming from her Alakazam sire. Kana had limited access to the psychic plane, which usually manifested as the move "Psycho Cut". However, in the presence of a full-blown Psychic, her thought-speech came through loud and clear, as if empowered by the Kirlia's very presence.

Kana shrugged nonchalantly, an odd feat for a Spinda, as Liz called her a 'little guy'. Guini's correction only brought another bright smile to her little panda face.

"This is Kana." Tag nodded, speaking pleasantly, despite the sleepy rumble in his voice. "She's one of my newer friends, and if I'm not mistaken, our secret weapon for when we find those Gastly again." He wasn't quite sure how to take Liz's attempt at a joke, so he simply responded: "I'd make a fairly ugly woman, that's for sure. It's the tattoos. And the stubble."

Liz quickly changed the topic to food, which was something Tag held great interest in. For all of his travels, the young man always appeared perpetually hungry. Often going for long stints at a time with not very much to eat, he'd gorge himself upon first sight of food. Today, he had to be careful, because as soon as Adelaide and Walten woke up and finished eating, they would be back out into the woods. Tag couldn't afford his usual comatose state today.

"I'd imagine...gruel." He frowned at his own pitiful attempt at a joke. The embarrassment didn't last long, however, as they entered the 'place-where-food-happened'. The buffet stands looked like heaven on earth. Baccate was truly an amazing place; Tag had never seen a spread like this at any other Pokemon Center he'd ever stayed in.

Fighting every urge to dive headlong into the victuals, Tag took his time and picked out food that would empower him for the day, like a sensible person. He glared lustfully at the waffles, longingly gazed at the biscuits and gravy, and even stared challengingly at the cinnamon rolls. Such foods would have to be imbibed tomorrow, as victory for a succesful rescue mission.

Today, with hands quivering, he merely picked out some scrambled eggs, some buttered toast and a few links of sausage. Even as he walked over ot the table, he continued to look back lovingly at the masterful breakfast spread. He poured himself a glass of orange juice, because that seemed breakfast-y.

As he sat down, he watched as Kana teetered off, following the Kirlia at Liz's suggestion of finding Pokemon food.

<I would love to, Big Sister!>

A small smile crossed Tag's face as he heard Kana's cheerful "Da!", which sounded like a resounding "yes."

As Liz began to talk, Tag began eating. By the time she finished her first sentence, the food was gone. Completely defeated by the starving trainer. Taggarty Lee did not feel satisfied, but he knew that was voracity, not necessity, speaking.

"Oh, I travel alone, usually. Once I get somewhere, though, things happen and I wind up with a group of people. Looks like Baccate is no exception."

Such was the life of a Pokemon Trainer. Relentless adventuring; always a crisis.

"I never really liked traveling with people before I got to Furoh." He gulped down his juice in one swift chug, sighing in satisfaction. "But I've found that nowadays, I'm enjoying it more and more."

He stared wistfully down at his empty plate, wishing he'd taken the time to pile more food on there. He looked back at the buffet spread, wondering what it would be like to dive headfirst into the food. Probably scalding hot, he wagered.

"But, you know, I traveled through Johto, then Kanto, Sinnoh and Hoenn before coming here; I got used to traveling on my own." He sized Liz up, who stated that she normally just ate with her team. It meant that this young girl also traveled on her own, and aside from a missing Riolu, seemed to be doing just fine. Trainers left home all of the time at age 10, it made sense. Tag, himself, hadn't left until he was about 16, with only the company of his Dratini.

"What made you decide to be a co-ordinator?"


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Dragonwish2
post Jun 2 2013, 02:21 PM
Post #44


Take a story and craft it well...
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Liz finished her roll and cut her sausage to pieces. “I guess it all started when I was a kid. My mom used to take me to see the contests held in Lilycove City, my hometown, and I fell in love with them. Co-ordinators don’t just battle for a knock out, they fight to win the audience’s attention, to capture their hearts in five minutes or less. And there are so many styles, too: subtle and mysterious, flashy and beautiful, clever and dark. It’s like a canvas that anyone can paint on.” She bit into the meat and let the spicy hot flavors roll over her tongue.

Guini led the panda down to a machine set up nearby the buffet area. It’s model gave her the impression that it was designed for trainers to select serving sizes of Poffins, Pokeblocks, or special berries for their Pokémon, but the Kirlia’s height and intellect allowed her to retrieve her own food. Gazing down fondly at Kana, she asked, <What would you like, Little Sister?> Her hand hovered over the button patiently.

Noticing that Tag had eaten rather quickly and heartily, Liz finished off her patties and dove into the biscuits with renewed vigor. Her thoughts had abandoned her, overpowered by a renewed hunger. After cleaning the small traces of gravy from her mouth with a napkin, she folded up her trash and stacked it neatly on top of her empty plate.

She cast a glance back in the direction Guini had traveled, a smile on her face. “I never imagined I’d have the Pokémon I do now. But they’re great, and now I can’t imagine life without them,” she finished. The last of her juice disappeared in one large swallow, and she added it to the pile in front of her.

“I didn’t know that Spinda had an advantage to ghost types,” she mused. “They are immune to ghost type attacks, but I’m curious to see how she goes against the Gastly.” She stood and picked up her plate. “I’ll wake the Doctor and get my stuff together. Meet you at the door?”

With that, she returned to her room, assuming that Tag had agreed to a meeting location. Liz allowed Guini and Kana to finish their meals, alerting her Kirlia of the arranged time. She stopped by the food machine and retrieved an extra few bags for her other party members with the intention of feeding them later. The doctor was still asleep, much to Liz’s surprise. After the previous night’s escapades, she was wary to awaken the slumbering beast. Precaution and tact was required that she did not presently possess.

Kelli was released with the flick of a Safari ball. Liz shushed her small barks immediately. “Don’t wake her up!” She ordered the fox Pokémon, pointing at Dr. Adelaide. The Zorua gave a mischievous grin and nodded politely before trotting from the bed. Liz gave her a nod of approval before returning to her bag, pretending an intent focus on her items.

A blaring noise echoed through the room seconds later with the decibels of an airplane engine. The teenager covered her ears and whipped around, glaring down at the newly formed Whismur. It’s cries were silenced immediately, and in a red flash of light it transformed into Kelli, who then snatched a pack of food from the top of her trainer’s bag and left the room.

Guini munched on a bitter poffin happily, sitting cross legged beside Kana. As Kelli rounded the corner, the Kirlia stopped her with an outstretched arm. Shaking her head at the erratic fox, she took the bag from her teeth and opened it, returning it to Kelli and allowing her to enjoy its contents heartily.

This post has been edited by Dragonwish2: Jun 2 2013, 02:22 PM


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Kamaitachi
post Jun 3 2013, 02:07 AM
Post #45


I'm dying to see how this one ends.
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Taggarty Lee



Tag nodded slowly as he listened to Liz talk about Pokemon Contests. It was evident that she held the same spark of love for them that Tag held for battling all those years ago. He wondered what it would be like for her to hone and pursue her dedication to her craft. Regardless, he hoped she stuck with it.

<I loves all flavours. I would like Poffin please!> Kana tilted her head to one side, happily. Staring up at the machine, she considered for a minute as to which flavour she was in the mood for today. Pokemon of the Quirky Nature were naturally known for their lack of preference when it came to berry flavours. <Spicy Poffin, please!>

The little Spinda went through her head, attempting to recall the flavours that Tag's other pokemon enjoyed. She had noticed the pokeballs for Suzu, Bachi, Orin, Tonbo and Tobi, which to her meant...

<For Big Sister Suzu and Big Brother Tobi, Bitter Poffin. Big Brother Bachi and Big Sister Orin like Sweet Poffin. Uncle Tonbo likes Dry Poffins best.>

For such an odd looking, spinny-eyed little creature, Kana's Psychic Heritage had evidently made her memory retention quite good. Also, her Own Tempo ability, which kept her from getting confused, potentially aided in her ability to keep facts straight. It reflected in the codex like memory she kept for not only the appearance of her partners' pokeballs, but also the food she'd noticed them liking in meals past.

As Liz finished her juice, she mentioned 'not being able to imagine life without them'. Yet another small pang of guilt tore at Tag's heart as his mind immediately flashed to his former team of Dragon Pokemon. When he was younger, he could not have imagined living without them, and here he was, carrying on just fine. The stabbing pain that he carried would always remain with him.

"Kana has some lovely tricks up her sleeve, as you'll soon see. The Spinda species is a notoriously weak Pokemon, but battles do not rely on strength alone."

He nodded as Liz left to go rouse the sleeping Doctor. He moved over to where Guini and Kana were now seated and eating happily, placing his hand on Kana's head affectionately.

"Thank you for looking after my dear friend here, Guini." He took his place on the floor next to them, figuring that even though they were supposed to meet at the door, he'd spend a little time with the two Pokemon present.

He shot up immediately as he heard a distant 'booming' sort of noise, hand snapping to his pokeball belt. However, as the little Zorua came skittering around the corner, he smiled, figuring the mischevious little fox to be the source of the noise.

"Rascal." He muttered fondly as he sat back down, watching the illusion-fox eat with jealous eyes, even as Kana clambered up his legs and settled into his lap.


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colourcodedchaos
post Dec 20 2013, 05:00 AM
Post #46


Mistress of Nothing In Particular!
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Adelaide Robinson



Mantyke shuddered under the barrage of attacks from the Gastlies; not from any hitting her, thanks to Orin's sterling work protecting her, but from the ripples of fear that the Night Shades produced in the air, reeking of corpses and the prospect of becoming one. She never let up on her own work, though; the Bubblebeams and Signal Beams were ripping through the foe with all the rage she could muster. Despite her generally sardonic disposition, this wasn't usually very much, but they'd stolen her away from her Doctor and for that they were going to burn. She was bone-tired and bleeding from where a beam of fell energy had clipped her fin, but she didn't dare acknowledge it. She did, after all, have a job to do.

The pair of them worked pretty much in silence, Orin's countenance growing grimmer as the sun came up and her Hail slackened off. Mantyke was rather more sanguine about it, though; her doctor would come for her. She knew it, like she knew the sun rose in the east and two and two made four. When the hailstones finally stopped falling, she spiralled upwards into the branches of a dead tree and let off Signal Beam after Signal beam into the sky, trusting to Orin's battling abilities to keep them safe-

The Hypnosis attack came out of nowhere, and she fell to the ground, sleeping gently in the weak, pallid light of dawn.

*******

Adelaide had barely slept, despite glanding enough tranquilisers to kill a bear. Perhaps she was building up a tolerance for it, she reflected while the detox subroutines had her bent over a toilet. When she straightened up, she popped off the eyepatch and placed it back in her pocket, fished her cybereye out of the sandwich bag of water and nanobots that maintained it, and went out to greet the day. A few of the day's inhabitants, who remembered the, er... incident the previous night, fled in terror, although there was much less screaming than before.

The others were up, which surprised her; she was used to not relying on too much sleep at a time, since it interfered with her research. Absently, she watched the little girl whose name she would place after some tar-like coffee practice the local variant of yoga while scribbling down some complex formulae on a couple of paper napkins. The numbers didn't add up, alas; it wouldn't be feasible to use that many, the Bomburg couplings'd overheat in no time without a decent collapsar forge to make them, and she didn't knoiw where she could synthesise enough clonefeed in a short enough timeframe to evade the attention of this world's authorities.

A few cups of coffee that looked like you could use it to repair a roadbed later, the good doctor strolled out towards the woods, collecting her Tynamo and the Gastly she'd captured by accident on the way. As she did, she was struck by the rather impressive light show on display over the woods - wait - why would someone have a rave over there - it's the morning now - she shouldn't be able to see rave lighting due to ambient interference from the sun -

"THERE!" She shouted, rather too loudly for so early in the morning, and dashed off, Tynamo darting after her with a song in his tiny, eely heart. She was convinced it was a signal, and if she could find the source, she could find her Mantyke and others besides. She shouted back a rather hurried explanation to the others, but wasn't sure they'd heard, and anyway it couldn't wait. Mantyke needed her, and she Mantyke. Before long, she was mired in the woods, her cybereye frantically scanning for something out of place to tell of a creature's passing in the night - and there it was. An array of glittering silver caltrops, forming a path. She followed it deep into the woods, setting up a GPS link via a TV satellite miles overhead, but before long she realised she might as well not have bothered. Something - presumably her friend's captors - was bending spacetime into a lot of very interesting shapes, and it wasn't something she particularly cared for. She idly thought that the heroes back home probably thought like this whenever they kidnapped a major politician or celebrity, but that was a joke, they never harmed them. It was more amateur dramatics than actual villainy back home-

don't think about it not now not now not now you have a job to do you are strong you have always been strong be strong now

So she partitioned off a small piece of her mind for that particular mourning song, and went on, sprinting madly, ignoring the burning in her lungs as much as she could. At a thought, she glanded some enzymes to help break down the lactic acid building up in her muscles and ease her pain a little, and it worked for a while. When it stopped, however, she didn't need it any more. She'd arrived.

In the middle of the woods, with the spindly branches of dead trees forming a barricade around it, lay a dilapidated old house. Adelaide slapped the back of her head and her cybereye popped out, the repulsorlift keeping it aloft as the active camouflage turned on and rendered it as close to invisible as something can be. The night spent refuelling the microscopic fusion plant inside the small metal sphere meant it could buzz off at full speed without any power worries, even while providing Adelaide with an active data feed. Some of it was useless - the house was four hundred years old, build from a regional flavour of yew which accounted for its tumbledown state, the windows had only been blown in during a very recent hailstorm, et cetera - but some of it was very interesting indeed. There were energy readings she'd learned to correlate with "Psychic" and "Ghost"-type attacks, and the exotic particles such moves produced were blanketing the air in the clearing around the house. There had been a battle here, if the earlier horde of Gastlies she'd faced had been anything to go by. She grabbed a sizeable rock, stuffed it in a spare sock, and hid it in a pocket, promptly remembering it as an interesting example of local geology and not under any circumstances as a weapon. Psychic-types could sometimes read minds, some papers had said, and she knew that it was possible to monitor the flow of electrons within the brain when someone was exposed to particular stimuli and form a pretty complete picture of what they were thinking, especially when combined with cold-reading techniques. She didn't want to take too many chances.

Normally, at this point, Adelaide would've turned back to check to see if her new friends had followed her this far into the forest. Se would normally never go in without backup of one kind or another, and as much as the spirit was willing, Tynamo was still low-level enough to not really count. Normally, if you told her that she'd be walking into a haunted house with an electric eel and a completely innocuous local geological artifact - and why had she phrased it like that? - she'd have laughed in your face.

The doctor steeled herself for a showdown and went inside.


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CCC.

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Kamaitachi
post Dec 30 2013, 06:13 PM
Post #47


I'm dying to see how this one ends.
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Taggarty Lee



Liz and Tag had been waiting for Doctor Adelaide to get up and join them, but the Doctor herself clearly had other plans. Rushing out from the room, screeching something that sounded like "There", Adelaide burst out past them and out of the POkemon Center, leaving Tag and Liz behind. There went any sense of strategy they could muster. Now it was just them charging in quite blind.

"Well." Tag rose, scooping Kana up into his arms. "Let's go."

He easily outran Liz, who by virtue of being smaller had shorter legs. As he ran after Adelaide, he noticed several caltrop like projections poking out of the ground as well. Orin had followed his instructions to a tee, and left a trail for them to follow. He lost track of Dr. Robinson, but his ears caught the familiar cries of a Pokemon on his team.

"Orin." He said to himself, veering off the path and heading towards where he heard the cries of one of his teammate. He arrived in the clearing, only to notice Orin slam into the ground next to a Mantyke...presumably the very same one that Adelaide was looking for.

"Kana" The Spinda sprang out of his arms, psychic energy starting to form in her stubby arms. "Psycho Cut." The Night Shade attacks locked onto the new target, but passed harmlessly through her due to her Normal Typing. Gastly, on the other hand, also possessed Poison-typing, which made them weak to the oncoming attack. Kana spun around repeatedly, sending dangerous blades of psychic energy through the air, slamming into the already weakened gastly.

Tag's recall beam struck Orin, and he reached over to scoop up the Mantyke.

"Hey friend, I've got you."

He looked around the field, watching as his Spinda made short work of the remaining Gastly, sending them scattering back through the woods.

"Kana, let's find Adelaide."

The little Spinda nodded obediently, dashing back out of the woods, followed closely by Tag and the unconscious Mantyke in his arms.


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Kamaitachi
post Mar 16 2014, 11:39 PM
Post #48


I'm dying to see how this one ends.
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Taggarty Lee



Tag watched as the deranged Doctor basically charged headlong into the enemy camp. While a brave and noble gesture, Tag figured that she only had a Tynamo, and an unruly Gastly she'd only just caught the evening before.

Without Walten and Liz along, and with Adelaide charging blindly into the fray...it seemed that Tag had to be tactician and firepower.

He had no qualms doing this of course. It was merely the thought that last time he'd charged into a base of bad guys like this, he'd wound up shot in the stomach. Bad guys always had guns for some reason. It stood to sense; if they couldn't beat you in battle, they'd intimidate you with full on death. Money, or possibly survival, drove people to do crazy things.

Tag was about to join the ranks of those doing the crazy things.

Without time to scout out the location, he followed Adelaide into the building, Kana tottering behind him.

He watched as the two poachers on the inside summoned Pokemon to confront her. Luckily, it was only two. Perhaps there were more inside, but this was something he could handle on his own.

"Tonbo, Kana!"

As an Alakazam and a Haunter appeared on the field, Tag's Slowpoke materialized in front of Adelaide, forming a dopey little barrier between her and the enemy Pokemon. Kana bounded up from between her legs, using the long lab coat like a curtain for an oddly dramatic entrance and pose.

"Huh, there's a big lout behind her." They sneered as Tag's intimidating visage appeared over Adelaide's shoulder. "Looks like he wants to play too."

"Adelaide, I'll handle these two. Please," he placed his hand on her shoulder "take your Mantyke and go."

Handing the poor, exhausted Pokemon to the Doctor, he gently ushered her towards the door. Surely, she didn't want to be manhandled, but he figured anything less would not be nearly as persuasive.

"Haunter, Shadow Ball!" "Alakazam, Psychic!"

Combination attack. These two were used to working together. The Psychic forcibly ripped apart the glob of shadow energy into dozens of tiny Shadow Balls. It almost looked like a move out of the 'contests' that Liz had spoken of earlier. It seemed like this sort of attack was more glitz than damaging...

Yet the move had been composed of two already powerful singular moves. The psychic-coated Shadow bombs rained down on the two Pokemon who would otherwise resist either of the moves on their own. The enemy had combined their attack, thus negating their weakness and forcing Tag to stumble through an inadequate defense.

"Kana, Teeter Dance. Tonbo, Disable."

When facing synergy, he had to find a way to break them apart. Applying instant confusion on both enemies made it that much harder for them to coordinate. In the mean time, Tonbo had just shut off Haunter's most powerful attack.

Tag watched the two enemy trainers closely. They appeared to have no other Pokemon, which meant that the cloud of Gastly outside had most likely been theirs as well. As Alakazam fired off a psybeam at Kana, the Haunter slammed its head-body into the ground, trying to figure out how to launch an attack that had been shut off in its brain.

Kana took the hit, spinning gracefully through the air and landing on her feet, striking yet another amusing pose. Tag shook his head admirably at his tiny, confusing Pokemon.

"Kana..."

Tag's scan of the room revealed several Pokemon in cages nearby, notably a Gear-like Pokemon that Walten had referred to as "Gera". There appeared to be at least a dozen contained Pokemon, ready to be processed and shipped out to the market. Tag noted the stapler on the table, and a slew of tags that looked eerily similar to the one that Tobi had first worn when he had been rescued. It took all of his stored up inner-peace from his 'vacation' to keep the righteous fury from boiling over.

"Kana, Psyco Cut the cages."

In a dazzling display of dexterity, surprising for such a small, clunky looking creature, blades of Psychic energy slashed outwards in seemingly haphazard directions. Yet, the random pattern revealed itself to be quite simple; the tops of each of the cages had been neatly lopped off, devastatingly clean cuts in their stead. What Kana lacked in power, she made up with precision.

"Everyone. Get them."

With the confused Haunter and Alakazam, and no other Pokemon to call upon, the two poachers found themselves besieged on all sides by a dozen or so angry Pokemon.

"Kana, Hypnosis. Tonbo, Yawn."

The Haunter and Alakazam duo managed to fire off another attack, but Tag's team fire simultaneously. Even as Kana slammed into the floor from a devastating Psychic, the Hypnosis she'd launched gently alighted on the Alakazam, taking it out as well. Tag recalled his Pokemon, watching as Tonbo oversaw the battle. Tag watched as a Riolu sprang up through the crowd, landing a simultaneous Force Palm on each of their heads, rendering them unconscious immediately.

As the crowd cleared, Tag moved over to the two 'villains', and removed their Pokeball belts. Noting one of the cages still intact, he solicited the help of the formerly captive Pokemon in stuffing the two of them into empty cage, making sure they were in as uncomfortable positions as possible. He recalled the Alakazam and Haunter to their homes, leaving them on the table, well out of reach.

"Well done, old bean."

He snapped his head around, searching for the source of the voice.

"Hmph. Down here, you lout."

Looking down, he noticed a Cranidos peering up at him. The Pokemon had just spoken to him.

"You talk." The former Dragon Trainer made no effort whatsoever to conceal the fact that he had just been struck totally dumbfounded by a Cranidos.

"I daresay I do much more than that, but I wanted to thank you at the very least."

"Do you all have trainers to get back to?" Tag quirked an eyebrow at the little talking Cranidos, even as Tonbo sided up to him, slowly tilting his head in confusion.

"Well, most of them do. I, sadly, did not have the comfort of such a relationship." Normally, simply looking at a rock dinosaur with a sad face would have been perfectly reasonable in Tag's world. Yet, the fact that it spoke to him in clear English completely boggled his brain.

"I know someone who would love to meet you." A slow smile crossed Tag's face. "Because she probably feels just as out of place as you do."

"MIEN!"

Tag looked around again, as apparently another Pokemon wanted his attention.

"Mienfoo!"

He looked at the adorable little creature that had hopped up on the table. It patted its chest proudly and waggled its hand at Tag in a sort of 'come on' gesture.

"It appears that he wants to test your mettle, human." The Cranidos peered at Tag. "This one, Mienfoo, had been released in Furoh by his trainer, who had come over from the Unova region."

"Ah, friend." Tag sighed "I'm quite tired" he held out his hand to the Mienfoo, who stared at it confused. "But I see that you're strong-willed, and I bet you're a brilliant fighter."

The little martial arts Pokemon puffed out his chest, striking a fist to it once more as he stared challengingly at Tag.

"Tell you what. I'm always in search of powerful warriors. You want to test your mettle? Come with me, and we'll fight the strongest Pokemon throughout the continent." Tag let out another smile (he was evidently smiling a lot more these days), and drew out a Pokeball. "What do you say?"

The Mienfoo took a moment to consider Tag's offer, looking up at the earnest eyes of the tattooed human before him. After a moment, the pokemon placed one hand over the other and bowed to Tag, saying in a clear, proud voice: "Foo."

"He accepts."

Tag shot an irritated glance over at the Cranidos.

"I figured that. Thanks." Turning back to the Mienfoo, he enlarged the Pokeball, holding it out to his new ally. "I don't know if you had a name before this, but what about Razo?" The Mienfoo peered curiously at Tag once more, still uncertain as to what to make of this man, who had, without fight, offered him a home and a name.

"Foo."

"Welcome aboard then."

With a happy smile, the Mienfoo kicked the Pokeball out of Tag's hand, up into the air over his own head. With a leap, he threw a flying uppercut, scoring a direct hit on the button. Within a moment, the ball had landed on the table and pinged without so much as a struggle. In an instant, it disappeared, flashing out of sight as it headed for Johto.

"That was lovely." The Cranidos at his side sniffed. Perhaps it was an affect, or perhaps the creature had been genuinely moved, but Tag found himself irritated at the constant commentary.

"Yes yes yes." Tag waved his hand irritably. "Let's go, Cranidos. Tell all of the Pokemon to follow me back to the Pokemon Center. We'll call the police and get these Pokemon back to where they belong.

* * *

"Mr. Lee, we can't thank you enough for your service."

Tag embarassedly looked around, trying to deflect attention from the Officer Jenny who was apparently gushing over him. She shook his hands vigorously, while explaining how they had been unable to locate or punish the criminals that he and Adelaide had rounded up in just a day.

"I did nothing." Tag shrugged sheepishly, indicating Liz, who was furiously hugging her Riolu, and Adelaide, who appeared to be chatting animatedly with the talking Cranidos. "They did all the work, really."

"Oh, I get you modest types." Jenny waggled her finger at him, grinning broadly "It'll be in the report, but I won't leak any information about your involvement to the public, don't you worry."

"Oh, uh, ah...thanks." Tag offered a weak smile, pulling his hand away from her.

"Please, take this as a reward. I'm afraid it isn't much-"

"Thanks." Tag cut her off gently before she could begin another ramble, accepting the small stone she procured from her shoulder bag. The stone felt warm to the touch, and even the surface reflection appeared to be dancing like flames. "I'll use it immediately...Tobi!"

He dropped a pokeball to the floor, summoning his foxy little friend who yipped up at him expectantly.

"Tobi, this is a Fire stone. Do you think you're ready?"

Nodding eagerly, the Vulpix pranced around him happily for a moment, chanting his name up at his trainer repeatedly in joy. Without a further word, Tag reached down, and the Vulpix tapped his nose to the stone. The Fire stone, in turn, sent out a warm glow of light throughout the room, which easily enveloped Tobi in its radiance. Through squinted eyes, Tag watched as his friend grew and stretched, changing shape before his very eyes. As the light subsided, an incredibly regal looking Ninetales sat on the floor, calmly gazing up at him.

"Hello Tobi." Tag smiled, kneeling down next to his friend. His eyes darted to the ear that had been pierced as a Vulpix, and sadly noted that the 'earring' still remained. It hadn't gone away in the evolution, which meant that even now, his Ninetales would be marked for life. A tilt of his head, and Tobi had instantly reassured his trainer. Leaning forward and nuzzling Tag on the cheek, it appeared to be a sign of thanks. Not just for the chance to evolve, but for the life he had been given after being rescued by the trainer.

"Well, Tobi. It's just another new start. We've got plenty more adventuring to do."

He smiled lovingly at his Ninetales, petting the fox along the neck. Looking over at Adelaide and her new friend, and Liz's tearful reunion with Ryan, he felt a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. This was a far cry from the man who had torn families apart and destroyed the bonds between trainer and Pokemon. Perhaps his renaissance had been a good and meaningful one after all. It seemed like he had a role to play in this new life of his as well, and he intended to see it through.

With newfound resolve, he stood, Tobi by his side, and quietly slipped away from the main room, headed to a bed. It felt like he'd solidified his place on the side of good in the world, and it felt good. It felt good avoiding the spotlight in favour of quietly helping wherever he went. Another adventure and another new day could start after he'd finally had a good night's rest. At the very least, he'd continue his vacation in Baccate tomorrow.

Capture and Evolution (click to show)


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Song Stuck in My Head:~*~Blank Space - Ariana Silvanas (Postmodern Jukebox Cover)~*~

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Uprising (click to show)
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