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Team Rogue!, Rescue Rangers!
Living Arrow
post Oct 26 2009, 04:24 PM
Post #1


Team Rogue: Pidgeotto
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Joined: 9-January 08
From: Amazingstoke, UK
Member No.: 814

PANE: Darryn Kellor



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An avalanche of boulders and gravel heralded the breaking of a serene mountain glade as four Pokemon Trainers and four of their partner Pokemon hurtled down the slopes of Mount Carello. Their legs flashed underneath them as they sprinted with speed born of fear, leaping fallen logs, springing from boulders and sliding down grassy knolls that provided them all with the time-wasting obstacles that only brought their followers closer. Heartbeats drummed in their heads, a thunder of blood that rocked their temples so hard that the floor seemed to pitch and bend under their feet. Mere seconds passed after they entered the next treeline before their hunters broke into view behind them.

Not one, not two, but three enormous Steelix surged down the mountain towards them, rage powering their metallic bodies after the puny humans that fleed their monstrous forms. The lead Iron Snake surged ahead and slammed its tail into the ground, splitting the dirt and creating a tremendous Earthquake.

"Ungh!" The smallest human, a young female with blonde hair tied back under a bandana was thrown clear of her midnight steed. She sailed through the air, seemingly in slow motion as her wide eyes scanned the ground below her. A Pokeball was in her outstretched hand an the recall beam activated before her Ponyta could get caught up in another attack. Wraith was recalled back into the ball in a flash of red energy just as the Steelix raced across the spot where he had fallen. Tuesday plummeted downward, windmilling her arms desperately before she hit the steep slope where a mini cliff had been created under her Pokemon's feet. She crashed into the base of the mound hard, an arm hitting solid rock particularly nastily, ripping a startled scream from her lips.

A mighty Steelix reared above her, its enormous head coming straight for tiny body. It's menacing eyes drank in her pain and fear mercilessly as it prepared to deliver the finishing blow...

Strong arms wrapped around Tuesday's waist and she was dragged up from the floor in a swift motion, her arms immediately swung around her adoptive brother's neck as he practically threw her atop his back. She clung on for dear life as Jaima leapt clear of the Steelix, dodging it nimbly as its head slammed into the spot where the would-be Researcher had just been. It's face came up to survey where its quarry was headed even as a Lucario's foot flew upwards in a neat arc, kicking it forcefully under the chin where it flew back with a harshly audible 'crack!'. Shadow left the Steelix unmoving, rushing to keep up with the rest of the group.

Tuesday squeezed her eyes shut as Jaima sprinted down the slope, dodging saplings and jutting boulders that threatened to steal his purchase from Terra Firma. A dark, snaking form shot in from the side, catching the pair off guard. Jaima's eyes widened behind his wire-framed glasses but no words were able to pass his lips before it would be too late.

"LADY!"

A roaring gout of flame burst from the trees, igniting the surrounding foliage even as it struck the attacking Steelix in the side of the head, pushing it off course and sending it screaming into a tumble mere yards from meeting its target. Jaima flashed Darryn a grin and a nod even as he took off again, Tuesday still clinging to his back.

"Move, damn it!" Meiko grabbed Darryn by the arm, and yanked him back into a run even as the third Iron Snake came flying toward them. A masive beetle dropped out of the sky and pick them both up, lifting them far clear of the demonic serpent's maw and tossing them to land on their feet and ready to enter a stumbling sprint.

With all four trainers on the run, the last Steelix whipped itself up into a frenzy of anger after seeing its brethren fall. It was hindered by fewer significant obstacles as it gave chase, slithering and sliding inch by inch closer to the humans who had disturbed its nest.
The breath and energy of each of the trainers was waning as they finally reached the base of the mountain and the land became rolling plains. They had probably made the descent in record time but the time to stop and celebrate their little victory was still out of reach.

"Darryn, Meiko?!" Jaima called to his companions. They called back the affirmative. "You ready, Tuesy?" The whimpered reply was faint but agreed with the other two. Jaima nodded.
As one, the gang of four slowed to a stop and turned to face the oncoming foe. The small girl dropped from the tall boy's back and stood alongside him, a Pokeball leaving her hands.

Twin jets of flame screamed from the mouths of a Vulpix and a Charmeleon, stopping the Steelix dead in its tracks as it bore down upon them and when the fire faded it was met with the ferocious force of a Lucario and Heracross. The Iron Snake took the blows and folded like a stack of cards, its segmented form crumbling into a heap at the feet of those it had been attacking.

"And that thing went rogue on us?" Meiko snorted, putting her hands on her hips haughtily. "Doesn't it know who we are?!"

The other three all looked at each other in a moment of stunned silence before they all collapsed on the ground, holding their stomachs and laughing.

Meiko looked around at them in surprise. "What? Was it something I said?"


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Darryn Kellor ~ ~ PANE Moderator ~ ~ Lori Pardare
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Umbrae Calamitas
post Oct 27 2009, 12:47 AM
Post #2


Team Rogue: Espeon
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Tuesday's Pack



Tuesday sank down on the grass slowly, relieved but simultaneously worried. She placed her pack gently on the ground and flipped the flap off, displaying the contents. She frowned down at the creature tucked inside, deeming her most important at the moment.

The turtwig let out a weak, frightened squeak and tried to escape Tuesday's hands, as she reached into her bag. She shushed her softly, stroking her back softly. The turtwig flinched away, squeezing her eyes shut tightly, but Tuesday's fingers were gentle, and though the turtwig continued to shiver, she did open her eyes and appear curious as she glanced up at Tuesday.

Tuesday hummed softly, slipping her fingers beneath the turtwig and gently lifting her out of the bed of spare clothes that Tuesday had used to cushion her as they ran from the steelix. She set the turtwig gently on the ground, and only then was it visible how distinctly malnourished she was. Her skin was too pale a green to be healthy, and she was incredibly skinny, the leaf on her head wilted and almost crinkly.

Tuesday brushed the stem lightly with her fingers, frowning. It was so strange, how she had stumbled across this poor creature. She was utterly grateful, even if she didn't fully understand.

They had made their way back to Mt. Carello, walking underground through a tunnel that Meiko had a map of. It was rather dark, but Dante's tail flame lit the way well enough that it wasn't uncomfortable, and it was cool in the tunnel. That was why Tuesday noticed the headache so soon after it started. Cool air usually calmed whatever headaches she gained, so the itchy feeling in the side of her head, growing into pain, was hardly something that she could ignore. And the more she walked, the worse it got, until she was, not stumbling, but slowly veering to the right. She would correct herself and try to walk straight for a time, until she leaned in the direction of the headache again, and would start moving to the right again.

She didn't really remember when it happened, but she somehow fell out of consciousness, moving on autopilot in some small attempt to escape the growing pain of this doubling migraine. At some point, the headache, which was present but nothing more than a shadow against her half-unconscious mind, intensified to a piercing stab, like a needle, for but a single instant, causing her to stumble silently to her right.

The pain left as quickly as it had come on, but she was left staring down another tunnel from the one her companions were walking on, and she was drawn to it, a tingling sensation lingering at the forefront of her mind. Without a word to her companions - without any real reason
why - she began walking down that tunnel.

Jaima was the first to notice her absence, calling after her, but Tuesday had no strength with which to answer him, or no consciousness to spare, and she walked on.

The tunnel led to a large cavern, which Tuesday knew was pitch black, though she could somehow see well enough through the shadows. She shivered, glancing around for the cause of this strange feeling in her gut, until her eyes settled on the small form huddled at the base of a shimmering rock mound.

She didn't realize until later that her headache faded the moment that she reached the turtwig's thin and haggard form. The poor creature struggled in her grasp weakly, but settled, perhaps because she had no other choice, once she was cuddled within the confines of Tuesday's spare clothes.

Tuesday didn't know if it was her presence that awoke them, but Darryn, Meiko, and Jaima caught up to her just as the first steelix awoke, followed by the other two. They must have been near a mating nest, or perhaps steelix were just more territorial than Tuesday had ever heard, but the three lunged at them, and they were forced to flee through the tunnels and down the mountain.


With a frown, Tuesday slipped her hands into the large pocket of her heavy sweatshirt and gently pulled out an egg.

She had received the egg from Professor Oak, and talked to him for a good hour, though he promised to call again once they reached Petropolis.

The egg was a soft tan, with a light cream color around the bottom. It also had a small crack in it at the bottom, and Tuesday's eyes teared up at this. While they were running from the steelix, she had dropped the egg against the ground, and it tumbled over some rocks. When she finally grabbed it, it had scratches along the side, and a crack on the bottom. The crack wasn't deep enough for the... the yolk to slip out, but Tuesday was still worried.

Crossing her legs, she clutched the egg to her chest gently, leaning her cheek against the cool shell, as she listened to Jaima talk to Meiko, standing behind her and just out of her sight, by the edge of the trees.


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Master Houndoom
post Oct 28 2009, 12:10 AM
Post #3


Team Rogue: Houndoom
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Uprising Mod



Jaima paced, not far from where Tuesday sat. Meiko, sticking close, watching him. She sighed and asked a question that she knew the answer to.

"What's wrong, Jaima?"

Jaima stopped, rubbing the bridge of his nose> It took a moment for him to answer, a moment which Meiko sank onto a stump. She watched him calmly, crossing her legs and watching him as he resumed pacing.

"She did it again," finally exploded out of his mouth. "She took off, no word, no 'Hey, what's over here,' or 'I think there's something I need to do,' or 'I want to play with the big honkin' wild steelix, come join me'! I mean… When's she going to trust us?"

Meiko's brows furrowed. "Jaima, are you listening to yourself?!" She stood up and stalked to him, poking his chest with her forefinger as she spoke. "She is a thirteen year old girl! She is not a ten year old, she is not a five year old, she's thirteen! Sometimes, she'll do things by herself!"

"And sometimes she needs backup!" Jaima spread his arms. "They were bigger than Wraith! She could have been killed!"

"She had her pokemon! Besides, Steelix don't usually attack en masse like that!" Jaima crossed his arms, and Meiko sighed, rubbing the bridge of her nose in unconscious imitation of Jaima.

"Jaima, it's not fair to say that she doesn't trust us. She travels with us, she's left her pokemon in our care…" She sighed. "And she adores you, personally, Jaima." Jaima scowled, sighing, and Meiko put an arm on his shoulder. "Just talk to her without jumping all over her case, OK?"

"Fine," Jaima sighed, then turned, abruptly, and marched back to where they had left Tuesday. Jaima cleared his throat. "Tuesday—"

She turned around, and both Jaima and Meiko blinked. She had been quiet, no sound or motion giving away her emotions, but when she turned, there were tears tracking down her face.

"I'm sorry, Jaima, Meiko… I'm sorry I went off like that… I can't even explain it, I just… I just felt like I had to be there..." She wiped her eyes and puffed out air in a combination of a sigh and a sob. "I... it was like it hurt not to go and..."

Jaima looked at Meiko, a longsuffering look, and sat down next to Tuesday, putting a hand on her back.

"Well... now you know the danger. OK?" He smiled and looked up at Meiko.

"I know it was dangerous!" Tuesday's fce became earnest, as if making them believe her was the single most important thing she could be doing. "I know it was! But it hurt so much unless I went that way!"

Jaima and Meiko exchanged glances, and Meiko also sat, on the other side of Tuesday. "When did this start, Tue-chan," Meiko said softly.

Tuesday shrugged, and Jaima gently rubbed her back. Finally, she spoke. "I think after your gym match... when I found Ashleigh." She sniffed. "But this was different, too..."

Meiko narrowed her eyes. "So... why do you think you were... um... pulled that way..?"

Tuesday put out a hand, simply holding it there, and after a while a small pokemon with a large head stepped from behind her bag, timid, shaking, and emaciated. It's leave was almost brittle dry, and it's little legs where shaking, either from fear or from malnourishment.

"Oh, goodness," Meiko said, looking past Jaima and Tuesday to the little green shape. Her face took on a worried look. "Was that..?"

"In the cave," Tuesday sniffed. "I think the steelix were going to eat it..." She rubbed her eyes tiredly. "But Wraith might be hurt, and we almost all got hurt, and I cracked the egg Professor Oak got for me..!" Tuesday's face scrunched up, as if it were all catching up with her.

"Let's see the egg, Tuesy," Jaima said, gently, and she held it out, bottom up, showing the thin crack. It wasn't enough to cause it to leak, but it would get worse if something wasn't done.

"Mei-chan, could you get something from my bag? The little black box, about a foot and a half long..?"

Meiko nodded and moved away. When she came back, she had the box he needed.

Jaima opened it and revealed what was left of the resin he used to sculpt additions to his pokeballs. Taking a small amount, he spread a thin layer over the crack, spreading it out along it's width. Half an inch to either side of the crack, he stopped.

"There. That should hold." He handed the egg back to Tuesday. "Watch it, though. I made it a thin layer so that it wouldn't interfere with the egg cracking.

Tuesday looked up at him, wide eyed, and he shrugged. "Go see if Darryn needs help, OK? And find a safe place to rest the egg tonight."

Tuesday walked off, and Jaima watched her go.

"Do I get to gloat now?"

Jaima shook his head, rolling his eyes. Meiko couldn't resist a smug smile. "That happens a lot to you, doesn't it? You get a full head of steam, then a cute face just makes you dissolve?"

Jaima stood up and smirked. "Yeah. If we have kids, you better handle the daughters, huh?" He kissed her cheek as he passed. "Thanks for helping me keep sane."

He didn't look back, so he didn't see Meiko frozen in place, flushed as red as Dante.


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[align=center]Uprising Mod

||
Jaima Kuonji and Meiko Omura||Branwys Muphenz
[spoiler=Jaima's Gym Badges][/spoiler]
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||
Jay Lange||Olivia Prewitt
Uprising


As of January 29, 2010, at approximately 7:50am CST, 2gamers helped me complete my pokedex!

:houndoom: I claim Houndoom! :houndoom: [/align]
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Umbrae Calamitas
post Oct 28 2009, 01:48 AM
Post #4


Team Rogue: Espeon
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Tuesday's Pack



Tuesday really doubted that they believed her.

She rubbed her head as she walked over to where Darryn was still by the tree line. She didn't move quickly or with too much intention, mostly because she felt she needed some time to think, and also because she was feeling a little dizzy, possibly due to exhaustion from their race down the hill, or maybe just because of the headache. She pressed the heel of her hand against her forehead and stopped by a tree, leaning against it. She didn't have a headache anymore, but she could still remember how it felt: ridiculously painful. Almost unfathomably so.

"So... why do you think you were... um... pulled that way..?"

Tuesday sighed. Meiko had sounded so hesitant and unsure about phrasing the question, Tuesday was fairly certain that the older girl had just been attempting to placate her... what - imagination? It certainly made sense. Who ever heard of a migraine leading someone to an injured pokemon, anyway?

With a sigh, Tuesday pressed her back against the tree and slid down into a crouched position, the heels of her palms each pressing against an eye. She was starting to feel ill, and she wondered if it was the fading effects of fight or flight syndrome, or if she was so bothered by Jaima and Meiko not believing her.

She didn't really understand it, herself, but... she felt that she deserved more trust than they were giving her. After all, she wasn't stupid.

I mean… When's she going to trust us?"

Tuesday leaned her head back against the tree. Maybe they didn't know her as well as she had thought they did. Tuesday did trust them. She trusted Jaima most of all of them, but that was something for her. She'd never had much reason to trust anyone, really, and it may have sounded like a session of self-pity (perhaps it was on some level), but that's the way things had always been for her. Pallet Town was a nice enough place to grow up at a glance, but there was no denying that children - not just adults - could be cruel.

Jaima meant a lot to her. On some level, it disturbed her that she considered him a replacement for the absence of Brone (could you actually replace a sibling?), but he meant almost as much to her as any member of her family. Meiko was swiftly filling the role that Anika, in all of her presence, had never been able to leave without holes. On some unspoken level, they also seemed to occasionally take on the roles of parents, sometimes in ways that Tuesday's own parents had never managed - not for lack of love, but more for lack of time or resources.

Strangely, Darryn was the only one of the group that Tuesday was unsure of the place of, and perhaps that was due to Meiko's closeness to Jaima and Tuesday's original interaction with him alone. For whatever reason, Tuesday was growing to care a great deal for the handsome boy, but there still seemed to be a wall there that had yet to be breached. Perhaps now would be a good time to try and interact with him more.

As much as Tuesday was grateful to Meiko for standing up for her to Jaima, even if neither of them realized that she had heard the whole conversation between them, it still stood to reason that neither she nor Jaima believed or even understood what she meant. They simply couldn't comprehend, she suspected, that she was not in control of herself.

But she couldn't blame them, really. After all, she didn't get it, either.

She'd give them time to handle whatever they needed to, to discuss whatever needed to be discussed between the adults, and she'd go help Darryn with whatever he was doing, as Jaima had suggested. It'd be a good time to get to know Darryn some more, and she didn't have to tell him about the possessive headache, and get another of those hesitating looks.

With a sigh, she stood up and continued to the tree line to see if Darryn needed help with anything.

~*~


Dante was the ideal choice as guardian of the malnourished turtwig, except for one small problem.

Fire-types did not mix well with grass-types.

This meant, of course, that Tempest, hot-head though she was, would be in charge of watching over the small turtwig, while Dante went in search of some food.

True, Meiko was still nearby and could have kept an eye on the small pokemon (in fact, she was probably intending to do that), but Tuesday had already asked that Dante make sure the turtwig stay safe. Asides from that, Tuesday's team watched out for each other. It didn't matter that she hadn't caught the turtwig in a pokeball. At the moment, the creature was a member of the team and that made her family. That meant that they'd take care of her.

Even if it meant scrounging up some food.

Dante sniffed the air softly, drawing in the scents of the forest in hopes of finding something that might help the frightened little turtwig to feel even slightly better.

A sour scent touched his nose and he sneezed, his tail flame bursting outward for a moment, before calming again. Dante shook his head, willing away the reaction, and then moved toward the scent.

It wasn't overly difficult to find the small patch of tree. They were located next to a small rocky hill, partially hidden from the sun. The water runoff during storms would have kept the soil nice and moist, however, and so it was no surprise that the trees were sprouting numerous berries each.

Digging his claws into the rocks, Dante easily climbed up the rocky hill, until he was hanging above the trees. Raising one hand, his claws turned white and seemed to lengthen, before he kicked off of the side of the hill and fall, slashing his arm through the air as gravity pulled him downward.

He landed in a crouch on his hind legs, a series of berries pattering to the ground after him. With a grin of success, he gathered up the small green berries, the orange-spotted yellow berries, and the dark purple berry that was hard and lumpy. He grinned at one of the last ones, and dashed off back to the others.

~*~


Tempest didn't sit too near the turtwig, as the shivering creature seemed to fear the presence of any other living thing. She was silent except for her tiny fearful squeaks, and would not even offer up her name. Tempest, never one for much conversation, anyway, found this rather fine by her, and simply watched to make sure the grass-type pokemon didn't spontaneously combust, as Dante seemed to fear she would.

The fire lizard hadn't changed much since his evolution, but what had changed was clearly noticeable to those who knew him.

He had always been extremely loyal to Tuesday. It was more than that he was her first pokemon and more than that she helped him regain his belief in himself; it was simply who he was. He cared deeply for her, to a point that was almost taboo for a pokemon to feel about their trainer, but it made him her most loyal pokemon, and Tempest couldn't fault him that, not really. He was lucky to have such a wonderful trainer. She was, too, of course, but she still remembered her last trainer too well. She still bore the scars...

Dante had gained something of a big brother complex. He seemed to have decided that the team was his responsibility, second only to Tuesday. Certainly, watching him smack Zorro up the side of the way held no end to the amusement, but being bossed around by a creature half your age? - annoying.

But, as Tempest remembered her mother telling her when she was growing up, evolution changes a pokemon, and one could never predict the outcome.

So with a sigh, she admitted that this new Dante wasn't all that hard to deal with, and her thoughts moved on to something else.

She wondered if humans evolved, too? Perhaps that would explain Tuesday's recent changes.

The fact that the girl had dared to snap at Jaima and Meiko was a total shock. Certainly, she had felt she needed to get her point across - that was clear from her face. Still, there was more than that to it. Tuesday had always been quiet. That was why they called her Silence. She rarely spoke unless she had something to say, and even then, she often relied on others to say what she was thinking, allowing them to take the credit. This was why so people realized how incredibly intelligent she was, unless they looked for it, or, like her current companions, were subject to it day after day. It also didn't hurt that Tuesday was growing more and more talkative as the days went by.

I suppose it helps that someone is actually there to listen, Tempest thought. The only people who had ever really cared to hear what Tuesday had to say before were her brother and Professor Oak. Her parents loved her, of course, but between their teenaged snot of a daughter and their clinically-ill and blind son, they hadn't had much time to spare. Tuesday had turned out well. It just seemed that some parts of her personality were developing a little later than was normal.

A delayed evolution, then, Tempest thought. I guess that's not so bad.

She looked up, her ears twitching, when she heard a twig crack in half. A moment later, Dante came strutting out of the trees, his arms laden with a few different kinds of berries.

"Miss me, Sparky?"

"Don't call me that, MagmaBreath, you know I hate it." She pointed at the lumpy purple berry. "You just have one of those?"

"I only need one of them,"
he said, picking it out from the mass and dropping the rest to the ground. He pushed a few toward the turtwig. "Come on, these'll make ya feel better." He curled his tail in the opposite direction, so it wasn't near the turtwig, and the small creature timidly moved forward, rolling a green berry out of the pile and biting into its hard rind.

Dante smiled when the turtwig seemed to enjoy the berry and some color appeared to return to her skin. That crisis averted, he turned winked at Tempest. "Watch this. Hey, Zorro!"

The riolu came leaping down from a tree, landing gracefully in front of Tempest, who let loose a burst of electricity in startled fright. Zorro dodged nimbly around it, laughing. "Que pasa, mi amigo?"

"I got you something," Dante said, and tossed the berry to the riolu.

Zorro caught it in his paws and sniffed it. "Gracias, Dante," he said, and bit into it happily. He chewed it for a few moments, before he went cross-eyed and staggered, tripping over a tree root and falling on his head.

Tempest snorted, her ears twitching as she laughed, and Dante's tail seemed to burn brighter in his amusement. "Nice, Dante, but you realize you'll be the brunt of his every prank now?"

Dante shrugged, smirking. "Turnabout's fair play."
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Living Arrow
post Oct 28 2009, 06:00 PM
Post #5


Team Rogue: Pidgeotto
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From: Amazingstoke, UK
Member No.: 814

PANE: Darryn Kellor



Darryn sat calmly a little away from the others, watching his Pokemon train in the sunlight. After the ordeal with the Steelix, Darryn had become more aware than ever that his Pokemon had little time out of their Pokeballs recently and had subsequently decided to let them all out to stretch their limbs.

Bravo circled high overhead, performing aerial stunts like a professional fighter pilot while dodging Romeo's fast-paced Charge Beam attacks. November practised the dance that Darryn had taught her, nimbly trotting sideways while crossing her legs over and swirling a spiral flame around her entire body. Lady lay patiently in Darryn's arms as he brushed her and Zulu... Well, Zulu just stood there.

"Come on, Zulu! Let's practice that Hammer Arm, huh?" Darryn encouraged the Cranidos from his seated position but the fossil Pokemon made no move to obey. instead, he slowly turned around and offered Darryn the broadest grin before yawning and flopping to the ground where he giggled with ecstacy as the grass tickled his back.

<Imbecile.> Lady turned her nose up at the rock type and pushed her back up, into the brush as Darryn continued her grooming.

"Lady..." Darryn chided her softly, "If Zulu doesn't want to train, I can't force him. If he just wants to relax then I'll leave him to it."

<Battles are not won on faith alone.> Lady turned her head slightly to gaze at Darryn through one chestnut eye. <Training is what prepares us for the harder battles that face us. If that simpleton does not endeavour to improve himself then he will only bring you embarrassment and shame.>

"It's different for him, Lady." Darryn sighed, frowning at his dozing Cranidos. "Zulu doesn't battle like you or any of the others. Nothing about his style is what suits a Contest Battle. I mean, sure, he fights really well, bbut he's far more direct and focuses on power rather than technique - he's just not geared the way we are."

<Making excuses does not alter the problem.>
Lady mentally snorted.

"We're all different, lady." Darryn smoothed the curls on her head fondly as though tending a child. "Zulu's nature is to just give it his all when it matters most. Bravo relies on my every word in the complete opposite manner. Romeo focuses everything on his speed and India worries about how well she is doing whenever she attacks. Novemeber cares all about how she looks when people are watching her and you... You're a perfectionist."

Lady remained silent.

"We need to accept what we are in order to look ahead at our goals and set ourselves realistic targets. In Zulu's case, I'd never bother thrying to teach him how to Appeal - he simply wouldn't care for it and so he wouldn't do the best that he could. It's just like I couldn't ask November to trade finesse for power and make her take part in a Contest Battle." Darryn lifted Lady and turned her around so he could brush her other side. "It's the same with my friends, too."

<I understand.> Lady rested her head slowly. <It is individuality that makes us special. The long male cares like a mother, his female worries about her future and the child fears you.>

Darryn blinked. "No, Lady. Tuesday isn't scared of me."

<Then why did her heart pause when she opened your gift?>

Darryn reddened. "The dress? Well, there are certain things... I mean, I never wanted to..."

<The blue crystal.> Lady butted in. <Unease filled her. She did not speak words with her mouth but her body did. I assumed you knew.>

"Uh, no?" Darryn frowned. What was wrong with the Mystic Water that he gave her? True, it served no real purpose right then but it was pretty - all girls liked pretty things and despite her general interests Darryn was certain Tuesday would lie jewllery.

<She approaches.> Lady informed Darryn as Tuesday walked up behind him.

"Um, hi Darryn." Tuesday dropped down to crouch beside the Co-ordinator. He smiled. "Need help with anything?"

"Erm... Let me think... Sure! Could you finish grooming Lady for me? One hundred strokes along her right flank and fifty through each tail should do it - then she'll need three Pecha berries from my bag. If you could do that for me then it would really speed things up and I could train with November a little more." Darryn handed Tuesday the brush which produced a glare from Lady.

<But->

Darryn plonked Lady into Tuesday's lap.

"Is she really OK with this?" Tuesday asked warily, not touching the Vulpix with her hands. "She seems... agitated."

"She's fine - aren't you, Lady?" Darryn smiled sweetly at his Pokemon. She stared back in response and slowly sank down to lie in Tuesday's arms calmly. "See? No, I'll just go through one routine and then I'm all set to move on."

Darryn jogged out to November, calling for her to fall into place by his side. She stomped her foot with a steady beat to give him the rhythm of her choosing and slowly they flowed into a trotting dance as Darryn sang, flames swirling around their bodies in time to their movements.

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November's flames swept into a crimson swirl that rose above trainer and Pokemon into a spiral that slowly faded above their heads and bathing them in a warm scarlet light that filled the entire clearing. Darryn held onto the muzzle of November and kissed it softly.

"OK, that's enough training for today." He smiled sincerely. "You're gonna do great."


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Master Houndoom
post Oct 29 2009, 03:39 PM
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After Tuesday left, Jaima got up and started clearing debris in a largish area. He stood and released the remainder of his pokemon, issuing orders to each. "Grondir, I need some stones set around in a circle yay big. Ember, fond some firewood, please. ... don't set fire to it yet. Tsunami, if you could locate a stream so we can make dinner tonight, I would appreciate it. Fang, please help Ember. No, you don't get to light them either." Jaima turned, but Meiko was already issuing her own order, sending Ramhorn the heracross to get stones for the fire, Desertdancer the sandshrew to clear places for them to sleep, and Rockclaw the corphish to help find and retrieve water. Rockclaw snapped his claws in irritation, but skittered off to do as she asked anyway.

Jaima sat, bringing Mercury and Shadow closer, and Meiko followed suit with Precious, holding the wiggly little happiny in her lap. They sat across from each other, both wondering when the other might broach the subject that was weighin on their minds.

Instead, Jaima broached the subject that was more immediately weighing on his. "I believe her. Tuesday, I mean." He picked at a stray dry leaf that was near his feet. "I mean... she's held things back, but she's never lied."

Meiko nodded, but still looked pensive, and slightly disappointed. "But... but this isn't normal, is it? I mean..." She sighed. "Something lead her there... it seems so..."

Jaima sighed and leaned back. "I know. But why would she make something like that up? Tuesday feels like an outsider to most... she wouldn't try to make herself into one. Not with us."

Meiko thought. "Well... there are psychics in the world... maybe it was that? That turtwig really does need help..."

Jaima nodded, but Mercury stepped in. She is not a psychic, Trainer Jaima and Trainer Meiko. She is confused about what is happening, and scared, but her abilities are not like mine or other psychics. Even psychic humans have similarites I could find.

"How do you know," asked Meiko, confused.

Trainer Mindy had some psychic abilities, Mercury said, but stopped before she said anything else. She looked toward where Darryn was, seemed to grimace, then looked back. That is how I can tell.

Jaima's brow furrowed, but he made no comment on the odd behavior. The kirlia had had just as rough a week as they did, and he was happy enough to have Mercury acting normally. "So, what is it."

Shadow looked at Mercury, touched her arm, and they spent several long moments looking into each others eyes. Meiko began to fidget, especially when Mercury blushed, but then the kirlia looked directly at her.

May I include you in a psychic link? Shadow wishes to speak, and since you cannot speak the pokemon language, he must do so through me. When Meiko hesitated, Mercury smiled a bit. I will be the only one who can sense your thoughs, and since I can sense them already, there is no added danger.

Meiko blushed crimson, but nodded. Both trainers' eyes widened at Shadows first words.

Kohai Tuesday has the power of Aura. As my species has since the beginning.


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Umbrae Calamitas
post Oct 30 2009, 06:17 PM
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Tuesday's Pack



It was easy for Tuesday's mind to wander while she brushed through Lady's fur, counting in her head, first to one hundred as she brushed the vulpix's flank, and then to fifty as she ran through each tail. The fox pokemon was tense in her arms, but seemed content for the moment to allow her to continue. Tuesday wasn't precisely sure why the vulpix seemed to hate her so much, but she didn't want to mention anything to Darryn. As much as his other pokemon were grand, it seemed that Lady was his pride and joy. She couldn't blame him, really - the vulpix was beautiful. Animosity was just something that Tuesday had never been able to get used to, despite her familiarity with it.

She watched through half-concentrating eyes as Darryn practiced with November. The ponyta was well-trained by him, that was obvious, and they coordinated brilliantly. Tuesday wondered if she could ever do something similar with Wraith, but she doubted it. The ponyta was too rash, too ready for a fight. She wouldn't have the patience for practicing in a contest.

Tuesday, finished brushing Lady's tails, ran her hand down the vulpix's back, but the fox leapt off of her knees and trotted away, leaving Tuesday to sigh and set the brush down beside her.

Darryn came over, finished training, not long after. He sat down beside her on the fallen tree that she had made her seat. Lady danced lightly over and leapt into his arms, demanding attention. Tuesday smiled at his look, but once he had picked up the brush and turned his attention to brushing the vulpix, Tuesday got up and quietly slipped away.

She wandered through the forest for a little while, eventually ended up where she had left Dante and Tempest with the turtwig. She could see Jaima and Meiko barely through the trees, sitting down, but both of them were quiet. Deciding to leave them to their own devices, Tuesday sat down on the ground and was joined immediately by Dante, who leaned against her, nuzzling her shoulder.

Tuesday smiled and caressed his head, though her eyes were focused on the shivering turtwig. There was a pile of berries nearby, with one half-eaten berry laying near the turtwig. Tuesday frowned at it, then looked back at the turtwig. "You need to eat," she said softly, standing up and grabbing some of the berries, and her bag. She sat down down and began to root through the contents of her pack. "Aaand, you need a name," she said, pausing to study the turtwig.

The turtwig studied her silently, still shivering softly. Tuesday blinked, and then pulled a small, square black box out of her pack, followed by her cooking pan. Dante snorted in amusement, but Tuesday ignored him.

Opening the black box, she some berries inside of it and shut the lid, before setting the box in the center of the frying pan. She fixed her finger over the large "button" on the top of the box and began to press down on it slowly. As she did, a mechanism in the box moved with it, squishing the berries that had been placed inside. Juice pooled out from the vent-holes in the bottom, filling the pan. Tuesday repeated this procedure twice over, until she had a good amount of juice from the lum and sitrus berries in the pan.

Slowly, so as not to frighten the turtwig, Tuesday placed the pan in front of the pokemon and watched as she moved forward cautiously, sniffing. A few moments later, she was warily lapping at the juice from the pan.

After only a few minutes, however, the turtwig sat back, clearly unable or unwilling to drink anymore. Tuesday frowned, but she considered that being without food for as long as she obviously was, the pokemon wouldn't be able to stomach much.

"This is going to take some work," Tuesday admitted. The turtwig just looked at her. "Well... it's not as though I mind. I just wish you didn't have to suffer. Now, what am I going to call you? I can't keep saying "turtwig." I refuse to call you by the name of your species."

She sat in thought for a long time, running through her mind every book that she couldn't remember reading. Tempest was asleep beside her and Dante was yawning loudly, when she suddenly smiled. "I've got it. I'll call you Cosette," she said, and reached out to stroke the frightened turtwig. "And don't worry. I'm not going to catch you. I just want to make you feel better, and then you can go. Traveling with us, I think, will be better than being stuck in that cave, though."

The mention of that incident brought back thoughts of the headache that had led her to Cosette to begin with. Looking around, Tuesday caught sight of Zorro, sitting on the branch of a tree and watching them curiously, a grin on his face.

"Hey, Zorro," she called, standing up, "get down here. I want to try something."

If she didn't have a book to refer to for information, the next best thing was experience. Maybe she could force whatever happened with the turtwig, and find out exactly what was going on with her brain.


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Master Houndoom
post Nov 2 2009, 01:35 AM
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S-so wait, Meiko said through the link that Mercury provided. You're trying to tell us that... that Tuesday has the power of Aura? Like the Aura Guardians from the Poke Wars movies?

It took a moment for Mercury to retrieve the memories and show them to Shadow, but when it was done, Shadow seemed both impressed and amused. More or less, Sensei Meiko, although those were greatly simplified.

Jaima's brow furrowed. How long have you known about this, Shadow?

Shadow had the grace to look chagrined. I've known since I evolved. I apologize for not telling you, except that kohai Tuesday was also unaware of her power. I felt that it would be better for you to see this power in action than to have to take my word for it.

Did you think I'd doubt you, Shadow? Jaima asked, a hint of worry in the tone of the mental voice. Shadow smiled a bit, looking at the same time sad and understanding.

I have failed you quite enough to have earned any doubt, Sensei, Jaima. But it is not me we are discussing, he added, interrupting Jaima's protest to the contrary.

Shadow, I don't understand. Weren't the Aura Guardians myths?

It was, to Shadow, amazing how things were perceived in this world. Sensei Meiko had not only a sound to her voice, but a color and a scent. In this world she smelled of strawberries and peppermint, both enticing and soothing. Jaima smelled of cedar wood and fresh rain, clean, strong scents. He wondered how much of this perception was influenced by how the other beings in the link felt about each other. Mercury smelled of ocean water and linen, beautiful, pure, but Shadow also knew that they had met in a port town, where the smell of the ocean was a backdrop to everything they experienced. Briefly, he wondered how he smelled to the others, but that was for another, less urgent time.

Sensei Meiko, I do not know. I am, after all, still young. What I know, I know by instinct, and what I call it is as influenced by Sensei Jaima and yourself as my own perception. Aura does accurately describe how I perceive it; glowing colors around your bodies. For Sensei Jaima and yourself, it is a small yet bright glow around you. For others, it is not bright, and even dimmer, or very bright but thinner. For Sensei Darryn, it is a golden glow that enhances his physical beauty. For pokemon, the auras depend on types as well as personality, and some are dim indeed. I was amazed, for example, when I first saw the auras of the pokemon who battled us before we left. They were quite dim.

Jaima and Meiko took a moment to think about this, and then Jaima sighed. This is a lot to take in, but it makes a lot of sense. Was something... disturbing going on when we first came to Arasam.

Mercury's eyes narrowed, but it was Shadow that spoke. We... I, Ramhorn, Zorro, and the Lady Foxtrot, had an encounter with another of my kind in the city, who mentioned that Kohai Tuesday was, indeed, being watched. She was far too powerful... There was a shudder that went around the group as the memory leaked through. In this, I was also guilty of not telling you, but for a different reason. Sensei Jaima, you have the protective instinct in all things when it comes to your friends and your family. I, too, would have attacked her had she provoked me further, but I knew she would have destroyed me utterly. Had I told you, you would have searched for this pokemon and her master, and tried to battle them. You would have either lost as badly as I, or you would have interfered with Kohai Tuesday's growth. Shadow pierced Jaima with a hard gaze. This will be hard to hear from a pokemon, but Sensei Meiko is right; Kohai Tuesday is a young lady, not a little girl, and must be allowed to fall. As Rosie showed me in my first battle, one must learn to take a punch before they know if they can survive it to battle on.

Just then a sharp, high, short scream sounded, starting and ending so suddenly that Mercury broke the connection. Shadow blinked. It would seem that Kohai Tuesday has taken some steps and made her first fall...

Meiko and Jaima rushed to where the sound came from, stopping when they saw Tuesday on the ground, groaning. Her eyelids flickered, and she rocked her head a bit. Jaima knelt next to her, gently saying her name. Meiko was on the other side, checking on Zorro, who was also flat on his back.

Darryn came crashing from where he had been grooming and training his pokemon. "What happened?"

Jaima looked up, a tight, grim smile on his face. "Tuesday was... It's a long story, Darryn, and I promise I will tell you soon." He sent him an apologetic look, and just then Tuesday came to full consciousness with a gasp.

"Goddess," she said, tears leaking from her eyes. She turned her eyes to Jaima, who blinked in confusion. Even as he watched, her eyes, which had been golden when she opened them, faded to their usual smoky blue.

"Are you all right, Tuesday," Jaima said gently. She swallowed thickly and looked at Zorro, who shook his head as if to clear it and looked away. Shadow knelt near him and offered what Jaima hoped were comforting words, but the riolu seemed diminished.

"I'm fine," Tuesday whispered, and though she didn't seem fine, Jaima did not press. If she needs to talk, I need to trust that she will when she's ready, he thought to himself, and felt the proud caress of Mercury at the back of his mind.

"Tuesy," Jaima said, sitting her up straight. "I... I know you've been through a lot, but I think I owe you an apology. I was frustrated when you walked off on your own. Shadow's shed some light on things, and... it's a lot to take in, but I trust him, and I believe you. So... be patient with me. I don't really know what to do, but I'm with you 100%." He smirked. "That doesn't sound very big brotherly, I guess..."

Tuesday looked at Jaima, her eyes beginning to overflow. "Jaima... what's wrong with me..?"

Jaima's winced a bit, opening his mouth to try to explain, when a mental voice sounded in his head, communicating with him and Tuesday. From the widening of Meiko's eyes, she, too, was included.

There is nothing wrong, Kohai Tuesday. Said the voice, sounding smooth and soothing. You are discovering abilities that you didn't know you had. As learning anything new is, it is difficult, and as having those around you as unfamiliar as we are, the learning is slow. But we are all here to help you, and the Little Brother who chose you will be able to guide you in time.

"Thanks, Mercury. He could explain it much better than I could," Jaima said, looking over his shoulder at Mercury. The kirlia floated in her usial place near Jaima's shoulder, but was looking oddly at Shadow.

I didn't do anything, Trainer Jaima, she said, her voice sounding slightly hollow. Shadow did that himself...

All eyes turned to Shadow, who, himself, looked shocked. It... it seems I, too, am learning new things...


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Living Arrow
post Nov 9 2009, 04:01 PM
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Darryn gave a pep-talk to each of his Pokemon in turn, raising the appropriate berries to their lips (or beaks) to attune their outward characteristic to the categories that he had decided for them in their upcoming Contests. Those that had not yet participated, more specifically Bravo and November, were particularly keen to show off their latest skills and fought for their master's attention while he fussed over them. Romeo was in the thick of it, too, running rings around the whole group and barking with excitement while Zulu continued to snooze and Lady watched all with silent contempt.

<You do realise they are talking without you?> Lady followed Darryn's paces calmly, pausing to sit each time Darryn stopped to check over one of the others. <I cannot listen to them like this but it is obvious that something is a big secret over there.> She directed her hazel gaze through the trees to where Jaima and Meiko were talking with their Pokemon.

"You know, Lady, bitching about your friends is not very ladylike." Darryn rolled his eyes and fed Bravo a hand of Aspear berries before the speedy Pidgeotto rose back into the air to perform for the trainer. "And besides, if they were talking about anything they thought I should know, Jaima would tell me."

Lady scowled and raised her nose.

<Prince Darryn, the gift of sight from that unsightly girl may have opened your horizons but I will not believe you are so blind to what is going on here.> She sniffed haughtily and looked back at where Jaima and the others were sitting. She narrowed her gaze and reached out with her psychic talent. <They must be talking about the female child... If I could just...>

"Lady, stop it!" Darryn warned her angrily, stomping his foot hard and making her jump back with shock. "You have to stop this petty whining about my friends. To be honest, I don't care if they have secrets from me. Sure, it would be nice to know what they were talking about but secrets are kept for very good reasons and trying to uncover them is just wrong. Leave. Them. Alone."

<But.>

<But nothing!!!> Darryn shouted in her head, making her jump even more than before. He felt uneasy reaching out with his mind like that - it was an unnatural skill that he had been unable to use before Mindy's kiss. He was somewhat afraid of it and so tried to kept it pushed down as far as possible but each time it surfaced it showed that he was getting better at controlling it. <Look, Lady. If you aren't going to say anything constructive or pleasant then I'll just put you back in the ball. I let you out more often than the others because I like having you around - you understand me nearly as well as my closest human friends and it's good to have that sort of relationship with your Pokemon - but if you push my buttons then I'll be forced to stop that privilege.>

Lady gaped.

"Just think before you speak." Darryn said, his shoulders slumping. He hated yelling at anyone and never came out of it feeling better about himself, even if he was right. Lady's eyes glistened wetly.

<Yes, Prince Darryn.> She said quietly after a long moment.

"Good." Darryn whispered, bending down to raise her into his arms and fondle her ears with affection. "now, let's get you ready for your Contest debut, eh?"

<I'm going to be in the next Contest?!> Lady mentally gasped.

"Of course, you're my best battler, aren't you?" Darryn kissed the curls on her forehead. "I wouldn't ask anyone else."

Lady buried her face into Darryn's chest and they stood for a moment before the calming silence of the glade was pierced by a little scream. In a flash, Lady was out of Darryn's hands and prepared for battle, her hair raised and her tails erect. Darryn took off at a run, the Vulpix close behind as they headed toward where Tuesday had called out.

"What happened?" Darryn asked worriedly as he raced to where Tuesday was lying on the ground. Jaima was already there, offering Darryn an odd smile.

"Tuesday was... It's a long story, Darryn, and I promise I will tell you soon."

<More secrets?> Lady asked Darryn carefully - no hint of malice there this time. Darryn chewed his lip. <If you can see the secret then you are not breaking a confidence of politeness... Look at the girl, Prince Darryn. Look closer. Deeper.>

Darryn shut his ears to the others and, taking Lady's advice, saw Tuesday.

WHITE.

And it was gone. A single flash.

<Lady?!>

<It is the sight again. Like on the mountain where those Pokemon with the darkened hearts battled us.> Lady informed his sagely. <I do not know what it means for you - it is your power.>

<It is Mindy's power.> Darryn corrected her but remained silent after that. What was he seeing? Whatever it was, it would take time before he could understand it or the gifts that Mindy had left with him before she left. With a restrained sigh, Darryn sought in his bag to offer Tuesday some water.

*What is wrong with me?*


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Umbrae Calamitas
post Nov 11 2009, 05:24 AM
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Tuesday's Pack



Zorro had listened with only half an ear to what Shadow had said to him. His words were clearly meant to help him understand, if not to offer inspiration, but looking back now, Zorro couldn't remember any of it. It hadn't mattered. All that had been going through his mind were the images that had whooshed through his mind on auto-pilot, memories drawn forth by some ulterior force.

He had retreated from their group when attention was turned to Shadow and Tuesday in kind, disappearing into the solitude of shadows. He leapt from each darkened area of the forest to another, until he reached a place where he could no longer hear the echoing murmurs of the others.

He needed to be alone.

Just alone.

Tuesday's attempt to execute her strange power had come to her mind as abruptly as she had suggested it. Was the idea good? - Zorro didn't know. It hadn't seemed it at the time. Zorro knew that Tuesday's head had been hurting because of the ripples coming off of her, and he had been willing to help.

The first attempt had been detrimental to her. She had tried to force that feeling of being drawn to a pokemon, as she had been with the turtwig she chose to nickname Cosette. It had taken some time and a lot of concentration of her part. When she finally got it to "work," there was not a pull toward one pokemon or a whispering cry for help. Instead, there was a pull against her body toward what seemed every direction, and a thousand screaming voices in her head.

It almost knocked her off her feet, but she somehow managed to shut it off, bringing up some sort of shield. Zorro didn't know how. It didn't matter now, anyway. It was what came after that...

She didn't want to quit there. She was more stubborn than Zorro had previously realized. The second attempt, she seemed to want to try and connect with a single pokemon, to hear a voice. She had heard thousands of voices, she'd told him, in the first attempt. Now, she wanted to hear just one - his. She'd even spoken a word in Spanish, trying to connect with him, somehow.

She managed it, but not like she had wanted.

Their minds had linked. He'd felt it - a touch like the wind, a breath of air brushing against the side of his consciousness. It had been a barely gentle touch at first, nothing more.

And then, the memories.

Little images. Black and white and fuzzy. Sometimes sounds were shaky, scratchy. But they were memories, nonetheless.

Zorro saw Tuesday's brother. Brone, his name was Brone. The two of them were talking. The words weren't all audible, but they faced each other across a table, thoughtful expressions upon their faces, as though the discussion they were having was one of an ethical nature. Controversial, even.

Tuesday saw a memory of Zorro, when he met his father for the first time. He was a trainer's pokemon, living in Arasam, near the cave where he lived with his mother and his brother and sister. Like his trainer, Nicholae, Brawn spoke with a thick Russian accent. It was a trait that Zorro's sister had picked up, from spending so much time with him. He had always been closer to his mother, and he picked up her accent. He never asked her where she got it - only mimicked it, like his older brother.

Then there was Tuesday and Brone again. They were playing Chess. Tuesday wasn't using strategical thought, but rather reactionary measures. She was taking out his players one-by-one. She seemed to think that lowering his attack force would save it, but it wouldn't let her win. It might have kept her from losing, if Brone wasn't just that good.

Then Zorro was visiting a smaller town near Arasam with his older brother. It was the middle of Autumn, a slight chill in the air, and the sun was setting on the horizon. A bunch of human kids were outside, listening to their music on a boombox. Zorro and his brother watched as the humans gave a strange dance, moving not only with the music, but with random sounds, as well. It was like a battle without injury - a game with no loser. Popping and locking, it was called. Zorro loved it.

The images grew clearer the more they saw, until it was like a movie reel, as Zorro watched the man from Mt. Carello attack Tuesday and nearly succeed in drowning her. He watched the battle before that - her leading steadfast Dante and swift-footed Tempest to victory. It was enlightening, inspiring.

And then the memory of his that he had never told anyone about. The one he had been trying, in vain, to forget.

His family, together, in a cave. They were eating. He could taste the sour berries in his mouth, still. He hated them now.

His sister, her strange introverted colors making her seem to glow in the darkness, sat near the entrance. She'd screamed when they first appeared, grabbing her.

His mother and brother were on their feet in a second, leaping forward to do battle.

Four men straight away, though he was sure that there were others. They released pokemon into the cavern, though he couldn't remember what kinds. There were clashes, screams, fire erupting into the cavern. It was hot, burning, and the room was shaking.

He remembered watching his brother fall. There was blood that splattered across the wall. He went down quietly - so unlike his normal way. He fell in silence, and it was the silence more than the blood that was terrifying.

His mother fell a moment later, though she fought the entire way down, only stopped when they had struck her too many times for even the greatest lucario to rise again. She'd shuddered for a while, not silent like his brother. Her eyes had stayed open the entire time, and Zorro remembered watching them dull, the light disappearing from them, until the humans had noticed him and struck him, knocking him into the darkness.

Tuesday had lost control then, the memory overtaking her. She'd clutched her head, screaming, until she fell and was knocked unconscious by the force of it, if only for a moment.

But Zorro remembered what came after. Waking up the scent of death, the coppery taste of blood in his mouth - cold and sharp. The lifeless bodies of his mother and brother. The absence of his sister, stolen away. The knowledge that he had failed in even helping them - simply standing back and watching them die. Coward - weak - worthless.

Zorro slid down a tree and crouched at the bottom, his paws over his head.

He'd wanted so badly to forget...

~*~


Tuesday felt a little better after Shadow had spoken to her. The fact that he could speak was still surprising to them all, but frankly, Tuesday had earned herself a break from the excitement.

Her first chore had been to check on Cosette, and the second to check on the egg. Cosette, being a grass type, was left under Tempest's care. The rodent in the mood for some relaxation and downtime, seemed to enjoy the company of the turtwig. The pokemon's timid nature and obvious fear disturbed Tuesday, but she concluded that there was nothing that she could do here, in the middle of a forest.

Dante was taking care of the egg, his naturally warm body keeping the egg nice and toasty. Tuesday knew from experience how caring Dante was, and she trusted the egg in Dante's hands better than she did her own right now, considering she had dropped it earlier that day.

Wraith was out of her pokeball and napping in a bit of sunlight filtering through the canopy. Zorro off doing his own thing (and hopefully not causing too much trouble), Tuesday turned her attention to Ashleigh, and then immediately to Darryn.

The boy was clearly good at chemistry, this had all been deduced. He valued the beauty of pokemon, so perhaps he could help with the peeling of Ashleigh's headcrest.

"Hey, Darryn," Tuesday said, walking over to the boy with the houndour trotting at her side. "Could you look at Ashleigh's head."

"Sure," Darryn said, leaning over the houndour, Ashleigh's tail stub wagging back and forth. Darryn made a disgusted face. "Ew," he said, his nose crinkling up.

"Can you do something to help heal this?"

Darryn sucked air through his teeth and narrowed his eyes. "This," he said thoughtfully, standing up straight and tapping his chin, "is going to take some serious work." He grinned suddenly, gripping his hand into a fist. "But I'm up for the challenge! First, we'll need some exfoliant treatment, to strip away all of the dead skin."

Tuesday took a small step back as Darryn started pacing, tapping his lower lip with his index finger as he began spouting off some possible choices of exfoliant types.

"Moisturizers will, of course, be necessary, to help keep the crest protected as the new skin grows in. We should consider a specified diet, high in Calcium, to help the new skin grow quickly and stronger, so the process of..." His nose crinkled in disgust. "Well, so the same thing won't reoccur. I can write up a specialized diet. I'll have to consider the pokemon's specific tastes to be certain that he'll take to the diet without too much of a fight. We'll want this to be relatively easy, but also as effective as possible. I can work on mixing up a temporary cream, until we get to town and get whatever we need."

He stopped pacing and continued to tap his lip from a moment. "Hm," he said, glanced at Ashleigh's crest, shuddered, and walked off, muttering about getting his notebook and recording this atrocity.

Tuesday, sitting now on a log, stared at the place where Darryn had been standing, and shivered. Now, that was something she hadn't been expecting. She knew the boy was good, but passionate seemed something of an understatement. He talked quickly and forcefully, almost like a soldier, or a politician.

For a moment, Tuesday faded away into that mysterious place, as she imagined Darryn standing behind a podium in front of a crowd of people. He raised his hands and spoke loudly to the audience through a microphone.

"I have a dream!" he called out passionately. "A dream of a world full of beautiful pokemon."

Tuesday blinked herself back into reality and shook her head. She looked at Ashleigh, who wagged his stubby tail in return.

"Okay, that was scary," she said, as she jumped to her feet. "Come on, let's go see if Darryn can teach us something."

Ashleigh trailing happily behind her, Tuesday hopped after Darryn, excited to learn something new.


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Master Houndoom
post Nov 12 2009, 01:31 AM
Post #11


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Mercury...

The voice that resonated in her head was rich, like a deep, thrumming bass hum beneath it. It was comforting, and warm, like hot chocolate or a warm blanket on a cold night. Like a steady heartbeat. And, when she heard it, Mercury felt her chest tighten.

Mercury, we need to talk...

Mercury turned. His voice hadn't sounded different when she was the one initiating the contact, but she had certainly missed out on the undercurrents. Also, since he was the one speaking to her, rather than her seeking his voice out to listen to, she could not feel the emotions without actively seeking them out. Somehow, it seemed as if that would be a betrayal of his trust.

What... her mental voice failed her, but she regained it quickly. What would you like to talk about, Shadow...

She hid it well, she hoped, but somehow, something about Shadow made her understand that he knew the truth: She dreaded the answer.

* * * * *

"Would you look at him," Meiko said, smiking as she watched Tuesday trot after Darryn. "Like a queen on his throne."

Jaima looked up at her. "Who, Darryn?"

Meiko grinned back at Jaima from where she was unpacking her backpack. "Yeah. He takes one look at Ashleigh, and after an initial 'ew', he's a full on bossy boots!"

Jaima gave Meiko a pointed look, tempered by the hint of a smile that played at the corners of his mouth. "You," he drawled out, "are calling Darryn a bossy boots?"

"Yes," she said, opening her eyes wide in what Jaima had long since recognized as the "why don't you believe me" face. When he raised his left eyebrow, Meiko tried to open her eyes wider. "What?" When he answered her with a smirk, she put on a shocked look. "Whaaaat?!"

Jaima pitched his voice high, and while his tone wasn't even close, his inflection, even to Meiko's ears, was too close for comfort. "'You are going to be there for your friend, and you are going to let me buy you the clothing to do it in!' Does that," he asked, imitating her innocent look, "sound familiar, Mei-chan?"

Meiko's mouth opened and closed soundlessly for a brief time, and then she crossed her arms. If not for the exaggerated way the corners of her mouth were pulled down, Jaima would have been afraid he had really made her angry. "That was completely different!"

Jaima's right eyebrow raised as the left one lowered. "Oh?"

She nodded, matter of factly. "Yes! I'm a girl. We're allowed to be bossy!"

Jaima grinned widely, waggling both eyebrows. "Yeah, well, as Darryn pointed out at the contest, rules for him are sometimes closer to girl-rules than guy-rules..."

"Jaima!" Meiko fought her giggles, trying to look stern, and both of them shared playful smiles as they fell into silence. They busied themselves, for a while, Meiko continuing to unpack her things and Jaima setting up the camp fire.

Meiko had removed her cookware when Jaima spoke up. "Mei-chan? I think we need to talk..." Though she tried to keep herself from reacting, she knew without being told, instinctively, that Jaima had caught on to the fact that she had stopped moving completely.

* * * * *

Mercury's head was bowed, and her chest was threatening to implode. It was coming, the condescending look, the gentle let down. She had only herself to blame. After she had evolved in Lenoilia, Shadow had grown an obvious infatuation with her new form, her new abilities. When she had seen it for what it was (and it wasn't hard, even if she hadn't been an emotionally aware pokemon; Shadow had made no attempt to hide his feelings) she had been... at the time, she had thought she had handled it with gentleness and kindness, but now, being on the other end, she could see she had possibly devastated him. She had patted his head, and ignored the deeper feelings. They hadn't discussed it, and she had been so heady in her new power that she had practically dismissed the riolu's feelings.

Now it was her turn to be dismissed. He was so much more powerful than he had been, and now, somehow, he could speak with his mind, to her. More than equal with her now.

She looked up, fighting the tears, taking in his deep green eyes as if it were the last time he would look at her with such kindness.

I miss my friend.

The sentiment behind the words had been so unexpected that Mercury had almost dropped to her knees to beg him not to leave her before she realized. She swallowed, and allowed herself to float up, blinking, to better look into his eyes.

What do you mean, Shadow..?

Shadow's eyes held no contempt, no malice, no animosity. Instead, they held a sense of fear, similar to what Mercury had been feeling. His emotions, flowing so freely through his eyes, allowed her to forget her own tempestuous feelings.

I miss the way we were. We were young, but we were close. And now there is a distance, since you've evolved... and one that I know I have continued after my own. But I miss our closeness... Shadow's eyes fell to the ground. Perhaps you think this is a weakness that I should no longer have, and I don't blame you, but--

No! Mercury floated backwards, shocked and embarrassed by her own vehemence. No, Shadow... I've missed it as well... I'm just... there are... feelings... Mercury felt the blush crawling up her entire body. She forced herself to continue. I haven't handled them well, on either side...

Shadow's paw touched the top of her head, and she pressed against it, taking as much as she could from the contact. She could feel warmth coursing down her body, and relief, and it came out as a deep shiver.

Perhaps, Shadow said, delicately, as if he were treading on hallowed ground, we should put those feelings aside for now..?

Mercury looked up, swallowing. It wasn't what she wanted, but neither was it what she feared. Without taking her eyes from his, and no longer trusting her mental voice, she nodded.

* * * * *

"I like you, too."

His voice had been quivering, but Meiko's first reaction had been as if he'd said it with confidence. She twisted in her crouching position to face him, nearly falling on her rump. is eyes were downcast, and she had to force herself not to launch herself at him and squeal in glee.

"But..?" She, too, found herself looking at the ground, very intently.

"But," he said, wincing at the grass, "I... don't know. I've..." He pulled in a massive amount of air and heaved it out in a sigh. "Mei-chan, I've never had a real girlfriend. I don't know what... how..."

Meiko's heart went out to him, and she swallowed her pride. "What about Joy..?"

If anything, Jaima sunk deeper into himself. "Yeah... um... I don't know what Joy was. We never talked about it. We just... we were there. Some things were just assumed, and others were avoided, and..." He sighed again.

Meiko allowed herself to drop into a sitting position. "Ah," she said, swallowing. This was something. She had had a boyfriend, and despite how it ended, there were good times. Was she willing to--

The thought cut itself off. It was stupid, what she had been thinking. Why did things have to change so drastically? Wasn't it everything that they already did together that made her want to be more than just friends? The only thing she wanted that the title of "Jaima's Girlfriend" would make acceptable was something she felt she needed to wait for anyway... the prospect still filled her with something akin to dread... she was afraid it would feel like when Toshiro...

"Jaima," she said, tersely, but allowed her voice to soften when he looked up. "I've, ah, I've been in a relationship... and... one of the best things about it was that... it didn't change much... it was just... it was more, you know? But it was more of the stuff we already liked.... so...

Jaima swallowed and nodded, and Meiko sighed, not in frustration, but in her own thoughts. "It's enough." She smiled at him, bittersweetly. "It's enough, for now, to know you feel the same..."

Jaima opened his mouth, but closed it and nodded. Then he quirked a smile. "I do. And that's enough for me... I mean... if you want... I'm not saying this because I think you want me to, it's just--"

"Jaima," Meiko said, rolling her eyes, "just spit it out."

"I want you to be my girlfriend."

Oh. "... Oh." Her heart kicked her brain, twice, and got it working again. If she hadn't already been sitting, she would have fallen. "I'd... like that." She grinned, stupidly, that silly grin she'd always hated in the movies. "A lot."


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Living Arrow
post Nov 13 2009, 01:20 PM
Post #12


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Darryn didn't realise he was babbling until Tuesday stopped taking notes andjust stared at him. Her jaw was a little slack and those young eyes were worried that she had lost track completely. He blushed modestly, cutting himself short and turning Ashleigh's head towards him by stroking under his chin softly. The canid's eyes rolled with pleasure as the beautician tickled that spot to hold his attention - the Houndour seemed a bit dappy and the smallest things seemed to snatch his focus.

"It's best just to watch and see how it works, I guess." Darryn said, reassuring Tuesday that she didn't need to know the intracases of Pokemon skincare and treatment. "Now, first I'm going to rub in this exfoliant."

Darryn's long fingers firmly pressed the gritty cream that he had just mixed into the Houndour's head, working the flakes of skin and peeling layers of bone with his fingertips like a baker needing bread. He stopped periodically to scrape free the loosened soilings and spread more of the Petaya-Berry Poke-Peel over the dog's head.

"Now, you carry on while I make up my very own rejuvenating moisturiser. It's got Hondew berries in for lasting moisture, Apicot berries to improve skin firmness and a touch of Razz gives it a great smell!"

"Woah, Darryn. You know a lot about berries, huh?" Tuesday said dumbfounded as she leant in to work on Ashleigh's forehead. He yipped happily and tried to lick the cream off her hands but she dodged easily - like a mother avoiding the chocolate-covered fingers of her own child as she replaced his bib.

"Um, I suppose so." Darryn dropped the berries he needed into a bowl and began grinding them with the back of his camp spoon. "We had to memorise all of the berries in the current version of the Berrydex while I was at Celadon High for our beautification module. It didn't focus so much on the battle properties of each berry but more on the flavours and health-related properties. I do know a few good things about some of them though - like these Petaya berries would be perfect for any Pokemon using special attacks in a difficult battle - but there's still a lot for me to find out."

"So, you're almost like a researcher?" Tuesday asked again, her Houndour almost purring with satisfaction.

"Hmmm. Well, maybe... I don't really go looking for the answers to my questions but wait for someone to teach me then *ding* it's in my head and I can work out how I can use the new info with what I already know... I guess that makes me an analyst rather than a researcher." Darryn replied, working the juicy moisturising paste into a smooth compress.

Tuesday smiled slightly, washing the exfoliant off Ashleigh as carefully as she could with a damp cloth without upsetting him with the water in it as Darryn prepared the cream.

"Now, you can use this yourself in the mornings after you wash." Darryn lectured the girl as he smoothed the confection into Ashleigh's scalp. "It will tingle for about five minutes and then you'll be smoother than a Mareep in shearing season!"

Tuesday giggled quietly and made a quick note in her notebook. They worked together in silence, Darryn offering the young girl pointers while she listened intently and copied his movements and hastily scribbling her own references for later.
Darryn enjoyed spending time with the girl on her own - Tuesday had a very pleasant way of talking and having someone younger than him to offer advice made Darryn feel a little more important than he did normally. Sure, it was fun to tease Meiko and share battle tips with Jaima but neither of them had really shown an interest in Darryn's forté so he had kept it to himself for a while.

He was watching as Tuesday finished the task of washing Ashleigh for the final time when he saw it. A pale orange light seemed to rise out of Ashleigh's eyes for the briefest of moments before it vanished like dispersing smoke. Darryn blinked and looked again. Nothing.

*What was that?* He asked himself, obviously getting no response.

"Darryn? Are you al- nnngh!" Tuesday frowned and pushed a hand to her head. Darryn pitched forward and put his arm around her back to support her.

"Tuesday?!"

"I-I'm alright." THe small blonde nodded slowly, assuring Darryn that she was OK with a smile. "Just had a little pain up by here." She pointed to her head. "But it's gone now."

Darryn frowned. "Hmm... Well, as long as you're OK... How about we go join the others and see about moving on? I know Jaima wants another badge and my next ribbon won't just fall into my hands."

"Sounds good." Tuesday admitted, getting to her feet quickly and arranging her things. Darryn watched her closely.

<Keep an eye on Tuesday for me, Lady.> He sent to his Vulpix as they went to find Jaima and Meiko.


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Umbrae Calamitas
post Nov 21 2009, 01:26 AM
Post #13


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Ashleigh, if he was being honest with himself, did not know why she was so kind to him. The littlest one.

He had been there, with the Alpha, when the girl found herself alone and trapped. He had felt his mouth fill with saliva, his jaws dripping, as he thought of the meal he would gain that night for following his Alpha, for fighting well.

And then he had seen a look in her eyes - the little one's. it was a look he recognized when he forgot to not catch his own eye in a puddle of water. A look of darkness. Not the darkness of the kind that lingered in the Alpha's eyes. That darkness was one of a crimson intent - painful and to be feared.

The darkness within the little one's eyes was one of a loneliness that Ashleigh could understand. It was a feeling of being utterly alone in a world filled with too many people, too many pokemon. It was that look - that similarity, however small, between them - that had prompted Ashleigh to act. To protect the girl.

He'd known from the moment of his decision that it would kill him. His Alpha was strong, and she would, without hardly any effort, reduce him to something similar to the limp hairy lumps that littered the alleys they avoided - the only ones that they didn't even care to control. They smelled too much like rot, and death, and the ending of... everything.

And as predicted, the Alpha had taken him down with hardly a fight, and the girl wasn't even able to escape. Not because the Alpha saw through his plan, but because, in the moment of her impatiently-waiting freedom, she had saved him, rather than herself.

And it didn't stop there. His headcrest itched and burned to the point where he had previously tried to grind his head against a brick wall or the stone sidewalk, was being worked on by the runt, with help from her shiny friend, the one that looked at things oddly. But odd was okay. He acted odd for a houndour, too.

Ashleigh trotted after the runt for a time, considering all that she was doing for him, when he had really given her nothing in return. He didn't think he deserved her, but here she was.

He sat down in a pile of leaves, enjoying their shaded cool temperature against his hot fur. He watched as the runt walked with the shiny boy over to the other two humans. And then Tuesday left their group, amused by something else, her eyes distant, mind elsewhere. She rubbed her head from time to time, frowning, clearly thinking of something else.

Ashleigh saw the bright red fur of the vulpix moments before he caught her scent, and it disturbed him that she was so easily able to avoid his detection until she was right on the runt. But the runt paid her no mind, eyes still far off, mind in a distant world.

Ashleigh simply watched. He watched the speculative vulpix with some trepidation. The fox made him nervous, he would be the first to admit. For the moment, however, she didn't seem a threat.

Still, she had a demeanor like his Alpha - harsh, cold, and with eyes of dark intent.

Ashleigh lay down in the grass, listening to the soft murmurs of other voices, as the three older humans talked. His eyes never strayed from the runt, and he watched her drag out her sketchpad and draw for a little while, before pulling out a notepad and then writing stuff down.

He didn't move, didn't make a sound. Simply watched.

He supposed, maybe, he fit in here. Yes, he was a bit of an odd case for a houndour, but he could see quite clearly that the runt was odd for a human.

Very odd, indeed.



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Master Houndoom
post Nov 22 2009, 02:27 AM
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The campsite had been finished being put up at about the time Darryn and Tuesday approached. It might have been done sooner, except that after the talk, every time Jaima or Meiko would catch a glimpse of the other, they would end up looking down and blushing and have to take a moment to recover. If either Darryn or Tuesday noticed this, it was lost on the couple; They were too busy blushing, smiling, and looking elsewhere to notice any withheld giggles or rolled eyes.

When Jaima finally did notice the coordinator and the researcher approaching, he stood, smiling, slightly embarrassedly. "Good, you're here," he said, motioning to the place where the fire would be set. "We need to talk."

Around the fire were some good sized stones set in a circle, and around the circle or stones were four wooden disks. Grondir had found a decently sized stump and, unbidden, had used his Razor Leaf attack to cut off four wooden pads. When Ember had returned, they had set about cleaning them and smoothing them. The grain was preserved, but with Desertdancer using his sand to smooth the wood and Ember burning the wood just enough to cure it, the finish was nice and smooth.

The fact that the pokemon had arranged two of the seats closer to each other than to the others only proved that they were quite observant. Meiko blushed when she noticed, but took the opportunity to sit near Jaima, resting in a kneeling position with practiced ease. Jaima sat in similar fashion, but neither of them complained when Darryn sat in a more western style. Tuesday glanced at them with a bit of interest, but also sank into a cross-legged seat.

The four exchanged small talk, and just as Jaima was about to broach the topic of Tuesday, she seemed to have her attention elsewhere. He watched as she stood, eyes intent, and walked away from the makeshift camp. Rather than call her back right away, he simply asked, mentally, for Shadow and Mercury to keep an eye on her. In return, he was sent an amusing cartoonish picture of Lady following Tuesday as well, nose in the air, tiny little demon horns next to her ears. Jaima had to stifle a grin.

"OK, Darryn, I told you I'd let you know what's going on," he started, smiling sheepishly. In truth, though he trusted Shadow's word, he was still himself having trouble coming to terms with the news. Still, Darryn was a part of the group, and they were becoming a small family of sorts.He deserved to know.

"Shadow tells me that Tuesday has the ability to read Aura. He says she has a rather powerful one herself, and that she can sense things others can't. I think that's why she went to the steelix cave; She sensed there was a pokemon there that needed help."

"So why didn't she tell anyone that?" Darryn asked. Jaima smirked. The question sounded a bit put out, but knowing Darryn, he was less truly put out and more actually curious. If his reaction to Reilly were any indication, this was no where near perturbed.

"She says she didn't know what it was," Meiko cut in, glancing at Jaima but not asking permission. "It's all new to her as well, so she didn't recognize it." Meiko shrugged.

"Also, she said it hurts," Jaima continued, worry weaving through his tone, "though that may be because she's resisting it."

"So the scream before..?" Darryn trailed off, looking between the two.

"Experimentation," Jaima supplied with a wry smile. "Something, Shadow says, is inevitable." Jaima glanced in the direction that Tuesday had gone, relieved to see she had not left sight. He leaned back, looking down when he noticed, for the first time, that Meiko's hand was in his. He blushed, and couldn't find the words to resume the conversation. Darryn cleared his throat.

"So, basically, the headaches, the strange wanderings off, the odd behavior is all because of this aura?" Darryn leaned forward, eyebrows raised in interest.

"We..." Meiko bit her lip. "We don't know."

Jaima nodded. "Even Shadow's not 100% sure. He says much of what he's calling it is how we, Meiko and I, were thinking of. But the power he feels is there, and he recognizes it... instinctively."

Darryn sat back, thinking, then nodded. "So we're basically back to square one, but we know there's a reason, and we should be patient..?" Jaima bit his lip when the other boy murmured, "I hate being patient..."

"That's about the size of it," Meiko chirped cheerfully.


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Living Arrow
post Nov 23 2009, 05:36 PM
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PANE: Darryn Kellor



<Prince Darryn.> Lady’s voice came quickly but not irrationally. Concern tinted her thought-speech but not for herself, rather for her master’s opinion of whatever she was about to say. Darryn frowned.

<Yes, Lady?> He shuddered. Sending that message back with his thoughts still made him uneasy.

<I followed the girl and it seems she has found trouble.>

“Trouble!?” Darryn stood bolt upright and Meiko squeak with surprise. Jaima tensed and looked around quickly before raising an eyebrow.

“I think you’re supposed to tell us to prepare for trouble, rather than just scream it at us…” He said with a jokey wink.

“No, not me!” Darryn rolled his eys. “Tuesday has-”

He didn’t have chance to finished before Jaima was already sprinting out of the clearing in the direction that Tuesday had been wandering with Shadow in hot pursuit. Meiko was up and going after him with Darryn beside her in a flash.

The adrenaline in Darryn’s blood practically evaporated when he reached where Jaima had already found Tuesday and Lady at the side of a wide stream. The water churned angrily with dark shapes shooting around under the surface, throwing up bubbles and waves like an aquatic volcano.

“Uh, what?” Darryn asked no-one in particular.

Tuesday, holding a hand sensitively to her forehead was frowning more out of confusion than pain – almost like she was trying to work out a little puzzle that no-one else could see. Jaima stood close to her, watching her rather than the disturbed water and Meiko looked worried for Jaima since he was worried for Tuesday. Darryn mentally gagged.

<The young human… she knew this was happening… from all the way over there…> Lady sounded, for want of a better word, scared. <I couldn’t even sense this…>

<It’s alright, Lady – Tuesday is special like me. But not like me… In a different way. She’s just a bit more receptive to her surroundings at the moment is all.> Darryn attempted to explain the situation but Lady’s face did not looked any more relaxed. <What’s going on in there, anyway?> He asked while Jaima fussed over Tuesday as she slowly sat down by the water’s edge.

<A battle.> Lady said simply. <It seems she can see more than I.>

Darryn squinted at Tuesday. Yellow, white, pink, green. The colours flashed once then stopped, unable to hold a shape or even remain in his vision for more than the briefest of milliseconds. He couldn’t tell what any of the lights meant but he was willing to bet that the lingering yellow was fear or worry or panic – something of that sort – since the young girl’s eyes were wide and staring like a Buneary in the headlights.

A resounding crash of water split the surface of the stream in its entirety, two shapes burst forth from its foamy plane. Darryn recognised them instantly. A Buizel and a Squirtle.

“Squirtle!!!” The Tiny Turtle Pokemon shouted triumphantly, uppercutting the Buizel with a ball-up fist that appeared to glitter and shine like it was smothered in stars.

*No way!*

“Did that Squirtle-” Meiko began.

“Yeah! That’s an Ice Punch!” Darryn finished for her, edging closer to the water. It wasn’t unheard of for a water type like Squirtle to learn Ice-type moves but whoever heard of Ice Punch on a Squirtle?

“That poor Pokemon!” Tuesday gasped, watching as the Buizel sailed through the as.

The Buizel crashed down to the earth, bouncing and skidding through the dirt to come to a halt where it sucked desperately at the air, regaining its footing on wobbly legs. It was clearly shaken up by its battle with the Squirtle yet the turtle seemed fighting fit and ready for more. With a cartwheel and a spin, the Squirtle dropped to all fours and watched carefully for the Buizel’s next move. Neither Pokemon seemed to notice or care that they were being watched from the other side of the stream.

“That Squirtle is a great battler… I’m gonna catch it!” Meiko announced, pulling out a Pokeball from her bag. Darryn held his arm out across her path to block her way, not looking away.

“No way, Meiko – that Squirtle is definitely mine.” He grinned, watching as the turtle sized up what was left of his opponent.

“What?! But I said first!” Meiko protested.

“Yeah, Darryn – Meiko did say that she-”

“Just look at the way it fights.” Darryn urged them. “And tell me that I’m not meant to catch it…”

“Bui!” The wild Buizel jumped into the air, breathing in deeply before shooting out a Water Gun attack. The Squirtle sprang to meet it, withdrawing completely into its shell and spinning in the process. Tearing through the powerful stream of water, the Rapid Spin sent the water spraying in all directions like an explosion of cerulean shrapnel that splashed harmlessly to the ground.
Despite looking good, the Rapid Spin meant that the Squirtle could only travel in a straight line, giving the Buizel opportunity to dodge and fire again. The wild Squirtle landed and pivoted on the spot to find another Water Gun arcing towards it. The turtle’s chest puffed out as it sucked in a breath and blew forth a swirling storm of glittering ice.

“Icy Wind!” Darryn’s grin reached his ears. It was just getting better and better!

The freezing wind met the Water Gun in the air, slowing and freezing it into a long spear of ice which the Squirtle grabbed from the air and leapt towards the Buizel, clubbing it with the make-shift cudgel. Tuesday winced as the weasel was struck, crushed into the ground where it remained still. There were a long few moments before Meiko and Darryn looked at each other. Without saying a word, Meiko managed to tell him ‘Yeah, he’s so right for you’ and Darryn replied with ‘Thanks, Meiko! I owe you one!’.

“And now it’s my turn!” Darryn announced, clearing the stream with one jump, Lady close on his heels. With moves like those it had just shown, that Squirtle was a perfect Contest Battler and had enough power to keep up with the rest of his team. It was just perfect. As Darryn managed to get the turtle’s attention, he reached back to his belt where his new Pokeballs were waiting. His fingers twisted around the Dive Ball that rested there and maximised it in a swift motion. “I hope you’re ready, Squirtle. Cos you’re mine!”


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Umbrae Calamitas
post Nov 26 2009, 02:27 AM
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Tuesday's Pack



Tuesday's focus all but devoured the buizel, and once the otter crash landed into unconsciousness, her eyes latched upon him with no regard for anything else.

She knew, of course, that Darryn was battling the squirtle. She was distantly aware that Meiko was holding Cosette, though she'd no idea how the girl managed to convince the turtwig to trust her enough. Jaima's eyes were on the battle, though she thought that she could feel his gaze move to her every few minutes.

None of that mattered, however, in the face of the buizel. It was lying on the ground where it had collapsed, unconscious, and undoubtedly in need of some medical attention. It hadn't much hope of getting anything but more inflicted wounds, so near the battle.

And Tuesday's head... it ached. She pressed her fingers to her temple, closing her eyes tight. That feeling... the pull was back, like something was stretching her skull from its front, toward the pokemon that she knew was injured. She bit her lip, fighting back a whimper, feeling tears come to her eyes. Her head hurt so much... but she couldn't just stand there. She couldn't just lie down and sleep, though she wanted to.

She needed to help the buizel.

Tuesday was only vaguely aware of the presence of Dante and Tempest at the edge of the wood. Tempest, of course, had been watching Cosette, and so it made sense that she would be near. Dante was standing close to Tempest, the egg he had been carrying gently in his now resting again on the ground, his tail curled around it to keep it warm.

The two of them stood, watching silently, as Tuesday rose slowly to her feet. Her head was still bowed, and the two knew her well, and knew that her eyes were unfocused, even though they could not see her face. Tuesday moved without speaking, her efforts almost lackadaisical, and yet with purpose. She stepped toward the stream, causing Dante to hiss and step forward, though Tempest's tail slapping against his chest halted him from continuing, and Tuesday moved on.

Where Tuesday would have consciously shied away from any water source, she simply leapt over the stream, her feet not quite making it to the other side and sloshing water as she stomp-stumbled to the bank on her short legs. She moved to the buizel's side, and only then did she seem to regain something akin to consciousness, her small fingers tracing down the otter's fur, as she whispered gentle words to him, despite his unconsciousness.

She pulled a pokeball off of her belt and held it out toward the buizel, but she spoke before she activated the device. "I'll get you out of her, and fix you up, and then you can go if you want to." She clicked the button on the pokeball and watched as it sucked the buizel into its depths. "For the moment, you'll be safe in there," she whispered.

She turned around to go back, and blinked at seeing the stream in front of her. She swallowed thickly.

Now how was she supposed to get across?


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Living Arrow
post Nov 27 2009, 01:17 PM
Post #17


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PANE: Darryn Kellor



“Squirtle squir!” Came the challenge.

“Vul… vulpix vul.” Came the snide response.

“Lady, GO!” Darryn commanded, his prized crimson fox dashing straight at the turtle squared against her. “Agility!”

The wild Tiny Turtle tried to keep pace with Lady’s dashing movements and fired off a stream of bubbles in her direction but none were able to hit their mark before she was dashing out of the way and edging closer to him all the while. Lady’s eyes flashed with intensity, all of her energies focused on pleasing Darryn and winning the battle. Her narrow paws touched the ground with the lightest of feather-like brushes as she danced her attack around the water-type, evading the Bubblebeam completely.

“Extrasensory!”

Lady’s eyes flashed blue, an aura slamming around the Squirtle and lifting it clear of the ground as though dragging like the strings on a puppet. Lady’s opponent struggled weakly, unable to rid itself of the immobilising glow that then began to squeeze…

“Squiiiir!” The water-type cried, Lady’s Psychic attack crushing it from every side. His convulsions doubled with speed and intensity as she poured on the pscho-juice. With a loud scream, the Squirtle withdrew into its shell and began a Rapid Spin attack. Uable to focus on the blurring shape and control her hold on his moving shell, lady was forced to drop the turtle where he ponked to the floor and surged to his feet quickly. Caught completely off guard, Lady’s brown eyes grew with shock as a glittering, freezing fist slammed directly into her jaw.

“Lady!” Darryn ran to where his Vulpix crashed to the sod, skidding and tumbling as she went. With a flick of her tails, she flipped up into the air and dropped firmly back onto all fours.

<Keep back, Prince Darryn!> She commanded, dashing back at her opponent. Darryn felt a surge of pride as his precious partner threw herself back into the fray, snapping and lunging with her jaws while dodging fists and feet that came flying her way. She was grace personified – melting and reforming like scarlet lava.

“Watch out for that Bubblebeam!” Darryn warned as the Squirtle drew in a breath. The turtle, seeming to notice Darryn for the first time blinked in surprise at the pre-emptive call.

Lady snarled and opened her mouth.

“Flamethrower!”

A tremendous gout of flame roared up into the Squirtle’s chest, lifting it clear from the ground and spinning it into the air. The vermillion fire died away with distance but the Squirtle was already retaliating but with something Darryn had not seen before.
A look of stern concentration brought down the water-type’s brow with focus, his short arms held to one side with his palms facing each other. As he brought his hands apart, a swirling globe of water grew in the space between his fingertips.

“SQUIRTLE!” The tiny turtle announced, throwing his arms forward in an angry thrust that propelled the ball of water towards Lady. The Vulpix’s ears flattened to her skull as she prepared to counter-attack.

“Energy Ball!”

Azure Water Pulse met Viridian Energy Ball in a glittering explosion that stunned all watching. Lady blinked. Darryn’s jaw dropped. The attacks were evenly matched.

“Lady, return!” Darryn decided quickly, grabbing Romeo’s Quick Ball of his belt.

<This one is mine!> Lady retaliated, throwing herself back at the Squirtle. <I can win!>

Darryn chewed his lip. Lady was at a disadvantage. But… he believed her. While she had used a super-effective move in defence and only come away from the encounter with a tie, Darryn knew there was more to her. There was no way she could be defeated by a wild Pokemon, type disadvantage or not.

“Then let’s bring it back to the stage!” Darryn clapped his hands. “Let’s try on our new Will-o-wisp combo!”

Lady nodded. Purple flames ignited in the air around her body, flitting around her fur like tamed miniature Beautiflies. With their speed and precision, there was no opening for any opponent to make a physical attack hit without inflicting a burn. The Squirtle watched carefully and took a step back. He looked down at his own body and drew his brow down once more. Bubblebeam. A mirror of the Will-o-wisp set bouncing balls of water around Lady’s foe’s body in an exact formation that would repel any physical move with a blast of aqua.

Darryn grit his teeth. There was no way a wild Pokemon would just be able to pick up that move that quickly. It had taken Lady days to perfect and she was obsessed with getting things right.

Icy Wind followed before Darryn could call a move. The freezing whisper from the Squirtle’s lips froze the floating bubbles one by one and that’s when Ice Punch came into play. A glittering fist connected with each orb, sending frozen balls careening towards the fire-type target.

“VUL!” Lady blew a Flamthrower in defence, melting the incoming ice balls before they could reach her. Darryn was about to celebrate but had to draw in a shocked gasp as a spattering of horizontal rain soaked Lady’s fur.

“Lady!”

<Stay back!> Lady warned once more. <I. Can. Win!>

Like red lighning, Lady’s Agility kicked into overdrive, streaking rapidly towards her quarry. With eyes wide, the Squirtle automatically began slamming down orbs of Water Pulse all around him, resulting in an ever-expanding wave that grew from a tiny turtle epicentre.

<You know what to do, Lady.>
Darryn let his Pokemon know that he had faith in her abilities, giving her a nudge of trust and confidence through that link that she liked to use so much. Adoration rebounded in her psychic smile and for a moment a luscious crimson light trailed from her body.

“Flamethrower!”

As though the fires of hell themselves were born in that forest, the waves that were made to defend were instantly turned into a bank of searing steam. The Squirtle cried in fear as the deafening roar of an all-encompassing Flamethrower turned its attack to vapour.

“Extrasensory!”

Flashes of blue ignited within the mist, Lady’s eyes piercing the haze to latch onto the Squirtle and lift it up into the air.

“Energy Ball!”

Blinding bolts of green swirled up and out of the mist, hammering hard onto the turtle’s shell, drawing a satisfying cry from his lips. Again and again the impact of Enery Balls rained upwards, pushing him higher and further into the sky.

“Make sure he lands in the water!” Darryn warned, running wide to get a good view of where the foe would be landing.

The Squirtle, plummeting towards the stream turned in the air, searching for something that would aid its recovery but his shiny eyes only caught the returning look of those owned by a yellow-haired young girl. A rosey blush rose in his cheeks too quickly for anyone but the girl to see before he reached the water. With a dull splash, shell met stream and the mist fell.

<Now, Prince Darryn!>

Darryn’s lips touched the Dive Ball quickly before he span and released. “Squirtle, you’re mine!” Cerulean lights consumed the water Pokemon, ensnaring the quarry and trapping it inside the ball where it shook twice and remained still.

“Alright! I got a Squirtle!” Darryn announced proudly to the three trainers that were all watching nearby. He couldn’t contain his glee at all – a picture perfect capture and an amazing Pokemon to boot.


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Master Houndoom
post Dec 2 2009, 04:37 PM
Post #18


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Meiko couldn't help but to grin. Yes, she had wanted the terrifically tough turtle pokemon, just as she'd wanted the righteously rousing riolu before him...

She looked around suspiciously. If she was thinking this much in alliteration, Mr. Postman had to be close by!

But, as Tuesday had been the best fit for Zorro, though she hadn't recognized it at the time, so this turtle had proven himself to be much better suited to Darryn's style. He was clever, flamboyant, and evidently had no lack of confidence in his abilities. In fact, he seemed to be showing off.

Yes. Definitely a better match for Darryn, she thought with a giggle.

A bump on her shin caused her to look down. The tiny, sickly turtwig that Tuesday had rescued from the Rogue Steelix Trio (as she had dubbed them in her mind... and she should have caught one of them, but she had been too distracted trying to push her heart back out of her throat at the time) had backed away from the combat, trembling. She looked up, eyes widening in fear, but instead of bolting away, the turtwig froze, panting heavily, her eyes rolling back and forth in panic.

"Oh, sweety," Meiko said, as softly as she could. "Are you scared of the battle?" She knelt, and the little one twitched, almost tripping in it's attempts to escape. Meiko blinked, but reached out a hand, touching the little turtwig lightly on the head. "It's OK. No one's going to hurt you..."

For some reason, her heart went out to the Tiny Leaf Pokemon. She felt a kind of kindred spirithood with the little one. When she had been ten, she, too, had been sent into the world alone, without even her best friend, who had said he would go with her.

She would never, ever tell Jaima that, however. The guilt would eat him alive. But she understood, a bit, how this little one must feel.

Precious, sitting nearby, looked in wonder at the turtwig, and the little turtle began to back away. However, Precious cooed at her, patting her in much the same way that Meiko was, and the turtwig calmed.

Impulsively, Meiko picked the little tortoise up, holding her gently as they watched the battle. Though Darryn was brilliant, and lady impressive to watch by her determination alone, Meiko couldn't help but be distracted by the little pokemon in her arms, who had, against all odds, relaxed there.

* * * * *

Jaima, too, was distracted from the battle. Not by a pokemon, however, though it was similar in that he had adopted the one that kept pulling his attention from the battle.

Tuesday, following some inner compulsion, had wandered across the shallow stream. That alone had raised a significant question in his mind, one that he set aside as he observed her. Though she was near a pitched battle, she was not going into the danger lightly. In fact, though he couldn't be certain, he thought he'd detected a movement away from a stray attack that might have hit too close for comfort otherwise.

Tuesday walked to the Buizel, rubbing her head. Jaima wouldn't have been surprised if, had he not been behind her, her eyes had glazed over. It was as if something was pulling her, as if an invisible cord had been tied around her waist and wenched her forward. She knelt by the buizel, capturing it after a brief examination and muttered assurance. Then she stood, turned to come back, and blinked, freezing.

It was as Jaima had thought. Whatever it was that had compelled her to cross the stream had completely overridden her fear of the water. He wondered, briefly as he crossed the stream in three strides, if she would react to the fact that she'd just caught a water pokemon.

She looked up as he reached the edge of the water, not quite stepping onto the land and held out a hand. "Come on, we'll go back together."

Tuesday shook her head, violently, and turned just in time to see the tiny turtle pokemon land, blushing, into the stream. Jaima's eyes had been focused on Tuesday, so though he heard the splash, he didn't actually see it fall.

"Come on, Tuesy," Jaima said, his voice gentle, yet firm. "It's only just over my ankles, and I'll hold onto you the whole time..."

Tuesday looked at the water in terror, then at Jaima, then at his hand. Slowly, she reached out, took it, and stepped into the water.

He could have sworn he heard her squeal, very lightly. If she had, he wasn't going to call attention to it. Nor was he going to complain that her grip, usually quite gentle, was cutting off circulation in his fingers.

But she walked across, haltingly, eyes set on Meiko, who, somehow sensing that it was right, nodded at her, encouragingly, as if she were doing battle against the hordes for her Shogun rather than fording a three foot stream. Meiko kept her eyes on the girl, encouraging her with a soft smile and an outstretched hand, but not going to her rescue.

Finally they reached the other bank, and Tuesday stumbled forward, only Jaima's hand in hers keeping her from pitching forward face first (though she may have been trying to kiss the dry land). It had taken seconds, but Tuesday was trembling lightly as if it had been a long workout. Meiko squatted next to her, smiling at her and giving her light praise.

And Jaima simply smiled as Tuesday regained her composure.

* * * * *

Fang wandered off. Oh, not too far. He made sure he could still hear the humans that his trainer had allowed to form their pack, and the battle. But he didn't want to watch them catch some wimpy water type. This battle would have been so easy for him!

And that cute little spitfire wasn't making it look hard, either. So if she could do it, even though she was one of the few types a wimpy water type could actually beat, he would have been able to kick that things tell so far up its shell its hatchlings would have hatched backwards!

No, his nose found something far more interesting. And since he was already awesome enough, he didn't need to watch that battle (though Dante, who was as awesome as Fang himself, was watching...), he went to investigate it.

There sat the Trickster, against a tree, deep in thought, it's forehead in its paws. Briefly, Fang considered clonking him on the back of the head like Dante did, but something smelled off. The Trickster wasn't Trickstering. He was actually upset.

And it would not be awesome to ignore it.

Fang sat and cleaned off his forepaws as he considered what might be the Awesome response; Tell Mercury, who would try to help him, or tell Tempest, so he could have a show..?


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Umbrae Calamitas
post Dec 6 2009, 11:59 PM
Post #19


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Tuesday's Pack



Tuesday refused to hug Dante, simply because she feared getting him wet (despite the fact that she was still dry from her knees up). He had, however, come over to sit by her, his tail curled around behind her back as she sat on the ground, his body crouched protectively, gently over the egg he had sworn to protect and keep warm. The flames of his tails burned brightly and his eyes never left Tuesday, for fear that she would return to the river.

Dante knew, of course, that it was a creek - a stream of lesser proportions and force than a river, but to him, any moving body of water that followed a path was a river, and dangerous. Whether this was instinctual or something born of living with Tuesday, he neither knew nor cared. When she had moved toward the river, he had feared for her, and for more reason than was clearly obvious. Yes, of course, she couldn't swim, but on top of that, Tuesday was afraid of water and, under normal circumstances, would never approach it.

Heh. Normal circumstances. They seemed decidedly lax, of late.

Something within her was growing, he knew, and though he knew it would further help to define her, it frightened him. It took control of her in a way that only her imagination and the wonder of books had been able to before - perhaps with even greater puppetmastering skills than that - and it was not something that he looked to lightly. He feared for her safety.

But the one who called himself her brother, who led but did not lead their motley crew, seemed cautiously accepting of this new development, and so Dante could not say for absolute certainty that it was a horrible thing.

Though, Dante had to admit that he wasn't entirely pleased with Kuonji at the moment.

Tuesday was terrified of water, and crossing it in the arms of someone she trusted would take a great deal of exhausting courage. Instead of carry her, however, as Dante thought he should have, he only took her hand and held it as he forced her to walk across on her own. She was shivering now, from the effects of whipping up so much strength to face her fears and cross the river, and Dante narrowed his eyes at the boy. How dare he think of allowing any harm come to her. If Dante weren't so susceptible... He would have carried her himself, had he the strength, as Jaima did, and should have.

He had seen the look of terror in her eyes, her vehement shake of the head as she silently begged him not to force upon her the need to cross. He still stood within the river, stubbornly refusing to come upon dry land to collect her, the laze, the coward.

But Tuesday was a creature who sought to please those she loved, and so she shook away her fear in an attempt to please the "brother" who could not replace Brone, no matter how hard her tried - and Dante could see how he tried. It sickened him.

Tuesday's feet touched the water and he saw her stiffen, as though expecting a further attack, and why wouldn't she? He heard her make a sound, a low keening in the back of her throat like a terrified dog, but Kuonji did not react to the sound of her fear, and Dante hissed softly in response, his eyes narrowing in anger.

Surely the boy must have felt the tight grip she had on his hand, her knuckles white from the force of her fear. And he must have noticed how she rocked, as she moved haltingly across the river, her eyes wide with fear when she dared to open them, and otherwise closed tight in terror.

Dante's tail had twitched lightly, the flame flaring momentarily blue - barely noticeably unless one had been watching - when Tuesday, gripping Jaima's hand tightly, had softly said, "My thanks, Virgil."

They were on the other side of the river, then, and Tuesday stumbled as she exited the force of the water. Dante could imagine that the waves had tripped her, hands trying to reach up and grasp hold of her ankles to pull her back under, and he moved forward swiftly, fire rumbling in his throat, merging with a growl - he would not let them take her.

And then Tempest was in front of him, her eyes narrowed, ears flattened, tail twitching. She got snippy quickly, as was always the case, only this time (so rarely), she was right, as she pointed behind him.

He had left the egg behind.

Dante could hear Jaima still, his confused voice asking, "Virgil... what?" in a delayed reaction to Tuesday's reference. Of course, he would not get it. Tuesday was too smart for him or his company. She was a one-child library, a prodigy among humankind. Dante only knew the reference because he received his name from the same epic - Virgil the poet, who led Dante through the Inferno, and then through Purgatorio.

But he would not know this, for he was foolish - that much was clear. It did not matter, anyway, and Dante would ignore it, for now. He would watch Jaima and see what he did, and if he had Tuesday's best interests at heart.

Because Dante did have her best interests at heart, he thought, as he wrapped the egg in his arms and walked over to wear Tuesday was pulling off her sneakers to see if water would run out of them when she tipped them upside-down. Dante would protect her from everything, and he intended to. Jaima clearly had no intention of this, but Tuesday liked Kuonji, so Dante would wait.

He would be patient, and he would watch, and he would see. If things continued as they had today, then he would act, and he would make the blonde boy leave, no matter the cost.

Fire burned in Dante's throat - fires that matched the trials of his namesake - and he had no doubt that he could make Kuonji see things his way and, if necessary, make the blonde boy flee.

~*~


Dante was acting strange. Stranger than normal, that is.

Tempest noticed that the charmeleon's temper was flaring as it so rarely did since his evolution, and she had to wonder at the cause. He seemed to be angry that Jaima was helping Tuesday cross the creek, and even angrier at her calling him Virgil. Tempest did not know the meaning of the name, but she did know Tuesday, and so it was, of course, a book reference.

Of course.

Tempest was of mixed feelings about Jaima. She was grateful to him for his helping Tuesday; grateful in a degree that Tuesday might have had words for, but which she certainly did not.

But she was also sad. She was sad that she had not experienced with her first trainer the sort of kindness that this boy exhibited naturally. She knew she shouldn't be sad, because here she was now, with a brilliant trainer and good friends, and in the presence of this kind boy and his friends. She was grateful to Fate for this second chance, but she couldn't help but wonder what her life might have been like if she didn't have to bear the scars.

Tempest watched as Jaima held Tuesday's hand (or rather, she tried to cut off his circulation with her grip) as they crossed the river together. He was an efficient and understanding human, and Tempest had to give a nod toward his brilliance, his empathy. He understand that Tuesday was afraid, and so he would not leave her. However, he also understood that she needed to learn to face her fears - not alone, but still, to face them - and overcome them, and so he did not carry her.

Her led her, like a lighthouse beacon calls in ships. But still, it was something closer than that.

Tempest smiled. Tuesday was lucky - they all were - to be among this boy and his friends.

Dante's flaring temperament became more pronounced, more noticeable, when he began to stalk toward Tuesday without taking the egg with him - the egg that he had promised to protect. Tempest had to stop him and call his attention to it, and though he went back for it, it was clear that his mind was elsewhere.

The yellow rodent followed behind her senior pokemon, listening intently to the world around her. Tuesday was trying in vain to shake the water from her shoes, as Dante settled down next to her on the ground, crouching over the egg. Ashleigh was gnawing on a stick some feet away. Cosette was still in the arms of Jaima's would-soon-be-lover. The egg was under Dante's care, and the too-annoying-to-let-live riolu was nowhere in sight.

Well, that was a plus.

"Can you believe how powerful that squirtle is?"

Jaima's would-be-lover, the beautiful girl, was discussing the battle with him. Though she had given the flashy boy her assent to capture the water turtle, she still seemed enraptured by the creature. Though Tempest knew that she would have easily taken the beast, even she had to admit that the creature was powerful.

Perhaps too powerful to be fully wild. She assumed that, like her, the squirtle may have once had a former master. She wondered if he had been released or if he was also like Tempest in that he escaped that prison.

Only time would tell.

"He was more than I expected," Jaima admitted, his voice a subtle bath of wonder and pride, as he smiled. "I wouldn't have so easily taken the squirtle down. Darryn is a much better battler than I am."

Tempest didn't listen to Meiko's response. She predicted girly gushing and was not in the mood to listen to that. Thinking about her former master had her in a less than responsive mood to anything of a lighter nature, and she chose, instead, to ignore that aspect of life at the moment.

Sighing, she wandered toward the edge of the small clearing and crouched down to rest, ears twitching. Dante would warm Tuesday, though she might still need to change her clothes. Tempest knew that Jaima would see to her care. He was very much something of a mother hen in that regard, and Tempest couldn't help but grin.

They were swiftly becoming a family and that brought a ray of sunshine to her darkening mood. She may have had to remind herself now and then, but if there was one clear truth she had learned, it was that anywhere she went, as long as she was with Tuesday, she was home.


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Living Arrow
post Dec 7 2009, 01:14 PM
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Shellshocker struggled within the Dive Ball for what seemed an eternity, releasing every ounce of energy he had left to try and free himself from the trainer’s prison. His efforts, strong at first, waned with every second and the sudden realisation that he was once again a slave only came once he could move no more. Inwardly he cried silent tears as the dark of the Pokeball claimed his soul, the only visible light a blinking blue dot somewhere directly ahead of him but completely out of reach.

“Alright! I got a Squirtle!”

A voice echoed from the other side of the darkness, only faintly audible beyond the barrier between Tiny Turtle and his new trainer.

*So, here I am again…* If Shellshocker had had a mouth he would have sighed. He had decided not to get caught up with a human like this again and yet look where he had ended up. *Three days – not bad!... Who am I kidding? This SUCKS! That brat finally releases me and then some dude – dude with fabulous hair – comes along and snags me right back up! LAME!*

The darkness jolted as the Dive Ball was no doubt picked up from the water by the boy that had led the assault but Shellshocker knew there was no point in trying to rearrange himself – there was nothing to hold onto in a Pokeball. In fact, there was nothing in a Pokeball. Well, that wasn’t completely true. There was a constant temperature – not hot or cold – and somehow the fatigue in the Squirtle’s bones was wearing off despite the fact that the device could never let him sleep. It wasn’t a bad existence, exactly… just a boring one. And for Shellshocker, boredom was a bitch.

“Shall we introduce ourselves?” The boy outside spoke again, his voice closer but still unreachable beyond the walls of the Pokeball. Although Shellshocker did not hear a response, he heard the click of freedom and the blue dot in the distance raced towards him, blinding him entirely before light and colour flooded his surroundings.

“Squirtle!” Shellshocker announced as he landed on the ground.

“Hey, Squirtle!” The human crouched low to come as close to eye-level as possible. He held out two fingers in a gesture of greeting. “I’m Darryn.”

Shellshocker peered at his new trainer. If the Tiny Turtle had not mentioned it to himself before, he sent his brain a very quick reminder – *OMG THAT HAIR!* – and set about taking in the other qualities of this human. Smooth, faultless skin. Shining brown eyes, darker than his reddish-brown hair crinkled ever so slightly over his flashing white smile. A cerulean hooded sweater zipped halfway up his chest over a plain black shirt, pale blue jeans over his legs and the latest style in ‘Hitmonchamp’ sneakers encased his feet. This boy was a stylish one, indeed. Shellshocker continued to judge this Darryn fellow before coming to one conclusion.

“Squirtle, squirt!” Shellshocker announced, grabbing Darryn’s fingers and donating him a human handshake. The human appeared to like this, grinning more and reaching out to stroke the Squirtle’s head.

“Wow… You’re so soft…” Darryn whispered, caressing the turtle’s head slowly. “How’d you get your skin like this?”

Obviously, Shellshocker couldn’t reply: ‘That harridan smother me with pecha berries and cream twice a day. Every day!!!’ so instead blushed and pointed at his own chest. After all, why not take a compliment when it’s there to be snatched up like an unsuspecting Diglett? That, in turn, seemed to impress the boy further and a broad smile came over the handsome male’s face. The red face next to his knee did not seem to agree.

“Squirtle squir, squirt squirt!” Shellshocker introduced himself.

<Do not speak to me unless spoken to.> A sudden reply thundered into his head, making him jump back a little.

“Oh, and this is Lady – my partner.” Darryn folded the Vulpix’s ears. “You’re going to be team mates from now on.”

Shellshocker highly doubted that they would be ‘mates’ but accepted that they would share space on the same belt and so nodded his approval. This Lady character, however, turnedup her nose and snorted.

“And, not only that, but you’ve got a new name.”

Shellshocker did a double take. A new name?! But he liked his name! It was strong and flashy and impressive – just like him! He was about to open his mouth when-

“Victor.” Darryn titled his head thoughtfully. “Because when I first saw you, you won a battle right in front of me and it was then that I wanted to capture you. Those skills, that style, that power – everything that a Victor needs to succeed.

Shellshocker could hardly deny that… Victor! … It had a nice ring to it.

“And those are my friends.” Darryn stood and pointed across the river to where some Pokemon… two humans… and a GODDESS were sitting. Darryn began to lead Victor across the stream, Lady up in the human’s arms, but the Squirtle could only mutter under his breath “Squiiir! Squirtle, squir squirtle!”… or as a human would have heard: “Wowzers! I just made a mess in my trousers!”

Victor then decided that having another trainer and going with Darryn was a very good idea and things could only get better!


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