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Old 04-18-2014, 05:22 PM   #22
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Levin couldn’t forget the events that had transpired months ago. Against his own expectations, he felt concerned… which was ridiculous, when he thought about it objectively. Why should he be worried? He was one of his strongest partners, and he’d dwelled alone in the woods for a long time, even before evolving. So why now? Why couldn’t he stop worrying about Syre, now that he was a Shelgon, the embodiment of self-preservation?

Because right now, he must be feeling miserable, and I can’t do anything about it.

Ignoring it would be lying to himself. Syre had always refused Levin’s assistance, having grown strong enough to evolve on his own. But now that he’d reached the next stage, the dragon became heavy, condemned to walking on all fours and doomed to remain in that lumbering form – after all, no amount of fighting in the wild on his own, against untrained Pokemon, would ever give Syre what he needed to grow past the Shelgon stage. Perhaps Syre himself didn’t realize that before, but Levin was sure he did by now, after all the time that had passed. He was equally sure that Syre would never admit it.

Lost in thought, he was suddenly yanked out of his trance by a warm feeling in his hand. Looking down, he saw Basker licking it to get Levin’s attention. The young man smiled; the Growlithe must have been concerned by his prolonged silence. Petting the dog behind its ears, Levin couldn’t help but notice how much Basker had already grown. Time really did fly…

- Hey boy. Sorry if I worried you, it’s noth… No actually, there is something.

There was no point in lying to his most loyal companion; if he couldn’t be honest with Basker, who would he ever open up to? No matter what, the hound was on his side; the least he could do was trust Basker as much as the Growlithe trusted him.

- I’m concerned about Syre. When he beat Buster and Aya and evolved, he became even more confident in his own independence… But he won’t be satisfied with living as a Shelgon, no Bagon is, and especially not one like Syre! He’ll live in torment for the rest of his life if he’s stuck in that body, unable to move properly, let alone fly. For someone so proud, I know it has to be eating him up, but he keeps refusing my help…

Basker stood in silence for a moment, looking conflicted, but finally looked at Levin with resolve and barked. Then, running to the door, he motioned for the Trainer to follow him. Levin complied, but didn’t understand what the Growlithe intended to do until they were halfway across the fields outside the Treetop base and approaching the woodland. He’s going after Syre.


- Basker, stop!

The pup froze in his tracks and looked at Levin, confused. The young man struggled to catch his breath; since when did it become so hard to keep up with the Growlithe’s pace? He looked around and assessed their surroundings. There were large, old trees all around them, and not a sound to be heard aside from the occasional Spearow chirping. They were right in the middle of the forest.

- He’ll come to us. Syre’s roamed these woods for almost a year now; we won’t find him unless he wants to be found.

Basker nodded and returned to his Trainer, affectionately rubbing against his leg for a moment – the next, he was leaping out of harm’s way as a blue bolt of energy struck the ground right next to the Growlithe!

He’s here.

Basker barked, looking around in distress. He prepared for another surprise attack, when Syre slowly emerged from behind a nearby tree; that hadn’t been a preemptive strike at all, it was a warning shot. The Growlithe locked eyes with the dragon and growled, making his intentions clear. Behind that heavy, oversized armor, it was hard to tell what Syre’s expression was, but Levin knew he relished the challenge and yet another opportunity to prove his point to the young Trainer.

- Basker, are you sure about this? You don’t have to do it…

The faithful hound cut him off with a bark, reassuring him. Basker was well aware of Syre’s power – he’d witnessed first-hand how he defeated Buster and Aya at once, while still just a Bagon. But this wasn’t about winning; it was about opening the dragon’s eyes to something he refused to realize…

Syre grazed the ground with a claw, urging Basker on, daring him to attack. If the massive shell was a burden in any way, he did a pretty good job of concealing his annoyance; instead, it seemed to welcome the foe’s attack, showing great confidence in his defense.

I can’t order Basker to assault a teammate… No matter how badly I want to gain Syre’s trust, what kind of Trainer would I be if I instructed someone to attack my own Pokemon?!

Basker seemed to foresee Levin’s internal struggle and didn’t waste a second waiting for commands that wouldn’t come. Lunging forward, it prepared to Bite down on Syre’s shell, but the latter didn’t move a muscle in retaliation. Biding his time, he waited until the hound was close enough before instantly raising a green wall all around him. Basker crashed into the unexpected Protective barrier and was promptly repelled back. As he struggled back to his feet, Syre’s body took on a metallic glow that lasted mere seconds; when the shine faded, his shell seemed even harder than before, rendered almost impenetrable by the Iron Defense!

For such a combative Pokemon, he truly learned to make the most of this new form… perhaps I was wrong in thinking he’d never adapt. Maybe he really doesn’t need anybody’s help, not even my own…

Basker got back to his feet, just as Syre prepared to take the fight to the Fire-Type! Blue energy surrounded the Shelgon’s body, taking the form of a dragon’s head with its jaw agape; Syre dashed toward Basker, ready to strike with his trademark Dragon Rush! However, the sheer weight of the hardened shell took its toll, as Syre struggled to reach even average speed. By the time he’d finally closed in on Basker, the hound was more than ready, effortlessly dodging the powerful move and causing Syre to waste precious energy!

Levin watched as the Shelgon struggled to even turn around to face Basker again after the failed attempt; every move was cumbersome, every action took a toll on Syre’s body; no matter how invincible his new armor was, he’d lost something just as important, if not more – mobility. His strongest attacks are close to useless after all… I wonder how this makes the great and proud Syre feel.

Undeterred, the dragon prepared to attack again, this time from a distance. Briefly glowing with a bluish aura, Syre unleashed a stream of sapphire flames that struck Basker and knocked him to the ground – the Dragon Breath that had defeated Aya in one hit! The Growlithe, however, managed to get back on his feet unlike the much younger Mienfoo back then. Annoyed, Syre prepared to blast him with a second Dragon Breath, but Basker had been angered and was ready to get serious; he let out an ear-piercing Roar that filled the clearing, momentarily staggering Syre who clearly didn’t expect such an imposing presence.
Taking advantage of Syre’s hesitation, Basker ran straight towards the Shelgon and Crunched his armor! Levin watched in awe as several cracks formed across the shell from the spot where Basker carved his fangs – even after the Iron Defense -, amazed by the hound’s sudden burst of strength! Syre roared in pain and tried to shake off Basker, but the Growlithe’s fangs remained firmly buried in the dragon’s armor; capitalizing on the proximity, Basker unleashed a flurry of blows with its front and hind paws on the helpless Shelgon, battering him mercilessly with Close Combat until Syre finally managed to hurl the Fire-Type aside and create some separation. Wincing in pain and gasping for air, it was evident that Syre was at a loss – how could a pup be dominating him so completely?!

He’s not a pup anymore. He’s grown infinitely more than any of us had realized…

Suddenly, white swirling energy danced around Syre from the ground up, as the dragon himself performed a clumsy twirl; when he was finished, the bright aura engulfed him, and his muscles tensed up. Catching Basker off-guard, the Shelgon rushed straight at him with doubled speed and slammed into the Growlithe with a vicious Headbutt, stronger than Levin had ever seen! He quickly realized that the sudden burst of power and speed had come from a technique only Syre knew how to perform – Dragon Dance! He’d found a way to offset his reduced mobility and increase his strength all at once, and just like that, the tide of the battle turned completely… Consecutively ramming into Basker, over and over again, before the dog had time to recover, Syre knocked Basker around effortlessly to a point where Levin feared for his companion’s well-being. If Syre kept up the relentless assault, he might have to carry Basker back home!

He’s still untouchable after all… how do prove my worth to someone this impossibly strong?! He’s more convinced than ever that he doesn’t need me! And if this keeps going, Basker will…

All of a sudden, unnatural warmth washed over him, pulsing on his back. Immediately removing his Backpack, he saw light emanating from within, and quickly removed the object in question – the Fire Stone felt hotter than ever and shone brightly with an intense orange glow. Looking over his shoulder, Levin saw Basker once again get back on his feet after an immense struggle, wincing in pain but with eyes burning with fierce determination. Could the Stone be somehow reacting to the Growlithe’s fighting spirit?...

- Basker… is this what you want?

Fighting through the pain, the Growlithe barked faintly in acknowledgment. Levin hesitated; Basker had never manifested interest in evolving before, even though Levin had owned the Stone longer than he did the pup himself. But if these were the lengths that Basker was willing to go to in order to help Syre and Levin reunite, he couldn’t deny him the chance! Finally making up his mind, the Trainer held the Fire Stone high in the air; its glow intensified at the same time that Basker’s body became enveloped in a light of its own. His frame grew to become taller than Levin himself, until the glow faded and the Stone vanished from Levin’s hand. In their place, a new creature stood tall, proud... Magnificent.

For the first time since Opal’s miracle evolution, Levin found himself speechless, overwhelmed by a sight he wasn’t prepared to see. Where once was a battered Growlithe now stood a regal ! A creature of legendary status, Basker was now a fully-grown Arcanine, his presence so imposing that Syre himself felt humbled for the first time in his life.

Despite the dragon finally relenting, Basker refused to do the same; he’d come all this way to prove to Syre that Levin could bring out unimaginable power in his Pokemon – and he would show him just that! His mane stood up, every hair in his body flickering orange as embers were released; suddenly, his entire body was enveloped in wicked flames, first red, then bright-blue, and the Arcanine lunged himself at Syre at unbelievable speed! Even in his boosted state, the Shelgon was too slow to react as the blazing hound rammed into him with its Flare Blitz, causing a fiery explosion so violent that Levin worried it’d start a forest fire!

When the dust and burnt grass settled, Syre was stunned but still standing! The cracks on his shell were now even more noticeable, and likely wouldn’t be healing any time soon… but somehow, he was still standing. Unbelievable…

Realizing the severity of his situation, Syre knew he had to hit Basker with everything he had immediately. Stepping back and spreading its four legs to establish a wide base, he charged up energy within the confines of his armor while the Arcanine recovered from the strenuous move. Then, taking aim, the Shelgon released a massive pillar of water right at Basker, hitting him at point-blank with Hydro Pump! The pressurized water jet sent the foe flying back several feet and tumbling across the floor, and when the blast subsided, Syre was about to pass out from exhaustion… but he’d done it! Basker was lying on the ground, seemingly out cold!

No way… it can’t be! After everything he risked to prove my point, does it really end like this? Right back where we started?!

Levin knew he shouldn’t, but he found himself taking sides; his fists clenched, he finally stepped forward and shouted at the fallen hound.

- Basker, come on! You can do it! I believe in you, I raised you the best way I knew how and I know you still have something left! Show him what our teamwork can do, the boundaries we can shatter! Please!!

Syre looked at Levin, stunned by his passion. Did he really want to prove him wrong that much, even in the face of obvious defeat? There was no way Basker could…

A low-pitched growl was heard, breaking the deafening silence that followed Levin’s plea. Against all odds, the fallen Basker raised one paw, then another, willing himself back to his feet, wobbly but somehow still able to continue! More than that… his eyes were glowing an ominous red, and the ground seemed to tremble and shatter beneath his feet!

What the hell’s going on now?!

Letting out a booming roar, Basker was covered by a bluish white aura that made the air around him crackle with pure energy. Overwhelmed by draconic fury, the Arcanine took a running start, his body moving on its own as he made his way toward the impotent Syre, who’d been left completely drained by the earlier Hydro Pump. Pouncing on the Shelgon, Basker unleashed a flurry of strikes from his dragon energy-filled paws and tail, racking up hits faster than Levin’s eyes could follow, pummeling Syre into submission with a frightening Outrage! And when the imperial fury finally subsided and Basker calmed down, the result was the Shelgon’s broken and incapacitated body at the center of a small crater in the ravaged clearing.

He… he did it! He defeated Syre!!

Running over to Basker, Levin hugged the Arcanine tightly, who was now slightly taller than himself.

- You were amazing! Thank you Basker… thank you for doing this, I never imagined you’d go this far for me. I’ll never forget this!

The Fire-Type nodded and smiled, affectionately licking Levin’s face in response. They turned to Syre, who was just now coming back to his senses. He stared up at Levin and Basker, filled with bitterness; it’d take him a long time to digest his first loss. Levin walked up to the Shelgon and kneeled down next to him; Syre refused to look him in the eye, facing the ground instead.

- You overcame the limitations of this form and went toe-to-toe with an Arcanine entirely on your own. I understand you, I always did! Nobody gave you any attention, myself included, when Gaius and Rojo were around; I should have spent just as much time training you as I did them, and I’m sorry for neglecting you, I really am! If I could go back, I’d have done it all differently. But you grew into a phenomenal fighter by yourself all the same, without any help… No other Pokemon I’ve ever met could have accomplished what you did. But Syre… I still want to help! I chose to keep you when I let everyone else go; I saw a potential in you that I didn’t know how to bring out, but I couldn’t part ways with you after the way I’d treated you before. A Shelgon isn’t all you’re destined to be! Look at Basker, look at what he became with my help. Look what we accomplished together – we overcame the odds and defeated you, when you were absolutely confident Basker would be no match for you. I know now that I can bring out the same power in you, I can make you reach new heights… literally! Neither of us is the same than when we first met; you’ve become stronger than I could’ve dreamed, and I shattered my own glass ceiling. So please Syre… give me one last chance. Please! Let me help you become what you’re destined to be!

Syre couldn’t bring himself to face Levin during his entire speech. But when the young man finished, the Shelgon turned around and finally looked up to his Trainer. After a long moment of silence, Syre nodded and approached Levin, letting him place his arms around him in an embrace, for the very first time.

- Thank you Syre. I promise I’ll never let you down again! One day you’ll break free of that shell for good and the skies will be yours – I’ll make sure of it! Now let’s get back and let Min take a look at those wounds…

He took Syre in his arms and picked him up with considerable effort. Basker approached the two, bent down and motioned for Levin to climb up. Thankful for the offer, the Trainer hopped on the Arcanine’s back, never letting go of the hurt Shelgon. He could’ve easily just recalled both Pokemon into their Pokeballs and rushed back home… but this moment was too precious to let go of.

Last edited by MarbleZone; 04-18-2014 at 05:45 PM.
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