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Old 08-17-2015, 12:40 PM   #35
MarbleZone
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Levin twirled the Pass in his fingers, pondering on its significance. The ticket itself opened a world of possibilities, allowing him direct access to the rarest Pokemon in the Egg House. But it was more than that - it was validation. The item wasn't available to everyone, but only to those whose contributions to the land had been officially recognized. And for over three years he toiled in search of that recognition. No, the Egg House Pass wasn't just a chance to fulfill his dream team at long last - it embodied the acknowledgement of his efforts in the eyes of the ruling authority.

Damn right.

He wasn't going to lie, he felt exceedingly proud of himself. Not so much because he could realistically aim for the few Pokemon he still craved, but because of how long he'd waited for the chance to do it! It felt so sweet and so richly deserved that part of him felt conflicted about ever redeeming the Pass. Admittedly, a very small part of him.

Master, the King requests your presence.

Mazo the Lucario was by the door with a knowing grin on his face, uncharacteristic of the usually reserved fighter. Immediately Levin knew who the Aura Pokemon referred to - he'd taken an inkling to addressing Baroque as royalty for his immense presence and stoic demeanor, partly humorously, but the rest of the team were quick to follow. Before they knew it, the Rhyperior effectively became known as the leader of the team, whose authority rested only behind Levin's. That being the case, if the Rock-Type ruler asked to see his Trainer, Levin felt naturally compelled to oblige - especially since the last time he saw Baroque was in his battle against Dartz, after which he disappeared into the nearby woods with a very reluctant Leon to continue the Psychic-Type's training.

---

It was sunny outside, much to Solair's delight. The Fletchinder landed on Levin's shoulder the minute he stepped out of the house, chirping happily. Basker and Lumi also rushed to meet the Saffron-native, and joined him while he made his way towards the towering figure at the edge of the clearing.

Baroque stood, imposing as always, under the shade of a huge oak. He stepped out into the sunlight upon spotting Levin, and greeted his Trainer with a grunt. The Arcanine by Levin's side growled amicably at the Rhyperior he considered his equal, and was met with a similar show of respect. Levin considered Baroque the stronger of the two by a narrow margin, but the truth was they never clashed, and held mutual admiration for one another. Levin patted Basker in the head and addressed the silent rhino.

- It's been a while Baroque! You wanted to see me, right?

The Rhyperior acquiesced, smiling. Much like Mazo, it was rare for the Rock-Type to do so, which left Levin all the more intrigued. It was then that he felt a second presence - no, one he'd sensed earlier, but mirrored his own so completely he instinctively dismissed it. But it was there, like a mirror behind Baroque, a creature whose heart reflected his every feeling. A familiar, albeit decidedly different Pokemon from the one he remembered.

- L-Leon?...

Shyly stepping out from behind his mentor, the Psychic-Type stared at the ground the entire time, unable to face any of those who stared at him. He'd left as a Ralts, unwillingly, to train under the King himself... to become strong enough to protect Levin and the others, the family he loved so very much. But at the same time, he despised battle, avoided confrontation whenever possible, and as such had a very hard time learning under the warrior king. Still, he was back now, Baroque having deemed him ready - despite of how he looked now. No longer bearing the same form as before, decidedly male Leon now sported a particularly feminine appearance; long gone was his Ralts stage, and the Psychic-Type had grown into a who felt unquestionably upset about his new look...

- See Lumi? He had it worse.

Levin chuckled, remembering how deeply uncomfortable his Flaaffy had felt ever since evolving, due to the pink coloring his body took. Lumi laughed sheepishly (quite literally) at the undeniable evidence - Leon was in a much more embarrassing situation. Feeling his pain, the Electric-Type approached the crestfallen Kirlia and patted him on the shoulder, speaking brilliant words of encouragement like only he knew. Uplifted by the heartfelt advice, Leon looked at Levin for reassurance, finding just that in the young man's carefree smile.

- It just means you've gotten stronger. You know what you can do, don't let anyone judge you by appearances - odds are those who dare to mock you can't hold a candle to you when things get rough!

Baroque nodded in agreement and spoke in his deep, roaring voice, instantly translated by Zion from within his Cyber Ball. Such were the perks of owning a near-omnipotent Metagross.

- I know you think he's ready; you wouldn't have returned otherwise. But what do you mean with "he's also deserving"?

The Rhyperior lifted one of his massive arms and pointed at Levin's bag. Though confused at first, having completely forgotten about the item he carried for years with no real purpose, he soon realized what Baroque was talking about.

- You're right, I do have one of those... Ever since I journeyed to Mediville. Do you really think he's grown to that point?

Baroque confirmed his absolute faith in Leon's progress. He could handle the exposure to Levin's Dawn Stone and was ready to awaken his true power.

If anybody knows how to judge potential, it's Baroque. He's the wisest and most battle-tuned Pokemon I own. If he thinks Leon is ready, even though he despises combat, who am I to disagree? And besides, I think he'll welcome the change too...

Levin dropped to one knee next to Lumi and Leon, addressing the former first.

- Hey, wanna see something cool?

He turned to Leon and held out an item wrapped in a piece of cloth.

- Baroque believes in you, and so do I. And the same way you can sense my every feeling, so too can I guess yours with no effort at all - this strange bond we share works both ways. I know what fighting represents to you, but I can also tell how much you crave the power to protect me. I've sensed that desire ever since Nylus rampaged and you couldn't stop him; I felt that need grow while you witnessed Dartz's battle with your mentor. You're finally strong enough to embrace that power, though what you do with it - or how often you can bring yourself to use it - is your call alone. This is a Dawn Stone. It'll unlock your true potential and trigger your evolution. Leon... do you want to go through with it?

The Psychic-Type didn't need to answer; Levin could feel what he felt. He sensed the turmoil, the conflict between attaining a form strong enough to protect and having the responisbility to use it. Leon saw no point in fighting, no fun in battling and despised all forms of pain. On the other hand, Levin was his mirror image, his soul-partner in a way, and he felt compelled to guard him with his life. He had no choice - if he turned his back to this power now, he would be failing his Trainer and his entire family.

The Kirlia nodded with resolve and unwrapped the Dawn Stone. Immediately it took on a powerful glow, one that grew to envelop Leon as well. A pillar of light rose to the sky, Lumi watching in wide-eyed amazement, and when the glimmer faded, the Kirlia was no more. In his place stood a silent knight whose mere presence commanded respect.

Leon, now a , gazed at his new form with the same apprehension he felt about the evolutionary stone moments before. He could feel it - power to preserve or destroy what he saw fit. A level of strength he never thought he could have... and an immense weight on his shoulders to put it to use. This was everything he wanted and all he feared - immense power at Levin's disposal, and the lingering doubt of how his Trainer would have him wield it...

- I know you're scared, but please Leon... trust me as much as I trust you. Allow yourself a moment to enjoy what you've become! Just look at how far you've come since you started training with Baroque!

The Gallade paused and nodded, turning to Rhyperior. He held out his hands in appreciation, thanking his mentor for teaching him everything he needed to know to grow into this form. Baroque, in turn, praised the Psychic-Type for his perseverance and, above all, his drive for continuing his training in the interest of Levin and everyone else. It was obvious Baroque had taken a liking, and no small amount of respect, towards Leon and his righteous cause.

- There's a human saying that reminds us how with great power comes great responsibility... I understand if you need time to let this all sink in. Time to rediscover yourself... I needed time of my own for just that not too long ago.

Their hearts connected by a special bond, both knew exactly how the other felt at all times; on occasion, it was almost as if one's feelings were mirrored by the other. So it came as no shock to Leon that Levin knew exactly what troubled him. Bowing in gratitude, and with more questions than answers regarding his new purpose on the team and in life, he needed time and space to figure it all out... and Levin was granting him just that. He would take him up on the offer and return as soon as his mind was clear.

- I understand. It's the best thing to do; just know that I will never pressure you into doing anything that's against your principles. Take as long as you need out there! And Leon... thank you so much for this for me.

The Gallade smile, waved at Levin and the group and Teleported away, to parts unknown, in search of his true self. And that, in turn, was the one thing that gave Levin some solace - no matter how far he needed to go, home was just a Teleport away.
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Last edited by MarbleZone; 08-17-2015 at 12:46 PM.
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