Thread: Rough Skin
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Old 10-02-2015, 03:34 PM   #9
DaveTheFishGuy
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Relicanth School of Hard Crocs

There was a slight nip in the air - a definite sign that Autumn was on the way. But for now, the sun was high and shining bright, holding strong in the Sapphire Islands. A cool sea breeze wafted inland, keeping the weather nice and balmy, if not as tropical as it had been during the height of summer. Dave was still wearing khaki shorts, enjoying the warm, having spent much of his summer underwater doing research. Research that had paid dividends if the most recent member of his growing team was any indication - he was the owner of the first ever Placarmour specimen to be captured, which he was taking as a big milestone on his path as a Trainer - especially one dedicated to marine life.

But for today, he was on land, in the wide open field surrounded by forest, the sea, and the bay in which the Rough Skin was moored, her gangplank extended to the ground. His various Pokémon milled around, free to roam as ever in the surrounding woods and sea as they pleased. Most stuck nearby, but he accepted that some had to get about, stretch their legs, or wings... or fins. But right now, he was busy training. A few Pokémon were gathered around him - a purple frog with an intense yellow stare, a green bundle of cotton hanging in the air, a black canine curling up next to a blue-black feline, and a few others besides. All of them were gazing with varying levels of interest in the same direction, where two Pokémon faced each other down across the grassy field.

The two were friends, and that friendship allowed them the trust of a sparring match. While the fisherman was issuing commands to the tan-coloured insect that hung in the air, a bipedal crocodile a few metres away was reacting purely on instinct. "Alright Rincewind, let's see those new moves. Try a Bug Buzz!" he commanded. The Vibrava's wings lived up to the name of his species, vibrating in the air with a grating tone, which soon took on the sound of a hundred angry Beedrill, a red soundwave washing out from the adolescent antlion toward his opponent. This was move practice for the fledgeling Dragon-type, and his friend was providing a decent punching-bag - albeit one good at dodging. Rhys plunged into the ground, claws scrabbling at the loose earth as he made to dig to safety, but before his tunnel could close the noise followed, insectoid energy lashing the Krokorok's tail for an effective blow. The archosaur popped up a few metres away, unable to hit his levitating opponent with the technique.

"Alright, nice work! Now how about a Heat Wave?" Dave suggested. Once again, Rincewind's wings flicked out of their default hovering mode, and a wall of superheated air washed forward from the insect, tongues of flame dancing within the orange, shimmering wave. Rhys again sank into the soft soil, the hot air lashing at his dry skin as he did so, still getting clipped - despite how much time he spent burrowing, he hadn't fully mastered the Dig technique just yet, and that was costing him. As he resurfaced a few feet away, the Krokorok was clearly tiring. But he nodded, ready to continue helping his friend test his strength.

Rubbing his chin, the fisherman pondered. Could it be time for Rincewind to master... that move? Shrugging, he figured there was no time like the present. "Good work buddy, now it's time for the big guns - Draco Meteor!" he ordered. The Vibrava's shielded eyes narrowed, targeting his rival and friend as his very body began to shimmer, a huge buildup of mystical energy taking place within. Arching his body into a curved shape, the Ground-type formed a huge orb between his head, tail, and outstretched legs, slowly building greater and greater power in the ultimate display of Dragon-type strength, aside from those techniques known by the Gods themselves.

...but something was wrong. Despite all his focus, Rincewind's technique was still lacking, and suddenly the orb destabilised, collapsing in on itself. Panicking, the Vibrava released it, but instead of an almighty meteor shower, one small, solitary orb of power spat its way toward Rhys. Though it hit the crocodile, it barely did anything, the Dark-type reaching up to rub his shoulder where it had hit. Rincewind sank to the ground, panting visibly as his wingbeats flagged, a huge amount of energy spent for almost no real effect. Stepping forward, Dave knelt down by his friend's side, reaching down to pat his head, only for the adolescent insect to turn away, a look of clear frustration in his eyes. Ever since he'd met the once-cowardly creature, he'd known of Rincewind's yearning for the skies, for power, for his draconic inheritance. He'd even stashed away the first three Heart Scales his trainer had happened across, knowing that they were essential to his knowledge of the technique he'd just failed to performed, and a few weeks ago he'd unearthed them from his hiding place, presenting them to Dave before a trip to the Move Tutor. But so far, that had all been for naught.

"Hey, buddy. That was a lot closer than before, you're getting there, honest." Dave muttered in an attempt at consolation. Glancing up, he caught Rhys' eye and jerked his head to the side with a smile, dismissing the other Ground-type to go rest up. "I promised you that I'd help you become the strongest Dragon you could be. We got you there, admittedly with some help." At this, a pink blob of goo oozed out of the human's jacket pocket, squirming up to his shoulder to perch and survey the scene. Regarded as the weakest Dragon-type around, Liessa felt as much of a drive to improve as Rincewind did, their encounter with the Goomy in the Friend Safari triggering his evolution into his current stage, and helping to sell to the Soft Tissue Pokémon that Dave was a capable trainer who could help her transform as well.

Sitting down next to the sulking Vibrava, the fisherman reached up to pet the Goomy's soft, slippery skin. "...I think the problem is that... you don't have any real Dragon-type tutor of your own. If Rojo was..." the human's voice cracked slightly, "...still here... I know he could help. If he'd felt the inclination, of course." he added, swallowing hard as he fought back tears. The Druddigon could have been a perfect mentor to the struggling insect. As a Trapinch he'd been essential in restraining the gargoyle when he'd initially tried to escape Dave's new ownership, and had been given a slight nod of respect for that feat. It could be that the prodigious Pokémon could see the larva's inner power shining through, but there was no way to know. Not only had he traded the Cave Pokémon back to Levin, at the other trainer's request, but the unthinkable had happened - Rojo had died, apparently at the fangs of Levin's own rampaging Gyarados. His heart had almost broken when he'd heard the news, as had those of the few team members who had looked up to the Druddigon.

Feeling a nudge against his hand, he looked down at Rincewind, who seemed slightly misty-eyed himself, even behind the protective screens that covered his vision. He rubbed the insect's head, forcing a smile onto his lips. "I guess we'll just have to make him proud anyway, from wherever he can see us." he murmured. A prayer to Giratina and maybe a request to Death might be able to help with that. But this wasn't the time for mourning, this was the time for pushing forward. "I think I might have an idea... we don't have a Dragon, but we do have someone who was damn-near raised as one, among them, under the tutelage of one of the greatest Dragon-type masters this region's ever seen." Standing, he walked over to the edge of the ridge upon which the Rough Skin was moored, looking along the edge of the bay. A quarter of the way around was an estuary, fringed with a thick mangrove swamp where he knew a few of his teammates liked to hide. Igor, Twoflower and Tide were among them, but there was another who he needed right now.

Raising his cupped hands to his mouth, he let out a strange hissing noise that echoed across the water, before doing so again. After a few seconds, he saw a wake forming in the water, leading straight toward him. He smiled, stepping back from the ridge as it grew closer, before whatever was causing it left the water, almost flying through the air, wreathed with a coating of water. As it dropped to the ground, the cloak dispersed, revealing a form similar to Rhys, only blue and shorter. Another crocodilian, but one more suited to the environment traditionally associated with them - a Totodile. He nodded respectfully, and received the same motion in response. She hadn't been his very long, and he was trying every day to properly earn her blessing as a trainer. Slowly but surely, he was getting there - but he noticed Rhys was keeping a close eye on the situation from the sidelines. Kara's arrival on the team had triggered his own evolution in a bid to display his position as Top Croc.

Kneeling down, he looked the Water-type in the eye, though in a peaceable manner. "Thank you for coming, Kara. We could use your help - well, Rincewind could, mostly." he began. "He wants to learn how to be a better Dragon, but we don't really have one around to be a teacher. But you spent a lot of time around them, I figure you might understand them more than anyone here. Could... could you help him? Show him what he has to overcome, the strength he has to unlock... how to be." he asked. The Big Jaw Pokémon looked stoically back at him for a moment, before nodding, stepping forward. Grabbing a Potion from his bag, the human walked over to Rincewind, spraying him down and restoring his spent energy. "I'll give you orders as best I can, but this isn't going to be just throwing attacks like it was with Rhys. This is going to test you, my friend." he muttered, and the insect nodded. Standing straight, Dave backed off, nodding to the other Pokémon. "Kara, please. Do all you think necessary to test him." he stated, receiving a nod in reply.

And then suddenly, she was off. Rincewind barely had time to rise into the air before the Totodile barrelled into him, wreathed in water as the Aqua Jet carried her forth, smacking straight into the Vibrava's belly. A screech of pain burst forth from the antlion's mouth, forced back from the speedy impact. Dave himself blinked, having not expected her to begin so... quickly. "Supersonic." he uttered, and the screech of pain morphed into a warbling soundwave as Rincewind righted himself, the noise piercing into Kara's brain and causing her eyes to glaze over as confusion took hold, leaving her momentarily out of commission as her 'pupil' recovered - but the lesson lingered - Dragons can be faster than they seem.

"Earthquake, quick!" the fisherman urged, and Rincewind dove, landing heavily before smashing his glowing tail into the ground. The soil rocked, shockwaves spreading outward to shake Kara up, dealing some nasty damage while causing the various onlookers to wobble a bit, trying to recover their footings. The Totodile nearly fell herself from the attack, but managed to catch herself, seemingly shaking off the confusion as she went into a graceful twirl, moving in a mystical manner, the focus in her eyes recovering as her claws seemed to sharpen... as the ballet came to an end, the Totodile was looking more dangerous than ever despite the damage she'd suffered - all thanks to the Dragon Dance she'd learned amongst her previous teammates - Dragons should always seek to increase their power.

This really was going to be tough - Dave barely knew any of Kara's real strength, lacking the nerve to try training her properly so far. He thought back to the first attack Rincewind had learned to show that despite appearances, he was a Dragon now... "Show her your own draconic power - Dragon Breath!" he commanded, and the Vibrava puffed his thorax up, green fire building within his maw, but Kara's increased speed caught them both off-guard. Dashing in, the Totodile scrabbled across the ground before launching herself upward, jaws agape, fangs coated in evil energy just as Rincewind released his own attack. The green flames licked along the Water-type's back for a moment, before she closed in, strong jaws Crunching down on the Vibrava's tail. The stream of mystical fire was interrupted by another screech of pain, Rincewind writhing desperately in mid-air in a bid to loosen his aggressor. Surprisingly for anyone who knows anything about Totodile, after a few seconds he was able to shake Kara off, sending the Totodile down to land heavily and gracelessly into the soil with a thud. But she'd proven her point - Dragons can be brutal.

As the hissing insect wheeled around, Dave realised why it had been so easy to break her hold - the archosaur struggled to get to her feet, muscles locking up as a grimace played at her toothy features. The Dragon's breath had left her paralysed! He noted a smirk on Rincewind's features, and raised a hand to his brow. Not the time to get cocky... especially since Kara could see it too. The human and the Totodile shared thoughts for a moment - this proved nothing. Defeating the Big Jaw thanks to a stroke of luck would help Rincewind in no way at all. He wouldn't grow, he wouldn't learn properly, he wouldn't master Draco Meteor... he wouldn't become a proper Dragon. He knew it as well as Kara, and he knew the Totodile would put her all into this. And that was why she started glowing.

It began slowly, as if this process had been denied for a while. He knew that she was well above the level most Totodile would evolve at, and he suspected either she or Duke had their reasons for not allowing her evolution just yet. But this was as good a reason as ever. The small form roughly kept its shape, but grew outward in every way, soon doubling in height as well as filling out, now looking pretty chunky, though of course it was incredibly likely to be muscle rather than fat. Some of the ridges that had grown down its spine moved up to sit atop its cranium like a crest, and of course that jaw filled out too, becoming wide and heavy-set to increase its strength. As the glow faded, a cream and blue pattern was visible on its belly, almost caveman-like. The creature was still short and squat, but vastly more powerful than before. The grinned toothily, and there was no sign of paralysis in her body anymore, while the smirk was completely wiped from Rincewind's face. This was... unexpected - but Dragons should never be expected.

The adrenaline boost from evolution, along with the pump-up from her own technique, combined in a big way. The new Croconaw surrounded herself in water once more, forming a curtain that reached upward. Clawing quickly, the reptile swam up the Waterfall, launching herself up to slam into her sparring partner like a freight train. Still stunned by what he'd just witness, Rincewind was in no state to dodge, finding himself soaring backward as the newly-evolved creature landed gracefully on the grass. Dave blinked, actually picking up on her lesson this time. "Rock Slide." he ordered, and the Vibration Pokémon transitioned into another dive, slapping the ground with his tail and summoning up several slabs of stone that hung in the air before him, before a flick of his wings sent them sailing toward his 'tutor'. Kara spun and pirouetted, dodging a couple of the rocks as they crashed around her, but she was still unused to her larger, bulkier frame, and more than a few boulders smacked into her body for a fair amount of damage. Dave grinned. He was learning too - Dragons can master all kinds of terrain, from sea to mountains, from forests to deserts.

Hissing in pain, Kara rounded on her pupil, having weathered far more damage in this exchange than she was expecting - even if she wasn't planning on evolving today. Taking all that pain and frustration, she charged down the Vibrava as he tried to pick himself back up into the air, closing in with her improved speed and lunging. Limbs Flailed wildly, raining down blow after blow with clawed arms, stout feet, thick tail and heavy skull, each impact doing more and more damage to Rincewind before the Vibrava could squirm away, taking to the air and out of reach. "Let's see if this does it. Solar Beam." Dave uttered, the antlion's wings starting to glow brightly as they absorbed sunlight. It wasn't a perfectly sunny day, but a few moments out of reach should give the technique time to gather full power. Still, Kara's lesson this round wasn't lost - Dragons never backed down, even in a corner.

Seeing that her pupil was clearly charging something big, Kara's jaws curled into a grimace. Water surrounded her body again as she loosed an Aqua Jet upward, but she didn't target Rincewind - she shot straight up, like a rocket. Once she was several metres above the hovering insect, she released the technique and spun in the air, jaws pointed down as they opened wide. A stream of condensation began to stream out behind her as she fell, her teeth coating themselves with frigid power, eyes narrowed on her target. Focused on his own technique, Rincewind couldn't move fast enough to get out of the way, and the Ice Fang closed on his midsection. A scream echoed around the area before both Pokémon slammed into the ground, Kara holding firm onto her prey as she pinned him with her heavier body. For a moment, Rincewind was limp in the Water-type's grasp... but slowly he started to wriggle, the glow from his wings growing brighter and brighter, before cutting off. For a moment, Dave worried that his partner had fainted under the relentless assault... before a huge beam of golden-green energy smashed upward, straight into Kara's belly. The Croconaw let go as her jaw went slack in surprise, the force sending her sailing through the air to land heavily a few metres away, skidding to a halt as the attack subsided. The fisherman grinned. Obviously Rincewind was learning too - Dragons never gave up.

Wearily, both combatants struggled to their feet, Kara slowly pushing herself onto her hind legs, huge jaw hanging open as she panted for breath, while Rincwind pushed his body up, wings flicking as he attempted to climb into the air again. But for now it was useless, leaving him weak and impotent on the ground. Kara smirked, striding toward her felled prey, intent on sharing one final lesson. But as his wings pumped, Rincewind was clearly still stuck on the last one - Dragons never gave up, never surrendered. As his closed eyes opened to look onto this most brutal of tutors, Rincewind understood - and then he too began to glow.

A chill made its way down Dave's spine as he watched, not helped by Liessa's clammy form nuzzling into his neck. All the other spectators had shushed. Even Kara stood stock still as the insect was overcome by a familiar white light, flooding his body. His juvenile, segmented body merged and enlarged, forcing itself upright into a bipedal stance. His four spindly legs filled out, becoming two thick, powerful hindlegs along with a more dexterous pair of arms, equipped with small claws. His tail also filled out, thickening to counterbalance his new stance. His head enlarged, the two small antennae sweeping back like a crest to hang over the back of his head, while two small pairs of wings fused together into one single, much larger pair to carry a much heavier body. An altogether different creature was visible as the glow faded, green of body, while red around the edges of the wings and the eye covers, now towering over Kara. The threw back his head to loose a melodic roar, impossible before in his more insectoid forms, but now he was more than just a larva. Rincewind had finally reached his destiny - Flygon, the Mystic Pokémon.

Eying his teacher, the fully realised creature grinned, a gesture which Kara returned. New wings pumping, Rincewind rocketed into the air with ease that had seemed a long way off just a few minutes ago, easily performing twirls, loops, rolls and other acrobatic feats before landing again. Neither creature made to resume fighting - the battle was over, and both of them were winners. But just to be sure, Rincewind rose into the air again, cupping his hands together as his body once again surged with Draconic power. A massive orb formed within his grasp, churning and throbbing, growing and shifting. Aiming over the Rough Skin and toward the bay, the Flygon focused, shifted a bit, and squeezed. The huge gathering of energy collapsed, but this time a huge stream of energy particles burst forth, sailing out over the water before detonating in a huge firework display, a perfect execution of Draco Meteor. Dave grinned, but then he'd not stopped grinning since the Dragon had first started glowing.

As the Flygon touched back down, the fisherman threw himself at the newly evolved creature, wrapping his arms around him - a gesture which Rincewind eagerly returned, now that he could. "Congratulations buddy, I'm so proud of you." he said, before stepping back and running an arm along the Mystic's shoulder, giving Liessa a chance to throw her own body at her role-model, receiving a hug of her own. Looking down, Dave patted Kara on the shoulder, of course making sure to do so respectfully. "Thank you, Kara. And congratulations yourself. It was nice to see what you could do." The Croconaw nodded in response, shooting a grin at Rincewind before surrounding herself in water once more, blasting across the bay back to her mangrove home, to rest and lick her wounds. And probably find a nice, juicy Barboach to slurp down.

"Well, I think that's all for today." the human concluded with a sigh. "Might as well get some grub going. You guys feel free to relax - I'm sure you've got a lot of flying to do, buddy." he winked at Rincewind. The Flygon nodded, before plopping Liessa on his back and bursting upward into the air, soaring through the sky. Heading back up the gangplank to the Rough Skin, Dave grinned. He just hoped that wherever he was, El Rojo was feeling as proud as he was...



{Congratulations! Your Kara evolved into Croconaw!}

{Congratulations! Your Rincewind evolved into Flygon!}

{Rincewind learned Dragon Claw!}
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