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Old 02-25-2017, 01:57 AM   #201
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Victor gritted his teeth, things were looking close as each side drove powerful blows into each other. At this point his main concern was Soulblade's safety, he wasn't too keen on see his partner knocked unconscious again. He had to get the blade out of the Persian's grip and then finish the feline off before it could do the same to Soulblade.

"Quick Crimsonwing, Drill Run into the Persian's head with all your strength!" Victor hoped the impact would startle the Dark type enough for it to let go of Soulblade. "Soulblade get away from the Persian and send the Meowth packing with a Brick Break. Abysshunter, keep the Persian's attention on you by firing a Brine straight into its eyes!" Victor took a deep breath, it was time to finish this, "Everyone together! Crimsonwing, Acrobatics! Soulblade, Brick Break! Abysshunter, Brine! Take the Persian down!"
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Old 02-28-2017, 12:08 PM   #202
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Unwilling to risk having an ally go unconscious on your watch, you refocus your efforts on making sure that doesn't happen. Crimsonwing performs another aerial arc, giving her the time she needs to spin up another piercing Ground-type strike. The skilful trajectory manages to make her land right at Persian's forehead just shy of where its jewel is, and it roars - you're not sure if it's out of pain or umbrage at having its precious gem infringed upon, but the important thing is that the Dark-type's yelp has Soulblade freed from the trap of Persian's jaws. Abysshunter quickly follows up the assault with a dousing of saltwater, leaving Soulblade to swing his bladed body into the Meowth - but as soon as the attack connects, the image of the Meowth fizzles out, and instead shapeshifts into the form that you'd suspected was pulling the strings of the mystery marionette show all along. A tuft of red hair materialises atop a furry quadruped, and with its illusion broken the Zorua shoots a glance at you before running off.

You manage to take your attention back where it needs to be, as Persian knocks its other two assailants away with another dark snarl, but your team - as does you - have had it with the Totem guardian's refusal to give up its crown. The two flight-capable operatives slam Persian with a flanking combination while Abysshunter pumps more salt water to rub it in the cat's wounds, and this time a thunderous, echoing howl rips forth from the beast's mouth, loud and jarring enough to force all three of your Pokémon to take a step back.

"Hsssss!" Shaking its body all over and scattering droplets everywhere, the Alolan feline casts another withering glare at you before slinking back into the crypt, the door closing behind it.

"I guess Persian decided that continuing to fight you was a lot more trouble than it was worth," notes Lani. "Gotta say, watching both sides wear each other down like that was somehow both intense and mindnumbing at the same time, but a win's a win! Just like you did previously, you get a Z-Crystal representing the power of the trial you've completed." Lani drops another gem into your open palm, this one a mysterious shade of opal darkness. A suspended silhouette of a demonic head shimmers in the middle, framed with jagged formations that you hope are meant as an abstract portrayal of teeth.

"You already have an idea of how this is to be used, but you'll also need to master the movements needed by the Trainer." Locking her wrists together, Lani suddenly lurches forward, her back leaning all the way down as her arms dangle lifelessly beneath her. Abruptly, she drags them up as she straights her vertebrae, almost like a lumbering zombie before ending the performance by projecting her outstretched hands towards you. It feels very much like a monstrous predator ready to pounce at its unsuspecting victim.

"It might not look like much, but it's actually pretty important to get the angle of your lean right," the captain adds, rustling in her inventory. Eventually she manages to fish out an extra $2,000, a Colbur Berry and Rawst Berry, and hands them to you. Just as she does so, you hear the sound of soft pawing. Almost expectantly the group turns to see the Zorua you spotted earlier standing alone. Before anyone can say anything it shimmers, replacing itself with the facade of a youngster.

"Haven't seen any humans in a long time," he - or should that be it? - mumbles. "Got curious. Saw your memories. Interested. ...Come along?" You almost hear a poof as the Zorua sheds its imagery, looking at you expectantly.

"You're just pulling new friends towards you left and right, aren't you? I can't say I know much about Zorua - it's not a species native to Alola - but it seems that you've already made a connection without me realising it," smiles Lani. "It's still your choice as to whether you want to take it along, though."

OOC:
- Soulblade, Crimsonwing and Abysshunter have gained 1 level from the Trial.
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Old 03-02-2017, 02:47 PM   #203
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Victor steeled his nerves as he watched the last couple of blows being traded. He was surprised to see a Zorua take the place of the Meowth as Soulblade landed his blow, he knew something was going on, he just hadn't expected it to be involved in this battle. Eventually the Alolan Persian retreated, Victor and his Pokemon were victorious in yet another trial. Victor happily accepted the Darkinium Z from Lani and watched closely as she showed him the synchronized dance he would have to perform. After placing the rest of his spoils in his backpack, Victor was surprised to see the Zorua reappear.

The devious little fox quickly took the form of a young boy and rather ineloquently expressed its interest in joining Victor. Victor was certainly shaken by the proposal but it was one that he to was interested in. The Zorua had shown itself to have incredible talent and the fact that he could actually have a conversation with the Pokemon was something he had always dreamed of.

"It would be an honor to have you join the team Zorua and I'm sure all my Pokemon would agree." Victor dug a Luxury Ball out of his ball and gently lobbed it at the Zorua. "Welcome to the team Shadowcaster."



Soulblade reached lvl 20 and learnt Shadow Sneak
Abysshunter reached lvl 20
Crimsonwing reached lvl 20

Mood
Soulblade: 177
Crimsonwing: 165
Abysshunter: 199
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Old 03-03-2017, 10:42 AM   #204
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Intrigued and satisfied by the newcomer's proposal, along with the possibilities offered by a partner capable of conversation, you acknowledge the Zorua's offer. A special PokéBall is tossed in its direction, and as the sphere reaches the peak of its arc Zorua closes its eyes. Solemnly it remains in place as the Luxury Ball bounces off its forehead, and its energy spirals into the dark container with nary a click.

"Congratulations, Victor," Lani grins as she politely applauds you, while you go to retrieve the capsule containing your new partner. Around you your other Pokémon express their joy, albeit somewhat subdued after a relentlessly drawn-out fight. "I don't know about you, though, but I think I'd like to get out of these ruins; it's starting to get a little stifling. We've also run out the duration of your stay in any case, so we'll probably want to get back to Cerulean before the sun begins to set."

***

You end up sleeping the voyage away in the back of Lani's boat - after a day of three grueling challenges back-to-back, the rest turns out to be very well-deserved and desired. The journey back from the Sevii Archipelago extends through the remainder of the afternoon, and by the time you feel Lani's vessel reduce its cruising speed, half the sun has already disappeared past the horizon towards Johto.

"Just in time! I'm not really fond of ocean travel in the dead of night, so it's a good thing we were able to avoid it. We could all use a little R-and-R from all the trials you've been putting yourself through," notes the captain. "But if you ever find yourself with a ticket and time to spare, hit us up for another round of trials! You've clearly got a knack for it, Victor."

With the flashing grin of the Alolan native the last thing etched in memory, you find yourself on the concrete of Cerulean's docks, joining the crowd of returning sailors. It might be a good time to pause for the day and figure out where to go from here.

OOC:
- You have captured a Zorua! Zorua is Level 13, male, and has a Serious nature. He also has Extrasensory as an Egg move.
- Zorua must be healed at a Pokémon Centre before any further interaction involving him.
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Old 03-04-2017, 03:18 AM   #205
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Victor proudly picked up Shadowcaster's Pokeball and recalled the rest of his Pokemon, they would need to head to the Pokemon Center as soon as they got back to Cerulean. Lani led them back to the boat and luckily they were able to make it back to Cerulean City before it got too dark. Victor farewelled Lani for now, he had a feeling he would be seeing her again soon.

Making his way through the now familiar city, Victor sighed with relief as he entered the Pokemon Center, making his way towards the main desk. Victor hands over all 4 of his Pokeballs before heading over to the PC to collect some items. Victor inserted a bubble mail into the Jeri Co machine and suddenly his TM's returned to him, a message attached to them from the lucky recipient.....

To Victor,
My name is Marc McAdam. As my team and I are currently traveling towards south Johto, I am temporarily requisitioning your provided Technical Machines in order to survive the voyage ahead. I don't know about that favour you're asking for, seeing as you seem to be considerably qualified yourself, but we shall try not to disappoint. Your help in our matters is greatly appreciated.
Sincerely,
Marc McAdam


Victor received:
6 Star Shards
1 TM Drain Punch
1 TM Grass Knot
1 TM Psychic
2 Rare Candies
1 Enigma Berry
1 Starf Berry
1 Jaboca Berry
1 Rowap Berry
1 Jumpstart Pass
1 Tutor Pass
1 TM Brick Break
1 TM Shadow Ball
1 TM Flamethrower

Victor made his way to his room but was unable to get to sleep, his mind occupied with thoughts of his new Zorua's potential. Grabbing a pencil and paper, Victor began to sketch out a person, he figured Shadowcaster may benefit from having his own human illusion in order to blend in. Eventually Victor dropped the pencil, the image was rough compared to the one in his head, perhaps Shadowcaster would be better off using Victor's mental image like he had for Silas and Marigold. Deciding to leave the plan for another day, Victor crawled under the covers and drifted off to sleep......

*************

Victor woke bright and early, eager to move onto the next part of his journey. He collected his Pokemon from the nurse and quickly released all four of them from their Pokeballs.

"I hope you guys are all well rested, today we make for Saffron City and the Psychic gym. We already beat the Psychic Trial without the help of Shadowcaster, who will likely make things a bit easier. That said, how about we get you all up to speed aye?"

Victor started with Shadowcaster, feeding the Zorua 3 Enigmatic Candies, 2 Egg Candies and 4 Rare Candies. He then selected TM Grass Knot, TM Shadow Ball, TM Hidden Power (Rock) and TM Detect.

Shadowcaster reached lvl 20! He learnt Feint Attack, Grass Knot, Shadow Ball, Hidden Power (Rock), Detect, Copycat (Egg), Counter (Egg), Return (Mood), Dark Pulse (Mood), Sucker Punch (Mood)

Victor then fed a Rawst Berry to Abysshunter, who now looked as happy as could be and fed Soulblade an Iron.

Soulblade learnt Magnet Rise

Mood
Soulblade: 180
Crimsonwing: 165
Abysshunter: 200
Shadowcaster: 147


Victor then recalled his entire team, except for Shadowcaster. "Hey bud, I thought you would appreciate traveling with me so we can get to know each other better. I had some ideas for a human illusion for you, so that you could blend in with other people, I thought that might be useful. We will probably have to practice it a fair bit but there will be time for that later. For now, let's make our way towards Saffron City!"
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Old 03-07-2017, 01:44 AM   #206
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Your brain is abuzz with excitement after an exceedingly productive day, but the combined exertion means that you find sleep easily despite already having ideas of integrating your new teammate in future strategems. Come morning, you announce your latest plans to the team, who listen to your words with enraptured anticipation. You'd already taken on a Psychic challenge; how much harder could a Psychic gym be? Following some emergency upgrades, you retrieve your group except for the newly christened Shadowcaster, who steadfastly sits next to your shoe as he listens to your suggestions, before you head out of the Centre and proceed southward.

It doesn't take long for the surrounding terrain to change sharply - unlike the heavily developed urban landscape of Cerulean, the valley past the city's southern outskirts have fallen into severe disrepair. A single path emerges through the grasses that have been slightly worn, suggesting that the passage isn't used very often. By the time the gradient of the ground starts to level, you behold a looming forest ahead of you, towering trees and congested canopies forming a natural, impenetrable barrier. The sight certainly gives you pause in thought and footsteps, but you nevertheless push onwards on the only path ahead as it shifts from grass into fully grown ferns and thick tree trunks.

With minutes dragging on into a full half hour, you find yourself pushing your way through disagreeable undergrowth, tendrils and roots overlaying the original path you tried to stick to while branches and bark stick out everywhere, stymying any attempt on your part to hasten your pace. With large leafy extensions above you choking out most of the morning sun, it's a different sort of unnerving traveling under these conditions compared to the Dark-type Sevii Trial. While the lighting conditions are fine for Shadowcaster, you recognise that despite the Pokémon's smaller, nimble stature, navigating is starting to get him down too.

"...Zo?"

Eventually you feel Shadowcaster nibble at your pant leg, and watching his gaze go upward you see what has caught his attention. It's a little hard to see past the mess of botany, but you manage to make out what looks like a sneaker - still attached to an ankle, wrapped underneath a mess of tendrils. Not too far is another smaller bundle that is equally concealed, the only evidence of something underneath being a pair of flappy tentacles limply hanging...
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Old 03-07-2017, 05:25 AM   #207
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As Victor struggled through the tightly packed jungle, he began to regret not keeping Soulblade out to help him cut his way through. Shadow began to struggle but Victor paid little attention to that, he would need to toughen up sooner rather than later. The Zorua did manage to pick up on something Victor would have overlooked, it seemed that someone had gotten themselves and their Pokemon stuck in the vine laden canopy. Victor had no clue why someone would be up there, but he figured they could probably use a hand. Victor snapped Soulblade's Pokeball off the pommel of his sword and removed Crimsonwing's from his belt and tossed them out in front of him.

Cupping his hands around his mouth, Victor yelled out to the person who had stupidly gotten themselves wrapped up. "Oi! You up there! Grab hold of a vine or two and my Pokemon will cut you down! I will try and catch you if you fall, try and keep hold of a vine though!" Victor was pretty confident he could at least reduce the impact if the person fell, he was far from weak but he would do his best to try and prevent the need for such a maneuver. "Alright guys, go nice and slow here so we don't hurt anyone. Crimson can you start pecking away at the vines tangling that Pokemon first? You might need to use a bit of an Ember if the vines prove too tough, help Soul once you are done. Soul can you just use your blade to cut through the vines holding that person one at a time? We don't want to cut them all at once in case they fall." Victor prepared himself in case he needed to execute the backup plan and make the catch. "My Pokemon are on there way up now! Just relax and you will be down in a minute!"
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Old 03-11-2017, 02:48 AM   #208
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You stare upwards at the hapless stranger you've come across - whoever managed to get yanked and trapped up there probably has a screw or two loose in the head, but that's not to say you'd leave them to their fate. Soulblade and Crimsonwing are promptly deployed, rising a few metres above you to commence the extraction. Soulblade regards the mess of vines with a critical eye, trying to judge the best position to cut the tangled knots, while Crimsonwing breathes a few manageable flames to weaken the Pokémon's binds. Weaving the thin edge of his body, Soulblade cuts some of the smaller tendrils, but by this time your Fletchinder has already worked away enough of her mystery package. The burnt edges of the vines fray away under their victim's weight, and the rest of the Pokémon falls through - in addition to the white forelimbs, another set of blue tentacles extends from its body, topped with a pink head that vaguely resembles a missile, lined with a thin white border. Before it can fall too far Crimsonwing easily catches it on her back, descending to the ground to let it down safely.

Soulblade's operation, on the other hand, is fraught with difficulty as his judgement is the only thing preventing the stranger from taking a dive. From below you watch as a forearm, then another, slowly reveal themselves like an unfolding flower carefully blooming, until the sound of a sickening rip commands your full attention. One by one the remaining vines snap apart, and at once Crimsonwing flies up to intercept. Her talons tear through the separating plants and grasp for a piece of clothing, only to be yanked by gravity tugging the significantly heavier payload. That leaves one option, one that weighs heavily on you as the figure plummets into your arms. The world spins around you as you hit the forest dirt, pressed against the ground. Somehow, you struggle to your knees to extricate yourself and the victim from the tangle, who you identify as a thin, mildly muscular young man in camouflaged fatigues.

"Ugh... Thanks for the assist there, mate," he mutters, tussling loose leaves from his dark green hair. "Managed to get myself in a pickle, getting ambushed like a right chump. Shoulda practiced my mental focus like Anthony told me, eh Inkay?"

"Ink..." Feebly, the squid beast raises one tentacle before flopping down again.

"Guess they got you good too, huh. You're something else, aren't you?" smirks the stranger, addressing you this time. "You don't often see Trainers wandering into the No Man's Land of central Kanto - what with the jungle we have around here. If the Pokémon don't getcha the plants will, as I unwillingly demonstrated. Ngh!" He winces, massaging his weakened legs. "I'm Peter, by the by. Our leader Anthony put me on scouting duty for supplies, but you can see the jungle did a number on my body. Trapped me for hours, and there's no way for a signal to go past these infernal trees either. Could I... trouble you to help me limp back? I'll try and talk you through the route we usually use."
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Old 03-11-2017, 04:26 AM   #209
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As the man plummeted down towards him, Victor braced himself for the impact, almost doubting his strength. Luckily neither he nor the man were hurt by the impact, both soon rising to their feet. The man began to ramble on, giving a rough reason for getting himself in such a stupid situation. He also managed the name Anthony more than once and going off everything he had mentioned, Victor knew he was referring to Anthony the Saffron Gym Leader. Soon the man finally remembered to introduce himself and asked for Victor's assistance to help get him back to Saffron city.

"Nice to meet you Peter, I'm glad I found you otherwise you might have been stranded out here for a while. You said Anthony was your leader right? You mean Saffron Gym Leader Anthony I assume, does that make you a Gym Trainer? I can help you get back, I am heading that way myself and I dare say you would have a better path than I would." Victor realized that this whole time he could have been cutting through the forest with Soulblade and his own sword. He recalled Crimsonwing and Shadowcaster, leaving Soulblade out to assist him if need be. "Alright Peter, point out the path and Soulblade and myself will clear it as best we can." Victor drew his sword from its scabbard and prepared to charge into the undergrowth.
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Old 03-14-2017, 06:42 AM   #210
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The Saffron citizen smiles a little at your agreement, clutching your extended hand as you pull him up, hoisting his arm over your shoulder. He closes his eyes, as if in thought, before pointing ahead roughly towards the right. Making sure to account for Peter's weight, you begin the jungle slog with renewed enthusiasm, but also watchful for your safety at the same time. You somewhat wish the trek could be more exciting, but most of it consists of Peter asking you to make adjustments, veering past drooping ferns and creeping vines, only occasionally suggesting that you or Soulblade make a few small cuts through the undergrowth when progress doesn't seem possible.

"After the disasters, word is that the woods around Saffron itself came alive - nobody knows if it was a result of the wildlife instinctively protecting itself or a symptom of Saffron's reputation for psychic phenomena. But one rule of thumb we've learned is to watch our step in the forest," explains Peter on the way. "Grass and Psychic Pokémon alike populate the jungle pretty densely and they're typically cagey and defensive. It's not hard to accidentally run into their territory and get attacked out of nowhere... like I did, I guess. Usually we use our Pokémon or mental powers to help navigate the woods and hopefully not run into anything, but I guess I wasn't strong enough on either fronts. You generally don't want to get into trouble here in our neck of the woods. It might be days before anyone finds you."

You gulp a little, trying not to think of that possibility as you cut through more vegetation, but it's a legitimate concern in a new environment where there are few landmarks to go by and close to no end in sight. Eventually, after an unknown amount of time has passed - along with countless leaves and branches poking at your face - you almost tumble out onto the grass, graced by a serenade of sunlight.

"Welp, here we are." You take a few moments to take in the surroundings - Saffron is a far cry from what you saw of Cerulean, to say the least. Where neat rows of buildings once stood, most of those structures have been replaced with jagged, crumbling concrete walls, some lots with barely four corners to share among them. Even the few buildings you can see are overrun by creepers and moss on at least one side, and you're not sure if the plant life is holding the building up. A couple of dirt paths have been worn away with weeds and grasses haphazardly growing along their borders.

"It's not much to look at, but this is home. Over there," indicates Peter, "is the old Magnet Train station. We restored it to be our town centre, and it's also the holding place for the Saffron Gym. ...If you're not minding, could you help me to the gym? Anthony will want to hear my report, and I think he'll probably have a question or two for newcomers. He's a little odd that way."
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Old 03-15-2017, 06:34 AM   #211
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By the time Victor had carried Peter through the forest and reached Saffron city, he was dripping wet with sweat. Saffron was in worse condition than he had imagined, it had almost been completely reclaimed by the forest. Only a few buildings seemed to be in decent condition, the most well kept was the old magnet train station which had apparently become the new site of the Saffron Gym. Perfect, thought Victor, he could find out how much more he needed to do before earning himself a shot at the gym leader. He had already beaten the psychic trial, which would surely earn him some sway but he wouldn't be surprised if Anthony asked more of him.

"Alright Peter, let us get you to the gym, its where I need to go anyways. I need to see Anthony about earning a gym challenge anyways and my Pokemon could use some training, what field move do you guys teach here?" Victor made his way towards the door of the gym, eager to find out what was going on inside.
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Old 03-18-2017, 04:38 AM   #212
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"Field move, huh? Um... I think it's Rock Smash? It's not something most Psychic Pokémon have access to naturally; I guess the only reason why Anthony's qualified for it is thanks to his heritage with the Fighting Dojo," remarks Peter. "It's not like most Psychics bother with physical force, to be fair. They'll usually use their minds to get around most obstacles if they ever come across any. Me... I guess I'm still training both my mind and body, as you can see."

You heft Peter down the dusty road, nearing the wide entrance of the refurbished station. A pause is required to shove the heavy, grating doors open, bringing to mind muscular men or mental mystics who the barriers seem to have been built for.

"Uh, guys? I'm, uh, back..."

"Sensed you as soon as you entered town, Peter. Didn't think you'd be bringing a stranger, though."

You find yourself approached by several Trainers, led by an imposing brute who you can only guess is Anthony. He certainly doesn't fit the profile you had in mind for a leader of Psychics; his vest, shirt and jeans wouldn't look out of place on a biker, and all of his clothes are noticeably straining under bulky, chiseled physique. If he wanted to, you're certain he could probably push your skull through the concrete floor.

"Get him checked out. See if we need any of the decoctions," orders the man, and the two flanking Trainers receive Peter from you, grunting as they haul him away. This turns Anthony's attention towards you.

"There's only so many reasons for Trainers to visit Saffron City, or what's left of it - and it doesn't take a mind like mine to tell you're not with delivery," he muses. "I can probably guess why you're here, but decorum indicates that I permit you to express yourself instead of probing."
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Old 03-19-2017, 01:21 AM   #213
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Victor felt a bit uneasy as he he entered the Saffron Gym, there was certainly a strange energy in the place, similar to the atmosphere of the Psychic Trial. Anthony the Gym Leader soon presented himself, he was certainly an imposing figure. Victor didn't enjoy his tone, he talked as if he immediately knew he was better than himself, a mistake that he would hopefully soon regret.

"Pleasure to meet you Anthony, are all your recruits as capable as Peter?" Victor couldn't help the sly shot, even if Peter had been kind to him. "I recently acquired my first gym badge at the Cerulean Gym, Marigold was quite formidable. I then took a bit of a break and took a shot at the Island trials, I assume you have heard plenty about them? I managed to claim victory in both the Dark and Psychic trials, I would certainly advise giving them a go if you ever get some spare time. As you would expect, I wish to challenge you and claim your badge. I could use some training first however and I assume you would have me complete a task to prove my worth?" Victor quickly pulled out his Pokedex and flicked through it, "alright it seems that my Honedge should be able to learn your field move Rock Smash. My Zorua would be capable of learning it once it evolves, I'm wondering if you could teach it the basics so it could make use of it once this happens? Other than that, I would like to try teaching my Zorua Flamethrower, I have this Tutor Pass to help cover that. Once again it can learn it on evolution but it does have access to other fire moves before it evolves so it should be capable of doing so with some extra work. While I'm on Zorua, I was going to use this Jumpstart Pass to teach it how to use Foul Play If you could spare a Gym Trainer to help with that, I will just spend some time working with my Fletchinder on its aerial movements and my Huntail needs to keep practicing its land movement."

Victor had made quite a few requests, hopefully Anthony would be accommodating.
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Old 03-22-2017, 10:58 AM   #214
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You're not sure why, but something about Anthony seems to rub you the wrong way, and before your mind can decide your mouth chooses to run its course. Anthony simply regards you without moving an inch, with the only movement being from his eyes as he sizes you up.

"You know exactly what you want, I'll give you that much," he grunts. "But your 'how' could use a bit of work, especially if you want to request favours. ...It so happens that Saffron could use all the extra hands we come across, Peter's probably already given you a brief synopsis on our situation. We're looking to improve on that - and if you're still interested in hanging around, I've got an idea for what to assign you with before we have that battle you seem to be obsessed with. ...Or don't, I'm not going to twist your arm, figuratively or otherwise." The Gym Leader turns his head, unfolding one arm to snap his finger. "Vivi!"

"You called, Anthony?" To your surprise, a tall girl wearing a traditional gi approaches the two of you, her height almost enough to rival her superior's and her short blond hair neatly bound in a tight tuft.

"Give this stranger the works. Put him through what he asks," instructs Anthony as he begins to leave. "I'm almost done with the dissemination plans, but we won't be starting without your trainee, so try to be quick about it."

"You got it, Anthony." You turn your attention to the battle girl, as she grabs one of your hands and nearly crushes it in a powerful shake. "Pleasure to meet you. Vivian Ventricle's my name, but as you've heard from Anthony, you can call me Vivi. As one of the Trainers in charge of the old Fighting Dojo division, I also oversee most move tutoring, so you have nothing to worry about; you're safe with me."

With a hand firmly placed on your shoulder, Vivi leads you out of the gym, soon stopping short of a dirt field outside of the building. You can make out boundaries that have been drawn into the soil, although half of it has been marred by repopulating grass. All over the place, large concrete blocks have been positioned somewhat haphazardly, looking like a miniature apocalypse onto itself. "Come out, Wolsey!" The blackbelt declares, hurling a Heavy Ball to the ground. Out of its white flash emerges a large pink beast, though half of it comprises a spiky, spiraling shell. It takes a while for the Pokémon to recognise it's been summoned, and it glances back at the both of you with a blank stare and gaping snout.

"Surprised, huh? A few years ago, a blackbelt handling Psychic-type Pokémon would be pretty unheard of. But after Anthony shared his philosophy of building up both the mind and body, we've started to diversify. And you'd be surprised how many moves a Slowbro can pull off," Vivi grins, as she points towards one concrete slab. "Demonstrate Rock Smash!"

"Brooooo." A few seconds of pause, and Wolsey lumbers into action, his feet shaking the ground as he charges ahead. Drawing one pink forearm back, he punches the slab head-on, instantly sending a blossom of hairline cracks spreading outwards from the point of contact. Shortly after, the top half of the block crumbles under its own weight, separating into chunks and fragments that litter the ground.

"Looks simple enough, you might think. But there's actually a lot of subtlety and control needed for a Rock Smash," Vivi begins to explain. "It's a technique that doesn't rely so much on strength as opposed to focus, but at the same time it's not quite the same as techniques where you try to identify weak spots and hit them. Rather, it's about using minimal effort to create new weak points so you can efficiently wear down the target's defences over time. In short, the attack sacrifices a lot of direct damage for a solid chance of inflicting a defence debuff. Go at it too strong, and you're only going to break a rock in two, often in pieces that are too large for the average Trainer to get around instead of pulverising it."

Vivi smirks at you, folding her arms as if she's giving you a pause to digest her instructions. "Got all that? We'll have your Pokémon practice on these blocks here, then we'll see about what else you have in mind for your team."
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Old 03-23-2017, 02:27 AM   #215
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Anthony continued to get on Victor's nerves, he was so arrogant and smug. He was happy to accommodate Victor's requests however, quickly calling forth another of his Gym Trainers to lead him through his training. Vivi was an impressive figure but she lacked the sort of elegance that had Victor swooning over Marigold and Nora. Victor is lead out of the Gym by Vivi and taken to a small clearing dotted with concrete blocks. Vivi wastes little time, a trait that Victor appreciated, quickly releasing a powerful Psychic Pokemon. The Slowbro was not what Victor had expected but it certainly seemed impressive. It demonstrated its strength and skill by using the move Rock Smash, causing a portion of one concrete block to crumble. Vivi gave a quick explanation on how Rock Smash was more about creating a weakness than strength and precision but both of those qualities were still going to be need. Victor released Shadowcaster from his Pokeball and ordered Soulblade to prepare himself.

"Alright you two, time to concentrate so we can learn how to use Rock Smash. Shadow you are going to have a hard time since you normally cannot learn this till you evolve, but I believe in you. Pair up with one of the concrete blocks for starters. Then a want you to pick a point in the block that you think is weaker, concentrate on that spot. Now prepare your strike, but don't strike yet. Move the blow in towards the block, then pull it back. Do that a few times, then when you think you are ready, give it a nice solid smack. We are going to keep doing this until Vivi says we are at least somewhat proficient at its use, give it your best."
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Old 03-25-2017, 03:31 AM   #216
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Vivi observes you from the side as you instruct Soulblade and Shadowcaster. Soulblade grates along his scabbard with a knowing gesture, but your Zorua is slightly apprehensive given his lack of physical experience. The two of them surround a block of your choosing, with the Honedge leading the way as he expertly scrutinises the concrete. Suddenly he lunges, but bears your instructions in mind as he halts himself in mid-air, makig sure to memorise the motions as he goes through them. Shadowcaster doesn't have as much luck as he fails to stop himself in the middle of his leap, crashing nosefirst into the block and tumbling backwards.

"It's not going to be easy for a Pokémon like your Zorua to pick up the skill," Vivi remarks. "Fighting skills tend to be preferable for users that have some physical bulk or forelimbs to use, and Zorua doesn't happen to fall into either category. Here..." Bringing Shadowcaster aside, the blackbelt directs Shadowcaster at a smaller block. "Don't worry if you don't quite get it at this point," she gently advises your Pokémon. "Wolsey didn't start out knowing Rock Smash before he evolved, either. The most important thing for you is to know your limits and work within them, before understanding how to surpass them."

You watch as Wolsey walks over to Shadowcaster, gently tapping the rock so it's easier on Shadowcaster. The Zorua tries to mimic his partner's example, circling the concrete like a hunter stalking its prey, before charging at the surface again. The approach seems to be easier on the Dark-type as he manages to leave a little crack on the concrete, the sight of which inspires him. He continues ramming into the hairline crack, eventually widening it after ten or so tries, the last of which sends a series of chips off the block. Conversely, Soulblade has already mastered the basics of the technique, spinning into a dive as he embeds himself into the concrete. One twister later, and the top half of the concrete separates into irregularly shaped parts that thud into the ground.

"That's that, then! Now, I understand that you also want to teach your Zorua a few other moves?" You run Vivi through your requests, handing over the passes. "Sounds straightforward enough. It helps that you've got some experience with teaching Flamethrower, so guiding your Zorua through the motions shouldn't be too difficult. As a bonus - Wolsey!"

The beckoning soon has Vivi's Slowbro rear his head back and spew a torrent of flames right in from of him, dissipating into acrid embers shortly after.

"Yeah, you'd be surprised at how many gasps I get when I reveal some Water-types have access to that move," she grins. "Foul Play, on the other hand, is another ball game since it relies on using the opponent's strength against them, so it's kinda like a "Counter"measure, except that it's proactive. Wolsey, show them how it's done!"

You wonder what's going to happen next, but this is quickly answered as Wolsey begins charging towards your group. Worry turns to surprise as Wolsey scoops his Trainer by her waist, flinging her as easily as a ragdoll. Luckily Vivi manages to turn this around by somersaulting over the grass instead of crashing, landing safely on her feet.

"There's really not much you can do about Foul Play without actually doing it, admittedly. Knowing how to reverse the effects of your enemy's power is something Dark-types tend to do best though, so if we help your Zorua keep at it for a bit it shouldn't take him too long to grasp the idea. Now, let's get back to work!"
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Old 03-27-2017, 07:04 AM   #217
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Victor watched closely as Soulblade and Shadowcaster attempted the use of Rock Smash. Soulblade eventually mastered the skill although Shadowcaster seemed to struggle even when Vivi moved him to a smaller target. Victor had expect such a result, he would wait till it evolved until attempting to use the move in the field or battle. It was time to move on.

Victor released Crimsonwing and Abysshunter from their Pokeballs. "Alright you two, Shadowcaster is going to practice using Flamethrower and you two are the targets, consider this evasion training. Crimsonwing use Tailwind and Abysshunter use Bubblestream. Alright Shadowcaster, time for you. Feel your body fill with heat, feel the warmth flow through your body. Fuel the fire with air, then when you are ready, let it rip. Guys once Shadowcaster has finished learning Flamethrower, let him practice using Foul Play against you. Crimsonwing go in for Pecks while Abysshunter you come in and try to bite."

Suddenly Victor remember that he needed to teach Soulblade a new move as well, an adaptation of the move they had developed for the Cerulean Gym. "Vivi if you don't mind keeping an eye on the others, I am just going to run through a new move with Soulblade. Alright buddy, remember Furious Thunder? Well we are going to make a new one, this one will be called Furious Phantom. Channel the ghost energy like you do for Shadow Ball and Shadow Sneak. Let it flow across your blade, then strike the concrete slab. Keep repeating it, feel the increase in power after every blow."

Victor was sure his training would pay off, but he needed to get it done so he could move onto more important things.
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Old 03-30-2017, 06:26 AM   #218
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Shadowcaster flicks the sweat off his fur, knowing that his training isn't over yet. Despite his recent addition to the team, he recognises your serious demeanour with his own, and prepares to engage adapting the unfamiliar moves. As a bonus, Crimsonwing breathes a jet of fire in demonstration, having had to learn the skill herself when she wasn't originally able to so the Zorua has some idea. The Dark-type goes through the same issues as the Fletchinder did before evolution, mere coughs of sparks and smoulders emerging from his throat. It doesn't take long before Crimsonwing realises that using full-blown Tailwind is making it harder for Shadowcaster to get any flames off, so she ceases her technique for the time being and instead practises her aerial dodging. Abysshunter has it a little easier when it comes to thought; while there are shards and slabs of concrete littered around the field isn't much different from the terrain he's already used to, so he focuses on making sure that he doesn't slide into something painful.

As this happens you instruct Soulblade for another combination technique, and he instantly grasps the nuance - he's already familiar with using projections of shadow energy, and with Furious Thunder under his belt it makes sense to utilise energy that he's elementally aligned to. Instantly he cuts through the air, a streak of lingering ghost power forming a sinister semi-circle as he slashes at the nearest concrete block. A single nick appears, followed by another, and another as the Honedge repeats the movement.

Satisfied, you turn your attention back to Shadowcaster as he issues a rivulet of burning miasma through the air, almost clipping your Fletchinder's wing as she manages a dive. It's far from perfect, but as is the case with Rock Smash you recognise that you might need to manage expectations this early on and hope Shadowcaster can improve further down the line. Starting Shadowcaster on Foul Play turns out to be much easier, since the Zorua is already capable of the underhanded discipline needed for the technique. As the Fletchinder comes in diving from mid-air Shadowcaster propels himself upward. The jump proves just enough to catch Crimsonwing unaware, and in a split second later Shadowcaster finishes his leap, continuing the momentum to nudge his training partner at the back of her head. The change in direction sends Crimsonwing crashlanding into the grass, a squawk of surprise muffled by dirt and weeds. The sight of distracted prey prompts Abysshunter to slither in, but your new teammate is more perceptive than the Huntail gave credit for. Just as the Water-type lunges, Shadowcaster dashes under his open jaw, ramming his forehead into into Abysshunter's chin. Painfully the deep sea predator feels his skull shudder from his attack being used against him, and flops to the side in surprise. As much as they're not quite happy about the idea of having their strengths turned so violently against them, Crimsonwing and Abysshunter reassume their positions to provide more attack stances for Shadowcaster to intercept.

"It's obvious that you're not a novice - I can see why you're so confident in thinking you can take on Anthony; your team is a strong one, including the members who don't have an inherent advantage," Vivi notes. "If the two of you clash in battle, I hope I'm there to watch. ...Well, what're you waiting for?"

Beckoned by Vivi, you retrieve your team back into their PokéBalls, not very keen to clue the Gym Leader in on your possible strategies if he didn't already read them from your mind. As Vivi parts the doors for you, your eyes dart around and locate Anthony's bulk from some distance away. At one end of the gym where a board has been put up, presumably for tracking scores and similar purposes, Anthony has assembled a group of twenty or thirty Trainers, Psychics and Black Belts alike.

"You took your time, Vivi," grunts the Leader. "...Think he's good enough?"

"You wouldn't have asked me to observe him if you didn't think so, Anthony," grins Vivi.

"Touche." You bristle a little as Anthony regards you with his piercing glare. "I take it that you're still interested in that scuffle you wanted? The truth is, we were about to embark on a significant project to prop up the city before it collapses on its last legs. So it might be a day or so, best case scenario, before I can entertain you. That is, unless you don't mind putting in a portion of elbow grease to help things along."
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Old 04-03-2017, 11:07 PM   #219
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Victor's team had trained well, Vivi was rather helpful and Shadowcaster was starting to look caught up to the pace. Victor recalled all of his Pokemon into their Pokeballs, pausing for a moment before recalling Shadowcaster. Victor dug the Darkinium Z Crystal out of his bag and handed it to the Zorua, they might need to try out the powerful Z move sometime soon. Victor quickly went over the dance like move he had to perform before recalling Shadowcaster and following Vivi back to the gym.

Unfortunately Anthony informed Victor that he would have to delay the Gym Challenge until he managed to take care of a significant project in the city. He offered the opportunity for Victor to lend a hand. If it meant that he would get to fight Anthony sooner, Victor was happy to do just about anything.

"I am happy to help you out however I can. Give me a job and watch me excel, I am not one to shirk away from hard work."
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Old 04-07-2017, 05:50 AM   #220
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Already feeling the rush from training, the reminder that you can't yet take Anthony on in battle annoys you. Nonetheless you agree to the Gym Leader's terms - not that there are many to go by, but anything to make the process go by quicker sounds good.

"Do what's told of you, and it'll be good enough for me. This isn't the kind of job where I can afford to an eye or brain on supervision," he grunts at you. "You'll be assigned to a team, and you will be briefed, work, and succeed alongside them. ...And keep your thoughts under control; you're going to give the sensitive mentalists a headache with those violent thoughts."

You rub the hair at the back of your head, somewhat sheepishly. Somehow, it feels like you're never going to get used to Anthony.

"Alright, now that the delay is over, we can finally bring everyone up to speed," Anthony growls as you walk over, wedging yourself between two other Trainers along a circle of others, surrounding a massive desk. Anthony drags his hands across the surface, revealing a held blueprint. You manage to recognise the layout of Saffron City, though many of the plots and markers are foreign to you given your recent entry.

"Saffron's been pretty bloody neglected compared to other towns to say the least. We've all pitched in hard as we can and I've seen good people leave our numbers for various reasons," Anthony declares grimly. "...That will have to change. If things go on as before the forest is going to swallow what's left of the city." He points at four clearly annotated sections, in the directions of a compass.

"The first priority will be to get our roads going again. Saffron's got history as the centre of the continent - you had to go through us to get anywhere, not to mention the old Magnet Train. Of course, the forest's in the way of that, and it's been a complete bitch trying to get any help down here." The muscular mindbender glances about to ensure he's got everyone's attention. "Cerulean's got the industry and resources to help us out, if they didn't have their heads shoved up their backside managing their maritime junk, so we'll have to cut our way through. These locations mark where the old gateways used to be, so - "

"Hold it, Anthony!"

The sudden shrill, indignant cry draws everyone's gazes back. You see a short, green-haired woman, glaring daggers at Anthony. Despite her diminutive stature of five feet, pronounced cheekbones and her alto voice suggest that she's older than she looks. Behind her stands a smaller group of Trainers - more Psychics and Blackbelts - who nonetheless share her equally defiant stare. "You did not inform us of this, Anthony."

"If I did, Bethany, would it have changed anything?" The leader grumbles as he drags his hand across his forehead. "I've already explained myself to you countless times. If you choose to find fault - "

"This is beyond us! This is beyond Saffron!" insists the woman, prodding an index finger into her open palm. "You are a seer as many of us are. You cannot ignore the signs that we've seen! A shroud of mist, soaked in the crimson shade of blood, casting its shadow across the lands. It writhes in the eye of our minds when slumber takes us, clawing for our throats! And now you want to take us into the forest to savage it?"

"We see a lot of things, and of all the mystical, nebulous dream garbage you could've picked, you had to go for the most inexplicable vision?" Anthony folds his arms. "I don't - Saffron doesn't have the time. This place is a wreck! No dream is going to change that, you know that much!"

"This land is now protected by nature itself! The plants and Pokémon are hostile only because the rage of the planet has spilled over after years of abuse and neglect. In here we are insulated from the rot that plagues the world. Peter was only the first of the many victims you will send to their demise, and when the crimson shroud comes for us, Saffron will perish!" screeches Bethany. "I tolerated your recklessness out of respect for your station. But my associates and I object vehemently! Your forces will not depart on this sacrilegeous mission and invite the forest's doom upon us!"

"And what will your associates do? Fight us? You're not mad enough to realise that you're outnumbered, Bethany. I know that much - most of what's left of our citizenry is far too pragmatic to align themselves with you," Anthony smirks. "And you know you'll never beat me at my best. Which means that you want a representative from each side to determine the outcome. Correct?"

"Y... you won't be so arrogant when our sister in arms takes your goon down a peg! Estelle!" At Bethany's beckoning, a wide-eyed girl shuffles in front of the group, somewhat reluctant to look at your side with her deep, purple orbs beneath her messy black bangs. She drops a Great Ball onto the floor, and out of the light stands a pastel humanoid creature who looks like it would belong in a circus. Red circles mark its cheeks and fingertips, and it waggles two dark protrusions on its head (which you're not sure is hair or ears). The Pokémon presses the space in front of itself, as if making an invisible wall.

"This is where you start." You feel Anthony's rough push behind you, and you stumble while trying not to fall on your face, leading you onto the impromptu battlefield to face Estelle.

"You place your faith in a complete newcomer? Ha! I knew it! You wish destruction upon us, filling your ranks with outsiders!" Bethany crows.

"This outsider has enough gumption to take on the Cerulean Gym, and clear the Sevii Trials. I don't expect a babbling recluse like you to appreciate the concept," Anthony sneers, then looks at you with a firm glare. The unspoken message is obvious: Don't let me down.
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Old 04-08-2017, 08:34 AM   #221
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As Anthony gave everyone the run down on his plan to re-establish Saffron, Victor had to give it to the Gym Leader, his plan was smart one. They surely couldn't allow Saffron to continue to fall to pieces, before long it would begin putting the lives of people at risk. If they could at least forge a road to Cerulean they would be able to get the resources and workers they needed to revitalize the city, it would probably help stimulate the local economy as well. Everything seemed right and ready to go when suddenly a stubby green haired woman barged her way in with no small amount of attitude.

The woman began to lock horns with Anthony, insisting that what he was doing was reckless. She brought up a vision that didn't seem to catch Anthony by surprise, psychics really had too much going on in their heads. Some sort of red shroud that would consume the city. The only way Victor could see it interpreted is a fire, although he was also pretty certain that he had no clue how to go about interpreting a psychic vision, even after his experience in the Psychic Trial. Victor thought Anthony was about to be dragged into a battle with the persistent woman, but instead it seemed that each was to choose a representative. A rather creepy looking girl shuffles forward, dropping a Pokeball to the ground to release a Pokemon just as creepy, a Mr Mime. Victor recalled a match he had seen on the TV when he was younger. Mr Mime vs Snorlax, at first he had thought Snorlax would win easily. However the Mr Mime used screen moves to effectively neuter the Snorlax before going in for the finishing blow.

A firm push to the back from Anthony sends Victor stumbling forward, it seemed he would be fighting for Anthony. "Do that again and you will regret it", thought Victor to himself, almost certain that the Gym Leader had been keeping tabs on his thoughts. Victor had hoped to get in some battle experience with Shadowcaster, but a type disadvantage was not something he was going to risk in such a situation. Soulblade was the obvious choice, holding a dual type advantage over the Mr Mime and possessing the ability to hit it on either side of the defensive spectrum.

"Alright, I'll bite", Victor unclipped Soulblade's Pokeball from the pommel of his sword. "I don't think Anthony is flawless, far from it actually, but I do think he knows what is best for this city. I am sure there is a way you can come to a compromise. What if you used your psychic abilities to manipulate the forest instead of carve through it? I'm sure something like that must have been attempted before, perhaps the Grass Pokemon experts of Celadon would be able to aid you in such an attempt?" Either way I doubt you are going to listen until I wipe the floor with your disciple." Victor hurled Soulblade's ball out in front of himself, bringing out the Honedge to help him cut the Mr Mime down to size.

"Alright Soulblade, no mercy here, I don't like the look of this girl." Victor had hoped to keep his fury cutter hybrid as a secret for Anthony, but he had a feeling that it would fail to surprise Anthony anyway. "Let's go, Furious Phantom followed by another Furious Phantom."
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Old 04-13-2017, 04:37 AM   #222
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You're not entirely too pleased at the prospect of Anthony essentially assigning you to be his personal bruiser, or at the idea of facing an opponent you can't use Shadowcaster against, but at least the opportunity to burn off some aggression is one you will relish. You take the chance to snipe Bethany for her decision, earning you a disgusted scowl but nothing more. Estelle is the one that has you concerned the most; she probably wouldn't be the opposition's choice fighter with no reason, and her dark expression certainly feels as though it conceals something more sinister.

Still, you have the perfect counter for her illusionary creature, and you send out Soulblade in a flourish of your own, the living weapon emerging with his tassel fluttering in mid-air. Your choice draws whispers and murmurs from the crowds on both sides, but Anthony and Bethany look squarely on. The background chatter only intensifies as you declare your order to your Honedge; Vivi is the only one who cracks a knowing smile, having witnessed your personal training firsthand. Everyone hushes as your Pokémon swings into action, leaving the confines of his scabbard to swipe at Mr. Mime, who can only brace the hit on its flimsy arms. The second blow comes just as hard and fast, brimming with the accumulated power just as you practised, pushing the humanshape Fairy backwards on its feet. Grunting, Mr. Mime glances back at its Trainer, whose only apparent reaction is to widen her eyes.

"Countermeasure determined." With the piercing, clinical manner of a machine, Estelle speaks openly for the first time, and it's as creepy as you expected it to be. "...Meditate, Copycat."

You tense yourself as Mr. Mime assumes a stance, pressing its palms together as its head formation wriggles with accumulated energy. Out of nowhere, it swings its palm like an assassin brandishing a dagger, an unmistakable spectral trail of energy emanating from its clenched hand and tearing at Soublade's exposed metal. A dull cry rings out as Soulblade recoils, just as surprised as you are as his new technique is turned against him.

"Commit to temporary memory. Mimic," intones Estelle. "...Psywave."
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Old 04-14-2017, 09:03 AM   #223
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Victor was surprised that his strange opponent let him land both of his hits without resistance. He had expected a screen to go up almost immediately, screens being a Mr Mime's bread and butter. Instead it decided to take the hits before boosting its attack power. It then replied by stealing Soulblade's own technique and turning it back on him, the super effective damage was somewhat surprising. Estelle seemed to be a very calculating character, Victor should have expected that from a Psychic Pokemon user. Soulblade's own ability would result in the Mr Mime being able to land the attack and increase its power, just like Soulblade. With the boost in attack, repetitive hits from the move would only get more painful, unless they were able to cut its attack down to size......

"Quick Soulblade! Will o wisp, followed by another Furious Phantom!"

Victor decided on a straight forward approach, wanting to keep his hands to his chest and limit the Psychic wielder's ability to turn his own strengths against him.
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Old 04-19-2017, 09:10 AM   #224
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Estelle's pragmatic, almost mathematical approach to the situation doesn't really come to you as a surprise, but the robotic veneer she seems to portray - plus her offensive stance, instead of playing to her Pokémon's defensive strengths like you were expecting - are odd, to say the least. But then Estelle looks as if she might have a screw loose, or wound up far tighter than necessary. You recognise, though, that her ability to turn Soulblade's attacks against him is annoying, and the least you can do is to make things harder for the mimicry mastermind. The Honedge raises another wave of murmurs as a sinister blue fire lights up around his tip, blossoming into a series of flames that head towards Mr. Mime. Caught in its meditative stance to remember Soulblade's signature move, Mr. Mime is given no opportunity to react to the flames as they sink into its body, and it flinches visibly while squirming on the spot.

Glaring, the partial Fairy gestures with its mysterious hands, and you see energy circles emanating from its fingertips. They glow with a virulent purple as they move, gaining in diameter as they charge at Soulblade. He lights up once again with the Furious Phantom technique, but his deviation from using the move costs him as he no longer has sufficient strength to cut through the attack. One, then another, then the rest of Mr. Mime's Psywave barrages into him, as if heedless of his metallic body's usual resistance to mental fortitude. You bite your lip, figuring that Estelle is much trickier than she's let on...
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Old 04-20-2017, 07:42 AM   #225
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The battle continued to play in their favour, helped by the Mr Mimes avoidance of its defensive capabilities. However Victor knew it wouldn't be wise to drag this battle out, it would only serve to allow the Mr Mime to make further use of its tricky nature, this match had to be finished quickly.

"Alright Soulblade, time to push the offensive! Iron Slash followed by a Shadow Ball, then follow that up with another Iron Slash!"

Soulblade may have the type advantage, but Victor felt like the Mr Mime had more tricks up its sleeves than it was letting on.
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