IC - Sonja Baron (Loki)/Maddison Hayes (Jynx) - Fortree City, Ground Level:
"You sense nothing because your mind is closed off," Hayes said. "And it is that same closure that hampers your ability to understand the greater world. Jynx, Protect!"
As the flaming boar bore down upon her, Jynx threw her hands up again. Again she produced a field of protective energy, the field cascading into existence around her until the very ground was touched. Yet even with the Protect in place, the force of Boarlite and Monstro's attack knocked the Humanshape Pokémon back several steps, a clear strain on her mind.
And it was here that Sonja saw her chance.
"That only works once, Sophia!" she called. "Loki, take her out!" The Fighting-Type grinned and nodded, charging forward. As the last vestiges of Jynx's Protect dispersed into the air around her, Loki appeared in front of her. He moved too fast for her to react, slamming his canes into the ground and then clasping his hands above his head, before bringing them down upon the ground before him. Even with Jynx's attempt to dodge, she could do nothing to stop the resulted Stone Edge that erupted underneath her, throwing her backwards.
She landed with a heavy thud against the ground, her lack of movement indicating that she was stunned from the impact. Yet soon she managed to recovered, shakily pushing herself onto her knees. Teeth clenched, she raised her hands, launching forward a triplet of Nasty Plot-enhanced Ice Beams, which struck her three opponents. Loki's grin vanished as he became encased in ice, left to only stare out at Hayes and Jynx.
At the very least, the Humanshape Pokémon collapsed after the attack, fainted from the exertion.
Hayes recalled her, her expression betraying no anger. "Well done," the Second Child said. "Now onto the next." She hurled another Poké Ball forward, this one containing her Kricketune. The Bug-Type brandished its razor-like arms threateningly, clearly remembering the last time it had seen Evan and Sonja.
"Can you keep up whatever momentum you think you've got?" Sonja asked. She, too, recalled her Pokémon, and after careful consideration, sent out Athena. The Pidove fluttered through the air for several seconds before landing, her chippy expression slowly dissolving as she became aware of the tense atmosphere around her, as well as the presence of her fully-evolved opponent.
"If you're going to send out first-stage Pokémon against the rest of my team, then yes, I can."
Sonja did not respond to this. "So what's this 'greater world' that we don't seem to be able to understand?"
Sophia did not respond to this.
IC - Esen Windred - Dendemille Town, Abandoned Windmills:
As a Flying-Type specialist, Esen had spent countless hours studying various Pokémon of the type, learning their behaviors, their calls, their abilities--everything she could possibly need to know to create effective bonds with them should she ever find them in her possession. Noivern were not an exception. It had been through those hours of study that she had convinced herself of the need to own a Noivern, recognizing how beneficial its power would be for her in future situations.
It was those same banks of knowledge that made her--and by extension Bat--hesitate to attack this particular Noivern.
Most may have read its initial actions toward her as aggressive, and responded in kind. But Esen could tell that something was off. The Noivern growled at her, clearly disliking her presence in the windmill, yet the noise brought with it more of an air of suspicion than it did a sense of territorial conflict. The look in its eyes, too, was not anger--merely confusion. As if he had seen her kind and knew it to be an enemy, yet did not specifically recognize her.
Like a very specific someone had made transgressions against it--as evidenced by the burn marks on its side, where it seemed some sort of cattle prod had applied.
That was why Esen eased up, keeping her own careful eye on the Pokémon as she raised her hands, aiming to demonstrate that she meant no harm. The wild Pokémon, in turn, circled around her, watching her very, very carefully. Finally, it dared to approach, almost eliciting a sharp hiss from Bat that only stopped at a quick "Shh!" from his trainer, who slowly held a hand out.
The Noivern eased as it sniffed her palm, apparently deciding that she could be trusted.
"Good girl," Esen said, finally releasing the breath that she had not known she was holding. "It's okay. You have every reason to be wary of me. But I don't want to hurt you." She reached into her bag, producing a Rawst Berry. "Here--this should help you, if you'll take it."
Though hesitant, the Sound Wave Pokémon eventually accepted, eating the berry from her palm. It even allowed Esen, smiling, to gently rub her head.
"I think I can understand what you've gone through," she said, quiet. "You're by yourself, and someone took that as an invitation to hurt you. Didn't they?" She sighed. "Seems like that's all there is to people these days . . ."
The Noivern did not seem to be paying much attention to her. But she did suddenly lift her head up, a look of alarm in her eyes as she to look toward one wall. With a frightened chirp, the Pokémon turned and fled, hiding among the rafters again. Esen stared after her, and then followed where her gaze had been, listening. At first she could not hear much of interest. Gradually, however, the trainer became aware of many bat-like cries, slowly dispersing. Then, moments later, the sound of a running truck began to stand out.
She furrowed her brow, confused, and then glanced up at the Noivern, who had turned to look at her again with suspicion. Esen held a hand up. "Stay here," she said, and then turned, hurrying outside. Bat stared after her, not immediately following. Instead the Swoobat looked back up at its fellow bat, sending a short, telepathic message to her before following after his trainer.
IC - Ethan Worth (Serena, Céris)/Gavin Braner (Irest, Ithes)/Skye Hall (The Human Torchic)/Leigh Rosemary (Carnivine)/Rocket Strike Team Alpha (Jenner/Marowak, Nakamura/Kingdra, Dufour/Weezing, Venet/Stantler) - Celadon City, Streets:
The particular street of Celadon City upon which Ethan Worth, Gavin Braner, Skye Hall, and five other Rocket Agents composing Strike Team Alpha could be described at this instant with one word: Bedlam. Even with each combatant limiting their self to roughly one Pokémon each, they each found it extremely difficult to keep track of what was happening and when it had happened.
The breakdown went as thus:
Gavin Braner + Irest and Ithes v. Agent Nakamura + Kingdra and Agent Dufour + Weezing
For Gavin, these opponents were not particularly difficult. Each was hindered by separate circumstances, and thus his number of variables were limited--it was merely a matter of getting his opponents down and out. It was a maneuverability issue; for though the Water-Type and Poison-Type could both float, their ability to navigate the storm of snow rested on their ability to combat the blowing winds, which was easier said than done. This was not necessarily a problem for either Ithes or Irest.
This would not take long.
"Ithes, Hydro Pump on Weezing!" the Rocket Agent called. "Irest, Cross Poison to Kingdra!"
"Weezing, Sludge Bomb!"
"Dragon Pulse, Kingdra!"
The two sides charged and launched their attacks. It was a fairly typical affair: The Hydro Pump and Sludge Bomb collided, the former winning out yet still missing due to Weezing's dodge. As Irest charged, the Kingdra launched a Dragon Pulse, striking him in the chest though not fainting him. And from there it continued like that, for a rather inordinate amount of time--a series of attacks and counterattacks that dealt little damage and accomplished virtually nothing of value for either side.
Clearly, this would require something different.
Like a shurikan.
"Ithes, Rapid Spin on my signal! Irest--throw him!"
The Drapion gave Gavin a look suggesting he was insane, though decided to go along with the move anyway. Picking up the Water-Type, he took careful aim--and then began to spin, building up momentum. Finally, he let go, successfully launching Ithes in the direction of their opposition.
And that was when Ithes began to spin. Powered by the throw, he slammed into Weezing, launching the Poison-Type backwards. Ithes's own spinning allowed him to redirect his course, bouncing back and striking Kingdra in the head. The Dragon Pokémon fell to the ground, fainted from the impacted, while Weezing huffed as it struggled to rise again. Seeing this, Irest charged forward, slamming the Poison-Type into the ground with his tail. The attack managed to knock it out.
"Impressive!" Nakamura called as he recalled his Kingdra. "But can you defeat this so easily?" He reached for another Poké Ball on his belt, as did Dufour.
Gavin whistled, sending Ithes hurtling forward again. The Starmie slammed into both Rocket Agents, winding them and knocking them to the ground.
"Honestly," he said. "I'd prefer it if we could cut some corners here." With that, he recalled his Pokémon, hurrying away.
Skye Hall + The Human Torchic v. Agent Leigh Rosemary + Carnivine
This was perhaps the most difficult fight that Skye had taken part of, even considering Havoc. At least against her opponent there, she had had others to back her up; but now? Now she was expected to take on this Agent Rosemary by herself, and she was not entirely confident in her ability to do so. The Human Torchic seemed to shiver in the cold, clearly not used to the snow, and this overall discomfort did not appear to be lost on the Rocket Agent.
"Looks like your friends've abandoned you," Rosemary said. Her own Carnivine spun in the air, shivering more than Torchic for entirely different reasons. "You sure you don't want to give up, kid?"
"I feel that would be counter-intuitive to my well-being," Skye said. "Moreso than an actual battle. If that makes sense."
"I get it," Rosemary said. "You want a chance to defend yourself. Maybe to even prove yourself." She smirked. "Admirable, but unwise--as you're about to find out. Carnivine, use Crunch."
On the order, the Grass-Type lunged forward, large mouth wide-open. The Human Torchic cheeped in suppressed fear at the daunting sight, before kicking backwards, causing Carnivine to slam into the ground. A cloud of snow and dirt erupted upward from the impact, forcing Torchic to turn to avoid being blinded. Skye, too, covered her face.
"Torchic, use Ember!"
The Chick Pokémon puffed up, releasing a short burst of flame at his target. Though it struck, Carnivine did not seem fazed by the attack, instead merely pushing itself up from the ground and shooting forward again. Though Torchic dodged, this time the Grass-Type nicked his side, causing the Fire-Type to grimace in pain. He continued to pelt the Bug Catcher Pokémon's hide with small fire balls, each one proving just as ineffective as the last.
Rosemary laughed. "You see, kid?" she said. "You're not going to beat me--that Torchic of yours just isn't strong enough." The Rocket Agent's uncrossed her arms. "Carnivine, hit it with Power Whip!"
With what sounded like a cackle, the Grass-Type thrust its arm sideways, a powerful vine erupting from its hand and slamming against Torchic's frail body. The attack sent the Fire-Type reeling past Skye, who could only bring herself to watch in shock as the small bird skidded to a stop behind her, with no signs of movement.
"Torchic!" she cried, running to his side. Skye crouched down beside him, gingerly picking up the Fire-Type and cradling him in her arms. She was surprised to find that he was still conscious, and just barely able to move his head in order to glare at the Carnivine who had injured him. He made a slowly and pained motion, clearly trying to get back to his feet. "Torchic, no! You're too hurt to do anything else."
Despite her pleas, the Chick Pokémon continued to struggle against her hold. His desperation--his clear desire to protect his trainer, futile as it seemed--shocked Skye, and she could not help but feel her throat slowly clench, a sensation accompanied by the tears welling in her eyes.
"Torchic . . ."
Across the field, Rosemary sighed. "Enough of this," she said. "Carnivine, finish them off."
Skye gasped. She turned just in time to see the Grass-Type lunge again, mouth open and ready for another Crunch--this one aimed at her. And in that moment, she knew true powerlessness.
Torchic suddenly stopped, his eyes growing wide as he watched, as if in slow motion, the impending death of his trainer. Millions of thoughts ran through his head, all of them centered around the same, single concept:
He took a deep breath, opening his beak. While he had intended another Ember to fly, instead he produced something much more helpful: A blazing stream of fire. The Flamethrower attack caught the Carnivine dead-on, burning its face and causing it to divert its course, landing several feet away from where Skye and Torchic sat. The trainer stared, baffled, at the injured Grass-Type, and then turned her head to Torchic as a warm light enveloped his form.
"Torchic . . .?" she said. "You're . . . You're evolving?"
So he was. His body became bipedal, claws growing larger, arms sprouting from his body. At last, Skye held not a Torchic, but a Combusken--one still badly injured from the battle, but still energized by his transformation. Gently, he pushed Skye's hands away, and then rose to his feet, taking a moment to gain his balance. At the same time, Carnivine stirred, slowly recovering.
Rosemary blinked away her surprise, shaking her head. "You're lucky, I suppose," she said. "But this won't change anything."
The Human Torchic growled in response. Skye looked between her Pokémon and Rosemary apprehensively. Finally, she settled on the enemy trainer. "I wouldn't be so sure about that." She pushed herself up. "After all, the hero always wins in the end."
Though starting slowly, Combusken finally gained enough momentum to slam into the injured Carnivine, knocking it back into the snow. He wasted no time in reaching down, taking hold of the Grass-Type's vine-like legs and beginning to pull, and then spin. Soon he had gained enough speed to launch it into the air, where he finished it off with another Flamethrower. Rosemary had only a moment to step out of the way of the burning Bug Catcher Pokémon before it landed on her, unfortunately still catching the brunt of the searing flames in the process. She cried out in pain, gripping her burned nose, and barely managing to recall her Pokémon before fleeing, calling for medical attention.
Combusken smirked after her, though soon collapsed to his knee, prompting Skye to run to his side again. This time, however, she smiled, wiping away the last vestiges of the tears in her eyes. "Buddy," she said. "That was amazing." Combusken chirped happily at his trainer. "Let's get you healed up, okay?"
Ethan Worth + Serena and Céris v. Agent Jenner + Marowak and Agent Venet + Stantler
The biggest problem with these second-rate Rocket Agents, as Ethan had discovered, was that they were not at all against the idea of using their ill-begotten "Executive privilege" to justify lethal force. At least, this was the case with these particular Agents, Jenner and Venet, who had taken to pulling their pistols on him in addition to sending their Pokémon after his own.
Thus this battle had become less about his ability to effectively command Pokémon and more about how well he could put the advanced CQC training he had received into practice.
Part of that involved free-running and--more useful at the current moment--taking cover. Which he was now doing. Celadon was great for this in that the city was dotted with various decorative statues, many of them set beside the streets. Currently, he hid behind a large, bronze sculpture of a Vileplume, a monument that had been erected in honor of Erika some time ago. The sound of shots echoed through the air every few seconds, and those shots, too, were dotted with the occasional clang of metal striking metal--bullets bouncing off of said Vileplume statue.
He was not alone in attempting to deal with this inconvenience. Céris darted around his Marowak opponent, sidestepping attacks as quickly as he could whilst simultaneously attempting to work his way in Ethan's direction. This was proving to be extremely difficult, as the Ground-Type was quickly proving itself to be more than capable of matching the Scizor's speed with equally strong attacks. Céris would dodge around one Bone Rush, only to find himself just within the path of a Fire Punch, which would then shift into a localized Earthquake that required him to jump backward to avoid taking damage.
All in all, his defensive game was being pushed to the limit.
Serena was not fairing much better.
It seemed that Venet's Stantler held some sort of grudge against the Deerling's evolutionary line, as it had slipped into a sort of bull-like rage upon seeing her--quite a strange sight for a reindeer, all things considered. Few blows had been traded thus far, as after the first few--including a Jump Kick that had dealt somewhat serious damage to Serena--the Deerling had fled, turning their battle into an all-out chase. She darted to and fro, weaving about where she could in an attempt to lose her pursuer; all the while, the Stantler merely growled, continuing after her, its horns and snout constantly glowing with the ready signs of some unknown attack.
Her situation was not invisible to Ethan, who found that he could only shout out orders until an opportunity arose for him to strike. And knowing all that he knew about the current situation, he could see that the key to their victory rested on one simple part of the equation: Serena's ability to get that Stantler off of her trail.
. . . Of course!
"Serena!" he yelled. "Camouflage!"
The Deerling looked up in surprise, only briefly catching a glimpse of his encouraging nod as she passed by. But that was all she needed, as the move's utility registered to her. Taking a deep breath, she concentrated, working to become one with her surroundings.
Stantler slid to a halt as the Deerling's color changed, allowing her to blend in almost perfectly with the deep snow around them. The one tell-tale sign that could have given her away immediately--her footsteps--would not betray her, for it seemed that she was taking care to tread only when and where it could not see her movements.
Appropriately, her ambush came by total surprise--a Grass Whistle that carried with the howling wind, almost inaudible. But it worked. The sensation of music and snow melded together in the Stantler's head, instantly throwing it into a half-asleep state from which it struggled to escape. Frantic, the Big Horn Pokémon launched off a Thunderbolt in front of it, scorching the earth and sending up a cloud of snowy dust. Serena responded with another Grass Whistle. This time, the Stantler could not resist the move.
It fell to the ground.
And with herself free, Serena could turn the tide.
First she charged Céris's opponent, finally reappearing into full view. The Marowak grunted in surprise as she slammed into its side, knocking it back. With a grateful nod at the Deerling, Céris lunged, using his own Agility and Double Hit combination to turn the tables on the Ground-Type. The Bone Keeper Pokémon responded in kind, swinging its marrow weapon in time enough to match each of the Scizor's hits. Eventually,Céris stepped back, letting the Marowak's momentum carrying it forward, before using the opening to slam a Night Slash straight into the Ground-Type's stomach, launching it across the field.
That left only Ethan to save.
Serena led the way, Céris directly behind. Neither of Ethan's opponents appeared to have noticed their Pokémons' defeats, instead choosing to continue focusing on attacking the Final Rocket. And for a moment, it seemed that no even the charging Scizor and Deerling could distract them. That was, at least, until said Deerling's body began to glow brightly, becoming engulfed in a rainbow of white, green, red, and orange. This finally got their attention, the bright rays briefly blinding Céris, Jenner, and Venet, so much so that they could not see her body grow larger, fur growing longer, horns elongating--and it was these that she used to knock their guns out of their hands.
And there's my opening.
Ethan wasted no time in darting out from behind his hiding place, making a beeline for the enemy Rockets. Though he was unused to running in snow, and almost slipped several times, he forced himself on, using his momentum to tackle Venet to the ground. Rolling off of her, he swept his foot under Jenner's, tossing him off balance; he soon fell, hitting his head against the ground hard enough to daze him. As Venet moved to retaliate, Ethan grabbed a handful of snow, tossing it in her face and briefly blinding her, granting Ethan enough time to swing his leg around again and slam his shin against the Rocket's head, knocking her to the cold ground.
Céris offered his trainer a hand, pulling him to his feet. Ethan panted, taking a moment to catch his breath before nodding in approval at the Scizor and now-Sawsbuck. "Great work," he said. "Now it's time to find the others."
Trainer: Ethan Worth.
Appearance: Serena looks like a normal Sawsbuck in all of her forms.
Personality: Serena is very careful, much like a normal deer would be. She takes her time studying others before getting near them, so as to be better prepared in case they try to do anything to her. Generally, Serena is kind and gentle, though a little icy around strangers. She has taken quite a liking to Ethan since joining his team, and feels fully at home amongst her fellow Grass-Types; as such she is extremely loyal to him and would lay down her life if his became threatened.
Ability: Serene Grace.
Specialty: With her evolution, Serena's speed and attack power have increased tremendously. Her defenses are no longer as fragile as they once were, though she still finds it difficult to take too many hits without fainting. Her support attacks are more developed, allowing her to utilize them more effectively than she could before.
Known Moves: Nature Power, Aromatherapy, Jump Kick, Horn Leech, Grass Whistle (Egg Move), Megahorn.
Camouflage > Nature Power
Double Kick > Jump Kick
Take Down > Horn Leech
The Human Torchic:
-Torchic > Combusken
--Ember > Flamethrower
--Peck > Double Kick
--Quick Attack > Slash
IC - ??? - Celadon City, Streets:
So it seems that we have a deadlock: Pawns all placed such that any move results in a counter, no side gaining nor losing significant ground.
He stopped. From the balcony he stood upon the battlefield did, indeed, reveal its secrets; and though he had only a limited view from which to directly observe, those steps and movements within his domain told him much more. And so it was thus that allowed him to know and make his proclamations.
Both sides move without clear objective--one merely to defend, one to destroy. This must change if my own is to be completed.
He held a hand out, the snow and shadows coalescing into a purple Poké Ball. This he threw, the motion commanding it to open and unleash its contained servant into the world. The light within materialized into a Rapidash, outfitted with riding gear fit for a one of prestigious descent--as he was. The Fire Horse Pokémon's warm breath showed against the cool air as it breathed, a steady stream that shuddered only as he climbed up and into the saddle, taking her reins in his hands.
Let the fire guide them forth through this, the most dangerous of storms.
With his gentle prodding, she moved, the pair making their way through the building and towards their destination . . .
Relinquish that human self which remains. The all-consuming hunger will wait no longer; it is time to accept that which you know to be your true nature: The voracious beast that knows only its own need for unattainable contentment . . .