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Written Story Kalos Teen Gijinka Showstoppers; an X/Y Gijinka Duallocke

Thread Description
Two very different Trainers compete in the glamorous and dramatic Kalos League; updates weekly

llyarden

Perpetual Lurker
Writer
Pokédex No.
169
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
176
Nature
Lonely
Pronouns
He/him
Pokémon Type
Dark, Dragon
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #41
Eurwen was a little relieved to see Steph awake and about the next day - albeit only briefly, since rather than eating with them the way she had the first day she took a small amount of breakfast and went back to her room to keep working. There was a part of Eurwen that couldn't help but find it odd how quickly she'd grown familiar with Steph's playful-verging-on-amorous behaviour, but that didn't stop her missing it.

"Is it just me or is Steph being kind of...withdrawn?" Tierno asked, when the others came down for breakfast.

"Not just you," Julian nodded.

"Yeah, I thought she was your agent?" Kamon asked. "I have some friends in the League who say their agents are pretty much always trying to get on screen, even though the Defenders aren't allowed to appear until we leave our first regions. I've barely seen a minute of her." He sounded disappointed enough that Eurwen found herself clenching one hand into a fist until she realised what she was doing.

"Did you upset her?" Zeus asked, looking at Eurwen.

"What?" She glared at him. "What makes you think I would've upset her?"

"You've been flirting with her every five minutes ever since I met the two of you," he pointed out.

"I wasn't - we weren't flirting!" Eurwen protested. "That's just Steph being...Steph!" Was it, though? Or had Steph actually been flirting with Eurwen? Had Eurwen been flirting back? More importantly, had it been working? She shook her head slightly, trying to drag her train of thought back to the present and the irritated look Zeus was giving her, lightning-bolt tail twitching behind him. "But no, I haven't spoken to her since the evening the roundup aired. I've barely even seen her."

"She's been doing a lot of work on our footage," Shauna piped up. "Like, a lot. Like, literally every scene any of us have been in she's gone over."

"I thought she said there was AI for that?" Eurwen wasn't entirely sure who she was asking.

"There is," Trevor nodded. "Almost all of the arrangement of footage and music is done by AI. My sister took part in the League five years ago," he explained, "and she showed me how it worked. Remember, before this year teams had to work on their own footage as well as actually competing in the League unless they could hire a proper agent, so they had to make it simple enough that that would be possible. And I checked - the programs to edit our own footage are still available and we can still use them, so I don't see any reason that Steph wouldn't have the same benefit."

"Maybe she doesn't trust the AI to get it right?" Julian shrugged. "I guess she doesn't really have much else to do as our agent at the moment, since she's not allowed to be on camera. Or maybe she doesn't want to just sit around and watch us do stuff when she isn't allowed to take part."

"Maybe," Eurwen muttered. "I just...it feels bad she seems to be working the whole time while we're enjoying the League."

"Well, in fairness, we haven't been doing much new since I recruited Artie." Then Julian smirked. "But I've got an idea on how we can deal with that. There are two challenges that I've had an eye on - one I'm gonna do this morning, the other I was wanting us to take on tomorrow as a pair, Eurwen."

"I thought most of the team challenges didn't start until Santalune?" Eurwen asked.

"They don't - except this one. It's called a Boss Challenge."

Cyr - Chespin, Male, Overgrow, Naive, Capable of Taking Hits
Miro - Caterpie, Male, Shield Dust, Naughty, Sturdy Body
Sam - Fennekin, Male, Blaze, Lonely, Likes to Thrash About
Artie - Scatterbug, Female, Shield Dust, Modest, Sturdy Body
Kamon - Panpour, Male, Gluttony, Relaxed, Loves to Eat
 

llyarden

Perpetual Lurker
Writer
Pokédex No.
169
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
176
Nature
Lonely
Pronouns
He/him
Pokémon Type
Dark, Dragon
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #42
So apparently I forgot to post here at all last week, but while I focus on the end of Path to the Stars and the start of the new run that will come after it, I'm going to drop Showstoppers down to updating once per week.

Julian insisted that Eurwen come along to the special challenge he was doing that morning. "So, you know how normally you recruit Pokemon by beating them in the recruitment challenge?" he asked, rhetorically. "Well, that's not the only way you can recruit Pokemon. Some Pokemon are considered powerful and beneficial enough that you have to complete extra challenges before you can recruit them at all. And then some Pokemon are allowed to come back from prior seasons as 'advanced allies,' wearing special bracers that suppress their Essence down to an appropriate level for their team. Recruiting an advanced ally is kind of a pain - but it's worth it if we can pass the challenges."

As it turned out, 'kind of a pain' was almost an understatement. It transpired that the advanced allies, as something of a payment for having to put up with the Essence blockers, were allowed to determine their own recruitment challenges - with the only restriction being that they had to be absurdly tortuous. This particular one first mandated they go into the forest, following a convoluted and confusing treasure map, dig up a series of heavy 'bags of treasure' before hiking back to Aquacorde on foot.

Steph didn't show up, or respond to Julian's messages with anything more than sharp responses that she was busy, and Eurwen was pretty frustrated by the whole affair by the time they were back in Aquacorde and being introduced to their new teammate.

"Is your name seriously 'Quacklin''?"

He was probably the oldest contestant they'd met, a few years older than Eurwen and Julian, with bare arms that had rows of feathers down the back and a dark, V-shaped pattern across his face over his eyebrows. Their Pokedexes registered him as level 10 with the Essence blocker, though Eurwen would guess his true level was probably somewhere in the low 20s.

Quacklin' sighed. "My Trainer last year liked giving us cutesy names."

The embarrassed expression on his face almost made up for all the jumping through hoops they'd had to do to recruit him. Almost.

"So you only took part last year?" Julian asked. "That's pretty rare, isn't it?"

For a moment Eurwen could've sworn Quacklin' looked...shifty, almost. "What can I say? I can't get enough." He gave what was evidently meant to be a disarming shrug. "So, uh...who's who here?"

"Me, Cyr, Miro," Eurwen answered, bluntly. "And we're gonna go train since you wasted half the morning." The other two didn't argue.

"Sorry about her," Julian said, once Eurwen was safely out of earshot. "We were kind of hoping us recruiting an advanced ally would catch the attention of a friend of ours, get her to come out and have fun with us, but..." He gestured around. "No such luck. Anyway, I'm Julian, this is Sam and Artie."

"Nice to meet you," Quacklin' nodded. "And it's no big deal. Having friends around is important. More than anything else."

There was an almost...pained...look in his eyes when he said that. It reminded him a lot of Eurwen. Julian tried to ignore it. "So what are your caps?"

"What can you do?" Artie asked, almost at the same moment

Quacklin' seemed happy to be back to safer topics. "Oh, I'm capped at one level below the highest-level Pokemon on the team, up until I get to level 25. As for what I can do..."

He'd had a baton strapped to his back ever since they'd met him, and in the blink of an eye and a whirl of Flying Essence he had it drawn and whipping down to send a wave of coalesced air sweeping along the ground. Artie let out a started "Eep!" as the whirling winds he'd created around them almost bowled her off her feet, and Quacklin' looked sheepish.

"Watch it, genius," Kamon snarked. Julian wanted to believe he was actually concerned about Artie and not just saying it for the sake of making himself look better, but before he could say anything, Quacklin' had hastily reached down to offer her a hand up.

"Agh, sorry! Thought the blocker would make that fine for you to be that close! I guess it wasn't as weak as I thought."

Julian could almost see the cogs turning in Artie's head as she started to go for her instinctive response that it was her that was weak before consciously stopping herself, accepting the Flying-type's offered hand to pull herself back to her feet. "It's okay," she said instead, simply, though they could all hear the pain in her voice.

"So you can channel Essence through something you wield?" Sam asked, half curious, half trying to keep the peace. "That's pretty rare, isn't it?"

"It's a species thing," Quacklin' nodded.

"You mind giving me some tips some time? Once I evolve I should be able to do the same, and...well, it'd be nice to know what I'm trying to do."

"Sure."

Cyr - Chespin, Male, Overgrow, Naive, Capable of Taking Hits
Miro - Caterpie, Male, Shield Dust, Naughty, Sturdy Body
Sam - Fennekin, Male, Blaze, Lonely, Likes to Thrash About
Artie - Scatterbug, Female, Shield Dust, Modest, Sturdy Body
Kamon - Panpour, Male, Gluttony, Relaxed, Loves to Eat
Quacklin' - Farfetch'd, Male, Keen Eye, Jolly, Alert to Sounds
 

QuietGuardian

Johto League Champion
🌱Featurer
Screenshotter
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
33
Caught
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
1,368
Nature
Careful
Pronouns
he/him
Pokémon Type
Dark, Ground
Hm, wonder what's up with Steph. And I hope Artie gets to evolve soon so she can hopefully shed her inferiority complex.
 

llyarden

Perpetual Lurker
Writer
Pokédex No.
169
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
176
Nature
Lonely
Pronouns
He/him
Pokémon Type
Dark, Dragon
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #44
QuietGuardian - Yeah evolving would definitely help Artie a little. Steph's issues are a...little more complicated.

Eurwen moved Miro off learning to extend his String Shots and on to trying to block attacks, in a similar way to how she'd been preparing Cyr to learn Rollout (albeit somewhat the other way around in terms of Essence), getting him to cross his arms in front of him to block her attacks - at first just letting him hold still while she struck him, but then she started getting him to twist and move to block her. It was exactly the same as how she'd trained Cyr; since his crossed arms tended to catch her baton rather than deflecting it, she encouraged him to push his Essence to throw her off and let him have a second or two to catch his breath when he managed - and just like she pressed Cyr when he got his footwork wrong, she could use the leverage of her baton to push Miro off-balance if he didn't manage to throw it off.

The Caterpie couldn't stand up nearly as long to Eurwen's attacks as Cyr had, and eventually he backed off, half bending over, panting heavily and holding up a hand in surrender. "Okay...okay! You...win!"

"Not about winning or losing," Eurwen corrected him calmly, looping his outstretched arm around her shoulder and leading him over to one of the benches for him to sit down. "It's about getting stronger, and you're doing that just fine. Five minute break, and then we go again."

"If it makes you feel better," Cyr said, sitting down next to Miro and offering him a water bottle, once Eurwen was off collecting the frisbees for Cyr's training, "she can do that to me just as easily."

Miro looked sideways at him while he tried to catch his breath, gratefully accepting the water. "So...that was...her holding back?"

He chuckled. "Yup. She does that with me too."

"What...is she?"

Cyr shrugged. "Don't know. I scanned her after the first time she knocked me on my ass, but my 'dex didn't register her as a Pokemon. My guess is...whatever happened in Kanto, it forced her to learn to wield Essence."

"You mean like...one of those...Aura Guardians?"

"Pretty sure those are just in the movies, but yeah." Miro finished the last of the bottle of water and took the next one Cyr offered wordlessly. "You want some advice from someone with all of two days' more experience in getting my ass kicked by Eurwen? Go take a shower, let yourself cool off."

"She said five minutes."

"She'll be fine with a couple more. Just don't spend, like, half an hour or something."

Eurwen got Cyr knocking frisbees out of the air with his vines again while Miro was gone - he still wasn't great at it, but he was getting better slowly. When the Caterpie came back, looking at least a little less worn down, Eurwen tossed one more frisbee for Cyr before approaching the Chespin. "When I tell you to, I'm gonna move to the right - I want you to attack him with both vines as a thrust, hard as you can."

"Wha...but I'll hurt him," Cyr protested. "I know he's resistant to Grass, but he's still a lot weaker than me and he's already low on Essence. Wrapping him is one thing, but pummelling him will flatten him."

"You won't," Eurwen promised. "Trust me. I won't get you to attack unless I know he can handle it. Same as how I didn't get you to try to use your Rollout before your Essence had settled."

Cyr did trust her, but before she started sparring with Miro again, she whispered something in the Caterpie's ear too. What was she planning?

Miro was obviously still exhausted from the first round of sparring, because he was moving a lot slower, and Eurwen kept her attacks slower to match him - but made up for it with power, and each of her hits knocked the Caterpie off-balance, and she let him stagger back before following up with another. It was only a couple of minutes before she looked back to Cyr and made sure he and Miro were facing each other directly. "Ready?"

Cyr let his vines spiral out of his wrists. Miro shifted position, moving one leg back and half-crouching, eyes closed with his arms crossed.

"Now!"

Eurwen hopped aside and Cyr sent his vines across the training ground - and Miro was engulfed in blazing white light and Cyr felt his vines hit something hard and get stopped cold, making him stumble from the hit to his Essence.

When the light faded, Cyr could see Miro still standing there, in the same pose - except now he had a rigid, off-green carapace covering most of his body.

Cyr - Chespin, Male, Overgrow, Naive, Capable of Taking Hits
Miro - Metapod, Male, Shed Skin, Naughty, Sturdy Body
Sam - Fennekin, Male, Blaze, Lonely, Likes to Thrash About
Artie - Scatterbug, Female, Shield Dust, Modest, Sturdy Body
Kamon - Panpour, Male, Gluttony, Relaxed, Loves to Eat
Quacklin' - Farfetch'd, Male, Keen Eye, Jolly, Alert to Sounds
 

llyarden

Perpetual Lurker
Writer
Pokédex No.
169
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
176
Nature
Lonely
Pronouns
He/him
Pokémon Type
Dark, Dragon
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #45
"You evolved?!" Cyr laughed, surprised, and ran over to give the new Metapod a congratulatory clap on the armoured shoulder that felt like he was hitting a statue. "Wow, that's awesome!" He gave Eurwen a mock glare. "And you didn't tell us?"

"Evolutions are more likely when they occur on pure instinct and Essence. Knowing it's going to happen spoils it." Eurwen gave a casual shrug. "So what was that you were saying about how you were going to 'flatten' Miro?"

"Yeah, yeah," Cyr grumbled, good-naturedly. If Miro had been tough before, Cyr had no idea how strong he was going to be now.

"Um, could you guys give me a hand?" Miro asked. "This carapace is...really stiff." Cyr wasn't entirely sure he could even move.

"Yeah, we can help with that," Eurwen reassured him. "It'll never get totally comfortable for you to move with it active, but by tonight you should be able to suppress it. Ideally you'd want to learn to internalise it the way Cyr has his shell, but with any luck you'll have evolved again before too long."

Eurwen was expecting Miro to evolve again soon? "Uh, we can help how?" Cyr asked, aloud, wishing he'd looked up more about Caterpie.

They helped Miro sit down on the bench again (easier said than done when he couldn't really bend all that much), and Eurwen pulled a couple of small bottles out of the bag she'd brought with her. "So, first things first...Metapod are pretty rare in that your carapace usually doesn't come with nerves, unlike most Essence-shaped anatomy to begin with." She ran a finger down his armoured upper arm. "You feel that?"

"No. Uh, should I have?"

"No," Eurwen told him. "It's a good thing you can't - if you could, it would mean you'd have to be put under anaesthetic for this to be done and honestly I have no idea how that would work with the League rules about not getting external aid. Basically, what we need to do is to force your limbs to flex back and forth, the way they would naturally, and see where the carapace has grown too much or shaped wrong." She glanced at Cyr. "Under normal circumstances I'd say a Metapod's carapace would be too strong for you to budge with your vines given the type disadvantage, but you have such a powerful grip with them that you might be able to, and it's better if this is done by Essence than physically, because his Essence won't react as much to being pushed back by another Pokemon's Essence." Cyr couldn't help but think back to what he and Miro had been discussing. Surely Eurwen could manipulate Essence too? "But if not then bare-handed works too, just a little less effectively."

Cyr tentatively reached out one vine, a little awkwardly, spiralling it around Miro's closer arm, and tried to force the Bug-Type's arm to flex. The carapace stayed rigid and unmoving, even when he pushed all the Essence he could into it.

"That kind of tickles," Miro remarked. Cyr gave him an annoyed look.

Eurwen chuckled. "Your vines are strong, but they aren't that strong - especially when you're trying to squeeze his carapace as much as make it bend." She sat in between them, forcing Cyr to reach around her. "Easier for you to reach round me with your vines than me to reach round you," she pointed out. "Look, put one vine on the inside of his elbow here so you can pull down, wrap the other one so it's pressing against the underside of his forearm and upper arm, and I'll stop you losing your grip. Now you pull."

Miro's carapace was incredibly tough, even with Eurwen showing Cyr how to brace himself properly. If it wasn't so...well, awkward...it would make for really good resistance training for his vines. As it was, Miro gritted his teeth as they forced his arm to flex - his hands were as trapped by the carapace as the rest of his body, but Cyr was pretty sure he would've clenched his fists if he could. "That...actually felt good," he admitted, once Cyr stopped squeezing with his vine. He sounded surprised.

"Evolution is never perfect, no matter how controlled an environment it's done in," Eurwen explained. Cyr had heard that before, at least. "And your body knows your Essence screwed up a bit when you evolved. Releasing endorphins when something goes against the little mistakes in your new body is your body's instinctive way of showing you what to fix, even if it is uncomfortable. Now pull his arm back," she added to Cyr, shifting her position so he could still properly manipulate the Metapod's arm. "See where the carapace has gone paler? That's where there shouldn't be carapace." She opened one of the bottles she was holding. "You might want to move your vine - this stuff weakens Essence-formed matter."

"Uh, couldn't this be done in a League medical centre?" Miro asked, looking suddenly a lot more nervous as Cyr hastily retracted his vine.

"Where d'you think I got this stuff from?" Eurwen retorted. "I looked this up - Trainers are perfectly allowed to administer medical treatments. So are Pokemon, for that matter. I just had to prove I was gonna need it in the near future with your biodata and answer some questions about Caterpie and Metapod to prove I knew what the dist I was doing." She nodded to the other bottles that she had rested in her lap. "Now one of the other ones is about ten times as concentrated as this. That one needed even more proof I knew what I was doing."

And she did - she carefully dripped the brownish-orange liquid onto the pale part of Miro's carapace, rubbing it in with a cloth. "Now we keep flexing your arm until that bit of carapace dissolves into Essence or snaps off. If it dissolves back into Essence you absorb, then great; if it breaks, which is a lot more likely, that's when we break out the stronger stuff to stop it regrowing."

"This is gonna take a while, isn't it?" Cyr asked. They'd probably been going five minutes already and it sounded like they were only partway through treated a single joint.

"Yeah," Eurwen shrugged. "It's gonna be the same for you when you evolve, from what I've been reading. Actually, probably harder to deal with since your shell will still be internal."

It probably took them the better part of an hour before Miro was able to move with some degree of freedom. "Okay." Eurwen handed Miro the last of the three bottles, which she hadn't touched. "Fill the sink in your room with hot water, add a few drops of this."

"What is it?"

"It's Essence suppressant. If you concentrate on suppressing the carapace on your hands when you put them in the water, and concentrate on growing it when you take them out, it should help you learn to suppress the carapace on your hands so you can move a little more freely. The League staff that gave me this stuff also said they'd called over to let you have a couple hours in a bigger room with a bath in the hotel, so you can run yourself a bath with the rest of the bottle and do the same thing, getting in and out and suppressing and growing the rest of your carapace. If you can get the hang of it quickly enough, you ought to be able to surprise everyone at dinner by sprouting a carapace out of nowhere."

Miro smirked. "I like the sound of that."

Cyr - Chespin, Male, Overgrow, Naive, Capable of Taking Hits
Miro - Metapod, Male, Shed Skin, Naughty, Sturdy Body
Sam - Fennekin, Male, Blaze, Lonely, Likes to Thrash About
Artie - Scatterbug, Female, Shield Dust, Modest, Sturdy Body
Kamon - Panpour, Male, Gluttony, Relaxed, Loves to Eat
Quacklin' - Farfetch'd, Male, Keen Eye, Jolly, Alert to Sounds
 

llyarden

Perpetual Lurker
Writer
Pokédex No.
169
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
176
Nature
Lonely
Pronouns
He/him
Pokémon Type
Dark, Dragon
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #46
"I don't think I've ever heard of a Pokemon evolving before the first weekend," Cyr said to Eurwen, quietly, once Miro was safely on his way back to the hotel.

Eurwen gave a small shrug. "Caterpie evolve early. He'd just tipped over level 7 when we prompted it. I was looking at the leaderboards. Most of the starters on serious teams like ours are level 10-odd by now, and secondary Pokemon like Kamon and Miro are up to level 7. Why would it be so unusual?"

"There are power requirements to be a starter, and level 2-3 Bug-Types like Miro and Artie wouldn't be able to pass them," Cyr explained. "And a lot of people won't have even recruited new Pokemon yet - even among those that do, most people don't pick a weak Bug-Type as their second partner."

"Julian did," Eurwen pointed out.

"Julian's only still in the League because of you showing him how to win challenges with Artie and Sam," Cyr retorted. "Sam told us," he explained. "I bet if you look up other competitors that did the same, most of them will have tanked their success rate."

Eurrwen sighed. "He was just stressed. Once he cooled off he was fine. Speaking of Julian...he mentioned wanting us to do a Boss Challenge tomorrow. You know what that is? I couldn't find anything on it in the rules."

"I don't think it's an official term," Cyr explained. "Basically, it's where the challenge is to beat a much stronger opponent. Usually with two or three Trainers at a time - and that assumes two to three battlers with each Trainer. They're really rough," Cyr added, as if that wasn't clear enough from his description.

"You don't think we can win, do you?"

Cyr sighed. "If we'd practiced fighting with Julian's team, maybe, especially if it's an opponent we have a type advantage against. As it is...I don't know. Beating the starting region's Boss Challenge in the first week has only happened a couple of times in the past few years - most people don't even try, and among those that do it's something like a half-a-percent success rate." He trailed off, shifting slightly, winding one of his quills around his fingers.

"What?"

"Well, it's...kind of like being endorsed by Brigitte. Of the groups that have done it, at least one team in each group has gone on to beat the Champion. It'd mean a lot more focus on us. Again. But..."

"You want to try? To beat the Champion, I mean?"

He nodded. "Yeah. I...to be honest, I never really thought about it. You know - or, well, I guess you don't - in about 2500 Trainers, maybe three or four beat the Champion. And it's something like...usually all but one of those ditch their starter over the course of the League, or the starter drops out because they have to deal with stuff happening in their life outside the League. A chance of one in 2500...I guess I didn't really think it was worth thinking about."

"But now you do?"

"I've been watching the League since I was a kid - I know they don't show all the really boring training stuff unless something interesting happens, but you know more about this than anyone I've ever seen on the League. Like I said, a Pokemon evolving before the first weekend is unheard of, far as I know."

Eurwen gave a small, gentle smile. Would he be so complimentary if he knew why and how she knew all this? "So you want to go after the Boss Challenge with Julian?"

"Well...I do, but there's one problem." He turned his Pokedex to show her the challenge in question.

"The Boss is a Fire-Type."

Cyr - Chespin, Male, Overgrow, Naive, Capable of Taking Hits
Miro - Metapod, Male, Shed Skin, Naughty, Sturdy Body
Sam - Fennekin, Male, Blaze, Lonely, Likes to Thrash About
Artie - Scatterbug, Female, Shield Dust, Modest, Sturdy Body
Kamon - Panpour, Male, Gluttony, Relaxed, Loves to Eat
Quacklin' - Farfetch'd, Male, Keen Eye, Jolly, Alert to Sounds
 

QuietGuardian

Johto League Champion
🌱Featurer
Screenshotter
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
33
Caught
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
1,368
Nature
Careful
Pronouns
he/him
Pokémon Type
Dark, Ground
I can't say I've ever thought of starters as being, well, just that—something that Trainers just start out with and drop later on. Game Freak's made them powerful enough to be worth keeping on for the whole game (usually). I wonder how Cyr and Sam will end up in this story.
 

llyarden

Perpetual Lurker
Writer
Pokédex No.
169
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
176
Nature
Lonely
Pronouns
He/him
Pokémon Type
Dark, Dragon
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #48
Oh yeah in a normal runthrough the starters are pretty decent, but in a Nuzlocke where most deaths aren't going to be represented by actual in-story deaths... 😈

"Is this really a good idea?" Eurwen asked Julian, when they met back up that evening. "My entire team - all two of them - are weak to Fire."

"Yeah, I know," Julian nodded. "But type advantage means basically nothing against a Boss. They're never going to land a serious hit on their challengers anyway - if they did it would wreck anyone they hit, resistance or not. If Cyr can get up to speed with Rollout he should be able to do most of the work chipping away at the Boss's Essence, and the rest of the teams just need to keep the Boss's focus away from him. Sam and Kamon should be able to cover him for a while, and I have Potions I can deploy if I need to."

Eurwen frowned at him. "You don't exactly sound confident."

"Well, I guess I'm not, but that's kind of the point of the Boss Challenges. They're designed to be almost unbeatable. That's why they award so many Tokens. I know you have your 100% completion rate and everything, but...this could be really good for us."

Eurwen sighed, looking over towards Cyr. She knew he wanted to take on the Boss, but she hadn't seen Miro since he'd evolved. Even if he wasn't going to have much part in the challenge, she still wanted to ask him if he was okay with them taking part.

It was another half-hour or so after they'd all gotten back before Miro emerged - now looking like he had earlier that morning. "Hey, Artie!" He promptly sought the Scatterbug out. "Check this out!" Bug Essence played around his arm and it was clad in his hardened carapace.

"Wha..." Artie rapped his carapace with her knuckles, and looked up at his grin. "You evolved?!"

That got the attention of more than just the others in their group, and pretty soon Miro found himself the centre of attention - a role he evidently rather enjoyed.

And despite it all, Steph was still nowhere to be seen.

Eurwen slipped out while everyone was congratulating Miro, buying another round of takeout and taking it up to Steph's room. She could hear fragments of audio being played from Steph's Pokedex, which cut out when she knocked on the door.

It was the first time she'd seen Steph up close - and awake - since they'd spoken following Brigitte's endorsement of Eurwen and Cyr. She looked...tired. And stressed. "How'd you get my room number?"

"I asked reception," she answered, entirely truthfully. "Figured you wouldn't come down for dinner." Eurwen proffered the bag. Steph's nose twitched when she caught the smell and she sniffed, inquisitively. "Feel free to steal it if you want," she added.

"Thanks. I've just been...busy." Steph reached out and took the takeout bag without any of the playfulness and teasing Eurwen was used to. Just before she got away, Eurwen caught the Eevee's hand in hers. Somehow it took a lot more courage to do that than it had to block Julian. She tried to push away how disappointed she was when Steph didn't hiss at her.

"Have you gotten more than...like, half an hour's sleep the past couple days?" she asked, pointedly.

"Uh...yeah, probably?" Steph shrugged. "Look, now the League's started seriously I've got to work on all your footage."

"Says who? No-one else's agents are spending every waking minute on this."

"If they want to do a shit job, that's fine by them. I don't."

"You said it was done all by AI anyway."

"Yeah, and what if the AI misses something?" Steph sighed. "Look, you have no idea how important it is to get good footage for the League, Eurwen. It can literally mean the difference between a career after the League and...nothing. I can't screw it up for you."

"I'd rather you enjoyed the League too."

Steph gave her a small smile. "Thanks." But then her eyes hardened. "But it isn't just you. Julian, Shauna, Trevor, Tierno...I'm responsible for their footage too, remember? And they don't have the luxury of Brigitte Duchamp's endorsement or the third person in the entire League to evolve."

The Eevee's expression was somewhere between fierce and resigned, and Eurwen knew her well enough by now to know that she had no intention of changing. "Promise me you'll at least eat this?" she asked.

Steph gave an over-the-top, exasperated sigh, but she reached over with her free hand and patted Eurwen's hand. "Promise."

Cyr - Chespin, Male, Overgrow, Naive, Capable of Taking Hits
Miro - Metapod, Male, Shed Skin, Naughty, Sturdy Body
Sam - Fennekin, Male, Blaze, Lonely, Likes to Thrash About
Artie - Scatterbug, Female, Shield Dust, Modest, Sturdy Body
Kamon - Panpour, Male, Gluttony, Relaxed, Loves to Eat
Quacklin' - Farfetch'd, Male, Keen Eye, Jolly, Alert to Sounds
 

llyarden

Perpetual Lurker
Writer
Pokédex No.
169
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
176
Nature
Lonely
Pronouns
He/him
Pokémon Type
Dark, Dragon
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #49
When Eurwen came back down to the common room where most of the League contestants were congregating, it was with her laptop. "Hey, Trevor, can I ask you something?"

Zeus evidently still didn't like her, because he glared at her when she sat next to him, but he didn't answer on his Trainer's behalf. "Um, sure?" Trevor replied, rather quizzically.

"Not about the League or anything," she added, which mollified the Pikachu somewhat. "I was wondering - is it possible for me to connect to you guys' Pokedexes with the messenger program on my laptop?"

"Wow, old-school," Zeus remarked, evidently interested despite himself. Since it was probably the first time he hadn't said something snarky at her, she elected not to point out that it was the latest model in Kanto.

She handed it over for Trevor to...peer at bemusedly. "That's going to be really hard to tell you when it's all in Kantan," he pointed out.

"Oh, uh...hang on."

Once she'd switched the laptop to use Kalosian instead of Kantan, Trevor got to work, browsing through nested settings windows a dozen windows deep and occasionally looking things up on his Pokedex. "It should be possible, yes," he announced, after a few minutes. "The two apps are derivations of the same open-source code, so the messages use the same encoding. In essence, all you'd need to do is find the internet address of the servers we use and append a 'dex ID to it to form the full address, the same way as you can use it to communicate with a landline number." He tapped a few more buttons on his Pokedex and Eurwen's laptop, and then Eurwen's laptop chimed. "It's a bit fiddly, but most of us are in a chat group anyway, so if I add you to that you should be able to talk to whoever you want."

Eurwen smiled. "Thanks, Trevor. You're the best."

"You do realise she doesn't have even the slightest interest in you, right?" Zeus pointed out, once Eurwen had taken her laptop and left.

Trevor sighed. "I know."

It was like Shauna all over again.

Cyr - Chespin, Male, Overgrow, Naive, Capable of Taking Hits
Miro - Metapod, Male, Shed Skin, Naughty, Sturdy Body
Sam - Fennekin, Male, Blaze, Lonely, Likes to Thrash About
Artie - Scatterbug, Female, Shield Dust, Modest, Sturdy Body
Kamon - Panpour, Male, Gluttony, Relaxed, Loves to Eat
Quacklin' - Farfetch'd, Male, Keen Eye, Jolly, Alert to Sounds
 

llyarden

Perpetual Lurker
Writer
Pokédex No.
169
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
176
Nature
Lonely
Pronouns
He/him
Pokémon Type
Dark, Dragon
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #50
Walking Encyclo has added #27399/1467446122.
Default alias used for #27399/1467446122.


19:24 - Eurwen: ...hi?

19:24 - Walking Encyclo: This is just between the five of us. There's another chat with all the Pokemon in too.

19:25 - Walking Encyclo: This is Trevor by the way. Bows is Shauna, The Queen is Tierno and Future Champ is Julian.


19:26 - The Queen: If you're wondering about the names, we've had this chat since high school and we agreed we'd each pick each others' aliases.
Trevor was supposed to be Walking Encyclopedia but there's a character limit.


19:28 - Bows: O cool ur here now! 🎉

19:28 - Eurwen: Only on my laptop. I wanted to ask you guys something.
Also I don't know what the square is supposed to mean.


19:28 - Bows: 😕

19:28 - Eurwen: Yeah, that one.

19:29 - Walking Encyclo: I guess your version of the app can't render emoticons.
The first one was a party popper, the second one was a confused face.


19:30 - The Queen: *Eurwen is typing*
You're as bad as Julian with the text walls. 😛
That was a face sticking its tongue out at you.


19:32 - Eurwen: So, I spoke to Steph. She's being really...intense...about working as our agent and making sure our footage is the best it can be. I think she's going over it all manually, like you said, Shauna. I'm not even sure she's slept much since the first day. :(
But she pointed out that it's all our footage she's working on, not just mine. So...can I ask you guys a favour?


19:33 - The Queen: You want to be able to show her a chat window of us all telling her to stop making herself miserable and enjoy the League with the rest of us?

19:34 - Eurwen: Yeah.
Can we add her to a chat window?


19:34 - Walking Encyclo: Can we wait?
Just until we get out of the first region so she can start taking part in the challenges in her Masked Defender persona.

19:35 - Walking Encyclo: I realise it may seem cruel, but she's obviously dedicated to working as our agent. Us turning around and telling her we don't want her to do this...that could hurt her.


19:35 - The Queen: That's not what we'd be telling her though.

19:35 - Walking Encyclo: It's what it might look like to her.
If she's running around with us and having fun, maybe she'll relax a bit on her own.
The same as you did, Eurwen.
If she doesn't, then I'm happy for us to make the point to her.


19:36 - Eurwen: Fine, but how long will it be until we can leave Aquacorde?

19:36 - Bows: Up to u.

19:36 - Eurwen: O-o?
That's a confused face by the way.


19:37 - Future Champ: The two of us are the only ones who don't yet have the three Progress Tokens to move on. That's part of the reason I want us to do the Boss Challenge - if we win it, we can have enough Tokens to qualify us for the challenge to progress to the second area: <link>

19:37 - Eurwen: "You do not have access to view this page."

19:37 - Walking Encyclo: I think you'd have to open it on your tablet.

19:38 - Walking Encyclo: But to save you the bother of copying that long string of numbers, it's a challenge that will accrue all three Progress Tokens if you pass it, and potentially lets you recruit a new Pokemon if you do well enough.


19:40 - Eurwen: So, Boss Challenge tomorrow, then?

19:40 - Future Champ: 👍

19:40 - Bows: That was a thumbs up.

19:40 - Future Champ: adi

19:41 - The Queen: Maybe Steph'll be excited enough at the idea of you doing the Boss Challenge that she'll come to watch?


Cyr - Chespin, Male, Overgrow, Naive, Capable of Taking Hits
Miro - Metapod, Male, Shed Skin, Naughty, Sturdy Body
Sam - Fennekin, Male, Blaze, Lonely, Likes to Thrash About
Artie - Scatterbug, Female, Shield Dust, Modest, Sturdy Body
Kamon - Panpour, Male, Gluttony, Relaxed, Loves to Eat
Quacklin' - Farfetch'd, Male, Keen Eye, Jolly, Alert to Sounds
 

QuietGuardian

Johto League Champion
🌱Featurer
Screenshotter
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
33
Caught
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
1,368
Nature
Careful
Pronouns
he/him
Pokémon Type
Dark, Ground
I like how you occasionally switch up the format with these chat segments. (I'm guessing they're easier to write, too, since it's just dialogue and no narration.)
 

llyarden

Perpetual Lurker
Writer
Pokédex No.
169
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
176
Nature
Lonely
Pronouns
He/him
Pokémon Type
Dark, Dragon
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #52
Thanks! And it's definitely a fun change of pace, though honestly I have to keep remembering the gang's online 'voices' lol.

Tierno's hope was in vain. Steph didn't emerge from her room beyond a vague "I'll see the footage later" through the door when Eurwen went to ask her if she was coming.

Eurwen tried to put her thoughts of Steph out of her mind, though it was rather difficult when part of the reason she was even agreeing to do this was for her sake. Cyr had no such objections - type disadvantage or no type disadvantage, he was obviously looking forwards to getting to rev his Rollout up to full power. Assuming he didn't just get blasted out before he had the chance too, of course, but making sure that didn't happen was Sam and Kamon's responsibility.

When Eurwen saw their opponent, she found herself significantly less confident in their chances of victory. No matter how much she knew that the Boss wouldn't fight seriously against them, no matter how many times Cyr and Julian had reassured her that the challenge wasn't designed to be unbeatable...

She glanced at her Pokedex. Their foe was a fully evolved Pokemon, and probably higher level than the three Pokemon facing her combined.

Every instinct she had, every bit of experience, told her they should run. Not walk into the lion(ess)'s den - and it was a literal den, probably the most impressive feat of set design she'd seen from the League thus far, an above-ground fake cave that looked like it had been blasted in a furnace. Soot - or at least some environmentally-friendly facsimile - puffed up around their feet with every step they took, just now beginning to settle as they faced off against the woman at the other end of the cavern.

"Well, now," the Pyroar mused, leaning back casually against the opposite wall of the fake cavern. "Two Trainers and three Pokemon against little ol' me." She clicked her fingers dramatically and a flame burst into life above her hand, blazing white hot, powerful enough that the five of them could feel the heat radiating across the arena. "This oughta be fun."

The Overheat - flung up over their heads and detonating harmlessly, if intimidatingly, in a blaze of wasted Fire Essence that rained down on the forcefield protecting Eurwen and Julian - was the signal to start the battle. Cyr started running immediately, almost before Eurwen remembered herself enough to call for a Rollout, while Kamon and Sam spread out on either side of her, launching blasts of fire and water that she probably didn't even notice. She flicked a ball of flame past Sam as Cyr let the Rock Essence of his Rollout cover him and hurtled straight at her - and held out her other hand and stopped his attack cold.

"A Grass-type with a Rock move, huh? Well, that's somethin' you don't see every day."

"Push back and let her Essence knock you away!" Eurwen called out, wishing she could leave the shielded area to see what was going on more closely. But Cyr obeyed, bouncing away rather than burn up his Essence against the Pyroar's, rolling past Sam and taking a wide arc around the cave.

"I'm here too, you know!" Kamon complained, blasting a high-pressure Water Gun across the cave once Cyr had passed behind him. The Pyroar met it with a Flamethrower, and even with her Essence weakened from her Overheat and the type disadvantage she beat him easily, pushing him back - literally, his trainers scuffing against the ground as the recoil from his Essence overcame his physical strength.

Why wasn't he dodging? Eurwen frowned, glancing over at Julian, but he either hadn't noticed the situation or didn't realise how dangerous it was. But the Pyroar did, and made a sharp gesture with one hand, pushing enough Essence into her Flamethrower that she could control it and sending it arcing up into the ceiling, taking Kamon's Water Gun with it, and the resulting explosion knocked him to the ground, his Essence depleted.

Impulsively, Cyr shifted slightly to one side, passing by the Pyroar by an inch instead of hitting her. No matter how important it was to win, Cyr would've felt bad getting a free hit on her for saving Kamon from his own arrogance. He half expected Eurwen to scold him for it, but she didn't say anything. Maybe she was just waiting until the cameras weren't watching, since it wasn't as though within the story of the show the Pyroar would've been being careful like that, but...that kind of careful thought with regards to the show's continuity didn't exactly fit Eurwen. And he was pretty sure she'd noticed he'd missed deliberately.

The Pyroar noticed too, glancing at him as he hurtled past - and was a little surprised to see a genuine smile there, just for a moment before she replaced it with the cocky smirk she was putting on for the cameras.

"What's the matter?" she called out to him, as he ricocheted off the far wall and angled back towards her. "Afraid this big, bad Rollout of yours ain't gonna scratch me?"

If he was entirely honest with himself, he was, especially now he was having to do another circle of the cave and getting more time to think about it. Boss Encounters were notoriously difficult. But - especially since she hadn't struck at him to knock him out of the Rollout even though she easily could've as he'd rolled past - he pushed every bit of Essence he could into the bubble that was almost pure golden light now, and slammed into the Pyroar as hard and fast as he could.

So, obviously you don't actually fight a Pyroar in like the first town, but there was a Litleo kinda off on a side path who kicked the absolute stuffing out of both teams (I mean okay it didn't help that Eurwen's team were both weak to Fire, but Kamon really did get wrecked too) before being beaten. I was honestly wondering if I was going to end up losing Pokemon before even getting to the first gym.
Cyr - Chespin, Male, Overgrow, Naive, Capable of Taking Hits
Miro - Metapod, Male, Shed Skin, Naughty, Sturdy Body
Sam - Fennekin, Male, Blaze, Lonely, Likes to Thrash About
Artie - Scatterbug, Female, Shield Dust, Modest, Sturdy Body
Kamon - Panpour, Male, Gluttony, Relaxed, Loves to Eat
Quacklin' - Farfetch'd, Male, Keen Eye, Jolly, Alert to Sounds
 

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