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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
224
Nature
Lonely
Pronouns
He/him
Pokémon Type
  1. Dark
  2. 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withdrawn?"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
224
Nature
Lonely
Pronouns
He/him
Pokémon Type
  1. Dark
  2. 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
1,447
Nature
Careful
Pronouns
he/him
Pokémon Type
  1. Dark
  2. 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
224
Nature
Lonely
Pronouns
He/him
Pokémon Type
  1. Dark
  2. 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
224
Nature
Lonely
Pronouns
He/him
Pokémon Type
  1. Dark
  2. 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
224
Nature
Lonely
Pronouns
He/him
Pokémon Type
  1. Dark
  2. 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
1,447
Nature
Careful
Pronouns
he/him
Pokémon Type
  1. Dark
  2. 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
224
Nature
Lonely
Pronouns
He/him
Pokémon Type
  1. Dark
  2. 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
224
Nature
Lonely
Pronouns
He/him
Pokémon Type
  1. Dark
  2. 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
224
Nature
Lonely
Pronouns
He/him
Pokémon Type
  1. Dark
  2. 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
1,447
Nature
Careful
Pronouns
he/him
Pokémon Type
  1. Dark
  2. 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
224
Nature
Lonely
Pronouns
He/him
Pokémon Type
  1. Dark
  2. 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
 

llyarden

Perpetual Lurker
Writer
Pokédex No.
169
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
224
Nature
Lonely
Pronouns
He/him
Pokémon Type
  1. Dark
  2. Dragon
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #53
The massive hit to Cyr's Essence from the impact left him woozy, and he stumbled back, dimly aware of someone saying something but not able to parse the words, half trying to turn away from the Pyroar and finding himself almost losing his balance from the movement -

And then someone caught him, gently setting him down on the floor, faux soot puffing up around him. He blinked once or twice as things started to come back into focus. There were a couple of League medical staff checking over Kamon, but the Panpour was already sitting up and being fussed over by Julian and the rest of his team. And Eurwen -

"Ow!" he yelped, as he realised that she was right next to him, pressing the tip of a Potion injector against his arm.

"It doesn't hurt that much, dude," Miro commented, drily. He wasn't wrong, of course; it was more the surprise than anything else. But Cyr still found himself flushing, embarrassed.

"So did...did we win?" He tried to peer up towards where the Essence readouts were displayed to the audience, but they'd already been turned off.

"Yeah, we did," Eurwen answered. "Sam and Kamon didn't even make a dent, but that Rollout just about brought her -" she nodded towards the Pyroar, who was off backstage getting her 'sooty' makeup re-done in preparation for her next challengers (not that Cyr expected there to be many of those) "- below two-thirds Essence." Even knowing that that was the criteria for victory, Cyr still couldn't help but feel a little frustrated that what was undoubtedly the most powerful attack he'd ever used had barely even fazed the Pyroar. "That extra circuit you did is probably the only reason why we won," Eurwen added, off-handedly.

"Oh. I, uh...I didn't actually -"

"Yeah, we know," Miro interjected. "Or, well, Eurwen knew and she explained it to me, more like," he admitted.

"I...kinda thought you'd be mad." Cyr looked over at Eurwen, swaying slightly as she helped him back to his feet.

"Kamon could've got really hurt if she hadn't manipulated the blast like that," she answered simply - though there was a lot more anger in her tone than he'd expected. "I thought the whole point of the League was it was safe. That you guys were trained better than that."

Miro and Cyr shared a look. After a moment, Cyr sighed and spoke up. "We are, at least a little, but the League coaching is limited," he explained, "and they focus mostly on how to fight Pokemon your own strength safely, not ones that could squash you in one attack if they wanted to. For stuff like these Boss Challenges, it's up to the opponents to pick up the slack. They're trained to be careful."

"All the same, if you'd actually hit her at the wrong moment..." Eurwen trailed off, looking at Cyr. "And I'm guessing you aren't going to get any actual recognition for doing the right thing there," she added, acerbically.

"Don't be so sure." Miro pulled out his Pokedex, browsing through it briefly. "This kind of thing does happen occasionally, and yeah, in the League itself no-one's going to make any mention of it, but if enough people watch the footage, someone out there will be smart enough realise what happened. And with this being a first-region Boss Challenge, you can pretty much bet that a lot of people are going to be watching it. Ah, here it is." He flipped the holographic screen of his Pokedex around so Eurwen could see some sort of chart. "Something similar happened last year, something that wasn't quite dangerous enough for the League to stop the fight but still risky. This guy -" he gestured to the photo of a posing man with pale blue hair and a long, black tail "- ended up actually losing the challenge to make sure his teammate was good. League didn't give an official response, but for the next week or so, he got heavily promoted. Advertising, sponsorships..." Miro swiped through a few charts. "It all skyrocketed. Ironically, they probably did way better off the added promotion than he would've if they'd passed the challenge to begin with."

"So, wait, are all of us tracked on sites like this?" Eurwen asked. That was...something she hadn't really considered happening.

"Sure. I mean, it's all unofficial so they do miss a few things, and there won't be many records for us yet to begin with since it's so early in the season, but I can probably find our entries - oh, dear." Miro cut himself off, looking towards the entrance to the false cavern as a severe-looking woman in a dark suit stalked forwards towards Kamon and the rest of Julian's team. They saw her coming too, and Kamon - who had, it seemed, been mid-way through an exaggerated retelling of the battle from his perspective - fell quiet.

"Who's she?" Eurwen asked, softly, as the woman conferred briefly with the medical staff before speaking quietly to Kamon and then leading him - and Julian - away and out of the event grounds.

"League adjudicator." Cyr looked back to Eurwen. "I guess the League agrees with you that that was dangerous. Well, it could be for a dozen things, but given the circumstances...yeah, it's either a crazy coincidence or a dangerous battling warning. There are a few things the League can slap you down with warnings for," he continued after a moment, remembering that Eurwen probably wouldn't know the intricacies of the League's adjudication system either. "Dangerous battling is one of them. Get three warnings and you're kicked out of the League."

"So, wait, Julian's getting punished too for Kamon being an idiot?"

Cyr really hoped that there weren't any cameras recording right now. There shouldn't have been, but it wasn't unheard of for one to stay rolling and the footage to make it out into the public domain.

"Probably not," Miro answered, after a few moments of consideration. "We're expected to be able to battle safely on our own, without a Trainer having to give us warnings. But Julian is Kamon's Trainer, so it'll be marked on his record in case there's a recurring pattern with other Pokemon on his team."

"I'm guessing he's not going to be happy about 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
224
Nature
Lonely
Pronouns
He/him
Pokémon Type
  1. Dark
  2. Dragon
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #54
Eurwen's guess that Julian wasn't going to be happy about the dressing-down he - and Kamon - evidently received from the League adjudicator was, perhaps unsurprisingly, accurate. It definitely didn't help matters that Kamon, despite being the one to actually receive an official warning, immediately started boasting about how awesome he'd been to the others, and Eurwen couldn't really blame Julian for giving his team the rest of the day off and disappearing into town somewhere on his own.

The one good thing that came of it was that Steph finally emerged from her hotel room - though this might just have been because she had to report to one of the League buildings to be given her official 'Masked Defender' costume. Still, she was obviously excited about the prospect of getting to join in the League for real.

"Ta-da!" she announced, as she returned to the group, now dressed in an all-white outfit that made her brown tail stand out all the more as it swished behind her. "Behold, your Masked Defender...uh, damn it, I forgot what my name was meant to be. Don't laugh!" she complained, as they tried to suppress grins at her aborted introduction, but her tone was lighter and her eyes more animated than Eurwen had seen her almost since before the League had started, and Eurwen couldn't help but smile. "Hey, could you give me a hand with the stupid scarf, Eurwen?" Steph added, making her jump slightly.

"Uh, sure," Eurwen replied hastily, trying to ignore the amused smirk on Cyr's face as Steph led her away from the others.

Steph's scarf was a golden brown, shiny enough that it didn't risk looking the same as her tail even from a distance, which was fortunate because it was taller than the Eevee woman herself. "How much scarf do they think you need?"

"Well, it's gotta billow dramatically without coming loose," Steph shrugged.

"Wouldn't it just get caught on stuff if you're having to run around?" Eurwen had seen a couple of the more weirdly-dressed contestants fall foul of their own ridiculous costumes on some of the challenges.

"Nah, they use this stuff for a lot of costumes." Steph offered her a length of the scarf - it was very smooth and very thin, to the point that Eurwen was surprised it wouldn't just rip at the slightest provocation. "The League spares no expense when it comes to making people look ridiculous," she added, drily. She was quiet for a few moments, lifting her hair to let Eurwen drape the scarf over her shoulders. "Hey, can I ask you something?" she asked, quietly, more seriously.

"Uh...sure?"

"You saw that Kamon was in trouble, didn't you?" Steph looked back over her shoulder so she could meet Eurwen's gaze. "I watched the footage."

Eurwen just nodded, though whether it was a slight feeling of defensiveness or whether she was just enjoying talking to Steph again, she found herself answering verbally as well. "Yeah. I wasn't the only one."

"You were the only Trainer to notice, though. Pokemon get trained to be careful of that kind of thing - and even some of the Pokemon who were there didn't notice. But being aware of dangers like that isn't a requirement for Trainers. Or agents," she added. And then she turned around so she was facing Eurwen properly.

"Hey, careful!" Eurwen had to hastily let go of the scarf to avoid pulling it too tightly around Steph's neck.

Steph paused for a moment to pull it a little looser with a clawed finger - disproving Eurwen's idea that it was tear easily - before looking back up at Eurwen. "Please don't take this the wrong way, but...have you really never battled in a pro league before, in Kanto?"

Eurwen blinked. "What do you mean?"

"The League is for amateurs only. I mean, it's for fun. There are a few spaces for professional battling Pokemon to join teams as advanced allies, but outright pro Trainers aren't allowed to join. It would be way too unfair on everyone else. But...I mean, even Duchamp commented on it when she endorsed you. You're better at this than anyone I've seen." Eurwen was quiet for a few moments, and Steph's expression softened. "Look, I'm not going to tell the League if you have, but you should -"

"There wasn't a pro League in Kanto," Eurwen interrupted, quietly, but her voice was hard. "How much do you even know about Kanto?"

"Not much," Steph admitted, quietly, and Eurwen realised she'd sounded much harsher than she'd meant to.

"Look...for about a dozen years, up until just a few years ago, Kanto was ruled by a dictator. There was no pro battling. Or amateur battling, for that matter. People didn't just battle for fun the way they do here. If you were fighting, you were either fighting against Giovanni or you'd tossed your morals out the window and were fighting for him."

"And you fought against him."

Neither of them said anything else until they'd finally figured out a way to arrange the scarf and Eurwen had tucked one end of it back on itself, leaving the other to trail from Steph's neck down almost to her waist. "I'm sorry if I upset you," Steph said, quietly. "But...there are people asking the same thing already, and it's only going to get worse after the Boss Challenge is aired tonight. I know you've said you come from Kanto on-screen before, but...you should say something about it. Make it clear that you aren't cheating. That you learned to battle like this because you had to."

Eurwen opened her mouth as if to say something, but then just shook her head.

"Look, I can understand not wanting to admit you fought against this Geovane guy when you were in Kanto, but...this is Kalos. It's safe." Steph hesitated for a couple of moments. "Why don't you want to tell people you fought in Kanto?" Why don't you want to tell me? She knew it was a foolish thought - they'd known each other for barely a week, why would Eurwen want to tell her something that she was all but conditioned to keep secret? And yet Steph couldn't help but feel hurt anyway.

And maybe Eurwen saw the look in Steph's eyes, because she answered, so quietly that Steph could barely even hear her. "Because I don't want you to hate me."

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
224
Nature
Lonely
Pronouns
He/him
Pokémon Type
  1. Dark
  2. Dragon
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #55
Eurwen and Steph had just returned to the hotel lobby when the main doors opened to admit a young man with long brown hair and little whiskers protruding from his cheeks, who looked around briefly and then made a beeline for Eurwen. "Excuse me?" he asked. "You're Err-a-wen, aren't you?" He pronounced it strangely even by Kalosian standards.

"Yeah, that's me," Eurwen sighed. She'd been hoping that they'd have been able to leave without more people bugging her - or Cyr, who had started to become recognised in his own right, much to the Chespin's bewilderment. And coming right after her conversation with Steph, she wasn't in the best mood for it.

Cyr himself was sitting in one of the seats in the lounge, chatting with Miro, still tired from the battle with the Pyroar, and he didn't pay too much attention to the newcomer at first until he all but jumped to his feet. "Wait are you -"

"Damien," the young man introduced himself, holding out his hand to Eurwen - and then pausing briefly. "Oh, wait, I'm not meant to have a name yet, am I? My bad."

Eurwen reached out and shook his hand, out of politeness if nothing else. She couldn't exactly be annoyed at him for forgetting the League's etiquette, not when she barely remembered it half the time.

"So you're a contestant?" Miro asked, every bit as confused as Eurwen as to what Cyr was so excited about. "Do you not have a Trainer yet?"

Damien frowned. "Uh, sorry, it's kind of hard to read your lips in this light. Do I not have a what?"

"Sorry, Kantan accent," Miro apologised, guessing (quite correctly) that the light wasn't the issue. "You don't have a Trainer?" he tried again, making a passable effort to pronounce his words more accurately.

"Oh, no, I don't. That was why I wanted to speak to you - or, well, you, I suppose, Eurwen. I was wondering...can I join your team?"

Eurwen blinked. "Can people do that? Just...join, I mean?"

"Not normally, but I have a...hold on." Damien pulled out his Pokedex and browsed through it briefly. "A Friend Ribbon. I was sponsored it. Basically I can give it to whoever I want, and if they agree, then I'm on their team. I think you have to pay a Basic Token. You're welcome to say no, of course," he added, "but everyone keeps saying you're a really good Trainer. And I think a lot of Trainers wouldn't put up with me."

"Have you asked anyone else?"

"No. People have asked me, but I wanted to find you first."

Eurwen glanced at her tablet. This wasn't being recorded, so that was something. And Cyr was giving her the most pleading look. "Okay, can I think about it and let you know later tonight or tomorrow? No offence, but this is sort of sudden."

Damien nodded. "That's fair. Can I give you my 'dex ID?"

"Uh...I don't have one."

"I do though!" Cyr beamed.

Once Damien was on his way, with a promise that Eurwen would contact him via Cyr before the daily challenge refresh at 9am, they rounded on Cyr. "So..?" Eurwen prodded.

"So what?" Cyr asked, looking genuinely bewildered.

"Who the heck was that guy?" Miro asked.

"You don't know him?!" Cyr paused. "Okay I guess it makes sense you wouldn't know him, Eurwen, but really, Miro? He's Damien Shaw! He's, like, one of the most successful vloggers in Kalos! I knew he was in the League this year but I didn't think I'd actually meet him!"

And he was even more handsome in person. Cyr really hoped he hadn't said that aloud.

"Aww, are you a fan?" Miro teased.

Cyr blushed furiously. "I've followed him almost since he started doing it, way before he got all the attention he has now. C'mon, Eurwen, you've gotta let him join us!"

Eurwen sighed. "Look, even if I had any idea whether I'd actually want him on our team as a Pokemon, which I don't, I'm really not in the mood to have even more attention brought down on us by recruiting some celebrity."

"Oh, I'm sure he can ask his fans to leave us alone! We're - I mean, they're," he corrected himself unconvincingly "a really cool group! He was tough on toxic elements right from the start, and he only got stricter when people started sponsoring him."

"That is a good point, actually," Miro pointed out. "He said he got sponsored that Friend Ribbon. If he's as famous as you say, Cyr, I bet his fans will keep sponsoring him all sorts of stuff if he joins us. And...well, none of us have any sponsorships. I know you can't deploy healing items in battle, but sponsorships can get us all sorts of benefits - even Tokens, if nothing else."

"Exactly!" Cyr beamed. "Another great reason to recruit him!"

"Well, it's a reason to recruit him," Eurwen admitted. "Look, I'll think about it before tomorrow, okay? I'm not saying no, but I'm not saying yes either."

Cyr seemed so delighted with the not-agreement that he was bouncing as excitedly as he had when she'd deliberately got him overcharged with Essence.

Once she was back in her room - ostensibly to pack her things, even though their 'official' arrival in Aquacorde wasn't going to be filmed until that night and they'd agreed they'd travel to the city after dinner - Eurwen booted up her laptop and started looking into Damien Shaw. Thankfully she didn't need to rely on the translator app, which she'd been a little worried about; it was fine for translating text, but it couldn't handle the spoken word.

As it turned out, Damien seemed to mostly do (subtitled) vlogs on appearance and self-care for Pokemon, with topics ranging from how to hide traits one couldn't suppress to how to emphasise one's traits (depending on the image you were going for), to the best places to go for various spa and massage treatments tailored to different Pokemon species. It wasn't exactly the greatest resume for a battler, but then it wasn't as though Cyr had been a professional battler either, and she'd been pretty surprised at how strong he'd grown.

After a little searching, she discovered he also had a habit of randomly fulfilling the requests of fans (or the parents of his fans). And Eurwen had to admit, he seemed to be a genuinely nice person. It took a bit of digging to find, but the clip of him sitting down with a Grimer girl who hadn't learned to suppress her ooze and smell and was being tormented at school because of it, and promising her she was beautiful...yeah, Eurwen teared up a little at that. And he made no reference to it in any of his own videos - it wasn't a PR stunt as far as she could figure out. He was just...being kind.

No matter how nice it was to see he was a genuinely good guy, what she couldn't find, though, was anything talking about what kind of a battler he was. She double-checked the League rules to confirm that they had mandatory equality adjustments, so training him and commanding him in battle ought to be fine, but...she wasn't convinced. She'd seen Cyr's little promotional video before ever meeting him, and though she wasn't going to admit it, recruiting Miro had been mostly for Artie's sake rather than a tactical decision. The smaller the team, the better she'd be able to train them - she didn't plan to be like Julian and recruit Pokemon at every opportunity.

But she could think of one very good reason to recruit Damien: if he was as experienced at being a public figure and using social media and the like as it seemed, there was the chance that he'd be willing to help out with working on their public persona. And that meant taking some of the load off Steph.

That, if nothing else, meant it was worth a shot.

So this chapter was actually supposed to happen...like, back before Miro evolved, but I kinda forgot it. So if it feels a little disjointed, uh...that would be why! 🤦‍♂️
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
224
Nature
Lonely
Pronouns
He/him
Pokémon Type
  1. Dark
  2. Dragon
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #56
Cyr was waiting for her when she came back down. Had he been waiting there the whole time? "So?" he asked, almost bouncing on the balls of his heels.

"So I'm willing to meet with him and see what he can do in a fight. You had your audition and I knew what Caterpie are capable of already - I'm not putting someone on my team when I don't know what they can do. Have you ever seen him battle?"

"No," Cyr admitted. "He doesn't really do battling stuff - when he said he would be in the League everyone thought he meant as a Trainer or Masked Defender at first."

"So...why is he in the League?"

"Oh, he said he wanted to see what it was like so he could give better advice about it. People send him tons of questions about all kinds of stuff," Cyr explained, "and a lot of those questions are about battling and the League, and he's said before he feels kind of bad he can't answer them."

Eurwen frowned. "I thought you weren't allowed to get help from people outside the League anyway?"

"You're not allowed to receive any tangible benefits, including certain forms of coaching. And you're not allowed to pay for intangible benefits either - so I couldn't ask him a question in his supporters' channel on his chatgroup, because I only have access to it because I support him financially. But if I just sent him a message out of the blue and he answered it, I could use the information he gave me in the League."

That hopeful look was getting to her. "Okay, look, you can set up a meeting with him for...let's say four, in our usual training ground. And get him to make sure his fans stay away," she added.

"YES!" Cyr whooped, and covered his mouth sheepishly when he realised how loud he'd shouted. "Um, sorry!"

Damien arrived a couple minutes early to the training grounds, dressed in light, casual clothes that really didn't help Cyr focus. "I asked people not to try to keep track of me," he promised, "but there are always a few people that don't follow any of my social media. If anyone does show up I'll ask them to leave."

Eurwen nodded. "Good enough." She beckoned Cyr over to face him. "Okay, try and take on Cyr. I want to see how you fight."

He was actually going to have to battle Damien? To have the opportunity to impress him?

Eurwen tapped him on the shoulder before he could get too distracted. "How he does here is what's going to decide whether he joins us. That means it's your responsibility to make sure he can prove how good he is."

Cyr briefly considered the possibility of pretending Damien was stronger than he was, but he discounted it. For one thing Eurwen would see through him easily, and for another...no matter how much he wanted Damien on their team and would've been more than happy to let him join no matter how strong he was, it wouldn't be fair on Eurwen and Miro to hamper the team.

One thing quickly became apparent - Damien was fast. He shimmered with Essence and darted across the training ground before Cyr had even started to summon his vines, slamming into him with a Tackle.

It was a decent attack, one that would've probably knocked him down before he'd joined Eurwen - but he'd taken in enough Essence to almost double in level since then, and he turned his shoulder to meet the Bunnelby and stopped him cold, knocking him off-balance and taking much more out of his Essence than Damien had taken out of Cyr's, and Cyr wrapped a vine around him to stop him getting away again, relaxing his grip when Damien made no move to escape. "Wow," Damien laughed. "You're as strong as everyone says."

Damien was always full of praise for everyone around him. Cyr knew that full well.

But he really wanted to believe that there was more to the compliment.

Eurwen walked back over to them. "You know why you lost?" she asked Damien, once Cyr let him go. "You threw too much into that attack and let yourself get caught off-balance, and Cyr used the opening to take out the one advantage you had over him - speed."

"And I'm only level four," Damien pointed out - though he was looking at Cyr more than Eurwen. "Last I heard you were level ten."

That caught Cyr by surprise - Bunnelby weren't exactly high-scale, but that hit had been pretty strong even if it had mostly been momentum behind it. He'd been figuring Damien was level six or seven.

And Damien knew what level he was off-hand.

"That too," Eurwen nodded. "So how would I command you and train you?"

Cyr tried not to smile too broadly as Damien produced a pair of sunglasses and a glove from his pocket. He slipped the glove on and gestured to the glasses. "My receiver is connected to it, so any transmissions from microphones in a challenge get sent to it, and it uses the same AI that they use to create live subtitles for the show, so I can see what people are saying in real-time if they're wearing a microphone. And then the glove has my biomonitor in it so it can receive signals you send with your Pokedex as haptic feedback. So if you press one icon I'll feel it buzz on my index finger, a different icon my palm, and so on."

"So?" Miro asked. He caught himself and turned so Damien could read his lips while he spoke. "Are we getting a new teammate?"

Eurwen paused, just for a moment. A couple of weeks ago she wouldn't have even considered recruiting him, not even if he'd outright offered to take on some of Steph's workload...well, okay, she might have considered doing it then, on the proviso that he never actually fought. She knew what Cyr was capable of (roughly speaking) when she'd recruited him, and even if she hadn't got lucky in getting a Caterpie for her second team member, one advantage of low-level Pokemon like Miro was that they didn't need too specialised training. But she didn't even know what species Damien was, never mind how best to train him.

She was a little surprised to realise that she actually was considering it all the same, rationalising that it wouldn't be a big deal if he wasn't cut out for battling.

She held out a hand. "Why not? Welcome to the team...Shaw."

Maybe she was becoming a little more Kalosian after all.

Cyr - Chespin, Male, Overgrow, Naive, Capable of Taking Hits
Miro - Metapod, Male, Shed Skin, Naughty, Sturdy Body
Shaw - Bunnelby, Male, Pickup, Relaxed, Somewhat Vain
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
224
Nature
Lonely
Pronouns
He/him
Pokémon Type
  1. Dark
  2. Dragon
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #57
"Hello everybody! It's Shaw here, and I hope y'all are having a wonderful day - and yes, that's me now, because in just a couple hours I will be officially joining a team in the League! It's super exciting, and I want to thank you all so much again for sponsoring me the Friend Ribbon!"

"Now, as usual for these daily videos, this is going out live to my supporters - and thank you all so much for your support - so do expect the usual distractions and shenanigans if you're watching this when it goes up on the channel afterwards."

"Whose team have I joined? Haha, I'm afraid I can't tell y'all that, but this should be going up on the channel right about as the evening roundup goes out, and that's when my Friend Ribbon takes effect. So I'm just going to have to keep y'all in suspense for a little bit, but do feel free to make some guesses in the chat and wow Ludil0c0 thank you so much for the support; thirty-seven months in a row! You wonderful, wonderful person."

Shaw had set himself up in one of the parks while they waited for the bus to take them on to Santalune, and was busy talking away to a camera drone of his own, a few AR screens projected around him from his Pokedex. He was very different on the stream to the young man who'd spoken to them in the hotel, accent and all, and Eurwen wasn't entirely sure how much of that had just been his nervousness and how much was an on-screen persona he'd already cultivated for himself.

Cyr and Shauna were watching the stream live, despite the fact that they could literally see Shaw from where they were - it turned out that Shauna was a fan too, and she and Cyr had even interacted with each other before and just not known it until the others had learned that Eurwen had recruited Shaw.

"So what's the plan when we get to Santalune?" she asked Julian, more to take her mind off the fact that her team now included a celebrity as if she wasn't already getting enough attention. "There don't seem to be any challenges there?"

"Oh, there are. We just can't see them yet."

"Yeah, check this one out." Miro took the opportunity to show off how good he was getting at controlling his carapace, manipulating the holographic controls on his Pokedex even with it coating both hands - slowly, admittedly, but far less laboriously than his struggles to move when he'd first evolved. The video he brought up was what looked like some kind of obstacle course through a forest, with a Trainer and Pokemon duo dodging what appeared to be strikes from animated tree branches as the ground shifted and rumbled under them. "Once I evolve again I'd kick that challenge's ass."

"I don't think challenges are known for having an ass," Artie pointed out. He gave her an annoyed look that was rather spoiled by his grin. The Scatterbug had definitely come out of her shell (so to speak) more since Miro had evolved, though Eurwen had noticed a couple of envious looks directed Miro's way when Artie thought no-one was watching.

"Not that we'd be doing that challenge anyway," Julian added. "Santalune is the second region for us, so we get an entirely different set of challenges. But they won't actually show up on our 'dexes - or your tablet - until we officially arrive tonight, just before the roundup."

"And that's when Shaw will join me as well, right?"

Tierno nodded. "I'm warning you now, though...you're gonna get a ton of attention from this. I mean, I know you've been featured before, but even people who don't follow the League and don't have any idea who you are will be talking about you now. And, I mean, that can be a good thing, but..."

"Yeah, I get it." She smiled. "Trust me, I was thinking all that through ever since he showed up and asked me to recruit him. But..." She paused, checked that Cyr was still engrossed in chatting with Shaw and Shaw's fans over the stream. "Cyr said he wanted to beat the Champion - that he thought we could, eventually. I guess...I don't want to disappoint him. And if we go that far I'm going to have to deal with all the fame and...everything...anyway, so..." She shrugged. "Why not start now?"

"Confident, huh?" Julian asked her, with a smirk. "Careful - we are rivals, remember. Maybe we'll have to battle to make sure you don't forget us."

"Hey, bring it on," Miro retorted, materialising his full carapace briefly.

"You do remember I'm a Fire-type, right?" Sam grinned.

Cyr - Chespin, Male, Overgrow, Naive, Capable of Taking Hits
Miro - Metapod, Male, Shed Skin, Naughty, Sturdy Body
Shaw - Bunnelby, Male, Pickup, Relaxed, Somewhat Vain
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
224
Nature
Lonely
Pronouns
He/him
Pokémon Type
  1. Dark
  2. Dragon
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #58
Santalune City was amazing.

Aquacorde had seemed big while Eurwen had been there, first when Julian and the others had given her a tour of the city after she first arrived, and then while they'd been travelling around the city competing, but Santalune was on a totally different level. Buildings towered a dozen or more stories high, bright holographic displays advertised all manner of wares everywhere she looked - she even noticed a couple of displays that were showing reruns of the League, and everyone was just so...busy. There were very few cars, at least in the city centre, but buses and trams rattled back and forth constantly. Eurwen wouldn't have been certain in saying that the bus station they were arriving wasn't bigger on its own than some of the towns in Kanto she'd been to.

And Santalune wasn't even the biggest city in Kalos.

Had Kanto been like this, once upon a time? Before it was cut off from the rest of the world and began languishing and dying? It had only been a dozen years. Had Giovanni really managed to do that much damage in such a short space of time?

Giovanni and -

Steph - who had ended up sitting next to Eurwen on the bus once again - flicked her tail so it brushed Eurwen's legs, making her jump slightly. "Were you listening to anything we were just saying, or were you too busy staring?"

"Sorry, I just...I've never seen a city like this before."

Steph giggled. "It's fine, silly! Stop being so dour and serious all the time!" As light and playful as her tone was, her eyes were gentle and sympathetic, and Eurwen couldn't help but smile slightly. As Trevor had suspected, the knowledge that she was going to be on screen as well was going some way to distract Steph from what she evidently saw as her duties as the group's agent. She just hoped it would last.

"All we were saying was that since we can't take any challenges here until the night challenges start, we might as well get checked in and take the rest of the day off," Julian said.

Eurwen frowned slightly. "We're still allowed to train here, aren't we?"

"Sure - there's an actual Pokemon Centre here with a proper training room, and since this is our second region there won't be any restrictions on us using it. But there's nothing wrong with taking time to relax," Julian added.

Eurwen had almost forgotten that the big Kalos Pokemon Centres had all manner of training equipment installed. Or at least, that was what all the others had kept saying. Maybe that was why none of them had been doing much training - they'd been waiting for the chance to use the proper equipment.

And yet, now the opportunity was there, Julian - of all people - was deciding that it was time to take the day off?

"Well, I'm gonna go see what this training room is like. Coming?" Eurwen looked to the rest of her team.

"Dist yeah." Miro was the quickest to answer. "The training facilities are crazy expensive if you aren't taking the League challenge," he added, by way of explanation to Eurwen, before grinning and turning around in his seat so he could speak to Artie. "Hey, maybe I'll have evolved again by the next time we meet!"

"Yeah, maybe." The Scatterbug's response was rather more subdued than Miro had evidently expected, and he paused, obviously a little wrong-footed.

"Hey, you can go with them if you want," Julian told her. "We're rivals, so it's fine."

"Thanks, but..." Artie trailed off for a few moments. "I'll stick with you."

Julian hesitated for a few moments before looking back to Eurwen. "So you guys are just going to...train?"

"You're the one who was saying we had to rush," Eurwen pointed out. "And if we can't do any challenges...why not?"

Because our teams deserve a chance to take advantage of some of the free stuff we get as competitors and relax without having to think about the League at every opportunity. He didn't say it aloud. Eurwen might have been the main one trying to find the time to train her team at every opportunity, but it wasn't as though Cyr and Miro - and now Shaw - were unhappy about her training methods. And whatever else, he couldn't deny that they worked.

"Never heard the saying about all work and no play?" Steph quipped.

"Can't say I have," Eurwen replied simply, as a space at the bus stop finally opened up and their bus pulled in.

Cyr - Chespin, Male, Overgrow, Naive, Capable of Taking Hits
Miro - Metapod, Male, Shed Skin, Naughty, Sturdy Body
Shaw - Bunnelby, Male, Pickup, Relaxed, Somewhat Vain
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
224
Nature
Lonely
Pronouns
He/him
Pokémon Type
  1. Dark
  2. Dragon
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #59
For all that Julian and Steph had pushed back against Eurwen's intent to go straight to the Pokemon Centre to train, they went to the Centre as a group after disembarking. This was partly, of course, because they needed to check in to their rooms - which Steph reported delightedly were far more spacious and well-appointed than the rooms at the motel they'd been staying in until now after a flying visit to her new room - but Julian and the rest of the group were just as curious about the Pokemon Centre's training facilities as Eurwen was.

"It's like Miro said," Tierno explained to her, as they filed into the lift to take them down - with the exception of Shaw, who'd decided to stay in his room to avoid giving away the fact that he was part of a team now. "Outside the League season, places like this are used pretty much entirely by pros, and all the equipment is cutting-edge. Not many amateurs can afford to rent time to train at a Centre. But if you're part of the League Challenge, the League covers the costs. It's one of the reasons Pokemon join the League to begin with - you can get the benefit working for the League as well as if you're on a Trainer team."

"So where do the pros go while the League's happening?"

"Well, a lot of the professional tournaments take these couple months off, since the League's pretty much the only thing that gets shown when it's on anyway. But they're still allowed to train at Centres - there's a small amount of time each day set aside that paying visitors get priority for, or they can just join the queue."

Not that there was a queue. The sheer number of Pokemon and Trainers who were there made Eurwen feel like there should have been, but instead it seemed to just be barely-organised chaos. And a lot of the training equipment seemed to be being repurposed for mock challenges with Pokemon from different teams working together.

"Not what you expected, huh?" Steph had to lean in close to Eurwen to make herself heard over the general noise (or at least that was what they were both telling themselves.)

"It's not exactly 'training,'" Eurwen retorted.

"Sure, but Pokemon Centres are off-limits for filming, so this is one of the few places where we can relax and let off steam without worrying about how it'll look on camera."

And Eurwen had to admit there was a nice atmosphere to the place, chaotic as it might have been. A lot of the Pokemon and Trainers waiting around for their turn were occupying their time cheering on and encouraging the others, and the fact that the majority of the time the people there were just having to stand around and do nothing because there wasn't any equipment available didn't seem to be bothering anyone.

"Besides," Steph added, "if you really want to train, there'll be some time each day set aside for teams that are on their second region. Or you could just pick a time that isn't the middle of the afternoon when everyone's going to want to be training."

"I thought everyone would be doing the challenges," Eurwen grumbled. "They were always busy back in Aquacorde and Vaniville."

"There wasn't a Pokemon Centre there. Just because you can make do with frisbees and baseball bats," she smirked, "most people use actual training equipment to train. Y'know, it's kinda in the name."

At least no-one had recognised her yet - because everything like that was only updated in the evening roundups, presumably. That was something.

Eurwen looked on into the cramped training facility for another few moments, until Steph draped an arm around her shoulders. "I know you well enough to know you'd just get annoyed trying to train here with it being so packed," she pointed out. "You can always come back when it's quieter, or when it's restricted to people like us who are beyond our first region."

Eurwen sighed. "Fine," she accepted, begrudgingly. "You've got me all figured out, huh?"

Steph flashed a grin at her. "Of course! Now c'mon, I wanna show you what our rooms are like now."

Cyr - Chespin, Male, Overgrow, Naive, Capable of Taking Hits
Miro - Metapod, Male, Shed Skin, Naughty, Sturdy Body
Shaw - Bunnelby, Male, Pickup, Relaxed, Somewhat Vain
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
224
Nature
Lonely
Pronouns
He/him
Pokémon Type
  1. Dark
  2. Dragon
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #60
As the evening roundup came to a close, Eurwen found herself missing the packed, unusable training facility.

They'd decided to watch the roundup down in the Pokemon Centre's main lounge, along with dozens of other teams. Or rather, the others had decided to do so, and Steph had cajoled Eurwen into joining them. She was already regretting letting the Eevee persuade her.

Shaw joining their team was one thing - almost as soon as it was announced he'd joined her, her tablet made a series of pinging noises as she discovered that she was the new owner of a half-dozen Potions and tokens that she'd been sponsored with as his Trainer, but in the grand scheme of things she could tolerate being given random items. Shaw himself got most of the attention.

But then came the replay of their Boss fight. They weren't the only ones to take on a Boss Challenge to move on to the second region - but they were the only ones to have arrived in Santalune having done so. And of course the announcers couldn't resist reminding everyone that Eurwen and Cyr had also caught the attention of Brigittte Duchamp.

It took all of about five minutes after the roundup finished before someone asked her for advice, and it quickly became apparent that the fact she'd been helping people back in Aquacorde and Vaniville had managed to follow her here too. And there was a much bigger proportion here of people who just wanted her help so they could film themselves with her for the League. She almost found herself preferring the people who just wanted to take quick selfies with her to send to family and friends.

Thankfully, this time she wasn't the only one getting the attention. While they might not have had a celebrity join them, Julian, Tierno, Trevor, Shauna and all their teams had changed region just the same as Eurwen had, and a lot of people were just as interested in them - if not more so. Eurwen hadn't really paid much attention to what they'd been doing, but judging from the way they were becoming the centres of little cliques of their own, they'd obviously been doing just as well in their own tasks as she and Julian had in the battle challenges. Shauna was the most at home with their new fame, obviously enjoying being the centre of attention, but Trevor seemed as uncomfortable with the attention as she was, and she was half tempted to go talk to him just to try to save both of them from the hassle. Steph got there first, breezing past and whisking Trevor away to discuss the new region's challenges.

"Hey, we should probably talk about what we're gonna do tomorrow, too." Julian came to her rescue, and though she wasn't going to complain about the fact that the other teams stopped pestering her, she couldn't help but notice how many people were not-very-subtly paying attention to them. It didn't help that she'd seen - or rather, been sent by one of Shaw's fans - an article that was suggesting she and Julian were a couple. "Most of the time we're gonna have to do challenges together now."

"You're the expert," she shrugged. "We need to challenge the Gym before we can move on again, right?"

Julian nodded. "Yeah, but you can't challenge a Gym unless you earn a specific number of tokens from the region it's in. I'm thinking we try this one." He swiped the holographic screen on his Pokedex to flip it around so she could see it.

"Daredevil white-water rafting through a gauntlet of attacking Water-types?" She raised an eyebrow. "That sounds...intense."

"Well, the second region is always a pretty big step up from the first." Julian paused for a moment, lowering his voice slightly. " Probably half the contestants drop out, or run out of Tokens, in the first region." The way he nearly had. "From the second region up, the challenges almost always test multiple things at once, rather than just strength or speed or whatever like we had back in Vanicorde. But I was looking at this one because it doesn't just give us enough tokens to make it to the Gym - if we do well enough, we can potentially recruit a Water-type onto our teams for a much lower cost in Tokens than it would normally be. I mean, it's not a massive advantage for the Gym," he admitted, "but you were saying that you had a weakness to Fire, so..." He shrugged.

Eurwen didn't miss the fact that this was much more to her advantage than his - he already had Kamon, after all (though the reliability of the Panpour might have been somewhat questionable.) But he did have a point about her team's glaring weakness to Fire. "Sure, that sounds good," she shrugged. It wasn't as though she'd found any challenges that she desperately wanted to try anyway. "Now we just gotta find the opportunity to actually tell our team that through all this nonsense." She gestured at the crowds, and felt a certain sense of satisfaction when she saw a few of the people watching them look away sheepishly.

"It'll probably calm down by tomorrow, once people are used to us being here," Julian said. "I...hope."

Cyr - Chespin, Male, Overgrow, Naive, Capable of Taking Hits
Miro - Metapod, Male, Shed Skin, Naughty, Sturdy Body
Shaw - Bunnelby, Male, Pickup, Relaxed, Somewhat Vain
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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