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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

SayleeK

Johto League Champion
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  2. Fairy
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Between long periods of dormant slumber, this writer rises again for periods of activity that leave piles of dead fictional Pokemon in their wake
Getting to some gym battles, hell yeah! Gosh Eurwen and Steph are so damn sweet
 

llyarden

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  • #82
Haha, yep, and it only took a year and a bit! Hopefully the rest of the story doesn't take this long to get places lol!

"Good thing no-one's afraid of heights, huh?" Miro asked, fluttering his wings.

They'd been told earlier that day that the challenge would involve climbing and navigating a rope maze while fighting against opponents. The League official had made it sound simple. Just climb to the top to complete the challenge and get the opportunity to battle for the first badge. It was exactly the sort of first-badge challenge you regularly got, Julian rationalised; infinitely mutable so no two contestants faced the exactly the same challenge.

He glanced over to Eurwen. He kept telling himself that the makeup of her team was entirely up to her, and he had no right criticising her - even if they were rivals. But at the same time...

At first he'd thought she was joking when she'd said she was going to only bring Miro and Cyr into the challenge. Even the League official explaining the challenge had seemed a little surprised when she'd asked if it was possible. He got it, of course - Cyr had those powerful vines, and Miro could outright fly.

"You know that means only Miro and Cyr will be able to fight the Gym Leader?" he'd asked.

She'd nodded. "The challenge lists the levels of the Gym Leader's Pokemon - one at ten, one at twelve. Cyr's level twelve too, Miro's level eleven. Even with Cyr's type disadvantage, they'll win." She'd sounded so confident. He just wished he knew whether it was confidence in them or in herself.

He'd thought she'd changed her mind when Kirstin had arrived with them, leaving only Shaw to sit on the sidelines. But it had quickly become apparent that the Psyduck would be serving as a backup defence from the ground, not climbing up alongside them - even though Julian was sure Cyr was strong enough that the Chespin could've used his vines to help her climb.

If anything, that was even worse. At least Shaw didn't have to suffer the ignominy of being brought into the Gym Challenge and then not allowed to participate.

He knew she didn't mean anything by it. But that didn't stop it grating at him.

One of the League officials strode into the centre of the room and cleared her throat to get their attention. "As a reminder," she began, "this is an unregulated challenge. I'm aware that some of you may have participated in private unregulated training events, but this will be the first unregulated challenge for all of you. You will all - Trainers included - be facing Pokemon using their moves against you. Your opponents are all extremely highly trained to avoid doing any serious harm, and the reverse Essence blockers you two -" she nodded at Eurwen and Julian "- are wearing will reduce the impact of any attacks you take. Nonetheless, you may suffer minor bruises and strains as a consequence of this challenge, and will all be examined by League medical professionals between the completion of this challenge and the beginning of the Gym battle itself." She paused. "And a friendly bit of advice from someone who's seen a few years' worth of contestants arrive at their first Gym matches: two of the biggest mistakes Trainers make in their first unregulated challenges are assuming that the opposing Pokemon will avoid making any serious effort to impede them, or assuming that the reverse blockers will make it easy for them to overpower those Pokemon. Neither is the case. And as was previously stated, anyone who falls, or fails to reach the top within the time limit, will not be able to participate in the battle. If that's a Trainer, then their team is not allowed to participate without them." She turned to Steph. "Ms Emmerson, you won't be taking part in the Gym battle itself, but you are at perfect liberty to assist your 'chosen Trainers' during the ascent."

Steph smirked behind her mask, tossing her scarf over her shoulder and letting it drift sinuously behind her. "Looking forward to it."

Julian had hoped Steph might've been able to convince Eurwen to let Kirstin and Shaw join the challenge to - he knew she was responsible for keeping Eurwen in the challenge after her first battle - but it didn't seem like she was that inclined to interfere this time. He supposed he couldn't be surprised. Steph would've almost certainly sided with Eurwen over him anyway.

"If you're all ready?" Julian focused back on the challenge ahead. Talking to Eurwen could come later. Right now he had his own team to worry about. "Then let your adventure begin."

Cyr - Chespin, Male, Overgrow, Naive, Capable of Taking Hits
Miro - Butterfree, Male, Compound Eyes, Naughty, Sturdy Body
Shaw - Bunnelby, Male, Pickup, Relaxed, Somewhat Vain
Kirstin - Psyduck, Female, Damp, Docile, Alert to Sounds
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
Lola - Azurill, Female, Thick Fat, Quiet, Somewhat Vain
 

SayleeK

Johto League Champion
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Jul 1, 2019
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Pokédex Entry
Between long periods of dormant slumber, this writer rises again for periods of activity that leave piles of dead fictional Pokemon in their wake
Oooh, we finally get to see what a gym setup looks like on this show! Sounds exciting as hell... but, and maybe this is just because I binge-watched all of Squid Game today, I feel a little nervous...
 

llyarden

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  • #84
I've not seen Squid Game personally, but from what I know of it I can pretty much promise that it won't be nearly as gory and terrifying.

Julian could almost feel Eurwen's eyes on him as he climbed.

She and her team could've streaked ahead easily and beaten him to the top if they'd wanted. Eurwen was the only one of the three who even needed to follow the rope maze at all, and at the start she'd kept up with Miro and Cyr despite that. But then they'd slowed down, letting Julian and his team catch up and keep pace with them.

They hadn't even discussed it with each other. And as much as Julian wanted to think that Eurwen, Cyr and Miro had all just decided as one to stick around and help him...somehow he suspected it was much more likely that she'd specifically told them that they'd need to hang back to let Julian and the others stay with them.

And to protect them.

Or rather, to protect him.

Sam, Miro and Quacklin' were more than capable of protecting themselves with their Fire and Flying attacks - as was Cyr with his Rollout; he might have been a Grass-type but the League Pokemon had obviously seen the widely-publicised shot of him flattening the Zigzagoon with his first use of the Rock move, and none of them were making much effort to go for him. Kamon didn't have a type advantage, but his Water Guns were strong enough that they could knock the attackers away, and Artie had obviously picked up Miro's knack for launching long-range String Shot attacks that were sticking the other Bug-Types to the ropes.

Lola was the only one struggling, and even she was handling herself, alternating between sprays of sticky bubbles and pulses of Fairy energy that were debilitating the League Pokemon enough that she could get out of their way.

And then there was him. He couldn't tell if the League Pokemon were targeting him because he was one of the two Trainers, or if it was because he was the most vulnerable. He couldn't help but feel like it was the latter - they certainly didn't seem to be going for Eurwen as often as they were him.

He ducked as one of the League Pokemon dived past him and got nailed by a long-range Water Gun from Kirstin for their trouble. Mostly they were just trying to spook him, but he'd already nearly been pulled off the ropes by one of the flying Bug-types.

He felt a tap on the arm and looked up to see Cyr reaching a vine down towards him. It wasn't the first time the Chespin had offered him a hand (so to speak) up during the challenge, but he'd been able to use the excuse of giving the rest of his team instructions, or having to evade another attacker. But this time Cyr had timed it well enough that he didn't have the excuse.

He let go of the rope with one hand and snatched for Cyr's vine. It was slightly disconcerting to grab what felt like a rope and have it immediately twine itself around his wrist, but judging from the utter lack of movement when he tugged slightly, it was somewhat reassuring to know that he didn't have to worry about losing his grip.

What the dist. Time for a leap of faith.

He released the rope with his other hand and gripped the vine tightly, and kicked off from the rope. For what felt like a very long moment he was dangling there, half-way up the rope maze - and then Cyr retracted his vine and Julian was yanked upwards through the ropes and deposited on one of the nets next to the Chespin.

"You okay?" Cyr asked. His other vine was wrapped around one of the ropes to support himself, but he reached out to offer Julian a hand up.

Julian had never really interacted with the Chespin before, and the only other challenge they'd competed in together was the Boss Challenge. Somehow he'd always figured Cyr was a bit like Eurwen - certainly they seemed to work incredibly well together. But the Chespin's expression was more sympathetic and kinder than Julian had ever expected. There was none of Eurwen's cool pragmatism there, just a happy, friendly excitement dancing in his eyes.

Maybe he'd been being a little harsh to Cyr and Miro.

"Yeah, I'm okay." He gave Cyr a small smile, taking the Chespin's offered hand with his free hand, leaning on him for balance as Cyr released his other arm from his vine and he climbed back onto the ropes, looking back up towards the top of the challenge. This was the final stretch. "Thanks."

Cyr - Chespin, Male, Overgrow, Naive, Capable of Taking Hits
Miro - Butterfree, Male, Compound Eyes, Naughty, Sturdy Body
Shaw - Bunnelby, Male, Pickup, Relaxed, Somewhat Vain
Kirstin - Psyduck, Female, Damp, Docile, Alert to Sounds
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
Lola - Azurill, Female, Thick Fat, Quiet, Somewhat Vain
 

llyarden

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"All ready?" Steph asked Eurwen, as they sat in the waiting room. If Eurwen listened closely, she could almost convince herself she could hear the occasional noise of the crowd and the booming commentary of Julian's battle, but the soundproofing was enough that she couldn't make out any words.

"Uh, confused, mostly," she answered, turning her attention back to Steph. "So this is broadcast live...but it's also going to be broadcast 'live' in a few days?"

Steph laughed. "Pretty much. The actual Gym battles are done live with a crowd, following all the professional battling rules, and they're sometimes broadcast live on some of the League's side channels. And then the League's editing team splice a bunch of the first battles together so it looks like you're all fighting the Gym Leader at once, without the crowd and all that."

"That's why we have to wear these ridiculous things, right?" Miro asked, flexing his wings to make sure that the small trackers attached to the corner of each of his wings didn't get dislodged by the motion. "Man, it's weird how much you never realise is going on behind the scenes."

"Hey, at least you didn't have to learn all this to prep for being an agent," Steph retorted. "Did you know, for instance, that the official term for the number of winners at a Gym after which they decide to give everyone else 48 hours to win the Badge to qualify for the major storyline of the season is called the Story Threshold?"

"Why do they even need to give that a name?"

"I have absolutely no idea."

They were all trying to distract themselves, both from the knowledge that Julian and his team were battling out there, and from the fact that in probably just a few minutes they - with the exception of Steph, who along with the other 'Masked Defenders' would just be edited into the background of the in-story battle when it was aired - would be out there in front of a crowd, for the first time in the League.

It would be fine. There wouldn't be anyone out there who would recognise her - at least, not as anything other than the Eurwen who'd been presented on the League.

"We haven't missed that threshold, have we?" Eurwen asked. "I know Julian was focused on trying to meet it."

"It hasn't even been called yet. From the forums I've been reading, though, it'll probably be called end of today or end of tomorrow. We cut it a bit fine."

We could've cut it a lot less fine if we'd focused on training and challenges. Or rather, if he had.

"You got any family coming to watch?" Miro asked Cyr.

"I reserved two seats, but I don't know who's actually going to be there. Probably my dad, if he can get time off work, and one of my friends from school. You?"

Miro shrugged - and then quickly checked that he hadn't shaken off any of his motion trackers by mistake. "I reserved a seat for my mom, but...she's not really a fan of battling. It was a challenge just to get her to let me enter in the first place, so..." He shrugged.

There was a sudden increase in the noise from the crowd that caught all of their attention. "You think he won?" Cyr asked quietly.

"Course he did," Miro answered. "He has a Fire-Type and a Flying-Type, remember?"

"He also brought his whole team up to give them a chance being in the battle," Eurwen pointed out. "Who's to say he actually used Sam or Quacklin'?"

"Nah," Steph answered. "League battles are serious. Pretty much all the story stuff gets recorded after the match and edited in. It's no different to you having Miro and Cyr - it's not like you'd actually be swapping between them in the story, they'd both be fighting. Pretty much the only thing that happens in the live match is occasionally banter between the Gym Leader and the challenger, but even then half the time the Leader is having to listen to instructions from the battle director."

"I'm still never going to understand why they give celebrities with no battling experience positions as Gym Leaders," Eurwen muttered. "Wouldn't it be easier to just...get actually skilled Trainers to do it?" That had definitely been the most surprising thing that Steph had explained to her while they'd been waiting.

"After everything we've been through in the League already, you really think the League does anything based on what would be easiest?" Steph retorted, with a smirk and a flick of her tail, and there wasn't really much of an argument Eurwen could make to that.

I swear I'm not trying to delay the actual Gym battle for suspense, I just realised I had a couple plot points I needed to include lol! 😆
Cyr - Chespin, Male, Overgrow, Naive, Capable of Taking Hits
Miro - Butterfree, Male, Compound Eyes, Naughty, Sturdy Body
Shaw - Bunnelby, Male, Pickup, Relaxed, Somewhat Vain
Kirstin - Psyduck, Female, Damp, Docile, Alert to Sounds
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
Lola - Azurill, Female, Thick Fat, Quiet, Somewhat Vain
 

SayleeK

Johto League Champion
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Pokédex Entry
Between long periods of dormant slumber, this writer rises again for periods of activity that leave piles of dead fictional Pokemon in their wake
More behind-the-scenes to be explained! As a theatre and filmmaking nerd, I very much enjoy 👀
 

llyarden

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  • #87
Well, as someone who is absolutely not knowledgeable about TV and filmmaking, I hope this all seems vaguely realistic lol! (Well, 'realistic' for a world with futuristic tech and people with superpowers, anyway!)

"Greetings, contestants, and viewers live and at home alike!" The commentator's voice boomed suddenly over the Gym stadium, making Eurwen flinch. "Welcome to the Santalune Gym! You may recognise our challengers from the waves they've been making during the League - the only team to reach the first Gym with a 100% challenge success rate: Eurwen Brennan, Cyr and Miro!"

There were so many people watching her. She knew it made sense, of course it did, she was literally standing in the Gym arena as the centre of attention. And there had been people watching her in the show the whole time. But this was live, and she could actually see the people there, see them all watching, watching her.

Even Cyr and Miro looked a little nervous. That didn't make her feel better.

"Of course, you all just watched Eurwen's rival, Julian Calme, in his own battle against the Gym. But unlike Julian, Eurwen doesn't have the advantage of two super-effective Pokemon on her team - though as I'm sure we've all seen, Cyr is a very powerful combatant even against foes his Grass type makes him weaker to. What I think we can safely say is that this is going to be an exciting battle! Are you ready?!"

The roar of the crowd was almost deafening. How were there this many people so excited just to watch her?

"Then allow me to introduce the Santalune Gym Leader! It's the camerawoman who never lets a single smile escape her focus! Viiioooollllaaaa!"

Eurwen could've sworn that the cheers for Viola's introduction weren't as loud as the cheers for hers, but that didn't seem to dissuade the young woman any. She was probably a few years older than Eurwen, with silvery blonde hair down to her shoulders, wearing a T-shirt, shorts, and sturdy boots. And, for some reason, she'd brought a camera with her.

Viola waved to the crowd before turning her attention to Eurwen, Cyr and Miro. She didn't appear to have any Pokemon with her, but Eurwen knew that was normal - they would be beneath the stage, close enough that Viola could teleport them in with her Pokedex, but out of sight. That was one of the advantages that Gym Leaders had.

The crowd fell quiet as Viola started to speak. "Those determined expressions...that glint in your eyes that says you're up to the challenge...it's fantastic! Just fantastic!" She raised her camera up to her eye and pressed the shutter - but instead of taking a picture, the camera produced two holographic screens on either side, presumably showing her the readout of her Pokemons' status.

Her camera was a Pokedex? How impractical could she be?

"Whether it's the tears of frustration that follow a loss," Viola continued, "or the blossoming of joy that comes with victory...they're both great subjects for my camera! Fantastic! This'll be just fantastic! My lens is always focused on victory - I won't let anything ruin this shot!

"Now come at me!"

She tapped the shutter again, and someone materialised to face Cyr - a woman probably in her thirties, with a slight build and a single long, yellowish antenna.

"Begin!" the announcer boomed.

"Quick Attack!" Viola got her order out first. If she was being directed behind the scenes, they must have arranged the attack beforehand, and the other Pokemon blurred and was suddenly right in front of Cyr, whirling around with a swift kick. But fast as the attack was, Cyr only had to turn slightly to let the woman's heel strike his shoulder. The blow hit hard enough that the Chespin stumbled, but Viola's Pokemon came off worse, almost overbalancing from the recoil and wincing in pain.

"Rollout!"

"And Viola's Surskit lands the first blow, but has her eagerness proved her undoing?" The announcer was speaking faster now, keeping up with the exchange of blows as Cyr was enshrouded in a sphere of Rock Essence and slammed into the other Pokemon - a Surskit, apparently. Eurwen wasn't going to look through her Pokedex right now. "Ooh, and the Surskit's Essence is reduced by more than half with a single blow - and as we all know, Rollout only gets stronger the longer it's sustained. Is this first battle of the match over already?"

"Get back and Bubble!"

Eurwen had to give them credit, it was a smart move to a degree. The Water Essence of Bubble would go some way to dispersing the Rock Essence of Rollout. If it was powerful enough, it could even shatter the Essence entirely.

But Cyr was a Grass-type. The Bubble barely even slowed him down and he hammered into the Surskit, sending sparks of shattered green Essence scattering across the arena floor before he swerved and skidded to a halt back in front of Eurwen, letting the Rock Essence fade.

"And Cyr once again demonstrates that devastating Rollout! Can anyone stand up to the Chespin's power?"

Eurwen decided not to point out that the Pyroar they'd fought had blocked his Rollout without much effort.

Viola narrowed her eyes behind her camera and clicked the shutter of her camera again. Eurwen pressed one of the levers of her Pokedex.

"And a dual switch from both battlers, as Miro the Butterfree faces off against Viola's Vivillon! Both Bug/Flying-Types, and if either of them know a Flying-Type move, though, that battler will have a drastic advantage. But Vivillon has a higher level than Miro. Was it a rare error on Eurwen's part to switch Cyr out, or did she simply not want to risk the Grass-type being struck with a Bug-Type move before he could land a hit with Rollout?"

"Confusion!"

"Infestation!"

The two Pokemon spread their wings and took off, green energy lashing from the Vivillon's wings and wrapping around Miro's wings and body as Miro's eyes glowed purple, trapping the Vivillon with his psychic energy.

"Both attacks land!" the announcer proclaimed, unnecessarily. "But remember, Viola's signature move, Infestation, can be sustained by the user to drain the Essence of anyone targeted by it, and for safety reasons, a Pokemon under the effects of Infestation cannot be teleported out."

"Keep going with the Infestation!" Viola cried out.

Viola's order had been pointless, the Vivillon wasn't exactly in a position to do anything other than sustain the Essence link to her Infestation, and there was equally little point to Eurwen telling Miro to keep trying with his Confusion attacks. At this point there was nothing she could do but trust him.

"Harden and Tackle!" Viola snapped.

Bug Essence pulsed from the Vivillon's wings, shattering Miro's psionic hold, and she flew straight at him, turning at the last minute and slamming into him shoulder-first, knocking him against the barrier that divided the audience from the battle, and he slid down to the floor, dropping to one knee.

But then as the Vivillon finished her mid-air flip and positioned herself to charge at Miro again, still wreathed in Bug Essence, the Butterfree caught one of her wings in a Confusion again, pulling her further off-balance, and when she tried to recover her balance, he released that psionic hold - only to use Confusion again when she was too busy trying not to fall out of the air to fight back.

Eurwen smirked as the Vivillon crashed down into the ground, propelled by Miro's psychic hold. That was just like she'd taught him.

The League referee checked the Vivillon's status on his Pokedex before approaching, waving Miro off, and counting down the five seconds she had to break free from his grasp.

"And Eurwen, Cyr and Miro win their first badge!" the announcer declared, even his magnified voice almost drowned out by the cheers.

Eurwen sighed in relief, letting out a breath she hadn't realised she was holding. They had their first badge.

They'd done it.

Cyr - Chespin, Male, Overgrow, Naive, Capable of Taking Hits
Miro - Butterfree, Male, Compound Eyes, Naughty, Sturdy Body
Shaw - Bunnelby, Male, Pickup, Relaxed, Somewhat Vain
Kirstin - Psyduck, Female, Damp, Docile, Alert to Sounds
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
Lola - Azurill, Female, Thick Fat, Quiet, Somewhat Vain
 

llyarden

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  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #88
As they emerged from the Gym, Eurwen found herself very glad of the fact that to protect the secrets of the Gym challenge, the Gym matches weren't displayed openly the way most of the other challenges were. She'd been half fearing being mobbed by congratulators.

As it was, pretty much as soon as the doors had closed behind them, Miro was pretty much tackled by Artie in an excited hug. "You guys were amazing out there!" she beamed happily. "I mean, I knew you'd win, but still, we actually got to watch you since we already won!"

"So you guys won too?"

Artie glanced over to Eurwen and nodded. "Yep! Well, I mean, I didn't fight, obviously. I'm not as badass as our resident psychic over here. But Quacklin' and Sam won no problem! Vi-" She caught herself before announcing Viola's name (even if in all likelihood by now everyone knew it anyway). "The Gym Leader didn't stand a chance against them!"

Julian and the rest of his team, along with Kirstin and Shaw, were waiting a little distance away.

"Hey, give me a second, you guys." Eurwen left them chattering and walked over to Julian. "Can we talk?"

She led him away from the others, so they could talk in private.

"Well, congratulations on winning?" Julian offered.

"Why are you mad at me?"

Julian blinked.

"I'm not stupid. You've been glaring at me when you think I'm not looking ever since we started this Gym challenge."

He couldn't quite meet her gaze. "I was trying not to interfere," he said, quietly. "How you handle the challenge is your decision."

"Yeah, and if my friend obviously thinks I'm handling it in a stupid way, then I'm going to want to change my mind." She paused, and then spoke much more quietly, more nervously. "We...we are friends, right?"

If it had been Shauna saying that, he'd have said she was just trying to get a rise out of him. But Eurwen sounded so...scared, and almost before he realised he was doing it he reached out and put a hand on her shoulder. "Of course we are."

"Then at least tell me what I've done wrong!"

Julian sighed. "Look...the Gym challenges are a big deal. I told you about half the teams never make it to the second region, remember? Probably half of the teams who are left don't manage to beat the Gym. And we're some of the first to win a Badge. We'll get to be in the big computer-generated battle for the first Great Peak in the story. But...Kirstin and Shaw won't."

"And? They'll still be on my team."

"It's not just...not getting to be in the big story elements. Beating a Gym goes on their record as League competitors, and...well, now they're going to have it on their record that they beat the Gym even though they weren't even there. There are a lot of people who don't like that, like they see it as cheating the League. People who couldn't cut it in the League themselves, normally, but they're numerous enough and loud enough that...it's almost become a mainstream thing. I mean, Pokemon who join after the first Badge get it too, since it gets retroactively added to their record, but it's not as bad for them."

"So...what, a bunch of name-calling jerks? That's the whole problem?"

"No. Like I said, it's basically become an accepted thing that everyone on a team should be there for the Gym challenge, even if they don't actually fight. What if Kirstin and Shaw think that way too?"

Eurwen didn't say anything for a few moments.

"Why didn't you bring them with you? I saw how strong Cyr is first-hand, and Miro has those telekinetic powers."

"We were keeping Miro's Confusion secret so we could use it to surprise them," Eurwen interjected.

"And the rest of it? Kirstin and Shaw wouldn't have slowed you down any. And even if they did get knocked out of the arena, at least they'd have still been there. No-one would fault them for that. Is that 100% success record with no knockouts that important to you?"

Eurwen didn't say anything for a moment. Then she shrugged his hand off her shoulder. "Do you really think that's what I care about?" she asked, quietly, and he could hear the pain in her voice.

"Hey, I'm sorry, I didn't mean it like -"

"You don't get it." She cut him off. "None of you do."

"Get what?"

"How dangerous this is! All of this!"

That was not what he'd expected. "I mean...Pokemon battles are always going to have an element of danger, just like any combat sport."

"You can minimise it. And the League doesn't just...not reduce the risk as much as they could, they make it worse! You know, the only time since we started I've actually felt like everything was as safe as it could be was when I battled Shauna, right at the start. No gimmicks, no tricks, no stages." She gestured back towards the Gym. "Even with the League referee and the proper battling arena, back there, I still would've felt safer - would've felt like they would be safer - without any of it. I mean, they had a lighting rig inside the protective barrier, for Arc's sake! A powerful enough attack could've brought the whole thing crashing down." Eurwen sighed. "But you, Trevor...even Steph, you all just say that the League is as safe as it can be, and that there's nothing to worry about."

Julian hesitated for a moment. "Look...don't you think that there might be a reason for that? We've been here a lot longer than you, seen the League a lot longer."

She just shook her head slightly. "And that 'Boss Challenge'? Kamon could've gotten seriously hurt, and all that happened was he got a slap on the wrist."

"But he wasn't, because the Pyroar knew what she was doing, that's the point."

"And if Cyr had hit her one second earlier, she wouldn't have been able to redirect her Essence like that," Eurwen retorted. "And I...I didn't do anything, even though I could see what was going to happen, because I trusted the League would have some way of handling it - a barrier, or an emergency teleport, or something! But they didn't. They just left it to a single Pokemon, and she got lucky that she could stop it.

"I don't know if the League has been incredibly lucky for years like that, or if they just make sure that major injuries never make it onto the main coverage, but...I'm not going to take that risk. If people want to be mad at me about it, if you want to be mad at me about it, then..." She couldn't keep her voice level. "Then fine."

Julian didn't say anything for a few moments. "I'm sorry."

He hesitated, and reached out again, gently resting his fingertips on her shoulders and nudging her closer until he could put his arms around her and hug her gently, and after a moment she relaxed, resting her head on his shoulder. "I...I still think the League is a lot safer than you say," he said, quietly, "but...I shouldn't have gotten mad at you when you're just trying to look after them. I'm sorry," he repeated.

And she spoke and she spoke so quietly, so nervously, it was almost like she was a different person. "I just...I know that forcing them to withdraw from the League would break their hearts, and I...I am enjoying being here, doing this with you and the others, but I don't...I don't want anyone to get hurt because of me.

"Not again."

Cyr - Chespin, Male, Overgrow, Naive, Capable of Taking Hits
Miro - Butterfree, Male, Compound Eyes, Naughty, Sturdy Body
Shaw - Bunnelby, Male, Pickup, Relaxed, Somewhat Vain
Kirstin - Psyduck, Female, Damp, Docile, Alert to Sounds
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
Lola - Azurill, Female, Thick Fat, Quiet, Somewhat Vain
 

SayleeK

Johto League Champion
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  1. Fire
  2. Fairy
Pokédex Entry
Between long periods of dormant slumber, this writer rises again for periods of activity that leave piles of dead fictional Pokemon in their wake
Hell yeah, first victory to Eurwen's team! And she actually gets to express that she's scared for her team's lives in a way that the Kalosians all around her don't comprehend! Julian is being a good pal here, it's sweet to see ❤️
 

llyarden

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  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #90
Yep, first badge get! And yeah Julian is at least trying to support her even though he doesn't really agree with her, but just being someone she can vent to definitely helps.

They hadn't spoken about the safety of the League after their argument. Steph had, with perfect timing, distracted them by pointing out how many Tokens they'd been awarded after the League, and they'd gotten pulled away by their respective teams to recruit new Pokemon. Julian had rounded out his team with Sandra, a confident Budew who'd very quickly browbeaten Kamon into submission when he'd tried to act like the leader of the team. The rest of them had tried not to laugh too much.

And now Eurwen had Lena.

"What...what the heck is this thing?" she asked, examining the curious device she was holding. It looked a bit like a neck brace, or some sort of decorative collar as she'd seen a couple of the weirder-dressed contestants wearing, but it was obviously designed to channel Essence.

"It's an Essence mutator," Julian answered.

Eurwen wasn't entirely sure why she'd even recruited the young woman. Especially not coming straight after finally telling someone her feelings about the League. But...it was just like she'd told Julian. As much as she was scared of someone on her team getting hurt, abandoning the challenge would hurt her team just as much, even if it wasn't a physical wound.

And besides, there was something in the way the Skitty had looked at her when she'd been picking between the three potential opponents for the recruitment challenge. A kind of...hopelessness, almost. Even if there was a lot of overlap between Lena and Shaw from a type perspective, she couldn't very well choose either of the others.

It reminded her too much of...her.

"What's it for?"

"It's to stop me mind controlling people," Lena answered, flatly.

Eurwen blinked. "What?"

Lena sighed. "'Cute Charm.' My ability. They gave it a sweet sounding name to hide what it does," she added, scornfully. "If I want to, anyone who gets too close gets hypnotised and does whatever I want. Well, if they're into women, anyway."

She said it so matter-of-factly.

"And because the League want to keep that boast of theirs that every Pokemon can use everything they have in the League, they make up for it with that." She nodded to the collar in Eurwen's hand. "When I wear it, it changes the Essence waves I give off, so anyone who gets affected just wobbles around all silly with a stupid grin on their faces - a family friendly infatuation. Can't drive away sponsors."

"That...doesn't sound too unreasonable?" Eurwen asked. Judging from the way Lena was talking, there had to be a catch.

Lena gave a small smile. "Yeah, it's not. It's just...everyone 'knows' that that's what Skitties can do now, even though the ability's only present in about 40% of us. So whenever anyone sees a tail like mine they start to get worried about what we can do to them if they get too close."

"There was a poll that was done a couple years back," Shaw added. "Across the whole of Kalos, 75% of the respondents thought that no matter how hard you tried, people with that Ability can't turn it off, even though literally every other Essence manifestation can be."

Lena turned to look at Shaw, raising an eyebrow, evidently seeing him with a little more respect. "Never heard that before, but that sounds about right. Everyone thinks anyone who gets close to us falls under our spell whether we want them to or not. And guess what the only way to reassure people about our powers is?" She flicked her tail and swiped the collar out of Eurwen's hands. "There are some places that won't even let in Pokemon whose species are known to have control powers without a mutator on, even if they go to the trouble of getting an Essence readout to show they don't have the power."

"Isn't that illegal?" Cyr asked.

Lena scoffed. "Of course it is. But that doesn't stop them getting away with it, because we're the 'aggressors.'"

"Is that why you're entering the League?"

She nodded, plucking the collar off her tail and fastening it around her neck. "I want to show people that we're not all just mind controlling psychos. That we're people too."

Eurwen nodded. I understand that more than you know.

"Well, I can't speak for the others," she said aloud, "but you don't have to wear that around me if you don't want to."

Lena smiled. "Thanks, but you still have to recruit me, you know." And then she groaned slightly. "Oh, Arc, this means I have to fight Cyr, doesn't it?"

"Sounds like your reputation precedes you," Kirstin teased Cyr, sticking her tongue out at him when he swished a vine in her direction.

Cyr - Chespin, Male, Overgrow, Naive, Capable of Taking Hits
Miro - Butterfree, Male, Compound Eyes, Naughty, Sturdy Body
Shaw - Bunnelby, Male, Pickup, Relaxed, Somewhat Vain
Kirstin - Psyduck, Female, Damp, Docile, Alert to Sounds
Lena - Skitty, Female, Cute Charm, Impish, Impetuous and Silly
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
Lola - Azurill, Female, Thick Fat, Quiet, Somewhat Vain
Sandra - Budew, Female, Natural Cure, Brave, Proud of its Power
 

SayleeK

Johto League Champion
Writer
Screenshotter
Pokédex No.
260
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Jul 1, 2019
Messages
1,566
Location
Scrivener
Nature
Careful
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Pokémon Type
  1. Fire
  2. Fairy
Pokédex Entry
Between long periods of dormant slumber, this writer rises again for periods of activity that leave piles of dead fictional Pokemon in their wake
Oooh, getting into the way some of these Abilities can really manifest among intelligent beings... and Lena's out here running her own Shinsou arcj to prove that she can be a hero too ✊
 

llyarden

Perpetual Lurker
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Pokédex No.
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Jun 30, 2019
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223
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  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #92
Yeah I remain convinced that infatuation is an incredibly creepy mechanic for GameFreak to have introduced, but doubly so when reimagining Pokemon as humans...

Just as it had when they'd moved regions, getting their first Badge meant that the level of challenge they were facing ramped up again. The evening after they'd won the Bug Badge, Trevor had explained that only one-third of the group needed to have a Badge to qualify to leave a region with a Gym, and with Eurwen and Julian both having Badges they were at 40%, so they could - if they wanted - move on to another region entirely.

That would be tomorrow's job. They'd registered for one last challenge to earn a last batch of Tokens from Santalune, another Boss Challenge, and then they would be off. They just had to decide where to go. Between the five Trainers and just over a dozen Pokemon, pretty much every city and landmark in the country had been suggested, and Eurwen felt like every time someone mentioned a new place it sounded even more interesting than the last.

She'd offered to go out to get takeout for the group to give her the opportunity to think about all the options and try to narrow them down. So far, it hadn't worked - although at least now she'd placed the order she didn't need to worry about remembering that too, she could just sit down and wait for the various meals to be made.

"Miss Brennan?" She turned, narrowing her eyes, as someone approached her. He was in his mid thirties, probably, dressed in a smart suit and carrying a briefcase, with grey-green spikes protruding from his head and running down the back of his neck. "Devin Rochelle," he introduced himself. "I represent Cyllage Outdoors." He produced a business card with his free hand. Eurwen didn't take it.

"You're in the wrong city, then."

Rochelle smirked, sitting down opposite her. "Despite the name, we are a nationwide company, but the ruggedness of Cyllage is in every product we ship. That's our catchphrase," he added, helpfully. "Which brings me neatly onto my purpose for being here. We'd like to sponsor you."

"You mean like Shaw's fans sponsor him?"

"Similar. But where Mr Shaw's - uh, sorry, I mean Shaw's - fans send items to you via his wishlist on the League's website, we have an arrangement with the League directly. But you are correct that in much the same way as Shaw's fans sponsor him not out of generosity or the goodness of their hearts, but to boost their popularity, Cyllage Outdoors wants to sponsor you to boost our popularity."

How cynical. And yet, Eurwen couldn't exactly find fault with his claim. She was pretty sure that at least the majority of Shaw's fans were donating to him - and thus her - so they could say they had, and get him to thank them on his videos.

"So what am I meant to do? Randomly throw in 'you should visit Cyllage Outdoors' into a sentence?"

Rochelle actually chuckled at that. "Nothing so crass. As I said, our arrangement is with the League." He rested the briefcase on the table, opening it with the other and turning it around so she could see it. Six Potions sat inside it, neatly arranged, each with a label stamped on the side that she presumed must be the logo of Cyllage Outdoors.

"You know I can't heal my team in the middle of a battle, right?"

"We do. But since you now have a Badge - congratulations on your victory, by the way - you will begin to encounter challenges, including combat challenges, that have to be completed in succession, without the opportunity to have your team checked by League medical staff after every challenge the way you have been thus far. Those Potions will prove rather useful to you, we suspect."

Eurwen reached over and closed the briefcase, resting her hand on the handle. Logically, it made sense, and if Rochelle was telling the truth the Potions would be very useful to her. Shaw's fans, generous as they were, were somewhat unreliable. The last package she'd got from them had been a new hoodie. But all the same...

"Why me? There have got to be people better at this whole...TV show...thing. Why not Julian?"

"Mr Calme already has a sponsor," Rochelle answered smoothly.

So he looked up the others too before he came here.

"As for why you...you may not believe it, or may not wish to believe it, but you are one of the favourite contestants in the entire League. You have the perfect combination of underdog and professional, and you don't have a polarising gimmick. Even leaving aside your popularity with the crowd, you're an outsider, and therefore a perfect example for the League to point to to demonstrate that anyone can enter and do well in the League after some complaints over the past few years. So long as you continue to do well, the League is going to make sure everyone sees it. That presents a perfect opportunity for us. And, of course, your tough, rugged, survivor theme fits Cyllage Outdoors quite nicely. People who don't have the latest model of everything are often an ignored market.

"You'll find the formal offer of sponsorship on your tablet," he added. "But as a show of good will, a perk of working with a company with League connections." Having seemingly been totally okay with discussing business with her in the corner of a takeaway diner, Rochelle only now looked around cautiously to make sure no-one was looking before leaning closer. "You and your team might want to head to the capital."

"What's that meant to mean?"

Rochelle grinned, baring sharp teeth. "You'll find out."

Cyr - Chespin, Male, Overgrow, Naive, Capable of Taking Hits
Miro - Butterfree, Male, Compound Eyes, Naughty, Sturdy Body
Shaw - Bunnelby, Male, Pickup, Relaxed, Somewhat Vain
Kirstin - Psyduck, Female, Damp, Docile, Alert to Sounds
Lena - Skitty, Female, Cute Charm, Impish, Impetuous and Silly
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
Lola - Azurill, Female, Thick Fat, Quiet, Somewhat Vain
Sandra - Budew, Female, Natural Cure, Brave, Proud of its Power
 

llyarden

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169
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223
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  2. Dragon
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #93
"We are not having much luck with these Boss Challenges," Cyr groaned.

Last time they'd fought a Fire-type. Now they were up against a Pidgeot.

Still, at least it meant Julian had an excuse to not use Artie.

To her delight, the most recent challenge had finally allowed her to absorb enough Essence to evolve - which had promptly caused her Essence to go a little out of control over her hands, causing them to foam and drip goopy proto-String Shots more or less continually. She was now sitting with her hands in a bowl of warm water, into which they'd added a few drops of the same anti-Essence liquid Eurwen had used on Miro's carapace, to help her learn to suppress the effect.

It had been Miro's idea - innovative, and not exactly the recommended medical protocol (which, they had been informed, was to just wait it out until she managed to control her heightened Essence), but it was certainly working. When Artie had first evolved she'd inadvertently produced enough foam that it had almost covered her arms. Now it was down to just a faint dripping from her fingertips.
Eurwen had to admit, she was impressed by the Butterfree's idea.

Since he was barely more resistant to a Flying-type attack than Artie was despite his own Flying Essence, Miro was sitting the challenge out too, which worked out pretty well, since it meant he could sit next to Artie and help take her mind off the fact that she wasn't able to help the rest of the team.

Was she was concerned about was that they couldn't use Cyr this time. In the last Boss Challenge, they'd gotten away with using Cyr and his Rollout because they were fighting a Fire-Type, and had Sam and Kamon to run interference. But no-one on either of their teams was resistant to Flying.

Of course, it wasn't as though Cyr was the cornerstone of the team without which they couldn't win. He was strong - maybe not quite as strong as the narrative of the story made him out to be, but still the strongest of Eurwen's team - and while Miro might have been the next most powerful, Shaw and Kirstin were pretty capable as well. So was Lena; even if she didn't use her Ability, they'd very quickly discovered that she could land a rapid hail of blows with her tail if she wanted to.

All the same, though...last time they'd done one of these Boss Challenges, Kamon had nearly gotten hurt. She couldn't help but feel a little nervous.

"So, you're some of the ones who defeated our first Guardian of Power, hmm?" The Pidgeot spoke in a pompous tone. "Viola should never have been picked by the Professor. She was always going to give in too easily."

Eurwen was used to the non-challenger 'characters' that the League staff played trash talking each other by now, but it was still strange to hear someone talk about her victory over Viola. As far as anyone except the people who'd actually been in the stadium knew, she hadn't even battled Viola yet. The big CGI battle against Viola with all the challengers merged together was being aired in the next day, at the weekend.

"But I can assure you," the Pidgeot continued, "I will not submit so readily!" He pushed Essence into his wings so they sprang into existence, snapping out and releasing Essence in a micro-Gust that was still enough to push the half-dozen Pokemon facing him back a pace. "Come, then...face me if you dare!"

If it was a real battle, he could've just taken off and flown circles around them. Even Quacklin' couldn't actually fly, Miro was the only one who could, and he was outside the arena, watching along with Artie, Cyr and Steph. Eurwen noticed absently that the Butterfree had manifested one of his own wings, letting Artie lean back against it, which couldn't possibly have been comfortable for him, but he didn't seem to mind.

"Ember and Water Gun!" Julian yelled, over the whipping winds the Pidgeot was conjuring, and as Sam and Kamon attacked, Shaw jumped at him from behind with a Tackle.

The Pidgeot didn't even flinch.

One flick of his wing swatted Shaw aside as the Fire and Water attacks splashed off him harmlessly, and then he brought both wings together, sending a squall of wind that could only barely avoid being called a Hurricane at Julian's team and sending them sprawling, their Essence shattered.

He was enjoying this, Eurwen realised with a start, as the Pidgeot laughed. He wasn't just putting on a show. She frowned, clenching her hand into a fist before realising what she was doing and relaxing. To give him credit, he might have been a jerk but he was being careful with his attacks. Even if their teams clearly didn't stand a chance against him, at least the only thing that would be wounded was their pride.

And then suddenly Lena was there, and the Pidgeot was already turning to strike her with his wing, faster than any of the rest of the Pokemon there could follow - and then she was holding the tip of his wing in one hand idly, eyes shimmering with Essence, and the winds were gone. "Aw, now don't be like that!" she purred.

A holographic projector clipped behind his ear buzzed, and projected floating pink hearts dancing around his head. Eurwen could feel him trying to break free from Lena's control, but this was something where raw strength and Essence was irrelevant. Burning through his Essence the way he was was only going to tire him out and make it easier for Lena to maintain her control.

"Challenge complete! Time out!"

Lena released the Pidgeot's wing, watching as he recovered his senses and glared at her. "What?"

He scoffed. "Not much point hiring us to be a threat to a whole team in battle when you're allowed to cheat with telepathic crap," he scoffed. "You get to use 'ooh, it's my Ability, I can't control it' as an excuse even though Psychics have to fight with one hand behind their back."

"Just ignore him," Miro said, simply, as they regrouped. "He's just salty."

Lena watched him go and sighed. "He's not actually wrong, though," she admitted. "There are a lot of Pokemon in the League who could control others if they knew how, but the League bans anything except specifically regulated moves and Abilities." Then she gave a small smile. "Still, it's nice to be able to use my powers and have the worst outcome be an actually reasonable argument."

"The bar's so low that that's 'nice', huh?" Lola asked. She meant it lightly, but Lena turned to her, meeting her gaze for a moment.

"Yeah," she answered, simply, quietly.

I swear some of the random trainers in X/Y have maxed IV Pokemon or something, because it was always the same Trainer whose Pokemon were implausibly strong in both games. This time it was a Rollerskater with a Pidgey, who critted Sam and Kamon four times in seven moves and took most of Eurwen's team down to red even without critting. Fortunately, Lena came to my rescue on Eurwen's game with Cute Charm and it promptly never did anything else because of Infatuation. (For some reason I always seem to have weirdly good luck with that...)
Cyr - Chespin, Male, Overgrow, Naive, Capable of Taking Hits
Miro - Butterfree, Male, Compound Eyes, Naughty, Sturdy Body
Shaw - Bunnelby, Male, Pickup, Relaxed, Somewhat Vain
Kirstin - Psyduck, Female, Damp, Docile, Alert to Sounds
Lena - Skitty, Female, Cute Charm, Impish, Impetuous and Silly
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
Lola - Azurill, Female, Thick Fat, Quiet, Somewhat Vain
Sandra - Budew, Female, Natural Cure, Brave, Proud of its Power
 

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