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The Arcane Realm: Land of Freedom and Magicks (FFAZ)

Meetan

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TKF: You had a sinking feeling that just because Bayleef had been simple to solve, Grotle wasn't going to be the same. What possibly gave that impression? Was it the growls and roars that pierced the rocks, and the sound of heavy attack power bashing the Tomb apart? To be fair, that would certainly do it. Grotle had broken out of his prison in no time at all, eyes burning with a thirst for revenge, and he was turning it upon his allies. You had the perfect move in mind to solve this problem, one that you had practiced a few times recently but had yet to execute.

You called on Froakie and Chimchar's cooperation, utilising their power and bonds to perform the impressive Pledge moves. There's a strong burst of fire that combines with Froakie's mastery of water, and as Grotle is drenched in the fearsome torrent, the two Pokemon go in to try and make your strategy come to fruition.

“It's beautiful...” Billy observed, only taking his eyes off the newborn rainbow when you prompt him. “Between the two of them, I think we can do it! Especially Braixen, something this nasty has to be giving off some really bad vibes, you know?” Glancing at the pair, they certainly don't look happy. Whether it's struggle, pain or disgust their faces are both expressing displeasure at whatever aura they're searching for. The water of the attacks clear, and Chimchar and Froakie get in close. Grotle has Withdrawn into his shell, but before the pair can pry him out, Seed Bombs are shot from the openings, forcing them to retreat. Grotle only then comes out, weary but undeterred, the trees on his back lighting up as he begins a Mega Drain of Froakie's strength. He already has a lot of power on Froakie, so such a move against it is going to be even more effective than it already was, cutting back the progress the duo had made with their Pledges.

“We can't keep this going much longer! We're going to have to follow what our Pokemon found and go look!” Billy insisted. The pressure is on. You need to get Grotle back, but the more time you waste here, the more waste that is lain to the meadow. What do you do?
 
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TKF: You had a sinking feeling that just because Bayleef had been simple to solve, Grotle wasn't going to be the same. What possibly gave that impression? Was it the growls and roars that pierced the rocks, and the sound of heavy attack power bashing the Tomb apart? To be fair, that would certainly do it. Grotle had broken out of his prison in no time at all, eyes burning with a thirst for revenge, and he was turning it upon his allies. You had the perfect move in mind to solve this problem, one that you had practiced a few times recently but had yet to execute.

You called on Froakie and Chimchar's cooperation, utilising their power and bonds to perform the impressive Pledge moves. There's a strong burst of fire that combines with Froakie's mastery of water, and as Grotle is drenched in the fearsome torrent, the two Pokemon go in to try and make your strategy come to fruition.

“It's beautiful...” Billy observed, only taking his eyes off the newborn rainbow when you prompt him. “Between the two of them, I think we can do it! Especially Braixen, something this nasty has to be giving off some really bad vibes, you know?” Glancing at the pair, they certainly don't look happy. Whether it's struggle, pain or disgust their faces are both expressing displeasure at whatever aura they're searching for. The water of the attacks clear, and Chimchar and Froakie get in close. Grotle has Withdrawn into his shell, but before the pair can pry him out, Seed Bombs are shot from the openings, forcing them to retreat. Grotle only then comes out, weary but undeterred, the trees on his back lighting up as he begins a Mega Drain of Froakie's strength. He already has a lot of power on Froakie, so such a move against it is going to be even more effective than it already was, cutting back the progress the duo had made with their Pledges.

“We can't keep this going much longer! We're going to have to follow what our Pokemon found and go look!” Billy insisted. The pressure is on. You need to get Grotle back, but the more time you waste here, the more waste that is lain to the meadow. What do you do?

Despite their best efforts to restrain Grotle, the Grass Starter refused to surrender. They'd nailed their combo but it wasn't enough, in his frenzied state, the Grotle was a force to be reckoned with. Braixen and Megara seemed to be onto something with their search for a source, they couldn't afford to waste much more time on Grotle. His Pokemon were putting their bodies on the line in order to bring the Grass type back onside, if they were willing to put it all on the line, maybe he had to be as well. "Billy, take Megara and Braixen and start heading towards the source, we'll be right behind you, I promise." Xander had faith in Braixen, she'd do what she had to do until he caught up with them. He hoped this wouldn't take too long, but with the current conditions it was far from easy to predict an outcome.

Xander gripped Grotle's Pokeball tighter as he began to rush towards the Grass type. He wouldn't give him the opportunity to avoid the recall, he'd get close enough that it would be impossible for the Grotle to avoid it. "Chimchar using Helping Hand, Froakie freeze Grotle's feet with Ice Beam!" Chimchar began to cheer Froakie on as the Kalosian Starter's bubbles begin to shimmer, his type changing due to his Protean ability. Xander hoped it would be enough to hold Grotle in place long enough. He couldn't help but notice Chimchar shooting him a look, as if to question exactly what he was doing. That's exactly what the look was, the Fire Starter was surprised by the sudden risky tactic. He'd do his best to protect his trainer, ready to shoot down any attacks launched by Grotle with an Ember.
 
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Meetan- Confident you can complete the task set by the old craftswoman, you pick up the Heavy Ball, pocketing it for now as you plan on squeezing in a bit more shopping before you head out. Your gut tells you that dusty old record shop you passed might be stocking more than just an outdated music collection. If you could snag a couple of on sale technical machines, it would probably make capturing a Mudbray a whole lot easier. You didn't know a lot about the species but you'd certainly heard tales of their stubbornness, one certainly wouldn't allow itself to be captured without a good fight. It takes you a little bit of time to locate the store again, the bustling crowd making it hard for you to get your bearings. A bell chimes as you open the door, waking the scruffy looking teen who was passed out behind the front counter. The first thing you notice is the strong herbal scent in the air, however it didn't exactly smell medicinal. He rubs his eyes before letting out a groan. "Eh we're having a sale at the moment, half off whatever you want. I think there was some old TM's in that box over there, I don't know."

Surely this guy couldn't be getting paid..... Either way, you follow Eridian as he heads over to the box the far from helpful merchant had pointed out. He tosses aside some useless old records, thankfully it seems the teen has begun to drift off again. Eventually he pulls out a nice little clutch of TM disks, which he spreads out on the floor for you to get a better look. TM Rock Tomb $500 $250. TM Nature Power $700 $350. TM Dragon Pulse $700 $350. TM Sandstorm $800 $400. TM Double Team $700 $350. It wasn't exactly a massive selection, but at half price these TM's were bargains! Eridian looks at the now sleeping merchant, then back to you. He was asleep again, maybe you could just take them? He was that out of it he probably wouldn't even notice they were gone, or remember that you were in here. Big risk, big reward, but was it really worth it?
 

Meetan

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Meetan- Confident you can complete the task set by the old craftswoman, you pick up the Heavy Ball, pocketing it for now as you plan on squeezing in a bit more shopping before you head out. Your gut tells you that dusty old record shop you passed might be stocking more than just an outdated music collection. If you could snag a couple of on sale technical machines, it would probably make capturing a Mudbray a whole lot easier. You didn't know a lot about the species but you'd certainly heard tales of their stubbornness, one certainly wouldn't allow itself to be captured without a good fight. It takes you a little bit of time to locate the store again, the bustling crowd making it hard for you to get your bearings. A bell chimes as you open the door, waking the scruffy looking teen who was passed out behind the front counter. The first thing you notice is the strong herbal scent in the air, however it didn't exactly smell medicinal. He rubs his eyes before letting out a groan. "Eh we're having a sale at the moment, half off whatever you want. I think there was some old TM's in that box over there, I don't know."

Surely this guy couldn't be getting paid..... Either way, you follow Eridian as he heads over to the box the far from helpful merchant had pointed out. He tosses aside some useless old records, thankfully it seems the teen has begun to drift off again. Eventually he pulls out a nice little clutch of TM disks, which he spreads out on the floor for you to get a better look. TM Rock Tomb $500 $250. TM Nature Power $700 $350. TM Dragon Pulse $700 $350. TM Sandstorm $800 $400. TM Double Team $700 $350. It wasn't exactly a massive selection, but at half price these TM's were bargains! Eridian looks at the now sleeping merchant, then back to you. He was asleep again, maybe you could just take them? He was that out of it he probably wouldn't even notice they were gone, or remember that you were in here. Big risk, big reward, but was it really worth it?
Alice was impressed by Eridian's quickness in sorting all of this out, although she was pretty sure that the guy had been smoking weed (or whatever this world's version of it was). Either that or he'd worn himself out doing something. If he was being paid, he was obviously bored enough and went without monitoring regardless, so... Damn. The dragon was tossing aside records with enough frivolity that she was surprised none of them smashed, but at least they soon got to the good stuff. Some of these moves were seriously good and cheap to boot, and Alice was so glad they'd come here. They would give Jasper the edge they needed for sure, and save them some money in the long run. It was just a shame that they'd missed out on more, but the Love Balls made that worth it too, in the end.

"Okay, hang on..." Maths wasn't her strong suit, and Alice triple checked her calculations as she went through her pretty purse another time. It had absolutely crossed the idol's mind that they could probably just steal what was there, but it didn't feel worth it when her finances were in order just fine. Besides, there had to be some cameras or something to try and prevent such moves or they'd get robbed under this guy's 'watch' all of the time! Laying
$1700 on the desk, Alice turned away and took advantage of the quiet to release Jasper, her pink Sableye cocking his head in intrigue.

"Listen boy, if we can capture a Mudbray for an old lady in need, at least four Love Balls are ours for no monetary exchange whatsoever. And I think you're a perfect candidate for the battling job, but we're gonna give you a little boost, okay?" She decided to make use of the TMs right there, already an expect with managing them after all this time. Once they were all applied, Alice set the cases by the desk to be recycled later, and they were off. The pink Sableye clung to one shoulder, light as a feather given his ghostly form, and Eridian was by her side. If someone tripped over his hardy head, it was absolutely them who was going to suffer, not him. They were brisk in their movements, jogging in places where it was possible without losing each other. They needed to hurry up and head outside to find a Mudbray, and fast!

[Teaching Jasper the Sableye TMs Rock Romb, Nature Power, Dragon Pulse and Sandstorm!]
 
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Meetan

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TKF: You sent Billy on ahead of you to the source, and while he certainly hesitated to carry on the mission without you, he did as asked. For whatever shortcomings they might have, he had mastery over his power and you trusted Braixen to be able to aid the wizard until you can catch up. You promised that you wouldn't take long, knowing that this mission was time sensitive and all. Once they were gone, making their way around the outside edge of the turmoil to the beginnings of the woodland, you focused on Grotle.

You made your orders, although your Pokemon didn't fully comprehend what they were doing. Grotle obviously wasn't going to listen to his recall, so you had to trap him and force him. Once again, a Helping Hand strengthened the partner in play, and Froakie aimed an Ice Beam at Grotle's feet. The other was slow enough to be trapped, but it didn't last. Grotle used his Earth Power to smash through the painful ice, and Chimchar's Ember did nothing to prevent it – heck, all it did was warm whichever elements it struck, the ensuing explosion ensuring that the ice had absolutely smashed. Before the dust had settled, Grotle was firing off Seed Bombs in all of your general direction, emerging from the fading screen of smoke with another rage of Superpower, charging towards you all. Remember, if Froakie takes too much damage from his grassy ally here, he definitely won't be able to help you further. So, what do you do?
 

Raves

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Raves: Of course this is all unsafe and weird. You just set your hands into a box that demanded a blood sacrifice, and you felt the pain in your prosthetic one. The fact that you could just dismiss that said a lot about how woozy this whole thing had made you, or perhaps was just proof that you were thinking with Not Your Brain, Buddy-Pal-Chum. It was as if you hadn't even noticed the way your Pokemon were reacting to the whole thing, or how alarmingly delighted Menefer's Pokemon were in contrast. All was fair in love and war, you suppose, including recklessly embracing your beloved.

And he embraces you, at least. As soon as your fleshier hand lands in his, he pulls you slowly close to wrap an arm around you. You're held ever so sweetly against him, his brown eyes pooling into your grey ones. “Your eyes really are something. Perfect. Like the moon on the ocean at night.” Menefer observed silkily, distracted from the tale he was about to tell. He quickly remembered, though, and moved on. “You see, not so long ago, there was a region known as Talas. It was always old fashioned, and the people who lived there were either very rich or very poor. Rarely in the middle. My family and I were the former, and as you can imagine, we were very happy. My parents, sisters and I, and our Pokemon. A city like that, it's fond of its stories, and in Talas' last months stories ran rife of a curse place on our land. Of four Fizzytopians, old aristocrats whose iron fists and madness had spoiled our sands and doomed Talas to dust..”

His grip on you seems to tighten a little, words edged sharply like a knife. Yet, he's still trying to be gentle, one of his hands stroking over your black hair. It's as if the recollection has sent him back in time. “The details always changed, of course. Some said it was their greed, their lies, others said their laziness or just the evil in their souls – but nobody believed it to be true. Until the bodies of the dead rose, of people and Pokemon alike, to destroy all that lived there – every grain, every cell and soul. Noone survived, not even me. And the city, it was lost to the sands and into the winds, as if it was never there at all.”

Yep. He just said it. He and his sisters? All from a dead land, of one reduced to myth and memories, and they themselves? Dead. No wonder he's so cold and comfortable with the occult. Thinking of it, you've not felt his heart beat, either. “But this orb-- it will give me a second chance at life. Give us all a second chance at life. And perhaps I can restore Talas, or remake it anew, and take it as its leader. It's what my Pokemon and I deserve after these years journeying. And you can be a part of it, too, Alex. You can be with me, together, for as long as it takes--”

His eyes begin to glow a brilliant, bright blue, and the irises of his eyes reduce to slits. Something doesn't feel right, and you notice that his arm literally fucking unravels like spirals of skin, the bone doing the same even. Its colour changes, blue too, to look like a banner. It's familiar, and soft but tight – said fabric wound around your middle, unrelenting, and the rest of this beautiful man is literally fucking falling apart and fading into nothing until there is a giant, floating sword right in front of you.

“Forever.”

That'll be a yikes from me, fam. But what about you? You've gotta admit. That one massive blue eye staring at you is pretty, too. It matches the sky in the daytime and the material gripping your middle like a very secure belt! Cutting edge fashion, wouldn't you say? No? Maybe don't tell Menefer that.
The moment his hand connected with Menefer's, the man was pulled into an embrace, a reasonably firm yet gentle caress as the man's brown eyes stared into his own, and the stranger was briefly lost in Alex's eyes, to his joy. Quickly though, the man began to tell him of the tale of Talas. Alex had indeed heard about it, but hadn't visited it, and fairly soon he caught onto the point of a very clear class divide, rich and poor. Menefer being forunate enough to be in the rich half of that equation. He nodded, listening intently, and became curious on the mention of a curse and old aristocrats, and it became quite clear then what Menefer was referring to.

The old elites. Of course. He felt the man's grip on him tighten a bit, his hand stroking his hair with some affection, almost with an air of obsessiveness...but what he hadn't expected was the ultimate fate of Talas. Through unknown forces, be it curse of greed or evil within the souls of the old elite, the city was laid waste and destroyed, everything within killed, including his family...and him.

"What?" Alex whispered, and as he realised within the embrace, the man indeed appeared to lack any heartbeat or anything of the sort. What really took him by surprise though was the cause of such destruction: undead. The topic then came to the orb, and what it would offer Menefer and his pokemon: a second chance at life, and his ambition to restore Talas to what it once was and to take command and lead, after years of journeying. Before he could do much of anything, the man made something of an offer to Alex, to be with him in this tale for however long it would take. Before he could respond however, Alex saw the man's eyes gleam blue, irises turning to slits while his arm stroking him seemed to unravel, flesh and bone unravelling, blue, and wrapping around his waist.

Before him, the man was warping and changing shape, taking the form of something, a hovering sword with a glowing singular eye, and a lengthy banner wrapped tightly around him, as everything suddenly clicked into place. No wonder he had fell head over heels for this stranger so quickly, they weren't even human, but some sort of pokemon. One which was known for its skill at possession of others, of manipulation, and grimly of sapping the life out of whatever was within the grips of their ribbony arm. Which Alex was.

Behind him his pokemon had very quickly clued in that there was clearly trouble, the three of them immediately taking on a combative stance. Nuhuko closed his eyes, calming his mind to bolster his special skill, aiming to prevent the Solrock from assisting, and on cue of imminent threat to Alex would blast the sun with the power of the moon before piling a shadow ball in for good measure. Nothung instead went for a focus energy technique, readying himself to leap into the fray should the Banette react negatively to what Alex was about to say or do, and would launch a blaze kick at the puppet before going for a good old fashioned thunder punch, the same move he had pulled off all those years ago to help secure the victory over Nuhuko. Glasspine on the other hand was a bit more cautious, the Sandshrew looking at the sword and the orb with considerable concern, and wanted little more than to get that scary thing off it with some thievery and to try and break it like a brick.

"O-oh gods...as nice as that offer is, I've already died once and it ain't something I'm keen on experiencing again..." Alex gasped, trying to wriggle free of the sword's grip, but still fairly composed now he saw Menefer for what they truly were, "and I'm not exactly keen on the whole 'forever' thing too. You're nice and all, but I know when I've been played the fool, and I know when I'm playing with one too. You've always been in a seat of power, and what I see is someone who's not quite accepted that sometimes nations fall for whatever reasons. Trying to bring Talas back from history won't work no matter how long it takes, and what with the reputation your...species has, I'm not entirely sure on the mutuality of the relationship you're offering now, so I'll make a hard pass on that. It's been a good few hours, but I don't think it's going to work out between us in this way, Menefer."

He was pretty much certain the sword wouldn't react to this rejection well, and even more certain that offer of being with him was more a command than something on the table, but with how close he was to this being, his brain was currently telling his heart off for being taken so easily by the possessed blade.
 

Meetan

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Raves: You realise that you have almost definitely fucked up. You hadn't been thinking with your head, and as someone who has been killed and gone to Hell, you really should have known better. The mystical lands of this planet were beautiful, and its people could be too, but they could also be deadly. You don't know how to navigate this, but you need to reject Menefer gently. Lying isn't going to do more than get you in more trouble here, but is there anything you can say to stop Menefer reducing you to brittle and dust?

Your prediction was right, though. Menefer had come from a family of the elites, and no matter how good or bad his intentions for the new Talas were he clearly wasn't used to not getting his way. He had journeyed to this moment through sheer stubbornness and hearing your rejection made that single eye of his narrow fiercely. “No, you are wrong. You are the fool, and you will get to see your errors unfold firsthand! You will rule as part of me, whether you like it or not!”

The Solrock remained relatively static the entire time, but Amie the Banette was practically vibrating in the air with excitement. Realising how much danger you were in, Glasspine suddenly leaped at the sword's back, slashing through the banner with an expertly executed Thief attack. It couldn't break the ghost like a brick, but it could certainly set you free, causing you to stumble with the force of the rip. Menefer roared, but before his companions could intervene, yours had begun their assault. Both Nothung and Nuhuko had boosted themselves in anticipation, making their strikes so much stronger. Ramses was forced back some way, but seemed to endure, lighting up blue. Nothing appears to happen, but the Solrock must have done something. Amie on the other hand was a lot more obvious in her movements: disappearing and reappearing to strike Nothung with a Phantom Force. She clutched at the beast's fur, wide eyes bloodthirsty as she Bound their Destinies together. If there was one thing that Menefer and his party seemed fond of, it was unity, through any means necessary.

“A battle,then! I'll enjoy your body and soul so much more when it's claimed through more than trickery. But it's a shame. I was enjoying the romance for what it was.” The Honedge told you and Glasspine. It unleashed a horrific, Metallic Sound before launching itself at the Sandshrew in a Night Slash. Once again, you were in a battle for everything – for life, death, maybe even the fate of the world. A city ruled by the dead, by such a selfish soul, could not be good for this world. But can your side win this triple frenzy? What do you all do?
 

Raves

No need for the disco
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Raves: You realise that you have almost definitely fucked up. You hadn't been thinking with your head, and as someone who has been killed and gone to Hell, you really should have known better. The mystical lands of this planet were beautiful, and its people could be too, but they could also be deadly. You don't know how to navigate this, but you need to reject Menefer gently. Lying isn't going to do more than get you in more trouble here, but is there anything you can say to stop Menefer reducing you to brittle and dust?

Your prediction was right, though. Menefer had come from a family of the elites, and no matter how good or bad his intentions for the new Talas were he clearly wasn't used to not getting his way. He had journeyed to this moment through sheer stubbornness and hearing your rejection made that single eye of his narrow fiercely. “No, you are wrong. You are the fool, and you will get to see your errors unfold firsthand! You will rule as part of me, whether you like it or not!”

The Solrock remained relatively static the entire time, but Amie the Banette was practically vibrating in the air with excitement. Realising how much danger you were in, Glasspine suddenly leaped at the sword's back, slashing through the banner with an expertly executed Thief attack. It couldn't break the ghost like a brick, but it could certainly set you free, causing you to stumble with the force of the rip. Menefer roared, but before his companions could intervene, yours had begun their assault. Both Nothung and Nuhuko had boosted themselves in anticipation, making their strikes so much stronger. Ramses was forced back some way, but seemed to endure, lighting up blue. Nothing appears to happen, but the Solrock must have done something. Amie on the other hand was a lot more obvious in her movements: disappearing and reappearing to strike Nothung with a Phantom Force. She clutched at the beast's fur, wide eyes bloodthirsty as she Bound their Destinies together. If there was one thing that Menefer and his party seemed fond of, it was unity, through any means necessary.

“A battle,then! I'll enjoy your body and soul so much more when it's claimed through more than trickery. But it's a shame. I was enjoying the romance for what it was.” The Honedge told you and Glasspine. It unleashed a horrific, Metallic Sound before launching itself at the Sandshrew in a Night Slash. Once again, you were in a battle for everything – for life, death, maybe even the fate of the world. A city ruled by the dead, by such a selfish soul, could not be good for this world. But can your side win this triple frenzy? What do you all do?
To no surprise of his, Menefer didn't take Alex's rejection too well, that blue eye on the Honedge squinting with evident fury as his noble pride got in the way of any and all logic, and the sword's tone swiftly changed, making quite clear that being the pokemon's servant wasn't an option, and given the fact Alex was still wrapped in the blade's tensile limb, he could feel the grip tighten around his waist. It wouldn't take him much effort to rear back and plunge his entire length into Alex's chest, but mercifully that aggression was just the cue his squad were looking for.

With sudden swiftness the Sandshrew shot forth and shredded through the restraint, the human stumbling back but failing to grasp the orb from Menefer, who roared in anger and some pain. With the first stone cast, Nothung and Nuhuko were quick to rush into the fray. Nuhuko's offensive outburst left the Solrock somewhat pushed back, yet gleamed blue for some reason. Ammie the Banette meanwhile traded blows with the Infernape, vanishing then striking with a phantom force move before grabbing the Infernape and seemingly trying to take him down with her.

"So your third card was you all along, it seems!" Alex hissed back at the Honedge, who goaded him further with the whole romance tease, and the human gritted his teeth. He was not an easy person to get through emotionally, and this charlatan had weaved through him like a needle through fabric, though how much of those emotions he felt on the sight of the human fabrication of the blade were genuine and which were merely manipulated by the ghost pokemon were to be debated. Either way, it wanted him for himself, and Alex was certainly having none of that. With his mind clearer, much more so thanks to that horrific screeching sound, he watched the blade strike at the ground type, he took a look at the chaos that was ensuing, and the effective three fights ongoing.

Ramses likely used some defensive move, judging by the fact neither Lunatone or Solrock are normally capable of Future Sight. Cosmic Power, maybe? And that's definitely Destiny Bond the Banette utilised, best to keep it from cursing Nothung. What do Honedge do again? Physical might, in general, so Glass should be able to weather it down. Giving his head a shake, he looked Menefer square in the eye with a hard stare.

"It's a stubborn fool who tries to pry open my heart with cute words and loving gestures, yet if there's anything to take from this, it's that I probably should be more open to others," he called, addressing the sword, "but nevertheless, if it's my body you're after, then by all means you're free to try to get through my guys first! Nuhuko, the Solrock's likely playing defensively, be wary. Give us a safeguard to keep any tricks at bay, then signal beam into a grass knot to ground it. Nothung, watch your back. Punish that puppet with a taunt, then shake them off with a flame wheel before putting a timer on her with toxic." Both the Lunatone and Infernape gave grunts of acknowledgement while the sandshrew stood with small claws at the ready, staring down Menefer and brimming with resolve. He turned his head to Alex, staring his trainer in the eyes with an all too familiar twinkle, and nodded, conveying the message wordlessly to Alex: it's time.

"You've played your gambit dragging me out here for some fun, now I think it's our turn for a twist. Glasspine!" At his call, the Sandshrew's body took on a glow, as the pokemon's form changed shape and warped in evolution. Small plates gave way to bristling spikes, tiny claws elongated into fierce talons, and the pokemon's size...didn't actually change. Whether it was the environment or something else, when the light faded the Sandslash that stood before him hadn't grown a single inch in height, but that didn't deter the pokemon who felt stronger and more prepared to fight this menace. "We...we'll sort out that size thing later. For now, hold him in a sand tomb, then bolster your strength with a swords dance and slap 'em with a shadow claw!"

Newly evolved, the Sandslash was keen to try out those hefty claws of his, and stared down Menefer with some intensity. Things were about to get a helluva lot more hectic...
 
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TKF: You sent Billy on ahead of you to the source, and while he certainly hesitated to carry on the mission without you, he did as asked. For whatever shortcomings they might have, he had mastery over his power and you trusted Braixen to be able to aid the wizard until you can catch up. You promised that you wouldn't take long, knowing that this mission was time sensitive and all. Once they were gone, making their way around the outside edge of the turmoil to the beginnings of the woodland, you focused on Grotle.

You made your orders, although your Pokemon didn't fully comprehend what they were doing. Grotle obviously wasn't going to listen to his recall, so you had to trap him and force him. Once again, a Helping Hand strengthened the partner in play, and Froakie aimed an Ice Beam at Grotle's feet. The other was slow enough to be trapped, but it didn't last. Grotle used his Earth Power to smash through the painful ice, and Chimchar's Ember did nothing to prevent it – heck, all it did was warm whichever elements it struck, the ensuing explosion ensuring that the ice had absolutely smashed. Before the dust had settled, Grotle was firing off Seed Bombs in all of your general direction, emerging from the fading screen of smoke with another rage of Superpower, charging towards you all. Remember, if Froakie takes too much damage from his grassy ally here, he definitely won't be able to help you further. So, what do you do?
(Feeding 4 Rare Candies to Grotle, boosting him to level 32 and making him capable of evolution. Do as you wish)

Grotle refused to back down, if he wasn't trying to beat them up, Xander would probably be proud of the strength he was displaying. Unfortunately that wasn't the case, Grotle was threatening to not only take down Chimchar and Froakie, but him as well. The Grass Starter was charging forward with a powerful Superpower, a powerful Fighting Attack. Froakie was currently Ice typed, a hit from Superpower would certainly be too much for him. He'd need Froakie for whatever was waiting for them once they rejoined Braixen and Billy, they had to be cautious. "Froakie, use Lick!" The frog croaked as his bubbles began to shimmer once more, changing him into a Ghost type. Not only would he now be immune to the damage from the Superpower, he'd hopefully be able to land some paralysis thanks to the Rainbow's effects. Meanwhile, Chimchar seemed to have a plan of his own. With Grotle charging so recklessly, he was an easy target for a Grass Knot. With his Pokemon still fighting to get through to their friend, Xander held his ground, he wasn't backing down. "Grotle listen to me!" Xander shouted at the top of his lungs, hoping that somehow the real Grotle would hear him. "You're hurting your friends, you need to snap out of this, we need you!" Xander held up the Pokeball, ready to recall him as soon as an opportunity presented itself. He kept his eyes locked on the Grass Starter, the shrubs on his back were beginning to glow. Was he preparing to attack again???
 
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Meetan- You avoid the temptation to make off with the TM's without paying, generating a shrug from Eridian, the black Bagon not all too fussed if you want to waste your money. With Jasper loaded up with an arsenal of new attacks, you make your way out of the shop and bustle your way through the crowd on your way out of the marketplace. Eridian ploughs head first through the crowd, not really caring about who gets in his way and the crowd soon learns to get out of his way.

You make your way back out of the hamlet, following the same road out that you came in on. The old craftswoman said that the Mudbray were spotted not far out of town, so you head straight into the forest. Jasper crawls down from your shoulder and him and Eridian begin sniffing around for clues. As you follow them deeper into the trees, you come to a stop as you notice the ground is covered in muddy hoof prints. You were certainly in the right place. The tracks seem to break off into two distinct paths. One leads off to a nearby grove, you squint your eyes and you swear you can spot some apples hanging from the trees. The other path leads off in the opposite direction, through some thick shrubs. You can make out the faint sound of running water coming from that direction. It seems you have a choice to make. Jasper seems to favour the path towards the water, while Eridian seems eager to head towards the grove but there is a chance he just spotted the apples and wants something to eat....
 

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Meetan- You avoid the temptation to make off with the TM's without paying, generating a shrug from Eridian, the black Bagon not all too fussed if you want to waste your money. With Jasper loaded up with an arsenal of new attacks, you make your way out of the shop and bustle your way through the crowd on your way out of the marketplace. Eridian ploughs head first through the crowd, not really caring about who gets in his way and the crowd soon learns to get out of his way.

You make your way back out of the hamlet, following the same road out that you came in on. The old craftswoman said that the Mudbray were spotted not far out of town, so you head straight into the forest. Jasper crawls down from your shoulder and him and Eridian begin sniffing around for clues. As you follow them deeper into the trees, you come to a stop as you notice the ground is covered in muddy hoof prints. You were certainly in the right place. The tracks seem to break off into two distinct paths. One leads off to a nearby grove, you squint your eyes and you swear you can spot some apples hanging from the trees. The other path leads off in the opposite direction, through some thick shrubs. You can make out the faint sound of running water coming from that direction. It seems you have a choice to make. Jasper seems to favour the path towards the water, while Eridian seems eager to head towards the grove but there is a chance he just spotted the apples and wants something to eat....
It was nice to get out of the hustle and bustle of the hamlet, in spite of being a city girl at heart. Although her memories of her childhood were faint, Alice knew they had hailed from a small market town, and they honestly felt more congested at times than London or New Fizz ever could. She frowned as her imp climbed down from his mount, watching the two as they sniffed about. They were obviously going in the right direction, because things were getting muddier and there were hoof prints to boot. She whispered her praise to the duo, only for them to reach a fork in the exploration: Bagon wanted to pursue the route with the apple trees and Jasper was insistent on wherever the running water was coming from. Both were promising leads, but which one would pay off?

"-- Eri, let's try this way first." Alice said, earning a growl and a glare from the black dragon. It probably didn't help that Jasper's expression was eerie and smug by default, but that his personality could often lean into that. "I'm sorry!" She insisted with a whisper, moving to lovingly crouch and throw her arms around the Bagon, but he still looked unforgiving. The grove was right! And it came with free food! Why was free food fine for her and not for them?! Still, the trainer and ghostie were pursuing the sound of the water, quiet and careful in case they spooked the Pokemon they came for. Of course Eridian had to follow. God knows what these chuckleheads would get into without him defending their sorry behinds...
 
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Meetan- Much to Eridian's displeasure, you head away from the Grove and its bounty of apples and make your way towards the water source. Jasper uses his sharp claws to slash through the thick shrubbery, clearing the way for you ever so politely. He was certainly feeling smug after you chose his option over the Bagon's and he'd certainly rub it in the Dragon's face if he ended up leading them to the Mudbray. You emerge from the trees to find yourself on the bank of a slow moving river. On the far side you just catch the unmistakable brown rears of Mudbray heading into the long grass on the other side of the river! Jasper hisses, annoyed that you had just missed your opportunity, but perhaps it wasn't too late?

Eridian spots something further down stream, a young Mudbray still playing in the thick mud of the riverbank. It obviously hadn't paid attention when the rest of the herd moved off, or more likely it was stubborn and chose to stay and frolic for a while. A mistake it would likely regret, because on its own it would be easy pickings for you! You manage to maintain the element of surprise for now, the Mudbray is too busy enjoying itself to pay any attention to its surroundings. Jasper glares at Eridian, as if to say "I told you so." Eridian doesn't take too kindly to that however and shoves the Sableye before rushing toward the Mudbray, it seems that he has a point to prove! If you're not quick, Eridian will blow your cover and alert the Mudbray, however in his current mood the Bagon might not take to kindly to playing second fiddle to Jasper.
 

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Raves: Things were about to get a lot more hectic, but at least Menefer hadn't tried to thrust himself into your chest... Or anywhere else, for that matter. The Metal Sound, while likely deteriorating your aural health by several degrees had at least brought your mind the clarity to maybe survive this showdown – and think up some wise, aggravating words for the Honedge. Although, just because one of your Pokemon could back up its Taunt with some battle power... Should you really be doing that? There's plenty of time for this to go even more sideways, you know.

You've made your analysis and given your orders, and your Pokemon execute them expertly. The Signal Beam strikes the Solrock, and to boot it takes a hard yank from the Grass Knot that pulls it into the ground. Ramses isn't too pleased by this, and the floating sun's head takes on a metallic shine before it launches itself straight into Nuhuko, beginning to spin rapidly and ram the Lunatone a fair distance in a Stomping Tantrum. Ammie takes quite the assault, too, but she doesn't seem nearly as bothered. As sadomasochistic as she looks, the Banette just giggles, interrupting Nothung's attempt to poison her with an Astonishing shriek. The Flame Wheel licks at her fabric, and making use of the close proximity, the Banette spits some rotting Gunk at the Infernape. To add to his punishment, the Banette's eyes flicker and flash, and it expels a Confuse Ray. Nothung tries to shake it off, but he's seeing stars and goodness knows what else...

Meanwhile, a silent decision between you and Glasspine is making for quite a show. The Sandshrew lights up the night with his transformation into a Sandslash, and a handsome one he makes, too! If a little smaller than expected, but you can worry about that another time. You just need to get this over with, and Honedge's lack of Guard was going to make that a lot easier. All three of Glasspine's strikes are true: trapping Menefer in a Rocky Tomb, which you partially decimate with the Sandslash's enhanced Shadow Claw. Unfortunately, that renders whatever time you might've given yourself nil, as Menefer angrily fights back with three increasingly painful, Furious Cuts.

As of now, Nuhuko is definitely in the best state, but your other Pokemon have plenty of fight left in them... As do their opponents, with Ramses' upset suggesting it's probably more weary than it looks. What do you do?


-

TKF: You would've been proud of Grotle's strength if not for the fact you were the damn targets, and that this obviously wasn't born of his own mind. The Grotle you knew was lovely and would never thrash around like this, not of his own will. You were shouting at him to think of his friends and stop, but it seemed like your voice wasn't reaching him – or that he no longer cared for it. He simply ploughed through the ghostly Froakie, tripping up on the Grass Knot and temporarily stopping whatever attack was coming next. The Lick didn't seem to shake him, either – your luck here was very poor, and hopefully Billy wasn't in desperate trouble about now...

The grass type withdrew into shell, only so that he could more easily move and right himself, undeterred in his intentions of destroying you all. He begins to glow, first green, the foliage on his back showing some Growth. But then it is more than that – the light growing brighter, blindingly brighter, until it is enveloping him entirely. Your Grotle was evolving into Torterra, the shell on his back expanding into a full-fledged garden, his nose nearly like a beak. He's slower, but a lot more destructive. Talk about strength, he'd evolved literally just to ruin your lives. That's dedication if nothing else.

Torterra wastes no time, either. The Earth beneath you all begins to Shake, and you notice other people and Pokemon stumbling, the ground filling with cracks. This was the opposite of saving the garden! You can literally see the woody gears working in his slowed brain, plotting his next move. It's gonna be harder to evade a recall now, but far easier for him to fight it off. What do you do?!
 
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Meetan- Much to Eridian's displeasure, you head away from the Grove and its bounty of apples and make your way towards the water source. Jasper uses his sharp claws to slash through the thick shrubbery, clearing the way for you ever so politely. He was certainly feeling smug after you chose his option over the Bagon's and he'd certainly rub it in the Dragon's face if he ended up leading them to the Mudbray. You emerge from the trees to find yourself on the bank of a slow moving river. On the far side you just catch the unmistakable brown rears of Mudbray heading into the long grass on the other side of the river! Jasper hisses, annoyed that you had just missed your opportunity, but perhaps it wasn't too late?

Eridian spots something further down stream, a young Mudbray still playing in the thick mud of the riverbank. It obviously hadn't paid attention when the rest of the herd moved off, or more likely it was stubborn and chose to stay and frolic for a while. A mistake it would likely regret, because on its own it would be easy pickings for you! You manage to maintain the element of surprise for now, the Mudbray is too busy enjoying itself to pay any attention to its surroundings. Jasper glares at Eridian, as if to say "I told you so." Eridian doesn't take too kindly to that however and shoves the Sableye before rushing toward the Mudbray, it seems that he has a point to prove! If you're not quick, Eridian will blow your cover and alert the Mudbray, however in his current mood the Bagon might not take to kindly to playing second fiddle to Jasper.
Alice pouted, seeing that they had narrowly missed the herd of Mudbray. There was no way that they could get across the river without the Pokemon noticing them, but they were in luck. One little Mudbray had stayed alone to play! How bad she felt, then, that they had to interrupt it, but a job was a job and this was their best shot. Better to disturb one foal than to get upset a whole crowd, and maybe it'd be harder for the herd to trample them in revenge if there was a river separating them. "Come on, guys, chill out." Alice whispered, seeing the way the two Pokemon were bickering at each other. As far as she knew, Eridian wasn't even the jealous type, so what gave? She gasped when the dragon suddenly shoved the other Pokemon, taking the Sableye aback, his jagged teeth clearly curving downward in dismay. Not only that, but Eridian was charging off and ruining their moment!

"Jasper, hurry up ahead and use Mean Look and Infestation on that Mudbray before we can lose it!" Alice ordered of her Sableye. The dual type nodded, his form shifting so that only the gem-like eyes were visible, although she could hear the swift tip-taps of his paws as he hurried to intercept their prey. "Eri, Rock Tomb or Hydro Pump! Or at least wait a second and come back!" The blonde added in a frantic hiss, trying to stay out of sight as she hurried after the eager dragon. She had no idea if he'd listen to her, but it was worth a try. Hopefully whatever stunt he pulled didn't ruin their chances. It wasn't like the Bagon was dumb, after all, but this was impulsive. Maybe he just wanted to show that his instincts were good, too.
 
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TKF: You would've been proud of Grotle's strength if not for the fact you were the damn targets, and that this obviously wasn't born of his own mind. The Grotle you knew was lovely and would never thrash around like this, not of his own will. You were shouting at him to think of his friends and stop, but it seemed like your voice wasn't reaching him – or that he no longer cared for it. He simply ploughed through the ghostly Froakie, tripping up on the Grass Knot and temporarily stopping whatever attack was coming next. The Lick didn't seem to shake him, either – your luck here was very poor, and hopefully Billy wasn't in desperate trouble about now...

The grass type withdrew into shell, only so that he could more easily move and right himself, undeterred in his intentions of destroying you all. He begins to glow, first green, the foliage on his back showing some Growth. But then it is more than that – the light growing brighter, blindingly brighter, until it is enveloping him entirely. Your Grotle was evolving into Torterra, the shell on his back expanding into a full-fledged garden, his nose nearly like a beak. He's slower, but a lot more destructive. Talk about strength, he'd evolved literally just to ruin your lives. That's dedication if nothing else.

Torterra wastes no time, either. The Earth beneath you all begins to Shake, and you notice other people and Pokemon stumbling, the ground filling with cracks. This was the opposite of saving the garden! You can literally see the woody gears working in his slowed brain, plotting his next move. It's gonna be harder to evade a recall now, but far easier for him to fight it off. What do you do?!

Xander was shaken from his feet, not just from the Earthquake tearing through the ground, but with fear of his newly evolved Torterra. He was unsure whether Grotle had full control of his actions or not, but either way, Grotle was no more, long live Torterra! A terror he was, with the new power from his evolution and the boost from Growth, Xander wasn't sure whether Chimchar and Froakie were up to the task. He had to come up with something, they needed a way to get Torterra back in his ball. He racked his brain, Torterra...... there had to be something about Torterra.......

Bingo!

Torterra got much bulkier one evolution, he wouldn't be used to its new bulk and the blind spots that came with it. If Chimchar and Froakie could stay on Torterra's back, not only would they be unaffected by the Earthquake, but Torterra would have a real hard time getting them off. While Torterra was concentrated on getting the pair of its back, Xander would take advantage and recall him into his ball. "Chimchar Flame Charge onto Torterra's back, grab onto its tree! Froakie do the same but with Quick Attack!" The pair began to move in, Xander just hoped they'd be quick enough to avoid a direct hit from Torterra. "Chimchar once you're on, ignite the leaves with Ember while Froakie hacks at the tree with Aerial Ace." Xander hoped that keeping Froakie's type as one resistant to Torterra's STAB attacks would help the little frog hold on.
 

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TKF: Long live Torterra! At least, that's your positive thinking, because dwelling on how tragic this might actually be wasn't going to help you play champion right now. Torterra's unleashing his terrifying power upon the three of you, but you know that you can figure this one. There had to be something about him that you could use to your advantage, and two brilliant ideas come to mind, you genius you!

You order for the Pokemon to mount him, which is a lot less spicy than it sounds. Chimchar and Froakie both propel themselves onto the Torterra's back, and as predicted, the poor beast has no idea what to do about this. He tries to turn his little head to look, but he can't, all he can feel is the fact that he has a pair of parasites that are about to put him into a world of pain. His beautiful tree is catching alight and the Froakie is hacking at it, and Torterra roars in upset. Torterra begins to thrash and stomp in an attempt to shake them loose, but then fires two Leech Seeds to wrap around the duo and disable their movements; squeezing them tightly and sapping their strength. And then the woodland lights up, and Torterra further tries to steal from the Chimchar's health with a Mega Drain. It might not have been very effective, but that didn't mean it wasn't doing its job. Your two Pokemon are both beginning to look worn out and show the beating they've taken thus far. What do you do now?
 
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Meetan- With Eridian acting strangely and risking blowing your plan, you quickly urge Jasper to get ahead of him. The Sableye fades almost from sight, his bright gem eyes still visible. He streaks past the Bagon, his Prankster ability giving him a surge of speed as he casts a Mean Look upon the unsuspecting Mudbray. The Ground type has no idea what is coming for him until Jasper sends a surge of bug energy through the ground, which quickly swarms around the muddy mule, making it pretty much impossible for it to flee. It does alert the Alolan native to your presence however and it turns to face your incoming Pokemon, bracing from impact. Eridian chooses the stronger of the two options you gave him, the Bagon fires off a powerful Hydro Pump! The Super Effective attack slams into the Mudbray, but doesn't even force it back an inch. A rather enraged look develops on the normally doe-eyed Mudbray as it pulls itself out of the mud to confront its attackers. You get a sinking feeling that perhaps the Mudbray had stayed behind because it was confident it could handle itself...

The mad Mudbray charges forward, shaking the ground as it Bulldozes towards Eridian. Both the dragon and the ghost are shaken by the attack as they find their speed reduced. Jasper is lucky in that the Mudbray hasn't really caught sight of him yet, but Eridian isn't as lucky. The Ground type kicks up the pace as it tramples over the Bagon with a High Horsepower before quickly following up with a Double Kick that sends Eridian flying head first into the mud pool. The Dragon struggles in the thick mud, he only had himself to blame though, if he hadn't acted so rashly he probably could have avoided all of this. Jasper lets out a snicker as he watches his ally splash down, but he could be next. The Mudbray notices the sunlight refracting through Jasper's gems and turns its attention to the partially concealed ghost, even as the infestation continues to cling to it. This wasn't going to be an easy fight...
 

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Meetan- With Eridian acting strangely and risking blowing your plan, you quickly urge Jasper to get ahead of him. The Sableye fades almost from sight, his bright gem eyes still visible. He streaks past the Bagon, his Prankster ability giving him a surge of speed as he casts a Mean Look upon the unsuspecting Mudbray. The Ground type has no idea what is coming for him until Jasper sends a surge of bug energy through the ground, which quickly swarms around the muddy mule, making it pretty much impossible for it to flee. It does alert the Alolan native to your presence however and it turns to face your incoming Pokemon, bracing from impact. Eridian chooses the stronger of the two options you gave him, the Bagon fires off a powerful Hydro Pump! The Super Effective attack slams into the Mudbray, but doesn't even force it back an inch. A rather enraged look develops on the normally doe-eyed Mudbray as it pulls itself out of the mud to confront its attackers. You get a sinking feeling that perhaps the Mudbray had stayed behind because it was confident it could handle itself...

The mad Mudbray charges forward, shaking the ground as it Bulldozes towards Eridian. Both the dragon and the ghost are shaken by the attack as they find their speed reduced. Jasper is lucky in that the Mudbray hasn't really caught sight of him yet, but Eridian isn't as lucky. The Ground type kicks up the pace as it tramples over the Bagon with a High Horsepower before quickly following up with a Double Kick that sends Eridian flying head first into the mud pool. The Dragon struggles in the thick mud, he only had himself to blame though, if he hadn't acted so rashly he probably could have avoided all of this. Jasper lets out a snicker as he watches his ally splash down, but he could be next. The Mudbray notices the sunlight refracting through Jasper's gems and turns its attention to the partially concealed ghost, even as the infestation continues to cling to it. This wasn't going to be an easy fight...
Alice was relieved that Jasper managed to get to the Mudbray first, at least ensuring that whatever happened next, they wouldn't be losing the Mudbray to runaway tactics. As it turned out, they might be losing it to a battle won, because its small size meant absolutely nothing - something that Alice really should've been keen to by now. Between her own Pokemon and past encounters, this whole book-cover-judging-thing should've been nipped in the bud forever ago. Alas, Eridian's rash behaviour is punished with quite the pummelling, enough to make the blonde clench her teeth and cringe. She shot Jasper a glare and told him to cut it out. This was not appropriate team behaviour.

"Eridian, walk it off! Use Double Team, then Dragon Rush and Dragon Breath! Jasper, hang back and wait for me." She said. It wasn't fair to ambush this Mudbray with two Pokemon on one, and Alice needed to give the dragon a chance to recover his pride and prove his worth rather than reducing them both. Plus, while she'd otherwise feel inclined to tag Jasper in - he'd literally been the best choice for this mission from the start given his abilities - Alice didn't want to upset Eridian more by showing the Sableye favouritsm. Especially not when he was being a little bitch about it. Jasper pouted, pointing a claw at the pair and grumbling something like the child he was. "I don't care. You get over here right now, young man." She pointed at her feet, and the Sableye sulked over, clinging to the woman's leg while he waited for his turn. Hopefully Eridian would just get the bashing he'd stupidly earned, and then he could sit in his ball while he, Jasper, the better one got the job done! Yes, yes!
 
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TKF: Long live Torterra! At least, that's your positive thinking, because dwelling on how tragic this might actually be wasn't going to help you play champion right now. Torterra's unleashing his terrifying power upon the three of you, but you know that you can figure this one. There had to be something about him that you could use to your advantage, and two brilliant ideas come to mind, you genius you!

You order for the Pokemon to mount him, which is a lot less spicy than it sounds. Chimchar and Froakie both propel themselves onto the Torterra's back, and as predicted, the poor beast has no idea what to do about this. He tries to turn his little head to look, but he can't, all he can feel is the fact that he has a pair of parasites that are about to put him into a world of pain. His beautiful tree is catching alight and the Froakie is hacking at it, and Torterra roars in upset. Torterra begins to thrash and stomp in an attempt to shake them loose, but then fires two Leech Seeds to wrap around the duo and disable their movements; squeezing them tightly and sapping their strength. And then the woodland lights up, and Torterra further tries to steal from the Chimchar's health with a Mega Drain. It might not have been very effective, but that didn't mean it wasn't doing its job. Your two Pokemon are both beginning to look worn out and show the beating they've taken thus far. What do you do now?

Xander was beginning to feel like he couldn't catch a break. This was turning into a repeat of the prior incident, everything he did seemed to turn on him. Froakie and Chimchar were hanging on by a thread and Torterra wasn't showing an ounce of remorse for his actions. It was now or never, this was his last chance to get through to Torterra and get him back into his ball where he'd be no harm to anyone. "Chimchar break free with a Flame Wheel then land a direct hit with Gunk Shot! Froakie Cut yourself lose then Ice Beam!" It pained Xander to directly target his own Pokemon like this, but they were out of options. Xander walked towards Torterra one last time, hoping to finally get through to his Pokemon.

"Torterra you have to stop!" Xander let his heart pour out, "remember when we first met? In the desert? You were dying because you were allowing other Pokemon to feed from you without a care about your own health. You've got a good heart Torterra, this isn't you, you need to come back to us!" Xander held up the Grass type's ball and fired the red beam once last time. If he couldn't strike true and recall the Torterra now, there was nothing else he could really do. He wasn't just letting Froakie and Chimchar down, he wasn't just letting Braixen and Billy down either. He was letting down all the lives that would be saved by these flowers, thousands of lives. They had to catch up to Braixen and Billy so they could put a stop to this.
 

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TKF: You were beginning to falter in your resolve, hopelessness sneaking into your heart. It was like the battle with Adrienne all over again, everything turning on you, coming to bite you. But one didn't become a champion without enduring hardships, and the same went for your Pokemon. Thankfully they managed to break free of their bonds and get clear of the Torterra, who had no care for listening to you. If he wasn't so focused on draining the life out of his comrades, he might've tried to take yours instead.

Thankfully, without the speed or reaction time to evade it, Torterra went back into his ball without further trouble. You release a breath you didn't realise you were holding, and it was in that moment you could see the devastation that was going on. A lot of the other trainers had managed to recall their own Pokemon, and were instead fighting off the Mandibuzz and trying to capture or otherwise disarm the frenzied wildlings instead. There's no more time for you, you know that you have to go and catch up to Billy, Braixen and Megara so that's what you do. Chimchar and Froakie run ahead of you, following their senses to make sure you don't get lost along the way. Froakie and Chimchar have gained two levels each.

Oddly, you find Braixen alone, which at first makes you feel a little sick. Her expression is serious, and you wonder if she's waiting to turn on you as well. She isn't, she is instead a short distance from a clearing, and after a short conversation you go to where she directs that Billy and Megara are. You realise that the reason she hadn't gone in was to likely save herself, because the pastel boy is kneeling on the grass near his fainted Meganium and he's punching the grass so hard that his fists are bleeding. He looks to be in a trance, too, and the ones causing it are there before you: the mysterious guy from before, sans Donphan. Instead, the black-clad man had an intimidating Malamar towering at his side, the pair of them exuding menace. One of his eyes is covered by a black patch, but the other golden one is set on you with severity.

“So, you're the one who thinks he can save the Meadow? I'm not worried.” He said frankly. How did he know that? Or maybe it was just a safe assumption... “You can still run, if you want to. I won't chase after you, and it won't matter if you tell anyone. But if you stay and try to stop this, I'll make sure there's nothing left, just like with the rest of this place.”

This is your final chance. Save yourself, or risk everything to save it all. What do you do?
 
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