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Where the Paths Diverge (Solo: Progressive)
Topic Started: 14 Jun 2018, 04:19 PM (323 Views)
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Encounter Roll

Pokemon Declaration

Josh woke with a start, sitting up so suddenly he sent Bounsweet rolling along the floor. She let out a squeak, stretching as she tried to right herself. He took a moment to look around, eyes unfamiliar with the waystation he had chosen for the night. Realization that he was safe let his thoughts return to the matters that had been bothering him.

His dreams had been troubling him. It was always the same one, there was a girl, a cafe, and an Electrode. In the dream he watched helplessly as the girl ran to hug the Pokemon, and somehow Josh could only watch as it started to glow. The orb-like Pokemon’s self-destruct an inevitable fact.

There had been a girl, a cafe, and an electrode back in Arkeido. It had not gone the way of the dream. Josh had found himself unable to order the attack. Unable to strike against the Arkeidian government.

In a single moment, his convictions had failed, and he had been stripped of what he thought was his identity.

He had ditched the Pokeball for the Electrode in an alley, after making sure to wipe it with alcohol so there were no prints to be found. Such Pokemon were hard to come by, but he’d hoped someone would give it a better home. Maybe producing electricity, instead of being a weapon.

His thoughts were brought back to the present when Bounsweet smacked his hand with her calyx. The action stung, and he frowned. He’d been absently reaching out to pick her up from where she’d rolled after his outburst. His thoughts, slow from shifting away from his dreams, took a moment to realize what bugged him.

Bounsweet had always been as docile as they came. He picked her up, so he could look into her eyes, and found they seemed upset. The mouth, normally open in what looked like a smile was completely shut, as the small eyes stared into his.

”And what’s wrong with you?”

“Swoo-” The Pokemon answered, leaving Josh as puzzled as he was before. He tried moving the leaves of the calyx, checking for any rot or wounds, as Luna had shown him. Bounsweet didn’t react, so he set her down, gathering his duster from where he’d flung it.

None of his other Pokemon had woken, despite his outburst. In the corner of the faux log cabin lay the hulking form of Gabby, his Rhyhorn. He’d met her in his trip into the fabled Acrelea Valley, where she had helped them clear a rock slide.

“Clear” probably wasn’t the word for it, Josh mused. The heavy Pokemon had rammed the seemingly solid wall of rock without so much as a pause. He’d heard that Rhyhorn could be territorial and aggressive, but Gabby had never struck him as fitting that description.

She was like a giant puppy, always trying to make friends with every new thing she came across. Be it human, Pokemon, or inanimate object, Gabby would nuzzle, rub against, and otherwise harass it until it played with her or she was chastised.

Had she not been dangerous because of it, Josh probably would have thought it was cute.

“Gru!” a small voice declared from near Josh’s pack. A small white pokemon with large pincers was stretching as it woke up. The orange pincers wiggled as it looked up at him, trying to figure out if there was trouble.

Grubbin had followed him on his first pass through Skytouch forest. He’d felt sorry for the thing, and had given it food, and in the end it had pulled a fast one on him, managing to take extra food and get itself caught.

Which brought him to the last Pokemon with him. A black shape rested in the rough hewn timber of the supports under the roof of the waystation. It opened a single eye to look at him, but didn’t react as he started gathering his pack.

Honchkrow hadn’t been an intentional member of the team, unlike the other two. She had been knocked out in the valley, and Josh had caught her to save her from the ravenous predators that lurked in the upper reaches. He’d fully intended to release her, but she’d stolen his dusk stone, leading to her evolution from Murkrow to Honchkrow.

While Josh didn’t really want more Pokemon, especially ones that were so blatantly antagonistic, he hated the idea of just letting something like an evolutionary stone go to waste.

Did he cling to such a thing because he was forgetting how little he’d had in Arkeido, or rather because of it? The thought flitted through his mind, chasing his thoughts but never fully coming to a conclusion.

“Alright, looks like we’re heading out early.” He said, causing Gabby to stir. She stretched, legs reaching out in all directions before she started to stand. The wood floor groaned under her weight, and Josh scrambled to find where he’d stored his Pokeballs. He recalled her to her pokeball first, then Grubbin, followed by Honchkrow. Bounsweet continued staring at him with those unusually focused eyes until he recalled her as well, and he picked up his pack.

Breakfast was the cold remnants of the previous night’s meal, some sort of greasy stew that had been discounted due to being rejected by the Godaian Government’s Disaster Relief Agency. It seemed weird to Josh that people desperate and hungry would pass on anything, but the food had been rather unappetizing. It only took a few bites of the gruel for his stomach to turn and his throat to clench at the thought of any more. Part of him considered saving the rest, but in the end, he dumped it under a bush outside the waystation.

A quick once-over of the small cabin and a thorough sweeping later, and you might never have suspected it had been used. He had a sneaking suspicion that the next person might not take the same care, but a lifetime of doing whatever it took to avoid attention told him to do it anyways.

Sunlight was streaming through the age-clouded glass of the cabin by the time Josh tossed the last dustpan outside. He stored the cleaning materials where he had found them, and adjusted his pack. The straps dug into his shoulders slightly, weighed down by Professor Cassandra’s sample taking supplies.

Nodding to himself, satisfied that he had everything, he trudged down the gravel path until he came to the road heading to Serenity Lake. It looked like it was going to be another long day of walking.

But it seemed that was how most of his days were now. It beat having to fear Internal Affairs Police appearing in your apartment to haul you away to who knew where.

Which was enough, for now.

(Word Count: 1120)
(Edit Log: Added Pokemon Declaration, Fixed Color Tags, added encounter roll link)
Edited by Chaos_1x, Yesterday, 5:43 PM.
Josh Warden • Historian • Total EXP Gained: 87 • Dians: 9472 • Location: Skytouch

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The morning chill quickly gave way to the rising sun. First everything was touched with gold, then bathed in brilliance as the sun grew to its full intensity. Compared to the chill and rain of the previous week, Josh welcomed the warmth. It wasn’t unlike what he was used to, and gave him a small measure of comfort.

It soon passed comfortability though. The spring morning took on a summer tinge as the day entered its zenith. Josh found himself wishing he’d bought shades. He was grateful for his hat, and was unsure he would have been able to keep traveling if he’d been without it.

The sunlight felt heavy, heating the air and everything not sheltered in the shade. Josh couldn’t help but think bitterly about this fact as he tried to adjust the straps of his pack, which had gone from digging into his shoulders to digging into his shoulders while being uncomfortably hot.

The road shimmered with heat, and Josh cursed inwardly at the weather forecast that had said cooler temperatures for the coming week. He idly wondered if they ever had to apologize for being so wrong, but decided that they probably did not. Weather had been such a fickle thing for so long that the idea of actually being able to tell what it would do seemed almost laughable.

So he was left to his thoughts, with only the bright sunlight and oppressive heat to distract him from the road. It had been quiet since passing the monastery, with only the occasional traveller, most of whom had a vehicle of some sort or had taken to the sides of the path to avoid the unseasonable heat.

Above, even bird Pokemon had taken to hiding from the heat, though he thought he saw a few red flying types swooping through the thermals. They made lazy circles, their wide arcs ending in a hellish dive that saw them pull up at the last moment, unfortunate prey in their talons. Below was only the endless stretch of road, crisscrossed

Josh’s boots scuffed and he realized he’d been walking without much thought to the scenery around him. Ahead and to the side of the wide road was a carved wooden sign, declaring that there was a Ranger station for the Serenity Lake area up ahead. Vehicles must have exact change.

He huffed, and continued walking. Trees had begun to rise up, and soon they towered on either side of the asphalt, turning a meandering path into a pass through cliffs of green boughs. There were more people on the road here, and many of them seemed to be abuzz with excitement.

Compared to some of the travelers, Josh’s pack seemed inadequately light. One group had huge rucksacks with all sorts of tools affixed to the outside. One of the group even had a large map of the area, and was holding it open so the others could look at it.

Maybe it was that he knew that a good chunk of the weight he carried was actually equipment for taking samples. Thinking about it made him aware of the pack, and he shifted it, trying to get more comfortable.

The gate to the park was an elaborately decorated wooden structure complete with painted carvings of various water Pokemon, a fantastical looking dog standing at the center of the arch. Beyond the gate was a concrete terrace, complete with wooden sheds and decorative plants, with the road passing below and out towards the lake.

“Hello! I’m Ranger Leslie, welcome to Serenity Lake!” The woman at the booth said cheerfully as Josh approached. She was short, hardly looking the type to rescue either people or Pokemon. It explained why she might be at the greeter’s booth instead of the main Ranger Lodge, and she offered a brilliant smile as she rested her hands on the counter. “Did you need anything?” He nodded, pulling out his ID, which caused her to frown.

“Isn’t this a checkpoint?” Josh asked her, now confused himself.

She shook her head. “No, this is the visitors’ center. Though if you are here to hunt the “monster” please do not battle the other trainers to exhaustion. Serenity Lake is a wild reserve, after all, and can be dangerous without Pokemon to protect you.”

Josh nodded as if what she said made sense to him. “I will keep that in mind.” He said, tucking the ID back in a pocket, then paused to grab one of the information pamphlets about the Serenity Lake Wild Reserve. She said something unintelligible, returning to her work as another visitor came up with questions to ask the woman.

He sat on a nearby bench, watching the crowds pass. The heat had taken its toll, and the rest was welcome. His eye wandered the milling crowd, eager to take advantage of the heat spike and enjoy a weekend at the lake. He stopped when he spotted a news paper resting nearby. Reaching out, he snatched it from the decorative planter where it had been placed.

“The Cascadia Channel” the paper’s name read in a sprawling gothic font.

“More Monster Reports at Lake Serenity!”

The headline caught Josh’s interest, and he unfolded the paper to read the story.

“For single mother Claire Montgomery, her holiday to the lake was a special treat. Her two children, both in primary school, were eager to spend the weekend looking at the local Pokemon while splashing about in the water. Saturday, they spent most of their time at the popular Kingfisher Point, swimming with a school of finneon that are usually drawn in by visitors and the snacks they bring.

Late Saturday the family returned to their campsite to find everything ransacked.

“At first I thought maybe we’d left some food out, but we hadn’t had anything but wrapped convenience sandwiches. That’s when we saw it.”

The “it” she refers to was a strange pokemon, and the only culprit in the damages.

“It looked down at me with this metal head while it scratched up the remains of my favorite bag. We made eye contact, and then it took off!”

Her story is not unique. As forecasts predict warmer weather, Serenity Lake is expected to reach an usual peak in visitors for this time of year. There has yet to be any response from the Rangers, who-”

“Excuse me, are you done with that?” A soft voice inquired, causing Josh to lose his already fading focus. He lowered the paper.

The speaker was a young woman, about his age, if not a little younger. Her black hair was tied up in some sort of braid and the large pack on her back was similar to the group he’d seen earlier with the giant map. She wore a light coat, the heavy duty pack on her back seeming at odds with her more casual clothing.

“Go ahead,” Josh said, handing the paper to her. She smiled and sat on the edge of the planter, only giving the front page a minimal scan. She flipped through each successive page quicker until she was nearly tearing the paper looking for something.

“I don’t believe it! They promised me!” She finally huffed, tossing the paper aside, then wincing as her gaze passed over Josh. “I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean to toss your paper, I’ll buy you a new one, of course!”

Josh held up a hand for her to stop. “It wasn’t my paper, no harm done.” He said, trying to sound as sincere as he could.

She visibly relaxed, nervously playing with the end of a loose strand of hair. “Still, sorry about that, they were supposed to feature my piece on growing berries. I had done so much work on how to draw in Pokemon like Butterfree and avoid Beedrill.” She paused, then flushed, standing so quickly she nearly fell over. “Sorry, but I just remembered, I have to meet some friends, sorry for talking your ear off! My name is Sandra!” She called over her shoulder as she ran down the road, quickly vanishing into the crowd.

Word Count: 1348
Edited by Chaos_1x, 20 Jun 2018, 06:23 PM.
Josh Warden • Historian • Total EXP Gained: 87 • Dians: 9472 • Location: Skytouch

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Josh sighed, his gaze wandering the faux rustic decorations that filled the small plaza. It seemed so cheap, so artificial, and yet, at the same time, it didn’t feel like it was carelessly done. Growing up, he’d heard about how there was nothing true to the cultures outside Arkeido. They were barbarians that had invaded the homeland and stolen what rightfully belonged to the people of that land.

He knew from translating some of the documents that this understanding was at best, lacking. Arkeido had a long history of wars and revolutions. There had been at least one war that it had started, and Josh had always been suspicious that maybe there had been many.

Life in the university wasn’t about finding that history, though. Advancement was more about how well you could spin a yarn about the unfair treatment of the Arkeidans, or how the long suffering people had overthrown each aggressor.

In short, each discovery was more about what political message could be derived rather than what it actually had to say about the past.

He found his thoughts returning to the plaza, his lips tightly pursed. Something had pulled him out of his thoughts, and was nagging him incessantly. He checked to make sure his pack hadn’t been messed with, then that his Pokeballs were still at hand.

That done, he frowned. Something else, then?

He looked around and froze, eyes narrowing as he focused. The man he’d met in Skytouch forest, the mystery man who’d attacked Josh and his Bounsweet with a Weavile, injuring both. They had never exchanged names, but the man had called Josh by the name Anton.

It was his grandfather’s name. Or, it had been when the old man had still been alive. He had died before Josh had ever met him.

He focused on the crowd again, trying to be sure of what he’d seen. There was a flash, the silvery hair and tan skin, then it was gone. He stood and started making his way into the crowd. Cautious at first, waiting for gaps to open and apologizing, but as his quarry got further and further away, Josh started making his own way through the crowd.

He nearly fell over as a family with five or six little kids appeared suddenly in front of him, stopped in the middle of the road. On either side of the group, the crowds had parted, and a flash of green canvas coat caught Josh’s attention. He started to push his way along the crowd when something snagged his arm.

“Aren’t you going to apologize? You nearly stepped on my boy!” The mother, a taller woman with a hawkish face and sharp eyes demanded. She looked down judgmentally at Josh and he felt his anger snap. Something about her, be it demeanor, obviously well off quality of her clothing, or just maybe the interruption, really annoyed Josh.

“If you don’t want to watch your kids, don’t stop in the middle of the path.” He said harshly, pulling his arm free and turning. She continued trying to call to him, but he didn’t respond. The man was so close, Josh had almost had him. He just needed to get a good look to be sure it was him.

Ahead, the crowds started to disperse as people left to go on the various hiking trails to campsites. The flow wound down to a trickle and Josh stopped, finding a tree near the pathway to lean against as he looked around, panting slightly.

He had to laugh at himself. He already knew he wasn’t going to make any sort of stand against the man’s Pokemon, if it had been him. It was silly to try and chase him down, after all, if he couldn’t do anything directly, and he couldn’t really trust the authorities, what was the point?

Letting out a long sigh, he pushed away from the tree, walking down the path until he found a sign giving directions for the various campsites. Checking the directory against his map and the message from Professor Cassandra on his Holocaster, he started north.

The path was fairly deserted, with only the occasional piece of evidence that anyone had even been here in recent memory. Most of this was in the form of pieces of trash lodged in roots, or old campfires who still had blackish piles of charcoal that hadn’t washed away yet.

It didn’t take long for the paved path to give way to gravel, turning from a long narrow road into something more uneven and winding. He passed along ledges formed by ancient roots and beneath boughs older than anyone alive. The tall profile of the pines cut harshly against the shocking blue of the sky.

About halfway to his first location for samples, the gravel path dwindled into little more than a deer trail through the trees. A sign posted at the end of the gravel stated that from this point on, the underbrush would not be cleared, so all visitors were on their own for avoiding wildfires, Pokemon, and poisonous plants. Several carved depictions of the common offenders of the last category were displayed at such a scale as to be seen easily from a distance.

He pulled out his Holocaster, snapping a picture of the info in case he needed it later. Since he stuck to long clothes and his duster, and wasn’t planning on going for a swim, it didn’t seem too likely he was going to find much call for the information. It never hurt to be prepared, though.

A small glade surrounded by elder oak and pole like pines gave him a picturesque and reasonably comfortable place to have a late lunch. While he was tempted to sit on the cushiony ground cover and eat, he chose a pale boulder for his seat.

With little to focus on other than the forest, he became aware of the sounds that filled it for the first time. It was different from Skytouch, more empty, which he attributed to the lake. While this patch of woods may appear deep and endless, there was a large body of water less than an hours walk from where he was right now.

The thought reminded him of the rod Jason had given him in Cascadia. While fish wasn’t his first choice, something fresh would be a nice change from the freeze dried meals he’d been living off of. The idea brought a smile to his face, even as he considered how much work it would involve.

Word Count: 1090
Edit Reason: Mixed up Xtransceiver and Holocaster
Edited by Chaos_1x, 10 Jul 2018, 11:06 AM.
Josh Warden • Historian • Total EXP Gained: 87 • Dians: 9472 • Location: Skytouch

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Having completely bored himself scratching yellowish lichen off the boulder, Josh stretched, looking around at the small glade for anything else of interest. Aside from the occasional blooming thistle plant, there wasn’t much to really keep the eye.

Sighing, he slid off the boulder and back onto the sun baked earth. He had to take a moment to untwist his duster. He flapped it to help it adjust back into place, scooped his bag off the rock, and continued along the path.

”You, stop.” A faint but stern tone demanded. Josh felt his heart skip a beat, and he had almost turned in a complete circle looking for the source when a young woman stepped out of the shade running along the path.

”Pokemon battle, now.” She demanded, holding up a polished Pokeball. She was dressed casually, though the clothes seemed out of place to Josh, given how emotionless her face was as she stepped towards him. He noticed a large rucksack leaning against a tree where she must have been resting, and wondered if the group he’d seen earlier had split up.

Trainer Battle 1!

There was a flash of light, and a small pink squid looking creature appeared in front of the woman, who pointed at Josh. She didn’t seem to be the type to no for an answer, so Josh fumbled around, coming up with a Pokeball of his own.

”If you are here to look for the ‘Monster’, go home now.” The woman said plainly.

Josh shook his head, tossing the Pokeball out. In a flash of light, Honchkrow appeared, swooping through the improvised battlefield in a lazy orbit.

”Fwip!” The small pink Pokemon cried, its upper body flashed with a multitude of lights. The woman merely pursed her lips and crossed her arms as she nodded.

”Gonero, use Hidden Power!” She snapped her fingers while she made the order, and the small floating squid suddenly glowed bright. The light gathered into a ring that spun around the Pokemon, before it shot off at Honchkrow.

Josh felt sluggish, his mind struggling to keep up with what was going on, unable to make any plans on how to deal with the situation. He grimaced inwardly, realizing that many of his recent battles had been won or avoided purely due to luck. Belatedly, he started to tell Honchkrow to swerve and try to avoid the attack when he realized what the battlefield looked like.

A low canopy of thick leaves meant any flying Pokemon would have a hard time using their natural advantage. Paired with a high density of thin saplings meant that the woman’s Pokemon could keep a line of sight on his Pokemon, but still made moving around a lot difficult.

He winced as Honchkrow let out a shriek when the glowing ring struck it. Josh felt his stomach turn and he frowned, finding his back straightening as he glared at the woman. She didn’t seem to react in the slightest and he snorted.

”Honchkrow, use Peck!” Josh said, and the black winged Pokemon vanished behind Josh. He spun, neck strained as he turned, seeking where the Pokemon had gone. With a cry, it reappeared, traveling in a wide path around the battle. It serpentined between the saplings, completing most of an orbit before swinging in and striking the opponent hard enough to send it spinning.

“Gonero, Swagger!” The woman hissed.

“Fwip, fwi-fwip!” The small squid did a strange little dance, its Aura building up to a reddish glow that reached out and touched Honchkrow as it passed close.

“Croa!” Honchkrow screeched, its flight wobbling as it clipped a sapling.

Josh let his breath out slowly, pulling out his Pokedex. The metallic case nearly slid out of his fingers and the woman let out a slight chuckle as he pulled up information on Honchkrow.

“Cute.” She commented, and Josh felt his face flush.

He pointed at the small squid, “Honchkrow, Wing Attack!”

The bird Pokemon swept upward, its flight still unsteady, and its wings caught on a branch. It let out a screech as it was thrown off its path, crashing into another sapling and slammed into the ground below. The thud was almost sickening and Josh had to fight the urge to run to see if she was alright.

“Now, use Foul Play!”

The squid cooed, bobbing as it floated towards honchkrow. As it approached, it waved its tentacles in a taunt. When the bird managed to get up from where it had landed, it leapt at the squid, who grabbed the bird and swung it around, throwing it back into the dirt.

“Cra-roa!” Honchkrow let out a cry that almost sounded like a scream. The uneasiness in its movements had vanished, and it took flight with a hateful glare in its eye. Like a black omen, it swept around Josh, no sign of the laziness in its orbit that had been displayed earlier.

“Night Slash, then open up the distance,” Josh ordered. He swept his arm to the right, indicating how the bird should fly.

“Cra Croa!” She cried, her battle song as she dove down, striking the squid at the end of the dive, arching back up and away. The blow struck with enough force to bounce the squid off the forest floor, sending it sliding into the packed dirt of the hiking path.

The woman’s face was as controlled as Josh had ever seen. She seemed to be willing her Pokemon on, though the small creature was clearly suffering. Josh felt relieved at that until he noticed a how beat up Honchkrow looked as well.

“Lets take away that bite, use Topsy-Turvy!”

Both Honchkrow and the squid glowed. The glow was vaporous, a manifestation of their Aura, or so he’d been told. The energy reacted as the two Pokemon moved, their auras seeming to twist before vanishing. Honchkrow beat its wings rapidly to avoid losing ground as she let out a surprised cry.

Josh frowned, “Hit it with Night Slash again!”

The squid shrugged off this attack as if nothing had happened, and Josh frowned. He started flipping through the pages about Honchkrow.

“Hidden Power,” The woman sounded bored. Her tone had slipped from its controlled, even tones into a shorter, clipped speech, as if she’d rather be somewhere else.

Josh found his thoughts suddenly halted. She was bored with the battle she started! He looked back down at his Pokedex and smiled, “Honchkrow, use Flatter!”

A purplish aura reached out from Honchkrow, which caused the squid to react much as the bird had earlier. It’s stance was uneasy as it coated itself with light, but it still managed to fire the ring at Honchkrow, though it wasn’t nearly as bright as it had been before.

“Now, use Haze!” Josh ordered.

A faintly luminescent mist enveloped the Pokemon, spreading out to the forest floor where it enshrouded the squid. Both Pokemon seemed to regain some strength in their movements, Honchkrow in its wing flaps and the squid in the brightness of its glowing patches.

“Gonero, again, Hidden Power!”

This time, the squid proved too unsteady, and it fell over. Its tentacles splayed out as it flopped, letting out a weak cry.

Josh felt his excitement building, “Night Slash!”

Honchkrow let out a defiant cry, streaking down with blackened talons as it slashed across the squid’s upper body. Both Pokemon’s cries intermingled for a brief moment, then the sound from the pink Pokemon cut out. It’s form lay limp on the forest floor, eyes shut.

The Pokemon vanished, reddish light flashed where it had once laid, leaving only a faint impression on the short grass of the forest floor. The woman let out a huff and turned, executing an almost military about face as she started towards the path that lead towards the entrance to the park. She paused, eyes hard as she looked over her shoulder at Josh.

“The ‘Monster’ is mine. Do not interfere.”

Battle Summary

Word Count: 1335

Edit Notes: Fixed Battle Summary
Edited by Chaos_1x, 1 Jul 2018, 04:42 PM.
Josh Warden • Historian • Total EXP Gained: 87 • Dians: 9472 • Location: Skytouch

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“Yes!” Josh said, punching the air when he was certain the woman was out of earshot. He turned to Honchkrow, a smile on his face. The bird landed with a slight unsteadiness to her motion, but she seemed pleased with herself as she began preening the feathers that had been disturbed by the fight.

He hesitated, his arm outstretched, then he began stroking her feathers, tenderly running along the cool black of the hat like plumage. Honchkrow tilted her head, eye focused on Josh’s face. Her feet shifted uncomfortably, and she flapped her wings, taking off and coming to roost in a branch of a tree further down the trail.

Josh nodded, sighing. “Right, right. You aren’t my friend and I have work to do.” He considered recalling her to the Pokeball for the trip, but figured she might like a chance to stretch her wings.

The bird didn’t cause any troubles, but she made it about as obvious as she could that she was only begrudgingly following him, often waiting until Josh was nearly out of sight before moving along the trail.

The path connected with a stream that Josh assumed fed into the lake. The water was slow, textured by its path over rocks and fallen branches, but clear, and he let Honchkrow drink her fill before continuing on.

The path followed a shallow section of a slope, which allowed the trees to spread out more, allowing flowering underbrush to thrive in the unusually open area of the forest. Small insects flitted about in the scattered sunbeams, dancing in their paths among the flowers.

Until Honchkrow passed through, taking care in picking a single bug to strike at.

Josh opened his mouth to say something, then shut it. Perhaps he’d let her have her fun. She’d certainly earned it.

It was evening by the time he reached the first location indicated by the map Prof Cassandra had sent him. He read over her notes twice, having to confirm that what she was asking for was indeed as he had read it, then sighed.

Honchkrow looked up from her spot on a nearby rock, then resumed preening herself.

“She wants pond scum.” He said mournfully. He held the paper up, as if Honchkrow could, or would, read it. “And specifically, any that smells particularly rotten.”

The bird didin’t comment, and he found himself wanting to call her back and let Bounsweet out. At least the small fruit would comment on his lamentations. She wouldn’t have much of value to add, but he found himself conceding that the feedback was at least comforting in its consistency.

Thinking about the grass type reminded him that he’d picked up a package of fruit at a way station, and he started to dig it out. Purposefully, he kept his thoughts away from why his mind made that connection.

The yellow skin of the pear was a little tough, but the juicy innards made it worth the hassle. Josh held up a piece for Honchkrow, but she turned her nose at it.

“Oh, sure, you’ll eat a grasshopper, but not a pear. I’m glad I’m not a bird.” Josh commented dryly. He was about to pop the piece in his mouth when the sound of a snapping branch made him freeze.

Something was approaching, and it sounded heavy. One of the nearby bushes shook, and Josh felt an ominous plunge in his stomach as he realized the forest was quiet. Even the bugs had returned to their hiding places.

He turned to look back down the path, but nothing was there. The whole forest felt still as he looked for something, anything, to give him some clue as to what was out there.

A step behind him, and Josh turned slowly. A large Pokemon towered over him, nearly twice his height. Its head seemed to be fainly metallic, and there was a hollow, echoing sound to its breathing. He jumped in surprise, dropping the pear.

Encounter 1

The Pokemon considered him, then looked down at the pear. It lowered its head, the metallic sphere blocking Josh’s vision. When the Pokemon pulled back, the fruit was gone.

“Croa!” Honchkrow shrieked. The strange Pokemon stood rigid, eyes darting around, and it disappeared into the brush with a single leap, clearing Josh’s head without any effort.

Josh let out a breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding. He let it out in a long, slow, sigh, then turned to Honchkrow, who had resumed preening.

“Come on, let's find the rotten sludge and get out of here.” He set his pack down, and started rummaging around in it. Coming up with a small case, he opened it, nodded to himself, and closed it with a loud snap. The pack was returned to its chaotic state, and slung across his back.

Word Count 823
Josh Warden • Historian • Total EXP Gained: 87 • Dians: 9472 • Location: Skytouch

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Josh set up camp for the night on a rocky bluff that overlooked the lake, though he was unable to enjoy the sight as he fumbled with setting up his tent in the dark. Bounsweet kept nudging the stakes, and he eventually had to set her aside, keeping her away with an awkwardly placed foot.

“You want to help, stop helping.” Josh muttered as the grass type tried to work her way around his boot. He could feel her calyx smacking the sturdy rubber of sole, then she stopped.

“Swoo.” Bounsweet said, almost sounding like she was letting out a frustrated sigh.

Josh fought back the urge to curse, lest she think it was aimed at her. The hooks for the tension rod clicked again and slid out of his hands, and he did curse, sitting back and tossing the tension hook away.

He wanted to curse everything, the clouds blocking the moon, the chill damp of spring, even Professor Cassandra for needing rotten pond scum. Frustrated, Josh banged his hand on the exposed rock of the bluff until something soft moved between his hand and the stone.

“Soowoo!” Bounsweet cooed, leaning into his palm affectionately. Josh sighed and picked her up. The Pokemon was hard to see in the dimness, but he could barely make out what seemed to be a smile on her face. She spun her calyx and stretched forward, trying to jump from his hands and onto his lap.

Something nudged him from behind, and Josh felt heavy, wet breath running down his back.

“Hryy!” Gabby said, resting her large head on Josh’s shoulder. The weight was nearly enough to make him drop Bounsweet, who made her displeasure with the sudden motion known. She squirmed out of Josh’s grasp, letting out a shrill cry as she faced Gabby. Beyond the commotion, Grubbin dug a pit in the softer dirt where the bluff connected to the gentle slope of the hill, quickly falling asleep with a faint snore.

“Enough!” Josh said, kicking the poles of the tent aside. Both Bounsweet and Gabby flinched, and he started unfurling his sleeping bag. He flapped it once or twice to free any dirt that had gathered in the folds from the road, then he threw open the flap.

“Everybody, just go to bed.” He ordered. Bounsweet continued staring at Gabby as the Rhyhorn turned, then she hopped as she returned to Josh. He sighed, letting her under the duster as he settled in for the night.

The ground was rough and lumpy, putting him in an even fouler mood.

His dreams returned to Arkeido. He watched himself attending the People’s Liberty meetings, talking to other young men and women who all dreamed of a better life. That first meeting had felt like falling over an edge. The feeling had been similar when he would later send in the application for work in Godai.

They had dreamed of more. His peers and colleagues who wanted to see that their work and suffering mattered. A life that wasn’t defined by bureaucracy. They had been men and women who dreamed of freedom. The paths that had lead them to this point had varied, but the core desire was the still the same. Change was necessary, and it must come no matter the price.

It seemed fitting to him then, as it did still, that these meetings took place in forgotten alcoves of maintenance corridors. Lit by candles and the occasional Pokemon, the members made shadowy plans in shadow filled derelicts.

The dream moved forward, to the training he and his fellow revolutionaries had undergone. Battles staged underground with Pokemon he’d never seen. Many in Godai might consider Pidgeotto and Voltorb common enough, but in his eighteen years, Josh had only heard of either. Controlling them made him feel important, powerful. Watching the majestic movement of the yellow bird as it flew through the pools of light at his command had lifted his spirits. He was not just a cog in the machine, he was an agent of his own destiny. The shackles would be cast off and he would take charge. Gone was the academic, a new spirit rising in its place.

One able to do the previously impossible.

The dream Josh watched the memory of those days with a sense of longing, an almost childish joy at the faintest memory of those emotions, and a knowing dread.

These days, as all days, would come to an end before he was ready. He blinked, only a second of blindness, and the dim gold of electric lamps vanished. The makeshift platforms, constructed of wood salvaged from rotten crates, replaced by blackened frames and piles of ash. Claw marks and craters appeared in the concrete.

Younger Josh had fled, certain his doom lay with his companions. He hadn’t been found however. Though the fear still haunted his thoughts.

Every Arkeidan knew that the boogeyman wasn’t a monster, he was a man. One who appeared at odd hours to take you, your friends, and your family away.

And you were never heard from again. Not even the mightiest of Pokemon could change that fact.

Word Count: 848
Josh Warden • Historian • Total EXP Gained: 87 • Dians: 9472 • Location: Skytouch

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Josh woke with a gasp, his mind racing as he reached around for his Holocaster to turn the light on. He was already crawling away from his sleeping bag when it occurred to him that he didn’t even know why he’d woken up.

His eyes squinted, he became aware of two things. One was that the clouds had broken, letting moonlight flood the bluff and the lake below with silver radiance.

The other was that there was an unknown visitor in his camp.

Encounter 2

It stood tall, the impression aided by the fact that Josh was at ground level. The round mass of its head reflected the light oddly, almost like it was metal, and Josh wondered if the Pokemon was a steel type. The color was wrong though, he didn’t recall ever seeing a steel type with such a coppery hue to their armor.

“Roo” The Pokemon said, tilting its head. It reached out with a chitinous claw. Josh flinched, expecting an attack, but it never came. Instead, there was a clattering of plastic on rock, and he opened his eyes.

The creature had nudged the larger bowl he used for Gabby’s food, knocking it over. It kept tapping the bowl, trying to figure out how to flip it over, but it seemed to have a hard time seeing what it was doing. It let out a hollow sounding whine, shoulders slumping as it gave up.

Josh sighed, reaching out for his pack and pulling out a package of food. He didn’t know if the the Pokemon would like it, but it sounded so pitiful he had a hard time ignoring it. If it was as hungry as it seemed to be, it would probably eat it. If not, Gabby would like the extra treat.

“Here,” Josh said, being careful to move slowly, lest he surprise the strange Pokemon. The kibble clattered as it poured into the bowl, and Gabby’s limp form twitched. The visitor lowered its head, in what Josh assumed to be an attempt to sniff the food, then it started eating.

With it distracted, he was able to get his first real look of the Pokemon. Strange was about the best word that he could come up with to describe it. It almost looked to be made of several other Pokemon. The most striking examples were the hard claws on its front legs and the fish like tail, which was wagging happily as it ate the food.

He tried not to put too much thought into it. The whole idea of a land dwelling creature, and he had to assume it was land dwelling, it didn’t look aquatic, having a fish tail it wagged like an overexcited Growlithe was off putting. To say the least.

“Hry Hryorn!” Gabby said, stretching as she woke up. She didn’t seem to mind the newcomer, at first checking to see if there was anything left in the bowl. Satisfied that there was not, she stretched her neck to look up at the newcomer, then she hunkered down, wiggling from side to side playfully.

The Pokemon stood there, and Josh could imagine how awkward it felt, but then it did similar, and the two Pokemon took off running. The clacking from the visitor’s claws and heavy thuds from Gabby’s steps making it easy to figure out where they had gone when the shadows became too dark to see.

Despite how heavy both Pokemon were, their games showed both to be surprisingly agile. Gabby had no trouble catching up to the visitor, but it would often jump over her when she got close, and she would lose ground when she changed direction.

Josh got so wrapped up watching the two play, he didn’t realize he was smiling. The way the two of them played was so innocent, it was hard to believe they weren’t from the same litter, let alone different species.

When both were tired, they trudged back to the camp. Gabby paced in a circle, quickly falling back asleep, but the newcomer seemed unsure. Josh sighed, crawling back to his bedroll. He opened it up and picked up Bounsweet, who was watching the newcomer with an intense gaze.

It worried him a little, as she’d always been oblivious to pretty much everything. An inspection didn’t reveal any wounds or causes for concern, so he let her swaddle back into the sleeping bag. Moonlight reflected from her eyes as she continued watching the strange Pokemon.

“So, why are you here?” Josh asked, not really expecting an answer. The Pokemon merely nudged at the rock with the corner of its helm, followed by a long snort. He could barely see the reflections in its eyes, hidden in the depths of the helm, which kept flicking back to Josh.

He turned to see what it was looking at, and his mouth hung open. Though he could only see a small part of the lake, it was beautiful. The pale silver of the moonlight sparkled like countless pearls as the wind stirred up small waves. Beyond the waters, everything was touched by the same silver, as if he was in a dream.

Above, the sky was painted with the stars, as if silver dust had been blown away from the land below and become caught in black velvet. The enormity of the scene was such that Josh felt he would be sucked into the void lest he look to long, and yet he could not look away.

“These are the same stars as in my home, yet they are so different.” He said, his voice barely a whisper. It embarrassed him that he had spoken so, but there hadn’t been any falsehood in that statement.

True, Godai was not Arkeido, but that wasn’t a bad thing. He had come here for a reason, after all.

“Broo?” The strange Pokemon inquired, though as he thought about it, Josh was certain it just wanted more food, not to give feedback on what he’d said.

“What are you?” He asked, part of him wondering if a Pokemon could get mad about him changing the subject.

The Pokemon didn’t answer, which was to be expected. Josh fumbled in the pockets of his duster until he pulled out the scratched and battered Pokedex. He aimed it at the Pokemon, and the divice emitted a high pitched whine as it powered up, getting ready to analyze the visitor.

“Broo-roo!” The Pokemon cried, almost sounding like a bark. It stood, and before the Pokedex had finished analyzing, vanished into the shadowy woods.

Josh lay there, wondering what had scared it away, then closed the Pokedex. He sighed, getting as comfortable as he could, and was asleep again before he knew it.

Word Count: 1119
Edit Reason: Mixed up Xtransciever and Holocaster
Edited by Chaos_1x, 10 Jul 2018, 11:07 AM.
Josh Warden • Historian • Total EXP Gained: 87 • Dians: 9472 • Location: Skytouch

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The lake sparkled in the morning light. Gone was the silver tint, replaced by the blinding starbursts of pure sunlight. As he cast the rod out into the shallow water, Josh found himself glad he had come here. The landscape was beautiful, and even though the strange man who’d attacked him was potentially here, for right now all was well.

Bounsweet was enjoying the morning as well. She’d tried to have some of his instant coffee, which he’d pointedly drained when she wouldn’t leave it alone, and instead of moping, had started dancing around the camp. She was still dancing, soaking in the sunlight as she twirled and bounced.

The lake was supposed to have mystical powers. Some myths had claimed it would heal, while others stated that the water would never be fouled. Perhaps, Josh figured, it was simply that the land itself helped the mind to recover and relax. Most of the time, you didn’t need much else.

There was definitely something special about this place though. It went beyond the sheer beauty. Here it felt as if nature was present, in all her glory.

He fought back a chuckle at that thought. Maybe if the whole Pokemon Trainer thing didn’t work out, he could give a shot at being a poet.

The rod tugged, and he popped it, as Jason had shown him. The hook took, and he started reeling it in. So far he’d lost the fish he’d hooked, but it never took long for another one to snag on the rod.

The line slackened, and he reeled furiously. The fish began pulling again, hard enough that Josh almost fell face first into the water. He let out a curse as he was forced to wade into the clear water, his boots instantly filling. He fought back a shiver as the ice cold liquid made his feet numb.

Bounsweet stopped dancing, watching Josh with a confused expression on her face. She hopped over, gaze following the line out into the water, only to return to Josh. Her calyx spun as she seemed to be working through what exactly was going on.

The fish tugged again, and Josh found himself up to his knees now. Jason had never mentioned how strong a fish could be, and Josh had a new respect for the work the old fisherman did. The line pulled taut, and it took all of his strength to wrestle the rod back to where he could manage it. Sweat was running down his face now, but the fish was close enough he could see its form in the water. It was bigger than he had expected, and another tug offered a warning against letting his mind wander.

Bounsweet started splashing in the water with Josh, cooing. Her calyx spun, sending spray everywhere and Josh cursed. He started to say more, but the fish leapt out of the water, its tail smacking the surface and soaking Josh. His teeth were chattering at this point, and he was strongly considering just cutting the line, but the fish was so close.

The idea of hot, freshly made food strengthened his resolve. He put his shoulders into the effort, locking an arm around the rod and reeling with as much force as he could manage. The rod groaned while the line shook, both showing worrying amounts of stress.

Then, it was over. The fish leapt out of the water once again, this time splashing into the shallows where it began flopping about. Bounsweet let out a cry as she was soaked, and she glared at the fish. Josh was looking for something to trap the fish with when the grass type Pokemon started smacking it with her calyx. After a few blows, the fish’s struggling became weak.

“Uh… Thanks.” Josh said. Bounsweet looked up at him, and he could have sworn she seemed to be pleased with herself.

The fish wasn’t as heavy as he would have expected, especially given the fight it had put up. However, it was more than enough to suit his needs for breakfast, and would probably help add something a little more filling to his lunch.

He could understand the pride some people took in acquiring their own food. The fish was lighter than he’d expected, but heavier for the ability to say he’d fished it out himself.

“I think I could grow to like fish, after all the dried provisions.” Josh said to Bounsweet.

She stopped walking alongside him, obviously confused. He bent over, taking care to keep the fish from touching the ground, and patted her on the head. She spun her calyx and jumped about, then froze. Looking back at the shore, her calyx spun slowly.

“Boop! Boop!”

Josh turned, trying to make out what was causing the noise. Something came from around a white boulder, sliding on the water. It blew out a bubble, which popped, sending it sliding even faster.

“Boop!” the spider like creature slid forward another few feet, angling straight towards Josh and Bounsweet. It didn’t seem like it was going to stop any time soon.

“Alright, Grubbin!” Josh said, starting to reach for a Pokeball when Bounsweet hopped into the air, smacking his mid thigh.

“Ow! What’s gotten into you?” Josh asked, reaching for the Pokeball again.

Bounsweet puffed up her cheeks, and Josh sighed.

“Do you even have any attacks?” He asked, not expecting a response. He’d never seen her do anything other than strike with the calyx.

She stomped her feet, more agitated than Josh had ever seen her. He started to pull out her Pokeball to recall her when the small grass type started glowing. Her from began to stretch, the calyx expanding out while her overall form took a more humanoid appearance. When the glow subsided, a completely different pokemon stood in its place.

“Ne Nee!” The Pokemon said, regarding Josh with a determined look. He pulled out his Pokedex, letting it register what Bounsweet had become.

“Steenee, huh? Better options for attacks…” He muttered.

“Alright, Bou- Steenee, go get it.” He conceded. Internally, he was chiding himself for not looking up if Bounsweet even had an evolution, and resolved to look more into her abilities and potential.

Word Count: 1035
Josh Warden • Historian • Total EXP Gained: 87 • Dians: 9472 • Location: Skytouch

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Encounter 3 - Battle!

“Ne ne nee!” Steenee declared as she ran into the shallows, her calyx swaying with each step. She jumped across water too deep to stand in and landed on a rock, water dripping down her sides.

The Pokemon, Surskit according to the Pokedex, slid forward on the water, circling around Steenee. It hadn’t attacked yet, but Josh wasn’t going to let it get the upper hand.

“Steenee, use Rapid Spin!”

The grass type jumped into the air, pulling back her calyx and going into a spin. The longer two leaves struck multiple times, sending the Surskit sliding out towards the deep water of the lake. Steenee splashed into the water. She smacked the water with her calyx as she turned, ready to take the small blue Pokemon on by the time the water had finished falling.

“Dridridri!” Surskit slid forward, a mass of bubbles proceeding ahead of it. The travelled as a loose cloud, popping loudly as they struck Steenee. The Surskit spun in a circle, sliding back and forth on the water as if ice skating.

Steenee looked to Josh, her arms crossed. Her big eyes seemed to be begging something, but it was beyond him what she wanted. He pointed at the bug, “Use Double Slap!”

“Nee…” Steenee said, her voice sounding upset. She hopped from partially submerged rock to partially submerged rock until she was close enough to deliver a series of heavy slaps with her calyx. The Surskit spun out of control and it seemed to be aggravated by the battle so far.

The bubbles this time were concentrated, popping with more force as Steenee was forced backwards. She tripped on something under the surface and fell completely into the water. When she came up, she was visibly shaking. Her movements were stiff, and she was panting.

Josh wanted to slap himself, realizing he’d been in the only a few minutes before. It had to be freezing, which couldn’t be good for the grass type. He pointed to a raised rock closer to the shore.

“Up there!” He ordered. Steenee turned, running as fast as she could through the water, though she seemed to be limping. The Surskit took advantage of this to shoot forward, striking Steenee from behind and knocking her back into the water. She was visibly struggling to move quickly when she stood, and was completely quivering from the shakes.

“Use Razor Leaf, try to get it to back off!” Josh said, stepping closer to the rock so he could keep a good eye on the battle.

Steenee jumped out of the water, sending a flurry of leaves at the Surskit, most of which plopped into the water. Small fountains sprung up where the leaves impacted, but enough hit the Surksit to do damage. It was left spinning in a circle, stunned by the blow.

Josh hoped that would be enough to send it running away. Maybe it would find some plants to eat, as fast as it had been earlier it wouldn’t have any problems finding anything on the lake.

That gave him an idea, and he began looking through his belt pouches and pants pockets. The rod was dropped, but he decided against dropping the fish. This meant the search was more awkward than he’d like, but he eventually managed to get to all his pockets. He hissed when all he came up with was a blue Pokeball with red decals. He’d put it in his pocket so he wouldn’t use it, but his other Pokeballs were in his coat, out of reach on the ledge above the bank.

Deciding not to give it much though, Josh tossed the Great Ball at the Surskit. It plopped into the water just short and he groaned. Steenee hopped off the rock, swimming under the surface until she came up near the ball, smacking it with a calyx. The ball shot across the water, hitting the Surskit hard enough to make Josh wince. It vanished in a flash of light, and the ball’s light flashed as it rocked, floating on the surface.

When the ball’s light faded, and nothing else happened, Josh let out a relieved breath. He started wading into the water and realized he’d left Steenee shivering in the ice cold. With a guesture, he told her to go to the bank, and she happily obeyed. Scooping up the Pokeball, Josh returned to shore, laying the fish on some clean looking marsh grass.

“Come on, lets go back to camp. We’ll start a fire and have some breakfast.” He said.

“N-ne-nee!” Steenee said, her voice quivering from the cold. Josh had to fight the urge to let his teeth chatter, and he smiled at her.

“You did good.” He said, and she twirled, letting out a happy cry. Josh smiled as he picked up his coat and folded it over his arm.

Battle Summary

Word Count: 810
Edited by Chaos_1x, 3 Jul 2018, 06:29 PM.
Josh Warden • Historian • Total EXP Gained: 87 • Dians: 9472 • Location: Skytouch

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The small frying pan was overstuffed with white cubes of fish meat, sizzling in the heat of the campfire. Josh stirred it occasionally, but most of his attention was spent massaging Steenee’s limbs to make sure she didn’t suffer any ill effects from the cold. She cooed appreciatively.

It took a while, but they both stopped shaking and sat basking in the warmth of the fire. Josh smiled, wondering if anyone else would see the irony in a grass type being so close to a fire willingly, but after stepping into the icy waters of the lake himself, he didn’t blame her.

Idly, he opened the map on his Holocaster. According to the topographical map of the region, and his best guess to where he was, Josh figured they were near one of the smaller lakes that fed into Lake Serenity, still chilled by the melt from the mountains. The waters further south, in the lake proper would probably be much more pleasant to swim in.

He poured some extra food for Steenee, then set out a second bowl. He pressed the button on the blue Pokeball, and Surskit appeared in a flash. It looked around, obviously confused, and Josh poured some of the food into the bowl.

“I have a favor to ask you. I need to find something, and I figured you were the best bet I have.” He said, immediately feeling silly. The Surskit only looked more confused, proceeding to inspect the bowl’s contents and then eating noisily.

Josh sighed. When did he start thinking it would be a good idea to try to have a conversation with a Pokemon? Just the thought caused him to flush in embarrassment and he tried to focus on cooking the fish to divert his attention.

Encounter 4

“Broo?” A now familiar voice said, as the helmed Pokemon stepped into the camp. Instead of coming from the trees, it climbed up from the ledge below the camp. Several rocks were sent tumbling below, rolling into the water with a splash.

Surskit watched the new Pokemon arrive, then went back to eating. It didn’t seem to care about the visitor, and Josh watched it warily.

“Broo!” It said, reaching out for the fish with a green claw. Josh used the wooden rod he’d been using to stir the meat to push back the Pokemon’s appendage.

“Hey, that’s not for you.” He said warningly.

The Pokemon tilted its head, as if processing what he’d said. It started to reach out again, and again, Josh stopped it.

“Broo!” It declared, stomping its feet. Its green claw scratched at the exposed surface of the rock, gouging out a furrow in the solid stone. Josh’s eyebrows raised as he noticed this, and he sighed.

“Here, take this then.” He said, tossing one of the long strips he’d set to smoke. It wasn’t completely cured, but he doubted that mattered to a wild Pokemon. The coppery helmed Pokemon let out another hollow bark, scooping up the fish and walking a bit outside the camp to enjoy its meal.

Josh sighed again, checking the fish meat and groaning. Some of it had burned while he’d been dealing with the visitor, and he picked out the blackened pieces, picking at them and gnawing as much of the unburned flesh as he could. That done, he mixed in a can of lentils and let the mixture heat up from the heat of the pan as he pulled it off the flames.

With all parties eating, the camp was comfortably quiet. Josh found he was growing less bothered by the company of the various Pokemon. He briefly tried to imagine what it would feel like to actually pursue the Trainer Initiative, but thoughts of the windmill kept plaguing his thoughts. Could he do both?

Just because he was a Trainer didn’t mean he had to give up his studies.

Did it?

He shook his head, causing Steenee to look up at him. He patted her head to let her know it was alright, and he turned to look at the new Pokemon.

“What’s with the following me?” He asked it. It met his gaze, but then returned to the fish. From the noises it was making, it seemed to be really enjoying the food. Maybe it was some sort of carnivore? Josh decided it wasn’t worth putting too much thought into it.

When the food had been eaten, Josh heated up some water and used it to clean himself, then Steenee. She objected at first, but was soon trying to wrap herself in the steamy warmth of the towel. When she was finally clean, he let her keep the wash cloth wrapped about herself.

“Roo-oo!” The helmed Pokemon said, standing. It started to walk away, then stopped. It looked back at Josh, its feet shifting. When he didn’t react, it walked back to the camp, standing close to him.

It let him get some feeling for just how massive the Pokemon was. It had to stand almost twice his height, if you counted the weird crest sprouting from the helm like head. The eyes stared into his pointedly, and he stood.

“Broo!” The Pokemon declared, nudging him so hard he nearly fell over.

Throwing his hands up in surrender, Josh recalled Steenee and Surskit, made sure the fire was extinguished and his bag was packed. By this point, the Pokemon was getting visibly impatient, so Josh started following it.

Otherwise, it probably wasn’t going to leave him alone.

“You know I have work to do right? I can’t exactly play right now.” He tried to argue, but the Pokemon started pushing him along the path. Josh gave in, having seen herding Growlithe that were less insistent.

Word Count: 978
Edit Reason: Mixed up Xtranciever and Holocaster
Edited by Chaos_1x, 10 Jul 2018, 11:07 AM.
Josh Warden • Historian • Total EXP Gained: 87 • Dians: 9472 • Location: Skytouch

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By the time they’d set off, the Pokemon had been growing increasingly agitated. If it got too far ahead of Josh, it would stop, claws nervously scratching at the ground until he caught up.

The whole thing was both frustrating and interesting. Josh really wanted to get back to what he’d come to do, but at the same time, the Pokemon was an enigma. What it wanted, even where it came from Josh didn’t know.

He attributed part of his interest to just how bizzare the Pokemon was. It had a large helm like covering on its head, with something akin to plumage or a crest rising out of it. Its main body was dark, almost black, with blue armor patches on the back and green chitinous claws in the front. Instead of a more traditional tail, it had a fish like fin, a brighter blue than the armor, affixed with grey growths along the top.

When the Pokemon leaned, the head would dip, as if it had started to lose balance. Josh figured the helm was heavy, but wasn’t sure what purpose it served. Maybe the creature favored armor?

He found himself pondering what abilities and attacks it had. He hadn’t seen it fight, and it had run away when he tried to analyze it with his Pokedex, so he didn’t even know what type it was. Besides, he had enough Pokemon as it was.

He still had to release the Surskit after he got it to help him find some of Professor Cassandra’s samples, too. Another Pokemon was the last thing he needed to be considering.

“Broo?” The Pokemon asked.

Josh stopped mid step, wavering as he tried to regain his balance. The Pokemon had stopped at the side of the road, half concealed by the underbrush. It looked at him expectantly, and Josh sighed.

“Sure, lets go off the path. I wanted to die alone in the wilderness anyways.” He said dryly. The Pokemon merely tilted its head.

He sighed, “Nevermind, I’m coming.”

Away from the path, the landscape felt drastically different. The road gave the impression that the trees were dense as far as the eye could see, but after a few yards, that had changed. Instead of a dense forest, it was open. The canopy shaded much of the ground, leaving little to clutter the forest floor but low lying ground cover, such as clover and ferns. A few Pokemon scattered on Josh and the Pokemon’s approach, but none seemed hostile.

It was a different beauty than the bluff overlooking the lake, but it was still beautiful. While the lake might draw the majority of the visitors, Josh could understand those who came for the land as well. They crossed a clear stream running downhill, the sound of the water mixing pleasantly with the songs of birds and spring breezes.

The ground underneath was soft and spongy, surprisingly comfortable to walk on. Josh had expected it to drain his strength, as happened when walking in soft sands or wet fields, but instead he felt invigorated. He found his mood lifting, and his worries about not getting to work on his assigned task falling away.

The Pokemon stopped in a clearing for a bit, and Josh pulled out some food for the two of them. At first, it ate its meal on the other side of the clearing, but when it had finished, it padded over to Josh, laying down next to him. He tore a chunk of the travel bread he’d been eating with the fish and tossed it on the ground. Instead of walking away with the food, the Pokemon ate it at his side, letting out a contented sigh.

“Bounsweet doesn’t like the bread.” Josh told it. He shrugged, “Guess its Steenee now. At least you eat anything. That’s how I was raised too.”

He reached out to pet the mane like hair spilling out from under the helm, and it pulled away. It turned to look at him, then leaned into his hand. The hair was dull and silvery, but soft to the touch.

They sat like that for a while, watching the clouds pass by overhead. The overcast of the previous night had broken up, and instead of a grey sheet, the sky was a splatter of shocking blue and bright white.

Eventually, Josh stood up, and the Pokemon followed suit. It shook itself off, and continued walking, still visibly nervous that Josh wouldn’t follow. Curiosity was getting the better of him, and he made a point to keep up with it as much as possible.

Someone emerged from the underush, a tall man with tanned skin, greying hair and cold eyes. Josh froze, and the Pokemon did similar. The man pointed at Josh, his eyes showing bewilderment.

“Anton? You are supposed to be in Olhalo. Why are you here? Does Casia not trust me?”

Josh found himself struggling to respond. The man didn’t seem as hostile as he had in Skytouch, but he did seem unstable. The man’s body language was rapidly shifting, and Josh knew he was caught off guard.

His response was cut short when the Pokemon that had lead him to this point let out a cry, turning around and starting to run. Josh turned just in time to see it vanish behind a large fern, its footsteps quickly fading away.

“Anton, you do not need to be here. Go see to your woman. I do not need your help here. Soon the ‘Lord Commadant’ will be struck down. Do not worry.”

Josh’s mouth opened, then closed. It opened again, but he still couldn’t get out a response. The Lord Commadant had been the dictator the revolution had dethroned. That had been well before his time, before his father’s even. Josh had heard his grandmother call his grandfather Anton when speaking of the long dead man, but did this man really think Josh was him?

It was both flattering and insulting, Josh decided. Sure, he’d heard all his life what a great man his grandfather had been, but Josh didn’t think he looked that old. It had been a few days since he’d managed a thorough cleaning, but that hardly accounted for mistaking Josh for a man who would have had to have been in his seventies at least.

The man was mad, Josh realized as he looked into the stranger man’s eyes. He was looking at Josh, but he was seeing something else. Somewhere and sometime else.

“Why do you give me such a look? Do not tell me you are so frazzled you have forgotten your friend Victor?” The man asked, the hostility Josh had seen in Skytouch completely gone. Replaced with worry, Josh noticed.

“No, I-” He started to say, but was cut off.

“Anton, go home. This is a job for one person. You have family to attend to. I will attend to the strike against the Commadant.” With that, Victor turned, heading back into the underbrush. Josh stood their trying to figure out what had happened, when he started after the man.

Did he really mean to do something here?

Victor’s green coat was tauntingly close ahead of Josh, but the old man was fast for his age. Josh’s relative lack of physical endurance, compliments of being a scholar, meant he quickly lost ground. They wound through the trees, across streams, and through glades. The sun was lower in the sky when Josh had to give up and catch his breath.

He’d lost Victor at a larger stream, and neither the stream nor the woods around it were anything Josh recognized. He felt anger at losing track of the man, then shame that he had given chase in the first place. Assuming he caught up to Victor, what could he do? That Weavile had ripped him and Bounsweet apart, and he wasn’t sure any of his team could stand up to the thing.

Finally, he felt fear. Fear that he was aware of something that could happen to innocent people while unable to do anything to stop it, and fear that he was now too far from anyone who could help. Even assuming he could get back to the Ranger station, he knew too little to really be of assistance.

And how long would getting back take in the first place? He was utterly lost.

Frustrated and angry, Josh smacked his thigh with a fist, cursing himself and his stupidity. He followed the creek uphill, hoping to find a vantage point, but after an hour, it vanished into a large pool, probably fed by a spring. Feeling like a fool, he sat on a rock and tossed stones into the water.

Word Count: 1449
Josh Warden • Historian • Total EXP Gained: 87 • Dians: 9472 • Location: Skytouch

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“I told you, it’s right over here.”

“We’ve been walking for an hour. Lets just go back.”

“No, see, here!”

A group of people came into sight as they rounded a ledge, two women in the front. Both were familiar to Josh. One was the Trainer who’d battled him the day before, the other had called herself Sandra.

Sandra noticed Josh first, and she waved, bouncing excitedly. “Oh! Oh! Its you! And yes!” she said, pointing at the spring. “I told you it was here!”

A black haired young woman with a pack stuffed completely full sighed, “Alright, you were right. Here’s the spring. Forty-five minutes after you told us we’d find it.”

Sandra blushed, “It's been a year since I was here last. Cut me some slack, Lacey.”

The black haired woman, Lacey shook her head. “I don’t like wasting time.” She unslung her pack, letting it fall to the ground with a thud.

The Trainer however, pulled out a Pokeball when she saw Josh. The others in the group noticed, and Sandra stepped forward. “Super, what are you doing?”

The woman waved Sandra away, tossing the ball forward. A pink quadruped appeared, its whole form menacing. Spikes coated most of its body, even the edges of the ears. Josh’s eyes widened, recognizing the Pokemon.

Nidorino was one of the few Pokemon he knew from Arkeido. He’d never dealt with one up close, but some of the archeologists in university had run into them on a dig. Josh frowned, trying to remember if any of them had died. He was certain at least one had.

Trainer Battle 2

“Send out your Pokemon.” The Trainer demanded.

Josh sighed, pulling out a Pokeball, tossing it forward. Grubbin appeared in a burst of light, eyeing Josh and the larger pink Pokemon. Looking back at him, he couldn’t help but feel it was glaring at him.

“Leon, use Peck!” Super yelled. The Nidorino yawned, tilting its head. Josh’s eyebrows rose. He would have expected better from the woman, who seemed to be willing to fight anything and everything. She stomped her foot, pointing at Josh’s Grubbin.

”Grubbin, use electroweb!” Josh said, figuring if the other Pokemon didn’t want to fight, then he could get this over with quickly.

Grubbin spat a glowing web that clung to the Nidorino, which crackled with electricity. The Nidorino snorted in pain as it twisted, its spikes tearing most of the webbing. The occasional spark still traveled along its flank, but it didn’t really look any worse for the wear.

It responded by backing away, standing closer to Super. She sighed, pointing at the bug type. “Come on, use Peck!”

Josh dug out his Pokedex, searching for Grubbin. He looked at the ground, smiling. “Grubbin, use Mud Slap!”

Grubbin planted its pincers into the dirt, flipping them up and sending a small wave of mud at the Nidorino. The attack landed with a wet slap, sending the Nidorino reeling. It stamped its feet, trying to shake the mud off.

Super pinched the bridge of her nose, “Leon, use Disable!”

The Nidorino’s eyes glowed blue, and Grubbin’s body began to glow. The glow flashed, and Grubbin looked around, confused. It opened its mouth, its pincers waving about agitatedly when nothing happened.

Josh frowned. He was upset that his plan had been hindered, but upon reflecting, decided it hadn’t been much of a plan to begin with. He looked around to see if there was anything he could use to his advantage.

The battlefield wasn’t optimal, but that went for both combatants. It was relatively open with few obstacles, the spring to his right being the biggest concern, and they weren’t close enough for it to really play a factor.

The Nidorino was shaking its head, though, trying to clear the mud from its eyes. Josh pointed at it, trying to use his hand to indicate going around the Pokemon.

“Grubbin, use Bite, but try to get behind it!”

The bug type did half of what he said, anyways. He considered Josh’s order, watching the Nidorino before deciding to go through with the attack. It approached the Nidorino at about quarter flank, its pincers glowing with a purplish aura. The snapped shut and the Nidorino yelped, jumping away from the attack and almost stepping into his Trainer. The pink Pokemon was now facing the wrong direction, its main horn pointed at Super instead of Grubbin.

“Follow up with another Bite!” Josh said, deciding to push the advantage.

“Leon, Sucker Punch!”

The Nidorino froze, waiting for Grubbin’s pincers to glow, then it kicked with a hind leg. The two attacks connected, and both Pokemon opened up the distance between them in response. Grubbin was keeping an eye on the Nidorino, occasionally looking back at Josh. The opponent was still trying to clear the mud out of its eyes and shake off a piece of webbing.

“Grubbin, Electroweb!”

“Leon, Protect!”

“Drii!” The Nidorino’s ears perked up at this command. It reared back on its hind legs, coming down with a mighty cry. A wall of light appeared in front of it, catching the arcing webbing, letting it fall to the ground uselessly.

Josh looked back at his Pokedex and closed it with a snap. “Grubbin, Spark!”

Electricity crackled around the Pokemon, who rammed the Nidorino with a headbutt. Grubbin was quick to retreat as fast as it could once the attack was completed, leaving the Nidorino on one knee as it shook off the electricity. One of the pieces of earlier webbing sparked audibly with the new inflow of energy, and the Nidorino let out a cry of pain.

“Leon!” Super hissed. She waited for it to stand, then glared at Josh. “Use peck, wait for it to hit you again if you have to!” The Nidorino pawed at the dirt, its previously calm demeanor fading into a more aggressive stance.

“Grubbin, Bite!”

The bug type crawled along the forest floor, over a branch until it came again at the quarter flank, its pincers glowing. The Nidorino waited for it get close, ears twitching as it tried to pinpoint Grubbin’s location.

“Now!” Josh yelled, causing the Pokemon to perk its ears up in response to the noise. Grubbin jumped forward, its pincers closing on the leg of the Nidorino.

“Dreeno!” the Pokemon responded, nearly tripping as it turned to back away from Grubbin. It was so distracted it didn’t try to attack, and Josh felt a little guilty for the ploy. However, it worked, and he reminded himself that he hadn’t started this.

He looked over the battlefield, noticing that the Nidorino had stepped into the failed Electroweb attack. Josh smiled, pointing at it. “Grubbin, Spark!”

Grubbin let out a cry, its aura growing bright with energy. The air took on the scent of ozone as it charged. The electricity ran along the ground and all along the Nidorino this time. Smoke rose up from a few smoldering leaves that had landed on the webbing, as well as from the webbing that had still clung to the quadrupedal Pokemon. It shook as it tried to remain standing, then collapsed.

Grubbin ran back to Josh, looking expectantly. He sighed, then motioned for it to follow him. He dug out a piece of fruit from a container, and it gleefully accepted the treat.

“That was hardly sporting.” The woman, Lacey commented. One of the other group members nodded, and Josh sighed.

“I didn’t exactly want to fight. She started it.” He reminded them, pointing at Super. The woman was tending to her Nidorino and she met his gaze, challenging him.

“I told you the ‘Monster’ was mine.” She stated, putting away the empty potion bottle and shaking her head. She recalled the Nidorino, then stood up. “I’m going to make sure there isn’t anything to worry about here.” She told Sandra as she stormed out of the clearing.

“O-okay Superna.” Sandra said, sighing.

Battle Summary

Word Count: 1316
Josh Warden • Historian • Total EXP Gained: 87 • Dians: 9472 • Location: Skytouch

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“Sorry about that.” Sandra said, her voice trailing off. She shrugged and offered a bright smile, as if unsure how else to move the conversation along. “Superna is… Difficult. We had to agree to let her hunt the ‘Monster’ in order to come with us.”

Josh raised an eyebrow, “You aren’t all here to hunt it?”

She shook her head, “No, most of us are interns. We’re here to study the biomes in the lake’s ecosystem.”

Lacey stepped forward, looking at Grubbin, “Most of us anyways. If you fought Super, I bet your Pokemon could use some healing. Want some potions?”

Josh considered it, “Yeah, I could use some.”

Lacey smiled, “Four hundred Dians a pop.”

He paled, trying to figure out how much cash he had on hand. The way she had offered, he had expected her to share a surplus of the items, but remembering the tales he’d heard of Godaian’s, he chided himself mentally for expecting anything different.

“Lacey!” Sandra chided. She looked shocked that the black haired woman had even suggested a price, but the woman offered a sheepish smile and a shrug.

“Consider it a fee for me having to carry them. Besides,” She added, looking at Josh. “You won, I can tell you Super isn’t going to let that go. You’re going to want to be prepared.”

Her smile was predatory, and Josh fought back the urge to shiver.

He tried to haggle with her, ending up having to commit to a whole pack of potions and spending more than he’d wanted to spend in the first place. He wasn’t proud as he emptied his wallet, handing the multicolored bills to the young woman. Deciding to focus on the reason he’d bought the potions, he started by treating Grubbin.

The bug type tried to run away from the spray, but he held it down. After spraying all the wounds, grateful that there weren’t many, Josh let him go. Grubbin retreated to the edge of the spring, watching to make sure Josh didn’t give chase.

“I just realized,” Sandra said as she approached Josh, “I never got your name.” She bent down, offering some dried berries to Grubbin, who took them and started munching loudly.

“They don’t heal it any, I’m afraid, but they are a nice treat.” She offered, smiling.

Josh leaned back against a limestone boulder. He scratched his neck, then shrugged. “Names Josh.” He said.

She nodded, “Well, do you want to stay with us tonight? We’ll feed you, and there’s safety in numbers. Plus,” She looked down, fiddling with her fingers, “It's the least we can do after Superna started that whole mess.” When he took a moment to respond, she held up a finger. “I’m talking real food. None of that wilderness survival stuff you Trainers carry.”

Josh found himself smiling now. “Add in breakfast, and I think you’ve convinced me.”

Sandra clapped her hands happily.

His Pokemon drew the attention of the would-be researchers, who seemed to be more interested in Steenee and Surskit. When Josh asked Sandra about it, she pointed at Grubbin and Honchkrow, “They don’t live around here. All of us are studying the lake, so Pokemon that can be found here are more interesting to us.”

Josh nodded, though he wasn’t sure he understood. He supposed if he was the sort to study Pokemon, it might have mattered, but to each their own.

“So are you here to hunt the ‘Monster’?” Lacey asked as she sat down next to Gabby.

Josh shook his head, snorting. “No, I really am not trying to get more Pokemon.” He pointed at Surskit, “I only caught that one because I was hoping it would help me find some materials for my job.”

“What are you looking for?”

Josh shrugged, “Pond scum. I tried looking along the east bank of the lake, but no luck.”

Sandra nodded slowly, twirling her braid in her hair. “Yeah, you wouldn’t. Going to be a lot of melt water that way, you want to go to the lake itself, and look for any pools just off the main body of water.”

The others nodded in agreement, and Josh fought back the urge to sigh. He looked over at the spring, trying to divert his attention. The Surskit was enjoying the pond, doing lazy spirals. He noticed it was looking a little worse for the wear, and he started digging around in his pack.

“Bloop!” the Surskit’s bubble popped noisily. Josh started to call it over when it popped another one.


“Surskit!” He shouted as it started to blow another bubble. It stopped, and he motioned for it to come over.

Like Grubbin, it seemed to dislike the the potion, and with the number of wounds it had taken, Josh was fairly certain weariness was what was keeping it from running away. He discharged two bottles, making sure to store the empties in his bag until he could properly dispose of them.

Once it had finished cringing at the application of the medicine, the Surskit happily resumed its playful theatrics on the surface of the spring. One of the young men in the group of interns was busy taking pictures of the Pokemon while talking to a companion about how it avoided losing body heat to the temperature of the water. Josh tried to follow their conversation, but was unable to keep up with the technicalities of what was being said.

Steenee and Gabby seemed to be getting along better, Josh noted as he watched his Pokemon run around the camp. Maybe it was that she wasn’t quite so small compared to the large rock type, but she seemed less aloof since she had evolved.

“Your Pokemon are so cute!” Sandra said, after taking her turn to watch the pot. She had a drink bottle in one hand, and practically threw herself to the ground next to Josh. She pointed at Steenee, who was dancing with Surskit, “Does she know Magical Leaf by any chance?”

Josh shrugged, “I wouldn’t know. She just evolved.”

Sandra nodded, “Right, then she probably won’t now, but will soon.” She sighed, then took a sip of her drink. “I was kind of hoping to get a sample of the leaves used in that attack. I’ve always wondered if they were just charged with aura or controlled somehow.”

Josh just nodded, unsure of what the woman was saying.

“So,” A voice behind Josh said, and he jumped in surprise. Lacey was standing behind him, looking down at them. She sat on Josh’s other side, eyeing Sandra.

“How exactly do you know Sandra?” She asked, making sure to keep her eye on her friend, rather than making eye contact with Josh.

“She borrowed a paper I’d found,” He said, unsure of what the black haired young woman wanted to know.

Lacey nodded, her gaze narrowing on Sandra. “So, you only met her recently.”

It wasn’t a question.

Josh nodded, “Yeah, why?”

Lacey shook her head, her dark blue eyes glaring daggers at Sandra. “You seem a nice enough sort, but Sandra and I have to talk about her lying. She said you two were good friends, problem is, I don’t think she’s ever met a stranger, and the world can be dangerous.”

Josh nodded, clearly uncomfortable. He dug his hands into his pockets, hoping the conversation wouldn’t be drawn out too much longer.

It was Sandra who gave first. Bowing her head, he spread her hands out in defeat. “Fine, yes, I lied. He didn’t seem dangerous though!”

Lacey sighed, opening a bottle that smelled suspiciously of alcohol, and took a deep swig. “You said the same thing about the Ursaring, remember?”

Sandra crossed her arms. “Hey! The Ursaring thing wasn’t as bad as you make it out to be.”

Lacey rolled her eyes. “We lost all our samples! It ate everything!”

Sandra stood up, dismissing Lacey with a wave. “I’m not talking about this again.” And with that, she stormed off. Lacey sighed, then stood up. She waved at Josh, and left for other parts of the camp.

Superna returned after dinner had finished cooking, and she spoke in hushed tones to Sandra, Lacey, and a few other members of the group. They split into smaller groups, all talking in hushed tones.

“What’s going on?” Josh asked Sandra.

She wrung her hands nervously. “One of the ponds near here had something happen to it. We were going to go check it out.”

He sighed, figuring what was coming next.

“Do you want to come with? We might need your help.”

Pulling out his Pokeballs to call his Pokemon back, he nodded. “Sure, it's the least I can do.”

OOC Notes: Used One (1) Potion on Grubbin, Used Two (2) Potions on Surskit
Word Count: 1448
Josh Warden • Historian • Total EXP Gained: 87 • Dians: 9472 • Location: Skytouch

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The air was heavy, the sound of birdsong and insects replaced with heavy breathing and the tread of boots from tired feet on the forest floor. The sun was starting to lower, leaving golden fingers slicing through the canopy above.

Lacey, previously trailing at the back of the group, worked her way up to Josh, nudging him with her elbow.

“So, you have any badges?”

He shook his head, shrugging, “Haven’t even tried to get one.”

Her eyes widened, “Really?”

“I’m a little new at this whole… Trainer thing.” He admitted.

She nodded, then performed an over the top shrug of her own. “What did you do before becoming a Trainer?”

He considered his answer before speaking. “I was an archeologist… In Arkeido.”


“Yeah,” Josh said, wondering if he’d said something wrong. The paranoia started to build up in him as Lacey looked away, but when she met his gaze, she was smiling.

“Well, I’m glad you’re here. Though being a Trainer is quite a bit of a step away from archeology. What made you switch?”

Josh considered the story of how he’d even come to Godai, but instead opted for a simpler answer.


Silence returned as the conversation died away. Superna turned as they approached a ledge, and pointed down. As he approached the lip of the ledge, Josh could see the water, nearly gagging as the smell overwhelmed his senses.

The water had an oily sheen, illuminated by a variety of handheld lights, and smelled of rot. Underneath that was the smell of something more chemical in nature. The plants on either side of the pond had started to wilt, turning an unhealthy yellow.

“It smells like a Grimer!” Sandra complained, covering her mouth with a cloth. Her braid had been tied up with bobby pins and gloves hung ready at her belt. She pointed to some drag marks on the bank of the pond, indicating that Josh should pay attention to them.

“There weren’t many Pokemon here, but they are probably poisoned. If the toxins are causing them to be violent, you might have to knock them out.”

It seemed odd to Josh that he’d have to inflict violence on something already suffering, but he would readily admit he didn't’ know much about the whole situation. Instead of commenting, he nodded, and Sandra walked off to talk to Superna.

“Don’t worry, I doubt it will be a problem.” Lacey said. “Doesn’t look like anything too big left here, and I doubt the smaller Pokemon will have much fight in them.” Her voice was dull, sad, and the normally taunting smile she wore had been replaced by a visage dragged down by stress and exhaustion.

They genuinely cared about the Pokemon, Josh realized. He wondered why it had surprised him, but the answer made him hang his head in shame.

In Arkeido, the scholars and researchers had not cared about the actual data. They had cared about fitting into the government’s propaganda. To do otherwise had meant death, yet there had been those who had stood by what they thought right.

Josh had not been one of those. He’d complained, plotted rebellions, and even fled the country, but when the time had come to prove his convictions, he had failed.

He had kept his head on his shoulders in the bargain, but seeing these men and women doing the work because it was right made him feel shame.

“Hello, mister Trainer?” Lacey’s voice broke through his thoughts. “We need some help carrying a Poliwag back to the spring. Mind giving us a hand?” She waved a gloved hand in front of his face, and he took a half step back. A slight smile twitched at the corner of her mouth as she saw him jump, but instead of commenting, she just shoved a pair of heavy yellow gloves into his arms.

“Put these on, the toxins might be saturating the slime in its skin, so avoid skin contact.”

The Poliwag was unconscious, but moving it presented a challenge Josh wouldn’t have expected. The Pokemon was huge, and the slimy skin made grabbing it difficult. Two of the researchers struggled to pick up the Pokemon, only for it to slip and fall back to the ground.

“Make a travois, you idiots.” Superna said as she approached. There was a flash of light and a red reptile like Pokemon appeared. It looked to its trainer, and she pointed at a stand of saplings.

“Dragon Rage, but aim for the bases.” She ordered.

The Pokemon inhaled, then spat out a pulse of bluish purple energy that shot through the oncoming night, erupting into a shockwave when it struck the ground. The attack was mostly show, almost all of the energy dissipating into the flash of light. Straight poles fell to the ground and Superna started forward to grab them. The Pokemon followed. It was careful, Josh noted, to keep the flame on its tail from brushing against the underbrush.

He was close behind, grabbing a larger pole and dragging it back to the researchers. Someone had pulled out some rope while another started working with a hand saw to remove the branches. Within minutes, the slightly charred remnants of the saplings had been turned into a triangular carriage of sorts, with two long poles dragging along the ground instead of wheels.

Josh turned to look at the pond one last time, taking in what had once been a home, now turned toxic and unlivable. He felt a pang of familiarity for the Pokemon forced to flee, when something moved in the nearby brush. He focused his borrowed light on the spot, and saw the last glimpses of a man in green coveralls with silver hair vanish out of sight.

His heart plummeted, and he quickly turned, hoping the return to camp would be swift.

Word Count: 975
Josh Warden • Historian • Total EXP Gained: 87 • Dians: 9472 • Location: Skytouch

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Josh twisted and turned in his sleep. He was dragged through events he had no control over, forced to watch just as he had before, as families were dragged from homes, as his own discoveries and efforts were cast aside.

An elderly man corrected his wording on a translation. It started simple enough, but by the end, nothing of the original document had truly remained. The diary had detailed the last moments of the young army captain as he lead a conquest into neighboring countries, and after the revision from Josh’s mentor, now told the tale of how an unfortunate militia fighter bravely held off the unwarranted aggression of former allies.

The young Josh had been decimated by the instructor’s response. However, his disappointment soon turned into acceptance of the way things were done. What had seemed morally wrong became the basis for his career.

His anger had never abated though. Beneath the surface, he seethed against the political grandstanding his colleagues did.He sought every chance to fight back, by slipping in clues to the truth in his research summaries.

He had thought his efforts noteworthy until an occasional acquaintance had let slip that they too were frustrated. Making contact with the woman had proved difficult, and later they had both joked that it would have been easier to just go on a date.

He’d seen her taken away. When he’d found himself unable to complete the bombing of the cafe, she’d taken up his slack, executing a string of attacks on minor officials. The hatred on her face when they stormed the university had been tangible, but nobody else had noticed that it had been focused on Josh.

She hadn’t sold him out, though. Strangers and strange things had appeared in his meager apartment in the following weeks to be sure that he had not sold her out either. Between a fear of the rebellion and the government itself, Josh was certain he’d never be able to sleep again.

He woke with a start, cursing the irony of the dream and his now waking reality. Steenee was cuddled up against him, and she burrowed into the covers at the touch of the cold air. Mist clung around the surface of the spring, and the shallow breaths of the Poliwag could be barely through the dim moonlight passing through the trees.

A clamour from the nearby woods had Josh jumping up. When the expected black coats of the Internal Security Forces didn't’ arrive, he realized it sounded like Pokemon fighting. Curious, he scooped his duster up and started towards the noise.

Superna stood on a boulder, overlooking the pink squid and red lizard Pokemon as they fought. She whistled, and they seperated. The Squid glowed blue, and clumps of dirt began flying through the air. The lizard responded with punches and flames, panting at the effort.

“You don’t just have to stand there.” Superna’s voice made Josh jump. She pointed where a small hill had formed against the stone, implying he should climb it.

From there, he could see the glen she had chosen for training. A muddy patch provided plenty of projectiles for the squid, while a wide field gave the Nidorino plenty of room to run about in. Josh’s eyebrow raised when he saw that the pink Pokemon was being chased by Gabby.


Superna smiled, “She wanted to play, and by having Leon run away from her, both of them are getting some training in.” As they watched, Leon lowered his shoulders, deflecting the Rhyhorn as she charged, and she was sent sliding across the ground. Instead of a cry of pain, the Rhyhorn sounded thrilled, and was soon chasing the Nidorino as if nothing had happened.

Josh indicated the two Pokemon battling each other. “Doesn’t that hurt them? Why would you make your Pokemon fight each other if you cared about them?”

Superna’s hostility was fierce, “I watch to make sure they don’t hurt each other.” She said sharply, “And I care enough to not have to buy medicine from greedy opportunists in the middle of the woods.”

She sighed, “Plus, I care enough to name mine. Both Pokemon you used don’t have names, do they?”

Josh didn’t answer, and they both sat in silence. When he finally worked up the courage to speak, he decided to change the subject.

“Your name is Super?” He asked, trying to remember what he’d heard the others call her.

Superna pursed her lips. “Its Superna. Please don’t call me Super.”

He nodded.

She shifted, pulling out two discs in clear cases. “I bought these from Lacey, but I don't’ think I can use them. I did some looking around, and I know your Pokemon can.” She dropped the cases in Josh’s hand, and waved her hand to indicate he should take them.

“If you don’t want them to fight each other, have your bug type set up a maze with string shot. You can get it to spin webbing faster and give your others a way to work on their agility.” She offered. When she looked at Josh, her smile was genuine, and she pointed behind him.

He turned, seeing that Steenee had followed, and was watching the pair from the shadows. She covered her face with her calyx, and tried to hide herself better.

“You are lucky. You have strong Pokemon. Train them and I think you might even be a proper rival to me someday. I do hope you make my investment worthwhile.” She said, making Josh regret taking the TMs. He consoled himself that they had to have some value, otherwise the other Trainer wouldn’t have bothered with them.

“Yeah, I’m going to head back to bed.” He replied.

She didn’t respond, and he let Steenee guide him back to the camp. She seemed jumpy at his every movement, and Josh patted her head to show he wasn’t angry. Soon, he was back asleep, free of any ghosts of a past thousands of miles away.

Word Count: 1000
Josh Warden • Historian • Total EXP Gained: 87 • Dians: 9472 • Location: Skytouch

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