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 Parley and Parlay

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Lord E V
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PostSubject: Parley and Parlay   Sat May 27, 2017 9:00 pm


Primitive forms of structure comprised primarily of tents and tarps lay atop the wasteland, many of which were strewn about in a rather careless fashion that implied they were placed down in a very... time-conservative manner.  The air held an ominous tint to it, which one perhaps could have misinterpreted as smoke of a fire if not for the distinct, purple color.  Grima Outpost was always like this, with poor excuses for "housing" and the ever-looming smog, and yet it was still a consistently popular attraction.  Of course, this was primarily due to the lack of any proper law enforcement, which appealed to a very specific... demographic of sorts.  For those who weren't fond of abiding by laws, the freedom of this outpost was well worth the toxic air and shabby tents.  For a criminal, this was the perfect place to do business of any kind, and while the air was polluted, it wasn't quite deadly.  Or at least, it wasn't deadly in the outpost...

Krikka had been here before, as it was a very common place for outlaws of all kinds to flock to, but she was never too fond of it.  While indifferent to the smog, she wasn't a fan of the general populace of uncouth brutes.  Still, it was admittedly entertaining enough as a playground of sorts, as she essentially had free reign to do whatever she wanted as long as she was careful.  Many of the supposed "criminals" who wandered through the area were, put simply, idiots.  It wasn't uncommon to find someone selling things, and it was easy to pick out wannabe-shopkeepers on the slower end of things and swindle them out of whatever they were offering.  It was also fairly easy to pick random items off of anyone who happened to pass by without paying enough attention to their belongings.

On this particular day, it wasn't her primary goal to loot money off of other criminals.  She had been hanging around the area in wait for a certain event, one of a somewhat personal nature.  That said, she was still vulnerable to boredom, and so she had gone and done something to spice the day up a bit.  Staring up at the purple hues of the sky above had gotten the better of the umbreon, and she had almost managed to tune out the mixture of cheers and antagonizing words of the crowd surrounding her in favor of anticipation for the thing she was really in the area for.  But, alas, her expected company had yet to show up, and so she was forced to find progressively more creative ways to kill time.

"Hey, I want you to look at me while I'm beating you to death!" came an especially agitated voice, prompting the blue-ringed umbreon to lower her gaze to the foul-mouthed creature opposite to her.  Some mightyena had decided it seemed like a good idea to hit on her, and after refusing to take no for an answer, he was just asking for a real response.  Being smacked in the face with a tail of a rather metallic nature had certainly turned him away from such goals, but he now wanted something a bit more... sinister.  He wanted the umbreon's blood, of course, along with her uncontested attention.

Krikka simply stared for a moment, a content smile on her face as she let out a sigh of a similar nature, though it was impossible to clearly see her emotion through the black bandanna covering her mouth.  "You know, I kind of like how the air here looks," the crowd grew quiet as she spoke, primarily because she was refusing to speak loudly, and so they all had to shut up if they wanted to hear her.  They were all simply there to see a fight, but they were clearly interested in the banter between the two combatants as well.  "It really sets the mood, don't you think?" she continued on with her seemingly pointless monologue about the smog in the air.  In truth, she knew exactly what she was doing.

The mightyena seemed even more enraged by these comments, just as expected.  "Oh, sure, I'm "not interesting enough" for you, but apparently, the sky is the MOST INTERESTING THING IN THE WORLD, RIGHT!?" he yelled out in rage, feeling increasingly insulted on top of still having a stinging pain from the tail-slap to the head he'd received.  He had a very deep, gravely voice to match his rugged appearance, which, perhaps, made him come off as intimidating to some.  Perhaps he had thought that the umbreon was just some innocent girly girl who had wandered into the wrong town, but from her perspective, it was the other way around.  She had already sized him up and pegged him as incompetent if not outright weak, so his behavior meant nothing.

"Not my fault you're dull," Krikka further antagonized, at which point her new friend seemed to have had enough.  The canine rushed toward her, coming within just a few feet before leaping at her.  He acted big, but he hadn't struck Krikka as anything particularly impressive, and his decision on a first move simply proved it.  The umbreon easily stepped out of the way of the attack and allowed her opponent to continue through the air and collide with a grimer who happened to be in the front of the crowd.  The mightyena growled in rage as he struggled to free himself from the agitated grimer, now covered in its filth.  Laughter broke out from many of the onlookers as a few of the nearer ones forced the humiliated combatant back into the ring.  He didn't seem interested in giving up anyway, but nonetheless, it was pretty clear the crowd wanted a victor now that they had gotten their hopes up for a fight.

This just meant Krikka didn't have to worry about her newest victim fleeing.

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PostSubject: Re: Parley and Parlay   Sat May 27, 2017 10:40 pm

Grima Outpost: Host to just about every outlaw and lowlife at one point in time or another. It was notorious for being a nest for dangerous criminals. Apparently it had been something more once, but there was little left to tell of its past prosperity. Solus new little of the place, personally. He'd never been this far from Grassviel—he'd always meant to travel farther, he just hadn't gotten around to it until now. Still, if he had the choice, this wouldn't have been his pick for a first adventure beyond the outskirts of Grassviel. But he didn't have a choice in the matter.

The place smelled foul. The poisonous smog in the air was dense beyond the boundaries of the town; it was much lighter here, it's effects were minimal, but it still made the place unpleasant. Solus kept his head down, glancing up and around examining his surroundings. The makeshift shelters, the shady looking Pokemon trying to draw in the attention of the less grizzled looking types—such as himself—to offer them deals on what was almost certainly stolen wares. Yeah, this is definitely the right place. Solus thought to himself. This is about where I'd expect Krikka to be hanging about.

Some Pokemon Solus didn't recognize was moving at a quicker pace than his own passed him. He made sure to make a good distance between himself and the passerby. He was heading towards a crowd of others that Solus somehow hadn't noticed before. Now that it was apparent to him, he heart the laughing and jeering and random calls for violence or shouts of insults. He started heading towards the crowd himself, readjusting his bag so that it was in a position he could keep watch on it, or catch it if someone tried to cut the strap. There wasn't anything valuable in it, but he liked the bag.

Making his way through the circling crowd was easier than anticipated. Everyone seemed focused on whoever was in the centre, and Solus was pretty small, so navigating around the bigger Pokemon to get in a position where he could see the main event was almost trivial. Upon reaching the inner ring, he was greeted with the first familiarity he'd seen in the area—though that's not to say it was a good familiar. The blue rings were all he needed to see. Krikka was the centre of attention here and now, along with some other quadrupedal, dark looking Pokemon. He might have expected Krikka to be somewhere in the crowd, but it hadn't occurred to Solus that she'd be the cause of it. Although, after a moment, he realized he probably should have expected this.

Krikka was facing away from him. He didn't make any move or action to draw in her attention—any attention she brought to him would bring the whole crowd's attention with it. He'd wait and watch for now.

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PostSubject: Re: Parley and Parlay   Sun May 28, 2017 3:46 am

The rage of the mightyena was made clear as he attacked once more with his same reckless motions, rushing straight toward his opposition.  Once again, Krikka simply stepped aside, but this time, she also spun around and swept her tail under the foe since he had decided it was a good idea to keep his paws on the ground for a change.  As expected, the imbecile was easily sent tumbling into the crowd once more, and Krikka followed him with her gaze.  "Come on, all that big talk about being a "real man" and this is all you've got?" she taunted, unaware of her new company.  The canine arose and was almost immediately thrown back into the confines of the arena once more, somehow managing to carry himself with even more agitation still.  The umbreon chuckled through her bandanna as she spread her legs out, having decided that he was now taking her seriously enough to be blessed with a bit of actual effort.

The mightyena decided it was a good idea to carelessly rush forward once more, though this time, he actually made an effort to prepare himself.  His mouth gaped open as his sharp teeth began to coat over with frost, all the while, the opposing umbreon didn't even flinch.  Just as the toothy enemy approached, Krikka suddenly stepped back to avoid his attempt to bite down on her, followed by spinning around to slam her tail into his chest.  The fluffy tail had already taken on its powerful, iron-like structure, easily taking the breath away from the mightyena and causing him to nearly collapse to the ground.  Krikka confidently strutted around him, figuring he would no longer be any threat now that she'd actually hit him.  After all, he was clearly fairly weak past his little act, so there was no need at all to be concerned about him.

"What was it you called me?  Little lady, right?  Well, from where I'm standing, I'm pretty sure I'm above you, little man," she spoke, pointing out how she was still standing tall while the mightyena was slouching, barely able to keep his belly off the ground.  He was worn out already, which spoke volumes of his sorely lacking capabilities.  Krikka continued to parade around him, aiming to give him a chance to catch his breath and jump back into the fight for more humiliation, when something... unexpected happened.  The mightyena suddenly lunged toward her with renewed energy, his jaws still freezing as he latched his mouth onto her.  She was able to move enough to avoid having the attack hit anything too important, but her shoulder still ended up with a mouth on it, and the subzero temperature was beginning to freeze the flesh around the bite wounds.

Despite having sharp teeth digging into her skin and freezing her shoulder, Krikka barely reacted at all.  She didn't flinch even slightly, and she even kept her calm demeanor despite the damage he was taking.  She had certainly stopped speaking, but this was primarily to stare into the eyes of the mightyena.  Her bandanna had been disturbed from its place, falling down around her neck after the canine's impact into her shoulder.  Her expression was now entirely clear, with narrowed eyes, lowered ears and of course, an ever-so-slight frown.  Her body began to emanate a dark aura as she spoke, but her foolish foe stubbornly held onto her despite the warning signs.  "Off," came her simple command, in tune with a pulse of dark energy emanating out from her body, sending the leech reeling off of her and tumbling across the ground.

Her glare focused on the mightyena, Krikka raised her right leg, the shoulder of which was now half-frozen.  The ice began to crack as she raised her leg and put pressure against it, before finally, it shattered and fell to the ground in pieces.  Pain was something she was unnaturally indifferent to, but she despised the cold, making the particular attack her enemy had chosen... annoying, to say the least.  "Your attacks are weak.  You are weak... and everyone here's seeing it," she continued to mock, receiving cheers from the crowd.  The encouragement really made no difference to her, though, as she understood it was more due to the violence than her words.  That was all these simpletons wanted to see, and so, she would deliver a good show.  If only to embarrass the fool who had crossed her, she would take every measure possible.  By now, the mightyena was getting up, though it seemed he could barely stand after the beating he'd taken thus far.  Such pride was almost respectable, but alas, he had personally insulted the wrong umbreon for such things to make a difference.

The crowd wasn't the most diverse in the world, harboring significantly more poison- and ghost-types than anything else.  It had its fair share of outliers, but the primary type seen was still poison, which made sense with the climate and whatnot.  Of these pokemon, there was a rather talkative nidoking, chatting it up with everyone around him and even making a few bets in the process.  Eventually, his attention turned toward a certain buizel situated relatively close to him.  "Hey, little man, who you rootin' for?" he questioned in a very deep, masculine voice, referencing the current fight.  This particular nidoking was rather friendly for a frequenter of the Grima Outpost, watching the fight out of pure boredom rather than some intense desire to see someone get hurt.  He showed no signs of aggression despite being found in an area full of aggressive individuals.

I hope Solus likes talking to big burly dudes.

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PostSubject: Re: Parley and Parlay   Sun May 28, 2017 12:04 pm

Solus watched the fight like a student would watch a demonstration from their teacher. He had no intentions of getting into another fight with Krikka, but being able to see a battle against her from an observer's perspective would probably benefit him if Krikka decided she wanted to battle him again. That said, there wasn't a whole lot to be learned here: Krikka's opponent was charging wildly at her, and Solus knew from experience that that didn't work. When the mightyena had grappled Krikka in his jaws, Solus knew exactly what was going to happen—he'd made the same mistake in his fight against her.

The fight seemed awfully one sided, even with the one successful attack the mightyena had landed on Krikka. Solus took note of the umbreon's ability to shrug off the pain of the attack; it was impressive, and it would make it helped to discourage an opponent. It was as viable a part of strategy as footing or taking type advantage. If Xeno wasn't already terrified of her, and she wasn't a dangerous, unpredictable psychopath, she'd make a great teacher for him, Solus thought as Krikka addressed her opponent.

Solus was made suddenly aware he was in a crowd of criminals when he was addressed by a deep voice. He figured he was the one being addressed by two factors: those around him looked at him briefly as he was addressed, and he was the smallest pokemon standing in his close vicinity. Solus was a little annoyed that he'd been singled out or even noticed by anyone. He was trying to avoid any and all attention, and yet he'd somehow been dragged out anyhow. At least they're not picking a fight, or mobbing me to death.

Solus turned his head to face the one who was talking to him. Purple in colour—a poison-type, he figured—at least two foot taller than himself. He noted the large, straight horn on the Pokemon's head. Solus decided he would do best to avoid getting into a fight with this guy. Solus realized that he'd yet to answer the guy's question, and figured further ignoring him would be a bad method for avoiding a fight. "The one with the rings," Solus said with a steady, emotionless voice. After a second, he added "She's already won, really. She's just playing with him, now."

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PostSubject: Re: Parley and Parlay   Sun May 28, 2017 5:06 pm

Despite having known before even thinking of starting anything that the mightyena was weak, Krikka was still a bit disappointed in the pathetic excuse for a fight he had put up thus far. He seemed to have no idea how to properly fight, and his endurance was low, even for his kind. He was refusing to quit, though, which gave the devious umbreon an idea for a way to have fun with the fight. The foe's fangs suddenly lit up with fire as he prepared to attack once more, trying a different tactic since ice hadn't worked. It seemed he did have a brain after all, but fire wasn't going to do any more good in this particular situation, even if he somehow managed to get another bite in. Krikka simply stepped back as the mightyena lunged forward in an attempt to bite her, giving him a taunting smirk. The reckless foe dashed forward yet again, showing extreme predictability, but this time, Krikka didn't even bother going out of her way to avoid the hit. She instead raised her left paw and pushed it into the side of the mightyena's face as he neared, forcing his fangs away from her and causing him to stumble harmlessly to the right of her.

"Yield," she simply spoke, not bothering to even look at the mightyena. This merely enraged him even further, making him come at the umbreon in a mad dash with virtually no coordination or thought. This time, Krikka sidestepped his pathetic attempt at whatever it was and smacked him in the side with her tail as he rushed by, causing him to fall to the ground. "Yield," she ordered again as she walked calmly up to the stubborn fool. He was still trying to get back up, but this time, Krikka put a stop to it by swiping her tail under his front paws just as he had lifted himself, causing him to fall right back to the ground. She then lifted her left paw and shoved his head into the ground, forcing his jaws shut and putting out the fire. This brute was getting very acquainted with the ground. "Don't wanna quit, do you?" the umbreon questioned rhetorically, as she already knew the answer and wasn't interested in lifting her paw off the mutt's head to allow him to speak. Still, he tried his best to answer in the form of a low growl, confirming that he had no intention of giving up.

"Alright," Krikka shrugged, then turned her attention to the crowd, "Want me to break him!?" The crowd responded with more cheers, making the majority vote clear. She then crouched down and lowered her head until she was nearly at the same level as the mightyena and stared into his eyes. His blind determination was no more; now, he was just scared. It seemed his pride and adrenaline were fading and allowing him to clearly see the situation he had gotten himself into. "Hear that? They want me to break you," Krikka pointed out the obvious with an all-too-cheery smile, then lifted her paw off of the opponent. "Yield," she practically hissed, eager to see if this guy was stupid enough to keep rejecting her generous offer. If he still refused, she fully intended to start breaking him until he changed his mind.

The mightyena hesitated before answering, seemingly having trouble with this decision. But, alas, he quickly came to a decision: "I give."

"Good boy," Krikka responded, still belittling her foe despite having already taken his pride and beaten him. Assorted boos and insults came from the crowd, focused mostly on the mightyena, though some were also directed toward the umbreon for getting everyone's hopes up then letting the enemy just give up. Now that the fight was over, the onlookers began to disperse, no longer having any interest in the slightest. The mightyena simply lay on the ground, feeling no desire to get back up just yet with his dignity crushed.

The nidoking made no comment on the choice of the buizel, and also neglected to give any response when the umbreon looked to the crowd for an opinion on what to do with her foe. However, when the fight finally ended, he did decide to speak up. "Looks like you were right: umbreon won. Lotta these idiots were bettin' on the other one. Time to go collect on those bets, cya," he spoke, revealing that he had bet on the umbreon, and that she was the minority bet. He then turned to walk away without waiting for a response, going to find those who who had made bets with him before they tried to scurry away with their money.

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PostSubject: Re: Parley and Parlay   Sun May 28, 2017 6:04 pm

For a moment, Solus was glad the crowd was dispersing. The less condensed the outlaws were the less risk there was being near them. It was only after the nidoking left that Solus realized that he was now left more or less in the open, and that Krikka would notice him sooner than later. He could only hope that she'd got the most of her bloodthirst out on the mightyena, and that she wouldn't start swinging her metallic tail at him next.

Deciding it would be better for him to approach Krikka than Krikka think he was trying to hide from her, Solus began walking toward the umbreon. He met the mightyena's eyes as he approached, giving the defeated a look which conveyed the message "You asked for it." He then turned to face Krikka. She was mostly unharmed, with the only indication that she'd even been in the fight being the small remainder of the ice that hadn't fallen, which was now quickly melting away.

"There were bets on the fight. You where the minority," Solus said, addressing the victor. A proper greeting seemed wrong in this event, though he couldn't say why. It occurred to the buizel that telling Krikka that the majority of Pokemon expected her to lose might not be the best idea if he was trying to avoid getting on her bad side, so he quickly added "I guess they haven't seen you fight before."

Solus had come here for a necklace. Krikka had that necklace. He was supposed to get it by playing some game or completing some challenge that she had thought up—and had failed to mention the details of when it was discussed. It was intentional, of course, leaving him in the dark. He hadn't been anywhere near this place before, and he had come knowing he would have to do something—presumably something dangerous—with no preparation or knowledge of any details. And for what? Solus told himself it was for a stolen necklace which he wanted to return. In reality, it was that, but even more so, a mix of pride and a subconscious desire to impress.

Impress and annoy. He figured it was the same thing when dealing with Krikka. "I brought lunch," Solus said, in a tone that indicated there was something significant about the statement between the speaker and the intended recipient. In reality, it wasn't really a hidden message so much as a reminder to something previously discussed. Solus grinned slightly; it was funny to him, but he wasn't sure why. He kept a close watch on Krikka, to judge any reaction she gave, conscious or not, to his approach and any of the things he said.

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PostSubject: Re: Parley and Parlay   Sun May 28, 2017 9:16 pm

Basking in her victory, one of the few things she enjoyed, Krikka wasn't paying too much attention to anyone around her. But when her ears picked up a familiar voice, it became to sole focus of her attention and her head turned to meet the buizel. She wasn't surprised at there being bets on a fight in a town full of lawless thugs, and even the fact that she had been the minority bet was still unsurprising. It would have been annoying had she lost, but knowing she had essentially robbed everyone who had doubted her and rewarded those smart enough to bet on the winner, she was absolutely fine with it. The buizel then made a remark that seemed almost like a compliment, which was... a bit surprising, but she didn't dare show it.

She didn't feel particularly accomplished for having defeated someone of such unrefined skill, though the comment from Solus still held weight since he had seen her fighting firsthand. She didn't consider herself to be a particularly good fighter, as she would have had to rely on pain tolerance and strategy to win against a tougher opponent, but this mightyena happened to be weak and clumsy enough for her to beat without much effort. She glanced down at the heap of emotionally damaged fur on the ground, but gave no further attention to him, especially now that she had someone far more interesting to pay attention to. Solus made some comment about lunch, which confused her for just a moment, but her enhanced mind managed to flip through her recent memory to recall the buizel asking about packing a lunch while mouthing off in Pecha Forest.

"Good to see you've still got your sass," she responded, acknowledging that she understood the thought behind the statement. She then started up walking away from the mightyena, assuming Solus would simply follow her without being told to. "He wasn't even worth the audience. You put up more of a fight," she spoke without even looking back, feeling the need to continue insulting the enemy even when there was no longer a point. At the same time, she had also taken an opportunity to insult Solus just a bit by implying that it was a feat to be worse at fighting than him, though in truth, she actually found him to be a bit impressive. He was certainly weak and didn't have much in his arsenal, but he actually had the ability to think, which was far more impressive than the mightyena's magic rainbow teeth.

Krikka had already gotten all the details for the game she would play with Solus planned out, but she wasn't eager to start with it immediately. After all, she wanted to savor the situation, and acting as a guide for a naive innocent in this outpost seemed like a fun time. Still, she didn't want to waste an excess amount of time due to the air; while she was fine with the discomfort the smog could cause, she didn't like foul smell of it... and the taste, if one happened to breathe in through their mouth. This experience was going to get worse before getting better, but that was all the more reason to get the game started sooner rather than later. She didn't want to stall it out too long and have to put up with the unpleasant environment longer than necessary for no reason.

Even so, she needed to explain the game they would be playing, and it seemed like a good idea to also get the buizel accustomed with how the outpost worked, just in case he needed to navigate the area in the future... like, to find her or something. After all, she had half a mind to keep this new pet around for a while, given how he had entertained her so far. So, there were a few reasons to take a bit of time to just talk before heading to the stage of the competition she had in mind. And perhaps there was a small part of the umbreon who also wanted to get to know her toy better, since what little she knew of his backstory was... interesting. She wanted to know more about him.

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PostSubject: Re: Parley and Parlay   Sun May 28, 2017 10:21 pm

The tone of this whole thing is weirdly casual, Solus thought as he wordlessly followed Krikka. She'd just started and ended what was probably the most interesting thing that's happened in this place all day, possibly longer. By being near her, someone was bound to have attention drawn to them. By walking with her, and talking with her, Solus was almost assuredly garnering unwanted attention—more so than if he was alone in the area. That said, he'd rather be with Krikka here than not. Mostly because she knew the place, and partially because he had a sneaking suspicion Krikka wouldn't be content with someone other than her messing with him.

Solus was a bit surprised that Krikka had seemingly complimented him, albeit in a very roundabout manner. It was possible she didn't really interpret as a compliment herself, but Solus appreciated it as one nonetheless. He sped up a bit, to get along side the umbreon and match her pace. "So," Solus started, "Are you going to tell me about this 'game' of yours, or are you going to make me guess it or something?"

Solus was struggling to know just what was okay to say and what wasn't. He had a decent enough idea of how to get on Krikka's bad side—insubordination was certainly a fast way to get there. But the fact that he showed up and demonstrated an unwavering willingness to participate in whatever it was she was planning, Solus figured, would be enough to counteract any less than subordinate comments he made. Also, he suspected that: since he'd only just received any acknowledgement on Krikka's part of his 'sass' as she'd put it, she might actually find it somewhat entertaining.

For now, he'd just avoid saying anything he thought he knew would set her off. Otherwise, he'd speak more or less freely until she gave some kind of warning, be it vocally or physically. He thought that maybe he could just ask what he was or wasn't allowed to say to and around her, but then realized that would be asking to be governed by her, justifying her controlling, possessive attitude and cementing the idea that he was hers. Solus didn't like the idea at all. So he'd risk taking an Iron Tail to the gut instead. It seemed safer.

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PostSubject: Re: Parley and Parlay   Sun May 28, 2017 11:15 pm

Solus seemed eager to move along with the game, which was understandable as he was pretty much in this area against his will, being emotionally held hostage. Krikka wasn't in any rush, but she saw no harm in explaining the rules; they wouldn't be able to start the game immediately regardless, so no amount of complaining was going to help speed the process up. Krikka was willing to start talking about the rules immediately if that was what her company desired, but she doubted it would give him any comfort. If anything, knowing what he was getting himself into would probably just make him doubt his decision to accept this invitation. After all, the game was quite the dangerous game, and one most certainly wouldn't find at all fun to play. Krikka, however, had a rather warped sense of the word "fun."

"Alright," she huffed, exaggerating her virtually nonexistent disappointment, "We aren't gonna play here, first off. This was just the meeting place. I figured you'd have an easier time getting here than making it to the real destination on your own." She glanced down at her shoulder as she walked, reminding herself that she was technically injured and thus would need to be just a bit more cautious with this game. Due to the nature of it, this injury would be a disadvantage, though she doubted it would be enough to actually give the buizel any chance of winning. "I'm sure you're wondering what the destination is. Venen Gulch. I hope the smog isn't too much for you yet, because it's a lot wore there," she continued, trying have at least a bit of buildup for the reveal of the actual game. She wondered if Solus even knew what Venen Gulch was, but if he didn't... well, he would be learning very soon.

Krikka assumed there were no major questions yet, so she decided to simply keep speaking. "The air there is so toxic it will poison you. The terrain is treacherous and the natives can be... dangerous, to say the least. We're going to have a little competition of bravery. The rules are simple: first one to wuss out or pass out loses," she glanced over to the buizel with a smirk, eager to see how he would respond to a challenge that put his life on the line. In truth, she honestly didn't think this game was particularly fair, as she considered her pain tolerance to be unmatched. On top of that, she was the better fighter of the two and had no intention of forfeiting. She didn't expect Solus to win, and the game actually had an underlying goal, at least for her. Simply put, she wanted to size up his physical and emotional state a bit more.

How determined was the buizel to get the necklace back and redeem himself? Was he willing to put this desire first, even before his own life? Krikka suspected there was a bit more to him than just a simple wannabe-hero, and she also got the impression that he had more brass than the average individual. She wanted to know if she was right, and if so, she wanted an exact measurement of just how right she really was. If it turned out Solus really was so determined, then perhaps that drive could be used. At the very least, the umbreon wanted to see how far she could push him, to get an idea of what future games he would be able to handle. Yes, she was already thinking about the future, as she had no intention of letting him escape from her any time soon.

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PostSubject: Re: Parley and Parlay   Mon May 29, 2017 12:19 am

Of course we're not playing the game here, Solus thought, surveying the area they were currently in. The locals—if you could call them that, being as most rarely settle here permanently—tended to keep together in small groups, larger packs, or stood apart individually. Each grouping or individual tending to keep their distance, making the population seem sparse. Still, there were plenty of other Pokemon around to intrude on or cause trouble with whatever Krikka planned, so it made sense to have a more reclusive setting.

Learning where the game would actually take place didn't excite Solus any more than having it in the town. There would still be hostiles, and the environment itself would be just as if not more dangerous. The smog here is bad enough, and now you're telling me it's going to be actively killing me? He kept an emotionless face up to hide the fact that he was having the slightest of second thoughts. He wasn't going to back down ow—he knew he didn't really have the option anyway. He wouldn't back down anyway, even if there was no risk of repercussions. It only made sense that he'd be at least the littlest bit hesitant to risk his life like this over a necklace. All this for a necklace. No, all this for a friend. my only friend, really. Who I met not that long ago. Okay, maybe this is more of a pride thing... 

Solus was interrupted from his mental debate over who or what he was putting his life on the line for when Krikka continued to go over just what was expected of him. First to pass out loses, Solus repeated the words in his mind. They were both going to be poisoned, but that didn't make this competition fair. She was stronger, she almost certainly had a higher pain tolerance, and she was more familiar with the area. She'd handle any fights better than he would, and come out of them comparatively less exhausted. Sure, she was putting herself at risk here, but only as long as he was still standing. She had every advantage here. Bui was a more than a little annoyed at himself for not seeing this coming. She's got every advantage here, and she knows it.

Solus kept up his blank expression, but he doubted it would fool anyone, let alone Krikka. He'd realized all to late that he had walked right into a trap. "If I win," he started, "I get the necklace back, and I want you to leave Xeno alone. That means whatever your doing—whatever it is that you do as an outlaw or whatever—if Xeno shows up in the cards, you drop it." He doubted Krikka would take well to demands, but he figured it didn't really matter at this point. He continued before she could respond. "But if you win? What's your terms?"

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PostSubject: Re: Parley and Parlay   Mon May 29, 2017 2:16 am

Of course, the goody-good buizel was still concerned with looking out for his friend, making his demands known. Krikka felt that stating the necklace as a demand was a bit redundant since the whole pretense of the game was to win it back, but the extra demand to leave Xeno alone was... interesting, to say the least. She liked that Solus was trying to reach a bit higher than just the necklace, and in fact, it even impressed her a bit that he was brave enough to do such a thing. This was a good sign, as he would need as much bravery as he could muster to even stand a chance in the upcoming competition. Everything seemed all fine and good, then she was asked to name her own demands upon her inevitable victory. Unless Solus had quite a lot of confidence himself, he was knowingly asking what he would have to do when he inevitably lost. At least, this was assuming he stuck to the deal, but he didn't seem like the type to go back on a deal.

Krikka suddenly stopped at this question, almost as if it had upset her in some way. However, after a brief silence, she began to giggle in a rather strained, ominous manner. "I dunno what it is about you..." she muttered without bothering to even glance at him, unsure of how she felt about this bold behavior and, more importantly, about the question. She looked up toward the purple sky and took a moment to consider what she wanted if she were to win. Her main reward would be crushing Solus' spirit more, but she wasn't really getting anything other than that. However, she had a few good ideas for her side of the deal. She just didn't want to put the stakes too high for him to be willing to participate. But, then again, she got the feeling he would play regardless.

"You."

The umbreon allowed her single word to hang in the air for just a moment as her gaze slowly fell toward the buizel, an uncharacteristically serious expression now on her face. "I encourage you to do everything in your power to win. Cheat. Attack me if you decide it's a good idea. Struggle. And when I still win, I get your life to do with as I please, and you accept it," she elaborated on her demand, listing another rule for the game at the same time. For such a big gamble, she wanted Solus to have some hope of winning, as she wanted him to actually try. She didn't desire for her opponent's will to be broken before the game even began. "As a consolation prize, I still won't harm your friend... as long as he doesn't ask for it," she added on one last bit, figuring she would probably never have any real reason to harm Xeno.

This last part of the deal was important, though, as it meant Solus would have a reason to honor the agreement upon losing, even if honor wasn't enough to make him stick to it. He would adhere to these conditions if only to protect his friend and do the right thing, and his clear sense of pride would surely help, so the result of the competition may as well have already been set in stone. Even being allowed to cheat, how would he beat someone who pretty much made cheating a lifestyle? Krikka didn't intend to cheat, instead simply desiring to see what her new... project would do when granted the sole right to cheat to win. However, she was still in expert in the art, so she doubted the buizel would be able to touch her with any tactics. Plus, with the pride he'd shown so far, it seemed plausible that he would simply refuse to "cheat," even if he was allowed to.

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PostSubject: Re: Parley and Parlay   Mon May 29, 2017 3:24 am

Solus didn't know what to expect as an answer. He didn't have a lot in the way of valuables—he had made that clear before. Still, he hadn't expected Krikka's answer to send him through so many negative emotions in such a short span of time.

When Krikka has stopped, Solus had to. He thought he had just struck a nerve; that he'd found one of the umbreon's limits to just how much she'd tolerate of him. He had braced himself for the Iron Tail to strike him in the chest or stomach, or to sweep his legs out from under him so she could stand over him. When she started giggling, Solus's mind shifted gears. The sudden shift and swell of emotions was too much and he couldn't hide his anger quick enough. It wasn't just anger, though. It was some mix of unknowable proportions. Anger that she wasn't taking this whole situation seriously—that the whole thing was funny for some reason; and fear, partly for the same reasons as the anger, and partially from the laugh itself.

That all washed away, however, and was replaced when Krikka spoke again. Solus was just able to pick up the mutterings. She doesn't understand me? I'm still trying to understand— His thoughts were cut short. The next word Krikka spoke, she stated clearly. One word, a single syllable, and it had more impact than anything he'd heard her say previously. Too many half-finshed thoguhts rushed through Solus's head too quickly. He felt he knew what she meant but his thinking was so clouded rushing to properly inturpret the meaning that it evaded his comprehension. Krikka elaborated for him.

She set this all up. When? At what point did this all come to her? How could she come up with something like this? How well does she know me? Better than I know myself? Solus closed his eyes and faced the ground as he tried to get a handle on his racing thoughts. I tried to get the necklace back, I fought her for it, I lost. That hurt my pride. We made a deal, she set up a challenge for me to get the necklace back. I told myself it was for Xeno—it is. But it's just as much a matter of my own pride now. I can't run now, she'll find me or she'll find Xeno. Even if I was willing to betray Xeno she'd come after me eventually. I'd never feel safe and if and when she finds me I'm good as dead. I could forfeit now. Except I can't. Even if I was willing to stand down—and I'm not—she'd make me do this anyway. So what freedoms do I have left? I get to decide how much punishment she takes during this game of hers at the cost of my own health.

A new thought came to Solus at that moment. If I'm the prize then my health is her problem. As long she doesn't die suffer any life-threatening injuries I'm safe. More or less. It wasn't much of a comforting thought. Still, it was something.

Solus looked up and met Krikka's eyes. "I don't have a choice." He spoke in a matter-of-fact tone that carried a light but noticeable hint of defeat. He hated himself for it, but he was too mentally and emotionally exhausted to hide it. He wanted to sound angrier, but he couldn't. He had walked into this; it was as much his fault as it was her doing.

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PostSubject: Re: Parley and Parlay   Mon May 29, 2017 8:15 pm

According to Solus, he had no choice, but in reality, that was very much false. Krikka figured he was probably telling himself it was the only option as reassurance, which made her interested in completely ruining that thought for him. Sure, he already felt defeated and didn't even seem interested in hiding this fact, but this alone wasn't enough. "You could choose to walk away. I wouldn't stop you, and I probably wouldn't even come after you... or little Xeno," she proposed, shrugging indifferently. She was pretty sure he wasn't going to simply walk away, but if he did, he was of no interest to her. After all, the main appeal in him was that he was defiant and willful while also being tolerable. Or at least, this was what Krikka found so interesting about him, though others probably liked him different reasons, like his willingness to save them from random criminals.

"I doubt you will, but if you're that kind of guy, you're not worth my time anyway. So, if you want to leave, please do. Don't waste my time," she continued, taking a slightly more... hostile tone to get her point across. She wasn't mad, but she wanted to make it clear that she had no interest in investing in a coward. She didn't intend to do anything to him if he just wanted to leave, but she certainly did not want him to stick around solely out of fear. The point of this game was for him to oppose her, not for him to stay simply because he was scared of the consequences of fleeing. The purpose was to see just how brave he could be... so if it turned out he was less brave than the umbreon had originally thought, there was no need to go on with the trial. She had already gotten joy out of beating both Solus and Xeno senseless, so there was no need to go after either of them in any event.

However, she very much doubted that she was wrong, thus the point of her statement was actually very different from how it may have seemed. She wanted to make sure Solus knew his own reasons for playing the game, otherwise whether he won or lost, it would mean nothing. All this effort to put this friendly little competition together would have been pointless if Solus were to play in denial of his own motives. Once he lost, he would be able to cling to his morality by saying he had to stick with the violent outlaw or else both himself and his friend would be put in danger. Such an excuse was absolutely unacceptable and thus needed to be shut down immediately. Physically speaking, Krikka saw no realistic chance of herself losing, so the game was primarily psychological in nature since that was the only outcome that had yet to be determined.

Mind games were her preference, anyway, as her mental capacity was far more advanced than the physical counterpart. Sure, she knew enough about fighting to defend herself against an idiot or simply overpower someone weaker than her, but she didn't excel in combat by any means. She enjoyed violence, but she had already realized quite some time ago that her true skill was in her mind. She had a very dark will and quite the gift for making it a reality. Or at least, she considered herself gifted in this respect, though she liked to flatter herself in any way she could. She was still realistic and willing to criticize herself for mistakes, at least to an extent, but she certainly had an ego.

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PostSubject: Re: Parley and Parlay   Mon May 29, 2017 11:29 pm

"Would you blame me if I said I don't believe you when you say you'd just let me go?" Solus asked rhetorically. "You planned this whole thing out from square one and I'm supposed to believe you'd just let me walk away? Even if I did believe you wouldn't hurt Xeno, or even if I did believe you wouldn't hurt me, though, I'm not going to walk away from this."

The order of events that led to this were clear in Solus's head, he figured now that he had a pretty good idea of what was behind every action, both Krikka's and his own. Until now, he wasn't sure what Krikka's motive was. He wasn't even sure of his own reasoning behind everything he had done before now. But now? Well, he still wasn't sure just why Krikka was doing all of this, what her true final end goal was, or if there even was an end goal. But at least he was sure what he was doing now.

"Yeah, I'm not going to walk away. I should, it's the smart thing to do. The whole 'self preservation' thing, not gambling my literal life against the dealer for a necklace. Especially when the dealer is a crooked psychopath like you." His tone was getting angrier. The safeties were off now. Solus was no longer picking and choosing words carefully to avoid any consequences. He was aware that he wasn't suddenly safe from abuse now, but he figured he could handle whatever Krikka did as a punishment. "I'm not really doing it for the necklace anymore. I'd like to say I'm doing it for Xeno still, but I'm really not sure I stand much of a chance here, and I don't want to feel like I failed him. So no, I'm not doing this for him. This is for me."

"And I won't cheat, either. I'm going to play to win even though I really don't stand a chance, just because the longer I last, the worse this is for you. And I don't think I'm going to get many opportunities to hurt you after this." He finished his rant, making direct eye contact with Krikka, glaring daggers. He wasn't aware of it, but his fists were clenched and his twin tails were twitching with irritation. If he didn't know another crowd would form from it he might have hit her, despite knowing he'd lose any fight that would ensue.

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PostSubject: Re: Parley and Parlay   Tue May 30, 2017 1:44 am

It was smart of the buizel to be slow to trust the words of a criminal whom he already knew to be formidable and immoral. Krikka didn't judge him for this, though it didn't make her words any less true, as she truly had no interest in pursuing a target with no merit to them. In the unlikely event that Solus turned out to simply be a stubborn coward, there was no particular appeal to him, and thus he was worthless to keep around. After all, cowards could be find everywhere; focusing on one simply wasn't worth it, especially if they had no real value to them. She already knew Solus didn't have much, or if he did, he didn't seem to keep it on him. With what she knew about his family, he didn't exactly come from riches and really had no one to bail him out of trouble, so he was useless for ransom too. His only true merit was his interesting personality, but that was all assuming the blue-ringed tyrant was right in what she'd gathered about his personality.

Krikka's first impulse was to insist that she was, for once, being truthful, but it seemed the buizel wasn't finished speaking yet. In fact, he appeared to have barely gotten started, and he was growing increasingly bold all of a sudden. The umbreon's head tilted and her yellow eyes widened slightly in surprise at the sudden emotional outburst, and for a moment, she didn't know what to say. She had been taken completely off guard by this turn of events, having expected Solus to be a bit more... submissive. After all, so far, he had stuck to a consistent, mildly rebellious attitude. The umbreon stared directly back into the eyes of her opposition, her surprised look slowly fading to a blank, emotionless gaze. She still wasn't quite sure how to respond, but she was at least glad to see that the refusal to trust her words hadn't impeded the goal of them. Solus was openly confirming that he was no coward, and his behavior simply proved this claim.

The umbreon's gaze fell to the ground and she took a deep breath, still having yet to speak in response to the outburst. She stared at her paws, thinking intently about the situation and how best to respond to it. The rings on her body began to glow on reflex due to emotion, and while she noticed this, she didn't have much control over it. Slowly, she exhaled, and her head lifted back up to stare at the buizel once more. She took a step toward him, staring with an emotionless expression and unwavering eye contact. She then slowly raised a her left paw toward the buizel's throat, still lacking any sign of emotion that would give away her intent.

Then, Krikka moved her paw toward her forced companion-to-be's right and placed it on his shoulder, in what may have been a comforting gesture if from someone else, and with different context. A faint, excited smirk crossed her face as she continued to stare. "...Good," came her short, simple response. Her tone was awfully calm, perhaps eerily so. Without another word, she turned around to head off for the deadly gulch, assuming Solus would follow her without having to be told to. She was actually thrilled at his behavior, though she didn't entirely understand why, and something about it made her feel... uncomfortable. After all, her response to someone talking back to her in such a manner should have been grounds for a reaction of a... violent nature, and yet there she was, practically encouraging it.

Something about the feeling just didn't sit right with her.

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