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 Perception

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Lord E V
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PostSubject: Perception   Fri Oct 13, 2017 11:29 pm

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The chateau had been a chore thus far, but Krikka knew from past experience that it was only going to get much worse. There she stood in front of the Ruined Passage, a specific section of the nonsensical building that was known for making even the rest of its structure look sane in comparison. It seemed to feel like being a normal hall on this day, but she wondered how long that would last. She knew not how the house worked, but she knew enough to recognize the infamous passage when she saw it even if it looked nothing like how it did in her first encounter with it. The truly was not looking forward to this part of the trip, especially since she didn't have any unwitting powerhouses to guide her this time around. It seemed she was the powerhouse now, at least compared to the individuals with her. It was supposed to be her job to do the protecting, which wasn't something she was happy about; and worse, she had gone and made things worse for herself by injuring both of them, one of which to the point of having to be carried.

She knew Goro no longer trusted her if he ever did in the first place, and Solus was unconscious. Odds were she would be getting no help if she got herself into any trouble; she couldn't recall the details, but she had dug herself into a hole and would have to work her way out of it. She would have considered turning back if not for her knowledge that "back" wasn't exactly a thing that existed in this place; unfortunately, her only option was forward. "Keep your guard up. This place is stupid," she spoke bitterly, quick and to the point without even making eye contact with the croagunk. Then without a moment's wait she started off down the hall, expecting Goro to follow her. He didn't have much of a choice at the moment, given his choices were to stick with the one capable of properly fending off all the ghosts and the apparent occasional psychic... or going off on his own and taking his chances. He was a brute, but Krikka doubted he was actually stupid enough to throw away all sense of self-preservation.

Solus was showing signs of life in the form of subtle movements and occasional noises, which had to be a good sign. Probably. The umbreon could only assume he wouldn't be happy about his condition when he finally woke up, but he'd just have to deal with it. At the moment, there were far more important things to worry about than the feelings of her allies... or herself, for that matter. She focused solely on the hall and tried to ignore the still-looming confusion regarding her own actions; she couldn't see any end to the path despite the light of candles running along the walls. There were no doors in sight either, leaving an empty hallway of indiscernible length to traverse. She knew that could change at any moment, but it was still a bit disheartening to see. She doubted moving forward at a faster pace would actually help to speed things along, so she kept her stride relatively low so as not to waste any energy. She had a lot of dead weight to carry anyway, which would have made running considerably more tasking than normal. She knew the big heap of buizel was burdening her by her own doing, but that wouldn't stop her from blaming him for it.

She wondered if Solus would stay with her after this... or Goro... or if they would both leave. Maybe she could regain their favor if she stayed true to her word and did what she had come here to do. Or maybe they'd leave, in which case why did she even care? It wasn't like she needed anyone else to help her; sure, the assistance was nice, but it was far from a requirement. She had managed just fine on her own before meeting either of them, and at least one of them wasn't useful for much more than entertainment. The more she thought about it, the more she decided her guilt and concern were misplaced, and the more those feelings faded away. If her two allies left her, it didn't matter; if they died, it didn't matter; if they decided to stay with her, good for them, but it still didn't matter. All she needed was herself, and all she needed to look out for was herself.

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PostSubject: Re: Perception   Thu Mar 08, 2018 1:20 pm

Left defenseless to the sudden melee attack in the oppressing aura of darkness, Nevi could do naught but let out a quiet and very unintimidating "Eep" as the croagunk grasped her horn and dragged her into him.  The following punch elicited no sound but had a clear enough impact, sending her reeling away.  She didn't get far before having a spike plunged into her waist, the resulting pain dropping her flat to the ground.  She fell with the lifeless grace of a strip of cloth in the wind, still conscious but struggling with the sudden and unexpected onslaught.  Krikka would have continued the assault if not for her similarly weary state, but it seemed she had a moment to breathe since the froslass wasn't making any moves to counterattack.  She couldn't help but wonder, based on the sudden display of weakness, if the fight was already over.  She doubted it would be so easy, and a familiar voice soon seemed to confirm this.

"How can you all be so..." Nevi spoke with a sense of disbelief in her voice, pushing away from the ground with her ribbon-like arms and managing to lift herself just a bit before hesitating.  She planted her left hand into the ground while placing the right against her head and shutting her eyes in apparent pain.  Her raised arm fell limp and her eyes struggled open, staring down at her open hand in front of her.

Krikka chuckled at the display.  She already knew what it was interrupting the foe and didn't care what she had to say in the first place.  The umbreon lifted her pained leg and wiped a paw across her mouth in an attempt to clean away some of the blood, then spoke: "What's the matter, headache?"  She seemed to garner the attention of Nevi, whose head snapped up to face her with a glare.  Goro had gotten in a solid hit or two before being followed up by a familiar toxic weapon utilized by Solus, both surely adding to the severity of the poison.  "Blurry vision, weakness, pain...  The confusion'll hit you soon if it hasn't already, and if you could somehow power through all that, you've also been stabbed in an area full of vitals.  Quit now and you can live, but the show's over," she continued and stepped forward, her every word laced with condescending pride and confidence now that things were starting to look good for her side.  She continued toward the froslass in silence until prompted to stop by a quiet... laugh?  No, it was more like the sound of confusion or realization, of surprise.

"Huh."

Actually, it sounded sarcastic.  "You all are toxic in more ways than one," stated Nevi in a shaky voice.  At first, Krikka thought the wavering of her words was due to her poor physical shape, but it became clear that the turmoil was emotional as she went on.  "But you got one thing wrong," the feeble emotion in her voice began to melt away as she raised off the ground in an unnaturally fluid, almost lifeless motion that could only be described as ethereal.  Gaze flitting between the three surrounding her, the froslass raised her left hand and grasped the spike still stuck in her body.  "You don't know anything about my anatomy.  There's nothing vital here," she mocked Krikka's statement as she hesitantly pulled the foreign object out of her.  The hail was dying down by now, yet it seemed the froslass herself would not parallel her storm and wasn't ready to fade away just yet.

The good feeling inside Krikka disappeared.

In a flash, Nevi's form froze with shards of ice.  There was an almost immediate response from Krikka in the form of another dark pulse, to which Nevi responded by pulling her arms up in a blocking pose; the resulting contact of the attack sprayed a black haze around her, hiding its effects from view for a brief moment before a sudden swirling wind tore through it and revealed her unscathed with barely a crack in her armor.  In a sudden and blinding motion, she spun and hurled the spike at Solus, whipping her other arm at Goro and sending a flurry of pointed ice shards snapping off her body and flying toward him.  Krikka reacted as fast as she could with another dark blast, but Nevi was much faster than her.  Continuing in her elegant clockwise twirl, Nevi threw her left arm up at the umbreon and sent a wave of freezing air cutting through the lingering hail; it overwhelmed and barreled through the opposing attack before continuing straight into Krikka, causing her to skid back along the icy floor despite bracing herself and fighting against it with every ounce of effort she had.

Krikka could feel the fur of her ears and chest freeze, and the freezing pain and force of the gust of wind was enough to drop her to a kneel on her weak leg.  However, she was still upright and wasn't frosted to the point of restricted movement.  Despite all her showmanship, Nevi was weakening.  Krikka's aura flickered for a moment before lighting back up as she loosed another pulse toward the froslass.  She knew by now that she wouldn't win a contest with those blizzard winds, but she just needed to be threatening enough to make herself the center of attention and give the others a chance to right themselves and do something.  Sure enough, Nevi lifted her other arm and sent an even more powerful wave of wind to intercept the darkness, but Krikka was starting to adapt to this opponent's capabilities.  The second her shot went out, she bolted to the right; while she barely got a few feet before tumbling down to the ground with the vivid black fading from around her, she managed to clear the path of the bone-chilling wind.

Even the outer edge of the blizzard was painful.  The umbreon stumbled up to her legs as fast as she could to show she was still a threat that demanded attention, but Nevi's arms had already dropped and she was beginning to turn away from what probably looked like a defeated and harmless foe. Krikka growled, fur bristled and flitting wisps of shadow beginning to seep from her body. Nevi paused, attention momentarily drawn back to her, waiting to see what she would do.

In truth, Krikka didn't have much left in her, but she just needed the nuisance opposing her to believe otherwise.

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PostSubject: Re: Perception   Sun Mar 11, 2018 6:28 am

The small window of clarity that had appeared in Goro's mind vanished nearly as quickly as it appeared. The hits he had taken from Nevi were affecting him heavily - his vision was blurry, spotty around the edges, and his body felt lethargic despite its minute shivering. He stumbled forward drunkenly after letting loose a bullet punch to the back of the froslass' skull, veering to the side slightly. All he could think about was how awful he was for raising his hand to Nevi. Pretty, gentle, helpful Nevi, who had helped him up after he was knocked down and guided him and his companions to their destination safely. His sudden infatuation for her seemed to be completely natural once again. The brief realization that it was her who was making him feel this way, the fact that she had somehow gotten into his head escaped his grasp as quickly as it had graced it.

In contrast to Krikka, who was leading the fight despite taking more damage than him, and Solus, who seemed to appear out of nowhere to capitalize on Goro's sloppy attack, he was in a bad way. His head was throbbing and leaking warm blood down the side of his face and down his neck - he didn't know how bad the wound was, but if he had to guess it probably looked gruesome. His body was covered in lengthy if shallow cuts courtesy of stormy ice shards that he'd been guided into, and he knew from bloody experience that he wasn't far from unconsciousness. Couple that with how his mind seemed to be dominated with thoughts of his enemy and his chances of further contributing to the fight were slim to none. It took much of his strength just to keep on his feet, turning to take in the sight of Nevi face down on the ground. He'd caught a large flash of orange and yellow after his punch and assumed it was Solus getting involved, but it was either a trick of the light or the buizel had vanished from the scene of the crime quite quickly.

It left him in the morbid position of being closest to Nevi as she began to slowly push herself up off the ground before halting awkwardly, seemingly in pain. As he stood half-hunched over a few paces away from the ghost type, he could only grimace as fresh waves of guilt and regret washed over him. What had he been thinking? Krikka's voice spoke up quickly, distracting him from his thoughts as she began to taunt their downed enemy. It was hard to listen to. Nevi replied with a biting retort, and despite himself, he flinched at her words. Toxic in more ways than one. He couldn't bring himself to disagree with her.

Following her dramatic statement, she rose up from the ground fluidly and the battle exploded into action once more. Given his weakened state, he was reduced to spectating as Nevi was covered by another flash of ice, just like the last time she had adorned her armor. Krikka fired another dark shockwave with impressive reaction speed, but it was for naught. The sudden action filled him with a desperate energy, but when Nevi turned her sights on him after hurling a spike in a seemingly random direction, he froze like a buneary faced with a pyroar. When a storm of icy spikes was launched at him with deadly precision, however, his body acted where his mind had blanked. The croagunk threw himself desperately to the side, but he was unable to dodge all of the icy shards aimed at him. He felt a hot flash of agony and shock when one shard was lodged firmly into the side of his upper right arm, and another stuck sideways in his right thigh. They lanced into him and they stuck. Another clipped his hip, but in his shock and pain, he didn't even notice it. Instead, he was reduced to landing hard on his stomach before curling up on the cold floor with his eyes clenched shut in agony. A low groan sounded out from underneath him, and it was all he could do to grind his forehead edgewise against the floor, turning his head to keep his eyes on Nevi - another attack could be coming.

But no - Krikka was keeping Nevi busy yet again. Rashly, foolishly, he tried to get up and do something, but his arm and thigh screamed in protest. They felt like they were on fire: cold fire. It bit and burnt and froze all at the same time, and it was the most pain he'd ever been in. The best he could manage was bringing himself up to his hands and knees, watching the showdown in front of him helplessly. It struck him, then, how brave and deadly Nevi was. Tricked, outnumbered, and placed in a very precarious situation, she still fought back. And she fought back well. The same umbreon that had defeated him so soundly was visibly struggling to keep pace with her, even as weakened as Nevi had to be. He tried to fight against the tidal wave of emotion that he felt for her. The admiration, the guilt, the infatuation, the regret, everything. But even armed with his suffering and surprise, he couldn't manage it. Given his position, he could perhaps manage an earthquake and catch the froslass off guard somehow, or even just bum rush her again in an effort to distract her... but he couldn't bring himself to even try. Goro was immobilized, struck shock still. He lay on his hands and knees as he stared transfixed at Nevi, breathing heavily in exhaustion, shivering from the cold inside him and the icy spikes lodged into him, bleeding from a half dozen wounds.

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PostSubject: Re: Perception   Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:15 am

Despite the sudden beating she’d just taken Nevi seemed to be in good enough condition to keep talking, which was a little more than disappointing to Solus. It was more concerning than anything, given the comparative state that he and his allies were in. While she was clearly badly wounded, so was everyone else, and she was still strong enough to take three foes at once. None of this seemed to bother Krikka, though, as she was laughing at the Ghost-type. The umbreon spoke confidently; sure she knew how Nevi was suffering and sure that the battle was winding down to an end. Solus was quite skeptical.

His skepticism was completely justified and validated as Nevi retorted Krikka’s statement before suddenly restoring her spiked ice armour. Despite her assumption that the fight had been over, Krikka didn’t hesitate to respond with a Dark Pulse, although it didn’t amount to much. Before anyone else could respond, Nevi retaliated with impressive speed, hurling the spike Solus had stabbed her with back at him. He saw that she was doing something else as well but couldn’t afford to dedicate any real effort in watching her while he tried to evade receiving the same injury he’d given her.

Solus blasted the airborne thorn with his newest move—Ice Beam. The ice the projectile accumulated added significant weight to it, reducing its velocity and increasing the rate at which it lost altitude. He sidestepped the slowed projectile and it clattered to the frost-covered wooden floor, the shell of ice around it shattering with the impact. Safe from any incoming attacks for the moment, Solus assessed the situation following Nevi’s sudden assault. Goro had dodged a fair number of Nevi’s icy spikes but didn’t manage to evade the full arsenal, taking two in his right leg and arm. Useless.

Krikka was, at the moment, Nevi’s primary target. They were going back and forth with Blizzards and Dark Pulses, through it almost seemed as though Krikka was losing. As the umbreon dropped to the floor Nevi began to turn her attention elsewhere. Realising that, given Goro’s current status, he was the next greatest threat, Solus tensed. He scrambled to the floor to pick up the poison thorn again, though he wasn’t sure what he was going to do with it so long as Nevi’s ice armour was still around. He relaxed a bit as Krikka once again drew the Ghost-type’s attention by preparing another attack. Banking on the poison to do the real damage, Solus moved directly opposite of Krikka and blasted Nevi in the back with his Ice Beam. It wouldn’t do much damage, but that wasn’t really his intention. He just hoped Krikka would continue to aid in diverting their enemy’s attention.

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PostSubject: Re: Perception   Fri Mar 23, 2018 6:00 pm

Krikka was hoping for some kind of backup from the more capable fighter of her two allies, but unfortunately, Goro still seemed to be stuck in whatever drunken daze the damned froslass had put him in. He probably wouldn't have been able to do much regardless, what with his wounds and the lack of will he probably had to hurt this particular foe. Then a ray of hope - and a more literal ray of ice - shone through the growing sense of dread in Krikka's mind as Solus stepped into action. He wasn't as good at hurting things as Goro, and he was very ill-equipped to handle a froslass, but at least he was doing something. All that really mattered was juggling the enemy's attention long enough for her to just drop dead, and the beam certainly did that if nothing else. Krikka watched as the blue stream of ice struck right into Nevi's back; the froslass immediately responded by spinning around and throwing her right hand up in front of her, blocking the attack in a rather effortless display.

This was fine since it meant she was wasting more time letting the poison spread through her, but it soon became significantly less fine. "Please stop," chimed the soft voice of the froslass, calmly requesting, almost demanding a ceasefire. Her words had the same eerie quality that had previously claimed Goro, and Krikka recognized it immediately.

In panic, Krikka struggled to summon up the strength for another dark pulse. Alas, her efforts were to no avail and actually did the opposite, draining away her energy and snuffing out the few fading traces of darkness radiating from her. A ranged attack to get Nevi's attention was no longer an option, at least for Krikka, which left only one course of action. The umbreon's tail took on a metallic sheen as she took off toward the froslass, doing all in her power to overcome the limp in her battered leg and clear the distance before her other ally was corrupted.

Of course Nevi wasn't interested in just waiting for someone to stop her. "I'm not your enemy," she continued, keeping her enchanging voice audible enough to ensure it would be heard. She looked from the floatzel over to the temporarily incapacitated croagunk, directing her speech toward both parties in an obvious attempt to sway them away from fighting her. Before she could get any further, Krikka was already upon her, spinning with her weight on her good leg and whipping her tail into the froslass.

In a seamlessly perfect response, still keeping an arm up to guard against any further attacks from the floatzel, Nevi threw her other hand back and stopped Krikka's attack dead.

"She is."

Krikka stumbled back and struggled to reclaim her balance after the unexpected counter. Nevi's attention was on her again, and if Solus had fallen under the same spell as Goro, she would be alone. She didn't like her odds of winning a fight with this monster on her own, let alone if the others actually listened and decided to turn on her.

If she goes down, they'll snap out of it, she told herself. Even in the worst case scenario, the plan was still the same: stall and wait for the poison to run its course. That would be made significantly harder if she had no help... and if her help turned on her... She couldn't dwell on the idea. She knew how to handle it if it happened, and worrying about the possibility seemed like a poor use of her time and focus. Besides, they wouldn't turn on her. Goro hadn't yet, and Solus... Solus was hers.

He belongs to me. He'll listen to me.

She was actually worried about it, but not because of any imminent danger presented by the possibility. Solus was supposed to be hers. That was the deal. The idea of someone trying to take him away... bothered her.

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PostSubject: Re: Perception   Sat Mar 24, 2018 3:59 am

Maybe getting impaled twice over wasn't the worst thing that could have happened to him. It hurt like a son of a bitch in both spots, sure, but now he sort of had an excuse to just... lay there. Rest. Catch his breath and wait for this all to blow over. It was without a doubt the most confusing fight he'd ever found himself in, and he wasn't sure that he wanted to get involved anymore. He couldn't bring himself to get up and go after Nevi again - how could he? - so there wasn't much for him to do. The croagunk still at least made an effort to keep an eye on the proceeding fight, though, and he was very surprised to witness some stray beam of icy energy lance into Nevi's back. His eyes boggled at the sight; was someone else getting involved, now? Goro's head tracked the beam as quickly as possible, and he was surprised to find that it was Solus at the other end of it. Solus, who looked a lot bigger than usual. The strange little yellow collar thing that was on his neck before now instead ran down his side and around his back. He'd shot up in height tremendously, and he was quite a bit bulkier. Still lean, of course, still built for speed and evasion, but he was much more filled out. What the fuck?

There was only one explanation for this - Solus had evolved during this fight. When? He supposed it didn't really matter, but coupling Solus' advancement alongside the fact that he was actively participating in this fight when he was on his hands and knees reduced to spectating... it left him angry. The fact that this wimpy buizel had the nerve to do better than him, to evolve before him, to attack Nevi in front of him... His ragged breathing grew furious and rapid, and before he knew it his left hand had found its way to the icy spike impaled in his right forearm. It was very, very cold to the touch, and remarkably solid. But he could grasp it, feel his fingers barely touch around it. Never mind the white-hot agony it caused him; he needed to do something, to distract himself from the confusion and anger and shame running through him. Compared to all that, the pain he was causing himself by tugging incessantly on the shard of ice embedded in his forearm was negligible.

The croagunk was drawn from his own internal struggle when he heard Nevi's voice again. Soft, melodious and innocent, but also imperial and demanding. The froslass asked them to stop. It rang through his head the same way it did the first time, and he'd ceased his motion before he could even think about it, simply lifting his head to stare up reverently at the ghost in the center of all this conflict. Again, she tried to urge him to join her and abandon this careless, arrogant, condescending, powerful umbreon that had started all of this. In the midst of this, said umbreon had actually charged forward and lashed out with strike with her iron tail, but it proved to be for naught. Nevi simply caught the blow in her hand and did nothing as Krikka stumbled back in shock. He'd personally seen that attack knock the lights out of Solus not half an hour ago. But against Nevi... she truly was as powerful as she was beautiful.

But she'd gotten in his head. The anger and shame boiling under his skin acted as a shield of sorts against her ethereal voice, doubly so when he remembered that she'd done this before. She was using mind tricks against him. She had wormed her way into his head and she was influencing him, making him feel things and do things that he wouldn't otherwise experience or consider. It wasn't the first time he had fallen prey to such a sensation, but it was definitely worse than the last. Everything he felt for Nevi was so much stronger. Goro clenched his eyes shut painfully tight as he lowered his head to the ground and tried to forget the cold beauty floating in front of him. It was damn hard for him to believe her when she said she wasn't his enemy, this strange supernatural attraction he was feeling for her be damned. Several icy spikes of her own making were impaled in him, he was bleeding and cut all over and it was all her fault. Not to mention that she was inside his fucking head and she would not get out.

He said no to her once, before this fight had broken out. She couldn't take no for an answer so she resorted to this? To trickery and mind games? Every thought running around in his head was trailed by another about Nevi, and he couldn't take it anymore. He had to stop it somehow, had to stop her somehow. More than anything, he was reminded of how much he truly hated mind trickery and other such moves. Almost subconsciously, his voice twisted in a dark mockery of Nevi's own ethereal, appealing tune. Where hers was beautiful and a marvel to listen to, his was cruel and scornful - an unmistakable taunt. "Shut up!" The croagunk staggered to his feet, his movements wobbly and unsure, but he refused to simply lay around any longer. Even as his right thigh burned and screamed, he pushed through it. If Solus could put a fight, then so could he. His right hand struggled to rise up and cradle the side of his skull, where her gauntlet strike had hit him before. It was still wet. "I already told you no. Get out of my head, Nevi!"

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PostSubject: Re: Perception   Sun Mar 25, 2018 6:43 am

Considering his attack’s primary goal of distracting Nevi, Solus’s Ice Beam was technically effective. The actual damage it delt was minimal, especially considering the Ghost-type was quick to block the majority of the attack, but the damage was hardly the point. Before Krikka had any chance to once again draw the spirit’s attention away Nevi spoke. Her words were nothing unexpected; she was once again requesting that they cease their assault, but the tone of her voice was soft and… Atypically disarming and assuring. Assuring that she was not, in fact, the enemy. Solus’s attention was almost entirely fixated on the froslass but was briefly drawn away by a metallic glimmer of something moving behind her. It was Krikka, attempting and failing to make a direct attack on Nevi, who proceeded to inform to everyone in the room that the umbreon was, in fact, the real enemy here.

Krikka, the enemy. It would make sense, all things considered. She was, in fact, Solus’s enemy at a point in time; when they’d first met. At nearly every point after that, the umbreon had been little more than cruel and abusive to him. Not only that, but she had attacked his friend. She didn’t listen to him. She manipulated him. She reckless, aggressive, dangerous. She hurt just about everyone she came into contact with, from what Solus had seen. What Nevi was saying seemed to make perfect sense; Krikka really should be the enemy here; she was probably a greater threat to everyone here than Nevi was.

Although he hadn’t realised it, Solus had shifted from his offensive stance to a neutral, noncommutative one. His attention was drawn away from Nevi and toward Goro as he heard the croagunk’s sudden outburst. Get out of my head… Nevi was playing some kind of mind trick on Goro. Solus wondered when that had happened. She was just talking, had she done something then, or was this about something earlier? Solus looked down as he tried to work out what Goro was on about and noticed that he was still holding the poison thorn he had stabbed Nevi with. Then it clicked. He realised that, for a moment there, he was actually giving Nevi’s words legitimate consideration. She hadn’t just played a trick on Goro, but she’d just tried to do the same with him.

Nevi was clever, but she lacked some vital information about her target. The idea of being manipulated by some influential supernatural power equal parts scared and infuriated Solus. Beyond that slight though, he was an opportunist and an analyst, and he was pretty sure Nevi expected her trick to work. He was hoping to exploit that. “It’s not a trick, Goro. What she’s saying… I think it might make sense,” Solus said, loud enough for everyone in the room to hear. Before elaborating further and without waiting for any sort of reaction, Solus once again used his Quick Attack to travel at a near-blinding speed, stopping adjacent to Nevi and just short of Krikka. “Think about it Goro; Krikka’s never been nice to you. She’s unpredictable and dangerous. She’ll insult you and attack you at the slightest provocation.” Solus spoke as if he was still talking to Goro, but he was looking directly at Krikka. “On the other hand, Nevi is just trying to stop us from doing something bad—something reckless.”

Solus was fairly certain Goro wasn’t going to do anything just yet, so long as he was talking, but he had to be sure Krikka wasn’t going to do anything rash, which, given past experience, was probably more likely than the odds of him preventing her from doing something rash. “Krikka, sometimes I’m afraid you’re going to stab me in the back. Nevi, on the other hand…” Having maintained his direct stare with Krikka, Solus hoped that the umbreon would notice the subtle message he was trying to convey. As he said keywords, he blinked exaggeratedly, with the intention being that Krikka would pick out those keywords. Those words were: Krikka, I’m, going, to, stab, and Nevi.

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PostSubject: Re: Perception   Thu Mar 29, 2018 12:33 am

Prepared for another assault from the froslass, Krikka waited anxiously. She was too outmatched to be rushing in carelessly, and she needed to know what kind of condition Solus and Goro were in before doing anything. She needed to know they were still with her, that they hadn't been brainwashed and she wouldn't have to fight all of them. She didn't intend to back off no matter what, but she wanted to know what she who she would need to look out for attacks from. More than that, though, she wanted to know Solus in specific was still with her; Goro was probably still the more useful of the two, even with all the injuries he'd sustained, but it wasn't about that. Goro was some dude she had just picked up not long ago, and he was only following her for his own gain; a betrayal from him wouldn't be as much of a personal slight as one from her bui... floatzel.

Still, when Goro suddenly lashed out in a screaming fit at the froslass, it was a relief. It wasn't quite what Krikka was looking for, but if Lumpy could fight it, Solus surely could. It seemed Nevi held a similar belief, granting the croagunk her attention and a concerned look if only for a moment before her eyes flitted back over to the umbreon. It seemed the both of them assumed Solus would be able to free himself if Goro could do the same. Krikka cocked her head to the right and shot a smirk at the froslass as if to taunt her, and it seemed to work; or perhaps it was Goro's "taunt," or a mixture of both. Regardless, Nevi's shock faded, leaving annoyance in its wake as she balled her hands into fists and prepared for the next round. Krikka was now feeling pretty good about her odds, and it looked like the foe was finally starting to feel the pressure. The two fighters glared through each other, neither one eager to make the first attack, but Nevi finally volunteered and lifted her arms up in front of her in preparation for what was probably another blizzard.

“It’s not a trick, Goro."

At Solus' words, the two mirrored each other in reaction. Froslass and umbreon eyes widened alike as the tension in their bodies faded. Again, they were both thinking the same thing, but the tables had suddenly turned and Krikka was now the one under pressure. She opened her mouth to speak, to cut Solus off, but there were no words. Her lips quivered for lack of anything more to do. It had worked... or had it even? Everything the floatzel was saying was true, and of course she was conscious of it, so was this even a delusion caused by the enemy's influence? Was he just leaving her of his own free will, going back on their deal? Wasn't there a part of him having fun with her in some warped way? Wasn't she worth staying with, even through her flaws? Didn't he know her promises to Goro applied to him as well? Didn't he know she would carry him with her to success... or did he truly think her incapable? For a brief, fleeting moment, Krikka felt alone. She had Goro with her, and she probably had a better chance of winning with him anyway, but it didn't change how she felt in the slightest. It was her fault for getting them into this situation in the first place.

Krikka felt herself disconnect even further from the world around her. The feeling of loneliness turned to seclusion, as if she was alone in this lively room, distant even from her own thoughts. She could feel, she could see, but it was almost as if she couldn't. It all seemed so foreign, like she was someone else, like there was someone else in her place. As Solus continued on with his rant, Krikka felt her jaw snap shut; her lips remained parted to display her tight-grit teeth and the traces of red streaking over them; the fur along her spine bristled all the way down to her tail while her ears flattened; her wide, yellow eyes narrowed ever so slightly and her pupils began to shrink to slits. She still had the shocked look in her eyes, but it was shrouded in hate. Her thoughts raced around her, driving every twitch of her muscles, every impulse, every feeling. It was almost as if someone else was talking to her, whispering into her ear, telling her all the things she was unable to tell herself in this blank state.

Her toy was a fool. She had been clear and honest with him from the very beginning; he knew he was to be nothing more than her pet, and he knew he stood no chance in defying her. He knew the deal, but he talked as if it was all news, like it was somehow surprising and like he could somehow validate his decision by claiming fear of all things. He insulted her with the proclaimed concern that she would betray him; such an illogical statement befitting of a a dead man. What reason did she have to betray something that was already hers to do with as she pleased? If she decided she wanted to hurt him, she didn't need to look for his back, and he knew that; his bruised and battered body surely wouldn't have let him forget so easily that she did not and would not deceive him. She was all the things he said, but he should have known by now that she didn't lie to him, and there should have been no fear that she would hurt him when he already knew it to be a fact. She had already hurt him time and time again, at will, perhaps even eagerly at times, and he had obediently taken the abuse every single time!

Solus knew for a fact that she would inevitably continue to hurt him, and he continuously took this abuse of his own free will. If he were truly so afraid that he would turn against her, he'd simply have abandoned their pact and left! Krikka's head hanged toward the ground, the rest of her body drooping in unison, weighed down by her thoughts. She shuddered. Suddenly, the blurry world seemed so clear; she was in sync with herself, with her anger, once more. She was able to process it all at once, and the solution to her problems was suddenly so simple. Her glowering yellow eyes shot up to the floatzel as she spoke: "Solus... This is the worst, and last mistake of your life. I'm gonna light you up... and watch you burn."

At the word "light," she blinked.

Everything still felt far away, but Krikka's perception of the situation had changed. She bolted straight for the floatzel, not even batting an eye at the froslass adjacent to him. She'll try to stop me, her thoughts told her, first with her ice shards. As if in tune with this prediction, Nevi whipped her hands toward Krikka, breaking a flurry of ice shards off from her armor and sending them flying. The umbreon sidestepped at the slightest sign of movement, putting herself out of the way of this attack before it even started, leaving the icy daggers to shatter against the floor. Then she'll try to block for Solus, Krikka's guiding thoughts continued, and sure enough, Nevi moved in front of Solus and put her arms up in front of her in preparation to block another whack from Krikka's iron tail or whatever else.

"Stay behind me!" the froslass urged.

I'd lose if I tried to challenge her, but she's expecting me to try anyway.

Keeping her left arm forward in preparation to block any unexpected attacks, Nevi pulled the other back as another set of gauntlets formed around her hands. With perfect timing, she arced her reeled arm over her head and brought it down in front of her in a violent slash, and Krikka... just stopped. She felt what she could only register as a crack in her weary leg as she slammed her paws against the floor, but such was the cost of this nigh-instantaneous halt of her movement. She could feel the wind from Nevi's ice-coated hand mere inches from her face as it passed by and continued onward in its crescent path; the froslass fell off-balance from the weight of her claws and the unexpected lack of anything to catch herself against, but she managed to keep herself upright with her other arm still readied for any retaliation.

With little warning, Krikka's rings suddenly lit ablaze, bathing her in a painfully vibrant blue light. Nevi threw her hands up in front of her face and backed clumsily away from the burning light of the umbreon, drifting straight into floatzel behind her.

Your time to shine, Solus.

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PostSubject: Re: Perception   Fri Mar 30, 2018 5:18 am

Initially, Nevi was an unpredictable variable. After only a short time spent in the Chateau Solus had practically written off the idea of encountering anything that could even remotely be described as pleasant—and yet they had run into Nevi. Granted, Solus had not and would not describe the froslass as pleasant then or now, he might have if circumstances hadn’t been so less than ideal. When they had met Nevi she was kind and well-intentioned—the total opposite of what was expected of a Ghost-type in the Chateau. Then, later, she surprised everyone again when she demonstrated she was willing to resort to violence to prevent Krikka and her group from doing something terrible. She surprised Solus—at the very least—with her power and durability.

But that was the last of the froslass’s surprises. It was easy to work out that she wasn’t making any effort to deceive anyone—or if she was, she was doing a very poor job of it. Thus, her character was fully exposed and therefore fully exploitable. Nevi was too good, too kind, and had far too much faith in the good of others. Krikka was quite the opposite, and Solus, whether he liked it or not, had a knack for nefarious activities. If he was being totally honest, Solus would have to admit he wasn’t entirely sure Nevi would fall for his ruse considering he’d already pulled something similar earlier. However, he had underestimated how positively Nevi’s own attempt to persuade him would affect his deception. Watching Krikka’s expression change as he spoke, he realised he had even had her convinced for a bit that he was under Nevi’s spell.

In fact, he thought that he’d done such a convincing job that when Krikka started her response he thought she might actually kill him—up until she blinked on a specific word. Light. He knew what it meant. As the umbreon sprang forward he stepped back and shielded himself—more specifically, his eyes. In his peripheral vision, he could see movement as Nevi moved to protect him from the umbreon who was apparently set on killing him. He heard her order him to stay behind him. If following that order wasn’t so advantageous, Solus would have disobeyed in an instant.

With Nevi now in front of him, Solus was free to unshield his eyes and consider the particulars of his next move. He twirled the poison thorn as he debated where the ideal place would be to use it. Nevi had so helpfully informed everyone where her vitals weren’t but that didn’t exactly help much. Despite how little Solus cared about the froslass at this point—and despite previous events—he didn’t really want to kill Nevi; if that were even possible. He didn’t get too long to consider his options before Krikka’s light hit full pitch and sent Nevi stumbling backwards into Solus.

Now or never... Solus jabbed the poison thorn directly into the point where the froslass’s arm connected to her head with the intention of disabling the appendage. He was sure to draw the weapon back out as not to provide his opponent with the potent projectile once more. As he did so, he jerked the weapon to the side with the intention of further upsetting the Ghost-type’s already precarious balance. Solus then darted around his foe and, once adjacent to Krikka, blasted Nevi with a quick Ice Beam for good measure.

“Not gonna lie,” Solus exhaled, exhaustion clearly starting to win over adrenalin, “Really thought you were gonna kill me for a second there. Also, except that last part, I meant everything I said; that counts as a compliment right?” Solus was smirking slightly, but didn’t look directly at the umbreon as the light from her most recent attack was still dissipating.. Not too long ago the umbreon standing next to him had him pinned to a door and rather aggressively reminded him of his position, and he was terrified; yet, here he was, making small talk in the middle of battle and almost smiling at that same umbreon. Perhaps he was just a bit delirious from exhaustion and maybe just a hint of head trauma. Regardless, the smirk was genuine. Solus was definitely enjoying himself, at least to some degree, despite the fact that he wasn’t particularly happy about the situation as a whole.[/i]

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PostSubject: Re: Perception   Sat Mar 31, 2018 12:47 am

Letting loose his fitful taunt didn't seem to alleviate whatever strange mind trick Nevi was putting on him. She still dominated each and every thought that was running through his head, and the words she was speaking seemed to make total sense. His little outburst seemed for naught. Goro was halfway back to being infatuated with the froslass all over again, shivering in a broken and bloody mess while he swayed on his feet when he was brought back to reality by Solus' voice. It wasn't how he sounded that stopped him short, but what he was specifically saying. In all the time that Goro had known the buiz - floatzel, now, he'd practically clung to Krikka's skirts. He hadn't yet figured out the relationship between the two, but they were close, and presumably went back quite a way before either of them met him. But they'd always presented a united front. Even if it didn't amount to much more than Solus trailing around behind her, moping about her heels as they hauled ass to and through this fucking dungeon. Krikka protected him along the way and the water type had even repaid the favor once or twice during this hellish experience they were all going through. To sit here and watch the floatzel now as he flashed to Nevi's side and went through a list of all the reasons they should join Nevi in this fight... it was jarring. So jarring, in fact, that the now-tremulous grasp of his infatuation for Nevi seemed to loosen somewhat. He was staring at the two of them - Solus and Nevi, floatzel and froslass - and the sight made him angry. He wanted to get up and lay into the ghost for daring to poke around his head, and he wanted to smack some sense into the freshly evolved weasel for being so weak to fall for her stunt as well.

Krikka seemed to share his viewpoint, but as usual, she took it to the extreme. After a particularly chilling and ominous warning, the umbreon shot forward with a prodigious burst of speed, heading straight for her traitorous pet. He urged his own body to move; It was two on two, now, and he would not sit idly by while everyone else fought around him. Still, the most he could muster was an almost drunken stumble forward in the direction of Nevi and Solus, his right thigh burning fiercely every time he put weight on it. It wasn't so bad that it couldn't be ignored, though, and his slow stagger slowly turned to a determined jog. On his rather anticlimactic way over, he bore witness to Krikka juking a pre-emptive barrage of ice shards from the froslass before suddenly halting her approach, stepping hard on her forelegs as Nevi's icy gauntlet swung right past her face. The sudden explosion of action only made him push harder, breaking out into a full sprint, and in his haste, he almost missed a step. At the same time Krikka's rings exploded into painfully bright light, he stumbled forward, his head dipping down as he narrowly managed to avoid falling onto his face, inadvertently sparing himself from getting momentarily blinded. Nevi was not at all so fortunate, however. By the time Solus had plunged his poison thorn into Nevi, tore it back out again and blasted her with an ice beam after dancing around her, Goro was finally upon her, and he brought with him significant momentum.

The infatuation he felt for her was weak enough for him to break right through it, and it was with an excited relish that Goro threw himself forward, spearing into the ice type with a shoulder tackle that lacked any sort of grace whatsoever. It brought the two of them to the ground, and with him on top of her, he was free to truly lay into the ghost Pokemon for the first time since this fight started. Thus far she had led him around by his nose, laying into him with powerful blizzards, ice shards, and a particularly breathtaking gauntlet strike. But now... now, it was his turn. Goro pushed himself up and mounted the froslass, pressing his knees hard at the bases of her arms, where they connected with her head. He dug in hard particularly cruelly into the area he'd seen Solus sink his thorn into, before raising his fists eagerly. She was still adorned with her intricate ice armor, and in the position they were in, the only real target available to him was her head. With all the speed the move was known for, Goro hardened both of his fists and began raining down bullet punches, letting his fists fly with abandon, slamming them into the coating of ice protecting her face. When he felt it began to shatter underneath his onslaught, the croagunk couldn't help with eerie, victorious smile that bloomed on his face, redoubling his assault eagerly.

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PostSubject: Re: Perception   Sun Apr 01, 2018 10:25 am

Finally showing the kind of unison one would expect from a proper "team," the three standing against the froslass managed to attack in perfect harmony with each other, speechlessly communicating their plans and fulfilling them down to the last detail.  Too trusting, unprepared and weary from poison and injuries, Nevi fell helplessly into every strike, first being blinded by Krikka, then assaulted and stabbed by Solus, and finally tackled by Goro.  It all happened so fast and perfectly synced up that she failed entirely to respond in any meaningful way, unable to do much more than yipe as the floatzel stabbed her, then again when she was unexpectedly thrown to the ground under the croagunk's arm.  She instinctively lifted her arms in preparation to block or counter whatever was coming next, but she simply wasn't fast enough with the situation she had been put in; she was practically plastered to the ground under the weight of the frog, and while he wasn't particularly heavy, she was too weak and dazed to even try to do anything about it.

Nevi's armor was already weakening due to her exhaustion, so the snapping of glassy ice rang through the air within seconds, signaling the mask adorning her head had reached the end of its use.  She whined upon the first punch that actually managed to make direct contact with her, but there was no followup on her end; rather, she endured the following blows in silence, shutting her eyes and doing her best to withstand it.  She didn't let her adversary get too many hits in, however, before suddenly phasing through the floor and into the safety of wherever it was she went when she did that.  Silence hung in the cold air, and Krikka, for one, was waiting for the presumed inevitable return of the unnaturally powerful ghost.

There was nothing.

Krikka could feel herself again.  She was connected to her mind and body once more, and she finally relaxed as she realized they had won.  Nevi was gullible, but she had also proven herself to be smart, so it was no surprise to see her flee when it was clear she had lost.  Krikka sighed in relief, batting her eyes over to Solus briefly before looking away.  "You did alright," she spoke in a tone that was more withdrawn than anything else; it may have come off as cold and ungrateful, but she was actually trying very hard to restrain her sense of gratitude toward not just Solus, but Goro as well.  She raised a paw and shoved it into the floatzel's face, pushing him to the ground in a similarly playful fashion just to make sure he stayed in his place... but she was actually proud of him.  He hadn't been overcome by the enchanting words of the swindling hell-spawn, and he had even managed to do something clever.  He was useful.  He was loyal.  And, admittedly, he was a little entertaining at times.  Krikka was being influenced a bit by the sense of relief washing over her, but she was actually happy to have Solus around.

Goro, too.  The situation with him wasn't quite as sentimental, but he had done the same as Solus in breaking free from the spell of the froslass and holding true to his allegiance.  They had both stuck with her after being given an easy out and plenty of... encouragement, despite how she had dragged them into a considerably horrid situation and done nothing but punish them the whole way.  She was still concerned about how she had apparently lashed out at them with no recollection of it, leaving Solus in awful condition from whatever she had done to him.  She knew it was her, of course, and she actually felt bad about it; denying it was hard after all they had done to help her get this far.  As much as she disliked her weak emotions, she still had them and couldn't completely suppress them no matter how hard she tried.  She wanted to forget about her wrongs in particular, but aside from that, she felt satisfied.  Her eyes wandered to the closed door the froslass had so fiercely guarded.

"Well, I guess all that's left is to summon an evil god or som-"

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Abruptly cutting herself off, Krikka spun around and whipped her steely tail into the froslass who'd just revealed herself from the floor. Krikka had figured it wouldn't end so easily, and so she was ready and more focused on reacting to whatever the foe tried to do than she'd allowed herself to seem. Thanks to the light of the candles, Nevi's shadow had cast straight past the umbreon, and that momentary warning was somehow enough. It was a surprise even for Krikka herself, but she was too preoccupied to question how her reaction time was so abnormally... perfect. Nevi had just barely fallen to the ground and tried to throw herself back up when Krikka loosed a blast of darkness; she had given herself enough of a break to use it again, and she planned to see how far she could push it. The froslass was sprawled out on her back against the ground by this attack, silent and motionless for a moment as if unconscious.

Then, finally, she spoke. "Okay, you win. I tried," her voice was exhausted more than anything else, lacking any signs of fear or even intense anger. She propped herself up by her arms with a tired and disappointed look on on her face, giving a brief glance at the umbreon and floatzel before turning and focusing her attention on the more secluded croagunk. She opened her mouth to speak, but another wave of dark energy washed over her and knocked her back to the ground, silencing her.

"Enough words," Krikka growled, "Just die."

Again Krikka loosed the wrath of her aura, carelessly expending more energy than she needed to, all for the sake of punishing the one who had given her so much pointless trouble. The pressure of the negativity was quickly building up, practically smothering Nevi and rendering her unable to react even in as simple a way as dipping back below the floor. The froslass now wore a clearly pained expression, which showed she had endured more than enough to put her out of commission, but it still wasn't enough for Krikka; it was not yet torture. She knew by this point that something was happening to her, and she was smart enough to know it was increasing her aggression to an irrational level even for her, but she didn't care.

Shadowy wisps seeped from the umbreon's body, picking up in size and number as she built up another pulse.

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PostSubject: Re: Perception   Tue Apr 03, 2018 4:10 pm

A pseudo-silence between Solus and Krikka followed the floatzel’s remark as they both watched the rather one-sided beatdown that Goro had followed their act up with. Given a different circumstance and audience and someone might actually find the repeated facial punches hard to watch. However, it only seemed fair to Solus, and Nevi had done effectively the same thing to Krikka and Goro. Despite his own similar experience, Solus had little sympathy for Nevi. He’d said it before; the fighting was totally unnecessary and everyone would have been better off if Nevi had just let them do what they had come to the Chateau to do.

And at that moment it seemed like they’d be getting back to that fairly soon. Nevi fled through the floor. She and other Ghost-types had done similar tricks before and thus Solus remained quite sceptical that the fight was really over just yet. But, after a prolonged quiet, Krikka seemed to relax. Solus was still hesitant to drop his guard—despite how tired of fighting and dealing with the Chateau in general he was. He did relax, however, when Krikka complimented him. It was obviously lacking in enthusiasm, and one could argue that it could hardly be considered praise, but it was very significant to Solus.

It was something he’d been after for a while now. Solus’s opinion of the umbreon had gone up and down, as had his willingness and attitude toward serving her; but receiving any sort of praise from Krikka had always remained a fairly consistent goal of his, practically since his initiation into servitude. It had been reinforced back when he’d pulled out of his scrap with Goro in the Marsh—a point when he was feeling particularly sorry for himself. He’d built up his confidence since then only to lose it again when he’d confronted Krikka earlier—but that encounter only further reinforced his drive to receive any sort of compliment from the umbreon, and now he’d finally accomplished it—however minutely. He was proud nonetheless, even as Krikka pushed him to the floor.

Solus effectively assisted Krikka by intentionally lying on the cold floor. It wasn’t comfortable, but it beat standing at the moment. With Nevi seeming to leave them alone Solus was finally able to actually relax and think unpressured for a moment, however brief. They weren’t done yet, but Solus was going to take whatever break he could. He was still well bruised and turn up from numerous assaults, and while it wasn’t nearly as bad as it was at its height, his concussion was far from forgotten—even if the cause was. He took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. He closed his eyes. He noticed a slight drop in temperature as Krikka spoke. Then there was the sound of an impact, followed by another attack, followed by a momentary silence.

The floatzel opened one eye to glance at Krikka, who was still standing and had clearly just used a Dark Pulse. He followed with both eyes where the umbreon was looking, and found a motionless froslass a relatively short distance away lying on the floor. He’d thought she’d been properly knocked unconscious until she spoke her forfeit. She glanced at him, and he glowered at her. Then Krikka ordered the froslass to die. Solus opened his mouth as if to interrupt, only to shut it immediately. He was pretty sure he hated Nevi, but he was also fairly certain he didn’t want to kill her, and that he didn’t want Krikka to kill her either. But he was even more certain that he wasn’t Krikka’s advisor, and that it would be best for him to not interrupt his master.

He closed his eyes and returned to his relaxed position.

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PostSubject: Re: Perception   Tue Apr 03, 2018 5:35 pm

Goro had been thoroughly enjoying himself, swinging his fists wildly down at the ice type trapped beneath him with a wide smile, but it all but vanished from his face as his victim seemed to dissipate into the ground beneath him. Without anything supporting him, Goro dropped a few inches to the ground, landing once again on his knees and catching his fall with his hands. At this point, he knew that he really did not like fighting ghosts. As abnormally strong as Nevi was, the others in this mystery dungeon had all done similar things; The gas ghost had sprung up from the floor twice in surprise attacks, and had fled in a similar manner. The same went for the balloon ones and even the one Nevi chased off. All the enjoyment you could pry out of a beaten victim wasn't even up for grabs when they could just phase through the fucking ground that you had knocked them onto. And as it was, he only had precious little time to truly vent out his anger and frustration on Nevi. For all the punishment she had given him, all he had to give back was a couple sloppy bullet punches.

If not for his "allies", he would have been well and truly dominated. And that fact was more than irritating - he didn't like teaming up on people, either. But this was just as much of a matter of survival as it was dealing with Krikka. He was learning that it was best to bury any grievances he had and look forward to the next time he could get something his way. With a visible amount of difficulty, Goro rose to his feet once more and cast a wary look around the room, keeping his eyes trained on the floor. The moment stretched on, however, to the point that he heard noise from Krikka before Nevi came up looking for more. His eyes followed the commotion and he got to witness the umbreon push her pet into the ground bodily, the floatzel apparently taking the gesture as permission to sprawl out and relax. Goro was almost envious - if not for how pathetic that would make him look, he'd relish the opportunity to just fall down and forget all about today. But instead he did his best to stand tall, letting his arms hang heavily to his sides as he sucked in greedily large amounts of air, doing his best to ignore the aching and throbbing of his battered body.

The sound of a heavy impact had him snapping back to attention, however. He looked over to see Nevi laid out on the ground a ways behind Krikka - a failed sneak attack, maybe. The froslass tried to push herself up to try again, but a pre-emptive dark pulse from Krikka put her right back on the ground, and he was dumbfounded when the ghost actually gave up a moment later. Of all the ways for it to end... Goro realized he was almost disappointed. Almost. The relief that washed over him kept him from wanting to go on. Truly, he'd gotten his fill of the froslass and her ridiculous power. And he was still a bit heated from the way she'd somehow made him crush on her; She was more than strong enough to win without such cheap tricks! Had she simply gone all out from the start, she could have flattened them all. But she wasted her time talking and pleading and trying to play mind games. He knew, of course, that anything went in a fight, but that didn't mean he didn't have preferences. It would have been so much sweeter had she just resigned herself to truly fighting instead of whatever she was doing during the first half of that scrap.

The croagunk was conflicted enough that when Nevi finally turned her gaze from Krikka and Solus to stare at him, he froze. Unbidden, he recalled what she said earlier when she got serious. You're all toxic, in more ways than one. The memory of the froslass' icy tone and harsh words caused him to flinch from her gaze, and he turned to stare at the ground almost in shame. It was unfortunate, but he'd picked his side before he met her. The plan was still the same; Go with this umbreon, see what she was like and what she could do, and if she could follow up on her lofty promises... if she was the person that he wanted her to be, if she could become the kind of person that he'd be content to follow, then he'd stick around. It was just bad luck that he'd met Nevi while he was with her. If he'd of come here earlier, then maybe they could have... become friends - instead of whatever they were right now. Goro didn't think there was a word for it and if there was he certainly wouldn't have known it. He stiffened further when Krikka hurled another dark pulse at the ghost. The lunatic had ordered the froslass to - to die, and she looked all too prepared to execute her. The croagunk looked up with an alarmed expression as Nevi simply bore the punishment, not even bothering to run away or phase back through the ground.

He started forward automatically before he caught himself. Goro's fists curled and tightened desperately, dismayed that this wasn't a problem he could simply swing at until it went away. Nevi was done here, she'd given up, she'd lost, and she had to have known that there would be no reasoning with the crazy darkling that was now baying for blood. What was she waiting for? Why hadn't she just left when she had the chance? His panic and anger spiking, Goro moved. He placed himself in between the froslass sprawled out on the ground and the umbreon preparing to strike her down - his heart was in his throat at this point, but he wasn't just going to stand by and watch Nevi get killed. She was good, and she didn't deserve to die for taking a stand here. The croagunk swallowed nervously at he stared at the very visible amounts of dark energy surrounding his "boss", but his eyes were resolute. He took one from her earlier, and Krikka was weakened considerably. Of course, so was he, but... hopefully Nevi would just have the good sense to disappear during the ensuing commotion.

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PostSubject: Re: Perception   Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:43 am

Krikka was conscious of how carried away she was getting, but it didn't really dawn on her until she had Goro putting himself in the way of her attacks.  She paused, of course, to take in the sight of the croagunk trying to protect this... pest.  So he had a heart after all.  Unfortunately, this heart was currently getting in the way of what Krikka wanted, which meant something had to be done about it.  The black matter persisted around her form as she prepared to remind him of her authority by simply blowing him over and getting on with what it was she was trying to do.  She was ready to attack, but she found herself restrained, partly because she didn't want to worsen her chances of getting him to work for her... but also because she had a much better idea than simply hitting him.  In hindsight, she knew herself well enough to say she probably wouldn't have killed the froslass even with how agitated she was, so if she could get some use out of halting her assault a little early, well...

"Tell ya what, Lumpy," everything about the atmosphere around the umbreon relaxed all at once as she turned to words rather than violence, "You swear your loyalty to me right now and I'll show I can be reasoned with; I'll leave her alone."  She still didn't actually know if whatever was on the other side of the door would seal the deal with Goro, but he seemed like a frog of his word if nothing else.  If she could use this enemy to bargain for his allegiance, that seemed far more efficient than just beating on her for fun.  And, if it so happened that she was wrong about the croagunk and he would lie then abandon her in the future, well... she was still stronger than him.  He was smarter than he looked, so he had to know the risks of trying to go back on a deal with her.

Alas, Nevi had something to say about this.  "Don't bother.  Your dark pulse is... unpleasant, but your attacks are hardly life-threatening."  The poison was obviously wearing away at her, but she didn't seem worried about Krikka, even after taking consecutive hits from her.  The froslass propped herself off the ground with her arms and stared up at the croagunk as she continued, "Goro, right?" She paused for a moment, diverting her gaze to the ground.  "Stop acting like a good guy.  You're trying to wake up a god to help Giratina," she went on, falling silent at the name of the beast.  She suddenly tipped over backward, and as she fell through the ground, she gave her final words.

"You're all evil."

Krikka was silent as she watched the froslass dip under the floor and vanish from view.  She didn't wait long for a reemergence before deciding it was probably over this time.  "That was dramatic," she mocked, "Well, my offer still stands: swear loyalty to me now and I'll hear you out when you don't want me to kill someone."  Her words held a careless and condescending vibe, but she was being honest if nothing else.  She was visibly unfazed by Nevi's words and sudden leave, and that was because she really didn't care.  She had Solus, she was pretty sure she was about to have Goro, and she would soon have... an evil god... or something.  Without even waiting for the croagunk's response, she turned away and stepped over the collapsed figure of her not-buizel, looking him over and sizing up his new form before flicking her head toward the door to gesture for him to get up.  She didn't even wait for either of them to react to anything before starting up in the direction of what she could only assume was the Ruined Chamber.

With all these very important things that should have been fighting for the center of her attention, it was odd how she found herself thinking about her leg.  It hurt.  That was somehow more important than the insults and implied superiority from the froslass, the clear defiance exhibited by Goro, and even the door she'd fought so hard to get to.  In her defense, her leg hurt very bad, but it was still unusual for her to be so focused on something like an injury that wasn't even threatening her life.  Maybe it was just the lingering relief from the won fight and Solus staying by her side, or maybe it was the steam she'd let off in the violent fight; whatever the reason, she just didn't feel very stressed all of a sudden.  She could only assume it was the blessing yet again, making the most trivial thing seem like the only thing that mattered.

Or was it the same thing she'd been feeling periodically throughout this trip? It was as if she was separating from herself. Was she going crazy?

Nah, she'd passed "crazy" a long time ago.

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PostSubject: Re: Perception   Fri Apr 06, 2018 3:31 pm

After moments of hearing nothing but a few footsteps, Solus decided it was worth taking another look at the current situation to see just why exactly There was no sound of attacks or Nevi in agony. When he opened them, he was only slightly surprised to find Goro had moved between the prone Ghost-type and the ready to kill umbreon. Solus had done something similar before; back when he’d first met Krikka he’d put himself in harm's way to protect his new friend Xeno. That event went poorly for Solus but he had technically succeeded in his goal of drawing Krikka away from her original target—one might say a little too well, as it had been weeks since he last saw the buizel.

The floatzel grinned at the sight. It was no secret that he didn’t like Goro, and Solus was quite interested in seeing a repeat of what happened in Pecha Forest with Goro in his place. Unfortunately, Krikka seemed to have different ideas. She decided to skip the combat step and jump straight to offering a peaceful solution. Solus didn’t hide his disappointed expression. Even worse, Nevi started talking again, disregarding Krikka and reminding Goro and everyone else in the room where they each stood on the moral compass before sinking back into the floor for the last time. For a moment Solus considered throwing the poison spike at the spirit again just to get a literal final point in, but she was gone before he’d reached his decision.

He didn’t like the way Nevi looked at morality. Granted, morality wasn’t really something Solus had the best understanding of—the difference between what was right and wrong was hardly a topic his father was ever concerned about. Still, Solus didn’t know anything about this evil god they were summoning or who this Giratina was, but he couldn’t help but wonder why exactly they were evil. What exactly made them evil? Who’s to say evil wasn’t just an arbitrary label someone gave them just because that someone had a disagreement with them? Solus didn’t think he himself was evil. No, he wasn’t evil, he was just… Loyal to a different cause then Nevi. Was having different goals a crime?

Solus turned his attention to Krikka as she addressed Goro again, still offering him consideration in exchange for his sworn loyalty. She then walked away without giving him a chance to respond. After stepping over him and gesturing for him to follow, Solus stood up somewhat pained and with little grace. Before following Krikka, he sidled up next to Goro, putting an arm around the croagunk—who he just realised was shorter than him, which made him smirk. In a low voice, Solus spoke to the croagunk in a matter of fact, almost smug tone. “She’s making a good offer ya know? Sure, it didn’t matter in this case; you put yourself in harm’s way for that irritating ghost and she just insulted you before running away. But think about the future. What if someone you care about ends up getting in Krikka’s way? You know first hand just how strong she is. Now, keep in mind that just because she listens to what you have to say doesn’t mean she’ll change her mind—but I assure you it’s your only shot of stopping Krikka from doing whatever she pleases.”

Solus held the poison thorn up in front of himself and Goro. “Remember back in that awful swamp we met in, where she threw one of these things into that Pokemon that attacked us and killed it on the spot? I told her not to do the same thing to you.” Solus pointed to himself with the thorn as he said “I” before bringing the point much closer and facing Goro as he reached the word “you.” “Just something to think about,” he added as he patted the croagunk on the shoulder before sprinting off to pick up Krikka’s bag and open the door for her.

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PostSubject: Re: Perception   Fri Apr 06, 2018 8:17 pm

I don't want to reason with you. Despite himself, despite the dire situation he was in and the high probability of his nearing death, Goro couldn't help the sneer that came to his face when Krikka started talking down to him. I want to break your face and make you swallow your own teeth. This was Cattail Marsh all over again, except now she held someone else's life in her hands instead of just his. He'd been fortunate enough that he and Krikka hadn't exactly spoken a lot on this trip, so it was easy to momentarily forget just how big of a bitch she was, even when she was trying to be... diplomatic. Or whatever this was supposed to be called - she didn't immediately blast him across the fucking room for standing in between her and her newest victim, so it was a step up from her normal behavior, at least. But the choice she presented him with was vexing. It gave him what he wanted; Nevi would be able to flee, but it also gave Krikka what she wanted. Him. His loyalty, sworn to her. He'd be stuck on this crazy train until his likely death, given the disastrous nature of this trip. No take backs, as it were.

He hadn't exactly said it out loud, but it was likely obvious to Krikka what this trip was to him - a trial run, meant to serve as a way to get to know this umbreon and her floatzel a little bit before he made any decision he'd regret. But now she was trying to force him to make that decision now. He didn't know what to say, so instead he was just silent. Before he could wrack his brain enough to formulate a response, Nevi spoke up from behind him. It seemed like empty posturing until she mentioned his name. At that, Goro legitimately froze. He didn't know why, but this froslass' opinion was suddenly important to him. She was good. She'd proven that over and over in this dungeon, and despite himself, he felt hope blooming that she'd maybe say thanks, or that she'd yank his ankle and pull him right down through the floor with her. But no. Nevi declared with conviction that they were all trying to wake up a fucking god to help Giratina before sinking right through the floor, presumably washing her hands of them. The name rung something of a bell, but Goro was hardly the godly sort - if he'd heard it before, he hadn't been paying attention.

He felt a bit... betrayed. They'd been friendly. Sure, he'd tackled her to the ground and hammered on her face for a good minute there, but it wasn't like he started it. Shit, he was pretty sure she'd hit him way harder the one time she actually laid her hands on him, and that was to say nothing of the fucking ice shards still stuck in him. What was even the point in getting upset over shit like that? When people fought, shit happened. He'd just stood up for her - Krikka had been ready to kill the froslass. In response, she told him to stop acting like a good guy.

He was only peripherally aware of Krikka further elaborating on her offer before she sauntered off to do whatever the fuck it was she had planned. The confrontative sneer that had been on his face gave way to mildly crestfallen expression at Nevi's verdict - and that was when he felt a furry arm fall across his shoulders, and a suddenly taller body attached to it slide up next to him. It took a minute for him to recognize that it was Solus, because all of the sudden Goro had to look up at him. The only reason that the poison type didn't immediately try to throw the big bastard off of him was his exhaustion, both physical and emotional now. The weasel's smug, smarmy fucking voice immediately began to wear on what was left of Goro's nerves, but his words started to make sense. The croagunk's gaze traveled from looking up at Solus to slowly focusing on the floor below him as the floatzel gave him something that dangerously resembled advice. The only problem with what he said is that Goro... didn't have anyone that he cared about. He'd come to like Nevi in the hour that he knew her, but that was about it. There were a few people he'd met in his time in the marsh, but he did he truly care about them? Should he? What if he stood up for them and they spat in his face like Nevi just did?

When Solus suddenly produced a poisonous thorn and held it up in front of Goro, the croagunk drew back slightly - an automatic reaction to something so sharp and pointy in front of him. His eyes followed it as Solus made his point, gesturing to himself and then back to Goro, making the implication that the reason Krikka didn't kill him was because of... of Solus. The revelation shook him to his core. He barely reacted when the floatzel patted him on the shoulder and zipped off, staring blankly at the spot he was just standing in. He'd thought that all this time Krikka just wanted another flunky, a grunt to carry out her orders. And he'd been so desperate for a leader with a fucking purpose that he just went right along with her, but was that the case? Did she bring him along because Solus had stood up for him? He could distantly remember the umbreon saying something about it before they started their fight, but the details were foggy. He was suddenly unsure of everything. The knee-jerk reaction to this was just not to believe the uppity floatzel - he owed his life to no one but himself, and that was the way it had always been. The simplicity of his old life, guarding his territory in the swamp, suddenly seemed so appealing to the complicated web of strings he found himself in now.

He needed... time to think about things. He needed a clear head. Because right now he was suddenly furious. He was angry at Krikka for being such a ruthless fucking murderer and trying to capitalize off of it. He was angry at Nevi for spitting in his face after he stood up for her. He was angry at Solus for having the balls to insinuate that he owed him. And he was angry at himself, most of all, for being so indecisive. He made the decision to follow Krikka here, to join her side for at least a little while. And when the first pretty face that flittered by happened to get victimized by the umbreon, he had gone back on that decision. He was angry at himself for being unable to pick a side, for being stupid enough to get involved with any of these people, for being dumb enough that he had to fucking pick a side in the first place. Everything about this situation sucked hot balls, and he had no one but himself to blame for it. The croagunk's breathing grew increasingly loud and erratic as his right hand suddenly shot up and grasped the ice shard that was embedded in his thigh, pulling mightily on it. A few moments later and it came free all at once - and Goro cut himself off before he could cry out. For a long, dark moment, he contemplated the merits of launching it at Krikka like a fucking javelin, or maybe her smug pet. Instead, he turned, raised it high in the air and slammed the spike on the ground where Nevi had been a few moments ago, watching it shatter into a dozen pieces and scatter across the floor.

Goro stood rooted to the spot, staring at the point of impact, brooding silently. He'd follow them in a minute... probably. He still needed to get out of this place alive, and there was safety in numbers.

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