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 Rue

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Lord E V
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PostSubject: Rue    Mon Oct 30, 2017 12:54 pm

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(This thread takes place after another thread, "For Once," and contains spoilers pertaining to that thread.  Pls don't spoil yourself. Mada that means you.)

Bad memories, bad vibes, bad sensations, bad atmosphere, bad, bad, bad bad badbadbad.  Sova didn't like Venen Gulch, and he wasn't having a very fun day, or week... or month... or life.  Nothing about this trip was pleasant, and yet it was still somehow tolerable.  Not only had he found some level of solace in himself, but he now had someone else to help him carry his burdens.  Still, he didn't enjoy being in the gulch yet again; his last experience in the area had been unpleasant, to say the least.  He had met a very demented scyther, and despite his best efforts, he'd failed to avoid conflict with the presumed serial killer.  In the end, Senya was the one to handle the situation, as he recalled.  He regretted giving up such a burden, and in hindsight, that was a running theme in his life.  Despite his best efforts to take burdens from others and handle everything himself, he'd really just ended up becoming the burden.  Fortunately, that was in the past, but he still didn't enjoy being in a place that dredged up such memories.

He was fun.

The thought surprised him, though perhaps it shouldn't have.  He knew it wasn't his own, even if it felt so very... real.  He really should have been used to the experience of hearing Senya in his head, and yet he wasn't.  He wondered if that would ever change.  "You have a concerning definition of "fun," my friend," he responded aloud since they were alone and thus didn't run the risk of looking insane.  He was glad to be out of the guild if nothing else; he'd made the decision to change his behavior for the better, but he still wasn't a fan of laying around in that place socializing and whatnot.  His solitude wasn't something he was quite ready to entirely give up.  Still, he wouldn't have picked such an unpleasant place to go just to get away from everyone.  No, this was for a mission...  He hadn't done any actual guild work in quite some time, having been too distracted with trying to fight deities and whatever else.

The white, silken cloak around his body lifted up behind him, caught by a gust of wind.  He glanced down at his exposed legs and stopped, reminded of why he had a ghostly sheet draped over him.  His fur was torn away by scars, and his left leg was wrapped close to his chest by a makeshift sling composed of some piece of white fabric.  He doubted any of it would ever heal, which only made him want to take a mission and get out of the guild even more.  He couldn't stand another minute in that place with everyone looking at him like he was some crippled war veteran.  Walking was more a task than usual, especially with the strange ribbon making it all so much harder as if being down a leg wasn't bad enough already.  Every step elicited pain, albeit faint enough to ignore now that he was getting used to it.  Fortunately, the strange red markings seemed to have gone away for whatever reason, but in the case of their return, that was just one more reason to cover his body.  He didn't want to be seen as disabled and in need of help, but at the same time he didn't want to look like some monster either.

So, what's the plan here?  We're not exactly at our best, I mean.  You really think we can save that kid?

Sova knew Senya was trying to distract him from his own thoughts.  The gesture was appreciated, but he was finding it difficult still to let it all go.  The white cloak fell back around him as the wind died down.  "This isn't getting any better.  If I can't do my job now, I'll never be able to do it again," he spoke with an eerie calm to his voice.  Given it was him in question, the matter-of-fact indifference to such a concept was a bit unusual.  For most of his life, he had been one to lash out and falter due to unchecked emotion.  He was rather bad at keeping himself under control, or at least he had been for about as long as he could remember.  However, his recent experiences had brought him to seek change, and more importantly, put him in the mindset to enact this change.  The thought of being incapable of continuing his work saddened him a great deal, and yet he was able to keep himself calm despite this.

That doesn't mean you have to do this right now.  Is some runty 'vee really worth your trouble?

He knew Senya meant well.  He was in a bad state and definitely didn't need to be running around through a toxic and relatively dangerous environment.  Unfortunately, he felt he needed to, for him if no one else.  That, and he couldn't help but feel obligated to protect one of his own kin.  And besides, if he didn't save the little eevee, who would?  Most members of the Grassveil Guild didn't even have the appropriate rank to take such a mission, let alone the capabilities to reliably see it through.  Then again, was he really any different now with a bum leg and an evil ribbon crippling him?  He intended to prove that no, he wasn't, even if it was the last thing he did.

"Yes."

Besides, he was already there, inhaling the fumes and wandering through Venen Gulch.  He hadn't reached the "river" nor even come upon any steep drops or any other difficult environmental hazards, but still, he wasn't interested in turning back now.

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Last edited by Lord E V on Wed Nov 01, 2017 3:06 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : To tell Mada to go away.)
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PostSubject: Re: Rue    Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:36 pm

There was one, inalienable fact that had driven Shintara to Venen Gulch. It was something she'd learned the hard way, something she'd been dealing with ever since that business in the ruins. She'd been there with everyone, and when things got tough, it had felt like she could barely do anything to help. Despite all the training, all the learning she'd done, she hadn't learned everything. Far from it. Not only that, she still lacked the physical ability to be able to back up a lot of it.

There were so many other Pokemon around her that were stronger, so many that had worked hard at training themselves and simply becoming better. Ever since she had gone off on her own, she had stopped pushing herself. Sure, she'd gone around a few different places with a few different Pokemon, but she hadn't actively been pushing herself to become stronger, to fight stronger opponents. She knew that nobody just suddenly woke up stronger one day, and those others she had been with in the ruins certainly hadn't gotten to where they were that way.

She was weak. That wasn't an opinion to her, it was the truth. But she refused to stay that way. She would push herself, make herself work for it.

The more Shintara had thought about it in the time after the group's venture in the ruins, the more certain she had grown of this conclusion. That, and another detail: she couldn't do it alone. Back in her tribe, she'd had her mentor. On the way to Blackmist, she'd had her mother. She needed someone strong to fight, to give her some feedback. And there was one particular Pokemon that came to mind on that front.

Tracking Sova down had proven to be quite the challenge. Or, maybe challenge wasn't the right word for it. It was tedious. Her first stop had been the guild, where she asked a few bystanders if they had seen him around. One of the members there explained that they'd seen him heading out somewhere, and another chimed in that they had passed him on their way back from the shop. After a bit of deliberation on what shop it was, and where it was located, she'd made her way there.

The shopkeeper mentioned that he had headed back to the Guild after picking up something there. And so the Absol headed all the way back to the Guild. Again.

When she returned to the guild, she had run into a familiar face this time: Nate. The Pikachu seemed to be confused at the mention of Sova being out and about, and told Shintara to wait just a minute while he checked something.

She did. Nate came back. He seemed upset.

"He's not there," He told her. "but I'm sure he's close by then. He probably wouldn't..." It was then that the Pikachu peered at the mission boards. He squinted a bit, and walked up to it.

"...you know. There was a C Rank mission here a little while ago. It's gone now. There's no way that he..." Nate cut himself off and thought for a moment silently. Shintara looked to him and tilted her head, waiting for him to continue.

"...who am I kidding, there's absolutely a way. The dipshit's probably in the Grima Outpost area, I'm pretty sure that's where the mission location was. If you go looking for him, try to not let the idiot get himself killed."

Of course, considering how strong Sova was from what she'd experienced and what she'd heard, that confused Shintara a bit. She wasn't very familiar with mission ranks, but why would a C rank mission be any trouble for him? Nevertheless, she politely thanked Nate before heading out for the Southeast.

She had crossed right through Grima Outpost and headed to Venen Gulch. Something told her that if it was a mission, he wouldn't be in the Outpost itself. Of course, the Ruined Chateau was another option, but...even if he went in there, she wasn't sure she was ready to head back there herself just yet.

The Absol had been traveling for a decent while now, navigating the outer parts of the gulch. She hadn't been in the area much before, but the smog in the area was killing her. It was putrid, disgusting, and of course, it was poisonous. The only plus side was that the smog helped her 'see' a bit better in the area, the thick pollution in the air making the objects around a bit more apparent to her as the breeze and the smog hit them.

As she walked down a small slope in the area, she began to pick up on something. There was a voice up ahead, a somewhat familiar one, and a shape that presumably belonged to that voice. The wind blew, and as it blew against the figure up ahead, it blew against a solid surface that seemed draped over the Pokemon's body. A piece of clothing, like a cloak, maybe? She couldn't tell exactly what kind of Pokemon it was, given that their head and back were covered up, but there were a few similarities to who she was looking for. Their shape did seem to be quadrupedal given the legs, and the tail seemed right. The size was close enough as well, from what she could remember.

Of course, there was also the fact that he was talking to seemingly himself, which was a little disconcerting. She didn't know what that was about, but she pushed that aside. Shintara took a deep breath(and only mildly suppressed a gag at the smog she inhaled, having forgotten that detail), before stepping over towards the shape.

"E-excuse me..." She stammered, trying to look a bit more confident than she felt with varying degrees of success. "I-I'm looking for someone, and I th-thought you might be them, uh...a-are you...Sova...?" The Absol questioned as she approached him. Of course, name-dropping an explorer in the area might have been a pretty bad idea. Not that she'd thought of that beforehand.

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PostSubject: Re: Rue    Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:03 pm

(Energy - 90.  Boyo I sure am feeling that cursed ribbon.)

Due to the bickering of the two mind-sharing entities, the both of them failed to register the oncoming sounds of... something.  Their ears were perfectly capable of picking up the movements of something approaching from behind, and yet they were too busy with idle chatter to notice.  It helped that there was no real caution between the two of them; one thing they agreed on was that they were powerful enough not to worry too much about any "dangers" this place had to offer.

I hope you realize I'm not helping you save some dumb kid.

Sova knew this wasn't true, but there was still a part of the statement that drew in his attention.  He was used to Senya being harsh and inconsiderate, but he had to wonder about the choice of insults for the child.  "Why's he dumb for getting kidnapped?" he spoke aloud, genuine curiosity in his tone.  He shrugged off the rest of the statement, knowing that if push came to shove, Senya would help him.

I can tell you exactly how it happened: "Hey, kid, want some candy?"  "WOWIE, I sure do, mister!" Senya's voice echoed through their mind, first taking on a gruff sound even for himself, then rising to a disgustingly high-pitched tone.  It was clear that he was mocking both the criminal and the child, deliberately coming up with the most stereotypical and offensive voices he could to represent them with.  Sova couldn't help but snicker despite how bad the context of the joke was.

"Come on, poor kid didn't-" Sova began in response, only to be interrupted by a voice from behind.  He stopped dead in his tracks and fell silent, neglecting to turn and face the source of this interruption.  It wasn't that he was afraid, necessarily, but... whoever this was had surely just heard him talking to Senya.  From an outside perspective, he knew how that had to look, and he didn't know how to bail himself out.

You're not Sova.  Nope.  Keep walking.  Last thing we need right now is to waste time signing autographs.

Senya made a fair point in that they were sort of on a kind of probably time-sensitive errand.  Unfortunately, Sova couldn't find it in himself to just brush someone off so callously, especially when she seemed so genuinely interested in him.  After a moment's hesitance, he turned his body the best he could with three legs, trying perhaps too hard to avoid making his... inhibition obvious.  He pointed his head down as far as he could manage whilst still maintaining the ability to see in front of him, hoping to hide his face from view.  He knew he didn't exactly look pretty anymore, even with the mysterious red markings having taken a leave of absence.  The girl requesting his audience was an absol, and one with a distinct look to her eyes.  He knew this absol.  Alas, he didn't remember her name, but he remembered her.  He wondered what she wanted from him, and honestly, he dreaded it.  Did she just want to talk to him about fighting Mewtwo, or perhaps to throw pity at him for his injuries?  He was sick of both, and it was enough to make him want to just do what Senya said.

Of course, he couldn't just brush someone aside like that when they had done absolutely nothing to deserve such treatment.  Still, a part of him wished he could... and while he knew he could just let Senya take over and do it for him, that really didn't make the idea any more appealing.  "That's me," he spoke in a tone somewhere between bored and emotionless, nodding in acknowledgment.  The absol's apparent nervousness was almost palpable, which warranted both annoyance and empathy.  He hoped the paw-print stamp or questionnaire or whatever she wanted from him wouldn't take too long.  He had a child to save, after all, but he couldn't bring himself to just shun this poor sweet girl even with that justification.  He wasn't exactly "nice," but still, he wasn't that cruel.

SOVA, WHY ARE YOU LIKE THIS?

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PostSubject: Re: Rue    Tue Oct 31, 2017 4:20 pm

The more the figure seemed to talk to himself, the more curious Shintara got. Sure, she was positive that the voice belonged to Sova now, but...who was he talking to? It certainly wasn't her, but she couldn't sense any other Pokemon around in the area he could talk to. Was it a psychic type, maybe? Specifically one of those ones that could, like, speak into your mind or something? Did those even exist? She actually wasn't positive on that one. Was it a ghost? Maybe, but even then, there was usually some sort of sign that something else was there. Like, another voice. She was only hearing one, and she certainly didn't have deafness as a problem.

She seemed to forget all about that when the other Pokemon turned around and confirmed that it was indeed him, and she suddenly felt her cheeks flush. She was determined, she had conviction in asking him what she wanted to ask, but...now that she was here she didn't know exactly what to say.

"I-I, uh, I was..."

Looking for you? You mean, tracking him down specifically by running around Grassveil, asking various citizens for his whereabouts, going all the way out to Venen Gulch after him? Kind of stalking him a little?

"...I was l-looking for you." She decided, hoping to hide the extent to which she'd gone in searching for him. The Absol straightened up a bit and took a breath, and at this point, it looked like the poor girl was going to explode with anxiousness and nervousness.

"I d-don't want to waste your time, I kn-know you're on a mission and all..." She was a bit quiet, fiddling with the ground as she turned her head, akin to someone looking around and avoiding eye contact. This was it. She couldn't hesitate any longer.

"..."

She took another breath.

"I want to fight you!" In her rush to finally spit it out, she raised her voice a bit, practically yelling at the Glaceon as she turned her head towards him. Her face flushed a bit as she finished speaking, and she quickly quieted down again, looking deeply embarrassed.

"I-I mean, after this mission. I heard you w-were out here taking one, so...maybe I c-could go with you for this too?" She couldn't help but shrink back a little, unable to feel anything but pure, social shame. What was she even doing? She was just coming out to the middle of nowhere to ask an explorer to fight her, and inviting herself along on his mission. They barely even knew each other, either. They'd just run into each other that one time, and now here she was, tracking him down...and how exactly would she have known he was on a mission? Maybe he would assume she guessed, since he was an explorer and all, but now maybe she'd let it slip that she'd been asking around for him and needed to ask about where to go...

At the moment, Shintara wouldn't have minded crawling in a ditch somewhere and dying. Or just sleeping for a hundred years or so.

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PostSubject: Re: Rue    Tue Oct 31, 2017 5:51 pm

At first, all the absol did was trip over her words and stutter. That didn't exactly go away over time as she spoke, but she seemed to have some kind of point she was trying to get to. Sova was willing to wait, albeit less so with every second she wasted struggling to communicate whatever point she was trying and failing to get across. Senya, on the other hand, was not enjoying anything about humoring this whelp.

Come on, she can barely speak. Let's just go already.

Unfortunately for him, Sova did not feel the same; at least, not entirely. He was growing more bored and annoyed by the moment, but he still wasn't to any point of willingness to just cut her off and leave. He stared blankly at her as and waited patiently for her to tell him what in the world she wanted with him, assuming it was important if she had taken the time to look for him. Then, finally, she gave a proper explanation: she wanted a fight. This proclamation of hers was sudden, loud, and surprisingly confident. It was almost enough to make him wonder if she, too, was of two minds, but he figured the likelihood of meeting someone like him to be... minute.

Never mind, I take that back. She's so adorable, I kinda like her. Can we maul her, pretty please? Just a little?

Sova remained silent as the nervous wreck's demeanor reverted, the sudden confidence fleeting just as quickly as it had appeared. She had heard he was taking a mission, apparently. So was she stalking him or just looking really hard? It seemed like a pretty big coincidence that someone actively seeking to find him would just happen to be told where he was by sheer luck. Either way, he wasn't interested, but Senya disagreed. Very vocally.

Yeah, after the mission. Or during! It's not like the kidnapper's gonna throw away their living lotto ticket!

Despite the... encouragement, Sova had already made up his mind and knew what his answer was. He had no interest in senselessly, pointlessly fighting someone; perhaps in the past, but his taste for violence had faded over time. Besides, he didn't want to accidentally hurt the poor girl, nor did he want to bring anyone along for this mission. He held his silence for a moment as if in contemplation, but really, the only thing there was to think about was how to turn her down. In the end, he decided against trying to be gentle about it, settling instead on a firm and simple "No," responding to the challenger as well as Senya. Then, without hesitance, he spun around and kept on walking. Or... perhaps limping, more accurately. After all, he had only three usable legs, and that was impacting his ability to walk steadily.

Come on, she's literally asking for it! If you don't want to, then let me!

Sova just ignored the voice in his head, knowing Senya could feel or at least understand his opinion without him needing to explain it. He didn't want to fight any more than he needed to, having grown tired of violence and bloodshed. He'd had more than enough of that for a lifetime, and yet he knew there would be more. That said, he was in no hurry to meet the inevitable future of harm he still had ahead of him. Even a spar was nothing he had any interest in, assuming he could avoid it. "Go home, kid," he added on without stopping or even looking back at her, his voice cold and unrepentant. He didn't actually know if she was younger than him, but she certainly acted the part, and that was all that really mattered in his eyes. She carried herself much like a scared child, and while he knew she was at least capable of defending herself, he still knew he would feel an obligation to babysit her if he were to allow her to come with him.

WHAT THE FUCK? REALLY, WHY? SHE'S OFFERING HERSELF UP FOR A BEATING, PRACTICALLY BEGGING FOR IT, AND YOU'RE JUST GONNA WALK AWAY?

You talking like this makes it really hard to think, you know that?

Having a voice in his head that wouldn't shut up really did make it hard to focus at times. Fortunately, he didn't have too much to worry about paying attention to. He'd already given the absol the brush-off, and there was nothing else requiring his immediate attention, save for walking. The simple act admittedly took a bit more focus than it should have, mostly due to the nerve damage, but it was still no major feat.

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PostSubject: Re: Rue    Wed Nov 01, 2017 12:04 am

She had been prepared to be denied, of course, but it still hurt to hear the Glaceon tell her no. Especially after taking a bit to think about it. That made it feel less like a brush-off, and more like a deliberately, thought-out no. Frankly, she wasn't sure which would have felt better. However, her dejected, downtrodden expression was quickly replaced with a different one as Sova continued to speak. Go home, he'd told her. And he'd called her kid, too.

"H-hey, I'm not a kid!" Shintara shot back at the other Pokemon, sounding a fair bit annoyed. If she had any chance of getting him to reconsider his denial, she couldn't let him think that she was alright with being called a kid, or being thought of as one. She began to step forwards, following after the limping Glaceon in spite of his prior statements.

"L-look, m-maybe you can think about a fight later, b-but if someone's in trouble, th-then I want to help out!" She didn't know much about the details of the mission, but she did know a little. When he'd been talking to...himself, most likely, Sova had mentioned something about a kidnapping. Maybe it was something unrelated, but that almost felt like a further leap than figuring it had to do with the current conversation. And even if it didn't, that's what explorers did, wasn't it? They helped others.

"I'm h-here already, anyways, and...and..." Shintara began to speak up again, but she trailed off. As she got closer to Sova and focused on him a little more, she couldn't help but notice something that she hadn't quite picked up on before. He...was limping? Something was wrong with one of his legs. As the breeze blew by, she could sense three of his legs touching the ground like normal. The fourth one was either being held up, or gone completely. She couldn't quite tell, but something was off with it.

"...where's your leg?"

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PostSubject: Re: Rue    Wed Nov 01, 2017 1:48 pm

Alas, the absol was determined to pester Sova and make his day harder than it needed to be.  She didn't seem too happy about being called a kid, but to him, that was what she was.  Even if she actually turned out to be older than him, that wouldn't stop him from viewing her as a child.  She was weak and somewhat lacking in spine, qualities that would probably get her killed sooner or later, and he wasn't interested in being a catalyst to that.  The absol, however, wanted just that: for him to bring her along on his mission and get her killed.  He'd already had enough of bringing along incapable idiots and watching them die from being too weak to defend themselves.  He knew now that he was simply not capable of protecting everyone all at once, even when at his best, and he didn't want to increase the amount of protection he would need to be focusing on today.  He wanted to deny her again right away, perhaps even lash out just a bit to scare her off... but he'd made a vow to change the part of himself that did such things.

Besides, she wanted him to fight her, so lashing out seemed unlikely to do anything but encourage her.  He wasn't going to give her what she wanted, no matter how much she pleaded, no matter how much Senya encouraged it.

Bitch.

Poetic.  This did nothing to move him, but he doubted that was the purpose behind it.  It was probably just a bit of venting, or just Senya's typical behavior.  Regardless, it wasn't convincing him to heed the absol's words... but she was starting to.  He had never been particularly patient, and being followed around by some naive kid who wanted to fight him for some unknown reason was admittedly annoying him.  He had already told her to leave, and yet she was pursuing and pestering him as if this desire of hers was the center of her world.  Then she just had to go and do it; the glaceon froze when his leg was brought up.  Part of the purpose of the cloak was so no one could see that he only had three functioning legs, but of course, this blind samurai motherfucker could anyway.  All things considered, it'd taken her a while to notice, but now that she had... well, having been reminded of it, Sova had been put in a bad mood thanks to her.  As if it weren't enough that he was already dwelling on it, now this pest was surely going to be all over him about it.  She'd probably start trying to convince him to leave, or at the very least, try to throw pity at him.

"Shaniqua or whatever your name is," Sova spoke, his memory on the absol's personal details being a bit fuzzy.  "I'll make you a deal..."  He had no intention of answering her question; in fact, he planned to ignore it entirely.  His goal was to get her to leave him alone, and he was pretty sure he had a good idea of how to do that.  He slowly stepped, or perhaps hobbled, around to meet the absol once more, the same emotionless expression adorning him.  He still kept his head low despite knowing his hood wasn't doing much against this particular individual.  Black, red and purple mana began appearing seemingly from out of thin air and collecting in front of him, the dark mesh of color slowly forming into a sphere.  He was unflinching, lacking any form of reaction or outward expression of emotion, almost as if in a trance... or dissociated.  But he wasn't.  He knew exactly what he was doing; the eerily calm state he was in just served to show how much his discipline had grown.

"Survive and you can come."

That's my boy!

Without hesitation, he loosed the shadow ball at the absol; it was deliberately made to be much weaker than what he was capable of, but he figured it would still be enough to deter a weakling.  Of course, he didn't actually plan to kill her, and he was confident enough that he could restrain himself from severely hurting her.  That said, he fully intended to completely and utterly humiliate her so as to show why she would only get in his way.  It was barely a "fight," but he didn't intend to humor her with any legitimate show of strength.

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PostSubject: Re: Rue    Wed Nov 01, 2017 3:54 pm

The Absol furrowed her brow as Sova spoke her name...or at least, attempted to. He got it wrong. By a lot, actually, but she couldn't really fault him. It wasn't like they knew each other very well, and it wasn't like he was expecting to run into her. Besides, he at least got the 's' and the 'h' right.

The air seemed to thicken in front of him as he spoke, and for a moment Shintara was unsure of what he was doing. More than that, she wasn't sure if he was doing anything at all. With the smog in the air, she didn't know if it was just an especially thick patch of it or not. However, his next words seemed to confirm that it was indeed him doing that.

Survive and you can come, was what he said. And then the heavier patch of air...or whatever it was, was flung towards her.

Those last words he'd said made her worry for a moment, but there was little to no time to acknowledge that. She made an attempt to dart to the side, but considering how fast the Shadow Ball was traveling she only managed to avoid a head-on collision. She felt the ball of energy hit her shoulder as she moved, the attack hitting her with a decent amount of force, enough to make her have to stifle a yell and skid back a bit.

Despite her type resistance to the attack, the hit still hurt. She felt equal parts nervous and excited for this. Sure, he'd be a tough opponent, and she didn't think he'd be afraid to hurt her...but that was exactly what she'd been looking for, wasn't it? It all just accumulated into a rush of adrenaline for her.

Shintara looked to Sova and grew solemn, nodding her head respectfully. If he was going to fight her, she would certainly take it seriously. She always took fighting seriously, but this was different. This was against someone she knew was much, much stronger than her.

With a quick shout, she charged forwards at the Glaceon and brought her horn up, aiming to get close and scratch at him with it. However, she did keep an eye out as she moved close. She knew he had Shadow Ball at least, and maybe some other ranged attacks at his disposal. Shintara would need to get close, but she'd need to keep her senses peeled for any projectiles while she did so.

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PostSubject: Re: Rue    Wed Nov 01, 2017 5:40 pm

As expected, Shaniqua was incapable of avoiding the blast, and only semi-capable of taking the hit.  Despite the attack being incredibly watered down and naturally resisted, it still clearly hurt, which did not bode well for her.  She didn't seem to have much in the way of strategy, or perhaps just couldn't think well enough under the sudden pressure; either way, the result was her rushing blindly in, no pun intended.  She presumably wasn't quite stupid enough to try and rush something with as potent ranged capabilities as a glaceon if she didn't have to, which probably meant she had no ranged attacks of her own.  Sova knew he could easily have simply blown her away with a blizzard, or lit her ablaze, or even simply thrown a few more shadow balls at her, but he did nothing of the sort.  He simply allowed her to come at him, unmoving all the while, as if deliberately waiting.  He didn't bother to get into a battle stance, instead standing tall and straight, which would make avoiding and counterattacking more difficult.

He still wore indifference upon his face, his head low so as to hide himself from the prying eyes that were nowhere to be found.  Pointless as it was, he was quickly growing used to the idea of hiding himself, even when there was no point and nothing to gain.  He held his indifferent posture up until the absol was inches away from him, and only then did he bring himself into motion.  He ducked and sidestepped to the left to avoid the horn before pulling himself back into the same pose as before.  He could easily have simply frozen his fur and taken the hit, but he didn't even plan to let himself be hit, let alone bring his armor into it.  He had no intention of taking this absol seriously; his goal, after all, was to make her give up and go home.  With this singular goal in mind, he spun counterclockwise, aiming to swing his tail into her face.  He didn't bother turning his fur to icy quills, as he wasn't quite aiming to maim his target.  Still, he held nothing back in terms of raw strength, and he was confident the whiplashing attack would sting.

How many times would she swing before exhausting herself?  How many hits would she take before wanting to quit?  How long would she last before losing her determination to go on?  These were the questions running through Sova's mind, and he intended to answer them.

Look, I'm not complaining or anything, but aren't I the one who's supposed to like tormenting others?

I'm protecting her.

From herself, right?  Thought you wanted to stop doing that?

I'm not gonna force her to do anything.


Sova wanted to make Shaniqua see the error in her ways on her own, not to simply force her to do what he wanted.  This was different from how he'd acted for much of his life prior, mainly because he was giving the absol the choice to continue if she wanted to.  He was simply trying to get her to make the right choice for herself, and what better way than to show her what she was asking?  If she somehow managed to persevere and prove herself capable, well...

...She wouldn't.

Well I, for one, am rooting for her.

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PostSubject: Re: Rue    Wed Nov 01, 2017 7:39 pm

Sova hadn't thrown any attacks her way as she charged at him, and that made Shintara consider one of two things: one, he was saving his energy for something. Two, he was holding back. A lot more than she thought he needed to. Sure, she didn't want him trying to kill her or anything, but she was at least hoping he'd try his hardest. Maybe he didn't need to, but...his blatant displays of his lack of effort only fueled her more.

She lunged in and swung her head at him to try and strike the Glaceon, but at the last second his shape seemed to move away. His left, her right. With very little effort, he ducked and stepped away, and just as suddenly as that happened, his body spun towards her, an appendage heading right for her. Considering she had just attempted to scratch him with her horn, it didn't take much more effort to angle it forwards and brace herself for the contact, but that wasn't to say that parrying was a better decision then trying to dodge. It probably wasn't.

The Absol had avoided taking the tail directly to the face, but as it made contact with her horn, she felt a sharp pain. The attack might not have been anything special, but it was still plenty strong on its own. She let out a gasp and gritted her teeth, finding herself sent backwards once more from the force of the hit. Her legs nearly failed her, almost causing her to trip, but she caught herself. The sharp pain had quickly been replaced with a dull throbbing in her head, a constant reminder that trying to block a hit as strong as that wasn't a good idea for her.

She'd dealt with two attacks from the Glaceon, and she was already feeling the strain from taking him on. But she wasn't going to give up now, no. She knew that this was what she wanted to do, what she needed to do. Fighting opponents tougher than her would help her learn, and it would help her get stronger. And in her mind, that meant pushing herself as far as she could go. She was sure that fighting someone like Sova would be the best way to do that.

Wasting no time after parrying the hit, she dropped low to the ground and lunged back in at Sova, going for another swing of her horn at his face. As she did this, though, her front paws began to glow with a pink hue, and she brought one up to try and strike him while he was hopefully preoccupied with her initial attack. Her paw went for his uninjured side, hoping that if she managed to get a hit in, it would stagger the other Pokemon a bit.

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PostSubject: Re: Rue    Wed Nov 01, 2017 9:09 pm

The response was lacking, as expected; even such a simple attack was too much for this absol to properly respond to.  Still, she managed to do more than Sova had expected of her, at least managing to block it... or try to.  She positioned her horn to take the hit, but it did her no favors due to the sheer weakness of her body.  The response time was decent enough, but she wasn't strong enough to back such a maneuver up, and she should have known that.  Still, she took the hit and kept coming despite clearly having felt it, which showed some level of willfulness if nothing else.  Her attack pattern was growing more complex, indicating her understanding of the situation; she had learned quickly that a sloppy, rushed strike would do nothing.  Unfortunately for her, it was doubtful that any amount of effort would yield a different outcome.  The sheer power difference between the two was already apparent, and the thought of somehow overcoming that was... well, far-fetched.

Once more, Shaniqua lashed out with her horn, performing about the same as with her first attack.  Again, Sova purposely neglected to respond until the last second, at which point he ducked under the less-than-dangerous horn.  He caught the absol's paw coming up at him out of his peripheral vision, and for a moment, he actually wondered if perhaps she would land a blow.

She's gonna hit you.

Helpful input.  He lifted his own paw to intercept the absol's, knowing he could overpower her with ease.  His goal was to stop her strike, then drag her paw to the ground and pin it, still exerting the force he had demonstrated thus far.  Thinking ahead, he planned to take advantage of the loss of composure she would presumably go through after swinging her head at thin air and having her leg pinned down.  His muscles tensed as he prepared for his next attack; he knew the absol's chest would be exposed, so he intended to ram her and knock the wind out of her.  It would be a far cry from a proper skull bash, but he figured the plate on his forehead would still do the job well enough, and he didn't intend to hold back too much.  He was careful not to put enough force into his motions to accidentally do anything like crush her paw or break her ribs, but that wasn't to say he was trying not to hurt her.  She had quite literally asked for this, and now she was going to get it, whether she wanted to or not.

She's trying so hard.  Why not just let her win, make her feel good about herself and send her on her way?  "You have nothing to learn from me, young one."

Honestly, that sounded like it had the potential to work, and without having to beat on her so much.  Unfortunately...

You don't wanna throw a fight.  You're not so different after all, eh?

Sova couldn't deny the partial truth to this statement, in that he didn't want to intentionally lose a fight he knew he could easily win.  He wanted to change for the better, and his towering pride had been lessened in recent times, but he still didn't have quite enough humility to let someone challenge then beat him.  Despite this, his behavior was no longer driven by pride as it had been in the past...

It's not about that.  She wants me to fight her.  Losing on purpose would be... dishonorable.

He found a newfound interest in... honor...  This meant that, yes, he wanted to avoid losing a fight, but at the same time, he also wanted to honor this opponent's wish.  He didn't quite have enough honor to go all-out and start breaking her, but he wasn't going to lose just to make her feel good and leave him alone.  He wondered, though, how "honorable" it was to be trying to demoralize his opponent into quitting.

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PostSubject: Re: Rue    Thu Nov 02, 2017 11:47 pm

Once again, her strike using her horn missed, but that wasn't the important part. What was the important part was that her strike with her paw had failed too. The Glaceon had intercepted it with relative ease, pinning her paw down to the ground before ramming his head forward. The contact hurt, sending a burst of pain through Shintara's chest as she felt her body want to move back, only to find itself unable to due to her paw being held down. She choked out a cough and hunched her head downwards, taking a few quick breaths.

It hurt. She hadn't even been fighting him for a long time and it already hurt. She'd expected as much, but it was still...a little upsetting. But she wasn't going to give up. Absolutely not. Even if she was weak, she could avoid showing any further weakness by backing out of something she had wanted. Besides, his words still rang in her mind: survive, and she could come. She had never expected to win, and she didn't need to. As long as she kept at it, something would wear down eventually. Either her physical ability, or his patience.

She did have one idea here, though. She didn't know how much it would do, or if it would even work at all...and if it didn't work, she'd probably take a solid beating for her efforts, but...it was worth a shot, right?

She continued to look down for a few seconds, continuing to cough and collect herself. As she finished, she brought her head back up and 'looked' towards Sova. There was a ball of dark, purple energy gathering at her jaws as she looked to the ice type. Part of her wondered if this was really a good idea, considering how close she was to him. Would it do more to her than it did to him this close up? Probably.

The Absol figured she wouldn't be able to get her paw out from under Sova's by force, so doing something like this...even if it wasn't guaranteed, it was at least her best shot she could throw at it. Focusing her aim on Sova, she opened her jaws and fired the beam at him, a blast of dark energy firing out from her as she used Hyper Beam.

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PostSubject: Re: Rue    Fri Nov 03, 2017 1:36 am

Sure enough, the absol's speed and reflexes were too slow to keep up, and she was left to take the beating that resulted. Sova wasn't quite trying to kill her despite his demand for her to "survive," though he had hoped for it to help deter her; it clearly had not. The fight may as well have been over then and there, what with her effectively rendered helpless between her pinned leg and lack of breath, but of course, Sova wasn't trying to simply knock her out and leave it at that. Besides, using enough force to do so would have been risky, as he wasn't quite confident in his ability to hit the sweet spot between leaving her conscious and leaving her dead. At that, for someone with such slow reflexes, the absol was holding up surprisingly well, thinking of a way to free herself relatively quickly. Her counterattack was, in fact, too fast for Sova to get any more blows in, at least with how casually he was treating the fight. Due to the nature of the attack being directed at him, though, he doubted any more beating from him would have done much to stop it.

He could recognize a hyper beam thanks to his time wielding the same power, but also due to the... distinctiveness of it. There were surprisingly few moves that took the form of a massive repulsion of energy, and the mouth in specific was the most common place for the energy to manifest in a hyper beam. The second Shaniqua's maw opened, Sova knew what it was and backpedaled as quickly as he could in his condition. In truth, he wasn't too worried about the beam hurting him, but his reflexes were too refined for his own good. His body and mind were used to fighting, and so he had leapt away without much thought, releasing his prisoner. Having put a bit of distance between himself and his attacker, he had given himself a split second more to think his reaction through, and this was all the time he needed to decide that no matter how powerful a message of hopelessness it would have sent, he didn't want to simply let himself be hit by the attack... nor did he want to humor his foe by avoiding it after already having been pressed to release her due to the maneuver.

Besides, he had an idea for a much stronger message, and while it would require some exertion of energy and a bit of creative use of his own capabilities in a way he had yet to attempt, well, it seemed worth it. Bits of ice began forming in the air in front of him, quickly growing into large shards and falling toward the ground. Then, just as the beam was loosed, a strong wind whipped up in an up-and-down circular motion in front of him, powerful enough to suspend the rapidly multiplying flurry of ice in the air in a sort of cyclone. The beam collided dead-center with the mesh of ice being pulled together by the circling winds, and as if he had just created a solid wall, the energy came to a halt before reaching him. It struggled to rip through the chunks of ice, and when a piece finally gave, more came to take its place. dark aura of the beam was deflected to all sides and snuffed out through the whirling wind by stray particles of ice, painting the vortex with purple hues.

Without even a moment's hesitation, the glaceon took a confident step forward, the wind pushing itself ahead in tune with his movement and carrying the shield of ice shards along with it. Despite his inactive leg, he began a calm and controlled stride forward, the void of ice following along and continuing to eat the energy from the persisting beam. When the absol's attack finally died out, the winds ceased even more abruptly than they had begun, leaving the remaining ice to fall to the ground and shatter to pieces in front of the blue fox. Unscathed, he continued forward to swat the surely exhausted absol in the face with his tail, wasting not even a moment to let her collect herself. She was the one who'd asked for a fight, after all, and Sova intended to show her just how stupid this request was. He doubted she would be able to do anything to block or avoid his strike after having wasted her energy on a hyper beam, and so he intended to hit her without holding back, under the assumption that she would do nothing to resist.

Of course, it was still just his tail, but he was confident a firm, direct smack to the face would serve well enough to demoralize the naive girl.

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PostSubject: Re: Rue    Sat Nov 04, 2017 10:04 pm

For a moment, Shintara considered the possibility that maybe she'd land a blow on him. Her counterattack had been relatively fast, and he'd jumped back, freeing her from his grip. However, as the Glaceon prepared his defense, she couldn't help but feel equal parts amazed and mesmerized by what he did. It certainly wasn't anything conventional, but then again, the best things usually weren't, were they? He summoned enough shards of ice to protect himself before manipulating the wind to blow them all together, creating some kind of vortex shield. As he attack collided with it, she chipped some ice away, but more came to take its place.

When the beam of energy finally fizzled out, the Absol was left barely able to stand for the moment. Her legs buckled and shook as she took deep, heavy breaths(partly from the energy she'd exerted in her attack, and partly from the wind having been knocked out of her earlier.). Despite expecting him to use his shield to attack her in some way, Sova let the ice shards dropped and simply walked up to her.

Shintara tried to pick up her legs, made as best of an attempt to move as she could, but the powerful attack had left her worn out. She had no choice but to stay where she was and let the Glaceon walk up to her. While he did, she had enough time to think about what was going on here, and to come to a realization.

Sova was holding back.

It frustrated her. Sure, if he was holding back now she probably couldn't handle him at his most powerful, but...she hadn't sought him out expecting to beat him. She chose him because she wanted to fight the strongest Pokémon she could. To learn and get better. She didn't come to him for him to go easy on her and water down his attacks.

But she couldn't do anything about that. And she couldn't do anything about this. There was only one thing she could do.

Her face scrunched up, and she braced herself.

The attack hit, and it hit hard. His tail slammed into her face with all the force it would have before had she not blocked it. This time, she was unable to suppress a yelp of pain as the attack knocked her back, sending the Absol over onto the ground and skidding away. Pain coursed through her face as she finally came to a halt, and the rest of her body ached from the strain she'd put on it, and the energy she'd exerted in an effort to even try and keep up with the Glaceon. She stayed there for a moment, her breathing heavy.

The hit temporarily brought her mind back to another time, another place.

"Get up."

Harsh sunlight shined down on the desert dunes, the sand glistening in the day. The intense heat only served to further discomfort the poor Absol as she laid on the ground.

She could
feel her teacher's judging eyes on her, the figure keeping his distance as he watched her. He wanted her to get up again.

It hurt, both physically and emotionally. Her entire body ached, and she'd thrown everything she could at him, but she hadn't even been able to land a hit. She'd never fought the Umbreon before, and she knew he was much more experienced than her, but it still hurt. How could she get back up? If she did, they'd just go back to their training, and she's get hurt more...

"I-I can't..." She spoke quietly, hunching up on herself as she curled up on the ground. She felt her cheeks moisten as tears welled up in her eyes, and she shut her eyes tight to try and hold them back.

"...you can't." Shintara coughed and let out a quiet cry as he spoke, and she felt herself tense up as the Umbreon approached her. He wouldn't hit her while she was down or anything, he wasn't that cruel, but he was her teacher. He'd still have something to say, and she felt like his words would hurt more than any attack he could throw her way.

"You can't get up, or you can't win?"
"N-neither..."

He nodded his head, and sat down by her in the sand. It surprised her, she had expected him to try and get her to stand back up right away. What was he...?

"Do you know why you're fighting me right now? Instead of any of the other trainees?"

She 'looked' up to her teacher and tilted her head, unsure of what to say.

"You give up too easily. This isn't a lesson in winning. I never expected you to win. I expect you to learn, and I expect you to get back up when you go down. I expect you to keep getting up until you can't, not until you
won't. Now, again. Get. Up."

She could at least do that much.

The Absol groaned and stood back up. Her legs shook, and she stumbled as she got her footing, but she managed to stand at least. She took deep breaths, her chest heaving with every inhale and exhale.

"Y-you're going easy on me. Why?" She questioned the Glaceon, dropping into a crouch and angling her horn his way. She didn't throw another attack his way yet, but she stayed ready. Before she continued, Shintara wanted an answer.

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PostSubject: Re: Rue    Sun Nov 05, 2017 2:56 pm

As expected, the absol was left incapable of doing anything in her own defense after recklessly burning through her energy.  And again, as expected, she took the resulting backlash poorly; just a simple whip of Sova's tail was enough to lay her out on the ground.  She was weak and struggling to keep up, forcing her into reckless attacks to even try to follow along, and she failed all the same.  This was a waste of time, and one that could have been avoided, which instilled a sense of disappointment in Sova.  He had come to realize in recent times that he didn't enjoy hurting others, but this poor, naive girl wanted him to.  Fortunately, he was content that he had done enough damage to get his point across, that being that his opposition was outmatched and endangering herself by attempting to fight him.  Regardless, the fight was clearly over, and with the absol's weakness, she obviously wouldn't be getting back up.  It had barely even been a fight, so it was hard to believe she would be satisfied, but he had given her what she'd asked for.

Sova stared in silence at the collapsed absol for a moment before taking a step back an turning to walk away.  Then, before he had even turned his back to her, he froze in witness to a very unexpected development: she was getting up.  He took another idle step away from the absol, torn on whether to immediately attack her again or tell her to quit before she hurt herself.  He was growing hesitant to keep hitting her, his newfound morality weighing on him.  He hadn't expected for her to actually get up for a second round, and now that she had, he was beginning to realize she probably didn't plan to willingly give up.

Point: Shaniqua.

How the hell does her not instantly dying equal winning?

She's the underdog; makes her way cooler than you.

Wow, okay, thanks.


Senya's narration wasn't exactly helping much, but he did make one compelling point in that the absol's willpower was worth noting.  Whatever she was trying to get out of this fight, she very clearly wanted it, badly.  When she didn't immediately attack, Sova wondered if she had suddenly come to her senses, but of course, she was still striving for...  Was she trying to win?  Surely, she didn't think that a possibility?  But then, why continue when she knew she was going to lose?  Did she expect to learn from this fight, from being thrown around and effectively swinging at air?  Her words only reinforced this confusion muddling the glaceon's thoughts and holding him back from continuing the fight.  She wanted to know why he was going easy on her, as if that wasn't already obvious.  The simple answer was that he was trying not to kill her; while he was strong, he wasn't confident in his ability to systematically hurt someone without causing any serious injuries; at least, not without holding back significantly.  Control over his own strength had never been one of his natural skills, and while he had improved greatly in this area over time, he still didn't want to go risking someone's life just because they willed it.

Wuss.

Sova sighed before falling into a moment more of silence, mulling over how to respond.  Looking to the absol, he finally lifted his head to reveal his eyes and the dull, bitter look in them, though he doubted she could see such a detail.  "I'm trying very hard not to-" he started up only to come to a sudden silence as a sharp pain struck through him.  It seemed to originate from his heart, or more specifically, the beat of it; the feeling struck him in tune with his pulse, reverberating throughout his body and nearly bringing him to the ground.  He stumbled forward to catch himself from falling.  The pain subsided after a few seconds, leaving him feeling... numb.  He had gone a bit too far with his earlier display and was now paying for it.  He doubted he would ever grow accustomed to the ribbon's effects on his body, and he wondered if the incredible boost in power was worth it.  That was a tough decision to make, but in the end, he found himself consistently picking the higher capacity for power over his own comfort.

The ability to protect others was what he wanted, more than any personal gain.  That was why he tolerated the pain, and also why he refused to give it his all against this absol.  "...To break you.  If I were to put even the slightest bit of effort into hurting you, you'd have broken ribs and a slashed face right now," he elaborated, trying to make up for his abrupt pause.  He wanted to pull attention away from how he was hurting himself; the last thing he wanted was for this absol to start pitying him.  Perhaps that would get her to stop trying to fight him, but he didn't want that kind of victory.  Besides, if she decided to be worried about him, she'd probably just further insist on following him.

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