Realgam II (Sample post!)
Leo’s body was being held together almost purely out of willpower. The Shadow Pokémon of Tower Colosseum had been no joke, each and every one. He’d hoped Metagross would be the last - Nascour had reeked of ‘guy-in-charge’ from the day Leo had seen him, so long ago.
But where had he seen him, originally? Walking out of Mayor Es Cade’s house? Had he just left some kind of political strong-arming session? It seemed plausible at the time, but then Miror B was in the same house not long later, with two of his flunkies - no, that’s too many fools in one ship. And too big of a gap in power. Nascour alone should have been enough to convince anyone to play by their rules.
Which is why when Mayor Es Cade stepped out of that capsule, Leo instinctively put his arm out to keep Rui from approaching him.
“Oh! What’s this!” Affable, amiable voice poured out of the pudgy man like normal. “It’s not often an injured animal doesn’t turn on the person that put a collar on them, you know.” Affable voice, venomous words. Eyes sharper than the Mayor’s peered out from the balding man’s head, watching Leo intently.
He could have tried to throw out some witty barbs of his own, but he doubted he could have done so without expelling most of his heart in the process.
“Nothing to say? Then I don’t need to explain much further, do I? Yes, Es Cade was a ruse. One I took on after our first successful test of the Shadow Project. Our first test subjects, can you guess who they were?”
Leo’s eyes shifted, briefly, affording a flick to signify Nascour, who definitely used a lot more than gel and conditioner to make his hair do that. He refocused on Es Cade in an instant; no opening for attack. Not that it mattered, his vision was blurring.
“What a smart animal our girl has found! Yes, yes, Nascour was our Number 2. I won’t bother giving you any more guesses to our Number One.” Es Cade began to, for lack of a better term, crackle. The surviving tufts of hair on his head, which always struck Leo as being somewhat like Altaria wings, broke into the worst case of split ends he’d ever seen, until they were spiked and tough. His mustache, one of a proponent of diabetic healthcare, did the same - defying gravity to take on the appearance of someone that sent robots after brightly colored animals on Saturday mornings.
Even his clothes changed, tailored suit ripping at the sleeves and collar, buttons popping and outfit straining against his body. With unusual grace, the short and portly man spun on his heel before leaping into the air and slamming back down. The earth seemed to shake as he did so. “My true identity! Evice, Chief Operations Officer for the syndicate Cipher! As you might have suspected. You should be thankful to receive this boon of closure before your sun sets.”
I can’t fight him like this. My Pokémon are too weak. We can’t hope to…to… Before Leo fell to his knees, flickers of light, barely visible, arced over his Pokeballs. An aroma of deep woods and damp leaves overcame him, just briefly. His mind flickered with thoughts, to the feeling of the solidity of stone; somewhere, somewhere was calling him. Not to demand his attention, but to bolster his strength. He stood straighter. The pain was there, but it mattered less.
It didn’t matter if they couldn’t. They didn’t have the choice to fail. So they would simply succeed.
Evice’s Pokemon hit the field. A Slowking with eyes filled with weary cunning; a malicious grin of worn teeth. For a Slowking to actually look old, this one must have been around for a long time indeed, and carried the confidence of being around long after this. Its partner Slaking sat up on its hindquarters, supported on its palms. Similarly old, but the menacing kind of old of a Pokemon that had reached its long life span by fighting for it. Moss grew in its fur that wouldn’t let go; you could shave that Slaking and it would probably grow vines back along with its fuzz.
Leo’s mind cooked. Slow but sturdy special attacker. A physical attacker that, while mighty, could only act when it felt like it; it attacked half as often as most other Pokémon. This seemed suspiciously easy. He’d start with care.
His Espeon and Umbreon emerged from their balls. Their previous wounds gone; they looked fresh as daisies, in fact. He’d wonder how or why later. They could adapt to anything Evice threw out, that’s what he needed them to do. Leo was ready for an assault that built up steadily; so he’d make that hard. “Echo! Reflect! Uniform, throw some poison out at the Slowking!” The Espeon’s eyes flickered and hexagonal lights appeared, interlocked with each other, and vanished; an invisible guard for his team. The Slowking didn’t even try to dodge the Umbreon’s spewing of a noxious poison, splashing its body. Within a few seconds, it seemed to respond to being splashed, and made a disgusted and annoyed face.
“Skill Swap, if you please.” Evice’s voice was being filtered through the world’s quietest megaphone these days.
Slowking formed an odd orb of light around its body and launched at its own teammate. The second it connected with Slaking, the fatigue disappeared from its face; it stood tall and flexed it muscles. “Good! Bulk up, boy!” The Slaking did as instructed, breathing in deep. Its body’s muscles exploded into existence, what seemed like passable pudge becoming a wall of burliness in seconds.
And then the fight was on, and Leo wasn’t sure about the rules anymore, because a Slaking was rushing his Espeon down with massive fists, leaning into the Psychic-type with no signs of letting up. “Crush Claw! Crush Claw!!” Echo was darting under the Slaking’s fists, believing that if he kept close to his opponent’s body, it would be harder to punch him. Nobody factored in that a 'claw’ could come from a lot of places; the Slaking’s foot slammed into Echo’s side and sent him sprawling. Those hexagons lit up, and it gave Evice pause. “Ah yes, your pesky barrier.”
“Uniform!” Leo was panicking, he could feel it, and he couldn’t get himself to stop. “Slow that thing down! Bring down the lights!” His Umbreon fired off a confuse ray; the Slaking seemed to ignore it, shrugging away the attack. He’d picked up Slowking’s ability, that was right - he couldn’t be confused now. So what was Slowking doing?
Enjoying medical treatment, apparently, with Evice spraying a restorative over the Slowking to remove the toxins Uniform had sprayed out. “Tsk, tsk. I used to enjoy the slow game, you know. Toying with my opponents. But then everyone started thinking barriers and poisons would work on me. So I had to get aggressive, to prove I can’t be pushed over. Slaking! Deal with that shield, won’t you!”
The Slaking’s arm came down, a chop like a log falling over shattering through Echo’s Reflect. Maybe a Psychic-type resisted Fighting-type attacks like Brick Break, but it didn’t have the durability to do it often. He couldn’t afford to keep Echo in to set up new barriers.
“Romeo, I’m tagging you in!” Echo vanished from what could have been a crater in the stage in a flash of light, and was replaced with a Raikou. “Light 'em up!”
“Another Skill Swap, please!”
That eerie orb of light left Slowking again, but instead of aiming for its partner, it was pointed squarely at Raikou. The lightning tried to ram it away, but the light dodged and weaved lazily. Slowking took the blow - a few seconds after it actually hit him - and grumbled, nearly falling over from the pain. Romeo hit the ground first, yawning after the light connected, and rolling over onto his side as if to catch a nap.Leo sucked in a slow breath. “Are you absolutely serious…”
Evice flashed a fang-filled smile. “Oh, that’s all a part of getting old. A nap makes the approach of death so much more bearable, don’t you think?”