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 Our Hearts are Dynamite, Alexander and co. Training
Korosensei
 Posted: Jan 6 2016, 07:19 PM
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Stupidface McNoctowl
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Head Moderator
Total Posts: 1393
Member No. 1923
Joined on 24-February 15.


Characters:
Alexander Fitzgerald | Emilie Chartoire | Talia

Awards: 4




Pokemon: Victor, Hitmontop

Goals:
- Victor begins working on Swagger
- Hitmontop starts learning how to focus his mind and hopefully decrease the impairment from confusion status
- Bonding between Alexander, Victor, and Hitmontop
- Alexander starts aptitude: handling of fighting-type pokemon (based on experience from machamp and with Hitmontop in this thread)

=============

"Hitmontop!" the fighting-type pokemon called out triumphantly as he exited his poke ball. He excitedly bent his knees and jumped onto his head, spinning a bit until he felt his feet interacting with something.

"Whoa!" Alexander stumbled over, his bottom to the gruond, as Hitmontop quickly stopped whirling and righted himself, looking down at his trainer's prone form.

Hitmontop poked at Alexander with his hand. "Top?" he said quizzically.

Alexander groaned and sat up, then gave his pokemon a wide smile. "You're doing so great, Hitmontop - I just wasn't expecting you to be practicing your rolling kicks right as soon as you got out of the ball!" As the fighting-type gave him a polite bow, his mind flashed back to his machamp. The pokemon had been with him for five years, far less time than this hitmontop, and yet this pokemon seemed to be equally motivated, if for different reasons. Machamp scarcely needed a reson for his fists to start flying, and most of his training had involved restraint and control. Alexander's delicate job as an interrogator didn't have room for a pokemon that jumped to conclusions and started punching as soon as he was let in the room. Hitmontop, on the other hand, seemed to be able to control himself a bit better, although this might be because of the inherent balance in his evolutionary form.

Alexander was beginning to get curious now about how Hitmontop might be able to defend himself better than machamp did. Machamp was a glass cannon in a way, and even though his muscles were broad and his body was intimidating, he was generally so surpised by an attack that he failed to respond properly in time, leaving himself prone to follow-up attacks. Considering Hitmontop's entry in the pokecard and the way he had evolved based on a desire for balance between an attacking and defensive battle strategy, Alexander suspected he might have more of a talent than machamp did for the art of defending himself. It was time for a test of sorts, a preliminary way of seeing where he was starting out.

And yet, there was no way he was going to train Hitmontop alone. Alexander had noticed that Hitmontop and Victor seemed to have been talking more lately among themselves, and if they didn't seem to be very friendly, at least they seemed to be on speaking terms. Alexander also couldn't deny his curiosity to test the mime's capabilities and see what he could do. He would try the unusual art of double training and hope the pokemon would encourage and help each other rather than getting too antagonistic.

That was why he needed to start with Hitmontop. Victor was volatile at times, even more so during battles, when he often got defensive or protective over himself or others. Alexander trusted that he could work with Hitmontop and find a way to bring Victor into the activity, but they would need to come up with a plan beforehand. "I was thinking we could work on some training today."

"Hitmontop?" the fighting-type asked with a curious look on his face. The light in his eyes betrayed his excitement, but for now he would try to stay quiet and listen.

"I was thinking about helping you hone your focus in battle." He knew of the need to focus. Power was nothing without being able to hone it and use it in the proper way, save it for the right time and then unleash the right amount. Machamp had never really seemed able to control his temper well enough to master this skill, which is why he wanted to use this as his first training exercise with Hitmontop. He would try to use some of the same techniques and exercises he had used with machamp and see how different the response was from this newer pokemon. "Focus is essential to battling. Using moves is very effective, but you'll need to balance the use of moves with the ability to react actively to what your foe is doing." He stopped talking for a moment to look at Hitmontop. The pokemon was kneeling respectfully nearby. "I was thinking we could do some exercises with Victor to help you hone your focus in battle. Are you all right working with him?"

"Top top!" Hitmontop said enthusiastically as he got to his feet.

"Not yet, Hitmontop. First I'll tell you about something I used to do with my machamp that might help you in today's exercises." Hitmontop looked at his handler solemnly and nodded. "When you fight against a pokemon, there's no telling what kind of moves it knows. Just learning its type isn't necessarily indicative of what it'll be able to do. This is true even on our team - this week I took Victor to the move tutor, and he learned a new move. Ice Punch isn't something you'd usually expect from a psychic-type or a fairy-type, yet he's able to learn it. A good trainer uses these moves to his advantage, so a good battler will need to learn how to focus on the battle at hand without getting distracted by the flashy attacks their opponent may be using." He smiled at the thought of Victor's fist glowing white with ice. It had been an unusual move choice, but he had no doubt it would prove useful in battles to come.

"Top?" Hitmontop asked, almost as if wondering what to do about this fact.

"What I'm trying to say is, you can't control your opponents or their movepools, but you can control how you react and respond to the stimuli of battle. If you keep your mind on the goal, if you concentrate on what must be done by the end of the battle, you'll find that it's easier to forget the little movements every human and pokemon is doing. It might even help you dodge some things subconsciously."

"Hitmontop," the fighting-type said, but whether he was thinking of goals or wondering about their meaning was unclear to Alexander. Sometimes he wished he had a more reliable way to hear his pokemon's thoughts, but that was something for another time.

"I'll give you some examples," Alexander said, hoping Hitmontop understood enough of what he had meant before to be able to connect to the following examples. "I don't get into too many battles, so I'll use an imaginary scenario. If we can pretend I'm battling against the Trictess..." He allowed himself to slip into the daydream he'd imagined many times before. He took steady breaths through his nose, yet his heart rate still rose simply from the anticipatory excitement of when the day would finally arrive. He doubted he'd be able to challenge her directly, but he loved to picture it. The image of the Trictess, someone who many people thought were invincible, brought to heel by the Fitzgerald brothers. Together, after he befriended the yamask bearing his brother's soul. "There would be a lot going on in the battle. There would be at least two humans - Blackwell and I - and she'd likely have a few lieutenants, and I'd likely have a few Guardians with me." He preferred to think of the simple one-on-one interaction, though, so for the rest of the explanation he would keep it this way.

"Let's make it so it's just me and her. That's two humans and we'd likely have three or more pokemon on the field each. For argument's sake, we'll say you, Victor, and Corvus for right now." He didn't want to get too ahead of himself by presuming he would be able to catch the yamask, nor did he want to order his brother around in this situation. "And she's got her... absol, glalie, and walrein." He tried to think back to the research he had done about her in his frantic confusion after Casper's death. "Each human and pokemon on the field would have a goal, something that they're trying to achieve, in order to achieve the ultimate goal - victory in battle."

He allowed a brief vision of himself over the Trictess's bloodied corpse to linger in his mind for just a moment before he continued. "If there were three pokemon on each side, the pokemon's goals would likely be to incapacitate a single enemy before helping a teammate with their battle. Sticking with our scenario, if you were fighting against the glalie, all of your effort would be on the glalie. It wouldn't matter how many arrows soared through the air or if anyone was bleeding or if Victor looked like he was in trouble or if the yamask materialized out of nowhere. None of that would matter to you. All that would matter is glalie. How it floats, where it goes, if it hides behind a tree. Finding it, pursuing it, getting it. Landing an attack. And not getting distracted by anything else at all." And he would focus on her face. The smug grin she was said to keep nearly always. The way she would likely laugh when she found out who he was. There was no way he would be distracted from her. "And then, suppose you win against the glalie or incapacitate it somehow. Then your focus turns to the whole battle. What your teammates are doing, how you can help them. You pick a new goal - fast - and you focus on that one. And you do that until the end of the battle. Until we win." The image of himself over her body.

Hitmontop thought over the scenario. He could see the merits of thinking solely about one thing, but he had never tried to do that before. What if he got distracted, and Alexander wasn't proud of him? He would try, but there was of course no guarantee of success. "Hitmontop," he said with as great resolve as he could muster. As if he was saying, I'm ready. Bring it on.

Alexander smiled. "Now that we've got a game plan, want to bring Victor in?"

"Top!" Hitmontop said, eager to try Alexander's plan.

Alexander picked Victor's poke ball out of his belt and released the mr. mime. Unlike Hitmontop, Victor didn't immediately take an attack stance or try to do much of anything. He stood still, looking around, and then noticed the hitmontop practically quivering with anticipation near his legs. "What do you want?" he asked, and although the words may have sounded confrontational, he simply did not know a friendlier way to ask this question, and he was not one to skirt around a point for the sake of politeness. Alexander, of course, only heard him saying "Mime" in the direction of the fighting-type pokemon.

"We're going to do some training together, you and me!" Hitmontop said in an excited voice, trying to get Victor excited about it too.

The mime arched an eyebrow. "Joy," he said sarcastically, although he didn't refuse immediately. He had never done any sort of training before. Anything he had done was self-taught, and he had always intended to keep it that way. After all, he never believed he could learn anything from a human before, so why change now?

Hitmontop looked taken aback for a moment, but he was not the kind to give up right away, especially with something he considered quite worthy of his attention. "I think it's valuable. Alexander has a plan, a good plan. We have to learn how to focus so that we can beat the Trictess," he offered.

Victor was quite taken aback. He had worked with a Guardian before Alexander long enough to know that the Guardians and the Order were constantly pitted against each other, and that the upper echelons of both organizations were incredibly powerful and held each other at a stalemate. He doubted that Alexander would be able to challenge a Trictess, no matter how strong his convictions. Which did seem to be strong for a human, but still. He remained unconvinced. "It is a fool's errand. Accompanying him will only lead to death if he attempts this."

Hitmontop hadn't considered this possibility. He didn't even want to think about it, though - it was just a scenario, right? Right? "That's not what we're doing now. Just a little step."

"A step closer to death" was Victor's short reply.

"But I'm still going to try!" Hitmontop said. Victor looked down at the fighting-type, wondering if he could put his moves where his mouth was.

Alexander heard his pokemon's voices increasing in volume and decided to step in, hopefully before a fight broke out. "Hey, Victor," he greeted the mime, who returned his greeting with a single arched eyebrow. Undeterred, Alexander continued speaking. "Hitmontop and I were talking about focus in battle, and I was wondering if you'd like to help us with that. Will you be Hitmontop's opponent?" Victor nodded, his eyes on the fighting-type beside him.

"Hitmontop, I'd like you to set a goal of touching Victor. You don't need to use any attacks, we don't want anyone to get hurt." This statement alarmed the mime - how was anyone going to get trained in anything if they didn't get hurt? - but for now he kept his silence. "Victor, can you create some barriers and obstacles for Hitmontop to get around?"

Victor thought about it for a moment, then a rather unusual feeling came over him. He wanted to try something new, something he had only thought of. It was a risky move on his part, but his way of contributing to things as of yet was not following orders. He would create obstacles for Hitmontop, but in his own way. And he would not observe the silly rule that no one would get hurt.

He squared his shoulders as Hitmontop jumped in the air and landed on his head and started to spin, slowly at first and then with increasing speed. Victor held himself with a very straight posture and took in several deep breaths. He was more than a match for this young hitmontop. He had been through so much pain, so much struggle, and so many more years of life than the young fighting-type. He was powerful where Hitmontop was not. He was capable where Hitmontop was not. He fixed the pokemon with a glare in which he attempted to show these emotions. And the hitmontop stopped spinning.

Victor took a few alarmed steps back as Hitmontop stilled, his eyes blinking rapidly. "Focus, Hitmontop. He's your opponent. You need to touch him, that's your goal - " He stopped talking when he saw the faraway, glazed look in Hitmontop's eyes. "Is he... confused?" Alexander mused aloud, then looked at the befuddled Victor. What had he done? All he had seen was a squaring of the shoulders and a powerful glare... He opened the pokecard and flipped to mr. mime's page as Hitmontop wobbled and Victor stared at him in an equally puzzled way. Alexander looked through Victor's moves. "Did you use Confusion?" he asked the mime.

"Mime?" Victor replied in a quizzical tone. It seemed he hadn't, at least, because he hadn't produced a wave of pink or purple light that Alexander or Hitmontop had seen. Alexander returned to the pokecard, and after he ran his finger over the moves Victor knew several times, he looked over at a new section. What he could learn, specifically...

"Victor," Alexander asked in a careful voice, "Did you just use Swagger?"

Well, his attitude had certainly displayed swagger, but was that an actual move? Victor was nearly as puzzled as Hitmontop, who toppled over, shaking his head. Within a few minutes he had regained his composure, although the same could not be said for Victor. Had he really used a new move? What were the steps he had used? What had he done? He stretched his arms and pulled his posture straight, looking at Hitmontop's face as he sat on the ground. There was no change in his eyes. Then he glared at him, folding his arms in frustration.

Even Alexander could see something this time. There was a faint red glow around Victor and that same glow echoed in Hitmontop's eyes. The fighting-type struggled to keep his eyes open and turned to Alexander. "You can do it - fight through this! Both of you - Victor, give it all you've got! Hitmontop, he's your goal, just touch him and you win!" Now the stakes were set and both pokemon were trying something new. But what would happen?

The first attempt did not go well. Victor crossed his arms and glowed red and Hitmontop too glowed red, but his confusion seemed to get in his way. He careened around the field, making Alexander run more than once from his wild spinning. Victor, in turn, used the opportunity to use his Barrier move over and over, creating the obstacle course Alexander had requested earlier, but in his own way. He smirked as the fighting-type careened into a barrier and fell down, but when he didn't immediately rise, Victor approached and reached down a hand.

Hitmontop, confused in more ways than one, lashed out at Victor. The mime erected a quick Barrier in front of himself and protected himself from the wild hit, but with shock he noticed that the move Hitmontop was attempting to use looked and felt much more powerful than usual. Victor looked over towards Alexander in alarm, and found the handler looking equally surprised.

Alexander's mind was churning, filled with ideas of how to work with this new development. He quickly turned to the pokecard, which only confirmed what he saw. When a pokemon was hit with Swagger, its attack increased dramatically, even though it had the Confused status condition. An idea struck his mind - could he teach Victor and Hitmontop to use the potential of Swagger together? The mime, with his powerful prowess, could learn the new move and perform it reliably in battle after practicing it more... and Hitmontop, the steadfast fighter, could use the skill of focus, the very skill he had been learning about before Victor's discovery, to overcome the confusion and simply gain the attack bonus!

Fired up by the energy of his new idea, Alexander yelled, "Focus!" He was so focused himself that he was nearly screaming out of excitement. "You can do it! Both of you! Focus!"

The mime took his words to heart and, feeling safe behind the Barriers he could construct, folded his arms and straightened his posture and the moment he opened his eyes in a sharp glare, he knew his move had worked. He glowed a little more fiercely than before. Alexander had no doubt he would eventually glow as bright as a burning sun with the move once he learned to use it to its full potential. The glare hit Hitmontop in the eyes, which once again glowed red. Hitmontop's mind also responded to the stimulus, and yet within the confusion, he tried with all his mind to listen to his handler... and promptly spun into a newly constructed Barrier. Victor didn't know whether to laugh, as he previously would have done, or cringe from the painful-looking bruise on Hitmontop's foot.

The fighting-type opened his eyes, no longer red, and looked at Alexander. "Before the attack hits, I want you to think about what we talked about," he said, indicating to Victor that he wanted him to try another Swagger attack. Victor stretched out his arms, preparing to cross them again on Alexander's signal. The mime would obey at his signal, if only for the curiosity. He wanted to hear what Alexander was going to do to help Hitmontop. "That red light in your eyes makes you stronger - that's what made you hit the Barrier so hard," he said as he looked down at the pokemon's bruise. He doubted himself then, for asking a wounded pokemon to continue. "Erm... that is, if you're feeling okay," he said ashamedly.

Hitmontop flexed his foot a few times, noting that it hurt but wasn't enough to incapacitate him. "Hitmontop!" he said excitedly. He was still in the fight. He smiled at Victor, indicating to the psychic-type that he was not at all angry. It was a practice battle, after all - and he would save any anger he held for more important things.

"That's great," a relieved Alexander replied, then continued with his previous instructions. "That light makes you stronger, like I said. So when you see the red, your goal is to use that strength to hit your opponent. You'll be able to do more damage. It'll feel strange at first, but I saw you fighting it back there. If you can fight it long enough, you might be able to surprise a pokemon or handler who might think you're out of the fight because you're confused. Just take it one moment at a time and remember your goal. Just to get closer. Just to touch Victor. I know you can do it, and Victor does too - that's why he's putting up those Barriers," he said confidently. "We both believe in you." Victor was feeling more curiosity than belief at this point, but he nodded, if only to see how that would spur Hitmontop to act more.

Hitmontop was determined. He was fierce, and he was strong. He would touch Victor. He would win his battle. And, one day, if the time came, he would help Alexander fight against the Trictess too. He owed it to the handler for being so patient. He nodded to his opponent and to his handler. He was ready to begin.

Victor crossed his arms and concentrated his energy on sending light out of his eyes. He glowed and so did Hitmontop's eyes, shining bright red. He could feel the waves of confusion hitting him, the nausea, the dizziness. He flipped over and started to spin. The dizziness didn't seem so much when he was already spinning. He just needed to look for a blur. A single blur of purple on white. The dot on the mime's belly. He looked at the dot and saw something shining between them. A wall. He spun, again and again, reeling from the confusion and spun faster and the shiny thing was to his left and not in front of the belly dot anymore and he could see it clearly again, the mime's hands waving in the air, more shiny things in the air, and Alexander shouting "Focus!" and the word helped him remember, helped him gain just a bit of consciousness and spin forward even faster and -

Victor fell over with an alarmed gasp. How had the fighting-type managed to dodge several Barriers while being confused and still whack him with a kick strong enough to make his cheek red? He scarcely felt the wound to his face. He simply considered the surprise, the fact that the dizzy and confused Hitmontop had managed to land a hit. Granted, it was only one hit, but it was far more than he had expected from the fighting-type he had once considered weak. This one attack alone proved what multiple conversations with the hitmontop hadn't - that he had higher faculties, that he could reason. He could think and focus and use the power of his mind to guide his power, as Victor himself did. And somehow, Alexander had known this. Alexander, the trusting one who had trusted him not to attack even though he had previously killed three men. Alexander had known, or if he hadn't known for sure, he had believed. Perhaps it was time for Victor to believe a bit as well.

He reached a hand down to pull Hitmontop to his feet. "Thanks," the fighting-type said in a voice betraying how tired he was from this attempt. And yet, he sounded proud, of himself and his handler. They had worked together in a way they hadn't before.

"You deserved it" was Victor's curt response, yet he wished to speak with Hitmontop more later. Perhaps there was something there he hadn't seen before. And when he approached Alexander, with Hitmontop's traditional gesture of a handshake, he meant that as well. Alexander had seen something in Hitmontop that Victor, a psychic-type, couldn't see. He had seen from his heart and not his head. Victor had never trusted enough to even try to do this before, but he was willing to learn. He was open to training, after all.

--------------------

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The Stonehearted Lady

Past Characters


Korosensei's Post Count Rewards
Caledonia picture by August! Alexander and Casper sprites by Mackay!
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Grimm
 Posted: Jan 12 2016, 09:55 PM
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Evil, Sadistic Custard.
******
Members
Total Posts: 715
Member No. 785
Joined on 9-January 13.


Characters:
Lauren Kilfelter, Josie Walter, Matthew Newgrange

Awards: None


Writing Quality and Length: 5/5
No complaints there.

Training Effectiveness/Creativity/Plausibility: 3/5
Alex built a good base for his pokemons, and the way they trained are fine, but I'd like to see more details on each pokemon understanding how each move works--especially for Victor, since I feel that the beginning of Swagger came out of nowhere given that he is psychic and fairy, not normal-type. If you can write him connecting his new move to what he already knows, you can raise the percentage you earned for the move. http://i832.photobucket.com/albums/zz241/HarperRegion/Sprites/Emoticons/1.png

WOW Factor: 1/2
The characters are great! You write them as individuals very, very well, and I also love that Alexander is able to show off his more caring side in this piece, since if I remember correctly he can be very violent as an interrogator.

Grand Total:
  • +9 EXP for Victor AND Hitmontop
  • Hitmontop has a 53% chance of succeeding an attack while Confused (rather than 50%)
  • Victor gains 5% with Swagger!
  • Alexander needs to work more specifically with fighting-type pokemons if he wants to earn that aptitude. Right now, though, I'll give him +3 points in General Pokemon Handling, which will also begin at Rate 3, since he's not completely abysmal at it.

--------------------
Logan Quengrace (Guardian)

Matthew Newgrange (Handler)

Serena Chalice (Handler)

Character Sprites Created by Mackay and Khaleesi!
~~
PCR
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Korosensei
 Posted: Jan 26 2016, 07:13 PM
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Stupidface McNoctowl
*******
Head Moderator
Total Posts: 1393
Member No. 1923
Joined on 24-February 15.


Characters:
Alexander Fitzgerald | Emilie Chartoire | Talia

Awards: 4




Pokemon: Victor, Gyro

Goals:
- Alexander starts aptitude: Weapon Proficiency: Bastard Sword so he can start using his elemental weapon (reference)
- Gyro helps with the training and practices his fighting stances
- Victor follows along with the training and tries to use different poses to better learn how his Swagger move works

=============

Alexander and Victor waited together in the yard outside the Guardian base in Dedrius. Thankfully, Alexander had chosen a mild winter's day to begin working with his new weapon. He had bought it from a salesman in Dedrius who promised it would be extremely light to bear and effective in its strikes, and he had only needed to pick it up to realize it was so much lighter than his usual halberd that he would need training to know what to do with it. Luckily, the Guardians provided trainers on most of the bases, and a bastard sword was not exactly that difficult to find a trainer for.

Alexander held the sword in his hands. It was light, of course, and it looked as shiny and new as the day it was made. It didn't have any decorations, but at the same time, it didn't have a single scratch. Perhaps this was an unusual quality of the weapon, which could prove to be a blessing in disguise. It was a common stereotype that someone fighting with a shiny new weapon was inexperienced; if the weapon stayed new-looking as he used it, it might throw off potential attackers. However, this would only work if he could learn what to do with it.

Since Alexander had been a Guardian for five years, he didn't have to wait long to arrange an appointment with Sherman Beauchamp, the local trainer. He had never met this Sherman fellow before, having always opted to do things on his own. He used to be a much more solitary person, but since Casper's death, he kept making more attempts to reach out to people. He had realized that a good ally was worth more than one person could be alone...

He was snapped out of his daydreams by a barking voice calling, "You there! If you want my time, you'll have to do better than that!"

Alexander nearly jumped out of his skin upon hearing the voice. Even Victor looked somewhat alarmed and responded with a cool "Mime."

When Sherman got close enough to speak in a normal voice, he looked at Alexander disapprovingly. "You don't even have your sword out," he grumbled.

Alexander tried to be polite. "I'm Alexander Fitzgerald, it's a pleasure to meet you," he said.

Sherman took out a sword and, in a quick movement, lunged for Alexander. "Unless you have time for pleasantries, I suggest you take out your sword and we get started! Order rogues won't play peek-a-boo with you if you give them a chance," he said. His sword looked old and had many notches. Clearly it was the sword of a master swordsman - even though he didn't exactly seem to be likable, he must have some skill.

Alexander took his weapon out gently. He didn't want to get any finger marks on it, thinking Sherman would have something to say if the weapon was in less-than-perfect condition. Instead, Sherman nearly dropped his own weapon in surprise. "Oho, nobody told me you had a special weapon! Infused with elements, yes? Although, which one..." He puzzled over the sword, passing it from hand to hand and inspecting the pommel carefully. He swung it a few times in the air. "I see no special markings, and it's not making any sort of sparks or flames... fighting-type, I assume. You should have an easy time learning with this weapon - but don't at all think I'll let you get away easy!"

Alexander was quite intrigued. He knew the weapon was special, but he hadn't thought it was one of the elemental weapons. He had simply thought it was an expensive sword for one reason or another. He smiled, nevertheless, to hear the news. He accepted the sword back with a smile. "So, where do we begin?"

"Stances," Sherman said, then took half a step back with his left foot. "Do you favor your right or your left?"

Before Alexander answered, he got an intriguing idea. "My right - and I have an idea, do you think my hitmontop could watch me work and try to practice some of his fighting stances too?"

"We don't have all day, you know," Sherman said initially, but his face betrayed that he was enthusiastic to see a real live hitmontop. "But if your hitmontop needs to practice..." he added, never quite giving permission but never quite saying no either.

Alexander pulled Gyro's poke ball out of his belt and summoned the fighting-type, letting him spin on his head for a few moments until he called him over. "Gyro, I was thinking you might learn something from watching me learn how to use this new sword. I know you're eager about new fighting techniques," he said, and had to chuckle just a bit when the rather polite hitmontop righted himself and walked over to Sherman and shook his hand.

"Well, golly...." the trainer said in a pleased voice. "But we have to train! Take your sword in your right hand - it shouldn't be too heavy for you, especially since it's one of those elemental ones - and... I'll be your opponent. Point your right foot at me and angle your left foot as you put it a bit behind. Yes, kind of like that... no, no, not that far back... Blade up by your sternum, hold it steady there - don't want to cut your own head off - and angle the sword just a little, try to point at me but not straight-on... what is that hitmontop doing?"

Alexander tried to assume the stance and felt Sherman's hands patting at his body as he looked over at Gyro. The hitmontop was staring at Alexander quite intently, trying to place his legs in that position as well. He had a huge smile on his face - clearly he didn't think this was work. "He's copying me. Like Victor - hey, Victor, it looks like he's trying to mimic me. Not with a move like you do, but still, that's a good job, Gyro!" The hitmontop kept smiling and adjusting his position.

It seemed the only one who wasn't amused by the hitmontop's antics was Victor. The mr. mime paced angrily. The hitmontop was already in a proper stance, which irked the mime even more. How dare he try to mimic? That was his move, and it belonged to him alone! He tried to think of how he could mess with the hitmontop's solid form that even the trainer was nodding at. Perhaps...

He thought back to their last training session, when Alexander had tried to help Gyro and yet somehow it was Victor who had started picking up a new move. It had started when he was trying to stare down the hitmontop. He had folded his arms and apparently that movement had set it off. But now, as he watched the trainer help Alexander into something called a "high guard" stance, he had a different idea. Why didn't he try to experiment with using Swagger in different poses?

He found the move difficult to summon. It was an accident when he did it for the first time, and he found that he generally had to fuel it with some sort of emotion. Whether it was anger or jealousy or fierce pride after a victory, it seemed he could use Swagger best when he could channel some feeling of superiority. He looked at the hitmontop as he tried to move into the new position along with Alexander. He tried to let his negative thoughts consume him - given his background, this was not at all difficult for him to do - and tried to concentrate on sending some sort of light out of his eyes. That's what it had been, right?

He kept his eyes fixed upon the hitmontop and let his feelings build. Gyro was being praised, now, for mastering something called an "open low stance" with aplomb. I could do that too, Victor thought...

"Is this all of them?" Alexander asked, holding his sword diagonally across his body. It was an awkward position for him, especially since his previous weapon was a halberd and that was never a move he had used.

"Almost - there's only one left, and that's the hanging guard. You'll need to hold the blade in your palm fully this time and put your feet - like this - " For someone who was so rude at the beginning, now that he was concentrating, he seemed to forget that there were any boundaries at all as he helped Alexander adjust his body to fit the proper pose. He smiled. "Now it looks like you've got it - and your hitmontop too. What a smart fellow, he's doing great... although, why is he moving like that?"

Alexander looked over to find a red light shining in Gyro's eyes. "Is he... Gyro? Gyro, did Victor use Swagger on you?"

The only response was a laugh from the mr. mime who, oddly enough, was in a perfect hanging guard stance.

Alexander didn't really know how to react. Was he supposed to let the pokemon bicker among themselves, or was he supposed to interfere? Gyro stood still, looking dazed; Alexander had no doubt that he would have trouble doing a move at the moment despite his prior training. He sighed. He might as well push on. When Victor got the idea to do something, there was no way he could dissuade him from that path.

"Victor's been learning a new move too - looks like he wants a piece of the action." He shrugged, trying to distract Sherman from the mime's bad behavior.

Sherman, however, was not so easily distractable. "Tell him to get his own space, we need to work here. Now that I've shown you the stances, I want you to work on some basic attacks. Is that too much for you?"

"Not at all," Alexander said, although he internally cringed at the way Sherman had insulted Victor. There was no doubt the mime wouldn't take it well.

And indeed he didn't. As Alexander returned to the first stance - middle guard - and began learning about how to strike in seven ways, Victor was seething. How dare the human speak to him in this way! He almost wished his moves could affect humans... although Alexander would likely frown upon a murder attempt, some confusion would likely go over well. He tried the different stances as Alexander swung his sword at absolutely nothing. He concentrated, honing his feelings, honing his eyes... but they weren't so connected yet that he could do it every time. He just had to keep trying and not get distracted.

This feat would end up not being easy considering Gyro's next move. The hitmontop darted in front of Alexander's blade and Alexander only barely managed to swing away in time. Panting, he nearly shouted at Gyro, "You're going to get hurt! You can't get that close!" Gyro, in turn, went over to Sherman, who was demonstrating in slower strokes. Sherman was, at the moment, aiming for the right shoulder of an imaginary opponent. He very carefully approached the human and then ducked out of the way.

Sherman laughed deeply. "I think they must be competing or something - and he wants an opponent," he guffawed. "Who would have ever thought a hitmontop would want to fight like that?"

Alexander asked, "Gyro, is this true?" A polite bow from the hitmontop gave him an affirmative answer. It was dangerous, but if Gyro really wanted to... He looked over at Victor. The mime looked so angry that his head seemed liable to explode. Well, there was only one way to push both pokemon to learn even more. "Come over here, Gyro, and make sure I can see you at all times. I don't want to hurt you by accident."

Alexander swung in the seven directions, ups and downs and diagonals, and each time Gyro dove out of the way. "You're getting faster," Alexander praised. "Keep it up!"

"You do this until you get a hit on your hitmontop, then we'll switch to defense. I figure you don't need a crash course in thrusts since you used to use a halberd." The trainer stood back and watched.

Alexander spent more time practicing, and as his movements got more fluid, it got harder for Gyro to dodge. Handler and pokemon both smiled at their progress. It seemed everyone was happy. Everyone, that is, except the perpetually grumpy mime glowering in the corner of the training yard. Victor snarled again, trying to hone his focus. It seemed that anger alone wasn't enough. He had to know that he was better than the hitmontop dodging all the strikes. Victor knew he could do it too, but he wasn't being given the chance... the injustice rankled. He took a few of the different stances, trying to see how he could fold his arms and keep the power of his gaze. He imagined a beam from his eyes melting a tree in the not-too-far distance.

He nearly didn't notice when, finally, Gyro came up short and Alexander's blade hit his shoulder. He nearly didn't get a chance to do a little smug smile showing that he was right. Even though he felt a sort of camaraderie towards the hitmontop, he had no doubt the rivalry between them would linger. His smile got even larger when the human trainer said, "Looks like your hitmontop is tired out. We can fix him up later, but for now, I want to teach you some defenses with your sword. I'll be your opponent now."

"Good job, Gyro," Alexander said before consigning the hitmontop to spending some quality time with the grumpy mime.

Gyro trudged over, facing the mime and holding his hands up in a form of surrender. "There's no need to antagonize me anymore, Victor," he said curtly. He turned to watch Alexander try to try the basic "A frame" block.

Victor was slow to reply. "Why does he train you so much?" he finally asked.

Gyro looked taken aback as he turned to face the mime. "Because I want to be trained," he started. He began musing as Alexander was basically chased around by Sherman, both men wielding their blades and trying to, it seemed, wound each other. "You are independent. You don't need him to train you. But I always want to learn. He knows that, even though I can't talk in his head."

Victor contemplated the fighting-type's words. He almost, almost, gave the hitmontop an iota of respect for having an intelligent thought. Perhaps it was true that he didn't need any training. He had a good repertoire of moves already. But there was something inside him that he wasn't used to that wanted to fight too, that wanted to learn some respect for Alexander on the battlefield. He pondered in his head how to get this task done. In the meantime, though, he would allow the hitmontop to stand near him as he watched Alexander train.

Alexander finally tired from all the running around and attempting to block. When it looked like his sword hand would falter, Sherman put an abrupt halt to the training. "Better than a newbie, but by no means great. Come back to me again after you've spent more time practicing these moves by yourself or with that hitmontop of yours." He laughed as he saw Gyro and Victor seemingly standing next to each other in a friendly way. "I'll be here, Fitzgerald" he said in parting before he left. "Just remember, we're only beginning. Don't do anything stupid."

Alexander knew they were only beginning. But he too had felt the way Gyro hadn't managed to fight off the Swagger as he had before. He was proud of both of his pokemon. And, for all three of them, it was a new beginning of sorts that he planned to support even to the bitter end.

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The Stonehearted Lady

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Caledonia picture by August! Alexander and Casper sprites by Mackay!
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Flight
 Posted: Feb 10 2016, 10:08 PM
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Chaos Eater
******
Admin
Total Posts: 908
Member No. 1433
Joined on 30-January 14.


Characters:
Seung Han, Eryn Norwood, Adelaide Hawksworth, Iuchra Nic Longáin

Awards: 2




Writing Quality and Length: 5/5
All good here.

Training Effectiveness/Creativity/Plausibility: 2/5
Gyro training his stances were good, if basic; Victor's irritation and attempt to channel Swagger felt dry and a little forced. Swagger is a move that both Confuses the target and raises their Attack, and I felt that though you had a solid foundation, there wasn't much done here in increasing that understanding of the move. This was, however, a solid thread for getting Alexander that Weapon Proficiency: Bastard Sword Aptitude, which I felt was more the center of the piece.

WOW Factor: 0/2
Nothing struck out at me as particularly WOW-worthy, sorry.

Total:
  • +7 EXP for Gyro and Victor
  • +5% for Victor's Swagger
  • Gyro gains a note: Can imitate basic Bastard Sword forms
  • Alexander gains the Aptitude Weapon Proficiency: Bastard Sword at a starting rate of 6
  • Victor levels up to lv. 41 - no new moves learned.

--------------------
Eryn
profile & travels
Addie
profile & travels
Iuchra
profile & travels
-
please refer to me with they/them pronouns!

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PCR
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Korosensei
 Posted: Apr 29 2016, 04:27 PM
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Stupidface McNoctowl
*******
Head Moderator
Total Posts: 1393
Member No. 1923
Joined on 24-February 15.


Characters:
Alexander Fitzgerald | Emilie Chartoire | Talia

Awards: 4




Pokemon: Gyro, Ayla

Goals:
- Alexander works on aptitude: Weapon Proficiency: Bastard Sword (reference)
- Alexander starts aptitude: Scholarship based on this post and the last post, working with a trainer to learn something new
- Gyro helps with the training and practices his fighting stances and Ayla participates in some mock battles

=============

Now that Alexander had finished his first mission, he thought back to the skills he had needed to win the day. The pokemon battle went well - he had worked on his bonds with his team until the pokemon could work together - but his own fight with Creeley had gone downhill enough for him to get a wound (negligible as it was). He remembered the fright he had felt when there was a rapier thrust at him and the way in which he won the fight by disarming his opponent with his hand rather than his sword. He thought back to his work with Sherman, the trainer who helped Guardians at the Dedrius base. Although he was nervous to hear Sherman's feedback - the man was a straight-talker - he was even more nervous about losing a fight when it really mattered. He made an appointment.

This time, he had his sword in his hand before he even approached Sherman. The trainer was working with another Guardian, and after handily defeating him, he turned to face Alexander. "Oh, it's you again - come to test your skills?" After a short pause, he added, "You didn't happen to bring that hitmontop of yours, did you?"

Alexander smiled. "Yes, I did," he said as he released Gyro. The hitmontop gave a friendly wave as he approached Sherman. "Much as I want to play around with form today, I do have a more serious request. In my latest mission, I got into a sword fight with a rogue. I managed to get away with only a small cut to my forearm, but the only reason I was able to defeat him was because of my hand-to-hand skills I had prior to this. I want to learn how to use the bastard sword defensively, so I can have multiple ways of protecting myself next time."

Sherman gave Alexander an appraising look, noticing that he didn't seem to have a bandage on his arm. "You got lucky," he snorted. He hated luck in battles. If it was up to him, the person with the most skill would always win. "But I can help you with that, yes. Why don't you show me what happened in the battle, and I'll see what you could have done." When Alexander stood still, he clarified, sounding a bit annoyed: "I'm you in this exercise, and you're whoever was attacking you. Show me what he did and I'll show you what you could have done."

It was an unusual strategy, to say the least, but Alexander liked it. He enjoyed going over previous battles, and doing it with his actual sword might help his body learn the movements. He had learned one thing from his battle experience - if he was truly in danger, his head would get shut down, and his body would control everything that happened. For that reason, he needed to ensure that his body was prepared for these situations. Thinking back to his fight with Creeley... what had happened? Oh, yes, Creeley had lunged forward and attempted to stab him with the rapier... Alexander thought back to the bastard sword forms he remembered from his last training session and made a move to propel himself forward, aiming the point of his sword at Sherman's head.

Sherman reacted quickly, far quicker than Alexander would have expected. He turned his torso and his arm in opposite directions to form a straight line as he brought his sword up at an angle close to his head, forming another line. "This is the A block. See here? My leg and shoulder make one arm of the A, and my sword hilt aligns to form the other arm. See how my arms came up here, but not too far above my head? You never want to have your sword above your temples for this; it'll leave your chest open to a second strike. What did you do for this?"

A flustered Alexander replied, "I, erm... I rolled out of the way behind a bush... I was hiding behind a bush at the time, crouched down like this." He got to his knees. "Then I stood up - "

"Go back. When you were on the ground, you rolled away and managed to stand up..." He pantomimed the action, grunting annoyedly as he stood up. "Ideally you'd not want to be on the ground - it limits the types of blocking you can do. With a sword like that, you'll want to use the A block or a hanging block - remember the hanging guard form we did before? Oh, your hitmontop remembers it, what a smart pokemon," he commented as Gyro took the proper form, with his feet apart and hands above his head. "You can counter pretty effectively from there; I suppose having the sword above your head might have been your best option at this point - you could block the strike and then counter with one of your own as you get up. Try it," he said.

The first attempt Alexander made was sloppy; he nearly tripped over his own feet as he tried to get up while moving his sword at the same time. "Keep the sword still as you block - watch me as I lower my sword now, stand up in time so that you're moving your body instead of your sword. That's less complicated." Alexander tried the maneuver a few more times, and after he was able to stand up with a decent block, he moved on to trying to strike with a counter at the same time.

"Good work - but what about an enemy still stabbing you here thinking you're on the ground?" He moved his sword down until it was almost touching Alexander's legs. "You have to protect your legs if you stand up too quick. A good way to do that is the leg block, although that's not exactly the most secure position for the rest of your body. Ideally, you block like this - come at my legs now - do you see how I'm moving my leg back and putting the sword in its place? Make sure you block across your body, like this - you give it a try," he said as he finished demonstrating.

Once Alexander had demonstrated to Sherman's approval, the trainer wanted to know what happened next. "At that point, I leaned back, anticipating my opponent would lean forward over the bush. Then I went for his hand, I pinched a nerve of his when he leaned over so that he wouldn't be able to hold his sword properly."

Sherman nodded. "A good technique, although with a sword, you might have taken his hand altogether, which could have ended the fight even sooner. Even though we're training for a fight, the most important thing you can do as a combatant is end a fight quickly. We'll practice - let's run the scenario a few more times..." Without warning, Sherman pushed Alexander to his knees, and they began another round.

A short while later, Sherman was satisfied at how well Alexander had taken to the defensive maneuvers, although practicing them along with the scenario meant that he didn't have to think or wonder when to apply each one. "One last thing, Fitzgerald - in a real fight, you won't know what your opponent is about to do, so you'll have to think on your feet. Now that you've got the basic defense forms down, we should see if you can defeat an opponent you haven't sparred against yet. I'd say to use your hitmontop, but you've faced off against him before... Do you have any pokemon with pointy parts that can mimic a sword?"

"Erm... I have a new axew, Ayla," Alexander said tentatively.

"Perfect! Get her out here," he said, and as soon as the axew materialized, he spoke to her. "Wow, such a rare pokemon - those tusks look sharp too," he started, before recalling his purpose in asking for the axew. "Your handler Alexander is doing some training and he needs your help. Think you can be his sparring partner for a bit? Here's the rule - you touch him with your tusk (not too hard, mind you), you win. He'll be blocking with his sword."

The axew looked over at Alexander and a triumphant look found its way to her face. "Axew!!" she exclaimed, and practically pounced on Alexander. The flustered handler tried to angle his sword down, but not before he felt the axew's tusk touch his thigh. Sherman was right, this was more difficult...

Alexander and Ayla continued in their fighting dance for what felt like forever, darting back and forth. The axew reveled in this environment - she was the aggressor, and she could do whatever she wanted. Alexander loved watching her, when he wasn't fighting to get her off of him - she was quite the little spitfire, and she seemed to love the idea of battling even more than Amarie did, which was saying something. He decided to keep going until one of them reached the end of their endurance, but reconsidered when her long tusk scratched down his leg and gave him a thin but bleeding cut. "I think we're good for now; thanks, Ayla," Alexander said, being sure to praise her even as he knew he would have to find a healer to take care of that cut before his new mission.

"Good job, both of you," Sherman said, packing up his things. "You've really improved since you started. I can always teach you some fancier moves, but for now I'd recommend you just work with your hitmontop and axew. Once you've fought against a pokemon, humans don't seem to be as tough opponents," he joked, reaching out his hand to shake Gyro's. Alexander and his team soon departed, feeling more confident in their battling skills and in the learning process.

--------------------

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The Stonehearted Lady

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Caledonia picture by August! Alexander and Casper sprites by Mackay!
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Kaia
 Posted: May 7 2016, 11:53 PM
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Top Handler
*****
Background Mods
Total Posts: 301
Member No. 2161
Joined on 29-December 15.


Characters:
Kalliope Tamsin, Namid Waagosh'Giizis

Awards: 4




Writing Quality & Length: 4/5

Length and quality of writing were very good, no complaints on that front. However, I know you write very well and have a flair for length and detail. I think you could have added a little more to the story if you so chose.

Potential Points for Training Effectiveness/Plausibility/Creativity: 3/5

I will give you full points for plausibility. The dialogue was well done in explanation. That being said, Alexander's demonstration of these techniques were either glossed over or given very little time for action. It's good for him to not only understand what he's doing but also be able to show his practice. You went so far as to add Ayla to the training but didn't describe any of their work together. This could have given you full points for creativity and effectiveness.

Potential Points for the "WOW factor" overall: 0/2

Unfortunately there wasn't any wow in the training. It was a very standard scenario.

Alexander gains 7 EXP in weapons proficiency. Neither pokemon will gain any exp for training. As stated before, Ayla didn't have any showing of her practice with Alexander and though Gyro was in the entire thread from the start he never contributed himself.

Scholarship is to train in higher education and academics. Studying, researching toward goals, mentoring under a master might be considered this. Alexander's training was solely weapons proficiency. While he was learning, he was learning weapons already defined. Fighting is a skill but not an academic pursuit. Apologies, but no skills will be attained this way.

When working toward experience and training, it's always better to work slow and put as much effort into each singular attempt rather than rushing or taking on too much at once. Consider slowing down on Alexander's overall progress in a single post and instead focusing on the development itself. You're a very good writer and I enjoy reading your work. I know with a little extra focus on the details, of which you're great at already, you can get all sorts of experience and training done!

--------------------
Namid and his Travels
PCR

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Kalliope and her travels
Incredible sprite by Mackay!

retired

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Korosensei
 Posted: Jun 2 2016, 12:08 AM
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Stupidface McNoctowl
*******
Head Moderator
Total Posts: 1393
Member No. 1923
Joined on 24-February 15.


Characters:
Alexander Fitzgerald | Emilie Chartoire | Talia

Awards: 4




Pokemon: Amarie, Clover, Casper

Goals:
- Alexander consoles his Rose Bowl team after the loss; potential bonding going on, especially with Clover
- Clover learns the Sunny Day TM (already processed) and, after being encouraged by Amarie, learns how to use the move and works on her proficiency with it. Hopefully gaining some evasion in sunlight
- Bonding between Clover and Amarie

=============

Alexander knew nearly as soon as the abra dropped him off at the Rose Bowl grounds. He could hear the people buzzing excitedly about the next round, and he hadn't heard anything about it. A quick question to the healer taking care of his pokemon settled the matter once and for all. He had not moved on.

It was an odd feeling, at first. In a way, he felt relief - he didn't have to watch his pokemon get hurt, and coming up with so many battle strategies in such a small timeframe had been exhausting. He was looking forward to a rest, but at the same time, he would miss the adrenaline and the cheering and the way people seemed to look up to him when he was winning. It was a mixed feeling to be sure, but if he was going to lose, he wanted to lose to a good person like Liadain Kenyon. She was the only one of his opponents who had greeted him respectfully and carried on a decent conversation. She had been concerned for Casper and on the way back to the inn, she had even offered him a potion for his beleaguered brother. Considering her skill with even rental pokemon, he was not at all surprised that she had moved on.

And yet, he had to explain the loss to his pokemon. After claiming the results of his bets as well as a Stone Edge TM for Gyro as his consolation prize, he picked up the rest of his poke balls and headed for a secluded spot. It was hard to find somewhere not teeming with people, especially since the semi-finals were about to begin, but after a while he found a somewhat secluded glen in the shade where he could call out his three pokemon who had participated so well in the battles of the Rose Bowl.

Alexander was relieved to see all three pokemon looking well after their last bout - they had taken a particularly strong beating - and he put his Psychic Amulet around his neck to make sure everything was fine with them. He approached Casper first, checking on his brother's health, then checked on Clover and Amarie. By this time, the crawdaunt was getting antsy, wiggling her pincers and moving around in tight circles. Perhaps she thought she was preparing for another match? Her words in his head confirmed his suspicions. "What are we waiting for? Let's find our next opponents and crush them!"

It was time to tell them, and it wouldn't get any easier. "We're actually not waiting for an opponent. We've been eliminated from the Rose Bowl." Before he could hear anything more than an indignant gasp from Amarie, he started to ramble. "I know this is disappointing for all of us, but I want to let you know how proud I am of each of you. You all did a wonderful job in this past round and I was proud to fight alongside you. I know that we can bounce back from this and come back even stronger next year..." Unsure of what to say, he waited for responses.

Amarie scuttled over to Alexander. At first, he thought the crawdaunt was coming over for comfort or consolation - but it seemed he had misjudged. "You are a couple of weak, puny little bidoofs, you know that?" Alexander nearly jumped in at this, but he couldn't get a word in between Amarie's rant. Now that the crawdaunt was riled up, she wasn't prepared to stop anytime soon. "You. Stupid little thing... You fainted right away! One hit, I heard! ONE HIT! And you toppled down like a baby just out of its egg! So you managed to poison the cyndaquil - big fat nothing, considering I had to be the one to take her out!"

She turned to face Casper, slightly hesitant to scold this pokemon, but her anger overwhelmed her common sense. "And you - I know you're Mister Special on this team and all, but if you're going to be in a battle, you need to actually DO SOME ARCEUS-DAMNED WORK! I mean, you didn't support me at all, you had to go fall asleep in a tree - a TREE! - and then drifted down like some frail little feather just to get walloped right in the face! And what does our fearless trainer do? He goes and helps you, leaving me helpless against two foes!"

Alexander winced at the lecture that seemed to just keep going, but finally, it started to wrap up. "I wish I hadn't had either of you for partners. And it's not even partners when I'm doing all the work! I'd rather be working with that insipid mime than either of you! And if you know what's good for you, you'll keep away from me, or you'll get a real good taste of these!" She shoved her pincers out, and they got close enough to the pokemon she addressed that Casper drifted back a bit and Clover audibly whimpered.

Alexander had no idea what to do after that. He just had no clue! But Amarie soon stomped off and settled down near a tree... and then began methodically cutting it down with her pincers. Clover shuddered again, and Alexander's heart went out to the small bulbasaur who had tried so hard in her first battle. "It's okay, Clover," Alexander said in a low voice, hoping not to anger his crawdaunt any further. "I got you something that'll help you get stronger for further battles. We don't have to do anything right away, but I thought you might like to know you have a backup plan in case something goes wrong."

He knelt down next to the pokemon and rummaged through his bag until he found the TM he had bet on for her. He was glad he won the bet - he had gotten a new TM for Ayla to let her burn things down, and he also got one to help Clover boost herself up. She was in desperate need of some more self-esteem, and perhaps something that empowered her moves might empower her mind as well. "This move is called Sunny Day. It'll let you move much faster around the battlefield because of one of your abilities, called Chlorophyll. It'll also let you use a very powerful attack that you'll learn one day, called Solarbeam, in one turn instead of two. If you move faster, you'll be able to evade attacks and keep yourself safe, especially if you work on your vines." He took the disc out of its protective case and leaned forward towards the bulbasaur.

As Clover watched her handler lean in, she remembered how the cyndaquil had attacked her, moments before she felt the intense pain from the fire licking her body. It had been such intense pain that she had fainted in just one turn, which, according to Amarie, was something to be ashamed of. She recalled how the cyndaquil had looked up at the sun and blazed the fires on her back, and the weather responded in kind, lending strength to the fire-type. The heat had felt nice, but she hadn't even thought of escaping. Did Alexander want her to manipulate the weather like that? It would just make her weaker! She took several steps backwards, preventing the TM from interacting with her skin.

Alexander was surprised. Why was she backing away? Was she scared of the disc? "This is a TM disc. It doesn't hurt at all, and it makes learning a new move much easier. The others have all learned moves this way," he explained, but the bulbasaur still backed away. Wordlessly, she crouched under a tree, her eyes shut.

Now, Alexander was worried. He didn't dare to creep closer, but he needed to know. "Clover, you don't have to talk, but can you nod for me if I'm getting it right? Let's see... are you afraid the TM disc will hurt you?" The bulbasaur thought for a moment, then shook her head. Alexander tried to think back - did she have any experience with the move? - before recalling that the cyndaquil who had so summarily knocked her out in the first round of the battle had made the sun blaze bright, and the temperature was only manageable again after Amarie used Rain Dance. "Are you scared because the cyndaquil used this move?"

The bulbasaur's shudder was all the answer Alexander needed, but Clover tried to be brave and speak for her handler. She spoke softly enough that Alexander had to lean in to hear her properly. "When she used it, the warm sun felt nice, but it made her fire burn more. Then she came after me and hit me and it hurt... so much..." Alexander winced at the thought of his pokemon enduring so much pain just to try to win in the Rose Bowl. With a loud crash, a tree suddenly fell, and Amarie returned to Alexander, some of her pent-up anger released. Clover didn't see her because of her shut eyes, so she continued speaking. "I think the sun made her stronger, and even though I liked it and it felt nice, if it makes fire stronger, why should I learn it? Won't it just make me lose again?"

Amarie scoffed. "You couldn't get worse than you are," she sneered, and Clover finally opened her eyes. The bulbasaur was glad that Amarie stood closer to Alexander than her.

Alexander shook his head. "Amarie might not have said that in the nicest way, but you are at the beginning of your journey. It's up to us as a team to help you learn and grow," he said with a pointed tone, focusing his words at the crawdaunt who made the closest gesture she could do to a shrug. "It is true that Sunny Day makes fire-types more powerful, but a lot of them know it instinctively. They may be surprised to see a grass-type like you doing it, and in the time they're surprised, we can make a plan, and you can use your Chlorophyll ability to start running away." At another chuckle from the crawdaunt, he added, "You won't be running away from the battle. Instead, the running will give you time to think, and it'll feel nice to run in the warm sun. Do you think you'd like to give it a try?"

Clover thought for a long moment. Although it was true that she was afraid of fire-types, she trusted her handler. Why would he give her something that would make her lose? She felt a bit silly for doubting him earlier. She padded over towards him slowly, then nudged at the disc with her head. She wasn't intending to take it quite yet, but the moment the disc touched her forehead, she gained a sudden understanding of weather - her favorite weather - and how to make it happen.

Alexander was surprised by his pokemon's sudden bravery, and even Amarie was turning a curious eye to the proceedings. It was true that the bulbasaur was weak, but she was trying to get better, and that was something the crawdaunt approved of heartily. What Clover saw as a move to help her enjoy the weather, Amarie saw as the bulbasaur's first introduction to sophisticated battle strategy - and she was curious to see what would happen next.

"Clover, how do you feel?" Alexander said quietly. Amarie listened in as well, while Casper took the time to explore his surroundings a bit more. The shady glen was a good spot for a ghost to blend in, and he started trying to become invisible. Whether or not he succeeded, though, went unnoticed, because Clover responded then.

"I feel... strange... it's like you said, Alexander. I can do a new move now. I can make the sun come out bright. But... are you sure it's a good idea?"

Alexander nodded. "You don't have to use your new move if you don't want to - now, or ever. I don't control you. You decide what you do, just like my other pokemon in battles. I may make suggestions that could help you, but the choice is always yours." He noticed the bulbasaur's mouth open in a bit of a grin. "I bet you'd like feeling the warm sun on your back now. It might make some of your wounds feel a bit better."

Even though Clover had been to the healer, she still felt achy from the fire-type tackle, and as soon as she looked around to make sure there weren't any aggressive fire-types around, she decided to give it a try. Her bulb quivered a bit and Alexander felt a distinct change in temperature as the sun began to stream down into the shady glen, revealing the disgruntled yamask's location. "I... I did it. I made the sun come out," Clover said tentatively, then she smiled. "It feels nice."

Amarie would tend to disagree, but she kept her mouth shut. She wondered if the bulbasaur would actually do something now, or just stand around. Even she could see how the bulbasaur basked in the sun's rays, and when she stretched out her small limbs, she seemed to have a surge in energy. "Maybe you should try to run," she said, almost without realizing she was speaking aloud.

Clover nearly jumped when the crawdaunt spoke to her. She was alarmed and prepared to defend against an attack, but the crawdaunt just watched. Experimentally, Clover took a few steps, and found herself wanting to take a lot more. She had never felt quite like this before - she had been in sunlight, of course, but this was her sun, and it was shining brightly for her. Her face lit up in a big smile as she pranced around the glen.

Alexander smiled at his pokemon as she frolicked, clearly happy with her new move. His next priority was to show her how to use the move to give her strength in battle. "Clover, I have an idea. See how you can see Casper more easily in the sunlight?" He pointed at the yamask with the golden mask glinting in the light. The bulbasaur nodded. "How about we play a little game? Casper can float close to you, he won't attack, and then you can run away. I think a game like this will help improve your confidence that you will be able to run away from fire-types or anything else you want to run away from in a battle."

The bulbasaur was wary, but she would make an attempt to please Alexander. The ghost made a first pass at her, and when she felt the heated metal against her nose she yelped and took a few steps back. When she opened her eyes, she saw that she had moved much farther than she thought. She tried putting her mind to it, and the next time she saw the ghost moving towards her, she side-stepped to the left confidently, moving several feet away from the ghost-type.

"Great job, Clover!" Alexander called out as the pokemon began to explore her new abilities. The game had been a good idea, Alexander realized, as he watched it continue.

"If I had done this in our battle... I think... I might have been able to get away. Maybe I could last another turn, and not be so weak," she said, looking at the crawdaunt as she spoke. Alexander was so proud of her and he beamed at the young pokemon who was trying so hard to master her fears. The next time she didn't dodge away from Casper, she pounced on him playfully, which urged the ghost-type to start taking things more seriously.

Now that Clover was feeling more confident, Casper's movements got incrementally faster, and Clover managed to keep dodging. She was smiling so widely; Alexander had never seen her smile like that. "Come out here, Amarie! The sun is really nice and warm!" Clover called out, giddy in her happiness.

After several uses of the move, Amarie knew the sun would be painful. Nevertheless, she wished to test the strength of the little one herself. Perhaps the bulbasaur was simply a beginner and could be trained out of her weakness. Curiosity prompted the crawdaunt to walk forward, yet when she reached the center of the sunlight, she winced and began to retreat. "Too much... It hurts me," she groaned as she retreated to the shade.

"I'm so sorry," Clover said as she scampered rapidly over to the crawdaunt's side, barely even noticing she was next to a pokemon she feared so much. She was beginning to understand type advantage, and the idea that she might be stronger in one way than this bastion of strength in front of her encouraged her even more. Maybe one day she could be as powerful as Amarie, too!

"Do not apologize. You need to train more. Perhaps one day, you will be able to best me in battle," she said. She highly doubted that, in fact both pokemon did, but the fact that she said it made Clover realize that perhaps the crawdaunt didn't loathe her after all.

"I'll try really hard!" she squeaked as she jumped playfully towards Casper again, and the ghost renewed his efforts to touch the young bulbasaur. Alexander watched their antics with a smile, loving Clover's budding confidence that seemed to be thriving as much as her bulb as it soaked up the bright sunlight.

After a while, the sun started to go down, and Clover started having a problem keeping the Sunny Day active. "We can try again tomorrow, or whenever you'd like. I'm really proud of you - of all of you. I wasn't bluffing before. We did great in the Rose Bowl this year. Did you know we made it to the top six? And if we train hard and learn to work together, who knows, we might emerge victorious one day." The crawdaunt clacked her pincers loudly at this, and then looked over to check the bulbasaur's reaction.

Clover was content. She had learned a new move that could help her, and she loved the running exercises she had been doing. She had even made the sun strong enough to hurt Amarie - and the large and aggressive crawdaunt was seeming less invulnerable than before. She was beginning to think of the water-and-dark-type as a teammate, not a pokemon to be feared. Even though she had contributed to Alexander losing the Rose Bowl, she knew she would always have his friendship. And wherever she walked, she could choose to walk in sunshine.

--------------------

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The Stonehearted Lady

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Caledonia picture by August! Alexander and Casper sprites by Mackay!
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Arty
 Posted: Jun 3 2016, 10:26 AM
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Total Posts: 376
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Characters:
Artemis Froste, Tybalt Cromwell, Cadence Mansel

Awards: 3




Writing Quality & Length: 5

The length and quality of the post was perfect. There was not too much length nor was there not enough for the goals you set. Overall, it was a well written post with a sufficient length and quality. Not much more to say there.

Training Effectiveness/Plausibility/Creativity: 4

The creativity was a little lacking in the way of the training. While it was a logical way to try and work on Clover's speed while using the move Sunny Day, I feel that it wasn't the most creative of ways. Turning the training into a game was clever, just not as creative as I feel that it could have been.

"WOW factor": 0

Overall, this was a very interesting to read and highly enjoyable. The look at Clover's and Amarie's emotional responses after the Rose Bowl is informative and does play at the heartstrings some. As for the potential bonding, Clover does seem to be opening up to Alexander which will be noted on her profile. Also, Clover does seem to gain some evasion when using the move Sunny Day but not in just plain sunny weather. She gains a 5% evasion boost for the duration of Sunny Day.

Amarie's and Clover's relationship is beginning to change. They are beginning to open up with each other however they still have a long way to go. That's not because of your writing. Instead their personalities and Clover's history of fearing Amarie will make it slightly more difficult for them to form a strong bond. Clover gains 1 happiness bar. Unfortunately, I do not see a reason for Casper to gain happiness. There wasn't an extensive amount written focusing on the ghost so no increase for him.

Casper, Amarie and Clover all gain 9 EXP from this training thread. Amaries grows to level 33, Casper grows to level 24, and Clover grows to level 11.

--------------------


Cadence Mansel

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Korosensei
 Posted: Aug 27 2016, 08:58 PM
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Total Posts: 1393
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Characters:
Alexander Fitzgerald | Emilie Chartoire | Talia

Awards: 4




Pokemon: Ayla

Goals:
- Alexander works on aptitude: Weapon Proficiency: Bastard Sword
- Alexander does some more mock battling with Ayla while working on getting her towards a team-oriented mindset, and potentially helping her get stronger against human and/or bladed combatants

Takes place after the big battle in Travels

=============

Alexander had learned a lot in the battle he endured. He learned about strategies, and the way his pokemon could battle against opponents they were weak against. He learned that type advantage wasn’t necessarily everything, and that abilities played a role in determining which pokemon would come out on top. He had seen the power of some of his pokemon’s moves, and he had learned the difference between knocking out an enemy and using fatal amounts of force. He had even learned how not to get distracted by shiny pokemon on the battlefield, even if it got him thinking about his goal of avenging his brother’s death and recapturing Caledonia from the Order. But the most important thing he had learned was working as a team.

He would be nowhere without his team. They had all battled so well, most fainting at one point, to keep him safe on his crazy mission to reclaim his dead brother’s noctowl. And he was fairly sure Corvus had saved his life when he was battling against the two rogues. He had managed to get to a stalemate, but they were two and he was one, and inevitably the battle wouldn’t have ended in his favor. And then Corvus had barreled over, slamming his fist into one of the rogues’ rib cage. The distraction had given Alexander the time he needed, and it had only emphasized to him the importance of teamwork.

Most of his pokemon understood it, as well – and the one holdout had shown signs of understanding during the battle, albeit with another pokemon not on Alexander’s team. Ayla had teamed up with a haxorus who had helped her become stronger, and he hoped that he would be able to tap into this sentiment to encourage her to form bonds with the members of his team instead of seeing them as constant rivals. He knew dragons tended to think like this, but he needed his team to all work together, now more than ever as his crazy dream was starting to come true.

She came out of her ball with a mighty roar. He would have to work on getting her to not do that, he realized, in case they were in a compromising situation. But for now, it didn’t matter, and he could match her enthusiasm. “Ayla! You did so great in that battle,” he said, careful to praise her as soon as she stopped roaring.

The dragon grinned. “HAXORUS!”

Alexander fought an urge to dig his fingers in her ears. She was a great deal louder now than she used to be as an axew. “I was wondering if you’d want to do some training with me today,” he said, and strangely, he noticed a look of disappointment on Ayla’s face. Was she missing the other haxorus? Either way, she had to make things work with Alexander, or at least he hoped she’d be able to manage…

He looked into her eyes, wondering if he could find a clue there. Her gaze was fierce, but she made no move to attack. She was usually so keen to train – or at least she had been when she was an axew. This was her first training after her huge success… The idea occurred to him in a flash. Did she think she had finished her journey to get strong? Was she where he was when he was an interrogator, content with his strength, and unwilling to progress further? He hoped her dragon-type stubbornness wouldn’t be too much to overcome as he addressed her again.

He would target her ego. That was her weak spot, it seemed, for she was constantly showing off in front of the others. “You may have misunderstood me, Ayla,” he began, putting on his best show like he used to do in his former career. How fortunate that he had learned since then. “I wanted you to help me train.” As if a lightning bolt flashed in the haxorus’ mind, she eagerly looked over to Alexander before standing ramrod-straight, as if trying to demonstrate to him the correct way to hold his posture. “You did a great job in that battle, but I ended up needing some help from Corvus. I was fighting against two opponents with swords” – well, one had a dagger, but Ayla wouldn’t care – “and I couldn’t get an upper hand with my own sword before Corvus helped me out. I won’t lie, he ended up doing most of the work. It made me realize I needed to practice against other opponents with blades, but instead of fighting against another human, I’d like to spar against you.”

Ayla’s eyes lit up. She appreciated what her handler had done for her, even if she was completely unwilling to say it, and the fact that he saw her as a training partner meant a lot. She would help him improve. “Hax,” she said as she twisted her neck left and then right, loosening her muscles.

“You’re a lot stronger than me, though, and between Corvus and Gyro’s… well, let’s just say I’ve seen what damage a pokemon attack can do to a person, so we need to lay down some ground rules. You’re not trying to kill me, you’re trying to block attacks from my sword from both of your tusks, and when you attack, I want you to focus on my sword. I know there are healers nearby, but I don’t want either of us to get hurt.”

“Hax hax,” Ayla nodded. She didn’t like the idea of the elemental sword going into her body, either.

“I think my biggest problem was not being able to focus on two opponents at once. With your double-bladed face, we can partially simulate the battle – not all the way, of course, but you’re strong enough that I don’t want to bring another pokemon in. Maybe one day we can train with Corvus, but for now it’s you and me. All right, I’m going to take the defense first. Try to hit my sword with your tusks.”

Alexander didn’t have to wait long for Ayla to make an attempt. She sized up his sword, trying to aim for the middle of it where it couldn’t get her with its sharp edge. Alexander widened his stance and blocked, but the ringing noise as her tusk hit his sword made him anxious. “Gentler, Ayla – this sword is very valuable, I don’t want you to break it by accident. You’re just so strong,” he added when she shot him a disappointed look.

Her ego stoked again, Ayla lashed out with her other tusk, and Alexander was forced to bring his sword above his head. “Good job, let’s keep going with that,” he said, and Ayla continued to strike. He was thankful that his elemental weapon was strong; even though she was using less force, her tusks were still very sharp and she had a lot of power. “Feel free to move around a bit,” he added when he got a bit more used to the one angle from each tusk.

He knew the basics of the bastard sword; he needed to work on specific techniques now. He watched as Ayla took a few steps backward, then used the momentum to propel herself forward. She growled as he dodged, and even when he said, “Learning how to dodge is part of it,” she still looked angry. He decided to go on the offensive for a bit then, swinging his sword at the left side of Ayla’s face and watching for her to crane to the right. It reminded him of when he had faced against the two rogues, and he had to think about more than one blade coming at him. The two of them had stood so close together that it was almost like Ayla’s two powerful face tusks. “Keep it coming. Now we dance,” he said through harsh exertion as the two began to weave around each other, trying to alternately dodge and hit.

Ayla was much less focused on dodging, and even as Alexander fought, he tried to multitask by talking to her about her strategy. “You have to dodge too. I know you’re strong, but you can’t do everything yourself. If you rush in too much, you’ll get too hurt to continue battling.” Ayla grunted. “It’s like how Corvus and I battled together. Corvus didn’t need to use as much energy to help me out because I distracted his enemies for him, and then when he hit the one rogue, I could move in on the other. Teamwork can actually give you the energy to give more – like when you battled with the other haxorus,” he panted.

“Hax!” Ayla called out as Alexander’s sword gave her a thin cut on her shoulder. She shook off his hurried apology and offer to stop the battle – she wasn’t a baby anymore, and there was no need for apology in battle – before renewing her efforts.

Alexander was even more hard-pressed to remember the techniques he had learned from Sherman. He tried to stick to the basic bastard sword forms, but he was starting to realize that there was a time for organized fighting like this, but at other times he would need to know how to trust his own instinct on where he should hold his sword. Watching the two tusks at once was difficult, but he began to anticipate Ayla’s movements as the session went on, and before long he was able to dodge more and more attacks. With the proper dodge, he could figure out a way to strike back, and in the next several attempts, he managed to land another glancing blow with the side of his sword against Ayla’s other shoulder.

The two continued for a while, although Alexander was soon reminded that he had fought a great battle and there was still more to come. He couldn’t exhaust himself too much and threaten the mission. With one final clang of tusk against sword, Alexander called out, “I think we should stop now. We’re both tired from that big battle, I bet.” As much as she didn’t want to admit it, the healing magic applied to Ayla earlier was beginning to wear off, and the noise of her tusks hitting the sword was beginning to reverberate in her brain and create a headache. “Let’s do this again sometime. We need to learn how to work together. I’ll definitely need your help in other big battles ahead,” he said, making sure to call himself out as the weaker of the two again.

He had a strategy with this, he thought as he polished his sword, checking carefully for any nicks or dings. He would go to the blacksmith at the base to fix anything, if there was damage – but for now, he was happy to have honed another weapon. Ayla was powerful, but if she wasn’t on the same wavelength as the rest of the team, she would be a great deal of misused strength. He doubted she would respect any of the other pokemon on the team quite yet, except perhaps if he could do something with her budding rivalry with Amarie, so for now he would focus on getting her to trust him as a teammate. Getting a dragon to be less selfish in battle would be a daunting task, but definitely worth it for the days when he would have a shiny noctowl to protect. The bastard sword work was for her as well. Looking up at the sky one last time before recalling Ayla, he felt the urge to whisper into the soft breeze: I will become strong enough for you. I promise. He imagined the wind's whistle as her answer, and left with a smile.

--------------------

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The Stonehearted Lady

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Korosensei's Post Count Rewards
Caledonia picture by August! Alexander and Casper sprites by Mackay!
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Arty
 Posted: Aug 29 2016, 09:38 PM
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Total Posts: 376
Member No. 1059
Joined on 21-June 13.


Characters:
Artemis Froste, Tybalt Cromwell, Cadence Mansel

Awards: 3




Writing Quality & Length: 5
Training Effectiveness/Plausibility/Creativity: 4
"WOW" Factor: 0

The only thing wrong with this was the creativity was a little lower than what I know from you (the down side of having a mod that knows you pretty well grade your stuff http://i832.photobucket.com/albums/zz241/HarperRegion/Sprites/Emoticons/13.png). But overall, I really enjoyed reading this and seeing the interactions between Ayla and Alexander. It was an insightful post that allowed for some good one-on-one time with her. So for her, I am awarding 9 EXP to Ayla as well as a note on her profile Has basic understanding of fighting against a sword. I cannot just put bladed foe since that could also include a dagger (which wasn't worked on her). So, it is more specific but I think she earned it. Now on the the bastard sword aptitude. She levels up to level 51 (7/15).

Because Alexander did show some improvement with being able to dodge better and able to make some of his own choices when battling, I am giving him 5 EXP toward the aptitude. That brings it up to a rate of 7 (4/15) and gives Alexander 3 EXP leveling him up to level 14 (0.38/15) and his merits are at level 13 (9.38/15).

And the results of that are as follows for the team (they learn no new moves unless specified):
Corvus -> Level 44, learns thrash
Amarie -> Level 49
Gyro -> Level 47, learns wide guard and quick guard
Casper -> Level 39
Victor -> Level 61
Ayla -> Level 53


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Cadence Mansel

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