Total Posts: 116
Member No. 1743
Joined on 8-August 14.
-- Improve Mairead’s accuracy with Frost Breath
-- Increase happiness.
-- EXP for Mairead.
-- Maybe a slight increase to Mairead’s dexterity?
The family of slowpokes and the corsola were upstairs in the rented room, the babies napping. Lía had borrowed a large basin from the innkeep and filled it with water and some salt for the corsola to try and make the traumatised Pokémon more comfortable. Lía had locked them in but left the window open, so if the mother slowbro felt like she had to get herself and her charges out for whatever reason she could. Their room looked out over the back alley Lía and Mairead were using in an attempt at privacy from whoever was wandering Piper’s street this late in the evening. The slowbrow was sitting in the window, alternately watching them and looking over her babies.
Lía had cleaned up her shirt and breeches as best as she could, but there were still stubborn if faded bloody patches on them and the legs of her trousers were slightly stiff with salt from wading repeatedly into the sea. She’d taken Sally’s order to heart however, and was feeling better after a bath. Her starter Pokémon had seemed happy to go out and train despite their long day, though what to do and how was posing a problem given their small practice space and limited supplies. They couldn’t be too noisy either, in case they disturbed their fellow patrons upstairs. She would have preferred to make the trip back to the barracks or even her parents’ house, but Sally would be looking for her here tomorrow afternoon and she’d already paid for the room besides.
Lía sat on a crate, poring over her pokécard. Mairead lay at her feet, rolled onto her back to watch the first stars come out as the sun set. Mairead was only young yet, so Lía couldn’t expect her to simply power through battles. That generally wasn’t a good strategy regardless, but it would be a long while yet before her little seal was anything approaching a hard-hitter. That would come with age and experience, so something else would be better. Accuracy, for example. No matter how strong you were, power was useless if you couldn’t hit your target.
She looked down the list of Mairead’s moves, acquainting herself with them. Luckily she recognised most of them from Leith and Muireann. Frost Breath caught her eye. If they could boost Mairead’s accuracy with that, she could do a lot of damage for her size.
How to practice though, that was the question. Lía looked up at the little alley, lips pressed thin in consideration. The alley wasn’t very wide. If she stood in the middle with her arms extended out from her sides, her fingertips nearly brushed the brick walls either side of her. It was long though, a couple of hundred metres - longer than the Twirling Grumpig Inn. It probably spanned several of the buildings in Piper’s Street.
She’d need targets for Mairead to hit. Something she could throw down the alley, but wouldn’t make a noise when they landed or Mairead hit them. Lía cast about, nose wrinkled. She didn’t much like the idea of throwing rubbish about, and she doubted Innkeep Goshop would appreciate it either. She looked at Mairead, then glanced back down at her pokécard, thinking.
‘Mairead?’ The spheal paddled her paws in the air in surprise for a second before rolling over onto her belly, looking up attentively. Smiling, Lía gently ran her fingers over the top of Mairead’s head, admiring the softness of the fur under her hand. ‘If you use Powder Snow and you’re careful, do you think you could make a snow bank? Just there,’ she said, nodding a couple of feet towards the mouth of the alley. She’d be throwing towards the far end, so she needed the snow behind her. They could train with obstacles another day.
Mairead burbled for a moment, apparently thinking, then nodded. She turned towards the mouth of the alley and drew a deep breath in, before slowly, gently exhaling a soft cloud of icy air. The moisture in the coastal city air started to freeze, drifting down in individual flakes that soon clumped and stuck to the ground and grew through sheer speed and numbers. Though the temperature in Seaway was cooler that futher inland thanks to being on the coast, it was still far too warm for natural snow, even with the evening bringing a cooler breeze with it. Despite that, Mairead soon had a sizeable mound of snow in front of her, waist-high on Lía and neatly blocking the exit of the alley.
‘Good girl, that’s brilliant!’ Lía said, delighted. She quickly started rolling snowballs. Mairead soon picked up on what she was doing and pitched in to help, using her wide tail to roll roughly shaped projectiles. ‘What I’m going to do is throw a snowball down the alley, and I’d like you to try and hit it with Frost Breath, alright?’
Mairead barked an affirmative, swatting her third snowball towards the small pile Lía had made. She was getting a little bit faster with them, learning how best to use her tail to shape the sometimes uncooperative material. They weren’t pretty, but they were hard-packed enough to hold their shape when thrown through the air and that’s all Lía needed. She stopped when they had a good stockpile of ammunition, preferring to get at least some work done before the sun set fully and they had to work by lamp or moonlight.
‘Okay, ready Mairead?’ Lía asked, standing so she could make a good throw. The spheal barked, rolling down the alley until she was several metres distant but in no danger of being hit by a snowball unless Lía made a spectacularly bad throw. She set her beady black eyes on the snowball in Lía’s hand. Lía drew her hand back, leaning with it. She paused with her eyes on Mairead in a silent countdown, then reversed her stance and threw the snowball overarm in a long arc down the alley. For a second it looked as though Mairead would be too slow, but just before the ball passed overhead a jet of frozen air whipped out with enough force to smash it apart.
‘Good! Good girl!’ Lía said, beaming. Mairead barked proudly and slapped the ground with her tail. ‘Okay, I want you to hit as many of them as you can. Ready?’ At Mairead’s affirmative rumble, Lía grabbed her next snowball and launched it in one motion, aiming to take Mairead by surprise.
She succeeded, Mairead giving an indignant snorting bleat as the snowball whizzed over her head and broke apart on the ground a way down the alley. Lía grinned at her. ‘You said you were ready,’ she said innocently. Mairead narrowed her dark eyes and gave another, rather rude-sounding bray. She shifted her balance though, watching Lía like she was a fish she wanted to catch, and nodded for the next ball.
Lía grabbed the next ball, but paused before throwing it, dropping the humour for a moment. ‘Watch my body - my eyes and my legs. Look for little signs I’m about to move, to try and anticipate when I will. A big part of accuracy is knowing where your target is going to be before it gets there.’ Mairead blinked at her, the mock annoyance gone. She snorted in acknowledgement then clapped her stubby flippers together, preparing for the next pitch. Her eyes bored into Lía, straining to catch any stray flicker that would give her away.
Lía threw this one fast and high. Mairead was better prepared this time, moving as Lía did and blasting it apart a few feet before it came level with her. ‘Good!’
For the next few minutes Lía threw several balls, varying the speed and height of her pitch to try and catch Mairead out. The spheal was good though, adapting to the action and timing her attacks perfectly. When she started to look smug, Lía laughed and reached for another snowball. ‘Alright cocky Clara, let’s try with a smaller target. See how confident you are then.’ She split the fist-sized snowball in half, wiping the excess water from the slightly melted projectile on her breeches. She took a second to reform the ball into a sphere, looking down at the snowball in her hands. Without warning she wound up and threw, giving Mairead maybe half a second to react.
She saw the action, having been watching Lía carefully for any more tricks, but Mairead realised the ball was coming too quickly. Rather than sit and complain, she used her shape to her advantage and rolled straight onto her back as the ball sailed over her, spitting the jet of frozen air out and catching the snowball a few feet past her and shattering it.
Lía couldn’t help the laugh that broke out of her as Mairead twisted over onto her stomach and waddled around to face her, an enormously pleased look on her face. ‘Well done! I certainly didn’t expect that,’ she said, amused. ‘You’re learning to use your head, think of how to do something, rather whether you can or not. Clever girl.’
Mairead brayed, clapping her fins again, only to hastily fall quiet when someone pointedly slammed their window shut a few rooms over from their own.
Snickering, Lía grabbed the other half of the split snowball, lifting it up for Mairead to see. ‘How about we save the celebrating for tomorrow, hey? Besides, we should probably use some more of these snowballs before everything melts and we flood the alley...’ she said in a stage whisper, tilting her head back at the slowly sagging bank of snow and glistening pile of snowballs left.
Mairead bobbed her whole body in an enthusiastic nod, settling with her flippers splayed and her balance distributed evenly across them and her tail, so she could roll in any direction she needed quickly.
They practiced for another quarter-hour, until the light forced them to finish up. They managed to get through another twenty snowballs of varying sizes in the first ten, pausing to give Mairead chance to catch her breath. As the last of the light began to leech away, Lía straightened, rotating her arms in their sockets and rolling her head to try and relieve the beginnings of the burn between her shoulder blades. ‘Okay, for the last few minutes I’m going to do some rapid fire throwing. I’ll be sending these at you as fast as I can, and I want you to hit as many as possible.’
She moved the small mound of snowballs onto a nearby crate, putting them within easy reach so she could grab them quickly. Mairead grunted, slapping the cobbles with her tail, signalling she was ready.
Taking a deep breath, Lía grabbed the first two snowballs and focused on getting her breathing right so she could keep up the rapid pace. A little like boxing, she thought, when Dad was telling her to go flat out, as fast as she could for a count of thirty on the battered hand pads he had. When she was younger she’d had the rather bad habit of simply holding her breath for those bouts, until Alistar had trained her out of it.
Ready, Lía had to twist as she threw each ball, the action bringing the opposite foot forward for balance, only to go back for the next ball. She sped up as she fell into a rhythm, focusing on her aim, breathing, and keeping a rough tally of how Mairead was faring.
The spheal fielded the first few as easily as she had the first couple. As Lía’s pace increased however, Mairead found herself slowly moving backward to give herself more time; or launching up onto her tail to ice a particularly high throw. She was soon snorting with the effort, the ice jets not as stable as when she started, but she hit each target. The last one came in low and fast, and it was with a sense of exhilaration that Mairead knew she would make the shot, could see exactly where it would be when she got it - and that gave her an idea. She froze the ball - froze, but didn’t break it - only to flip forward onto her flippers and smack the ice ball to pieces with her tail as if to prove her point.
It was with a proud bleat that she shuffled down the alley to her chuckling handler. Lía was rolling her shoulders out with a wince, but she knelt as Mairead reached her and gave her an affectionate scratch around her ears. ‘Very well done, show off,’ she said fondly, grinning. Mairead nudged her hand, eyes closed with pleasure and satisfaction in herself. Lía obliged her, running her fingers down the length of Mairead’s round back. ‘That’ll do for tonight. If we’ve time, we can do a bit more work tomorrow morning if you’re up for it. Let’s go and scrounge up some supper, yeah?’
Mairead gave an enthusiastic bark as Lía stood, her tail beating the cobbles. She made a brief diversion to roll in what was left of the watery snow bank before following her handler indoors, proudly eyeing the puddles along the length of the alley one last time before she headed in.