Kat wasn't sure what to think about this newest development - she'd been hyped up on the news recently that more Pokemon were available now than ever before, and kind of jumped in the deep end after hearing that a certain service was being offered for free, for a limited time only. The Mages were offering to change the form of certain Pokemon, assuming the trainer had one, completely for free - which should have alerted her to something odd going on in the first place, but no, she was dead set on using the service. In fact, she hadn't done more than quickly asking Gaea if she even wanted
the change - or was at least willing to change - before going ahead with it. Luckily for her though, after explaining it to the previously ground-typed Pokemon, Gaea was willing to try it (even knowing it was a permanent adjustment).
It was strange, Kat reflected afterwards, how much a simple change of typing could change the way a Pokemon looked and felt - but luckily for her and her team, it didn't seem to change how the Pokemon acted besides giving her a sharp-edged temper and sharper claws to match. She had grown a little bit in height and gained quite a lot of weight - that was likely the steel inside of her, and the icy shell she now bore - and yet, she still acted the mother-hen for Litae, reassuring the team that she was still Gaea even if she looked a little different now.
It wasn't until her first battle that Kat realized some more adjustment would be required, however. The previously ground-type Pokemon had been clumsy with her new powers, nearly freezing her own side of the battlefield with attacks poorly aimed - clearly, she would need some help adjusting. And despite the fact that it was cold, Kat actually had a decent idea of how to do it - assuming Khione would be willing to help out. And she'd be there as support as well, despite the cold - she'd just have to layer up a bit more, is all.
So she chose somewhere decently far to the north to travel to, somewhere that wouldn't be harmed by a little bit more snow and cold - she didn't want to harm temperate forests, even knowing it was winter, with the cold she knew her two little icicle-forming Pokemon could wield. It was bad enough that they'd likely damage the plants and trees in the north as well - she didn't want to kill off stuff that wasn't used to the temperatures if she couldn't help it.
With Gaea and Khione both out, she stood to the side and let them discuss it and plan a course of action - she didn't have a whole lot of experience with this side of things, after all, and was certain that the Pokemon could come up with far better ideas than she ever could. After all, Khione had been born a princess of the ice, and Gaea had been showing a more mature-than-expected side of herself since they'd met in the Shoppe...well, she'd just settle in and cheer them on, she supposed."So you let her change you, eh?"
Khione bit out nervously - this was the first time she'd been left alone with the Sandshrew, and her nerves usually showed themselves with biting words. Gaea glanced at her then over at Kat, and she smiled just a little wistfully at the knowledge of what she'd lost."Yeah, but...she was right, you know?"
Despite her new typing, Gaea's voice remained warm and comforting - very different from her cold and hard exterior. She cared about those around her, even this little, prickly Khione at her side - she knew that at least part of the Vanillite's prickliness was due to the icy princess being switched from the main team for the time being. "I'm more useful like this...or at least, I would be if I had control,"
Gaea's words became more of a mutter towards the end, bitterness coating every word - she was angry with herself for not having better control over her new powers, but knew that it was at least partially due to her previous weakness to the cold she now wielded so easily. The steel-sharp claws on her fists clenched slowly - that part of her, she thought with annoyance, had been far easier to control."Why she had to team me with you, I'll never know,"
Khione said bitterly, blowing at a bit of snow in front of her in anger. It sent a flurry of snowfall around the two, briefly engulfing the area in something approaching white-out conditions, before settling back down to the ground. She felt angered at the newcomer's seemingly dominant position in the group that Kat surrounded herself with - this Sandslash had come from nowhere and basically taken over her
role, dammit!"You know full well why - you're the only one of our group that stands any chance of teaching me."
Gaea eyed the Vanillite at her side briefly, before shaking her head slightly. "That's not the real reason you're all snotty though, is it?"
Her voice had gentled as she watched the Vanillite, who had just frozen and turned to her, face frozen in surprise. "No - you, little one, are afraid that your usefulness is done with now that I'm part of the party..."
Despite the fact that the Vanillite kept backing up, Gaea approached her slowly - as one would a cornered, dangerous creature. "It's okay, you know - she doesn't think any less of you. It's just...we both fulfill a need differently, and she likes to switch things up sometimes."
She was getting closer to Khione, slowly but surely, even as the Vanillite continued to very slowly back away. Soon enough, she was close enough to touch - which Gaea did, engulfing the tiny Pokemon in her much larger, frozen arms. Khione was frozen in shock, then relaxed into the touch with a huff."That's not it,"
Khione said with a little bit of a sniff, an unseen haughty look on her face. "She just sees you as more worthy of being with her all the time - why you, and not me?"
The hug didn't last long, but as Gaea pulled away, there was a soft look on her face - one so soft and warm that Khione couldn't help but look away."I don't know, little one - why don't you ask her, later? I'm sure she can answer more truthfully than I could - I don't know her very well, after all, being the newcomer..."
Khione shook off her sulk, and turned to glance over at Kat where she stood watching them - the Vanillite huffed again and turned away, towards the empty field of snow in the other direction. "Enough mushy stuff, now - we're supposed to be training you. I haven't actually seen you try this - how about you try a Powder Snow in that direction, so I can get a feel for what you're doing wrong?"
Even though Khione would never admit it, the Sandshrew's words had hit something deep inside of her - and she would definitely get around to asking Kat about her reasoning in switching up the team later, but now it was time to focus
Gaea looked at Khione then glanced back at Kat nervously, then nodded. Taking a deep, calming breath in, she gathered up her icy power and directed it into the attack - only, instead of it hitting straight ahead like she'd intended, it kind of ended up as a sort of whirlwind directly around the two of them, instead. When the snow finally settled down and both Pokemon fought their way free of the snow, they turned to each other in shock and started giggling."That certainly wasn't expected, by either of us I'm sure..."
Khione eyed the cold snow around them, deep in thought, and eyed the Sandshrew shrewdly for several long moments. "Tell me - how do you gather the power for this?"
Gaea paused for a few long moments, eyeing the Pokemon beside it as it thought, before speaking. "I dunno, I just kinda of gather it in me, and tell it what to do - I never had this problem with the ground-type moves I used before..."
Gaea grumbled, stomping fitfully on some of the snow nearby that she'd kicked up with that last attack."Hmm...that might be it, actually."
Khione tilted her head to the side, eyeing the form of the Pokemon beside her before actually smiling
at the Sandshrew. "After all - Ice isn't Ground, much as you might think so. It's...closer to water, I suppose."
She hummed a moment, and looked around the field they stood in. "With Ice, you have to gather the power in you like always - then let it out in a cold stream, not all at once. I imagine Ground is different - the attacks are usually throwing mud or shaking the earth, not doing something like blowing freezing air or causing hail to fall. I think...oh, I know! Let's try this!"
She turned to Gaea and formed a ball of snow, focusing on her powers to form it in her hand rather than physically forming it out of the snow around them. She bounced in place and looked to Gaea, who looked at her like she was crazy - then she realized she hadn't explained a thing, just made a snowball. "Snowball fight - only, instead of gathering the snow from this field, we've gotta use our inner Ice to form it! It'll get you more used to how Ice works without doing near as much damage, and we can have some fun!"
Gaea still looked unsure - at least, until Khione had summoned and thrown some snowballs at her. Then, she looked vicious and ready for payback. Her first attempts were more ice than snow, but Khione took a moment to teach her how to use less power but more control - and soon enough the ice-balls were more snow than ice, and they got to playing. This bit, even Kat could join in on - well, the human wouldn't be able to form the snowballs out of the air like the Pokemon could, but there was plenty of snow around to work with after all - so both Pokemon decided it was the perfect time for the three of them to unwind...and if Gaea's snowballs started out more likely to bruise than puff into snow like a proper snowball, Kat was nice enough to not mention it, and by the time they stopped out of exhaustion and laughter, even Gaea's snowballs were made of pure snow.
All in all, it had been fun - a great memory in the winters to come, as well as a wonderful training experience for the Sandshrew.