Improve Anuket's ability to incapacitate opponents without causing fatal damage (good luck figuring out how to apply that to her profile ha ha ha)Progress:
Jez was grateful that so many towns had guardians and handlers alike willing to...well, lend a hand. This particular stop had a pokemon trainer employed with the local guardians, and he had been happy to swap stories and tips with Jez. She'd slid the mention of Anuket into the conversation subtly and, as hoped, the other trainer had been more than happy to help. He allowed Jez to take his wigglytuff for sparring matches and directed the woman to a good clearing he often used himself, just outside of town. In exchange, Jez would give him a thorough breakdown of how she had implemented the regimen and how effective it had been. This trainer, it seemed, thought that she was worth learning from. That was a good feeling.
Thankfully the zangoose was willing to do this at all. Despite the fact that Jez donned a Psychic Amulet connecting her to both Sekhmet and Anuket, the latter was virtually silent whenever she was out. When she did speak it was in short, to-the-point sentences. She obeyed readily enough, and Jez got the keen sense that she enjoyed a good fight. But that was the extent of what the handler knew, and it made her realize that she couldn't train Anuket to the fullest without knowing what worked best for her. The knowledge that her zangoose, the pokemon she'd had almost as long as Sekhmet, was all but a stranger was unsettling.
The first thing to address was Anuket's inclination towards killing her foes. Well, maybe 'inclination' was too strong of a word. But after seeing what Anuket had done to the manectric on that ship, it was clear that killing was a step the zangoose was willing to take. It made her a bit uncontrollable- how could Jez know when Anuket found it appropriate or not? That manectric had belonged to someone, and it hadn't made the mongoose hesitate. What if it happened in the Rose Bowl, or in some other matched tournament? Jez didn't want it happening again at all. That wasn't the kind of team she wanted under her wing.
She released both wigglytuff and zangoose at the same time, both of whom looked curiously at the other. "Alright, you two," Jez began, clasping her hands behind her back like she was on a casual patrol. "This is a sparring match, mostly for Anuket here," she nodded at the pokemon in question, who slid her gaze between handler and fairy. "But the point of this isn't to just be stronger in a fight, to hit harder. No, we're going to learn the exact opposite." Jez stopped, tugging a cloth free from her belt (where she'd looped it) and pulling a smooth cotton rope from one of her larger purses. Before Anuket could react, the woman knelt and smothered her claws with the cloth, wrapping them tightly. She secured the zangoose's paws together with the rope as the pokemon stared at her, shocked. Jez just smiled. "For this fight, you can't use your claws. You're going to have to figure out how to topple this wigglytuff by other means. No killing
, you can't try to...make a tree fall on her or something."
It was presented as a challenge, which Jez hoped would ease the notion of what she was doing. She straightened. "Your claws are your best weapon, and they're your fallback. You also don't see the need to restrain yourself. Before we work on that, we need to work on your ability to find and manipulate an opponent's weaknesses without
falling back on slashing and cutting. So. Let's see what you have."
Anuket stared for a moment, as if she couldn't believe what she was hearing- a restraint problem? Really?- but the hurdle of winning a fight without her claws was an intriguing one. Jez had presented the issue correctly, at least. The wigglytuff seemed to understand, but he- it was a male, the trainer had said- adopted no change in stature. There was an almost vacant look on his face, a goofy sort of grin that suggested he was checked out most of the time. Considering his species he was no doubt used as a target on most occasions, a pokemon with healing skills and the ability to take blows even when being relentlessly struck. He would be difficult to best for those reasons alone, and Anuket would no doubt be exhausted by the time she succeeded. If she succeeded.
Casting one last look at Jez, who nodded, the zangoose looked over her foe and rushed forward. Instinct told her to slash, but the pressure of her binds was a stark constant in her mind. Instead she leaped and kicked at the wigglytuff's torso. She knew it was going to fail before the blow even connected. Her foot sank a few inches into the fairy's plush body- his expression didn't change, nor did he try to avoid the kick- before she bounced backwards, landing ungracefully on her back and skidding. Her legs flailed in the air as she tried to right herself, and when she managed it she sent an angry glare in Jez's direction.
Jez watched impassively, arms over her chest. She could hear whispers in her head, coming from the zangoose- Anuket was grumbling quietly to herself, it seemed. If it had been Sekhmet, the vulpix would have whined and complained and probably refused to keep going until she was bribed. But Anuket stood and, despite her obvious anger, shook herself off and faced the wigglytuff once again.So she's stubborn, prideful, or both.
Sekhmet was prideful, and Jez was fairly certain that the zangoose here was just stubborn. She probably didn't like losing, or failing in general. Jez could use that.
Without the use of her claws Anuket fell back to kicking, but it was soon clear that it wasn't going to work. The wigglytuff was too blubbery to really be affected much, and his resilience was swiftly outmatching Anuket's endurance. Ten minutes was enough to wear the zangoose down and she took a few steps back, panting. Well, what was she supposed to do? Annoyance flared in her mind. Her claws had always worked just fine, and now Jez thought they were a problem. Why fix what wasn't broken?
She must've been staring angrily at said claws, because Jez's voice spoke up quietly behind her. "It's too easy to get carried away with them, to not fully realize how much damage you're doing. More often than not it's better to leave foes alive, for a variety of reasons. Besides, what if something happens and you can't use your claws? What will you have to fall back on?"
That much was true, at least. Anuket still disagreed, but she hadn't exactly fought back when Jez had bound her claws. She had accepted this challenge, so mulling over the finer points of the handler's goals weren't going to help right now. Besides, that wigglytuff's dopey expression was starting to grate on her nerves. A lot. Fine, she'd do it Jez's way, and she would knock that pudgy fairy thing unconscious for days.
Claws wouldn't work. Kicking wasn't working, and although a foot to the head could yield different results, Anuket doubted it would get the job done. Teeth weren't going to pierce very far through that fluffy blubber, either. The zangoose looked around. There were trees, a few rocks, and it was going to take forever to wear this health-behemoth out. How could she-
Her item. That would work.
Anuket suddenly bent forward, reaching a leg back as is to scratch her ear- instead a foot claw caught on the cord around her neck, the cord that held the Toxic Orb Jez had given her. A few jerks and the orb came free, and it took a single kick to send the poisonous ball straight into the wigglytuff's belly. He wasn't exactly a small target.
He wasn't the most intelligent of pokemon, either, and he blinked down at the orb as it bounced off of his belly and rolled along the ground. His insides curled, as if he'd eaten something that had gone off, and for the first time since the sparring match had started, his expression faltered. He frowned, looking between his stomach and Anuket. The pain was unpleasant, but it was getting steadily more intense. He looked down, looked u- where'd she go?
Anuket was skirting around him, and his calm demeanor crumbled into mild panic. He opened his mouth to Sing her to sleep, but she was faster. She used her cloth-bound claws as a net and scooped up a large stone, skipping into a Quick Attack to head her foe off. He was turning to face her, and she was in his face before he could even complete the rotation. Anuket stuffed the rock into the wigglytuff's mouth before more than a note could leave it, then stomped a foot down on his and pushed him backwards.
He wasn't that easy to topple, but he did stumble. Anuket followed closely, shoving a foot under his every time he tried to catch his balance. The fairy managed to stay up right until he hit a downed log near the edge of the clearing; once he did, it was over. He fell backwards with a strangled cry, spitting the stone out and trying to rock himself upright. The poison from the Toxic Orb was starting to sap his strength, and Anuket had her wind now. She leaped, positioning both feet to slam down onto his belly. She would bounce here and use gravity to her advantage until the wigglytuff stopped moving.
Jez had been impressed when the zangoose had switched tactics with the Toxic Orb, but now the woman's pleased look turned into one of concern. This was the problem. Binding Anuket's claws made it less likely that she'd succeed in killing her foe, but the issue that needed to be addressed was her escalation. No doubt frustration over her current circumstances were what spurred her on, and now she couldn't see past it. "Anuket!"
Jez's sharp voice made the zangoose stop. She landed on the wigglytuff's belly and wobbled, then stumbled to the ground. The wigglytuff made a whimpering noise. "Is that necessary? Look at him, Anuket." The handler stepped forward, her voice softer than the words implied.
Anuket looked. The fairy was still upended, flailing his limbs weakly and issuing small cries of pain. It was...pathetic-looking. For the first time since she could remember, the zangoose felt a twinge of guilt. This pokemon wasn't a serious challenge to her. He hadn't been threatening her life. Would she have killed him eventually from sheer internal trauma, if Jez hadn't stepped in? She hadn't thought she could do that kind of damage to a pokemon larger than her, but he wasn't doing a very good job of getting up. Anuket realized that she had no idea how injured he was. Maybe...Jez had a bit of a point.
"Listen," the woman began, reaching for the wigglytuff's pokeball and recalling him. She'd pay for his complete healing before giving the fairy back. "I'm not expecting you to never kill. As much as I would love to believe otherwise, there's going to be a day when it's you or the other pokemon- or person. You're a capable fighter, and I trust you to know how to spin a fight to your advantage. Rarely should that have to be fatal for your foe. Killing for the sake of killing is a dangerous path to walk."
Jez wasn't sure if she was getting through, but Anuket nodded slowly. The woman knelt and undid the bindings with quick, deft fingers. "Get your orb, and I'll get you a new cord for it. That was pretty ingenious, using it. Did you know wigglytuff are particularly vulnerable to poison?" Anuket shook her head, but her shoulders straightened in response to the praise. Jez had hoped that it would take the sting off of the rebuke. "This is why I want to do this. You're more than smart enough to figure out clever strategies like these."
take some of the sting, and guilt, away. Anuket considered her handler's words as she trotted over to her Toxic Orb. It would be more impressive to win with cleverness, wouldn't it? She could make a name for herself. She liked the idea of making a name for herself.
A ghost of a smile crossed Jez's lips. This was a step in the right direction.