Despite his trainer's confidence, Azrael knew he was weak - knew that, missing a limb, he should be put down, set aside, left to die. Without an arm, he was useless
- he deserved
to die. As much as he appreciated the fact that his trainer didn't see it - at least, not yet - he knew he was weak. As a Skorupi, nothing was more important than the strength of his body - there were regular fights, back in his desert, between Skorupi that came across each other. The weak would lose their tails, at best, and be doomed to wander the desert until something ate the bug that could no longer protect itself.
He'd lost an arm, not his tail, but the concept was the same. Wasn't it?
According to Leslie (or rather, Witcher or Steele), he had shown strength when he'd torn off his own limb over falling to the water that the crab had called forth. But for him...it hadn't been strength. It had been weakness
- instead of letting himself succumb to partial drowning, he'd ripped his limb off to delay his fainting, afraid to fall so soon in battle. And then, afterwards...he'd heard the Healers' words. He was crippled for life
. They didn't think his arm would grow back even after the surge of power and energy and force of evolution: he would be without an arm forever
, until the day that he fell permanently. A surge of bitterness shot through his body, and he glared over at the wall of the Healing Tent he still languished in.He was crippled.
There was no other way to put it: without his arm, he had lost his ability to so much as walk in a straight line, let alone actually battle
. And without being able to battle, what good was he? When his trainer walked in again, looking weary and telling him that they had lost the last battle - well. He hadn't fought when he was recalled, and didn't expect to be released again. Death would have been kinder than this languish, but his trainer hadn't brought a psychic-type again, so his words were lost.
---Leslie Howard Witcher-Steele
Witcher sighed as he sat on a small, half-fallen wall - he had traveled a short ways into a woods, and stumbled across a small hut, half-ruined and clearly abandoned. He'd stayed there, pondering life, trying to get his head back on straight. He'd gone into the Rose Bowl with few expectations, wanting to find out how ready his team was to work together, to Hunt, as he had once done with his previous team. His answer was: technically, yes. At least, they were
ready - now, it was harder to tell. One of his team was so injured, now, that it would take hard training to get them able to hunt once again. Not to mention, none of them actually wanted
to listen to him in battle, and might turn against him or against his wishes as easily as following them. That...could go bad, quite bad, depending on circumstances.
He sighed again, settling further onto the wall, pulling his legs up and crossing them. It was sturdy enough, not trying to fall upon itself or him - whoever had built the stone structure had at least gotten something
right, even if the building was mostly-collapsed and useless. It was quiet, though, and that's what he'd been looking for. Pulling out a pokeball, he stared at it, feeling the warmth that revealed that it was occupied.
The little scorpion-thing had surprised him with his deadliness in battle, and willingness to win no matter what. He hadn't lied when he'd spoken to the little Pokemon after their battle: he was glad that the Skorupi was part of his team, even if he thought it odd that he'd go so far as to rip off appendages
to potentially win a battle, ignoring the fact that it was a permanent wound. He wished he'd thought to rent an Abra or something again, but he had to let go of the crutch of psychic-types - he didn't have one, and there was entirely a possibility that he'd never have one. After all, if that was what Anael intended to evolve in to...it would take a while. After all, she hated
him, even now. He hoped that would change, and soon, but also knew that feelings and contentment weren't developed overnight. It would take time, and more than one session of bonding, before Anael would trust her more than she did now.
But now, it wasn't time for that.
Azrael needed him.
From their brief talk, with the help of the Abra he'd borrowed, Witcher knew that Azrael wasn't in the best place, emotionally or physically. The Skorupi didn't think he was worth anything, and though their talk had helped
...that wouldn't help much. Sighing a third time, he rotated the pokeball in his hand. Azrael was a part of the team, he wouldn't give up on the Pokemon - if they could get past this hurdle - no, when
they got past this hurdle, both would be stronger for it. Shaking his head, he immediately stood: no time better than the present.
Instead of an ending of life, Azrael found himself released from the confinement of the pokeball. He adjusted to existing outside of the ball once again, stumbling and almost falling over when he scuttled in a circle, placing where he was. This place was full of green things and his trainer was nearby - he grunted as he saw the human, wondering why they were there. His human was looking at him with what he thought was pity, and he scowled and glared up at the tall human - he was crippled and he knew it, but that didn't mean that pity was acceptable. As best he could, he settled on the ground and poked at the soft, mushy ground; it was different than the sand of his homeplace, his territory that had to be many long miles from here."Azrael."
No movement didn't mean he wasn't paying attention, Azrael knew, but also knew that Witcher-Steele didn't know that. A sigh came from the human, and he could see him shaking his head just a bit - the Skorupi didn't dare look up to see that pity again. "Angel of Death, we will get through this."
He poked at the ground more viciously, and almost got himself stuck in the muck when he couldn't easily pull his arm free. Muttering wordlessly to himself, he shook the muck from his arm and the horn-like poker at the end of it, annoyed and frustrated."Rae - we will get through this."
Witcher-Steele was suddenly there
, kneeling in front of him, and Azrael was startled. He made an attempt to jump back, surprised, and stumbled, falling onto his injured side with a hiss of pain. Though the Healers had done their best, and the injury itself was healed, he'd found that the stump he was left with was tender at times - he'd been assured that over time, he would gain a sort of callous over the area, something that wasn't quite as tough as his skin but at least wasn't as tender and weak as what he had now. But that would take time
, which was frustrating in the meantime."Sorry - sorry!"
Witcher was there, helping him up, and Azrael was surprised as he looked up at the human's face and saw nothing but concern - no pity, not this time, unlike the last. Witcher-Steele let go as soon as Azrael was comfortably on his feet again, which the Skorupi was glad of.
Touch was...odd, not welcome, yet welcome at the same time - he didn't know how to feel about it, not yet. As a wild Pokemon, touch meant battle and tests of strength or hunting - then with his first trainer, touch meant intention of killing, of torture or murder. Touch meant something different here, with Witcher, but he needed time to figure out what it meant before he would welcome it - if he would welcome it.
Luckily for him, Witcher wasn't forcing touch on him when he wasn't ready - he scratched at the ground with one of his legs, thinking, and didn't look back up until Witcher-Steele spoke again."Azrael."
A change in his tone, one he couldn't place, got the Skorupi to look up again. His trainer looked determined, somehow, and grabbed one of his other pokeballs - with a flash, Barratiel was beside them. "Barratiel."
Even though Azrael knew the Buneary didn't care much for their trainer, the bunny had proved to be a decent soldier, willing to put his feelings aside if he deemed it necessary. Even now, the Buneary was alert, little bunny nose twitching as he looked between the injured Skorupi and Witcher. Surprisingly enough, to him, the bunny eyed him with a sort of respect - to the best of his knowledge, though, this was the first time they had met."Barratiel - you can help Azrael better than I can, here - you're smaller than me, more able to keep up, able to speak to our ally."
He sighed, looking between Azrael and Barratiel for a few seconds, before backing off. "You know what it's like, to be injured as he is - even if your injuries were healed, unlike his. Do your best to teach him, my friend - he's not going to be sent to the wild after showing his dedication, nor am I willing to let him die over an injury I placed him in a position to receive."
Barratiel eyed the human for a few long moments, then turned to Azrael, before shrugging and nodding.
---Barratiel"It may have been stupid, your decision to cripple yourself - but you were strong, in that battle. You helped us win - your sacrifice slowed down the dragons Nathanael and I had to fight, gave us the chance to take them out instead of being taken out."
Barratiel eyed the scorpion in front of him, and knew that the Skorupi was in a bad place, mentally speaking. He knew the feeling of being weak, of being useless, and knew that words wouldn't help - the scorpion would have to be shown
, not told
, that he could become strong once again. He knew that his words were a start to the Skorupi regaining his former confidence, but words wouldn't do all the work for him. "Thank you, even if I don't agree."
Barratiel knew his nose twitched at the words, a clear sign of annoyance, but wasn't bothered by it. There was only so much he could control little signs like that -