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Sojaveña Wilds Dusty Highway

One by one their enemies fell, only to be replaced by another, more dangerous one. Clearing the baby dragons brought a Hakamo-o to the fight, and once that fell a Fraxure stepped up to replace it. If Archie knew anything, he’d expect that meant there was a Gabite around here somewhere, too. The other thing he knew was that he was feeling dead tired. He’d taken a lot of hits so far, and wouldn’t be able to take another without healing. Thankfully, he’d thought to grab an Oran berry!

After eating that, and grabbing another Leppa, the Oshawott fancied himself ready for one more push. He thought, though maybe taking a little more time than Xoco had hoped, their little group had fared well so far on this bout. For now though, he lashed out with a single swing of his Scalchop against the Fraxure, not wanting to risk using up the last of his strength with yet another opponent likely on the way.

Archie (15 STM, 11 TMP, +0 SPD, +0 ACC)
- **Bonus Action:** Item (Oran Berry)
- Interact @ Leppa Tree (-3 TMP)
- Aerial Ace @ Fraxure (-8 STM, Sure Hit, +3 TMP)
Net change: -8 STM, +0 TMP
Net totals: 7 STM (20 after regen), 11 TMP
  1. Laura
  2. Silver
  3. Archie
  4. Koa
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[One-Punch Silver flavor is now here~]

Silver panted heavily, feeling the aura of the Breaking Swipe restraining his energy.

Dragons… Why did it have to be dragons? Those stupid arrogant lizards always had to be a major thorn on his side.

First Wataru with his Hyper Beam-obsessed Dragonite, and now some alpha ‘mons with an inflated dragon-whatever ego who didn’t get a clue unless they were beaten to a pulp.

Well, then! If they responded only to power, then he was going to show them true power!

Glaring defiantly, Silver darted toward the Fraxure. Fighting energy flooded his aura, and after concentrating it all in his fist, he threw his Rock Smash at the imposing dragon with the strength of a sledgehammer.

Silver (31 STM, 4 TMP, +0 SPD, +0 ACC)
- Receive Helping Hand
- **Bonus Action:** Item (Oran Berry)
- Leer @ Fraxure (-14 STM, +2 TMP)
- STRONG Rock Smash @ Fraxure (-16.5 STM, Sure Hit, effect, -3 TMP, +4 TMP)
- Interact @ Leppa Tree (-3 TMP)
Net change: -31 STM, +0 TMP
Net totals: 0 STM (16 after regen), 4 TMP
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Koa hurriedly downed a berry then lept back into the fight. No time to waste now. Take down the Fraxure, fight whatever came after it.

Just a little more.

Koa (27 STM, 22 TMP, +0 SPD, +0 ACC)
- Receive Helping Hand
- **Bonus Action:** Item (Oran Berry)
- Interact @ Leppa Berry (-3 TMP)
- Mach Punch @ Fraxure (-6 STM, +3 TMP)
- Mach Punch @ Fraxure (-9 STM, +3 TMP)
- Quick Attack @ Fraxure (-6 STM, +3 TMP)
Net change: -21 STM, +6 TMP
Net totals: 6 STM (19 after regen), 28 TMP
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Just had to keep it up a little longer. Each brood had an alpha. This was the second. There'd be a third. If she paced herself, it almost felt like she could keep this up a long while. Almost.

Howls, but that sand stung, though. And the sand not half as much as that gible's bite. She sorely hoped she wouldn't get smacked around by one of the big ones...

"Eyes high," she called. "They've got height on you – keep your guard up!"

Another snap of her paw, another jolt as she empowered her allies. Good. Keep it up.

Laura (69 STM, 7 TMP, +0 SPD, +0 ACC)
- **Bonus Action:** Focus (+5 TMP)
- STRONG Metal Claw @ Fraxure (-7.5 STM, effect, -7 TMP, +4 TMP)
- Coaching @ Koa & Silver (-18 STM, -8 TMP, +2 TMP)
- Helping Hand @ Archie (-8 STM, +2 TMP)
- Power Spot triggers
Net change: -34 STM, -2 TMP
Net totals: 35 STM (53 after regen), 5 TMP
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Turn 5 - Player Phase

Laura's STRONG Metal Claw dealt 8 dmg to Fraxure!
Silver's Leer weakened Fraxure!
Silver's STRONG Rock Smash dealt 20 dmg to Fraxure!
Archie's Aerial Ace dealt 28 dmg to Fraxure!
Koa's Double Mach Punch dealt 18 + 15 dmg to Fraxure!
Koa's Quick Attack dealt 15 dmg to Fraxure!
Sandstorm buffeted the party.

With a sputtering cry, Fraxure crashed to the ground just as its rival had before it. The party was proving itself strong enough to defeat even the alphas--and to wild dragons, strength was everything.

Turn 5 - Enemy Phase

Meanwhile Xoco drifted over the craggy heights, scanning the ground below for any sign of their foe. The orchard scuffle had been full of three competing packs, so the third alpha had to be around here somewhere... She dipped lower, coming to land on the sandswept rocks.

"What the--"

At once, the ground liquefied! A swirling pitfall of sand, sinking inward to a central point. And in the center--Gabite!
Gabite had prepared a Sand Tomb, but it had no effect on Xoco!
Pointed stones dug into Xoco!
Xoco's Knock Off dealt 18 dmg to Gabite! The Dragon Fang fell to the ground.
Xoco's U-turn dealt 11 dmg to Gabite! Xoco retreated to Rugged Ledge.
Xoco lost 20% of her HP from Rough Skin!

"Yeowch!" Xoco fell back, nursing a patch of raw skin. The Gligar flapped away as quickly as possible, but--

Gabite dashed after Xoco!
Gabite's Dual Chop dealt 8 + 8 dmg to Xoco!
Gabite used Stealth Rock! Pointed stones were scattered all around.
Gabite prepared Sand Tomb...

Gabite appeared to be a more cautious sort than Fraxure. It was content to hunker down in its territory and prepare traps for any would-be intruders.

Sometimes enemies may 'telegraph' attacks that will strike at the beginning of the following turn. Be sure to prepare for it!
SPECIAL CONDITION: Try to KO Gabite without any squadmates getting KOd! Remember the Sand Tomb, Sandstorm, Stealth Rocks, and Rough Skin! Do your best!
The Rugged Ledge zone has a Mobility cost of 2! That means you'll need a Speed stage of +1 or greater in order to walk there, or else you'll have to Dash. Dashing grants an automatic +1 to your mobility!
This had to be the last one, right? No more after this. Howling wolves, she was tired, even chewing on yet another berry to ease the grind.

"End's in sight!" she called, through the storm. "Get this one in as few strikes as you can – make it count!"

And then she rushed forward, ahead of the party, knowing she'd get a faceful of sand the second she crested that rise...

Laura (53 STM, 5 TMP, +0 SPD, +0 ACC)
- Helping Hand @ Koa (-8 STM, +2 TMP)
- Helping Hand @ Silver (-12 STM, +2 TMP)
- Coaching @ Archie (-18 STM, +2 TMP)
- Power Spot triggers
- Interact @ Oran (-3 TMP)
- **Bonus Action:** Item (Oran Berry)
- Dash to Rugged Ledge (-2 TMP)
- AGILE Metal Claw @ Gabite (-7.5 STM, hit, -1 TMP, +2 TMP)
- Metal Claw @ Gabite (-5 STM, hit, -1 TMP, +2 TMP)
Net change: -51 STM, +3 TMP
Net totals: 2 STM (20 after regen), 8 TMP
Turn 6 - Player Phase

Pointed stones dug into everyone!
Gabite's Sand Tomb activated! Laura took 14 dmg and became trapped!
Laura is boosting the party!
Silver greatly weakened Gabite! -2 Def!
Archie's Razor Shells dealt 35 and then 46 dmg to Gabite!
His Assurance dealt 52 dmg to Gabite!
Koa's Mach Punches dealt 22 and then a CRITICAL 34 dmg to Gabite!
Rough Skin damaged everyone. Sand Tomb damaged Laura. Sandstorm buffeted the party.
Everyone was still standing! Mission complete + special condition achieved!

As Gabite staggered backward from the force of the attacks, Xoco flapped up the ledges to reunite with the party, having dipped back to the orchard to grab more Orans. But it seemed that the effort was unneeded--everyone was still standing.

"And here I thought at least one of y'all would need more of these. Suppose you wouldn't say no to them though, eh?" she asked, passing them out to the worn party.

In the fields below, if one were watching carefully, they might see scattered dragon-types chittering to each other as they fled the area. To the dragons, strength was everything. And the packs wouldn't soon forget that these fields were guarded by the toughest 'mon around.
The sands bit a little less, and then less still, as the winds died. That alpha gabite must have put a hell of an effort into kicking up such a storm. Unless it was a natural one... Either way, Laura pulled down her scarf, coughed, and panted for clear air.

"That... went rather well," she gasped, with a shaky smile. "Got pretty bloody worried there for a minute, though. Thanks for having my back."
“Ha! In your faces, punks!” Silver cried out at the fleeing dragons, his chest puffed proudly and his claws on his hips. “That’ll teach you not to mess with the wrong folks!”

Yes! Oh, heck yes! How much he enjoyed whenever he showed his and his companions’ power in a battle and triumphed! Such a thrilling and addicting feeling!

Still under the effects of the rushing adrenaline and predator instincts, Silver began chuckling aloud and sprinting across the area, only stopping at random intervals to twirl on the spot and swipe the air with his claws. Feather; he was as light as a feather, and his wounds were a long past memory.

But then, his human side brought him back to the present, and the Sneasel froze when he realized what he was doing. Did he really just start …dancing?!

Now embarrassed, he glanced bashfully at his partners-in-battle, tapping his claws together. “Y-you saw nothing! That was, err, nothing!” he stammered preemptively, before swiping his Oran Berry and starting eating it. By the gods, those mustelid instincts were always so random!

“A-anyway, huh… great job everyone!” he said after a while, flashing a tiny smile. “We rocked!” Then, he glanced at Laura. “And, well, anytime! We’re teammates; that’s what teammates gotta do, right?”
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Sick. They'd taken down not one but three pack leaders - and a Gabite too. It was a little ironic, a few months ago back home he would have been so excited to meet one and try to catch it.

"Thanks for having our back," he said to Laura, grinning. "I doubt we could have done half as well without your assists."

He could help but grin a little at Silver's display. "We made a good team," he said, still grinning. For a moment, he felt almost unstoppable, at least with the team by him. Already he could feel a strength to his blows and how they operated that surpassed their battle at the gala. If they could do that now, just how strong could they get? The thought was thrilling. It gave him hope for whatever they had to face next.
Archie breathed a sigh of relief. That Gabite had seemed formidable, but by working together, they’d managed to take it down. And, more than that, now the sandstorm was clearing, and it was more obvious that now that they’d shown the pack leaders who was boss, the lesser Dragons were fleeing. And, they’d managed to do it all without any of them getting seriously messed up. Though, they did end up taking more from the orchard than perhaps any of them had originally intended? Still, Archie wasn’t going to turn down Xoco’s offered berry!

He also couldn’t help but chuckle at Silver’s display, flashing the Sneasel a thumbs up when he came back to his senses.

“You all did great!” the Oshawott said, with a smile.
[Ch03] Dave and Ridley Discuss Voices
Hey, cloud? You better fucking tell me we weren't actually summoned here to help the Human Supremacy Society.

On second thought, he probably wouldn't be getting an answer this way, would he. Some of the group had apparently gone into a mystery dungeon the other day to plant some tree outside it to extend the signal a bit (however the fuck that worked), but you still couldn't usually get them to answer if you weren't straight-up in a fight. He growled, turning away from the Haus and towards the highway instead. Fine. He'd just keep prodding while moving in the general direction of that dungeon until it worked.

Cloud. Tell me when you fucking get this.
"Voice? Hey, Voice! Are you there?"

There was no answer to Ridley's call. He shrugged to himself and kept walking.

After their conversation at Blaguarro had been cut short (by Odette being shot at; much as it was probably a bad thing that she'd been hit by the shadow skorupi, at least they'd learnt a little more about the other voice from the experience), Ridley hadn't been sure when he'd next get a chance to speak with the Voice. Their only predictable experiences so far had been in the heat of battle, and those weren't exactly the ideal environment for a casual chat with an extradimensional glowing cloud entity.

He'd heard, however, that the Voice could be more easily contacted in the area around the north-east of Frontier Town and the Silver Ravine mystery dungeon. Ridley wasn't sure where in that area exactly the best signal could be found, but he figured that if he spent a while wandering around and tried calling out every couple of minutes, then he'd probably stumble upon it eventually.

Either that or he'd have wasted a day. He could only hope he didn't run into any aggressive wild pokemon along the way.

He spotted a figure up ahead. A person, Ridley was pretty sure - yes, that was a belt they were wearing - and he had less than a second to wonder whether he was embarrassed that they'd probably heard him calling to the Voice (signs pointed to no) before he realised that the figure was someone he knew.

Excellent! Ridley could check in with Dave about whether he'd also had that weird shadow-voice communication dream before he tried to interrogate the Voice about it.

"Hi, Dave!" he called, waving. "What brings you out here?"
Dave whipped his head around at the sound of a voice. It was -- oh. It was the Mimikyu with the Cleffa disguise from the wagon. The one who'd told everyone to run while he did something very stupid to attract its attention.

He fought down the nausea crawling in his chest. "Right. Ridley?" He glanced around in case there was anyone else there. "Well, right now I'm here trying to get within range of this tree or whatever that's supposed to improve the connection to the summoner cloud. We, uh, we just learned a hell of a lot about the whole fucking human supremacist movement thing. And a bit about shadow Pokémon, too. You got time?"
"Oh, hey, I'm looking for that too," Ridley said cheerfully. "We can search for it together. What did you learn about - no, don't worry about that, actually, if it's what you want to talk to the Voice about I can ask questions then. There's no sense in repeating yourself."

It was frustrating not to immediately ask Dave what he'd learnt - especially about the shadow pokemon - but it was good motivation to find a place where they could contact the Voice quickly.

"But hey, question! Related to what I want to talk to the Voice about, actually. Did you get any weird dreams after we encountered the shadow charmeleon?"
Dave had only just resumed walking by the Mimikyu's side when he stopped again, squinting at Ridley. "'Weird dreams'? Why?"
"Koa and I both heard something like a second Voice talking to us in our dreams that night," Ridley explained. "And in Blaguarro when I volunteered for the night watch we had an encounter with another shadow pokemon. Afterwards Odette reported a similar dream, but Kimiko and I didn't hear anything. We think it might be because she was the only one of us the shadow pokemon hit with an attack, but there's not enough data to be sure of anything. I'm trying to check in with people who were on the wagon when I run into them, but I've only asked Andre so far and he says he doesn't remember anything like that."
Wh... Huh. Given the cloud had actually communicated with them in dreams it couldn't be immediately dismissed, could it. He frowned, an unpleasant itch crawling up his spine. "I mean, wouldn't creepy dreams be pretty par for the course after nearly getting murdered? I guess I dreamt some kind of voice but it sure didn't sound like the fucking cloud and it wasn't exactly coherent speech, just like a single random sentence."
"Yeah, that's possible," Ridley agreed. "I had plenty of regular nightmares too -" or at least, he would have done, if he hadn't dedicated himself to not sleeping specifically to avoid them "- but this didn't feel like an ordinary dream."

He'd dismissed the Voice's communications as ordinary dreams at first, until they'd turned out to be too consistent to ignore. He didn't want to make that same mistake twice. "But do you remember what it said to you? Did it tell you that you don't belong here? Ah, whatever." Ridley made a noise of frustration. "Where's this tree thing supposed to be, anyway?"
You don't belong here.

A cold shiver of recognition went down his spine. "Okay. Okay, what the fuck. Jesus."

So... If multiple people were independently having the same specific random dream just after encountering a shadow Pokémon, that sounded pretty fucking odd. Goddamn it. Why was he in a place where his fucking dreams might be significant?

"So 'You don't belong here', that's the sentence it said for you? And Koa and Odette? Hostile vibe, just says it and that's it?"
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