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Frontier Town Frontier Town Outskirts

As Silver charged forward once again, Rodion used the reach of his swords to keep him at bay. He had to admit, the kid definitely had a fighting spirit. Something he could admire about him. Rodion attempted to slash Silver again, but the Sneasel actually managed to weave around his sword, before striking Rodion's right wrist.


Rodion recoiled and the blade in his right paw dissipated, prompting him to draw his paw back. He thrust his left blade forward in Silver's direction, forcing the Sneasel to jump back and creating a reasonable distance between the two once again.

"For someone who has only been a Sneasel for several days, you're actually not doing half bad!"

Rodion briefly glanced behind him, before falling back and coming to a stop at the edge of the river. The Buizel looked back at Silver with another smirk and gestured for him to bring it with his free paw.

"Though, is that really the best you can do?"
Yes! Silver grinned triumphantly when he managed to outmaneuver Rodion and disrupt his water-wielding technique. There was nothing better than relying on some strong offense to beat an opposing strong offense!

However, there was one tiny, near irrelevant detail he hadn’t considered before going for a barrage of punches and dodging all those slashes: fatigue. The now-Sneasel felt his muscles shuddering and his lungs taking in as much air as they could. Despite this, he did his best to not show his exhaustion to the Buizel by keeping a straight stance and a combative stare.

Still, he wouldn’t have been able to keep up with that rhythm for too long. He needed to end the fight — pronto!

"For someone who has only been a Sneasel for several days, you're actually not doing half bad!"

Oh? Rodion wanted to engage in some small chatter?

Hmm… sure, why not? If anything, in that way he would have gotten a few extra seconds to catch his breath.

“Well, y’see,” started Silver, waving his paw dismissively, “if you spend two years of your life with a Sneasel as a friend, you’re bound to learn a trick or two. Besides, you gotta learn how to use a foreign body as quickly as you can, huh?”

"Though, is that really the best you can do?"

Okay, break was over! Silver shot a swift glare, his provoked ego refusing to let that taunt go unanswered.

“Far from it!” he exclaimed, holding a paw in front of himself and crouching down, gearing himself for another assault. “I’m just getting warmed up!”

And then, he sprang back into action, running as fast as the wind toward Rodion and his claws gleaming faintly, ready to strike.
Confident in his speed, Silver swiped at Rodion with his sharp claws… only for them to swish through empty air. The former human’s gaze darted to the Buizel, and his eyes widened in shock when they registered that wide smirk.

‘Crap! I’ve been had!’

And then, Rodion crashed into him. All Silver could do was coughing out a weak ‘oof’ before he and his opponent fell into the river. Instinctively, Silver swiped his claws at the Buizel, but it was all for naught. The water weighed down his fur and slowed down his Scratches significantly, while Rodion seemed even faster and avoided his attacks near effortlessly.

Panting from the effort, Silver dragged himself out of the water. He cringed at his own wet scent, then realization struck when he noticed that half of his body was submerged. No way to run.

Did he have a chance with those odds? Probably not, but if he had to go down, he sure as heck was going to make his opponent work for his victory!

“Hmph! Bring it on!” shouted Silver valiantly, his claws outstretched defensively in front of himself, waiting for… something. Anything.

Silver braced himself…
Rodion wasted no time after falling into the river. He'd managed to tackle Silver into the water just like he had hoped, and now was the time to make the most of it.

The Buizel's tails began to spin as he swam forward, another blade of pressurized water reappearing in his right paw. It seemed like Silver was already trying to climb out of the river, but he wasn't gonna let him. Or at least, not until after their sparring match was over.

He lunged ahead in the water, throwing his weight behind his left blade with a forward thrust...

Rodion used Liquidation!

... followed by a slash with his right blade.

Rodion used Aqua Cutter!
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Even as Rodion propelled forward like a Buizel-shaped torpedo and tore through the water at dangerously high speed, Silver didn’t yield. Digging his feet into the riverbed, he crossed his arms in front of his chest, keeping a defensive stance.

And then, the Liquidation came. Silver was familiar with that attack: He had seen his Feraligatr using that technique so many times. But oh boy, if that attack didn’t hurt!

The former human yelped in pain, but his voice was quickly drowned when he was pushed once more underwater. Bubbles rose from his clenched fangs, and he grew worried when he saw Rodion lunging once more with his right blade.

Rodion. Heh, that Buizel was truly was a force to be reckoned with, Silver had to admit. With those powerful water techniques and a clever mind, Silver couldn’t help but be… impressed, and admired the tenacity and swiftness of that Buizel.

He wished to learn… from him.

And then, Silver felt something new. A surge of power, which seemed to flow between himself and Rodion. For a second, it seemed like their minds and auras had connected, and water began swirling around his claws.

Silver used…

The opposing blade swung forward…

…Assist! By linking with Rodion, Silver called out…

…and so did his own blades.

…Aqua Cutter!

Water sword collided with water claws, splitting the immediate surroundings into two liquid walls. But his water claws didn’t hold for long. Exhausted and lacking experience with that unknown technique, Silver was quickly overwhelmed and struck by the weakened pressurized water, sending him swooshing helplessly by the resulting shockwave.

The water resumed flowing like usual, and Silver barely managed to stand back up, breathing heavily. He stared at Rodion, his eyes narrowed and his mouth sucking in much needed oxygen. Then, a tiny smile appeared on his muzzle.

“…Good fight.”

Silver groaned and wobbled, feeling like his legs had spontaneously turned into jelly, and he fell backwards into the water. He floated aimlessly on his back, taking many more heavy breaths, and when he got some of his strength back… he began laughing. Hard and with merriment.

Were his muscles hurting as if he had been run over by a truck? Oh, definitely, they did! Was the battle worth it? Hell yeah!

“I hate to admit it, but… you won this match. I’ve gotta call it quits,” he muttered, lifting his arm as a sign of surrender. Then, he let it fall back into the water, still feeling too tired and sore. “That’s… enough Sneaseling for a day…”
Rodion swam over to Silver and inflated his flotation sac, before beginning to help him to get out of the river.

"Heh, it really was a good fight. You did well and even picked up a new move at the end there."

Rodion led Silver up the riverbank and sat him down on it. As Silver settled in, the Buizel dug through the small satchel he had sat aside before their sparring match, before pulling out an Oran Berry and offering it to the Sneasel.

"Here. Brought one with me just in case, but I think you need it more right now."
With the exhaustion wracking his body, Silver didn’t even protest when Rodion held onto him to lead him back to the shore. He merely sighed, focusing on the pleasant sensation of the fresh water flowing through his fur and soothing his aching muscles.

"Heh, it really was a good fight. You did well and even picked up a new move at the end there."

“I… I don’t even know how I did that,” admitted Silver. “But yeah! That was a cool move! I gotta figure out how to use it properly…”

As soon as they reached the shore, Rodion offered his help by letting Silver lean into him to walk on some comfortable spot. Once Silver found a suitable space, he reached out for his poncho and wrapped it around his body to dry his fur, his movements slow and deliberate.

Then, he blinked in surprise when Rodion extended the Oran Berry toward him.

"Here. Brought one with me just in case, but I think you need it more right now."

Silver frowned. “Are… you sure? You’ve taken quite the beating, y’know.”

But Rodion only nodded in affirmation and held the berry a little closer. It seemed like he didn’t want to accept no as an answer. Hesitantly, Silver reached out for the berry and held it between his paws.

“Um… Thank you…” he muttered shyly, before nibbling the fruit. He sighed in relief when the invigorating energy spread to his body and healed some of his wounds, prompting him to take bigger bites. However, he left a few slices of the Oran and gave them back to Rodion. “Okay. That’s good enough for me. You need some of this, too.”

The two spent some time to recuperate from the fight, sharing comments about their respective performances and strategies, until they were interrupted by a grumble. Silver’s eyes widened, then he looked away and massaged his belly, embarrassed.

“Gods, I dunno about you, but I’m starving! I could eat an entire herd of Tauros right now!” He turned back to Rodion and smirked. “How about we go get a bite or two? I’ve found a place earlier that’s very promising…”

And as such, the two trekked back to Frontier Town, reassured by the knowledge that they had found a new partner.

Ch01: Dog and Pony Show [Koa & Leaf]
Koa paced the outskirts of town, sparks dancing off his fur in the evening light. The library was closed and he needed somewhere away from the others to try and think. He hated himself for leaving the impromptu meeting, hated how foolish they probably thought he was, but he couldn't stand it. How could they be so casual. How could they even consider such an awful thing? Working with criminals. Looking at him like he was absurd for not wanting to.

'And next time you want to play hero, think twice before making a mess of things.'

He kicked at rocks as he paced, glaring at the ground as if he could somehow force it to give him answers. Working with criminals was out of the question, but then that strange pokemon... he'd said something about the mayor wanting to hang criminals, which... He turned his thoughts back to the dillemma. Could he possibly fight the- no. He remembered how hard just a few insect pokemon had been for them to fight.

A groan escaped him. Kitto would have known. Could he hope to find help from others? Jade? Aige?

They were supposed to be a team. But it sounded like they were already at odds over this whole gala. Would they end up divided before they even found the true threat? Still burning with confusion and frustration, Koa began working through some rote fighting motions he'd worked out in his canine form, balancing on his hindlegs to throw a few blows, then dodging and ducking. It was something to do at least. He needed an ally...
Psychic powers were undeniably pretty awesome, but actually the best part of being a horse now for some reason was definitely the speed. Sure, it'd taken a hot minute to adjust to going full tilt on all fours, to get over the sensation that it'd be as awkward as flailing around on the playground pretending to be an arcanine in kindergarten, but now that she had the hang of it? Leaf was fast. Really fast. Getting back to her usual evening runs had taken on a whole new dimension now that she could move like this, just pick a trail and fly down it, cool wind flying through her hair and the desert sunset blending into a band of colors you sure as hell didn't get like this in Kanto. Exhausting, the first few nights at least, but exhilarating, and the less tired she felt after each go the more she could at least pretend it was forward progress, like she was doing... something here. Anything.

Probably would've been just as spectacular to keep running under the full-on stars, too, but it really was getting late, and she did need to grab dinner before finishing up that thrilling, pulse-pounding report of how many potholes there were along a given stretch of road. (Still none, Monferno Almeda, just like the last time, have you considered the problem is with your wagon instead maybe.) Before she could choose between heading out to Nina's Place or hoping to sneak something quick from the Haus's night-breakfast buffet, though, a flurry of movement not too far from the edge of town caught her eye. That was... the blue electrike that'd she'd seen around the Haus and the library a few times, right?

"Huh! Don't think I've ever seen an electrike throw punches before." She slowed to a walk, moved closer so she could look at him without having to squint through the dark. "That's awesome. Where'd you learn to do that?"
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Jab, jab, drop, duck, flank and strike-

"Huh! Don't think I've ever seen an electrike throw punches before." She slowed to a walk, moved closer so she could look at him without having to squint through the dark. "That's awesome. Where'd you learn to do that?"

Supressing the initial wary annoyance, Koa finished by doing a final feint and a blow with his opposing paw before turning to face the speaker. He studied her. A ponyta, except without the usual firey mane and tail. Didn't Galar have one like that? She sounded younger compared to some of the people he'd met, maybe close to his age... Definitely one of their 'group' if he remembered right.

"Oh hey," he said, a cautious edge to his tone. He hated how on edge he felt around the same pokemon he wanted to trust. "I don't think its something electrike normally do? But a friend of mine back home showed me a lot about fighting, so I've been trying to see if I can still do it here, like this." It wasn't until after he spoke he realized his wording probably made him sound human. Oh well. He felt too distracted right now to care.
Back home. Still do it here, like this. Huh. Was he another...? Like, he could've meant he used to be a hitmonchan, but that hadn't happened to most of the group who'd started out as pokémon. She could ask directly, but apparently they weren't supposed to talk about that where random locals might hear it. Any new random locals other than basically everyone important in Little Scriven, whatever. If Mayor Enubel was planning on doing something nefarious with that info then well friggin' played, madam.

"Well, if you mean what I think you mean, then I definitely get you," Leaf offered, indicating herself with a hoof. "Even if technically I oughta be better at running like this than before, it still takes a lot of getting used to. But at least there's plenty of space out here, and might as well kill time with something, right." At the rate things were going, Mayor Enubel turning out to be some kind of secret supervillain would at least be interesting.
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Koa pushed down his frustration and perked up a bit at her reply. So she was a human too then? Possibly even a trainer. "Yeah, I know what you mean," he said pointedly, nodding. "It's weird to get used to changes... And I figured its too late to do anything else, so I might as well train. Name's Koamaru," he added. What was her trainer world like? Was it like Jade's? Or... wherever that Wes loser was from? "And you?"

Perhaps he could ask her thoughts... At the very least, he probably ought to tell her something. Hopefully she wasn't the type to side with criminals.
"I'm Leaf!" She hesitated for only a second before extending a leg to shake. Eh, eff it, no point wrestling with whether old habits were weird or not if he really was human, too. "Uh, sorry if I interrupted you, by the way. I just always think it's really cool to see pokémon who want to learn, like... out of the box stuff? I've had teammates who wanted to try weird new moves or skills, and it's always fun to help them experiment with those. But I get it if you were busy or really needed to focus, or something."
Koa took her hoof to shake without even thinking about it first. "You're fine. Sorry if I was a bit uhm. Terse. I have a lot on my mind." He exhaled slowly.

"Have you heard about this whole business with this Gala?"
"Gala? The one there've been a bunch of flyers floating around for?" She thought, frowned, shook her head. "Can't say I have. Overheard some locals muttering about it, maybe, what to wear this or not having an invite that. I just assumed it was some jumped-up rich people party and ignored it; not like any of us are gonna get invited. Why, what 'business' is there?" Her eyes widened as she caught something in Koamaru's tone. "Is something happening? Actually happening, like there's something to do?" God, finally.
"Yeah, something like that," Koa replied uneasily. If only he could feel excited like Leaf sounded. He wanted to. Sighing, he thought back to the brief encounter in the square. He wished he'd stayed, if only to eavesdrop. He hated that. Why should they have to spy on their own team?

"So apparently this Gala is a big deal. And it sounds like some local bandits heard about it and are trying to do something. I believe her name is Sonora. She tried to recruit some of our group to help." He hesitated. Now that he was talking about it, he felt even more uneasy. "The mayor sounds like a pretty nasty guy, so... I think some of the group are thinking of helping her."

He frowned in distaste. It wasn't right. The mayor sounded bad, but that didn't mean helping criminals was right either. There had to be another way.... Right?
A whomst.

"A bandit came up to some of our group and asked them for help doing... what, exactly? Did they say? Why?" Why would a bandit even have approached them in the first place? Had their arrival really looked so shady that they'd attracted criminal attention right off the bat? (Were any of the Nexus 'heroes' actually that shady? Weren't they all supposed to be here to help, to do the right thing? God damn but she really didn't know any of these people from anybody, did she.)

"'Nasty guy' like what?" she demanded, ears pinned back in irritation. "What did he do that makes it so important to go after him when there are a bunch of other people around? Why is working with some criminal the only way to do it?"
Koa sat down. There was a lot to cover and tell Leaf about, and he once again lamented their groups lack of coordination.

"Sonora is apparently some kind of wanted outlaw. Has a whole gang, the Las Picaras." The words were foreign on his tongue. Not as big as any of the 'gangs' he knew back home, but it sounded similar enough. He recalled posters about them. Problem was, little groups always started small, before growing into something awful. Galactic Group had been just a small group. Rocket had been a small organization. Plasma Coalition. "They want to get into the Gala. I don't know why, but I doubt its good. Maybe she's after the wealth, there's a lot of rich mon who are supposed to be there..." he added, recalling what the Meowth had said. "Some of us apparently agreed to help her, but a few others also apparently agreed to help the mayor."

He dug a paw absentmindedly into the earth as he stared at the ground. "I don't know all the details, but I just... I can't help outlaws. Except," he paused, considering her final question. The Chimera's words still made him sick to his stomach. As much as he despised people who did evil... he shivered unconsciously. "If Sonora is caught, the mayor wants to execute her."

Finally, he looked up warily at Leaf. So far at least, she seemed against working with Sonora, but there was no telling what she might say. "I don't know everything the others are doing or why but... I came here to help the world. That's what we were called for." There was a questioning note in his statement. 'Right?' As if asking if she agreed. "I want a better way."
Well, ain't that just lovely. You go out for a little fresh air and when you come back everyone's all hopped up on banditry and executions. There was just no leaving these people unsupervised, was there. What the hell was anyone—herself included—even doing here?

Sonora, Las Picaras... Did those sound familiar? She couldn't recall the names from the bounties at the job board. Maybe in town somewhere...? Definitely in town, in that growing collection of wanted posters scattered about, that had to be it.

...the posters that had said Wanted: Dead or Alive. She'd only ever really seen those posters in movies, before. Just another prop in the background. Just a way to make the bad guy look extra-scary or give the tragically misunderstood good guy a threat to fight against. It... hadn't really occurred to her that they weren't just scenery here. That they meant something.

"Of course there has to be a better way," she scoffed at last. Her tail lashed from side to side with agitation and definitely not just to disguise the chill that'd shot down her spine. "Since when are the only options 'commit a crime' and 'hand someone over to be executed'?" There had to be something else. There had to be. "Can't we just... chase the bandits off if they're dumb enough to show up?" The idea of letting them go felt slimy, but slimy was better than unacceptable. "Or, or do something to stop them from showing up in the first place? We'd just need to know where they're coming from, or what else they might be after, or..." ugh, there was so much they didn't know, wasn't there.
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