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Frontier Town Frontier Town Outskirts

Turn 2
Player Phase
Koa's Rogue Skill @ Drapion Interact: To draw Drapion's attention and distract/sway him; Koa uses Strength to try and display a show of power, breaking the largest boulder in the area he can reasonably shatter!

Bellatrix's Rogue Skill @ Ignatius! Frostbite!

Astrid RADIANT Focused...
Astrid's RADIANT Soul Rocket dealt 79, 72 damage to Drapion!
Astrid's AGILE Frost Breath dealt a CRITICAL 54 damage to Drapion!
Astrid's Frost Breath dealt a CRITICAL 69 damage to Drapion!
Astrid's Draining Kiss dealt 50 damage to Drapion!

Astrid heals for a total of 48 damage, to full aside from Cruelty!

Astrid's Spotter Feat @ Drapion!

She senses...

*Poison Tail
Pin Missile
*Night Slash
Hone Claws
*Shadow Sting

She also senses that Drapion goes down!

Koa's attacks seemed to draw Drapion's attention--but it also seemed like Astrid's barrage was more than enough to take him down while he was distracted. His body twitched enough to suggest he was still trying to stand, even after all that... but he didn't look ready to fight the Wayfarers in that state.

Grace RADIANT Focused...
Grace's RADIANT Life Dew @ Astrid! The Healer's Radiance overheals through Cruelty!
Grace's Spotlight @ Nova!
Grace's After You @ Nova!
Nova's Rebellious Soul!
Nova's Wide Guard!
Nova's Blast Seed dealt 40 damage to Shadow Ignatius!
Nova called out to Grace!
Archie dashed to Inner SW!
Archie's Aqua Jet dealt 22 damage to Void Shadow L!
Archie dashed to Center!
Archie's Aqua Jet dealt 15 damage to Ignatius!
Archie RADIANT Focused...
Archie's STRONG RADIANT Razor Shell dealt a CRITICAL 93 damage to Owen!
Archie's Flip Turn dealt 23 damage to Ignatius!
Archie's Retreat!
Odette RADIANT Focused...
Odette's STRONG RADIANT Flash Cannon dealt 57 damage to Ignatius!
Odette's Spotter Feat @ Def and Res! Ignatius has defenses of 110/106
Odette's Draining Kiss dealt 20 damage to Void Swarm! Healed for 15 HP to full!
Odette called out to Grace!

Meanwhile, Ignatius and the Swarm were strong as ever, though Ignatius was starting to show signs of getting worn down. Owen tried to block Archie's incoming strike, but his attacks were faster than his reflexes, even with whatever trickery he had with this so-called Perceive. Fierce eyes stared at Archie--not just from Owen, but from the swarm as well.

Astrid is the center of attention! (Aside from Spotlight)
Odette continues to evade detection...
Owen has extra attention on Archie!
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Turn 2
Enemy Phase

The display of strength after the onslaught it just endured caused the drapion to kneel, just barely catching itself with its immense claws. One of them, already chipped and damaged from the battle at hand, chipped and fell.

Drapion stared at the broken claw, still leaking with poison, then at Koa. It raised its mandibles in some form of weak defiance but then, reluctantly, it lowered its head and flung the claw the electrike's way as if it was being presented as a trophy. The poison within was still potent and saturated with corroding Shadows. If Steven was anything to go by, it wasn't something anyone wanted to be on the receiving end of.

Koa's next [Aux] command will include a resistance-piercing Toxic [3]!

"Prisoners? I'm hardly a prisoner anymore, I'm... I'm free! Free to do ANYTHING now! Free from that world... all of those expectations, all of that pain...!"

The ground rumbled as Shadow lightning struck, glassing the stone once again.

"I'm FREE!"

Owen's Stormheart is unleashed, dealing massive damage to the ground! It seems Void Shadows are immune to the effect...

Void Swarm L Focuses...
Void Swarm L uses Fury Swipes x5! Nova's Wide Guard blocks it!
Void Swarm L uses Constrict! Nova's Wide Guard blocks it!

Void Swarm L uses Shadow Debilitate on everyone!
Archie evades!
Astrid evades!
Nova, Odette, and Grace suffer Speed-2, Paralysis!

A horrid feeling washed over the team as the Void Shadows grew more restless. With Drapion down--and turning traitor in a quest for power?--Owen was getting more desperate. Ignatius seemed to become more aggressive. As one goes down, the ferocity of the others seem to fill in the gaps. A cornered 'mon was a dangerous 'mon, perhaps...

Ignatius approaches and uses Icy Wind on Astrid, Nova, and Grace!
Astrid: 3, -1 Spd
Nova: 3, -1 Spd
Grace: 6, -1 Spd

Ignatius uses Umbral Pride! Ignatius became the center of attention! All Wayfarers suffered -2 Atk and Mag!

Ignatius uses a STRONG Flash Cannon against Astrid, but it redirects to Nova! 14 damage, 7 Cruelty!

Ignatius dashes back to the Central area

"I can do that too, you know," Owen said to Archie, dashing ahead with alarming speed. He plucked at the air... and from it, a shadowy shell just like Archie's appeared in his claws. He slashed down at Archie just as others distracted Nova and his Spotlight.

When he roared, even more lightning formed a charge. It was coming again... Owen was throwing defenses to the wind, debilitating the Wayfarers with a storm of fire and lightning.

Owen approaches...

Owen uses Dragon Rage on Archie, but it redirects to Nova, dealing 50 damage!

Boss Action ~ Spreader! Owen unleashes a MASSIVE Flamethrower toward everyone!
Nova: 6, Burn!
Archie: 14, Burn!
Astrid: 13, Burn!
Grace: 8, Burn!
Odette: 16, Burn!

Owen focuses on Archie again and uses Mimic freely, copying Razor Shell! He uses a STRONG Shadow Critical Razor Shell on Archie, dealing 49 damage, 28 Cruelty!

Owen dashes back to the center area.

Void Swarm R moves into the Center

Void Swarm R can't do much to the team... so instead, they dedicate their swarmy bodies to defense and become Cover for Owen and Ignatius!

Boss Attack! Owen prepares another Umbral Stormheart! Drapion's down, Ignatius is hurt, and Owen was badly slashed! Owen's zone count increases to 5!
The Center and all Inner zones are in danger!
Everyone takes 10 damage!

"He's losing control," Mhynt hissed, looking like she was pretty badly burned. "They're also falling back... Keep pressing, but--don't make yourselves too vulnerable, either! We already have one!"

She glanced skyward.

"...It's going to strike all around! Watch out! Can--can you move?"

Aggro normalizes... General standings remain unchanged. Astrid holds high aggro; Odette holds low aggro.

Special Objective complete!
The fire singed his fur and clothes, the damage was light, but by the way his muscles sang out in pain with his movements, Archie could tell he’d be feeling it for some time. Still, he was feeling reasonably confident in their progress, until Owen flew at him out of the flames and smoke, camouflaged from the Dewott’s vision until it was far too late to successfully block his assault. He threw his arms up to cover his face, and felt Owen’s conjured shell cut through his sleeves and bite into his limbs. Then, as quick as he’d appeared, Owen was gone again.

“At least have the decently to look me in the eyes when you steal my techniques,” he groused. “Still, despite your big show of force, you made one, major mistake…”

He heard the sound of a distant bell, and momentarily felt connected to a pain that wasn’t his. Then, his own pain lessened, his burns disappeared, though the wounds on his arms remained. He tapped into the shadow around him letting it feed his power. Safe in the knowledge that he could use it now without having to worry about the Zweilous on the other end of the line. He wasn’t a victim anymore, he’d found his way out of that dark place. And, as a group, they’d drag this whiny Charmeleon out of that place too, kicking and screaming if they had to.

All your show and bluster, and yet, I’m still standing!

He launched himself across the battlefield again, but it wasn’t Owen he found first, but Ignatius. So be it, he slammed into the Empoleon again, tossing aside the pitiful shadows the ex-mayor had called to his defense.

“Hiding behind your guards again, Ignatius? How typical of you,” he growled. “You know, there comes a time in every politician’s career, when the chips are down and everything else gets cut away, that they have to sink or swim, on their own merits!”

He erupted with water again, blew away what was left of the Empoleon’s cover, leaving him exposed for the others to finish. Then, the Dewott retreated again, out of the range of Owen’s latest tantrum.

Archie (97 STM, 14 TMP, +0 SPD, +1 ACC, 0 SHD, 16 RAD)
- Receive (Helping Hand)
- **Act:** SHADOW Focus (+5 TMP)
- SHADOW Hero's Soul (-30 STM, +2 TMP, +30 SHD)
- Dash to Center (-2 TMP)
- Aqua Jet @ Ignatius (-6 STM, +4 TMP)
- CRITICAL Flip Turn @ Ignatius (-11 STM, Sure Hit, -20 TMP, +4 TMP)
- Retreat to Inner SW
- Walk to Outer West
Net change: -47 STM, -7 TMP, +30 SHD, +0 RAD
Net totals: 50 STM (79 after regen), 7 TMP, 30 SHD, 16 RAD
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Paralysis seized her body, and the sluggish feeling of the icy wind only made her feel worse. And that was before the constant searing of the burns on her body.

"Nfff..." she gasped, struggling to keep herself in the air. "Owen... we'll save you...! Please, just, stay strong!"

She couldn't cure her ailments. Why didn't she prepare for this...?

No matter. She could be stubborn.

Grace sucked in a breath, and she reached for that new energy she'd felt before again. It wasn't Radiance, and... it couldn't be Shadow, right? This felt nice, even though extending herself like this hurt.

This was her biggest fight on Forlas so far. She wasn't part of the main fighting in the Cipher raid, and if things were more chaotic like this... she wanted to be around as much as she could. Grace saw Archie struggled, Astrid was similarly covered in burns, and Nova and Odette were struggling as much as she was.

She had to be there for them. Grace had to keep them healthy.

This time, Astrid and Archie felt her determination... with a hint of exhaustion from all the ailments she was dealing with.

Grace (77 STM, 21 TMP, -3 SPD, +0 ACC, 7 SHD, 7 RAD)
- **Act:** Item (Leppa Berry) (+40 STM)
- Metronome (Heal Bell) @ Odette & Archie (-30 STM, Support Feat, -18 TMP, +2 TMP) [Cure Odette's Para and Archie's Burn]
- Harmonic Soul @ Astrid & Archie (-30 STM, -2 TMP, +2 TMP) [Grace takes 25% Recoil]
- Life Dew @ Archie (-30 STM, +2 TMP)
- Walk to Outer West Zone
Net change: -71 STM, -14 TMP, +0 SHD, +0 RAD
Net totals: 6 STM (38 after regen), 7 TMP, 7 SHD, 7 RAD
The smaller void shadows were starting to add up, not in numbers, but impact. Astrid heaved herself out of the way as a wave of energy sliced through the space she'd just occupied, with some of her allies not being so lucky. It didn't seem to hurt them, but they couldn't move.

She glanced up as lightning began to build in a swirling, indiscriminate circle. That was a problem.

"Heads up! We gotta clear out!" she cried.

Except she did the opposite, driven forward by something arguably worse. Radiance had coursed through her veins a few times before, but this... this...

She was vibrating. She was glowing. Every footstep left the foreign energy sizzling on the ground. And every strike...

"I've killed people like you before. People who think the world is theirs to take," she snarled at Ignatius, suddenly in front of him. "It ISN'T. So just DIE already!"

Everything blurred. She didn't even realize she'd said anything. One strike, two, three, four, pummeling, pummeling-- Radiance building with each-- and it was only Nova's words and any shred of sense she had left that let her cut the onslaught short in time.

"...Fuck. Fuck." In an excruciating moment of sobriety, she shoved a shaking paw into her bag and squeezed the last Escape Orb just seconds before hellfire rained down.

1. Grace
2. Archie
3. Odette
4. Astrid
5. Nova
6. Koa
7. Bellatrix
Astrid (89 STM, 19 TMP, +1 SPD, +2 ACC, 0 SHD, 60 RAD)
- Receive (Call) (+3 TMP, -10 SHD, -10 RAD)
- Receive (Helping Hand) [also receive +2 Magic]
- Walk to Center
- **Act:** Focus (+5 TMP, -20 SHD, -20 RAD)
- CRITICAL RADIANT Draining Kiss @ Ignatius (-9 STM, -20 TMP, +2 TMP, +9 RAD)
- AGILE CRITICAL RADIANT Frost Breath @ Ignatius (-15 STM, Sure Hit, +2 TMP, +10 RAD)
- CRITICAL RADIANT Frost Breath @ Ignatius (-10 STM, -2 TMP, +2 TMP, +10 RAD)
- Activate feat (Spotter Feat) @ Aggro Standings
- **Act:** Item (Escape Orb) to Outer West
Net change: -32 STM, -8 TMP, +0 SHD, -1 RAD
Net totals: 57 STM (88 after regen), 11 TMP, 0 SHD, 59 RAD
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This time, there was no protective mist to spare Nova. First came a seizing of his limbs, then a scorching of his fur. Not as painful as the toxic in the lab, but enough to quiet some of the strange energy that was churning inside him before. He wouldn't be able to get close to Ignatius or Owen like this. And certainly not with the air around him so charged.

"He's losing control," Mhynt hissed, looking like she was pretty badly burned. "They're also falling back... Keep pressing, but--don't make yourselves too vulnerable, either! We already have one!"
Mhynt's words snapped Nova to attention. That was it, then? Just one particularly nasty spread of enemy attacks in response to their volley and she already wanted to fall back? When they all had revivers? When they had an opportunity to catch them off guard like this?

That feeling was dulled but it stirred inside him even more. Confusion... conflict... anger.

Why did it have to be this way? What sick, twisted powers built a world that blessed people from entirely different worlds with limitless power that could grow shockingly fast compared to the people born and raised here?

It wasn't fair. He could practically hear his Wielder laughing in the back of his head.

They had to try something. Anything.

"Then you press, too!"
he shouted to Mhynt through Betel's connection. In the interim he staggered off to the west. "If you really know this guy, then you know how to chip at his mental armor! And you can teleport! You've got to do something to block off his escape!"

"I've killed people like you before. People who think the world is theirs to take," she snarled at Ignatius, suddenly in front of him. "It ISN'T. So just DIE already!"
And speaking of wild-- goodness. He knew Astrid was crazy strong from taking out the last of the Fiends the other day. But all that Radiance was loosening her lips a bit too much.

"Breathe, Astrid!" Nova begged. "You've gotta keep that energy under control or you'll go as wild as him!"

Someone ought to talk to her about what she said at some point... right? Nova ate the heal seed he'd brought. Was it his own thoughts or the shadows making him so concerned about all of this?

Nova (90 STM, 18 TMP, -1 SPD, +0 ACC, 30 SHD, 0 RAD)
- Walk to Outer West
- **Act:** Item (Heal Seed) @ Burn, paralysis
- **Act:** Call @ Astrid
- Wide Guard (-22.5 STM, +2 TMP)
- **Act:** SHADOW Focus (+5 TMP)
- Interact @ Mhynt: Beg her to help block Owen's escape via Betelepathy (-3 TMP)
Net change: -24 STM, +4 TMP, +0 SHD, +0 RAD
Net totals: 66 STM (94 after regen), 22 TMP, 30 SHD, 0 RAD
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A ripple of shock ran through Koa as Drapion went down, then offered up the claw. That hadn't been an accident or coincidence. Drapion had done it on purpose. "Thank you," he said gently. "I'm going to help you."

He carefully took the claw, quickly trying to analyze the battle and figure out where to strike. Shadows erupted as the mass of void things retaliated, followed by Ignatius attacks. A howl escaped Koa as first ice then flames washed over him. His vision swam for a moment as he gathered himself. Ignore it.

Faintly, he heard Mhynt, ready to fall back.

No no no. They couldn't give in yet, not when they were so close. They'd gotten Drapion back, they had to get Owen too. The others were going for Ignatius, but he couldn't ignore Owen. If only for Mhynt's sake. His mind raced, desperation raging through him as the swarm of shadows regrouped. Owen... He had to help him. The urge burned inside him, almost unnaturally strong.

"Mhynt don't give in!" He gripped the claw harder, electricity crackling around his paws. If he could get just one opening...

And then like lightning, inspiration struck. Or rather, he sensed it, thanks to Betel. Nova, calling to Mhynt. If she distracted him for even a moment- Then he would strike.

Koa (Aux)
- Rogue Strike (Paralysis) @ Owen
- +Toxic

Interact: Use the opening created by Mhynt to strike Owen and slow him down
Odette saw Owen charging that Flamethrower before he released it. She knew, she just knew. And yet, even as fear dropped into her gut like a 2-ton weight, and even as she tried to get out of the line of sight, she couldn't. She felt the burn before she registered that she had it. Crying out wasn't happening either, because she could barely move all of a sudden.

"Hngh..." she grunted, barely hearing herself over the sound of her blood banging around inside her skull. Her vision swam with fury resulting from the burn, and sparks of Radiance that now illuminated her skin. However, despite everything, she still felt awake. She still had energy left to spare.

And with the sounding of a distant, familiar tinkling noise, her joints loosened up. Searing pain still bit her nerves, but she was able to stand. It didn't take her long to figure out where it had come from, and after sending the togetic a nod of thanks, she presented her bloody arm to Jawile again, who had fallen silent at some point.

"We're not fucking finished yet."

Control wasn't out of her grasp yet. They could still take this battle.

Jawile bit down on her again, and she surged with another round of power.

Odette (87 STM, 15 TMP, -4 SPD, +0 ACC, 0 SHD, 16 RAD)
- Receive (Helping Hand)
- Soul's Wrath (-30 STM, -2 TMP, +2 TMP) [+2 Offenses, 25% HP Recoil]
- Draining Kiss @ Void Swarm (-9 STM, +2 TMP)
- **Act:** RADIANT Focus (+5 TMP)
- STRONG RADIANT Flash Cannon @ Void Swarm (-24 STM, +4 TMP, +16 RAD)
- Walk to Outer West
Net change: -84 STM, +11 TMP, +0 SHD, +16 RAD
Net totals: 3 STM (30 after regen), 26 TMP, 0 SHD, 32 RAD
Turn 3
Player Phase
First came a few strikes against Ignatius, knocking and staggering the disgraced mayor back. In the distance, Odette's blasts cleaved straight through a stunned swarm of Void Shadows, leaving them scrambling to recover for a while and out of the team's path.

Grace used a Leppa Berry!
Grace's Heal Bell @ Odette & Archie!
Grace's Harmonic Soul @ Astrid & Archie!
Grace's Life Dew @ Archie!
Grace walked to Outer West Zone!
Archie SHADOW Focused...
Archie's SHADOW Hero's Soul!
Archie dashed to Center!
Archie's Aqua Jet dealt 13 damage to Ignatius!
Archie's Flip Turn dealt a CRITICAL 29 damage to Ignatius!
Archie's Retreat!
Archie walked to Outer West!
Odette's Soul's Wrath!
Odette's Draining Kiss dealt 23 damage to Void Swarm L!
Odette RADIANT Focused...
Odette's STRONG RADIANT Flash Cannon dealt 77 damage to Void Swarm! It's ultra effective! KO!
Odette walked to Outer West!

Then came Astrid's bombardment, pummeling Ignatius into the desert sands until he was unconscious and on his back. Even if Astrid was deemed a grand threat, it seemed that the demonic forces no longer had the means to fight them back.

The tides had turned.

Astrid walked to Center!
Astrid Focused...
Astrid's RADIANT Draining Kiss dealt a CRITICAL 104 damage to Ignatius! It's ultra effective! Overhealed as far as Cruelty allows!
Astrid's AGILE RADIANT Frost Breath dealt a CRITICAL 93 damage to Ignatius! It's ultra effective!
Astrid's RADIANT Frost Breath dealt a CRITICAL 120 damage to Ignatius! It's ultra effective! KO!
Astrid's Spotter Feat @ Aggro Standings!
Astrid used an Escape Orb!
Nova walked to Outer West!
Nova used a Heal Seed!
Nova called out to Astrid!
Nova's Wide Guard!
Nova SHADOW Focused...
Nova's Interact: Mhynt: Beg her to help block Owen's escape via Betelepath

Koa's Rogue Strike @ Owen!
Koa's Interaction! +Toxic and use Mhynt's opener to make a sure strike!
Bellatrix's Spotter Intel @ Owen! His Defense and Resistance is 94/100!

Mhynt heard Nova's words. Then came Koa backing it up. Just as she was on the backstep, ready to flee, terrified of what she was seeing. But Nova, Koa... They were still fighting. And Nova had seen so much darkness already. Why was she running now, when she'd been more free than she'd been in centuries?

Her claws squeezed closed.

"Owen!" she roared... and ran straight into the storm.

The storm surged. Deafening crackles of black lightning glassed the earth, leaving what might be permanent scorch marks on the ground all over the battlefield. And standing there--still standing, singed but alive and conscious--was Mhynt.

Five feet from Owen, panting, staring directly at him. They were the same height, both crouched for different reasons. Owen, madness in his eyes, half-feral, looked for an opening. Mhynt, already electrified, used all her strength to stay standing.

"Wake... up," she begged. Wake up, Owen."

"M... Mhynt..."

"This isn't you, Owen," she hissed. "You were never meant to be a monster. You are a protector. A guardian. How can you let Alexander twist you this way?"

Owen's mouth opened and closed. No words. Chirps, growls. Odette heard it again--and this time, so did Bellatrix. Not words, but a feeling. Yet they knew with certainty it had come from Owen.

I can't stop.

Astrid's Aggro readings:
Before the turn:
Astrid: 5
Nova: 4
Archie: 3
Grace: 3
Odette: 1

After this turn:
Astrid: 7
Nova: 6
Grace: 5
Archie: 3
Odette: 3
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Turn 3
Enemy Phase

Owen's Umbral Stormheart strikes the ground! Most of the Wayfarers avoid it! Mhynt takes significant damage, but survives to interfere with Owen's actions!

The Void Swarm on the left side of the map recedes until it's only in Inner NW!
Void Swarm L restores itself to full HP! But is too stunned to do anything else...

Void Swarm R heads north as a collective, and then expands into Inner Outer North with two actions!

Void Swarm R uses its swarminess to push Owen out of the Center and into Inner NW!
Void Swarm R acts as Cover while Owen is in a zone with it!

"Owen," Mhynt whispered as Void Shadows flew around her like debris in a storm. "Please."

The Charmeleon stared with wide eyes. For a split second, she thought he had returned.

But then the black flame of his tail flared up. The swarm shoved him past Mhynt and she was forced to conjure her blade to fend them off. Meanwhile, Owen blasted a Flamethrower blindly toward Astrid, full of conflict and confusion even in the way the flames crackled, but they directed to Archie through some mysterious magic.

Panting, gasping, Owen fled. The Void Shadows protected him... Even if they took him down now, they were too numerous. They would take him away.

But... something about their battling left an impact. Owen was a battleheart, wasn't he? He'd been described as that before. Could that... mean something here? Or was that just blind hope?

They had to try... though, from the Quarry, something dark bled out from the horizon. The subtly acrid aura in the air was strengthening...

Boss Action! Owen gains +2 Spd and +2 Eva!

Owen eats a Cautious Seed! +1 Defenses!

Owen focuses...

Owen unleashes a STRONG CRITICAL SHADOW Flamethrower onto Astrid! Redirects to Archie, dealing 44 damage! 22 Cruelty!
Boss Attack! Owen prepares a Protect...

Owen walks north... He's going to flee next turn!

Aggro no longer seems relevant. The Void Shadows are fleeing, taking Owen with them whether he goes down or not! But maybe, if you hit him hard enough... something could stick for later!

Something is coming in the distance...
And with that, the haughty penguin went down again. It wasn't quite the unchecked wave of violence that had toppled the man the last time around, but it was satisfying to see nonetheless. That just left Owen, and the Charmeleon looked more than ready to cut and run.

... Not without a parting gift though. The Dewott traced the Charmeleon's line of sight, seeing the shadowy fire building up again for another deluge. Astrid was in the line of fire, would she be able to withstand such a hit? That wasn't a chance he was willing to make.

"I didn't say you could look away from me, thief!"

It was a desperate attempt at bluster, from a Pokemon who knew he had nothing else to offer. And yet, Owen's eyes were dragged off Astrid, and locked to the Dewott's own. The fire came next, and it hurt much worse this time around, as the flames seared his open wounds from Owen's stolen Razor Shell. But he remained standing, and Astrid escaped unscathed.

Now Owen was on the run, half under his own will, half apparently being carried along on a tide of darkness. But none of them were ready to let him go yet, Archie least of all. Feeling the water at his back again, the Dewott charged the Charmeleon again and again. Then, finally, he drew his scalchop again, feeling the light surging within him.

"Here's a little parting gift before you go: Another taste of the light we're going to drag you back to!" He taunted one last time, then slashed at Owen with everything he had left.

Archie (79 STM, 7 TMP, +0 SPD, +1 ACC, 30 SHD, 16 RAD)
- Walk to Inner NW
- Dash to Outer North (-2 TMP)
- Aqua Jet @ Owen (-6 STM, +4 TMP)
- Flip Turn @ Owen (-11 STM, +4 TMP)
- Retreat to Inner NW
- Dash to Outer North (-2 TMP)
- Aqua Jet @ Owen (-9 STM, +4 TMP)
- **Act:** RADIANT Focus (+5 TMP)
- STRONG CRITICAL RADIANT Razor Shell @ Owen (-24 STM, Sure Hit, -18 TMP, +6 TMP, +16 RAD)
Net change: -50 STM, +1 TMP, +0 SHD, +16 RAD
Net totals: 29 STM (58 after regen), 8 TMP, 30 SHD, 32 RAD
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She could feel it.

Everything was sapping her energy away-- lending her energy to Astrid and Archie to keep them stronger, the weird way that the attacks from the Shadows and Owen, Ignatius and Drapion were resisting her healing, and the paralysis and burns that continued to wear her down.

Astrid and Archie could feel her energy waning despite looking healthier than they did.

But then the approaching prescence hit her senses, and she shuddered. What was that?!

"We can't... I'll do what I can for Owen, but we need to hurry! We... something bad is coming!"

And she glanced to Astrid, once again preparing to do what she could. "Astrid... I trust you. If you think we can all beat Owen to his senses... then I'm with you. Let's give this one more go!"

Grace channelled that increasingly familiar Radiance as she formed a projectile made of shining water. This time, it wasn't going to heal Owen.

"Please... let this work!" she cried, putting her energy into tossing the water shurikens as far as she could.

Grace (38 STM, 7 TMP, -3 SPD, +0 ACC, 7 SHD, 7 RAD)
- Walk to Inner NW [With everyone else]
- **Act:** Call @ Astrid
- **Act:** Focus (+5 TMP, -20 SHD, -20 RAD)
- **Act:** RADIANT Focus (+5 TMP)
- RADIANT Metronome (Water Shuriken, 4 hits) @ Owen (-23 STM, -16 TMP, +2 TMP, +20 RAD)
Net change: -29 STM, -4 TMP, -7 SHD, +13 RAD
Net totals: 9 STM (41 after regen), 3 TMP, 0 SHD, 20 RAD
In the fray, Owen had a clean shot. Straight line of sight, with no chance to dodge his precision aim. Shadows licked the edges of the beginnings of a Flamethrower that Astrid knew would hurt-- but a flash from her periphery caught his eye at the last second, and Archie received it instead.

She balked. In a fleeting moment of sobriety, Astrid nodded her gratitude.

And then Grace. Astrid breathed, breathed... did she say trust? Shared strife built trust. And as she glanced over at Grace, battered as she was...

"Yeah," Astrid said, nodding once again. "Let's do it."

She couldn't sober up for longer than that. She needed more. Unable to stop moving, unable to stop fighting -- paralysis of the mind, liberation of the body. A bizarre copper-like taste filled her mouth, strangely intoxicating, and she burst forward with the energy from her paws accelerating her further after her target. Tunnels filled the rest of her vision. Pupils dilated. And even as Owen moved to shield himself, Astrid knew he could not block everything.


All Primary units Walk to Inner NW before anybody takes their atomic turn.

1. Grace
2. Bellatrix
3. Koa
4. Odette
5. Archie
6. Nova
7. Astrid
Astrid (88 STM, 11 TMP, +1 SPD, +0 ACC, 0 SHD, 59 RAD)
- Walk to Inner NW [Walk simultaneously with everyone else]
- Receive (Call) (+3 TMP, -10 SHD, -10 RAD)
- Receive (Call) (+3 TMP, -10 SHD, -10 RAD)
- Dash to Outer North (-2 TMP)
- AGILE CRITICAL RADIANT Frost Breath @ Owen (-15 STM, Sure Hit, +2 TMP, +10 RAD)
- **Act:** Focus (+5 TMP, -20 SHD, -20 RAD)
- RADIANT Soul Rocket @ Owen [2 hits] (-30 STM, -3 TMP, +2 TMP, +30 RAD)
- CRITICAL RADIANT Frost Breath @ Owen (-10 STM, -2 TMP, +2 TMP, +10 RAD)
- CRITICAL RADIANT Draining Kiss @ Owen (-9 STM, -20 TMP, +2 TMP, +9 RAD)
- Activate feat (Spotter Feat) @ Owen's Gear
Net change: -60 STM, -8 TMP, +0 SHD, +19 RAD

Net totals: 28 STM (59 after regen), 3 TMP, 0 SHD, 78 RAD
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Furious determination blotted out the pain and fear as Koa faced Owen. They were so close they couldn't lose him, not now. If they could capture him, maybe get him to the Relic Stone...

His heart hammered as the shadows rose. He could sense the others preparing their own strikes. Maybe their last. What did it all matter if they couldn't stop this? If they couldn't save Forlas? Was it all for nothing? For a moment, he was back there, facing Alex in the desert, then in that strange place with the Relic Stone. Alex had been shocked when he'd turned on him. Caught off guard...

"Bellatrix, try and hold him down!"

A snarl built in his throat. I'm not giving up. He leapt for Owen, not caring about trying to knock him out, though he still struck with everything he had at the first opening he could find. More than anything, he needed Owen to understand. To know.

Desperation and a faint crackle of Radiance edged his voice as he spoke, low and forceful. "Owen. Alex isn't all powerful here. His control isn't perfect. It couldn't control me completely. Fight it."

Koa (Aux)
- Brawler Strike (Radiant) @ Owen

Interact: Radiant Confide - Impress upon Owen that Alex's control and power here isn't perfect, and he can fight it.
Nova saw the lightning fry Mhynt. His chest tightened.

He pinged the order to the two damaged fulls. Both of them wordlessly nodded their understanding, faces expressionless. Nova's chest tightened as they leaped toward the rampaging dragonite... and blew themselves apart in blinding white and yellow flashes.

He shook his head. Owen was coming and-- no, wait, only one strike? That went over to Archie?

"Something's wrong..."

The Void Shadows protected him... Even if they took him down now, they were too numerous. They would take him away.
They had to try... though, from the Quarry, something dark bled out from the horizon. The subtly acrid aura in the air was strengthening...
He was going to flee. The shadows would sweep him away like nothing. And Astrid already looked prepared to pounce. "Be careful!" he called out without thinking.

What about Drapion and Ignatius? What were they even supposed to do with them? Keep them in town? Drag them to Ranger HQ? Either way, Alexander could reclaim them. He'd already attacked the team during their travels once.

What was the point? Was this their fate from the start?

Not everything that happens in this world is good.

Nova dug his talons in the ground. Tried to blink that shadowy silhouette with the stupid arceus hairdo out of his vision.

Just imagine... a perfect world, with no sorrow or pain.

"No!" Nova didn't realize he shouted. He sprinted forward, shredding through the silhouette barreling past limp void shadows as best he could. That strange tug from before was back. Churning inside him faster and faster with every step.

It ignited a sudden spark. And a radiant wildfire was spreading through Nova. The charmeleon and surrounding shadows were getting closer and closer.

"You understand, don't you?" the necrozma's claws flickered with golden light. "Sometimes force is the only way to solve a problem."

"I have... nothing to lose!"

That strange power forced Nova's radiance through his shadows. A golden wheel glistened around his torso, before spilling over his talons. Long-dormant instincts took hold. Nova lunged for Owen, swiping with gold, shimmering talons.

"I'm sending... that zweilous a message!"

Nova tried to dig his talons in and pull back. He was larger than Owen by a good factor, sure. Maybe if he pulled enough with this radiant energy, he could pry the charmeleon from the shadows.

"The dark... means nothing to me!"

Nova (94 STM, 22 TMP, +1 SPD, +0 ACC, 30 SHD, 0 RAD)
- Walk to Inner NW
- **Act:** Call @ Astrid
- **Act:** Dash to Outer North (-2 TMP)
- **Act:** RADIANT Focus (+5 TMP)
- STRONG CRITICAL RADIANT Multi-Attack @ Owen (-54 STM, -13 TMP, +4 TMP, +36 RAD) [Powered by defense. 25% boost from RKS System.]
- Interact @ Owen: try to wrestle free from Void Swarm using lingering Radiance (-3 TMP) [222 lbs vs. 42 lbs]
Net change: -51 STM, -9 TMP, +0 SHD, +36 RAD
Net totals: 43 STM (71 after regen), 13 TMP, 30 SHD, 36 RAD
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When the void swarm went down, so did Odette's rage. As her body lit up, her internalized Wrath faded into nothing. She was more focused than she'd ever been; so much so that she'd become numb to her burns, or the bites oozing blood down her arm.

Through the light tunnelling her vision, all she could see was Owen. The one thing still out of control here.

His cry still blazed in her mind. However, her need to understand why he'd said it, how he'd said it, and why she was the only one who'd heard it eclipsed it.

Stepping forward with a calm she didn't have before, she braced herself for her next attack.

"Owen," she called out. "If you had the capacity to call for help, you have the capacity to stop. Fight it. Grow a fucking spine and fight it."

Odette (30 STM, 26 TMP, -2 SPD, +0 ACC, 0 SHD, 32 RAD)
- Walk to Inner NW
- **Act:** Item (Leppa Berry) (+40 STM)
- Dash to Outer North (-2 TMP)
- AGILE Flash Cannon @ Owen (-24 STM, +2 TMP)
- Ancient Power @ Owen (-14 STM, effect, -9 TMP, +2 TMP)
- **Act:** RADIANT Focus (+5 TMP)
- CRITICAL RADIANT Flash Cannon @ Owen (-16 STM, -20 TMP, +2 TMP, +16 RAD)
Net change: -22 STM, -20 TMP, +0 SHD, +16 RAD
Net totals: 8 STM (35 after regen), 6 TMP, 0 SHD, 48 RAD
Bellatrix's ears flicked towards the feral cry, a small frown appeared when she seemed to understand what he was saying. Was it a human thing then? There would be time to question that later.

The Shadows seemed to be focused on Owen, meaning that there was a chance that they (and presumably Alexander approaching over the horizon) would leave Ignatius and the drapion alone in favour of dragging the charmeleon away. Disappointingly, she knew their efforts would fall short today but that did not mean that it wasn't worth it to try.

She nodded at Koa's call and approached Owen, red sparks flecked with gold flickered at her claw-tips. "If you do not have the capability of stopping yourself," she said. "Then it is my responsibility to make you stop." She let the chains crystallise and fly, aiming for his legs to trip him and lower his guard. She tried to hold onto them for as long as possible, trying to force the efforts away from the other two Shadows.

Bellatrix (Aux)
- Rogue Skill (Lower Resistance) @ Owen

Interact: Try to slow Owen down using a RADIANT Embargo
Turn 4
Player Phase

Owen held up his hands to deflect a few of the shurikens as he saw them, but a few chipped past his claws. He hissed and slipped away. That left him completely open for the others to pummel him into the ground--and...!
Grace walked to Inner NW!
Grace called out to Astrid!
Grace Focused...
Grace RADIANT Focused...
Grace's RADIANT Water Shuriken dealt 10 damage to Owen! It's ultra effective, and several are dodged, burning his evasion!

Ethereal chains wrapped around his body, but the swarm of Void Shadows were more numerous than the chains. Once they were fully in 'flee' mode, it seemed like nothing could stop the tide from pulling Owen away. And Owen, unfortunately... was too afraid--afraid, now--to answer their call. But he heard them. Yet, some compulsion--a dark, ensnaring compulsion--forced him to keep fleeing anyway, deeming the mayor and Drapion as lost causes.

For some reason, Alexander valued Owen above all, and the Void Shadows followed that priority.

Bellatrix's Rogue Skill @ Owen! Resistance -1, and he's ensnared by chains! He doesn't seem to like that...

Koa's Brawler Strike dealt 55 damage to Owen! It's ultra effective! Owen hears him, just a little...!

Odette walked to Inner NW!

Odette used a Leppa Berry!
Odette dashed to Outer North!
Odette's AGILE Flash Cannon dealt 16 damage to Owen! It's not very effective...
Odette's Ancient Power dealt 27 damage to Owen! It's super effective!
Odette RADIANT Focused...
Odette's RADIANT Flash Cannon dealt a CRITICAL 89 damage to Owen! It's ultra effective!

Archie walked to Inner NW!
Archie dashed to Outer North!
Archie's Aqua Jet dealt 23 damage to Owen! It's super effective!
Archie's Flip Turn dealt 24 damage to Owen! It's super effective!
Archie's Retreat!
Archie dashed to Outer North!
Archie's Aqua Jet dealt 18 damage to Owen! It's super effective!
Archie RADIANT Focused...
Archie's STRONG RADIANT Razor Shell dealt a CRITICAL 76 damage to Owen! It's ultra effective!

Nova's attempts were all the same. While he was large and like a rock, the Swarm was like water, eroding the rock and prying Owen free of any grip--though Nova was able to free Owen's bag, which was left behind, empty except for a pack of portable soup containers and a few empty seed pouches. Inside that bag, there seemed to also be... a crumpled up newspaper comic, which Astrid just confirmed the existence of. But it didn't seem mystical at all. It was just... a comic from a local issue a few days ago.

Nova walked to Inner NW!
Nova called out to Astrid!
Nova dashed to Outer North!
Nova RADIANT Focused...
Nova's STRONG RADIANT Multi-Attack dealt a CRITICAL 212 damage to Owen! It's ultra effective!
Nova's Interact: Owen: try to wrestle free from Void Swarm using lingering Radiance

Astrid walked to Inner NW!
Astrid's Receive!
Astrid's Receive!
Astrid dashed to Outer North!
Astrid's AGILE RADIANT Frost Breath dealt a CRITICAL 88 damage to Owen! It's ultra effective!
Astrid Focused...
Astrid's RADIANT Soul Rocket was Protected against!
Astrid's RADIANT Frost Breath dealt a CRITICAL 109 damage to Owen! It's ultra effective!
Astrid's RADIANT Draining Kiss dealt a CRITICAL 99 damage to Owen! It's ultra effective!
Astrid's Spotter Feat @ Owen's Gear!

Astrid sees... a tattered comic book! It appears to have no mechanical benefit.

And then... the tide's speed fully picked up. The fallen Void Shadows were absorbed into the mass and crawled away, crawling on top of each other to move faster. The blotch on the horizon was getting larger.

Owen and the Void Swarm flees... The battle is over, and Frontier Town is safe! For now...

Objective complete!

Rewards: One angry ex-mayor, and a bug scorpion horse. Both unconscious.

Mhynt had half a mind to Teleport after them... but she felt that acrid smell in the air. She knew who it was. But...

She glanced at the others. "It's Alexander," she said. "What... what do we do?"
Odette watched the damn charmeleon and what was left of the shadow swarms peel off into the distance, brow twitching involuntarily as she thought about just how close they likely were to subduing him. How close they likely were to getting just a little further toward the bottom of this mess. What a fucking waste.

Though if this was the work of Alexander, then it seemed like Owen was just one of his pawns. One of his prized pawns no less. He left Igfuckhead and Koa’s drapion without a second thought, just like the guards. Clearly he was a little selective about who he kept, and she had to wonder what he had planned with that inkling of a hypothesis in mind.
She narrowed her eyes at the thought for a brief moment.

That’s what Owen needed help from. Alexander. But why she, and apparently somebody else now, had been the only ones to understand him was still not certain. As she mulled on that, she flicked her gaze in Bellatrix’s direction.

“It sounds like you heard it too this time,” she said, more as if stating a fact rather than speculation. “Interesting.”

She didn’t give the zoroark time to respond before approaching the fallen ex-mayor and feral drapion. She couldn’t help the look of disdain she cast down on both of them, but she wiped it off her face with a weighty huff.

“Well, for starters, we subdue these two and get them back to town. At the very least we should question the shitbird here,” she said, nudging Ignumbnuts’ unconscious body carelessly with her foot. “Assuming he even remembers anything.”
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