Time and Time Again

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  • 1-on-1 with @HotAsFuss

    <music> It was mid-summer in the Sinnoh region. The grass was green, the trees lush. The scent of ripening berries could be detected as it filled all the southern side of the region, even reaching as far as Sandgem Town. A young woman drew in a breath as a fresh sea breeze swirled the air around her. Upon exhaling, she reached for the knob of the simple steel-colored door. Finally, after seven long years after she'd become eligible for a Pokémon, her parents had caved in. The girl pushed open the door to Professor Rowan's lab and took her first steps into the building.

    First Pokémon wall of text:
    <[URL='https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8J93qhwn40']music[/URL]> There was a surprising commotion in the lab, but the noise and clutter was comforting to the city-born girl. She announced her presence with a simple "H-hello! May I speak with someone?"

    It was a good long while before anyone could seem to find the time to answer her. She tucked a lock of rich brunette hair behind her ear as she began to grow concerned. She hoped no one would mind if she walked a bit further in. She passed by a few desks and machines, thinking that this was not at all how her mother had described the lab. She didn't much mind, though, being more preoccupied with the confusion she felt with everyone hustling about. She was eventually stopped by a white-haired old man. Was this the Professor? Apparently, he was just another lab worker. He explained quickly to her that the new trainers were coming today, and that since the Professor was absent, the staff was struggling to get things set up. [I]'Not here?'[/I] she thought with equal parts worry and disappointment.

    She was told that since she had not scheduled her visit in advance, they had no Pokemon prepared for her. Upon hearing this news, her eyes widened and her knees buckled. Even after her Dad had taken precious time out of his busy schedule to Fly her all the way from Hearthome... She trembled a bit, clearly distraught. A woman likely in her thirties took pity on her and handed her a sack of dirty pokéballs. "Throw these at something. They should still work... probably." <[URL='https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XElZEE9t-5E']music[/URL]> That done, the young woman was promptly sent out the door.

    She looked at the sack (was it a grocery bag?) and sighed. This wasn't how it was supposed to go! She tried to fold her arms to showcase her disappointment, but the bag made it too difficult to be comfortable. And it was such a nice day, too... With a sigh, she dragged her feet as she left in a vaguely northward direction. <[URL='https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ajhgkYFCG0']music[/URL]>

    Well, why not test her throwing arm? As she left the town perimeter, she reached into the sack of discarded pokéballs and drew one out. She turned to face some rather long grass, and chucked the sphere. It soared through the sky in a nice arc... but the slight breeze was enough to push the weakly-thrown ball back to land at the teen's feet. Her eyes narrowed slightly. Well, if that was the way the wind was gonna be... She picked up the pokéball and made a 180 turn, facing a row of trees in the opposite direction. She hurled the empty capsule again. This time, it actually traveled a few yards... and made contact with a tree. Something was shaken free of its branches and fell to the ground. A Pokémon?! The girl jumped back, freezing in place. She waited for the small thing to move, but then as she calmed down she realized something. That was no Pokémon... it was just a generic berry that had been growing on the tree, she figured, oblivious. To something else, though, it wasn't "just a berry". Rather, it was a small meal! Something rustled a bush nearby, and the girl's muscles tensed. It waited for mere seconds. Then, a blob of brown darted out to snatch the berry. It froze when it realized it was being watched. The girl and the chubby Pokémon locked eyes, neither daring to move.

    A Bidoof? Eh... they had never appealed to the visually untrained teen. Yet again, something that seemed unimportant to her seemed to be quite appealing to some other creature. Chasing after the Bidoof came a giddy little bear. '[I]Don't some bears hunt beavers... or whatever this rat thing is supposed to be?'[/I] the girl mused, hoping the newcomer could frighten off the chubby berry-muncher. Conversely, the teddy bear -- oh, that's right, a Teddiursa -- appeared to be quite attached to the Bidoof, and the Bidoof didn't mind at all. Ick, the young woman could not see any reason why anything would like a Bidoof.

    The Teddiursa poked at its friend's newfound snack, in response to which the Pokémon motioned toward the Pokéball and uttered a content sound. The Teddiursa seemed to understand what its friend was trying to convey. It picked up the Pokéball and chucked it at a tree with considerably more impressive strength than the girl had been able to muster. 'Outdone by a teddy bear?' she thought incredulously as she watched the spectacle. Two more berries dropped to the ground. Gleefully, the bear repeated its action. This time, the ball got stuck in the branches and no berries fell. An unhappy squeaking sound was heard from the treetop, and the pokéball came hurtling back at the bear. The teen watched, dumbfounded, as the Teddiursa was sucked into the ball. It put up a good fight, but the rusting Pokéball was stuck. She had to get it out of there! She cleared the few yards' space between her and the capsule with a couple long steps. She tried pressing the button, prying the ball open, knocking it against the tree. Nothing worked. The Bidoof approached her and the sphere, giving the girl an inquisitive look. "You try," she muttered as she tossed the mini prison in the chubby Pokémon's direction. Said Pokémon tilted its head and examined the ball. It then placed one steadying paw on the Pokéball, and charged towards the rim tooth-first.

    The Teddiursa popped out, seeming rather unphased despite its earlier struggle. It glanced towards the girl, then to the Bidoof. It made a pleased "Ur!" sound, its eyes lighting up with excitement. The Bidoof seemed happy for it. The two Pokémon exchanged chatters for a brief moment, then the bear hopped over to stand in front of the onlooking girl. It held out a paw. It took a moment, but it did eventually dawn on her. She had captured her first Pokemon. She slowly reached out and shook the Pokémon's paw, but then instantly recoiled. "It's sticky!" she exclaimed. The Pokémon shrugged and licked the paw it had just shaken with. The girl tried not to freak out too much as she remembered that it was very normal for Teddiursa to have honey-soaked paws. She patted its head. "Well... Nice to meet you," she said, smiling mildly.

    And that was how the trainer and her first partner met.

    <[URL='https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CeCcXZa1iqU']music[/URL]> She brought her new Pokémon back to Sandgem to have the Pokémon's state of wellbeing checked. Nurse Joy looked at the Pokémon with a smile and told the girl that that Teddiursa had been on the prowl for a trainer the past few days. Apparently, despite the teen's assumptions, he was male, and very very young -- the Pokémon equivalent of a child. <[URL='https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJhFaUMPRZ0']music[/URL]> The girl decided that she would nickname him "Ursa" in expectation of him someday evolving into a mighty Ursaring... although if that were going to happen, it would be a long way off. The girl stopped by the Pokémart to stock up on potions using the money her parents had given her. The two headed back north to see what they could find.

    <[URL='https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ajhgkYFCG0']music[/URL]> Before very long, they had been in battle against a few Starly, Kricketot, Shinx, Bidoof, and foreign Taillow. The duo was on a roll. They were just about to clear the route when they found something blocking their path.

    There was a small crowd of people dressed in black standing in front of the entrance to Jubilife. Their chests were embellished with reddish Rs, and their outfits were given contrast with simple white accessories. She saw that several of them had a similar shade of red hair. Who were they? She recalled seeing such outfits somewhere before... Yes, her dad's older cousin had a girlfriend who wore a similar uniform. Was this some kind of military organization? She walked up to one of them. "Excuse me, but is it okay if I pass through here?" she asked politely. The grunt replied that she had been told not to let anyone through. <music> "Well, how about this... We can have a battle. If I win, you'll know I can handle whatever it is that's up ahead. Otherwise, I'll pay you 2,000 poké. Win-win, right?" The grunt agreed to the terms. Her Houndour was defeated with a little effort from Ursa. The trainer healed her teddy bear and thanked the grunt for the battle.

    She repeated this a few times, knocking down six or seven of them before coming up to the last one. She briefly scanned his appearance. He seemed mostly normal, although he also seemed to be a bit younger than his 30-something to 40-something years old teammates. She ran one hand through the ends of her creamy-brunette hair casually, and she did as she had done for the others. "So, I would like to get through. Does a battle sound okay to you? I'll pay 2,000 poké if I lose," she challenged calmly with a slight smile.

    <edited for nostalgic music>

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The streams of shoppers and cityfolk on the streets of Veilstone didn't thin until dusk. A young man watched with no real interest, his gaze shifting occasionally to the small group of people around him, all poker faces and matching black uniforms. As they waited outside the Game Corner, heads turned towards them in worry, and his teammates glared back while he took a glance at his watch.

Most of their smaller heists took place after sunset, when less people were out and about to witness. On jobs such as these, they had neither the forces nor the manpower to face any real opponents, so they tended to be in and out again rather quickly. The young man, after donning the attire of a grunt only a few months prior, had been assigned to just that: quick and relatively simple jobs. And that night, he wanted nothing more than for that to change.

He checked his watch again, then decided it was late enough to get going. He nudged the man beside him, who gave a quick nod.

He would go in, scout out the place, and if he wasn't back out in ten minutes to call a retreat, the rest of the team would take it as a sign to enter.

The bell above the door jingled as he entered the building. The lights were dimmed enough that the flashing of the machines danced across the walls, and not wanting to stand still in the doorway, he strode over to the counter, flashing a smile at the woman who was working behind it. She instantly took notice of his uniform, suspicion crossing her features.

"Are you here to cash in for prizes?" she asked, still eyeing him.

"Oh, no, I'm just here to meet my friend--" he looked over his shoulder, as if searching for somebody to point out. There weren't many people out, mostly middle-aged men who hadn't any Pokémon to their names, which meant the heist would go over without a hitch. However, none of the people present could give him a sensible cover, so he turned back to the young woman, making his expression sheepish, but the gears were turning in his head. "Look, actually, I'm not here to meet anybody."

She looked about ready to kick him out. "Then what are you here for?"

He leaned forward, folding his arms across the counter. "Every time I pass by here, I see you in the window, and I finally decided that I just had to come in and talk to you."

She blinked once, her face beginning to flush. "I--um--really?"

His lip curled up in a smirk. Flattery was always the solution. "Of course! I mean, how could I not? You're...stunning."

"O-oh! Thank you," she stuttered, a giggle escaping her.

He kept up conversation for as long as he could, until another chime of the door interrupted him. The two of them turned to see a cluster of Team Rocket members filing in, just on schedule, and when he met her eyes again, they were filled with anger. "You--I knew I should have thrown you out when I had the chance, you thug!" she growled, as two of his teammates ducked behind the counter, and another backed her up against the wall. On the other side of the room, more grunts assured that the Game Corner members stayed in their seats.

When the others returned from behind the counter, they towed sacks weighed down with loot.

Quick and simple, as to be expected.

He took this as his cue to step away. "Sorry for the holdup," he grinned, "literally. And I hate to flirt and flee, but I guess it can't be helped." He winked, giving her a short wave as he headed for the door.

On the way out, a grunt clipped the doorframe, and a Pokéball toppled from the bag of goods just outside, only to be caught by the young man. He turned it over in the palm of his hand, curiously, before being pulled along by the rest of the team.

It was only later that night, in the safety of headquarters, that he let the Pokémon out of its ball. He unclipped it from his belt, then held it out as beam of light enveloped the ball, releasing a snake-like creature onto the floor. He watched as it slithered across the tile towards him, then began to wind its way up his leg. "Just what do you think you're doing?" he asked the Pokémon, no real threat in his tone, "aren't you scared of me? I'm the bad guy." It seemed to pick up on his teasing, which only inspired it to coil up and around his shoulder. Leveling its head with his ear, it let out a loud hiss:


He jumped, startled, but the Pokémon didn't constrict around him, and he began to realize that he was being teased in return. A bark of a laugh escaped him, tilting his head to get a better look at the Ekans. "Okay, okay, partners in crime it is, but you can't go hissing in my ear like that."

He was answered, to his delight, by a much softer hiss as Ekans curled its head against his arm.

The steady march of time that followed brought with it much change, and if this young man were to put his mind to reflecting, he would surely be amazed. His main concern for the moment, however, was his position at the gate of Jubilife City. Team Rocket had been gaining momentum, and where he had once been involved in only petty robberies, he now stood at a respectable rank.

Leaning against the left pillar that marked the city's entrance, he hummed absentmindedly under his breath. The melody, familiar, but its name? On the very tip of his tongue. In fact, he was on the brink of remembering when a voice snapped him out of his reverie. He looked up to see a teenage girl, and a trainer, no doubt, challenge one of the grunts lined up in front of him. He watched as their battle played out, nodding in appreciation at the trainer's win. He grew steadily more impressed with each takedown, and soon enough, she stood before him, his teammates all looking on in defeat. He rose to his full height as she addressed him, chucking.

"You know, it's refreshing to see a trainer equal parts cute and tough." He tipped the brim of his hat out of his eyes as he spoke, cocking an eyebrow. "Makes me wish I could let you through without a fight. Or go easy on you, at least."



Whoa, he seemed taller now that he was standing up straight. She almost missed the first part of his reply, and it took her a moment to comprehend him. "Cu-" she began, thin eyebrows furrowing. No one had called her 'cute' since she last saw her mom a few months ago. After this revelation, the second half of his words soaked in... Oho, it was going to be a full-out battle, then? The others had not seemed to mind losing -- their self-esteem was low and they seemed to feel like it didn't impact them if they let someone through. However, this next battle might prove to be very challenging. The trainer was able to brush off the grunt's words with a subtle shake of her head.

"Ursa," she said, "this one might actually be difficult." The Teddiursa hopped up to her trainer's side and nodded, crouching lower to the ground and grinning confidently. "But we can handle it, can't we?" The bear cried out happily in agreement.

With that, the fast-growing duo were ready for battle. The girl backed off to give their Pokemon room to fight. She watched her new opponent carefully as she asked "So, which of us should take the first move?" and waited for the grunt to send out his Pokemon. Ursa backed up her question with a call of its name.

[B]Level 9[/B][SIZE=1]-ish[/SIZE]
[B]Quick Feet
Holding: Oran Berry[/B]

>>>[B]Fury Swipes[/B]<<<


He couldn't help but feel a rush of satisfaction in the trainer's moment of fluster, giving a short snicker as she registered his words. What he hadn't counted on was how quickly she managed to brush him off. It was then that he realized exactly how determined she must be to get through.

"I'll let you do the honors," he answered, taking in the sight of the two standing against him. He finally unclipped the Pokéball from his waist, tossing it up into the air.

A stream of light erupted from the ball, and his Ekans landed coiled upon the ground, its jaws opened wide as it let out a cry. He smiled down at the Pokémon as it glared at its foe. "Well," he said, "we're waiting."

[B]Level: 11
Ability: Intimidate
Item: N/A

>Poison Sting


"Well, thank you," she said upon being allowed to start off the battle. It seemed more out of courtesy than actual gratefulness by the flat tone of her voice. Too late for niceties; she was in battle mode. Her physical defenses were down, but her mind was strong and strategizing. She looked to her Pokémon. "You ready, Ursa?"

Like trainer, like 'mon. Ursa did take one step back once he looked into the snake's yellow eyes, losing his calm. But, there was that one Shinx who had the same effect... He knew how to handle such foes. He stepped forward to regain his ground, and his shocked face resumed its confident appearance. He ignored the imperceptible shaking of his legs, repeating in his head that he was not afraid, not afraid. He called back to his trainer that he was ready for battle.

It seemed her opponents didn't wish to waste any time. Perfect. "Great! Let's start off with your Fury Swipes!" she called in a strong chime. Her Teddiursa complied, displaying his claws for a brief second before charging in to rain pain down on this terrifying-- ah, he meant 'big, silly' Snake Pokémon.


"My pleasure," Umber responded, watching the scene begin to set from underneath the brim of his cap. Ekans slowly shifted into a more battle-ready stance, rearing her head up and letting the waves of her body unfurl. She took notice of the Teddiursa's initial reaction to her glare, and she flicked out her tongue in anticipation.

The bear Pokémon rushed Ekans, and was upon her by the time she could fully react. Her tail thrashed in the air as she felt claws rake across her body; she struggled wildly against the attack, but still had a bit of difficulty breaking off. Umber counted four sharp-clawed assaults before his Pokémon wrenched herself free, falling back for a fraction of a second, then regaining her stance.

"Now, hit 'im with Bite while he's still close!" the grunt ordered, the serpent immediately reacting to his call. She lunged forward, jaws open wide, before locking needlelike fangs around Teddiursa's body.


The Tiny Bear felt powerful as he landed his blows. He got slightly distracted, though, and he couldn't dodge the jaws that locked him in their grasp. He winced as the venomous fangs poked close to his fur, not quite breaking skin. He looked worriedly to his trainer.

Meanwhile, she had been analyzing the situation full-throttle. She saw the Bite attack as an opportunity rather than a setback. Since his body was caught, but his head was free, she had two options still available to her. "Get 'em with Lick," she called. She'd previously had a hard time trying out his move, what with being surrounded by Normal-types, but this was a different situation.

The Teddiursa's tongue was sticky from his most recent honey snack, and it could snag on the snake's skin, causing some damage. He attempted his attack. His trainer, though, was hoping that the attack's secondary effect would kick in...
((30% chance to paralyze. Please calculate on your end; I recommend random.org))



Ekans let out a muffled hiss around the body trapped in her fangs, perhaps as a show of triumph, or to solicit approval from her trainer--if he could even be called one. The young man himself shared in his Pokémon's pride as their foe struggled in the snake's grasp.

Suddenly, the Ekans felt a tongue drag over her skin, sticking against the slimy surface. It was only another moment before the Pokémon's long body went rigid, and her jaw unhinged, causing her to release the smaller bear. Her eyes narrowed as she realized the reluctance of her body to carry out her movements. This was not lost on Umber, who clenched, then quickly unclenched, his teeth. He could still win, he figured, with some effort and good luck.

"Ekans," he called, his tone remaining light, "use Wrap."

The Pokémon, unfortunately, was not as quick to bounce back. She made a clear effort to propel herself, to catch the Teddiursa and crush him in her coils, but she was limited; her head would only turn at an angle, the tip of her tail only managed a twitch. Their turn spent, Umber still didn't allow the slightest bit of panic overtake him.


Ick, that left a funny taste in his mouth! The Teddiursa arched his spine just before he hid the ground back-first, rolling a bit and saving himself some falling damage. He observed for a moment as his opponent began to freeze up, then excitedly looked back to his trainer.

"Don't celebrate yet!" the bear's trainer said, knowing that Pokémon could push through paralysis without too much effort. This was just to even the playing field a little. "Now, use your Covet attack!" She figured a variety of attacks would serve them better than the same move over and over.

"Ur!" the Pokémon complied. There was nothing to be stolen, but that didn't mean Covet was useless! Ursa got his 'cute face' on to distract the Ekans from his approach, and when he was right up next to his foe, he carried out the attack, attempting to also bounce away afterwards to get out of attacking range, but not really getting very far. He watched to see what effect his move had had.


Ekans let loose a screech of frustration at her inability to dodge the other Pokémon's next attack, taking the damage in full, and without an escape. However, since she had not been holding an item, the move's effects were left at simply physical strain, which, at this point, had the Pokémon looking a bit beaten down.

The serpent kept the Teddiursa in her line of sight, and in the few seconds that followed, Umber waited patiently while his Pokémon drew her concentration. Slowly, ripples of movement began to travel up her body, until she managed to reposition herself.

Umber had to raise his voice over her gleeful hiss. "Now, use Poison Sting!"

Ekans quickly opened her jaws wide, once again showing off the impressive fangs beyond, and sent a poison-coated spine in the direction of her foe.

[30% percent chance of poisoning.]


The Teddiursa was once again feeling proud of himself, and was distracted until he realized that something was headed straight for him. He took the spike right to his left shoulder. He winced. It hurt! "Ursa!" his trainer called out in concern, already much too late to tell him to dodge the attack. "Pull it out before it poisons you!"

The Tiny Bear realized the wisdom in his trainer's words and quickly grabbed the part of the spine not imbedded in his fur with a paw, once again wincing as he pulled it out. He was not happy now. At least he had removed the poisonous thorn from himself before any poison had a chance to settle into his bloodstream -- that could have been disastrous. If he was hit with another attack like that, there was no telling whether he'd be able to handle the amount of toxicity.

This battle was definitely a little more intense than the other battles, but in most of the others, the trainer had just had her Pokemon put the others to sleep with Yawn. It was too late for that, now, so what should she do? She thought, and thought... and then it dawned on her. She could find the Ekans's weakness, and see if she could land a few critical strikes. "Ursa, use Fury Swipes! Don't just stick to one place -- attack everywhere you can!"

Ursa nodded, not really getting the plan this time, but charging in with sharp claws to once again carry out the multi-slash attack.



The serpent Pokémon used the moment of Teddiursa's delay to further push her mobility, her head swinging side to side as she flexed her muscles. She felt a twinge of disappointment as the other Pokémon plucked the spine from his skin, thus ending what time she and her trainer had to buy.

It was only a matter of moments until Ekans found herself being charged again, but this time, the pain was not localized to one part of her body. She felt claws scrape down the length of her back, across her side--then, as she felt them threaten to puncture her underbelly, she released a yowl of pain, her body curling in on itself defensively. She nearly rolled over onto her back in the struggle, but scrambled at the last second to bare her back to the Teddiursa's attack.

As she writhed in pain and fury beneath her assailant, she heard the grunt's voice call out to her: "Use Bite again. Now!"

In that moment, she knew it was a last resort. Her strongest move, and the most damage she could do. But they'd take anything at this point in the fight.

She brought herself to the verge of flipping over yet again, but this time to wrap her tail around her attacker, holding him in place as she landed her own hit. It was quicker, lesser, even, than the first time, but she tossed the Teddiursa across the dirt, allowing herself to scramble away. With nostrils flaring, she placed herself a couple meters in front of her trainer, but kept herself within the line of fire. She couldn't bear the thought of looking the grunt in the eye as she shuddered with pain. Putting her final defences up, she waited for the strike.


The trainer girl frowned as she noted that her Pokemon was beginning to tire from all the fighting. This surely wasn't looking good... She moved her richly blue eyes to observe her foe's Pokemon to size up her chances of victory. As she did, she was quite surprised to see that the snake was thrashing a lot more with every touch than it had been in the beginning of the battle. Surely it was wearing down its energy, as well. Her eyebrows furrowed as she realized that it was probably in a lot of pain, too. As Ursa's claws left the last scratch in his attack, she came to the realization that she'd probably want to end this battle quickly.

"Ursa," she called out, letting him know she had further instructions to give. He looked to her just in time to miss the tail coming to hold him in place.

He felt the scaly coils restrict his movement for a moment as his opponent rushed at him fang-first. He let out a pained yelp as he took the attack. Just as he let out his cry, a small noise was released from the throat of his trainer -- her empathy was kicking in. She was imagining exactly what her Pokemon was feeling, and she couldn't bear it.

"Ursa!" she said again. "Covet attack!" Surely this strong move of theirs would bring them near the end of their battle. She couldn't help but hope. Ursa gave the Ekans a look that seemed almost pleading, and this time it wasn't quite so much of an act as it had been last time. Hopefully the Poison-type would have a sense of guilt that would be just enough to let her loosen her grip, leaving him to carry out his move.



Somehow, waiting for her opponent to make a move only made the Ekans realize the true extent of her pain. Perhaps it was the adrenaline beginning to lose its effect, for the Pokémon was now giving a conscious effort to keep herself upright. She was stubborn, always had been, and it was that blind pride that kept her fighting, although their loss was appearing inevitable.

The grunt watched his Pokémon carefully, passing off the furrow of his brow and the biting of his lip as concentration.

As the Teddiursa struck her once more, the serpent Pokémon snarled. Her vision clotted red, and she couldn't tell whether or not it might be from anger or the weakness that was taking hold of her. She fell back, and took longer than before to haul herself back up. As she did so, she almost didn't catch the stained command from her trainer behind her. "Ekans, let's go with Wrap!"

The Pokémon struggled forward, no longer able to slither across the dirt with ease. She was frustrated by her own inability. When she had brought herself in close enough, she curled the length of her body around the Teddiursa. If she were in good health, she would've been able to squeeze with an impressive might, but although she was coiled up to her head, twisted to glare into the other Pokémon's eyes, she could feel herself weaken with every passing moment. It would be surprising if the Teddiursa finished her before she blacked out herself, but she could never let herself go down without a fight.


"That's enough..." the trainer muttered to herself, eyes wide. This was torture, pure torture. Never before had she put her Pokemon through such pain. Her pale hands balled into fists. There would be no more 'Oh, this might end it'. Now, with this next move, she had to end it.

Which move would be best? Fury Swipes would doubtlessly be overkill, as raking claws over such beat-up skin would cause more pain than it needed to. Yawn was useless at this point. Lick would be a bad choice, as well, due to its weak power -- she definitely didn't want to draw this battle out for another turn. Was she spamming the move she was about to use? No matter -- it was the only way to stop the fighting quickly and with as little pain as possible.

"Again!" she called to her Teddiursa. "We're finishing this now!"

As he was struggling with being held by the snake again, he was a little distracted, and could not immediately remember the last move he'd used. However, as soon as he did remember, he fought to loosen the purple prison that had entrapped him, so that he could finally execute his attack. "Urr!" he cried out with a bit of weakness in his voice. He moved to complete his Covet attack, and then stopped struggling as he watched for a reaction. There was no use fighting the grasp in his state, after all. If only it didn't hurt so much...



The grunt's lips pressed into a thin line at his Pokémon's display. He knew that the serpent's loyalty was something to be proud of, but his main concern was the excessive pain she was putting herself through. She was clearly battered, wincing in pain with every movement. He shifted his weight from one foot to another, knowing he'd feel less uncomfortable with it once it was over.

The Teddiursa's struggle against her battle-weary muscles was what loosened Ekans's hold; she couldn't keep her strength up any longer, no matter how hard she was willing to try. Then, the blow that followed soon after--it sent her into a state of unconsciousness, and she seemed to melt into the ground.

The grunt eyed the limp Pokémon before stepping forward to return her to her ball, which he reattached to the clip on his belt. When he turned his gaze back to the trainer, a smirk had plastered itself across his face, one that came despite his defeat. "Well, sweetheart," he said, airily, "looks like you have me beat. You should be proud."
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That was it. She watched as her opponent's Pokemon fainted, a huge wave of relief filling her. "I'm taking your Pokemon's inaction as proof that she is now unable to battle. So... I win," she said. "I would say that was a good fight, but I can't because it was terrifying." She returned Ursa to his Pokeball.

Then her opponent smiled. Well, it was more like a smirk. How was he like this after such a battle? Then he spoke up. "'Sweetheart'?!" she repeated in surprise. She was definitely reading too much into his words... but she didn't realize that. Mentally, she placed a label on him: "Weird." "Embarrassing." Then again, none of the others had made an impression on her, so that was something.

Then she remembered her goal. "T-that means I can pass, now, right?" she inquired, fighting her natural reaction and attempting to seem tough again. She had to get to Jubilife, eventually.
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The grunt blinked. Terrifying? He would have to agree to disagree; he thought his Pokémon was wonderful. Then again, he had always preferred creepy, slimy creatures to warm and fuzzy ones.

He took a note of humor in how easy it was for him to fluster the girl, and how shocked she was at his words. He saw the way she tried to puff herself back up, to make a show of her pride, but he wasn't oblivious to the way she faltered as her words began. It almost made him want to keep going, just for kicks. But now likely wasn't the best time to see how far he could push--she really did seem stressed as a result of the battle.

"Yeah, of course," he said, gesturing to the gate. "We had a deal, and I'm a man of my word."


((Note: I stink at being clear in my writing. I meant she thought the battle itself was terrifying, not really the Pokemon. *facedesk* Sorry...))

The girl nodded. Then, a thought occurred to her. What if she encountered this weirdo again? Or maybe someone that looked like him, and she wanted to make sure she wasn't confusing them for him? To avoid a future awkward situation, she figured it would probably be a good idea to learn this guy's name.

"So, uh, before I go, what do you call yourself?" she inquired. She didn't want to appear uncomfortable, so she consciously kept her shoulders loose and her spine straight. She didn't want to give him her name unless he asked for it, because there were so many things that could go wrong with the conversation if she gave her own name first. Before she realized it, she was fiddling with a lock of her dark-caramel hair. As soon as she was aware of this, she tucked her arm back down to her side. She really didn't want to seem weak in front of someone she'd just beaten.

((After your response, should our characters just go about their journeys/missions, or should we time-skip to their next encounter?))
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