1100, 12th April, 304 AS
20km NW of Plymouth, Blue League
The frenzied sound of wood striking against wood had carried through the copse of trees and hedgerow beyond, drawing the attention and interest of the couple walking nearby. Although the two of them had been cautious with their approach so as to not announce their presence, fate conspired to ensure that even as they spied the wild woman beating a branch against a tree so too did she espy them. Before either of the new arrivals could react, the almost-naked feral let out a cry of rage and charged towards them, bringing the branch around in front of her like some kind of improvised lance.
Helped along considerably by a hearty shove from his canine pokegirl, the man’s leap carried him several metres away and resulted in him tumbling across the ground. In the few seconds it took him to stop moving and reorient himself towards the combatants, the frantic fight was well underway. The man was a Tamer and, although newly qualified to the profession, a significant part of his training had focused around acclimatising to combat. More specifically, he had been trained to keep a cool head and focus on the tactics of the pokegirls that were actually doing the fighting and providing direction when it became necessary.
Jason had received his starting pokegirl when he had registered as a tamer nine days earlier and was smart enough to realise that she probably understood how she should fight better than he did. The teenager had also expected that to change as the two learned more about each other, trained and fought together. That was part of the reason he had chosen to make several short forays out into the wilderness as opposed to longer trips. It also meant that they didn’t get far enough from the more frequently travelled routes to encounter the more powerful feral pokegirls. After all, the plan was to become a more powerful team – not to end up being mauled, raped and eaten.
As the feral girl elegantly twisted herself out of the path of a well-aimed Fire Spin, Jason couldn’t prevent his eyes from lingering on the woman he had known for less than a fortnight but was coming to understand better than some people he had known for years. Standing a couple of inches shorter than him at 5’ 9” the pokegirl was somehow both stocky and voluptuous, with a 36C bust and curves he had taken great time and care to thoroughly explore and appreciate since receiving her. She had an attractive face, complete with broad muzzle, cold nose and a pair of brown eyes that lit up like a pair of smoky topaz with her amusement, anger, or the reflection of naked flames. Jason particularly enjoyed running his hands through the thick hair that was the colour of clotted-cream and spilled down in gentle waves to her mid-back. He had quickly learned that she enjoyed it just as much, if not more, when he played with the same creamy hair of her bushy tail. A pair of large, rounded ears sited high on her head - covered in the same downy and sleek rust-red fur that covered most of her head and body. Aside from the cream-coloured fur on her front that extended from clavicles to crotch, the only interruptions to the rust-red were several horizontal bands of black across her back and wrapping around her legs.
She had come to him by the whims of chance and providence. The world named her Pokegirl, her breed named her Growlie and her looks named her Stunning. Jason had chosen to call her Dawn. Given her somewhat outspoken and direct nature, as well as the boundless energy she seemed to possess, the name seemed to be aptly chosen. Not to mention that she was the first harbinger of this new stage in his life, much as her namesake heralded the start of a new day. All in all, the tamer figured he had gotten particularly lucky with his starting pokegirl and he hoped Dawn would feel just as lucky to have him for a partner. By contrast, the feral his Growlie was fighting was obviously coming up short in the luck department.
Judging from her gaunt appearance and the grimy, tangled mess that was her hair, it was obvious that she had been living in the wilds like an animal for several weeks. Whatever clothes she had been wearing had presumably been worn or torn away for now the only thing preserving any modesty were dirt-smeared, frayed and torn undergarments that looked like they were barely holding together. Jason couldn’t spot any obvious identifying features from his vantage point although from the way the feral had chosen to use the branch as a weapon he suspected she was a fighting type of some sort. Retrieving his pokedex, the young man waited for the two combatants to separate before training the device on the unknown woman. The status light blinked for a few heartbeats before the ‘dex vibrated as it identified her breed. Having disabled the vocal summary function, he had to look down and scan through the text that was now displayed on the screen. Fortunately, he was a quick reader and something contained in the entry on typical feral behaviour of the breed gave him an idea.
Putting his pokedex away, Jason readied one of his empty pokeballs and looked back to the fight just in time to see Dawn perform a Slash with her left hand, only to catch a blow to the side of the head from the feral’s branch as the wild woman Countered. The Growlie let out a small shriek as the branch’s momentum swung it away, twisting and yanking several strands of hair from her scalp in the process. Jason winced, but knew that he couldn’t afford to let his girl lose her temper. Both girls were about matched in strength and speed, but the feral was harder to hurt than the Growlie which probably meant defeat if they didn’t end the fight quickly. It was time for him to enter the fight.
“Dawn, she’s a Slicer, so use Snarl to make an opening then destroy the branch!” The sound of his voice caused his girl to start turning her head to look at him, but she quickly realised her mistake and narrowly managed to deflect a powerful swipe that would have broken a couple of ribs as the feral capitalised on her opponent’s momentary lapse in attention. Knowing that she couldn’t afford to take her eyes off the feral pokegirl and mentally kicking herself for giving the Slicer even that much of an opening, Dawn settled instead for calling back “Got it!” as she leapt back a couple of paces.
The Growlie slid her right foot back and transferred her weight to match. Drawing on a combination of anger at the feral for endangering her tamer and fear of what would happen to him if she lost the fight, Dawn sharply thrust her head forward and let out the most intimidating, animalistic growl she could manage. The noise itself wasn’t visible as it passed through the intervening air, but the Slicer’s visceral reaction to it certainly was and the feral pokegirl froze for a moment as her survival instincts kicked into high gear. Dawn had no intention of giving her opponent the opportunity to decide whether to fight on, submit or flee though and was already making her next attack.
Launching off her planted, rear foot, the Growlie rushed forward, straight at the immobile feral. The charge jolted the Slicer into action and she brought the branch across her body to deflect the incoming blow away. Unfortunately for the weapon-wielding pokegirl, this gave the charging woman exactly what she wanted and Dawn twisted her body at the last second, using Slash to focus all of her strength and momentum on the section of the branch just above where the Slicer’s hands held onto it. The feral leapt away to give herself room to continue attacking, but ended up looking down in terrified horror as a loud, tortured cracking noise came from the branch as it splintered in her hands.
“Now, use Take Down and Bite to finish her off!” Jason called out to his girl, before moving around the periphery of the small clearing to be in a better position to capture the soon-to-be incapacitated Slicer. Dawn bounded forward towards her opponent, whose panicked face looked up too late to stop the Growlie’s full-body tackle. Both girls went down to the ground and while the Slicer undoubtedly absorbed most of the punishment, the move had hurt Dawn too. The stockier girl shook off the pain and used her position atop the feral to pin the slender Slicer beneath her and Bite down on her windpipe.
As the canine jaw and teeth put increasing pressure on her airway, the Slicer started thrashing around in an attempt to dislodge the Growlie from her chest. Rather than throwing Dawn loose, the feral only succeeded in burning her dwindling oxygen supply that more quickly and the few blows that impacted the canine animorph began falling both slower and more weakly. Only when the Slicer was reduced to slight shaking and shuddering as her body became desperate for air, did Jason call out once more. As his girl released her hold on the feral’s throat and pulled back, the tamer launched the prepared pokeball at the downed girl. It smacked into the shoulder of the panting Slicer as she drew in a deep lungful of air.
The feral disappeared into the red capture beam and the pokeball rolled around for a few seconds on the compressed grass where the Slicer had just been laying. The ball went still and an electronic beep informed Jason that the capture process was complete. He felt his pokedex vibrate as it registered the new occupancy of the pokeball and the tamer allowed himself a brief, tight smile at the successful outcome before crossing the clearing to retrieve and pocket the pokeball. He turned his smile towards Dawn but it quickly dropped as, now much closer to his girl, he spotted the tears in her clothing and several bleeding scratches that dotted her body. This close, without the chaos of a fight to distract his mind, he could also feel her pain.
Thanks to the psychic pokegirl genes in his genetic background, Jason was able to feel the emotions of those around him. Although the sense wasn’t infallible, and often failed to work in a crowd of strangers or over more than a few metres, his empathy worked a lot better with people he was close to. In Dawn’s case his empathy was stronger than he’d experienced with anyone he hadn’t known for most of his life and Jason hadn’t yet had the opportunity to test whether such was due to the presence of an Alpha Bond between them, or something else. With the fight now over he could feel the Growlie’s pain and fatigue alongside her satisfaction at beating her opponent.
Taking his backpack off, the tamer quickly extracted one of the med dispensers from inside and, after checking the coloured dot to make sure it was the right one, crossed to his pokegirl. Feeling no small affection for the Growlie, Jason knelt down beside her and pressed the dispenser against her furred body before activating the device and sending the P-Med into her system with a hiss of pressurised air. He smiled as his eyes met hers and although the dispenser didn’t use a needle, rubbed her arm where he had applied it.
“You did good, Dawn! That was a beautiful strike on the branch, and well done for coming through with only a few scrapes.” His fingers slid through the hair on the side of her head as he examined the damage the swipe from the branch had done. Judging from the wound it had left, the improvised weapon had struck just above her jawline and then the rough bark had scraped upwards to the base of her ear before the branch had pulled away from her head. “Ouch. Still, it seems to have stopped bleeding for the moment so I think we’ll leave it alone for now and check in a couple of hours when we stop for lunch. If it hasn’t healed, we’ll apply another P-Med.”
As he had examined and talked to her, Dawn’s fatigue had started to ease and, largely thanks to the P-Med, she was in a lot less pain. Standing in front of her, Jason held his hand out towards her. When she placed her hand in his, he helped her to her feet and pulled the Growlie into a hug. Bending his head down he gave Dawn a long kiss that seemed to melt her against him as her eyes fluttered closed. “I meant it, you did good.” He dropped a hand to her tail and began running his fingers through the creamy hair. Several seconds passed before she pressed her head against his chest and moaned with pleasure. Her eyes opened and he could see the lust in them, but although she reached for his hand it was only to remove it from her tail. “If you don’t stop doing that, I’m going to jump you.” She smiled up at him. “But we should probably leave here before anyone else comes to investigate, so I’ll control myself.” With a mischievous smirk, her hand dropped to his trousers and gave his crotch a quick squeeze before letting go and bouncing away from him with a laugh.
With a muttered “Minx!”, the tamer shook his head with amusement, donned his backpack and headed after Dawn. She had paused at the edge of the clearing and was stood slightly bent forward at the waist with her backside pressed out and a coyful expression on her face as she looked back at him over her shoulder. Jason stuck his tongue out at her knowing that as playful as Dawn was being, she was also keenly aware of the potential danger. In fact, he would have been surprised if she wasn’t paying more attention to the surrounding terrain than she was to him but it was hard to find fault with her for that. After all, she was trying to keep him alive and that counted for a lot.
It took only a few minutes to retrace their steps and arrive back on the rutted path that ran alongside the hedgerow. As they settled into their travelling stride, Jason looked his companion up and down before chuckling and shaking his head. Her shirt was torn in several places and the denim skirt wasn’t in much better condition. Combined with the previous rents he had helped repair over the previous nights, the clothes were in a terrible state and would need to be replaced back in town. When Dawn looked at him with a quizzical expression, Jason smiled wryly. “We’ve got to find you some tougher outfits to wear, and here I was thinking that getting away from town would save me from having to go clothes shopping.” Jason shook his head ruefully. “My sisters are going to be so thrilled.”
The rich, contralto peals of Dawn’s laughter filled the late-morning air as the two of them began the companionable trek back towards town.
Jason Carver, Tamer