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Pure Vanilla Chapter 10
Daniel stared at the ceiling and fumed. It hadn’t even been close. James Betancourt had just toyed with him, let him get his hopes up before crushing them. In a way he was thankful, since it was more courtesy than Brian had given him. But it still smarted.
The first indication had been when he walked into the arena. James was chatting with the Thundrix who had officiated his match with Arron, but her smile and demeanor had vanished. He’d originally brushed it off as a switch from her outside perspective to actually being part of the fight, but that had been proven wrong the moment James turned to talk to him.
“So you’re the lucky bastard that skipped any sort of screening and snagged two free badges.” Daniel was sure the gym leader would revoke those badges if he could. “Unfortunately my pokegirl here said you were competent, so I can’t petition to refuse you on those grounds. You have a Magic Knight and a Samurai. Just having them doesn’t mean anything, but your records show you evolved them, so that means you must be at least a little empathic.” He grunted. “You’re just a lucky son of a bitch who managed to snag a couple walks in the park. You can be assured that stops here.”
After that it had been a slaughter. Daniel had read the mood and started fast, leading with Trish, but the Samurai had barely been able to scratch her opponent before being flattened. Cyrene had managed to finish off the Agrii but had taken too much damage to continue. Noeth hadn’t gotten a chance, and neither had Lea, as James released an Espea and Kyubi that neither could hold up to. Thankfully the Thundrix had come next and he, in desperation, had released Lily.
The Tigress had waited just long enough for Daniel to explain their situation before shifting completely into battle mode. Out of all of his pokegirls she had done the most damage, easily taking out the Thundrix before falling to a Sonica. If Daniel hadn’t known any better he’d have thought they had a chance as Aria managed to clean up after Lily, but the Alakawham that finished dashed any fleeting hope.
Sitting up, he pondered what to do next. Obviously he wasn’t leaving until he took the badge, so more training was a given. Or he could attempt to evolve Noeth, Aria, or Lily, to give them a better edge. Aria was the obvious choice, but also the hardest to pull off. Especially after that fight.
Smiling, he grabbed Lily’s pokeball and triggered the release. If nothing else, she would need a reward.
As the Tigress materialized Daniel suddenly remembered her words after the Magikunt gym battle and scrambled to trigger another release so she wouldn’t be alone with him, but was too slow. Lily appeared, saw the empty room, and instantly sank back into a corner, her eyes wild.
“I’m sorry!” Daniel said hurriedly. “I forgot. You’ve been interacting so well with everyone that I forgot. I’ll release Aria. I’m sorry.”
Lily hissed, her eyes darting between Daniel’s eyes and his raised hands. Slowly he lowered them, and attempted to reach for Aria’s pokeball but froze when Lily hissed again.
“I’m sorry.” He called softly. “I promised not to scare or hurt you and I’ve failed.”
Something in his voice got through and Lily slowly straightened, her gaze still pinning Daniel in place. “Forgot?” She muttered. “Failed?” Her face began to slacken. “Master?”
“I’m sorry.” Daniel said again, unsure what else to say. “You did well today, so I wanted to reward you with some alone time. I forgot that you didn’t want that with me, not yet. I’m sorry.” He repeated helplessly, sure that every step of progress they had made had just gone out the window.
“I did well.” Lily repeated, her tail slowly beginning to relax. “Reward.” She took a step and Daniel suddenly found her clinging to him, tears streaming down her face. “Master wants to reward me for doing good.”
Daniel sat dumbfounded by her sudden change in attitude and carefully scratched her ears, tensed for her claws if she fought back. When Lily didn’t react he stroked her hair, Lily hiccupping as she sobbed into his chest.
“Master is nice.” She began, Daniel recognizing her tone from the first day in the park. “Nice when everyone is here. Nice when some are here. Nice in battle. Nice when alone. Nice when really alone.” She coughed to clear her throat. “Master is not him.”
“I never want to be like your old Tamer.” Daniel said gently. “I want to be like me.”
Lily raised her tear-streaked face to look at him. “I want to be with Master.” She licked his cheek, giggling when he recoiled slightly. “Good Master.”
Daniel just sat back, not daring to move as she ground against his body. This was the first time she had initiated contact with him, and from the way she was acting, she wanted to be tamed. But if she didn’t…
Lily made it clear to him when Daniel didn’t respond to her advances. What little resistance Daniel could give was crushed by the Tigress’ enhanced strength as she pressed him to the bed, her mouth hungrily seeking his own. Daniel flinched as he felt Lily’s claws against his skin as she grabbed at his pants before finally ripping them off and sending the clasp ricocheting across the floor.
Daniel knew he had lost any initiative after that point and just focused on enjoying the sensations as Lily kept him pinned down. Managing to free one arm, he stroked lily’s hair and body as best he could until she began to slow down, her whole body shaking as she purred contentedly.
Daniel’s stroking slowly stopped as he fell asleep and Lily gently wrapped his arm around her. A glow began to envelop her body, but it was unseen by either of them as she dozed off.
Daniel stirred, resisting the urge to push at the weight that he could feel on his chest, figuring that Lily had fallen asleep on top of him. Blinking his eyes open he was greeted by the slumbering face of a black panther, its snout mere inches from his own nose.
At the noise the panther’s eyes snapped open and its mouth popped into a silent yowl. Daniel’s scream turned from terror to pain as its claws sank into his body and it began to twist to jump away before suddenly freezing in place.
Daniel took a few sobbing breaths while the panther slowly eased its claws out of his chest. Before he could calm down and try to figure out what was going on the panther had already slunk down his body and was gently licking the wounds clean.
A familiar memory flashed through Daniel’s mind and he gasped. “Lily?”
The panther let out a choking growl and continued licking the wounds until the blood stopped. “What happened to you?” Daniel breathed as he struggled to a sitting position. When I saw the black hair and muzzle I… I thought you were a…” He shuddered and trailed off.
He felt something stroking his cheek and looked to see Lily’s tail coiling up his body. The length was astounding, at least fifteen feet and he could feel the power in it as she tentatively rubbed his face.
“Maybe this has happened before.” He muttered, grabbing his pokedex and pointing the scanner at Lily. “Though I’ve never heard of an inhumanoid evolution of the Tigress.”
The pokedex beeped before a query popped up. “Do I need to report a menace sighting? What?” Daniel mashed out of the prompt. “Stupid thing. Oh, hey this has happened before.” He quickly scanned the entry. “Metamorph, that’s good. Evolution trigger unknown, evolves from Tigress. Alright then.” He glanced down at Lily. If she could have had a worried expression as a panther, she was wearing one now. “It’s alright. Just think about what you were before and you should change.”
Lily bobbed her head and sat perfectly still as she concentrated. The first thing that Daniel saw move was her tail, the overly long appendage shrinking back to a still lengthy but manageable size. The rest of Lily’s body soon followed, shortening slightly from what Daniel estimated at eight feet to a more reasonable six. The fur receded, as did the snout, until a vaguely familiar yet completely different Lily sat at the foot of the bed.
Lily slowly reached up to touch her face, feeling the contours and confirming they were what she expected. Relief was clearly visible on her face as she crawled forwards and snuggled back into her original position.
Daniel absentmindedly stroked her hair, this time receiving a content purr for his efforts. He ignored the itching sensation that the pain in his chest had become and lay still while he read more in-depth about Lily’s evolution.
“Panthriducia.” He mumbled. “Nice enhancements, prehensile tail, metamorph…” He trailed off as he started reading the description. “Associated with the Panthress breed? Averages the appearance of the… type of Panthress they were… before.” He gulped and his hand faltered, causing Lily to growl unhappily and wrap her tail around it. While not as long as it had been in her panther form, Daniel could still feel the power it held and quickly returned to his ministrations, shifting to scratching Lily’s ears.
The tone of Lily’s purr heightened from the new tactic until she was moaning in pleasure, her ears flicking from side to side as she pushed against Daniel’s hand. His worries about what she had become vanished when she pushed past his hand and knocked the pokedex away, her eyes burning with lust. Daniel moaned as he felt her tail coil around his dick and begin moving while Lily’s hands firmly lifted his head so she could engulf him in a kiss.
Daniel groaned as he felt her tail move faster, Lily beginning to dry hump his hip as she went. It didn’t take long for him to let go, cum spurting up and mixing with her fur. Daniel felt Lily let go not long after, liquid dampening his body as she slowed and nuzzled his cheek affectionately. He could tell she wasn’t done from the state of her erect nipples, but she seemed content enough for the moment.
“Do you know what you are?” Daniel asked quietly.
Lily remained silent for a long time before she answered. “I know what I was.” She whispered. “I can now remember the hatred, what I did. I will… I must atone for those actions.”
“How will you do that?”
Lily snuggled close to him. “I will fight. No more indecision. No more hiding.”
“You showed me that today. It’s something I’ve wanted from you ever since I got you.” Daniel gently but firmly turned her head until she was looking into his eyes. “Show me the ferocity I know you possess.”
Lily shuddered and pulled away. “Stop that.” Her tail twitched as she fought to control herself. “If you keep acting like this I might never leave this bed.”
“Considering that would be the opposite of what I want you to do, I’ll stop.” Daniel teased but let go of Lily’s chin. “What are you going to do first?”
“Whatever my Master wishes.” Lily murmured. “Where will we go next?”
“Nowhere.” Lily flinched at his anger. “We were scammed out of a fair fight yesterday, so we’re going back in there and winning.” His eyes softened slightly. “Okay, we’re going back in a week or so. If I’m supposed to be stronger, then we’ll be stronger.”
Lily stirred. “Scammed out of a fair match? I though I took two with me. What happened, Master?”
“I expected some of the leader’s stronger pokegirls since we’re not pushovers anymore, but he never intended to give us a fair match. You fought two of the only ones that were near our level. Everyone else was destroyed.” He snorted. “We were doing so well he decided he didn’t want to play.”
Lily began to growl menacingly, causing Daniel to jump and look at her questioningly. “Aria?” She snarled.
“Aria took out the one you weakened before being quite literally flattened.” Daniel cocked an eyebrow. “Why her?”
“She’s been working so hard to evolve. If she lost her confidence over this, I’ll…” Lily trailed off menacingly.
“You’ll what.” Daniel swatted her ear playfully. “What are you going to do.”
Lily abruptly slid off the bed, her face composed but her tail whipping from side to side angrily. “We’re going back there. Right now.”
Daniel quickly jumped to his feet. “To do what?” He asked cautiously.
“To have a rematch I will win.” Lily spat. “I took two before. I plan to double that.”
After a rushed conversation with the rest of the harem Daniel had recalled them and returned to the gym. The Espea had quickly helped him schedule a rematch once Daniel had made it clear that he wasn’t leaving without one, so he now sat in the empty lobby awaiting James’ arrival.
“Rushing back to repeat yesterday’s battle isn’t going to help you.” Daniel looked up to see Mr. Betancourt walking in with a frown.
“I wasn’t supposed to win yesterday.” Daniel shot back. “Today will be different.”
“Hm.” James looked him up and down and shrugged. “I won’t refuse your challenge. Maybe it just takes two beating to get the luck knocked out of you.” The walked into a new arena and James pointed at the barren floor layout. “We’ll do it differently today. One on one. Free substitutions. Unlimited pokegirls.” He glanced at Daniel. “First KO wins.”
Daniel grimaced. James was aiming to shut him down again. He fingered Lily’s pokeball absentmindedly and nodded to accept the terms. Everything about the challenge was in the gym’s favor – as long as James recalled his pokegirls before they were knocked out, Daniel could never score a point. Meanwhile he was almost forced to use one pokegirl, since the moment he tried to change he’d be losing momentum. If James took control of the battle at all the fight was over, since his pokegirls worked best while ahead. He’d learned that much the day before.
All Daniel could think while he waited for the referee to call the start was that Lily had better be ready to back up her claim. They had only one advantage – the surprise of her evolution might give her the chance to take the winning point.
Once again, he was meant to lose. And this time James hadn’t even tried to be subtle about it.
“Release your first pokegirls.” The referee finally called, James releasing the Alakawham he had closed with the day before while Daniel released Lily. The Panthriducia had donned clothing for the first time, and she was wrapped up in a cloak that hid her changes from view.
Across the arena the Alakawham’s antennae twitched as she attempted to get a feel for her opponent and Daniel could see James’ look of confusion at what she was relaying to him.
“Begin!” The referee shouted, the Alakawham quickly levitating off the ground and out of reach.
Lily didn’t move, though Daniel could see her tail thrashing underneath the cloak. Finally she stepped forwards, a low rumbling growl echoing from her throat that froze the Alakawham in place. At James’ shout she twisted, sending chunks of material from the floor rocketing towards the slowly advancing Panthriducia. Lily barely moved to let them fly harmlessly past her before she crouched, tensing to leap at her opponent.
The Alakawham relaxed, waving cheekily from her seemingly unreachable position. “Come get me!” She called cheerfully.
If any of the humans had blinked they would have missed her jump. One instant Lily was crouched on the ground and the next she had the Alakawham by the throat, the two spinning towards the ground as Lily’s cloak spun on the wind. She had shifted into her panther form and even as they fell she was doing her best to disembowel her opponent.
James’ hand shot forwards and he recalled his pokegirl while they were still falling. Without missing a beat he released an Asprey, the avian girl moving instantly when James barked a command. She rocketed upwards, the recall, release, and initial attack spanning no more than a second. Lily’s muzzle was wet from the Alakawham’s blood and she had only begun to get her bearings when the Asprey slammed into her stomach. The girl quickly scored two hits and wheeled away, batting Lily’s body back into the air. The Panthriducia screamed fury and twisted, her tail undulating behind her as she tracked the new opponent.
The Asprey wasted no time diving back in, but only scored a glancing blow since Lily was ready for her. This time as she disengaged Lily’s tail whipped forwards, the immense length allowing her to encircle the dodging Asprey. With a roar she slammed her into the arena floor and used the momentum to slingshot herself directly at her opponent.
The Asprey had already begun to prepare to receive Lily’s attack but James recalled her, forcing Lily to take the impact herself without any cushioning. The force sent her skidding along the floor, her claws shrieking as she dug in and tried to slow down.
“Incoming!” Daniel managed to yell as James released a Ria, the girl not even waiting for a command before firing a Thunder attack at the skidding Pnathriducia.
Lily took the full hit, fur mixing with her blood and peppering the ground and wall behind her as her skin began to smoke. The attack turned her controlled slide into an undignified tumble that ended when Lily smashed into the wall. Immediately she rolled back to her feet and blitzed the Ria, her tail jabbing forwards to attempt a repeat of her earlier snare.
James let her get close before recalling the Ria and releasing his Agrii, the burly pokegirl responding to James’ warning and trapping the incoming tail before Lily could snare her.
“Change!” Daniel shouted desperately, Lily tensing as she prepared to fight her opponent’s pull. She made no move that she heard him and Daniel winced as she was yanked off her feet, the Agrii beginning to spin her around.
Thankfully Lily recognized the danger and took her Tamer’s advice, shifting back to her humanoid form before she picked up too much speed. The Agrii found herself grasping at air when Lily’s extended tail disappeared, the Panthriducia easily flipping onto her feet and recovering. The two combatants took a moment to stare at each other and were about to clash again when a scream rent the air.
“THAT’S A FUCKING PANTHRESS!” The referee babbled, his eyes wide as he got his first real look at Lily. “WHAT THE FUCK!”
“No, she’s-“ Daniel started before James cut him off.
“This match is over.” He said coolly, his Agrii immediately relaxing and walking to his side. “The referee has lost impartiality. This is a draw.”
Daniel grit his teeth and was about to make a retort when Lily raised her head and gazed at James. “You seek an excuse to remake this contest.” Daniel could see she was holding her side and her skin was still smoking from the Thunder blast. “I trust next time will be fair.”
James looked at her in surprise before nodding. “I know of the redeemed breeds, and I have heard of your tendency towards justice. Be assured that our next match with be a fair one.” He smiled, the first genuine warmth Daniel had seen out of him. “If your tamer had the heart to evolve you, even after yesterday’s defeat, perhaps he isn’t as lucky as I thought.”
Lily plodded over to pick up her cloak and snorted. “He is lucky, but not in any way you would know.” With that she leapt out of the arena and walked over to Daniel’s podium. “We may leave, Master.”
Daniel glanced between the still gawking referee, James, and Lily before finally shaking his head in bemusement. “Did you get your satisfaction?”
“Then that’s enough for me.” Daniel waved at James. “We’ll be back. When we’re ready.”
The mood in the campsite that morning was mixed. On one hand there was Aria and Cyrene inspecting and praising Lily’s new form, but on the other Daniel had five very angry pokegirls to deal with.
“And here I thought I had just been too cocky.” Lea growled, her clenched fists slowly turning some pebbles to dust. “What gives that guy the right to block us?”
“Officially it took all six of James’ pokegirls to defeat us.” Daniel tossed her his pokedex. “It doesn’t have to say that he freely substituted two of them, just that at the end of the day all six of his saw combat.”
Lea read the record and threw it aside angrily. “Did we even take out the bitch that I lost to?”
“Lea, you were picked up, trussed like a Chickenlittle, and repeatedly slammed against the floor until you lost consciousness.” Daniel looked almost amused. “If you honestly think anyone here would be able to stand up to a psychic of that caliber, we should probably get your head checked.”
“I can dream.” She muttered.
“You’ll be happy to know we didn’t go without a fight.” He amended. “You and Noeth were taken apart, but Trish and Cyrene can each claim a half point, and so can Aria. Lily claimed one point five.” He paused. “If it helps your ego, your opponent and Noeth’s only came out to defeat each of you. They probably were some of James’ personal harem.”
Lea grunted and stood, dropping the powdered stones. “It makes me feel a little better.” She nodded at Aria. “How’d she get a half point? Wasn’t she last out?”
Daniel pointed at Lily. “She pretty easily took out the Thundrix that had been our referee, but got worn down by a Sonica. Apparently Aria has been learning magic from somewhere because the moment she came out she did something to the Sonica. Some of it was probably from Lily wearing her out, but I have to say it was pretty satisfying to watch James’ pokegirl run as if she was in molasses.”
Cyrene began giggling and waved. “Yea, I taught her that.” She playfully shoved the Kamichu. “So yeh got the slow spell teh work.”
“Yea.” Aria was barely smiling. “She was a worthy opponent.”
“Aria.” She jumped at Daniel’s call. “I won’t pretend to be an expert on how you evolve, but you won against a superior opponent before being seen as so much of a threat that you were given no chance of continuing.” He grinned. “I’d say that qualifies as a suitable victory, yea?”
Aria blinked away the tears that were threatening to form. “I… I guess?”
“Remember what you said back in the park?” Daniel nodded at Cyrene. “After I knocked you down. ‘I will never lose to an equal opponent’, right? Well as far as I know, you still haven’t.”
“You have a point.” Aria sighed. “Alright. I guess it was kind of a sign of respect, wasn’t it.”
Daniel didn’t miss Lily’s look of gratitude as he nodded and turned away. “It definitely was. You’re growing fast.” He stopped next to Trish and leaned against her arm. “Lily did well mostly because of her opponents and because of her latent skill.” He had briefly explained what Lily was and what she had come from, but none of them had probed too deeply. “But she and Aria did well for another reason.”
Trish cocked her head at him, prompting him to continue. “They both negated the range or speed that our opponent abused.” He patted her back gently. “You’re slow and short range. So is Lea. Yesterday I was reminded of that.”
“What do you want us to do about it?” Trish’s gaze was calm, but worried. “Neither of us can fix that.”
“You both need to start training with your Chi.” Daniel replied. “Lea has been slacking ever since she evolved, probably because she doesn’t see the point, but you have no excuse.”
Trish drew her katana and studied it before nodding. “There are wave attacks that I’ve been neglecting. And if I get stronger, there are things that I can do that completely negate distance.”
“It’s the same with Lea.” Daniel glanced at her and raised an eyebrow. “Am I wrong?”
The Armsmistress sullenly shook her head and raised a fist, a thin mist coalescing. “I know a lot of the techniques.” She said guiltily. “But I haven’t been practicing them.”
“Additionally, did you know that it’s not just magic pokegirls that can learn magic?” Daniel glanced around the camp and nodded at the looks of surprise. “It’s true. It’s frowned against, but there’s a magic college that opened up here in Blue that specialized in teaching pokegirls. I don’t know if it’s still open, but I know at least two of my aunts studied there, so we might be able to have them get us started.” He rubbed his hands together. “I absolutely hate magic, but there’s no denying that the one pokegirl here who actually cast a spell today won her fight with it. I’ll take any advantage I can get.”
Aria stirred. “You have aunts who studied at the Wolf Institute?” She glanced at him. “I thought your mother was a pokegirl.”
“Well, they’re not really my aunts.” Daniel explained. “I just call the rest of my father’s harem Aunty this or Aunty that.”
“Hm.” Aria looked at him with new interest. “I was wondering who the man that bought me was, figuring he must be rich and spoiling a child with his money. Who are you, exactly?”
Daniel cracked a smile. “My last name is Adams, if that means anything to any of you.”
Aria was the only one who nodded. “I studied a lot of the pros. So, I’d assume the aunts you’re talking about are the Armsmistress, Megami-Sama, Archmage, Frostwyrm, and Gorgon, and the Wolf Queen is your mom?”
Daniel blinked at her quick list. “Arania isn’t a- You could remember his harem that fast? How?”
Aria shrugged and stood. “I told you, I studied a lot of the pros.” She gestured at her bag. “You already know that I follow the WAPL pretty closely, since I’ve got Punisher merchandise. And that’s not even the league I was born in.”
“Right. Duh.” Daniel clambered to his feet. “Well, nowadays the only one who still lives with him is my mom, Damika. Moira works with a family friend in Cardiff, Angelica does Celestial stuff, Gwyneira is off in the north somewhere, and J’Kessa I’m pretty sure works as a smuggler.” He shrugged. “Oh, and Arania. Last time she checked in she was ‘seeking magical truths’.” He snorted. “Whatever that means. As far as I saw that meant she was horny all the time.”
“An Archmage wouldn’t act like that.” Arania countered. “But you said she… wasn’t… Wait.” Her face morphed into a vacant stare. “What is she, again?”
“Nuh-uh.” Daniel snapped his fingers in her face, dragging her back to reality. “You must have been exposed to one of her spells when my dad bought you. I’m not doing anything until I get a consensus.” He looked around expectantly. “Magic. Yea, or nay?”
Cyrene and Noeth immediately responded positive, Aria joining in after a few seconds. Lily seemed thoughtful but also voiced her assent, leaving Trish and Lea to reluctantly agree. “Alright. That means everyone is going to learn.” Daniel made a face. “Maybe even me, if I still have the aptitude.” He grabbed Aria’s arm, dragging her to his side and clearing his throat. “Arania, I have someone who’d like to meet you.”
“I leave you alone for six months and suddenly you’re surrounded by pokegirls!” Lily and Trish instantly moved between the voice and their Master, tensing as they took in the pokegirl that stood just outside of the camp. “A Samurai, a Magic Knight, and is that even a Panthriducia I see?” She whistled softly. “I wonder how you managed to swing that one. Angelica?”
“I think so?” Daniel pushed past Lily and Trish and embraced the grinning pokegirl. “Aunty, it’s been a while.”
Arania patted his head and scratched his ears, Daniel immediately shying away from her touch. “Ah, still ticklish. So. Who wants to meet me?” She glanced around before focusing on Aria. “Oops. That one of yours? I can see at least three of my glamours on her.”
“Yea, dad bought her and must have released her in the house, so your spells saw her as an intruder.” Daniel pointed at Trish and Lea. “How’d they dodge ‘em?”
Arania glanced at the two girls and shrugged. “Oh, I knew about the Slicer in advance. The Armsmistress? Not sure. She didn’t dodge the passive illusion, though.”
“Sir, who is this?” Lea looked extremely uneasy. “That pokegirl looks so human it’s unnatural.”
Daniel watched Arania wave her staff and inwardly swore as her face lit up. “So that’s how. She resisted them.” She made to move to Lea but stopped at Daniel’s upraised arm. “Yes?”
Daniel gestured around. “Aunty, please remove your spells from my harem before you do anything else. Thankfully Trish doesn’t speak too much, or she’d have started saying things that counteract what the others are seeing. I’d rather not have you modifying my pokegirls’ memories any more than you already have.”
Arania sighed but nodded. “Very well.” Withdrawing a small key from a pocket she stuck it in midair and made a twisting motion.
To Aria it was as if the world shattered. Suddenly she and the others were seeing a new pokegirl instead of a very near human Archmage. Arania easily matched Cyrene’s height, the Demoness-evolved Demon-Goddess adorned with dark purple tattoos that twisted from her horns and around her body.
“oh.” Aria looked at her horns and tattoos and seemed to war between hostility and respect. Finally she tried for a tactful approach. “No tail?”
“I am not a whore Succubus.” Arania replied amiably but bared her fangs. “As long as you remember that, we’ll do just fine.”
“Great.” Aria flashed an uneasy smile back. “So, you, uh, attended the Wolf Institute?”
“That’s right.” Arania stowed the key away and leaned on her staff. “Angelica and I both did. And I can see why my spells targeted you so thoroughly.” She frowned. “They’re a good judge of character.”
“Will it be a problem for you to guide her?” Daniel tried to keep anger from his voice but failed. “Just because of what she wants to be?”
“She won’t be my problem, so no.” Arania huffed and decisively turned away from the Kamichu. “Now then. You.” She pointed at Lea. “You have an immense amount of magical potential. Let me teach you.”
“…what?” Lea looked blankly back. “I’m sorry, I’m still processing all this. What are you, again?”
“I am a master of combat.” Arania replied simply. “A Demon-Goddess, if you must know. You are an Armsmistress, evolved from a Amazon, most likely a Chan.” She chuckled at Lea’s look. “Yes, I really did read all of that from your appearance.”
“How?” Trish eagerly cut in, her public façade dropping in her excitement. “How did you know all that? Are you really that good?”
Arania nodded. “I fought in some of the greatest arenas around. My perception and intuition were honed over decades of battle.” She shrugged. “By the way, you should really change your clothes. The gi is nice, but it’s obvious that you only wear it for ceremony.” Her eyes grew hard. “In a real battle, ceremony will lose you precious seconds.” Daniel winced as Trish started to retort and froze when Arania flared her aura. “You know I’m right.”
“Auntie.” Daniel carefully positioned himself between the majority of his harem and the Demon-Goddess. “I can have Cyrene and Aria get the others started with the basics, and buy or seek out tutors for more spells. But I trust you to do aptitude tests. Much more than some random stranger.” He slowly fidgeted until he was squarely blocking Trish. “I’m trying to make a name for myself with as little help from my dad as possible. By association, that means you, too.” He gave a nervous smile. “So, it was great to see you, and I’d be really appreciative if you told me if any of my pokegirls are unqualified magically, but leave them alone otherwise, please.”
The Demon-Goddess seemed to deflate slightly. “Sorry, Daniel. I was being a bitch again, wasn’t I.”
“In a good way.” Daniel clarified. “But I’d rather you weren’t, if it’s all the same.”
“Sure.” Arania glanced around. “The Panthriducia isn’t exactly a prodigy, but she could probably learn some simple spells with enough practice. The Armsmistress and Loner are extremely over the curve for their breeds, and the Kamichu is extraordinarily gifted… considering what path she’s chosen.” She blinked. “Sorry. As for the Samurai, she’s an odd case. There’s potential there, but it’s not readily available. Oh, and you.” She smiled warmly at Cyrene. “Start learning wind magic as soon as you can. I can tell you’ll be amazing at it.”
Daniel could almost hear a collective “What?” as everyone in the camp stared at Arania as she began fiddling with her hair. “Well. I’ve been… lucky enough to have six magic-capable pokegirls.” Daniel said, disguising his disappointment behind optimism. “You didn’t mention me. Which means I’m not-“
“You’re still your mother’s son.” Arania dropped her locks and glared at him. “My Alpha embraced her potential and used it to terrifying effect. Why do you refuse to give it a chance?”
“I work best with my fists.” Daniel grumbled sullenly. “If I’m really like mom, and have an aptitude for illusory magic, forget it. Illusions are cheating.”
“You’re a damn fool, Daniel Adams.” Arania suddenly had a strange look on her face. “Embrace your power, or you will lose something very dear to you one day soon.” And just as suddenly as she had appeared, she vanished.
“…” Daniel stared at the spot she had vacated in shock. “…what?”
“So, the point of that was… what, exactly?” Lea twisted to loosen her back. “I’ve got magical potential? Ok? I’m going to go work on my chi now.”
“Did nobody else hear her say…” Daniel started before trailing off. “Cyrene? Was I hearing things?”
The Magic Knight frowned. “Master? She didn’t say anything. Yeh talked back, and she glared at yeh and teleported.”
“Hear what I heard.” Daniel tried over the Delta bond and focused on Arania’s words. After a few moments he saw Cyrene start. “Yea?”
“I dinnae hear that at all.” Cyrene glanced around as the others returned to what they had been doing. “I don’t think anybody did.” She stepped closer and lowered her worried voice. “What did she mean?”
“I don’t know.” Daniel sat down and scrubbed at his face. “Think. She talks about the awareness all the time, how she’s able to use it for herself without the prissy Celestials interfering.” He glanced up. “Maybe she saw something, some sort of precognition or prophecy.”
“What are yeh going teh do about it?”
Daniel shook his head. “Nothing. I’m going to do nothing. It’s no use worrying over, and as long as I don’t do anything stupid it won’t mean anything. So we are going to train until someone falls over from exhaustion, and then we are going to heal up and beat James at his own game.”
“How are we going teh do that?” Cyrene glanced around. “There isn’t much around here that would truly challenge us. And, no offense, Master, but I’ve had my fill of ferals for a while.”
“We’ll go back to Cardiff next week.” Daniel decided. “I’m sure we’ll be able to find spots in some of the daily tournaments that they hold at the coliseum. And if we do well enough, we might be able to make some money while we fight.”
“Cardiff tournaments…” Cyrene trailed off in thought. “They do prize tournaments every weekend, yea?”
“Yes, they do. Did you fight in them?”
Cyrene nodded. “I think… I did. With my previous Master.” She frowned. “In fact, one of the last things I can remember is winning one.” Her frown deepened. “I beat a particularly nasty… something in the final fight.” She shrugged. “When I went feral I probably lost a lot. I wonder when all that happened?”
“If you won a prize tournament, you probably are on record.” Daniel glanced at her. “As is whoever your Tamer was.”
Cyrene’s thoughtful look immediately vanished. “No. Yeh are my Master, and ah dinnae want anyone else. Whoever they were they lost me, one way or another.”
Daniel grinned at her words. “Thanks.” He glanced around. “Alright! Pack up! We’re leaving!”
“Your number is 337. We will call for you when your match is ready.” The Cyberelf handed the tamer a badge. “NEXT.” She glanced at Trish as Daniel stepped up. “Please put your pokegirl away, sir. Pokedex.”
“Uh, yea.” Daniel recalled Trish and handed over his ‘dex. “I’d like to register for the Singles brackets. All of them.”
“We are running two prize tournaments today, each with a required buy in.” The girl scanned his data. “I’d suggest you join the low prize tournament and not both.”
“The regular matches are still going on, right?” Daniel continued at her nod. “I’d like to register my Kamichu for the 1v1s and the full harem for everything else. What’s the price on the low tournament?”
“2,000 SLC, competing for a split of the 100,000 SLC pool.” She confirmed his entry and handed the pokedex and three badges back. “The first round of the prize tournament begins in half an hour. If you are not in a fight when your number is called, you have ten minutes to show before you forfeit. NEXT.”
Daniel stepped away and pinned the badges to his shirt, making sure to keep the prize badge on the top. Ducking inside the arena he stopped in front of the scoreboards but was drawn towards a small crowd just inside.
He could see a tall Elf pokegirl in the middle but had no idea why the crowd was there until it parted enough for him to see the Tamer. Marcus stood proud, his face animated as he chatted and signed autographs for the cluster of fans. Slowing, Daniel released Aria.
“Hey. You know him?” He got her attention and pointed at the crowd. “Marcus Reed.”
“Welsh champion three cycles in a row. Welsh national finalist since he entered the competitive scene, including his rookie year, where he was one of the highest scoring Tamers on the team.” She studied the pokegirl. “That’s his Beta. Elfqueen, goes by Alana, or Allie, full name Thas’alan. Leader of a moderate size court, each elf answering directly to either of them equally.”
“A recognized elf court?” Daniel whistled softly. “Wonder how he managed that. She’s his Beta? I remember he had something else during the county finals, a Sidhe or something that was introduced as his Alpha.”
“He always has two pokegirls, the others are filled in from the court. Though it’s usually two Golden Elves, a Pinielf, and a High Elf. His Alpha is a Sidhe known as Tania, but she’s been quoted multiple times as saying that name is merely what humans can comprehend.”
“The Elfqueen is the public face, the Sidhe is the battle face.” Daniel shrugged at her nod. “That’s clever. You know, we’ll have to fight him one day.”
Aria watched as the crowd closed back in, shrinking back slightly as Thas’alan took a few moments to stare at them before continuing her watch. “Fuck.”
Daniel chuckled and shoved her playfully. “I agree. C’mere.” He guided her to the scoreboards. “I have you registered in the 1v1s. Recognize who’s on top?”
Aria squinted at the names as they cycled. “Those aren’t Tamer names, are they?”
“Nope.” Daniel waited for the board to return to the start and hit the pause button. “Tamers are irrelevant in this bracket. Let’s see, monthly, all time… Here we go.” He opened the daily rankings. “Only 59 pokegirls registered today. And here you are, at the very bottom. Looks like there are a handful of other unranked competitors.” He scrolled up to the top. “There we go. Recognize any of those?”
Aria immediately pointed at the 2nd place name. “That’s one of Reed’s pokegirls. I don’t recognize the top name, but I think number seven is also one of his. Does the list show breeds?”
Daniel manipulated some settings. “Yea.”
“2nd place is one of his Golden Elves. Orla. 7th must be trying to prove herself, because I know his usual High Elf, and that’s not her.” She frowned. “I know the name, though. Luthien. I wonder if Indis retired.”
“I’m still totally amazed that you remember all of this perfectly.” Daniel gestured at the other names. “Recognize anyone else?”
Aria shook her head. “There’s probably some Master Tamer level pokegirls in there, but I only really study the very top. Otherwise I’d never remember anything.”
“Fair enough.” Daniel took a last look at the list before turning away. “Well, we have all day. I want to see your name in the top 20 by tonight.”
“Wait.” Daniel paused and looked back at Aria as she stared at the board. “Did you see that?”
Daniel glanced up as the scoreboard cycled through the monthly lists. “See what?”
“Go back to the all time list.” Aria waited while Daniel navigated. “Top 100.”
Daniel glanced up and frowned. “What am I supposed to be looking at?”
“Right there.” Aria pointed at a name. “Isn’t that Cyrene’s old name?”
Daniel blinked. “Serena. Air Maiden. Son of a bitch.” His eyes narrowed. “Wait, how did you know that’s what she used to be called?”
“All pokegirls have public records.” Aria suddenly looked uncomfortable. “I looked into everyone when I first got here.”
“Hm.” Daniel slowly turned back to the board. “Serena the Air Maiden. Inactive, but still holding a top 100 spot on the board.” He sighed. “She said she used to fight here. I guess it’s just about all she did.”
“If she’s that strong…” Aria trailed off. “Wonder why she’s not like that now.”
“She lost a lot of her memory when she went feral. Maybe she lost some skill as well.” Daniel returned the board to normal. “Whatever. That’s behind her, and she’s made that clear. Arania said she had a lot of potential, so hopefully she gets that strength back quickly.” He snagged Aria’s arm and pulled her to his side. “As for you, I brought you here to win. Better get started.”
“DOWN!” Daniel bellowed, Aria ducking an Icicle Spear. “Keep your eyes on her. Her moves are your reactions.”
“Havah! Keep her away!” The other Tamer yelled, prompting his Abomina to begin forming a Mist. “If she hits you it’s over!”
“If you can hit her, it’s over.” Daniel mirrored. “But you’re not going to be able to see in that mist.”
“She can see me.” Aria replied quietly, the borrowed headsets transmitting her words back to him clearly. “Dark Goggles. Begin radio silence.”
Daniel watched as the Mist swept across the arena, only stopping at the magical boundaries. At the edge the referee quickly put on a visor. “Continue!”
There was complete silence inside the ring for over a minute. Daniel was beginning to worry that Aria had been frozen by the cold when a shout boomed out, quickly followed by a cry of surprise and the sound of a fist hitting flesh. Slowly the mist began to dissipate to reveal Aria standing over the Abomina, her chest heaving. Daniel could see ice coating her entire body but she wasn’t shivering and even with how hard she was breathing, he couldn’t see it fogging at all.
“Hey, ref! Call the match!” Daniel threw out his arms. “Well?”
“Abomina Havah appears to be down…” The referee walked forwards. “Yes, Abomina Havah is unable to continue. Kamichu Aria is the victor.”
Daniel instantly recalled her and ran. He knew what happened when a body shut down in the cold; his aunt Gwyneira had once defeated a feral Dragonqueen by doing exactly what the Abomina had inadvertently done. The result had been exactly what his father’s client wanted – an unscarred, untouched feral ready for immediate taming… once she had been warmed up. But it was the side effect that terrified him. The feral had warmed up and immediately began vomiting blood. It turned out that her temperature had gone so low that when she was warmed up, just about everything inside had burst. He was praying that wasn’t about to happen to Aria.
He made it to the healing station and handed over her pokeball before sitting down to wait. After a moment he pulled out his pokedex and keyed up a number.
The connection went through on the third ring to show a massive eye dominating the screen. “Glupaya mashina… Tam!” The camera suddenly zoomed out to show a beaming Frostwyrm. “Daniel, moy mal’chik! Zachem zvonish?” Daniel could hear some shouting in the background and the pokegirl turned slightly. “Da, ya budu tam!” She turned back. “Make quick.”
“Privet tetka Gwyneira.” Daniel stumbled, doing his best to find the right words. “Mne nuzhny… Slova?”
The feed actually shook as the Frostwyrm began to laugh, the vibrations sending a stream of powdered snow down. “Ah, my child. Still can not speak the language, no?” She grinned. “Speak, speak!”
“My pokegirl.” Daniel began gesturing, doing his best to supplement his words. “All frozen. Is she ok?”
“Use the machine, heal her.” Gwyneira’s face was grave. “Hopefully her mind in one piece.”
Daniel blanched. “Her mind?”
“It happens, when one is too cold.” Gwyneira eyes suddenly narrowed and she glanced up and bared her fangs. “Blyad. Have to go. Call again, talk more, yes.” Her entire body tensed and wings unfurled as she leapt out of view, the wind sending snow to bury the pokedex she had been using.
Daniel waited for a few moments, listening to his aunt’s roars and the screams of whomever she was fighting before sighing and terminating the connection.
“Mr. Adams?” Daniel looked up to see a skimpily outfitted Rapha standing with a tray in her hands. “Your Kamichu is healed. Markers indicate her body temperature was dangerously low. I’d recommend avoiding fights like that.”
“It was an official fight, and the referee didn’t step in.” Daniel took the pokeball. “I know the danger she was in. Thank you.”
The nurse inclined her head. “Of course, Sir. I was out of line. I apologize.”
“You can apologize all you’d like, just make sure you keep warning kids.” Daniel smiled. “Most will ignore you, but it’ll save someone’s life one day.”
The Rapha’s smile changed from professional to warm as she curtsied. “Thank you, Sir.”
Daniel watched her leave before triggering Aria’s release. She materialized and immediately began shaking, her breath ragged as she gulped lungfuls of warm air.
“It’s alright!” Daniel quickly wrapped her in a hug, half expecting her to still be freezing. “It’s alright. You’re warm. You’re ok.”
Aria’s breathing slowly evened out and she gripped him tightly. “I was so cold.”
“She was sapping your heat through the mist.” Daniel replied, rubbing her arms. “How did you manage to land a hit?”
Aria blinked. “I did? Did I win?” She frowned. “I don’t really remember what happened.”
“You were beginning to shut down.” Daniel shook his head. “You were dangerously close to losing consciousness. I wonder how you kept moving, even through all that.”
“Well, I won, right?” Aria giggled nervously. “So it doesn’t matter how I did it. Although if I had been able to do it without getting frozen solid, I would have gotten in close and hit her with a Megaton Punch. Should have easily knocked her out.”
“I only heard one strike, so that must have been what you did.” Daniel squeezed her shoulders approvingly. “Congratulations.”
“She was tough. The hardest fight yet.” Aria shook herself.
“It better have been.” Daniel pointed at the scoreboard nearby. “You were finally given a ranking.”
Aria watched the names roll by, gasping when she hers. “I’m in the top 50?”
“Out of 78, but yes. That means you’re better than a third of the pokegirls competing today.” Daniel grinned. “Well done.”
“Should be higher.” Aria scowled. “A third isn’t good enough.”
“No? I think it’s quite good.”
“No. I’m better than anyone here.” Aria blinked. “Ok, most here. Probably not the top, like, 20 or so.” Her face returned to a jaunty grin. “But everyone else.”
Daniel stared at her for a moment before sighing. “I’m going to miss you.”
That caused Aria to start. “Eh?” She stared at him.
“You’re strong. And you’ve been winning nearly non stop for weeks. Which means soon you’re going to evolve, and I’m going to lose you. You’re going to be replaced by some bitch of a Neo-Iczel that hates my guts and won’t respect anyone she’s worked with to get this far.”
“Oh, is that all?” Aria looked relieved. “I thought you were going to get rid of me or something.” She slipped away from his grasp and stood squarely in front of him. “Listen to me. I was a prissy little brat when your father came and bought me and thrust me into your harem. I thought you were nothing. I thought I was a trophy, some sort of gift from a rich man to his son. But since day one you have shown me how wrong I am.” She grinned. “You are my Master. I may not like that you’re better than me, but you are. Oh sure, I’m going to evolve, and you’ll no longer be able to beat me in combat. But I know you’ll never let our first fight go.” Her grin faded. “I make no promises on how I will treat the others. Cyrene in particular is about to have one hell of a storm coming.”
“They’re the ones I’m worried about.” Daniel stood. “Listen to yourself. Even when I first got you, you were timid, humble. Now your ego is being stoked and you’re just as proud as I’m supposed to fear. You’re not going to be you anymore.”
Aria was silent. “Do you not want me to evolve to Neo-Iczel?” She asked quietly.
Daniel had begun to walk away and the comment caught him off guard, causing him to trip and sprawl to the ground with a splutter. “Wha-wh- WHAT? NO!” He blinked. “I mean yes? How am I supposed to answer this?” He groaned, scrambling to his feet. “Aria, I would be fucking stupid not to want a battle goddess in my bed.” He coughed. “Harem! I meant harem.”
Aria looked at him in shock before sniffling, tears glinting in her eyes. “You dumbass. You fucking dumbass. Do you strategize before each day? Is that how you do it?” She rubbed her eyes. “Out of nowhere you say something like that. What are you? Some kind of psychic?” Her cheeks were stained as she looked into his eyes. “Just dropping the perfect, offhand compliment.” She shook her head and dove forwards to bury her face in his chest. “Is that who I am to you right now?” She asked, her voice muffled.
Daniel winced, glad that Aria couldn’t see the look on his face. “Well, uh, not right now.” He hurried on when he felt her breath catch and she began to cry again. “Right now I think you’re a, uh…” He pulled out his pokedex. “…a little god. Yea, that works. You’re my little goddess.”
Aria pulled back and glanced over to see the pokedex in his hand. “Well, at least you didn’t have that one prepared.” She hiccupped. “Does that thing say that I’m going to turn into a bitch, too?”
“It’s wrong.” She wiped her face angrily. “That’s not who I want to be.” She paused. “I’ll bet on it.”
Daniel blinked. “Eh?”
“I’ll bet on it.” Aria’s face set. “If I’m wrong, I’ll admit total defeat to you. I will never challenge you again. In any way.”
“That would certainly be good for me.” Daniel raised an eyebrow. “And if you’re right?”
“Then I’ll still be me.” Aria gave him a predatory grin. “And that will mean I was right. I. Would. Win.”
“Ah.” Daniel scratched his chin. “Well, this does seem like a win-win for me. Very well.” He stuck out his hand. “It’s a bet.”
Aria took it. “It’s a bet.” Daniel felt her grip tighten and she began pulling him towards the singles sign up booth. “Now I need to win again.”
They were halfway through the line when a tone played over the loudspeakers. “The main stage is now closed. We will now begin the prize tournament. Numbers 5, 9, 33, 29, 18, and 17, please report to the main stage for your first match.”
Daniel glanced down at his numerous pins, noting as most of the line did the same. “We’re number 22. Looks like we’re not fighting just yet.”
Aria pulled him forwards as two of the tamers in front of them hurriedly left. “That just means I have more time to fight.” She eagerly pulled him to the window, nearly clipping a black and white furred catgirl that had just stepped away. “Hi, I want another match!”
The pokegirl managing the booth beamed at her enthusiasm. “Well that’s why I’m here! Number, please?” She looked over Aria and nodded as Daniel held up the correct pin. “Perfect! Let’s check your ranking.” She tapped her screen and nodded. “Interesting. Rank 43.” She glanced to her side and Daniel noticed the fierce catgirl Aria had nearly run into watching them closely. “It just so happens that the 39th ranked contestant has just signed up for a match. With the speed you rose through the ranks this morning, it should be a good fight.” She hit a command and tore off a ticket. “Here you are. You’re assigned to stage 9. Ma’am?” She waved the other pokegirl over. “Here you are. Good luck!”
Daniel slowly turned to size up the pokegirl as Aria dashed off. She easily met his gaze, her build and demeanor warning him that this would not be an easy match. “Your fur. Natural color? I assume it’s meant to intimidate.” He let his gaze linger on a jagged scar across her collarbone. “Who’s your tamer?”
“That would be me.” Daniel turned to see a slightly older man walking up. “It’s alright, Kali. He seems informal enough with his own pokegirl. You may speak freely.” He glanced down the hall at Aria. “Though she’s going to get out of sight if we don’t move. Shall we walk?”
Daniel found himself having to lengthen his stride to keep up as the three quickly caught up to Aria. “You can call me Jay.” The man said, extending his hand. “And you?”
“Daniel.” Daniel replied and took it, his eyes still on Kali. “She holds herself well. Who are you?”
“You mean who is she, right?” Jay nudged the glowering girl. “Come on, now. Introduce yourself.”
She glanced over and gave a slight nod. “My full name is Callista, Sir. I am Master Jacob’s Beta and conduct myself as such.”
“I told you to lighten up.” Jay swatted her ass. “I’ll make that an order if I have to.”
Daniel saw a flicker of warmth before the catgirl’s face smoothed over again, albeit less dour this time. “And who are you?” She called in Aria’s direction.
Aria swiveled. “Aria. I’m a Kamichu that’s about to use you to evolve.” She said with a challenging grin.
Daniel inwardly groaned at her words but luckily the other two seemed to take it in stride, even sharing a slight smile. “Perhaps.” Kali replied. “We’ll see how you hold up against a county champion.”
“Whoah, hold on.” Daniel ground to a halt. “County champion? This year?”
“Nah, last cycle. We didn’t qualify this time around since I had some pretty bad turnover on Sadie Pokens.” Jay shrugged. “Well, you live with it. I’ve still Kali, Ann, and Zoe to carry the newbies.” He chuckled. “In fact, we’d be out training if Zoe hadn’t seen Marcus entering the prize tournament and gotten all riled up. She wants her revenge.”
“Marcus? As in National team captain Marcus?” Daniel’s eyes couldn’t grow wider if he had held them open. “You said she wants revenge?”
Oh, nothing crazy.” Jay waved his hand dismissively. “He’s just the reason we didn’t make it onto the regional team. Him and his damn Elfqueen.”
“…can we go have a drink instead of fighting?” Daniel finally responded. “Because I want to know everything I can and after this fight one of us is going to be too pissed to talk.”
“I take it you’re going for the finals yourself? Rookie?” Jay continued at Daniel’s nod. “Tell you what. Kali’s only in the 1v1s because she got bored. The rest of my girls are resting back behind one of the stands. We’ll have the match your Kamichu is so desperate to lose and then after Kali wins we’ll head back and hang out until one of us is called for the prize match.”
“Contestant Callista?” A voice interrupted Daniel’s heated retort. “And contestant Aria, I presume. The ring is ready for you.”
Daniel let the referee separate him from Jay, his anger threatening to burst before Aria gently put her hand on his arm.
“WHAT?” Daniel snarled, yanking out of her grasp.
“Breathe. Sir.” Aria stressed, grabbing his arm again. “Breathe. Smile. Relax.”
“I DON’T need to- oh. Right.” Daniel took a quick breath, holding it until the red began to fade. “Sorry.”
“You need to listen without absorbing his words.” Aria nodded across the ring. “I gave up some information I shouldn’t have, but you let him manipulate you.”
Daniel stared at her blankly. “I did what?”
“Every conversation can be a battle. And you just got destroyed.”
Daniel blinked. “…oh. Oh, shit. He had me in the palm of his hand.” Daniel swore. “He kept me talking so I never tried to figure out what you’re facing.” He pulled out his pokedex. “And now she’s hiding behind the referee. Shit, shit, SHIT.” He frowned. “Which is a Kaftara, by the way.”
“She was watching us the whole time, so they’ll know about the radios, too. No use trying to hide them.” Aria snorted. “If she’s a straightforward fighter, I’ll probably lose against her level of implied skill. Hopefully she’s not.” She gasped. “Wait, the referee is a Kaftara?”
Daniel frowned. “Yes?”
“Any other referees standing nearby?”
Daniel glanced around and nodded. “Yea, a few. Why?”
“They chose a Kaftara to officiate this fight for a reason. Dark. She’s a Psychic type.” Aria’s eyes sparkled. “That’s what they were trying to hide. Now it’s no use.”
The defeated shrug was visible across the arena as Kali stepped away from the referee and gave Aria a slight bow.
“And she’s got damned good hearing, like I suspected.” Aria shook her head. “Scan her, please. I’d like to know what’s about to turn me inside out.”
“Houshe. A psychic evolution of the Tigress.” Daniel sighed. “That explains the attitude and stripes. But that coloration is just unfair. Jet black hair and white stripes? That’s scary.”
“Lily.” Aria amended. “She’s got black hair.”
“Yea, but she’s all black.” Daniel replied, suddenly grateful as he realized what her conversation was doing. “Thanks for calming me down.”
“I need my Master alert.” Aria replied, a slight smile on her face. “Let’s go.”
“Fighters, enter the ring.” The referee called, motioning for Aria to take her place. Kali had already taken up a ready stance in front of Jay, the pair no longer showing a shred of familiarity. They were professionals. That much was clear.
“This match will go until KO. Ready? Begin!”
Enhanced Senses (Auditory, Olfactory)
Cyrene (A) – Magic Knight, LV 25
Trish – Samurai, LV 26
Lea – Armsmistress, LV 25
Noeth – Loner, LV 31
Aria – Kamichu, LV 24
Lily – Panthriducia, LV 38
Jackie (A) – Amazon, LV 23
Abilene – Venuswhore, LV ??
Eirene – Dark Kitsune, LV 23
Sabrina – Ka-D-Bra, LV 22
Zoe – Marylith, LV 26