Author’s note: In trying to add some cultural flavor to the Mountain League, I have made a minor mistake in previous chapters which I will be correcting starting with this chapter. The date on the Vikrama Samvat calendar as it would compare to the Gregorian calendar is off by a few weeks. Fortunately, it is not a mistake which would affect any of the substance of the story I have written. The tournament would still have occurred after less than 30 days from Sadie Pokens- although just barely. The events from the Vikrama Samvat calendar are far more non-negotiable, so that calendar is the one I will be keeping the same dates for.
The post-Sukebe date for Vikrama Samvat, year 2356, in the month of Phalguna Suklapaksa, day 13, would NOT have been February 19 of 298, but instead March 4 of 298. Of course, year 298 in the post-Sukebe calendar is equivalent to 2300 in the Gregorian calendar. As such, the most recent date of day 4 of Phalguna Krishnapaksa in year 2356 would have taken place on March 10 in 258 on the post-Sukebe calendar.
Vikrama Samvat date: 2356, Phalguna Krishnapaksa, 5.
International standard date: 298 AS, March 11.
“Alright- everybody’s ready?” Sukanta asked to her Pidgy and Firemaiden. As Parbati and Sikendra responded affirmatively, Sukanta glanced at the Pokeball in her hand. It was the day after the tournament in which she had received the Gravelgal, and Sukanta was just about to tame her. She had reserved a special room in the Pokecenter for taming ferals, and the Gravelgal had just been put through a level three taming cycle. The restraints were ready, and two of her Pokegirls were ready to put the Gravelgal in those restraints. Overall, Sukanta was reminded of when she had first tamed Thaili a few days ago, and wondered if taming a Pokegirl out of ferality would feel any different the second time around. That time she had felt more nervous, though- worried against all logic that the freshly caught Hound would escape the restraints despite the recent level three. Was it a good thing that she lacked such nervousness this time, as a sign that she was getting used to her duties as a trainer? Or was it a bad thing, which showed she was losing a useful level of caution?
Snapping out of her thoughts, Sukanta met the gazes of her two Pokegirls staring back at her, and responded to their affirmations. “Okay- I’m releasing the Gravelgal now.” With that said, she pressed the button on the Pokeball, releasing the Rock-type Pokegirl. Parbati and Sikendra swiftly moved to restrain the Gravelgal, still groggy from her level three taming cycle. In a matter of seconds, she was pinned spreadeagle against the bed, and it was time for Sukanta to do her job.
Quickly stripping off her own clothes, Sukanta straddled the Gravelgal, leaning down to kiss the feral Pokegirl. With one hand, she grabbed the back of her new Pokegirl’s head to bring her further into the kiss, and with the other, she cupped one of the Rock-type’s breasts to fondle. As she felt the texture of the breast, however, Sukanta paused, feeling something wholly unexpected.
Breaking away from the kiss which the Gravelgal had just started to enthusiastically return, the human woman looked more closely at the Gravelgal’s right breast. She had known beforehand that Gravelgals and Geogals excreted minerals through the pores in their skin, and without a cleaning cycle, usually had skin that felt rough as sandpaper as a result. Given the cleaning cycle that Sukanta had just put this Gravelgal through, the skin should have been completely soft and smooth everywhere. And the skin certainly shouldn’t have had Sanskrit writing on it as part of the sudden patch of rough and rocky texture.
“This… This isn’t normal, right? I mean, is that Sanskrit carved into a stone on her body?” Sukanta asked, staring at her two accompanying Pokegirls in bewilderment.
“…It’s not normal. We should probably find out what it says after you’re done taming.”
“No need. Back before I thresholded into a Pidgy, I actually learned how to read a bit of Sanskrit. It reads as ‘om mani padme hum’- probably the most popular and most famous mantra in Tibetan Buddhism. It might be really inauspicious to touch it as part of a taming session.”
Sukanta and Sikendra froze as they heard Parbati’s words, staring at the Pidgy nervously. “A religious…” Sukanta broke off her statement, the worry over perhaps having gained inauspicious fortune from defiling something meant to be religious looming over her.
“Well…” Sukanta continued, frowning as she glanced back at the Gravelgal, who was now straining against her bonds while clearly wanting to be tamed. “I guess I’ll avoid touching her breasts while taming her out of ferality. Then, once I’ve done enough cunnilingus to get her back to her senses, I can ask her what in the world is going on. I mean, as long as I don’t touch the writing, it should be okay, right?”
By the time the Gravelgal said something other than ‘Gravelgal’, Sukanta’s tongue was tired. Not wanting to risk touching… whatever it was… on her new Pokegirl’s breast, she had focused entirely on cunnilingus, just like she had said she would. And of course, given a Gravelgal’s level of endurance, she had to do quite a bit of it for it to work on its own. The whole process had become more tiring and boring than fun midway through, and Sukanta was certainly glad that she could now focus on finally getting some answers.
“Alright- I know you were feralborn, but you do seem to have picked up some language. What exactly is that writing on that stony patch on your breast?” Sukanta asked, pointing at the bizarrely located carving.
Upon hearing her say this, the Gravelgal looked frightened. “Please! Am good! Want to be good! Was an accident! Was less domesticated then. Not understand religion, not mean to eat unfood rock. Will be good, please! Where is Prabhu?”
“Prabhu?” Sukanta asked. She didn’t know the full story behind what the Gravelgal was saying, and wasn’t even sure where to begin asking questions about it. So maybe that’s why the question that she ended up asking had nothing to do with the topic of conversation she planned on discussing.
“Prabhu Awasthi is my master. Where is Prabhu?”
Or right- after being confiscated from storage, it was unlikely anyone had ever actually told this Gravelgal what had happened to her. “Um… You were in storage too long, and ended up being confiscated from your old master. I won you in a tournament yesterday, so I’m your new master.”
The Gravelgal stared up at Sukanta in shock. “Prabhu… no longer master? Want Prabhu as master!”
This was not how things were supposed to go. At all.
As Sukanta stared silently, it was Sikendra who spoke up. “You’re a Pokegirl- these things happen sometimes. Sukanta will be a nice enough mistress to you, so you don’t have any reason to complain.”
As the Gravelgal continued to complain from her restraints, Sikendra rolled her eyes at the feralborn’s response as Parbati winced uncomfortably.
“What’s Prabhu’s contact information? If you remember that, I can schedule a video call with him. That way we can talk to him together and figure out what exactly is going on.”
Though the Gravelgal didn’t understand numbers, so she couldn’t provide a communications number for them, she did turn out to have other information they could use. Throughout the rest of the conversation, Sukanta vaguely got the impression that Sikendra didn’t fully approve of contacting him. However, the Firemaiden was a well-behaved Pokegirl, and extremely helpful in asking questions to the Gravelgal to help get the contact information. Whatever Sikendra was feeling about the situation, Sukanta decided, it could be asked about later, after this whole mess was taken care of.
A few hours later, after having informed her brother as to the confusing events that had transpired, Sukanta was sitting in front of the Pokecenter’s telecommunications systems. Accompanying her were Sikendra, Parbati, and her new Gravelgal who she still needed to give a name. After having sussed out the contact information of the Gravelgal’s former owner, they had just sent a message to him requesting a discussion through video chat. Mere minutes after they had sent the request, Sukanta had received a response, leading to the current moment at the cusp of their conversation with him.
As the screen changed to show the face of a young man- presumably Prabhu Awasthi- Sukanta didn’t get much chance to say what she had planned, as he hurriedly spoke. “If you’re the one who got my Gravelgal like your message said, then there are some major things you need to know about her which are the reason why I lost her. If you-”
“Master!” The conversation was interrupted by the Gravelgal’s gleeful voice.
Prabhu winced as he responded. “Um… I’m not your Master anymore. You were in stasis for over a year as I never managed to get the money for the necessary offering, and you were confiscated as a result. That human woman is your new master, and you need to follow her instead-”
“Not… Master… now?” This interruption from the Gravelgal was much less gleeful. Instead, the feralborn seemed mostly stunned.
“Look- the money I needed to get was just too difficult to obtain. It’s your own fault for having eaten that mani stone in the first place. It just-”
“She ate a mani stone!?” Sukanta exclaimed.
While Sukanta may not have been much of a scholar, and thus may not have known some of the minutiae of the Mountain League’s various religious rituals, even she knew of mani stones. They were more related to Tibetan Buddhism than Hinduism, and so she had never personally encountered one, but she at least knew they were religious objects. Originally normal stones, they were made sacred through having Buddhist scriptures carved upon them. There was probably a lot more theological information related to mani stones than that, but it was Tibetan stuff, and Sukanta had never really studied that sort of thing. Still, it seemed extremely obvious that eating a religious object such as a mani stone was an extremely bad idea that could lead to alarmingly inauspicious luck.
And thinking about the Gravelgal’s Pokedex entry, it kind of made sense that this could be the end result. The stones Geogals and Gravelgals ate could influence their appearance. If they ate an evolutionary stone, it could even show up as a patch of color in part of their skin. Why wouldn’t it be possible for a mani stone to be desecrated through ending up in the same situation?
“Yes. She ate a mani stone. We happened to be near an area with a Tibetan population, and she had only been domesticated from ferality about a year before the incident. She thus had no idea what a mani stone was, and thought it was just another rock to eat. As I tried to get the money for the offering that was needed to placate the deities she had offended, we kept being followed by inauspicious luck. Because of that, I put her in storage, and my luck immediately got better. As time passed, I never got the money needed, and she ended up being confiscated from storage. However you got her after she was confiscated, I’m guessing this story is all new to you?”
Sukanta nodded. “Yes. At the point I chose her, I had no way of knowing any of this about the mani stone. It’s…” She paused, looking between the three Pokegirls she had out with her. Sikendra looked stunned upon hearing the story, Parbati appeared calm, but the Delta bond showed her to be mildly worried, and the Gravelgal was obviously downright shellshocked. The feralborn was gaping at the screen in front of her with a look of horror, as she must have been trying to make sense of her former owner giving up on her. As she saw this, Sukanta made up her mind.
“How much money did you need to earn?” She asked.
“…A bit over 110,000 SLC. The offering apparently required a lot of parts from pre-Sukebe animals.”
That… It wasn’t a cheap sum, but if she got lucky enough to find and catch even a single powerful feral categorized as Very Rare, she could pay it many times over.
“So, do you think you can send me an email with the information that might be relevant to whatever Tibetan Buddhist temple I end up near?”
Prabhu paused. “Um… yes. It’s been a while since I was focused on this project, but I do have the files about it stored somewhere on my Pokedex. I’ll just look through that, and then the email with the info for the priests. So, um, is there anything else you wanted to ask me about?”
“Master?” The Gravelgal questioned softly, directing it at Prabhu.
“You should say that to her now- not me. Anyways,” he said, directing his attention back to Sukanta, “like I said, anything you wanted to ask about?”
“No. I think this conversation covered the basics. And I really think I should have a private discussion with my new Gravelgal in our room.”
“Got it. Well, bye then,” Prabhu said, before logging out of the call.
The moment he disappeared from view, the Gravelgal broke down into heavy sobs. Sukanta, deciding this was far from the ideal place to deal with the feralborn’s emotional breakdown, immediately recalled her into her ball.
As Sukanta left the booth in which the video call had taken place, the Tamale who worked at the Pokecenter approached her. “I heard what sounded like crying coming from the call booth. Is everything alright?”
And… Sukanta really needed to talk to her Gravelgal quickly. If the feralborn was left to stew in her Pokeball for too long, the situation would just get worse. “It’s… complicated, and I really, really need to calm down my feralborn who just got so upset over the video call, so I’ve got to go back to my room, and if you want details ask later.” Sukanta blurted out the run-on sentence, before rushing to her room in the Pokecenter, her Firemaiden and Pidgy following behind, as the confused Pokecenter attendant stared.
This… It could be going better, but at least it hadn’t turned into a trainwreck. Within the Pokecenter room they were staying in, Sukanta, supported by her Pidgy and Firemaiden, had been trying to deal with the Gravelgal’s current emotional crisis. While the Gravelgal had finally come to accept that Prabhu was no longer her master, she wasn’t quite ready to recognize her new mistress. The moment Sukanta had talked about renaming her, the Gravelgal had angrily shouted Prabhu had already named her.
As such, Sukanta had spent the past ten minutes since that time basically trying to cajole her new Pokegirl into accepting a new name. It wasn’t that Sukanta was automatically opposed to a new Pokegirl keeping their name. Parbati, for example, had wanted to keep her name after threshold, and Sukanta had allowed it. But here, the reason for it was, as the Gravelgal had repeatedy and explicitly stated, a lingering loyalty to a former master. And that… It just wasn’t something Sukanta could allow if she was going to get the Gravelgal to properly recognize her as her new mistress.
“Look, I’m your mistress now, and if the reason for keeping it is loyalty to another human, as I have repeatedly said-”
“Prabhu not master, but still best human! Prabhu not accept me, but I still like him best!”
Finally, Sikendra, who had become increasingly curt during this argument as she tried to back up Sukanta’s points, snapped out an opinion of her own. “Just put her through a level 4. This is completely ridiculous!”
The room went silent. The Gravelgal looked alarmed. Sukanta… wasn’t quite sure how to react. If she couldn’t get the Gravelgal to recognize her authority on her own, a level 4 taming cycle would definitely make sense as the last resort. But would doing it just now be premature? Or would she be too soft of a tame if she hesitated to use a necessary tool to handle this sort of problem?
Sikendra, seeming to misunderstand Sukanta’s silence, blanched. “I apologize. In giving my unasked for opinion on the subject, I came dangerously close to giving an order. If my tone and my phrasing seemed impertinent to you, I deeply regret causing you any annoyance.”
“It’s fine! Don’t worry. You were just trying to help. I…” Sukanta paused, trying to collect her thoughts, as Sikendra looked relieved and the Gravelgal looked increasingly on edge. “You don’t worry either, because before I do anything like that, first I’d have my brother give us some advice. He’s my Mentor Trainer, so he probably has a way of fixing the problem I haven’t thought of that’s less extreme than a level 4. He’s away now, but when he returns, I’m sure he’ll have some perfect advice!”
“Sell her. She’s not worth keeping.”
Flanked by his Night Nurse Alpha and his Shieldmaiden, Atulya spoke firmly to Sukanta and (most of) her harem. The only of her Pokegirls not there was Thaili- which meant that the still-unnamed Gravelgal could hear his words. The room was briefly silent, as instead of responding herself, Sukanta glanced at the Gravelgal, expecting her to have an outburst. As she remained silently scowling, Sukanta realized that this wasn’t going to happen, and it was up to her to respond.
“But I promised I’d help her with her problem!” Sukanta exclaimed. At least, she was rather sure she had made the promise. She couldn’t remember all of the exact words that had transpired between her and the Gravelgal. But if she had made such a promise, as she suspected she had, it wasn’t exactly something she wanted to renege on.
“Then consider her to have voided that promise by refusing to fully accept you as her new mistress. Even if it weren’t for all of this trouble with the mani stone you told me about, that alone would be enough to sell her. Gravelgals are common, and she’s not that high of a level, either. If you want a replacement without those issues, you can easily find another to fit in your harem.”
“But…” Sukanta mentally floundered, as she tried to come up with a counterargument. “But if I don’t help her, it’s unlikely that anybody else will! You can’t blame a feralborn for not having known what a mani stone was!”
“If nobody else will help her, then you’re not responsible for that, and as I said before, you can consider her to have rejected your help by refusing you as being fully in charge. Besides- if you really want to help a down-on-her-luck Pokegirl, there are loads out there with far more normal problems. If you want to fulfill some kind of savior fetish, just get a thresholded Bimbo or Bunnygirl and save for the money to evolve them into something smart.”
“It’s not a savior fetish! I didn’t seek this out or anything. But I ended up with her by chance, so it’s my responsibility to help her!”
Atulya groaned. “As I have been saying, you can then consider your responsibility voided by her refusing to accept you as her mistress.”
The argument continued in this repetitive manner, the various Pokegirl onlookers staying silent as the human brother and sister argued. After over ten minutes of circular arguments, the one Pokegirl who could actually make a difference in the debate spoke up.
“I changed mind- will accept name.” At the Gravelgal’s words, both Sukanta and Atulya turned to look at her in surprise.
“…Really? Why did you change your mind?” Sukanta asked.
“Prabhu was nice. But Prabhu abandoned me. You already loyal, even with not liking my behavior.”
Atulya rolled his eyes. “Then just name her and be done with it. If she causes any other trouble, please reconsider your decision.” And with that, Sukanta’s brother/Mentor Trainer left the room, his two Pokegirls following behind.
“So… I guess I’ll name you Anushka,” Sukanta said to the Gravelgal.
The Gravelgal nodded. “Anushka,” she repeated.
Sukanta had never visited a Tibetan site of worship before. Prior to entering the temple, she had been asked to either spend time to purify her Pokegirls, or enter without them. For the sake of time, she had withdrawn her Pokegirls into Pokeballs, thus entering alone. When she arrived, the most surprising part of her first impression was the small minority of non-Tibetans worshiping there. Or at least, they weren’t visibly Tibetan- maybe they had bloodtraits or mixed ancestry. When a monk approached her to ask what her purpose was, Sukanta presented him with her emails from Prabhu while explaining the situation.
Once the monk finally understood what was going on, he brought her to Thokmay Rinpoche, who was apparently the monk who led the temple. Given that he had earned the surname of Rinpoche, Sukanta was completely unsurprised when it was explained to her who he was. After being briefed on the situation, Thokmay Rinpoche carefully looked at the emails Sukanta had been sent which detailed the situation. While doing so, he sometimes paused to look through a digital device, or to whisper conversations with an accompanying Shrine Maiden.
Finally, the Rinpoche addressed Sukanta. “This Prabhu… He was truly foolish in how he handled things. In acting quickly to appease the offended God, he could have dealt simply with the benevolent Chenrezig. Yet despite knowing his Gravelgal had eaten a mani stone with Chenrezig’s mantra, he continued taming with her unabated. When inauspicious luck resulting from his insolence to the Gods occurred, he thus faced a more difficult road to appeasement. After all, the wrathful Black Mahakala requires much more elaborate, and thus much more expensive, offerings to appease his anger than does his benevolent aspect of Chenrezig.”
The Rinpoche paused, glancing again at the emails. “Still… For the burden of the appeasement to be demanded by Black Mahakala rather than Chenrezig in this circumstance… I strongly suspect that the Gravelgal’s former owner had committed more offences in this situation than he is admitting to in his writing.” Frowning, the Tibetan man shook his head in disgust.
“So… What exactly kind of offering is needed to make it so expensive?” Sukanta asked. “Not complaining about it, so much as I’m curious where the credits are going to go.”
“Well…” Thokmay Rinpoche paused, before answering the question. “A torma offering is standard- and if it was for Chenrezig, or really most other deities, butter made from some variant of Pokegirl milk would be seen as acceptable in creating the torma. However, for Black Mahakala, it is necessary that the butter come from exactly the same species of pre-Sukebe animal as it traditionally has. The torma would also be more elaborate than a typical one, so it would require between…” The monk paused, seeming to think. “I would estimate between five and six kilograms of such butter would be the minimum requirement. Additionally, while most torma lack meat, the recipe needed to appease Black Mahakala in a scenario such as this would call for ritually pure meat, as it did in pre-Sukebe times. By ritually pure, of course, I mean that it needs to come from actual animals rather than Pokegirls. Beyond that, to ensure perfection, the torma would need to be crafted by a properly guided Iron Chef and Ar-Tits, both working about two days to complete it.”
Sukanta blinked as she heard that. “Okay- that definitely all sounds expensive.”
“Oh- I wasn’t quite finished. A proper frame of leather and wood would need to be constructed for the torma. While suitable wood could be obtained easily enough, ritually pure leather would, of course, need to come from some manner of pre-Sukebe animal. To ensure the crafting was done properly, a Beaver would need to be hired to oversee the carpentry and the overall design, while being guided by the monks and Shrine Maidens. And finally, of course, there would be the monetary offering made directly to the temple. For an undertaking of this scale, an offering of at least 10,000 SLC would be required. Although compared to what the rest of it costs, I imagine if you can afford that, such an offering would be seen by you as a mere pittance. Although given you’re just a beginning Trainer, such costs would certainly seem high right now.”
Sukanta stared at the Rinpoche, trying to piece together the price of each of the parts in order to imagine the costs involved. Perhaps Prabhu’s appraisal of the cost was a slight underestimate, even.
Then, glancing at Anushka’s Pokeball, Sukanta nodded. She and her harem now had plenty of work to do.
Name: Sukanta Silwal.
Licenses: Trainer Permit.
Harem: Pidgy (Parbati). Level 7.
Firemaiden (Sikendra). Level 25.
Hound (Thaili). Level 16.
Gravelgal (Anushka). Level 21.
Alpha: Parbati. (Nominally- subject to change).