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Category: The River's Pull
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When Austin woke up, he was surprised to see the morning sunlight peering its way through the door. It had only been a little after the mid-afternoon when he had passed out, but it was clearly apparent that he had slept through the night. His stomach made a grumbling sound that went along with an ache of pain, reminding him that he hadn’t eaten anything at all since he had woke up in the weird world of Pokegirls.

Just thinking about where he has reminded him of what he had done, the sandy-haired young man looking beside him. A small pang of disappointment went through him when he noticed the lack of Suzuka. While he didn’t honestly think that the Pokegirl would have chosen to stay, Austin thought that he would have at least gotten a chance to say goodbye to the Ronin. He sighed for a moment before sitting up straight in the bed, feeling the covers slide down his form. The young man looked up and was greeted by the half naked form of Suzuka, the girl’s slender eyebrows brought down into that familiar concentrated look, her fingers working a needle and thread into the tattered ruins of her robes.

“Good morning.” The Pokegirl said, a soft smile crossing her lips as she looked up her work, placing it down revealing that she wore only the sarashi around her breasts. “Suzuka glad to see you awake.”

The sandy-haired young man blinked at the girl, a soft smile crossing his lips before confusion filtered through his mind. Why was the girl speaking in third person? Austin pushed the thought aside for the moment and dressed himself in his pants, moving beside the Pokegirl. “Glad to see you’re better. Want some help with that?” he asked, nodding to the robe. She offered it up without complaint, watching as he took the needle, moving the metal through the fabric with practiced ease.

“Impressive. Suzuka could never get handle on that.” She said, even as a frown crossed her lips. The dark-haired woman let out an annoyed sigh before bringing her eyes back up to his. “You meant what you said… when Suzuka feral, didn’t you?”

Austin nodded, pursing his lips a little as he stitched together the biggest tear in the robes, a rip that nearly went from the left arm all the way to the shoulder. The work was a patch job at best, and it would only take a little while for the entire thing to come apart all over again, but it would do until a replacement could get be obtained. “I did, Suzuka. I only wanted you to be able to think and fight again. It doesn’t feel right to otherwise restrain you.”

“Why?” She asked, the question sudden and curious. The very word brought the Jumper away from his work and to bring his attention to the girl in full. Her eyes were as sharp as ever, but there was a softness in them, one that Austin hadn’t seen before. It reminded the AUJ a little of that heated passion from yesterday and the young man had to fight off the blush that threatened to rush back up to his cheeks.

“I don’t feel right trying to own you. Part of it is my upbringing, I know, but I also owe you my life. If you hadn’t found me when you did, I’d likely not be sitting here right now. Repaying you by trying to make you ‘mine’ in that sense without giving you a choice doesn’t sit well for me. I’d rather give you the choice, even if it hurts me in the long run, than to force someone who saved my life into doing something like that.” Austin replied, his tone subdued. Say what you wanted about him, the AUJ felt indebted to the Ronin. He would repay the kindness, no matter what it took.

Suzuka continued to stare at him, searching him much like she had the night before. It didn’t have the aggressiveness that he had seen the night before, something that Austin was beginning to think was part of the Feral nature of Pokegirls. This time around, however, she seemed to be judging him, thinking. The Ronin remained that way for a few moments longer before nodding, her lips in a thin line. “Then Suzuka will remain with you.”

“Wait, what?” Austin said, blinking in surprise. While the fantasy of having Suzuka stay had played once in the young man’s mind before, it didn’t make any logical sense to him that she’d remain. Sure, a vast majority of the Jumper’s logic went up and out the window the moment that he had been pulled into this world, but it still rankled him something fierce to have that fail him now.

The Ronin gave him a small smile, her lips just barely curling up to be noticeable. It was something that succeeded in bringing a blush to the AUJ’s face. The Pokegirl took the robes out of Austin’s hands, his work mostly done, and shifted the cloth about her slender shoulders, tying the sash around her hips. Raising her hand, her eyes narrowed lightly in focus. The slender wooden blade that had slain the Sideviper returned to her grip, the dark-haired woman’s fingers gripping hard around the hilt. She turned her head to him as she sheathed it past her sash, tightening it a bit to hold it in place. “You respect Suzuka. You care about honor, respect it. Suzuka could do much worse for Suzuka’s tamer.”

“Are you certain? I don’t want to force you into this...” Austin said, one part excited, another concerned.

The Pokegirl smirked at the young man before her, nodding to him. “You’re not forcing Suzuka at all. This all Suzuka’s choice. Besides...” She paused, pursing her lips and looking at him with half lidded eyes, a small hint of that smoldering passion from the night before returning in her gaze. The sight alone made Austin’s heart leap in his throat and made his lower regions tighten in excitement. “Suzuka wouldn’t mind another taming like that again.”

The Jumper nodded, a small goofy smile crossing his face. “Alright then… I guess let’s make this official.”

~oOo~

The Tamer Test was an unusual thing. It was clearly designed for the lowest common denominator when it came to general knowledge, though whether if that was alternated universe jumpers like himself, they just wanted everyone to pass, or if the people of this reality were just that stupid, Austin wasn’t sure. Considering part of the ‘test’ read and answered more like a personality quiz than testing someone’s knowledge on Pokegirls made the young man think it was the middle option.

Dalaa had served as a good font of knowledge to answer any of the young man’s questions after the test had been finished. The first, and most concerning one, was why Suzuka’s was speaking in the third Person. That had gotten a small squeal of excitement from the Nurse, the girl hugging Austin tight and making him aware, once again, of just how top heavy the girl was.

Alpha bonds, the Pokegirl explained once she had stop trying to suffocate him by breast flesh, were a sort of a psychic bond that formed between Pokegirl and Tamer sometimes after they’ve had sex. For a lot of ‘girls in the world, the bond made them see the Tamer in question as a pack leader, someone to follow and obey. While they still had their free will and thoughts, it simply made them more naturally willing to go along with their Tamers. It was also the lowest of the three bonds that existed, Delta Bonds and Recognition being the ones afterwards. The forming of any bond, but Alpha ones especially, caused something called Feral Shock and was the reason why Suzuka was speaking the way she was. Thankfully, it would wear off eventually.

Delta Bonds were a great deal stronger than the Alphas. The Tamer and Pokegirl were much more closely linked psychically, to the point where emotions and sensations could be shared between the two. This had both its positives and its negatives. The Pokegirls could sense, to an extent, what their masters or mistresses wanted and could even share their own feelings back to the humans. It also was a mark of how close and accepting the two became with each other.

That didn’t change the fact that Delta Bonds also were looked down upon thanks to how they worked. With such a close bond of the minds between Tamer and Pokegirl, sending the ‘girl in battle ended up having a rather unfortunate setback: Backlash from the Pokegirl being harmed. While normal battle damage was something that didn’t get shared between the two, a loss of limb or actual death slammed hard into the Tamer’s mind. While it was survivable, the mental pounding that one took from that was enough encouragement for most people to avoid it.

Recognition was something that, even with the crazy world and the existence of bonds being explained to him, sounded just impossible to Austin. That particular bond was nothing less than ‘love at first sight’, an all consuming desire between human and Pokegirl that made them pretty much destined lovers. It was insanely rare, from what Dalaa had described, but it did happen and for most it was something that had ended their careers as Tamers.

“I don’t think you’ll have anything to worry about it, though, Austin.” Dalaa had said with a small grin on her pouting lips. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone who was a Jumper getting a Recognition Bond. Heck, I’ve only ever seen one in my life, so that tells you just how often they’ll happen.”

After getting updated on that, Austin just had to go through a psychic evaluation while his test was being graded. If mental bonds between human and Pokegirl were a thing, it was only logical that true psychic powers were something that was very much a reality. The woman who’d be doing the evaluation took roughly half an hour to see him, not living near the center at all, but when she did arrive, Austin’s sense of reality just about broke.

She was a tall woman, her skin color a bright blue stood out sharply against the red of the Pokecenter. She was curvy, with a modest bosom and hips that swayed with each step, and the AUJ wondered just if there was any girl in this world that didn’t have a figure that distracted at best. Her uniform was skintight, of course, emphasizing her breasts and hips and making it all that much harder to focus. It was when Austin’s eyes broke from the figure of the attractive Pokegirl that he recognized exactly what she was. A pair of long antennae started from her forehead, arching behind her and reaching down to the small of her back, thick as his arm and recognizable to any science fiction fan born in the last three decades.

“Ok, no.” Austin said, standing up from his spot in the examination room, a small growl in his voice. The blue skin girl blinked, tilting her head as she watched the young man rant before her. “I’ll accept that I’m in an alternate reality with women altered to require sex to stay sane. I accept that there are things like magic and psychic powers. I’m even okay with the idea of becoming a tamer to live in this world. I draw the freaking line at Twi’lek’s being a thing in this world.”

The Pokegirl crossed her arms beneath her breasts, raising an eyebrow at him. Her red eyes glowed a blue for a few moments, eyes locking with Austins. She nodded once as the power ebbed away, letting a small ‘ah’ in understanding. She smiled at him as she moved over to the chair before the AUJ, sitting back against it. “I think you’ll find that I’m not the only Pokegirl based off something you know well, young Austin.” The Twi’lek said, the slight sound of a french accent to her words. That if France or it’s language even existed in this world.

Austin let out a small annoyed release of his breath, running his hand through his sandy hair. He knew, deep down, that he should just added this to the pile of ‘things he just had to accept’ about this universe. But seeing a Pokegirl who looked like she stepped out of an erotic Star Wars porno, more real than anything else he had ever seen in those movies, was simply rejected by his mind. “Its… just so...” he started, his tongue freezing in his mouth as he tried to push out the thoughts, unable to compute the simple reality before him. “I mean… WHY?”

“Who knows?” She replied, shrugging a bare skinned blue shoulder. “A lot of us Pokegirls were designed by Sukube, if the history books are true, and there are many others that are based off things from just about everywhere. There’s one breed of girl that’s based of a video game from another Jumpers world, from what I’ve been told. What was it called… Fantasy of Finals?” The pretty face of the Twi’lek scrunched up as she tried to recall the memory before shaking it away.

“Fine.. Just fine..” Austin muttered, rolling his eyes. It was stupid, completely illogical to ignore the reality that stood before him. The Pokegirl existed. There was absolutely nothing that he could do to stop that fact before him. “What exactly do you need me to do?”

“Just sit there, sir. Relax. Don’t resist my probing and we should be done shortly.” The Twi’lek said, chuckling a little. “Oh, and just so you know, I’m an Ishtar, not this ‘star wars alien’ you know of.”

The young man nodded, doing his best to remain calm and to let the psychic girl do her job. Her eyes glowed once more, turning her red eyes blue. He could feel her push into his mind, a tiny gentle force of pressure that wiggled and squirmed at the center of his forehead. It moved right and left, searching through his thoughts before retreating, the Ishtar’s eyes returning to normal. The entire experience wasn’t unpleasant, but that didn’t stop the small shiver that ran up and down the sandy-haired young man’s spine.

“Interesting mind, sir. Very logical. I can see why seeing me was such a shock. I’m also able to see you’ve already bonded with a girl, a Ronin at that! Quite impressive.” The Pokegirl said with a smile crossing her lips.

Austin shrugged, fighting off a blush and turning his eyes away from the blue skinned woman before him. “I didn’t even know it was a thing at first. Almost nearly wanted to let Suzuka go right then and there. It took both her and Dalaa convincing me it doesn’t impact a threshold girls thoughts as much as it does a feral to make me feel better about the whole thing.”

“Just so.” She responded, tilting her head forward in a slight nod. “As it stands, though, you’ve got quite a strong mind, sir. I see no desire to abuse the Pokegirls powers or to go against the League itself, which are the main concerns. It’s also rare to find someone with your level of logic, out of place as you are in this world. I worry a tad about that honor of yours, but considering how it’s rewarded you with a rather interesting Pokegirl, I’d simply suggest that you should be wary with who you let yourself become indebted to. There are those who’d abuse your good will.”

The AUJ nodded, relaxing slightly in his seat. “I take it that I passed the examination then?”

“With flying colors, good sir.” The Ishtar responded with an impish grin. “I dare say that with a little experience in our world and a bit of training under your belt, you can become quite the Tamer. I’ll be quite interested to see where you stand in a years time.”

A small laugh escaped the Jumper, shaking his head lightly. “We’ll see. I’m not sure how serious I’m wanting to go with this just yet. Kinda just became a Tamer for Suzuka more than anything else. Not sure what I’m going to do after that.”

“I understand, though I stand by my statement. The only suggestion I could give would be to try, put forth an effort into your new role.” The Pokegirl smiled, winking at him slyly before leaving through the door, her voice carrying into the room. “At the very least, it will get you a few more girls to warm your bed at night.”

~oOo~

Austin smiled softly down at the shiny new red Pokedex that he held in his hands, the little screen in it’s center displaying a recently taken picture of himself, a little information about himself detailing beside it. The small device worked as scanner, encyclopedia, phone, and more that was all built into something that could survive anything outside of a steamroller running over it. Or, as he was told, any Pokegirl who was known for strength.

“Looks like we’re all official now.” The Jumper said to Suzuka, watching as the Pokegirl slowly ate her lunch, the girl sitting across from him at the small table in the center’s little alcove for those needing to eat, small bits of rice trapped between chopsticks moving past her lips. He had his own meal before the Test, hunger having demanded attention above all else first. Austin was more than a little glad to find things like meat existed in this world. After hearing Cole's history lesson, he had been a little afraid that the world would have taken a page out of Demolition Man and the AUJ wasn’t willing to test his stomach against a rat burger, no matter how hungry he was.

“You’ve been ‘official’ since last night, Austin.” Dalaa called out from her desk, her tone teasing and filled with laughter. The comment made the young man blush, but he shook it off. Only a day around the Nurse had told him that the Pokegirl did little, if anything, by half measures.

Suzuka finished her meal and placed the chopsticks across her bowl, looking up to the male across from her. “So, what is our plan from this point onwards?” The Ronin asked, those sharp eyes on Austing again. He wondered for a moment if he’d ever get used to that almost hawk like gaze coming from the girl, part of him hoping to see that passionate gaze again.

“I’m not sure, honestly. At this point I just became a Tamer to make sure that no one would go after you. I’m not sure where to go from here.” He said, shrugging his shoulders lightly. His answer got another smile from the Pokegirl, the dark-haired woman bowing her head softly to him. A breath escaped him, Austin leaning back against his chair. “At this point, I’m kinda just following what the others were suggesting.”

Dalaa had taken that moment to appear, grabbing the pairs empty dishware with a smile. “Well, you’re at least partially expected to do the basics of a Tamer now, Austin. Protecting towns and cities from feral Pokegirls, capturing the ferals themselves to lower their numbers, and just being a general help when needed. Most people tend to use the Quest system now to ensure work.”

Confusion and annoyance warred within the sandy-haired teen for a moment. He hated not knowing things, being ignorant of the world around him, but he pushed that away. He’d focus on learning later, reading as much as he could to make sure he’d be better prepared in the future. “What’s the Quest system?” he asked.

“It’s a system to encourage and entice Tamers to do more than to just sit on their butts all day.” Cole said, the sudden sound of his voice making Austin jump in his seat a bit as the curly-haired man walked through the entrance of the Center. Suzuka turned her head to the man, giving him a polite nod to which Cole responded in kind. It made the Jumper wonder what the exact relationship the two had outside of knowing each other.

“Mind elaborating on that a bit?”

The dark-haired man chuckled before pointing to an option at the bottom of the Pokedex that Austin had missed. It was labeled ‘Quests’ and, after selecting it from the menu, linked to page after digital page of requests. They were structured in a straightforward way. The person who had submitted job had their named listed at the top, followed by a small description of what the job entailed. The particular one that Austin was looking at was about trying to get a small pack Hamtits out of a local garden. Below that was the payment and after that was a rating of the request itself, stating that no badges were required.

“It’s something the League came up with a while back.” Cole said with a nod to Pokedex. “Mostly there to encourage folks to be a little more helpful and even to keep tabs on a few of them. They’ve got a few Video girls working around the system to make sure everything is on the level, but otherwise most of the system is controlled by humans.”

Austin nodded, letting out a small click of his tongue against his teeth. Video Girls, he guessed, were probably some kind of tech based Pokegirls if their job was to take care of the system in the Pokedex. “What’s the whole badges things?”

“That’s a majority of where the ‘encouraging’ comes in. The Gyms are locations where folks can train and learn. Each one of them has a Leader.” Cole commented, leaning against the wall with a small grunt. “Originally, the badges were something you could get from defeating them in battle and, once you collected enough of them, could allow you into a tournament. Not everyone was into the sports style of those battles, though, and so the League made it a mark of experience as well. The more badges you’ve got, the more the League expects you to know your stuff as well as to ensure you’ve got a half way decent power level for the more difficult Quests. We’ve actually had less injuries ever since they implemented it.”

The Jumper nodded in understanding. The system sounded a little gamey, but if there was any way you could guarantee that others would do something you wanted them to do, the best way was to make a game out of it. Or a competition. Sometimes both. “So, think I should start doing these quests then? I don’t exactly just want to hold up in the Center and be a bother to Dalaa the entire time.”

Dalaa smirked at Austin’s question, the sight alone making him wince. He was beginning to learn to be afraid of the pink-haired woman’s smile, especially if it looked like she had some plan or thought herself very smart. “Well, I thought that today you can work together with one of our regulars.” She said, sauntering a bit closer to the group. “Yuel’s holding a small lesson about battles today and since that’s one of the more important aspects of being a Tamer, I think that’s probably the best if you and Suzuka went to the lesson.”

“I still think that it’s going a little overboard tossing him to ‘The Battleaxe’ like that.” Cole joked, a wolf grin on his face.

Austin couldn’t stop his eyebrows raising up into his hairline, glancing back and forth between man and Pokegirl. “The Battleaxe, huh?”

The Nurse Joy couldn’t help but give Cole a slightly annoyed glare before turning a rather uneasy smile towards Austin. “He’s not exactly the easiest guy to be around, I’ll admit. He’s also rather...” She paused trying to search for the right words. “...assertive… with his stance on how battles should be conducted, but you’ll also be hard pressed to find someone whose a better battler than him here in River Pass.”

Looking over to the Pokegirl across from him, Austin shrugged softly at Suzuka, a little lost. “I guess it couldn’t hurt to at least get one lesson in how to fight. What do you think?”

She nodded, Suzuka standing up in a smooth, soft motion. A small grin stretched across her face, as if there was something that she knew that Austin didn’t. “I think we should see this for ourselves, Austin. At worse, we would simple lose a bit of time.”

With a smile, Austin agreed with the Ronin. He stood up as well, turning to Dalaa. “Alright, so where and when is this lesson?”

~oOo~

Austin and Suzuka weren’t the only ones to come to ‘Yuel’s Training Seminar’, as the large white banner across the side of the Center’s wall advertised, and the Jumper was more than a little surprised just how many other Tamers and Pokegirls both were there. With the reputation preceding him, the AUJ was fully expected this area to be deserted.

“Hey, what the hell?! You’ve got Suzuka!” Yelled the closest of the tamers there, a rather squat, pale man with beady eyes and a flat nose, the moment the Ronin came into view. His words caught the entire groups attention, several sets of eyes zeroing in on the Pokegirl. Austin moved before her, wishing for a moment that he had a more impressive visage then being a slightly bulky man that looked like he belonged more in the middle of a library instead of a football team. Behind him, he could hear the sound of his Pokegirl drawing her blade.

“Well? I’d like an explanation!” Mr. Flat Nose said, doing his absolute best to appear menacing. He flexed, but Austin had seen more definition in a loaf of bread and wasn’t at all impressed his attempted show of power. “I’ve tried harder than anyone else in this damn town to make that Ronin mine and you just waltz in here and grab her?!”

Suzuka let out a small sound of disgust and anger, taking a step forward with her weapon rising in her hand. Austin waved her back, causing her to blink in surprise before she nodded and pulled back. “If you’ve lost that many times to Suzuka, I don’t think you’re worthy of her in the first place.” Austin stated, his tone hard and clipped. Logically, the Jumper knew that Pokegirls were property in this world, bought, sold, traded, and even used in betting. As far as the laws were concerned, he owned the Ronin now. But the fact that this man was shoving the fact in his face, pushing in front of Austin that he had tried to capture Suzuka for his own pleasures made anger flare up within the AUJ. “How Suzuka and I got together is no business of yours. So I’d suggest you back off.”

The words got a sharp reaction out of everyone present. Suzuka’s eyes widened but a small, approving smile crossed her lips. She had caught the fact that Austin didn’t lay any claim on her. The surrounding Tamers and Pokegirls looked on with a mixture of interest and curiosity, though there was also a few jealous glances here and there to prove the fact that Suzuka had been a rather sought after woman. Flat Nose wasn’t anywhere near as receptive to his words. He puffed up like a pale toad, fists clenching and unclenching in pure fury. “The fuck did you say?!” the man spat, taking another aggressive step forward.

Austin opened his mouth again to tell the Flat Nose to back off when a monstrous sized black wing slammed down before him, catching the words in his throat and stopping the aggressive Tamer’s forward movement. Turning his head, the Jumper widened his eyes at the owner of the large appendage, that being an equally large Pokegirl.

She was incredibly massive woman, being a good two heads taller than even Austin, and the wing she had slammed down turned out to be her arm. The black of her feathers covered mostly just her wings and a bit of what could be seen of her back, leaving her copper skin mostly exposed baring a rather ill-forming leather top that could barely constrained the absolutely mammoth breasts she had. Her face was sharp, with narrow eyes, a slanted nose, and thin lips that were in full view thanks to the fact that she was completely bald. The avian Pokegirl took a step forward, showing off powerful and wicked looking taloned feet, before turning to glare at Flat Nose.

“Starting up things again, Wendell?” She asked, flicking a small bit of dust from her wing and glaring down at Flat Nose, the man barely came eye level with her breasts. “I thought after the last seminar you would have learn not to shoot off that mouth of yours.”

Wendell gritted his teeth into something that could only be loosely called a smile, stepping back from the huge Pokegirl. “I was only trying to found out how he got Suzuka, Nurono. Even you’ve got to admit that it’s interesting to see her with any tamer, considering she’s been out in that forest for over a year now.”

Nurono nodded, turning her narrow eyes over to Austin and Suzuka, the later sliding her blade back under her sash. A smile graced those narrow lips before giving the pair a small bow of her head. “Glad to see you found someone that finally strikes your fancy, Suzu. Thought you’d be roaming those trees forever.”

A small, silky laugh erupted from the Ronin at that, making the Jumper’s mouth drop in surprise. He hadn’t expected the Pokegirl’s laugh to be so… cute! It almost distracted him enough that he nearly failed to catch her reply. “I hope you don’t take it as a slight to your own tamer, Nuro, but Austin here impressed me. He has an honor I’ve found lacking in others.”

The Jumper couldn’t help but look between the two Pokegirls, confusion mounting as he turned to Suzuka. That was nothing compared to the eye bulging surprise Wendell had at the conversation. “You two know each other?” Austin asked, curious about the history that Suzuka had before she met him.

“They met when we were all taking down a Buzzbreast Hive that was forming on the edge of the forest.” A new voice said, drawing everyone’s attention to it’s speaker. He, like Nurono before him, had narrow eyes and a sharp nose, dark hair an unruly mop on his head, and he had a smile which showed at least two missing teeth. He stepped with a small limp on his right side, but he otherwise held himself strong and straight. The man nodded over to Suzuka, grinning widely. “And I see you’re still as headstrong as ever.”

Suzuka nodded back with her own smile, stepping closer to Austin and wrapping her arm around his. “Perhaps, but I think I’ve made a good decision, Yuel.”

Narrow eyes moved from the Pokegirl over to Austin, the sandy-haired teen gulping a little as he felt those judging dark eyes gaze into his. The stare held for what felt like hours before Yuel nodded once more, a smirk replacing the grin. “Well, then, I guess I’ll have to make sure this lesson is one that your Tamer will remember.”

Yuel left the pair be after that, Nurono following after him, the bird Pokegirl near shoving Wendell of his feet as she brushed past him. The squat man let out another low growl, but didn’t look like overly eager to try anything against her. Austin shook his head, feeling like he had been judged by this man that Cole had named ‘The Battleaxe’. “So, should I be worried about him, Suzuka?” he asked softly, looking at the Ronin beside him.

“Only when he gets serious, Austin… which should be right about… now.” The swordswoman said, pointing to Yuel just as he limped his way into the middle of the group.

ALRIGHT, PILLOCKS! LINE UP!” Yuel roared, the man’s tone going from friendly to drill sergeant with the flip of a switch. The effect of the change was immediate on the gathered men and Pokegirls, all of them forming a long line before the Battleaxe. Austin himself was at the far end, wondering just where that man had gotten that demanding presence from.

The man walked back and forth between the ends of the assembled Tamers before him, most of them having their Pokegirls standing immediately behind them. The only ones who hadn’t done that was Austin, who didn’t know what to expect, and Wendell, who hadn’t had any Pokegirl at all by his side. Yuel nodded as he looked at each of the Tamers in turn before standing in the middle of them once more.

“You are all here,” Yuel said, dark eyes roaming the gathered people before him, “because you are all interested in the art of battle. Some of you have been here before...” Wendell got a look for that comment. “But most of you are either new enough or bad enough to battling that you’re wanting a crash course. I’ll warn you now, I’m not easy, nor will I take any shit from you or your girls. If you can’t handle that, leave now… or leave when Nurono tosses your ass over the fence. Choice is yours.”

That got a lot of the other Tamers looking at each other, some concerned, a few looking a bit put off. None of them left, though. Yuel nodded once more before moving a bit closer, singling out a rather mousy little Tamer who had bright blue hair that, as far as Austin could tell, was one hundred percent natural. “You,” Yuel said, his tone sharp. “Tell me. How do you normally battle with your Pokegirls?”

Mousy blinked at being singled out, but he stood up a bit straighter and responded. “I let them fight as they see fit, sir. I figured that they know how to fight with their skills better than I do.”

His answer got a lot of nods from the other tamers, more than a few of them commenting on how they either did the same thing or something like that. Yuel nodded, rubbing his chin. “Understandable, especially for certain Pokegirls, they’ll probably be better skilled than most of us will ever be when it comes to their skills. Regardless...” The Battleaxe’s eyes narrowed as he drew in a breath, shouting his next words. “YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!

The mousy Tamer jumped back at the shout, eyes wide in surprise. His pokegirl, an actual mouse girl with big ears, fur, and a tail, moved a bit closer, ready to protect him.

Yuel strode back to his original position, turning back to Mousy with a sharp glare. “Expecting a Pokegirl to completely fight on her own is not only idiotic, but it’s also the best way to get yourself and them killed. A Tamer is more than just a walking, talking dick to keep your Pokegirls tamed.” The Battleaxe strode now, limping his way back and forth before them like a hungry predator. “A Tamer’s job is to be your Pokegirl’s tactician. They’re the brawn, you must be the brains. It’s not even a simple matter just knowing the type advantages, either. You’ve got to know who you’re fighting, how they fight, how the battlefield can be used to turn the tide, when they’re planning to hit your ‘girl’s weak side, and when to run.”

All of the tamers didn’t even try to keep quiet this time, muttering and a few angry arguments, a few glares even being aimed at Yuel. The Pokegirls there just looked a bit confused, most of which were looking to their tamers with curious eyes. Yuel ignored them all, zeroing in one the closest Tamer who was making the loudest stink of the group. “You think I’m just blowing smoke, Jaden?”

Jaden, a lanky guy with a few nose rings and tattoos, glared up at Yuel, crossing his arms around his chest. “My girls are perfectly capable of fighting on their own. You act like shouting out at them like we were in some kids show is suddenly going to make them fighters and I say that’s nothing but Minotaura shit.”

Yuel nodded for a moment before crooking his finger at Jaden, leading the young man out before the rest of the group. His Pokegirl, a red-haired lithe female with visible green vines tipped with thorns wrapping around her arms, followed after him. Her outfit was nothing more than leaves that covered most of her form, hiding her unmentionables. They stood on the opposite sides of the little field that the seminar was taking place. “We’ll see just how well your girl battles, just to show how much of what I’m saying is ‘Minotaura shit’.” Yuel said with a harsh tone.

The grass themed girl looked over to her tamer, a thin eyebrow raised up before he nodded to her in return. Getting confirmation, the girl let the vines around her arms trail downwards to the ground, a wide, crazed smile crossing her face.

Yuel just kept a passive look on his face, his eyes taking in the sight of the plant based girl before him. He nodded before withdrawing a Pokeball from his pocket. With a toss and a flash of light, another Pokegirl stood in the impromptu battlefield. Her skin was red, a bit duller than the hair of her opponent, and she looked like she was wearing some kind of armor. It was with a start that, as she started moving, Austin realized that what covered her body wasn’t armor but some kind of carapace instead. Instead of hands, the Pokegirl had a pair of claws, one of them that was a good four time larger than the other. She looked like she was part crab more than anything else.

“A freaking Queenler? Against my Cardian? Only an idiot would send out a water type against a plant type!” Jaden said, a laugh bursting from his throat as he shook his head. “Zyra, show them what you’re capable of!”

With a yell, the Cardian thrust her hands forward, the vines around her arms shooting out from the girl like two whips, pointed ends aimed right for the Queenler’s vital points. Yuel wasn’t slow in responding to the attack. “Urana! Counter!” The man yelled out, his expression not changing in the slightest.

Urana clutched her clawed arms close to her body, the Pokegirls body glowing for a moment before a new shine glistened over her form. The vines slammed against her claws, quivered, before reversing entirely as if someone had hit the attack with a tennis racket. Zyra gapped in surprised before getting slammed by her own vines, letting out a small gasp of pain as one of the pointed ends pierced right into her arm.

The Cardian pulled out the offending projectile, turning to look down at her injury, seeing the blood gush lightly from the hole. With a small grunt and closing her eyes in focus, Zyra’s the wound sealed up, a small splotch of pale skin where the injury had been. Glaring with repressed rage, the grass type girl charged in a full sprint. A single thorn jutted out from vines around her arm, growing several times in size in the span of a few moments. Zyra grabbed at the enlarged thorn, yanking it free from her body, and brandished it like a sword, swinging it down with both hands.

“Metal Claw, aim for the wrists!” Yuel commanded. Urana gave the barest of nods at the command, her largest claw shifting colors from it’s dull red to a gray silver.

Moving faster than anyone expected the huge appendage to move, the crab girl captured the attack before it had even descend halfway through the swing. The sharp edges of the claw closed around those wrists and the sound of breaking bones filling the air, followed by Zyra’s cry of pain. The thorn sword fell to the ground, withering away into nothing.

“Finish her off! Seismic Toss!” The Battleaxe roared. His Pokegirl obeyed without hesitation, tugging Zyra off her feet with a simple yank. The Queenler spun around in a circle, releasing her claw once she had completed her rotation and thrust her weapon into the air, releasing her grip on her enemies broken wrists. With a yelp, the Cardian flew no less than twenty feet into the air, spiraling ass over teakettle with no way to stop her momentum. Urana then leaped up, becoming level with the injured grass type in a matter of moments before slamming her claw down right in the girl’s stomach, her body taking the form of a swan dive as she descended, slamming Zyra’s body between her own weight and the stone ground from a two story drop.

Urana stepped off the defeated Pokegirl, moving over to Yuel obediently. The Battleaxe gave the red skinned woman a gentle touch against her cheek before nodding to his side, allowing the Queenler to stand beside him. Jaden just looked down at Zyra. The Cardian was completely unconscious, blood bubbling out of her mouth and her limbs hanging limply at her side. He sighed before pulling out a pokeball, the red beam of light shooting out and absorbing the prone plant girl. The mans face was pinched in a look of anger and embarrassment.

“Now you see what I mean?” Yuel said, his voice loud enough to carry among all of the people viewing the fight, most of the people present silent in shock. “In most fights, Zyra would have been able to defeat my girl with her attack, had she focused on her ranged skills and status effecting abilities. Instead, she let a simple counter infuriate her and went into melee, which is what Queenlers specialize in. That’s not even considering the area around us that could have been used to either one of our advantages.”

“Not to mention the fact that she was wielding that sword around like a baseball bat.” Suzuka said softly to Austin, causing him to nod. The Jumper didn’t know much about how to fight with a weapon himself, but even that had been clear to him.

Yuel limped once more into the center of the group of tamers, looking at each and everyone one of them in turn. Austin noticed that there were quite a few who held a much more respectful gaze to him than before, at least one even standing straighter. “As I said before,” the Battleaxe said in a stern tone. “There’s more to being a Tamer than just being a dick to tame them with. You are there to ensure they fight and fight well. Their eyes in places they can’t normally see. Their strategies they might not think of. You are there to prepare yourself and your girls for as many situations as you can be and to command them when they need it. You protect them by being prepared as much as they protect you for being able to fight.”

All the gathered Tamers nodded, Austin included. Though he didn’t know the exactly what was going on, he got the jist of what just happened. Jaden had mentioned as much in the start. A Plant type like Zyra should have had held an advantage against the Queenler. But Yuel’s tactics and commanding his Pokegirl during the fight had trumped that elemental weakness… and how. The idea that Austin might be able to advise Suzuka in battle the same way was something that the young man now saw as a goal. Probably what Yuel had wanted to inspire in the first place.

“Alright then,” The Battleaxe said with a smile when he noticed all the gathered Tamers ready and paying more attention. “Let’s get started then!”

~oOo~

The mage let out an annoyed grunt as he looked towards the results of his latest spell cast. Once again, the spell hadn’t been exactly what his employer had requested. All the time building that energy for the use of magic as well as gathering the necessary materials had all gone to a complete and total waste. With a small snarl, the magic user spun around and left the remains of his botched work, having no more need for it or the location. He would have to simply find another place to test out the next attempt.

The man was completely ignorant and uncaring of the growing mist behind him, frost starting to form on the walls and floor. A single head lifted up in the darkness, eyes bright as power fluxed, shards of ice bursting from the ground like frozen knives. Pressing a hand against the nearest pillar of ice, the figure drew in strength from the cold.

It needed more.

Author’s Notes: So, this chapter I think is probably the best yet and if there’s one thing it’s taught me more than anything else, it’s this: Do planning for your work. I had outlined this and the next chapters material before sitting down to write it and because of it, I felt I was able to produce a much more entertaining and streamlined set of events. I’m going to be doing this for all my future work so here’s hoping that it’s a constant stream of content from this point onward.