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Chapter 15

Back to Basics



         “Alright. So I’ve got this one for Dahlia, Elizabeth I have this one, Victoria I have the same one for you as well… Cassidy, I have this one for you.” He handed out the TMs. “And then I want you and Kary to talk about that tornado technique thing, Victoria. You’re both dragons so you should be able to use it.” He rolled his eyes and sketched air quotes. “Dragons.”


         “Nothing for me, Master?” Ashley asked as the others took their TMs and began looking them over.


         “No, I want you focusing on your agility.” Nicholas replied. “Hey, Dahlia, before you use that one wait a sec! This is your first TM, right?”


         Dahlia lowered the disc. “Yes Master?”


         “Wait for Elizabeth and Victoria.” Nicholas watched the two press their identical TMs to their foreheads. When the discs shattered he chuckled. “That’s so stupid that they do that.”


         Victoria rubbed her forehead. “A bit, master.”


         “Did it hurt?”


         Victoria blinked. “Not really, Master.”


         “Just do what they did, Dahlia.” Nicholas soothed.


         Dahlia slowly brought the disc up. “Like…” Her eyes unfocused when the TM went to work.


         Nicholas waited for her to stir again. “Got it?”


         Dahlia blinked. “Was this from Leader Erika, Master?”


         “It was, why?”


         “This is the technique that Jessebelle used on me, I think.” Dahlia mused. “This is incredible.”


         “Good. Practice it.” Nicholas turned to Elizabeth. “I want you to work on perfecting those beam attacks. You missed with the flamethrower in Sabrina’s gym.”


         Elizabeth grumbled but nodded. “Yes, Master.”


         “Victoria, talk to Kary.” Nicholas turned to the Dragonair. “I want to give you the same TMs that Elizabeth has learned, but we’ll wait for her to practice them first. That way you’ll be able to go to her for advice.”


         Kary nodded and took the nude Gyarados aside.


         “And me, Master?” Cassidy asked.


         Nicholas nodded at the TM she still held. “Go for it.”


         Cassidy placed the TM to her forehead but unlike the others, she didn’t blank out. Nicholas could see her eyes tracking him even as the TM worked and when it popped she was already raising a hand.


         “This is an incredible technique, Master.” She held up her fingers, twirling them slightly as a mass of darkness formed in her palm. “And incredibly useful. I’ve always been weak against spirits and ghost-type pokegirls.”


         “This should give you a way to fight back.”


         Cassidy smiled and clenched her fist, the ball dissipating. “Thank you.”


         “Practice it, until you can use it just as easily as your new psychic attacks.” Nicholas chuckled when she looked innocent. “How else would you stand even with that Alakazam? You learned something new recently, didn’t you.”


         Cassidy nodded. “I did, Master. I feel more powerful than I ever have before.”


         “That’s going to keep happening as we train.” Nicholas chuckled. “Also, I want to evolve you as soon as possible. The only problem is I don’t know how.”


         Cassidy shrugged. “I don’t either, Master.”


         “I’ll look into it. Maybe you’re just a late bloomer like Kary.”


         The Dragonair glanced at him. “I will spread my wings one day, Master.”


         “I know you will.”


         A beam of ice smashed into a nearby tree and Nicholas looked over to see Elizabeth celebrating. “I did it!”


         “Hey Elizabeth, hold still.” Dahlia’s vines smacked the Nidoqueen and Elizabeth groaned when they cut shallow streaks across her body.




         Dahlia giggled and dangled the potion in her other vine. “Here, you big crybaby. I just drained you a bit.”


         “You’re a bully.” Elizabeth mumbled but smiled at the laughing Venusaur.


         Across the clearing Victoria was focusing on summoning her own twister through Kary’s coaching. Nicholas was still watching Cassidy practice when he heard a voice behind him.


         “Master, I would do better…” Ashley was blushing when he turned to her, “…with some weight to hold me down.”


         Cassidy groaned but Nicholas laughed. “And what were you thinking, Ashley? A backpack? A rock?”


         “Um… maybe you, Master.”


         “Oh Master, I’m afraid of the dark. Won’t you hold me as I practice with this scary shadow ball?” Cassidy asked in a mocking falsetto. “You’re terrible, Ashley. Trying to steal time with him and disguise it as training.”


         Ashley stomped her foot. “I’m not lying!”


         “I didn’t say you were.” Cassidy snorted.


         Nicholas was getting ready to intervene when he saw both pokegirls grinning at each other. “Can you blame me for trying?”


         “Of course not.” Cassidy laughed.


         “Oh.” Nicholas said when Ashley turned to him. “I thought I was going to have to rescue someone.”


         “The person you need to rescue is you, Master.” Ashley giggled, grabbing him in her arms and launching them into the sky.


         Dahlia walked up and watched Elizabeth breathe fire over the frozen tree. “Sorry about the drain thing.”


         Elizabeth rubbed her hands together, gathering up the ball lightning and shooting her thunderbolt into the same tree. “It’s fine, Alpha.” She turned with a smile. “I knew you just did it as a joke.”


         “A joke I wouldn’t have been able to do a few weeks ago. Not with how you reacted to anyone who challenged you.” Dahlia watched Elizabeth breathe more fire, this time straying slightly and catching the grass. “You’re working so hard. You get the least time in battle and yet you stand even with all of us.”


         Elizabeth shrugged, walking forwards to put out the flames she had caused. “There’s nothing for me to work for anymore, nothing except myself.” She stared at the scorched ground. “I’d forgotten what that felt like.”


         “You can work for Master.” Dahlia replied gently. “But you shouldn’t let that stop you from working for yourself as well.”


         Elizabeth blinked and turned to her. “Oh, I wasn’t saying that was a bad thing.” She smiled. “But yes. I can get stronger for him, too.”


         Victoria had her eyes closed while Kary talked. “I know it’s harder for you, but you have the same power I do. Embrace it. Don’t run from it.”


         Victoria shivered. The feeling Kary had described, she knew it. It was what had dominated her mind and gotten her into trouble with Elizabeth. “I don’t want to.”


         “Why? You have a dragon’s heart. Why won’t you accept that?”


         “It made me hurt Elizabeth.” Victoria mumbled. “It’s all angry.”


         “Yes, it is.” Kary said. “It is the rage of the dragon inside of you.”


         “I don’t like it!”


         Kary let out a frustrated growl. “Who cares if you like it, it is a part of you!”


         “But-“ Victoria started.


         Kary snarled and moved forwards to grab her shoulders. “No. Buts. If you never embrace it you won’t grow stronger. If you never face it you’ll never control it! So LET. IT. GO.”


         “I’m afraid.” Victoria whispered.


         “Then you’ll never grow stronger.” Kary released her. “You will forever be ruled by fear.”


         Victoria opened her mouth to continue arguing but paused. “That’s…”


         Kary impatiently waited. “Yes?”


         “I don’t want it to change me.” Victoria murmured. “I don’t want to stop being me.”


         Dahlia heard her muttering and walked over. “What was that, Victoria?”


         Victoria opened her eyes in surprise. “Oh! Alpha, sorry.”


         “What did you say?”


         “She’s afraid of embracing her dragon side.” Kary said.


         Dahlia frowned. “Is that true, Victoria?”


         “I’m… I’m afraid if I do, I’ll stop being Victoria, Alpha.” Victoria mumbled. “I’ll stop being me.” She raised a trembling hand. “Some days, I can’t remember what I was before I evolved, and…”


         “Because you’ve grown stronger, you’ve left what used to control you behind.” Dahlia replied. “Ashley is still herself, isn’t she? I’m still me. We’ve both embraced parts of ourselves that we thought should have remained hidden. Whatever you’re worried about, it’s already a part of you. ‘Victoria’ won’t disappear just because you learn something new.”


         “I don’t know…”


         Dahlia gently took her hand. “I’m right here, Victoria.” She said. “Just like I’ve been here ever since Mt. Moon. I won’t let you lose yourself.”


         Victoria shuddered. “You promise?”


         “If I can’t do it, we all will help.” Dahlia replied firmly. “And if we fail, Master will be right there with you.”


         Victoria’s eyes closed again. “Alright.”


         She relaxed, thinking about the emotions that she’d felt during her arguments with Elizabeth. Victoria shivered. She was so afraid of acknowledging the simmering rage that she kept locked away. What if she couldn’t control it? What if she started disobeying Master? What if-


         She’s stronger than you.


         Victoria gasped as the words drifted through her mind. What had the gym leader said?


         The difference between you is that she has forgotten how to be afraid.


         Victoria felt her panic settling. Could this have been what Misty meant? Her Gyarados had stopped being afraid, had embraced this rage? She’d already been wrong about it once; was she willing to be wrong again?


         “Forget my fear.” She mumbled to herself. “Let it go.”


         Dahlia felt Victoria’s grip tighten. “I’m here, Victoria.”


         Kary was watching with her arms crossed. When Victoria’s lips curled back she moved closer.


         Suddenly Victoria snarled, her hand clenching in Dahlia’s grip until the Venusaur was forced to let go or risk being crushed.


         “Hate. Fear.” Kary said. “That’s all I hear from you, Victoria. You’re no dragon.”


         Victoria snarled, louder this time, and her eyes opened to fixate on Kary. “What did you say?”


         “You’re pathetic.” Kary snarled back. Dahlia scrambled backwards when the two pressed against each other. “A false dragon. You make me sick.” She shoved even harder against Victoria but the Gyarados resisted. “WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THAT!”


         Victoria’s snarls ripped through her throat. Dahlia was getting ready to call for help when Victoria’s tail, which had been standing straight out behind her, relaxed slightly. “No. You’re wrong.”


         Kary smiled. “Prove it.”


         “How?” Victoria hissed.


         Kary’s smile grew. “I’m challenging you, Victoria.”


         “Really?” A smile flitted across Victoria’s lips. “Is that why you shoved your breasts against mine?”


         Kary snickered but didn’t move. “You want to claim you’re a dragon?” Her eyes glinted. “Then show me.


         Dahlia stumbled back when the wind picked up. It swirled around Victoria, slowly at first, before focusing and slicing around the motionless pair.


         “Not bad.” Kary murmured. “But can you match mine?”


         Victoria felt the air shift and growled. “I thought you were supposed to be helping me.”


         Kary shook her head slightly. “I already told you.” She whispered. “I’m challenging you.”


         Victoria’s eyes narrowed and the two techniques slammed into each other, sending a burst of wind sideways from the impact point. Kary and Victoria stared into each other’s eyes, slowly getting closer and closer until their faces were all but touching.


         Dahlia groaned at the sight. “Stupid, headstrong…” She shook her head when the howling winds continued to grow. “…dragons.”


         Kary didn’t flinch when the energy churning within Victoria’s Twister cut her cheek, not even as the cut began mixing her blood into the maelstrom. “You’re not trying to win.” She said quietly.


         Victoria gazed back at her. “Neither are you.”


         Dahlia threw up her hands when the two moved the last remaining inch and pressed their mouths together. “SERIOUSLY!” She whirled, stomping towards Elizabeth and Cassidy as the two girls continued kissing in the middle of their windstorm. “YOU TWO BETTER START DOING SOME ACTUAL TRAINING BY THE TIME I GET BACK TO YOU!”


         Victoria pulled back first, gazing into Kary’s eyes. She was struggling with what to say when Kary spoke.


         “See?” The Dragonair asked. “There was nothing to be afraid of.”


         Victoria blinked. “I almost snapped.”


         “I know.” Kary whispered. “You were ready to break. That’s why I challenged you, Victoria. You needed someone to focus your hatred on, to distract you until you could regain control.”


         Victoria raised her eyes to look at the lashing winds that still surrounded them. “…was that the only reason you tried to intimidate me?”


         “Our Alpha said we should train.” Kary deflected.


         Victoria looked back down at her and relaxed her technique, letting the winds die down as Kary did the same. “You kissed me.” She grinned. “We’re naked. Someone might get the wrong idea.”


         Kary smiled back at her. “We wouldn’t want that.”


         “No.” Victoria murmured, staring into Kary’s eyes. “We wouldn’t.”


         Neither moved.







         “…and that’s the backup.” Dahlia looked at Cassidy and Nicholas expectantly. “Master, did you have any different ideas?”


         “I agree that Elizabeth is going to be vital in the gym,” Nicholas mused, “but I don’t know if you will be seeing as much action as you think. There’s going to be much more pressure on Cassidy.” He turned to the Kadabra. “I really wish I could figure out how you evolve, because we may need the extra power.”


         Cassidy frowned. “Am I not enough for you, Master?”


         “I think you’ll do fine.” Nicholas turned back to their notes. “I’m just saying pushing that much higher could be the difference we need.”


         Cassidy rested her head on her arms. “Hmm.”


         “Are you more worried about this gym than usual, Master?” Dahlia asked. “We’ve had some close matches, but we’ve won every badge the first time around.”


         “Except for Brock.”


         “Well, yes.” Dahlia conceded.


         “I’m worried, yes.” Nicholas replied. “With this many gyms in rapid succession, I’m worried that we’re not keeping up with our training. Remember our conversation back outside of Vermilion? The gyms are incrementally going to get harder as we get more badges. We’re halfway to qualifying for the Indigo Plateau; that means we’re halfway to the level of the Elite Four.” He gazed at her. “And we’re already fighting at full strength, evolution wise. Cassidy and Kary are the only ones left who haven’t evolved into their final forms.”




         “So if we’re only halfway there, when you’ve all evolved, what does that mean for the rest of the gyms and beyond?” Nicholas asked. “It means that you, and Victoria, and Elizabeth, and Ashley, and Galina… You all are only halfway to the top.” He gestured. “Training to evolve was only the first step. The real challenge starts now.”


         Dahlia slowly nodded. “Like you said when I evolved, Master. I look like Tiana, but younger. Smaller. I have the same grown body, but without any of the experience or training to use it.”


         “Precisely.” Nicholas nodded at where the others were hanging out. “Elizabeth has started perfecting her kicks, because she understands her own reach and limits. Victoria is getting more and more comfortable controlling her water, now that she’s in a body that can handle it. What about you and Ashley?”


         “We’re inexperienced.” Dahlia replied. “Ashley has her arms and wings now to use, but she still uses only her wings. It’s what she knows. I have…” she turned to look at her flower, “…a much larger stamina pool, and the strength to use it, but I haven’t, have I Master? I just rely on my vines.”


         “And that’s why I’m worried.” Nicholas concluded. “I have this sinking feeling that we’ve crossed over some threshold of power. Remember your fight against Sabrina?”


         Dahlia shuddered. “I felt like I was hanging on by a thread, Master.”


         “That was after she had been worn down by both Victoria and Cassidy. One opponent, almost defeating three of you.” He shook his head. “If that’s the real power of a gym leader, what do you think the Elite Four will be like?”


         Dahlia sat. “What do you think we should do, Master?”


         “I think we just go for it.” Nicholas replied. “If we’re not ready, we’re not ready. There’s no shame in losing.”


         Dahlia smiled. “Got it.”


         “And on that note, I’ll be leaning heavily on Elizabeth to get us to the badge match.” Nicholas stood. “GIRLS! You ready?”


         “Ready, Master!”


         Nicholas recalled them, turning to look up the hill at the Fuchsia Gym. He took a deep breath before starting to walk.


         “YO! We got a champ in the making!” Nicholas chuckled when the man at the door started greeting him. “Welcome to Fuchsia Gym, challenger. It’s one tricked up place!”


         “Yea? That’s the leader right there, isn’t it?” Nicholas said, nodding at where a man stood in the middle of the empty room.


         “Oh, no. Koga might appear close, but he’s blocked off by invisible walls. You have to find the gaps to reach him.” The hype man pointed around the room. “And as you do, you might run into a few shadows, waiting for you just out of sight.”


         Nicholas frowned, walking forwards and rapping his knuckles against the solid air. “That is… Weird.”


         “Good luck!”


         Nicholas reached out, feeling his way along the wall before giving up and reaching for Ashley’s pokeball. “Ashley, we’ve got a maze we can’t see. Can you blow some air around and feel out the right path?”


         Ashley frowned, slowly flapping her wings. “I’ll try, Master.”


         Nicholas felt the air currents moving over his face as the wind bounced around. “Anything?”


         Ashley pointed to his right, her wings still pumping to keep the air moving. “I don’t feel anything blowing back over there.”


         Nicholas walked over and reached forwards. “Nope, good start.” He glanced towards the middle of the room and the waiting man there. “This is incredibly annoying to get to a gym badge.”


         “Perhaps, but that’s the point.”


         Nicholas yelped when a man jumped into view. “WHAT THE-!”


         “Welcome to the gym of Ninja Master Koga!” The man cried, flicking his wrist and revealing three pokeballs between his fingers. “The hidden, the subtle, the unknown! This is our craft, our ninjacraft! Hiyah!”


         “How did y- WHERE did you come from?” Nicholas cried.


         “Defeat me, and perhaps I’ll give you a hint.” The man somehow had one of his pokeballs in his other hand and he triggered it to reveal a Sandslash.


         “Oh, that’s not good.” Nicholas stammered. “Ashley, you’re not fighting this.”


         Ashley danced back. “Thank you, Master.”


         “I can’t even see our arena.” Nicholas muttered. “Alright, Elizabeth!”


         The Nidoqueen materialized. “Master?”


         “Stay on her. Close range.”


         Elizabeth’s spikes snapped up and she took a ready stance. “Understood.”


         The Sandslash ran forwards, sliding her claws against each other before suddenly leaping and bringing them down as hard as she could.


         Elizabeth took the hit, letting her armor soak the brunt of the attack before lunging forwards and wrapping the girl in a massive bear hug.


         “Weak.” She snapped, squeezing harder and harder until one of her spikes managed to jab through the Sandslash’s tough skin. “I thought we were worried about this gym, Master!”


         “We haven’t made it to the leader yet. Don’t get cocky.” Nicholas retorted. “If you’re so confident, finish her off!”


         The instant Elizabeth let go the Sandslash punched her claws into her throat. “You should listen to your Master.” The girl hissed.


         Elizabeth choked but still her hand snapped up to take hold of the Sandslash’s arm. “What’s wrong?” She gagged, wrenching the girl’s arm away. “You missed.”


         The Sandslash screamed when Elizabeth cocked her leg back, smashing her foot into the smaller girl’s stomach before letting go at the same time she kicked again, slamming her back into one of the invisible walls. The gym tamer recalled her, quickly releasing his next pokegirl as Elizabeth tried to recover.


         “Can you fight or not!” Nicholas yelled.


         Elizabeth clutched where blood was dripping from her neck. “She missed… my windpipe. And spine.” She gasped. “It still fucking hurts.”


         “I’ll take that as a no.” Nicholas recalled her and released Cassidy. “Cass! I don’t want any more injuries.”


         “I know, Master.” The Kadabra slid back when her opponent slithered forwards. “I saw what happened to Elizabeth.”


         Nicholas managed to get his pokedex out as the naga continued advancing. “Arbok. The cobra pokegirl.” It said.


         Cassidy dodged back again when the girl struck. She was still thinking about what he had told her.


         How could her Master not know how she evolved? He was a researcher specializing in exactly that. Were there still things that even the humans like him, who dedicated their lives to their research, did not know?


         What could it be? Cassidy dodged back again, casually firing a beam of flashing light at the Arbok. When the snake girl missed her next attack and ran into one of the invisible walls she slowed to dedicate more of her immense intellect to the question.


         The answer was that she didn’t know. But she had very recently fought someone who would. Sabrina’s Alakazam.


         She had been inside that girl’s mind for some time, as the two had fought. Had she picked up something, anything that might give her a hint?


         Nicholas watched Cassidy easily avoid another attack. The Kadabra wasn’t fighting, but she wasn’t losing, so he wasn’t going to scold her quite yet. But what was she doing?


         Cassidy shook her head slightly and pulled her full attention back to the confused Arbok in front of her. She didn’t know, but there had been a clue. A slight hint. Perhaps…


         Nicholas sighed in relief when Cassidy finally raised her hands, firing a pulse of energy into the Arbok. “Done thinking, Cassidy?”


         Cassidy glanced back at him when her opponent collapsed. “How did you know I was thinking, Master?”


         “There wasn’t much else you could have been doing if you weren’t fighting.” Nicholas replied. “Don’t get overconfident like Elizabeth.”


         “Sorry, Master.”


         “Another snake.” Nicholas observed when another Arbok materialized.


         “Not for long.” Cassidy replied, teleporting in front of the surprised girl.


         The assistant recalled his Arbok when the girl’s eyes rolled back and she fainted. “Fucking psychic-types. How are we meant to fight something we can’t touch?”


         “There are ways.” Nicholas replied.


         “You would say that.” The tamer retorted. “Go ahead.”




         “No need, Master.” Cassidy strode forwards confidently. “The path is this way.”


         Nicholas was expecting her to hit a wall but when the Kadabra sidestepped something and kept walking he hurried to follow, recalling Ashley as he did.


         “I was thinking about how I might evolve, Master.” Cassidy said as they two walked a path only she could see. “I believe I have a hint, something I saw when I was facing Diana.”


         “What is it?”


         “I don’t want to get you excited yet, Master.” Cassidy replied. “But if I am correct, the situation should occur soon.”


         Nicholas shook his head in bewilderment. “Okay?”


         Cassidy remained silent, leaving him to speculate on his own.


         “Master, there’s another tamer.” Cassidy said as they turned a corner.


         Nicholas stared ahead at the empty room. “Where?”


         “The walls aren’t clear, Master. They still hide what is behind them.”


         “Aw, you’ve ruined our secret.” A man stepped from thin air. “But that’s fine. Knowing that won’t help you against my pokegirls!”


         Cassidy watched the girl materialize and her eyes narrowed. “Interesting.”


         The Kadabra across from her grinned. “Hello, sister.”


         “You do not have the right to call me that.” Cassidy snapped. “That is something only my harem sisters may say.”


         The girl’s smile vanished. “So be it.”


         Both tamers stared when the girls went still.


         “And they’re in their own little world.” Nicholas sighed. “I swear, this is the dumbest-“ He stopped when he saw Cassidy start walking forwards. “-thing? Cassidy?”


         “She is weaker than I am.” Cassidy came to a halt in front of the motionless Kadabra. “It isn’t taking all of my strength to fight her back.”


         The other Kadabra suddenly gasped and recoiled back when she saw how close Cassidy was. “Wait-!”


         “Sleep.” Cassidy snapped, shadows forming in her hand before she hurled the roiling ball at her opponent.


         Nicholas blanched when the ball exploded, darkness engulfing the screaming Kadabra before clearing to reveal her lying motionless on the floor. Cassidy waited for her tamer to recall her before walking back to Nicholas’ side.


         “…That’s the first time I’ve seen that technique.” Nicholas admitted. “I wasn’t expecting… that.”


         “Honestly, I hate it now that I know what it does, Master.” Cassidy muttered. “I don’t ever want to be hit by that.”


         The gym assistant was deliberating and after a minute he shook his head. “I concede. Go on ahead.”




         The assistant shook his head. “Battle is battle.”


         “Maybe, but that was still terrifying.” Nicholas waited for Cassidy to begin walking again. “Okay, so the walls. If they hide things, how can we see the gym leader at all times?”


         Cassidy glanced over at where Koga still stood. “I’m… not sure, Master.”


         “How close are we to him?”


         Cassidy slowed. “One last turn.”


         They walked around the corner and stepped into Koga’s arena. From the inside Nicholas could see the outlines of the maze walls and as he continued looking he noticed more assistants that they had avoided. “Whoa. There’re half a dozen tamers out there waiting for an ambush.”


         “You used two excellent techniques to make it past them.” Nicholas turned and frowned when he saw Koga sitting on the ground. “I was watching you. You did well to make it through my maze so quickly.”


         “Weren’t you…”


         “Standing? The walls show you what I want them to.” Koga got to his feet. “Welcome to my gym, challenger. What is your name?”


         “I’m Nicholas.”


         Koga nodded. “Welcome, Nicholas. I’ve heard about you.”


         Nicholas blinked. “You have?”


         “Of course. Sabrina let me know that you were a strong tamer, with powerful pokegirls. I know that I don’t have to hold back with you.”




         “Please. A young man as accomplished as you? My only regret is that I will only be using four pokegirls.” Koga’s eyes narrowed as a pokeball appeared in his hand. “With what you have done, you deserve so much more.”


         The hostility in Koga’s voice was gone as fast as it had come, leaving Nicholas stunned. Had he imagined it?


         “Let this battle begin!” Koga roared.


         Nicholas stared at the girl that appeared. Wasn’t that…


         “Cassidy, you’re on reserve.” Nicholas recalled the Kadabra. “Ashley! Keep her from blowing any smoke.”


         Nicholas grabbed his pokedex as the girl across from them hovered into the air. There was a puzzle here, and he intended to solve it.


         “Weezing. The poison gas pokegirl.” It reported.


         “We’ve fought a lot of Weezing.” Nicholas called. “Interesting to see you have one too.”


         “Why wouldn’t I? I specialize in the poison-type.” Koga replied. “Are you implying something, Nicholas?”


         Nicholas growled. “Ashley.”


         “Got it.” Ashley flapped forwards, spinning in an attempt to dodge a ball of goop and hissing when the poison splattered against her wings. “EW!”


         Koga gestured when Ashley clawed the Weezing. “Blind her, then drop her.”


         Ashley laughed when the Weezing began filling the arena with smoke. “You think that will help you?” The Weezing screamed as Ashley sliced through her smokescreen and slammed her forearm into the floating girl’s neck. “I can still see you.”


         Ashley gasped when the girl grinned back at her. “I know.”


         Nichola screamed when the girl’s body began to glow. “ASHLEY!”


         The explosion sent the Pidgeot flying backwards to slam into the ground in front of him and Nicholas looked at Koga in a murderous rage. “YOU COULD HAVE KILLED HER!”


         “Pokegirls are sturdy things.” Koga replied, recalling his unmoving Weezing. “But you’d better recall her, challenger.”


         Nicholas triggered Ashley’s recall and grabbed his next pokeball so hard his knuckles went white. “I won’t forgive you for that.”


         “Good!” Koga laughed. “Hate me, Nicholas.” His voice dropped and Nicholas wasn’t sure whether he heard the next words or just imagined them. “Just as I hate you.”


         “Elizabeth.” Nicholas released the Nidoqueen and grimaced at what he saw appear across from them. “Another one?”


         “Muk. The sludge pokegirl.” His pokedex beeped.


         “What’s next, Koga?” Nicholas asked angrily. “A Golbat?”


         Koga looked surprised. “Why, yes, I do have one! However did you guess?”


         “Piece of shit.” Nicholas snapped.


         “I am the poison-type gym leader.” Koga replied amicably. “I’m sorry that you may have had bad experiences with poison-types in the past, but I assure you that had nothing to do with me.”


         Nicholas pointed at the large slimegirl. “Elizabeth, hit her with an Ice Beam.”


         “Mmm, that sounds painful.” Koga replied. “Bettie, avoid it.”


         “She’s an easy target.” Nicholas retorted.


         Koga smiled. “Not for long.”


         Elizabeth wound up, focusing her energy and sending the beam straight into the Muk. She was grinning when the mist cleared to show… She’d missed?


         The Muk popped her head up with a cheeky grin. “Missed me!”


         Nicholas blinked. Had the girl gotten smaller?


         “Yea? Dodge THIS one!” Elizabeth snarled, sinking another beam directly into the Muk’s chest.


         Koga laughed when Bettie jumped out of the mist, her body condensing even more. “Missed again!” She called cheerfully and flung a spray of hissing liquid at Elizabeth.


         Elizabeth spluttered when some of it got in her mouth. “Oh, that’s vile. What is this, poison?”


         Bettie squished down to avoid another beam. “Can you feel it yet?” She asked, her sweet voice tainted with a sinister glee. “The burning, can you feel it getting worse?”


         Elizabeth gave her a bland look in return. “No.”


         Bettie blinked in surprise and Elizabeth used her distraction to land a flamethrower. The Muk squealed in pain, thrashing about to put out the flames but was still left with a nasty burn. “How!” She moved towards Elizabeth with astonishing speed. “YOU SHOULD BE CHOKING TO DEATH ON MY TOXIN!”


         Elizabeth dodged Bettie’s punch and grinned, her spikes glistening with her own poison. “You can’t bother me with something that weak.”


         Bettie screamed in rage and Elizabeth grunted when she hurled a glob of goo into her face. “DIE! DIE! DIE!”


         “You’re such an annoying little bitch.” Elizabeth snarled, clearing her eyes and glaring at the tiny girl.


         “Maybe, but you can’t hit me.” Bettie said gleefully. “Just fall already.”


         Elizabeth grinned. “Fall? Okay.”


         Bettie’s eyes widened when Elizabeth jumped at her. “NO-!”


         Elizabeth smashed into the Muk, rolling away and getting up to prepare for another attack, but there was no need. She began laughing when she saw the squashed slime girl and turned when Koga recalled her. “That’s the weakness of getting small.” She taunted. “You can’t take a hit.”


         Koga didn’t respond and Nicholas saw him checking his pokeballs. “What’s wrong?” He taunted. “Realized that four isn’t enough?”


         Koga glared at him and released a Golbat. “Lucia. No mercy.”


         Elizabeth was still laughing when Lucia suddenly appeared in her face. “RAGH!”


         Elizabeth screamed, stumbling back and falling on her ass. “What the fuck!” She blinked when Lucia opened her mouth but no sound came out. “And… whaaaaat?”


         Nicholas grimaced as Elizabeth drunkenly stood. “Thunderbolt, Elizabeth!”


         “Yea, I got it.” Elizabeth stared at the multiple Golbat in front of her. “Which one is she?”


         Nicholas winced when the wings on Lucia’s back elongated and began glowing with energy. Elizabeth didn’t even see the attack coming, falling back and feebly holding where Lucia’s wings had crushed her stomach.


         Nicholas recalled her and released Dahlia. “Dahlia, I need you to slow this bat with anything you’ve got!”


         Dahlia grunted. “Yes Master.”


         She hissed when Lucia ducked through her vines, battering her with energy before landing and jumping back to avoid a counterattack. Dahlia snarled as Lucia avoided a spray of powder and darted back in to batter her some more. “Slow the fuck down!”


         Lucia didn’t flinch when Dahlia’s leaves cut her skin. “No.”


         Dahlia hunched, focusing on her flower. She had an idea, but she’d never tried it before. Just like with the Lust Dust, it seemed that every new technique she tried was when she had no other options. Her eyes narrowed. She was going to change that after this battle.


         Lucia slammed another barrage of energy into Dahlia, winging away but faltering when the air filled with a strange smell.


         Dahlia panted, feeling the toll of so many attacks. She had more stamina, that was true. As an Ivysaur Lucia would have already knocked her out. But it still ached.


         “Dahlia, don’t give up!” Dahlia raised her head to see Lucia coming in for another attack. “You can do it!”


         “I can’t.” Dahlia called back. “But I can make sure someone else will.”


         Lucia tucked her arms in as Dahlia’s vines came up to meet her and the Venusaur screamed when she cut straight through. Still, as Nicholas recalled Dahlia he could see numerous cuts on the Golbat from where she had managed to get hits in.


         He gazed up at the circling batgirl. Kary had been finishing out a lot of their battles ever since she had joined the harem. She’d proven herself quite the blessing.


         “Kary.” Nicholas released the Dragonair. “Fry her.”


         Kary threw her arms back as electricity crackled along them. “With great pleasure, Master.”


         Koga spoke a command that Nicholas didn’t hear, but Lucia did. As Kary aimed her Thunderbolt the Golbat whirled and fired a sparkling orb from her mouth.


         The Thunderbolt played across Lucia’s wings, sending the Golbat crashing to the ground, but she’d done her job. Kary grimaced, rubbing her eyes as Koga released his fourth pokegirl. “Fucking… why’d I look at it…”


         “Kary, snap out of it!” Nicholas yelled as the new pokegirl, another winged girl, flapped into the air and began humming.


         “Sorry, Master.” Kary muttered, blinking as she tried to focus on the hovering pokegirl. “Take me out. I messed up.”


         “You can do it!”


         Kary grimaced, holding one hand out and forming a ball of fire. She was still taking aim when the flames licked her arm and she screamed, releasing the attack to soar wide and clutching where she had burned herself.


         The hovering pokegirl laughed, throwing her hands forwards to fire a beam of rainbow energy that smashed into Kary and sent the Dragonair tumbling across the ground.


         Nicholas recalled her when she struggled back upright. “Alright, Kary. Take some time off.” He shook his head and was reaching for Victoria’s pokeball when there was a flash of red.


         Cassidy stopped his hand with her own. “Allow me, Master.”


         Nicholas looked at her in surprise. “Cassidy?”


         “An ace is not meant to be held until there is no other choice.” Cassidy gazed into his eyes. “She is meant to take control of her battles, to force her opponents to make mistakes. Let me fight, Master.”


         Nicholas gazed back at her and slowly nodded. “Alright. Go for it.”


         The hovering pokegirl was still giggling and Nicholas raised his pokedex as Cassidy stepped into the arena. “Venomoth. The poison moth pokegirl.” It said.


         “Poison? But that was psychic energy.” Nicholas said in confusion.


         Cassidy came to a halt and stared up at the hovering Venomoth. “What are you to your master, Phione? For I am Master Nicholas’ Beta.”


         The Venomoth stared at her in shock. “How do you know my name?”


         “Your mind is open and easy to read.” Cassidy replied. “So what are you? Alpha? Beta?” Her lips curled into a sneer. “Or are you nothing to him.”


         Phione screamed in rage and threw her hand forwards, sending another beam of energy streaming towards Cassidy. Cassidy retaliated with her own, firing energy to meet Phione’s attack. Where the two beams impacted the conflicting energy surged against itself, struggling to go one way or the other before exploding.


         Cassidy covered her eyes from the blast of wind, leaping back when Phione appeared from the cloud of energy. The Venomoth was screaming, her rage glowing in her eyes as she attacked. Cassidy screamed when Phione caught up and grabbed her arm, sinking her teeth into Cassidy’s shoulder. Cassidy ripped herself free, clutching at the dripping holes and raising her hand to the Venomoth.


         The entire room shook from her attack, the shockwave blasting Phione back. Before Cassidy could press her advantage Phione was right back on her, violently flapping her wings to scatter the dust on them all across Cassidy’s body. Cassidy used the last of her breath to exhale, clearing her nose, and teleported to leave a Kadabra-shaped cloud of dust behind.


         Phione snarled, turning to where Cassidy had appeared and bringing her wings forwards with a snap. Cassidy felt the biting wind crash into her and she fell, rolling a few times before getting back to her feet with a number of new scrapes and bruises.


         “Sleep! Sleep!” Phione chanted, flitting forwards in an attempt to scatter more dust on Cassidy.


         “Go to hell.” Cassidy snarled, raising her hands once again.


         Nicholas watched Phione pull up, her own hands coming forwards. This time, the two were too close. If they clashed again, the explosion might take them both out.


         He gasped when Cassidy’s ear flicked in his direction. “I know, Master.” She breathed out, focusing as much psychic power as she could and then searching for more. And more. She could feel her energy building, painfully so as it pushed behind her eyes. But she couldn’t let it out. Not yet.


         Phione screamed, a beam of glittering energy blasting towards Cassidy.


         Cassidy focused every ounce of her strength into her hands, screaming in pain when she felt the energy surge through her body. She couldn’t hold it! She couldn’t control it!


         Not like this!


         Nicholas watched Cassidy’s body erupt with light and Phione screamed, tumbling backwards before the wave of psychic energy caught her and sent the Venomoth rocketing into a wall. Koga was shielding himself as the waves of power battered him and Nicholas braced when they approached.


         But he didn’t feel any pain. As the psychic energy gently washed over him he raised his eyes to the Kadabra.


         Cassidy smiled when she felt her power swell. Now it had somewhere to go. As she evolved she felt the excess energy filling her, suffusing her with new strength and she used some of it to keep Phione pinned to the wall, even as the Venomoth struggled to break free.


         Nicholas watched Cassidy move forwards. Just like he had seen her do before, she was not letting her changing body incapacitate her. She hadn’t let it when she evolved into a Kadabra, she hadn’t let it when she had learned from the TM, and she certainly wasn’t letting it now.


         He jumped when a tearing noise echoed through the gym and groaned when he saw a tit pop out of her ripped shirt. Of course she’d need new clothes.


         Cassidy stopped in front of Phione and looked up at her. “I commend you for still being conscious.”


         The excess energy had faded and now Phione was held up only by the newly evolved Alakazam’s telekinesis. “Let go of me.” She spat. “I’ll destroy you!”


         “The battle is over.” Cassidy replied calmly. “Surrender, please.”


         “Fuck you!”


         Cassidy was raising her hand when a recall beam picked Phione off the wall. Cassidy turned to see Koga glaring at her.


         “That’s four.” Nicholas sighed in relief but Koga raised another pokeball.


         “You’ve only knocked out three of my pokegirls.” Koga retorted, triggering the release to reveal an Arbok. “Phione was not unable to fight when I recalled her.”


         “That’s bullshit!” Nicholas yelled.


         Koga grinned. “As a ninja, I-“ He froze when his Arbok smashed face first into the ground. “-what?”


         Cassidy’s eyes shone pure white as she slowly lowered her hand. “Four.”


         Koga stared at the Alakazam. After a minute he swallowed and recalled the Arbok. “Four. You have defeated me.”


         Cassidy stepped aside to let Koga hand Nicholas the badge, barely moving when the gym leader didn’t say another word before leaping back and vanishing into thin air.


         Nicholas stared at where Koga had vanished before turning to Cassidy. “Cassidy…”


         “That man does not like you, Master.” Cassidy took Nicholas’ hand and teleported them back outside. “It was a good battle. I am unsure why he decided to taint it with his tricks.”


         “I think he’s part of Team Rocket.”


         “I don’t think so, Master, or wouldn’t we see some sort of presence here?” Cassidy replied. “Though I understand why you’d think so, with the pokegirls he uses.”


         Nicholas turned to look at her now that they were outside. Cassidy had grown a few inches in height and her hair now hung over her shoulders, but overall she was just larger than she had been as a Kadabra. Especially her massive breasts.


         Cassidy noticed him staring and looked down, pulling at the torn shirt with a sigh. “Sorry, Master. I ruined it.”


         “It’s just a shirt.” Nicholas replied. “It can be replaced.”


         “Thank you.” Cassidy gazed at him for a moment. “The secret, Master.”


         Nicholas blinked. “Yea?”


         “I am happy that I can help you with your research.” Cassidy’s face broke into a beaming smile. “The secret is power. Energy. I had no way to win without using more power than I could handle.”


         Nicholas took a moment to understand what she was talking about. “Oh. Your evolution?”




         “You evolved because you overcharged yourself?”


         “Yes, Master.” Cassidy replied. “But I don’t believe that I could have done it at any time. I needed a reason. A catalyst. The Venomoth, Phione, was too powerful for me, so I had no choice but try to control energy beyond my abilities.”


         Nicholas slowly nodded. “You’re saying you wouldn’t have been able to do that just in training, probably because you would have subconsciously avoided hurting yourself. What if your body had been overcharged in some other way?”


         Cassidy frowned. “I understand your theory, Master, but we have no way to test it.”


         “That’s fine.” Nicholas grinned at her. “I’ll have other opportunities to test it. What matters is that you’ve finally evolved.” He reached out to grasp her hands. “You’ve done it, Cassidy.” Cassidy’s ears trembled when she felt the joy overflowing in his thoughts. “I’m so happy for you.”


         Cassidy resisted the urge to pin him to the ground and instead nodded. “Thank you, Master.”


         She let out a peep when he pressed his lips to hers. Nicholas felt her grab at his shirt and he chuckled, caressing her cheek as he pressed her back against the gym wall. “Remember where we camped?”


         Cassidy’s grip tightened and she let out a light moan.


         “Let’s head there.”


         Instantly they were gone.







Tamer:Nicholas Topolski


         Pewter City – Boulder Badge

         Cerulean City – Cascade Badge

         Vermilion City – Thunder Badge

         Celadon City – Rainbow Badge

         Saffron City – Marsh Badge

         Fuchsia City – Soul badge

Active Harem:

         Dahlia, Venusaur – Level 40 (Alpha)

         Ashley, Pidgeot – Level 38

         Elizabeth, Nidoqueen – Level 39

         Victoria, Gyarados – Level 38

         Cassidy, Alakazam – Level 40

         Kary, Dragonair – Level 41

Inactive Harem:

         Galina, Marowak – Level 31

         Sasha, Ditto – Level 26

         Abigail, Snorlax – Level 30







         “Hey, Victoria, easy!” Nicholas laughed as the Gyarados curled around him. “I know we’re celebrating but you WHOA!”


         Victoria laughed and crawled onto his chest. “Careful, Master.” She teased. “You’re so clumsy, falling like that.”


         Nicholas laughed when someone slammed into Victoria and he struggled up to see her and Ashley rolling across the ground. “Hey-o, bird attack!” He felt someone sit next to him and turned to see Elizabeth. “Hey, Liz.”


         The Nidoqueen smiled at him. “Hi, Master.” She spread out so that her head was resting on his chest. “Thank you for trusting me in battle today.”


         “Why wouldn’t I?” Nicholas asked. Elizabeth sighed when he began running his fingers through her hair. “That was the whole plan. You’ve learned techniques that can cover your biggest weakness, like we always intended.”


         “But in the end, I won with a physical move.” Elizabeth replied. “I won the way I always fight, not the way you were teaching me.”


         “Stop that.” Nicholas softly chided. “You used everything you know and everything you’ve learned and you came out on top. That’s the most important thing.”


         “I know.” Elizabeth whispered. “I just wanted to hear you say it.”


         Nicholas kissed the top of her head. “Good job.”


         Elizabeth let out a massive sigh. “Thank you, Master. Thank you for saying that.”


         “Here comes Victoria again.”


         Elizabeth rolled away. “Thank you, Master.”


         The Gyarados slid in next to him with a goofy grin. “I heard the next gym is on an island.” She babbled. “How are we getting there? Is it a boat? Will I be able to swim?”


         Nicholas chuckled. “Who told you that?”


         “I did.” Dahlia laughed and grabbed Victoria. “She wasn’t leaving Ashley alone so I gave her something else to focus on.”


         Nicholas smiled at the excited Gyarados. “Yes it is, and I don’t know yet. If there’s a ferry, we’ll take that. Otherwise we’ll have to find another way.”


         “I can carry you!” Victoria gasped, grabbing him in her arms. “I’ll carry you to-!”


         “Down, girl.” Dahlia chuckled, wrapping her vines around Victoria and dragging the protesting girl back. “If you’re carrying Master, who’s going to protect you from wild pokegirls?”


         “I can.”


         Heads turned to see Kary watching the group. She looked around before repeating herself. “I can. I can swim.”


         “I’m pretty sure most of us can swim.” Dahlia replied.


         “But I can fight in the water.” Kary said. “Just as well as Victoria can. We’ll take turns carrying Master Nicholas.”


         “Ashley can probably help too.” Nicholas pointed out. “I’m pretty sure she can fly even if her wings get wet.” He looked around but the Pidgeot was nowhere to be found. “Maybe Cassidy can as well? Help defend me, I mean. She fights mostly with psychic attacks.”


         “So you’re saying only Elizabeth and I would be left out.” Dahlia remarked drily. “What are you trying to say, Master?”


         “That both of you rely on being able to hit your enemies?” Nicholas replied. “If we’re fighting water-type pokegirls, in the water, they’re not going to sit next to you and let you smack them around.”


         Elizabeth squinted suspiciously. “Is that it?”




         Dahlia kept looking at him for a moment. “If I asked Cassidy to confirm that, would she?”


         “Even if she would, she won’t read my thoughts if I don’t want her to.” Nicholas replied. “You’re going to have to take my words for what they are this time, Dahlia.”


         Dahlia stomped her foot. “I think you’re saying Elizabeth and I are heavy!”


         Nicholas looked as innocent as he possibly could. “No. I am not saying that at all.”




         “You weigh less than I do, Alpha.” Victoria laughed. “You’re just not designed for the water.” She winked at Nicholas. “Right, Master?”


         “I thought I made that clear.” Nicholas replied, ignoring Victoria. “Seriously, Dahlia. Not only would it be suicide for me to make jokes about you being heavyset, it’s not true. You’re a beautiful and… what do you want me to say, thin? Skinny? Because you’re not that, but you’re not fat.”


         Dahlia sighed and plopped down next to him. “Sorry, Master. I feel heavier.”


         “Yea, that’s because of the watermelons hanging off your chest.” Nicholas laughed when she slapped him. “HEY! Cassidy has some too, don’t start after me for that!”


         Dahlia couldn’t help but smile at him. “You’re a pervert, Master.”


         “I think we established this months ago outside of the pokecenter in Viridian.” Nicholas replied with a chuckle. “When I sat down and just stared at my three naked pokegirls?”


         Dahlia leaned over to cuddle with him. “I remember.”


         “We’ve come so far since then.” Nicholas whispered. “And now we’re looking for our seventh badge. Seven! There are only eight gyms.”


         “With how worried you were this morning, I wasn’t sure if we were going to make it to six.” Dahlia joked.


         “Can you blame me?”


         Dahlia shivered. “No. Leader Koga was the hardest fight we’ve ever had, and that was even with him only using… How many pokegirls, Master?”


         “Technically five, but we’ll say four.”


         “Four.” Dahlia whispered. “Didn’t it take all six of us?”


         “Five. Victoria didn’t come in, but she almost had to.” Nicholas replied. “If Cassidy hadn’t evolved, Victoria would have had to finish the job. Well, unless Kary could have pulled something off.” He looked at the Dragonair. “Could you?”


         Kary hesitated. “I don’t want to say it, master, but… Maybe not.”


         “We’ll say it took everyone then.” Nicholas said. “That means we’re behind where we need to be.”


         Dahlia nodded. “I agree.”


         Victoria looked mystified. “What do you mean?”


         “If it takes all six of you to defeat another tamer, that would be a tie.” Nicholas replied. “Six for six. And even that is more than what we can do. We went six for four against Koga. We’ve had similar results in every gym so far.” He shook his head. “The only way we’ll know that we’re truly stronger than someone is if we are the ones with fewer losses. Five for six. Four for six, like Koga. Even though we beat him, he didn’t use all of his pokegirls.” Nicholas flashed back to the Team Rocket boss. “And we’ve met harems that could take us down more than two to one.”


         Victoria nodded. “I get it.”


         “So we have a long way to go.” Nicholas looked around at the watching pokegirls. “But I’m willing to work for it. Are you?”


         He grinned when Dahlia pushed him upright. “We are, Master. All of us.” She got to her feet with a whoop. “But tonight, WE CELEBRATE!”







Tamer:Nicholas Topolski


         Pewter City – Boulder Badge

         Cerulean City – Cascade Badge

         Vermilion City – Thunder Badge

         Celadon City – Rainbow Badge

         Saffron City – Marsh Badge

         Fuchsia City – Soul badge

Active Harem:

         Dahlia, Venusaur – Level 40 (Alpha)

         Ashley, Pidgeot – Level 38

         Elizabeth, Nidoqueen – Level 39

         Victoria, Gyarados – Level 38

         Cassidy, Alakazam – Level 40

         Kary, Dragonair – Level 41

Inactive Harem:

         Galina, Marowak – Level 32

         Sasha, Ditto – Level 28

         Abigail, Snorlax – Level 30



Tamer:Michael Thieme


         Pewter City – Boulder Badge

         Cerulean City – Cascade Badge

         Vermilion City – Thunder Badge

         Celadon City – Rainbow Badge

         Fuchsia City – Soul Badge


         Vanessa, Blastoise – Level 47

         Tamama, Exeggutor – Level 42

         Hannah, Primeape – Level 43

         Riana, Sandslash – Level 46

         Madeline, Fearow – Level 42

         Kura, Ninetales – Level 41