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Face, Meet Heel
Nicholas was stopped before he could exit the building. He turned and Miru let go of his arm, a solemn expression on her face. “I want to be clear that I agree with this decision. But it will completely change our presence here. There may no longer be moments like this, where you and I can talk freely. I may have to completely become your airhead Buneary. You may completely lose my backup in our investigation.” She cocked her head. “Are you prepared for that? If I have to choose between helping you and breaking my cover, I’m unsure which choice I will make.”
Nicholas nodded. “Like I said back there, if it gets that bad I’ll come up with a reason to ‘release’ you from my harem. Let you go underground. Doing this is for the best. I, we, have enjoyed complete anonymity for the last month or two. It got us a few excellent catches. Maybe it would be best to keep. But I believe now is the time for chaos. Galactic is moving, and moving towards their goal. We don’t have the luxury to just follow them anymore.”
Miru nodded back. “Your assessment is sound. Well,” she blinked, closing her eyes and relaxing her face before she opened them again with a quiet sigh, “then I suppose this is where thirteen oh nine says goodbye to you, Nicholas Topolski. For as long as Miru is in your harem I’m sure she’ll enjoy the ride.”
Nicholas gave her a small smile. “Think Miru might smarten up with thirteen zero nine gone?”
Miru snorted. “Sorry. Miru’s an airhead. That’s what she is and that’s what you’ll get from her.” Still, she cracked a smile. “But she’s a strong fighter. You won’t have to worry about a thing with her around.”
“I know I won’t.” Nicholas stuck out his hand which Miru, after a moment of surprise, took. “Nice working with you, Senior Inspector.”
Miru’s small smile turned up just a tiny bit more. “Likewise, World Champion.”
Nicholas grinned and let go. “Not yet. But soon Sinnoh will know I’m on the way to being one step closer to that title.” He turned, checking on the other two silent pokegirls, before reaching for the door again.
Nicholas turned back. Sammy had her hands clutched together and her eyes were darting from Nicholas to Miru and back again. “So she’s… she’s not a Buneary?”
Miru sighed and turned to the Rotom. “The newborn I could trust.” Sohn jerked in surprise but said nothing. “This one, I don’t know.”
“T-T-Trust?” Sammy stammered. “You were all… but now…”
“Sammy. Just imagine that this Buneary isn’t Miru,” Nicholas said. “I’ll release Miru again when we walk outside. Sound good?”
Sammy’s eyes darted back to Miru. “But…”
“You know what a secret is, don’t you, girl?” Miru asked. “It’s a secret that the Buneary known as thirteen oh nine was traveling with your Master Nicholas over there. So keep the secret. The only Buneary your Master has, the only Buneary harem sister you have, is the ditzy Buneary Miru.” She smiled again, and this one wasn’t as nice. “Understand?”
Sammy swallowed. “I… I do, but I kind of like this numbers bunny better.”
Nicholas chuckled at Miru’s expression. “Well unfortunately she can’t stay any longer. But if you keep her secret she might come back and visit. You’d like that, right?”
Sammy brightened. “Yeah! Miru is fun but numbers is cool.”
“Then keep the secret,” Miru growled. “If you don’t numbers will never speak to you again.”
Sammy’s expression morphed to horror and she slammed a hand to her face, lowering it to reveal that her ‘mouth’ was gone. “MMMF!”
Nicholas began laughing at her antics. “Good girl. Give me a kiss.” He laughed harder when Sammy blinked and let out an enraged noise. “Oh! Wait! You can’t!”
“MMMMMAASTERR!” Sammy’s face tore open, the Rotom jumping on him and shoving her newly recreated mouth to his. “Ah wun kess!”
Nicholas kissed her but beat her back after a few seconds. “You can always keep that mouth shut and I’ll kiss other places, you know.” He winked when the sparks within Sammy’s head began roiling across her face, simulating a blush, before finally getting a firm grip on the door and shoving it open.
“WAIT!” Sammy chased him outside, her arms flailing in her haste. “I had more questions, Master!”
“Well then ask them while we walk!” Nicholas retorted with a huge grin. “No more questions about Miru though. She doesn’t do well with answers.”
“Yeah! Master knows me so good!” Miru exclaimed happily. “That’s why I like Master so much!”
Sammy glanced at Miru with wide eyes before shaking herself and catching up to Nicholas. “No, um, I had questions about you, Master.”
“Oh then ask away, Sammy,” Nicholas replied. “I assume they’re about what you heard? Champion and all that?”
Sammy nodded rapidly. “Yeah yeah yeah. And the digging and-“
“I’ll just tell you about me. The rest should be another secret,” Nicholas interrupted. He raised an eyebrow when he saw a small cluster of reporters talking on the street corner ahead. “Or actually, no. Just watch, Sammy. If you have any questions afterwards we’ll talk.”
“Watch?” Sammy watched Nicholas approach the group. “Watch what?”
“Hey! You there!” The reporters looked up at Nicholas’ shout. “Yes, the cameras! Where is she?”
“I’m sorry?” One of the men turned to find out who was yelling at them. “Us?”
“Yes, you. You cameras, you shutterbugs,” Nicholas scoffed. “I saw her. Where is Champion Cynthia?”
“Buddy if we knew we’d be there,” the reporter replied. “You find out, I’d love to know too.”
“She must be hiding,” Nicholas sneered, half turning away and searching the streets. “Somehow she heard I was here and fled.”
The man was looking at Nicholas like he was crazy. “I’m… sure she did, buddy. You chased her out of town. You and your…” he gestured at the three pokegirls behind Nicholas, “…terrifying harem. I’d be running scared myself if I knew you were coming for me.”
Nicholas looked back. “You don’t know who I am, do you?”
The reporter laughed. “Should I?”
Nicholas’ eyes flicked to the others in the group. One of the reporters didn’t have the same amused look on their face. “Your loss if you don’t, I suppose.”
“I bet it is.” The man gestured for his crew to follow. “Come on, everyone. We’ll run a few shots at the archaeology center. Maybe that’s where the Champion was heading.”
Nicholas waited for most of the group to follow before turning to the remaining handful. “You know, don’t you.”
The reporter was frantically putting together their sound equipment. “Hard to miss those eyes of yours, Mister World Champion Sir. Could I just ask you a few-“ the man’s fingers slipped and he cursed as his microphone crashed to the ground. “SHIT!”
Nicholas laughed. “No. But maybe if you keep up I could spare the time.”
The crew spread out around Nicholas and the fumbling man as Nicholas set off down the street. “You’re looking for Champion Cynthia, right Sir?” the reporter asked. “She was last seen downtown…”
“No. I’m no longer interested. If she wants to run and hide, well, that tells me all I need to know about this Sinnoh ‘Champion’ of yours.”
The reporter spun. “PLEASE tell me somebody’s rolling!”
Nicholas laughed again. “Don’t worry. I’ll say it once and I’ll say it again. Cynthia is a coward. A coward who’s scared of me even with a half-formed harem of half-trained pokegirls.” Nicholas gestured behind him. “She should be, too. Any one of these girls would match any of hers as long as I’m the one training them.”
“We’re rolling!” a cameraman hissed.
The reporter finally managed to get his microphone assembled and cleared his throat, skipping slightly to keep up with Nicholas’ pace. “Right. We’ve all heard your opinion on Champion Cynthia and René, her Garchomp. Are you not worried about her? A Garchomp is a powerful pokegirl. Your harem here – am I correct in assuming you’ve only been in Sinnoh for a short time?”
“A few weeks,” Nicholas replied. “I’m slower than usual, only having defeated Byron so far.”
“…Right. A few weeks to have only one gym badge, I’m sure that’s frustrating you,” the reporter stammered. “Ah, but due to the challenge rules isn’t some time to be expected? After all you’ve started over yet again…”
“I have a new harem, yes, but started over? No,” Nicholas replied. “I am still the tamer of those three behind us. It doesn’t matter how untrained they were when I found them, they’re mine now. I don’t keep weak pokegirls in my harem.”
Sohn, Miru, and Sammy all shifted nervously when the cameras swiveled to them instead. “Then your boast earlier – you truly would challenge the Champion if you ran into her today?”
“I would without hesitation,” Nicholas replied. “Unfortunately I’m sure she would make some excuse to postpone the inevitable. Perhaps she’d hide behind the rules stating a challenger must have all of a region’s gym badges before fighting the Champion. She won’t be able to hide behind those rules for long.” Nicholas looked up at the building they were approaching. “Today will add one more badge to my collection.”
The world around him didn’t matter as Nicholas shoved the double doors of the Eterna City Gym open. A few waiting tamers inside the lobby turned, staring at the procession that followed, but Nicholas was focused on keeping up his act. From everything he’d seen about Cynthia she was viewed here in Sinnoh as a celebrity to a level beyond what most league Champions enjoyed. She was an elegant woman, an idol. If he was going to be her antagonist, her heel, he needed to embrace the Nicholas he was always trying to suppress.
He ignored when the receptionist tried to stop him and threw the doors open to the arenas. His eyes flashed and the room shrank back when Nicholas let out a bellow. “GARDENIA! I challenge you, Eterna gym leader!”
Silence fell over the gym. In one of the side arenas two pokegirls were frozen mid-battle, they and their tamers having turned to see what the commotion was. Nicholas turned when one of the gym tamers nearby started to approach him. “Hey! Challengers must wait in the lobby.”
“Waiting in a lobby is for challengers who are not me,” Nicholas retorted, and the assistant stutter-stepped when he swung around to meet him. “I do not wait. I have challenged your leader!” His eyes searched the arenas. “Where is she!”
“Kary, help me get this guy out of here?” the assistant called at a nearby pokegirl. The Roselia nodded and flicked her arms, her vine whips shooting out and smacking the floor as she approached.
“Nicholas…?” Sohn breathed. Behind them the news crew nervously began shifting backwards.
Nicholas let the Roselia approach. When she’d nearly reached him he spoke. “Are you Gardenia?”
The Roselia gave him a smile. “No sir. But right now I’m the closest thing to the Leader as you’re going to get. Now-“
She stopped. Nicholas continued staring at her for a few seconds before tilting his head down slightly and letting a wide, wide smile pull his lips away from his teeth. “Now… what.”
Kary’s fingers wrapped more firmly around her whips. “Sir. You are going to have to leave.”
“I am going to battle your gym leader,” Nicholas replied. “The only one here who might tell me otherwise is her.” Behind him the news crew scrambled to get a good shot of the standoff.
“I will make you leave if I must,” Kary replied softly. She subconsciously shifted her feet so as to be firmly on the line before entering Nicholas’ space. “I will hurt you.”
Nicholas’ eyes narrowed without his grin flickering an inch. “I like you. Kary, was it? You have good sense. But we both know what will happen if you take another step forwards.” He took a steadying breath. Aura, Riley had called it. He’d known about aura for years. The Blackthorn Clan had taught him ways to see it, but he’d never tried to refine those skills. It had been forgotten. After Hoenn, he’d had Zinnia – Rayquaza – join him. She had taught him power, yes, but from what Riley had said she had not taught him about his humanity. Only the other side, her side, the dragon’s blood and strength his heritage granted him. That was not aura, but he’d been satisfied refining that power. Perhaps again because he wanted to forget. He'd always known there was something more, beyond what the Stones had called humanity’s ‘Origin’ energy, or the strength from Rayquaza, a pokegirl’s ‘Primal’ energy. He’d known but had never wished to harness it. That power was what Ho-oh had granted him. It was something to be used. Hers protected him. His cowered inside, just like he was telling the cameras Cynthia was doing from him. The coward had always been him.
An action once only ever done unconsciously now was done intentionally as Nicholas reached within himself. He knew his aura. He knew it well - it was power that he'd often felt during times he lost control. Specifically during times when he'd thought he was surrendering to the dragon's blood. He had been, but the power that manifested was not Rayquaza’s. It was his. It had always been his. It all. Was his.
None in that room saw Nicholas’ aura coalesce around him, but even the humans felt the hairs on the back of their necks stand up when Nicholas settled down, tilting his head back again as his eyes burned. “What are you waiting for, pokegirl? Make. Me. Leave.”
Nicholas didn’t turn at the call. He could see Kary’s knuckles beginning to whiten. He’d just done something to make this Roselia see him as a threat. The moment he showed weakness, distraction, he could not be sure what she would do. She might attack. Thankfully the figure he could barely see in his peripheral vision seemed to be who he’d been waiting for. Kalmiya must have heard his silent order after all.
“I SAID HOLD!” The assistants turned and begin shifting around the newcomer. “Who is that? Jacob, is that your girl? Kary? Tell her to back down.”
“We’re sorry to-“ the assistant started to say.
“I SAID GET HER TO BACK DOWN!” Gardenia roared. The assistant jumped and swiveled back to the standoff, barking commands until Kary took a heavy step backwards. “YOU THERE! Tamer. Do the same, or you will be leaving my gym.”
Nicholas let out his breath. “Leader Gardenia, I presume?” he asked, finally taking his eyes off Kary when he saw the Roselia’s whips begin curling back on themselves. “How nice to finally meet you.”
“Can it, Topolski.” A few murmurs started when Gardenia said Nicholas’ name. “Give me one good reason why you’ve barged into my gym and started threatening my people.” She glanced at the news crew in disgust. “And you’re filming it to boot.”
“These people aren’t with me,” Nicholas replied. “They just decided to tag along. As to why I’m here, you know why I’m here. I’ve come for your badge.”
“We have a process for badge challenges,” Gardenia growled. “You walk in, get your number, and wait. I’d expect you of all tamers to know how gyms work.”
“I’m not interested in waiting today,” Nicholas retorted. “Apparently your Champion was here and yet when I go looking for her she’s nowhere to be found. That pisses me off.”
Gardenia smirked at him. “So that’s it. You get your feelings hurt and decide to take it out on my people. Well unfortunately for you, Nicholas Topolski, I don’t take kindly to that.” She snapped her fingers and pointed at the main arena. “Step up. Now.”
Nicholas moved to the arena, waving Sammy forwards. “Well, Sammy, I want to see what you can do.” He let a regular smile through for just a moment to reassure the nervous Rotom. “Any questions?”
Sammy slowly shook her head. “No… Master, none. I think I understand now.”
Nicholas chuckled. “Good. Don’t stress about winning today. Today is for me to get an idea of your capabilities.” He smiled again, holding it for her this time. “Okay?”
“Don’t worry. I’m right here.” Nicholas watched an assistant step into the referee’s box. “Not everything I just did was for show.”
“This will be a three on three, unlimited battle!” the assistant called. “On my count! Three! Two! One! Begin!”
Sammy turned as a Cherubi materialized across from her, but-
Sammy glanced back at the yell and yelped when an object smacked into her. Nicholas was looking down in just as much surprise as Kalmiya, sprouted half-formed from the pokedex at his waist, drew back a bit and continued glaring at Sammy. “You’ll need that.”
She vanished and Sammy plucked the small object from where it had stuck to her chest. It was an earpiece, one of the radios Nicholas gave out to his pokegirls. For a moment he was wondering why he hadn’t given one to Sammy already but that confusion vanished when Sammy held it up, scrutinized it, and then popped it in her mouth.
The supposedly indestructible device died a quick death as Sammy’s body shredded it down to its components and within moments she was spinning back to the Cherubi, maybe a bit happier but overall with nothing new to show for the sacrifice.
Kalmiya’s voice hissed from the pokedex. “Of course she did. Why do I even bother.”
Nicholas chuckled. “Get her, Sammy!”
Contrary to her nature Sammy hung back at first. The sparks flickering through her began coalescing, power building, as the Cherubi jabbed the air in front of her. Sammy yelped when the ground under her foot split and vines wrapped around her ankle but she just ripped herself free and left the trapped slime behind. The action damaged her but it was very minor compared to what a flesh and blood pokegirl would have had to endure to get the same result.
Sammy stepped forwards on her already regenerated foot and threw her own hand forwards, the charging power arcing out and electrocuting the Cherubi. But just like Sammy, the Cherubi shrugged off the attack without any issue. The two traded similar strikes for a few seconds - neither inflicting any real damage on the other - before Nicholas could see Sammy starting to get frustrated.
“Everything about her is quick,” he muttered to himself. “I wonder if every Electric-type is like this. SAMMY! You’re more than just a bunch of sparks, aren’t you? If you can’t zap her then try something new!”
Sammy fell back with a scowl. “But that’s not hu-“
“Sammy.” Sammy quieted when she heard the firm, yet compassionate voice behind her. “This hesitance of yours will be the first thing I destroy. My pokegirls are not afraid of what they are. They embrace themselves, and they are all stronger for it. You are afraid to be something inhuman. You are afraid your Master will abandon you if you are.” He grimaced when Sammy squealed in pain and had to fight her way out of an attack that had snuck in while he was distracting her. “Let go! Your Master wants to see you as you are! I want a pokegirl, not a human!” He lowered his voice almost to a whisper. “Please. Show me who you really are.”
Gardenia barked an order and her Cherubi began closing in on the weakened Rotom. Sammy was standing almost completely still, sparks arcing from the attack she had been charging. As the Cherubi got closer, Sammy shuddered. Her eyes closed, and when they opened again the life they’d held had disappeared. “Yes, Master.”
In a flash the humanoid Rotom was gone. Her features melted, eyes, nose, everything on her face being swallowed up until there was nothing left but her mouth. A mouth that stretched wide, horrifically wide and round, and right in the center a tiny glint of silver.
Sammy’s shout was a burst of sonic energy that slammed into the Cherubi with as much force as any pokegirl attack. The silver in Sammy’s mouth shattered, the radio she had absorbed and remade into a sonic amplifier shredding to nothing from the force of the attack, but it had only needed to be used once. The Cherubi reeled, blood dripping from her ears, her eyes wild. Stunned, dazed, confused, she was helpless as Sammy’s mouth closed. This time it was not electric sparks that began to gather but instead an inky black that seeped from the Rotom. Nicholas smiled. This was what he had been waiting for. Sammy was not the first Electric-type he’d had, but she was the first Ghost-type he had brought into his harem. She had a high bar to match. With the performance he’d witnessed from Ashlyn, the Gengar who hung around Sabrina, he’d come to expect quite a lot from those pokegirls - and what Sammy was doing now told him she would have no issues surpassing his expectations on that front.
The Cherubi screamed. A dark purple energy had swallowed her and seconds later her limp body crashed to the floor. With her vulnerable, the attack had been allowed to end the fight in an instant.
Gardenia was recalling her pokegirl and watching the referee call the point, but on the other side of the arena a much different scene was unfolding. Sammy stood silently for a bit before her head turned, her blank features glancing behind her. She was greeted by Nicholas’ smiling face.
“Battle’s not yet over,” Nicholas pointed out when Sammy looked like she was about to try and join him. “The force field will keep us apart for now.”
Sammy turned back to the field still without saying a word.
A monster who doesn’t want to be one, Nicholas thought as he watched Sammy’s body firmly reform the humanoid shape she preferred. Now isn’t that familiar.
Gardenia released her next pokegirl and Sammy immediately whipped her hands forwards again, intent on repeating her attack, but this girl was fresh. She broke out of the ghastly shadows immediately and charged where Sammy stood, shaking her body and leafy hair until a cloud of green surrounded her. Sammy weathered the first barrage well - but the leaves, as opposed to the Cherubi’s grasping roots, were a spread attack that did not let her recover. A second barrage left visible holes in the Rotom’s plasma and Sammy fell soon after.
Nicholas recalled her. Kalmiya was saying this new pokegirl was a Grotle, the evolved form of Turtwig, which was something of a cross between a Bulbasaur and a Squirtle. The pokegirl breed he remembered Sohn talking about when they’d first met.
Speaking of. “Sohn! Sammy’s done well. It’s time for you to finish this battle.”
Gardenia scowled at his words. “I still have two pokegirls, Topolski. We both do.”
Nicholas smiled as Sohn stepped into the ring. “Maybe. But mine’s not going to let the new girl show her up.”
Sohn scowled and slammed her hands together. Flames blossomed from the impact point and behind her her tail blazed bright. “No, I won’t.”
“Go for a-“ Gardenia was halfway through her command when Sohn attacked. Nicholas had to force himself to remained composed as the Monferno flipped, somersaulting off her hands and feet and launching herself to spin through the air faster than the Turtwig could track. Before she knew what was happening a flaming disk had smashed into her and she was out cold, Sohn’s heel crushing her skull.
Sohn flipped back as the Turtwig was recalled. Nicholas couldn’t help himself; he glanced at Miru when he saw the pose Sohn settled back into. The flipping, the wheel of fire, that was new. The pose was not. It was identical to the striking position Miru often took.
Gardenia shook her head and released her final pokegirl, a Roserade. A fully evolved pokegirl.
It didn’t matter. Though Miru had never coached her, it was obvious that Sohn had been paying close attention to the Buneary’s fights. Her strikes were sloppy, a poor mimicry of Miru’s, but they were just as effective in an equal battle. The Roserade fell without so much as putting a scratch on her.
“In a score of… three to one. Victory for the challenger!”
“Hmph.” Nicholas strode forwards to accept the badge from a silent Gardenia. “Not bad, I suppose.”
“Sinnoh won’t just let you get away with this, Nicholas Topolski,” Gardenia called loudly. “We will defend our Champion from your assault.”
Nicholas smirked for the camera but dropped his voice so only he and the woman in front of him could hear. “Thanks for playing along. I’m sorry.”
Gardenia scowled, though her eyes remained neutral.
“Sinnoh can do whatever they want,” Nicholas called as he turned back to the crowd. “I’ll just destroy anyone who gets in my way. It’s what I did in Kanto, in Johto, in Hoenn. Anyone, or anything, that comes between me and my title will fall. Whether they’re gym leaders defending their gyms or criminals looking to annoy me I will decimate you all.”
Sohn, Monferno – Level 19
Miru, Buneary – Level 17
Sammy, Rotom – Level 17
Kalmiya, Porygon-Z – Level 7
“He puts on a good show.” Cynthia played with her hair as she watched the news. “You said I’ve already gotten interview requests?”
“Yes Mistress. Multiple stations want your opinion on this brash tamer.”
Cynthia smiled. “Set a few up. I’d hate to let Nicholas’ efforts go to waste.” She turned to René. “I’ll make sure to draw attention to his track record with Rocket and Hoenn. Shift the heat.”
René bowed. “An excellent idea, Mistress. I’ll make the preparations.”
Somewhere to the south of Eterna City Nicholas hiked through the mountains. He’d given the news crews the slip not long after taking Gardenia’s badge, but not before making sure to announce his intentions. Oreburgh would be next.
For now, however, he needed privacy. He needed to talk to his harem and he needed to do it as himself, not the abrasive villain he was building himself to be.
Plus… he had somewhere to be. Somewhere in these mountains. How far it was, he didn’t know. But it wasn’t hard to feel the direction he was meant to go.
Two days passed before the harem materialized and weren’t immediately pointed at a feral. Nicholas was setting up camp, an unlit campfire between him and the pokegirls. “Hey. Sohn, can you get that?”
Sohn glanced around at the others before nodding, sticking her hand into the pile and setting flame to the wood. “Where are we?”
“Who knows.” Nicholas chuckled. “We’re right where we’re supposed to be, away from stupid cameras and microphones and people who want to twist my words. That’s where we are.”
The others settled down around him. “I thought you said you wanted to draw attention, Master,” Sammy said curiously. “Didn’t you?”
“Yes, I wanted to draw attention. But liking it is a totally separate thing.” Nicholas leaned back. “I’m fine with being a celebrity. Like I told Cynthia I can handle it, even enjoy it sometimes. But just being me doesn’t draw attention. What I did in Gardenia’s gym, that’s what draws attention. I don’t like doing that.”
Miru was nodding sagely even though the next thing out of her mouth was anything but. “Yes, yes. Obviously Master. It’s much better to be not.”
A ripple of confusion spread through the others before Nicholas shook himself. “Sure, Miru. Whatever you say. Sohn, Sammy.” He looked at the other two. “Excellently done in the gym. You in particular, Sohn. I can see you’ve been working hard to get better at fighting.”
Sohn brightened. “I have!”
“With our focus shifting fully towards making noise I want to get right down to it and train.” Nicholas looked between her and Sammy. “Sammy, you’re brand new so you won’t really notice anything different, but Sohn, I want you to know that the sort of… casual attitude I’d been having so far is going away soon. You’re going to be seeing more of what you saw back in Eterna, and not just when the cameras are rolling.”
Sohn’s eyebrows had disappeared behind her bangs. “Casual…?”
“Yes. Casual.” Nicholas grinned at her. “We’ve just been having fun so far. Starting today, you’re not just along for the ride.”
“Can I ride you Master?” Miru asked innocently.
Nicholas snickered. “Sure, it’s been a few days. I’m sure you all want a nice ride.” His smile faded. “Tomorrow though you’re all going to stay in camp for the day. I’d like it if you got some training done but I don’t mind what you do. I shouldn’t be gone long.”
Miru was already trying to take Nicholas up on his offer of a ride but Sohn hung back. “Where are you going to go?”
Nicholas peered lazily from behind the Buneary. “To find this harem its Alpha.”
Nicholas adjusted his earpiece as Kalmiya watched. “You know, I’m surprised they actually obeyed.”
Kalmiya shrugged. “When you said I’d be with you, Master, I think it helped.”
“Yeah. The display you put on with Sammy was a good one.” Nicholas made sure the radio was completely secure before turning his full attention to the Porygon. “Remember. No matter what you hear, what you think, you must stay here. I will be fine. You have to trust that.”
Kalmiya cracked a smile. She was nude as usual, but this time he had joined her. They were standing in front of a yawning cave mouth. “I do, Master. I trust you. I’ve been there ever since you saved me, always, watching and learning what you are. This is nothing to you. In fact, it will probably be the most fun you’ve had in Sinnoh yet.”
Nicholas chuckled. “I’m glad I’ve been able to keep you as a constant all this time, Kalmiya. It’s refreshing.”
Kalmiya watched him step away. “I look forward to meeting my newest sister, Master. Come back soon.”
Nicholas gave her a small wave back over his shoulder before he vanished into the dark.
The cave was pitch black but he still walked confidently. There was a trail here. A light. One only those like him could see. Nicholas’ eyes glowed with aura as he followed the traces deeper and deeper.
No pokegirls appeared to challenge him. Not until he saw actual light beginning to filter into the cave.
Nicholas barely turned his head when he felt the presences drift through the walls next to him. There was nothing for his eyes to see but solid rock, so he didn’t bother using them.
He was still learning. But he understood it all now. He understood the power within him. Just as Sohn’s attacks in Eterna had been sloppy mimicry, his actions now were untrained. Untested, up until now solely instinctual.
The noise rumbled through the cave around him and Nicholas let his flickering aura swell. He’d found this place by following the energy of it, a dull glow he had seen on the horizon as he hiked. Now he added his energy to the rest, joining with it, embracing it.
The presences around him slipped away and Nicholas emerged from the cave into a lush grotto. Sunlight drifted down from above, trickling streams pouring into various small pools around him. A hidden paradise. Tucked away from the human world just like every other had been.
At first, the pokegirls scattered about didn’t notice him. The newcomer felt like them, after all, and there was nothing out of the ordinary in the way it stood. Until a low sound echoed off the rock walls.
Nicholas waited. He hadn’t vocalized a challenge; instead he had fought to keep the tone light, inquisitive. A question. Not a command, but an invitation.
A few pairs of eyes turned to him now and Nicholas stepped further into the grotto. He could see a few distinct groups in the pokegirls spread around him, as well as dozens, maybe hundreds of caves all feeding the space. Cynthia had said the Gible here chose her. He was curious if they’d do the same for him.
As he approached one of the watching pokegirls pushed herself upright. A call went out, all heads turning, before Nicholas saw additional figures begin to appear from the caves. Soon it was not dozens of figures but hundreds that were entering the main area and approaching him.
Nicholas stopped when the ground under his feet vibrated and a second later a massive pokegirl surfaced, the earth sliding off her as if it was water. Her eyes were flat as she inspected him, barely inches away at times before she grunted and dove back into the earth. When she did a section of the approaching pokegirls seemed to pick up their pace. Then another massive Garchomp took her place, similarly inspecting Nicholas before once again leaving him alone. By the time the third had slipped out of the earth and was looking him over the crowd had reached them.
“You must be the matrons,” Nicholas said, watching the latest Garchomp sink back under the ground. “Are you all feral?” He called, addressing the crowd as a whole. “Can we use words or only instinct?”
No voices answered him from the crowd. However, one did from behind him.
“What does a wyrmling want with my weyr?”
Nicholas turned. It didn’t matter if he took his eyes off the hundreds of watching pokegirls in front of him; the presence that had suddenly appeared behind him demanded nothing short of his full attention.
He hadn’t even felt a hint of her until this pokegirl had spoken. As he turned his eyes flicked over the gargantuan figure towering over him, the parts of him that wanted to appreciate this pokegirl’s body being swept away by a swirling mix of baser instincts. A fight would be unwinnable. Flight would be impossible. Even though he knew he wasn’t just some squishy human in the face of the Garchomp scrutinizing him he felt like one.
“I… came here seeking a pokegirl to lead my harem,” Nicholas replied slowly. There was no space here for his usual wordplay. Even when he’d been facing down Cresselia and Darkrai he hadn’t felt this level of tension. “By your permission.”
The Garchomp watched him for a few seconds. “And why would I let a human near any of my offspring? My daughters only smell the blood in your veins, but I see the truth. I see whose blood it truly is.”
“I am a Draconid-“
“Did I not just say I see the truth, human?” the Garchomp interrupted curtly. “I do not care what tribe you claim to be of. You are a wyrmling, nothing but a human wielding stolen power. You are worth less than if you had only your own blood running through you.”
Nicholas quieted. The Garchomp kept her eye on him for a bit longer before snorting. “Leave before I kill-“
The girl cut off her words but immediately transitioned to a new sentence. Her eyes narrowed, hand drawing back and cocking long, sharp, wicked claws. “Very well.”
“No,” Nicholas repeated softly. “I am not a human using a stolen power. I stopped being that human a long time ago.” The Garchomp’s claws came down faster than the eye could follow. Nicholas breathed slowly, calmly, and very slowly shifted the arm he had used to stop her strike so that he could look her in the eye again. “I will not allow you to insult me in that way.”
A rumble had started in the girl’s chest. “Fascinating.”
“The power I hold is nobody’s but my own,” Nicholas asserted. “Perhaps it was someone else’s once, but it is theirs no longer.”
He had to hang on with all his strength when the Garchomp flicked her wrist and sent his arm back to his side. “Prove it then, wyrmling. You came for one of mine? Leave with one.” She grinned, a savage grin that made her intentions perfectly clear. “But you will not take one.”
Nicholas watched her slip back under the ground. He could feel the smothering presence clearly now. As he turned back to the crowd and took a step the Garchomp, the weyrleader, began circling underneath him like a shark circling its prey. Perhaps exactly like a shark, with the bodies he’d seen these dragons have. A shark of earth, instead of water.
There were hundreds of pokegirls watching him, all still completely silent. They’d been stopped by the appearance of their weyrleader but now with Nicholas approaching a few broke off to inspect him.
The inquisitive ones froze in place when Nicholas roared. “I SEEK AN ALPHA!” He cast his gaze over the crowd. “DO YOU WANT A HUMAN? THEN BEST ME!” He spread his arms, affixing the nearest Gible with a challenging stare. “BEST ME, AND I AM YOURS!” He lowered his arms and his voice with them. “But I best you, and you become mine.”
These pokegirls were hardly feral. It was just like the caverns under Blackthorn City, or the ones in Meteor Falls – a place where dragons gathered together and were free, as free as they could be. That meant not being chained by a pokegirl’s ultimate weakness. The intelligent eyes watching him were proof of that.
Unfortunately… there didn’t seem to be a single set of eyes turning away from his challenge.
Nicholas sighed to himself when the first pokegirl moved forwards. This was going to be a long day.
It took a hundred before she appeared.
Nicholas was just twisting the latest stunned Gible off his dick when he felt the crowd’s mood shift. The Gible that had been looking like she was next melted back, disappearing into her sisters as Nicholas turned to the ripple that was pushing through the bodies towards him.
He took a few steps away from the scattered pokegirls behind him. As the day had worn on he had slowly advanced deeper into the grotto, leaving the Gible that had challenged him in various states of defeat. Sexually, physically, emotionally – he had conquered them all in every conceivable way. None had been able to put up a fight. If he was somehow allowed to make good on his challenge, he’d have just grown his weyr tenfold. But he wasn’t stupid. The Garchomp that still circled him, surfacing every few minutes to breathe, would kill him if he tried to take any of the defeated Gible.
He wasn’t here to take. If a Gible was leaving this place with him, she would have to do so under her own power. Somehow, she could not be defeated like the rest.
The girl that emerged held no hesitation as she stepped out of the watching pokegirls and approached him. Nicholas felt no change from the Garchomp underground but he absolutely felt what was different about this Gible. She was to the weyrleader here as what he was to Rayquaza.
The Gible finally came to a halt barely five feet away from him. Well within striking distance and yet she appeared completely unconcerned. “What is your name, human?”
Nicholas blinked. None of the other Gible had spoken to him. “Nicholas. Nicholas Topolski.”
The girl cocked her head. “I hope you intend to actually put up a fight, Nicholas. It will be no satisfaction to subjugate the weak wyrm the others fell to.”
Nicholas slowly settled back. This was bad. This pokegirl’s words were not empty. He had no idea if he could match her, let alone defeat her. At least not, as she said, with the power he’d been using so far. He’d been holding back, pacing himself. If he held back at all now he would be the one on the ground.
A smile grew on the Gible’s face when he did. “Good. I am Zisela. Show me what spared your life, little wyrm.”
Just like the others, Nicholas had no eyes for this Gible’s body. Only this time it wasn’t because the pokegirl that lunged for him wasn’t worth looking at. On the contrary. He wanted nothing more than to drink in what he saw. But he could not afford the distraction. Not now.
Claws dug into his skin when the Gible grabbed at him and Nicholas let her, sacrificing a barely noticeable amount of pain for a solid grappling position. He roared.
Almost simultaneously the Gible roared back. Neither action was for show. Both the human and the pokegirl were lost in a storm of, at first imperceptible, then fully visible energy that fought itself just as the figures inside fought each other. Aura. As he always had, Nicholas used his instinctively. It would be a long time before he could control what was going wild here. But for now, he didn’t need to control it. The figure he bludgeoned took his unfettered strength and answered it with power of her own. Not aura, not like what the human was emitting, but an equal, primal force.
Nicholas was deflecting Zisela’s claws, reaching for her arm, being deflected in turn, when he realized. He was fighting. Completely on his own. He felt no whisper of Ho-oh’s blessing – no burning from Rayquaza’s blood. Everything he felt he felt as his own. His blood burned – his aura surged. He’d told the Garchomp, the weyrleader, that his power was his own, but some part of him hadn’t quite believed it yet. He did now.
That understanding was like a burst of fresh, sweet air that blew the haze of the battle away. He was fighting… but he still was nowhere near his limit. He could feel that clearly. In that moment of clarity the peak he had once believed himself capable of was blown away to reveal another mountain behind it. One whose summit was nowhere in sight.
The surge from Nicholas was enough to throw Zisela off balance. Only for a moment, a heartbeat, but that moment was enough for Nicholas to gain the upper hand. Suddenly Zisela was defending, and defending only. She had no more room to attack.
Strike, strike, swipe. Nicholas jabbed at Zisela’s stomach, letting his arm be shoved aside as his other hand came around to attack her face. That, too, was stopped, but now the Gible’s vision had been limited. In that blind spot Nicholas struck.
The stalemate broke when Nicholas’s deflected arm curved back around and caught Zisela’s hip. It was a weak hold but it was enough of one to warrant a full response. Zisela twisted, ripping herself from his grasp, but in doing so she was forced to turn away from the strong hand that had just been in her face. Unable to see where it was going her tail whipped out, slicing through the air and trying to regain ground using the advantage a fifth limb provided the Gible, but all it hit was air. Nicholas’ fingers curled around Zisela’s shoulder and in the next moment she was flung to the ground.
Nicholas followed, intent on confirming his position, but he’d made a mistake. He’d thought the ground would be his ally, a wall to pin Zisela to. She was a Gible. The earth was her domain.
Zisela fell into the liquifying soil and away from Nicholas’ follow-up attack and in the next moment the tables were completely flipped. Nicholas cursed when his hand smacked against a stone and he rolled, trying to get back to his feet when he felt a hand snag his ankle.
He was flung across the ground when Zisela threw him, the Gible breaking back aboveground for a moment before she dove. Every limb strained as she powered after the tumbling human and Nicholas roared in pain when she burst from the ground underneath him and bent him over her head.
Still, he learned quick. Zisela threw him and was beginning to reemerge when she saw the human twist in midair.
Nicholas ignored as his ankle twisted beyond what it was capable of when he planted it to stop his momentum. At this point if he wasn’t willing to sacrifice his own body to win he didn’t deserve to win at all. This Gible, Zisela, had awoken something in him. More than what Rayquaza ever had. No, it was more like what he felt when he looked at Ash. He saw a rival. He saw a threat.
He would do anything to bring this pokegirl to his side.
Zisela started to retreat underground but Nicholas was still on top of her. By sacrificing his ankle he gave himself an opportunity to strike.
Zisela jerked when she felt his arms wrap tightly around her back, just below her chest. Nicholas locked his grip and heaved, not succeeding in lifting Zisela but succeeding in pulling her completely from the ground before he threw himself forwards again. Zisela was underneath him, but now his arms were between her and the ground she wanted to slip into.
Nicholas screamed in pain when their combined weight crushed his arms and he felt something snap. Even still he hung on, using his functional foot to prop himself up slightly. Zisela was on her back. He was above her. There was only one attack he could make without abandoning his grip on the Gible.
Luckily the same blood that was pumping through him had found its way to every extremity and Zisela roared when Nicholas slammed his rock hard erection deep into her pussy.
He only got one thrust before she was breaking free. Nicholas gritted his teeth, trying desperately to ignore as her arms crashed against his broken ones, but he couldn’t help it. He let go.
Immediately he felt Zisela buck him off. He couldn’t stop her and scrabbled at the Gible as she wrapped her hands around his shoulder. He was thrown again, but this time it wasn’t very far. Zisela jumped right with him and Nicholas felt the air rush from his lungs when he slammed his back to the dirt.
Stars danced across his vision when Zisela’s ass slammed down with him and nearly crushed his balls. The Gible sneered, firming her grip before lifting herself slightly. Nicholas wheezed when she slammed back down, unable to catch his breath with the violence of Zisela’s actions. Behind the Gible her tail flicked back and forth, matching her satisfied grin as she fucked him.
Nicholas felt his broken body complaining. He could barely move one arm, and only had one leg that didn’t make him want to vomit whenever it shifted. He was still human after all. He couldn’t stand up to a pokegirl. Not really. He’d made a good attempt.
He wasn’t sure if he blacked out then but when he blinked next he saw Zisela’s face hovering over his.
He blinked again. The Gible was… scowling. No, more than that. She was livid. And… embarrassed? He blinked one more time before squinting up at her. Yes, she was blushing, just as her eyes smoldered with repressed fury.
“I won.” Nicholas stared up at her. Zisela ground her teeth together as she repeated herself. “I won. I did not lose to- to a wyrmling.”
Nicholas finally noticed the feeling around his dick. It was wet. Very wet, and as he lifted his head he could see how slick Zisela’s groin was. He didn’t see any of his semen. In fact, he could feel himself twitching inside of her, begging to release.
He slowly began to smile. He understood what had happened here. “You pinned me,” he growled, “but you could not take me, Zisela.”
Zisela’s face twisted. “I won.”
“You did. And so did I.” He was shocked when he levered himself up and Zisela let him, falling backwards as he forced their positions to reverse once more. “You are stronger than me.” The shift had drawn Nicholas’ shaft out slightly and he looked Zisela deep in the eyes as he spoke again. “I am stronger than you.”
Zisela squealed when he slammed back into her, finally releasing his load into the Gible underneath him. Her eyes squeezed shut as he came, filling her completely. When they opened again they still blazed, but no longer with simple fury. They smoldered with the same fierce intensity that had reigned throughout their battle. Turned now towards him in a new way.
“I beat the wyrm.” Zisela’s lips drew back as she smiled. “You have beaten me, drake.”
Sohn, Monferno – Level 19
Miru, Buneary – Level 17
Sammy, Rotom – Level 17
Zisela, Gible – Level 19
Kalmiya, Porygon-Z – Level 7