At any given time during the day, one was just as likely to encounter a tamer and their harem in the cafeteria of a pokecenter as you were to find one empty. Life on the road made meal times less than predictable and made the people living those lives rather hungry once they found a place to rest. Larger cities tended to have multiple pokecenters spread about to keep tamers from traveling through the middle of the city with their harems out and so that a single one hopefully didn't get overwhelmed if there was a sudden influx of tamers on a given day. But the centers in the larger cities did see more traffic and that included their cafeterias. The pokecenter towards the south end of Allat was no exception to this rule, and every few minutes a new tamer or two would come and go, celebrating their recent victories at the gym or brooding over how close of a match they had lost. Ezekiel Id, who had been crushed at the Allat gym for the fourth consecutive time, sighed loudly over his cooling meal.
It's not that anyone would say he was poorly suited to being a tamer, to his face, though just as few people would comment that he was born for the job. He just struggled with the organized battles. He would always become distracted during the excitement by his extra-sensory bloodgifts going haywire and would miss something important, something crucial. Something that would spell the difference between victory and defeat. Outside in the wilderness was a different story. When there was true danger, his senses were sharp like a well kept knife.
He was a few months older than most tamers at his point in their career, having finished up with schooling and a brief internship before deciding to head out on his personal adventure. He had vibrant, aquamarine and blue hair that would glow on occasion, a strange dormant trait from back when his family had more water type pokegirls than psychic in the bloodline. His skin was soft and just a little pinkish, and his face was a little round in shape. An observer that didn't know him probably wouldn't even notice these features as being out of the ordinary, but Zeke knew his lineage and focused on the Slowboob traits he had inherited as the main thing that brought down his self image. After all, who ever really got excited when they saw a Slowboob basking on a rock, unable to catch up with the world around them?
Leaning against his shoulder, drooling a little out of the corner of her mouth while she napped, was Cass. She was his girlfriend before she became his pokegirl, and as often as he could he tried to treat her like nothing that wasn't superficial changed. Sure, she had sprouted a pair of cute (at least in his opinion) antennae and now had goldenrod colored skin, but other than that his A-bra was still his first love and someone he hoped would always stay by his side. The antenna closer to him twitched rhythmically as she slept and a lazy grin crept across Cass' sleeping features. It was an inside joke of theirs for Zeke to mentally make sound effects for the movements of Cassie's antenna as she sampled the thoughts around her, meaning of course that the psychic type pokegirl always picked up on the silly noises he was making in his head as he watched her.
After a few seconds though Zeke's mind wandered away from his pokegirl and back to the most recent loss. He couldn’t blame it on his pokegirls.
His league-issued starter was a pink haired, blue eyed AmazonLee he named Raudha. He had picked her because she reminded Ezekiel of the pokewoman mother of one of his friends. A HeroChan pokewoman he had something of a crush on, embarrassingly enough. Then it turned out that Raudha was from Pritha's parthenogenetic line from way back when the HeroChan had been a lowly Tyamazon.
Raudha was energetic and well trained with a tough resolve to improve from bullying she endured at the ranch she was born into. The AmazonLee was easily the better fighter of Zeke's three.
Awkward admissions to Vince next time they met aside, Zeke, Cassie, and Raudha got along well and they were looking forward to the reunion with their older friend and Raudha's 'uncle.'
The plan was for Zeke to send Vince a message once he overcame the gym challenge in Allat, where he was beginning his journey.
That was yet to happen and the younger, psychic tamer's pride wasn't allowing him correspondence with his friend before then.
At this rate it would be after the closure for Sadie Poken's day that Zeke would be able to challenge again.
Zeke's third pokegirl was a Jigglyslut named Lalla. Like Cassie, Lalla was a victim of threshold. Zeke learned of her when her mother came into one of the Allat pokecenters to post a bulletin inquiring about tamers willing to take in the recently transformed 'girl. Like many girls she had the misfortune of becoming a breed that wasn’t very desirable for combat focused tamers and the even greater misfortune of not really having any appealing evolutionary paths. Zeke’s sympathy got the better of him.
Lalla was not as capable of a fighter as Raudha, which was understandable. Neither was Cassie. Cassie was motivated though. Lalla was not. Zeke's hope was that she just needed time to acclimate, but time had proven that wish to be foolish. Lalla would have been happier as a pet, it seemed. Or perhaps happier with someone other than Zeke as her tamer. He had tried to find a special way to reward her, an idea he picked up thanks to his telepathy gift, but he nearly passed out from low blood pressure after using the dragon dust.
He’d never been an impressive masculine specimen and his poor stamina meant he probably never would be. Zeke wasn't really expecting Lalla to still be with him once Sadie Poken's was done and over with.
It was that suspicion that had Zeke and Cass brainstorming over picking up another pokegirl, but would that matter? It was his blood traits that got in the way. If he picked up another girl now in anticipation of Lalla’s departure, then he’d have four girls. At least for the few weeks leading up to Sadie Poken's day. Even now Zeke was picking up on Lalla's thoughts about finding her boyfriend from before thresholding. Convincing herself that he'd obviously have a change of heart if he just saw her again.
Why was Zeke even set on being a tamer? He would have made more money sticking to the path of his internship. His and Cass' futures would be more secure. Well, he wouldn't have obtained Raudha for one. And he wanted to prove everyone wrong. That he could venture around the league even with his blood curses. He remembered chatting with Vince about how they would journey together, a classic brains and brawn duo. Because Vince underplayed his own intellect to maintain his tough guy delinquent persona.
It was because that's what the four of them, Cassie, Vince, Ava, and Zeke planned to do. A promise between friends.
Ezekiel Id picked up his food tray as he stood up. Cassie's eyes fluttered open and her antennae twitched as she picked herself up with her telekinesis. Raudha bounced to her feet and Lalla reluctantly stood as well.
Once they were outside on the streets, Raudha focused on her tamer eagerly. "What's the plan, boss?"
"I think I'll look into adopting another 'girl-"
"You sure you can keep up with four girls," Lalla asked with a roll of her eyes. Zeke blushed and Cassie's antennae stood straight and quivered. The Jigglyslut winced slightly as if someone had just shouted at her.
"Cassie," Zeke felt the burst of telepathy come from the A-bra. "It's a legitimate question."
Cassie scowled. <Answer is you can. Making you feel worse tamer than you are. Sick of it. All getting plenty of time. Trade her.>
<Sadie Poken’s. Few weeks.>
<Then making sure she knows not come back.>
<No, morning of. If she knows, slack off more.>
Raudha was ignorant of the burst of communication between the tamer and A-bra, but she answered the same question. “Master Zeke’s doing a fine job of taking care of us. If you just want more taming, my bedroll’s always open.” Lalla made a disgusted noise. She still had reservations about being with other girls and showed no signs of wanting to overcome them.
“I agree with Raudha, Lalla,” Cass chimed in her approval. “And we can help take care of the new girl too. We’re a team.”
Zeke’s telepathy picked up an unspoken but very strongly formed thought in the Jigglyslut’s mind. ‘Didn’t ask to be on this team.’
“Excuse me, sir, but did I hear that you’re looking to adopt a pokegirl?”
Zeke looked towards the source of the woman’s voice. She was dressed in casual clothes, had a pokegirls body, and shortly cropped blue hair with golden eyes. Zeke’s extra-sensory perceptions picked up on a psychic and celestial presence but her mind itself was invisible to him, suggesting a dark typing. She was lacking lupine features, was physically mature, and wasn’t raping the minds of everyone nearby with empathic agony so by process of elimination she must have been a Megami. “I am. I don’t have the credits or bounty points to afford one and am looking for another combatant for challenging the gym here.”
“Well, sir, my sister and I just happen to be volunteering with a charity that rehabilitates pokegirls who are stolen by criminal teams and, tragically, are unable to be reunited with their tamers. I believe we may be able to help you find an auspicious match.”
Cass sent a questioning burst of thoughts <Should worry Megami says auspicious?>
<Sense good things.> Zeke responded.
<Megami mess with precognition?>
<Don’t think they can…> Zeke nodded after sending his alpha that thought. “Sure, I’ll at least see who you have.”
The Megami smiled brilliantly when she heard him say ‘who.’ “Excellent, sir. My sister has the roster at the stall we’ve checked out. Please follow me, sir.” She turned and started leading them towards the market before turning back. “My name is Phoebe, by the way.”
Phoebe's sister didn't introduce herself once they reached the stall with colorfully printed signage advertising their charity work. She had vibrant maroon colored hair tied in many pink ribbons with gold ornaments. It was styled strangely, tightly twisted to stand away from her head like horns. Her eyes were the same gold color, but were nowhere near as kind as those of the Megami. She emanated a sense of danger. Not active, but a sense of awe and apprehension all the same.
Zeke was confident she was not a celestial.
Phoebe took her place behind the stall and smiled brightly enough to negate the seeming poor mood of her sister. "I understand you're looking for someone to help you achieve victory at the gym in town. Sorry, couldn't help but pick up on your thoughts. You understand."
Zeke and Cass both nodded.
Phoebe steepled her fingers in front of herself and continued her sales pitch. "So, I believe a flying type could round out your team nicely. Do you agree?"
Zeke and Cass looked at one another briefly and nodded again.
The Megami interlaced her fingers and straightened her arms to somewhat point towards the human she was focused on. "Excellent! We happen to have with us an excellent Flirt. Very kind, resilient. She's eager to join with a tamer again and she even has experience in matches against the gym here."
Zeke found himself reflecting on the meaning of the word 'auspicious' before he responded with a hesitant evaluation of, "She sounds perfect."
"Well, no one is perfect," Phoebe admitted with a smile "but like I said, I think I could help you make a match today." Phoebe pulled out a small stack of papers, "So, am I correct that you intend to adopt her?"
Zeke answered that he was and got to filling out the forms. As he walked away with a feeling like he had just stepped off of a roller coaster Phoebe threw her arm across her sister's shoulders and happily rocked back and forth. "See, Melanie. Doesn't it feel good to know we're helping people?" She sounded as if she were attempting to convince a child the injection they just received wasn't painful.
The intimidating pokegirl apparently named Melanie merely groaned as her head was shaken in counterpoint to her sister's movements.
Zeke carried his new pokegirl within her ball to the same place so many pokegirls meet their new masters, a taming room at the nearest pokecenter. The Flirt didn't seem surprised to find herself there, smiling and curtsying to the human and his A-bra and AmazonLee. Lalla wasn't interested in meeting the newcomer yet.
"Sir," she had a bright and cheerful voice. "Am I to be your pokegirl?" She was taller than Cass, but Cass was small. Slim compared to Raudha but not skinny. She had pale skin, puffy white hair, and stormcloud grey eyes. She was wearing an old sun dress that was lovingly mended and had faded stains meticulously washed back to near white.
"Yeah," Zeke replied. "I was looking to add to my harem and happened to run into a," Zeke stressed the next word, "very helpful Megami."
"Phoebe," the Flirt said with a smile. "She is a wonderful person. Her sister too, though not when you first meet her." Zeke nodded unconsciously.
"I'm Cassandra, Zeke's alpha. This is Raudha. We've been trying to win the gym challenge and Phoebe recommended you because she says your previous tamer managed to win there and at a few others."
"We did…" The Flirt answered with a hint of sadness. "I wasn't his best fighter, but I did my best when it counted."
"What happened to your previous master and his harem," Zeke asked her.
There was more than a hint of sadness when she answered. "I don't know for sure. We were attacked by some criminals forcing tamers to threshold and wiping the minds of their pokegirls. I was being ran through a healing cycle when they were raided by the league. They couldn't be sure because I was caught in a hacker ball, but the police believe he was one of the ones transformed." She dabbed at her eyes with the back of her hand. "I try not to think about him or my sisters too much."
Zeke reached out to put his hand on her shoulder, which brought a smile back to her face. "Okay, we won't bring them up." He said. "Do you want me to give you a new name or-"
"Please let me keep my name!" The Flirt suddenly looked embarrassed by her outburst. "Sorry, it's just… My previous tamer… He let me pick it and it's really cute. Tuulikki, it's Finnish. But everyone called me Tuuli."