Henrietta made it back to the gym just in time to see the timer click to zero. She released Bernadette and they both took their seats on the bench to wait for things to get started. Henrietta was already fishing for a SLC card when Ashley showed her the time.
"I knew I should have taken the under. Same bet but for Chesra to win, and I want the under."
Bernadette's jaw hung slack for a moment when she realized what they were doing. "I can't believe you were betting on my fight."
Ashley laughed and gave her a pat on the back. "More specifically they were betting on how quickly you were going to lose that fight. You hung tough for a moment but that combination attack was brutal."
"I tried my best, my attacks just weren't doing damage." She whined.
"It's funny, fighters can't really do damage to ghost but can beat darks, darks eat ghost alive in battle but lose to most fighters. Ah the circle of battle." Remarked Jean as she accepted her money. "How long should this take Chesra?"
"Not long, Bernie did manage to get a good shot in before things went to hell on her."
Back on the battlefield Chesra and Eliza stood at the ready, waiting for the judge to signal the start. Eliza had drained just enough energy from Bernadette to heal her wounds and looked ready to face the pokégirl standing across from her. Due to Chesra's dyed hair she didn't resemble the normal Fallen Angel and the fact that she continued to wear her armor helped. This left Integra and her harem with a whole list of near human pokégirls she could be.
The judge dropped the flag and both leapt from their starting positions. Eliza summoned her Ghost Blade behind her while still on the approach and blocked it from Chesra's view by using her body. As they met in the center she flew right through Chesra, hoping to have her skewered. Unfortunately for her things didn't go as planned.
After having watched Bernadette's fight Chesra had the Spectra's fighting style memorized. She knew Eliza wouldn't take the first shot and would pass right through her. Knowing that, the Fallen Angel summoned a Dark Shield behind her and knocked the Ghost Blade away in time to see the Spectra fly face first into the wall of energy. The force of the impact left Eliza momentarily stunned and she phased into the ground, narrowly avoiding the follow up sword strike.
'Bloody hell, she's a dark-type.' Thought Integra. She knew Marco had one dark-type in Carrie but the last time she saw the Penance in a battle was over three months ago and she was far from impressed.
The Spectra reemerged from the floor on her side of the field looking quite annoyed. She always had bad luck when it came to facing dark-types and as she looked at Chesra she knew she was in for a fight. Energy began to swirl around her violently as a jack-o-lantern formed in her hand. In a flash of light she was gone and appeared high overhead, flipping forward and throwing it down with all the strength she had. Chesra was quick to act though, shooting ahead to leave the blast radius then teleporting even higher than the Spectra before summoning her wings. As she hovered there her hands flew into a string signs and gestures. Her wings began to glow with power as they reared back then flapped down, sending a wave of dark imbued Feather Shuriken and Gust at the stunned girl. Needless to say Eliza's return to the floor was anything but graceful.
Ectoplasm leaked from the many cuts spread over the ghost's body and her glowing eyes seemed to dim. Chesra wasn't finished yet, the hand signs had nothing to do with the attacks she had just used and her limbs started glowing with Haste as she reached the floor and launched back into the fight. Her sword swirled with dark energy and on her first pass by left a cut on the Spectra's leg and a glowing orb of dark energy hovering beside her. The same process was repeated three more times with Chesra kicking Eliza into the center point of the spheres and detonating the Dark Bombs.
"Oh bollocks." Integra cringed when the explosions set off but maintained her composure. As long as the Spectra was conscious there was a chance to turn things around. If Eliza had a human body she would have been a bloody mess considering the damage she had taken. Though appearing morbid and twisted, Integra grinned with the knowledge that the Fallen Angel could be taken out of the match. "Eliza, Half-Life!"
Eliza's body began to glow then fade into nothing as she sank into the floor again. Chesra kept her calm as she looked around waiting for the Spectra to reemerge so she could finish her off. Though it was risky Eliza teleported directly in front of Chesra and stared into her eyes using Astonished Soul. For a brief moment the Fallen Angel was frozen in place and that was all that it took for the Spectra to phase through and latch on to Chesra’s back using Pain Split.
Both girls began to glow as Chesra let out a bone chilling scream. The life-energy that was being sucked out of the Fallen Angel was healing the damage she had done to Eliza but still left both girls in a weakened state. Thinking quickly she threw her sword into the ground and flipped forward, landing hard and crushing the Spectra beneath her. The force of the landing was enough to get the ghost-type to let go and from there Chesra teleported overhead again. Dark energy began to pool in both her hands to form both a Dark Bomb and Dark Spear. She threw the bomb higher before shooting down at incredible speed and stabbing the dazed girl through the stomach then launching her into the air using the spear. Eliza's time spent in the air was short, colliding with the bomb and being blown back into the dirt and next to a waiting Chesra who had another spear and was preparing to stab down into the girls chest.
From the look of things Chesra had the battle won but it didn't look like she was going to stop. As far as Marco could tell it looked as if she was going to kill the ghost-type once and for all. "CHESRA STOP!" He yelled, halting the Fallen Angel's Dark Spear mere inches over the downed girl’s chest. With a shaky hand Chesra released the spear and began to back away, picking up her sword while she retreated to her starting line.
Integra was quick to recall the Spectra and bring an end to the round. Her eyes hardened as she looked to the dark-type and quickly pegged her as a traumatized Fallen Angel and if not for Marco stopping her she really would have killed her pokégirl without a second thought. She would have to be especially careful to deal with such an opponent and watched her carefully as she made her way back to her tamer.
Back on Marco's side of the field Chesra's eyes were cast down. She knew she had lost control and could feel the worry and doubt coming from her master. As she stood before him her hands were still shaking.
"You ok?" Marco asked in a calm voice, his emotions leaking through his words and their delta bond.
For a brief moment she hesitated to answer, not truly knowing if there was an answer. She took a breath to steady herself and raised her head to look into the loving and concerned eyes of her master. "Sorry, I kind of lost it for a second. I was just moving on instinct."
He reached around to gently take her by the back of the neck and pulled her into a kiss. "Tis the risk you run when let a warrior fight for sport. It wasn't your fault and I won't condemn you for it. Just be careful out there, the way Integra is looking at you means that she's pulling up all the stops."
Chesra relished in the feel of his hand and the gentle tone of his voice. "I'll be careful, but I will get the job done." She spoke in stern determination before starting back to the field. In an afterthought she looked to the rest of the harem. "Time!?"
"Four minutes fifty-three second!" Jean yelled in mock anger as she gave Henrietta her card back.
Lavenderriere Town, Main Street, 2030
Both Angelica and Evan had met outside the city and started their way through the streets. To keep from drawing unwanted attention they only had their Alphas out as they moved around. The two of them shared a common hatred for each other but were forced to pretend to be on good terms despite keeping their Alphas between them. Angelica had read over Marco's data and agreed with the rest of Evan's harem. What they were attempting was akin suicide but she had given him tactical control of their mission and agreed to follow his orders, within reason. Still, there was something overwhelmingly foreboding about being in the town.
"I have a really bad feeling about doing this." Angelica said in a soft tone.
"My god you sound just like the rest of the harem. We're going to try and hit this guy after he's finished his gym battle. Worst case scenario is that part of his harem will be at full health when we jump them outside of the gym." Ronda explained quickly.
Angelica cut her eye to the Jurumi, she could sense the apprehension in her voice and used her own ability to calm her nerves. "No need to put on a brave face for me sweetheart. It's clear that we are treading on dangerous ground here."
The wave of calm emotions washed over Ronda and for the moment she was relaxed. "If Lord and Master Domico says everything will be alright then it will be. I just wish we could have gotten more information out of that bitch of a War Hound."
Up to that point Croma had been walking in silence. The scent that she had picked up from Evan earlier was even stronger on the Jurumi and it was starting to get to her. "I can't believe he still has you all calling him lord and master. What a pretentious prick."
"Excuse me?!" Evan replied in an elevated tone. "Just because I don't own you doesn't mean I won’t discipline you like the others."
"Right, and since you don't own me don't think I'll just let it happen. Mistress, may I see your pokédex?"
Angelica handed the pokédex to her before softly placing her hand on the back of Croma's neck. "Don't antagonize Alistair; I don't need him doing something that will cause you to hurt him." She corrected the Cerberass while placing emphasis on the traveling names they used in towns.
"Yes ma'am." She replied for the sake of keeping the peace.
Croma knew how much her mistress hated the man and both would have loved nothing more than to kill him and call it an accident. That was something to think about later, right now the scent was still eating at her. She had pulled up her evolutionary line on the pokédex and started backtracking from her current form. The pokédex could draw out a single evolution line or show the many possible evolutions for a particular breed in the form of something akin to a family tree. And it was the second setting as well as Ronda's mention of a War Hound that was really starting to make her concerned.
"My apologies Mr. Alistair. What about the War Hound, you mentioned getting information her?" Croma asked, having taken lessons on how coerce responses by her mistress she kept her tone light and sultry.
"Now that's more like it." Evan replied confidently as his ego inflated. "Before Haures managed to get incarcerated he also managed to capture a girl from the Avalanche unit, a War Hound named Arianna. It took me a week to break her, I had to get a Killer Queen to do it, and she still isn't completely loyal. I've never met a bigger pain in the ass."
Angelica knew that Croma was manipulating Evan for the sake of seeing if she knew the poor soul that was stuck in his harem, and she sympathized with her enough to help. "Maybe we should talk to her, sometimes a gentle touch is all it takes to get what is needed."
"I've found that threatening the ones she likes seems to work pretty damn good myself. She gave us Readman's harem composition and told us who to watch out for."
"Since we're working together it may be helpful if you share that with us."
"He's got an Archangel, Ghostrider, a Peekabu, a Penance, and a Dark Kitsune. The Archangel and Ghostrider are the ones to be wary of, having also been members of the unit. The others are supposedly well trained, and she mentioned something about the Penance being redeemed, but I don't think we're going to have any problems dealing with them."
The female Breaker thought over the harem composition and more importantly the extra information given. She stopped dead in her track when she finally registered what they were dealing with. "We can't win this fight."
Between her words and the pure emotion of fear she was subconsciously letting out even Evan was concerned. "Don't start this again. There are only five of them; between our two harems we shouldn't have a problem killing him."
"You're a fucking idiot so I'm going to spell it out for you. You know how there are specialist tamers out there, tamers who only use one particular breed or type of pokégirl?" She said harshly and started approaching Evan in a way that made him back up against the wall. "He's is quite possibly one of the most dangerous ones to try and combat, a Redemption Tamer. I'm willing to bet that Dark Kitsune was a Nogitsune when he first got her. Through love, trust, compassion, and understanding, all concepts that are beyond your comprehension, he takes in pokégirls that had nothing left and gives them more than they could have dreamed possible. With regular specialist tamers all you need is the counter element to win but he's going to have several different element types to combat. What's worse is that these girls will lay down their lives without a second thought to protect him and if you did get lucky and kill him they will keep fighting in his name until either the opposition is dead or they are. They will never be loyal to anyone else and would sooner commit suicide before joining another harem, and I wouldn't be surprised if the whole unit had the same mindset. There is no victory to be had here."
By the time she was finished she had Evan by his shirt collar and her hands were glowing from the magical energy being let off. Ronda had moved to stop her until Croma seized her by the throat and picked her up. Foolhardy as Evan was he wouldn't attempt to break free, disrupting a spellcaster with primed spells was a good way to have his head blown up.
"So you want to back out of the mission then?"
It finally dawned on Angelica exactly what she was doing and backed off behind Croma before letting her charged spells dissipate. "Release her Croma. I'm not going anywhere, this is my job and I'm going to see it through but we're going to have to be careful about how we go about doing it. I know how you feel about your harem but I'm not willing to lose any of my girls and if this goes ass up we're leaving, with or without you."
Her words were firm and harsh in a way that made sure she was taken seriously. She knelt down and pulled a metal case from her poképack to ready herself for the battle. A long coat, specialized gloves for her casting, and a set of coins were contained inside as well as a set of master balls. The Cerberass made sure to stay between her mistress and the others until she was finished. Not that Angelica couldn't handle herself but she had just humiliated Evan and he would try to get back at her sooner or later. Really she was just hoping they would give her an excuse to attack.
Chesra returned to the starting line and quietly awaited her next opponent. Integra had taken off her coat and handed it off to the older gentleman that had been at her side. He bowed politely before handing her a sword then lighting her cigar.
"Seras, come here." Called Integra.
The blond haired Vampire rose from the bench and began to make her way over. She stood proudly in her Blue League police uniform and knelt before her master, her red eyes glowing in anticipation. "Yes Master?"
"Be careful of that one, Eliza did what she could and removed a substantial amount her health but that could just make her more dangerous. Use this." Integra explained before handing over the sword.
Crimson darkness pooled around both women as the Lucarda surged up from underneath them. "The Fallen Angel will be tough, nullify her attacks like I taught you and the fight will be yours."
"Good ideal Lucy. The moon is full tonight so give it your all; show no mercy... but no killing. Now go."
Seras rose from where she knelt and took hold of the sword. "Yes Master, Mistress, it will be done."
On Marco's side of the field the harem watched the Vampire approach the line and the countdown timer start. Even though Chesra lost half of her energy she appeared ready to go. Jean and Henrietta where just getting ready to place their bets when Ashley put her own card down.
"Ten grand says she loses." The Peekabu announced to the surprise of the others. None too gently, Carrie whacked her in the shin with her sheath. "Fuck, I'm just playing the odds."
"Is it just me or has she gotten more hostile in recent weeks?" Asked Jean, though being sure to stay out of the girls reach.
"It could be you; Ashley does have a point though. I'm going to have to get that Spectra to teach me a few of those attacks. She took a lot out of Chesra in one attack and learning something like that could be useful." Replied Henrietta.
Bernadette shushed the others as the timer reached zero. "You lot quiet it down, it's starting."
For the strong front Chesra was putting up she had lost a lot of her energy fighting the Spectra. She would be able to recover some of it over the course of the round but she would also need to be careful. They all knew of the Vampire's boost in power do to the full moon and Catherine made sure that both Chesra and Carrie knew what to do. The buzzer sounded and both girls left their lines in a burst of speed.
Seras had become well versed in magic over the years and was to the point that she could cast spells while needing only partial incantations. Her hands flew into several different signs on her approach and granted her a massive burst of speed and power that shook the floor with each step. Her first strike was quick, hitting Chesra with a spinning kick that had enough force to stop the other girl dead in her tracks and leave a dent in her armor, both feats that had never been done before. As she landed she grasps her foot in irritation. The strength of her attack had caused it to go numb for the moment and the Fallen Angle was closing in fast. Before she could react Chesra threw her own kick that launched the Vampire into the air.
With a single flip Seras spread her wings to stop her flight then unsheathed her sword before launching back into the attack. Not to be out done, Chesra pulled her sword also and summoned her own wings. The two of them clashed in the center of the field with a deafening clang as the two swords met. Blood was being drawn on both sides and neither was willing to give the other space to breath.
Both harems and masters watched in awe as the two of them dueled in a flashy display of sword techniques backed by raw and savage power. Through years of honed sword fighting Chesra began to gain the upper hand, using sword strikes to create openings then throwing a punch or kick to do damage. This was becoming a problem for Seras, forcing her to transform into mist so she could get away and regroup.
The Vampire began to concentrate more while trying to figure out what to do about her opponent. Chesra was far too experienced to be intimidated and too focused to be tricked into making a mistake. If not for the power of the full moon the fight would have probably been over already. For a moment Chesra appeared blurry and before Seras could tell what was happening she found the tip of a sword coming out her stomach from the back.
If not for her breeds extremely aggressive healing and durability the blow would have been crippling. Through sheer will power she pushed off the blade and spun, striking with the sword. Once again Chesra's armor held strong and she pulled back in an attempt to strike with her fist only to have her opponent disappear. It wasn't just teleportation or an illusion, the Vampire had become completely invisible and moved into a better position to strike.
Chesra's armor wasn't the garden variety worn just to look pretty and be revealing while offering no real protection. It was quite the opposite, still easy to move around in and having a serious lack of weak points to exploit. The only open areas were her arms to a small degree, and that was exactly what got attacked. Utilizing the blood from her quickly healing stomach wound, Seras reappeared and formed Blood Blade. Chesra swung from the side only to have her blade lock against the sword Seras wielded. Then the Vampire struck back, stabbing through the open spot on her arm guards and cutting her arm off at the forearm. If not for the straps of the armor the severed piece would have fallen off completely.
Chesra couldn’t hold in the scream of having her arm cut off and threw a powerful front kick to knock the Vampire flipping away. Without her muscles maintaining the grip on the sword it quickly dropped and stabbed into the dirt. In the back of her mind she was happy she dedicated time to learning to cast Heal with either hand. Though the Heal she already knew could heal some substantial damage the Heal spell could reattach her freshly severed arm. The cost would be that she wouldn't have full control of that arm for a few hours.
In her fury Chesra reclaimed her sword with her off hand and pointed at Seras. "I’m going to take you apart piece by piece!"
"If I go down I promise I'm dragging you screaming along with me!" Seras yelled back, gripping her master's sword in preparation to go on the offensive.
The two were at it again and were still evenly matched. Chesra had been holding back after nearly killing Eliza but Seras was proving to be a serious danger. Now that she had lost use of her dominant hand the Fallen Angel would have to delve into her pool of special attacks. After another series of attacks the pair broke apart again, each taking a moment to catch their breath.
Even in the light of the full moon it was hard to see Chesra's shadow traveling along the ground. The transfer into Beast Rush was swift as she formed into the giant tentacle and knocked the Vampire down. Quickly she morphed back into her regular form before jumping onto the downed girl and biting her sword arm with Crunch. Once again Seras turned into mist before reappearing by her starting line and clutching her broken arm.
"Bloody fucking hell, she's a right pain in the arse!" Seras spat viciously as she gazed upon the tattered remains of her bicep.
The eerie and foreboding sound of Lucy's voice echoed through the stands and Seras's head. "I do not expect to have to fight her Police Girl! If you go down she better go with you!"
"Ye yyes Mistress!"
Through force of will and while fighting though blinding pain Seras began to sign the incantation to her next spell using both arms. Ethereal energy began to swirl around both girls before building up and meeting between them. The chain of spiritual energy slowly formed on their chest linking them together. Chesra brought her sword down in an attempt to cut through the chain but instead passed through it as if it never made contact.
"What manner of sorcery is this?" Asked Chesra as she tentatively tried to grip the chain.
The glowing red eyes of the Vampire narrowed in contempt. "Bound by Destiny, either I walk out of this or neither of us do."
Chesra's glare hardened to match her opponents, their eyes locking in preparation for a final showdown. "Then god bless pokéballs."
"Chesra, go!" "Seras, attack!" Their masters yelled from the sideline.
Both girls were gone in a blur, meeting in the center of the field again, swords crossed in a fight for dominance. In the clashing wave of attacks both swords were gone, lost to their opponent’s side of the field. Punches and kicks were being thrown with bone crushing force and neither girl was backing down. Good etiquette and proper form were gone and forgotten as also was the need to block. If an attack was thrown it either missed or hit with all the force it carried.
On the sidelines, tamers boxes, and in the stands all eyes were focused on the pair in the center. All watching tensely as the Fallen Angel and Vampire gave everything they had into the others defeat. The frequency of the hits began to slow and little by little power was being lost from the blows. It was all going to come down to who had the energy to keep standing and from the looks of thing and the shine of the moon, the Vampire would prevail.
Chesra was running on fumes. Thanks to her armor, any hit that wasn't a head shot was being dulled. In desperation she began to dig deep for energy to use in her last attack. She wouldn't give her opponent the satisfaction on moving on to the next round.
Blocking a strike she grabbed Seras by her broken arm and squeezed. "You fight well and show no fear, it feels good to let loose."
"Back at ya, let's not let this defeat end in bad blood."
Dark energy erupted from Chesra's bad arm as she flung it up to head level. The tiny star made by little energy that went into it dropped between them and for a moment Seras's eyes widened in horror. Chesra gave the Vampire's arm a final yank into a head-butt just as Starburst exploded.
The Vampire collapsed from the light pouring on her body and for a moment all was calm. Chesra stood panting and exhausted but happy in victory. That ended when the ethereal chain broke off Seras's body. There was nothing she could do as it wrapped around her body, binding her tightly and syphoning what little energy she had left. As she fell to the ground the chain began to dissolve and she looked up weakly to the fallen Seras before fainting from exhaustion.
Both harems almost couldn't believe the amount of noise the small group of spectators could make. In their eyes it was a spectacular battle fought between two warriors of equal measure. It was a shame to see it see it come to an end but there was one more fight to be had. Marco wiped the sweat from his forehead and left his tamers box to approach Integra's after recalling Chesra. The Gym Leader did the same and met on the center sideline.
"That was an intense fight. I'm exhausted just from watching." Marco chucked.
"Agreed, Chesra was quite the worthy opponent." Integra replied with a hardened smile.
"About that, what do you say we have a short reprieve and get these two healed up so they can watch the final round?"
"Sounds good, we can have them up and running in no time."
Out in the middle of the city Avalanche was still on their post and waiting for Marco to finish. Between the dome roof of the gym and Isabella aerial recon the others were able to watch the match as it unfolded. Needless to say they were all surprised at how things were going.
"Man, I never thought Chesra would get taken down. That Vamp must be something else." Exclaimed Emaline.
"Chesra's a Beta for a reason. She pretty much took down two Blue League Gym Leader pokégirls by herself. Bernadette really didn't do a whole lot to the Spectra, who in turn sapped nearly half of Ches's energy before she fought the Vampire." Renae replied.
Rebecca sat with the pair but was dutifully obeying Kelly's orders and scanning the area. "What's so special about Blue League Gym Leaders?"
"Nothing really, but I hear that it's much harder to become a Gym Leader there than it is here... Leona could have told us more about it." The Ice Princess stated as she remembered her fallen teammate. "She was from Blue... I should have been able to save her."
"You could have; but then the Colonel would be dead, or you could have died, or hell we all could have died. No one knows what may have happened, we know what did happen and there is no one to blame." Said Emaline as she gave her partner a hug from behind.
Rebecca didn't turn to watch the two comfort each other. She had always wondered if her being there could have made the difference but was forced to be ok with single handedly subduing one of the Sanctuary Goths. "Who’s got the next match; it should be the final round, right?"
Kelly had just teleported in to check on the group. With their colonel in the middle of a match they could see she needed to make sure they were all concentrating on their assignments. "It should be Carrie verses the Lucarda. You're all making sure to watch the roads right?"
"Yes ma'am." They responded in unison.
"Good, let’s hope tonight goes by without a hitch. The last time we got attacked in the city we lost Henrietta and Mar... the Colonel was abducted. Let's keep on our toes." She sighed before teleporting away to check on the next group.
"Man she is tense... Think she found out about Chris trying to diddle the Colonel?" Rebecca attempted to ask with a straight face.
"Diddle?" The other two asked together before breaking down into a fit of laughter. The trio couldn't help but smile as they thought back to the dumbfounded expression their leader had when Leona said it to him the first time. Then her dismay when he explained he didn't “diddle” his coworkers.
Elsewhere in the town the pair of Rocket Breakers were just making their way to Pokégirl Tower. Angelica's earlier explanation of exactly what they were dealing with had gotten the attention it deserved. As they surveyed the area it became clear that they would definitely need to be fast if they were going to kill their target without a fuss.
"So this is the place huh? Just what I would expect of a church run by celestials." Griped Evan.
"I'm sure they would appreciate your decorating tips but I don't think they would approve of the bodies of kits hanging from the walls or pokégirls in stockades for passersby to fuck as they please." Croma spat.
"That's enough Croma." Angelica said sharply. "This is fairly out in the open with some decent lines of sight, a sniper could make quick work of him with little fuss."
Evan nodded in agreement and began looking around. "I'll give you that but I want to watch him die and a bullet is too good for someone who as caused so many problems."
"Ahhh differing opinions, I personally believe in conservation of effort. I'd shoot you given the chance but there's work to be done."
"I'm going to remember that."
"I'll write you a memo so you don't forget. Who are you going to use for this?"
"Ronda's sister. She's the fastest and should be able to make the strike before things get out of hand." He replied before toggling the release for her pokéball.
The pokégirl appeared before them in a flash of electric energy. Standing at 5'4 with the breeds trademark golden spiked hair the Dash appeared. "Is it time?"
"Not yet, how long does it take you to get up to max speed?"
The Dash gave her sister an off look before thinking about the question. "I'd say around eight to ten seconds depending on the terrain."
"When I give the signal I want you to run to this spot and hit the man I showed you the picture of with everything you have. All I want left of him is a fine mist of red."
Ronda hesitated for a moment before grabbing her sister and pulling her back. "Lord and Master Domico, are you sure this is the best plan? What if something goes wrong?"
"Tabitha will be fine."
The Jurumi didn't look convinced. She had no qualms sacrificing any of the other on this mission but when it came to her sister things were different. As much as she hated to admit it there was only one person who could give them the insight she needed. "Let's ask Ari what she thinks."
"I remember you agreeing that the others were worrying about nothing. But, if it will make you feel better we'll ask her."
Croma sucked in a tense breath as Evan toggled the next pokéball. In the same flash as always the War Hound appeared. Her first act upon release was to quickly survey the area and then check the people around her.
"No one’s bleeding. I guess that means you either decided to cancel the blood bath or it hasn't happened yet and you need to ask me a question before you head off to get killed."
"Have a nice long look because this is the spot where your old master will die."
Just as the dark energy began to build up around her both her arms were seized behind her back. She thought about struggling and was about to attack when the scent hit her nose. She knew that smell and thought the worst as she started to turn her head to get a better look. Thankfully it wasn't Zianna holding her back, but the scent was too similar to be a coincidence. Thinking better than to let her feelings get the best of her and also having something to get done she relaxed until the girl let go. Then turned and pounced, sending them both tumbling onto the ground. Though it looked rough and vicious neither girl was really trying to hurt the other.
A wave of calm washed over them both as a soothing but stern voice was heard. "Stop that you two." Slowly they came to a halt and backed away from each other as Angelica stepped between them. "Whatever differences you have can be talked out later. Right now we need to concentrate on the business at hand."
The look and slight nod Angelica gave Croma was all the Cerberass needed to know her master was on board. "Sorry Mistress, she looked like she was about to harm Mr. Domico so I thought it better to stop her quickly."
"Oh my, heaven forbid she does something unthinkable like injure poor defenseless Evan. Anyhow my dear Arianna we are preparing to attack Colonel Readman, we would appreciate any assistance you could give us."
The War Hound dusted herself off before giving herself a once over and removing a piece of her shirt that had gotten torn in the scuffle. "I already informed Lord and Master Domico that the best course of action to take was to not attempt what he plans to. My advice was brushed aside so I wash my hands of this whole mess and hope that those I trained fight well before they meet their end."
Angelical focused her Telempathy on Arianna, trying her best to reach a level of understanding as she spoke. "I agree completely with your assessment. I got to meet your former Colonel earlier, he's a kind man and personally I don't want to do this. All the same I have my orders to follow and will see the job done."
Her ears perked up at the thought of the woman before her meeting her colonel. "So you met him, what did he say to you."
"It was brief, just passing by each other. He complimented me... Called me beautiful."
"The Colonel doesn’t lie, but who are you? You seem to have too much sense to be in a relationship with Lord and Master Domico."
Angelica couldn't help but laugh and be offended at the same time. "I'm also a Breaker, Angelical Oran, and no I probably hate Evan just as much as you and the others do. I understand you won't help us to harm Mr. Readman I just want to keep the casualties to a minimum. Our plan is to ambush him as he leaves the gym and kill him quickly. Tabitha is going to rush in and take him down in one shot. Personally I think we should just use a sniper and be done with it."
"You have the right idea. Tabitha didn't want to take part in my training so I could care less what happens to her." She looked at the surrounding area and where it was all supposed to take place then shook her head. "It's just as well I guess; she'll be dead in short order." Ronda took exception to Arianna's description of her sister's imminent death and lunged forward to attack her. It didn't do much good, in the process of flipping her over the War Hound also managed to break Ronda's wrist, elbow, and dislocate her shoulder all in one fluid counter. "If you rush in blindly to attack a dangerous singular target it tends to end in tragedy. Properly coordinated attacks are the best ways to defeat such a target."
Evan recalled Arianna again then released Sevon who looked down at the Jurumi and let out a sigh. "She did it again I see."
Angelica released Phoebe so she could see her sister before the fighting started. The Moonmaid was shocked to see her sister working so quickly on healing the Jurumi. "I’m glad to see you're ok sis."
"Still alive and kicking, though I'm not sure how much longer that's going to be. Stop squirming damn it, she always breaks it in the same spots." Sevon yelled to the uncooperative Jurumi. "I wish you didn't have to get involved in this, I've already resigned myself to the notion I'm going to die tonight."
Phoebe knelt down and whispered into her sister’s ear. "You don't have to, here," She explained before sliding a coin into the Guard Maid's pocket. "If it gets really bad break it in half and you'll be safe."
"Thanks sis, but what about you?"
"Croma has one too; if shit goes bad we're leaving."
Sevon healed the Jurumi as best as she could then nodded to Evan so she could be recalled. He recalled both girls before releasing Pamela and Helga. "This is the place where we're going to kill Readman. The short version is that Tabitha is going to rush in at full speed and drop him in one shot. After that we'll need to subdue whatever girls are out with him. If they become too much of a hassle then kill them and let that be the end of it."
Angelica cleared her throat to get Evan's attention then pulled out a Masterball. "With any luck these should make short work of dealing with any rowdy girls. But we will still need to be cautious when we decide to release them. I would recommend a level three cycle first."
"I decide what happens to them after their captured, not you."
"Suit yourself, we're going over there." She replied before waving him off and motioning for her girls to follow. Once they were far enough away she let out and aggravated sigh and looked to Croma. "Did you figure out what you needed to?"
"She is indeed my sister. I know it and she knows it too. I don't understand why she attacked me though, I could tell she knew we were related and she wasn't trying to hurt me."
"What makes you think she wasn't trying to hurt you?"
"You saw what she did to Ronda. It she really wanted to hurt me in our scuffle she would have."
"Then that just raises the question, what was she trying to accomplish? Did Sevon get that coin?"
Phoebe nodded slowly. "She's changed since the last time we were together. I told her what to do if the worst were to happen... I'm starting to have the same bad feelings as you Mistress."
"Then we won't ignore it, we just pray that we're wrong."
Phoebe nodded and noticed the large amount of pokéballs on her master's belt. "Did you bring the rest of the harem?"
"No these are from the surplus vault. I'm not going to risk the others for this and I want you two to leave if things go wrong." She turned to look directly into the Moonmaid's eyes. "Even if Sevon gets captured."
"But... I can't just leave her."
"He's not the type to just kill pokégirls for nothing. She will be safe and have time to escape."
A half an hour had passed since the conclusion of the battle between Chesra and Seras. Because of the considerable damage both girls had taken along with the massive amount of energy they had expended it took a while to get them fully healed. Now they each sat on their sidelines waiting for the final battle to start.
Carrie had taken out her headphones during the intermission and sat with her eyes closed. She had chosen one track and put it on repeat, finding comfort in the music and feeling it as an extension of herself. She didn't flinch when she felt the hand rest on top of her head, opening her glowing eyes and looking from underneath her hood.
As always the warm smile of her master put her at ease. "It's time, you have the final round and it's going to be tough. I know you can do it."
'I will win, I'm not going to stop until I win. I will do whatever it takes and fight as hard as I must but I'm going to win.'
"Win or lose you evolve tonight and when we're alone together I want to hear you sing for me."
She stood from her seat and wrapped her arms around his waist in a gentle hug. 'It will be my pleasure Master, to sing for you and to speak your name. But there is no or lose, I'm going to win.'
"Then have at it. I don't want you to start out using the sword. Hold off as long as you can. She's a good deal stronger than you but you're way tougher than she is. Give it everything you got."
'I will... and I'm going to win.' She mentally said before standing on the tips of her toes and kissing Marco. She adjusted her sword one last time before letting her cloak envelop.
On the other side of the field Integra, Lucy, and Seras watched the exchange between Marco and Carrie. Though not expecting the Penance she wasn't a bad choice. Still, Chesra was marked as the Alpha and pushed Seras to her limits. For the Penance to be up when they still had suitable fire-types and an electric pokégirl made them think there was more to her than she appeared.
"Well this is it Marco, the final round. I do hope she's up to the task." Integra stated with amusement.
"She won't lose. Carrie decided to hold off her evolution into a Mistress and trained like crazy for this gym battle."
Lucy focused her eyes on the Penance. Though her features were obscured by the hood she could see her eyes. Focused glowing eyes that were prepared to fight for all she was worth. "Hum... So what happens if she loses? Will she still wait until you get the badge?"
"Oh no, she's evolving tonight, but she's going to win. Don't feel bad or take it easy on her, she said she won't stop until she's victorious." Marco explained with a proud smile.
"If I could still feel compassion I might be getting choked up right about now."
The two of them took their places on the field center lines and waited for the timer to click down. The crowd, the harems, everyone was on the edge of their seats and waiting for the match to start. Marco's harem decided not to bet on Carrie's match. This was fine with Ashley who had won her bet off a technicality.
"Do you think she can win this?" Asked Bernadette.
"Her chances are far better than anyone else sitting here. Maybe with the exception of Rietta, and that's a pretty strong maybe." Replied Chesra. "We're all motivated with the need to win our match for Marco. On top of that she's fighting for her evolution."
"But Marco said that win or lose she would evolve anyway. It shouldn't make a difference." Ashley corrected.
Henrietta sat back and crossed her arms. "Poké-psychology, you've been in her position Ashe. It's the last fight and everyone's hard work comes down to you. You were told that win or lose there was an evo-stone with your name on it. But you lost, would you really want to evolve, would you feel like you deserved it?"
Ashley shivered and hugged herself tightly. "Now I'm afraid..."
"I understand your feelings Ashley." Spoke Jean in a worried tone. "She'll fight on until there's nothing left in the tank. When she does take the sword out I wonder if she'll be able to concentrate enough to use the right powers."
"About that sword, I asked her if I could try it and she refused. Is there something special about it?" The Piratit hadn't been around long enough to know the story behind the sword and Carrie's training area was well away from the others. Though she had trained against the Penance before, it was to continue work on Carrie's sword play.
"It's best if you watch the match, then understand that it's cursed and she's trained a long time to bring out its power. No one else is allowed to use it but her."
It was the moment they were all waiting for. The timer struck zero and the Lucarda lunged from her line and was met with a bladed foot to the face that sent her onto her back. The fight had begun and the first blow had been dealt.
Under normal circumstances and against normal opponents Carrie was a far greater threat than she let on. Her cloak kept her shrouded in shadows and nearly invisible, so unless her opponent had night vision or could use Dark Goggles they couldn't see her strikes until they were already in motion. On top of that she used two different fighting styles, one centered on her powers and her opponent never being able to see her. While the other was based on her breeds exceptional durability and her proficiency in close range combat. Because of the Lucarda's innate abilities she would be relying on the second type.
Lucy sprung back to her feet and laughed hysterically as the gashes on her face and neck healed. "Nice kick, but that was a freebee."
Red eyes pulsed as the Lucarda charged forward at full speed and struck the Penance, forcing her into the air. From there she grabbed her and teleported higher before unleashing a flurry of blows before ending in a drop kick that sent Carrie crashing back into the dirt. One teleport later found Luck back at the starting line and waiting for the dust to settle to admire her handy work. The smug look on her face wavered when the dust settled and Carrie was brushing dirt off her cloak.
Over the years Lucy had fought just about all manner of pokégirl. She vaguely remembered a foolish tamer back in Blue who had set a Damsel out on the field. Tough was an understatement for how difficult it was to damage the girl and even though the durability on the Penance wasn't as high she also didn't have any issues attacking. Carrie picked the last piece of dirt off her then snapped her head off to the side with a loud crack before looking at the Lucarda.
Chesra sat forward in anticipation. "They are done getting a feel for each other. The real battle starts now."
Dark energy coated Carries limbs as she left her starting line and went on the offensive. Lucy beat her past the halfway line and the two began exchanging blows. Punches and kicks were thrown and landed from unbelievable angles as both girls were hell bent on taking the upper hand. Lucy's brute strength failing to penetrate Carrie’s immense durability and Carrie failing to do substantial damage against Lucy’s regeneration. Finally the two broke apart and gave the spectators a chance to see what damage had been done.
Lucy grimaced; the cuts that the dark-type inflicted weren't deep but wouldn't heal as quickly as the ones before she started using her powers. On the other hand, Carrie fully removed the tattered remains of her cloak after Blood Blades had shredded it. Scrapes and scratches were all over her arms but no significant damage was done.
The ground began to rumble violently as Lucy unleashed more of her powers. "I see I'm going to need a little something extra or you'll dice me up." Bones short from the ground and began attaching themselves to her body. Slowly the suit of Bone Armor formed, skulls of dead pokégirls sat atop her shoulders as the rest of the bones attached to her chest, back, arms, and legs. "There, that should do the trick."
Carrie shrugged and made her way to where Integra's sword had fallen. The Gym Leader had chosen to leave it there in spite of Marco getting Chesra's and now Carrie had it. Being trained by Chesra directly brought a knowledge and respect for weaponry. It caught the Lucarda off Carrie took the sword in both her hands and held it out to be taken. She then smiled and signed something before going back to her line.
Lucy accepted the sword and being honor bound didn't stab the Penance. All the same there was something bothering her. "What did she say, I don't know sign language!"
Have been told by Carrie, Marco laughed to himself before answering. "She said, that should just about make things fair."
Flames erupted from the Lucarda's hand in her anger, the comment having struck a nerve. She swung with the sword to create a diversion before reaching out to slash with Hell Claw. The infernal attack connected, leaving a deep gash that caused the Penance to cry out. Though the wound looked bad she fought through it and countered, tossing her opponent to the opposite end of the field.
Wings extended, Lucy flipped once and landed in a crouch. The air rippled and a faint howling was heard as ethereal power was summoned and mixed with the infernal energy she produced. Her glowing red eyes pulsed with fury as swirling crimson vortexes appeared out of nowhere. Seemingly straight from the pits of hell the six bats like blast of energy tore through the vortexes.
Carrie sucked in a deep breath in preparation for the Grisly Wing attack heading her way. Between the distance and intervals of each blast released there was no way she would be able to dodge them all. The first two were narrow misses but the resulting blast caused her to stagger. There it was clear the remaining four would score direct hits and Dark Shield Was quickly summoned to divert some of the explosion. It wasn't enough though and the resulting blast kicked the Penance back in a cloud of dust.
The Lucarda wasn't done yet. More vortexes began to open on the ground. A two headed hound leapt from one of the crimson pools and began to stalk its way around Carrie. It's four glowing eyes beamed with fury, trying to find the best angle to attack its prey. With a savage howl it charged to attack, biting and clawing as the two danced around each other.
So focused was Carrie on the hound in front of her she almost didn't notice the two dozen more that had sprung forth. She was quickly being surrounded and trapped as they closed in and though her claws and hair had managed to remove a few of them their numbers were increasing. Marco looked on with a slight hint of a smile and thought back to what his aunt had said.
~Two Nights Ago~
Marco was sitting in his office looking over a map of Lavenderriere. There was a lot of planning necessary for operating in an Anti-Pokégirl Rights area and not raising suspicion. A light knock was heard from out his door before it opened slighting. His aunt made her way in and took seat a calmly as she could considered her entire right arms was glowing.
"Are you ok, what happened?" Marco asked in a concerned panic.
"It’s nothing a run through the healing unit won't fix my dear nephew. I wanted to talk to you about Carrie." She explained while her eyes pulsed with an unknown emotion.
"Sure... What happened, is she ok? I heard that you were going to test her again."
"She's fine, the little minx. She let me win..."
It took Marco several seconds to register what his aunt had said and even then he had only one reply. "What?"
"She let me win. Be it because I'm your aunt and she doesn't want to hurt me, because she's afraid of hurting my pride, or some other unknown reason, she let me win our match. Pulled back at the last second when she could have taken my arm and stabbed me through the heart. Mind you it wouldn't have killed me outright, but the time necessary to regenerate from such an attack coming from a celestial powered weapon is substantial and would leave me open to more... permanent attacks. It was just one of several skirmishes that should have ended poorly for me."
"Not that I'm ungrateful for knowing this. But why are you telling me this?"
"Because I didn't tell her. I respect the fact that she holds me in such a regard that she would let me win to save face... though it does still hurt my pride. I tell you because as her kind and loving tamer and as my favorite nephew..."
"I'm your only nephew." He quickly interrupted before noticing he missed the joke and urging her to continue.
"Right, as I was saying, you need to know these things. You do right by all you command and have become a fine man. The small crack in my pride that comes from knowing she should have won is easily glossed over by knowing I had a hand in raising such a fine man."
Marco smiled; it was rare for his aunt to openly praise anyone, family included. He knew she was telling the truth. "Thank you Aunt Cat. Though I insist I'm not the great man you think I am."
He eyes pulsed for only a second but she grinned anyway. "Oh? I'm aware of your transgressions." She gave the faintest smile at the confused look he wore. "I spoke with Christina and Ariel as well as some of the others. When no one wants to talk about what happened but all share a satisfaction at the event... yeah."
His confused look turned into a shocked smile and then a laugh. "You would approve." He took another look at her arm. "Anything I can do for you?"
"Two things, never tell Carrie I know, I'm not one to turn down a courtesy when presented with one. And... I want some of your blood, a taste for old times’ sake."
He nodded and unbuttoned his collar. "Consider it done."
Carrie was still having a rough time when Marco's eyes snapped open. For every one of the mutated dogs she took down three more took its place. That was all about to change. The delta bonded members of the harem could feel the pride and reassurance through their bonds.
Jean could feel it too, though her bond was still fresh, she nudged Bernadette in the side. "Now you're going to see why she had to train so hard."
"CARRIE!" Marco yelled across the field, the sound of his voice getting everyone's attention. "Bring us home love! Use your sword!"
'I love you Master.' The Penance thought through the bond.
'I love you too, and you'll be calling me Marco tonight... right?'
'You know I will.'
As her hand made contact with the sword its sheath began to glow in an almost blinding white light. The once ferocious hounds began to back down, a few still growling with bloodlust. They could sense something dangerous was approaching, an overwhelming power was about to be unleashed from the girl before them. The white changed to an eerie red as she unsheathed the katana in a swift and fluid motion.
Apprehension could be seen on the faces of those watching from crowd. As mundane as the penance looked the intense waves of evil were coming from her and her alone. Black flames licked from the tip of the blade as waves of heat radiated from it. Her blue eyes almost seemed to darken as she crouched into her stance and concentrated.
"That's a right evil wind you got blowing there. Never expected such a thing from a Penance." Lucy remarked and focused her familiars to attack.
The first hound charged in from behind Carrie and was cleaved in two just as it closed in. More attacked each coming in faster than the last but none survived long. Never the less they continued to attack and she displayed her skill, ducking and dodging while cutting them down. As they fell more emerged from the vortexes and she appeared to be in danger of being overrun by the numbers. Finally she'd had enough; with her sword igniting in black flames she stabbed it into the ground and for the moment all was quiet.
Three hounds jumped at her simultaneously, all intent on getting their jaws on a limb. Just as they were in reach black flames shot up from the ground. The whole infernal pack was enveloped in a sea of raging Hell Fire, cooking them instantly in howling cries of pain. The once imposing pack of hounds were reduced to piles of smoldering ashes in a matter of seconds and as she pulled the blade from the ground a wave of unease was felt by all who looked upon her.
For the harem, all who had witnessed the attack for the first time, they were left speechless. A sentiment that was mirrored by Integra's harem. The spectators were silent as well, except for the lone whistle of amazement from one stunned tamer.
With the field clear Carrie was free to refocus her attention back on the Lucarda who had retreated to the other side of the field to get away from the Hell Fire. Lucy's body was practically vibrating with anxiety and excitement. Never before had she seen such a display of power from such a docile opponent. Once again, crimson vortexes formed in preparation for another Grisly Wing. Carrie was prepared though, sheathing her sword and concentrating on her own attack. Just as before the bat like blast of energy left the vortexes and made a beeline straight for her.
The unsheathing of the katana came in a flash, her six slashes opening up tears in space and unleashing Heaven's Arrows from each one. The twelve energies collided between them in a massive explosion fit to shake the whole building. Before the dust could settle Lucy was in motion and closing in to attack. Carrie sheathed then unsheathed her sword again, changing its properties and causing the sheath itself to glow yellow.
The Lucarda came down from above, hell bent on taking off Carrie's sword arm with one swing. She was met with an unforeseen level of resistance, the Penance blocking the attack with her free forearm and countering with a brutal slash across Lucy's stomach. Though it was a direct hit Lucy continued to fight on, blood spilling from the opened wound that was quickly sealing thanks to her regeneration. Her counter attack was swift and vicious but ineffective against the hardened skin of the Penance.
As the battle raged on between them Marco was beginning to understand why his aunt had such a difficult time against her. Carries natural abilities combine with her training made it almost impossible to damage her. She could dodge most range attacks and excelled at close range fighting. This was doubly true when taking advantage of opponents who couldn’t see through her shrouds. Then there were the numerous and unknown abilities held inside the katana she wielded. He could see the flames burning inside the Lucarda; she was frustrated but having the time of her life.
Both fighters broke apart again after a prolonged clash. Carrie moved to engage but stopped as the ground began to rumble. Glowing hot chains shot up from underneath her, binding her where she stood. For all her durability the heat from Hell Imprisonment cut right through it. Her screams of pain being music to the Lucarda's ears.
Lucy wasn't done yet though. Her Bone Armor broke away, only to hover around her. Soon more bones from the bodies of fallen pokégirls rose from the ground to add to the development of the Skeletal Sphere. The end result was one massive hovering ball of bones with the Lucarda in the center controlling its form.
"You've got some impressive abilities, of that I have no doubt. All the same, you're stuck there and I'm going to flatten you into a Penance Pancake."
Carrie was gritting her teeth in pain and aggravation as she struggled against the chains. The Skeletal Sphere began to roll, though still hovering in one spot; she was running out of options. She hated to put her carefully crafted plan to waste but if she didn't do something soon she was going to be crushed.
The sphere finally shot forward and started its destructive path towards the Penance. She had intentionally been sheathing her sword when she changed abilities to trick her opponent into thinking that was the only time she could do it. Her ruse had everyone fooled and left stunned when the sword began to glow in a blinding white light. In a single swipe she had cut through the chains holding her arm and leg then swung upward from the ground. The wave of holy energy unleashed from the Transcendent Sword technique tore down the field before colliding against the bone sphere. Though most of the bones were stripped away and Lucy took minor damage the defensive properties were high enough to allow Skeletal Sphere to continue on and plow into Carrie.
Luck wasn't being very kind to either girl at this point of the match. Lucy had managed to fire off Bone Dance with the few skulls she had remaining and almost hit before rolling into Carrie. The Penance was at the top of her game though and chose to hit the dirt before forming a Dark Shield on top of herself. The Lucarda couldn't help the rage induced yell she let out when the Penance crawled back to her feet and spit out a mouthful of dirt then cut off the remaining chains.
Both girls had seriously underestimated each other up to that point. The crowd was cheering in a frenzy and though the combatants were willing to give them what they wanted the match was coming to an end. None expected the opponents to be so evenly matched; the durability of the Penance against the regeneration of the Lucarda. If either hoped to be victorious it would have to come down to one decisive and overwhelming blow.
Carrie sheathed her sword one last time and looked up at the sky. The moon was full and out in all its glory without a cloud to be seen. This was a problem for the Penance but one she could work her way around. For her final attack she would need more shadows and began to harness all of her dark powers. She would have to do a lot of manipulating and if she failed she would be left with no energy to fight with.
Lucy could feel that the end was drawing near. Under normal circumstances she would be happy to sit back and watch as her opponent exhausted the last of her energy in a fruitless attack. That wasn't the case this time. She would have to unleash every last bit of her power into the Penance's defeat.
A hush fell over the crowd as the stadium lights started to dim. Without the artificial lighting all that was left was the moon light shining brightly from above. Then the from out of nowhere a shadow formed in the middle of the field. Though it started small it quickly got larger until the entire field was covered in darkness. The spectators looked around in to see what was happening and with a glance up saw the black orb in the sky blocking the moonlight. Carrie and Lucy could see clearly, Dark Goggles having been activated.
With the field prepped and the crowd on straining to see what was going on the combatants launched into battle again. Sparks few as the swords clashed against each other in a dance of skill. Lucy had coated her blade in not only ethereal power but infernal energy as well and each strike let out a wave of energy and fire. Not to be outdone, Carrie had infused her sword with dark energy.
Both girls were having their dark powers bolstered by the Light Drain technique and it was something they were both planning on taking advantage of. After a particularly severe clash that resulted in her leg being cut through the Lucarda teleported away to the far end of the field. Her golden blond hair started to stand on end as black sparks of electricity circled around her. Before Carrie could react the bolt of Dark Thunder screeched down the field and scored a direct hit, causing her to convulse for a moment before stumbling in confusion.
That one moment was all the Lucarda needed. Teleporting in, she struck with Shadow Punch, knocking the wind out of the shorter girl. From there she hit her with several more strikes before knocking her flat onto the ground. The shadow that once covered the field began to shrink down until only the two of them were left in the small circle it created. Her grin was one of twisted evil and pleasure as she reached down lifted the dazed girl by the throat.
"Oh you have no idea how much I'm going to enjoy this." The black flames of Hell Fire rolled down the sleeves of her now tattered long coat. Her grip on Carrie's neck tightening as she squeezed. "I guess you'll just have to settle for evolving from a loss and letting down your master."
'That was the wrong thing to say!' Carrie thought and tightened the grip on her sword.
In an instant her whole body radiated in a fierce holy light bright enough to Lucy to break the hold. The brightness of Highway to Heaven had cast a shadow of the Lucarda and from that shadow Carrie formed her Shadow Spears. Dozens of spears shot forward from the shadows, running the Lucarda through from behind and lifting her off the ground. A single swipe of Carrie's sword was all it took to remove the arm that once gripped her throat. She retracted the spears, dropping Lucy to the ground then stepped on her remaining arm before stabbing her through the chest. She'd seen Lucy regenerate throughout the match and knew it wouldn't be enough to kill her and sure enough the arm was already trying to repair itself. With one twist of the blade she pulled it back out then kicked the lifeless body towards Integra's side of the field.
Lucy looked pathetic as far as Integra was concerned. Even though she was still fighting to get back to her feet the damage was done. It would take days for the Lucarda to properly regenerate her missing limb and to Integra that meant a loss. The return beam fired and signaled the end of the match.
The crowd erupted in cheering as the Penance sheathed her sword started her way back to her harem and master. Ashley and Jean met her half way, tackling her into hugs and lifting her on their shoulders. During their celebration Integra made her way over to address them.
"It seems as though my girls could use more training. Good show Marco, your girls earned their victory today."
"The pleasure was all ours. We knew going in that it was going to be rough. I'm proud that both sides fought as well as they did."
The older gentleman seems to appear out of nowhere and was holding a tray with a pokéball and slots for several others. "Mr. Readman, it you would please recall your Penance I will have her healed up in time for the presentation ceremony."
Marco removed Carrie's ball from his belt and planted a kiss on her forehead before recalling and handing her over. "Thank you, I appreciate it."
"Think nothing of it Mr. Readman. I will be back in a moment Sir. Integra."
"Thank you Walter." Integra nodded before turning her attention back to Marco. "It isn't very often I personally hand out a gym badge. That being, a small presentation ceremony is held. You'll receive the Royal Cross Badge and the data will be added to your pokédex. It's a short ceremony, twenty minutes at the most."
The rest of Marco's harem had gathered around while still basking in their victory. "Ahh, then we'll be looking forward to it."
Evan and Angelica had already taken up their positions and were waiting a decent ways away from Pokégirl Tower. They knew that Readman had his gym battle and were passively checking the Indigo Tamer's Ranking Site for news on his victory or defeat. The site updated instantly with tamers data via the pokédex and anytime there was a battle the numbers would change. Aside from that there was no information on harem compositions or the tamers themselves. That could only be extracted during the battle preparation exchanges.
It was on one of Angelica's checks that she finally saw the numbers change. "Marco Readman just won his battle in a close 3 to 2 victory. If I remember correctly there is a short ceremony had for winning the badge and then he should be on his way out." She spoke into her headset.
"Good that means some of his harem should be worn out and will show little resistance. We'll let him get to the spot I pointed out earlier then I'll signal Tabitha to start her approach."
Angelica's precognition hadn't let up since they entered the town. She would get short flashes of a corpus being made but couldn’t tell who it was. Evan had claimed it was due to the high paranormal activity in the area but the flashes she got were too accurate to be dismissed. "That's fine, I just want it to go on record that this is a horrible idea. I know it, Croma knows it, Ronda knows it, and in a few minutes I think you will know it too."
"Shut the hell up, just follow my plan and everything will work out fine."
Elsewhere Kelly had finished checking on the rest of the unit and returned to her staging area. Chris, Mina, Alexis, and Ariel were standing by with her. Now that their colonel was done with the battle they would be going active. While he could leave the city at any time and no one would notice, he was supposed to be acting as bait. For him to be an effective target he would have to make it to the outskirts of the city on foot and then could teleport from there. That was assuming of course that nothing tried to kill him in that window of time.
Chris had taken another look at the layout of the city and cringed. "I understand that he's supposed to be getting attacked but this seems way too risky."
"You're preaching to the choir. We know what he's doing, we understand why he's doing it, and we all think it sucks." Mina groaned.
Ariel took a sip of her coffee then checked her sidearm. "Between agents Spence, Delilah, and Minerva we know that they are finding his location when he registers for gym battles. It's safe to assume that eventually Team Rocket is going to make another attempt on his life. Do you think Arianna is going to be heading things up?"
"No and if she is then things have really gone to shit."
Alexis nodded in agreement. "It may not have seemed like it but Arianna is actually quite brilliant. If she was helping them we would have already been in combat. She's one of the founding members of Avalanche and helped develop some... most of the advanced urban tactics we use."
"Not to mention having the best nose in the unit." Kelly added as an afterthought. "No way in hell we would be able to hide from her in a town this small. She knows us, knows our abilities, knows who to target first, and who to stay clear of. I guess we're lucky if her loyalty to us runs so deep."
"Marco's empathy strikes again." Chris sighed and though back to Yule Eve and her close encounter with the man in question. This didn't go unnoticed by the Cherub but she thought better than to speak on it. Things were tense enough as it was without setting Kelly on edge. The Duelist had been particularly bitchy since Yule Day and no one was willing to tempt fate or her wrath by ask why.
Their conversation was put on the back burner when they received the signal that Marco was leaving the gym. Because the town was built into a valley the path leading out ran straight through the town. Both forces were oblivious to each other’s presence but that fact was about to change.
To know why Evan's plan was doomed to failure one would have to know the man he was trying to kill. In the pokéball on Evan's belt rest the captured War Hound. She had ran the scenario though her head countless times and thought on her knowledge of the colonel. Nearly a decade of watching that man provided her with valuable knowledge. Things that if understood guaranteed that attacking him after the battle was pointless.
The first part of Evan's plan to go awry was the number of pokégirls out with Marco as he left. Regardless of the laws and regulations of whatever city he was in he always left with his entire harem out. Second was something carried over from the military and basic tamer common sense. If he did a battle, anyone he used in the battle was to be fully recovered before they left. That meant that they could all fight to their full capabilities if needed too. Hoping that those habits about her colonel hadn't change, Arianna had set the stage to warn Marco of the attack well before it ever happened.
Marco and his harem had left the gym in high spirits after their victory. Carrie was practically glued to his side and was looking forward to getting home without incident. All was going well until both Ashley and Jean stopped. The Dark Kitsune moved ahead of the group while the Peekabu moved to her master's side.
Evan knew there was something wrong when the two tailed fox got down on all fours and started sniffing the ground. 'Come on, move damn it! What the fuck is she sniffing for?' The fox was right on top of the spot they had been standing on earlier and did a few circles before picking up something and teleporting in front of Marco. "What in the hell is going on?" He whispered to the Jurumi and into his receiver.
"I don't know but they stopped moving." Angelica replied. "Something's up, call it off."
"No, a stationary target is better. This can work."
"Master please, I'm begging you, don't do this." Ronda latched on to his arm pleading for the sake of her sister who would be the first to go in.
Evan forcefully shoved her out of the way to get a better view. "It's happening tonight." He said sternly before pressing a button on his receiver. "Tabitha, NOW."
Three and a half miles away the Dash jumped to her feet and took off in a burst of speed and electrical energy. The glowing blue orb of electricity encircled the girl as the Sonic Field took place. Nearby animals who could hear the massive amount of wind being generated scattered from their homes. Tree tops shook from the force she generated as she passed by and in the distance a streak of blue could be seen if one was paying attention.
As far as Evan was concerned everything was going according to plan. He could see Tabitha at the last marker before entering the town and in another few seconds all his problems would be dealt with. Windows and doors shook as the Dash blurred past them and she was in line for a direct hit.
Angelica's precognition revealed the full picture to her moments too late for it to matter. "Ronda, I'm sorry."
A mere fifty feet away from Readman the entire area began to shake as a giant divot formed in the path the Dash would be running through. The second she entered that space she fell flat into the ground as a set of black spikes tore through her body and her head came off. Her lifeless body hit the ground with a heavy thud and for the moment everything was quiet again.
It had happened so quickly that Ronda wasn't able to process what had happened. Finally her brain lurched back on and she let out an ear shattering wail. This didn't go unnoticed by Marco and his harem who appeared to be equally caught off guard by what had happened. Evan released the rest of his harem in preparation for the battle that would be taking place.
Marco and his harem were just leaving the gym and everything appeared fine until Jean and Ashley pulled him back.
The Dark Kitsune took several sniffs of the air before walking forward. "Wait here, Ashley get ready with your barrier." Jean commanded before getting down and sniffing the area. She had walked in a few circles before picking up a piece of cloth and teleporting back to Marco's side. "This smells exactly like Arianna, and it's fresh. This couldn't be more than an hour old."
Anger burned Marco him in a flash and he latched onto the closest thing. Fortunately it was Carrie, she hardened her skin to keep it from hurting and squeezed back to let him know she was there. "Sorry, I just can't believe she was here and we missed her." his aggravation was quickly set aside when the beeping went off in his ear.
Before he could answer the transmission came through. "COLONEL, HIGH SPEED POKÉGIRL IS CLOSING IN ON YOUR LOCATION!" Isabella yelled across all the channels.
Back at Kelly's location the Duelist was watching Isabella's display. Whatever the pokégirl was she was coming in at an incredible speed. Isabella had her clocked at 390 mph and she was making a straight line for Marco. Thinking quickly she looked over to Mina and Alexis.
"All teams, hold your positions. You two, go, I don't care what you have to do, break power restrictions if you have to but take her down before she reaches the Colonel!"
"Ma'am!" The two replied before teleporting away.
They appeared on a rooftop close to Marco and high enough to see the streak for blue heading towards the town. Mina didn't have much time to calculate how quickly the girl would enter her field of Dark Matter and didn't want to cause massive damage to the surrounding area with the intense gravity. Once the hostile pokégirl was in the she came to a dead stop and fell flat on her face. The Kunoichi didn't spare a second thought on sending up Shadow Spears and impaling the downed girl. Not being one to leave things to chance Alexis teleported and left the area quickly enough to take the girls head off with a Psy-Blade and not be seen.
This had all happened so quickly that Marco and his harem didn't notice until the body hit the ground. The bone chilling scream on the other hand was something that caught his immediate attention. As was the pokégirl that came running up from the shadows of a nearby building. She practically dove onto the body of the dead Dash and started sobbing. Her grief stricken face quickly turned to one of twisted rage as she looked at Marco.
"YOU! You're responsible for my sister’s death!" Ronda shouted, flames encircling her hands as her anger grew.
Marco looked upon the girl before him then to the body of the fallen pokégirl and shrugged. As far as he was concerned they looked nothing alike but that wasn't his concern. "I'm pretty sure she was about to attack me, otherwise there was no reason to be entering the town at such a high speed. Hell, it's expressly forbidden."
From the same shadow Evan appeared along with the rest of his harem. The Slicer and Guard Maid were visibly shaken now that they were face to face with the harem Arianna had warned them about. His Demon-Goddess Sandra locked eyes on Chesra while Tessa and Pam took positions to Evan's sides. Helga didn't like the numbers of the fight they were about to have and honestly would have preferred to battle one on one.
Angelica and her harem of Croma and Phoebe back by a Tank Vixxen, Moon Bunny, Butter-She, Imp, and Crystalline Giantess made their presence known as well. Not that the later could hide, she was just the last to come out of the pokéball. The female breaker also didn't want to be standing before them. But there was a job to be done and considering the way he was looking at her and the whispers of the Dark Kitsune. Things were on the fast track to bad.
After Jean finished talking to Marco his eyes lit up like a wildfire. The angry scowl never left his face but strong urging by Carrie got him to calm down enough to speak clearly. "Giving you both the benefit of the doubt, one of you has been in contact with a pokégirl that was taken from me. Suffice to say I want her back. Now before things start heading down a dark path lets have some introductions."
Evan shrugged off his coat to reveal his strong muscular build. "Since you won't be living past tonight I guess it's ok to know whose going to be killing you. Name's Evan Domico, lead Breaker of Team Rocket."
Angelica shook her head in disbelief. "My god you're an idiot."
"Evan Domico? Evan 'Home-wrecker' Domico? Pokékit butcher, pokégirl torturer, and all around sadist Evan Domico? Oh man." As Marco was rattling off the list of aliases his pokégirls began to visibly shake, much to the other man's delight but not for the reason he thought.
"I see my name gets around, and that it has such a profound effect of people. And to think that whore... what was her name again? Orial, Arianal, ... oh that's it, Slut Puppy! She said that I should be afraid of you."
It was hard to tell who or where the growl was coming from but it sounded infuriated. "You really should have listened to her. But that's something you can think on in the afterlife. I'll be sending you there soon. Even if you were to just give her back to me right now I'd still kill you out of spite. And as for you Rachel..." Marco growled before turning his attention to Angelica. "I don't know what's going to happen to you or what your stake is in this. But it's in your best interest to leave here and not to look back."
The female Breaker let out a sigh and shook her head. "If only I could. Personally, and you should take this as a compliment, I suggested we snipe you through the head and be done with it. I know what you are and that this is a fruitless battle... But it's my job, I won't take any pleasure in this and I promise that all of your girls will be treated well as long as they're with me."
The puzzled look on Marco's face was mirrored by the rest of his harem. Try as he might he couldn't get a read on her emotions though having already activated his Aura Sense. He could see a deep sadness in her and her threat was moderate. Her power on the other hand was off the charts for a human and gave him cause to worry.
"I don't have a response to that, just don't say I didn't warn you."
Evan scoffed. "You're outnumbered buddy, fight all you want but this is going to happen."
Marco's laugh caught his enemies off guard as he took a head count of the pokégirls he would be facing. While a few of them had impressive fighting auras the majority were weak enough not to be concerned about. "Even if you weren't surrounded already most of these unfortunate girls are in over their heads. I'm not so kind as to let either of you walk out of this now but I don't see the need to punish the pokégirl for the misdeeds of their masters." Through his delta bond he received some important information and pointed at Pamela. "You on the other hand, you're going to die tonight."
The Killer Queen's gaze hardened as she formed her whip. "You've got some kind of issue with me little man?"
"Yep, you've been torturing one of my subordinates. So I'm going to kill you... well me or one of my other subordinates is going to. What you've done is beyond a simple level-five and I don't believe in torture so that doesn't leave many options. Kelly! Can you come here please?"
Unknown to the massive group of pokégirls on the street Avalanche had mobilized and were watching from the rooftops. The Duelist appeared before her Colonel and stood between him and the opposing pokégirls. The fact that another girl in full military tactical gear just appeared out of nowhere began to unnerve the opposition. "You summoned me Colonel?"
"Thank you Kelly, do you recognize anyone over there?"
"I knew it was a good thing I ordered the infirmary off limits. Neon green hair, she was the Neo-Iczel there with the inspectors. I think she and I have something to talk about."
"SHUT THE HELL UP!" Ronda screamed after having reached her breaking point. "IM GOING TO KILL HIM!"
Henrietta pulled Marco back and stepped in front of him. Her medal gleamed in the moonlight and those that Arianna had warned began to back up. "I got this one, didn't get a chance to fight in the gym battle so I've got some energy to burn off. Bring it on buttercup." Black flames flickered then roared around her collar as the skin melted from her head.
"Sorry, that's not how this works." Evan spoke from the back. "Everyone focus the human. Just kill him and let’s be done with this."
Every ranged attack they had launched at once in a massive explosion that was thought to be the end of things. When the dust settled Marco and his harem were just fine and still encased in several multilayered barriers. Backing them were the rest of the Avalanche unit. Each girl looked primed and ready to fight but watched to their colonel for orders.
"Fall back to the outskirts of the town!" Marco commanded.
Before they could react Tessa shot past Henrietta, Kelly, and Chesra in an attempt to hit Marco with a single deadly blow. What she didn't count on was the Penance blocking her path and knocking Marco out of the way. The force of her hit was enough to launch Carrie through two buildings and into a home a few hundred yards away.
Marco rolled back on to his feet and looked to Chesra who was already on the move to engage the Neo-Iczel. Ashley had her picks out and was keeping him covered while Henrietta fought the Jurumi. Thinking quickly he dove into his poképack to retrieve a box and a plastic case that he tossed inside. He knew Carrie would be fine, after seeing her survive a Diamond Tail attack he had no doubts.
"Jean, find Carrie and drop this off with her." He commanded before handing over the box.
"Shouldn't I bring her with me?" The concern obvious in her voice.
"She's she'll catch up when she's done. EVERYBODY FALL BACK!"
Alpha- Kelly- Duelist
Beta- Chesra- Fallen Angel
Beta- Henrietta- Ghostrider
Beta- Mina- Kunoichi
Field Beta- Selena- Caphoochie
Renae- Ice Princess
Isabella- Mecha Musume
Arianna- War Hound- MIA
Tam- Catgirl- School
Leona- Lamia- KIA
Jean- Dark Kitsune