Austin let out a small sigh as he relaxed into his normal seat in the main room of the Pokecenter, a small smile on his face. After the terrifying but successful capture of the Scorpiagirl, he had been slowly but surely doing quests on his own to help out his newly adopted home of Rivers Pass. It was still mostly things he considered as ‘small stuff’, mostly helping out some of the older folks that lived in the town with building or anything that his Pokegirls might be capable of, but it along with the small stipend he got from the League made it so that he was able to have a decent amount of cash on hand now. At least once the credit system was explained to him.
The whole ordeal of learning the monetary system from Dalaa made him sigh. Even with the drive to learn more and more about this wacky world that he had found himself in, Austin always felt like he was playing catch up. The types system of the Pokegirls played like a giant rock/paper/scissors game, but easy enough to understand once you knew the basics, especially when it allowed him to learn about the different ways a ‘girl would be able to use their power. Finding that Ghost types were indeed a thing brought up a great deal more questions, but none of them were something that he was particularly keen on answering just now.
That did lead Austin to discover something that he had now been mulling over since his adventure with Karrin. When they had found the giant bug Pokegirl, she had said that they were unheard of in the region while feral, being mostly found in the harems of powerful tamers who had traveled into the Sunshine League. After doing a bit more research of the surrounding landscape, Austin learned that his other two major Pokegirl encounters were also odd.
As it turned out, both Beryl’s breed of Pokegirl and typing were exceedingly rare in the warm humid climate of Rivers Pass, the small town being located in what Austin could only guess what had once been California. But it was his first ever encounter with the Sideviper taken in with his Ice Maiden and the Scorpiagirl together is what really raised the red flag to Austin. The snake girl wasn’t as rare as the other two girls, thanks to the fact that the forest was teeming with ferals, but the fact remained that in the span of the threeish months he had now lived in this world, he encountered at least three Pokegirls who didn’t belong in the region. He wasn’t sure enough about this world to see if he needed to pull a page out of Goldfinger and call it ‘Enemy Action’ just yet but it wouldn’t hurt to at least be on his guard.
Not that he needed to do the fighting with three powerful women at his side. Suzuka and Beryl both had already proven themselves in battle against the feral and in Yuel’s training seminars alike, but Lehn had taken him by surprise in the first mock battle that he had against one of the other tamers. A bit demure still when he talked to her, even after the taming session that had taken place the night before, the Maggiemite took to the fight without hesitation and released an electric blast that knocked out her opponent in a single hit. After that, it was hard to get the ‘girl to stop wanting more action, Austin more than once having to reign her in.
“Just where did that come from?” He had asked after Yuel had dismissed the group for the day, keeping his eyes on the short girl beside him.
“Where what came from, Austin?” Lehn responded with a wide grin, the girl still bouncing on the balls of her feet. She threw a punch in the air, even sparking some of her electricity around the clenched fist, giggling as the power flowed visibly through her. Her satellites floated about her head, bouncing up and down in little arcs.
Choosing his words carefully, he gave a small wave of his hand as he answered. “For a girl that’s been so quiet around me and seemed so closed off after Karrin left, you’re seem a little… energetic right now.”
That made the grin on the Pokegirl’s face fade a bit, her posture slipping back into something he was more used to in the few days he had known her. Green eyes darted away as she closed in on herself. The little spheres that floated about her changed with her mood, swirling tightly around her form in a protective pattern. “Am I doing something wrong?” She asked, worry flooding her tone.
“It’s not that,” Austin clarified. “I’m just wanting to make sure you’re ok. I just thought it odd you were bouncing back so quickly after all that.”
Lehn nodded at that, but she remained quiet for a few minutes after, giving him a few looks. It was as they were about to return to the Pokecenter that she finally spoke up. “It’s… because of what I am…”
Austin paused in his tracks, raising an eyebrow. “What, a Pokegirl?”
She shook her head, sighing softly as she wrapped her arms around herself tightly, eyes focusing entirely on the ground. “No, a Maggiemite. Not all Pokegirls are created equal. Some of the breeds out there have particular aspects about them that are common among the group. Things like a Growlie’s loyalty, a Harpy’s anger… or a Maggiemite’s instability.”
“What do you mean?” Austin asked, his tone quiet now, looking upon the small girl with worry.
“More than anything else… my Pokegirl breed is known for being… mentally unstable. We’re actually listed in the Pokedex as the ‘Bipolar’ Pokegirl,” Lehn said, her voice soft, almost barely audible. “Even at the best of times, I get instances where I just kinda… shift. Moments where I’ll be unable to stop myself from being happy, excited and eager… and then times where I feel like the entire world is crumbling around me. And it’s all because of what I am!”
The Pokegirl was crying at this point, rubbing at her face with the palm of her hand and smearing tears across her cheeks. Unable to stand seeing her like this, Austin wrapped his arms around the girl and squeezed tightly, wanting to offer some measure of comfort to her. Her returning squeeze nearly blasted the air out of his lungs, reminding him that she was a great deal stronger than he was. “Please…” She whimpered, fists clenched tight around his shirt and satellites quivering back and forth erratically about them. “Please, don’t get rid of me.”
“Is that why you were so scared in leaving Karrin, Lehn?” He asked, running his hand against her hair. More than once he got a little jolt of electricity running into his fingers when it brushed the end of both the blue and red strands simultaneously, but he ignored it to focus on calming her down.
Lehn gave him a small nod against his chest, pressed tightly against him as if he might vanish if she let go. It made the Jumper squeeze all the tighter in return before taking her by the shoulders, moving her back so as to stare her right in the eye. He could see that they were rimmed with red from her tears. “I promise you, Lehn, I’ll never get rid of you like that. The only time you’ll ever leave me is if you want to. Remember how I gave you that choice when Karrin wanted you to join me? I don’t want to force you or any of the other girls into anything you don’t want to. Both Suzuka and Beryl both have the same offers too. If you want to leave, any of you are free to go, alright?”
His answer was another bone crushing hug from the emotional Maggiemite followed by a bruising kiss from her lips. Clearly, the girl wasn’t going to go anywhere anytime soon.
Austin shook his head to clear it of the memory, bringing his thoughts back to the current day and looking over to where his ‘girls were now. Suzuka was sitting by herself with a small cup of jasmine tea resting before her, watching as Lehn was trying to teach Beryl how to read. Perhaps it had just been the way that the ice type had fully embraced Lehn when they had been introduced, but the two had become fast friends. Even now, the Maggiemite was patiently going over the words in the children’s book she held, letting Beryl sound them out and commit the shapes to memory. If she learned it anywhere near as fast as she did how to speak, Austin was certain she’d be well read by the end of the month.
Sitting back softly, the young tamer looked down at his Pokedex, bringing up the option that detailed his current account. Money was something that still confused him a little, having a vastly different system than what he was used to. It used credits that, as far as what little research he’d done into them, had no actual value. Labor and item trade were highly valued, one of the major reasons that the Quest system had been established, but the credits were still considered king.
For the first month or so, Austin had for the most part only used the credits for the base requirements. He got himself a few spare sets of clothes, as he only had the one on his back since he had been pulled into this world, but otherwise it had gone to feeding himself and Suzuka with few other niceties. Now that he had a comfortable cushion of money, though… he needed to do more.
Suzuka, for all of her denying it, was in dire need of new robes. She still wore the patched up mess that he had helped sew back together from their first meeting. Parts of it, noticeably in the sleeves and along her legs, had been near ripped away all together to leave her arms and legs bare. Beryl had forgone clothing mostly because of the heat of the region on top of being a feral and Lehn clung to the simple shirt and pants that Karrin had her in.
Snapping shut his Pokedex, Austin stood and gave a small nod to his harem. “Alright girls, when you’re done with that, we’re going to be packing up here.”
“Oh? What happening, Master?” Beryl asked, the ice type placing a finger to keep her place in the children’s book.
“Well, I’d thought we’d go out for a bit, get to know the town a little better. Outside of the Quests we’ve taken, I’ve been pretty much cooped up in the Center since I’ve gotten to this world.” Austin suggested, trying to keep the sly grin off his face.
“I have offered to you to come out and exercise with me in the mornings you know.” Suzuka pointed out with a small grin crossing her face.
The Jumper gave his first Pokegirl a small look of annoyance, crossing his arms against his chest. “And I told you, Suzu, that I think it’s damn criminal to get up before the sun decides to even show itself in the morning. I’m a night owl, so if you’re wanting me to get you all riled up with a work out, you’ve gotta set it to my schedule.”
A small blush covered the Ronin’s face and she turned away, her face taking on a cool look. That just made Austin laugh softly before he turned to the others, clapping his hands. “Alright, finish up what you’re doing and get going.”
Five minutes later, Austin was leading his small group of Pokegirls through Rivers Pass. In nearly every venture out of the Center, Austin had been entirely focused on either Yuel’s training or a Quest he had accepted, not really paying much note to the world about him. This time, however, his entire focus was taking in the sights of the small town.
Having mostly been a Chicago City boy before, what struck out most about his new home was the sheer amount of nature that embraced the town. Trees were plentiful around them, even ignoring the forest that hugged the western side like a blanket, and the smell of earth stood in stark contrast to the asphalt he was used to. The crammed together nature of the city was also absent, allowing each house to breath on its own and even give each one a yard.
Of course, there was also the Pokegirl element that marked a drastic difference from what Austin was used to. Winged women of various shapes, colors, and sizes fluttered about in the sky with a few of them bearing others on their backs or in their hands. A group of excited cheering off to the side came from a group of tamers gathered in a small circle, a pair of Pokegirls clashing against each other in battle.
“Battling seems to be quite the past time here.” Austin commented, leading his harem past the fight and towards the store. “I get the interest of watching folks beat each other into a bloody pulp, it was something that even my world indulged in, but I’m a little surprised by how common it is for regular people to be doing it here.”
“It’s twofold, Austin.” Lehn pointed out. “The first is just that, it’s become entertainment for a lot of people and pokegirls alike. Between the ease it is for people to get at least one Pokegirl of their own in combination of the healing offered by Pokecenters and items, battles like this can happen often with little to no consequence. It also leads into the second reason: being able to fight so freely like this means that even the most inexperienced of Tamers will have some ability to fight off against the ferals.”
“Huh, so it’s encouraged then.” He said to himself, looking back at the fight to catch one last glimpse of it before they rounded the corner. “I’m still not entirely sure if I like it myself, though.”
Suzuka gave a small snort, drawing his attention to her. “What does it matter if you like it, Austin? None of the ferals that we’ve fought have cared about your enjoyment of the fight and would sooner just take what they want from you if given the chance. Combat is the way of our world, regardless of our choice. I’ll not force you to enjoy it, but you must eventually learn to accept it.”
Austin pursed his lips, remaining silent at that. He found the words to be a bitter pill to swallow and instead turned his focus back on the world around them.
It took a couple of wrong turns, another battle between tamers, and stumbling upon one man thrusting into his Fox looking Pokegirl in the middle of public before the group was finally able to get themselves to the store. It was a tall building, towering over all the others nearby, with a long stretch of land that lay before it where people and Pokegirls of all shapes and sizes moved about while a number of them had carts or wagons to help the move their purchases. Big, bright letters on the stores front announced it’s name as ‘The Second Chance’.
Austin grinned as he finally pushed past the smooth wooden doors and looked around, seeing the offered wares around them. Toys, snacks, and other similar baubles, the kind of things any store worth their price tags would put upfront to catch the eye of leaving customers in an attempt for one last sell. At least a dozen or so rows of aisles stretched out before them, offering a verity of product. “Alright girls, you ready for the reason we’re here?” he asked, turning to look over the three Pokegirls.
Seeing confused and suspicious looks back at him, Austin just grinned before leading them to the clothes section and waving his arms. “I want you girls to go and chose out some clothes. At least a couple of pairs for all three of you.”
“Austin, I told you this isn’t necessary…” Suzuka said with a small sigh, giving him a half lidded look.
“Suzu, honey? Right now what you’re wearing is being held together with what little skill I’ve got in sewing and a prayer, which in this world, is going to be about that coming off then staying on.” He responded, moving his hands to his hips. “If you don’t choose one yourself, I’ll pick one out for you.”
The Ronin gave an over dramatic sigh before shrugging, walking down the isle and disappearing behind a clothing rack.
Beryl looked on after Suzuka before turning to her master, confusion coloring her face. “Master, Why Suzuka no want clothes?”
“If I had to guess? She doesn’t like relying on others. She was surviving on her own in the woods before I met her, so maybe that has something to do with it?” Austin shrugged. “Despite her and I being together the longest, I feel like I understand you two a bit better than her sometimes.”
Lehn moved beside him, wrapping her arms lightly against his, making the young man smile back at the Pokegirl. It made him happy to know that the shy little electric type was coming out of her shell. Giving her hand a small squeeze, Austin pulled away from her and pushed both Lehn and Beryl forward. “Go on you two, go get something for yourselves as well. I’ll be at the front to buy everything, alright?”
The pair nodded before leaving their master, sticking together. It made Austin smile seeing the two bond so closely already.
Letting out a small breath, the Jumper went about his own purchases, moving throughout the store. Though he had only known the girls for a short time, he wanted to get them all something special, something that they could claim as their own. The only real problem was he wasn’t sure what he wanted to get for any of the girls, or if there was anything in particular that would be useful to them.
Most of what he saw were fairly useless items as he roamed about the different stands and offers of what the latest were on sale. Toys, both normal and sexual, seemed to be the biggest thing considering how much of the rows were dedicated. One was even advertised as a ‘Training Vibrator’ that was designed for the Pokegirl to have in her while she was fighting. All of it was just… way too far off what he actually desired to get.
It took Austin far longer than he thought it would to get each and every girl their gifts. Practical or romantic options seem to be on the rare side, not surprising when you lived in a world where harems were among the norm, and each of them ran just a little more expensive than he would have preferred. Still, he could only guess what the looks on his girls faces would be once he gave them their presents.
“Austin! Yo, what’s up?” came a voice, breaking the young tamer out of his gift gathering and look up. Cole was approaching him, the dark haired man grinning wildly. “Wasn’t expecting to see you here. Looking for something?”
“Nothing much.” Austin replied with a friendly grin, always happy to see one of his first friends he made after being dropped into the insanity that was this world. “The girls all needed some new clothes, since I’ve actually got a bit of spending money now thanks to a few of the Quests, I thought it would be a good time to get them some.”
The other man nodded, though he gave the items in Austin’s hands a look, raising an eyebrow. “Those don’t exactly look like clothes there, though.” He pointed out.
Trying his best to not let a blush color his face, the Jumper let out a small cough as he cradled the gifts in his arm. “I wanted to get something for the girls, something distinctly their own, you know? I don’t know how common that is among here, but getting gifts like this is pretty normal for that special girl in your life.”
Cole chuckled at that. “I get it, kid, don’t worry. It’s a little uncommon here unless the tamers really into his Pokegirls, but I’m not at all surprised you’re doing it. Why don’t you come to the front desk with that stuff and we can get you taken care of.”
“What do you mean?”
“Oh, that’s right, I never told ya. I’m actually the manager of the store here. Had to get some kind of work after my license was revoked. Been here for about… I think a year now? Mostly keeping things stocked, making sure the employees are taking care of, and the occasional taming of a few of the Pokegirls that work here if they’re starting to go feral.”
Austin blinked at that last bit, tilting his head at Cole. “And the law enforcement don’t really have a problem with that last one?” he asked, able to recall the strict rules of employment that his old world had when it came to anything sexual.
“Not really.” Cole replied, motioning at the Jumper to follow him and leading him to a nearby desk and computer, the dark haired man punching his pass code into the machine. “The main thing about my restriction with Pokegirls is that I can’t own any, not that I couldn’t tame them as needed. Most of the ‘girls that work here have owners anyway so it’s a rare thing to happen, but the few that belong to the local ranch tend to only be tamed by other Pokegirls, and that’s only a stopgap from them becoming feral. We even have a special area in the back for when that kind of thing is needed. Have had both employees and our customers use it so we don’t got a wild one breaking things.”
“I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll ever get used to all this.” the AUJ grumbled, brushing his hand through sandy hair. “Just when it feels like I’m starting to fit in here, something else comes up that completely shatters what normalcy I had.”
A hearty chuckle broke past Cole’s lips, running each item through the register. “Don’t worry too much about it, Kid. You’re coping better than I’ve seen others dropped here into our world, and you’ve got a nice harem so far with their heads on straight. They’ll help you out. Speaking of which, I think that’s your girls right there.”
Seeing the dark-haired man point behind him, Austin turned and was greeted by the sight of his three Pokegirls walking towards them, each of them having a bundle of clothing gripped in their arms and all three also wearing something new.
The most distinct, considering she was naked before hand, was Beryl. The Ice Maiden now was garbed in a tiny top that wrapped about her breasts and over her shoulders, leaving the rest of her skin bare to the world. A short pair of shorts completed the ensemble. It made sense that a girl that was a living embodiment of ice would want something that would keep her cool in the heat.
Lehn was fairly conservative in her own clothing choice. A long sleeve shirt hid most of her form from the world, it’s colors muted compared to that of her hair. Long pants that matched the shirt went down to her feet, where she wore a modest pair of shoes that went against the bare footed approach of her harem sisters. A small smile ghosted her lips, the electric type hiding somewhat behind Beryl.
Unsurprisingly, Suzuka’s style of dress was the most alike of what she wore before. Clad in a clean robe, it resembled her original garb the most. The only real difference between what she had before and now was the addition of color to the robes, purple peeking out from underneath along side her legs. What looked like a shawl wrapped about her arms just below her shoulders, the same deep purple as the lower robes.
“Looking great girls.” Austin said with a smile, drinking in the sight of all three of them. “Hope you’ve got more than just what you’re wearing though.”
“We made sure to grab at least a couple.” Lehn said with a small smile, handing over her clothes with Beryl at her side. Suzuka simply gave no response and placed her own choices on top of the others. The AUJ took them all and handed them over to Cole, letting the man scan each and every item with a practiced ease.
After paying for the items, Austin grinned as he looked at his Pokegirls. “Also got a present each for the lot of you.”
“You really didn’t have to do this.” Suzuka said with a small sigh, shaking her head even as a small smile curved her lips.
“I wanted to really give something special just for each of you.” He told them before pulling each of them out of the bag that Cole had put them in and handing them to the girls.
For Lehn, he had got her a silver necklace, wanting to have her be able to wear something without harming it when she used her electric powers. Beryl got an incredibly sturdy pair of leather gloves, specifically spelled against ice if the advertisement was remotely accurate. He knew the former feral was still occasionally self conscious about her hand, where her control still wasn’t good enough to make something that passed off as the real thing. And finally, for Suzuka, he got a single faux rose, pale pink in color.
“Austin… you didn’t have to…” Lehn said softly, her eyes starting to tear up a little as she held the necklace in her hands.
“I didn’t, but I wanted to. I know Pokegirls don’t have much in the way in actual possessions so I wanted to make sure there was something distinctly just for you. Something that you can call yours.” The tamer responded, giving the girls a warm smile.
Both Beryl and Lehn near bowled him over in a hug, the pair of Pokegirls squeezing him tightly. He wrapped his arms around their waists, returning the squeeze. He was surprised when Suzuka also join in on the hug, pressing the two smaller girls closer while kissing Austin on the lips, lingering just enough to make the young man feel a little overly warm with the three pretty girls giving him attention. After breaking apart, the girls all put on their gifts, Suzuka finding a place for her flower behind her left ear.
“So, what are you four going to be doing now that you’ve bought everything?” Cole asked with a smile, leaning back against the stand.
“Probably? I might want to browse a little, but a lot of the items are stuff that… I really couldn’t say that I’d be wanting to buy.” Austin said with a shrug, glancing over at the sex toys once again and shaking his head.
“Give it time, you’ll find some use of them eventually.” The older man laughed out. He pat Austin the back in a friendly gesture, eliciting a small smile from the jumper. It felt like someone he could really turn to, who had some understanding of his displacement. A small part of him also began to wonder just when he’ll stop thinking of this world as something different from his own, knowing that he’ll remain here for the foreseeable future.
The sound of a huge crash that shook the entire building and panicked screaming jolted Austin out of his thoughts, the entire group turning their attention to the source of the noise. People and Pokegirls both were tripping over themselves as they ran for the front doors, barreling over the stores supplies and knocking most of them to the floor.
“What going on?” Beryl asked, pressing as far back from the main path as she could, not wanting to be trampled by the sudden fear crazed mob.
“Whatever it is, things are going crazy.” Cole said, helping up one of the nearby Pokegirls who had gotten knocked over by all the others, pushing her back onto her feet. “Regardless, we gotta get everyone out of here if it’s causing this much of a panic.”
Austin nodded, turning to his girls. “Right. Suzuka, help Cole get the employees and any other customers out of here. Most of the locals know and respect you, so hopefully you’ll be able to focus them in not causing more damage than whatever’s causing this. Beryl, I want you to look for anyone trapped or injured, since you’ll be able to help sooth the pain or break them out with your ice. I’ll take Lehn and find out what’s going on.”
“Just back out the moment you get in danger, Austin!” Suzuka demanded before raising her voice as loud as possible, the robed girl working together with Cole to usher out the panicked crazed crowd. Beryl gave nod to her Master in agreement with her Harem sister, the lithe ice type jumping over part of the crowd to run down the aisles, making sure to be on the look out for those in trouble.
With Lehn by his side, Austin started to push back through the crowd, pointing out his Pokegirl and Cole to help guide them out, all while looking for the source of what was causing it. As he moved further to the back of the store, he started seeing just what the danger had left behind with a massive hole in the wall that still had sheet rock tumbling down to the ground and massive claw marks left nothing bare.
“Austin! Ahead!” Lehn shouted, her fists crackling with power. The jumper looked ahead and was greeted by the sight of a massive Pokegirl.
She was a beefy girl, even more so than the upper half of the Scropriagirl that Karrin had captured, standing at least eight feet in height. Muscles bulged, stretched tight against skin and fur, to the point where the girl herself looked like she was about to burst out of her own flesh. Sharp teeth overflowed her mouth and a wild roar escaped her, shaking the very walls around her with the force alone. Sharp, serrated claws dripped with blood as the body of at least one person laid at her feet. She looked nothing less than a bear trying to break free of a woman’s body.
“Lehn, keep your distance from this thing.” Austin growled as he pointed his Pokedex at the creature that only barely resembled a woman, damning his inexperience with the local Pokegirls to being able to recognize what they were fighting. His Maggiemite gave a small nod to him, her hands sparking with power for a moment. The Pokegirl let out a small shout as she released the built up charge, only for the monstrous Pokegirl to absorb it like it was nothing. It drew the bear girls attention to them immediately, another roar erupting from her mouth.
Wincing hard from the sound, the Jumper felt his heart drop when his Pokedex finally retrieved the information on what they were fighting. Known as a Grizzlar, the example shown on the screen was nothing at all like what they were fighting. It was is if someone had taken what was normal for the Pokegirl and stuffed three more of the girl into her, making this overwhelming creature that stood before him. What was worse was her elements. If there was a single thing that Austin had learned well since his time coming here, it was the fact that every Pokegirls element could be countered or be effective against another. What stood before them was a girl who had been entitled the ‘Ground’ element, which completely negated everything Lehn could throw at her.
Before the pair could even form a new plan of attack, the Grizzlar made her move, claws digging through tile and cement like nothing. She barreled her way right into Lehn, the speed of the massive girl sending the Maggiemite crashing hard into a nearby shelf of various items, the entire thing collapsing over the girl.
“Lehn!” Austin shouted, worried about the electric type. He gulped when it got the Grizzlar’s attention instead, another guttural sound coming from the feral beast. Jumping back, he knew there was nothing that he could do. This wasn’t a Pokegirl his size or even specializing in ranged attacks. This was a force that made bulldozers and wrecking balls look weak by comparison. And with the monster capable of neutralizing everything that his Pokegirl could do, there was only a single choice of being able to save her and keep this creature from doing anymore damage.
“Come at me, you sorry excuse for a rug!” The young man snarled, instantly taking off for the hole he saw earlier. It was his guess for as how the bear girl got into the store and, he hoped, the only option he had right now for being able to stop her from doing anything. Leaping over some of the spilled over merchandise, he took off as fast as his legs would carry him, only hoping that he was going to be followed.
The earth shaking roar that came up behind him told Austin that he got his wish, followed by the crash that told him that the Grizzlar had decided to make another hole in the wall. With her power and speed, there was no chance that he’d be able to outrun this monster in a straight line. She’d be atop of him and ripping out his spine before he’d get more than a few dozen yards. He’d have to use the only thing he had in advantage over the feral. His mind.
He took in his surroundings as he ran, noting how close to the forest they were. While a small part of his mind wondered why such a public place would be so close to where the ferals were, Austin knew it would work to his advantage. Pushing as much of his speed as he could, wishing for a moment that he had taken Suzuka up on her morning exercises, the Jumper found himself running around full metal cans of trash as he took the nearest alleyway that lead into the forest proper, knocking them over as he went in an effort to slow her down. Even if it did, the sickening crunch of steel giving way told him there was no chance in hell he was going to spare a glance back.
Being as out of shape as he was, Austin could already feel the sharp pain in his lungs as they fought for air, begging for his body to slow down and catch his breath. His heart beat wildly and his legs screamed in pain, but he couldn’t slow. Failing to run at anything but his top speed would mean death. If only he could get into the forest, where the thick trees would slow down the bulky girl a lot more than it would him.
Austin nearly dove over the thick bush that marked the true line between forest and town, a cultivation of plant Pokegirls to help encourage the ferals to remain within the depths. After a roll to avoid hurting himself too much, he picked himself up and started weaving through the trees in a desperate attempt to slow down the girl, all the while searching, hoping that he was as close as he thought he was to his possible salvation.
Hearing another crunch behind him, this time splintering wood, Austin knew he wouldn’t be able to keep this up much longer. His body was already beginning to slow with how exhausted the sprint had left him, the pain in his body becoming unbearable to deal with. Tears started to stream down his cheeks, trembling hands pushing off the nearest tree to offer himself some forward momentum. Anything to stay ahead of the Grizzlar.
The Pokegirl had other plans.
With a slam of her monstrous fists, the very ground gave way to the Grizzlar’s command, lurching with a powerful shockwave of power that sent Austin flying forward. The tamer let out a cry of pain as he was thrown hard off his feet, rolling head over feet before coming to a stop in the middle of a circle of trees. Body trembling, he knew he was done for with no energy left.
Stomping with enough force to make Godzilla proud, the Grizzlar stood before Austin now, glaring down at him. Even with his death all but certain, a small chill went down the Jumpers spine when he saw it. Feral Pokegirls had been, even in his limited experience, little more than wild animals in most senses of the word. The Grizzlar wasn’t like that. The look in her eyes spoke of intent, of intelligence. For all the rage of the girl before him, she knew what she was doing. With a shift in her face that could only be called a grin, the Grizzlar raised her bloodied claw. Austin knew he had no chance and closed his eyes, waiting for death to come.
It never happened as a shrill shriek pierced the air, a rushing form leaping out from the trees and slamming itself hard into the Grizzlar’s body. The pair skidded across the forest floor before the attacker leaped off, a hissing sound coming from it’s sharp mouth as it stood down the Grizzlar.
“I… can’t… believe this… worked…” Austin gasped out, holding his side. Before him now stood the one Pokegirl in the region he knew quite well, the one whose territory he had made constantly sure he never walked into without reason since coming to this world. The Mileeboro loomed before him, all six stalk eyes extended and staring down the feral bear.
With an insane roar, the Grizzlar charged at the plant girl, eyes wild with rage. She stopped just a moment later when wild vines sprung up at the Milee’s command, wrapping around the bear girls waist. They dug in hard, drawing blood from the bear, but they couldn’t last long against the insane strength before giving away almost as fast as they appeared with a loud snap.
A scream of pain came from the plant feral Pokegirl as the Grizzlar was suddenly on top of her, one massive claw tearing at her belly and ripping it open like an overfilled bag. Blood spilled out and coated the green forest floor red. Another shift, that grin from before, came to her mouth as the bear took a moment to admire her work at the twitching feral beneath her. It turned out to be her last ever mistake.
Body trembling, the Mileeboro took in as deep a breath as she could before unleashing her most well known attack: the Bad Breath. A mist of darkness washed past her sharp toothed maw, washing over the Grizzlar. It was with a choke and a gag that the bear girl flung herself back, starting to convulse.
Austin had been told before just what Bad Breath could do. It was an ability that only plant girls could learn and Mileeboro’s in particular specialized in it. It could inflict every single status ailment known to Pokegirl kind, everything from poison, sleep, paralysis and more, with very few ways to fight off or resist the attack. The Grizzlar had taken the attack head on. Overpowered completely by the effects, the monstrous girl fell, remaining prone on the ground.
The AUJ couldn’t take his eyes off her. Even with all the shit he had been through, that had been the absolute closest he had come to death. Had he been even a little bit further away from the Mileeboro’s territory, or hadn’t kept up his speed as much as he could, he would likely be the one on the ground now. A small whimpering sound broke him out of his stare with a jump. The Mileeboro was still alive!
Scrambling over to the prone plant girl, Austin felt bile rise up in his throat. The claw had by all looks nearly torn the poor girl into two, a jagged line that went in a diagonal path starting right below her left breast. Her hands held against the open wound, trying her best to keep what she had inside, another small whimper escaping her.
Guilt washed over Austin. He had never intended for the Milee to be hurt like this. She was just the only thing he could think of at the time that might be able to stand up to the enraged bear. Grabbing at his belt, the Jumper whispered a small apology under his breath before pressing a spare Pokeball to her breast. A moment later, the wounded plant girl was gone, contained within the ball.
“I hope Dalaa can patch you up…” Austin said to the ball before standing, having to lean heavily onto the nearby tree as his legs nearly gave out. The adrenaline that had been keeping his body going this entire time was almost spent and it was all he could do to keep himself from passing out. After taking a small breath to keep himself conscious, the AUJ focused on the prone Grizzlar, pulling out another Pokeball and readied to throw when a blinding light filled his vision.
Letting out a curse, Austin stood his ground, hoping against hope that the bear girl hadn’t found some way around the Bad Breath attack. He blinked after half a minute, clearing the spots from his eyes. He then stared, jaw dropping.
The Grizzlar was no where to be seen.
A scream filled their chambers, the carefully laid crystals that he had painstakingly crafted for the spell being grabbed by his enraged brother and tossed about the room. An annoyed sigh escaped the casters lips, taking solace in the fact that the magic had long dissipated. Who knew what would have happened had this occurred with the spell active.
“We had him! We HAD him!” His brother snarled, throwing a nearby chair into the wall, the feet snapping off as it hit unyielding stone. The dark haired ‘mastermind’ behind this all continued his tantrum throughout the room, tossing and ruining everything his temper could get his hands on.
“You do remember that the jumper wasn’t even our original goal, yes? Or the fact that the spell still wasn’t what we are looking for?” The mage pointed out, picking up one of the thrown crystals and inspecting it. No cracks, thankfully, but the magic would need to be stored in it all over again for any future attempts.
“What do you mean that wasn’t the right spell? We had our control! We had our power! We could have killed the kid and gone after the real prize!” He seethed, clenching his teeth in a poor effort to retain his anger.
Shaking his head, the spell caster picked up more of the crystals and placed them all onto the table nearby. He brushed some of the sweat away from his head and muttered. Even with the back up magic within the stones, he pushed himself into dangerous territory with the magic. What they had done today required stores of power that few humans were capable of and while storing magic to use for power boosts or batteries were common, even they had their limits. “I’m saying that what we did right now isn’t what we’re looking for. We had control over the beast, yes, but only when her rage didn’t overwhelm everything else. I told you merging three into one would be unstable.”
Another growl escaped the other mans throat and for a second it looked like he might once again fly off the handle. Then his dark-haired brother took a deep breath and nodded, even if the anger still smoldered in his eyes. “The power of the merging was second to none.” He pointed out.
“Yes, if you’re wanting a brainless berserker whose mind I’m having to fight with every step of the way.” He snapped, growing tired of the ‘power over all’ strategy that had been the dark-haired mans bread and butter since childhood. “Even then, the spell wasn’t exact in that control. Only when we were focused on a desire we both shared was I able to control the bear in entirety. What we need is a spell that allows me influence regardless of what their desires are.”
His brother nodded, even if he looked sullen while doing it, before taking a step closer. “And how much closer do you think we are?”
A small, dark smile spread across mages face. This, at least, he was able to feel confident in answering. “Closer. It still will take some time to figure out the right spell and then gather enough energy to fully be able to cast it, but every attempt we make is moving us a step closer. We will get your revenge, my brother… mark my words.”