He made his decision right then, having left the general chaos of the Second Chance, upon seeing the state of his harem around him. Something had to be done for the general state of the group. If it wasn’t the addition of Pira that had thrown off the mood of his Pokegirls, Lehn’s evolution into Maggieton probably did. Suzuka kept her normal air of imposing silence about her, her eyes focused on the latest addition to the harem. Though she had been the one to offer the olive branch in the first place, the exact question of just how the Ronin would handle the Mileeboro in the team hadn’t been answered. It wouldn’t surprise Austin in the slightest if the first of his Pokegirls was ready to strike down his latest should the need arise.

Beryl’s problem came more from Lehn than from Pira. Of all of the girls, the pair had grown close over the short time together. But now that Aella and Emma were taking control over Lehn’s body in turn, the Ice Maiden seemed hesitant to even approach her. Neither of the new personalities had made a good first impression, with Aella’s aggressive shouting and Emma’s calculating coldness at odds with Lehn’s helpful, awkward gestures. While the change hadn’t completely driven the ice type away from her friend, time would only tell if Beryl would be able to adapt to the new personalities.

A small grunt escaped him as Pira moved close and wrapped her arm around his, that toothy smile of hers spreading across her face. She seemed to be the most relaxed out of his harem, not even having any of her eyes raised up like normal. At least that was his best guess. He wasn’t an expert on the biology of Pokegirls, but it made sense that for a Pokegirl who could see around her at all times, the only time she wouldn’t would be doing so was when she felt completely safe. If anything else, he saw that as a good sign that she was at the very least comfortable within the harem.

“So, sir, what is the plan from this point?” Lehn asked, though her tone and mannerisms marked her as Emma. Out of all the things that he had to deal with in the world of Pokegirls thus far, everything from giant scorpion women to mutated bear women to Pira, it struck him as odd that dealing with someone who had multiple personalities was perhaps the most normal thing he had. While he couldn’t say that he had ever dealt with someone like that back in Chicago, it was something that at least could actually happen instead of this world of mad magical science gone sexual.

Shaking his head to clear his thoughts after a moment, he looked over to them. “I figured we’d go and get something to eat as a group. I think there’s a couple of things we should probably go over before we get any further today.”

“About freaking time! Do you know how much energy evolution takes up? I’m starving over here!” Aella snapped, instantly taking over Lehn’s body and throwing her hands up for emphasis. The change didn’t last long as Emma pushed forward again, rolling her eyes in annoyance. “That isn’t how evolution works and you know it. We couldn’t contain the energy that the Thunderstone gave us, so we evolved. That’s how it works.”

“Alright, calm down you two… and didn’t you both agree that you wouldn’t steamroll over Lehn for a bit?” Austin asked, giving a look over to the Maggieton.

Lips pursed for a moment, Lehn’s eyes giving a small glare at him to mark her as Aella. She didn’t say anything more before entire body relaxed, Lehn letting out a small breath and smiling at Austin. “Thank you.”

“I’m just trying to have them keep their word.” Austin said with a shrug, making sure to keep the group moving towards their destination. “I want to treat all three of you as your own person, but you were here first Lehn. It isn’t fair for them to be so overwhelming that you don’t get to be in control of what was your body first.”

Lehn nodded, though from the small flash of a disgruntled look that washed over her face it was likely that one of the other personalities didn’t exactly agree with his point.

“Where are we going?” Beryl asked, surprising him with her first complete sentence.

Austin simply rose his finger for a moment before pointing over to a nearby restaurant, the name of ‘The Full Figure’ spread out against a rather massive bosom that had been built atop of the establishment. It was one of the two choices that he had seen in town. The other, ‘The Meaty Queen’, had completely scared him off with the rather creepy, almost plastic smile of it’s royalty garbed pokegirl mascot. “Figured we could get something to eat while we had a little chat.”

The tamer lead the way in after that, making sure to get a table large enough for him and his four Pokegirls. Six, His thoughts corrected, eyes moving over to Lehn as he did. I don’t really know what the protocol was back home for interacting with someone with multiple personalities, but I don’t think just ignoring Emma and Aella is the right way of going about that. This is going to take some getting used to.

The group got seated and their waitress, a Pokegirl with mouse like attributes that was dressed in a maid outfit, took their drink orders. Austin waited until the woman was taking care of another customer, since he had no clue if she would ever be out of earshot with those things atop of her head, before looking over his harem. “Alright… so… just what are you all wanting to talk about?”

What do you mean, Austin?” Lehn asked, actually being Lehn this time if the way she looked up almost shyly from her seat was any indication.

I’m not the most observant of men but even I can tell that not everything is sitting well with you girls.” He said, frowning.

Suzuka, always the one to hide her emotions, barely twitched at his words. The only reason Austin had even caught it was because he was looking at her directly when he said it. Everyone else wasn’t as covert in hiding their reactions. Beryl look a little ashamed and Lehn had a mix of emotions covering her face that were likely coming from Emma and Aella. Only Pira seemed to not care about what he said and there was a question on whether or not she even understood what he said in the first place.

It actually caught Austin by surprise that it was his Ice Maiden who spoke up first. “I… I’m unsure about… Lehn….” Beryl said, not looking at the other girl as she spoke.

Oh? And just what the hell makes you ‘unsure’ about me, huh?” Aella snapped, a sneer working its way on the Maggieton’s face.

Almost instantly the temperature in the restaurant dropped a couple of degrees, the slightest bit of frosty air escaping Beryl’s mouth as she responded. “Don’t like you. No one done anything to you, but always angry.”

“And I should be happy that we got forcefully evolved?” Aella said, her eyes narrowing as the satellites about her body started to swirl about in an agitated manner. “I should be happy that my damn psyche got split into three? Oh yes, let’s all celebrate the fact that there’s two other people inside my head that are fighting for control at any one time, or the fact that I’m not the Sukebe damned original!”

“Aella. Back down.” Austin said, trying to give his voice the same authority he’d often seen Yuel give to the newbie tamers. The Maggieton’s snarl shifted from Beryl to him before the entire body went lax, her eyes shifting into the calm gaze.

“I’ve pushed Aella down for now, Sir.” Emma said. She sighed after a moment, the satellites now revolving around her head like a halo. “But I can’t deny that she does have a bit of a point. None of us in here are happy at the moment.”

“Mind explaining why?” He asked, frowning.

“If… If I may, Emma?” Lehn spoke, shifting once more with her personalities. She bit her lip for a moment, looking about the table at the other Pokegirls before starting. “I’ve known about… what Maggietons are like for years. I’ve kinda… always thought that no tamer would want me or that I could avoid evolving for as long as possible, since we don’t evolve through natural means. That we evolved because of something so stupid as accidentally picking up a Thunderstone… well… Aella is the part of me that was infuriated by it.”

“And that’s the biggest problem, Master.” Lehn continued on. “Maggiemites evolve two ways, through Thunderstones or having another Pokegirl get mixed up within our electric fields. In the later case, the Personalities that a Maggieton gains will often be akin to those Pokegirls or other nearby electric types. But the stones don’t have any of that… so instead of gaining personalities of nearby Pokegirls… we instead have our own fracture.”

Austin sat back after hearing all that. He couldn’t even think about what it had been like for Lehn, to be terrified for gods knows how long about the idea of evolving and going through the whole process of having others in her head. Knowing what was coming and even making plans to stop it, only to have it all be for nothing because of a simple mistake.

“Still care for Lehn.” Beryl said before Austin could make any proper response to his Pokegirl. The ice type looked over to her harem sister. “Still friend. Just don’t like angry Lehn… cold Lehn is… weird…”

A small smile crossed Lehn’s lips, shifting lightly as she returned Beryl’s gaze. “If I’m just weird,” Emma said. “Then I’m fine with that. To be fair, I’ve only existed for a few hours. It would be odd for you to be able to trust me, or even like me with that amount of time.”

Beryl made a face at that response, but nodded all the same. “Just want… Lehn still be here.”

“She still is, Beryl.” Austin pointed out. “She just has… two new harem sisters that share her body. It’s a little weird, but it’s something we have to learn to accept for now.”

“I’ll… try.” She said, the ice type still making a small face.

“And I’m sure Aella will still try as well, right?” He added, giving a pointed look over to Lehn. There was a flash of defiance that flicked onto the Pokegirls face, but it was gone in an instant. Whether that was because Aella had decided to restrain herself or Emma pushing the other personality back down into the recesses of her mind, he couldn’t tell. It seemed out of everyone, the aggressive side of his Maggieton was going to be the hardest to deal with.

He waited for a moment, to see if anyone else was going to bring things up, while he also looked over at the waitress. She was currently taking the orders of another tamer, two Pokegirls snuggling up to his side, so he knew there was time yet before she’d get back to them. He looked over to Suzuka and waited. She didn’t even bother returning his gaze. The Ronin Pokegirl kept her eyes on Pira and her hand near the hilt of her blade. He had been around her long enough now to know that this was a wary stance on her part.

It took all his restrain not to let out an annoyed sigh. “Suzuka.”

“What is it, Master?” She replied, looking at him through the corner of her eyes. She didn’t move, not an inch, keeping herself directly facing Pira. The fact that she called him ‘Master’ was a warning to him, he guessed. It had been the first time he had remembered her ever calling him that.

“Are you going to relax around her?” He asked, eyes drifting over to Pira. The Mileeboro seemed to mostly be unaware about the conversation, her main eyes mostly focused on the utensils before her while two stalks were looking about the restaurant.

“She’s a powerful Pokegirl and only recently tamed.” Suzuka said, returning her gaze fully to Pira. “Until I’m certain that she’s not a threat, I’ll not be completely relaxed.”

It took him biting his lip to keep that sigh in his chest. “She was with me all morning without problems, and I tamed her the night before alone. I think if she would have done something at this point if she had planned on it. I know you two have history, but please…”

Suzuka lips twisted into a noticeable frown, but she did shift in her seat so that she was no longer staring holes into Pira. Her hand still hovered near the hilt of her weapon, but it was progress at the very least.

With hopefully the biggest issues out of the way, Austin let his eyes go to each and every member of his harem. He took another breath before speaking. “Things are crazy, girls, I know. We’ve had a lot of change in the group here in the last day and I know not everyone is happy about. I’m just asking you all to give it a chance, alright?”

There was a round of nods from everyone, though Pira was late in following the others. It was then that that the waitress finally came with their drinks. He made sure to order enough food around for everyone to eat their fill, despite the slight pain it did to his wallet and he wondered if he’d be able to relax.

His discussion with the girls seemed to have done little to improve their moods. The former ferals of the group mostly kept silent, though for the Mille he was almost certain she didn’t care much to speak rather than being upset. Suzuka only responded with mild, often curt replies, sometimes even just a hum to show she was still listening. Only Lehn really seemed willing to talk and just as often as not, one of her other personalities took the wheel.

It was after the food had arrived and the group started to dig in that Aella finally spoke up again. “Hey, Austin. I’ve gotta know something that’s been bothering Lehn for a while now.”

“Oh?” Austin responded, blinking. “Any reason you’re bringing it up and not her?”

“Because Miss Original Personality here is absolutely terrified at the thought of someone getting rid of her and she didn’t want to rock the boat?” Aella answered, her tone dripping with sarcasm. “Seriously, I get it, you’re wanting to treat all us girls like we ain’t objects and crap, but you gotta remember how things went for us.”

“I get it, Aella… I’ll work on it,” Austin said, this time letting that sigh in his chest come through as he rubbed at his temple. The blunt weapon that was one third of his Maggieton was going to take some time in getting used to. “But what was the question?”

“Why the hell aren’t we traveling around like other tamers are?” She asked. “Most tamers leave off on their journeys the moment they get their first Pokegirls and are traveling the country side. We’ve been here for, what, a couple of weeks now? And from what we’ve seen and heard, you’ve been here even longer than that.”

That was something that got all of his ‘girl’s attention, baring Pira who was currently digging into a rather large amount of meat of her own meal. From the way Suzuka was gazing at him, it was a question the Ronin herself seemed to have been curious about for some time.

Austin let out another sigh, though this one was a bit out of embarrassment. He lightly touched Pira’s shoulder to get her attention, rewarded with at least two of her stalk like eyes focusing on her, before he looked over to rest of his harem. “I’ll be entirely honest, girls. I… wasn’t much of a guy who went out into the world. In fact, outside of trying my best to stay in some half decent shape, I almost never left where I was born outside of family vacations.”

He paused, closing his eyes as was he assaulted with memories of his home and room that he had for the better part of half his life, the pang of loss hitting him despite the efforts he had made to try and not remember his old life. He didn’t need to be reminded of his blood ties especially when he could never see them again. There was an incredible amount of difficulty to keep the face and voice of his mother from appearing in his mind once more.

“Going out into the world like they do here… to leave a warm bed, a dry roof, and everyone I know behind me… just wasn’t something that I ever thought I could see myself doing. Add in the fact that I just woke up in this world one day, away from everything I ever knew…” He paused again, feeling that pain rise up again in him.

“You didn’t want to lose that sense of home.” Suzuka said. Her words were quiet, soft, and firm. There was something in her gaze towards him… it took a moment for Austin to realize that his Ronin had likely felt the same. Hadn’t she lived in the forest for some time, guarding it and escorting those who got lost within? He originally thought that the Pokegirl had only been doing that for a month, perhaps a bit more. Those words instead stretched out the possible time she had been living in that forest, unwilling to leave the area she called home for years.

“Yeah. Even if Cole, Dalaa and the others aren’t family, they did their best to help keep my feet under me and my head on straight.” Austin agreed, a sad smile crossing his lips. “I know there are some people who’d thirst for adventure, want to go straight into a new world with nothing but their friends at their backs. I’ve… never really been that kind of person. A good book, a warm blanket, and popcorn? That’s been my adventure.”

Austin jumped when he felt a pair of hands on either side of his shoulders, Lehn and Pira both pressing close against their tamer. The sound of a pair of chairs skidding back and soon Beryl and Suzuka’s own joined their sisters. Four distinct sensations, from the icy chill to an electric hum to soft foliage and callused fingers, each Pokegirl’s touch was distinctly their own.

It was Suzuka, standing directly behind him, who eventually bent down and pressed a soft kiss against the top of his head. Her words held the same soft firmness as before, her weapon hand sliding over his heart. “Know this, Austin… whatever you decide to do… be it to stay here in Rivers Pass… to go out into the world to see sights unknown… or to simply live your life like you may have back in your home dimension… You will always have us by your side.”

Austin looked up to Suzuka, his first Pokegirl, and saw that smile she graced him with oh so rarely. “We’ll follow you, Austin…” she said softly. “Because you’re our adventure.”

It was cheesy. It was sappy. And it was likely something that would probably have come out of one of those old romance novels that were hidden away and read in secret.

But that didn’t stop Austin from crying all the same.


It was after that, upon returning to the center for the evening, Austin made sure that the next day nothing was planned. No Quests, no helping out around the Pokecenter, just some time where he and the girls could recover from the previous days events. Of course, instead of relaxing, the young Jumper kept his attention focused on his harem, watching them throughout the day.

Out of them all, Beryl seemed to take his words to heart the most. The Ice Maiden was doing her best to still talk and do things with Lehn, which both pleased the Maggieton and caused some slight annoyance with her other personalities. While Emma wasn’t anywhere near as off putting as Aella had been thus far, the cooler side of the Pokegirl was clearly a bit more antisocial and preferred to be alone. Thus far, it had just resulted in her withdrawing and letting her sister personalities take charge, but there had been at least one instance where Emma had just used her electric powers to levitate up and away from everyone else, giving her silence and solace in the rafters of the center. Regardless, it made him smile to see Beryl still read side by side with Lehn, their current book of choice being one of the few YA novels that had survived the war.

Suzuka, though still wary and always having her hand near her weapon, did seem to relax around Pira throughout the day. Of course, her own way to relax included her exercising in the open field, her bokken slicing through the air in sharp, practiced arcs. It was a simple form of beauty to Austin, to watch the lean muscled girl cut down invisible enemies with her wooden blade. She moved with such a grace that it made him feel like a lumbering beast in comparison. Maybe it was time to take her up on joining in the morning exercise.

When it came to Pira, things were still a little odd for everyone, including the Pokecenter itself. There wasn’t a person in Rivers Pass it seemed, that didn’t know the Milleboro. And whether it be through her breeds known use of Bad Breath or her own inhuman like features, most people tended to keep a far distance from her. The few who had no problem with Pira included Dalaa, who wouldn’t let something as simple as appearance deter her from helping others, and the few tamers who were regulars at the center upon seeing just how docile the plant type was. Add in the fact that she was pretty much glued to Austin’s side, almost always in touching distance of her tamer, and it looked like most expected that she’d be under control.

It was that night that turned out to be the most stressful as, for the first time since becoming a tamer, Austin had to deal with two of his Pokegirls wanting a taming at the same time. Pira’s appetite from her first session seemed to have only grown in the day since their last time together, all but dragging Austin to the bedroom for another round. This conflicted with Lehn’s own desires, as well as that of Emma’s and Aella’s as well. Apparently evolution made the Pokegirl more eager for her own time with her tamer. It took Austin promising Pira another taming session the following night to have the plant girl reluctantly let her sister have a turn.

Taming Lehn was also different than his first time around with the Maggieton. As a Maggiemite, she had been rather shy, blushing at the attention and only really getting eager into the session once Austin had excited her enough. It had felt to him almost like the old stories he read about the girl next door and her first time with the boy she crushed on. This time, however, things changed.

Even as he had worked on trying to excite Lehn, touching her and focusing on a few spots he knew pleased her, everything suddenly changed when the Pokegirl’s hand pressed him down hard onto the bed. Austin had barely gotten a word out before her lips crashed into his and soon he had the rather heavy steel type riding him like no tomorrow. It was only after a few minutes of this did she slow, a word of apology slipping from her mouth as her motions went from wild and aggressive to slow and methodical. Even when having sex, the different personalities of his Maggieton were constantly pushing against each other to get their own attention and time in control of the body.

It was with that in mind that Austin really decided to go to Jaden and work on their fighting styles with his Maggieton in mind. While the training would only help improve all of his girls, Suzuka’s blade, Beryl’s ice, and Pira’s breath could likely take down anything in the immediate area as far as ferals were concerned. The problem lay with the fact that Lehn’s body would freeze as her personalities would fight internally or how her movements changed the instant one of the three had grabbed control. Between that and trying to be the ‘tactician’ to his Pokegirls power, as Yuel had put it, hopes had been high for it to be a fairly smooth test fight between Jaden’s girls and his own.

“Lehn! Strike back with Takedown!” Austin called, growling a bit to himself. The fight had been going poorly so far, what with his inexperience in calling out the attacks for his girls to use in battle. Most of his time in combat before this point had simply been trying to survive, often pitching in himself to help his Pokegirls out. This was different… this was a battle between tamers, where all he could do was be their tactician.

With a small nod of her head, Lehn dashed at her opponent with all the speed her new body could muster. She lowered her shoulder to do her best to focus all of her momentum into the center of opponents body. But her enemy was waiting for her, a big meaty hand coming down to catch her shoulder charge, the pure strength making the electric type having to dig her heels into the ground itself to keep from being thrown completely off balance.

“Ya see? This is why I don’t get the whole ‘calling out attacks thing’.” Jaden said, the man looking a little bored as he scratched at his nose, once again causing the ring embedded to jingle a bit. “All it ever really does is give your opponent an idea of what you’re trying to hit them with. Just stay on defense, Erin. Remember we’re here for practice.”

“Right, sir.” Erin said, cracking her neck for a bit and shifting back into a defensive posture. She was a rather homely girl, though outside of her green skin and large size she could have easily passed for human. Jaden hadn’t really talked much about this girl and Erin didn’t offer up much herself, simply readying herself for the fight. Remembering how he had clammed up before when asking a bit more about his past, Austin didn’t pry, but there was something about the him and his harem that struck the AUJ as odd.

It was with a grunt of force that Erin pushed back against Lehn, knocking the Maggieton back several steps. She let out a small growl but didn’t follow up on the attack, muscles twitching a little. It was clear that she was used to having her way in a fight and not stick to defense. Not knowing what exactly he was fighting didn’t help either, but Austin had felt like he would have shown his own lack of knowledge and ability to adapt if he had just whipped out the Pokedex to analyze what Pokegirl Erin was.

Then there was also just how Lehn was handling the fight so far, especially with her other personalities having shown at least once already, the sudden shifts in battle stance and facial features marking when one of the others had been in control. If he had to guess, it was Aella who had glared at him as he continued to call out commands for the Maggieton earlier on. Of the three parts of his Pokegirls mind, she was the clear aggressor of the group, ready and willing to give them a piece of her mind. Maybe that would work to his advantage…

“Switch things up!” Austin called out, hoping that his idea would work. “Aella! Thunderbolt!”

“About freaking time!” Lehn responded, her entire posture changing as Aella took the lead in the body. She slammed her fists together with her knuckles grinding against each other before sparks of electric power shot out of her satellites. The well of energy gathered at her core and she gave Erin a wild grin before thrusting her palms forward, the bolt of pure lightning slamming hard into the green skinned Pokegirl and blasting her back behind Jaden.

“That hurt!” The girl growled out. She pushed herself up with murder in her eyes, fingers digging into the earth beneath her before she roared and charged the Maggieton.

Austin grinned now, nodding to himself. “Switch it up!” He called again. “Emma! Thunder Shield!”

Once again, his Pokegirls posture changed, moving from the aggressive fighting stance she had been in before into a ramrod straight one with her arms spread. The smallest of smiles crossed her lips as her hands spread wide. “As you command, Sir.”

With an effort of will and a pulse of electric power, a large barrier appeared between the Maggieton and her enraged foe. Erin smashed right into it, the physical presence and pure electrical power of the shield slowing her down from a bulls charge to a slow jog. Jaden’s jaw dropped a bit as he saw the state his girl was in, only about to call out something when Austin issued his final command. “Switch it up! Lehn, Mag Bomb now!”

Focusing on her satellites, Lehn’s personality retook control of her body, the fist sized spheres shooting around and about the slowed Pokegirl. Spinning and sparking like little stars, the four satellites slammed hard enough into Erin to take her down again. This time she simply stayed down on the ground, tapping it lightly with her hand, signaling her surrender.

“Freaking hell! Erin, are you alright?” Jaden asked, kneeling beside his prone girl. He looped one arm around hers, helping her back up.

“Sir, I’m fine.” She growled sullenly, even as her free arm moved to cradle where the satellites had slammed into her core. “Electricity don’t do nuthin’ to me. Just surprised by speed, is all.”

A frown still crossed Jaden’s face as he helped the Pokegirl up, clearly not exactly willing to just let it go. He let out a small sigh, scratching at the nose ring once more after Erin was back on her feet. “Well… you look alright… Still, what was that, Austin? Lehn wasn’t moving like that a minute ago!”

Moving beside him, the Maggiemite stood tall and proud before her Master. Her hands were behind her back and if he hadn’t known any better, he would have said that she currently was in the ‘At ease’ pose he remembered the military from his own world would often take when being commanded. He gripped her shoulder, squeezing it softly. “Good fight there girls…” he whispered into their ear. Austin couldn’t help but smile at the shiver coming from his Maggieton before he rose his head to answer Jaden. “I wasn’t thinking the right way before with the fight. I changed things up.”

“Master decided to use our natures to the advantage in the fight.” Emma said, remaining in her stance, even as her gaze shifted over to Austin and a smile remained on her lips. “Aella is the most aggressive of our minds, thus he had her be the offensive. I, being secluded, being the defense and finally Lehn was the technical skill of our personalities, pulling from her wider emotional range and intelligence.”

“You’re just making all that up.” Jaden deadpanned, giving a small glare to the Pokegirl.

“No, that’s about right, though it was mostly a guess on my part if it would actually work that way.” Austin admitted with a small grin, shrugging. “Ever since Lehn evolved, each of her personalities have been distinctly different, so why not use their natural ways of acting as ways to attack as well?”

Jaden looked at him for a moment and let out a sigh, shaking his head. “Still think it’s a little weird to just call out strategy like that, but your girl wasn’t fighting like that before, so there’s gotta be some merit to it.”

“I’d suggest giving it a try the next time you’re in a fight,” Austin said with a grin. “You never know just how much it’ll help.”

Shaking his head, Jaden just let out a small laugh before pulling up Erin’s Pokeball and returning her to it. With them inside the protection of the town itself, Austin did the same, giving Lehn a small kiss on her forehead before she was absorbed into the sphere. He looked down at the ball for a moment before shaking his head. “I’m not sure if I’ll ever get used to that.”

“I could only guess, man. Being dropped into another world? Dealing with getting used to all the weirdness that everyone else takes as second nature?” Jaden let out a small whistle. “I don’t blame some of the Jumpers coming over here from cracking.”

“If I’m entirely honest? I don’t think I’m handling it as best as I could…” Austin admitted, stuffing his hands into his pockets as the pair made their way through the town.

“Not sure I’d say that. Four Pokegirls that really care about ya, The local Nurse Joy mothering ya like a hen, you’ve even got Ol’ Battle Axe’s respect.” Jaden counted off. “You could have done a lot worst all things considering.”

Austin nodded, even as he remained quiet. He focused instead on the road ahead of him, keeping his eyes locked on his feet. He didn’t even realize his battle partner had stopped until he put a hand on his shoulder.

“Hey man…” Jaden said, frowning. “Something’s really eating you… isn’t it?”

There was a heavy silence for a moment, Austin closing his eyes as he fought against the emotions that had come up so recently with the girls. “I’ve… kinda been ignoring the thought of home as best as I could…”

“Miss the family?” Jaden asked.

“Kinda…” Austin replied, brushing his hand through his hair. “It’s… this entire time I’ve been here, it’s been one event to the next. Every day I’m learning something new about Pokegirls, about this world I’ve been dropped in, and I never given a thought to the family I left behind. I was still living with my Mom when I got pulled into this world, you know? Helping take care of her. I’ve been here for what, a couple of months now? And it’s only at night, when nothing else is happening around me that I even spare her a thought.”

The Jumper let out a groan of irritation, tugging at his hair. “What kinda guy does that make me? That I’m so focused on the here and now that instead of trying to find some way back home, I’m trying my hardest to not think about how I’m trapped here. That everything I ever knew is gone and I’m not getting it back.” He slammed his fist against a nearby wall, teeth clenched.

There was a bit more silence from his friend before they spoke, Jaden moving to sit against the wall and patting it beside him. “I’d say that you’re a pretty good guy whose trying to make the best out of a crappy situation.”

“Yeah, but…”

“No buts,” Jaden interrupted, his voice stern before softening. “You’ve gotta face the facts that you can’t change what happened. You got pulled here and what little we do know about alternate universes tells us that ours is a sink hole. Things fall in and are impossible to get out. Do you really think your ma would want you to kill yourself on trying to find a way back to her? Or not make the best of things while you were here?”

Austin frowned, picturing his mother in his mind as he mulled over the question. From her kind eyes, stout figure, and slightly overbearing nature… he knew that she’d be worried. She’d be fretting over him every single minute, if she could. But something ran true in his memories.

Honey, no matter what… should the worst come to happen,’ his mother had told him when he was young. ‘I want you to be happy. Don’t focus on what happened, or how you could have prevented it. Live your life the best you can and know that I will always love you.

Despite himself, Austin could feel a small tear track down his cheek. He swiped at it with a fist before clearing his throat to respond to Jaden. “She’d… rather I do my best, live for what I could.”

Thought so.” Jaden grinned, leaning back against the wall. “I can tell from the way ya treat your girls that you’re always thinking forward. Even the best of people out in these parts tend to think of their Pokegirls as property, even in this happy go lucky League of ours. You don’t. You focus on preparing them, thinking about their needs, and taking in all the Pokegirls that most other tamers would sell off, regardless of what happened to them.”

Austin nodded softly, taking a seat beside Jaden and letting out a small sigh. “Don’t think it makes it any easier to realize I’ll never see her again.”

“Think of it this way: there’s a lot worst that could have happened to either you or her when it comes to being plopped down into this place.” Jaden said, pulling out a cigarette and lighting it. The man took a small puff of it before he continued. “By all rights, you’ve flourished. And even if ya ain’t going to see her ever again, you still know your ma gives a rats ass about you.”

Taking that in for a moment, Austin frowned, remembering just how Jaden had acted when asked about his own history. Deciding to take a chance, the Jumper looked over to his friend. “Take it yours didn’t?”

Jaden winced at the question, taking one extra long inhale of his drug. He let out it out slow with the muttering of ‘Nightmares’ on his breath before looking over to Austin. “I take it I can’t just ask ya to leave it be?”

Austin shook his head, giving the man before him a look. “I don’t want to know everything, but it seems kinda unfair that you’ve got me spilling all this and you’re just being my sounding board.”

Nodding, Jaden leaned his head back against the wall, his slick green hair pressing against it. “It’s messy, stupid, and involves way too much pride to really go super deep into. But the basic idea was the fact that my own Ma and Pa didn’t think much of Zyra. They hated the fact that she was a weak little Pokegirl that was stealing all the attention of their ‘precious boy’. Didn’t matter how I felt or that I was head over heels for her since we were both kids. They didn’t like her for her breed and did every fucking thing they could to keep us apart.”

Jaden let out a small chuckle, shaking his head. “The moment I came of age, I got my tamer license, flipped my folks the bird, and took Zyra as my first Pokegirl. Left the city that we called home and came out here. Would have likely gone out further, but well… while Zyra’s a good fighter, and Erin’s made our team even stronger… I’ve still gotten thumped a few times by the ferals on the road to know that it was better to focus on becoming more powerful. I’d rather not have the folks look in the newspaper and gloat about how right they were about Zyra not being strong enough to protect me or some shit.”

“So that’s why you were so accepting of Pira.” Austin concluded, looking over at Jaden in a new light. “You knew she was being judged for just being what she is.”

Eyup.” Jaden said, taking one last puff of his cigarette before putting the thing out against the ground. “Between her and your Lehn? I knew you were the same kind of guy. You care about who folks are… and frankly that’s needed more in this Sukebe forsaken world.”

Austin couldn’t help but laugh, shaking his head. He sat there for a moment in silence, just enjoying the presence of being with a friend. He stood up after a minute, dusting himself off before offering Jaden his hand. “Come on, dude. Let’s get something to eat.”

Jaden grinned up at his friend before gabbing ahold, being pulled up by the other’s strength. Together they went, talking about lighter things than their own pasts, knowing that they’d take each new day for all it was worth.


Wendell gritted his teeth, slamming his meaty hand into the table he sat at after hearing the report from one of the few he still held sway over. The police, once again, had gotten in the way of cornering someone, preventing him from being able to force them into a battle. It had been happening more and more lately, with even one of the local OfficerJennies doing her absolute best to keep him in view when ever he left his home. “How can I rebuild my harem if I can’t get people to fucking accept a scavenger match?!” He spat, clenching his fist hard.

“It wasn’t like we were getting many who would accept that in the a first place.” One of his lackeys said, one of the few who had stayed around even after Wendell had been cut off from his parents. The forsaken man wasn’t ever sure if it was because of some misplaced thought of ‘friendship’ or if he was just wanting to take advantage of fewer numbers when Wendell’s eventually rise back into money came, but he didn’t care less. Minions were always helpful.

“We’ll just have to be more rough with them.” Wendell growled, tearing off some meat from his meal and chewing loudly. “I don’t think any tamer worth their salt will turn down a match after their arm’s broken and the threat of more.”

The gathered group muttered a bit at that, at least one concerned look crossing their faces. Pushing someone into a fight that didn’t want it, even if it was just cornering them, was already walking a fine line of what could be allowed. A lot of trouble could come around if they actually started attacking the tamers like that. The reaction got another snarl out of Wendell, which quieted the group.

“You know, for a scion of one of the bigger ranches in Sunshine, I would have thought you’d have a bit more to you then ‘beat someone up for their lunch money’.” Came a voice from the door.

Wendell gazed up, eyes squinting against the light of the afternoon that shone through entrance, and lost his scowl before it had made it to his lips.

In the doorway stood a man clad in purple robes that hung about his shoulders and draped down to his feet. He had a hood up above his head, making it hard to make anything out on his face outside of a rather stubble filled chin that was just barely there. It was only by virtue of the opened eye symbol on the hood that Wendell recognized him as a spell caster from one of the local schools. “What do you want, Mage?” He spat. It was hard to trust magic from Pokegirls, much less a human who decided to take up the art!

“Well… I couldn’t help overhearing how you were wanting to rebuild your harem.” The mage rose a hand as he spoke, as if he were using it for an example. “And how you’re not really doing all that good of a job at it.”

“If all you came here was to do taunt me, kindly fuck off.” Wendell said. “I’m not in the mood to deal with half wit magic users.”

The mage chuckled softly, a small smirk covering his face as he took a step closer. “Oh, quite the contrary… I was thinking of making a small deal between us.”

That caught Wendell’s attention, his eyes squinting again at the man before him. “And what sort of thing can I do that a mage can’t?”

“Something that requires a bit more subtlety. That doesn’t draw attention back to me. And would leave you better off then you are now.” The mage said, gesturing around as he spoke.

Wendell all but growled at the motions. Damn mages, have to make everything a bloody show, He thought before speaking up. “Oh, and how would you propose to do that?”

The mage grinned, all of his teeth showing as he responded. “Check your Pokedex.”

Blinking, but doing as he was told, Wendell opened up the device that he hadn’t really used since he got it. It didn’t matter what the Pokegirl was, so long as they were strong and his. He felt his eyes bulge a bit, though, when he noticed the rather large sum of credits that was now in his bank account. That was several times larger than anything he ever got from his parents.

Taking a breath and to keep his hand from shaking as he closed the dex, he looked once again at the mage, wondering what his game was. Either way, it would do to pay attention to him… for now. “So… what exactly is it that you’re wanting?”

“Insurance.” The mage said, rubbing his forefinger and thumb together. “I’m in the business of ruining someone at the moment, but it’s rather beneficial for all parties involved that the events don’t lead back to who I work for. While I’ve got my own methods for taking care of the issue, why not have a little something on the side to ensure that everything goes to plan?”

“And you don’t think someone’s going to be figure out that I’ve been paid off? That’s rule number one of any crime: Follow the money.” Wendell pointed out.

“Oh, I never said you had to do anything now. Or even spend the money on focusing on my plan.” The mage said with a wave of his hand. “Feel free to use it however you wish, and the later the better. It’s much harder to track it back to us when we’re striking at completely different times.”

Wendell blinked again. This lunatic was basically giving him free money? Just to help him in helping ruin a guy? Something about it stunk, even he could tell, but the sheer amount of credits he now held at his fingertips made it too hard a bargain to pass up. Taking another rough bite of his meal, he sat back and chewed before swallowing, glaring at the mage. “Alright… who you wanting to take down, then?”

Another toothy grin split the Mage’s mouth, the man letting out a small chuckle as he waved his hands to his sides. “Are you familiar with Cole the Broadsword?”