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10 days ago
Current I'm scrapping Nano. Mental health isn't there for me to finish it this year I guess.
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11 days ago
If you're on the fence about getting the new Pokemon game, do it. What an incredible story and characters!
7 likes
15 days ago
Am both happy and sad Nano's almost over. This year's just been tiring for me for some reason.
16 days ago
Pokemon really got me crying in the early game like--
3 likes
16 days ago
I did but never completed it!
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MENTIONS: Iris [@Serei2477], Bianca [@Majoras End], Mika [@Solace], Astrid [@LuckyBlackCat], Sebastien [@King Cosmos]

Everyone in Hestia’s vicinity appeared to be fine, thank Arceus. Yet, with the end of the battle came questions. What were those Pokemon? What did they want with Postwick? Did they want to kidnap Iris next? There were too many people asking questions that Hestia couldn’t answer. She turned her face to the ground as her fingers curled tighter around Lazuli’s Pokeball. What a mess this whole thing was. And they couldn’t even grab someone to bring in for questioning; the terrorists were sure quick to flee. If they wanted to take away Iris, they wouldn’t have given up so easily. They knew exactly what they were doing. That was the scary part.

”I don’t know,” she referred to everyone’s question in a solemn, singular statement. ”What I’m sure of is that we need to get word to the Chairman, ASAP. He needs to know about what happened.”

Thankfully, Mika was already on that. Hestia swept her gaze over their number, blinking at Iris. She was grateful she was fine, but she couldn’t help but feel concerned for her coworker. If the strange individuals came back for her while they were away, would she be able to fend them off by herself? She almost flinched when Bianca approached her, but instantly became eased by her gentleness.

”Yeah, we should go,” Hestia nodded. Before she went on her way, she turned to the rest of them. ”Keep your wits about you and call me if they come back.”




That evening…

MENTIONS: Everyone

Cane called every single gym leader to Wyndon that very day, explicitly stating that Hyacinth wasn’t taking any “if”s, “and”s, or “but”s from anyone. The conference room felt very cramped, and she was sure that two or three other gym leaders had brushed past her in nervous attempts to grab a proper chair, lest they had to stand while listening to the Chairman’s speech. For once, he was there before everyone else. His face was flushed, though his lips were a straight line and there was a strange light to his eye that Hestia didn’t recognize. When everyone was present, he took his place at the head of the overly crowded table and began the meeting.

”I have several announcements to make. As you know, there were attacks on two important government buildings today– the lab in Wyndon and the gym in Postwick. At the moment, we have no idea who these culprits are or what their intentions are, but we have settled that the attack on Postwick was nothing more than a distraction to prevent any other gym leaders from helping out at the laboratory.” Hyacinth’s voice was gruff, almost as if he was tired of speaking. ”Thankfully, there were no fatalities in either of the attacks, though several civilians and police officers had to be hospitalized. These individuals are expected to make full recoveries.

”While we don’t have any significant information on these terrorists, Gym Leader Fiona does have something to say about one of her encounters with the leader of the attack at the laboratory,” Hyacinth nodded at Fiona.

"Right, so, uh..." Fiona sighed, scratching the back of her head awkwardly. "Disclaimer, this ain't exactly a good explanation. Ain't like I know th' cocksuck's name or anything. But long story short, back when I was in Orre, I wound up battlin' that cunt inna tournament. Wanker had th' most fucked up Salamence I'd ever seen an' he was mistreatin' it something fierce. So since Orre was a lawless shitehole at th' time, I might've gotten him drunk after th' tourney an' stolen his Salamence off of him. An' aye, that's Felon." She held up the Ultra Ball containing her Salamence at that for a moment before continuing on.

"At th' time, Felon was, an' I'm fairly fuckin' sure that Alakazam an' Steelix were all Shadow Pokemon. If ya don't know what that is, imagine some dipshite scientist decides tae turn a regular Pokemon into a killin' machine through chemicals or science or whatever. They ain't got no compunction about fatalities wit' other Pokemon or humans, an' they take any order they're given unless they go berserk. More importantly fer fightin' em, they all got special moves an' whatnot that just outright bleedin' ignore type advantage. Alla these 'Shadow Moves' are super-effective, no matter what they hit. Ya can rehabilitate them into regular Pokemon again, like I did wit' Felon, but it takes time an' some magic fuckin' rock in one of th' only nice places in Orre. I think. Dunno, heard somethin' about a machine round th' time I was leavin'. That all said, ya can't exactly tell if a Pokemon's Shadow or not without context clues or if they bust out one o' those moves." Fiona rapped her knuckles against the table for a few moments, as if trying to remember more.

"Think that's everything I got, really. So if these cunts're using more o' those, that's a problem. Happy now, boss?"

”Thank you for your explanation.” Hyacinth nodded again, then turned to the rest of the gym leaders, looking even more tired than before. ”If we are dealing with these so-called “Shadow Pokemon” on top of the hybrid beasts that were reported to be seen at Postwick, we will have to consult with experts in Pokemon biology. I would like to let you know that we are in frequent contact with Professor Hawthorn, who is also in the process of contacting experts in Orre. She is also likely to reach out to any one of you in order to garner further information– I expect you to help her if she requests any sort of aid, whether it be with research, odd jobs, or whatever else.

”That leads to my third announcement… which is, at this point, difficult to make,” Hyacinth persisted after a long pause. ”Holly Holbrok has gone missing as well. She appears to have been abducted in a manner similar to what happened with Ryker– in whose case, there have not been any recent updates on his own disappearance. Regarding Holly, her home was found in shambles and her Pokemon were taken along with her.”

Hestia broke out into a sweat. Another one of them taken? Which one of them was next? Nordrin? Fiona? Bianca?

”... and though things are becoming more difficult to deal with regarding the Gym Challenge, I’ve decided to have Sawyer take her place for the time being. He is no means a permanent replacement and will be expected to step down as soon as Holly returns to her post.”

She grit her teeth, bristling. ”Sir, is this really--”

”As of now, I have no intention of canceling the Gym Challenge. But if things become too dangerous for both its competitors and my gym leaders, I will have no other choice than to do so,” Hyacinth told them as he swept his gaze over the room. It was almost as if he had ignored her completely. ”Until then, I expect you to all focus on your duties as gym leaders and maintain morale. Do not cater to the press or paparazzi. I know that they have been harassing most of you, but if they persistently intrude on your boundaries, then you are more than allowed to gently use your Pokemon to get them to leave you alone. If that doesn’t work, you may call the police, which will lead to their arrests. At this point, they are more than aware that they should not be hounding after gym leaders for information.

”Above everything else, I demand that you remain safe in this situation and maintain consistent contact with your fellow gym leaders. If you wish, you may board with one another in order to keep an eye on your comrades. I do not mind what else you do in order to keep each other safe, as long as it is in compliance with my requests. We cannot manage to lose yet another of your members.”

When Hyacinth finished his announcements, he clasped his hands behind his back and nodded at them once again. ”That is all for now. If you need anything, please contact Cane, Professor Hawthorne, or myself.”

The Chairman left without letting anyone respond to his statements, and that was that.


MENTIONS: Iris [@Serei2477], Bianca [@Majoras End], Mika [@Solace], Astrid [@LuckyBlackCat], Sebastien [@King Cosmos]

If there was any time that Hestia was extraordinarily glad for the presence of other gym leaders, it would probably be now. The strange, chimera-like beasts prowled closer and closer still, their saliva dripping onto the pathway. A drawn-out hiss emitted from the puddles of thick murk as the fluid gnawed away at the grass it came in contact with. As soon as they were near her, however, Astrid burst out of the gym with both of her Pokemon. Aries’ Power Gem slammed straight into the neck of one of the beasts, earning its ire in the form of a great howl of pain, the pack turning towards the new enemy. The other beast screeched even louder and vomited up a blob of purple muck towards the Pokemon that had appeared– only for it to splatter against the Ampharos’ Light Screen. It stood there, confused, until a Shadow Ball slammed into its side and sent it crashing into a nearby patch of shrubbery.

”Lazuli! Dragon Rush!” Hestia took the opening as soon as it had presented itself to her. Huffing, the injured Salamence roared and cloaked itself in an azure light before it slammed into the other distracted “Pokemon”. It howled in pain, writhing as it struggled to stand up, but Lazuli took it upon himself to finish it off with another Dragon Claw.

More still came. The masked individuals howled more commands at the beasts, which made them pelt down the path towards them. At that point in time, the others had arrived. Through the combination of Sebastien’s Murk and Mika’s (fool-hardy) Centurion, a large number of their forces had either been washed away or torn apart by the wrath of the earth around them. Hestia grit her teeth as Lazuli landed next to her in a rush of wind, raising a hand to comfort her pained Pokemon once again. It appeared that they had this.

The enemy’s strategy finally came apart at the seams when the other Pokemon that had recently arrived at the entrance were promptly greeted with a Confuse Ray and Night Shade from Iris’ own Pokemon. Three of the Nido-Arcanine promptly began to maul each other in their bewilderment. Hestia stared in horror as their fangs, horns, and claws dug into each other’s hides without mercy, flinging both fur and flesh into the air, their teammate now having become the bane of their wrath. One of the Pokemon collapsed to the floor in a frenzy of howl as the other two dug into it, still confused. With all of the blood that was pouring out of the poor thing, Hestia thought that they would kill it right there and then. Thankfully, they, too, were finished off by Bianca’s Froslass’ Icy Wind before they could end the beast’s life.

”Leave them!” The commander, or so it appeared, of the strange platoon shouted from their position in the back of their cluster. ”We’ve done our job! Retreat!”

Hestia couldn’t see where the voice came from, though before she realized it, their enemies were already recalling their Pokemon into Pokeballs she had never seen before. Hissing in frustration, she took a step forward and reached to grab another of her Pokeballs, though paused when she heard Lazuli groan in pain again. She turned towards her Salamence as he slumped to the floor, fatigued. By the time she knelt at his side, the squadron of would-be terrorists had fled on the backs few Nido-Arcanine that remained healthy enough to ride. In a matter of sheer moments, the gym leaders were left behind in the dust that was kicked up by the beasts’ massive paws.

”Lazuli…” Hestia murmured, stroking the dragon’s neck. He whimpered in exhaustion and peered up at her in a silent question. ”You did great.”

He let out a rumbling sigh as his eyes slid closed. Recalling him into his own Pokeball so that he wouldn't suffer more than he already had to, she straightened up and glared at the rest.

”Is everyone else okay? Anyone hurt?”

Hestia knew she had to maintain composure. Those who knew her well, however, could tell that she didn’t quiver with adrenaline or shock, but with pure rage. She didn’t care who had done this– all she knew was that she’d make them pay for attacking innocent civilians and hurting her beloved Pokemon.

.





MENTIONS: Iris [@Serei2477], Bianca [@Majoras End], Mika [@Solace], Astrid [@LuckyBlackCat], Sebastien [@King Cosmos]

Mika’s quip was met with a roll of Hestia’s eyes. The next Kai? That was a long shot. Kid was on the brink of soiling himself. How could someone like that get past all of the Major League Gyms? ”Pfft. As if he’ll ever be a shade of Kai,” she uttered, her tongue laced with contempt. Even though the boy didn’t intrigue her as much as her own challengers did, she turned her pale eyes down towards the stadium as the boy sent out his Zigzagoon.

Of course, the battle began as a shitshow. The boy’s grasp on battling was mediocre, at best. Her eyes pricked when she heard Astrid’s joyful narration, and beneath that, Bianca’s soft critiques. The latter was right. If the boy was smart, he’d have brought along items to use. He was such a green youngster, he probably spent it all on Pokeballs instead. Hestia huffed, leaning back into her chair and pulling out her phone to swipe through her feed. No new notifications, other than the typical post from the news outlets asking where their Champion was. She snorted as her mood soured. It was better to focus on the battle, she guessed, even if it was like watching a Magikarp out of water, flopping helplessly in Iris’ wake.

When she cast her eyes back to the battle, she was surprised to see that the kid had a firmer hold on the situation at hand. Hestia leaned slightly forward and narrowed her gaze at the field. The Galarian Zigzagoon… did the boy intend to Dynamax it? That would be the only way to emerge from the battle as the victor, despite the chances being slim. Her grip on her phone tightened, ignoring the vibrations of an incoming call as she found herself excited over the outcome of the kid’s desperation.

HELP! HELLLLP!”

Hestia flinched. A man had wrenched past the field’s security, his face contorted with bewilderment as he rushed forward. His skin was pale, his mouth was wide, his lips pouring out a frantic screech that stopped the battle in its tracks. The young man’s darkened eyes flicked across the crowd, desperate to catch their attention as security guards lunged forward to grab the crazed man. He writhed in their hold, spluttering in his struggle, as if he was a Primeape that had been caged against its well. It was only when his eyes landed on the gym leaders that he composed himself enough to shriek again.

YOU NEED TO HELP! THEY’RE ATTACKING! THEY’RE ATTACKING POSTWICK WITH… WITH… THOSE THINGS! His voice was hoarse from all of his screaming. The security guards glanced at each other in confusion.

Hestia didn’t waste a single moment. Shooting up from her seat, she roared at the other gym leaders from over her shoulder. ”Move!” It was all she said before she rushed past everyone and towards the entrance.

Postwick was supposed to be a quiet town. Supposed to. But when Hestia emerged from the confines of Iris’ gym, she was met with cries of terror. Several men and women tore past her in the direction of the Slumbering Weald, some yanking along children as they sought sanctuary from whatever was chasing them. Their cries echoed through the small town, rending Hestia’s heart and making it thump wildly against her ribcage. She turned her gaze further down the now dusty roads of Postwick.

Several individuals, bearing tan-colored tactical gear complete with hoods and strange-looking gas masks, walked almost nonchalantly up the road. Multiple large shadows prowled next to them, their piercing yellow gazes cutting through the kicked up debris. Bared fangs glinted in the half-light. What the hell they were, she had no clue. They seemed to have come from another region, another world, perhaps not even their own. The sight of them terrified her, not only because of the look in their eyes and the venom dripping from their fangs, but because she didn’t know what or who they were. The strange men and women, having only caught sight of her just then, pointed their fingers in her direction and barked out a command she couldn’t hear. Two of the monsters, purple and blue ones, charged at her as violet smoke poured out from their maws and nostrils.

Her hand snapped to a Pokeball at her belt and tossed it into the air. Lazuli emerged from his capsule with a red glow, already roaring in fury. ”Dragon Cla–”

Both of the Pokemon– if she could even call them that– roared back at her Salamence and vomited up a purple, acrid current of fire. Lazuli grunted and fanned out his wings, blocking the attack from hitting his companion. The smell of searing scales reached her nose as Lazuli screeched in pain, though his talons still glowed with energy as he lashed out at the azure-furred Pokemon. His claws tore into its side and sent it crashing against its ally, and both tumbled to the ground. Hestia’s widened eyes swiveled back towards her Pokemon. Lazuli sagged his neck, wheezing as he lifted his wings. Her blood chilled as soon as she saw the scorch marks across his leg and right wing. Some of the tarnished scales seemed to be even dripping off of him. He let out a half-rumble, half-wimper, his eyes looking down at his trainer with confusion. That was a Fire-type move– how did it do so much damage?! Hestia reached forward in an attempt to soothe him, only to see that the determined duo had risen up from the ground. Their eyes held even greater rage than before, even with the blue Pokemon limping behind her partner as blood poured from the wound at its side. The individuals from before closed in on her with their own monstrosities, their auras bearing ill intent.

”The hell you lot doing back there?!” she screamed into the open doors of Iris’ gym. ”I need your Arceus-damned help over here!”


Smokestep’s fur began to rise as he glanced between Cloudstorm and Stormstrike, his tail lashing from side to side. The tension only rose when another warrior, a reddish tom, fanned the flames with his own input. His ears flattened, maw opening in protest, only become shocked at Redtalon’s rash decision to rush their deputy. Did BreezeClan seriously think that Coyotestar would stand for this?! When she caught wind there was a scuffle–

His thoughts were interrupted when a dark she-cat slammed into his side. Yowling, he stumbled to the ground, but not without scratching Nightwater across her muzzle. He aimed to grapple her so he could pummel her with his back feet, snarling all the while.

Oakpaw, stunned stupid and somewhat helpless, watched the scuffle with wide eyes. ”No! Stop it!” she shrieked, only to be rushed by Scorchpaw. She jumped out of the way of his attack, though unsheathed her claws as she stared at him. ”There’s no reason to fight!”

Scorchpaw hissed at her. ”Mouse-hearted RainClan cat!” he yowled before he slashed her right ear. Oakpaw screeched in what seemed a mix of fury and pain before she went in to bite him on the shoulder.

So much for a peaceful border patrol.


It pleased him to see that Aether wished to accompany him. He had no issue going to the festival by himself, though company was always nice, especially if it was Solstice’s sister. Perhaps he could get him to tell her things she liked and he might get it from the festival. Females liked gifts, right? He liked gifts too. Then again, who didn’t like gifts? Jewelry was the best, but it was even better when they were extra shiny and inlaid with stones so they glimmered and shined when one moved. Maroon found himself ruminating before the frisky touch of the morning wind brushed against his cheeks. He smirked up at Aether as he took off into the sky, looping around and appearing much like a shooting star in the midst of the day. Spreading his large, dark wings, he took off after his companion and floated gently on the breeze.

The festival was a large one, as was everything SkyWing-related. A series of smaller mountains cradled the festival grounds, and many types of vendors rested against the smooth stone. Multi-colored banners and flags swayed from between the stalls, each of their colors decreeing what they had in stock. Maroon didn’t know the meaning of all of them, but he knew that the pale yellow ones were slated for vendors that hailed from the SandWing kingdoms. He had learned to both embrace them and be wary of them; most vendors hyped up their wares as if they were ancient artifacts that had long been buried in the sand and thus tried to sell them for an exuberant amount of gold. The times he had been scammed by them was… very embarrassing. The smell of roast meats brought his attention back to the present.

Maroon’s talons touched down upon the soft ground and he craned his neck to peer around him. Red-hued dragons paced the dirt roads, laughing and swaying their tails, flourishing with their talons, and motioning their wings in excitement. Maroon caught sight of several outsiders, such as several IceWings and one or two SandWings. It seemed like the festival had brought much attention.

”Well, here we are,” Maroon said as he tucked his wings delicately against his sides. Dragons stared at him for a moment, then leaned over to whisper to one another, though he chose to ignore them. Instead, he turned his bright gaze towards Aether. ”Where shall we head first?”


MENTIONS: Iris [@Serei2477], Bianca [@Majoras End] Holly [@Fabricant451], Mika [@Solace], Astrid [@LuckyBlackCat], Sebastien [@King Cosmos]

One week since Hyacinth’s emergency meeting…

It was strange to see so many of them gathered in Postwick. Not everyone had decided to come and watch the first of Iris’ challengers come to battle her, though it was definitely more than a handful of them. Bianca was there along with Holly, which was nice. Mika was there as well, though that was less of a surprise; he probably came by both to watch the battles and scour the Slumbering Weald for anything interesting. What surprised her was that even Sebastien and Astrid had opted to observe the battles. Then again, it was off-season for them– and if any of the trainers failed too many times during the course of the challenge, then they would be relegated to competing against the Minor League gym leaders the next winter. It was smart for them to come and watch the trainers at the end of the day. As for those in the Major league, it would be absolutely idiotic to not attend at least one or two of their comrades’ gym battles. Attending such things gave them a very early and important sneak peak towards what they should expect in the coming weeks.

Hestia sat on the bleachers near the very front of the arena. She often sat in the front row so that she would be able to see every moment of the battle. How the Pokemon moved, how the trainers gave them orders, if there were any delays in a trainer’s decision making… it was very easily overlooked if one decided to sit in the back portion of the gym. And that wasn’t the only issue with sitting further away from the ring. Other onlookers would often jump up in excitement during the length of the battle, which could block potentially important parts of the battle or large segments overall.

She cleared her throat and sat up straighter, her eyes peering straight into the arena. Iris looked more than prepared to meet her challenger– a young boy with shaggy black hair and crooked glasses. He trudged forward to face the Ghost-type gym leader, albeit a bit too jittery for her liking. It was like he had just seen a… well, a spirit. This drew a little chuckle from Hestia, who cast Mika a sidelong glance with a sneer on her lips.

”This kid’s gonna faint before he even sends out his first Pokemon.”



As for everyone else...

MENTIONS: Fiona [@Psyker Landshark], Sawyer [@Vertigo], Nordrin [@Yankee], Isaiah [@PrankFox]

... the day went about normally. Fiona, Sawyer, Nordrin, and Isaiah carried out their daily duties as they had done for the past week or so. It was stale work, and specifically annoying when they were constantly approached by fervent fans that asked if Ryker had returned yet or not. Hyacinth had told them he was going to do something about the people that pestered them, but as of now, nothing had changed. Yeah, it had been only a week since the “beginning” of the Galar Regional Championship and Ryker’s disappearance, but their constant questioning had probably made it seem like it had been forever.

Yep. The day went about normally, until a very specific phone call from one of Hyacinth’s secretaries. He might have been recognized by the pitch of his energetic voice, which he always carried with him no matter where he went. However, this time young Cane bore a tone that brimmed with panic and urgency.

”Hello, hello! Listen, Hyacinth can’t call you right now. Something’s happened– something terrible! Someone broke into Wyndon Central Laboratory only a few minutes ago, and the cops need help fending them off! They have Pokemon in their arsenal, some of them we haven’t ever seen before! They’re too strong! Hyacinth said to get over there for backup, immediately!”

The call ended a moment after; he probably went off to call the other gym leaders. Obviously, there was no time for chit-chat or questions. They had to move, now.


The cluster of cats cut through the thick-leaved grass as they padded towards BreezeClan's border. It was always somewhat haunting to know that there was never any clear indication that one was approaching the other Clan's territory, save for a spare tree or perhaps a small hill. It was the smell of BreezeClan cats that got to you first, even before one got close to the one or two stray trees that stood tall against the backdrop of the grassy dunes. And if that didn't help, there was always the sudden presence of sand beneath ones paws as they got nearer and nearer to the border, along with the sharp tang of salt in the breeze. Smokestep took all of this into consideration as they walked, the tip of his tail twitching with apprehension. There was a kind of tension in the air that he didn't like, but he shrugged it off as baseless apprehension more than anything.

He turned his head to see that Hawkshadow had approached, blinking warmly at his words. "Thank you. And personally, I can't wait for them to leave the nursery. That's when you get to see their true personalities shine," Smokestep smirked and flicked his tail dramatically. "StarClan knows that RainClan needs more energetic cats with sticks in the mud like Coyotestar and my brother prowling about."

Meanwhile, Oakpaw was very much preoccupied with Stormstrike, her eyes wide as she kept up with the larger tom despite the longer grass pulling at her paws. "I smell salt, and water... the ocean! Maybe some rock, too, and--"

"What are you doing on our territory?"

A line of shadows crested the hill right in front of them. Smokestep raised his eyes towards them, narrowing them in the face of the sunlight. Five BreezeClan warriors had appeared at the top of the hill. He immediately recognized Cloudstorm among their number. The larger tom's muzzle was wrinkled slightly as he scowled down at Stormstrike. "I had hoped that the deputy of RainClan had a better head perched upon his shoulders."

Smokestep growled, padding forward and standing next to Stormstrike. "What are you even talking about, you hare-brained fleabag?"

"I asked a question," Cloudstorm snarled, taking a step toward them. His claws glinted in the dim sunlight. "What are you doing on our territory, Stormstrike?"
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