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 Brighter than the Sun, Lightning strikes the heart [Event Dev]
 Posted: Apr 25 2018, 07:40 AM


[[Purchasing a mareep from Luke Sheppard, so Soren's going to work hard to earn the discount.]]
[[Also trying to get loyalty and experience for Genesis.]]

Soren rode happily on the back of the wagon as it bumped its way along the dirt road into Lion's Plains from Crater City. It was only a few days ago here that he'd met his first pokemon, Genesis, and he kept his eyes open for any others of her kind. The wagon was taking him to the farm of Luke and Arlene Shepard, a couple of farmers that evidently lived outside the city on the plain. Judging by the size and power of the zebstrika that pulled the wagon, and the fact that the farm had a very successful business, the couple and their employees must be very strong trainers. Soren had run across one of Luke's representatives advertising some baby mareep for sale.

Of course, on his poor worker's salary, he could never afford to simply buy a pokemon. However, Soren was pleased to hear that they would offer a generous discount for labor. Soren had never worked with mareep before. The farm where he lived and worked specialized in berries, fruits, vegetables, and a few other special herbs. They had mudbray to help in the field, a couple of miltank for milk and a coop with a few pudgy pidgey that were kept for eggs and meat. Mareep were not his specialty, but they weren't unfamiliar pokemon either. Crater City had its own mareep farms manned by branded workers like him, and how different was work on one kind of farm compared to another really?

So here he was actually looking forward to a day of working on a farm because he knew it would involve playing with a bunch of different pokemon instead of pulling up weeds and rocks all day. And when he was done, he'd get to take home a little mareep of his very own. He even had a name picked out already in preparation.

As the wagon neared the farm, Soren could see herds of fluffy yellow pokemon milling about. There were also barns and fences made from wood, which confused Soren for just a moment. Of course, this place was much nearer to the West Forest than Crater City so wood would be an easier resource to come by. Soren could see other pokemon too, including two large dogs, one a fully evolved stoutland. His heart began pounding with excitement just as it had a couple days ago when he'd been observing wild pokemon on the plain. The wagon bumped to a stop as they reached the farm and Soren hopped off the wagon.

"Thank you!" Soren told the zebstrika as he reached into his bag for some carrot treats. He usually used them for training Genesis, but it seemed polite to tip his ride. He carefully held his palm flat as the zebstrika leaned down and ate the crunchy snack right out of his hand.

"Ey Benny! What's this that ya brought with ya today?" An old man greeted the worker, Benny, who had ferried Soren over from the city. The two shook hands and the old man came and looked the boy over. Soren stood up straight and removed his hat from his head.

"Hello sir, my name is Soren. I'd like to work for you today so that I can buy one of your mareep please." Soren said sweetly, holding his hat in his hands in front of him and gazing up at the man from beneath his long lashes.

The old man smiled kindly at the boy. "M'name is Luke. It's a pleasure t'a meet you, sonny. Ave you ever handled a pokemon a'fore?"

"Yes," Soren answered brightly, lifting himself on his toes a bit as he beamed with pride. "I work on a farm in Crater City, and we have pokemon that help us in the fields. I even caught my very own pokemon a few days ago." Soren pulled out his pokeball and tapped the button, releasing Genesis in a flash of red light. The girafarig was still getting used to the pokeball experience and she looked around for a moment as she tried to orient herself.

The old man took a closer look at Soren, brow furrowing just slightly as he caught sight of the brand on Soren's forehead. Living this close to Crater City, Luke knew all about Beta's hierarchy and the branded workers who labored on his farms. In his opinion, you could never get the same quality of work from a branded worker as you could get from a person who was paid fairly. Since the food, water, and shelter came free and they were paid too little to afford any kind of luxury, they simply didn't have the incentive to put forward the same kind of effort. He felt a twang of pity for this little guy, but a bit of pleasure too. He'd make sure this kid got a fine little mareep of his very own as long as he worked hard and didn't slack off.

"Well Soren, I think you look like a fine trainer fer my mareep. You give me yer best today, and I'll make sure yer not disappointed. I've got two left fer sale, and I'll let you take yer pick." Luke declared.

 Posted: Apr 26 2018, 10:07 PM


Soren followed Luke onto the farm and towards a large wooden barn. Soren couldn't resist running his hand lightly along the carefully cut wood. He liked the touch and smell of wood. Maybe this was because it was a rare commodity in Crater City, it seemed exotic to Soren. Genesis followed him to the barn, looked inside but didn't step in herself. She just wanted to watch the humans work. She had no intention of helping herself.

“First chore’s muckin out this stable. Since ya said there's mudbray on yer farm, it should be a task yer familiar with. Let me know when ya finish, Sonny. I got more work fer ya.” Luke said with a smile before leaving to tend to other farm duties.

Soren couldn't hide his disappointment. He wanted to play with the mareep, but instead he was stuck mucking out an empty, smelly barn. He could have stayed home and done that on his own farm. He sighed and got to work, reminding himself that at the end of today he would leave with a new pokemon.

This barn was much larger than the one on his own farm, but then there were so many more pokemon to house here. Soren wasn't working alone, at least. Other farm workers were scattered about, so Soren was only really mucking out a section of the barn himself. He knew the routine. He started by removing all of the food, water, and salt from the stalls. It wouldn't do to have these items contaminated or make the poor mareep sick.

Next, Soren retrieved a wheelbarrow and a pitchfork. He used the pitchfork to remove any obvious droppings and placed them in the wheelbarrow. He poked around in the straw bedding and cleaned up any more mess that he found. He used the pitchfork to remove any wet bedding. Next, Soren got a broom and a shovel. He used these to sweep around and shovel up any more nasty nuggets he found lying around. That concluded the worst of the experience, at least.

Soren took the wheelbarrow and deposited its contents in the compost pile. Every farm Soren had ever seen had a compost pile for farm waste. Soren bet that Luke made some decent supplementary income selling fertilizer to Crater City berry farms like the one he worked. Once that was done, Soren came back and spread some fresh straw bedding down in each of the stables he'd cleaned. He replaced the food and water in each stall, and then he washed his hands in a bucket of water provided to the workers.

This was only Soren's first task today, and he already felt beat. The raking, shoveling, and pushing the heavy wheelbarrow had left Soren's whole body aching. During this whole chore, Genesis had only watched with mild interest. She'd folded her knees beneath her comfortably and laid down on the sunny grass outside the stable. She wanted to be near enough to see Soren at all times, in case he did anything interesting. Mucking a stable wasn't very interesting though. It only made sense. If humans were going to capture pokemon and make them live in boxes, the only decent thing for them to do was at least make sure that box was clean. At least Soren appeared to have done a thorough job, in her opinion.

Soren walked over to her, looking tired. He hugged her neck. "Good girl," he told her even though she'd done nothing worth praising. "At the end of today, you'll have a new friend. I'll have a second pokemon even if I have to die trying."

 Posted: Apr 28 2018, 08:40 PM


Luke chuckled and ruffled Soren’s hair kindly, making the boy smile. Soren was the sort of person who leaned in to kindness the way a flower leaned towards the sun. Even a small dose was enough to make him forget being cranky over tedious chores. “I was jus’ testin’ ya. Some folks say they want a mareep but then they ent willin’ to put in the work to care for 'em. I could never stand ta see one of mine mistreated or neglected.”

“I understand, sir. I think I'd feel the same way.” Soren replied. And he would. He couldn't imagine hatching a baby pokemon and selling it only to see later that the buyer had kept it in a filthy barn or made it sick through neglect.

“Then you’ll understand this next assignment too. Mareep need ta have their wool sheared frequently. That wool grows fast, and it gets hot an’ heavy. With the weather warming, yer mareep could overheat if it's not shorn every few weeks once it grows into an adult. If the wool becomes too matted or dirty, it could make a mareep ill. Mareep wool ent ordinary either. It holds electricity, an it can shock ya if it’s charged. Ya need ta be able ta tell a charged mareep from one that's safe ta touch. A mareep that's charged will be fluffier.” Luke explained.

Soren perked up immediately as he began explaining all about shearing and the special attributes of mareep wool. He began firing off questions at once. “How long does it take for the coat to grow back once it's been sheared? Can the mareep still defend itself if it isn't as wooly? How does the electricity get into the wool in the first place?” Soren asked, speaking very fast in his excitement as Luke began to lead him towards the herd of grazing mareep in the field.

“The coat can grow back in a week or so, dependin’ on diet and exercise. A shorn mareep may be vulnerable for a day or two afterwards, but it won't be defenseless. It may not be able to use its electric attacks though. Did you learn about static electricity in school, sonny? One thing Crater’s good at is educatin’ you young people. As the mareep moves, the wool fibers brush together and create static electricity. The fibers store that electricity, and the mareep can control the release of that energy by their muscle movements. O’course, little lambs like the one yer buyin’ might have more trouble knowing how to control that energy. But you'll train them well, won't you?”

“Of course, but I was wondering…” Soren had many more questions to ask, and he was now shamelessly skipping ahead of the old man. Luke cut him off, however. Evidently the man had grown a little weary of Soren's constant stream of inquiries.

“I need to shear some of the flock. All I need you to do is find a mareep that is not charged and bring it to me. If you try to bring one that is charged, though...hehe, let's just say it's a mistake you won't quickly forget.”

Genesis trailed behind, moving at her own pace and simply observing. Soren had looked exhausted just moments before, but now he was chatty and energetic. Was it the presence of the older male that made the difference? Or was it the conversation they were having together? Genesis wished (not for the first or the last time) that she could understand human language. She was certain that she could crack it if she listened closely and put her mind to it. The best she could understand was that they were discussing the fluffy yellow pokemon playing and grazing in the field before them.

Luke went and sat over on a bench beside where he had his shearing equipment. Then he simply watched Soren, waiting patiently for the boy to bring him a mareep. Soren realize he was being tested, which made him nervous. He looked around at all the mareep. They were so used to humans that they hardly even glanced at him. They simply moved out of his was as he walked with baas of mild annoyance. Soren remembered that a charged mareep would be fluffier, but all of them looked very fluffy to him. He found a mareep that he thought might be a little on the less fluffy side and bent down to lift it. Unfortunately, as soon as his skin brushed against the wool, Soren suffered a painful shock.

"Cheese and crackers!" The boy yelled out and leapt back, carefully trying not to fall or step on any of the other surrounding pokemon. The field seemed to reverberate with the noise of cheerful baas coming from all of the surrounding mareep. They're laughing at me, Soren thought sadly as he nursed his stinging hand. He could still feel tingling on his skin and he was certain that his hair was probably standing on end. They thought that was funny.

Genesis rolled her eyes. She felt like she understood what Soren wanted to do. He'd tried to lift a charged mareep and was shocked. The man with the terrifyingly huge scissors must intend to cut the wool off the mareep. Humans used mareep wool to make garments since they had no fur or wool of their own to protect their fragile bodies or keep them warm. That was common knowledge among most pokemon. Few had ever seen this ritual performed, however, and Genesis was eager to observe. If that was going to happen, it looked like she was going to need to intervene.

If she waited on Soren to do it right, she could be waiting all day. She didn't find his injury amusing like the sheep did. Nor did she feel enough of a true attachment to him to care if he failed or succeeded in his own endeavors. However, his bumbling was in the way of her research.

Genesis waded in amongst the herd. “Which among you is charged right now? Please sort yourselves into two groups.” She hummed in pokespeak.

The mareep looked up at the strange pokemon fearlessly. They knew that they were a force to be reckoned with, especially in large numbers. “We don't want to.” The biggest mareep replied boldly, speaking for his whole group.

“Why not?” Genesis asked, tilting her head curiously.

“Because it's uncomfortable to be sheared,” the sheep complained, sounding surprisingly whiny. “He tips us over on our backs and cuts off all of our wood. You wouldn't understand what it's like since you don't have any, but it's embarrassing and it's cold afterwards.”

Genesis was becoming annoyed. What might she do to persuade these frustrating pokemon? “It's good for you. It must feel hot to have all of that wool as the season warms up.”

“Well,” the mareep replied, “that's true…”

“Would you do it for a snack?” Genesis asked, her eyes flashing with cunning. "That boy there has carrots. I'll make him give them to you if you just make this easier on all of us.”

Eyes brightened all around. Soren had been standing nearby, still holding his hand as it seemed to regain normal feeling. He felt it might be rude to interrupt Genesis's conversation, so he'd kept quiet. Plus, it was good for her to socialize with other pokemon. It might make her less wild. He was surprised, however when every single mareep looked at him expectantly. A few came over and began to sniff him. Soren went rigid, afraid that he might get shocked again.

“I smell it! He does have carrots! He brought us treats!” One mareep announced to the flock in a loud bleat. Excitedly, the mareep began to hop off in different directions. They gathered into two separate groups. Watching from his bench a short distance away, Luke's jaw dropped.

Soren carefully wandered over to one group of mareep. The last shock had frightened him, but he was determined to succeed eventually. He really wanted a fluffy lamb of his very own. He reached down with a shaking hand and was about to touch one mareep when it quickly backed away from him. “Not me, you little idiot!” The mareep bleated aggressively. “Can't you see I'm charged? You'll hurt yourself again.”

Unable to understand this language, Soren spent a moment just staring in confusion before Genesis came up behind him and tugged the back of his shirt with her teeth. Only then did he realize that she was trying to guide him, and he obediently turned around and went to the other group of mareep. This time when the touched the mareep, he felt only the pleasant softness of thick wool. He took a breath and lifted the pokemon with one arm supporting it's chest and neck and the other arm wrapped around it's back legs.

When he carried it to Luke, the man gave a wry smile. “That there looks like cheatin’ to me,” he said, but he seemed more amused than angry. Genesis followed close behind Soren, eager to observe the shearing process. “That's a right clever pokemon ya got there.”

“It sure is!” Soren agreed proudly as he watched Luke gently lay the mareep on its back. He propped its shoulders up with his knees for support. Luke proceeded with his work, allowing Soren to help and explaining everything as he went. He was tolerant of Soren’s curiosity, in fact he was a bit pleased. Even though he was sure the work would go faster with less talking, it was nice to see that the boy had a genuine interest in mareep and learning to be a good trainer. Once each mareep was sheared it would stand and stare at Soren, refusing to move.

Soren didn't know what it wanted until Genesis came around and leaned down to tug at his trouser pocket with her teeth. “Genesis, no.” He said, thinking she was playing. He was afraid that she might yank his pants down. Soren was skinny enough to make this a real danger. Then he looked between Genesis's face and the blue face of the waiting mareep. “Oh, do you want a treat?” Soren asked as he pulled a small chunk of carrot out and held it for the mareep. It happily ate the food from his hand and bounced off feeling much cooler and lighter. Soren then went to bring Luke another mareep to shear.

It was lucky, Soren thought later, that he'd brought so many carrot bits and that there were not more than a dozen mareep that needed shearing. He wasn't sure what would have happened if he hadn't been able to give the mareep what they wanted. He had the sneaking suspicion that they may have shocked him out of anger. He did manage to learn how to tell a charged mareep from a safe one, too. There was maybe a minute difference in the fluffiness of the wool, but he found that he was also able to tell by simply getting close to the pokemon. There was an energetic feeling in the air around a charged mareep, like what it feels like when you're waiting for a thunderstorm to start and all of the heavy clouds are in the sky.

 Posted: Apr 30 2018, 07:32 AM


No sooner had Luke finished the shearing than a howling could be heard. The pokemon went rigid, Genesis included. Soren also froze up, recognizing a call of a predator. "What's that?" Soren asked weakly, already shuffling backwards to hide behind his pokemon.

"Mightyena. They're demons that hunt in packs. Unusual for them to hunt during the day though. I wonder if these are hard-up for food. Sometimes they're worse than the pyroar. My pokemon can handle the bigguns, and the mareep can handle the poochyena. If your pokemon can fight, now would be a good time to do so." Luke explained all this so casually that it was as if he fought off attacks like these every day. Maybe he did.

Something like panic struck Soren's heart, and it grew stronger as the first large black canine pounced out of the long grass and onto the grass of the ranch. Demons could hide in shadows and spread depression and anxiety. He'd also heard horrible stories of them stealing and feeding on human children. Luke spoke about these predators as if they were dust to brush off his coat. All Soren could think about was that this was about to be a real battle, with real blood, real injuries, and real consequences. Maybe he should simply bring Genesis into her pokeball and take the opportunity to flee.

Except for one time when he threw himself in between Genesis and a geodude he was afraid she might murder, Soren wasn't particularly brave. He didn't like to see anyone get hurt. Violence frightened him. It made him want to hide behind the safe walls of Crater City. Just before he was about to push the button on Genesis's pokeball, Soren saw two lambs that had strayed from the herd. They appeared to be playing, and they didn't seem to have even noticed the danger. He groaned inwardly and ran towards them.

It felt as if time had slowed down. Soren was running, moving as fast as he could towards the playing lambs. Around him, the mareep flock was under attack. Mightyena bounded over fences, their mouths dripping with drool. A chorus of howls rang through the field like a warcry, and Soren knew that every one of their demons would be coming on even stronger. Luke's pokemon met them with equal ferocity. The stoutland, a herdier, even the zebstrika that had pulled the wagon ran out to join the fray. They engaged the largest pokemon, but most of the attacking pack were small poochyena. The ones that came after the mareep flock were met with sparks of lightning. The mareep who'd just been sheared moved to the center of the flock for safety while the charged mareep handled the majority of the fighting.

Through all of this, Soren could see a grey blur heading straight for the frolicking lambs, barking loudly. He had to reach the lambs before the poochyena did! He didn't know what he was going to do. Maybe he could kick the dog or something. No, demon or not, Soren wasn't ready to kick a dog. Could he distract it with carrots? Probably not. Luckily, Soren didn't have to resort to any of these ideas.

Genesis was there, right there between the poochyena and Soren. She snorted and spun, aiming to kick the creature with both of her back hooves. Her fighting type move slammed into the rushing demon, knocking it back and eliciting a high pitched whine of pain. The canine was badly hurt, but it didn't feel it right away. The thrill of attacking with its pack filled it with adrenaline, and before it could even realize how damaged it was, it tackled Genesis. It slammed right into her flank, causing her to lose her balance and fall over to one side.

Genesis uses Double Kick on Wild Poochyena, is hit by Tackle
user posted image
Level: 5 Health: 68%
It looks like she's protecting Soren, but she really just hates poochyena

Wild Poochyena is hit by Double Kick and uses Tackle on Genesis
user posted image
Level: 7 Health: 16% Status: +1 attack stage from using Howl before battle
High on bloodlust. Coming down in 3...2...1

 Posted: Apr 30 2018, 02:46 PM


"Genesis!" Soren yelled as he saw the girafarig fall over. She'd be vulnerable to attack on her side, but he still had the two lambs to worry about too. They'd stopped playing, and they were at least paying attention. They still weren't running away though. Why weren't they scared? Soren went over and was about to try and pick one up, but as soon as he was near enough, he could feel the electric energy in the air. These fluffy little lambs were fully charged. Touching them would shock him, maybe enough to paralyze him. That meant picking them up and carrying them to the rest of the flock was out of the question.

Soren looked around to see where the poochyena was, and saw the pup limping off. Genesis must have kicked it good. It didn't look to be bleeding, but judging by the way it moved, it was bruised pretty badly. As Genesis rolled over and got her legs under herself, the poochyena whined and limped a little faster. Maybe that would buy them some time. "Shoo! Come on guys, you need to go back to the flock right away! Go on!" Soren shouted, waving his arms at the two mareep. They watched him with fascination but still didn't look concerned about the attacking wolves and their pups. Combat could be heard all around. Soren could see the herdier use takedown on a mightyena while the stoutland gave a great and terrifying roar, causing many of the attackers to simply flee.

Already the worst of the fighting seemed to be over. Battles between pokemon seemed to happen so fast. The main flock of mareep seemed almost cheerful as the zebstrika joined them. Their baas seemed to take on a celebratory tone as they chased off the predators. Genesis seemed eager for more, and as soon as she was up on her feet again, she charged after one of the fleeing poochyena. "Genesis, no! Don't! Let it go!" Soren yelled as he hurried after her. He wasn't fast enough to get ahead of her and put himself between her and the poochyena the way he'd done with geodude. She might have caught one of the pups and given him a good kick if it wasn't for the fact that she was now injured and tired.

Genesis was always happy to thrash a demon dog. She remembered how a pack had attacked her herd on the plain when she was little more than a calf. Mightyena had taken down one of her grandparents who was old and injured from a previous battle. Then a couple of poochyena pups had managed to separate her from the rest of her herd. They'd been so proud of themselves, and eager to show the others how well they could hunt. She'd shown them though. She'd given them each a double kick and sent them running. Genesis missed her herd from time to time, but she managed well enough on her own. Mostly, she was angry about what happened to her grandfather. She remembered how helpless she'd felt and how frightened he looked. Genesis couldn't forget that moment, and she couldn't forgive these dogs.

However, Genesis may have overestimated herself. She'd only been hit once, but she'd been hit badly. She was still quite young herself, and she didn't have a lot of battle experience. One good strong double kick was enough to leave her tired, and she was sore from the fall. Her human was calling her. Perhaps he was afraid and wanted her close for protection, but she thought it was more likely that he was trying to protect the demons. He didn't understand that they were monsters, and she couldn't tell him why she hated them. She told herself that it was unfair to punish the boy for his ignorance. If he'd spent his life living on the plain instead of the walls of the human settlement, he'd know that the poochyena deserved no mercy.

She turned and walked back towards him, carrying her head a bit lower and breathing hard from exhaustion. As the last of the demon pack fled, Luke came over to check on them. The old man still looked entirely unruffled. His pokemon were barely injured, though the stoutland was licking a shallow wound on his herdier friend's ear.

"Why didn't you run?" Genesis asked the lambs in a slightly annoyed hum as she came close enough for her soft voice to carry.

"We wanted to watch you fight." one of the lambs bleated cheerfully.

"Fight! Fight! Kick the ugly demon dogs!" The other lamb bleated, bouncing energetically on his hooves.

"If I didn't fight that poochyena, it would have gotten you. Were you just going to stand here and let that happen? Did you simply expect me to fight for you?" Genesis asked. She would have fought regardless of the lambs and regardless of Soren, but these mareep needed to really learn some self-preservation skills. It seemed to her that living under the care and protection of humans had made them a little stupid.

"Oh no, we would have fought the dogs ourselves," the first lamb answered. "We're all charged, and we wanted to fight. Bzzt! Shock the demon dogs."

"Shock the doggies! Shock the doggies!" The second lamb bleated while still bouncing happily up and down.

Genesis couldn't stay irritated with these two. Any pokemon that were that happy at the idea of hurting poochyena couldn't be all bad. Plus, it sounded like these two were just barely hatched.

"Why aren't you with your herd?" Genesis hummed.

"We were playing while looking for our brother."

"He went away, away, away."

"Did he flee to the plain to live in the wild?"

"No, he went away with a human, a human with yellow hair from the big human flock. We want to go and rescue him." The first mareep baaed.

The second brother kept quiet on this point. He wasn't sure about the idea of leaving the farm or going on a real adventure. He'd thought they were just pretending.

"I doubt that your brother needs a rescue. I know that there are humans who treat pokemon badly, but the care of tame pokemon that I've seen in the settlement has been more than acceptable. He is likely being very well cared for by this human. He may not want to return to being one mareep among many."

"You mean...he probably doesn't even miss us?" The second lamb bleated sadly, looking up at the long-necked pokemon with pitiful black eyes.

"Yes, precisely!" Genesis responded with a happy hum. It pleased her that they were able to keep up with her language despite being so young. She was not sentimental, however, and she couldn't understand why both of the lambs gave her such glum looks.

 Posted: Apr 30 2018, 07:15 PM


Soren was frightened even as the battle reached its end. He wasn't going to abandon the lambs or his own pokemon, but he didn't know what to do in order to be useful. He'd been unable to herd the lambs to safety, and he had no real control over Genesis who appeared to simply do whatever she wanted. He'd never participated in a pokemon battle, and he'd never been interested in doing so before. However, it seemed that part of having and caring for a pokemon meant that from time to time, she would expect a fight. He knew from the time when they first met that Genesis was a fighter. Maybe she enjoyed it, or maybe she felt driven to become stronger. Soren had learned in school that pokemon became stronger after every battle, that regular training and exercise was good for them. He'd worried even then that pokemon and humans both carried a vicious instinct to destruction.

This side of Genesis gave him chills. She frightened him when she seemed wild and aggressive. But she was no less beautiful, no less graceful, no less of an extraordinary wonder. The good was more than worth the bad. He would simply have to learn to adapt, to be more courageous, to grow stronger with every battle as she did.

Soren was relieved when Luke came over. The man was a confident veteran, unshakable. He gave the boy a reassuring pat on his hatted head. "Yer girl is strong, but still pretty wild. I reckon it might do ya good to have a 'mon with a...let's say 'milder' disposition. One of those two lambs'll be a good match for ya, sonny. You can pick one ta keep as soon as ya help me finish shearing the rest of the flock." Luke said, idly scratching at the stubble growing on his chin.

"But sir, the rest of the mareep were charged and we couldn't shear them. And I'm out of carrots." Soren argued. He was afraid of being shocked.

"They were charged. Best way to help a mareep discharge electricity is fer 'em to have a right good battle. Those mightyena did us a favor, in a way. Now that they've had a chance to discharge some electricity, they'll be safe for us to touch." Luke explained. "And yeah, I suppose without carrots ya'll need to bring them ta me the correct way without bribin' 'em. Hop to it, and that'll be all that I need from ya today. That and 210 tokens will be enough."

With that, Soren got back to work. He was so relieved that the danger had passed and so enticed by the prize of a lamb that he was almost happy even to perform tedious farm chores. Collecting the mareep to be sheared was a bit more difficult without Genesis to help. They struggled and ran from him, but they never hurt him, and he was able to tell now when it was safe to touch them. This time whenever Soren brought Luke a mareep, he didn't simply shear it while Soren watched. He expected more from the boy. He taught Soren how to hold them comfortably during the shearing, where to start, how to finish, and most importantly how to do the whole job without harming the mareep. By the time they were finishing up and the sky had turned orange with the light of the setting sun, Soren was able to shear a mareep all by himself without any help at all.

They loaded all the fleece up in a cart, and Luke called his zebstrika to carry the cart over to a shed for storage. "If ya decide that ya'd like to work another day fer the last mareep lamb, ya can help me prepare all of that wool fer market."

"Thank you, sir, but I imagine that I'll have my hands full with just one lamb." Soren responded honestly. He looked over to where Genesis appeared to be making friends with the two little lambs. "Look, she likes them."

"That's grand. C'mon over here an' pick on of 'em out." Luke said, happily waving Soren over to where the lambs waited with Genesis.

Soren looked both of the lambs over. They looked exactly the same to him. How was he supposed to choose one? Soren reached into his pack and pulled out a pokeball. As soon as he captured Genesis, Soren had gone and spent what tokens he could spare on a couple of pokeballs. He'd only been able to get two, as pokeballs were a bit tough to come by right now. However, Soren figured that if he could obtain two more pokemon, he'd have the start of a good team. They could help to protect one another, and Soren would have friends to take care of and love. Soren had jumped at the opportunity to buy a mareep in part to avoid the risk of traveling outside of the city in order to find and capture a new pokemon.

Genesis sure seemed to get along with mareep, and Soren hadn't expected that. He remembered how the pokemon had sorted themselves into groups, seemingly at Genesis's command or request. She'd been humming at these two lambs for a bit. Maybe she'd gotten to know them a bit better. "Genesis," Soren called, causing the girafarig to look up. She recognized that he was speaking to her, that he wanted something from her, even if she couldn't understand her language. "Which pokemon should we take home?" He showed her the pokeball and then pointed at one of the lambs and then the other.

Genesis understood and had already decided that the second lamb would be best. The first one seemed bolder, more adventurous, and more of a leader. The second one was more like Soren, she thought. It was a little more timid, a little less certain, but still overall playful and innocent. A bold pokemon would be harder for Soren to raise and control. The more gentle mareep lamb would submit easily to a trainer, even a trainer as inexperienced as Soren. The trouble would be convincing the lamb to come along.

"I like you," Genesis told it. "So does my boy." She tossed her head in Soren's direction while looking at the second lamb to indicated her trainer. "He wants to take you with us, and I think you should come along."

"Wait no! I want to stay here with my brother!" The more timid lamb bleated and backed away from Genesis slightly.

"If you stay here, you'll stay with your herd and the farmer will feed you and cut your wool like he does all of the other mareep. But if you come with that boy, you'll be his only mareep, and one of only two pokemon on his team." Genesis believed she was using that word correctly. A group of tame pokemon that served a single human were called a "team". "He's kind. He gives me good food and loads of attention. He lets me do almost anything I want and we travel all around the human settlement."

"The human flock? You could go and find our other brother and make sure that he's okay!" The first mareep spoke up now. It didn't appear to bother him that his brother was about to be taken away. If anything, he may have been a bit jealous. Leaving the farm could be fun.

"I don't know about this..." The second lamb whined. Genesis had gotten up now and walked towards the mareep, gradually herding it over to Soren. Soren knelt on the ground and extended one hand. Being careful not to brush the fluffy wool which made the air tingle with static electricity, he scratched the mareep's blue chin.

"Hi! It's good to meet you. My name is Soren, and you've already met Genesis. She likes you, I can tell. I want you to be my pokemon, okay. I'll take good care of you, I promise." Soren told the lamb, who was gradually relaxing under his gentle touch.

"Well, now's the time. What's that name ya said ya had picked out fer 'im?" Luke asked, walking over and smiling with approval.

"I'm going to name him Cumulonimbus." Soren said, prompting Luke to lift his eyebrows slightly.

"That's a bit of a big word," Soren was waiting for Luke to say "for a child" but was quietly relieved when he instead finished with, "For a pokemon to remember."

"Well, we'll call him Nimbus for short." Soren declared, fishing in his bag until he'd collected the tokens that he'd carefully saved up for this exact moment. He felt so proud and happy as he handed them over to Luke, knowing that he'd earned this pokemon all by himself. Mostly, anyway. Genesis helped.

"E's yours then. Good luck raising him, Soren." Luke said as he counted out the tokens and whisked them away into a pocket.

"Come on then, Nimbus!"

"I'm still not sure about this..." the lamb bleated, but it's protest was cut off as Soren's pokeball bounced off the fluffy curl of wool on his head, opened, and sucked the pokemon inside in a blaze of red light.

 Posted: May 14 2018, 08:17 PM


topic closed
▲▲ +1 Mareep!
▲▲ +2% loyalty for Genesis
▲▲ +7 EXP for Genesis

▼▼ -210 tokens
▼▼ -1 pokeball

You already know how much I enjoy reading your threads, and this one is no exception! You seem to have such a good handle on writing for distinct personalities. Anywho, no complaints from me! EXP gain is slightly smaller than it would have been just because the battle was so quick- which totally makes sense in the context of what was going on, and it felt realistic, but since it was quick and simple there's less to be learned from the experience of battle.

Side note, I'm eager to see how Genesis' thoughts might change as her loyalty to Soren increases. And, of course, I'm excited for this new addition to Soren's team! I'll roll the little cloud sheep's stats and put him in Soren's index soon. I'm just putting his name as "Nimbus" in the index for now, let me know if you wanted the whole name there instead of the nickname and I can fix it if needed.

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