Once her initial shock passed, Elizabeth immediately grabbed Queenie's Pokéball from her waist and released her starter. As the Salandit formed, she was already stretching herself out languidly. She paused briefly as she caught sight of the Zangoose but after a moment's consideration she merely flicked her tongue at him dismissively and finished stretching, evidently not impressed by the waterlogged opponent.
"Oh, you're gonna battle it?" Jules observed, now sounding less nervous and slightly intrigued. Elizabeth felt a minor stab of irritation at the rather pointless interjection but quickly stifled it. Her previously volcanic fury had been mostly cooled by the appearance of her new target and she refused to be distracted from the task of determining the best strategy to take down the Zangoose... a task which she suddenly realized might be far more difficult than she would have preferred. Zangoose were known for their fierce rivalry with Seviper, which resulted in them typically having an immunity to poison, even the particularly potent poisons of Salandit, thereby removing her primary avenue of attack.
On the bright side of things, no pun intended, the intense sunlight would only increase the effectiveness of Queenie's Ember. Unfortunately, that same sunlight might make them too effective. Elizabeth was painfully aware of the fact that the current battlefield was covered in and surrounded by wild grass, which was likely rather dry due to the hot weather. That meant that any fire could easily spread rapidly and as much as she wanted to catch this Zangoose, starting a wildfire would admittedly be a touch excessive. That meant that her only option as far as offence went was to use Scratch. Against a Zangoose, known for their sharp claws. As much as she loved Queenie, Elizabeth didn't see her starter coming out on top in that exchange.
"Use Sweet Scent," she ordered, deciding she would have to rely on hit-and-run tactics and hope that Queenie's speed was sufficient to keep ahead of her foe. Sweet Scent might serve to distract Zangoose, making it lower its guard and thus rendering it more vulnerable to such a strategy. Queenie didn't hesitate to wave her tail at the Zangoose, an almost invisible gas with a powerful, highly sweet odour rising from the appendage and scattering about the area. The scent was a touch strong for Elizabeth's tastes at the best of times and in this still air, its sweetness became almost cloying in its intensity. Fortunately, Pokémon seemed to enjoy the smell and hopefully this Zangoose was no exception.
Sure enough, the waterlogged Pokémon visibly relaxed somewhat upon sniffing at the air and Elizabeth was about to order an attack when she noticed something odd; the Zangoose was not just relaxed but seemingly completely calm. Its claws were not raised, it didn't seem poised to lunge or even move at all. It was, quite simply, just standing in place, dripping onto the ground and now apparently enjoying the scent of Queenie's pheromones. In hindsight, it hadn't made a single aggressive move since emerging from the grass which frankly just seemed anomalous. Zangoose were known for being territorial and aggressive. Everything Elizabeth knew about them suggested that being suddenly sprayed with water would almost certainly prompt a violent response.
Queenie hissed menacingly at her foe, evidently annoyed at the delay in Elizabeth's next command. Before Elizabeth's eyes, the Zangoose actually cringed away from Queenie, finally raising its claws but holding them defensively, seemingly more concerned with warding Queenie away than actually attacking. Realizing that this Zangoose was not displaying typical behaviour, Elizabeth's mind went into overdrive trying to factor this in to her strategy.
'Abnormal timidity implies lack of battle experience and/or combat skills. Queenie might win in a fight but it could flee',
she rapidly thought, eyeing the long grass behind the Zangoose. If it retreated in there, it could very easily escape in a hurry. This added a whole new level of risks to trying to battle and catch it. Fortunately, while Elizabeth's experience as a trainer was still limited, she had spent most of her life preparing for a career in business, which meant she had other ways of dealing with uncooperative but unsure parties.
"Queenie, step back," she commanded imperiously as she strode forwards, quickly brushing the worst of the dirt and grass off of herself as she did. She wasn't at her best in terms of appearance but hopefully a Zangoose would be less judgmental than a board of directors. She made sure to keep her eyes on the Zangoose's and not on its sharp claws which she was desperately hoping it would be too intimidated to use. "I'll handle this," she said, voice not betraying a hint of her fear that she had misjudged this Zangoose just as she had misjudged Oz and Jonah earlier.
Queenie stared at her as if she had gone insane, which she could admit wasn't an unreasonable worry at the moment, but obediently backed away several steps. She remained tensely poised, however, prepared to lunge into battle again should the Zangoose try to attack her trainer. The wild Pokémon in question seemed rather nonplussed at the sight of a human approaching him seemingly without fear, just as she had hoped.
"Zangoose, my name is Elizabeth Keller," she began, not entirely sure if it was formally necessary to introduce oneself when entering negotiations with a Pokémon but choosing to observe the proper forms just in case. "The Salandit you see behind me is Queenie, my Pokémon, and I am quite prepared to have her attack and defeat you if that is what is necessary to capture you," she explained clearly and evenly. That caused the Zangoose to take an alarmed step back, eyes darting between the crazy human announcing her plans to hurt him and the Pokémon she intended to do it with. After a brief hesitation, he started to turn back to the grass but Elizabeth had been waiting for that. "Do not attempt to flee," she quickly instructed, causing the Zangoose to freeze in place. "If you do so, I will be forced to have Queenie chase you down and battle you into submission," she stated calmly. She was by no means sure of Queenie's ability to do either of those things but she said it with enough conviction that Zangoose would think she believed it, which would make Zangoose believe it and Queenie aided by hissing menacingly at the Zangoose again and taking a menacing step forwards. Sure enough, the visibly panicked Zangoose remained frozen in place, eyes now shifting between Elizabeth, Queenie and the grass as it tried to weigh its options. Of course, Elizabeth had no intention of giving it the time to make a rational choice.
"That said, there is no need for this to come to violence," she said, focusing on how damn huggable the trembling Zangoose looked to inject some warmth into her tone. The Zangoose's eyes immediately locked onto her, seizing on the hope she dangled before it just as she planned. "If you come with me willingly, I assure you that you will be well cared for. All your needs will be met the event that an adversary would do you harm, know that Queenie, rather than being your aggressor, would be your comrade and protector," she explained reassuringly. At that last part, Queenie's head shot around to glare at Elizabeth with narrowed eyes, clearly not pleased at the idea of being relegated to the role of bodyguard. Fortunately, the Zangoose was currently too focused on Elizabeth to notice. He was now trembling violently and Elizabeth suspected that underneath the water covering him, he was sweating heavily and not from the heat. For a period that only lasted moments but seemed to stretch on for several minutes, neither Elizabeth nor the Zangoose moved, except for the latter's eyes which at first only glanced back at the grass briefly but quickly started to focus more on the potential avenue of escape than on Elizabeth. Watching carefully, Elizabeth noticed the moment that the Zangoose's paw started to turn, indicating it was about to make a break for it, and she reacted accordingly.
"Queenie, Scratch," she barked the order and Queenie, still tensed, instantly sprang forwards and raked her foreclaws against the Zangoose's belly. Her target yelped in pain and lashed out with a claw in response but the attack was clumsy and panicked, easy for the smaller and faster Pokémon to duck under and back away. Before the Zangoose could decide to pursue or to escape, Elizabeth spoke up again.
"As you can see, my threats are not empty and Queenie is much better to have as an ally than as an enemy," she pointed out, the warmth gone from her voice. "Now I will offer you one more chance," she announced firmly, grabbing an empty Pokéball and holding it out to the Zangoose. "Surrender and be captured now or I will assume you mean to resist and will have Queenie... subdue you," she threatened, leaving a meaningful pause in the middle to ensure her meaning got across. To be honest, she was rather uncomfortable threatening such a cute Pokémon like this, especially when it was soaking wet and so sad looking, but she steeled her resolve and allowed none of this to show on her face. In business negotiations, even with wild Pokémon, it was important to be ruthless.
The Zangoose was breathing rapidly, eyes moving from Elizabeth to Queenie to the grass and back so quickly that it was a wonder it could see anything. For a moment Elizabeth worried that it might break into a full panic and run but just when she was preparing to order Queenie closer, it suddenly sagged down to the ground, supporting itself on its forepaws and knees with its head bowed. It stayed in that position, motionless save for its panicked breathing and shaking, refusing to look up at Elizabeth or Queenie.
"Well," Elizabeth said, once she was sure it was showing its submission. "I'm glad we could resolve this peacefully," she said honestly as she closed the short distance between them. "I assure you, you've made the right decision," she said before holding the Pokéball up to the Zangoose's forehead point blank and pressing the button, causing it to pop open and suck Zangoose inside in a stream of energy. The ball then clicked shut and instantly released a soft chime to signify a successful capture, the Zangoose not having tried to struggle.
- [+] spoiler
A wild Zangoose appeared!
Elizabeth sent out Queenie.
Queenie used Sweet Scent.
Wild Zangoose does not want to battle.
Elizabeth used Aggressive Negotiations. It was Super Effective!
Queenie used Scratch.
Wild Zangoose used Scratch.
Elizabeth used Ultimatum.
Wild Zangoose surrendered.
Elizabeth used a Pokéball.
Elizabeth caught Zangoose.
"Wow," Jules said from behind Elizabeth, startling the trainer into whirling around, having forgotten she was there in her focus on the... well, it was still a battle of sorts, she supposed, just with wills instead of Pokémon. Jules was staring at her with a bemused smirk on her face. "That was simultaneously extremely disappointing and bizarrely hardcore," she commented and while ordinarily such a blasé critique of her technique might have annoyed her, at the moment she was simply too happy with her first catch to be concerned with such trivialities. True, she felt a little guilty about how she had caught it and would probably have to spend some time treating her new Zangoose to make up for the stress she must have caused but that didn't change the fact that she was ecstatic to have caught it at all. Honestly, she hardly even remembered why she was so angry in the first place.
"Aw man, just a few inches to the right and I would have got you," an aggravatingly familiar voice called out from behind her. Her mouth opened and closed several times silently as the contents of the latest water balloon ran down the back of her head and down her shirt. She turned around slowly and rigidly, seeing the same idiot from before approaching her, looking more annoyed at having wasted his balloon than repentant at having hit her.
Ah yes. Now she remembered why she was angry. She remembered it very well indeed. She was dimly aware of Jules apologizing on her friend's behalf but she didn't hear a word of it. She was too busy looking at Queenie, the fire in her eyes making it all to clear what she wanted.
"Queenie," she called quietly and the Salandit stood up on her hind legs, hissing excitedly at the prospect of actually getting to attack something after the aborted battle with the Zangoose. The fool proved he was not completely oblivious when he came to a halt upon seeing Elizabeth's expression and her battle-hungry Salandit, starting to back away nervously.
Unfortunately, it was far too late for that. This time, there would be no escape.
- [+] spoiler
- Spelling/grammar corrections