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 Strengthened by Unity Feedback

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TheFrostedLatios
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PostSubject: Strengthened by Unity Feedback   Sat Aug 15, 2015 11:47 am

Summer: This topic is to offer feedback and constructive criticism on my story. All thoughts welcome!
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PostSubject: Re: Strengthened by Unity Feedback   Sat Aug 15, 2015 11:47 am

Well, I'm stuck on this chapter... Here's what I've got so far though.

Chapter One: Proving

On silent paws, a little Fennekin peered out from the bushes surrounding High Chancellor Senlis’s estate. The wide, well-manicured grounds were patrolled by guards protecting the manor itself, a huge, castle-like building fit for a king. Well, almost. Summer had seen the inside of the royal palace, and this simply could not compare.

It certainly made it easier to break into, though. The Summer’s trainer, a young woman named Aster, looked to the rest of her team, their glowing eyes glaring ahead past her to watch the guards’ movements. “You all remember what to do, right?” she spoke in a barely audible whisper.

The little fox doubted that she heard her own voice, considering her wide ears could barely pick up on it. And before you ask, no; her ear fluff did not impair her hearing no matter how muffly it looks.

Nevertheless, the teal eyes of a Zoroark nodded. “Zoro-ak!” Dreamer whispered back. Now, clearly that translated to “You bet!”, but most humans seemed to have a lot trouble figuring that out, Aster included.

“Of course, dear trainer,” the Sylveon Nym said in his own dulcet tongue.

“Whenever you are ready,” Xeian the Floatzel nodded.

Eryn kept quiet, instead merely bowing her head. The Lucario seemed very disinclined to speak, especially when she knew her beloved trainer wouldn’t understand her anyway.

“I’m ready,” Summer chimed in.

Aster gave a melancholy smile. “Soon,” she whispered. Suddenly her expression hardened. “Now, let’s get going. That envelope holds the key to our future!”

They had rehearsed the break-in for two weeks now. Dreamer immediately began by crafting one of his species’s signature illusions, his hand-like paws flying over a sphere of purple energy. Each twitch of his fingers changed the illusion’s property in some way, directly affecting what his victims would experience.

In this case, the less the guards suspected, the better. Tossing the ball just on the edge of the grounds, it suddenly burst to surround the area in a large purple bubble visible only to Summer and her team. As long as they kept within that bubble, they were completely invisible.

A guard pair passed by, their Houndooms sniffing the air for any sign of intruders. Dreamer just snickered. He had just figured out how to control what his victims smell as well, a critical piece to this strategy. As the Houndooms passed into and out of their bubble without even a bark, everybody but Dreamer relaxed. Dreamer was always relaxed, it seemed.

Summer kept careful step beside her trainer, doing her best to keep silent. Dreamer had not yet mastered hiding sounds, which happened to be one of the most difficult techniques a Zoroark could learn. As they walked the fifty yards to the edge of the circle, Dreamer prepared another illusion. While he could easily just toss it ahead to give them more distance per illusion, the ball itself was normally visible, and could be easily seen with how it glowed in the night. Any guard worth their salt knew that quickest way to detect a sneaking Zoroark, and with how critical this mission was to Summer’s trainer, they wouldn’t take a single chance.

So they kept up their slow pace, moving cautiously around guards that passed through as Dreamer prepared each of their invisibility spheres. After nearly an hour of careful stepping and maneuvering, the group had finally reached the estate proper.

But the wait wasn’t over just yet. Xeian took to watching the guards as they patrolled, muttering under his breath their movement patterns and speeds. Then he grew silent, looking around the walls and balconies of the estate. Summer never could figure out how he could just tell which rooms of a building were where just by looking at it.

More moments passed. Finally the Floatzel looked to Aster, who nodded and tensed. The Floatzel hesitated a bit longer, then with blinding speed jumped up a series of cracked footholds and ledges in the stone walls, finally coming to a stop on the very edge of Dreamer’s illusion on the third level.

Summer followed suit, jumping to each of the footholds Xeian offered. As always, he perfectly chose the easiest and quickest route, even for a little Fennekin like her. Within moments all six of them crowded on the edge of the balcony while Dreamer crafted another illusion.

This is where things got tricky. With all the cramped corridors and frequent patrols, there was no way they could casually stroll through at the pace of Dreamer’s illusions. Now it was time for the rest of the team to shine.

Everybody fell into step behind Xeian, who quickly navigated the group into and out of rooms and windows to evade the patrols’ notice. Often this meant awkward crowding atop molding, Summer and Nym on Aster’s shoulders, Xeian clinging to Dreamer’s mane, and Eryn hanging off to the side, stick to the wall with nothing but Aura.

Routinely they jumped from window to window, often using the steady Eryn as a stepping stone along the way. Suddenly Summer froze up when she smelled the telltale sulfuric musk of a Houndoom. After a moment of sniffing it began to growl and bark, heading straight for Aster’s team as they perched beneath an unfortunately open window.

Xeian grew shocked, but not from being detected, as Summer knew. He was just frustrated that he miscalculated something at all. Nym wasn’t fazed, though. He climbed atop Aster’s head, and the moment the Houndoom stuck her head out the window, Nym kissed her.

Just as the Houndoom fainted from the Draining Kiss attack, a quick illusion from Dreamer hid the team from the gaze of the guard who peered over. Seeing nothing but his collapsed Houndoom, he turned away and called more of his friends over. Security had tightened.

“Speed outweighs stealth,” Xeian decided. He looked to Aster, and as they shared a knowing glance he charted another route up the wall to the rooftop. Anyone who happened to look up would see their team running across, but so long as they got their prize they were set.

Eryn climbed up, followed by Dreamer and then Aster. The uncomfortable sound of Houndoom barking and armor clinking grew louder beneath her. Hopefully without a place to start they could buy some time.

“Stop right there!”

Summer’s hopes were dashed as a pair of guards came running for them, one with a Greninja, the other a Delphox.

The Fennekin could not help but admire the lithe way her more advanced kin moved, fluidly drawing his wand before adopting a perfect battle stance. She wanted to be like him some day.

“Summer, get out of the way!” Aster shouted. Instinctively she jumped up, and only then noticed the Water Shuriken that was hurtling towards her.

“Eryn, Nym, attack the Delphox. Dreamer, Xeian, you can handle the Greninja. Cast an illusion to disorient them first.”

The guards laughed and the Pokémon grinned in the moonlight. Once Dreamer finished preparing his illusion, the attack began.

“Your trainer is foolish!” the Greninja declared, firing off blindingly quick Water Shurikens at the Zoroark. “Even with your silly illusions you can’t overcome her stupidity in choosing foes.”

“What? Yes, we can,” Dreamer insisted casually, always just happening to be where the Shuriken was not. “It makes it really funny after when you realize you underestimated our power.”

“Hmph! I see no power here.”

Meanwhile, the Delphox had entered a meditative state, sitting with legs crossed and staring at his wand. Fire erupted around him, as well as wherever Eryn and Nym attempted to stand. He had no time for banter, it seemed, but Nym kept up a running commentary.

“Hah, I think I nearly felt that!”

“Oh, so close, dear!”

“Tricky! Next time for sure, don’t give up!

The Delphox grew irritated, and his fire faltered.

Xeian put on a burst of speed, almost instantly closing the gap between him and his foe. He slid beneath the frog and punched him square in the gut, sending him high into the sky as he recoiled from pain. Beside him Nym cloaked himself in water and hurtled right through the fire surrounding the Delphox, stopping early as his psychic power held him in place. Eryn seemed unaffected by the psychic assault, and continued to press on. She began to glow with a crimson aura…

The guards decided to join in. One drew his sword and ran for Xeian, the other approached Aster seemingly unarmed. Summer wasted no time in… reaching... for the sword. Her unique ability kicked in, Just as she envisioned clamping down on the sword’s hilt with her jaws, the sword vanished from the guard’s hand and appeared in her mouth, She fell on her face immediately from the weight of the sword, but Aster quickly relieved her of her burden.

Now that Aster had a weapon of her own, her opponent… didn’t move? Summer barely heard the flapping of wings before a Hawlucha dived for her and she just managed to get out of the way, yelping to get Aster’s attention. Another guard had approached from behind with the bird Pokémon. The situation was growing increasingly worrying… Even though the illusion broke, Dreamer and Xeian had their paws full with the Delphox, and the Greninja miraculously kept up with both Eryn and Nym.

Now they had another trained and dangerous foe to contend with, and only Summer to protect her trainer. She may be weaker and less trained than the rest of her team, but she was the only thing standing in the way of their mission’s failure.

While Aster managed to hold off the two guards after her, Summer did her best to avoid the swooping attacks of her foe. Once her claws nicked Summer, and she squeaked in pain.
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PostSubject: Re: Strengthened by Unity Feedback   Sat Aug 15, 2015 3:11 pm

Actually, I find this very well-written. It's also a good juxtaposition to your original pilot, since they're established as the best there is in that one, and oppositely (while they're good still in here) they're having a little more trouble and some inexperience shows.
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PostSubject: Re: Strengthened by Unity Feedback   Tue Aug 18, 2015 4:22 pm

The rest!

While Aster managed to hold off the two guards after her, Summer did her best to avoid the swooping attacks of her foe. Once her claws nicked Summer, and the Fennekin squeaked in pain. But this was no time to be weak. Mustering her power, she shot an Ember attack at the bird, who cawed indignantly and tumbled to the ground.

Summer was wary of the Hawlucha’s fierce stance. The guard bird clearly knew what she was doing, but Summer had a hunch that she rarely dealt with an opponent of her size. Taking full advantage of her diminutive stature, Summer scampered toward her foe, nipping her talons and tumbling out of the way of her comparatively lumbering attacks. The Hawlucha grew agitated and bent down to Summer’s level, but that just earned her a faceful of fire before their dance continued.

With a sickening crack, the Hawlucha suddenly collapsed. Summer looked up to see a battle-worn Eryn return a paw to her side. Nym skipped past them, calling, “Time to go, loves! We can’t give them any more attention than we have already!”

Falling in beside Aster once more, the team dashed past the unconscious guards, both Pokémon and human. Xeian looked about the roof and led them all to a window just below. Eryn kicked it in the rest of the team followed.

Summer found herself in a non-descript bedroom covered in dust. “Is this the room, Xeian?” she called.

“Yes. No. What?” The Floatzel sounded concerned, his vest already inflating as it always did when he got nervous. “It should be right here. In all the plans I’ve studied of this estate and others like it the architect always builds an office here!”

“Your vest is puffing up, sweetie,” Nym commented, letting his ribbons curl around the Xeian’s paw. “Why don’t you just relax?” His magic took effect immediately, and Xeian’s floatation vest began to shrink.

“When were those maps created?” Eryn asked in a smooth voice.

“The most recent was… well, three months ago.” He sounded better already.

“What if Chancellor Senlis knew that we’d be here? He might have moved his office in preparation.”

“That’s rather underhanded of him.”

“More underhanded than breaking into his house?” Dreamer snickered.

“No, I suppose not… But then where could it be?”

Aster simply watched with a longing smile.

“Take all the time you need, Xeian,” Summer offered. “It looks like we haven’t been seen yet.”

“Everything okay, Xeian? We are on the right track, yes?”

“Y… ye… s…” Xeian sounded out in the human language. It’s harder than you think when your mouth is a completely different shape.

Aster patted his head. “That’s my boy. Just let me know when you’re ready to go.”

Xeian sat down, closed his eyes, and took a deep breath. Everyone stayed silent as to not disturb his concentration. Inwardly, Summer wondered what could possibly be going through his mind. He did tend to notice things that no one else did, but how could he always seem to factor all of that in so well to come to a conclusion? Sure he made mistakes sometimes, but the fact that he could come up with solutions at all was a marvel.

A snarl came from outside the window. They forgot to close it! Howling rang through the estate, alerting everyone of the intruders. Summer and her team tensed immediately, but before they could move the door bashed in to let three guards in alongside a pack of Houndoom.

Xeian wasted no time in bolting through them with a Water Jet-Waterfall combo, smashing through them before sending them flying into the air amidst a torrent of water. Eryn followed up with Close Combat, but a powerful Flamethrower by one of the pack caused her to howl in pain. Summer could only watch, paralyzed in fear. She’d never dealt with so many huge foes before, only one-on-one sparring matches with the others.

So she could only watch as her friends skillfully took out the pack of Houndoom one by one, accumulating more than a few injuries in the process. Nevertheless, they were safe for the moment. Everyone took a moment to barricade the windows and doors, and although Summer tried to help, she knew her contribution couldn’t have mattered less.

“Did you find the room yet, Xeian?” Summer called desperately. Already she could hear more guards pounding through the halls.

“Not yet. I unfortunately used an algorithm that searched for types of rooms rather than location, so I’ve narrowed it down to twenty potential rooms scattered all across the estate.”

The guards began to pound on the doors, but all the furniture Eryn had thrown in the way was holding them fast. “Well, maybe we can help,” Summer offered, growing increasingly anxious.

Xeian shook his head. “Explaining my criteria would take far more time than we have. Is there any way to give me quiet?”

Dreamer cringed, but didn’t say a word. Even Nym kept silently, his tail wagging nervously. Summer’s eyes looked back and forth. Where could it be? she thought to herself. Where’s our envelope? Where?!

The world faded away.

Summer was above the estate in a sort of ethereal state. Wherever she thought, she was. She quickly scanned the whole estate, taking in many rooms all at once in a mere moment, quickly sifting through them to find… there it is! Down a staircase at the end of the hall, first room on the left, In the cabinet on the far wall, inside a book titled A History of the League, was their envelope!

She suddenly opened her eyes and returned to the room. The bed was cracked in half, the dressers in scraps, and carpet was torn and somewhat bloody. Dreamer and Eryn were fighting a Bisharp and Conkeldurr tooth and claw. Dreamer was bashed by the Conkeldurr, getting thrown back into the destroyed bed. As the Fighting-type drew closer to deal the finishing blow, Summer instinctively reached behind her, grabbed the stick in her tail, and unleashed a whirling spiral of psychic energy that tore at the Conkeldurr.

She had gotten his attention, it seemed. The hulking Pokémon turned to face her instead with a leer. Summer clutched the stick in her hand more tightly. Suddenly he lunged at her with unprecedented speed, but Summer managed to spring up and over him, curling her tail towards herself as she flipped. Once she landed she swung her stick in a wide arc, producing a ribbon of flame that she guided with psychic power to surround and burn her foe.

Distracted by Summer’s Fire Spin, the Conkeldurr hardly noticed Nym jumping on his head and using Draining Kiss. As Eryn had already knocked out the Bisharp and Aster had incapacitated the human guards, they had another moment to themselves.

“Braix!” Summer called before shutting her mouth. Had she…?

Her trainer gasped, eyes growing wide. “Summer! You evolved!”

Summer the Braixen looked herself over in wonder. She stood on two paws like everyone but Nym, and her fur formed a cute little skirt beneath her. She marveled at her slender, white-furred arms that ended in beautiful, dexterous fingers and sharp white claws. In her right paw--no, hand was a long, gnarled stick that burned brightly at its tip. As she twisted and bent to look over every inch of herself, Summer couldn’t help but smile from ear to ear.

“Oh, you look lovely, Summer!” Nym smiled brightly, looking up to her. She was taller than Nym, now; how great!

Eryn patted her on the head, and as Summer turned to see her she realized that Eryn was no longer the tall Lucario that towered over her. Now she was the tall Lucario who was just a head or so taller, counting Summer’s new longer ears.

“Anyway, what I was try to say…” This new way of talking would take some getting used to. “...is that I know where the envelope is!”

“R-really?!” Xeian cried. “How?”

“I saw it! I had some kind of psychic mission--I mean, vision of where it is.”

Xeian laughed silently and smiled. “I do believe I’ve been replaced.”

“No, nobody could replace you, Xeian,” Dreamer waved it off. “But that’s a pretty nifty trick, Miss Braixen!” He snickered.

“Where is it, Summer?” Eryn asked.

“Down the hall and down a set of stairs. There’s a room that has it inside. Follow me!”

Summer prepared to run for the first time, barely remembering that she had two legs instead of four now, when Aster stopped her. “Wait!” she called. “Pile all the bodies in the hallway we want to go through, and leave a clear path the wrong way. I have an idea.”

Summer wondered if she could just magic them all out of the way, but when the unconscious guards refused to move an inch no matter how much she thought about it, it became apparent that she still had much to learn. Instead Eryn and Aster took a moment to toss them all unceremoniously into a heap down the corridor Summer specified, the one just ahead.

“Now Dreamer, use an illusion to make us all invisible. We’ll have to keep very quiet, but hopefully we can lead the guards the wrong way.”

Dreamer cackled gleefully and began crafting a new illusion. “Oh, Aster, that’s perfect! You’re thinking just like a Zoroark now!” A few moments later, everyone become blanketed by the illusion. Summer noticed she could see a sort of purple haze she never noticed before. As she glanced around, she found that she could just make out the illusion’s edge as where the purple mist stopped. Now, it was incredible faint and hard to tell unless you were looking for it, but it was certainly there. Summer wondered what else her burgeoning psychic powers could do…

But she stiffened as a couple guards and their Mightyena rounded the left corner. They grew shocked to see so many of their comrades beaten senseless and ran ahead to check on them. Summer stood just in the doorway, directly in view of the savage canines. One guard looked down the right-hand hallway. “They went this way!” he called, leading himself and his friends right out of the way.

Summer was ready to jump out right then, but Aster held her back. They waited for a much larger platoon of guards to go marching by, following the wayward directions of the guards before them. Aster waited and listened a moment longer… then gestured for everyone to get moving.

Summer dashed out alongside her group. Her new stance slowed her somewhat, but after a couple stumbles she was starting to get the hang of this idea of walking on just two legs. Summer ran ahead just to Aster’s side, directing her trainer down the stone spiral staircase and to the room just beside it. The door was locked, but Summer stopped Eryn from breaking it down and making a bunch of noise. Instead, Summer reached for the key hanging along the wall just inside. and it materialized in her hand. She once again thought about how amazing it was to have hands. She was one step closer to her dream of becoming a Delphox!

Summer took the honor of unlocking the door and leading everyone inside. She led them all to the cabinet on the far wall, opened it with a flourish, and presented Aster with the book inside. When her trainer opened the book, it fell right to the page with that precious envelope.

Their future was secured.

~~~

Aster caught Chancellor Senlis when he was walking through the halls of the imperial palace, her Pokémon in tow. She proudly presented the envelope to the graying man.
“Ah, so it was you who made such a scene in my estate last night,” he laughed. “Well done, well done.” He took the envelope and broke its seal, looking at the blank paper inside. Blank, except for his very distinctive signature and seal. He smiled at the young woman, then Summer, then each of Summer’s fellow Pokémon in turn. “You've passed the final test... I do believe that Aegislash has chosen correctly,” he said proudly. “I formally welcome you all to the League of the Divine Blade.”
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PostSubject: Re: Strengthened by Unity Feedback   Tue Aug 18, 2015 4:34 pm

Very good! I love all the details that were put in, especially describing Summer's evolution and then of her new form as a Braixen. I also like the fact that the whole group is prone to mistakes and having trouble, as befitting of their current status and newness to all of it. Well done!

The only thing I'd say is I thought that Aegislash only chooses the King, and that the rest of the League are chosen by current members as potentials to go through the tests?
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PostSubject: Re: Strengthened by Unity Feedback   Tue Aug 18, 2015 5:52 pm

Summer: Yes, thank you! That was exactly what I was going for, helping the reader experience what it's like to have your body completely change in just a few moments. I guess I hardly noticed that I was writing in their inexperience, but I'm glad it worked! Especially Xeian's miscalculation, how they went all that way for nothing. I feel like I should make that more of a shock, hopefully get the readers to feel it too... But overall, I'm glad it worked <3

Finally, Kieran's still unsure of how members are chosen, I more or less guessed Aegislash. That will change
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PostSubject: Re: Strengthened by Unity Feedback   Wed Aug 19, 2015 3:07 am

Love this chapter, love the detail, love the evolution... the only problem is the one Eri pointed out. We discussed the meeting between Aster and the other members (including Kenitoh) for Aster's final induction into the League. Other than that, this is a great chapter
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PostSubject: Re: Strengthened by Unity Feedback   Fri Sep 04, 2015 12:48 pm

I think this makes for a better ending to the chapter. Thoughts?

Summer took the honor of unlocking the door and leading everyone inside. She led them all to the cabinet on the far wall, opened it with a flourish, and presented Aster with the book inside.

The book looked rather pristine, with very faintly glowing symbols lining the cover and several locks clamping it shut. The young woman grinned and reached for her lockpick, and within thirty seconds all the locks were wide open. Aster flipped open the book and immediately slumped to the floor unconscious.

Endeared to their trainer, all of the Pokémon rushed immediately to Aster’s aid. Eryn placed a paw on Aster and closed her eyes. “She’s fine, just unconscious,” the Lucario declared. “Although how is unknown to me.”

Dreamer shut and locked the door behind them, and Xeian took a close look at the book Summer found. He quickly flipped to the page with the envelope and removed it before leafing through the book’s contents. “For all intents and purposes this appears to be a completely ordinary book. It details the history of the League of the Divine Blade and many of its notable figures… certainly nothing to make a human faint before reading more than a few words.”

“Maybe it’s enchanted,” Summer offered. “There were those weird symbols on the cover.”

“What symbols?” Xeian asked, closing the book. Summer walked over and ran a claw beneath a line of glowing runes. Xeian seemed puzzled for a moment, but then he declared, “Ah, that must be your new psychic sense! This enchantment must be invisible to an ordinary Pokemon, but to a Braixen like you it must be clear.”

“Not really, I can barely see them myself,” Summer insisted. Nevertheless, she smiled with glee.

“Let’s just relax in here for a bit,” Dreamer suggested, resting against a wall on his mane. “Once Aster comes to we can plan our escape, yeah?”

“What if I carry her?” Eryn offered.

“You’d slow the rest of us down. A human of her size is rather unwieldy,” Xeian said. “And when we absolutely cannot afford to get caught and we’re currently undetected, it is worth waiting until Aster recovers to make any sort of exit.” He held up the envelope.

And so Summer sat down to wait. Minutes passed, and Xeian paced uncomfortably. Eventually Eryn got up and began practicing the First of the Twelve Movements. Nym scratched at his ear and after Dreamer did the same. Still Aster didn’t stir.

Eryn was halfway through the Fourth Movement when Aster suddenly gasped and snapped upright. Her breathing and her heartbeat were quick and the color soon drained for her face.

“What’s wrong, Aster?” Nym called immediately, nuzzling up to her for support.

Seeing the worried look on each of her Pokemon’s faces, she swallowed. “I… experienced… the final moments of every member of the League of the Divine Blade... the moments just before they died.” She began stroking Nym with a shaky hand. “E-every war casualty, every plague and... t-torture victim…!” That seemed to break her, as she cried openly into Nym’s fur. Dreamer sat down behind her and pulled them both into his fluffy mane while Eryn, Summer, and Xeian sat beside their trainer.

So this was the final test. How awful.

She cried for a few minutes, but eventually Nym’s calming ribbons stopped her shaking. She sniffed. “Let’s just get out of here. Xeian, do you have a plan?”

The Floatzel smiled.

~~~

Aster caught Chancellor Senlis when he was walking through the halls of the imperial palace, her Pokémon in tow. She proudly presented the envelope to the graying man.
“So it was you who made such a scene in my estate last night,” he spoke gruffly. “Well done.” He took the envelope and broke its seal, looking at the blank paper inside. Blank, except for his very distinctive signature and seal. He nodded at the young woman, then Summer and her fellow Pokémon. “I will begin preparations for the ceremony immediately. Welcome to the League of the Divine Blade.”
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PostSubject: Re: Strengthened by Unity Feedback   Sat Sep 19, 2015 5:00 pm

Shay: This is Summer's first encounter with Fabelle. Let me know where this can be improved!

Summer felt a chill pass through the air. What could that be? She skipped a few steps forward to the next corridor and gasped in surprise.

A young girl was being followed by a horde of Ghost-types, running the lot from Trevenant to Spiritomb. Her skin was pale and her hair dark, making her seem rather like a ghost herself. Despite the pack of large and intimidating Pokémon following her, she spoke as comfortably with them as Aster did with Summer and the team.

“...not right, Gawain!” Summer listened in on the girl snapping at the Spiritomb, the Gothitelle on her right groaning in exasperation. It was jarring hearing so much maturity in the girl’s voice... maturity that even Aster can only feign.

“Ah, but it is such fun, is it not?” a legion of voices replied in the black tongue of Spiritomb. Summer shuddered.

“No, Gawain, it’s awful and I hate it, as you well know. But I have to do it because it’s my job. You, on the other hand—”

“Fabelle,” the Alakazam interrupted. “Behind you.”

Summer felt herself quake as the team of Psychic and Ghost-types turned to face her. The young girl appeared to be only twelve, but her face was as cynical and aged as an old woman. Her eyes were dark, almost hollow.

“Who is this… fox?” the Cofagrigus spat.

“Be polite, Amari,” the Froslass spoke gently. Her voice seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere at the same time. She affixed Summer with her icy-blue eyes. “Was there something you needed, young Braixen?”

“I’m… s-sorry,” Summer stammered out, still terrified. “I just heard your trainer speaking to you all and I was… curious?”

“Curious? How’s that?” the enormous Gourgeist asked in a cheery voice.

“I thought only League members could understand Pokémon speech,” Summer admitted.

“Do you have a trainer, little Braixen?” the Trevenant asked in a remarkably amiable tone.

Summer smiled brightly. “My trainer is Aster Concordia, who is about to become a member of the League of the Divine Blade tonight!”

The Froslass looked stunned.

“What’s going on, Isolde?” Fabelle the young human directed her question to the Froslass. “What is she saying?” Summer became quite confused and the Gourgeist giggled mirthfully.

“One moment, dear,” the Froslass said to Summer. She faced Fabelle and the two of them locked eyes. After a few moments passed it dawned on Summer that they might be having a talking psychically. Curiosity overcame her and she reached her mind out towards them, but no sooner did she focus on the girl than her presence was smacked away.

It’s rude to eavesdrop on a telepathic conversation, the voice of the Alakazam rang in her mind, critical and harsh. It’s clear you’ve only recently discovered your psychic gift, so I’ll excuse it this time... but others may not be so kind. Do you understand?


Summer swallowed and replied, Yes, I understand.

“My trainer is psychic.” The gentle voice of Isolde returned. “She can understand what we mean even if she does not understand what she hears.”

“Okay, I understand now,” Summer said.

Fabelle cleared her throat. “Would you like to talk somewhere?” Her tone sounded awkwardly forced, snapping her back to the young girl that Summer saw before her.

“About what?” Summer replied.

The Gothitelle seemed to focus on her trainer and understanding suddenly flashed in Fabelle’s eyes. “Anything, I just want to be your friend,” she continued in that uncomfortable manner. Amari groaned, but Isolde gave the Cofagrigus a dirty look.

“I guess, sure,” Summer said. She reasoned that her Pokémon were roping her into this much like she and her own team would do to Aster, try to get her to open up to some of her fellow humans. But what was so important about befriending a simple Braixen? Were they trying to use her to get close to a member of the League?

Summer scoffed as she was led down the halls by the girl. Nobody could get close to Aster. She’ll just effortlessly invent another persona and use the friendship to her advantage, normally by just keeping Fabelle away to focus on her own team again. So she’ll play along and see how it turns out. Maybe Fabelle just really likes Delphox and Braixen, who knows? It would certainly fit her occult theme.

A minute later they were outside and walking across the well-manicured grounds. Along the way Summer noticed that nearly everyone who encountered their group scowled or swore at the girl. As they sat down in the grass, the first question out of her muzzle was, of course, “Why does everybody seem upset with you all?”

No sooner was the question translated to Fabelle than she looked down at her crossed legs, her heartbeat quickening audibly--to the fox, at least. Summer tilted her head in confusion.

“So…” the Spiritomb hissed, its ethereal smile widening into a smirk. “This Pokémon of the League truly does not know…”

“Quiet, Gawain,” Fabelle said softly, her eyes darting back and forth across the grass.

A moment of uncomfortable silence followed. Finally Isolde spoke up, “We are Ghost-types, you see. Due to their relation with the Shadow Alliance, our kind is stigmatized among the people here, especially those still mourning the loss of the previous king. They ostracize us and Fabelle, our friend, for that reason.”

Summer took another look at the girl, with her head bowed and her eyes distant. “Fabelle is lonely?”

“Yes. She has us, but you’re the first person here to show any amount of kindness to her.”

“I know that you think you are being manipulated,” the Alakazam began. Summer frowned. What was that about privacy of thought?

“Well, it helps to not shout your thoughts as most beings do,” he replied simply.

“The point is, would you continue to show this kindness to Fabelle in the future?” the Gothitelle asked. “We do not care for your trainer; likely she will be just as cruel as the rest of the people here. But beyond your initial fright, you show no fear or disgust… can we trust you to remain that way?”

“My trainer is not cruel!” Summer growled.

“She has completed her testing, right?” Fabelle finally spoke.

“Yes, why?”

“Then she will hate me. I’m sorry.”

Summer could only sigh. “Yes. I can be your friend, and I’ll make sure the rest of my team befriends you as well, Aster included.”

“Thank you, Summer,” Isolde nodded. “I wish you luck.”
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PostSubject: Re: Strengthened by Unity Feedback   Mon Sep 28, 2015 3:32 pm

Shay: The completed Chapter 2!

Chapter 2: A Better Life

Aster smiled at the Braixen, dressed in her favorite light-blue tunic and knee-length skirt. The two sat in their new, spacious room in the royal castle, with a large four-poster bed for Aster and several impossibly huge and soft cushions for Summer and the other Pokémon. The cushions were all vacant, as Dreamer, Xeian, and Nym had all left to eat.

Summer’s trainer seemed to have mostly recovered the trauma of living through over a hundred dying moments, but she still seemed to panic or at the very least flinch at random times which she refused to explain, and that’s not mentioning the nightmares. But every night that Aster cried out in fear, terrorized by the ghosts of League members long past, Summer always awoke to find her sleeping soundly, either beneath Dreamer’s thick mane or with her arm curled around Eryn or Nym like a stuffed toy.

Today, Eryn was still passed out on the bed. “Just go explore the castle today!” she said in an optimistic tone, trying to keep herself from shaking. As much as Aster tried to hide it, Summer could just telepathically sense that the latest nightmares still replayed in her mind. “The ceremony isn’t until tonight, so why don’t you take the time to see all the sights and make some new friends?”

Summer frowned. “Don’t you want to come, too, Aster?”

Aster’s expression turned bittersweet. “You know I can’t understand you. But tonight… tonight I get to finally talk to you like the friends we are! But in the meantime, why don’t you try that telepathy of yours again?”

Summer nodded, and shut her eyes. She formed an image of Aster and herself walking together through one of the castle’s halls as clearly as she could, then willed the image to take hold in Aster’s mind as well.

“Oh, you want me to come with you?” Aster said after a moment. Summer opened her eyes only to find a hand reaching over to scratch her ears. “Well done, by the way.”

Summer nodded from beneath her trainer’s arm.

“I promised Eryn I would do some aura training with her today,” Aster explained. “So the rest of you are free to explore and do what you want.”

Summer conjured another image of herself watching Eryn and Aster training.

Aster laughed. “You don’t have to watch; that’s boring! Please, go enjoy yourself today, maybe make some new friends! We can talk again later, okay?” Summer felt a flash of glee, and it took her a moment to realize it was from Aster. “And tonight, we can actually talk… oh, I’m so excited!” Aster lifted the Braixen into a tight embrace and set her gently down again.

Aster’s bed suddenly jolted. Summer looked up to see Eryn has snapped awake and was rushing to kneel at Aster’s feet. “I apologize for my laziness,” she said respectfully, head bowed. “I will ensure I do not oversleep again.”

Aster bent over and patted Eryn on the head with a chuckle. “Good morning, Eryn. I’m looking forward to our training today!”

Even with how weak of an empath Summer was, the Lucario radiated with honor and gratitude. Eryn seemed to treat every kind word out of Aster’s mouth like it was pure gold, and any criticism like scripture.

Her trainer pulled Eryn up by her shoulder to a standing position and looked to Summer. “Well, we’ll be in the courtyard training. Watch if you really want, but make sure you see the castle too! Come on, Eryn.” The two left the room.

And Summer was alone.

It was always a little strange, being alone. It reminded her of her days as a kit, scavenging food from human tables with her Magician ability, always sneaking about trying to remain undetected. As she began walking, she reminisced about how she’d always watch as other less gifted Pokémon get caught trying to sneak food. They got kicked out if they were lucky, given the chance to try their luck again for their food. If not, Summer wouldn’t see them again until much later, where they were being forced to train and fight by the humans who took them.

She chuckled to herself at the misguided notions of that little Fennekin, how she squealed and nipped and breathed fire at the smelly human female who picked her up that day and snatched the bread from her jaws.
“Now how did you take my roll from all the way over there?” the stupid human had asked in her stupid human language. “You wouldn’t happen to have that special ability, would you?”

The Fennekin wouldn’t have any of it, Summer recalled. She bit the human’s hand, which recoiled and let go, only to be deftly caught in the other and held by the scruff of her neck. “You’re so skinny, little Fennekin,” she spoke softly. “Tell you what--just come with me for a couple hours, and I’ll give you all the berries you can eat.” She reached in her pocket for some Oran berries that she held slightly out of reach.

The little fox felt so smart when she ate them long-distance with her special powers, but that only made the human laugh again.

“That’s right, eat up! Now come on, why don’t you meet the rest of my team?”

Summer recalled the Lucario who seemed to shadow the girl constantly, the Sylveon who did everything in his power to befriend her, the lax Zoroark who despite being so much bigger than her was more than willing to play any game Summer suggested, and the shy and quiet Buizel who ended up convincing her in seven different ways to join them and their trainer, Aster Concordia.

Summer returned to reality at last, taking in the sights of fine tapestries, arched windows with a beautiful view of the forests beyond, and finely scrubbed and polished stone floor beneath her paws. Occasionally she would pass by a guard or a servant carrying this or that.

The servants always bothered her a little. The Pokémon that accompanied them often shared their load of cleaning supplies, food, cloth, or other useful materials, but it was always imbalanced in some way—either the servants piled too much on their poor assistants, or they struggled beneath a load that their Pokémon could easily share. Nothing like that ever happened among her team; everyone perfectly knew one another’s limits and weaknesses.

Summer felt a chill pass through the air. What could that be? She skipped a few steps forward to the next corridor and gasped in surprise.

A young girl was being followed by a horde of Ghost-types, running the lot from Trevenant to Spiritomb. Her skin was pale and her hair dark, making her seem rather like a ghost herself. Despite the pack of large and intimidating Pokémon following her, she spoke as comfortably with them as Aster did with Summer and the team.

“...not right, Gawain!” Summer listened in on the girl snapping at the Spiritomb, the Gothitelle on her right groaning in exasperation. It was jarring hearing so much maturity in the girl’s voice... maturity that even Aster can only feign.

“Ah, but it is such fun, is it not?” a legion of voices replied in the black tongue of Spiritomb. Summer shuddered.

“No, Gawain, it’s awful and I hate it, as you well know. But I have to do it because it’s my job. You, on the other hand—”

“Fabelle,” the Alakazam interrupted. “Behind you.”

Summer felt herself quake as the team of Psychic and Ghost-types turned to face her. The young girl appeared to be only twelve, but her face was as cynical and aged as an old woman. Her eyes were dark, almost hollow.

“Who is this… fox?” the Cofagrigus spat.

“Be polite, Amari,” the Froslass spoke gently. Her voice seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere at the same time. She affixed Summer with her icy-blue eyes. “Was there something you needed, young Braixen?”

“I’m… s-sorry,” Summer stammered out, still terrified. “I just heard your trainer speaking to you all and I was… curious?”

“Curious? How’s that?” the enormous Gourgeist asked in a cheery voice.

“I thought only League members could understand Pokémon speech,” Summer admitted.

“Do you have a trainer, little Braixen?” the Trevenant asked in a remarkably amiable tone.

Summer smiled brightly. “My trainer is Aster Concordia, who is about to become a member of the League of the Divine Blade tonight!”

The Froslass looked stunned.

“What’s going on, Isolde?” Fabelle the young human directed her question to the Froslass. “What is she saying?” Summer became quite confused and the Gourgeist giggled mirthfully.

“One moment, dear,” the Froslass said to Summer. She faced Fabelle and the two of them locked eyes. After a few moments passed it dawned on Summer that they might be talking psychically. Curiosity overcame her and she reached her mind out towards them, but no sooner did she focus on the girl than her presence was smacked away.

It’s rude to eavesdrop on a telepathic conversation, the voice of the Alakazam rang in her mind, critical and harsh. It’s clear you’ve only recently discovered your psychic gift, so I’ll excuse it this time... but others may not be so kind. Do you understand?


Summer swallowed and replied, Yes, I understand.

“My trainer is psychic.” The gentle voice of Isolde returned. “She can understand what we mean even if she does not understand what she hears.”

“Okay, I understand now,” Summer said.

Fabelle cleared her throat. “Would you like to talk somewhere?” Her tone sounded awkwardly forced, snapping her back to the young girl that she was.

“About what?” Summer replied.

The Gothitelle seemed to focus on her trainer and understanding suddenly flashed in Fabelle’s eyes. “Anything, I just want to be your friend,” she continued in that uncomfortable manner. Amari groaned, but Isolde gave the Cofagrigus a dirty look.

“I guess, sure,” Summer said. She reasoned that her Pokémon were roping her into this much like she and her own team would do to Aster, try to get her to open up to some of her fellow humans. But what was so important about befriending a simple Braixen? Were they trying to use her to get close to a member of the League?

Summer scoffed as she was led down the halls by the girl. Nobody could get close to Aster. She’ll just effortlessly invent another persona and use the friendship to her advantage, normally by just keeping Fabelle away to focus on her own team again. So she’ll play along and see how it turns out. Maybe Fabelle really likes Delphox and Braixen, who knows? It would certainly fit her occult theme.

A minute later they were outside and walking across the well-manicured grounds. Along the way Summer noticed that nearly everyone who encountered their group scowled or swore at the girl. As they sat down in the grass, the first question out of her muzzle was, of course, “Why does everybody seem upset with you all?”

No sooner was the question translated to Fabelle than she looked down at her legs, her heartbeat quickening. Summer tilted her head in confusion.

“So…” the Spiritomb hissed, its ethereal smile widening into a smirk. “This Pokémon of the League truly does not know…”

“Quiet, Gawain,” Fabelle said softly, her eyes darting back and forth across the grass.

A moment of uncomfortable silence followed. Finally Isolde spoke up, “We are Ghost-types, you see. Due to their relation with the Shadow Alliance, our kind is stigmatized among the people here, especially those still mourning the loss of the previous king. They ostracize us and Fabelle, our friend, for that reason.”

Summer took another look at the girl, with her head bowed and her eyes distant. “Fabelle is lonely?”

“Yes. She has us, but you’re the first person here to show any amount of kindness to her.”

“I know that you think you are being manipulated,” the Alakazam began. Summer frowned. What was that about privacy of thought?

“Well, it helps to not shout your thoughts as most beings do,” he replied simply.

“The point is, would you continue to show this kindness to Fabelle in the future?” the Gothitelle asked. “We do not care for your trainer; likely she will be just as cruel as the rest of the people here. But beyond your initial fright, you show no fear or disgust… can we trust you to remain that way?”

“My trainer is not cruel!” Summer growled.

“She has completed her testing, right?” Fabelle finally spoke.

“Yes, why?”

“Then she will hate me. I’m sorry.”

Summer could only sigh. “Yes. I can be your friend, and I’ll make sure the rest of my team befriends you as well, Aster included.”

“Thank you, Summer,” Isolde nodded. “I wish you luck.”
~~~
The sun began to set as Summer sat on a wall with a clothful of berries. She was entertaining herself by eating them long-range, the berries vanishing from the napkin into her maw, when two very distinct smells caught her attention. Soon after she heard the clinking and clanging of her favorite heavy armor from behind her, and as she turned around she saw Merek Draconis approach alongside Galahad, his Haxorus.

“Merek!” she called brightly, jumping off the wall to greet him.

The tall, stocky man seemed puzzled at first, but realization soon set in. “By Arceus, is that you, Summer?”

“Yes! I evolved! Isn’t that great?” Summer found it surprisingly fun to talk to humans. Without the language barrier, she was able to feel a lot closer to humans like him.

“Congratulations, Summer!” Galahad said loudly. “Evolving is a wonderful feeling, is it not?”

“It really is,” Summer agreed.

“So what are you doing here, all alone?” Merek asked. “I thought you and your team were totally inseparable.”

“Aster insisted I see the castle for myself and make some new friends while she trained with Eryn,” Summer explained.

“And did you make any friends?” Merek raised a curious eyebrow.

Summer nodded. “I met this girl named Fabelle and her team. She seemed rather lonely, so I offered to be her… friend… is something the matter?” Both Merek and Galahad had frozen, their expressions shocked. Summer winced. “Don’t tell me you hate her too…”

Merek blinked and returned to his old stoic self. “No, I do not. I was merely surprised.” His voice was oddly subdued. “Nevertheless, I am glad that you befriended her.”

Summer wanted to press the issue further, but Eryn had bolted towards them. “Summer, we must prepare for the ceremony,” she said.

“It’s not for a few more hours, isn’t it?” Summer questioned.

“We need to be bathed and groomed; I will not have you embarrass our trainer tonight with your filthy pelt.”

Galahad nearly fell over laughing.

Reluctantly Summer allowed herself to be carried at breakneck speed back into the castle. It wasn’t long before Eryn came to a sudden stop before the rest of her team. Aster smiled and waved at the pair.

“Welcome back, Summer! I’ve already bathed myself, so it’s about time the rest of you got clean. Come one, the Pokémon Baths are just ahead.” With a wave Aster led her team forward.

“‘Pokémon baths’?” Summer repeated.

“The Pokémon Baths are a facility within the royal palace designed to cater to the widely varying needs of the Pokémon who reside on the grounds. It includes groomers and baths ranging from ice-cold to boiling,” Xeian explained as if lecturing.

“Hm, I’m looking forward to having my mane brushed out,” Dreamer commented with a dazed smile. “Do you think they’ll groom it into a fancy design, like a Furfrou?”

“It looks fine, dear Dreamer,” Nym smiled. “I would ask them to keep it just as it is.”

“Yes, that sounds nice,” the Zoroark replied. “Styled, plain, whatever…”

“Welcome to the Pokémon Baths!” a middle-aged human woman in an apron and the Vaporeon and Flareon beside her bowed before them. “How may I help you this evening?”

“Could you help me my Pokémon groomed and ready for the ceremony this evening?” Her voice was polite and cheerful, one that most workers responded well to. “I just want them to look presentable, but also to look themselves, so nothing ornate please.”

“Oh, you must be Aster Concordia!” the woman gasped. “To be ordained into the League of the Divine Blade tonight?”

“Yes ma’am,” Aster smiled bashfully. Place herself beneath them, let them raise her again if they wish. Summer could just see Aster’s calculating eyes measuring the reaction of the woman before her from beneath the persona she presented.

“Oh, there’s no need to call me ma’am, my lady; I’m only Jenna! And Jenna will tend to your Pokémon at once! Ignis, Aqua, prepare five baths.” She looked over Summer and her team. “Four warm, one boiling.”

“No, it’s okay, Jenna, really,” Aster chuckled nervously. “I’ve got a Fire and Water-type myself, we can take care of the baths.”

Jenna scoffed. “And put me out of work? I think not! You speak like a commoner, so I know you’re new to being nobility. So just keep in mind that here, it’s my job to wash and groom the nobles’ Pokémon, and your job to tell me how you want it done. Got it?”

“Y-yes, ma’am--er, Jenna. I’ll just sit by, then.” The woman wants to be of service a noble but also sees Aster as younger and in need of her wisdom. In response Aster created a mask of innocence and naivete, hiding her true self for the sake of getting along. Summer groaned inwardly at the shyness of her trainer.

“Alright, then; the rest of you, follow me. Miss Braixen, you’ll have the boiling tub while you other four can take your pick. Let Ignis or Glacia know if your tub is too cold or too hot and I’ll be back shortly to scrub you all down.”

Summer was led through the archway into a large room with six enormous bowls twice as wide as she was tall set into the stone. The Vaporeon, Aqua, produced a large stream of water that filled the tub while Ignis kept up a steady flamethrower to keep the water hot. She smiled; it was certainly a far cry from the wooden barrel they shared back at training.

The two Pokémon worked quickly to fill each tub with steaming water, and Ignis continued to breathe fire into the last tub until the water boiled and rolled. They both bowed again and pawed off to the side of the room. Summer gave a cheer and jumped into the massive boiling pool, relaxing in its pleasant heat. Her comrades followed suit, albeit more calmly.

Just as Dreamer was giving his best impression of Xeian complete with illusory transformation and made-up long words, Jenna returned with four more human assistance, each holding a bucket full of white soap powder and a thick brush. Summer’s human wore leather gloves to protect him from the heat, so for the next few minutes every inch of her fur was scoured cleanly of any speck of dirt that dare take residence within her fluff, yet it felt like he took a few inches of skin with it.

Her tail drooped under the weight of water as she stepped out, feeling simultaneously very clean and very raw. But she had no time to think over it as she was immediately yanked into the room beside her and given a thorough brushing from the tips of her ears down to her paws and everywhere in between.

She had to admire the dedication the groomers put into softening and untangling her fur, attacking each matted patch with all the dedication of a seasoned warrior, but at the same time she loathed them for using a brush so fine it yanked out every hair that was too knotted to lie straight. By the end of her ordeal, she was feeling cleaner than she could ever recall with fur that shined in the light and felt impossibly smooth to the touch. Her skirt fur was trimmed and straight and her massively fluffy tail seemed simultaneously fluffier yet neater than before.

Finally allowed to return to their trainer, Summer and her team wasted no time in throwing themselves at Aster so she could feel how soft and clean they became. Merek, who was standing beside Aster, cleared his throat. “Come with me,” he said softly. “The ceremony will begin shortly.”

~~~

Summer’s heart pounded in her little chest and it wasn’t hard to hear the drumming within her team either. Except Dreamer, of course. The beating of her heart seemed to echo each forceful step of the guards flanking her, their intricately crafted armor clanking in unison. She walked just behind Aster who trailed just a step behind Chancellor Senlis, both humans wearing extravagant purple and gold robes. Soon they came before a set of enormous doors carved out of heavy stone. In unison the guards stopped, spun on a dime to face the group, and fell to one knee. The hall was silent until Merek pushed the door open and led them inside.

They found themselves in a grand room with enormously high ceilings and stained glass windows depicting the discovery of Aegislash. Eleven men and women clothed in the same robes as Aster sat at a grand table that wrapped around the room in a half-circle, with a throne at the far end.

And on the throne was a little boy, whose feet couldn’t even touch the ground. Summer was stunned. She heard that the new king Kenitoh was young, but the child before her couldn’t have been older than nine in human years! His ceremonial robes were colored in the same purple and gold as the rest of the humans in the room, but they were far too big and much more ornate. Atop his was a beautiful red crown encircled with masterfully engraved gold and inset with gemstones. It was still too big for the boy king and so it tilted to one side revealing ruffled ginger hair beneath. On his lap was a skittish-looking Eevee and at his side was the fabled Aegislash.

“Your Royal Majesty, may I present Aster Concordia and her Pokémon team, for membership within the League of the Divine Blade,” Senlis spoke in a formal voice.

“You may,” the boy king replied. His soft, childish voice still rang with power and leadership.

“Aster Concordia has proven herself a master of disguise and espionage, demonstrating unparalleled skill in interrogation, diplomacy, and even infiltration,” Senlis lauded. “Precisely one week prior she completed her final test to retrieve an envelope from my estate despite facing hostile opposition, in the process reading from A History of the League and learning its true content. Nevertheless, her heart is pure and noble, for she desires nothing more than the welfare of her Pokémon and her kingdom. I humbly ask His Majesty, the other members of the League of the Divine Blade, and Aegislash to consider her acceptance within this hallowed organization.”

As expected, King Kenitoh fixed his emerald eyes on Aster. “Aster Concordia, will you swear fealty to the kingdom of Kalos?”

And as rehearsed, Aster and her Pokémon all stepped with their left foot forward and a hand over their heart, or their best approximation given their anatomy. “I will, Your Majesty,” Aster vowed. “I swear fealty to the King, his heirs, to the League, and to the Kingdom, and offer up my life to ensure the safety and long life of the royal family and the lands they guide.”

“Members of the League of the Divine Blade, I ask of you now to cast your vote for this woman,” Senlis proceeded. “Point upwards to signify your desire for her ascension, or point downwards if she is not worthy of the honor.”

Summer glanced about nervously. It all came down to their response. Merek, who sat on the King’s right, pointed up towards the sky immediately, followed by his mother beside him. A few more hands raised opposite them, and finally Senlis's and the rest followed. All pointing up.

Summer breathed a sigh of relief, but there was one more vote to consider. The king himself needed to vote, and who could tell what a little boy thought of such heavy matters? It was true Aster would ascend regardless of his decision, but this would also indicate his first impression of her team. But as Summer looked at his face, which had hardened with more maturity than she thought a young boy could possibly have, she knew that he had every idea of how to handle such an important decision.

A small hand pointed towards the sky.

Her team visibly relaxed while Kenitoh proceeded with the ceremony. "The League of the Divine Blade and myself have voted in favor of Aster Concordia. Aegislash, we beseech thee to grant her ascension into the League of the Divine Blade.”

The ghostly sword and shield hovered towards Aster who remained in her vow position. Soundlessly the sword removed itself from its hilt and descended on the woman’s shoulder.

You are worthy… rise as a member of the League of the Divine Blade…

Aster stood, trembling lightly.

Chancellor Senlis gripped her hand and raised it above her head. “Your Majesty, may I present to you the newest member of the League of the Divine Blade: Aster Concordia!”
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