A Leavanny is seen walking across a grassfield, accompanied by two Zangoose. Following closely is a Grotle, wearing in his head what seems to be a cover made of brambles. While he is the Pokémon in charge of bringing the group to the designated place, he has chosen to let the Leavanny introduce the place to the others, as she has lived in the region for the longest.
The Leavanny leads the group to a mound where they meet a sole Forretress waiting, looking into the distance. They all exchange curt nods, then turn to the Grotle and they bow - save for the Forretress who has to content himself with a wobble.
"You would do well to wait here and prepare yourselves," the Grotle stated. "Virizion will be here shortly."
He shot them each a challenging look, then turned around and left the direction he came. One of the Zangoose sighed at the event and, not minding him much, decided to look around. The group was atop the mound in the large plains of the Cadrícea, looking to the east direction. Across the plains a number of farms could be seen, their presence escorting a river and a railroad that both led towards a town not too far away.
"So this is the place your spoke of," spoke the Zangoose as the Leavanny stepped forward. He took a look down and frowned as he saw some wooden fences coming from the horizon and separating the wildlands they were in from the more urbanized lands to the south and east.
"Behold, yes: Pradeimie!" exclaimed Caolené as she pointed her companions to the lands past the fences.
The Leavanny and the Forretress took a long look at the plains laid out ahead of them; the two Zangoose did the same, though they were far more vocal in their appreciation of the scenery, taking a couple of steps ahead and whistling and roaring in approval, to which the Leavanny seemed to nod echoing the sentiment.
"...It really is so wide!" one of them said.
"You can see even the city from here," growled the other, turning to Caolené. "I didn't think this was possible, this looks nothing like the mountains..."
The Leavanny's antennæ shuffled around as if scanning in the direction of the city while the Pokémon herself took a look; she tilted her head absentmindedly.
"Is that so?" she said. "I can't see it... is it too far?"
"...You can't?" the Zangoose asked.
Caolené shook her head, prompting the two Zangoose to stare at each other for a moment and then give her a weird look. The Forretress in the meanwhile just stood in place, somberly looking at the plains ahead.
"Pokémon like her have good sight," he explained, "but not that good."
One of the Zangoose shrugged then and flicked his claws.
"Figures, we can't all be perfect."
"Look who's speaking," buzzed the Forretress, wobbling a little, "you don't seem to be able to hear much more than your own voice."
The Zangoose shot the bug-type a hard look and a growl; his brother, still more interested in the scenery, merely accompanied with a mock threatening growl.
"You are all not paying attention," shot a voice suddenly from right above them.
The two Zangoose and the Leaanny turned from their positions only to see their host, Virizion, land gracefully from who knows where right into their midst, with such control that the Zangoose right ahead of him did not feel his fur shake with the landing. The large Pokémon stood with them looking at the scenery for a moment and then turned to the group to see the three of them had instinctively stepped back and drawn their claws and leaf blades at him - one of the Zangoose holding his arm raised so close to him that Virizion could have craned his head and bump the Pokémon claws. Forretress meanwhile seemed nervous but had not moved a muscle, figuratively speaking.
"Still, as expected..."
Virizion turned around and inspected the four Pokémon in the group. He found an opening to move and paced around for a moment, looking at them from different angles until the four of them relaxed and withdrew their attacking postures. Caolené noticed the fabled figure was wearing what appeared to be a blue strip of cloth loosely attached to his left neck leaf, but she yelped and shied away from looking at it when Virizion stared at her.
"A-apologies oh Guardian," spoke the Leavanny, flustered as she rubbed her leaf blades against each other.
"I'm uh... sorry," one of the Zangoose ventured. "We-"
Virizion stomped the ground once. "Don't waste your time. You were instructed to remain alert and you held your ground. That said..."
The Pokémon got closer to them again, walked a circle around them and them paced down the hill and towards the fences. He motioned for them to follow.
"We are here for a test, so again don't waste your time."
Caolené and the others stuttered for a moment and followed, one of the Zangoose complaining under his breath that he had been enjoying the landscape. While the two Zangoose and Caolené walked downhill, the Forretress behind them had some trouble hopping after the group and after a while decided to catch up by unceremoniously letting himself tumble down the hill, swiftly rolling past the three. Caolené could do nothing but smile, although she admitted it was only fair to him.
Not long after Virizion reached a clear patch of land some distance short of the wooden fences. He pawed at the ground a couple of times and turned around, to meet the tumbling ball of bug-type that had rolled down and close to his hooves. Virizion arced an eyebrow as he watched the Forretress fall back a few steps and straight himself up.
The other three still took a full minute of walking before they reached where Virizion was waiting, and the two Zangoose gave uneasy looks around as they realized they were now close to the human farms. Caolené on her part squinted and adjusted her eyesight for a moment to finally appreciate the simple edifications in the distance, and then had to refocus her sight again for the close distance.
"I presume at least some of you," spoke the Deer as he circled around, "already have an idea of what follows."
He shot looks at the four Pokémon; they seemed to think it over for a moment but none of them dared to speak. Virizion saw Caolené's eyes furtively dart to his neck and smiled.
"Have no fear today," he challenged them. "You have made it this far, knowing the position you are vying for. So..."
Virizion's posture suddenly changed; the two Zangoose felt their blood freeze as the Deer spread his legs and stomped on the ground, then waved his head and brought his neck down. Forretress seemed to feel the energy the Deer spread across the ground the most, as he buzzed in a hurried tone and made motion to roll back. As the four of them saw Virizion's body exude a pale green aura that made the grass around them shuffle, Caolené was quick to switch to a defensive stance.
"Uh- uh, lord Guardian?" one of the Zangoose asked, scared.
"O Guardian please," inquired Caolené, wondering if her earlier perception of the test was correct, "we do not hold desire to strike against you."
"...I mean we kinda- we thought of it but!" shot the other Zangoose.
Virizion moved away a few steps, keeping his eyes trained on the group. "You have attained the understanding that this was coming, good!" he growled. "Now you have to understand the power you are seeking to serve."
The Leavanny blinked; the two Zangoose brothers shared uneasy looks.
"You come here because you want to serve, yes?" Virizion asked, turning to look at one of the Zangoose.
"Uh ye-yes," the white-furred Pokémon answered. "To be a-a fighter of this realm."
Virizion's gaze shifted over to Caolené, prompting her antennæ to spring up.
"We, umm... we seek to be part of this court of the Guardian of the realm," she ventured, in a more energetic tone than before.
Virizion nodded and shook his neck, bringing attention to the piece of cloth hanging from it.
"Here's the deal," he explained, letting his aura disperse for a moment. "The one of you who retrieves this cloth will win this, the third of five tests that will reveal the new guardians of my court. But beware!" He punctuated his last part of the statement with a ground stomp.
The four Pokémon nodded and tentatively assumed fighting stances, taking looks at Virizion and at each other - they were now here as contestants for the same prize, and it wouldn't be easy.
Virizion tilted his head and mocked them with a gesture. They had no idea.
"I'm not looking merely for a fighter. You four were hoof-picked for your relentlessness and your force when pushing past your opponent's defenses. So... I am not looking for something as simple as you fetching this cloth from my neck." Virizion closed his eyes and shook his head a couple of times.
"No... that would be boring wouldn't it."
He breathed in and out a few times, his aura now recalled to his body and flaring up again. His eyes still closed, he sensed the patches of grass around him.
"I look for decisiveness in fighting without holding back, but not unleashing your power carelessly at the same time. As such... the one awarded this round will be the one who not only retrieves this cloth, but also with that move manages to draw blood from my neck and only from my neck."
Virizion waited for a moment and opened his eyes. Before him stood the four Pokémon, now more spread out in formation, but once again caught in the same surprise as before: once again called to draw their power against one of the ancient guardians of their realm. The two Zangoose's legs trembled a few times, but the two Pokémon gulped and accepted their own challenge which one of them expressed with an audible gulp. The Forretress shifted in place uneasily, sucking in air and letting out some mechanical sounds as his shell hardened, the Pokémon seeming to build up resolve.
The Deer looked at the Leavanny, the most promising of the batch but still so far away from what Virizion expected. Or was it? He inspected the bug-type's posture, lead leg well planted on the ground and the two blade arms raised, elbows spread out and positioned in an angle forming an invisible V with the virtual "point" of it not too far from Virizion's lower neck from what he could imagine. The Deer hummed. That stance would make her an easy target against the other contestants but he was sure, having seen many Pokémon trained by humans before, that V stance would allow her to launch air blade attacks aimed squarely at his neck if he attempted to stay in motion either side of her.
"Beware then..." he announced, "the Guardians' blade."
Virizion pooled his energy making it visible around his body, he breathed in and hummed, materializing the energy into four wide prong-like projections of hardened Fighting-type energy that emerged from his shoulder tuffs and flared in and out; the four Pokémon looked with interest at the variation in the ancient energy sword technique of the Deer. He smiled, knowing that humans tended to peg the Guardians as only being capable of materializing their energy as sword-like blades; no, this was his energy and he was able to use it as he saw fit, and today they would be his one defense for this session.
"Ready yourselves," the Deer called out. "Be too weak to hit and I'll breeze past you. Be too strong to threaten me and I'll stomp you cold. Be precise and fulminant, rather, and come make your fate".