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A Training Adventure [Solo/Train][Trixie Rank Upgrade]

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Not one for stagnation, Diego prepared for a long trip around the Desert of Forgotten Souls. Now that he had confirmation that Trixie would follow him on his path to find Jagang, it was time to get stronger. They were in no condition to stand a pose a threat yet and he wanted to change that. Hopefully, this trip would be a metamorphosis.

He had met a man named Shura Freyo who claimed he was a skilled beast tamer. Diego doubted the man's claims at first and the Fanalis laughed at him. Shura ran his hand through his red hair and told him about his plans to travel the desert to train. If Diego wanted to join him, he wouldn't mind having an extra Fanalis along. Plus, he was sure that Trixie would like his pet Puny. Diego eyes lit up and eagerly agreed, holding Shura to his promise. They departed after Trixie got her due skritches.

Diego hauled the large pack onto his shoulders and with Trixie at his side, left out the main entrance to find Shura. As they passed the outside gates to the city, Diego stopped abruptly with his eyes bulging out. Next to Shura was a a four-armed four and a half meter tall gorilla looking thing. Around its mouth were weird mandibles and its body was solid with muscle. Shura had a wide grin and waved them over, "Meet Puny, he's a little guy."

Diego looked at Trixie and back at the weird gorilla beast, "Yeah, little." They took off and followed a common trading route out to the east of the city. Along the way, Shura told him tales of all kinds of beasts he had seen, even stranger than Puny. They would end up at small towns and villages for a few days at a time. Diego noticed that while Shura seemed friendly, he seemed to have a distaste for anyone who wasn't a Fanalis. He bit his tongue, because the older Fanalis had a good heart.

During those stops, Diego came to realize that Shura was a skilled trainer. He would have Puny and Trixie spar for several hours at night, honing their skills while he had Diego run laps and exercise with him. He believed in training himself when asking the same of his pet. "A good man only asks another to perform what he is willing to do himself. A bad man expects others to bend to his will and believe himself above them." It was a tenet that resonated with Diego.

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Trixie would give her all during her spars with Puny even though he towered over her. As the moon waxed and waned, Diego was surprised at how much she had started to grow. He remembered her as a small kitten that night so long ago and now she was slowly growing longer than he was tall. Puny could be ferocious but he was respectful of Trixie. He would only ever release as much strength as Trixie could feed him and they balanced off that. At first, it was obvious Puny was holding back and defending her pounces and slashes with ease. Slowly she was able to take him by surprise, ducking and weaving between his giant fists with a feline grace to catch his arm in her mouth.

The moon waxed and waned as the sand endlessly blew, reshaping the desert over time. Training honed man and tiger's bodies, their muscles were toned and their stamina improved. Shura was good to his word and Diego felt a sense of kinship as a fellow beast tamer with the Fanalis. They sat upon a hill overlooking the desert valley one night, reflecting over the past three month's adventure. Trixie and Puny were fighting below, refusing to call it quits this night. Tired and still panting from a lengthy run, the Fanalis watched intently.

Trixie's fur was worked in a lather and she could feel her sore muscles ache as she gazed intently at the many armed beast in front of her. She watched, waiting for the twitch in his muscles that would alert her to his next attack. She saw his stance sink as he lifted up into the sky, clasping his hands into four giant fists as he descended upon her. Trixie responded, leaping forward ten meters towards the beast's previous position. The beast landed with a mighty thud behind her, slamming a large spray of sand into the sky as the shock wave rippled across the surface. Trixie dug into the sand and whipped around, slashing at the back of the beast's exposed legs. It roared as her claws ripped through its skin and whirled around, backhanding Trixie several meters away. The force of his fist knocked the wind out of her and it took her a moment to get back up.

She stood on shaky legs and took a few deep breaths before lowering her center of mass in a fighting stance. Puny grunted and charged towards her, two hands reaching towards her and the other two reaching for her left and right sides in case she dodged. Trixie remembered this trick from one of their first spars and leaped in the air, whipping her front legs down with her claws extended hoping to scratch the beast as he passed under her. She was about to be pleased at outsmarting the beast when he spun his body around under her and grabbed her in mid-air. The beast landed on its back, sliding a few meters with Trixie in a vice-like grip in his hands, squeezing the air out of her. It was his intention to release her when he felt her start to go limp, not wanting to harm her, but prevent her retaliating.

Trixie struggled, trying to scratch and bite, but Puny held on with a firm grip, ignoring the minor irritation. Her vision started fading and she felt herself starting to weaken. She thought about giving up, but when she looked to Diego standing on the hill with a determined look on his face, she felt a surge of need. The need to win, to prove to Diego that she hadn't been training for nothing. That need surged through her and unlocked a dormant part of her. She felt a tingling sensation run through her body and she heard a slight buzzing noise that faded after a second.

Surprised by a sudden shock, Puny's grip slackened and Trixie pulled herself free, gasping for air and landing on the beasts chest. Puny hadn't been hurt by the shock, but the unexpected irritation made him reflexively loosen his hold. He stared at Trixie confused and she used that moment to run up and scratch Puny's face. Her claws lightly grazed the apes face and passed over its mandibles and held her paw at the end of the motion, staring into his eyes. She had never gotten a chance to hit his face, this was new. The two beasts were frozen for a few moments until they heard Shura's hearty laugh.

Diego wasn't sure what happened, but he could of sworn he heard something like static when Trixie was being grappled. He looked over at Shura to see him smiling at him, "What was that?"

Shura wrapped his fingers through his beard and thought, "I'm not quite sure. If I had to guess, I think she might have produced a form of electricity. I've only seen it a few times, the most common are these long fish called eels. They produce electricity to ward off predators." seeing the awe in Diego's eyes he chuckled softly, "It has some awesome uses. Looks like your Madam just found you an ace in your sleeve." He put his hand on Diego's shoulder, "You better keep her close, she's going to take you places."

Diego turned his gaze back to Trixie and saw her standing proudly on Puny's chest looking at him for approval. He smiled widely, "Good job, Trix!" He ran down the hill towards her and she leaped off Puny's chest towards her master. They met halfway, leaping into each other, with Trixie tackling Diego to the ground. A small poof of sand flew up as they landed. "You did a great job. Thanks for giving it your all!" He hugged her neck and craned his head to see Shura walking up, "Sorry she beat your little guy up so bad," Diego teased.

Shura laughed with a mischievous grin when Puny sat up and grunted, as if saying he didn't think Trixie hurt him very much at all. Shura waved at his beast letting him know it was in good fun. His face and tone went serious when he looked back at Diego, "Now it's up to you. You've had three months of coaching. Tomorrow, Puny and I will be making our own way from here on out. We've got a few months left in us, but you should head back to Heliohapt and continue on your own."

Diego was saddened to see Shura and Puny leave but understood that he had taught him all he could for now. With a determined look he clasped the man's arm as they parted, "Safe travels, my friend." Trixie let out a mewl and nuzzled Shura's leg.

"You too!" With a big smile, he waved, before turning off and heading in the opposite direction.

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