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diamondpearl876
17th February 2012, 5:14 AM
Hello~ Most of you probably don't know me since it's been a very long time since I've posted anything, but that's okay. I'm trying to get back into reading/writing fanfic, so hopefully I'll be able to help others with their writing somehow and get some constructive criticism myself.

This will be an OT journey fic, with each chapter told from the point of view of a pokémon belonging to the main trainer. The point of view will rotate but will not go in any specific order, and the pokémon will be identified (by nickname) with the chapter name.

Rated PG-13 for language, violence, and some mature themes.

Any and all comments are appreciated.

Nominations

- February fic of the month 2012 (pokecommunity)
- March fic of the month 2012 (pokecommunity)
- Best dark fic (bulbagarden)
- Senori for best protagonist (bulbagarden)
- Best journey fic (bulbagarden)
- Best pokémon chaptered fic (serebii)
- Most original overall (serebii)
- Most heartbreaking fic (serebii)
- Best trainer fic (serebii)
- Kuiora for best non-human main character (serebii)
- Senori for best non-human main character (serebii)
- Sai for best human supporting character (serebii)

Awards

- May fic of the month 2012 (pokecommunity)
- Best writing style (serebii)
- Best pokémon-centric fic (serebii)
- Most heartwarming scene (serebii)

Other

- PE2K Recommendation (http://www.pokemonelite2000.com/18944/weekly-reading-survival-project)

PM List
- Sidewinder
- The Great Butler
- Dragonicwari
- Jazz14456
- Sid87
- Janovy
- Crimson Penguin
- pokerock4

Index

1. all or nothing [senori] (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?561603-Survival-Project-(PG-13)&p=14164822#post14164822)
2. suppression [kuiora] (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?561603-Survival-Project-(PG-13)&p=14262542#post14262542)
3. anxiolytic [senori] (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?561603-Survival-Project-(PG-13)&p=14328398#post14328398)
4. frush [atis] (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?561603-Survival-Project-(PG-13)&p=14368107#post14368107)
5. logistics [kuiora] (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?561603-Survival-Project-(PG-13)&p=14416060#post14416060)
6. escalate [atis] (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?561603-Survival-Project-(PG-13)&p=14465621#post14465621)
7. oracle [senori] (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?561603-Survival-Project-(PG-13)&p=14514261#post14514261)
8. belong [kuiora] (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?561603-Survival-Project-%28PG-13%29&p=14676150#post14676150)
9. suspended [senori] (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?561603-Survival-Project-%28PG-13%29&p=14725221#post14725221)
10. grounded [ezrem] (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?561603-Survival-Project-(PG-13)&p=15205486#post15205486)
11. stranger [rennio] (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?561603-Survival-Project-(PG-13)&p=15255689#post15255689)
12. influence [atis] (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?561603-Survival-Project-(PG-13)&p=15315996#post15315996)
13. automatic [rennio] (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?561603-Survival-Project-(PG-13)&p=15368554#post15368554)
14. chance [senori] (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?561603-Survival-Project-(PG-13)&p=15415217#post15415217)
15. unfettered [ezrem] (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?561603-Survival-Project-(PG-13)&p=15467218#post15467218)
16. connection [kuiora] (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?561603-Survival-Project-(PG-13)&p=15533538#post15533538)
17. resolute [atis] (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?561603-Survival-Project-(PG-13)&p=15595484#post15595484)
18. crescendo [senori] (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?561603-Survival-Project-(PG-13)&p=15642462#post15642462)
19. ephemeral [rennio] (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?561603-Survival-Project-(PG-13)&p=15712523#post15712523)
20. mentality [ezrem] (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?561603-Survival-Project-(PG-13)&p=15764987#post15764987)
21. cynosure [atis] (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?561603-Survival-Project-(PG-13)&p=15833380#post15833380)
22. epitome [kuiora] (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?561603-Survival-Project-(PG-13)&p=15878772#post15878772)
23. armageddon [senori] (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?561603-Survival-Project-(PG-13)&p=15929789#post15929789)
24. stand my ground [sai] | part one (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?561603-Survival-Project-(PG-13)&p=15971149#post15971149) | part two (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?561603-Survival-Project-(PG-13)&p=15971151#post15971151) | part three (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?561603-Survival-Project-(PG-13)&p=15971152#post15971152) |
25. phoenix [ezrem] (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?561603-Survival-Project-(PG-13)&p=16071414#post16071414)
26. memory [atis] (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?561603-Survival-Project-(PG-13)&p=16120402#post16120402)
27. scald [senori] (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?561603-Survival-Project-(PG-13)&p=16165568#post16165568)
28. unanimous [kuiora] (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?561603-Survival-Project-(PG-13)&p=16229988#post16229988)
29. finality [rennio] (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?561603-Survival-Project-(PG-13)&p=16267845#post16267845)
30. epilogue [ensemble] (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?561603-Survival-Project-(PG-13)&p=16267849#post16267849)




SURVIVAL PROJECT

Mind led body
to the edge of the precipice.
They stared in desire
at the naked abyss.
If you love me, said mind,
take that step into silence.
If you love me, said body,
turn and exist.
— "Vertigo" by Anne Stevenson

chapter 1 ; [SENORI]
all or nothing

*

I never saw him coming.

Perhaps my tail was not yet long enough to help me stand higher and watch for danger. Younger sentret are always vulnerable to such restrictions, but my clan didn't have a concrete idea of age—just loyalty and ability. I wish age was a pronounced concept in the pokémon world, but I don't choose what's important. Who was to say that my tail was going to grow any more? I only knew that I was old enough to be shunned by my clan due to a catastrophe that was out of my control.

It could have been sleep deprivation. There was no one to switch shifts with, because no one wanted to defy the clan and end up in my position, too. When you're alone, you can kind of doze off without realizing it. But I'd trained for much of my life to do this, to protect. Sleep was never an issue, not even when I failed—once. After standing guard almost all day, every day, nothing as pathetic as that should have interfered.

Every aspect of my life was opposed by a larger, impenetrable force. Fate was trying to show me how things fall somewhere between completely right and completely wrong. I never questioned this, not until that time, when I thought that I should have felt his presence or smelled him or seen him. He still would have attacked. He still would have taken and given... everything. The situation would have made some sort of sense if I had anticipated something, anything.

And yet—

I never saw him coming.

*

It's funny, I guess. Humans are supposed to make some kind of mark when walking through a forest. They're supposed to snap twigs, leave footprints and mess with tree branches out of boredom. Even though he did none of this, I should have seen his shadow thanks to the sun rays pouring through the tree canopies. Instead, a simple blur appeared as he ran behind me.

He was fast, so very fast.

He swung his one leg out, hit my feet as hard as he could. I lost my balance and fell face first into the ground. As I fell, I was expecting to see claws. Paws. Not flesh caked with dried dirt and blood. He wasn't a fellow pokémon coming to get revenge.

To say that I was surprised would be an understatement. Not only had he gone undetected, but also I had never seen a human attack a pokémon. I didn't know how to react to this new situation, so I remained where I was, silently hoping against hope that he would walk away. And then it hit me: this human was a threat to my clan. If he was willing to hurt me, then he would be willing to hurt other pokémon. The worst part of it all? My clan didn't know he was there.

Of course this would happen to me. And of course I was choosing to just... lie there. Though my intentions were true, my security was gone. There was no one to cheer me on from the side, no one to notice my efforts, no one to assist me at times like these. Not anymore.

What could I do? If I screamed, my clan would ignore me, thinking I was looking for attention. I could have run, but I would have accidentally led the attacker straight to them. Unacceptable. But I couldn't attack, that much was clear. I didn't know how to track him; I couldn't see him move properly; and I didn't believe that pokémon and humans should fight. In that moment, I wanted previous experience with fighting humans, but that seemed to be the same as wanting more attacks on the clan as an excuse to battle. I pushed the thought away.

Suddenly, I realized that time had passed with me getting lost in my own mind. The human had done nothing else, as he was most likely waiting for me to acknowledge his existence. I lifted my head slowly. Mud clung to my face. Leaves swayed in the wind while the trees watched, as they always did, hushed and calm. Nature was peaceful and easy to deal with, unlike this blatant challenge.

The stream in front of us was no different. Water moved gently in the only direction it knew. I tend to believe I was imagining this scene, because if it were real, that would mean we were near my clan and I didn't want that. I must have wandered in that general area out of subconscious desperation, but I couldn't be sure. I had to focus on the present moment.

There were no signs of the human's presence when I looked from the front. Fate had sent trouble my way and didn't want me to see it, apparently.

I assumed he was still behind me. I stood up, clenched my tiny hands. I pulled my fist back and turned around, intending to use my sucker punch attack to get the upper hand, but I swung at the air and missed. Had he left, I would have been relieved, but disappointed that yet another living creature deemed me as a waste of time.

My self-pity party ended when, from the corner of my eyes, I saw him kicking at me. I didn't even have enough momentum to quickly escape. He pinned me down, and then he tried to pick me up with his hands in a way that wouldn't let me wiggle free. I made an honest effort for once and bit him. I bit him hard and he didn't yell at me. He stopped trying to pick me up, pressed me deeper into the dirt. Sharp pains flowed throughout my body so effortlessly, yet in deformed rhythms. I sank further and further into the mud, an everlasting reminder of what defeat really is. And I cried. I wailed.

My cry echoed and echoed and the lull that passed between the two of us broke my heart.

My clan wasn't coming to rescue me. I certainly wasn't going to rescue myself. Finally, finally, he removed his grip, stepped over me, and turned to face me. Blood seeped down his right hand to his elbows and inevitably onto the grassy floor. His face was tense; his dark eyes showed no feeling. He probably thought I was too slow to break away, and he was being kind by giving me this false reassurance.

I gave in, but not truly. He could have me, as long as my clan was safe.

He shouldn't have given out a second chance, but he did. I didn't take it. His fist collided with my stomach. My knees buckled; my vision went askew. The forest bed was my friend once more. How could a human have this much power?

Before fainting, I swore I heard him sigh and look... disappointed. That was the first emotion I ever saw from him, and I will always remember it. I didn't know what he had envisioned, though. Pokémon can't predict human movements. Not that I was trying. Maybe I hadn't spent enough time with him at this point, but there was nothing else out of the ordinary with this boy. He wasn't wearing shoes, but that could be normal, right? He looked like a new trainer with his unkempt black hair, his plan black t-shirt, and frayed shorts.

Had he not attacked me, I would have thought he was just like everyone else.

But his mobility was stunning, quiet and able to shake the reality I had come to know. His thoughts were unreadable, but if I could have heard them, I'm confident when I say they would have been stronger than any punch or kick.

There was nothing left to ask as I slipped into unconsciousness.

*

When I woke up, a dull, soft pressure throbbed on the side of my head. Dizziness initially accompanied the pain, but I focused on the fact that I could no longer feel mud on my face and that I was propped up against a tree. I opened my eyes when the dizziness faded. I had to blink a few times before I could see clearly. The first thing I noticed was my attacker sitting next to me, staring into the distance, supposedly unaware of my awakening. For some reason, he had cleaned my face and put me into a more comfortable position. I didn't know what he was going to do next.

I relaxed when I came to understand that the rest of the forest was untouched. My clan wasn't sprinting by, panicking while they prepared to flee or die. If they found me in my current predicament, however, they might hate me even more for allowing this menace to run loose.

I wanted to disappear. Physically, I didn't know if it was possible, since the human had come close to crushing my skull. I was also mentally drained, lacking in motivation, and I was convinced he could readily catch me. I wanted to fix that look of disappointment I saw. I wanted to tell him it wasn't his fault that I didn't defend myself, and that it wasn't his fault I deserved to be battered the way I was. My pokémon speech would be useless, anyway. In the end, all would be done in vain.

Realizing this, I sighed. The slight motion had interesting consequences.

Overall, he had seemed all right. Serene, even, and the nice actions he performed gave him points. But I sighed and the noise made him snap his head up and grasp his right wrist, the one stained red. When his knuckles started turning whiter than white, he wrapped his arms around his legs, holding his knees close to his face. His expression tensed, and I should have been scared. Anyone else would have been scared, but all I could think about was how he was ruining the circulation in his hands and, somehow, it was my fault.

“You're awake,” he said after a few more moments.

I jumped when he spoke, because I'd never had a human communicate with me. His voice sounded both hollow and childish. The combination seemed impossible, but that was the best way to describe it at the time.

Now I wanted to reply. If I said what I wanted to say, I would go unheard. What would I have taught the children from my clan to do? I would tell them to play along. Get on his good side, act cheerful, and leave whenever the opportunity presented itself.

“Stating the obvious, are we?” I said. I grinned, ignoring the pain in my jaw. If I was lucky, I could make him smile or chuckle.

“Yes, I guess I am.”

“Look, I—” I cut myself off after calculating his words, deciding they were a direct response to what I had said. This human was odd, more so than I initially thought. Nothing made sense again. “Why... Why do you understand me?” I managed to ask, though he was looking at me, examining me.

“Am I not supposed to?”

I paused, then went on to ramble. “You're... not supposed to know what I'm saying, no. New trainers come by here with their starters all the time. They have to read their pokémon's body language and gestures, and the language itself will come in time, I assume, since I've seen older trainers come by, too... I don't get it...”

“If it helps you, I can pretend to not understand.”

“If it helps me do what?” I asked, shifting uncomfortably against the tree trunk.

“Become stronger.”

Well, that explained why he confronted me earlier. He wanted to test my strength. The outcome: I was weak. That was true, at least, but there was something missing.

“Why would you need me to get stronger?”

He wouldn't look at me as he answered, “We're going on a journey. We're going to get the badges here in Johto. They told me to capture the first pokemon I saw, and... that wasn't you, I admit, but you'll have to do.”

“What are you—”

“You're my first pokémon, Senori.”

The human sounded so sure of himself, but I wasn't sure of anything. This would mean leaving my clan. They didn't want me, but they still needed me. All of them. They just didn't know it. If I left and came back to find them maimed, eaten, burned with the rest of the forest... I could never forgive myself if that happened. No, no, no.

And who was Senori? That wasn't my name, but here it was, directed at me as if I had possessed it since birth. Still. His declaration almost made everything seem okay and real. I chose to start here as I told him, “I'm sorry, but that's not my name. I'm usually called—”

“I don't care what anyone's called you. Your name is Senori,” he said, his gaze focused on me once more.

“Fine. It doesn't matter. I'm not going anywhere with you.” My quick temper was going to get me into more trouble if I wasn't careful. Usually, if I acted angry with a member of my clan, the other pokémon would feel guilty and apologize. This boy, he smiled, as if what I said meant nothing. I smiled, too, and continued, “You didn't even catch me in a pokéball. Trainers get their starters in New Bark Town, anyway, which is nearby. I don't know who works with all that, but you can ask around.”

The human's eyes widened. “But that's not what they told me to do. I just listened. I just tried to listen...” He trailed off, then came up with his own version of an appropriate response. “You're coming with me, and I'll get a pokémon in New Bark Town, too. That way, I'm doing it right for everyone.”

Why didn't this boy know how to start his own pokémon journey properly? Every kid who passed by talked on and on about their tenth birthday and how they wanted to travel through Johto while making friends with their favorite creatures. They talked about becoming so free, so independent, so strong. I wondered if his parents kept him sheltered, but that seemed silly. He would have learned about it somewhere. If his parents forbade him to go and he went in spite of that, he could have been feigning innocence...

This was my problem: I thought too much, and I knew next to nothing, though I believed otherwise. I didn't know whether or not I was going to depart from my home for him. I didn't know why I was the one he picked. There's always someone who wants to hold another person's hand until they're ready to let go. That someone, during our first conversation, wasn't me.

“Okay,” I said. It was wrong of me to say, as his eyes brightened. “I'll go with you to New Bark Town. I'll see what I can do about getting you a real first pokémon in a pokéball. But then I'm out of here. I have family and friends to stay with.”

This was wrong of me to say, too. His face contorted with fury. “You can't go,” he said firmly, peering down. “You can't do this to me. You can't.”

“What? There are plenty of sentret on the other side of Cherrygrove, if you really want one. It... can't be me.”

“It has to be you. There is no one else but you.” He reached into his pocket, causing me to flinch. He pulled out a small object shaped like a cube with smooth, rounded corners. It was mostly white with varying amounts of black dots on each side. I didn't know what the black parts meant, but it seemed harmless. He handed it to me and I took it.

“What's this for?” I asked, struggling to hold it.

“It's a standard six-sided die. Roll it.”

“Excuse me? Roll it?”

“Yes.”

“I don't know what you mean.”

“Roll it. Throw it. Whatever. I can't do it for you or it won't mean anything.” When I thought of rolling, I thought of taking a bath, moving my body around in the water until I was clean... “It's been with me for years. It's survived every obstacle in its way, only to end up in your hands. So roll it.” He pushed my paws toward my chest. The pressure was similar to when he foot was pushed against my head. My bones ached. “There is no one else but you,” he repeated.

“What happens when I roll it?” I asked, not quite ready to give in. I couldn't get caught up in lies or bad intentions twice in a row. I believe there is good in everyone, but that didn't make me less wary of him.

“You'll see that I am right.”

Despite my stubbornness, I couldn't gather the courage needed to keep up the argument. I thrust my paw forward, my fixation on the object never wavering. It rotated in the grass, then determinedly landed on the side with a single black dot on it. I didn't comprehend the results, but the boy reacted joyfully.

“See? You're number one. There is no one else but you. Even if that pokémon from New Bark Town is supposed to be my first, it won't be.” He grabbed the object with delicacy, though it didn't appear breakable. “I'll keep it in my pocket so you'll always know, Senori. And so everyone else will know. Let's go.”

Reluctantly I sat. Ever since that terrible incident, I wanted to feel useful and loved. Being called number one fit into those desires. But I wanted to be needed by the family I grew up with, the family that considered me a leader. Torn, the verdict came to me. My family wasn't here, and there wasn't any indication that they would be there in the future. This wasn't their shot at redemption. It had to be mine.

“Yeah. Let's go. By the way, I don't know your name.” Stay optimistic. Stay happy, believe in fate—for them. “Should I decide it for you?” I surprised myself with sarcasm. I was hesitant toward him and figured I didn't want to leave because, deep down, I didn't want him to wrongly view me as worthwhile.

“My name? My name is Sai.”

*

We walked away from our battlefield and away from my clan. I planned to say my goodbyes as we circled back to Cherrygrove, and by then I would be more firm with my decisions. I turned, as if this was my last chance to see the stream from which we drank and the trees we climbed to get closer to the sky. Sai was blocking my way.

“I'm going to carry you so it will go faster,” he said, and promptly scooped me into his arms. I didn't complain. I was aching all over, but it did annoy me as he held me with his bloodied hand. I already hated seeing him hurt.

“So. Why can you understand me already?” I said, refusing to protest against him any further.

“That doesn't matter. Are we there yet?”

He was an impatient one. I had to distract him. “It sounds to me like you just don't know.”

Sai halted mid-step, turning me around to face him, obviously not caring about inducing more wounds. He frowned; his eyes seemed darker than before; I thought he was going to explode. Instead he ordered me to keep leading the way.

If I was being honest, I had never been inside New Bark Town. I could have very well been leading him down the wrong path. It was unfortunate that he came from the north and had no knowledge of the area, and so I had to rely on fate to take us there.

“This way,” I said. He listened, as if I were the trainer. “What pokémon are you gonna get, anyway?”

“I don't know.”

“Well... There's different types, which have different strengths and weaknesses. Some specialize in attack while others specialize in defense. There's a lot of things to account for.”

Sai didn't say anything. I shrugged him off, thinking he was daydreaming, like most new trainers do. I didn't know then that he had no clue as to what starters were available. I didn't know that his lack of awareness could go this far.

“And you're going to help me, right?”

“Help you do... what, exactly?” I asked. This conversation didn't look too hopeful, when you looked at how the last time we talked about helping each other.

"You'll tell me about each of them. The pokémon. And then I'm going to watch them and I'll choose from there. The one with the most potential will join us."

"The most potential for what? Actually, never mind that! You can't just... watch them!" I took a deep breath. "Most trainers go in, knowing who they want, and they take that pokémon along with any other items the person gives them, and that's that. They're so excited about it and they blabber on about it for hours when they pass this forest. It seems like it's all a part of the journey. Why are you making this so complicated? Why are you the only one who doesn't know what to do?" There went my temper again, and I waited for the aftermath.

But nothing happened. "As long as I get the pokémon, it shouldn't matter, right?" he said. "It's still starting out the correct way."

"I suppose that's true," I said unsure of whose rules he was intending to follow until the end.

"And you're going to help me, right?" he said with that same hollow and childish voice, like he was embarrassed to ask for my support.

I didn't know why he needed my support. I mean, trainers count on their pokémon, but not like this. I wouldn't know why for most of the journey. Once, I thought I accepted his offer because of my penchant for protecting others, or because he'd attack me more if I said no. Later, I would come to know him better, on an intense level that would teach me how perfectly wrong I was.

He was special, the kind of treasured person you want to keep around.

"Don't worry. I'm going to take care of you," I told him.

I undertook this task dubiously, and this uncertainty grew into sincerity and devotion soon enough.

diamondpearl876
6th March 2012, 4:19 AM
SURVIVAL PROJECT

chapter 2 ; [KUIORA]
suppression

*

Once upon a time, there was a boy who loved a girl. Then the girl left him and the boy didn't want to love her anymore.

The two of them had been together for many years, and the girl found perfection in the boy every day. Because of this, she was eternally grateful to have him in her life, and often she wondered what she had done to deserve him. He had done well to earn a life more extravagant and timeless, yet he stayed by her side. The idea of him having regrets haunted her. She dwelled on these thoughts, unable to find a way to ease the chaos in her mind.

One day, she was luckless, or fortunate, depending on how you view it. She stumbled upon someone who told her about three specific legendary pokémon: the bringers of knowledge, willpower, and emotion. They were born from the same egg, which was created by the god of pokémon. They resided deep in the caves of Sinnoh, safe from harm and disturbance.

After analyzing the conversation, she knew her destiny, and felt obligated to fulfill her duty.

“We have them to thank for everything,” she said when she told her husband this. “Every tree, every mountain, every sea, they all conspired for millions and millions of years to get us both here. And I don’t know why they conspired so much, but I want to see them and thank them. I need to let them know their efforts weren't in vain. Won't you come with me?”

But the boy didn't want to go. He wanted to preserve their privacy, wanted to accept life as it was. There was no point in messing with things that couldn't be changed.

“You are the most important part of my life. These creatures have given me the ability to love, the desire to live in this terrible world, and the knowledge to know how to survive long enough to make you happy somehow. Do you not think of this? Will you not go with me?” she asked.

Still, he would not go. He tried to stall her, but failed. She defied him with dismay, explaining where she was going and saying that she would be back as soon as possible.

She took a ferry to Sinnoh. Several people asked her what was wrong. Why did a pretty lady like her look so sad? Even she didn't know, though she carried with her the comfort of finding answers to questions asked long ago.

She visited Uxie at Lake Verity and told the fantastical creature what was true in her heart. Uxie didn't respond negatively, and so she deemed her feelings legitimate. When she visited Mesprit at Lake Acuity, it was the same, and she now felt reassured about the boy resisting urges to run from her, if he had any to begin with.

Lake Valor, Azelf's home, was bare. Even the lake itself was empty when she swam through it, free from her clothes and burdens. She bought a motel room in the nearest town and wanted to return soon, but she heard rumors of a boy upsetting Azelf's resting place and being punished for it. Upon hearing more information, she knew the boy was hers, for he had the same description and temperament. She panicked, asked where to find him, and went to the hospital.

He was alive, but gone. She screamed. She screamed so loud, and he didn't—couldn't—hold her. The doctors had to soothe her, but they had no explanations or words of wisdom to offer. They dealt with reality, the kind of sick that you can see, not myths and stories. She couldn't decipher the psychic-type's behavior, either, especially after her experiences with its siblings. That, she could deal with. It was vital, this desire to know why the boy came to the lakes despite his protests. What she sought couldn't be found this time around.

Once upon a time, there was a girl who loved a boy. And when he died by her hands, she couldn't stop loving him.

*

Professor Elm told me this tale before I left the lab. He also told me it was a little too heartbreaking and dark for a young totodile like me, but that was the case for every story, it seemed. I insisted that I could take it, and he didn't hold back. The story was sad, yes, but it inspired me to travel the world, as other discoveries awaited me. The professor spoke eagerly of fond memories from his childhood, too. I wanted to create my own memories and make them pure enough to tell anyone who would listen. Needless to say, I couldn't stand being at the lab anymore.

I didn't value people who were vulnerable, frail, and lacking in tact. Professor Elm was exactly that kind of man. Somehow I believed I was blessed to be with him. He was patient and flexible as well, which was beneficial for me. These characteristics of his led me straight to my destiny. I can't imagine any other professor giving me up the way he did just to ensure my happiness. While he emphasized training for the other starter pokémon, he catered to my religious fantasies, my thirst for learning. Of course, I trained and became an obedient pokemon, too. I only agreed to do this, however, out of fear for meeting a legendary pokémon someday and being weak, clueless and disrespectful. I simply wasn't like the others, who avoided sleep and exhausted themselves more than was necessary. It was all about balance and routine.

I was never satisfied until the day my trainer came for me.

“We'll be starting the training for today, okay? I hope you're all refreshed and ready to go,” Professor Elm said. It was just another ordinary day. I watched the group of pokémon from my favorite spot against the split-rail fence. I could see the rest of New Bark Town if I looked through the fence, but it kept us trapped inside. I wondered why it was needed, since Professor Elm trusted us not to escape. It was standard protocol, apparently. Even I wouldn't have escaped if given the chance. I was to wait for whatever the gods had in store for me.

The chikorita, the cyndaquil and the rest of the totodile gathered in the middle of the backyard. I stood, basking for one last moment in the sun. It was the brightest where I sat, and this was where Professor Elm spent his time with me. He never asked me to move, even if it was difficult for him to concentrate with the light shining in his eyes. I made my way over to the others. The pokémon squealed excitedly, and then the noise died down as Professor Elm cleared his throat.

As usual, he started by talking about us being a trainer's starter.

“What can you do to help the trainer grow and learn? You are not necessarily weak, but are just beginning alongside your trainer… I can't teach you much, because it is not up to me,” the professor said, a hint of sadness in his voice. “But I can make things easier. You will all have to battle, as you know. We’ll warm up by starting out with tackle and scratch attacks, which you’ll often use in battle until you learn new attacks.”

There were three large oak trees in the backyard. They looked as if they could tumble if we struck them too hard. They had been abused repeatedly over the years, and we were about to add to their beaten demeanor. I went to the tree designated for us water-type starters. I started lightly, and with every tackle, I willed my strength to come to me. We took turns bashing, hitting, slamming.

“I really like training...” one of the totodile stated, “but tackling makes my head hurt!”

I could relate, but I adjusted to the constant collisions and rough texture of the bark. Another totodile agreed and complained about how tired he was. During the next few turns, the totodile missed the tree entirely. The professor saw this, and instructed them to stop. They pouted and watched in dismay as everyone else continued practicing.

I sighed. Once again, the totodile had ruined my training. An ache like that came when you didn't pace yourself, but they couldn't grasp that concept. I would have told them what was on my mind, once, but they weren't willing to adapt.

Eventually, we moved on to our specialized, elemental attacks.

“A cyndaquil's fire can keep things warm, especially in the winter. Or they can cook food on the road. Chikorita can carry things with their vines, and their evolutions can heal teammates. And totodile can provide water and can scare away predators with their size and jaws. You should all do these things for your future trainer, just as you do them for me. Understood?”

We nodded.

The cyndaquil got to work first, and the rest of us followed. They blew fire at each other, since the heat energized them rather than burned them. (When they were babies, they made the grass catch fire, but thankfully, they grew out of that.) The chikorita carried rocks and potted plants, careful to not drop them. The totodile based their success on how soaked an object was when they were finished, but I had passed that stage already. I focused on how long I could keep the jet stream going without taking a breath.

Just as I thought we were improving, trouble was brewing among the chikorita. One of the younger chikorita didn't want to be carried, but her friends were telling her to quit her whining. Her squeals echoed throughout the backyard and maybe beyond. The professor ordered, in a feeble voice, to knock it off.

He lightened the mood with food. He brought out trays filled with various kinds of berries and let us choose what he wanted. I took a few of my favorite Cheri berries. We spread apart after emptying the trays, with me going back to my spot near the fence, and with the others speaking randomly to each other with their mouths full.

I sat in peace, waiting for Professor Elm to show up, as he always during our breaks. Rays of sunlight poured onto my body, and I had to shield my eyes to see where on the ground I put my Cheri berries. I ate them, one by one, savoring the flavor and finding it fascinating how the legendary pokémon made the sun necessary for survival, yet the sun itself never had any reaction toward what happened on the land it provided for. The entire human species, and all pokémon, could be gone tomorrow, and it wouldn't notice or care. It would rise and fall blindly. I vowed that someday I would make the sun care about me.

When Professor Elm came, he looked strangely comfortable, and he was beaming. He didn't even make a remark about the sun blocking his view.

“You look awfully happy today,” I pointed out. As soon as I said it, I hoped I didn't sound too rude. I had a tendency to talk without thinking. He often told me I had the biggest ego he had ever seen, but he also told me I was mature for my age. Prone to tantrums and a bit of violence, sure, but certainly not naive. Then again, I hadn't expressed to him all my dreams for the future.

“Yes,” he replied. “Someone's here for you.”

I had heard many wild, impossible things, but in that moment, that statement topped them all. “Who would be here for me?”

“Who else?” He wouldn't stop smiling.

“A trainer...” I tried to process the situation. There were several totodile a trainer could pick from, and no one wants such a serious child trekking behind them... “How do you know they're here for me?”

“He said he saw us training through the fence when passing by,” Professor Elm explained. “He was impressed with what he saw from you. The totodile with the improvised, specific routines? That's you.”

So. I was special in someone's eyes. About time, really. My work had finally paid off, though I vaguely wished I had known he was watching me at the time it was happening.

“I'm leaving today, then? Now?” I felt as if I hadn't spoken in weeks.

“If you're ready. If you want me to, I can tell him that you're not ready to be handled, though I'm not a fan of lying...” the professor said, rubbing the back of his head.

“No! I want to go.”

“Great. You'll be fine. You want something more than basic necessities, and the rest of the pokémon have yet to realize the same. I've tried to help you to the best of my abilities over the last year, since it's my job, but... a trainer is a whole other story.”

I looked down, not wanting to seem too antsy like the others usually were. “What are we waiting for?” I returned his smile.

“You don't want to say goodbye?” Despite his questioning tone, it seemed more like a statement to me.

“We aren't exactly close.”

“Don't be too hard on them. We can't all be the same.”

“I know.” But it didn't change my mind. Being stuck in one place hadn't gotten me far, and I wanted freedom for the others, too. The backyard we spent our days in... The land was only good for holding the pokémon world together. Without designated starters, new ten-year-old trainers wouldn't know where to begin. We were chosen, though not in the way I wanted to be chosen. Everyone here, their separate purposes amount to so much more. Why wasn't this obvious?

*

I had never been inside Professor Elm's lab before. I knew what a building was, at least, because there was a shed in the backyard for when it stormed. I was disappointed that the professor never offered to let me see his research before.

Tall shelves lined the walls, showing off colorful book spines. There were landscape paintings hung by the lone desk in the room; the wooden frames looked out of place against the metal behind them. The floor beneath me was cold and unlike anything my feet had ever felt. Several researchers I barely recognized were bustling about, holding clipboards and pens while watching machines with intense interest.

My attention drifted to a boy wearing normal clothes rather than white coats and long pants. He had asked for me, but he didn't seem pleased to see me. He was frowning and seemed oblivious to his surroundings. I could get his approval later. For now I looked him over. His hair was dark and crazy, like he had just woken up. His arms were covered in cuts and bruises, which told me he wasn't a beginner. He had experience. Suddenly I was much more intrigued.

“This is Sai,” Professor Elm said, motioning to the trainer.

“Sai?” I said. I repeated the name over and over in my head. Since none of us were directly called anything but our species name, we had to rely on differences in voice and body sizes. I had assumed humans were similar, and that 'Professor Elm' was a professional title. By the looks of things, we could be called something distinguishable! I was learning a lot already.

Professor Elm explained that I was the totodile he had seen through the fence. I heard bits and pieces about attacks I knew and how I could be useful, but it was hard to focus. I knew all of this, and I wanted to get going.

“Do you have a trainer's card?”

“I do not.”

“You do know you need a trainer's card if you want to travel with pokémon, right?” Professor Elm said, his voice quiet as he fumbled with some papers in his hands.

What was a trainer's card? Why did it matter? Way to potentially ruin things for me, Professor Elm. If Sai would fix this misunderstanding...

“I... wasn't expecting to see the totodile. I was passing by.” For whatever reasons, his words made me grin.

“Where are you from?”

“I'm from Vermilion City,” Sai said, folding his arms.

“That's a bit far, huh? I can't think of why you're here, then...” Professor Elm said, more to himself than to Sai as he paced back and forth, writing something down.

“Just visiting the region. Seeing the sights.”

The professor ignored him. After a few moments, he looked at me. His expression was sad and told me he shouldn't be giving me to a suspicious trainer. I nodded to him. I didn't care who the trainer was. If he was horrible to me, the legendary pokémon would punish him accordingly. If Professor Elm ruined this for me, then—

“I assume you have a trainer's card from Kanto?”

“Misplaced, sir. I'm sorry. Left my pokémon at home, where they felt comfortable.”

“Hmm.” Professor Elm put a finger to his forehead. “Seems fair. I will give you a trainer's card for the Johto region. Come here, Sai.”

I wanted to tell him he couldn't command me or my trainer, but it seemed ungrateful. Though he wasn't an ideal man in my eyes, he deserved better than spoiled brats.

Sai went with Professor Elm, then backtracked to me. “Wait here, okay?”

I did so. It was the first instruction he gave me, and it was also one of the few. As I would soon find out, his directions were, at the surface, self-centered, but still thoughtful.

*

When they returned, Sai was holding a small item. I assumed it was his new trainer’s card. In his other hand was a pokéball. We were not put in our pokéballs very often, and so I wondered what it was like to be inside one for an extended period of time. I hoped I never had to find out.

The professor came to me and knelt down so that we could see each other face-to-face. A mix of emotions ranged across his face, as if he wasn't sure what to feel. Didn't he say goodbye to starters a lot? He should have been used to it. Maybe you never get over some things. This, too, I hoped I never had to find out.

“Well, this is what you've been waiting for...” He sounded wary, though not as much as he had previously. “Don’t forget anything you’ve learned here, okay? You’re a good pokémon, and I’ll miss you,” he said, petting me on the head. I winced, not knowing what to say. A pang of guilt struck me, but it was too late to turn Sai down. There was nothing to stay for, anyway. The professor would have to go on without me.

After what seemed like forever, the professor stood up, shook Sai's hand, and wished us the best of luck. Sai thanked him, then turned. I followed Sai as he was practically running out the door. He held the door open for me, but I just had to look at Professor Elm once more. I saw him wave with one arm, the other tucked behind him. I waved back, and left. I was curious to see if I would miss the professor like he would miss me, whatever that meant.

When I stepped outside, I witnessed brand new scenery. Flowers bloomed everywhere. (There had been flowers in the backyard until the cyndaquil burned them. Professor Elm quit planting them. He had enough to take care of, and it was a waste of time.) There was also a body of water to my left. It stretched on, and I wanted to swim in it. I'd never seen that much water in one place, so I went in that direction. As I did, I observed more buildings, and in those buildings I knew there was more to learn. I'd figure out how to get inside later. I kept going forward, disregarding the sun, the sky, the grass. They were major parts of life, but the rest of the town represented why the legendary pokémon put so much effort into creating them.

In my haste, I bumped into something. Someone. I staggered backward and saw a pokémon that was taller than me as it stood on its tail. It was a sentret. Sentret sneaked into the professor's backyard to play almost every day. I wasn't hurt—the sentret's brown fur was soft—but I pretended to be.

“Watch where you're going,” I mumbled.

“That's a good way to meet each other, I guess,” I heard Sai say as he caught up to me.

My gaze shifted between the two of them. How did they know each other? This couldn't mean...

“Sai's been wanting to get you for the last few days, and now you're here,” the sentret said.

I blinked. “This is your trainer?”

“He's yours, too.”

“But—”

“I'm sorry,” the sentret said. “I was his first pokémon, but he insisted on getting a Johto starter. He wanted the strongest he could find. Watched you for a while. I was impressed as well. Anyway, we can get out of here and—”

“Why would he need me if already had you?” I was being silly, but the whining was warranted. I originally believed Sai was experienced, which would mean he already had pokémon. To find out otherwise gave me a chance, though, and that chance was stripped away from me in a matter of moments.

“I wish I knew. Ask him,” the sentret said.

Sai didn't answer. “We can leave soon,” he said instead. He pulled out an object, seemingly out of thin air, and gave it to me.

“Did you get this from the professor?” I asked, taking it in my clawed hands. It was warm, and didn't appear to be something a pokémon could use. “Is it mine?”

“No. It's mine,” Sai said, then glanced at the sentret. He gulped. “I mean, I want you to roll it. Or throw it. Please.”

Immediately I obeyed. When the deed was done, a white surface with two black dots in the center appeared. I peered at Sai expectantly, and was pleased to see him smile.

“Okay,” he said. “Your name is Kuiora.”

“My name?” I didn't see the correlation.

“Yes.”

That meant the sentret had a name, too. Mine must have had more significance to make up for the first pokémon misunderstanding.

“Kuiora, my second pokémon,” Sai said. He was content, at least.

“Yeah... We established that already.”

“I just wanted you to know,” he replied, frowning. He put the item in his pocket. “It's official. I made the right choice, so let's go.” He spun around and went in the opposite direction.

I gazed longingly at the water, but obeyed my trainer. I was born to obey, after all. I didn't know what would happen next, but being his second pokémon didn't mean I was second best. That was what mattered. Impatient as I was, I would earn that position soon enough.

I followed Sai, not bothering to ask why we weren't exploring the rest of the buildings. I was destined to travel, to become stronger, to attract the eyes of the legendary pokémon. I would do all of this, even if I had to do it on my own. I was nothing if not the sum of the parts I made for myself and for the legends.

As we left New Bark Town, I thought about the totodile, cyndaquil and chikorita. Had they noticed my absence yet? Something told me they hadn't. They didn't know what they were missing. Until they learned to not only want, but also to yearn, I would fear for them, and for anyone else who blocked my path to victory.

Clare
6th March 2012, 4:53 PM
This is very nicely written. The grammar is faultless and the idea of using alternating Pokemon narrators is a nice touch. However, I can't help wondering if the Pokemon are meant to be speaking English when they're "talking" to Sai or if you're just translating their Poke-speech. Perhaps you could clarify this.

diamondpearl876
7th March 2012, 11:00 PM
This is very nicely written. The grammar is faultless and the idea of using alternating Pokemon narrators is a nice touch. However, I can't help wondering if the Pokemon are meant to be speaking English when they're "talking" to Sai or if you're just translating their Poke-speech. Perhaps you could clarify this.

I'm glad you like it so far. Also, I'm just translating the poke-speech. Perhaps I should consider using another symbol to represent their poke speech like some authors do?

Shadow Lucario
14th March 2012, 12:29 PM
Like I said, I would get to it and I did. This is a very interesting fic you have here. I haven't seen one done like this before. I usually don't read this type of fic. It's very interesting to get into the mind of a Pokemon and see what they're thinking. I see you're the type of person to not capitalize Pokemon names, moves, or the word Pokemon. Doesn't bug much and it's not a mistake either. Some would argue it, but I don't see the big deal. Moose is only capitalized at the beginning of a sentence.


Or a blur as ran behind me because he was... fast, so very fast.

I'm sure you forgot he in between as and ran.


he stopped pinning me down and he stepped over me, turned to face me.

I'm not sure if you meant this, but the word me is there three times. I don't like using the same word twice in one sentence and you used it three times. Also the last four words seemed kinda awkward.

The rest was fine as I saw it, but that may be due to it being nearly four in the morning here. I'll come back and give it a proper grammar look over soon. As for general thoughts right now, I like it. It's very well written and you've put a lot of thought into this. One thing I noticed though is the word and appeared a lot in the first chapter. More than necessary it seemed. Also, there was no real description. You never described Sentret or Totodile. So how did Sai know which Totodile he wanted? Was there something different about him? A marking perhaps? On another note, Elm seemed somewhat out of character to me. When I think of Elm I picture a scientist that spends his time cooped up and on his computer compiling his research. That's the type of professor I picture Elm as. I can't see him going out a lot, training the starter Pokemon, and etc. Also, why was Elm favoring that one Totodile? It didn't seem like something a professor would do. I'm going to end this thing because I am going to start making a lot less sense soon. I hope that all got through all right. Keep it up! Keep writing! Don't give up! Shadow Lucario signing off.

diamondpearl876
14th March 2012, 10:43 PM
Like I said, I would get to it and I did. This is a very interesting fic you have here. I haven't seen one done like this before. I usually don't read this type of fic. It's very interesting to get into the mind of a Pokemon and see what they're thinking. I see you're the type of person to not capitalize Pokemon names, moves, or the word Pokemon. Doesn't bug much and it's not a mistake either. Some would argue it, but I don't see the big deal. Moose is only capitalized at the beginning of a sentence.

I'm glad you liked it even though it isn't what you usually read. And also thanks for replying so fast!



I'm sure you forgot he in between as and ran.

I did, oh dear. Thanks for pointing that out.


I'm not sure if you meant this, but the word me is there three times. I don't like using the same word twice in one sentence and you used it three times. Also the last four words seemed kinda awkward.

It does sound awkward now that I read it again. I'll be sure to watch out for problems like that in the future.


One thing I noticed though is the word and appeared a lot in the first chapter. More than necessary it seemed.

I tend to use that word a lot, yeah... I'll try to cut down on it in future chapters.


Also, there was no real description. You never described Sentret or Totodile.

When writing first person, it seems odd to have the character describe itself physically.

I could try to add in more description in general, but I don't think that many people would notice AND remember a lot of things regarding their surroundings unless they are particularly observant. I try to portray this in first person. I feel that emotions, certain instances, and peculiar/small details stand out in a person's mind when recalling an event rather than the physical surroundings. An exception is a place like a home, which can usually be remembered pretty easily.


So how did Sai know which Totodile he wanted?Was there something different about him? A marking perhaps?

It was said in the first chapter that he was looking for the smartest/strongest.


When I think of Elm I picture a scientist that spends his time cooped up and on his computer compiling his research. That's the type of professor I picture Elm as. I can't see him going out a lot, training the starter Pokemon, and etc. Also, why was Elm favoring that one Totodile? It didn't seem like something a professor would do.

To me, if professor Elm wasn't going to train the pokemon or take care of them when he himself is giving him away, then he should be a normal professor/researcher, rather than the person that trainers go to when starting their journey. Also, again, with the first person perspective, it can be assumed that the Totodile didn't know anything regarding Elm besides what happened when they were together/what he was told by Elm. So he could be cooped up and compiling research at other times, but there was no place for it at this point in the fic.

I also stated that Professor Elm was giving more attention to the Totodile because he felt that it was necessary to help the Totodile grow. The others were content with training; the Totodile narrator was not, and Professor Elm tended to that.

I hope I cleared some points up. You showed me that I should try to be more clear in what I'm trying to say. Thanks again for reviewing.

Sidewinder
19th March 2012, 2:45 PM
Wow this was a fun read.

First thing I usually start with is grammar, but I found no mistakes. It does so much more for your rhythm if you don't have to trip over mispelled words.

The concept you've come up with is really neat. I like that you're going to rotate between the Pokemon. I've always liked different views on the same story. And from the chapters you've posted, I see that both narrators have distinct personas. Which is extremely important when attempting to get readers to latch on to your characters. I'm at a stalemate as to which narrator that I like the most.

Senori is extremely well developed. I loved the general shock that was felt when Sai stumbled into his home. His thoughts and feelings were perfectly described. And I only say 'his' because I'm not sure if the Sentret is Male or Female. I looked back over the passage and couldn't find a single thing that told me one way or the other. So if you did and I'm mistaken, I'm sorry. All the talk about his mistakes, the clan, the banishment; really turned him into a flawed character that I could really relate to. The one thing that bothered me was how quickly he decided to go with Sai...I know that he had just beat the hell out of him, and at first he did try and talk his way out of going, but it just felt a tad bit rushed. Maybe a deeper part of Senori told him that he was being called, or maybe he was too frightened to argue further. Either way, the last bit of Chapter 1 happened a little fast for me. I still really enjoyed the Chapter though, and look forward to seeing more from Senori.

Kuiora is also very well written. For the same reasons as Senori, and for completely different one's. Also not sure about Kuiora's gender, but from the name and from my own thoughts, I'm going to assume Female. Kuiora doesn't seem afraid at all. Not of Sai or Senori, or even really anything for that matter. Elm commented that she had grown more mature much faster than other members of its species so I suppose that has a little something to do with it. She seems to have this inate sense of pupose that I really enjoyed. All my favorite characters in my favorite books have that same quality.

I don't say this very often, but I could really only find one thing didn't sit very well with me. Sai. I'm not sure if its his stony demeanor, the sudden and unpredictable violence, the Javier Bardem style dice rolling, or just his cryptic speech. He seems like he could be good, or bad, or both. Maybe its becasue I don't know that much about him. He just seemed a bit lazily written, like all the work went solely into the Narrators (Which I know is part of the point). Sai just rubbed me wrong and seemed a bit underdeveloped. I want my opnion to change because I'm really connecting with the other characters, so I look forward to seeing more from him.

All in all, I really enjoyed what you've posted so far! Add me to any VM or PM list you have because I'll be following with great interest from now on. Great job!

diamondpearl876
19th March 2012, 8:50 PM
The concept you've come up with is really neat. I like that you're going to rotate between the Pokemon. I've always liked different views on the same story. And from the chapters you've posted, I see that both narrators have distinct personas. Which is extremely important when attempting to get readers to latch on to your characters. I'm at a stalemate as to which narrator that I like the most.

:O I'm glad that each character seemed distinct. Hopefully all the characters will just be just as good. :P


Senori is extremely well developed. I loved the general shock that was felt when Sai stumbled into his home. His thoughts and feelings were perfectly described. And I only say 'his' because I'm not sure if the Sentret is Male or Female. I looked back over the passage and couldn't find a single thing that told me one way or the other. So if you did and I'm mistaken, I'm sorry. All the talk about his mistakes, the clan, the banishment; really turned him into a flawed character that I could really relate to. The one thing that bothered me was how quickly he decided to go with Sai...I know that he had just beat the hell out of him, and at first he did try and talk his way out of going, but it just felt a tad bit rushed. Maybe a deeper part of Senori told him that he was being called, or maybe he was too frightened to argue further. Either way, the last bit of Chapter 1 happened a little fast for me. I still really enjoyed the Chapter though, and look forward to seeing more from Senori.

Description seems to be my weak point in writing, so I'm glad you thought the description was good. Also, Senori is a male, since you were curious. I believe that Senori mentioned just helping Sai get his first real starter and then leaving, though perhaps I forgot to include that, or perhaps it still makes the ending feel rushed. Either way, the next chapter is from Senori's point of view, so that this part will be elaborated on further.


Kuiora is also very well written. For the same reasons as Senori, and for completely different one's. Also not sure about Kuiora's gender, but from the name and from my own thoughts, I'm going to assume Female. Kuiora doesn't seem afraid at all. Not of Sai or Senori, or even really anything for that matter. Elm commented that she had grown more mature much faster than other members of its species so I suppose that has a little something to do with it. She seems to have this inate sense of pupose that I really enjoyed. All my favorite characters in my favorite books have that same quality.

Kuiora is a female, yep yep. And you really seem to have the characters down really well. I kind of felt like I was reading my character notes when reading your review, lol.


I don't say this very often, but I could really only find one thing didn't sit very well with me. Sai. I'm not sure if its his stony demeanor, the sudden and unpredictable violence, the Javier Bardem style dice rolling, or just his cryptic speech. He seems like he could be good, or bad, or both. Maybe its becasue I don't know that much about him. He just seemed a bit lazily written, like all the work went solely into the Narrators (Which I know is part of the point). Sai just rubbed me wrong and seemed a bit underdeveloped. I want my opnion to change because I'm really connecting with the other characters, so I look forward to seeing more from him.

I completely understand this. :P He's actually the character I've developed the most when thinking of this fic, but it's really hard to portray in first person, when the fic is at a point where it's mostly describing parts where Sai isn't even present/an important part of the characters' lives yet. So as each character gets more and more chapters, it should be easier to see how he really is. So I hope you stick around to see it!


All in all, I really enjoyed what you've posted so far! Add me to any VM or PM list you have because I'll be following with great interest from now on. Great job!

Will do. Thanks for taking the time to review!

Dragonfree
20th March 2012, 9:59 PM
Oh, wow. This is really intriguing.

Unlike Sidewinder, I think Sai is the standout thing here so far - everything about him is so profoundly bizarre (in an obviously deliberate way, as opposed to a poor-writer-failing-to-write-believable-characters way) that I want to read more just to be able to figure him out. The choice of telling the story through his Pokémon's eyes was a smart one; the fact we can only observe his actions from the outside and out of context creates a driving mystery out of what could possibly be going on in his head, while the fleshing out of the Pokémon allows us to observe directly how fairly ordinary characters react to him.

You're doing a pretty good job with the first person, too, and I'm with you on that excessive description would be out of place in it. Senori and Kuiora have nicely distinct voices and you convey their different goals and ideas and outlooks through their narration of what's going on. I did think some parts were a little strangely done, though; the "fight" between Sai and Senori seemed confusing, in particular:


Eventually, I lifted my head up slowly, carefully. The view before me was skewed since mud clung to my face. All I saw were bits and pieces of branches swaying with the wind, bits and pieces of trees just sitting. And watching. Just as they always do. It was all so peaceful and life was so easy for them and they didn't even know it and that would never know and I would always, always know and—

And maybe, just maybe, there were bits and pieces of a stream in my view. Water moving gently in the only direction it knows, going nowhere at full speed. I might have been imagining it, and I sure hope that I was, because if that were true, that would mean the attacker was very close to my clan and I didn't want that. I didn't want that at all.

There were no signs of the human's presence. Fate had sent danger my way and didn't want me to see it, apparently.

I thought that my attacker was still behind me, because it didn't make sense for him to send me sprawling toward the mud only to leave. Finally, I stood up, clenching my tiny hands. I turned around quickly and pulled my fist back, intending to use my sucker punch attack, but no one was there. Briefly, I thought that I had fallen over on my own, and that I was torturing myself by creating visions of a human, believing that it would waste its time on me before realizing its mistake, since no pokémon in the forest would make that mistake ever again.
His view was "skewed" because mud clung to his face? That doesn't make sense on at least two different levels. Mud that's clinging to his face shouldn't affect his vision - if it was actually in his eyes, it wouldn't be clinging to his face, and then I'd expect him to be trying to blink rapidly to get it out, since that's pretty much the automatic reaction to having something in one's eyes. And even then, if there were mud in his eyes, I could see his vision being blurry, but skewed?

Moreover, then he goes on to the trees seeming to be in pieces and sitting and watching and how easy their life is, and that combined with the skewing sounds like he's on drugs or being affected by some kind of mind-control (more wild speculation regarding that in a bit). At the very least it sounds nothing whatsoever like what happens when you've got something in your eyes. The whole bit about him not being sure whether the stream is there or not and how if it is then the attacker is closer to the clan than he thought also sounds suspiciously like his brain is going bonkers, since he should still in more or less the same place as he was before Sai attacked him.

Then after that there's the thing with how he says there's no sign of the human, and even stands up and turns around and still thinks the human isn't there anymore, before suddenly he's attacked from the side again. If he stands up and turns around and is specifically looking for the human, it shouldn't just happen to escape him that the human is still standing there at the side - you'd need to be pretty much purposefully not looking in that direction to miss that. And if the idea here really is that he looked everywhere and still didn't see anything, one would expect him to be more surprised when the human does suddenly reappear.

This is all stuff that could be intentional or could not, but I can't quite tell, and that fact makes it difficult to parse correctly.

Also, sometimes I feel you get overly flowery with your language, in a way that's especially jarring because this is first person. Right in that bit I quoted, there's "Water moving gently in the only direction it knows, going nowhere at full speed." It's moving "gently" but also "at full speed"? What does it even mean to say the water is going nowhere? Why would Senori think in metaphorical terms personifying the stream if this is just the stream near where he lives, as a wild Pokémon?

Other examples from the first chapter include "sharp pains flowed through my body so effortlessly, yet in deformed rhythms", "My cry echoed and echoed and time passed and it was still just the two of us at the end of it all", and "His movements: silent, yet loud enough to shake the earth and throw it off balance. His words: non-existent, yet sharp enough to break the skin." None of them sound like something a person would actually think in internal monologue; they sound like something a writer thinks of when trying to be dramatic. First person should try to stick to believable train-of-thought language and do away with the fancy metaphorical stuff.


I'm assuming Senori's disturbing thing of being convinced everything is his own fault and not Sai's is intentional, what with the utterly strange way that he even thought it was his fault Sai was squeezing his own wrist too hard, and the fact you draw subtle attention to how nonsensical it is with the "Somehow it was [my fault]"). And that's very intriguing - something about Sai appears to be exerting an influence on his mind, which is also presumably the reason he agreed to go with him and trusted him and thought going with him would be a way to be loved. This is what made me think the trippy bit of the fight might be intentional and a part of the mind-control thing - I'm still not sure if it is, but. Currently my best bet is that he is actually a Pokémon-turned-human in some way or another - the fact it even occurred to him to fight a Pokémon in hand-to-hand combat could suggest this, plus that you mentioned he was barefoot, and that while he knows about Pokémon he has only a very vague idea of how trainers work, and that when he was talking about where he was from it sounded suspiciously like he was making it up. So some kind of Psychic Pokémon in human form, possibly legendary, is my best bet at the moment. Of course, I could be really stupidly wrong on this.

Aaaanyway, basically, this is very interesting and I'll be reading it. Just try to watch that metaphorical language and err on the side of clarity when describing weird things that could be confusing.

diamondpearl876
21st March 2012, 4:28 AM
Unlike Sidewinder, I think Sai is the standout thing here so far - everything about him is so profoundly bizarre (in an obviously deliberate way, as opposed to a poor-writer-failing-to-write-believable-characters way) that I want to read more just to be able to figure him out. The choice of telling the story through his Pokémon's eyes was a smart one; the fact we can only observe his actions from the outside and out of context creates a driving mystery out of what could possibly be going on in his head, while the fleshing out of the Pokémon allows us to observe directly how fairly ordinary characters react to him.

My main concern about writing Sai from this angle was making him look unbelievably odd and naive, so I was glad to hear this. :p He is definitely supposed to be a mystery, but I thought it could be fairly easy to take the mystery to an unwanted level on the readers' part.


His view was "skewed" because mud clung to his face? That doesn't make sense on at least two different levels. Mud that's clinging to his face shouldn't affect his vision - if it was actually in his eyes, it wouldn't be clinging to his face, and then I'd expect him to be trying to blink rapidly to get it out, since that's pretty much the automatic reaction to having something in one's eyes. And even then, if there were mud in his eyes, I could see his vision being blurry, but skewed?

Moreover, then he goes on to the trees seeming to be in pieces and sitting and watching and how easy their life is, and that combined with the skewing sounds like he's on drugs or being affected by some kind of mind-control (more wild speculation regarding that in a bit). At the very least it sounds nothing whatsoever like what happens when you've got something in your eyes. The whole bit about him not being sure whether the stream is there or not and how if it is then the attacker is closer to the clan than he thought also sounds suspiciously like his brain is going bonkers, since he should still in more or less the same place as he was before Sai attacked him.

"Skewed" was poor word choice on my part. I did want to say that mud was in his eyes but somehow failed to convey that simple point.

With Senori thinking of the forest and his home and the river instead of focusing on the mud in his eyes or his attacker, I wanted to show that Senori's home is his top priority in life. He puts himself below all others. The mentions of the "imaginary" stream and the trees was supposed to be odd since everything was happening so fast that Senori probably didn't have the time to make sense of his thoughts or properly observe his surroundings.

Also, it was vaguely mentioned at the beginning that he may not have been getting a lot of sleep, though he wouldn't want to admit to it. I thought that a lack of sleep could have contributed to his odd reactions and thoughts, though now that I think about it, Senori would rather dwell on the idea that it was his fault for not getting enough sleep, so that was also poor character portrayal on my part.


Then after that there's the thing with how he says there's no sign of the human, and even stands up and turns around and still thinks the human isn't there anymore, before suddenly he's attacked from the side again. If he stands up and turns around and is specifically looking for the human, it shouldn't just happen to escape him that the human is still standing there at the side - you'd need to be pretty much purposefully not looking in that direction to miss that. And if the idea here really is that he looked everywhere and still didn't see anything, one would expect him to be more surprised when the human does suddenly reappear.

This is all stuff that could be intentional or could not, but I can't quite tell, and that fact makes it difficult to parse correctly.

I thought it could be assumed here that Sai was moving out of Senori's sight intentionally to prevent Senori from attacking, and that it would be odd to portray this in first person.


Also, sometimes I feel you get overly flowery with your language, in a way that's especially jarring because this is first person. Right in that bit I quoted, there's "Water moving gently in the only direction it knows, going nowhere at full speed." It's moving "gently" but also "at full speed"? What does it even mean to say the water is going nowhere? Why would Senori think in metaphorical terms personifying the stream if this is just the stream near where he lives, as a wild Pokémon?

Other examples from the first chapter include "sharp pains flowed through my body so effortlessly, yet in deformed rhythms", "My cry echoed and echoed and time passed and it was still just the two of us at the end of it all", and "His movements: silent, yet loud enough to shake the earth and throw it off balance. His words: non-existent, yet sharp enough to break the skin." None of them sound like something a person would actually think in internal monologue; they sound like something a writer thinks of when trying to be dramatic. First person should try to stick to believable train-of-thought language and do away with the fancy metaphorical stuff.

Lol, I'd been writing almost nothing but poetry before this, so the switch to poetry back to prose still has me still writing like this sometimes. :p I'll watch out for it in the future, thanks for pointing it out.


I'm assuming Senori's disturbing thing of being convinced everything is his own fault and not Sai's is intentional, what with the utterly strange way that he even thought it was his fault Sai was squeezing his own wrist too hard, and the fact you draw subtle attention to how nonsensical it is with the "Somehow it was [my fault]"). And that's very intriguing - something about Sai appears to be exerting an influence on his mind, which is also presumably the reason he agreed to go with him and trusted him and thought going with him would be a way to be loved. This is what made me think the trippy bit of the fight might be intentional and a part of the mind-control thing - I'm still not sure if it is, but. Currently my best bet is that he is actually a Pokémon-turned-human in some way or another - the fact it even occurred to him to fight a Pokémon in hand-to-hand combat could suggest this, plus that you mentioned he was barefoot, and that while he knows about Pokémon he has only a very vague idea of how trainers work, and that when he was talking about where he was from it sounded suspiciously like he was making it up. So some kind of Psychic Pokémon in human form, possibly legendary, is my best bet at the moment. Of course, I could be really stupidly wrong on this.

I of course don't really want to spoil anything, but will just say that it was suggested that Senori thinks things are his fault due to what he did to his clan to get banished. He thought that fate brought Sai to him to punish him and then give him a second chance. What he did wasn't really revealed, but that should be taken into consideration, too.

Thanks for taking the time to read and review. I appreciate long, in-depth comments like this~

diamondpearl876
22nd March 2012, 3:31 AM
SURVIVAL PROJECT

chapter 3 ; [SENORI]
anxiolytic

*

I would be lying if I said I wasn't grateful for the time away from home. It was a welcome distraction for an unknowing, faithful sentret like me who had been kicked to the curb. My obsessive thoughts gave way to make room for Sai and his individual needs.

I led him to New Bark Town. Along the way we talked in circles. I learned very little about him; my curiosity flared. It was strange, too, because he never let his eyes leave me, yet he seemed carefree as his arms dangled loosely at his sides. When his expression remained blank throughout the entire trip, my paranoia became pointless.

We reached the town at nightfall. No one was roaming the town in the dark. I shivered, but I was also disappointed. I wanted to see how someone else interacted with Sai. We would both have to wait to get what we wanted.

“Everyone's sleeping, I guess,” I said softly, as if I would wake the whole town if I spoke any louder.

“Where are the pokémon?” he asked. His blue eyes looked brighter, but I might have been imagining things.

“They're with a human. He raises the pokémon so he can give them to new trainers.” I pointed to a nearby building with an enclosed fence in the back. Beyond the fence was charred grass and some large, old trees, none as tall as the ones in my forest. “He trains them in there. I've seen them when I've come close to the town, but that's always been during the day. We'll have to wait.”

Sai stared at me. Had I done too much by pointing out the obvios? There was a fine line between treating him as if he were stupid and trying to help him with new concepts.

“Time to sleep, then. You won't run off, right?”

“Right...” I replied. No threats, no anger. It was all I could think about, as if I wanted him to punish me. My chance at redemption seemed too unreal.

Sai sat by a field-like opening near the entrance to New Bark Town. He laid down his head and back on the grass and folded his arms across his chest. He closed his eyes, and after a few moments his breathing was relaxed and even. I went to him, though I kept some distance between us.

I thought he had fallen asleep already, but he then said, “In the morning, we'll get a pokémon. We'll go through the forest again, and we'll keep going from there.”

“That's the simplified version of things, yes,” I said under my breath, unsure if he could hear me.

“What do you mean?”

“Picking out your first pokémon is a big deal. There's lots of places to explore, too. There's not just one straight path to follow. And when we pass through the forest, I'd like to say goodbye, if possible.” I curled up, wrapping my tail around my body for warmth. I had forgotten what it felt like to be in this position, and to sleep near someone else.

“Who do you have to say goodbye to?” Sai asked. He didn't appear exhausted, even after our fight.

“My clan. Anyone in the clan will do. I just think they should know I'm gone.” I felt bitter, but I tried not to let it show.

“You don't seem too happy about it.” So much for that.

“I'm not really happy, no. They don't like me anymore.”

“Then it should be easier to say goodbye.”

“I'd rather have no one to say goodbye to. It'd be easier.”

He didn't reply. After a while he stirred, trying various positions to get comfortable. Nothing seemed to work. He groaned, then said, “I always thought it'd be better to have someone. Maybe I was wrong.”

“And why do you say that?”

“It means that, at some point, you had someone and cared about them.”

“You didn't have anyone too say goodbye to?”

“They were hardly worth it.”

We stayed silent. Though I wanted more information, I didn't want to press him in case he was purposely avoiding my questions. I would also be betraying my clan if I tried to get closer to him before I officially secluded myself from them. Tomorrow, I would get permission to leave, and I would give Sai someone to care about.

*

As it turned out, we didn’t spend just one day in New Bark Town. Sai couldn't decide in a mere few hours what pokémon he wanted. I explained to him that there was a grass-type, a fire-type, and a water-type to choose from. He frowned when I told him I didn't know their strengths and weaknesses, but he brightened after he realized there was a whole batch to look at. I thought it would be a simple task, finding the strongest among then, but it wasn't.

“There's so many of them,” he said at the end of the day, when the pokémon had gone to rest. “I only got a close look at the grass-types. We'll have to come back tomorrow.”

He used similar excuses for the next few days. We slept in the same area every night, and after we awoke, we stood by the fence to watch the pokémon as they trained. Sai tried to climb over the fence at first, and I had to yell at him about how it was meant to keep others out for a reason. Then he tried to look inside the backyard through the rails. I told him he was creepy and to get away from the fence entirely. He watched from afar. I shrugged.

When I was hungry, I searched for berries. I picked them off of bushes, ate them, and brought some to Sai, too, since I hadn't seen him eat anything yet. He scared them down, but never asked for more. Only then did I notice how thin he was. Under his ragged shirt I was sure I could see his bones sticking out.

I didn't question his behavior. Instead I thought about going into the forest and saying my goodbyes early to save time. I decided against this, however, when I knew I'd get the urge to do it all over again later. I tried to be patient, but it was hard when I had to move on. It was better than wandering the forest by myself, tortured and confused.

On the third day, I asked, “Have you picked out a pokémon yet?”

“No. None of them stand out,” he replied. “A fire pokémon would be nice, but I don't need more chaos. The green ones don't seem like fights. I'm almost done with the water-types.”

“Okay. Well, I'm going to get more food.”

When I came back, Sai was gone. I assumed he was inside the building, or at least I was hoping he hadn't jumped the fence. I paced back and forth. It seemed like we had been here forever, yet we had accomplished very little. My loyalty kept me from complaining. I wanted to know whose instructions he was trying to properly listening to, but as long as he seemed content, that was enough for me.

A door creaked open and I looked to see Sai standing outside, holding it open for someone. An aqua-colored creature with red spikes protruding from its back and tail stepped out and ambled away. It was the water-type starter known as totodile.

The totodile went around aimlessly, entranced by the view. I saw it coming my way. I stood there, amused, until its snout bumped into me. And this sparked an awkward conversation where I had to tell the totodile I was Sai's first pokémon, and that I had no idea why he deemed New Bark Town a necessary part of the journey. It rolled the dice, just as I had, and it—she—was named Kuiora. Her eyes shined and she sighed in relief. I wondered if she understood him any better than I did in that moment.

We moved on. Memories came flooding back to me as the tree canopies enveloped us once more.

*

Sai was, initially, an unwelcome reminder. He made me think of them.

They blended in with the dark. They were fast. And they were here, intending to make the best of their trip. When they disappeared, they screamed evilly, announcing their success.

I was the sentry that night. One of them came up to me, crawling and desperate. I couldn't see if there was any blood, but the pokémon was clearly injured. Sympathetic, I let my guard down. As I scrambled over to the pokémon, I saw its torn, navy blue skin. The red feathers jutting out of its back and ears were ripped. Its eyes looked dull, as did the golden jewels on its forehead and chest. It used its white, sharp claws to dig and propel itself forward.

“Are you okay?” I said. “What happened?”

“I was in a battle and got separated from my trainer,” the sneasel explained, taking a deep breath in between words. Its voice was high pitched. “Please help me find him. He couldn't have gone far... He must be looking for me, but...”

I could have gotten the berries needed to heal her, but I didn't want to leave her by herself. I didn't know how deep the wounds were, either. I would have to abandon my post to find her trainer, but I had never left my post before.

“Why don't you stay with me? I'll keep you safe. If your trainer comes through here, I'll make sure you get back to him. It's not safe to travel at night.”

The sneasel's reply was pathetic. “My trainer prefers to travel at night. He could be out by sunrise. He could forget about me.”

I had no reason not to believe her. I couldn't risk letting her get hurt further, and so I went with her, watching for danger as we moved along. I should have woken up another clan member, should have asked them to take over the post. But my stubbornness told me I could do two jobs at once. This shift would just be a bit different from the others. I thought I could overcome the challenge.

She used me as a crutch. Her wet fur rubbed against mine, but I didn't mind. I could wash the blood off later and show off to the others, telling them I was a hero rather than an idle shift leader. The battle took place near the forest's edge, and so we went there. We traveled in silence, and when we arrived, the sun was rising.

I set the sneasel down. “Do you see your trainer anywhere?” I asked.

“No...” Her voice was barely above a whisper.

I nodded sadly. I surveyed the scene, too, but I knew I wouldn't find anyone. As I looked I told her we could look when daylight came, but no one answered me.

The sneasel was missing.

There was no blood.

*

You would think that I'd avoid caring for someone else from then on, but I couldn't give it up. The trait is ingrained in me; it is part of my personality. Besides, not everyone is fake. Not everyone wants to cause suffering. In my mind, Sai couldn't act naive (and, as I learned about Kuiora, I didn't believe she could be explosive).

I was preoccupied by these thoughts as Kuiora mumbled about the forest's vastness. Sai agreed with her and said he'd never seen pokémon be this calm and quiet. Kuiora frowned, downtrodden about the overall tranquility. The pokémon left trainers alone unless provoked, which brought me back to that night. We were nearing the river. I stopped. My voice cracked as I told them to stop, too.

“What's wrong?” Kuiora said, her paws on her hips.

“My... clan is near here. I want to say goodbye. Do you remember, Sai?” The boy averted eye contact with me. “I'll be right back. I'll bring some berries for you guys to eat while you wait.”

They nodded, but didn't understand. Sai had no friends, and what about Kuiora? She didn't find Sai odd; everything was fascinating to her childish self. I would have to change both of them, as soon this lovely yet degrading place was out of my head.

I brought them all the berries I could find without crossing the river. They would have to pick at the berries and see what kinds they liked. I couldn't remember what kinds I had given Sai yesterday, but I could fix this soon, too.

I went to the river's shore without telling Sai and Kuiora why I had to go at all. I went across the branches that extended to the other side, smiling as the bark felt unnatural against my feet. As I came to a clearing, I saw baby sentret playing with fallen leaves while the adults went about their daily chores. The latter froze when they saw me, then made an effort to hide their children. They scowled at me and disappeared, masking themselves with foliage.

I kept my head lifted, refusing to give in to shame. I asked to see Ari, the leader, in the most confident voice I could manage.

No one acknowledged my request. I heard a squeal from a little sentret asking why I couldn't be a friend. My actions would be retold. Perhaps the story would be exaggerated, but in the end, their innocence would be taken.

Minutes passed. Luckily, Ari showed himself without me having to do anything else. The river's current was loud, but it was Ari's footsteps that rang in my ears.

Ari didn't bother to articulate his words nicely. “Why are you here?” he said without emotion, though his furrowed expression told me he thought I was worthless.

“I'm leaving,” I stated, trying to mimic his lack of passion. He didn't respond. “It was my fault. I know. I'm sorry. I would take it back if I could, and if I show my face again, I ask that you make me regret it.”

“What you say doesn't matter. And if you don't regret it already, there is no helping you.”

Suddenly I struggled to breathe. “I am invisible to you and the others. Words are all I have.”

“Then you have nothing.”

“...It was my fault.”

*

There was only a liar and a sentret foolish enough to trust the liar.

The sneasel lured me away so that her friends and family could invade my home. Attacking me wouldn't have been satisfactory; battle cries would have alerted my clan and allowed them to prepare.

I fell into their trap so easily.

I rushed back to my clan as fast as I could when I lost sight of the insincere sneasel. In my haste I nearly plummeted into the river. I did notice, however, a mix of red and brown swirling in the water.

I ran and ran, but the danger was already gone. The damage had been done.

What I had thought was part of my imagination was, in reality, torn bits of sentret fur and blood. Broken, ripped limbs were splattered on the grass; whole bodies were smashed underneath hefty tree branches. From the small amount of sentret left, I could tell some had been taken. I didn't dare think about why. Those wounded or unharmed wept over their loved ones, braving the sights despite their sorrow.

This was my family. Things were peaceful—

The babies, they were just learning to walk—

I should have heard—

I murmured to myself, as if explaining what happened could reverse the events that had taken place. The sneasel seemed genuinely hurt, but she was playing a game all along, and she played it well. There was a list of steps I could have taken to dissect the situation, but I was consumed by pride. Would someone else have done the same? Had it been me, would I have put a pokémon's clan at stake?

I was trying to do a good deed—

Ari crashed into me. I found some solace, seeing him alive, though he was breaking inside and out. He must have been scared; his stony demeanor couldn't have held up in the midst of mass chaos.

“You didn't warn us about this! You could have said something! Anything! You left with the enemy...” he added, putting emphasis on each syllable. He pounded into me, but I was numb. “They told us you were on their side. Because of you, my love is hurt, the kids were eaten right here—”

He could have killed me, but his punches weakened as the world spun around us. He left me with pained and strained bones and a body covered in blood that didn't belong to me.

He snarled, “Get out of here. Just go.”

I tortured myself by glancing at the gory scene again. I left and didn't try to come back, though I dreamed of them when I slept and pictured them next to me as I ate. I grieved in my own way, though I didn't know who to mourn for. I yearned for the chance to redeem myself, or for a long winded speech to come to me, one that would revive the dead and apologize to them.

“It should have been me,” I'd say. I'd say I was so, so very sorry. So, so sorry. So sorry. “I can win against many pokémon in a fight. I can overcome most obstacles thrown at me. Over the years, I've learned that I can beat many things, but... life is not one of them.”

*

Instead I said, “They were trying to avoid commotion and resistance. If I had heard any of them approaching, you know I would have called out.” It was a feeble attempt, but an attempt nonetheless. If I was going to get kicked out, then it was only after the facts had been revealed and Ari had made a calm, rational decision.

“Those monsters were not from around here. It shouldn't happen again, not because of that, but because we will have more reliable sentret on duty from now on,” Ari replied, ignoring me completely.

“Perhaps you should consider relocating—”

“Don't tell me what I should do! You are not our leader anymore.” He rushed at me, but halted halfway through. He didn't want to relive the only redeeming part of that night, the part where he got to punish the perpetrator.

There was a pause. “A trainer came by here and attacked me,” I said. I could feel his glare. “I know that you think he is a threat,” I went on. “He is. But he also wants me to be his pokémon. He wants me to… help him.” The affirmation felt right and wrong at the same time. “With your permission, I would like to take him away from the forest and be his pokémon so that he is no longer a threat.”

“As I said, you are not our leader. You may do what you wish, as long as it doesn’t involve us.” Ari looked around, presumably watching for a human. I couldn't keep mysterious pokémon from raving my friends and family, but I had control over Sai. I would get him out of there.

“So I can leave.”

“Leave.”

“...You don't want me.”

His temper was rising. “We don’t want you. Take the trainer away from here, and don't come back.”

That was what I needed to hear; a burden was lifted off of my shoulders. I would have done anything to be accepted as a clan member again, but I couldn't make amends. Time couldn't heal these scars. I gave Ari an apologetic stare, as I still carried regret and grief.

Ari broke my heart when he banished me. I, too, broke his heart, though indirectly. No one is ever safe. But I survived the attack for a reason. Now I could leave with Sai and start over as best I could.

I turned and ran.

*

I ran, but slowed to a stop as I neared New Bark Town. I observed my surroundings as I stood, knowing I wouldn't have privacy with Sai and Kuiora later on. The grass was fuzzy and made me feel warm, even with the breeze. The river was moving, and the water was so blue I could clean myself in it. I marveled at how many years the trees took to grow. Then I remembered I was betraying them, too. Well. Everything was peaceful, on the outside.

Did moving on mean reminiscing about the good and the bad?

I reached Sai and Kuiora as a string of questions found their way into my head. I told them I was ready to go. Speaking seemed easier, somehow. When I met them, I watched my tongue, afraid of bursting and uncovering my secrets. There was nothing to hide at this point. The worst was over.

“Where are we going?” Sai asked.

“Yeah, where are we going?” Kuiora chimed in.

Their looks bore into me. Laughing at the irony of it all, I said, “Cherrygrove City. I don't really know anything about the place except that new trainers don't like going there.”

“Why not?” He joined me and laughed, though I wasn't sure why.

“They always want these badges, and you can't get one in Cherrygrove.”

At this, Sai frowned. “I'm supposed to get those badges. I think we're talking about the same thing, anyway. I don't want to waste time there if that's the case. Not allowed.”

“Badges?” Kuiora said.

“We train, battle, and get badges. That's what I was told to do. So that's what we're going to do.” Who told him that?

“I was training at the lab, so let's get going!” Wasn't she going to ask why he could understand pokémon?

“Senori will lead the way,” Sai said, looking at me expectantly. And wasn't he wondering if we were going the wrong way?

They believed in me fully, it seemed.

“I've never been anywhere else, but I'm sure we can figure it out,” I said, trying to sound confident.

“Unfortunate, but it's all right. Thanks, Senori.”

As we always do, we went on. Sai didn't care for Cherrygrove City, as anticipated, but he sure did enjoy Violet City, a place new and refreshing for all of us.

Sidewinder
22nd March 2012, 7:01 AM
Well,

Sai is so infuriatingly cryptic! It's almost like he read what he was supposed to do with his life, but the book's ink was faded in some places.


Sai started walking slower and frown a bit. “I’m supposed to get the gym badges. I think that’s what you’re talking about. Well, I don’t want to waste time there, then. Not allowed.”

Like that part. His appeal has grown to me slightly since the last chapter. I'm not saying that he makes sense to me, but at the same time I feel like that is what makes me want to follow him. The fact that he is so elusive makes him so frustrating. I swear, thinking about him is like trying to catch smoke. I feel like maybe he's relaxing a bit around Senori, like letting him say goodbye to his clan and even going as far to say thanks. Maybe he didn't know how to act at first? Maybe for some reason he feels like he should be on guard? What I'm saying probably isn't making any sense at all, but it just goes to show how confusing this character is for me. Maybe I'm not wired correctly to understand him and see how developed he is. But that is also part of the reason why I want to keep reading about him. To find out, to just, know him. You've really done an excellent job creating this character. Very impressive.

Grammar and sentence structure were great. Although my eyes are not as trained as some of the veteran reviewers on this forum, I really couldn't find any mistakes. If you keep up the stellar job you've been doing, I may never find any at all.

Moving on, I thought you did an amazing job telling Senori's story. To me, he feels like someone who committed a somewhat major crime, but only got a major speeding ticket. The regret, sadness, and drama of what happened all felt very real. But at the same time, he lives with it everyday, and I feel like he's almost gotten sick of it. I mean, I know he's not heartless, because he obviously cares, but the way I see it there is only so much guilt and sadness you can deal with until you need to get away and fade yourself away, if that makes any sense. When that kind of emotional strain was put on him, I felt like he stopped himself at a red light, and is waiting for it to turn green. Like he is waiting for someone to tell him to move on and forgive him. Maybe that's why he resigned himself to travel with Sai to walk the inner turmoil off, or maybe that constant turmoil is starting to get the better of him. Those are just my thoughts anyway. I may be completely off base, and to everyone else I may be missing an obvious point, but that's what it said to me.

On a side note, the part with the baby's made me somewhat emotional, something that I haven't experienced so far when reading Pokemon Fanfiction.

I know my little review isnt up to the ones you usually give people, but I really couldn't find a single thing wrong with this chapter. It really was wonderfully described and obviously thought out. Great work again, and keep it up.

diamondpearl876
23rd March 2012, 10:45 PM
Well,

Sai is so infuriatingly cryptic! It's almost like he read what he was supposed to do with his life, but the book's ink was faded in some places.

I like that simile. *thumbs up*




I swear, thinking about him is like trying to catch smoke. I feel like maybe he's relaxing a bit around Senori, like letting him say goodbye to his clan and even going as far to say thanks. Maybe he didn't know how to act at first? Maybe for some reason he feels like he should be on guard? What I'm saying probably isn't making any sense at all, but it just goes to show how confusing this character is for me. Maybe I'm not wired correctly to understand him and see how developed he is. But that is also part of the reason why I want to keep reading about him. To find out, to just, know him. You've really done an excellent job creating this character. Very impressive.

Thanks for the compliments. He is pretty difficult, and what you're saying makes sense. The more I write him, the more of a mystery he becomes to me as well. Not sure if that's a good thing or not, but I look forward to fleshing him out more.


Moving on, I thought you did an amazing job telling Senori's story. To me, he feels like someone who committed a somewhat major crime, but only got a major speeding ticket. The regret, sadness, and drama of what happened all felt very real. But at the same time, he lives with it everyday, and I feel like he's almost gotten sick of it. I mean, I know he's not heartless, because he obviously cares, but the way I see it there is only so much guilt and sadness you can deal with until you need to get away and fade yourself away, if that makes any sense. When that kind of emotional strain was put on him, I felt like he stopped himself at a red light, and is waiting for it to turn green. Like he is waiting for someone to tell him to move on and forgive him. Maybe that's why he resigned himself to travel with Sai to walk the inner turmoil off, or maybe that constant turmoil is starting to get the better of him. Those are just my thoughts anyway. I may be completely off base, and to everyone else I may be missing an obvious point, but that's what it said to me.

You mentioned in your last review that you thought Senori deciding to leave with Sai was abnormally quick, so I hope you think the opposite now. You pretty much got the message, though the idea of Senori actually committing a crime is up in the air (at least, for me, it would be). Even though he agreed to go with Sai in the first chapter, he knew that he would have to come back to the forest. He still had something holding him back, and yes, he needed someone to tell him to move on, because he didn't want to deal with the emotion anymore, and he knows that there was nothing else that could be done but to move on.


On a side note, the part with the baby's made me somewhat emotional, something that I haven't experienced so far when reading Pokemon Fanfiction.

Not sure if this is a good thing or not for you, but yeah. Children seem to have that effect on people. :P

Thanks for reading and reviewing once again~

Sidewinder
25th March 2012, 7:24 AM
You mentioned in your last review that you thought Senori deciding to leave with Sai was abnormally quick, so I hope you think the opposite now. You pretty much got the message, though the idea of Senori actually committing a crime is up in the air (at least, for me, it would be).

I do think the opposite now lol...What I meant by crime was that for him it was a kind of moral, or emotional crime. Like a crime he committed against himself for letting that happen. If that makes sense.


Not sure if this is a good thing or not for you, but yeah. Children seem to have that effect on people. :P

It was a good thing for me. I was just really gripped by the story. Felt sad about what happened to the clan. What they lost, etc. Really nice touch.

diamondpearl876
27th March 2012, 1:11 AM
I do think the opposite now lol...What I meant by crime was that for him it was a kind of moral, or emotional crime. Like a crime he committed against himself for letting that happen. If that makes sense.

Makes sense to me. I kind of thought that you meant the clan should have punished him more or something. I've been a bit sleep deprived lately, so who knows.


It was a good thing for me. I was just really gripped by the story. Felt sad about what happened to the clan. What they lost, etc. Really nice touch.

Ah, all right. Well, that's what I was going for, so *thumbs up*. Thanks for commenting and reading as always~

diamondpearl876
2nd April 2012, 2:05 AM
SURVIVAL PROJECT

chapter 4 ; [ATIS]
frush

*

I saved Mondays and Thursdays for Shannon, the little girl who loved the idea of type differences and overcoming double weaknesses. Joey came to me on Tuesdays. Items fascinated him, man made or otherwise. Fridays—battle days—were for Jason, since he got so discouraged when he lost. Every Wednesday varied. I did chores and paperwork for Earl on the weekend, when he was thoroughly worn out. I took one day of the week for myself, and that was just to make sure I was breathing evenly.

I tried to be optimistic. I am a hitmontop... I didn't care for pokémon training (and, to some extent, I still don't)... yet I used to be a classroom pet for a pokémon training school. As a walking contradiction, I didn't feel the need to give myself more alone time. Indulging in information I would forget was a waste, and I didn't like attention, anyway. It made more sense to focus on a kid with potential, someone who enjoyed the subject and would make use of their learning in the future.

It wasn't that I hated pokémon. I hated peoples' obsession with pokémon. It's consuming, overwhelming and encouraged far too much. It seems to be the only reason to wake up in the morning, the only thing that makes life worth living. What about reading, writing, or helping the sick...? There were jobs out there that not enough people were seeing.

But I was helpless. The students couldn't understand my speech, Earl was a dedicated man, and I wouldn't have known what to do in the world upon leaving the school. Despite all my years spent in this place, I had learned next to nothing.

*

“Why don’t you teach them something... else?” I asked Earl one day.

It was a Friday. The kids had just gone home, and we were cleaning. I picked up the garbage on the ground while Earl sorted papers and straightened out the desks. I thought about how excited the kids were during the battles. The excitement was always present, but they got louder with every passing week as they tried to run out the door all at once. Now, it was quiet, and I wanted to take advantage of it.

“What you want me to teach them?” Earl asked. He twirled over to the side of the room to close the windows, as if no one could hear what I was about to say.

“I don’t know…” I said suddenly embarrassed for asking. I didn’t particularly like attention, and I had just asked for it when I could have stayed invisible. The children's fascination with pokémon automatically turned into a fascination of me, so I couldn't avoid their stares then. I only said what needed to be said, and I never left the corner in the back of the room unless I was ordered to. Time with Earl was like being given a kind of freedom. I was betraying this freedom by speaking my mind. “Maybe teach them how to light fires...” I continued, at least content that Earl wasn't looking at me. I distracted myself by fingering a pencil in my hand.

“Want to teach is a fire? Teach kids fire-types, yes,” Earl replied. I could practically hear him nodding his head eagerly. I would have been satisfied, had he understood my question's undertones.

“No... Fires for their journey. To keep warm.” I pondered for a moment, then added, “Teach them how to budget money. How to choose and save food.”

“No, no, no. Kids learn to do that on own time,” he said. His voice was earnest, and so I knew this was the end of the conversation.

What could I say to make him understand? Pokémon was his passion. Pokémon concepts were ingrained in his mind, probably permanently, considering he had told me many times, smiling from ear to her, that this had been his dream since he was a boy... He was so glad to be here... But if it were me I'd be bored eventually as I wondered what else holds the world together.

Another thing he told me was that he was glad to have me. I was his pokémon. He took care of me, kept me rested and fed, and best of all, he didn't make me battle. He even boasted about his oh-so-special hitmontop every chance he got, even if it was in fragmented English. I was his, no doubt. I just couldn't practice what he preached.

*

Monday was normal. Water beats fire, grass beats water, and fire beats grass. Electric beats flying, and flying beats grass. “Beats” would be a term used loosely, as factors such as experience and strategy had an effect on the outcome.

Shannon called me over. As usual, she made a statement that was related to what was taught. I nodded or shook my head depending on whether her answer was right or wrong.

“Ghost is better than psychic, right?” she said, fidgeting in her seat. “And psychic can defeat poison.”

I nodded.

“Psychic-types can't do anything to dark-types, though. I always forget...”

A grin.

“But—oh! Fighting-types can beat dark-types! You could beat a dark-type with no problem, right?” I would have nodded, albeit reluctantly, but she didn’t give me enough time as she added, “Dark-types seem evil. You could beat all the evil in the world, huh? So cool!”

“I wish,” I said quietly, but all she heard—if she heard me at all—was my name.

She was done after that. She jumped out of her seat and moved on to show off her new found knowledge to her friends, and I went back into my corner. I was already exhausted from the conversation and ready for the day to be over.

*

The class got a new student on Tuesday. He was taller, his face more mature. He was clearly older; he should have started his journey years ago. Earl welcome him with open arms anyway.

“This is Sai! Sai is new student,” Earl said, rushing the boy to the front of the classroom. The boy—Sai—looked down as someone else introduced him. I felt connected to him for a moment, my first impression being that he was an outcast, too. “He will learn lots, yes? Yes. Take a seat now.”

I didn't think having Sai around would change anything, but it was nice to be closer to one of the students. I started to wonder about my first impression, however, when he noticed me for the first time. He flinched, either from surprise or from seeing something repulsive. But he didn't look away... His expression was blank, focused on me. He seemed to struggle with paying attention to Earl's lesson when I was involved. I left the front of the room and walked between the desks a few times to get out of his sight, but his eyes followed me. I even stayed with Jason longer than normal to get Sai out of my mind, but I could feel him watching.

When you don't like attention, you know when someone's looking at you because someone is always looking at you, no matter how illogical the idea is. The idea consumes you and I had tried to ignore it until Sai came around. I wished he would look away. He was here to learn about pokémon, and I was here to pass the time until something... anything... happened.

*

On Wednesday, there was nothing to distract myself from Sai. No one needed my help, and my main tasks were done after the day was over. I considered leaving the school, hoping no one would never, but with Sai's stare, it seemed impossible.

When all the kids did an activity with one partner, Sai didn't have a partner. Kids were prone to choosing the same partner every time... and Sai hadn't bothered to talk to anyone else yet. Earl, with good intentions, told me to be Sai's partner. The new student spending time with a
pokémon in a pokémon school would be beneficial, after all. I didn't have the energy to protest, as I might have caused a scene. So I went over to Sai. Up close, his blue eyes seemed soft and intense at the same time. Still unnerved, I tried to smile my best smile.

It was awkward after that. I hadn't paid attention to the activity instructions. He might have known the assignment, but all he said was, “You made it possible for me to be here, so thanks.”

I did a little nervous dance with my feet, thinking about their spikes. I was just a classroom pet, nothing more. I almost wished he'd talk about pokémon, if only because it was a familiar, comfortable subject.

“I'm not supposed to take the time to be here,” Sai explained, as if that was any better. “But since you're here, it's okay now.”

“Well, you should start the assignment,” I said, hoping these were words that would make him stop talking. They weren't.

“I'm not interested in the assignment,” Sai said, now frowning. He looked down at the paper, then at me again. I was about to open my mouth again when I realized he had understood me. If I thought we connected on the wrong level before, then this was a whole other story. I hadn't pointed to the desk, picked up a pencil or made any sign regarding the assignment, right? I may have acted out of nervousness...

I couldn't look away from him, either, though I wasn't confident anymore. Maybe I never was. Despite Shannon's words, I couldn't beat the evil in the world, especially when I could barely walk down the path laid in front of me. I could think of material goods I wanted, people I want to meet, events I wanted to attend, but I never did anything to make things happen.

“You're so shy...” Sai observed. “You don't seem to like it here.”

It was an accurate statement. I nodded.

“Well, you don't have to worry anymore. I like it here, since I'm learning about pokémon and getting better like I'm supposed to. But I can't stay here forever. When I leave this place, I'm taking you with me.”

*

I didn't go to school on Thursday.

I told Earl I was sick. Did I need a pokémon center visit? No—it was just a simple cold. It would go away by tomorrow. I asked him to apologize to Shannon for not being there, but I wasn't really sorry. I needed a day for myself. All I did was sleep.

*

Friday was all about battles. I hadn't battled in such a long time, but thanks to Sai, this particular Friday was interesting, badly so. Earl made me battle a lot as a tyrogue, but once I evolved after battling the students' pokémon too much, I was too experienced. Earl may or may not have hinted at my dislike for confrontation as well.

Sai said he had no pokémon to battle with. I thought Earl was going to have me stand in temporarily, but he didn't. He didn't think I'd listen to a trainer as new as him. I was relieved—until Sai asked if he could borrow me for the weekend to help him catch his first pokémon.

“Hmm,” Earl started. No one had ever requested such a thing! How was he going to react? “Yes, of course! Hitmontop is strong pokémon. He will help catch for you. A good idea it is.”

I was scared of everything after that.

I didn't—couldn't—prepare myself. I spent the day watching other kids battle. They tried to ask me questions, but left me alone when they realized I wasn't going to answer without stammering. Hearing kids yell commands at the top of their lungs in that certain harsh tone made me even more anxious. Having others point out when a pokémon lost or won made me cringe. I didn't need this... but Sai needed me, for some reason... He was, at least, faring much better than I was. He was absorbing information, learning—about pokémon. He would spend his life going on a journey. Then, I was sure he was no better than the rest of them.

*

My fears were confirmed shortly. As Sai took me away from Earl, he revealed to me that, in truth, he already had two pokémon. He brought me to the edge of the city to meet up with his sentret and totodile, two popular choices among new trainers. They gazed at me interestedly; they had probably never seen a hitmontop before. It was another curse, being rare in the Johto region. If I were common, however, I would undoubtedly end up with a trainer other than Earl. I couldn't win.

Sai brought me out of my thoughts as he said, “We're going to the pokémon gym now. You didn't battle today, so you should be fine.”

I gulped. So I had been taken for a different reason... “I... I thought you needed me to help you catch a pokémon.”

“Lying gets you want you want. Earl wouldn't have let me take you if he knew I was going to fight a gym leader for my first battle.”

There were a lot of things wrong with that sentence, but Sai succeeded in keeping me quiet until we reached the gym's entrance. At that point, I couldn't stop talking: “I haven't battle in forever, a-as you said. You don't want to use me... What about these guys? I'm a fighting-type. This gym uses flying-types. E-Everyone knows that. Didn't you learn anything when you were in—” I stopped myself. To actually deem the topics used in class worthwhile was astonishing to me. This was nothing short of a punishment, since I could hardly support my true beliefs.

The sentret answered for Sai. “We were going to train, but he saw the school and decided to do that instead. We haven't battled once.”

“Why don't you train and come back when you're stronger?”

“Don't be difficult,” Sai said sternly. “I can't waste too much time here. We can train on the way to the next city.” The softness in his eyes was gone, or maybe it was the slight vertigo spinning in my head.

“I won't do well. I wasn't meant for this...”

“You'll be fine. Let's go,” Sai said. He probably meant to sound reassuring, but it didn't work. His voice was impatient, eager, harsh. Nevertheless, I stepped inside the gym with them.

The gym's vast size was definitely noteworthy. The walls extended much higher than the school's, presumably so that the bird pokémon could fly without restrictions. The rest of the place was bare for the same reason, save for the small line for those who wanted to battle Falkner, the renowned gym leader. We waited in line. Sai looked over peoples' shoulders, frowning, while the sentret and totodile introduced themselves to me. They seemed kind enough, but Sai was the same way. I was wary and didn't bother telling them my name.

An hour passed before it was our turn. Falkner approached Sai and shook his hand, patting him gently. Sai's face twisted oddly, as if he wasn't used to the greeting.

“Since I've had a lot of battles in a row, this will just be one-on-one,” Falkner said, turning to stand on his side of the arena.

“Right. Should I... make an appointment next time?” Sai asked, his hand still outstretched.

Falker waved his arm. “If you want. It's helpful, since it's hard to fight ten trainers with just a few pokémon.”

“Okay. I apologize.”

I was dumbfounded as Sai and I assumed our respective places. Just a moment ago, he was mad at me for trying to disobey him, and now he was acting like the friendliest person. I would have to watch his behavior further to come to some sort of conclusion, if there was one to be found.

Before he let me go too far, Sai bent down to see me face-to-face. “Look,” he said, “I'm not going to tell you what to do. You battle how you want to. I wouldn't know what to say, and you don't seem to like being told what to do...”

Now he was being kind to me? I couldn't deny appreciating his concern, though, so I nodded and offered a battle pose, sparing the boy from having to announce his choice of partner.

“A hitmontop, huh? This might not last long. I'll send out Pidgeotto,” Falkner said, grinning while throwing a red and white pokéball toward the arena. A bird whose body consisted of various shades of brown appeared. The feathers on its head were red, as were the ones on its tail. I saw some yellow feathers too, but they were mostly covered with dirt and dried blood. Its head drooped tiredly and I really did feel sorry for it.

“Challenger usually goes first,” Falkner stated, crossing his arms confusedly.

“He will be battling on his own. He doesn't wish for me to command him,” Sai said firmly.

“All right.” He brushed his hair out of his eyes and cried, “Pidgeotto, start off with a wing attack!”

The flying-type attack came as no surprise to me. The pidgeotto spread its wings and took off into the air, completely and easily annihilating all chances for me to attack. I was good for short range battles. This was why flying-types were weak to flying-types.

The pidgeotto flew high enough to sure its own safety, and then it swooped toward me. I stood there, waiting for Sai to say something. I wanted to act on my own, but I was used to being commanded. I recalled his assertion too late, as the pidgeotto's wing slammed into the side of my face. I collided with the concrete floor of the gym, near the wall. I was struck by how serious the bird was. I was here against my will and here this bird was trying its hardest.

“Now use quick attack, Pidgeotto.”

This time, Sai's absence didn't have to register. I dodged, just barely, as it was much faster than me. This turned out to be an advantage for me, as the bird hit its beak by the wall I had been lying again. Its weariness and speed made it unable to avoid danger quickly. The bird slunk down, then perched itself upright.

“It's all right, Pidgeotto. We'll avoid speedy attacks from now on. Try to peck at it. Be persistent!”

The pidgeotto came toward me more carefully. I held up my arms to cover my face, but if the bird was going to repeatedly attack, I couldn't be so defensive. I put on an act, pretending to give in to the pidgeotto once more, until it was close enough to strike. I ignored the harsh expression being directed at me and pinned one of the pidgeotto's wings down. The bird was relentless as it tried to attack me out of anger, but it couldn't reach me.

“Pidgeotto, try to get out of there!” Falkner's calm, smug demeanor was gone.

It was useless—my hand was stronger than its lone wing. I tucked my leg back, preparing to kick it toward the wall, but I was slow because the pidgeotto looked lost. Stubborn, but lost. I mumbled about how sorry I was but I had to generate as much power as I could. I wondered if the bird would understand my predicament. I didn't know who had more experience, the type disadvantage turned out to be the opposite, and the bird's condition was less than fruitful. Falkner was first in the gym circuit, and Sai had kidnapped me for the sole reason of winning. I had to do... what I had to do.

I made direct contact with the pidgeotto's side. The white spikes on my feet dug deep, and the crash into the wall made it that much worse. The bird was strong overall, but weak for the momet; it didn't stand back up. The pidgeotto had fainted. The silence that followed told me the battle was over.

“Pidgeotto, return,” Falkner said. I almost wished to be recalled, too, but I wasn't with Earl. I was with Sai... I felt a mixture of pride and insincerity.

Falkner went over to Sai. The boy was smiling and his arm was outstretched again, as if he were expecting a handshake instead of a gym badge. Falkner shook his head and took a small, shiny object out of his pocket. He placed it in Sai's palm.

“I wish that I could have fought you at full strength, but the hitmontop still would have been tough,” Falkner said. He obviously didn’t like to lose, as told by his voice when he returned his pokémon, but he sounded glad now. “Next time, though, you should use your own pokémon. Earl must have given you the hitmontop to see how you’d do, am I right?” Sai frowned, exposing the truth. “It feels a bit weird, giving you the badge when you didn't do much, then... but the teamwork was there. Allowing the hitmontop to do what it wanted based on its personality was a decent tactic. I can tell you'll be a considerate trainer to your own pokémon.”

Sai nodded. With a quiet thank you, Sai turned to leave the gym, clutching the badge as if he could lose it already. It was a sign of courage, and I wanted to feel connected to him as I followed his team outside. There, the sentret tended to my wound and the totodile kept screeching about how awesome I was to have beaten the bird that easily. I felt weird again, as I had directly contributed to a trainer's journey. I hadn't meant to, but I was born and raised a pokémon—loyal and unbending. The battle had told me I had strength and energy, at least. Now I just had to carry it to the right places.

In my reverie, Sai came up to me and told me something that changed my life.

“Your name is Atis. And Atis, I think you did a good job,” he said. The encouragement told me he wanted me to stay. The nickname made things final. Earl had never given me one, and Atis sounded more creative compared to the kiddy names the children called their pokémon. There had been many cyndaquil named Blaze, I recalled...

But I was just distracting myself as Sai dug in his pocket and pulled out an object, just like Falkner had done. Dice. I recognized the object from some activity Earl had done with the kids once, but I wasn't sure what Sai was going to do with it. It seemed pointless to pokémon training, so surely he wouldn't be interested in it. He handed it to me and told me to throw it. I did so since I could see no harm in it. The die landed on the number three, and I was still confused.

“Now you can see it with your own eyes.” He grinned. “You're my third pokémon. It's official.”

“But I—” But what? But I belonged to Earl? My life was stagnant with him... Would Sai be any better? I could at least learn more about the world while traveling... And maybe I could convince Sai to go into another profession. Focusing on one child would be simpler than handling a whole classroom. I asked anyway, “What about the school?” Surely I would have some time to think...

“We're leaving in a week,” Sai said. “You best be ready.”

Sidewinder
2nd April 2012, 5:14 PM
It was better to focus on someone who wanted to be given attention so that they could learn, someone who enjoyed the subject and would make use of it someday.


That part was extremely well done. It's basically how I fell now training people at work as I slowly lose interest in what I'm doing


He twirled over to the side of the room to close the windows

Before I got to that, I had no idea what it was. Then I kept reading, saw the 'twirl'. Kept reading with my theory in mind, just to have you confirm it. Nice!


I mentally apologized to Shannon for not being there, but I wasn’t really sorry. I needed a day for myself. All I did was sleep, I was so, so tired.

I really liked that. As I get older, I find that the more you chase your own desires, the more people you disappoint, and you're forced to give these half-assed apologies you dont mean to keep people happy.


but these thoughts also made my head spin.

Physically, or mentally? Haha Jk


“Now use quick attack, pidgeotto,” Falkner said.

I believe 'Pidgeotto' should be capitalized. At different times in this chapter, it is capitalized, and sometimes its not. Should Probably just stick to one way.

Atis hmm? Wow, nicely done. He's very well written (Atis is male, correct?) (BTW, him telling Earl that the kids should be taught survival skills and budgeting was a nice touch, very realistic) It was hard for me to connect with him at first because I always want to be noticed. I'm a salesman at work and I have to be noticed by who I'm speaking to, have to command their attention. Besides that, growing up, I've always been somewhat flashy. That's why it was so revealing and involving being able to experience his want to be left alone, his annoyance by the children asking him endless questions, almost trying to will himself into non-existence. I almost felt sorry for him. I mean, his life doesn't seem that hard, besides the things he's halfway forced to do, but even then he makes the choice to do them. I really doubt Earl would force him to do anything he really didn't want to do. But when you were describing his feelings it really made me want to shower him with sympathy. You've met a really good new addition to the group. He's bypassed Senori as my favorite.

Sai letting him do his own thing in the battle was nice, and as it turns out, it worked. Sai standing there so passively without expression was something I was able to imagine quite easily. And it kinda made me mad. He's just so, well, argh. Still can't get a bead on him. Although, when he flinched when he saw Atis I grinned. I liked that he actually showed he was surprised by Atis. I just want anger, or ecstacy, or depression, or something more. He's just so damn passive all the time. It frustrates me in a really good way haha

The battle was really well done. I liked that there was an actual line to get to Falkner, and that he and his Pokemon were tired when Sai stepped up. With the amount of Pokemon trainers there probably are, it makes sense that at any given time, he would probably have several challengers. I was really drawn into Atis's battle with Pidgeotto, felt like it even gave him a little confidence that' going to make it easier for him to eventually go with Sai. The battle was well described, realistic, and of appropriate length. I really liked the bit when Pidgeotto came down to Atis with that serious look when he tried to attack him. To have Atis comment on its facial features was nice, because that's a detail that would usually be there that I dont see in almost any other fic.

Nice job once again. Can't wait for the next one.

diamondpearl876
4th April 2012, 7:25 PM
Before I got to that, I had no idea what it was. Then I kept reading, saw the 'twirl'. Kept reading with my theory in mind, just to have you confirm it. Nice!

Had no idea what what was? I may be a little slow... but at least you liked it, whatever it was!


Physically, or mentally? Haha Jk

LOL. I forget that Atis is a hitmontop all the time and that he can literally spin... Oops.


I believe 'Pidgeotto' should be capitalized. At different times in this chapter, it is capitalized, and sometimes its not. Should Probably just stick to one way.

You're right, it should be capitalized here. I probably won't stick to one way just because it's the same idea as writing "my mom/Mom" or something to me. It should be capitalized when directly addressed, but not in any other situation.


Sai letting him do his own thing in the battle was nice, and as it turns out, it worked. Sai standing there so passively without expression was something I was able to imagine quite easily. And it kinda made me mad. He's just so, well, argh. Still can't get a bead on him. Although, when he flinched when he saw Atis I grinned. I liked that he actually showed he was surprised by Atis. I just want anger, or ecstacy, or depression, or something more. He's just so damn passive all the time. It frustrates me in a really good way haha

I know, I know. I promise there will be an explanation and/or change... someday. ;o


The battle was really well done. I liked that there was an actual line to get to Falkner, and that he and his Pokemon were tired when Sai stepped up. With the amount of Pokemon trainers there probably are, it makes sense that at any given time, he would probably have several challengers. I was really drawn into Atis's battle with Pidgeotto, felt like it even gave him a little confidence that' going to make it easier for him to eventually go with Sai. The battle was well described, realistic, and of appropriate length. I really liked the bit when Pidgeotto came down to Atis with that serious look when he tried to attack him. To have Atis comment on its facial features was nice, because that's a detail that would usually be there that I dont see in almost any other fic.

Thanks, I'm glad you liked that part. I haven't written a battle in years so I wasn't too confident about it. Thanks for reviewing as always!

Sidewinder
4th April 2012, 9:02 PM
Had no idea what what was? I may be a little slow... but at least you liked it, whatever it was!

Ah, I see where that might be confusing. In the early passage where Earl 'Twirls' over to close the windows, I guess I read that it was not Earl who twirled, it was his Pokemon. I just thought, what Pokemon would move by twirling? Then it hit me, Hitmontop. So I guess I misread that part, but it turns out I was right.

diamondpearl876
6th April 2012, 11:13 PM
Ah, I see where that might be confusing. In the early passage where Earl 'Twirls' over to close the windows, I guess I read that it was not Earl who twirled, it was his Pokemon. I just thought, what Pokemon would move by twirling? Then it hit me, Hitmontop. So I guess I misread that part, but it turns out I was right.

That's pretty funny, not gonna lie. But yeah, apparently Earl "twirls" in the games, and I tried to stick to his given personality since I kind of forgot to do that for professor Elm. I also thought that somehow then hitmontop would be a good pokemon for him... lol. Didn't turn out that way in the fic, but oh well.

Dragonicwari
12th April 2012, 10:10 PM
This is really good, but how the main charectar is written I'm afraid he is emotionally scarred and going to join team rocket.

diamondpearl876
13th April 2012, 3:45 AM
SURVIVAL PROJECT

chapter 5 ; [KUIORA]
logistics

*

Violet City wasn’t violet. There were green gardens, brown buildings and white walking paths. Sadly, I didn't know what I had been expecting, but it was certainly more than this. New Bark Town looked similar, except organized in a different manner. A city full of flower houses and purple people would have better, I think.

Senori had a sad expression on his face when we got there. What could he be upset about? He had seen much more than me! I guessed he was upset about saying good-bye to whoever it was he left Sai for, but then he should have been happy. He was no longer being tied down. He was free, just as I was free from Professor Elm and pokémon I couldn't relate to. I told him to cheer up a few times, but he only said to not worry, he'd get over it soon.

Sai was unresponsive to the city at first, too. He walked slowly as if in a landmine. That was until we came across a large building he called a school, and another he called a gym. A conversation sparked, then.

“You stopped here?” Senori said. “Normal kids wouldn't be excited about school. Normal kids would complain about how they wasted time there when they could have been raising pokémon. And normal pokémon like us would be dying of hunger or thirst by now...” he finished, holding his stomach.

“What's school?” I chimed in.

“It's where you can learn about a lot of things... especially pokémon-related things,” Sai explained. He looked inside the windows, his cheeks pressed against them.

Senori promptly ran in his direction and pulled at his legs. “Get away from there! You got lucky at the professor's lab, but they'll see you and think you're a freak here!”

“The lab...” I murmured. I hadn't noticed the two of them watching me at all. Senori must have been keeping Sai in line, like he was trying to do now. Sai moved, but not because of Senori's force. He brushed off the pokémon and went back to where he was standing before.

“You don't have to yell at me. I'm going in. I won't stay long, but I think it will help me get better,” he said.

“Get better at what?” I asked.

“Training... Raising pokémon... Getting badges and getting stronger as fast as possible.” He smiled.

“I can help with that! Professor Elm taught us how to train. I trained better than everyone else there.”

“Right. But that's different from real experience. These guys probably have experience...”

“Experiences are bad until you train. And... Senori,” I said, turning to the sentret, “people should just bring food to us. That's how things work.”

“That's true, but I think we need to find our own food. So let's go. Happy now?”

“Yes!” Senori said, almost too loudly. “If you don't remember to sleep or feed everyone, there's going to be issues. Good thing I'm here.”

What were they talking about? Free time was spent for preparing attacks and strategies. Someone out there had a duty to us; it seemed they were slacking. “If we just wait here—”

“Shush.” He glared at me. I had never seen so much seriousness packed into once face. “I know what you're talking about, but we don't need to deal with that anymore, okay? Let's go, Kuiora, Senori.”

He was favoring his true first pokémon over me, though he knew the truth. He knew what had to be done, and yet he chose to do otherwise.

I already didn't like him.

*

Sai took us to the store and bought enough food to last us forever. He also bought an unbelievable amount of pokéballs and a backpack to carry them in. I mentioned that he should buy the entire store since the owners were so willing to give their belongings away, but Senori said that he could only buy so much with pokédollars. That explained why Professor Elm never got a bigger lab for us, even after we grew older.

I wanted to stop thinking about Professor Elm, though. It was time to live my life. I looked at Sai and said, “Are you really planning on catching that many pokémon?” If Sai thought he had to catch several pokémon, then it meant he didn't believe in our strength. I would have to prove him wrong. A couple of teammates wouldn't hurt, as long as everyone contributed enough, but twenty pokéballs or more was overkill.

“What about medicine? Antidotes and stuff like that,” Senori asked, as if this particular topic interested him.

Sai paused. “Medicine has never helped me,” he said softly.

“It could work for pokémon.”

“Then we'll get it later.”

“But you're already out of pokédollars,” Senori pointed out, lifting his hand to show an empty paw.

“We'll get more of those later, too,” he replied, his voice stronger again.

That was the end of that. Senori shrugged and made his way over to the entrance, signaling his desire to leave. As we walked out, I noticed that the guy behind the counter was looking at us rather strangely.

*

Next, we visited a place called the Pokémon Center for the very first time. Sai never heard of such a thing, though Professor Elm mentioned it once or twice. The lobby was huge, large enough for other trainers to gather inside. They were conversing and showing off their pokémon to each other. I held on to Sai's ankle to avoid getting lost as we traipsed through the crowd. I didn't see any other totodile, so I wondered if anyone was fortunate enough to see me with their own eyes.

Sai headed to the front counter and asked the worker what he could do with his pokémon here. The lady had pink hair and a soft but genuine smile. She happily informed him that she could take his pokémon from him to heal them.

“But I don't want to give away my pokémon.” He glowered at her. “I just got them.”

The lady frowned and looked as if Sai had hurt her physically. “O-Oh, we don't keep your pokémon here. You can come back and get them whenever you'd like. Or you could rent a room to sleep in and take your pokémon with you.”

Sai's face almost turned back to normal, but he was frowning. “Okay,” he said. “Well, maybe I'll come back when it's dark. Thank you.”

After turning and moving out of hearing range, Sai bent down and whispered to us, “Now we'll definitely get that medicine later.”

Senori nodded, satisfied.

*

Needless to say, Sai didn't want to go back to the Pokémon Center. We slept on the outskirts of town, in the grass. We didn't complain, since us two pokémon were used to it. Sai didn't seem to mind, either, though I couldn't understand why. Professor Elm always cringed at the idea of just sitting in the grass!

In the morning, Sai left his backpack with us and went off to the school, despite Senori's negative comments. He said he'd be gone until dark. We knew where he was, so it wasn't a big deal, but we didn't know what to do. We were practically strangers, and if tried to separate, we risked getting lost. Eventually, though, I had an idea.

“Let's catch a strong pokémon for Sai,” I said. “If he sees how cool we are, then he won't have to use all those pokéballs.”

Senori blinked. “I'm pretty sure he wouldn't like that. He seems a bit... picky,” he replied. He was sitting against a tree, eyes closed now. I glared at him for dismissing my idea in such a nonchalant way, but he didn't care. He continued, “I'm also tired. I haven't slept well since we're in unfamiliar territory.”

“He has to keep whoever we choose. We're his pokémon! He has to listen to what we want.” I went over to Sai's backpack, trying to figure out how to reach its contents. There was no apparent opening. The roadblock, along with Senori's annoying self, irritated me to the point where I ripped a hole into it with my teeth.

“Not following my advice, huh?” Senori quipped. “I bet you don't even know how to catch a pokémon.”

“I bet I could.” I pulled out one of the spheres with my paws. Admittedly, it was difficult to hold, but I managed it. Turning toward Senori I also pushed the button in the middle of the ball. It grew larger and I dropped it afterward, waiting for something else to happen. Senori snickered.

“You're a baby compared to me. You're fun to mess with. It seems natural for someone older like me to do...” he added sadly.

It's true—I was young. But he didn't have to rub it in my face! I picked up the pokéball, this time with two paws. “All I have to do is press the button again. Then I have to throw it at the pokémon I want to catch. Easy. Why don't you try catching something.”

Senori's eyes were closed again. I didn't warn him. I simply tossed the pokéball in his direction. It didn't occur to me for a moment that, when the ball got close enough to Senori, it would snap open and suck the little brown creature inside. But that's exactly what it did! It fell to the ground then, swaying back and forth every few seconds. Dumbfound, I stood there, wondering why Sai hadn't already caught him formally. This shouldn't have been possible at all.

I expected Senori to break free and tease me. Instead, the ball stopped wiggling, and I was left alone to wonder what just happened. I had successfully shut him up. Now I had something to use against him whenever he made fun of me. I could also impress Sai this way...

Senori hadn't come out yet. What was it like inside a pokéball, anyway? The question would cause too much embarrassment, so I kept it to myself. I left the pokéball alone, recalling how tired Senori was. Plus, I wasn't a real trainer. Sai should have been there to clarify things himself. He should have been there to say this was an accident, and that I didn't have to feel weird about it.

I picked up the pokéball hesitantly. It didn't feel any heavier, nor was there any sign that a pokémon was inside, as if Senori didn't exist. Again I vaguely thought about releasing him, because if I were him, I wouldn't want to be erased so easily. I had so much to do! I had to get stronger. I had to be deemed worthy of the legends. And Sai made it seem like there wasn't much time...

I decided to put Senori in the backpack so I could train. I didn't need him around, talking about how he could do better just because he was older. I could get more done without him around. This was especially true because it was still daylight, and Sai wouldn't be back for a while.

I trained all day, all night, working on punches and kicks and aiming my water attacks correctly while causing damage. I had been hoping to find new trainings methods after leaving Professor Elm's lab, but I tried not to dwell on that and worked with what I knew. I trained even after Sai came back. When he came back he didn't ask where Senori was, and I didn't tell him what happened. He actually seemed calm for once, and with the awkward, tense demeanor he had presented earlier, I didn't want to hit a nerve. He slept in the wet grass, against a wet tree trunk, and I trained some more.

*

It was a good thing I didn't catch another pokémon for Sai, since he found one on his own. The new pokémon was a strange, intimidating creature named Atis. He didn't seem to like anyone, his head and feet had spikes on them, and when he battled in the gym, he found impressively, scarily so. The battle was short, and even with the type disadvantage, he won without much effort. I wanted to be like him! I vowed to be used in the next gym battle.

I was able to see Senori, too. That morning, Sai finally asked me where he was. I explained everything to him. Sai smiled slightly, but otherwise didn't react much. He tried every pokéball in his backpack until he found Senori's. He announced to us that we would be going to the gym later that day, and to be prepared. I'm not sure why—he never intended for us to battle. But that was okay. Atis showed us the gym circuit's routine, and next time, I would know what to do.

“Was there a reason you had to go and catch me like that?” Senori asked when he saw me. We were standing in the line, waiting to fight the gym leader.

Smirking, I said, “Yeah. You didn't think I could do it. So I did it.”

“You knew I was joking. At least I'm not tired anymore.” He shook his head and I realized he didn't have the heart to stay angry at anyone.

“Why didn't you break out of the pokéball? You were tired, yeah, but it should have been simple.”

“I didn't want to make Sai mad at me for wasting it.”

After that we were quiet and watched Atis, who was naturally quiet unless coerced into speaking. I have no idea how he accomplished such a feat, but he did.

*

Violet City... The place wasn't violet, but I trained, Senori rested, Atis left his home, and Sai learned an awful lot in the process of earning his first gym badge.

As we were leaving, the lady at the Pokémon Center was outside, unlocking the doors for the day. She shouted to us, saying there was a Pokémon Center in every town, but Sai ignored her. He hadn't even brought Atis there to heal after his debut, but then again, he hadn't sustained many injuries.

When we passed by the school, Atis peered into the windows one last time, but he didn't want a good-bye like Senori did. I didn't question him. I would have to attract his attention through strength alone, not through mere curiosity.

Unlike the trip to Violet City, we ran into quite a few pokémon trainers and more wild pokémon on the way to the next location. Atis destroyed everything and everyone in one hit. Senori and I had a bit more trouble, which was expected. Sai had problems himself. He didn't know attacks names. He gave us general commands and thought we'd comprehend and act on them in a matter of seconds, but sometimes we couldn't do that. How was I supposed to know what “ram your body into it” meant? I told him he must be talking about the body slam attack, which I didn't know. Someday, I'd learn it. Or someday, Sai would learn how to win (or lose) battles like a normal trainer. At the end of the day, I didn't mind which came first.

The hardest part about this trip was the cave we went through. We could tell the cave itself was old. Wild pokémon were afraid to come out since rocks were falling from the ceiling everywhere. Other trainers didn't want to take the time to battle. Senori voiced his concern about getting squished to bits, but Sai wasn't fazed. He waled where he wanted and rested where he wanted, with the team separating to find safe zones. I don't know how long we were in that cave, but it seemed like forever. We were far too paranoid about the rocks and having our lives end too soon before we really got anywhere.

Senori was the only one to be endangered. He had chosen a bad spot to occupy, and a trainer noticed. The rest of us weren't paying attention.

“Watch out!” said an unfamiliar voice, out of nowhere, and Senori's ears perked up. He looked above him and went to move out of the way. No one will ever know if he was too slow or not. The trainer crashed into him and the two went careening away from the rocks, which promptly and carelessly landed on the cave floor. I could hear Senori screaming not from pain, but from surprise.

Sai didn't react to the situation until after the noise of rubble subsided. The trainer got up and helped Senori to his wobbly feet. He dusted Senori off and then himself, then stomped furiously over to Sai.

“You should really watch your pokémon more,” he said. Return them to their pokéballs or something. I came here not long after you, so I've seen you this entire time. I feel sorry for your pokémon.”

Sai stood up and stepped in front of the other trainer so that their faces were inches apart. “I'm sorry that happened and thanks for saving him. But don't tell me what to do with my pokémon. I have enough orders to follow without you butting in.”

The other trainer backed away and said, “A trainer makes his own rules, but should be careful with the rules he makes.”

“You don’t know anything about me. I’m as careful as I can and want to be.”

“Again, I feel sorry for your pokémon. It was none of my business, but if I hadn't come, your sentret would be dead. Let that sink in.” The other trainer walked away, only stopping to scratch Senori behind the ears for a few moments of reassurance.

Before Sai let him get away, he yelled, “How long have you been following me?”

“I'm not following you. We've all been in here for two and a half weeks now, which means you're even more lucky no one's been killed yet.” He didn't bother to turn around.

“Two and a half weeks,” Sai mumbled, making his way over to Senori. He bent down to see him face-to-face. “I'm sorry. I wasn't thinking. Let's just get out of here.”

Senori nodded, confused and shocked and full of dirt.

“Do you any of you want to go in a pokéball?” Sai asked loudly and clearly.

“No,” Senori said quickly. “Who will protect you?”

“...Fine,” Sai said. “And you two?”

“Two and a half weeks,” Sai murmured, making his way over to Senori. He bent down to see him face-to-face. “I’m sorry. I wasn’t thinking. Let’s just get out of here.”

Senori could only nod, still confused and shocked and full of dirt.

“Do any of you want to go in your pokéball?” Sai asked loudly, clearly, looking around at the three of us.

“No,” Senori said quickly. “Who will protect you, then?”

Atis agreed, but I wasn't about to give up valuable training time. I was younger, more alert—so I could handle whatever came my way by myself.

When we started to move through the cave again, Sai processed just how much time had passed. He became increasingly agitated. He sacrificed breaks to travel more, muttering about wasted days. If we were hungry, we walked and ate. If we were thirsty, we took a quick drink from the wells and trekked on. If we were tired, we went in our pokéballs (at which point Senori thanked me for catching him). I saw Sai fight some wild pokémon himself, even the rock-types, and I made a mental note to myself so that I could see how strong he was some other time.

It took us three more days to get out of the cave. Somehow, Sai had been keeping track of the hours. It was nighttime when we reached the next town's outskirts, but Sai didn't want to rest there. His excuse said being close to the cave was too dangerous. Being in the actual town would make him feel better. We slept in the Pokémon Center. Sai made it very obvious that he would be taking his pokémon into the room. The pink-haired lady behind the counter was baffled by his hostility, but agreed and gave him a room key for a certain amount of pokédollars, which we had won through trainer battles. Sai didn't sleep much, but we were fine. And we took every drink and piece of food offered to us by the workers who came by and knocked cheerfully.

We were in Azalea Town. Here, I got to train more, Senori saw how weak he was, Atis learned how to speak, and Sai went absolutely crazy...

Sidewinder
14th April 2012, 2:21 AM
Nicely done.

For some reason, this chapter felt different than the ones you've posted before. Not in a bad way at all, just different. The feeling was more intimate in a way; I think it was because of the conversations between Senori and Kuiora. I couldn't put my finger on it, but there's something about the two of them having a conversation really drew me in. Maybe its their backstories, or the way that they each view the world, but I like the fact that there is maybe the beggining of a lasting friendship developing. I've never read a fic where my favorite character switches from chapter to chapter. It's obviously the result of your great writing, but I usually just stick to one with anything I read. I switch my favorite alot in movies and television shows, but never in a written story. I like it...Anyway,

As always, your grammar was great. I didn't find any spelling or punctuation mistakes at all. I never do with you, so that should come as no surprise. At the end, it felt like it sped up a little bit too much for my liking, especially the bit where it took them three more days to get through the cave. After the incident at the beggining of the cave, I thought you were going to spend more time in it. I liked the parts where Kuiora commented on how water was sparse and stuff, I was just hoping for a little more detail about the cave and the journey through it. Besides that, I felt like the pacing of this chapter was really nice, so good work on that.

Another thing that stuck out for me was the part where Kuiora captured Senori in the Pokeball. Awesomely done. Not only is the concept of a Pokemon capturing another great, but Kuiora's inner dialogue about how she should realease him or not was hilarious. If you couldn't guess, I switched to her for this chapter. Her training all day to make sure she got stronger was really believeable, and I think you've done a really job creating a character that I can easily relate to. Aspiring to be better is no easy feat, especially when writing it; but you have done a really good job.

Another part was the interraction between Sai and the trainer that saved Senori. I could almost feel the heat radiating between the two of them as they spoke, it was pretty intense. I think it showed Sai's Pokemon exactly where his intentions were as well, but he made up for it at the end by apologizing (at least in my eyes). The other trainer, which they can obviously understand, kinda showed them the other side of being a trainer's Pokemon. When they guy reached down and scratched Senori's ear before he walked away was a nice little **** you to Sai. It really seems like something I would do if placed in that situation.


and where Sai went crazy for the first time.

Oh thank god. I can't wait to read the next chapter lol

All in all, nicely done. Great chapters are something I've come to expect from you, and you're still doing fantastic.

diamondpearl876
15th April 2012, 2:47 AM
For some reason, this chapter felt different than the ones you've posted before. Not in a bad way at all, just different. The feeling was more intimate in a way; I think it was because of the conversations between Senori and Kuiora.

I think that may have something to do with the fact that I'm not really in introduction-only chapters anymore and there's more interaction between them. Even Senori's second chapter was more introduction than anything. That's my best guess, anyway. :P Either way, that's a pretty good thing, I'm glad you pointed it out.


As always, your grammar was great. I didn't find any spelling or punctuation mistakes at all. I never do with you, so that should come as no surprise. At the end, it felt like it sped up a little bit too much for my liking, especially the bit where it took them three more days to get through the cave. After the incident at the beggining of the cave, I thought you were going to spend more time in it. I liked the parts where Kuiora commented on how water was sparse and stuff, I was just hoping for a little more detail about the cave and the journey through it. Besides that, I felt like the pacing of this chapter was really nice, so good work on that.

Lol, I do like having no (or few) mistakes. I usually stop writing after a few paragraphs and go back to edit/proof-read what I had just written rather than going back at the very end to do it all at once. Your work never has a lot of mistakes in it, but I think it could help you get some of those easily missed mistakes you made your thread about. Dunno if it would help you, but thought I'd throw that out there.

Also, I agree that it was rushed there. :C I'll have to go back sometime and add more to it. I'm not really sure what happened there. The whole chapter was supposed to be a traveling chapter, but then I added things to fill in the blanks of Atis's chapter, and then said, "Well, I already showed/said all of the characterization stuff I wanted to add during the actual traveling part" so I shortened it. Oops.


Another thing that stuck out for me was the part where Kuiora captured Senori in the Pokeball. Awesomely done. Not only is the concept of a Pokemon capturing another great, but Kuiora's inner dialogue about how she should realease him or not was hilarious. If you couldn't guess, I switched to her for this chapter. Her training all day to make sure she got stronger was really believeable, and I think you've done a really job creating a character that I can easily relate to. Aspiring to be better is no easy feat, especially when writing it; but you have done a really good job.

Well, awesome. :D I'm glad you like all the characters enough to consider them your favorites.


Oh thank god. I can't wait to read the next chapter lol

Haha, I had a feeling you'd like that last line just for that. :P It should be interesting, I can't really wait to see how it turns out.

Thanks for reading&&reviewing!

Sidewinder
15th April 2012, 2:56 AM
Lol, I do like having no (or few) mistakes. I usually stop writing after a few paragraphs and go back to edit/proof-read what I had just written rather than going back at the very end to do it all at once. Your work never has a lot of mistakes in it, but I think it could help you get some of those easily missed mistakes you made your thread about. Dunno if it would help you, but thought I'd throw that out there.

I can't believe that I never thought of that. Wow, I think that would help me out alot. I think I'll give it a try. Thanks!


Haha, I had a feeling you'd like that last line just for that. :P It should be interesting, I can't really wait to see how it turns out.

I sure did. Actual distress from Sai, yeah I'm definitely down for that

diamondpearl876
16th April 2012, 11:56 PM
I can't believe that I never thought of that. Wow, I think that would help me out alot. I think I'll give it a try. Thanks!



I sure did. Actual distress from Sai, yeah I'm definitely down for that

No problem. Also if you didn't see I reviewed your next chapter for Requiem a few days ago (I just edited a post I made before).

And yup! I still have yet to decide a lot of things for next chapter, but hopefully it'll be up soon. :P

The Great Butler
17th April 2012, 2:57 AM
Just finished reading this all, and boy, I sure am impressed.

I'll take a bit of an unorthodox approach and talk about Sai's Pokémon first. This is one point where the usage of changing perspective really helps, because it allows us to get intimate knowledge of a Pokémon's personality and nature immediately within a chapter or two of its debut. Senori has the most fleshed-out backstory so far, but I think Atis will prove to be very interesting upon further development as well. It's understandable that Kuiora has a little less right now, as she's a lab-raised starter Pokémon, but this latest chapter has already given us a good look at her, with more to come. This fic should be held up as an example of how to develop Pokémon as characters, I think.

I will put my thoughts on Sai behind a spoiler, because I think I know something about him.

I think he is the subject of some kind of experiment and his exploits as a trainer are being closely monitored. The name of the story - Survival Project - suggests this, as does his comment about 'orders' and his inexplicable amount of money that he was carrying. His incredibly naive approach to everything may be the result of being raised in a laboratory away from normal society.

He is an especially interesting character for several reasons. With his ... unusual ... approach to Pokémon training combined with only seeing him through the eyes of said Pokémon, he already stands out as a journey fic protagonist. I like his dice rolling, which comes off as a unique trait; it also leaves me to wonder what might happen if the roll ever didn't come up as he predicted. Assigning such mystery to a protagonist is another unique move that helps draw the reader into Sai's character.

All the asthetics are nearly flawless, as others have pointed out. I do feel that the pacing is at times a little fast, but this is usually balanced out by the multi-viewpoint technique.

All in all, I have to give very high marks, and say I'm definitely looking forward to more.

diamondpearl876
18th April 2012, 1:08 AM
I'll take a bit of an unorthodox approach and talk about Sai's Pokémon first. This is one point where the usage of changing perspective really helps, because it allows us to get intimate knowledge of a Pokémon's personality and nature immediately within a chapter or two of its debut. Senori has the most fleshed-out backstory so far, but I think Atis will prove to be very interesting upon further development as well. It's understandable that Kuiora has a little less right now, as she's a lab-raised starter Pokémon, but this latest chapter has already given us a good look at her, with more to come. This fic should be held up as an example of how to develop Pokémon as characters, I think.

Glad you like the characters so far. :p And the point of view changes. I figured that if I told this from Sai's point of view, no one could get to know the characters at all, so yeah.


Sai spoiler

Hmm, well, I like the way you think, and you're the first person who's brought the title into consideration. I of course don't want to spoil anything, but I hope you stick around to see what I have planned for him. :D


All the asthetics are nearly flawless, as others have pointed out. I do feel that the pacing is at times a little fast, but this is usually balanced out by the multi-viewpoint technique.

All in all, I have to give very high marks, and say I'm definitely looking forward to more.

I'm glad you like it so much so far. I agree that the pacing is a bit much at times, and it's something I'll be focusing on more now that more things will actually be happening. Did you want to be added to a PM list or anything? Either way, thanks for reading and reviewing!

The Great Butler
18th April 2012, 1:59 AM
If you have a PM list, go ahead and add me. It'll help me keep up-to-date.

diamondpearl876
18th April 2012, 5:31 PM
I do indeed. Added, thanks!

Dragonicwari
20th April 2012, 2:09 AM
If its not to much trouble I would like to be on your pm list as well

diamondpearl876
20th April 2012, 6:24 PM
If its not to much trouble I would like to be on your pm list as well

Not a problem at all. Added~

Jazz14456_Plebeian
21st April 2012, 3:03 AM
OK, been reading this for the past two days, and I'm loving it. So far, the backstory of Senori along with other intriguing aspects of the story, have lured and captivated my imagination as much as the first read of my favorite books. The grammar is faultless, or very near so. I think, so far, that the characters are this story's strongest point. I'm really excited for the next chapter, so please put me on the PM list.

diamondpearl876
22nd April 2012, 4:04 AM
OK, been reading this for the past two days, and I'm loving it. So far, the backstory of Senori along with other intriguing aspects of the story, have lured and captivated my imagination as much as the first read of my favorite books. The grammar is faultless, or very near so. I think, so far, that the characters are this story's strongest point. I'm really excited for the next chapter, so please put me on the PM list.

Yay, a new reader! I'm glad you like it so far. I hope you stick around to read more, and don't be afraid to point out issues with grammar or anything else. Added you to PM list.

Chapter 6 should be up sometime in the next few days.

Jazz14456_Plebeian
22nd April 2012, 2:17 PM
"The professor eased our sadness with food. He brought out various trays filled with different kinds of berries and he let us choose what we wanted. I just took a few of my favorite Cheri berries."
You know how you are not using capitals on pokemon and pokemon related trademarks of Nintendo? Well, I think that the only thing that should be capitalized, then, is when you are referring to a pokemon's nickname, or if you using the species name in place of that nickname. So shouldn't Cheri be lowercase with your rules of capitalization?

unrepentantAuthor
22nd April 2012, 10:06 PM
Review for chapter one:

Your opening is decent, with thoughts entirely appropriate to a sentret, regarding scent and so on. It seems a little fragmented, could perhaps have a clearer train of thought, but in a way that manages to express the confusion and regret I imagine the narrator to have.

For some reason, I really like that you have a human attacking a pokémon. We as readers are so conditioned to assume that all combat with pokémon will take place via standard battles that confronting even a weak one seems bizarre. In any case, the realisation that the human is probably psychopathic, or at the very least an unusual character, is a most potent hook for readers. I love it.

The style flows slightly awkwardly but I imagine it’s a kink that shall be ironed out with practice so I’ll withhold detailed comment until I’ve read a few chapters and have a broader sample of your writing. Can’t fault your grammar though, which is a relief; as I’m sure you’ll agree, grammatical failings are an instant red flag.

The narration could probably use a stronger grounding in the experiencing of the event, if that makes sense. The sentret is analysing things and talking about the inevitability of their defeat and so on but it feels emotionless. Of course, the narration is in hindsight, but I imagine this is a traumatic experience and some clearer reference to that may enhance the passage. Perhaps sentret could shake, or taste blood. While you’re at it, the human probably smells of the wild rather than urban settlements and sentret remarking on that would be good to see. That’s only a suggestion, though.

The creepiness of the human as he grips his wrist is perfect. Fixating on the knuckles is an ideal technique to use, and it works well. I’m still holding to my psychopath theory. His dialogue is also suitably eerie, and although sentret isn’t all that shocked he understands pokémon speech, neither is the reader, so that’s fine.

The characterisation of Senori is interesting; he – if Senori is male – knows a great deal about humans and is aware that he is too often lost in thought. The obvious inference is that he’s insatiably curious about humans, that his clan disapproves, and this is why he’s more or less okay with being captured. I approve of him not immediately accepting it and having concerns other than the human’s journey; it’s an enormous relief from typical journey fics where pokémon are only too happy to drop everything for their new master.

After the human claimed Senori was absolutely the only possible sentret he could have, I made a leap in logic to assume this is a Nuzlocke fic. If I’m right, I shall be enormously pleased for numerous reasons. The use of the die is also intriguing, and another good hook. Even if I weren’t reviewing as part of an exchange, I would still feel compelled to read onwards.

Sai is fascinating and I don’t know what to make of him, Senori is a pleasantly interesting narrator who obviously has a fairly developed personality from the beginning, and there’s enough unknowns without being irritating that this opening chapter has very successfully pulled me in. I can tell I’m going to enjoy reading the rest.

Expect a review in equivalence to this one for every chapter with superior analysis if possible, given that I’ve written this one while quite tired.

As you said to me, feel free to selectively ignore me, as I am not always right. And as you said to me, keep it up~

diamondpearl876
22nd April 2012, 10:42 PM
"The professor eased our sadness with food. He brought out various trays filled with different kinds of berries and he let us choose what we wanted. I just took a few of my favorite Cheri berries."

You know how you are not using capitals on pokemon and pokemon related trademarks of Nintendo? Well, I think that the only thing that should be capitalized, then, is when you are referring to a pokemon's nickname, or if you using the species name in place of that nickname. So shouldn't Cheri be lowercase with your rules of capitalization?

It makes sense to me. I guess I wasn’t thinking since berries aren’t as commonly used in the fic as, you know, pokémon names. Lol. I’ll change it and keep it in mind for the future, thanks!


For some reason, I really like that you have a human attacking a pokémon. We as readers are so conditioned to assume that all combat with pokémon will take place via standard battles that confronting even a weak one seems bizarre. In any case, the realisation that the human is probably psychopathic, or at the very least an unusual character, is a most potent hook for readers. I love it.

You’re one of the few people so far who have seemed to like Sai, haha. That’s good to know.


The style flows slightly awkwardly but I imagine it’s a kink that shall be ironed out with practice so I’ll withhold detailed comment until I’ve read a few chapters and have a broader sample of your writing. Can’t fault your grammar though, which is a relief; as I’m sure you’ll agree, grammatical failings are an instant red flag.

Indeed. I plan on re-writing this first chapter sometime, especially since, I’ll admit, it was written a couple years ago… and all the other chapters are recent. Aside from minor edits, I didn’t particularly know what to do with it, so I wanted to wait until I got some comments about it, and now I think I could handle it better.


The narration could probably use a stronger grounding in the experiencing of the event, if that makes sense. The sentret is analysing things and talking about the inevitability of their defeat and so on but it feels emotionless. Of course, the narration is in hindsight, but I imagine this is a traumatic experience and some clearer reference to that may enhance the passage. Perhaps sentret could shake, or taste blood. While you’re at it, the human probably smells of the wild rather than urban settlements and sentret remarking on that would be good to see. That’s only a suggestion, though.

I’ll take that into consideration. The sentret though is supposed to be completely lost in his thoughts and be rather emotionless. As he mentioned, there was another event that happened with his clan, and I think he’s still stuck on that trauma and doesn’t really consider Sai attacking him as another traumatic event. He considers it as more of a punishment that he shouldn’t really be complaining about.


After the human claimed Senori was absolutely the only possible sentret he could have, I made a leap in logic to assume this is a Nuzlocke fic. If I’m right, I shall be enormously pleased for numerous reasons. The use of the die is also intriguing, and another good hook. Even if I weren’t reviewing as part of an exchange, I would still feel compelled to read onwards.

I’m glad you’d read it anyway, though sorry to disappoint you, it’s not a Nuzlocke fic! :( Though there is another reason that Sai believes Senori is “special” that will be revealed eventually.


Sai is fascinating and I don’t know what to make of him, Senori is a pleasantly interesting narrator who obviously has a fairly developed personality from the beginning, and there’s enough unknowns without being irritating that this opening chapter has very successfully pulled me in. I can tell I’m going to enjoy reading the rest.

Good to hear. This is an especially character-driven fic, so the characters are obviously important. I do hope you enjoy the rest.

Thanks for reading/reviewing!

unrepentantAuthor
23rd April 2012, 11:56 AM
You’re one of the few people so far who have seemed to like Sai, haha. That’s good to know.

I actually find this surprising. He's very interesting, and his bizarre behaviour endears him to me over any Ash-expy.


Indeed. I plan on re-writing this first chapter sometime, especially since, I’ll admit, it was written a couple years ago… and all the other chapters are recent. Aside from minor edits, I didn’t particularly know what to do with it, so I wanted to wait until I got some comments about it, and now I think I could handle it better.

Trust me, I know that feeling. Best to add a note to the beginning informing new readers of that, if you ask me, an go back to revise it after you've settled into your stride.


I’ll take that into consideration. The sentret though is supposed to be completely lost in his thoughts and be rather emotionless. As he mentioned, there was another event that happened with his clan, and I think he’s still stuck on that trauma and doesn’t really consider Sai attacking him as another traumatic event. He considers it as more of a punishment that he shouldn’t really be complaining about.

That might be a pretty good way of making that clear, then. Senori tastes blood but doesn't particularly care because of his transient concerns. Don't worry though, I did get that he has other issues on his mind that numb the shock of Sai's appearance. I have a guess as to what, but I'm not sure if I should say what I think it is...


I’m glad you’d read it anyway, though sorry to disappoint you, it’s not a Nuzlocke fic! :( Though there is another reason that Sai believes Senori is “special” that will be revealed eventually.

No worries, it's not a disappointment. Again, I have a guess, but I'm withholding it...


Good to hear. This is an especially character-driven fic, so the characters are obviously important. I do hope you enjoy the rest.

Thanks for reading/reviewing!

I shall! Expect a couple more reviews by the end of the week.

Sid87
23rd April 2012, 3:52 PM
Since I'm late to the party, I'm going to review this chapter-by-chapter as I get into it so you can have my progressive thoughts. So...chapter one!

Here's one line:


Was this guy a trainer?

I have no idea why, but I didn't like this, and I think it was the use of "this guy". It seems like such an oddly colloquial term for a pokemon to use. "The human", "My attacker"; these were all others ways he was referred to that worked just fine, but the odd use of "this guy" made feel somewhat off. This one is just my opinion, though.


His words: non-existent, yet sharp enough to break the skin.

I wasn't enamored of this, either. Just because his words WERE non-existent, so how could Sentret have been hurt by them? I get that it is nice wording, but I think a better way would have been "His THOUGHTS: unreadable, yet sharp enough to break the skin". Because Sentret clearly has designs on what the attacker might be thinking (and they sting him), but he can't actually read them.

Okay, that's pretty much it for the "negatives", and they're pretty easy (also, basically just opinions on my end).

So, I hate the trainer kid here, but he's fairly well-done. I wonder how old he is...if I had to guess, I'd say in his tweens? He doesn't quite seem to be the standard ten-year old (but he could be). I absolutely like that he doesn't know what he's supposed to be doing, and he communicates his lack of knowledge as anger and violence, which is a very childlike thing to do. Something has to have happened in his life, right? Because he's obviously jaded and angry to the point of over-aggression. But he obviously wants to be loved, too, which is well displayed in his interactions with Sentret. I'm very curious as to what has made him the way it is (and why he looks at the pokemon journey as...I dunno...a chore or a bother when it should be happy). I really feel like this could be Silver from the G/S/C series, but I doubt it is.

I also hope we come back to Sentret's clan somehow. What happens to them after Senori leaves? Are they unprotected? Happy he's gone? Sad? Oblivious? I want to see Senori come back to them somehow because they are apparently so important to him.

That said, I can't tell if I like Senori or not, but in that good way that means he is well-written. He's so whiny and needy and self-effacing. I want to feel bad for him, but I want to tell him to shut up and man up at the same time. :) I'll be curious to see how he changes.

Sid87
23rd April 2012, 4:18 PM
Chapter 2!


They had all been born from the same egg, created by the god of the pokémon universe.

Another line that just doesn't sit well with me. Pokemon and humans do exist in the same universe (unless whoever is narrating this fable about the boy and the girl is someone who oversees entire multiverses). Are you just trying to say that Pokemon and humans have a separate god? I could see that, but then I'd just say "the god of pokemon" and leave out the universe bit entirely.


“Sai,” I said. I kept repeating the name over and over in my head. Since all of us were called by our species name and had to rely on the differences in voice and body sizes, I had assumed that humans were similar. I had imagined that perhaps they were all named Elm and that they all had to identify each other by individual, unique characteristics. But it looked as if they all had different names! I was learning a lot already.

Nothing to correct here; I actually just wanted to say I kind of loved this part.

I like the almost religious nature of the Totodile: his reverence towards basic things like the sun or grass and how "the legendary pokemon" put them here. And, of course, I like his pride foiling Senori's weakness and uncertainty. A lot of characteristics I've seen attributed to pokemon: weak, strong, bullyish, happy, chipper, depressed. But I don't think I've seen any that I would categorize as religious or reverent. Nice touch.

We didn't get any further glimpses into Sai's character here, as he was pretty pleasant and happy with Kuiora (which, btw, I can't even begin to imagine how to pronounce. Koo-EE-or-ah? Koo-YOR-ah? KOY-rah? Help me out here). I guess there's the mystery of his lack of a trainer's card, which probably means more than I was taking it to. Is he really from Vermillion? That bit of dialogue felt like a lie to me. I guess we'll see where it goes from there.

Sid87
23rd April 2012, 6:20 PM
Chapter 3!


And when we pass through the forest, I guess I’d like to say good-bye to some people, if possible…

Would a Sentret refer to other Sentret as "people"?


This was his excuse every day from then on. We slept in the same area every night, and we stood at a distance from the fence every day to watch the pokémon. Sai tried to walk right up to the fence and climb over a few times, but I had to yell at him to not do that, since the fence was there to keep others out for a reason. He also tried to sit right by a part of the fence to look inside the backyard through the rails, which also seemed odd, so I kept telling him to stop looking creepy and to get away from the fence entirely.

I like this in that it makes me feel like Sai is a robot or was raised in a lab or something like that. Senori is actually having to explain basic functions of polite society to him. What IS going on with this kid?


Their innocence and lack of awareness at least let me know that at least someone in the clan didn’t know what I had done.

Probably don't need "at least" in there twice. ;)

I wonder why the invader pokemon didn't attack/eat Senori after it had lured him away all that time ago. I can't imagine it left him alive just to screw with him, so why, after it had taken him so far that his cries would not have alerted the clan, did it not just eat him? Besides, you know, leaving us with a tragic, complicated character for your story. :) I get the sense from this bit that Senori actually IS strong...was the predator afraid to take it on one-on-one?


“Yeah… We train, battle, and get badges. That’s what I was told to do, so that’s what we’re going to do,” Sai said, smiling again.

Okay, and now he seems happy to be doing this for the first time. I'm having a really hard time reading this guy. And his personality has done, well not a 180. Let's call it a 120. He seems to enjoy the idea of being a trainer now; he let Senori go off without any problem; he wasn't angry at all this section that I could notice. So I'm all over the map on what this kid's deal is. Is he a robot? I'm really going with robot here. :)

diamondpearl876
23rd April 2012, 9:49 PM
No worries, it's not a disappointment. Again, I have a guess, but I'm withholding it...

Haha, well, feel free to let me know your guesses, I’m always interested in what some people think. Though I may not confirm your guesses if they’re right, and I may not tell you if you’re entirely wrong, either.


I shall! Expect a couple more reviews by the end of the week.

Will look forward to it, thanks again!


I wasn't enamored of this, either. Just because his words WERE non-existent, so how could Sentret have been hurt by them? I get that it is nice wording, but I think a better way would have been "His THOUGHTS: unreadable, yet sharp enough to break the skin". Because Sentret clearly has designs on what the attacker might be thinking (and they sting him), but he can't actually read them.

I can see where you’re coming from. I tend to, uh, be poetic at times (since I mainly write poetry) and silly things like this show up in first person narrative. It doesn’t make sense, and “thoughts” would be better. Thanks for pointing it out.


So, I hate the trainer kid here, but he's fairly well-done. I wonder how old he is...if I had to guess, I'd say in his tweens? He doesn't quite seem to be the standard ten-year old (but he could be). I absolutely like that he doesn't know what he's supposed to be doing, and he communicates his lack of knowledge as anger and violence, which is a very childlike thing to do. Something has to have happened in his life, right? Because he's obviously jaded and angry to the point of over-aggression. But he obviously wants to be loved, too, which is well displayed in his interactions with Sentret. I'm very curious as to what has made him the way it is (and why he looks at the pokemon journey as...I dunno...a chore or a bother when it should be happy). I really feel like this could be Silver from the G/S/C series, but I doubt it is.

You’re not the only one to hate him! I’ll be interested to see how/if your opinion changes over time. And nah, he’s not Silver. Silver has his own story through the manga and such, I believe…

Sai’s certainly older than 10, but acts childlike for reasons that’ll be explained later. I’m not even particularly sure of his age, though I’ve always imagined him at 16 or 17. (That sounds weird, but maybe as a writer you can understand that sometimes your characters just don’t want to tell you things? Haha.)


Another line that just doesn't sit well with me. Pokemon and humans do exist in the same universe (unless whoever is narrating this fable about the boy and the girl is someone who oversees entire multiverses). Are you just trying to say that Pokemon and humans have a separate god? I could see that, but then I'd just say "the god of pokemon" and leave out the universe bit entirely.

Makes sense. I was indeed trying to convey that pokémon and humans have a different god, but I guess I ended up wording it funnily. Will go back and change it, thanks~


We didn't get any further glimpses into Sai's character here, as he was pretty pleasant and happy with Kuiora (which, btw, I can't even begin to imagine how to pronounce. Koo-EE-or-ah? Koo-YOR-ah? KOY-rah? Help me out here). I guess there's the mystery of his lack of a trainer's card, which probably means more than I was taking it to. Is he really from Vermillion? That bit of dialogue felt like a lie to me. I guess we'll see where it goes from there.

Indeed, Sai is happy here because Kuiora obeys orders, is happy to go along, AND he got to take some time to actually choose a pokémon rather than feel obligated to choose the first one he saw like he did with Senori. And no, he’s not from Vermilion, lol. :D

I pronounce it as Kwee-or-uh, though if something else sounds better to you, that’s fine too. :p


Would a Sentret refer to other Sentret as "people"?

Of course. Okay, not really. :( I tend to write them like they’re humans out of nowhere sometimes. I’ll watch out for that, thanks for pointing it out.


I wonder why the invader pokemon didn't attack/eat Senori after it had lured him away all that time ago. I can't imagine it left him alive just to screw with him, so why, after it had taken him so far that his cries would not have alerted the clan, did it not just eat him? Besides, you know, leaving us with a tragic, complicated character for your story. I get the sense from this bit that Senori actually IS strong...was the predator afraid to take it on one-on-one?

I was going with the logic that the predator wanted to get back to its own clan before it left without him. The predator would have been able to get food from its clan members wherever they went.


Okay, and now he seems happy to be doing this for the first time. I'm having a really hard time reading this guy. And his personality has done, well not a 180. Let's call it a 120. He seems to enjoy the idea of being a trainer now; he let Senori go off without any problem; he wasn't angry at all this section that I could notice. So I'm all over the map on what this kid's deal is. Is he a robot? I'm really going with robot here.

Haha, well, he could be. I tend to be vague when answering things regarding Sai, but please feel free to throw your suggestions out there. I find them interesting. His personality is supposed to take a 180 (or 120, I suppose) a lot, though. You’ve been invited to ride this rollercoaster of emotions (or lack thereof) with him, hope you enjoy the ride. In all seriousness, though, thanks for reading and reviewing the first 3 chapters so far, it’s much appreciated. I will get to your fic sometime soon.

Jazz14456_Plebeian
24th April 2012, 1:31 AM
Good, I'm glad Sai is older. I was thinking as I read the comments that he would be more appealing as older, because then he seemed more like he knew how to influence the pokemon.
I think my two favorite characters are Senori and Sai, because Senori has a very interesting personality and a dramatic backstory. I also am interested in why Sai behaves so strangely. He seems to have some strange attraction to following the rules, which he really doesn't know. For example, as soon as he found out about starters, he wanted a starter to "do it the right way". Sai seems to want to please whoever he came from. Even though his methods of training are not... traditional, I think he know how to build and condition his team to be the best very well.

Sid87
24th April 2012, 2:32 AM
Chapter 4!

My first thoughts a few paragraphs in are that Atis is very similar to Senori, in the sense that they are both whiny and full of self-doubt. I'm not sure that, at this point, there is a need for another character so similar to one we already have, but I also have faith that you know what you are doing and will differentiate them as you go.

Lots of good characters here. I like the youthful innocence of Shannon and the funny misunderstandings of Earl. Nice touches adding good flavor to otherwise minor characters (that is just an assumption; we may be seeing more of them for all I know).


It wasn’t that I hated pokémon. I hated peoples’ love for pokémon. It was consuming and overwhelming and encouraged far too much. It seemed to be the only reason for people to wake up in the morning, the only thing that made life worth living. Everything else was forgotten—reading, writing, school for jobs that made food and buildings, school for jobs that helped the sick... There had to be something else to life that not enough people were seeing.

Oh, this always seems so true of the Pokemon universe. I thought of that when writing my most recent chapter and wanted my character to use his cell phone. I initially wrote "PokeGear", and then thought "...why would this device even be named after pokemon?" It's good to see a character openly question the inanity of such a worldwide obsession.

I'm assuming the Atis found out "off-screen" that Sai can understand her (is it a her? I have gotten the sense that it's a her), so that's why we didn't see surprised reaction here. If so, good job. Unless anything new comes of it, we don't need to see the same conversation umpteen times.


It was eventually, finally, our turn to battle. I just wanted to get it over with. Falkner approached Sai and shook his hand. Sai stared at the handshake curiously and oddly, as if he wasn’t used to the greeting.

ROBOT! :)


There had been many cyndaquil named Blaze, I recalled…

Oh, the truthfulness of it all. Naming these things in-game is so hard. I bet I've done that before (maybe not a Cyndaquil, but...you know).
I'm actually surprised Earl never named Atis. Earl seemed a jolly, friendly fellow. He didn't seem to really listen to what Hitmontop had to say, but he did enjoy its presence. I can't help but wonder how it never came to him to name it. Hmmm.


Maybe I could convince Sai of being something else.

I look forward to this. Admittedly, I'm less interested in Atis that Kuiora or Senori, but I want to see her continue this quest to change the world she hates so much. It will really develop her further.

I don't mean to make that sound harsh, but I get an adorable sense of wonderment from Totodile and a strong sense of pity for Sentret. From Hitmontop, I just get..."okay, you're whiny like Sentret, but don't have as interesting of a backstory". So I'll be keeping an eye on further development from her.

diamondpearl876
24th April 2012, 3:34 AM
Good, I'm glad Sai is older. I was thinking as I read the comments that he would be more appealing as older, because then he seemed more like he knew how to influence the pokemon.
I think my two favorite characters are Senori and Sai, because Senori has a very interesting personality and a dramatic backstory. I also am interested in why Sai behaves so strangely. He seems to have some strange attraction to following the rules, which he really doesn't know. For example, as soon as he found out about starters, he wanted a starter to "do it the right way". Sai seems to want to please whoever he came from. Even though his methods of training are not... traditional, I think he know how to build and condition his team to be the best very well.

I find it interesting that you think he can build a good team. I’m inclined to agree, but we’ll see how it goes! And yeah, it just didn’t feel right having Sai be very young. Once, uh, whatever is wrong with him is revealed, it should make sense that he can’t be the way he is at such a young age. Thanks for commenting.


My first thoughts a few paragraphs in are that Atis is very similar to Senori, in the sense that they are both whiny and full of self-doubt. I'm not sure that, at this point, there is a need for another character so similar to one we already have, but I also have faith that you know what you are doing and will differentiate them as you go.

I was actually thinking about this last night. With them, I’m wanting to emphasize the idea that coming from very separate backgrounds can have similar results. That’s what I want to do with these two characters, and also with Sai and another character that hasn’t been introduced yet. I run the risk, however, of making them too similar. Boo. :C

I’d like to say they’re different. Senori is a leader, has motivation, has initiative. Atis, on the other hand, is very hypocritical. He would like to think he’s a leader and has motivation, but he has little to none. He gets nothing done, and just sits and daydreams all day about things he wants to do, but won’t do—or will give up on easily if he tries. Senori’s currently a lot like Atis only because of his traumatic past experience that has shattered the confidence he used to have.

Atis also has a lot of social anxiety and nervousness for no apparent reason, and he absolutely hates attention. Senori just experiences self-doubt due to past experiences, and likes to show his strength when he can (otherwise he would never offer to keep watch for his clan).

Senori also believes in fate (“Sai was sent to me for a reason, and I have to prepare to go with him”), whereas Atis thinks that things about the future/present can be changed (“I want to deter Sai from being a trainer even if that’s what he wants to do”).

I hope that makes sense. They’re alike, yes, but they’re also very different. (You pointing it out just means that I need to distinguish them better, though, so I’ll work on that.)


I'm assuming the Atis found out "off-screen" that Sai can understand her (is it a her? I have gotten the sense that it's a her), so that's why we didn't see surprised reaction here. If so, good job. Unless anything new comes of it, we don't need to see the same conversation umpteen times.

Yeah, I try to watch out for not showing the same scene over and over. The only exception would be the dice rolling thing, since that’s the most important, in my opinion. I also find it interesting to see how each individual character acts to the situation, but I understand it can get boring and tedious.

(Also, Atis is a boy, not that it really matters.)

Thanks for commenting/reviewing~

diamondpearl876
24th April 2012, 6:28 AM
Writing this almost literally made my head spin. :p I felt all the emotions present, and in such a rollercoaster fashion. How about you?



SURVIVAL PROJECT

chapter 6 ; [ATIS]
escalate

*

I lost track of days not long after I left Violet City with Sai.

Saying good-bye to Earl had been an easier feat than I had expected—he was happy for me, and seemed all too eager to give me away to a boy who was leaving his school much earlier than the rest of his students. That was his personality, I knew. He was caring and trusting and he always had everyone’s best intentions in mind. I wondered if he would miss me or if he really didn’t want to let me go, but I tried not to dwell on it. I wouldn’t have been able to stand knowing that he would be thinking of me in such a negative way whenever he encountered something that reminded him of me.

Even if he hadn’t wanted me to leave, I would have done so anyway. Leaving meant a better chance of finding joy. And although Sai was rather odd, it was this lack of normalcy that attracted me to him. Maybe, just maybe, I could change him. I could deter him from pokémon training. I could be… something. The path to Azalea Town made me think of this even more, especially when the sentret—or Senori, as I eventually learned—almost got hurt, but was saved by another trainer. Possible danger and discouragement from others could be ideas used against him during my efforts. The situation even made me second guess my decision, though I was prone to such swaying.

Yes, I lost track of days so that I could focus on using my time wisely rather than watching it simply pass by.

Still, Sai made it difficult to lose track of time. It took a little over three weeks to get out of the cave, he said. During those last few days, I was forced to keep up with him because he was walking so fast. If I tried to get lost in my thoughts and ignore the rest of the world like I usually did, I fell behind and panicked. So I tried to keep myself focused. I could hear him mumbling numbers over and over as he swiftly made his way through the rest of the cave while simply assuming that we were close behind. Time seemed important to this boy all of a sudden. Before, he was content to come to the school day after day, and he allowed me an entire week to prepare for my departure. Now, he seemed obsessed with numbers and speed, as if his life depended on it. Kuiora seemed to notice, but didn’t care much—she only tried to get his attention by beating the occasional wild pokémon that dared to fight. And Senori often looked at him with concern, but was too paralyzed to say anything.

When we got to Azalea Town, his suddenly obsessive self scattered and escalated to a pace that no one else could keep up with.

The first night was normal enough. He wanted to sleep in the pokémon center, as expected. No trainer could resist the luxury of pokémon centers, though he didn’t try to hide the glares he gave the nurses who looked at us. Despite his unnecessary anger, they gave us a room with two beds and other standard human things. I watched from the doorway as Sai paced around the room anxiously, and as Kuiora and Senori stared at objects that perhaps only I had seen before—lamps, carpet, indoor plants. They treaded lightly and refused to touch anything, as if it all was sacred and fragile. At one point, a worker from the center knocked on our door and offered us some pokémon food, which they also took as if they were being presented with the greatest gift in the world.

Though curiosity was present, tiredness was overpowering, and the night soon ended. Kuiora and Senori slept together on the bottom bunk since they were closer friends, while I took the top so that no one could see me. Sai didn’t sleep at all—he just kept pacing, back and forth, back and forth, mumbling incomprehensibly. I thought I could feel him watching me, but I was too exhausted to care. Anxiety had a limit when you were constantly exposed to the idea of being crushed by a bunch of rocks, I supposed…

*

Sai woke us up at sunrise. I thought that I was starting to have a nightmare about earthquakes, but it was just Sai shaking the bed in order to get my attention from the top bunk. I immediately sat up and tried to control my uneven breathing so that I could tell him to stop, but by the time I prepared myself, he had already yelled up to me about going to get breakfast and was out the door.

I climbed down from the bed and saw the other two pokémon staring at me, slightly confused. I almost fell as I tried to steady myself on the floor, and thought to make a break for it like Sai had before they could ask me anything.

“I like Sai's style today,” Kuiora said, not bothering to let the boy get to her. She bounced off of the bed and headed for the door herself, smiling. “I’m going to get some food.”

Senori soon followed her, though he didn’t say anything. I just stood in place for a few moments, wondering whether or not to go with them. Staying and enjoying the peace and quiet was an option, but I knew that if I really wanted to start getting involved with Sai’s life before he decided his fate on his own, I couldn’t just hide forever. I made my way out of the room, finding small amounts of comfort in the soft floor below me.

I followed Senori around the corner, noting how quiet it still was. Everyone else still must have been sleeping. The center surely couldn’t have just been empty—there had been too many trainers around when we arrived last night. It was impossible for me not to notice. While I was wondering why the place was so quiet, I didn’t notice that Senori had stopped moving, and I accidentally bumped into him.

“I-I’m sorry,” I said, looking down to the floor bashfully and running my foot along the carpet, seeking more comfort.

“It’s fine. I’m not sure where Sai went,” Senori said simply.

“Oh. Well… we could try to find a nurse and see if they can tell us where to go…”

“Good idea,” Senori said, nodding. And with that, he took the lead again and kept moving forward. I followed and vowed to pay more attention this time. I considered my endeavor rather successful when I saw a pink-haired nurse first and pointed it out to Senori. He nodded again, went up to the nurse, and tugged at the bottom of her white skirt. She had been talking to another trainer, but immediately took notice of Senori and smiled, asking if the poor pokémon was lost. Again, Senori nodded, and I wished I could have taken the useful role—especially since I would have been allowed to remain silent.

“What are you looking for, dear?” she asked.

“…Food. My trainer went to get food,” Senori said hesitantly, gesturing toward his mouth with his paws.

“Don’t worry, silly. I can understand pokémon,” the nurse said, chuckling slightly. “I spend enough time with them to know what they’re trying to say, no matter what species. Now, the breakfast room is through that door on the other side of the building. Enjoy!” She pointed behind Senori, and then turned away to continue talking to the trainer, a boy who looked vaguely familiar. I didn’t stick around to see him, though, as I followed Senori in the direction that the nurse sent us in. Luckily, the lobby was empty save for a couple people, so I didn’t have to worry about getting lost this time around.

When we got there, however, Sai was gone. Kuiora was obliviously eating nearly everything in sight, especially the berries. She didn’t see us come in, and we had to ask her quite a few times where Sai was before she acknowledged us.

“He came in here and then left this place. Didn’t even eat,” she explained in between bites of food.

“You didn’t follow him to see where he was going?” Senori asked, tilting his head to the side.

“Nope. I was hungry… and he’s the trainer, not me.”

“Huh…” Senori turned to look at me. “He seems, um, rather upbeat today. I’m not really sure if we should go after him and risk ruining it,” he added, smiling awkwardly.

“You can eat,” I offered. I was hungry, but staying meant that I would have to be alone with Senori, since Kuiora clearly wasn’t interested in speaking to us. One-on-one interaction wasn’t exactly my favorite situation to be in, so I just offered to go look for Sai instead. After receiving a skeptical look from the sentret, I quickly said that I’d be careful. He agreed and scrambled over to the table next to the totodile. I was free to leave.

*

The sky was half bright, half dark when I walked out of the pokémon center. The city itself was the same, as the forest towered over the part of the city that we hadn’t come in through. There were some hints of light on the other side where we arrived, and I looked at those areas first, noting how the pavement was uncomfortable beneath my feet. I was used to darkness—I craved it, even—but I couldn’t help hopefully looking toward the lighter side of things. With so little people out this early in the morning and with the illuminated part of the city demanding my attention, finding Sai was an easy task, though deciding whether or not to chase after him was another story.

I had to decide whether or not to chase him because I saw him entering a random house.

It occurred to me that I had no idea where my trainer lived. Wherever it was, it couldn’t have been in Azalea Town… right? Why sleep in the pokémon center, then? He wasn’t the kind that seemed to like much interaction, however. I understood this, but I also understood that there were more efficient ways of going about avoiding those you lived with…

I decided to chase after him. I ran through the small town, trying to focus on the house so that I wouldn’t arrive there only to forget which one he had entered. They all looked the same, just as all trainers were the same. When I got to the house, the door was still propped open, so I reluctantly stepped inside. My heart was beginning to race, and I tried to calm myself down with the idea that this was no different than entering the school. Everyone was allowed there, even if it belonged to Earl. I could only hope that the owner here was as nice as he was.

My heart stopped when Sai tried to walk out just as soon as I entered, and ended up colliding with me unexpectedly. I stumbled backward, falling and landed on my back. I stayed on the ground, making no attempt to stand back up. Surely, things could have been worse, but the idea of being caught unwanted in someone else’s home was enough to send me panicking. And hadn’t I left the other pokémon to avoid this kind of reaction? I couldn’t win.

“Atis!” Sai said excitedly. He reached down and lifted me to put me back on my feet. I looked up at him and there was something odd about his eyes. I knew they were a dark blue, but now they seemed… glazed over. Deadened and desperate, somehow, though his demeanor said otherwise.

“Um, hi,” I started lamely. I couldn’t stop looking at his eyes.

“I’m sorry I skipped breakfast, Atis,” he said quickly. “I wanted to go out and, you know, um, meet people. The door here was unlocked, but I went in the first room and no one was there. And the place was so big and cozy, you know, I couldn’t take it, I’m not used to it, but I’m going to try again, okay?”

“Uh…” He was speaking too fast for me to fully understand. Something about seeing people and not being used to it. I simply nodded—words were useless here.

“Okay, let’s go find the next house then,” Sai said, holding on to my arm and pulling me to the next house over. Why did these things have to almost be right next to each other? I didn’t have much time to process what was going on, but I immediately made a whining noise when Sai went to try opening that door, too.

“What’s wrong, Atis?” Sai asked, though he still went to turn the knob. It was locked.

“I, uh, these houses… They aren’t yours. You can’t just go in them,” I mumbled. His eyes widened in response.

“Why not? Senori always says things like that.”

“They’re private. You have to ask to go in,” I said, a bit more confidently this time.

“Oh. I guess they’re too good and cozy for everyone to have,” Sai said, though his voice was still upbeat, as Senori would have put it.

“Uh, right…”

“Okay, then! Well, we now have a goal for today.”

“We do?”

“Yep. We’re going to get invited to everyone’s houses. We’ll get to everyone in town,” Sai declared, grinning ecstatically.

“Oh…?” I started, but Sai had already started wandering off to find the few people who were already wandering about. I made my way over to him as fast as I could, but I was a bit late. He was talking to a girl who didn’t look quite as confused as I was, but pretty close. Her hands grabbed on to the straps of the bag that rested at her side, and her lips were parted slightly, as if she were going to speak, but was unsure of what to say. There was more sunlight now that dawn had passed—was Sai looking for brightness, too? I couldn’t tell what he wanted. I felt more and more disconnected with this boy with every passing minute, but it seemed to be the opposite for him. He was feeling more, connecting more—at the expense of his dignity, no doubt, but he nonetheless seemed to be making an attempt at being… human.

“So, yeah…” I heard Sai say. “I’d really, really like to come by and see everything and, uh, talk.”

“Um...” the girl said, looking around nervously. And then she spotted me. I was standing behind Sai’s legs, trying to stay hidden yet present so that I could stop him should he do anything too stupid. “Are you a trainer?”

“Yes,” Sai said proudly. “This is Atis, my hitmontop. He’s a little shy, but that’s okay.”

“My brother’s a trainer, too,” she said proudly, thankfully ignoring me from then on. “He just got back to town after getting his first pokémon. He says being around non-trainers is already a bit weird, so maybe he’d like you to come over.”

“That’d be nice. Let’s go, then,” Sai said, taking a step toward her.

“Oh, it’s a bit early right now... Why don’t you come back later? For dinner or something,” the girl said. “Just remember which house I live in, okay? They all look the same.”

Sai’s face fell a little, but he didn’t lose his spirit. He said good-bye to her and told me he was going to go find someone who would talk to him now, and he was off again. What luck he had, after all, getting one step closer to reaching his goal not even five minutes into his adventure! And what terrible encouragement, I thought bitterly.

The next few people he talked to, though, were trainers who didn’t live in Azalea Town. They offered, however, to give away their phone numbers, just in case he ever wanted to talk or if he needed something. When he explained he didn’t have a phone, he was advised to get one, and to hand out his number whenever he was given the chance. It was extremely helpful among trainers, apparently, to have some kind of back-up help if necessary. I wondered where they had learned that. While I didn’t approve of the training thing, I did approve of the tactic…

And while I was lost in my thoughts, Sai had left again. He was off to the pokémart.

At least I knew where the pokémart was. They were always easy to point out because of their blue roofs and a sign that blatantly said what the building was used for. I went inside and spotted Sai talking to the sales clerk, presumably asking for a phone.

We were there for quite a few hours, which was the longest amount of time I had seen Sai sit still for thus far, if you didn’t count the adventure in the cave. There was just so much to choose from, Sai pointed out. Some phones had special features. All of them came in different shapes and sizes, too!

After a while, I no longer bothered to stick around and listen to his ramblings. Following him around everywhere had already been tiring. Instead, I wandered around, seeing what other things that humans were allowed to buy. I ended up in the clothes section, since it was the only part of the store that didn’t scream out to trainers. Yes, people needed clothes for everyday use—and who made these clothes, anyway? Were there really enough people in the world to make enough clothes for everyone, when most people insisted on raising useless pokémon like me? The clothes aisle really wasn’t cutting it, either. Luckily, or unluckily, Sai eventually ran over to me and presented three phones that he had just bought. They all had the same essential feature that he was looking for, though if I remembered right, some of them had games available, along with maps and information about pokémon.

“Don’t you only need… one?” was all I could ask.

“I couldn’t decide which one, so I just bought them all,” Sai said, going to put them in his backpack. He stopped in the middle of this, however, to look at the same clothes that I had just been staring at. “Good idea, Atis. We need some clothes, too.”

And thus began my adventure of watching him pick out clothes. He never looked at more than one article of clothing for more than a few moments, nor did he take the time to put them back. He simply threw them on the ground and kept on looking. He kept a few things, such as a dark green pullover sweater, pants, and some shoes that he’d probably just get annoyed with since he would have to carry them around all the time. He really confused me when he even chose some baby clothes.

“You’re not a baby, Sai,” I pointed out numbly.

“I feel like buying them anyway. I like them,” he said simply. “I don’t know, maybe you or Senori or Kuiora could wear them. You guys are small enough.”

I blanched and wondered why I had to say such things when extremely nervous.

*

It took a lot of convincing, but I managed to get him back to the pokémon center after his crazy shopping spree. Senori and Kuiora were waiting outside of our room’s door, since we had been gone so long with the key. Sai let us all in the room, and I thought that our day was over—until I remembered that he had to go to that one house for dinner.

I flopped down on the bed, not aiming to get back up. But Senori walked over to me and questioned everything. He was worried, but didn’t know what to do.

“I’m not really sure what happened today, either,” I said lazily, lying there.

“What?”

“He ran around everywhere, trying to talk to everyone, and he wasn’t angry over anything. And he bought an awful lot of things. And, uh… I thought you said he was out of pokédollars,” I finished stupidly.

“I did say that.”

“Winning battles, maybe? Maybe he had more than you thought.”

“Maybe…” Senori said. He looked down at the ground, lost in thought.

“Anyway, uh, we’re going to be leaving again soon… for dinner,” I said after a few moments of silence.

“Dinner?”

“Yep. Apparently, Sai now thinks that the town and everyone in it is his friend.”

Senori’s face brightened. “That’s a good thing! Maybe he won’t be angry anymore.”

I didn’t think that he could change so easily, but I didn’t say anything back. I wasn’t given a chance to, anyway, as Sai came up behind me and tried putting on one of the smaller t-shirts that he had bought earlier.

“Atis, your head is too big. I can’t get this on you,” he said, trying to pull it down harder. I was surprised it hadn’t ripped yet. When I could, I ducked down and pelted forward, so that I was out of the boy’s grasp. He easily took it as a sign that I didn’t want the shirt, and went to Senori instead. Being much smaller (and with a much narrower head), the shirt went on easily. It was a white shirt that had a plain pokéball image on the front of it.

“Do I get a shirt?” Kuiora said, running up to Sai and pulling on his sleeve.

“I bought a lot, so sure…” he said, grabbing another one. This one was black and was designed with random designs like swirls and stars. I had to admit that I preferred that shirt, though it quickly got ripped due to the totodile’s red spikes protruding from her back. It was wearable, but it looked odd. Kuiora didn’t seem to mind; she just liked the attention. She didn’t get much of it, however, as Sai started getting anxious again and didn’t want to stay in the room. He took us back out to the lobby, which was much fuller than it was earlier. It was loud, crowded, and full of pokémon. Apparently, it was exactly what he was looking for.

Until it was time to go to dinner, Sai spent the rest of the time running around the lobby of the pokémon center, talking to everyone and showing off his partly dressed pokémon. Whenever he simply introduced me as his strong hitmontop, I closed my eyes and felt myself redden from embarrassment. There were so many pokémon around—none of which were evolved—and I knew they were all looking at me. All the new pokémon at the school had done the same. Some of the girls thought it was cute, but most people were trainers and were in a hurry to get going in order to get a head start in the forest before dark. They ignored him or brushed him off, and I breathed a huge sigh of relief.

*

Despite the girl’s previous warning, it was difficult to remember where her house was. I had left it up to him to remember, but apparently, he hadn’t. Thanks to Senori’s generous explanation, Sai was at least able to knock on the door and ask for her, whatever her name was. It took us a while to find her. Sai never seemed keen on using pokéballs, so I took this time to rest as best as I could and to prepare myself for the upcoming situation. I hadn’t been with the boy long, but I had already learned that anything could happen.

I was able to get a better look at her when we found her since it was daytime. Blonde hair, big dark eyes, a narrow face with soft skin and a small mouth. She looked an awful lot like the guy who had saved Senori in the cave, and I hoped my assumptions weren’t correct. Since I had to memorize faces at the pokémon school and there had been quite a few siblings there over the years, I didn’t think I was wrong. I knew, at least, that he wouldn’t be here tonight, but still…

I started paying attention to the situation at hand when she solemnly announced that Sai had been an hour late and had already missed dinner. And she didn’t have any pokémon food, though her brother should have been out shopping for some at that very moment. That only heightened my suspicions, but I didn’t have time to think about it as Sai pushed past her and walked into the house anyway. She looked shocked, but didn’t question him or make any attempt to get rid of him.

Us three pokémon stared at one another, wondering if we should follow. Kuiora decided to take the lead and went in as well—he was our trainer, after all, and we couldn’t get in trouble for being loyal, now could we? I was about to point out my observations about the girl, but decided against it.

“Your house is very pretty,” I heard Sai say as I walked in. It was, indeed, a nice house. I mostly noted how full and complete the place felt—this was the home of people who had been here a long time, and would continue to stay. Everything was clean. There were several pieces of furniture, all of which looked worn but still cared for. The walls were adorned with various paintings, some of them consisting of ordinary items, some of them containing rather inspirational quotes that might have affected me if I wasn’t walking around so uncomfortably. The lights weren’t too bright, which made me feel slightly better, but I had a feeling that the girl was watching us with caution. We were weird and new, but mostly weird.

The other three—especially Sai—were especially interested in all the things that I didn’t care for. Tables, doors, couches, several kitchen supplies—what were they made of? Where did she get them? Why did anyone need a table, anyway? I thought that it would be easy to tell how confused the girl was by her hesitant responses, but she was polite and responded to every question nonetheless. I admired her for it. Finding out that everything that made you comfortable in life was a complete mystery to someone else was surely awkward.

“I don’t mean to be rude… but do you have your own place? Where are you from?”

Sai stopped. He didn’t blink, didn’t move. For a moment, he was passive once again. “Vermilion City. And sure I did,” he said finally, “but it was different.”

“Oh? How so? I don’t know much about the Kanto region,” she explained. She sat down at the table and motioned for Sai to join her, but he didn’t. I wondered if he missed the gesture entirely or was too fascinated by the table to the point where he was afraid of breaking it.

“I’ve never been in a kitchen. People brought food to me,” he said, smiling again.

“Not much of a cook, huh?” she said, smiling back. I noted that she didn’t take Sai so seriously, though I believed actions spoke much louder than words.

“Yeah… I mean, I had walls. And, uh, a bed…”

“I see…” she said, looking at him oddly again. “You sound like my brother. He’s not one for conversation, though he knows how to use words pretty effectively when the situation calls for it. Are you the same?”

The conversation went on like this, with her trying to probe for answers, and with him not being specific at all. He had things. Yes, generic things that anyone could have. He really lived in a city… in some region. He had people who lived with him. Who? Just people. You know. No, I don’t know. Had he always been around pokémon? Maybe. He didn’t like to remember. …I hope you don’t mind my pokémon looking around. They’re curious. And they’re wearing shirts.

Eventually, she gave up, but Sai didn’t get the hint that it was time to leave. It was like playing twenty questions, and Sai had just proved that there could actually be a loser to the game without even knowing it.

I tuned them out until Sai said it was time to go. I was thinking that, in a sense, this was like being with Earl in Violet City. Conversations were vague and inconclusive. No one was particularly close with anyone, though they sure tried to be. The main difference was that Earl was never so excited to be in such a place, while Sai was ecstatic.

I thought that maybe something good could come from this hectic day. Sai seemed happiest in a comforting place like this. He sure was happier than any other time I’d seen him so far, anyway. Maybe he could stay in Azalea Town. He didn’t have to travel or train; he could make new goals. Yes, this morning he had had a rather odd… goal. But it had nothing to do with pokémon, and I could work with that. He didn’t even complete his goal, either, but I could work with that, too. I wasn’t accustomed to being a battling pokémon, and neither was Senori. Kuiora may have been another story, but she was young; she could adapt without problem. We could stay, and Sai could become something that wasn’t a trainer, something that wouldn’t make him miserable.

When Sai said it was time to go, the girl ushered us out the door. I was hardly paying attention to anything being said anymore, but I did hear him address her as Sasha. I mentally said good-bye to her, and hoped that we wouldn’t be getting any trouble over visiting if her brother really was the boy who didn’t like Sai.

I also noted that she didn’t invite us to stay for the night. Wasn’t that a normal thing to offer your guests? It was probably for the best if my assumptions about her knowing the hero from the cave. I wasn’t human, so I couldn’t tell the depth of her wariness toward Sai. I just knew that I probably felt more human than he did that day, and that needed to change.

*

My plan seemed ruined when Sai bought four rooms in the pokémon center that night—one for each of us. The nurse looked at him oddly at first, but then smiled and said it was a considerate thing to do. Pokémon need their alone time, too, after all. My worries ceased when she explained that she would have all of our rooms next to each other, just in case.

After getting room keys, we went around the corner to where all the rooms were located. It was quiet, again, just as it had been during the morning. Sai let the other two pokémon into their rooms, and told them to be good, to not cause trouble. When he went to open my door, though, I stopped him and asked if I could talk to him for a minute.

“Why?” Sai asked, tilting his head to the side slightly.

“I, you know, wanted to talk about today,” I said, trying to sound confident. I was rushing into unknown territory here, I knew. But it seemed like as good a time as any, if Senori and Kuiora’s strange descriptions of Sai were anything to go off of.

“Oh…?” he said as he entered his own room. His backpack and other belongings were still there. I had forgotten that he already had a room. He also already had rented it for two nights, maybe more. Why buy separate rooms now, then? I wondered. My confidence lessened; the lack of concrete answers made me nervous.

“Yeah. I was, um, curious as to how long we’re going to be traveling for?” I asked.

“Not long… but long enough to be able to get all the badges in Johto!” Sai said quickly. He handed me my key—was he expecting all of us to know what to do with a key? I could do it, sure, but maybe not the others…

…Not only was I trying to deter Sai, I was trying to deter myself from the situation at hand. Focus.

“And how many do you have now? Just the one?” I asked.

“Yep,” he replied. I had been hoping for a different answer, but okay. I could deal with that.

“Well, I thought that we could… Well, you seemed happier in Azalea Town today.” I stepped a little further inside the room as I noticed that I was still by the doorway. I had to appear friendly, not scared.

“I guess… Visiting the girl was fun, but she also pointed out my enthusiasm,” Sai said, bending down to take off his shoes. Halfway through untying them, he stood up.

“That’s a bad thing?” I asked, watching him. He started rearranging things in the room—he opened the windows, put the plants in different corners, ruffled and then fixed the bed sheets. It took a long time for him to answer.

“Most of the time...” he finally said, slowly. Once again, he seemed passive, and I wasn’t sure why.

“I think it’s a good thing,” I pointed out, trying to cheer him up.

But it backfired.

“And what do you know?” he snapped, turning sharply to look at me. His eyes were still glazed over, I noticed. It was hard not to notice. I stumbled backward a bit despite myself, as if he had physically hit me.

“Being happy is a g-good thing, Sai… Y-You seemed happy here, you know? Talking to everyone and everything,” I said. I didn’t believe my own words. “M-Maybe we could stay here for a while. It doesn’t have to be permanent, but it could be longer than a few days…”

He simply kept walking around, slower this time, still cleaning things, still attempting to fix things that weren’t broken in the first place. I just stared and wondered if I had said too much and stayed too long.

Eventually, he mumbled, “Get out.”

“Huh?” I wanted to make sure I had heard him right. If I couldn’t succeed now, who knew when I’d try again…?

“I told you to get out,” Sai said, louder and more stern this time. He made his way over the table in the corner of the room.

“I got you guys your own rooms for a reason—”

—he moved the lamp on the table from one side to another—

“—so get out—”

—and it apparently wasn’t good enough, it wasn’t perfect, so he tried again—

“—go to your own room—”

—but it was no good, so he ripped the cord out of the wall—

“—just get out!”

—because it’s always the little things that get to us.

He finally stopped screaming and fumbling with the lamp.

Instead, he growled and threw the lamp at me.

I ducked and let the lamp crash into the closed door behind me. I could hear it shatter. A million pieces all around me. The result of a troubled teenage boy that no one could bother to understand.

I had no choice but to do what he wanted and retreat to my own room. I said nothing more. Opened the door, went into the hallway. Closed the door… and simply sat down. I was holding on to my key so tightly that it dug into my skin and made me bleed a little.

I thought it was over, but the chaos didn’t end there. I could hear him screaming again, unintelligibly this time. Things were still being moved around rather violently, I could tell—I just didn’t know what or how, and I didn’t want to find out.

Suddenly, I jumped a little as I heard someone else yelling. I calmed down a bit as I realized it was Senori. The poor pokémon was too short and probably couldn’t open the door. I stood up slowly and wobbled over to his room’s door, telling him that Sai was just angry… as usual.

“Is he okay?” he asked after we heard yet another crash.

“Yes… No one’s hurting him. He’s just… mad,” I explained as calmly as I could. It wasn’t hard, since I was too paralyzed to care much, like Senori had been earlier. Luckily, the sentret seemed to understand, and left it at that.

Kuiora, however, was another story. Her door opened and she looked at me with a mixture of annoyance and confusion. She had taken the time to drag a chair to the door so that she could open the door. Now, she was looking down at me.

“He’s just angry. We shouldn’t, uh, interfere…” I said before she could question anything, noting the obvious hypocrisy in my words.

“I thought you two were fighting,” she pointed out.

“We kind of were…” I said sheepishly.

“Physical fighting? Pokémon battle fighting?”

“Well, no, but—”

“I’m going to become stronger than you someday, you know.”

“Eh?” I asked. Just what I needed—more cryptic answers… I half-heartedly listened as I checked over the rest of my body to make sure I wasn’t hurt.

“Yeah. You got to fight the first gym battle all by yourself and you apparently got some attention tonight. But I’m going to get stronger than you. It’ll be a competition of sorts,” she said.

Well, I wasn’t hurt physically, but mentally… “I-I don’t want competition—” I started, but she cut me off with a water gun to the face. I didn’t finish my sentence, and was now spitting water out of my mouth instead of words. It was an accurate comparison, but annoying nonetheless.

“You can’t expect to be the strongest and not have competition!” Kuiora cried.

At least it wasn’t a lamp, I thought bitterly. At least I wasn’t hearing screaming or crashing anymore. But now I was wet and cold and utterly defeated. I was done.

“I don’t need this…” I said. I stood up, coughed up the last of the water that had been shot into my mouth, and I finally let myself into my own room. “I’m going to bed. You can have him.”

“Wait—”

I shut the door.

I heard nothing else for the rest of the night.

*

I slept through most of the night, though I woke up shivering and cold a few times, thanks to Kuiora. For some reason, she had a grudge against me, and was going to do anything in her power to win. Cooperation for anyone’s sake was not an option for her.

And Sai… I didn’t know about Sai. All I had done was ask a couple questions, and then violence ensued. Yes, he had given us warning beforehand, but still… He seemed happy, and then it all changed in a few mere moments.

When I awoke, I tried to think about Violet City. I thought about Shannon. How was she doing? Her intentions were always pure. Was it getting her into any trouble? What about Jason? Battles could be so exhausting, I knew. I had been gone for what seemed like forever, now. I didn’t know what day of the week it was. Who was struggling today?

Eventually, I’d have to learn that everyone was always struggling. And I’d have to accept this fact.

I taught myself about some peace of mind and slept through the day.

*

I was woken up at some point by a loud knocking on the door. Judging by the faint light coming in through the windows, I assumed it was dawn or dusk. It was perfectly good timing or perfectly bad timing.

I got up lazily, rubbing my eyes with my hands, careful not to scratch myself with my spikes. Though I had to stretch a bit to reach, I was able to open the door.

It was Sai.

“Sai,” I breathed tiredly, slowly. He looked tired, too, with the dark circles under his eyes and his sagging limbs. And he still had those glassy, dead eyes…

“Could I stay in your room tonight?” he asked quickly. Well, he sure didn’t waste any time getting to the point, but it wasn’t at all what I was expecting. And what was I expecting, anyway? An apology? …A hug? It wasn’t likely.

“Um…” was all I could say. He looked tired, but apparently, he was still moving quickly, thinking quickly.

“Look, I’m sorry that happened. I-I mean… That’s not right. You have to understand. I get these moods sometimes. Everything speeds up for me, I think so much, and I want to do a million things at once and I want to talk to a million people so I forget things, things don’t get done, and there’s never enough time in the world though it goes by so slowly, and yeah, I seem happy, this is the first time I’ve ever been able to do things I wanted when like this, and it was fun but it turned wrong, I can always turn angry so fast and… and… I’m not usually violent, but that was a touchy subject. I don’t know… Being happy is depressing for me, it’s stressful, everything’s too fast. I can’t think straight right now. I can’t… Do you understand what I’m saying?”

I just stared. He was trying his best to relay his complicated feelings to me, but no, I didn’t understand. Since when was being happy a bad thing? Did all humans have emotions like this? I thought dumbly. I certainly didn’t think so, but what other explanation was there?

“I’m sorry, I am. I, uh, destroyed my room, as you might have guessed…” he said, and then he finally closed his mouth, though it appeared forced.

When I realized he wasn’t going to say anymore, I told him he could stay. And it was okay. Things happened, after all. I was really only saying that to avoid more problems, though.

“If you say so,” Sai said, though he looked happier again, smiling and making his way into the room, just as he had entered Sasha’s place without gaining full permission.

It hit me, then, that it must be nearing nighttime. How could I keep him entertained until he went to sleep? Would he sleep at all? I decided to stay silent.

Eventually, though, he was pacing back and forth, just like he had that first night. And he felt compelled to speak first. He said, “I bought you all separate rooms so you wouldn’t have to see me like that. It happened anyway. I don’t know what happened, I’m sorry.”

“It’s fine,” I said, climbing into the top bunk. If I couldn’t sleep, I would pretend to.

“I thought you’d be mad at me and all. Understandable, you know. I didn’t want to go to Kuiora or Senori, though, or they’d question things. They didn’t see anything, I’d like to keep it that way…”

“…It’s fine,” I said yet again, not bothering to mention their encounters with me.

“Yeah, and you didn’t come out of your room earlier when I knocked and all,” Sai said. He was pacing still, but I supposed it was better than rearranging things all over again.

“I-I was tired.”

“Oh. Well, you didn’t miss too much. Some poison pokémon threatened to kill me after I tried to pick it up and talk to it. Senori had to try to talk some sense into it or something. I don’t remember much else…”

“Sounds like it was another interesting day,” I noted. Somehow, I was still surprised.

But he wasn’t. He just said, “Something like that,” and then we were quiet.

Dragonicwari
25th April 2012, 1:21 AM
I don't think anyone has read this yet, but their were a few mistakes for once;

I stopped him and asked if I could talk to him for a moment.

That happened right before Sai got mad, you forgot the I in if

diamondpearl876
25th April 2012, 1:28 AM
I don't think anyone has read this yet, but their were a few mistakes for once;

I stopped him and asked if I could talk to him for a moment.

That happened right before Sai got mad, you forgot the I in if

It was a long chapter, I'm not surprised. Fixed now.

Thanks for letting me know, and let me know if you see anything else you'd like to point out~

Sid87
25th April 2012, 5:27 PM
Chapter 5!



Unless Senori let it get to him, he was free, just as I was free from Professor Elm.

I get that Kuiora wanted to be out on an adventure, but it seems odd that he'd say this, since Elm was so affectionate to him.


Normal kids would be dying of hunger or thirst by now,” he said, holding his stomach.

I'm totally right about this robot thing, aren't I?


He thought that I was a boy and he pushed me away in favor of the true first pokémon.

I'm really bad at reading the genders of your pokemon. :p


There didn’t seem to be too many totodile around, so surely someone wouldn’t object to seeing one with their own fortunate eyes.

Adding to Kuiora being my favorite character right here. :) I like the cockiness juxtaposed by the fact that she's clinging desperately to Sai.


Sai could decide thing about his pokémon himself.

Not sure if that is supposed to be "things" or "this" or another word entirely. Either way, it might be a bit unwieldy. "Sai could make these kinds of decisions himself", may be better.


As it turned out, it was a good thing that I didn’t catch another strong pokémon for Sai, because he found one on his own. It was a strange looking creature that had been named Atis. It was strange looking, but also intimidating. He didn’t seem to like anyone, his feet and head had spikes on them, and when he battled in the other building Sai liked—the gym, was it?—he fought impressively. The battle was short, and even with the type advantage (I had learned about that from the bird owner, not Sai), he wasn’t afraid and he did what he had to do to win. I wanted to be like him. I vowed to be used in the next gym battle.

This was also the first time I had seen Senori since I had accidentally captured him. That morning, Sai finally asked me where he was when he said that we were going to the gym, and I explained everything to him. Besides a slight smile, Sai didn’t react much, and had to dig through his backpack and try every pokéball until he found Senori’s and let him out. He announced that we would be going to the gym later that day, and to be prepared. Now that I thought about it, I wasn’t sure why, since he never intended for us to battle at all. But that was okay. Atis showed us the regular routine, and next time, I (or Senori, unless Sai realized how much training I had done) would know what to do.

This part seemed a bit awkward to me because Kuiora's narration starts after having beaten the gym, then goes to before even having gone to the gym. It was written well, but I read to read it three times because I wasn't sure if I had missed something and maybe they were at another gym already.


I even saw Sai fight some pokémon himself, even the rock-types, and I made a mental note to myself so that I could see just how strong he was sometime.

He was fighting them HIMSELF? Like how he had attacked Senori at the beginning? Curiouser and curiouser...

Anyway, overall, this section really emphasized how much Kuiora is my favorite character. Sai is an enigma that can't be penetrated (ROBOTS ARE LIKE THAT), and reading the sniveling of Atis is kind of draining. Senori isn't bad because his backstory was very interesting, but I love the cocksure spunk of Kuiora. She's a lot of fun. My only complaint is the narration for all three, despite their personality differences, are all pretty similar. They all seem to have the same vocabularly and perceptions of things around them. Kuiora seems like her sentence should be shorter, more abrupt, and more enthusiastic than Senori, and Atis seems like he should be using more conjunctions and broken thoughts to relay uncertainty, self-doubt, etc. Does that make sense?

Still, you are writing a VERY fun and enjoyable story here, and they way you've put it together is brilliant. . I like the last line foreshadowing a great deal. Just the brilliant touches like the fable Elm told Kuiora or the complete turns that Sai takes at any given moment are sll so well done. I feel like the bulk of my critique here was negative, but that's only because I spend the largely good parts of your chapters absorbed in the story.

diamondpearl876
25th April 2012, 6:16 PM
I get that Kuiora wanted to be out on an adventure, but it seems odd that he'd say this, since Elm was so affectionate to him.

Along with her cockiness comes her tendency to be rather ungrateful toward others.


I'm really bad at reading the genders of your pokemon. :p

So is Sai, apparently.

I find that gender doesn't really matter in most cases. I feel that if I really tried to distinguish genders, then I'd end up having to fall back on stereotypes that people often recognize.

I guess Sai is genderless if he's a robot. ;)

Senori - male
Atis - male
Kuiora - female


Not sure if that is supposed to be "things" or "this" or another word entirely. Either way, it might be a bit unwieldy. "Sai could make these kinds of decisions himself", may be better.

That does sound better. Fixed now, thanks! I have awkward wording sometimes, yay.


This part seemed a bit awkward to me because Kuiora's narration starts after having beaten the gym, then goes to before even having gone to the gym. It was written well, but I read to read it three times because I wasn't sure if I had missed something and maybe they were at another gym already.

I get what you're saying, though I'm not sure how to make it less confusing. I'll look into it, thanks.


My only complaint is the narration for all three, despite their personality differences, are all pretty similar. They all seem to have the same vocabularly and perceptions of things around them. Kuiora seems like her sentence should be shorter, more abrupt, and more enthusiastic than Senori, and Atis seems like he should be using more conjunctions and broken thoughts to relay uncertainty, self-doubt, etc. Does that make sense?

It makes sense. I can see where you're coming from, and I'll try to work on it. I think from what attempts I've made at it so far, I've overdone it and then regressed the the point where they all just became similar. Well, I'll be interested to see what you think about Atis's next chapter.


Still, you are writing a VERY fun and enjoyable story here, and they way you've put it together is brilliant. . I like the last line foreshadowing a great deal. Just the brilliant touches like the fable Elm told Kuiora or the complete turns that Sai takes at any given moment are sll so well done. I feel like the bulk of my critique here was negative, but that's only because I spend the largely good parts of your chapters absorbed in the story.

Oh, good. I was starting to get worried, lulz. I appreciate you pointing out the negative things though, otherwise I wouldn't really be able to improve, you know?

Thanks for reading/reviewing!

Sidewinder
25th April 2012, 7:15 PM
Just so you know, Atis has stayed my favorite character through this chapter. Kuiora water gunning him in the face almost switched it to her, but at the very end, I decided to stay with Atis. You really have done a good job creating a character that's relateable. When he thinks about Earl, I go back with him, when he struggles with what he wants, I get anxious as well. Atis is actually pretty loveable, and I kinda want to give him a hug, but I know that would make him feel uncomfortable and he'd jump to the other side of the room and try to blend into the wall like a Kecleon.


Sai declared, grinning ecstatically.

Okay, who is this person? Lol, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Sai grin at all, much less ecstatically.


“Oh. I guess they’re too good and cozy for everyone to have,” Sai said, though his voice was still upbeat, as Senori would have put it.

That sentence really stuck out to me for some reason. It made me think of Sai as being almost childish. I really don’t remember exactly how old you said he was, (if you did at all). It makes me think there actually is something somewhat playfully ignorant about him. Not in a bad way at all, but compared to his earlier behavior, it makes me like his a bit more.


“Nope. I was hungry… and he’s the trainer, not me.”

I really loved Kuiora’s lack of concern or caring there. Just concerned about eating, awesome. It shows how young she is, and obviously where her mind is focused. She was groomed to be a starter, and it shows because despite them not being together for very long, it seems like she’s completely okay with their status together. Senori and Atis have some reservations still, but Kuiora seems like she’s settled in awesomely, just like I imagined she would/should. Also, the small rivalry with Atis, like a child who wants to impress their older brother by any means necessary is really well done. I hope to see more of it. Hope that makes sense, haha


“I, uh, these houses… They aren’t yours. You can’t just go in them,” I mumbled.

I love how you show Atis’s personality through his speech there. Unsure of himself even though he knows exactly what he’s talking about. And also how he’s taking great care in explaining different things to Sai. I mean, Atis knows that he’s different, but sometimes he talks to him like Sai is going to go thermonuclear at any moment


He was feeling more, connecting more—at the expense of his dignity, no doubt, but he nonetheless seemed to be making an attempt at being… human.

I liked that, very well written. I frequently get jealous of your writing, FYI, and it’s moments like that, that really show how talented you are. It’s so simple, and obvious, and really rings true to what’s happening in this part.


“Just remember which house I live in, okay? They all look the same.”

Are you referencing the games by that?


They were always easy to point out because of their blue roofs and a sign that blatantly said what the building was used for

Right there too.


He simply threw them on the ground and kept on looking.

Really good job showing how backwards and socially clueless Sai is. I mean, if Atis knows to put them back, that really tells me that Sai is not even close to where I’m thinking he is in terms of mental acuity. But he's obviously not dumb because of the genius ways he makes some of his decisions. Argh!

*Has Nuzleaf use bullet seed on Sai*


“Vermilion City. And sure I did,” he said finally, “but it was different.”

Okay, so he’s from Vermillion, and in the past he had food brought to him. And along with the seemingly endless amount of money and lack of social skills, is he perhaps a spoiled rich youngster who’s never had any life experience that would translate into being a trainer? Hence, the name ‘Survival Project’?


“I got you guys your own rooms for a reason—”

—he moved the lamp on the table from one side to another—

“—so get out—”

—and it apparently wasn’t good enough, it wasn’t perfect, so he tried again—

“—go to your own room—”

—but it was no good, so he ripped the cord out of the wall—

“—just get out!”

—because it’s always the little things that get to us.

That was somewhat confusing to me. I know how you planned it. Speaking, action, speaking, action. But for some reason, the dashes on either side of the actions read weird to me. I kept losing my place. I don’t really have anything to suggest about it, but I wanted to point it out.


“Oh. Well, you didn’t miss too much. Some poison pokémon threatened to kill me after I tried to pick it up and talk to it. Senori had to try to talk some sense into it or something. I don’t remember much else…”

Um, what? That was surprising. I’m afraid I wasn’t really following though. It just popped out suddenly and I was slightly confused lol. So was Sai making that up? Or did that really happen?

All in all, another good chapter. I really enjoyed, like everything you write, haha. You expanded a lot more on Sai, which is something I’m really grateful for. I used to dislike him to be honest, but you’re really starting to turn that around. Great job!

Jazz14456_Plebeian
25th April 2012, 11:03 PM
I did this slowly after you wrote it, in a Pages document, so I might correct errors that have already been corrected. Sorry!


Yes, I lost track of the days in order to use time to the best of my ability, rather than to just watch my life pass by slowly, yet in the blink of an eye.
What? The flow feels awkward on this part, and it doesn't make much sense.


Though curiosity was present, tiredness was overpowering, and the night soon ended. Kuiora and Senori slept together on the bottom bunk since they were closer friends, while I took the top so that no one could see me. Sai didn’t sleep at all—he just kept pacing, back and forth, back and forth, mumbling incomprehensibly. I thought I could feel him watching me, but I was too exhausted to care. Anxiety had a limit when you were constantly exposed to the idea of being crushed by a bunch of rocks, I supposed…
Man, Sai is so wierdly insensitive to Senori being almost killed... What the heck? I wonder why he behaves this way... Maybe he thinks it will toughen Senori up? Well, it will probably be revealed later.


“Oh. I guess they’re too good and cozy for everyone to have,” Sai said, though his voice was still upbeat, as Senori would have put it.
Whoever said Sai was once a pokemon, I now agree with them.


“He ran around everywhere, trying to talk to everyone, and he wasn’t angry over nothing.

Double negative. Fix the nothing into anything, I think if you change wasn’t into was it won’t come out in the way that you mean.


No one was particular close with anyone, though they sure tried to be.
Grammar mistake. “paticular” needs to be paticularly.


When he went to open my door, though, I stopped him and asked f I could talk to him for a minute. You forgot the “i” in “if”.


“And what do you know?” he snapped, turning sharply to look at me. His eyes were still glazed over, I noticed. It was hard not to notice. I stumbled backward a bit despite myself, as if he had physically hit me.

“Being happy is a g-good thing, Sai… Y-You seemed happy here, you know? Talking to everyone and everything,” I said. I didn’t believe my own words. “M-Maybe we could stay here for a while. It doesn’t have to be permanent, but it could be longer than a few days…”

He simply kept walking around, slower this time, still cleaning things, still attempting to fix things that weren’t broken in the first place. I just stared and wondered if I had said too much and stayed too long. Little bit of a mood swing? Ugh, I want to know why Sai is different so much


Eventually, he mumbled, “Get out.” Woah, hes mad.


“Oh. Well, you didn’t miss too much. Some poison pokémon threatened to kill me after I tried to pick it up and talk to it. Senori had to try to talk some sense into it or something. I don’t remember much else…”
Hm, I wonder if the next chapter will be in view of this pokemon, and is entered into the team?
Interesting read. Sai is just so stinking strange...

diamondpearl876
25th April 2012, 11:50 PM
Just so you know, Atis has stayed my favorite character through this chapter. Kuiora water gunning him in the face almost switched it to her, but at the very end, I decided to stay with Atis. You really have done a good job creating a character that's relateable. When he thinks about Earl, I go back with him, when he struggles with what he wants, I get anxious as well. Atis is actually pretty loveable, and I kinda want to give him a hug, but I know that would make him feel uncomfortable and he'd jump to the other side of the room and try to blend into the wall like a Kecleon.

Hahaha, well, I'm glad someone likes Atis. I'm glad you're able to relate with him in the way I write him. And LOL yes, I don't think he'd like hugs much, but it's the thought that counts?


That sentence really stuck out to me for some reason. It made me think of Sai as being almost childish. I really don’t remember exactly how old you said he was, (if you did at all). It makes me think there actually is something somewhat playfully ignorant about him. Not in a bad way at all, but compared to his earlier behavior, it makes me like his a bit more.

I'm under the impression that he's 16 or 17, though I'm not really sure myself. (Weird, I know.) Indeed, when he gets "happier" his ignorance seems more childish.


I really loved Kuiora’s lack of concern or caring there. Just concerned about eating, awesome. It shows how young she is, and obviously where her mind is focused. She was groomed to be a starter, and it shows because despite them not being together for very long, it seems like she’s completely okay with their status together. Senori and Atis have some reservations still, but Kuiora seems like she’s settled in awesomely, just like I imagined she would/should. Also, the small rivalry with Atis, like a child who wants to impress their older brother by any means necessary is really well done. I hope to see more of it. Hope that makes sense, haha

Makes sense completely. I'm glad you see that she's settled in and that she's going to try to be "rivals" with Atis--exactly what I was going for.


I love how you show Atis’s personality through his speech there. Unsure of himself even though he knows exactly what he’s talking about. And also how he’s taking great care in explaining different things to Sai. I mean, Atis knows that he’s different, but sometimes he talks to him like Sai is going to go thermonuclear at any moment

LOL, Atis's reluctance is very founded, Sai DOES go thermonuclear at any moment! :p


I liked that, very well written. I frequently get jealous of your writing, FYI, and it’s moments like that, that really show how talented you are. It’s so simple, and obvious, and really rings true to what’s happening in this part.

Haha, aww, well thank you. Funny how that works, since I get jealous at how well you can write third person. :p


Are you referencing the games by that?

Indeed, I follow the game canon. I'll look up things about the anime/manga for expanded personalities of gym leaders and things, but that's about it.


*Has Nuzleaf use bullet seed on Sai*

LOL, he frustrates me too, don't worry!


Okay, so he’s from Vermillion, and in the past he had food brought to him. And along with the seemingly endless amount of money and lack of social skills, is he perhaps a spoiled rich youngster who’s never had any life experience that would translate into being a trainer? Hence, the name ‘Survival Project’?

That's an interesting assumption. Won't say if it's right or wrong, just that the title is indeed important and relevant.


That was somewhat confusing to me. I know how you planned it. Speaking, action, speaking, action. But for some reason, the dashes on either side of the actions read weird to me. I kept losing my place. I don’t really have anything to suggest about it, but I wanted to point it out.

Never thought that the dashes could be distracting, but perhaps it would have worked better if I did Sai yelling first and then the narration parts, just in short, choppy sentences?


Um, what? That was surprising. I’m afraid I wasn’t really following though. It just popped out suddenly and I was slightly confused lol. So was Sai making that up? Or did that really happen?

It was meant to show that Sai really did have another crazy day (it was real), though maybe I went overboard, rofl.

Thanks for reading/reviewing as always~


What? The flow feels awkward on this part, and it doesn't make much sense.

Hmmm, I'll try to work with it and change it. Thanks!


Man, Sai is so wierdly insensitive to Senori being almost killed... What the heck? I wonder why he behaves this way... Maybe he thinks it will toughen Senori up? Well, it will probably be revealed later.

Indeed, it will be revealed later.


Whoever said Sai was once a pokemon, I now agree with them.

That was Dragonfree, I believe. I don't know if she still thinks Sai was a pokemon (or if she's reading at all), but it's an interesting assumption nonetheless.


Double negative. Fix the nothing into anything, I think if you change wasn’t into was it won’t come out in the way that you mean.

Will fix this (and other mistakes you pointed out) after I post this.


Little bit of a mood swing? Ugh, I want to know why Sai is different so much

Good! *cackles evilly*


Interesting read. Sai is just so stinking strange...

Indeed he is. I like strange characters.

Thanks for reading/reviewing!

Sidewinder
26th April 2012, 2:28 AM
I'm under the impression that he's 16 or 17, though I'm not really sure myself. (Weird, I know.)

I don't think it's weird at all. Sometimes my characters have to tell ME things about themselves before I can think them up. They evolve, they grow, and if that's what you meant I completely understand


Haha, aww, well thank you. Funny how that works, since I get jealous at how well you can write third person.

Thanks to you as well


It was meant to show that Sai really did have another crazy day (it was real), though maybe I went overboard, rofl.

Oh not at all. It certainly seems plausible, especially since it happened to Sai. For one second though, I was like O_O



Never thought that the dashes could be distracting, but perhaps it would have worked better if I did Sai yelling first and then the narration parts, just in short, choppy sentences?

You mean like this:



“I got you guys your own rooms for a reason...”

He moved the lamp on the table from one side to another.

“So get out.”

And it apparently wasn’t good enough, it wasn’t perfect, so he tried again.

“Go to your own room.”

But it was no good, so he ripped the cord out of the wall.

“Just get out!”

Because it’s always the little things that get to us.

He finally stopped screaming and fumbling with the lamp.

diamondpearl876
26th April 2012, 5:19 AM
I don't think it's weird at all. Sometimes my characters have to tell ME things about themselves before I can think them up. They evolve, they grow, and if that's what you meant I completely understand

Yeah, that's what I meant, haha. Somehow I would think it'd make me sound crazy (though maybe that would only appear crazy to non-writers).


You mean like this:

“I got you guys your own rooms for a reason...”

He moved the lamp on the table from one side to another.

“So get out.”

And it apparently wasn’t good enough, it wasn’t perfect, so he tried again.

“Go to your own room.”

But it was no good, so he ripped the cord out of the wall.

“Just get out!”

Because it’s always the little things that get to us.

He finally stopped screaming and fumbling with the lamp.

Yes, something like that. Not sure if that works better than the dashes.

Sidewinder
26th April 2012, 6:28 AM
Yes, something like that. Not sure if that works better than the dashes.

Looking at it now, I'm kind of split on it. Perhaps you're original version does work out better, I'm not sure. Regardless, it was a great scene

Sid87
26th April 2012, 6:25 PM
He nodded again, went up to the nurse, and tugged at the bottom of her white skirt. She had been talking to another trainer, but immediately took notice of Senori and smiled, asking if the poor pokémon was lost.

THIS. is ADORABLE. I want a Sentret so much now from just these lines. I can picture this happening in my head.


I stumbled backward, falling and landed on my back.

Stupid complaint time! And I don't know why this struck me so, but...shouldn't a Hitmontop--of ALL pokemon--be a little more nimble and less easy to knock over? They spend half their lives flipping over and spinning around on their heads. :)


“I, uh, these houses… They aren’t yours. You can’t just go in them,” I mumbled. His eyes widened in response.

“Why not? Senori always says things like that.”

“They’re private. You have to ask to go in,” I said, a bit more confidently this time.

“Oh. I guess they’re too good and cozy for everyone to have,” Sai said, though his voice was still upbeat, as Senori would have put it.

Nice little comment on the silly little RPG trope there. Nobody ever thinks anything of just barging into other peoples' houses. Nice touch taking that on.


hey offered, however, to give away their phone numbers, just in case he ever wanted to talk or if he needed something. When he explained he didn’t have a phone, he was advised to get one, and to hand out his number whenever he was given the chance. It was extremely helpful among trainers, apparently, to have some kind of back-up help if necessary.

Ha! Taking on ALL the tropes!


He had people who lived with him. Who? Just people. You know. No, I don’t know. Had he always been around pokémon? Maybe. He didn’t like to remember. …I hope you don’t mind my pokémon looking around. They’re curious. And they’re wearing shirts.

LOL.

Okay, I'm still not particularly enamored of Atis. He's just not a strong character, in my mind. But I'm sure he'll get there. More Senori and Kuiora until then. :)


“I’m going to become stronger than you someday, you know.”

Like that. I love her little random blurts.

diamondpearl876
27th April 2012, 12:41 AM
Looking at it now, I'm kind of split on it. Perhaps you're original version does work out better, I'm not sure. Regardless, it was a great scene
Hmm. Only other idea I have is to use parenthesis on the narration parts instead of dashes, seems less distracting. Not even sure if that’s grammatically correct. Oh well, I’ll keep it in mind for future chapters and for when I go back to re-write things, thanks!


THIS. is ADORABLE. I want a Sentret so much now from just these lines. I can picture this happening in my head.

Sentrets are pretty much the most adorable things ever~


Stupid complaint time! And I don't know why this struck me so, but...shouldn't a Hitmontop--of ALL pokemon--be a little more nimble and less easy to knock over? They spend half their lives flipping over and spinning around on their heads. :)

I imagine falling backward would be a little more difficult to avoid, no? I’m sure they flip forwards to start spinning. Either way, I see what you’re saying.


LOL.

I’m glad someone got a laugh out of this chapter, LOL. I particularly liked writing that part, found it amusing for whatever reason.

Okay, I'm still not particularly enamored of Atis. He's just not a strong character, in my mind. But I'm sure he'll get there. More Senori and Kuiora until then. :)

Indeed, I hope you’ll like the next 3-4 chapters more since there won’t be much Atis, and there’ll be a new character… lol. Impossible to please everyone with all characters, I suppose.

And with that, you’re all caught up now. Thanks for your comments and for reading, I really appreciate it! Did you wanted to be added to the PM list or anything?

Sid87
27th April 2012, 12:50 AM
Yes, absolutely. I figured it was obvious.

diamondpearl876
27th April 2012, 12:51 AM
Yes, absolutely. I figured it was obvious.

Lol, I like to be sure. Added!

The Great Butler
27th April 2012, 10:06 AM
SURVIVAL PROJECT

chapter 6 ; [ATIS]
escalate

*

I lost track of days not long after I left Violet City with Sai.

Saying good-bye to Earl had been an easier feat than I had expected—he was happy for me, and seemed all too eager to give me away to a boy who was leaving his school much earlier than the rest of his students. That was his personality, I knew. He was caring and trusting and he always had everyone’s best intentions in mind. I wondered if he would miss me or if he really didn’t want to let me go, but I tried not to dwell on it. I wouldn’t have been able to stand knowing that he would be thinking of me in such a negative way whenever he encountered something that reminded him of me.

Hmm. I'm trying to remember, did Sai actually get permission to take Atis or did Sai steal him?


Even if he hadn’t wanted me to leave, I would have done so anyway. Leaving meant a better chance of finding joy. And although Sai was rather odd, it was this lack of normalcy that attracted me to him. Maybe, just maybe, I could change him. I could deter him from pokémon training. I could be… something. The path to Azalea Town made me think of this even more, especially when the sentret—or Senori, as I eventually learned—almost got hurt, but was saved by another trainer. Possible danger and discouragement from others could be ideas used against him during my efforts. The situation even made me second guess my decision, though I was prone to such swaying.

Yes, I lost track of days so that I could focus on using my time wisely rather than watching it simply pass by.

I have to say, this part is by itself already a big development of Atis's character. You're using words very efficiently, and really reinforcing what we know about Atis already.


Still, Sai made it difficult to lose track of time. It took a little over three weeks to get out the cave, he said. During those last few days, I was forced to keep up with him because he was walking so fast. If I tried to get lost in my thoughts and ignore the rest of the world like I usually did, I fell behind and panicked. So I tried to keep myself focused. I could hear him mumbling numbers over and over as he swiftly made his way through the rest of the cave while simply assuming that we were close behind. Time seemed important to this boy all of a sudden. Before, he was content to come to the school day after day, and he allowed me an entire week to prepare for my departure. Now, he seemed obsessed with numbers and speed, as if his life depended on it. Kuiora seemed to notice, but didn’t care much—she only tried to get his attention by beating the occasional wild pokémon that dared to fight. And Senori often looked at him with concern, but was too paralyzed to say anything.

"It took a little over three weeks to get out of the cave." Besides that, another good paragraph.


When we got to Azalea Town, his suddenly obsessive self scattered and escalated to a pace that no one else could keep up with.

Uh oh. Something big is about to go down, isn't it?


The first night was normal enough. He wanted to sleep in the pokémon center, as expected. No trainer could resist the luxury of pokémon centers, though he didn’t try to hide the glares he gave the nurses who looked at us. Despite his unnecessary anger, they gave us a room with two beds and other standard human things. I watched from the doorway as Sai paced around the room anxiously, and as Kuiora and Senori stared at objects that perhaps only I had seen before—lamps, carpet, indoor plants. They treaded lightly and refused to touch anything, as if it all was sacred and fragile. At one point, a worker from the center knocked on our door and offered us some pokémon food, which they also took as if they were being presented with the greatest gift in the world.

Though curiosity was present, tiredness was overpowering, and the night soon ended. Kuiora and Senori slept together on the bottom bunk since they were closer friends, while I took the top so that no one could see me. Sai didn’t sleep at all—he just kept pacing, back and forth, back and forth, mumbling incomprehensibly. I thought I could feel him watching me, but I was too exhausted to care. Anxiety had a limit when you were constantly exposed to the idea of being crushed by a bunch of rocks, I supposed…

I'm beginning to wonder about him again. This isn't normal.



“I like his style today,” Kuiora said, not bothering to let the boy get to her. She bounced off of the bed and headed for the door herself, smiling. “I’m going to get some food.”

Who is the "his" referring to?


Senori soon followed her, though he didn’t say anything. I just stood in place for a few moments, wondering whether or not to go with them. Staying and enjoying the peace and quiet was an option, but I knew that if I really wanted to start getting involved with Sai’s life before he decided his fate on his own, I couldn’t just hide forever. I made my way out of the room, finding small amounts of comfort in the soft floor below me.

I followed Senori around the corner, noting how quiet it still was. Everyone else still must have been sleeping. The center surely couldn’t have just been empty—there had been too many trainers around when we arrived last night. It was impossible for me not to notice. While I was wondering why the place was so quiet, I didn’t notice that Senori had stopped moving, and I accidentally bumped into him.

“I-I’m sorry,” I said, looking down to the floor bashfully and running my foot along the carpet, seeking more comfort.

“It’s fine. I’m not sure where Sai went,” Senori said simply.

I don't think this can possibly have a good ending.



When we got there, however, Sai was gone. Kuiora was obliviously eating nearly everything in sight, especially the berries. She didn’t see us come in, and we had to ask her quite a few times where Sai was before she acknowledged us.

“He came in here and then left this place. Didn’t even eat,” she explained in between bites of food.

“You didn’t follow him to see where he was going?” Senori asked, tilting his head to the side.

“Nope. I was hungry… and he’s the trainer, not me.”

Now I'm beginning to feel Kuiora's personality. You're doing very well at that.



The sky was half bright, half dark when I walked out of the pokémon center. The city itself was half bright, half dark, as the forest towered over the part of the city that we hadn’t come in through. There were some hints of light on the other side where we arrived, and I looked at those areas first, noting how the pavement was uncomfortable beneath my feet. I was used to darkness—I craved it, even—but I couldn’t help hopefully looking toward the lighter side of things. With so little people out this early in the morning and with the illuminated part of the city demanding my attention, finding Sai was an easy task, though deciding whether or not to chase after him was another story.

I personally would not use "half bright, half dark" twice in such rapid succession. It's a little bit repetitive.


I had to decide whether or not to chase him because I saw him entering a random house.

It occurred to me that I had no idea where my trainer lived. Wherever it was, it couldn’t have been in Azalea Town… right? Why sleep in the pokémon center, then? He wasn’t the kind that seemed to like much interaction, however. I understood this, but I also understood that there were more efficient ways of going about avoiding those you lived with…

I decided to chase after him. I ran through the small town, trying to focus on the house so that I wouldn’t arrive there only to forget which one he had entered. They all looked the same, just as all trainers were the same. When I got to the house, the door was still propped open, so I reluctantly stepped inside. My heart was beginning to race, and I tried to calm myself down with the idea that this was no different than entering the school. Everyone was allowed there, even if it belonged to Earl. I could only hope that the owner here was as nice as he was.

I really like the touch of noting that Atis has to remember which house Sai entered. It just seems like something a Pokemon would have to do compared to a human.


My heart stopped when Sai tried to walk out just as soon as I entered, and ended up colliding with me unexpectedly. I stumbled backward, falling and landed on my back. I stayed on the ground, making no attempt to stand back up. Surely, things could have been worse, but the idea of being caught unwanted in someone else’s home was enough to send me panicking. And hadn’t I left the other pokémon to avoid this kind of reaction? I couldn’t win.

“Atis!” Sai said excitedly. He reached down and lifted me to put me back on my feet. I looked up at him and there was something odd about his eyes. I knew they were a dark blue, but now they seemed… glazed over. Deadened and desperate, somehow, though his demeanor said otherwise.

This really, really does not sound like a good thing...


“Um, hi,” I started lamely. I couldn’t stop looking at his eyes.

“I’m sorry I skipped breakfast, Atis,” he said quickly. “I wanted to go out and, you know, um, meet people. The door here was unlocked, but I went in the first room and no one was there. And the place was so big and cozy, you know, I couldn’t take it, I’m not used to it, but I’m going to try again, okay?”

This isn't Sai. Something happened.


“Uh…” He was speaking too fast for me to fully understand. Something about seeing people and not being used to it. I simply nodded—words were useless here.

“Okay, let’s go find the next house then,” Sai said, holding on to my arm and pulling me to the next house over. Why did these things have to almost be right next to each other? I didn’t have much time to process what was going on, but I immediately made a whining noise when Sai went to try opening that door, too.

“What’s wrong, Atis?” Sai asked, though he still went to turn the knob. It was locked.

“I, uh, these houses… They aren’t yours. You can’t just go in them,” I mumbled. His eyes widened in response.

“Why not? Senori always says things like that.”

“They’re private. You have to ask to go in,” I said, a bit more confidently this time.

“Oh. I guess they’re too good and cozy for everyone to have,” Sai said, though his voice was still upbeat, as Senori would have put it.

I'm beginning to wonder if my theory was right. He really seems completely unfamiliar with such simple concepts.


“Uh, right…”

“Okay, then! Well, we now have a goal for today.”

“We do?”

“Yep. We’re going to get invited to everyone’s houses. We’ll get to everyone in town,” Sai declared, grinning ecstatically.

This... isn't going to go well.


“Oh…?” I started, but Sai had already started wandering off to find the few people who were already wandering about. I made my way over to him as fast as I could, but I was a bit late. He was talking to a girl who didn’t look quite as confused as I was, but pretty close. Her hands grabbed on to the straps of the bag that rested at her side, and her lips were parted slightly, as if she were going to speak, but was unsure of what to say. There was more sunlight now that dawn had passed—was Sai looking for brightness, too? I couldn’t tell what he wanted. I felt more and more disconnected with this boy with every passing minute, but it seemed to be the opposite for him. He was feeling more, connecting more—at the expense of his dignity, no doubt, but he nonetheless seemed to be making an attempt at being… human.

“So, yeah…” I heard Sai say. “I’d really, really like to come by and see everything and, uh, talk.”

“Um...” the girl said, looking around nervously. And then she spotted me. I was standing behind Sai’s legs, trying to stay hidden yet present so that I could stop him should he do anything too stupid. “Are you a trainer?”

“Yes,” Sai said proudly. “This is Atis, my hitmontop. He’s a little shy, but that’s okay.”

“My brother’s a trainer, too,” she said proudly, thankfully ignoring me from then on. “He just got back to town after getting his first pokémon. He says being around non-trainers is already a bit weird, so maybe he’d like you to come over.”

Wow, I'm surprised that this actually worked.


“That’d be nice. Let’s go, then,” Sai said, taking a step toward her.

“Oh, it’s a bit early right now... Why don’t you come back later? For dinner or something,” the girl said. “Just remember which house I live in, okay? They all look the same.”

Inviting Sai over for dinner... I don't like where this could be going...


Sai’s face fell a little, but he didn’t lose his spirit. He said good-bye to her and told me he was going to go find someone who would talk to him now, and he was off again. What luck he had, after all, getting one step closer to reaching his goal not even five minutes into his adventure! And what terrible encouragement, I thought bitterly.

The next few people he talked to, though, were trainers who didn’t live in Azalea Town. They offered, however, to give away their phone numbers, just in case he ever wanted to talk or if he needed something. When he explained he didn’t have a phone, he was advised to get one, and to hand out his number whenever he was given the chance. It was extremely helpful among trainers, apparently, to have some kind of back-up help if necessary. I wondered where they had learned that. While I didn’t approve of the training thing, I did approve of the tactic…

Is this meant to lampshade the Pokegear and phone number trading? I had to smile a little at it because of that.


And while I was lost in my thoughts, Sai had left again. He was off to the pokémart.

At least I knew where the pokémart was. They were always easy to point out because of their blue roofs and a sign that blatantly said what the building was used for. I went inside and spotted Sai talking to the sales clerk, presumably asking for a phone.

We were there for quite a few hours, which was the longest amount of time I had seen Sai sit still for thus far, if you didn’t count the adventure in the cave. There was just so much to choose from, Sai pointed out. Some phones had special features. All of them came in different shapes and sizes, too!

After a while, I no longer bothered to stick around and listen to his ramblings. Following him around everywhere had already been tiring. Instead, I wandered around, seeing what other things that humans were allowed to buy. I ended up in the clothes section, since it was the only part of the store that didn’t scream out to trainers. Yes, people needed clothes for everyday use—and who made these clothes, anyway? Were there really enough people in the world to make enough clothes for everyone, when most people insisted on raising useless pokémon like me? The clothes aisle really wasn’t cutting it, either.

Nice expansion on the stock and purpose of a Pokemart.


Luckily, or unluckily, Sai eventually ran over to me and presented three phones that he had just bought. They all had the same essential feature that he was looking for, though if I remembered right, some of them had games available, along with maps and information about pokémon.

“Don’t you only need… one?” was all I could ask.

I am really beginning to wonder about why he has so much money so easily available to him.



“Anyway, uh, we’re going to be leaving again soon… for dinner,” I said after a few moments of silence.

“Dinner?”

“Yep. Apparently, Sai now thinks that the town and everyone in it is his friend.”

Senori’s face brightened. “That’s a good thing! Maybe he won’t be angry anymore.”

I don't know. Something about this gives me a really bad feeling.



Until it was time to go to dinner, Sai spent the rest of the time running around the lobby of the pokémon center, talking to everyone and showing off his partly dressed pokémon. Whenever he simply introduced me as his strong hitmontop, I closed my eyes and felt myself redden from embarrassment. There were so many pokémon around—none of which were evolved—and I knew they were all looking at me. All the new pokémon at the school had done the same. Some of the girls thought it was cute, but most people were trainers and were in a hurry to get going in order to get a head start in the forest before dark. They ignored him or brushed him off, and I breathed a huge sigh of relief.

I can feel Atis's embarrassment here. It's palpable.



I was able to get a better look at her when we found her since it was daytime. Blonde hair, big dark eyes, a narrow face with soft skin and a small mouth. She looked an awful lot like the guy who had saved Senori in the cave, and I hoped my assumptions weren’t correct. Since I had to memorize faces at the pokémon school and there had been quite a few siblings there over the years, I didn’t think I was wrong. I knew, at least, that he wouldn’t be here tonight, but still…

Oh no. Here we go.


I started paying attention to the situation at hand when she solemnly announced that Sai had been an hour late and had already missed dinner. And she didn’t have any pokémon food, though her brother should have been out shopping for some at that very moment. That only heightened my suspicions, but I didn’t have time to think about it as Sai pushed past her and walked into the house anyway. She looked shocked, but didn’t question him or make any attempt to get rid of him.

Us three pokémon stared at one another, wondering if we should follow. Kuiora decided to take the lead and went in as well—he was our trainer, after all, and we couldn’t get in trouble for being loyal, now could we? I was about to point out my observations about the girl, but decided against it.

I really have to say, I love how you're illustrating the differences in their personalities. Kuiora is acting nicely as a catalyst for that.



“I don’t mean to be rude… but do you have your own place? Where are you from?”

Sai stopped. He didn’t blink, didn’t move. For a moment, he was passive once again. “Vermilion City. And sure I did,” he said finally, “but it was different.”

That's a massive red flag that there might have been memory loss, memory wiping or memory implantation. I'm really suspicious now that I wasn't so far off the mark with my prediction earlier of his origin and purpose.


“Oh? How so? I don’t know much about the Kanto region,” she explained. She sat down at the table and motioned for Sai to join her, but he didn’t. I wondered if he missed the gesture entirely or was too fascinated by the table to the point where he was afraid of breaking it.

“I’ve never been in a kitchen. People brought food to me,” he said, smiling again.

“Not much of a cook, huh?” she said, smiling back. I noted that she didn’t take Sai so seriously, though I believed actions spoke much louder than words.

“Yeah… I mean, I had walls. And, uh, a bed…”

Laboratory. I was right. At this point I'm convinced.



I tuned them out until Sai said it was time to go. I was thinking that, in a sense, this was like being with Earl in Violet City. Conversations were vague and inconclusive. No one was particularly close with anyone, though they sure tried to be. The main difference was that Earl was never so excited to be in such a place, while Sai was ecstatic.

I thought that maybe something good could come from this hectic day. Sai seemed happiest in a comforting place like this. He sure was happier than any other time I’d seen him so far, anyway. Maybe he could stay in Azalea Town. He didn’t have to travel or train; he could make new goals. Yes, this morning he had had a rather odd… goal. But it had nothing to do with pokémon, and I could work with that. He didn’t even complete his goal, either, but I could work with that, too. I wasn’t accustomed to being a battling pokémon, and neither was Senori. Kuiora may have been another story, but she was young; she could adapt without problem. We could stay, and Sai could become something that wasn’t a trainer, something that wouldn’t make him miserable.

If only Sai's life could be that simple...


When Sai said it was time to go, the girl ushered us out the door. I was hardly paying attention to anything being said anymore, but I did hear him address her as Sasha. I mentally said good-bye to her, and hoped that we wouldn’t be getting any trouble over visiting if her brother really was the boy who didn’t like Sai.

I also noted that she didn’t invite us to stay for the night. Wasn’t that a normal thing to offer your guests? It was probably for the best if my assumptions about her knowing the hero from the cave. I wasn’t human, so I couldn’t tell the depth of her wariness toward Sai. I just knew that I probably felt more human than he did that day, and that needed to change.

That last line strikes me as something worth noting, I think.



“Yep,” he replied. I had been hoping for a different answer, but okay. I could deal with that.

“Well, I thought that we could… Well, you seemed happier in Azalea Town today.” I stepped a little further inside the room as I noticed that I was still by the doorway. I had to appear friendly, not scared.

“I guess… Visiting the girl was fun, but she also pointed out my enthusiasm,” Sai said, bending down to take off his shoes. Halfway through untying them, he stood up.

“That’s a bad thing?” I asked, watching him. He started rearranging things in the room—he opened the windows, put the plants in different corners, ruffled and then fixed the bed sheets. It took a long time for him to answer.

“Most of the time...” he finally said, slowly. Once again, he seemed passive, and I wasn’t sure why.

“I think it’s a good thing,” I pointed out, trying to cheer him up.

But it backfired.

“And what do you know?” he snapped, turning sharply to look at me. His eyes were still glazed over, I noticed. It was hard not to notice. I stumbled backward a bit despite myself, as if he had physically hit me.

“Being happy is a g-good thing, Sai… Y-You seemed happy here, you know? Talking to everyone and everything,” I said. I didn’t believe my own words. “M-Maybe we could stay here for a while. It doesn’t have to be permanent, but it could be longer than a few days…”

He simply kept walking around, slower this time, still cleaning things, still attempting to fix things that weren’t broken in the first place. I just stared and wondered if I had said too much and stayed too long.

Eventually, he mumbled, “Get out.”

“Huh?” I wanted to make sure I had heard him right. If I couldn’t succeed now, who knew when I’d try again…?

“I told you to get out,” Sai said, louder and more stern this time. He made his way over the table in the corner of the room.

“I got you guys your own rooms for a reason—”

—he moved the lamp on the table from one side to another—

“—so get out—”

—and it apparently wasn’t good enough, it wasn’t perfect, so he tried again—

“—go to your own room—”

—but it was no good, so he ripped the cord out of the wall—

“—just get out!”

—because it’s always the little things that get to us.

He finally stopped screaming and fumbling with the lamp.

Instead, he growled and threw the lamp at me.

Yeah, here it goes. I knew he wasn't going to last like that. Something is very, very wrong with him, especially with the hyper-elevation of his mood earlier in the day.



Kuiora, however, was another story. Her door opened and she looked at me with a mixture of annoyance and confusion. She had taken the time to drag a chair to the door so that she could open the door. Now, she was looking down at me.

Another neat bit of characterization for Kuiora, her craftiness and ingenuity.


“He’s just angry. We shouldn’t, uh, interfere…” I said before she could question anything, noting the obvious hypocrisy in my words.

“I thought you two were fighting,” she pointed out.

“We kind of were…” I said sheepishly.

“Physical fighting? Pokémon battle fighting?”

“Well, no, but—”

“I’m going to become stronger than you someday, you know.”

“Eh?” I asked. Just what I needed—more cryptic answers… I half-heartedly listened as I checked over the rest of my body to make sure I wasn’t hurt.

“Yeah. You got to fight the first gym battle all by yourself and you apparently got some attention tonight. But I’m going to get stronger than you. It’ll be a competition of sorts,” she said.

Well, I wasn’t hurt physically, but mentally… “I-I don’t want competition—” I started, but she cut me off with a water gun to the face. I didn’t finish my sentence, and was now spitting water out of my mouth instead of words. It was an accurate comparison, but annoying nonetheless.

“You can’t expect to be the strongest and not have competition!” Kuiora cried.

At least it wasn’t a lamp, I thought bitterly. At least I wasn’t hearing screaming or crashing anymore. But now I was wet and cold and utterly defeated. I was done.

“I don’t need this…” I said. I stood up, coughed up the last of the water that had been shot into my mouth, and I finally let myself into my own room. “I’m going to bed. You can have him.”

“Wait—”

I shut the door.

I heard nothing else for the rest of the night.

The level of development you're giving to the Pokemon is excellent. I'm really loving how each one has their own distinct, developed personality with strengths and flaws that contribute to their respective views of situations.



“Could I stay in your room tonight?” he asked quickly. Well, he sure didn’t waste any time getting to the point, but it wasn’t at all what I was expecting. And what was I expecting, anyway? An apology? …A hug? It wasn’t likely.

“Um…” was all I could say. He looked tired, but apparently, he was still moving quickly, thinking quickly.

“Look, I’m sorry that happened. I-I mean… That’s not right. You have to understand. I get these moods sometimes. Everything speeds up for me, I think so much, and I want to do a million things at once and I want to talk to a million people so I forget things, things don’t get done, and there’s never enough time in the world though it goes by so slowly, and yeah, I seem happy, this is the first time I’ve ever been able to do things I wanted when like this, and it was fun but it turned wrong, I can always turn angry so fast and… and… I’m not usually violent, but that was a touchy subject. I don’t know… Being happy is depressing for me, it’s stressful, everything’s too fast. I can’t think straight right now. I can’t… Do you understand what I’m saying?”

I just got struck like a freight train by a crushing idea that I can guess exactly what his origin actually is if my original guess was wrong. It just hit me.



“Oh. Well, you didn’t miss too much. Some poison pokémon threatened to kill me after I tried to pick it up and talk to it. Senori had to try to talk some sense into it or something. I don’t remember much else…”

“Sounds like it was another interesting day,” I noted. Somehow, I was still surprised.

But he wasn’t. He just said, “Something like that,” and then we were quiet.

And that can't be a good sign either.

All in all, this chapter was very challenging emotionally. You were right that reading it gets a reader emotionally tied to Sai, and that rollercoaster effect you described was in full effect. I really do believe that I can accurately guess what's going on with Sai now. The biggest part I want to comment on is the development of the Pokemon - this chapter was the one where they really began to stand out completely as separate entities, and it worked superbly.

diamondpearl876
28th April 2012, 10:10 PM
Hmm. I'm trying to remember, did Sai actually get permission to take Atis or did Sai steal him?

A bit of both, I guess. Sai used Atis in the gym battle when he didn't have direct permission to do so. To actually leave Violet City entirely, however, Atis said good-bye and got permission from Earl.


I have to say, this part is by itself already a big development of Atis's character. You're using words very efficiently, and really reinforcing what we know about Atis already.

Atis tends to take one step forward, three steps back. Or whatever saying that is. So yeah, seems like a huge development, but I think by the end it didn't go over very well.


"It took a little over three weeks to get out of the cave." Besides that, another good paragraph.

Not sure what's wrong with that part... lol. Don't see grammar issues... Does it just not fit in context?


I'm beginning to wonder about him again. This isn't normal.

No, no it's not. lol


Who is the "his" referring to?

"His" is referring to Sai. I'll go back and make that more clear.


I personally would not use "half bright, half dark" twice in such rapid succession. It's a little bit repetitive.

I see what you mean. I'll go back and fix it, thanks for pointing it out~


This isn't Sai. Something happened.

Oh, it's Sai. haha. But something did happen, yes.


Wow, I'm surprised that this actually worked.

Can't have Sai get only bad luck, you know? Also, I would think this would be a rather common things for homeowners to deal with in towns, since trainers are passing by all the time. :O


Is this meant to lampshade the Pokegear and phone number trading? I had to smile a little at it because of that.

Yes, yes it is. I always thought it was ridiculous to hand out your number to everyone possible only for nothing to come of it, but it really fits here.


I really have to say, I love how you're illustrating the differences in their personalities. Kuiora is acting nicely as a catalyst for that.

Thanks, I'm glad you think so.


If only Sai's life could be that simple...

He'd surely appreciate it if it were so simple. haha.


That last line strikes me as something worth noting, I think.

It is indeed important, so I'm glad you realized that.~


I just got struck like a freight train by a crushing idea that I can guess exactly what his origin actually is if my original guess was wrong. It just hit me.

I'd be interested to hear any and all of your theories, haha. The other ones you mentioned in your post were nice to see.


All in all, this chapter was very challenging emotionally. You were right that reading it gets a reader emotionally tied to Sai, and that rollercoaster effect you described was in full effect. I really do believe that I can accurately guess what's going on with Sai now. The biggest part I want to comment on is the development of the Pokemon - this chapter was the one where they really began to stand out completely as separate entities, and it worked superbly.

Thanks, I'm glad you found it emotionally challenging. That was how it was supposed to be. And thanks about the character development--since we're out of the way with introduction-only chapters, I only hope to keep expanding on them from here.

Thanks for commenting/reviewing~! I appreciate it. :)

The Great Butler
30th April 2012, 7:54 AM
Not sure what's wrong with that part... lol. Don't see grammar issues... Does it just not fit in context?

You said "get out the cave," forgetting the "of."


I'd be interested to hear any and all of your theories, haha. The other ones you mentioned in your post were nice to see.


If he wasn't raised in a laboratory and sent out on his journey as part of an experiment, I'm beginning to wonder if he wasn't a patient in a mental hospital. That's what hit me when he snapped and admitted all that stuff.

diamondpearl876
30th April 2012, 6:16 PM
You said "get out the cave," forgetting the "of."

Oh. *dumb* I was reading your corrected version so I got confused. Will fix it, thanks!


If he wasn't raised in a laboratory and sent out on his journey as part of an experiment, I'm beginning to wonder if he wasn't a patient in a mental hospital. That's what hit me when he snapped and admitted all that stuff.

You are surprisingly the first person to suggest this. I like it.

diamondpearl876
6th May 2012, 11:26 PM
SURVIVAL PROJECT

chapter 7 ; [SENORI]
oracle

*

Like everyone else, I wondered what was wrong with Sai. I asked myself that question all the time, but nothing good came of it. He was my clan now, and I had to figure him out. I tried, yet something else crazy always happened the moment I thought I had him figured out.

Why did he buy three phones? Didn’t matter—now he was walking into random peoples’ houses. Why did he suddenly want to be everyone’s friend? Well, then he was causing a ruckus in the pokémon center, I had to focus on that. …Why was I wearing this shirt? That stayed constant, at least, but it got me nowhere.

All I knew was that he was rubbing off on me now that we had been traveling together for a while. It was just like being in my clan again, except it felt like only the two of us, since the boy was overbearing and consuming, unlike Atis and Kuiora. When someone in the clan was upset, so was I, and I tried to fix it. When danger came about, I could have left, but I felt their fear and diminished it as best as I could. Now, when Sai got angry, so did I. He was feeling frantic… and so was I. But I didn’t know what to do with this anger or sudden energy, because I couldn’t trace it back to any source. There was nothing.

So I went through the motions. Fate would decide for me. I didn’t try to stop the fight between Sai and that boy who had saved me. I stayed with Kuiora while Atis spent the day with his new trainer. I had been hoping that Atis, who had had so much more experience with humans, could do a better job at figuring him out.

But the day after, Atis didn’t show up at all. Had he given up already? I simply watched Sai get into more trouble. I was frozen, seeing how the anger and energy had no particular outlet. Everything was random… and potentially destructive. How could I get rid of it? I feared that I couldn’t.

And the day after that, Atis came to my door, calling my name to try to get my attention. The sound was so quiet and hesitant that I thought I was imagining things—but he tried again soon enough, more urgent this time. I wobbled over to the door, tired from thinking too much though I had just slept. I put my ears to the door and asked what he wanted.

“Sai is gone! I mean, well, yeah, he’s gone…” Atis started. “I, uh, went to his room… and he wouldn’t answer the door or anything… He’s gone.”

“Are you sure he’s not just sleeping?” I said, rolling my eyes. I wasn’t concerned for Sai at all, but rather upset that he was still pulling stunts like this.

“No… Well, yeah. Just trust me!” he said.

“I think we should just go to his room and see,” I said, sighing. Atis was being difficult, and I didn’t know why.

“That’s, um, wasting time. He’s not there. Sai… never sleeps,” he said, his voice becoming louder the more he spoke.

That made sense, though. At first, Sai seemed to sleep just fine, but then he started sleeping less and less.

“Okay… Do you know where he’d be?” I said, finally giving in.

“No. I was hoping you could sniff him out or something, since you’re not eating breakfast this time…”

Atis was just as lost as I was when it came to figuring out Sai, apparently. And he was asking me to help him find the boy again, just like he had asked when Sai supposedly ran off to breakfast. How could we be playing this game of follow the leader when I no longer felt like someone that others could look up to?

“Fine. I can do that,” I said. I didn’t sound confident, but it was a step in the right direction. “Can you, uh, open my door for me? I’m not as tall as you.”

A few moments later, Atis opened the door and looked at me oddly. “It was… unlocked… all night.”

“I don’t know how to use a key, as Sai called it,” I said a bit too quickly. I walked out the door, pushing past him. This was about our trainer, not me, after all.

“You know someone could have walked in here and hurt you or something?” Atis said, closing the door, but not bothering to lock it, either.

“Oh well,” I said instantly, and changed the subject. “Should we get Kuiora?”

*

Sai smelled like metal. The smell of dirt had clung to him a bit over the past few weeks, but it wasn’t powerful enough for me to focus on. It was both a good and a bad thing. It was a bad thing because it was a terrible smell and not at all like I was used to. It was, however, easy to find him.

It was early in the morning, though there were a few people out and about. They stared at us, probably wondering if we belonged to a trainer or not. If they asked, how would I answer? I wasn’t entirely sure. I didn’t think about it since Atis kept asking me how long it would take to find him even though little time had passed, and Kuiora kept telling him to be quiet.

I tracked the boy to the edge of the city before they started getting out of hand. After following the unmistakable metallic smell (and after wondering how I had missed his smell when he first attacked me), I realized that we would be following him down into some kind of cave, but it wasn’t the one we traveled through to get here. I made my way to the stairs and peered into the darkness. It was inviting, but I couldn’t stand staring at it for very long.

“I guess we’re going into another cave…” I said, taking a few steps back. I could only hope that this one wasn’t as dangerous as the other. “Maybe you two should stay here. I’ll get him real quick and bring him out.”

“You obviously need us,” Kuiora said. “Who’s going to fight the wild pokémon for you?”

“It doesn’t matter,” I stated, but I didn’t say why. If I was being honest, it would be better this time, since no one would be able to save me. Or maybe my newfound energy would provide me with enough power to win. “If it’s dangerous like the other cave, then you should stay.”

“That gives us more incentive to go in!” Kuiora said, making her way to the stairs as well.

Atis chimed in before I could speak. “Maybe Kuiora’s right… She should go with you.”

“And why shouldn’t you?” I snapped.

“W-Well,” Atis stammered, “I do have the most experience out of all of us…”

Kuiora turned around and stomped her feet. “So? I already told you that I’m going to be stronger than you. Didn’t you hear me?”

“I’m sure he heard you,” I cut in. “Look—”

“Professor Elm told me stories about this kind of thing. Someone always tries to be the hero and that someone gets hurt,” Kuiora said. Despite the morbid topic, she was smiling, and she was looking at Atis, not me. “I’m not going to try to be the hero. I really am going to be the hero, and to do that, I have to get stronger.”

“Those are just stories, Kuiora…” Atis said, rubbing the back of his head and refusing to look at her.

“He tells them like they’re stories, but they’re real. If you’re lucky, maybe I’ll tell them to you someday,” she said.

“You guys can follow, then. But don’t complain if you get hurt or something,” I cut in, turning my attention to the cave. I knew I could possibly regret it later, but I was too angry to care at the moment. I had the energy to stop their fight, but it was negative energy, and I was going to take it out on Sai, just like he was taking it all out on us.

*

The cave (or as Atis later corrected, the well) wasn’t even that big, nor was it dangerous. It was filled with clean ponds and the stone walls didn’t look like they’d collapse on us at any moment. The wild pokémon were friendly, saying that the residents from Azalea Town came there all the time to get water and to make deals with the fellow slowpoke that lived deeper into the place. I had to keep Kuiora from attacking them, and Atis seemed beyond relieved. We all had come in prepared to prove ourselves and to fight if needed, but there was no reason to fight. Would this cause our tension to grow?

If I had allowed the argument to escalate outside any further, it may have grown, for we found Sai at the fourth or fifth pond we came across. He was on his knees, crouched over the pond and reaching into it, seemingly searching for something frantically. Nearby was a large mound of pokéballs… all of which I knew were his, considering he had bought so many not too long ago.

“I guess he really did need that many pokéballs. I bet he caught a lot of water pokémon,” I said, turning to Kuiora.

“I guess so…” Kuiora said, staring at them with some discontent. “Water pokémon are obviously the best, but…”

“Anyway,” I said, focusing on Sai now. Admittedly, I was afraid to approach him. I couldn’t help him, so why bother? But I had to eventually, I knew… so I walked up to him and tapped him on the shoulder. He snapped his head toward me immediately, surprised.

“Senori!” he said. He almost sounded out of breath. Just what had he be doing down here? He stood up quickly, wiping off the dirt from his clothes. Whatever he was doing, he had been doing it for a while now. “Kuiora and Atis. What are you guys doing here?”

“Atis said you weren’t in your room this morning… We were worried,” I said, the last three words sticking in my throat.

“Oh,” Sai said simply. Then he smiled and picked me up, both of his hands soaking my fur. I tried to get out of his grasp since I was annoyed, but he wasn’t hearing any of it. He brought me over to the mound of pokéballs and extended his arms forward, making sure I saw them. “I’ve been fighting magikarp all night. I caught each one in a pokéball!”

“Oh…?” I said, still trying to get free. We certainly didn’t need more teammates at this point, but I didn’t dare point it out.

“We have… a lot of new teammates?” Kuiora said, her hands limping at her side. I guessed that she hadn’t been wanting more potential competition.

“No, I won’t use them. They aren’t fit to be on this team!” Sai said confidently. He finally put me down, and I shook my body to rid myself of the water. “I didn’t really, uh, think about it. I just wanted to do something and this was what I ended up doing.”

“We could, you know, release them…” Atis chimed in, picking up a couple pokéballs hesitantly. He didn’t seem to want new teammates, either.

“We could just bring them with us and use them as food when we need to. We’ll never run out of food at this rate!” Sai said.

I stared at him, dumbfounded. My instincts told me that it was a good idea. Having food handy was always vital. But these pokémon were probably expecting to be released at any moment to meet their new, friendly trainer and teammates. They were probably expecting to battle and journey with us… not get eaten.

“Sai, that’s not fair. You can catch pokémon to eat anywhere,” I said, glaring at the boy.

“Well, I’m not releasing them. I worked for them,” Sai said, but he wasn’t angry. He was smiling.

It wasn’t fair. I was only angry because he had been angry, and now he was smiling? I couldn’t keep up. This boy was exhausting.

“We’ll find something to do with them, something you’ll be happy with,” I said, trying to word myself carefully. Perhaps fate had a plan for all these poor magikarp, and in that case it wasn’t my place to intervene. But I knew Sai was meant for me, otherwise he wouldn’t have shown up when he did or forced me to come along as my punishment.

“Sounds good to me.”

We were all quiet for a moment. Kuiora was still staring at Sai, confused and frozen. Atis was looking at the pokéballs like he wanted to be in one at the bottom of the pile.

I finally spoke up. “Now what are you going to do?”

“I don’t know,” Sai said. “Could go shopping again, could go deeper into the well and stay there for a while…”

Neither of those sounded like good options. I wasn’t a human but I knew that money was important. Staying in this well would drive Kuiora crazy, which would, in turn, drive the rest of us crazy. We were all feeling tension that needed to go away, but that was the easier task. Sai needed stability. I had to keep him on track, somehow, both physically and mentally… for everyone’s sake, not just his.

“Why don’t we go battle the gym leader?” I suggested. It was the only feasible option that I could think of. The idea of a journey and gathering gym badges was the only thing that had kept Sai sane so far, after all.

Sai opened his mouth like he was about to speak, and then he appeared lost in thought. Eventually, he agreed that it was the best idea, and that he was sorry that he hadn’t gotten around to it earlier. Yes, he had gotten off track, and time was running out now. At least he knew it.

“Okay, let’s get out of here. Senori’s right. Gym battle,” Sai said, starting to gather all of the pokéballs that he had spent so much time trying to fill.

We all left the well, trying to carry as many pokéballs as possible. None of us planned on returning, and we ended up leaving a few magikarp behind, but I couldn’t bring myself to worry about them. They were not meant to be with us, and that was for the best.

*

“Someday, we’ll actually make an appointment for these gym battles,” Sai declared on the way to the gym. He must have been somewhat aware of the gym this entire time, because he actually knew where it was, and led us there without problems.

“Why do you need an appointment?” I asked. I would make an attempt to remember this for the future. The more information I could get that would help me keep Sai stable, the better.

“Because Falkner was mad last when I came in after he already had so many challengers.”

“I see,” I said, staying close behind him. He was walking quickly, almost running, and I was glad to be burning off some energy. Atis was much further behind, and when I looked at him, he was frowning and looked like he wanted to say something, but never did. Perhaps he was afraid to be used in another gym battle. Kuiora, by contrast, was making an effort to keep up with Sai, also frowning whenever she started tripping over her own feet since she was trying to move so fast.

Azalea Town’s gym, unlike the last one, was completely filled. Trees everywhere, small ponds and bugs everywhere, the quiet sound of nature. I wondered if it was a building at all. In fact, I felt like I was home, and it brought about an unsettling feeling in my stomach. I considered tugging on Sai’s pants and asking him if maybe we could come back later, but I decided against it. What was the point of prolonging the inevitable? I stayed behind my trainer, though I let Kuiora take my place in front.

“I just keep learning more and more about buildings, don’t I? This one’s interesting,” Sai muttered, moving forward through the gym, faster and more confidently than when he had traveled through the other forest—my forest. This wasn’t a forest… but I could see that Sai was learning and becoming accustomed to more and more things. It made me less angry, and I figured that I could deal with being in this kind of setting once more for him.

“Gym leader!” Kuiora suddenly cried, breaking my train of thought and the quietness that was previously present. I wondered how it felt for her to be in a forest-like place though she grew up in a town. The gym didn’t look that big from the outside, but to her, it must have seemed large enough to warrant such a loud cry. It only went to show just how vast nature could seem—it was endless and it was everywhere. It was beautiful. Yes, I could stand being here.

I didn’t even change my opinion when Sai found the gym leader and sent me out to battle. Before, I would have protested against battling here due to being so angry and being reminded of home. But I could at least try here. This forest’s clan leader—a young boy who wore a sort of green ranger outfit—also made the place appealing. My clan was facing off against his, and who would win? I wanted to win.

“Why does Senori get to battle?” Kuiora said, jumping up and down and looking frantically at Sai.

“Does it matter?” Sai asked, peering down curiously.

“Yes! I’ve been training for this!”

“He hasn’t seen you train,” I pointed out. “I was with you the entire time and even I didn’t see you train.”

“You were in a pokéball!”

“My point still stands. No one’s seen you do much,” I said, smirking, and I turned toward my opponent. We were in a clearing, which so far was the only part of the gym that wasn’t crowded and full of trees. This area must have been set aside for pokémon battling, with the rest of the place being a home to these clan members. I was going to face one of them. There was a small green bug that was about half my size. Its red antennae were twitching randomly, and I wondered what it was thinking about me. The clan leader was smirking for some reason. Were they communicating somehow? It took a special bond to be able to communicate with silence… a bond that Sai and I didn’t have.

“You can battle if Senori gets knocked out,” Sai said after a few moments. “So, uh, we can get started, right? I want to get this over with and go get the next badge.”

“Yes,” the clan leader said, his voice eager and rather high in pitch. “The challenger is allowed to attack first.”

“I remember now!” Sai said. “Well, Senori, start out with a… tackle, right?”

So he had remembered some things from when we were fighting wild pokémon, too. Saying a single word instead of giving a full description of the attack surely helped things. I crouched down on all fours and then sprang forward, focusing on the power of the attack rather than the speed, since I didn’t think the little bug was moving anywhere.

Apparently, the clan leader knew this, too. “Caterpie, tackle it back!” he cried.

But I had had much more time to prepare myself and I was already close to it when the attack was called. We collided, and the little bug was sent flying back toward his clan leader’s feet. I had fallen forward, and struggled a bit to keep my balance. My head stung a little, but otherwise I was fine. The caterpie’s tackle was only successful in making me cautious about attacking it, knowing that I would get hurt as well. The little bug was still suffering the most, and it tried to keep himself upright.

“All right!” Sai cheered. “Now, uh, tail whip!”

I vaguely wondered how Sai could have remained so quiet during Atis’s battle at the last gym, when now he was anxious to call out attacks and cheer for our victory. Still, his excitement was contagious, and I was even more determined to win.

I got down on all fours once more and sprang forward, looking straight into the caterpie’s large black eyes. He wouldn’t look at me, because it knew that it was done. My tail alone was bigger than the caterpie itself, and it was, in my opinion, the strongest part of my body. How could a clan leader have sent out such a defenseless member out to fight? But I couldn’t worry about that. I didn’t bother with the fact that it was still trying to stay upright, and when I was close enough to it, I swung my body around and slammed my tail into its side. I landed on my feet and was able to watch long enough to see the little bug slam into a nearby tree with a wail.

“You’re doing good, Senori! One more tackle and it’s done for!”

I looked at the clan leader, who was still smirking for whatever reason, which worried me. But I had to listen to Sai, and I did just that. For what I thought would be the last time, I pounced at the caterpie’s defenseless body once more.

“Caterpie, use string shot,” I heard the clan leader say calmly.

Since there were plenty of caterpie back at my forest, I knew what the attack could do. I knew that it would be very, very problematic and dangerous if I let it succeed. But I was already going too fast to stop myself, and when my body slammed into the caterpie’s once more, it used the last of its energy to shoot its attack. Out of its mouth came a long, sticky, white string that easily wrapped around my body since I was so close by. I wouldn’t have been so worried if the string also didn’t restrict the movement of my tail. I tried to break free by putting as much pressure on the string with my body (specifically my tail) as possible, but that only helped me make the string tighten with each passing moment. And when I tried to walk away, I simply fell, since my tail was my main source of balance.

My tail was restricted, and therefore so was the rest of me.

I turned to the caterpie and scowled only to see it close its eyes and give no response. It reminded me that there was still another pokémon left to fight, and I thought that maybe Kuiora would get to fight after all.

“Caterpie, return. You finally got some experience and that was great,” the clan leader said, preparing a pokéball. My enemy was enveloped by a red light and was gone. I wasn’t sure who had won, and my confidence wavered. I stood in place, and just waited as the boy took out another pokéball and sent out his next pokémon.

I was expecting another tiny little bug. What I got was a big bug with long, sharp scythes. And a menacing look that sure put Sai’s angry face to shame. It was at least three times my size, and I was used to fighting enemies that were short and tiny. I was tied up and hardly able to move, too—even better.

The green creature let out a noise that resembled something like a battle cry. I might have whimpered.

“Senori, you can still use tackle, right?” Sai cried frantically. He knew how awful the situation was as well. That was a good sign, though I didn’t think he knew what to do about it.

“Yes,” I said as loud as I could. I could still tackle, yes, but I couldn’t run. I’d get close to the enemy and be stuck there. And I couldn’t prepare myself as well when my body was restricted by the sticky string. Could Sai understand that? I just knew that if he called the command, I would listen if that was what he thought was best.

“Scyther, use quick attack!” the clan leader ordered.

The scyther didn’t hesitate in its pursuit. The wings on its back fluttered wildly and soon it was in the air, heading my way. I could see it smirking, and though I knew that I had little hope, I tried to move out of the way. I was about to trip over my own feet when the creature’s head slammed into my belly, and I was sent flying into the same tree that the caterpie had hit. I scowled, making an attempt to not make any painful noises that would prove to the scyther that it was going to win.

“Even if I lose,” I started, then took a moment to catch my breath, “another clan member of mine will take over.”

“What are you talking about?” the scyther asked, its smirk disappearing only for a moment. “No matter. I’ll end you.”

“You do that,” I said, making an honest effort to smile.

“I will. I’m just waiting for the command,” it replied, turning its head to motion the boy to speak.

“Fury cutter,” the boy said confidently.

The scyther nodded and turned to me once more. He wasn’t moving as fast this time; he was probably trying to make this as miserable for me as possible. I had to admit that this was a rather admirable clan member that the boy had here. He looked strong, and he could probably ward off any potential predators by simply standing around. I closed my eyes and braced myself, knowing this would probably hurt. Those scythes seemed too sharp to only cause some mere scratches, and I knew it. I told myself it wouldn’t be so bad—it was my punishment for not being a strong enough clan leader, anyway.

I heard the scyther’s wings fluttering again. Over and over. It became louder with every passing moment, and I knew bracing myself was worthless since I would knw when the attack was coming now. A light breeze brushed against my cheek before I felt intense pain, before I felt some of my skin being dug in to. I screamed and screamed again when the other side of my body experienced the same blow.

And then it was over. The scyther hadn’t cut into me as much or as deep as he could have, but the pain lingered. I winced. Something warm was dripping down my sides, now—probably blood, since it couldn’t be tears. I wouldn’t dare cry. My theory was confirmed when I opened my eyes and saw blood dripping from the creature’s scythes through teary eyes, staining the forest floor. I feared for Kuiora—she would be next, and would possibly go through the same pain. And she was so young, too…

“Let the little thing stand up,” the clan leader said suddenly.

My eyes snapped open fully, looking around frantically for what could possibly be a trick. But the scyther was simply waiting in front of me, and the clan leader was standing on his side of the arena, his arms crossed. I also noticed that the scyther had cut the sticky string that was restricting my body. I was free.

“You heard him. Stand up,” the scyther said, its smirk gone and its scythes at his side. He showed no sign of wanting to defend itself. It was obvious that the scyther didn’t have to defend itself, but I could do anything I wanted to right now.

“Why should I? You said you’d end me, or something along those lines,” I said in between breaths.

“Stand up. I’ll let you get on free hit on me. You can do whatever you want… and then you’re done.”

So the scyther had cut the string on purpose. But if I was being honest, I didn’t want to move. My sides hurt and I didn’t want to see just how much blood would be shaming me, taunting me. But this… There was still a chance to win? I could somehow, possibly, maybe gather enough energy and concentrate on one attack. I was free from the string now, so that made things a lot easier. But I hadn’t hurt the scyther at all, so the chances of me winning was really low. Still, it was a chance. Wasn’t I trying to force myself to take chances lately?

But I wouldn’t even get the chance. Sai intervened before I could even begin trying to get on my feet. He charged into the battle arena, frowning and clenching his fists. He picked me up, and I winced again as he wasn’t trying to be careful about it.

“You know that walking onto the arena and interrupting the battle disqualifies you, right?” the clan leader asked. I couldn’t see his face, but he sounded confused and somewhat disappointed.

“No, I didn’t know,” Sai said. “But I don’t care. I don’t want to fight you if you’re going to go easy on me and treat my pokémon like they’re jokes.”

I flailed in his arms, ignoring the pain. I had suggested to come here, and we both knew that time was running out… I felt like so much had to be done in so little time, and I didn’t know why. But if it matters to Sai, it mattered to me.

“Sai, it’s fine,” I said. “You can still use Kuiora, and—”

“No, it’s not fine!” he cried, cutting me off abruptly. “Bugsy here used a weak pokémon on purpose. Now he’s obviously using a strong pokémon, but won’t use its strength because he feels sorry for you.”

Now I could hear the clan leader—Bugsy—was walking onto the arena, saying, “I didn’t do that to go easy on you.”

“Why did you do it then?” Sai said, holding me tighter, which only caused me more pain. I didn’t say anything else.

“Most trainers think that only strong pokémon are good for battling. But not’s not true,” Bugsy said, shaking his head. “Even weak pokémon are useful, and even strong pokémon have a chance of losing.”

“I don’t see why this matters. I came here for a gym badge.”

“Gym battles aren’t just about winning and losing! I wanted to teach you, a new trainer, about this as early in your journey as possible. It’ll be important—”

“Stop,” Sai said, taking a few steps back. “I’m really tired of people telling me what’s right and what’s wrong. Part of the reason I agreed to go on this journey was so that I could figure it out myself.”

“I understand… but we learn from others, you know.”

“That should be a choice. You shouldn’t be forcing it on me in the gym battle that I have to go through to complete my journey.”

“You’re right, I can’t influence your decision completely. But I did it so you could at least think about it,” Bugsy said, digging into his pocket. “I admire you, however, for standing up for yourself and your pokémon.”

“I don’t want your badge, so you better not be getting one out of your pocket,” Sai said defensively. He started to turn and go to where Kuiora and Atis were standing. They looked at each other and shrugged. Kuiora must have been happy since this would mean she could get a second chance, but I didn’t know about Atis. He was probably fine with whatever happened.

“I would give it to you if you would take it,” I heard Bugsy say, but his voice was becoming more and more distant.

“I don’t want it...” Sai muttered.

“Sai! This means we’ll be coming back soon, right?” Kuiora said, jumping up and down again. “Real soon, right? Because we’re running out of time and whatever.”

“This certainly wastes more time. We’ll just have to make sure I don’t stay in a town this long anymore, okay? If that’s even possible…” Then he looked down at me, and I winced again. Looking at the scyther’s eyes was terrible, but Sai’s eyes were still just as scary. “I’m sorry you had to fight and get hurt for nothing, Senori. Bugsy wasn’t trying at all and it was unfair.”

“It’s okay,” I said weakly, though I didn’t really think it was okay. I hadn’t seen it at the time, but the clan leader really wasn’t trying. A real clan leader should be putting his own pokémon above everyone else, no matter what. He shouldn’t have been worrying about us. And the fact that I had fallen into that trap made me feel like a terrible leader myself, all over again. I was angry and frozen—again.

I didn’t say anything more. He took us to the pokémon center. We were right back where we started, I thought. It was a fresh start, kind of.

The nurses took me to the back room and removed the rest of the sticky string. They stopped the bleeding and patched me up as well. I was hardly paying attention as they tried to say reassuring things and treat me like a baby. I just thought about how could I help Sai now? He was unpredictable, and his varying moods kept me from thinking straight. He couldn’t think straight, either, which didn’t help. If I hadn’t become angry and frozen, I would have told him to march right back in that gym and just use Kuiora for the rest of the battle. He could demand a fair battle if he wanted, but he couldn’t leave. But I had let him leave, and who knows what we would be doing next?

I wondered if I could try to become immune to Sai’s emotions. I would always put him above myself, sure. I just couldn’t get angry when he was angry, or excited when he was. His emotions couldn’t effect me or cloud my judgment, no matter what.

It would be difficult, I knew. But I could at least try.

The Great Butler
7th May 2012, 9:49 AM
SURVIVAL PROJECT

chapter 7 ; [SENORI]
oracle

*

Like everyone else, I wondered what was wrong with Sai. I asked myself that question all the time, but nothing good came of it. He was my clan now, and I had to figure him out. I tried, yet something else crazy always happened the moment I thought I had him figured out.

Noting that Sai's party is Senori's new clan is a clever, effective way of showing how his life's changed.


Why did he buy three phones? Didn’t matter—now he was walking into random peoples’ houses. Why did he suddenly want to be everyone’s friend? Well, then he was causing a ruckus in the pokémon center, I had to focus on that. …Why was I wearing this shirt? That stayed constant, at least, but it got me nowhere.

All I knew was that he was rubbing off on me now that we had been traveling together for a while. It was just like being in my clan again, except it felt like only the two of us, since the boy was overbearing and consuming, unlike Atis and Kuiora. When someone in the clan was upset, so was I, and I tried to fix it. When danger came about, I could have left, but I felt their fear and diminished it as best as I could. Now, when Sai got angry, so did I. He was feeling frantic… and so was I. But I didn’t know what to do with this anger or sudden energy, because I couldn’t trace it back to any source. There was nothing.

All of this is very effective too. Senori has definitely developed over time, and this is a good description of it.


So I went through the motions. Fate would decide for me. I didn’t try to stop the fight between Sai and that boy who had saved me. I stayed with Kuiora while Atis spent the day with his new trainer. I had been hoping that Atis, who had had so much more experience with humans, could do a better job at figuring him out.

But the day after, Atis didn’t show up at all. Had he given up already? I simply watched Sai get into more trouble. I was frozen, seeing how the anger and energy had no particular outlet. Everything was random… and potentially destructive. How could I get rid of it? I feared that I couldn’t.

Oh wow, this was unexpected. Given all the bad stuff that's happened, now I'm left to wonder what happened this time.


And the day after that, Atis came to my door, calling my name to try to get my attention. The sound was so quiet and hesitant that I thought I was imagining things—but he tried again soon enough, more urgent this time. I wobbled over to the door, tired from thinking too much though I had just slept. I put my ears to the door and asked what he wanted.

“Sai is gone! I mean, well, yeah, he’s gone…” Atis started. “I, uh, went to his room… and he wouldn’t answer the door or anything… He’s gone.”

Okay, yeah, something happened again. It can't be good either, if Sai just up and left and left his Pokemon behind too. Hopefully he didn't abandon them.


“Are you sure he’s not just sleeping?” I said, rolling my eyes. I wasn’t concerned for Sai at all, but rather upset that he was still pulling stunts like this.

“No… Well, yeah. Just trust me!” he said.

“I think we should just go to his room and see,” I said, sighing. Atis was being difficult, and I didn’t know why.

“That’s, um, wasting time. He’s not there. Sai… never sleeps,” he said, his voice becoming louder the more he spoke.

That made sense, though. At first, Sai seemed to sleep just fine, but then he started sleeping less and less.

I wonder if this is a hint at something, because it kind of reads like one. It certainly is not normal, and it might drift toward one of my theories about him.



Atis was just as lost as I was when it came to figuring out Sai, apparently. And he was asking me to help him find the boy again, just like he had asked when Sai supposedly ran off to breakfast. How could we be playing this game of follow the leader when I no longer felt like someone that others could look up to?

This part was very powerful. It hit me as a strong indicator of where Senori's character has gone since the story began.



Sai smelled like metal. The smell of dirt had clung to him a bit over the past few weeks, but it wasn’t powerful enough for me to focus on. It was both a good and a bad thing. It was a bad thing because it was a terrible smell and not at all like I was used to. It was, however, easy to find him.

Metal or dirt? I don't think they can really be called the same thing.


It was early in the morning, though there were a few people out and about. They stared at us, probably wondering if we belonged to a trainer or not. If they asked, how would I answer? I wasn’t entirely sure. I didn’t think about it since Atis kept asking me how long it would take to find him even though little time had passed, and Kuiora kept telling him to be quiet.

I tracked the boy to the edge of the city before they started getting out of hand. After following the unmistakable metallic smell (and after wondering how I had missed his smell when he first attacked me), I realized that we would be following him down into some kind of cave, but it wasn’t the one we traveled through to get here. I made my way to the stairs and peered into the darkness. It was inviting, but I couldn’t stand staring at it for very long.

“I guess we’re going into another cave…” I said, taking a few steps back. I could only hope that this one wasn’t as dangerous as the other. “Maybe you two should stay here. I’ll get him real quick and bring him out.”

Another cave? I wonder which one this is. The note about stairs implies it's the Slowpoke Well.


“You obviously need us,” Kuiora said. “Who’s going to fight the wild pokémon for you?”

“It doesn’t matter,” I stated, but I didn’t say why. If I was being honest, it would be better this time, since no one would be able to save me. Or maybe my newfound energy would provide me with enough power to win. “If it’s dangerous like the other cave, then you should stay.”

“That gives us more incentive to go in!” Kuiora said, making her way to the stairs as well.

Atis chimed in before I could speak. “Maybe Kuiora’s right… She should go with you.”

“And why shouldn’t you?” I snapped.

“W-Well,” Atis stammered, “I do have the most experience out of all of us…”

Kuiora turned around and stomped her feet. “So? I already told you that I’m going to be stronger than you. Didn’t you hear me?”

“I’m sure he heard you,” I cut in. “Look—”

Really loving the interactions between these three. This is definitely one of the strongest points of the story so far - the characters have clear, well-defined personalities and distinguish themselves well while interacting with each other.


“Professor Elm told me stories about this kind of thing. Someone always tries to be the hero and that someone gets hurt,” Kuiora said. Despite the morbid topic, she was smiling, and she was looking at Atis, not me. “I’m not going to try to be the hero. I really am going to be the hero, and to do that, I have to get stronger.”

“Those are just stories, Kuiora…” Atis said, rubbing the back of his head and refusing to look at her.

“He tells them like they’re stories, but they’re real. If you’re lucky, maybe I’ll tell them to you someday,” she said.

“You guys can follow, then. But don’t complain if you get hurt or something,” I cut in, turning my attention to the cave. I knew I could possibly regret it later, but I was too angry to care at the moment. I had the energy to stop their fight, but it was negative energy, and I was going to take it out on Sai, just like he was taking it all out on us.

You know, I can't blame him. I'm really seeing the level of stress Senori is feeling right now.


The cave (or as Atis later corrected, the well) wasn’t even that big, nor was it dangerous. It was filled with clean ponds and the stone walls didn’t look like they’d collapse on us at any moment. The wild pokémon were friendly, saying that the residents from Azalea Town came there all the time to get water and to make deals with the fellow slowpoke that lived deeper into the place. I had to keep Kuiora from attacking them, and Atis seemed beyond relieved. We all had come in prepared to prove ourselves and to fight if needed, but there was no reason to fight. Would this cause our tension to grow?

So it was the Slowpoke Well.


If I had allowed the argument to escalate outside any further, it may have grown, for we found Sai at the fourth or fifth pond we came across. He was on his knees, crouched over the pond and reaching into it, seemingly searching for something frantically. Nearby was a large mound of pokéballs… all of which I knew were his, considering he had bought so many not too long ago.

“I guess he really did need that many pokéballs. I bet he caught a lot of water pokémon,” I said, turning to Kuiora.

“I guess so…” Kuiora said, staring at them with some discontent. “Water pokémon are obviously the best, but…”

I get the feeling these Pokemon aren't going to be with Sai for very long. It would be too many new personalities to deal with.



“Oh,” Sai said simply. Then he smiled and picked me up, both of his hands soaking my fur. I tried to get out of his grasp since I was annoyed, but he wasn’t hearing any of it. He brought me over to the mound of pokéballs and extended his arms forward, making sure I saw them. “I’ve been fighting magikarp all night. I caught each one in a pokéball!”

Magikarp. Oh, great, those are gonna be really useful. Though, if he keeps one and it evolves...


“Oh…?” I said, still trying to get free. We certainly didn’t need more teammates at this point, but I didn’t dare point it out.

“We have… a lot of new teammates?” Kuiora said, her hands limping at her side. I guessed that she hadn’t been wanting more potential competition.

“No, I won’t use them. They aren’t fit to be on this team!” Sai said confidently. He finally put me down, and I shook my body to rid myself of the water. “I didn’t really, uh, think about it. I just wanted to do something and this was what I ended up doing.”

Nevermind.

What exactly is going on, with him, I wonder? He's certainly acting far too erratically compared to the typical trainer.


“We could, you know, release them…” Atis chimed in, picking up a couple pokéballs hesitantly. He didn’t seem to want new teammates, either.

“We could just bring them with us and use them as food when we need to. We’ll never run out of food at this rate!” Sai said.

I stared at him, dumbfounded. My instincts told me that it was a good idea. Having food handy was always vital. But these pokémon were probably expecting to be released at any moment to meet their new, friendly trainer and teammates. They were probably expecting to battle and journey with us… not get eaten.

I'm not surprised that Sai would suggest this, but as we all know, Magikarp don't make good food.


“Sai, that’s not fair. You can catch pokémon to eat anywhere,” I said, glaring at the boy.

“Well, I’m not releasing them. I worked for them,” Sai said, but he wasn’t angry. He was smiling.

It wasn’t fair. I was only angry because he had been angry, and now he was smiling? I couldn’t keep up. This boy was exhausting.

Boy, that's sure an understatement, Senori.


“We’ll find something to do with them, something you’ll be happy with,” I said, trying to word myself carefully. Perhaps fate had a plan for all these poor magikarp, and in that case it wasn’t my place to intervene. But I knew Sai was meant for me, otherwise he wouldn’t have shown up when he did or forced me to come along as my punishment.

Do I see some possessiveness coming out of Senori? Interesting...


“Sounds good to me.”

We were all quiet for a moment. Kuiora was still staring at Sai, confused and frozen. Atis was looking at the pokéballs like he wanted to be in one at the bottom of the pile.

I finally spoke up. “Now what are you going to do?”

“I don’t know,” Sai said. “Could go shopping again, could go deeper into the well and stay there for a while…”

He hasn't gotten the badge from Bugsy yet, right?


Neither of those sounded like good options. I wasn’t a human but I knew that money was important. Staying in this well would drive Kuiora crazy, which would, in turn, drive the rest of us crazy. We were all feeling tension that needed to go away, but that was the easier task. Sai needed stability. I had to keep him on track, somehow, both physically and mentally… for everyone’s sake, not just his.

“Why don’t we go battle the gym leader?” I suggested. It was the only feasible option that I could think of. The idea of a journey and gathering gym badges was the only thing that had kept Sai sane so far, after all.

Sai opened his mouth like he was about to speak, and then he appeared lost in thought. Eventually, he agreed that it was the best idea, and that he was sorry that he hadn’t gotten around to it earlier. Yes, he had gotten off track, and time was running out now. At least he knew it.

Well, there we go. This ought to be interesting.


“Okay, let’s get out of here. Senori’s right. Gym battle,” Sai said, starting to gather all of the pokéballs that he had spent so much time trying to fill.

We all left the well, trying to carry as many pokéballs as possible. None of us planned on returning, and we ended up leaving a few magikarp behind, but I couldn’t bring myself to worry about them. They were not meant to be with us, and that was for the best.

That strikes me as needlessly cruel, leaving them in the balls but not releasing them.


“Someday, we’ll actually make an appointment for these gym battles,” Sai declared on the way to the gym. He must have been somewhat aware of the gym this entire time, because he actually knew where it was, and led us there without problems.

“Why do you need an appointment?” I asked. I would make an attempt to remember this for the future. The more information I could get that would help me keep Sai stable, the better.

“Because Falkner was mad last when I came in after he already had so many challengers.”

One would hope that he would have already made the appointment, but at this point, it's pretty clear that organization is not Sai's style.



Azalea Town’s gym, unlike the last one, was completely filled. Trees everywhere, small ponds and bugs everywhere, the quiet sound of nature. I wondered if it was a building at all. In fact, I felt like I was home, and it brought about an unsettling feeling in my stomach. I considered tugging on Sai’s pants and asking him if maybe we could come back later, but I decided against it. What was the point of prolonging the inevitable? I stayed behind my trainer, though I let Kuiora take my place in front.

“I just keep learning more and more about buildings, don’t I? This one’s interesting,” Sai muttered, moving forward through the gym, faster and more confidently than when he had traveled through the other forest—my forest. This wasn’t a forest… but I could see that Sai was learning and becoming accustomed to more and more things. It made me less angry, and I figured that I could deal with being in this kind of setting once more for him.

I like that you used the very distinct theme of Azalea Gym instead of using a generic building. It adds a nice little bit of charm to the visuals.


“Gym leader!” Kuiora suddenly cried, breaking my train of thought and the quietness that was previously present. I wondered how it felt for her to be in a forest-like place though she grew up in a town. The gym didn’t look that big from the outside, but to her, it must have seemed large enough to warrant such a loud cry. It only went to show just how vast nature could seem—it was endless and it was everywhere. It was beautiful. Yes, I could stand being here.

I didn’t even change my opinion when Sai found the gym leader and sent me out to battle. Before, I would have protested against battling here due to being so angry and being reminded of home. But I could at least try here. This forest’s clan leader—a young boy who wore a sort of green ranger outfit—also made the place appealing. My clan was facing off against his, and who would win? I wanted to win.

This is all happening rather quickly, but that can be overlooked because of how the story is being presented in point-of-view chunks. Surely, if and when we see these events from Kuiora or Atis's perspective, we'll get more details filled in.


“Why does Senori get to battle?” Kuiora said, jumping up and down and looking frantically at Sai.

“Does it matter?” Sai asked, peering down curiously.

“Yes! I’ve been training for this!”

“He hasn’t seen you train,” I pointed out. “I was with you the entire time and even I didn’t see you train.”

“You were in a pokéball!”

Oh boy, dissension in the ranks. Who knows where this will go, but it could be quite fascinating to see. I wonder if it will affect their battles.


“My point still stands. No one’s seen you do much,” I said, smirking, and I turned toward my opponent. We were in a clearing, which so far was the only part of the gym that wasn’t crowded and full of trees. This area must have been set aside for pokémon battling, with the rest of the place being a home to these clan members. I was going to face one of them. There was a small green bug that was about half my size. Its red antennae were twitching randomly, and I wondered what it was thinking about me. The clan leader was smirking for some reason. Were they communicating somehow? It took a special bond to be able to communicate with silence… a bond that Sai and I didn’t have.

“You can battle if Senori gets knocked out,” Sai said after a few moments. “So, uh, we can get started, right? I want to get this over with and go get the next badge.”

“Yes,” the clan leader said, his voice eager and rather high in pitch. “The challenger is allowed to attack first.”

“I remember now!” Sai said. “Well, Senori, start out with a… tackle, right?”

So he had remembered some things from when we were fighting wild pokémon, too. Saying a single word instead of giving a full description of the attack surely helped things. I crouched down on all fours and then sprang forward, focusing on the power of the attack rather than the speed, since I didn’t think the little bug was moving anywhere.

Apparently, the clan leader knew this, too. “Caterpie, tackle it back!” he cried.

But I had had much more time to prepare myself and I was already close to it when the attack was called. We collided, and the little bug was sent flying back toward his clan leader’s feet. I had fallen forward, and struggled a bit to keep my balance. My head stung a little, but otherwise I was fine. The caterpie’s tackle was only successful in making me cautious about attacking it, knowing that I would get hurt as well. The little bug was still suffering the most, and it tried to keep himself upright.

This actually looks like it's going to be a pretty interesting battle, even between two relatively low-level Pokemon.


“All right!” Sai cheered. “Now, uh, tail whip!”

I vaguely wondered how Sai could have remained so quiet during Atis’s battle at the last gym, when now he was anxious to call out attacks and cheer for our victory. Still, his excitement was contagious, and I was even more determined to win.

I got down on all fours once more and sprang forward, looking straight into the caterpie’s large black eyes. He wouldn’t look at me, because it knew that it was done. My tail alone was bigger than the caterpie itself, and it was, in my opinion, the strongest part of my body. How could a clan leader have sent out such a defenseless member out to fight? But I couldn’t worry about that. I didn’t bother with the fact that it was still trying to stay upright, and when I was close enough to it, I swung my body around and slammed my tail into its side. I landed on my feet and was able to watch long enough to see the little bug slam into a nearby tree with a wail.

“You’re doing good, Senori! One more tackle and it’s done for!”

I looked at the clan leader, who was still smirking for whatever reason, which worried me. But I had to listen to Sai, and I did just that. For what I thought would be the last time, I pounced at the caterpie’s defenseless body once more.

“Caterpie, use string shot,” I heard the clan leader say calmly.

Since there were plenty of caterpie back at my forest, I knew what the attack could do. I knew that it would be very, very problematic and dangerous if I let it succeed. But I was already going too fast to stop myself, and when my body slammed into the caterpie’s once more, it used the last of its energy to shoot its attack. Out of its mouth came a long, sticky, white string that easily wrapped around my body since I was so close by. I wouldn’t have been so worried if the string also didn’t restrict the movement of my tail. I tried to break free by putting as much pressure on the string with my body (specifically my tail) as possible, but that only helped me make the string tighten with each passing moment. And when I tried to walk away, I simply fell, since my tail was my main source of balance.

My tail was restricted, and therefore so was the rest of me.

Well, this turn of events just made things a lot more challenging. Even with Caterpie out, there are still more Pokemon for them to deal with, which means Kuiora may very well be getting her chance. I can't see Senori getting out of this and winning the badge alone.



“Even if I lose,” I started, then took a moment to catch my breath, “another clan member of mine will take over.”

“What are you talking about?” the scyther asked, its smirk disappearing only for a moment. “No matter. I’ll end you.”

“You do that,” I said, making an honest effort to smile.

“I will. I’m just waiting for the command,” it replied, turning its head to motion the boy to speak.

That actually put a chill down my spine. This Scyther is pretty menacing.


“Fury cutter,” the boy said confidently.

The scyther nodded and turned to me once more. He wasn’t moving as fast this time; he was probably trying to make this as miserable for me as possible. I had to admit that this was a rather admirable clan member that the boy had here. He looked strong, and he could probably ward off any potential predators by simply standing around. I closed my eyes and braced myself, knowing this would probably hurt. Those scythes seemed too sharp to only cause some mere scratches, and I knew it. I told myself it wouldn’t be so bad—it was my punishment for not being a strong enough clan leader, anyway.

Wow, I just realized how much this must flash Senori back to his old clan back home and his failure to protect them. That's actually pretty brilliant.


I heard the scyther’s wings fluttering again. Over and over. It became louder with every passing moment, and I knew bracing myself was worthless since I would knw when the attack was coming now. A light breeze brushed against my cheek before I felt intense pain, before I felt some of my skin being dug in to. I screamed and screamed again when the other side of my body experienced the same blow.

And then it was over. The scyther hadn’t cut into me as much or as deep as he could have, but the pain lingered. I winced. Something warm was dripping down my sides, now—probably blood, since it couldn’t be tears. I wouldn’t dare cry. My theory was confirmed when I opened my eyes and saw blood dripping from the creature’s scythes through teary eyes, staining the forest floor. I feared for Kuiora—she would be next, and would possibly go through the same pain. And she was so young, too…

I get the feeling Sai is about to be swept by Scyther. Hard.


“Let the little thing stand up,” the clan leader said suddenly.

My eyes snapped open fully, looking around frantically for what could possibly be a trick. But the scyther was simply waiting in front of me, and the clan leader was standing on his side of the arena, his arms crossed. I also noticed that the scyther had cut the sticky string that was restricting my body. I was free.

“You heard him. Stand up,” the scyther said, its smirk gone and its scythes at his side. He showed no sign of wanting to defend itself. It was obvious that the scyther didn’t have to defend itself, but I could do anything I wanted to right now.

“Why should I? You said you’d end me, or something along those lines,” I said in between breaths.

“Stand up. I’ll let you get on free hit on me. You can do whatever you want… and then you’re done.”

It's certainly different to see Bugsy's Pokemon (and Bugsy himself, to a degree) being so condescending.


So the scyther had cut the string on purpose. But if I was being honest, I didn’t want to move. My sides hurt and I didn’t want to see just how much blood would be shaming me, taunting me. But this… There was still a chance to win? I could somehow, possibly, maybe gather enough energy and concentrate on one attack. I was free from the string now, so that made things a lot easier. But I hadn’t hurt the scyther at all, so the chances of me winning was really low. Still, it was a chance. Wasn’t I trying to force myself to take chances lately?

But I wouldn’t even get the chance. Sai intervened before I could even begin trying to get on my feet. He charged into the battle arena, frowning and clenching his fists. He picked me up, and I winced again as he wasn’t trying to be careful about it.

“You know that walking onto the arena and interrupting the battle disqualifies you, right?” the clan leader asked. I couldn’t see his face, but he sounded confused and somewhat disappointed.

“No, I didn’t know,” Sai said. “But I don’t care. I don’t want to fight you if you’re going to go easy on me and treat my pokémon like they’re jokes.”

And now Sai surprises me again! I didn't think he'd have such a sense of honor, not out of any kind of malice but simply because he's so naive about a lot of things. This time I had to cheer for him.


I flailed in his arms, ignoring the pain. I had suggested to come here, and we both knew that time was running out… I felt like so much had to be done in so little time, and I didn’t know why. But if it matters to Sai, it mattered to me.

“Sai, it’s fine,” I said. “You can still use Kuiora, and—”

“No, it’s not fine!” he cried, cutting me off abruptly. “Bugsy here used a weak pokémon on purpose. Now he’s obviously using a strong pokémon, but won’t use its strength because he feels sorry for you.”

Now I could hear the clan leader—Bugsy—was walking onto the arena, saying, “I didn’t do that to go easy on you.”

“Why did you do it then?” Sai said, holding me tighter, which only caused me more pain. I didn’t say anything else.

“Most trainers think that only strong pokémon are good for battling. But not’s not true,” Bugsy said, shaking his head. “Even weak pokémon are useful, and even strong pokémon have a chance of losing.”

“I don’t see why this matters. I came here for a gym badge.”

“Gym battles aren’t just about winning and losing! I wanted to teach you, a new trainer, about this as early in your journey as possible. It’ll be important—”

“Stop,” Sai said, taking a few steps back. “I’m really tired of people telling me what’s right and what’s wrong. Part of the reason I agreed to go on this journey was so that I could figure it out myself.”

"Agreed to go on this journey?"

I think we just got another hint regarding Sai's origin.


“I understand… but we learn from others, you know.”

“That should be a choice. You shouldn’t be forcing it on me in the gym battle that I have to go through to complete my journey.”

“You’re right, I can’t influence your decision completely. But I did it so you could at least think about it,” Bugsy said, digging into his pocket. “I admire you, however, for standing up for yourself and your pokémon.”

“I don’t want your badge, so you better not be getting one out of your pocket,” Sai said defensively. He started to turn and go to where Kuiora and Atis were standing. They looked at each other and shrugged. Kuiora must have been happy since this would mean she could get a second chance, but I didn’t know about Atis. He was probably fine with whatever happened.

“I would give it to you if you would take it,” I heard Bugsy say, but his voice was becoming more and more distant.

“I don’t want it...” Sai muttered.

Nice lampshading of Ash's pity badges from Kanto. This is how it should be done anyway.


“Sai! This means we’ll be coming back soon, right?” Kuiora said, jumping up and down again. “Real soon, right? Because we’re running out of time and whatever.”

“This certainly wastes more time. We’ll just have to make sure I don’t stay in a town this long anymore, okay? If that’s even possible…” Then he looked down at me, and I winced again. Looking at the scyther’s eyes was terrible, but Sai’s eyes were still just as scary. “I’m sorry you had to fight and get hurt for nothing, Senori. Bugsy wasn’t trying at all and it was unfair.”

“It’s okay,” I said weakly, though I didn’t really think it was okay. I hadn’t seen it at the time, but the clan leader really wasn’t trying. A real clan leader should be putting his own pokémon above everyone else, no matter what. He shouldn’t have been worrying about us. And the fact that I had fallen into that trap made me feel like a terrible leader myself, all over again. I was angry and frozen—again.

I didn’t say anything more. He took us to the pokémon center. We were right back where we started, I thought. It was a fresh start, kind of.

The nurses took me to the back room and removed the rest of the sticky string. They stopped the bleeding and patched me up as well. I was hardly paying attention as they tried to say reassuring things and treat me like a baby. I just thought about how could I help Sai now? He was unpredictable, and his varying moods kept me from thinking straight. He couldn’t think straight, either, which didn’t help. If I hadn’t become angry and frozen, I would have told him to march right back in that gym and just use Kuiora for the rest of the battle. He could demand a fair battle if he wanted, but he couldn’t leave. But I had let him leave, and who knows what we would be doing next?

I wondered if I could try to become immune to Sai’s emotions. I would always put him above myself, sure. I just couldn’t get angry when he was angry, or excited when he was. His emotions couldn’t effect me or cloud my judgment, no matter what.

It would be difficult, I knew. But I could at least try.

Senori's development really is taking a dark turn. This coupled with Sai's continued erratic emotions and the dysfunctional dynamics between the team members is turning this into quite the emotional story.

Sidewinder
7th May 2012, 7:16 PM
He was my clan now, and I had to figure him out.

I liked that portion quite a bit. Shows how Senori is starting to resign himself to Sai. He’s my clan now, wow. It’s almost like an honorific of some type. That phrase really stuck out for me in a good way.


“Can you, uh, open my door for me? I’m not as tall as you.”

That was funny, and somewhat sad. I like how you called Senori’s height into play here. It’s realistic, and made me think more about the limitations about Sai’s other Pokemon as well. This may sound weird, but when he said that, it struck me as sad, I felt bad for him that he couldn’t reach the knob. Awesome job.


I made my way to the stairs and peered into the darkness.

I think you’re referring to Slowpoke Well, but I’m not sure. One thing that kinda irked me was that the group got from the Pokemon Center to the cave almost instantly. No description of the walk, what the weather was like, people milling about, other pokemon walking by, etc. I’ve never written in first person but I can tell it’s a lot harder to describe stuff than it is in third. Your portrayal of Sai’s smell on the way was nice, so good in fact that I now feel like I have a penny shoved up my nose, but I found myself wondering about Azalea as they set out to find Sai. I don’t really have a suggestion to fix this or anything, it was just something that stuck out to me.


Kuiora turned around and stomped her feet. “So? I already told you that I’m going to be stronger than you. Didn’t you hear me?”

Hah! I liked that. Goes back to show how determined Kuiora is, and also how arrogant she is starting to sound. At least to me she is lol


I guess so…” Kuiora said, staring at them with some discontent. “Water pokémon are obviously the best, but…”

I lol’d at that too. Wow, Kuiora is funny, and starting to sound kinda stuck-up to me. Interesting combo there. She’s so honest with her beliefs that I want to root for her, but at the same time sounds kinda snobby and I want to roll my eyes. Nice job!


But I knew Sai was meant for me, otherwise he wouldn’t have shown up when he did or forced me to come along as my punishment.

There it is. I loved that. No wonder Senori is trying his best to deal with Sai, it’s his atonement for what happened with his clan. I feel like I realized this before, and I’m sorry I’m mentioning it right now if its already been said in previous chapters lol. I swear, the best quality you have going for you is your talent with characters. I just want to yank Senori out of the story and talk to him. Awesome job, and yes I’ve switched back to Senori as my favorite haha


I wasn’t a human but I knew that money was important.

How does he know that? Did he spend much time with humans before he met Sai? Senori has been with Sai since the start of the story, and has seen how flippant he is with money, and obviously Senori is a smart cookie to realize that money is important, but I keep wondering how he made that correlation. I’m not surprised he did at all, but I’m not sure how he did. Sorry if that sounds odd lol


Azalea Town’s gym, unlike the last one, was completely filled. Trees everywhere, small ponds and bugs everywhere, the quiet sound of nature. I wondered if it was a building at all. In fact, I felt like I was home, and it brought about an unsettling feeling in my stomach

See that right there is an awesome job at describing the setting (though I felt like using 'everywhere' twice that close together was odd). Those little things paint a great picture and really allow me to get more into what’s happening.


Sai was learning and becoming accustomed to more and more things.

Hmm...Interesting. * Jots down another theory*


“My point still stands. No one’s seen you do much,” I said, smirking, and I turned toward my opponent.

I liked that little exchange. I could imagine Senori’s smile as he put Kuiora in place. Nice!


I swung my body around and slammed my tail into its side.

When I heard Sai yell out that command, I wondered how you were going to portray a defense lowering move. I honestly thought you were going to have Senori swing his tail in a hypnotic fashion, easing the Caterpie into calming down, allowing Senori to get in a surprise attack. Nice job at expanding on a common move. A ‘tail whip’ sounds exactly how you described it, and it never made sense to me why Sentret in the games never have attacking moves that deal with their tails, as its always the first thing I look at when I see a picture of them.


My tail was restricted, and therefore so was the rest of me.

Good job showing a real weakness of the Sentret specie


“I will. I’m just waiting for the command,” it replied, turning its head to motion the boy to speak.

I really liked the dialogue between Senori and the Scyther, it really got me pumped. The only thing I didn’t like was how totally obedient the Scyther was. I like how he listens to his trainer, but that portion I quoted just read really weird to me. For some reason it made me think that the Scyther wouldn’t dodge a fireball that was coming towards it unless Bugsy told it too. I’m sure that’s not the case, but that’s what it made me think for a second. Oh and btw, I think it’s funny that I started reading this today and its taking place at the Azalea Gym at the same time that you have the Bugsy userbar atm from your post count haha


Part of the reason I agreed to go on this journey was so that I could figure it out myself.”

Ah. Now Sai is starting to stand out to me more. He agreed. Which means that he may have had a choice. Sai seemed almost forced in the beginning of the story, like he was being told what to do step by step. This however makes me think that he is making his own choices. At the same time, I still feel like he's being directed from afar. Odd...I like it.


I just couldn’t get angry when he was angry, or excited when he was. His emotions couldn’t effect me or cloud my judgment, no matter what.

I liked that portion alot as well. Senori will become Sai if he tries to much to make Sai's emotions his own. Even he leans on his emotions too much, he's going to make mistakes, and bad decisions. I'm glad he realized that. I hope that's what you were trying to say, becuase that's what I got from it lol

Anyway, great chapter once again. I look forward to the next one

Dragonicwari
8th May 2012, 3:25 AM
You spelled knew knw at one point, it was towards the end when sentret was fighting scyther. Good job on the gym chapter though

Sid87
8th May 2012, 7:39 PM
Sai smelled like metal.

Now you KNOW what this makes me think. :)

-other notes from the first section: I like that Senori, for possibly his own sanity's sake, is falling back into a clan mentality. It makes a lot of sense given his whole life has been devotion to his clan, even when they no longer wanted him. Very good consistent characterization there. I'm still not enamored of Atis; perhaps I never will be. But I also don't think he's written to be liked. So whiny. :)


“You obviously need us,” Kuiora said. “Who’s going to fight the wild pokémon for you?”

“It doesn’t matter,” I stated, but I didn’t say why. If I was being honest, it would be better this time, since no one would be able to save me. Or maybe my newfound energy would provide me with enough power to win. “If it’s dangerous like the other cave, then you should stay.”

“That gives us more incentive to go in!” Kuiora said, making her way to the stairs as well.

Atis chimed in before I could speak. “Maybe Kuiora’s right… She should go with you.”

“And why shouldn’t you?” I snapped.

“W-Well,” Atis stammered, “I do have the most experience out of all of us…”

Kuiora turned around and stomped her feet. “So? I already told you that I’m going to be stronger than you. Didn’t you hear me?”

“I’m sure he heard you,” I cut in. “Look—”

“Professor Elm told me stories about this kind of thing. Someone always tries to be the hero and that someone gets hurt,” Kuiora said. Despite the morbid topic, she was smiling, and she was looking at Atis, not me. “I’m not going to try to be the hero. I really am going to be the hero, and to do that, I have to get stronger.”

“Those are just stories, Kuiora…” Atis said, rubbing the back of his head and refusing to look at her.

“He tells them like they’re stories, but they’re real. If you’re lucky, maybe I’ll tell them to you someday,” she said.

See? Come on. How isn't she everyone's favorite? She's got to be the most fun to write, am I right? If she's the one who ends up dying, I might hate you forever, by the way. Don't Joss Whedon me.


Sai, that’s not fair. You can catch pokémon to eat anywhere,” I said, glaring at the boy.

I've always wondered about the pokemon-as-food concept, at LEAST as far as humans go (because granted, in-game Pokedex entries show they do eat each other). Aren't pokemon some kind of energy-based lifeform? That's how they get caught and exist in pokeballs. I always wondered whether they could actually be consumed by human beings. It never made a TON of sense to me, but I'm not the one who creates this stuff.

-I'm curious as to why Senori refers to Bugsy as a clan leader and also himself:


I told myself it wouldn’t be so bad—it was my punishment for not being a strong enough clan leader, anyway

“Let the little thing stand up,” the clan leader said suddenly

Why doesn't Senori see Sai as his clan leader?

-I liked the battle. It was nice to see Bugsy working harder at imparting life lessons than at battling. Perhaps he'd be happier working at Atis' old school. You described the utter hopelessness of Senori very well here in its battle with Scyther. I knew Senori really had no chance at all. Also, I'm curious as to what "deals" are being struck with the slowpokes in the well. Will we be getting an answer to that, or is it a reference I've missed?

diamondpearl876
10th May 2012, 8:13 PM
Okayyy, time to reply to various reviews. I should never let them pile up again.


I wonder if this is a hint at something, because it kind of reads like one. It certainly is not normal, and it might drift toward one of my theories about him.

It is a hint indeed. I don’t think many people would consider sleep as anything to particularly look into so I’m glad you caught it.


Metal or dirt? I don't think they can really be called the same thing.

Not really sure what points at metal and dirt being the same thing. :o Senori’s saying that Sai smells partly like the forest and partly like metal, though the metal smell is more overwhelming and very distinct.


Another cave? I wonder which one this is. The note about stairs implies it's the Slowpoke Well.

Indeed, I figured not even Senori would quite know what a well was.


I get the feeling these Pokemon aren't going to be with Sai for very long. It would be too many new personalities to deal with.

Haha, yeah, wayyy too crazy for me. The rest of Sai’s pokémon will come in shortly since I don’t want to wait to get too far into the fic to introduce them, and all these Magikarp… no thanks.


Do I see some possessiveness coming out of Senori? Interesting...

Hmm, I wasn’t trying to convey possessiveness, but more of “trying to give encouragement yet planning to just go with the flow and intervene when I can.”


That strikes me as needlessly cruel, leaving them in the balls but not releasing them.

I know. :( But it doesn’t seem like something Sai would think of, and it’s not really the pokemons’ place to decide.


This is all happening rather quickly, but that can be overlooked because of how the story is being presented in point-of-view chunks. Surely, if and when we see these events from Kuiora or Atis's perspective, we'll get more details filled in.

Lol, I seem to have a bad habit of doing this… I just didn’t find it necessary to add the part where Sai confronts the gym leader, though I guess it does give a rushed pace feeling. I’ll remember that for future reference, thanks.


Oh boy, dissension in the ranks. Who knows where this will go, but it could be quite fascinating to see. I wonder if it will affect their battles.

I’m sure Kuiora’s not too happy about it. :o


Wow, I just realized how much this must flash Senori back to his old clan back home and his failure to protect them. That's actually pretty brilliant.

I’d like to take credit for that brilliance though I didn’t really realize it myself until I started writing the chapter.LOL… Things just like to fall into place.


It's certainly different to see Bugsy's Pokemon (and Bugsy himself, to a degree) being so condescending.

Gym leaders don’t seem to have much personality (even in manga sometimes), so I’m never really sure how to portray them. :p

Thanks for commenting/reviewing!


That was funny, and somewhat sad. I like how you called Senori’s height into play here. It’s realistic, and made me think more about the limitations about Sai’s other Pokemon as well. This may sound weird, but when he said that, it struck me as sad, I felt bad for him that he couldn’t reach the knob. Awesome job.

Seems small, doesn’t it? But it’s important, haha. Having Senori not even be able to do the smallest of things contributes an awful lot to his character.


I think you’re referring to Slowpoke Well, but I’m not sure. One thing that kinda irked me was that the group got from the Pokemon Center to the cave almost instantly. No description of the walk, what the weather was like, people milling about, other pokemon walking by, etc. I’ve never written in first person but I can tell it’s a lot harder to describe stuff than it is in third. Your portrayal of Sai’s smell on the way was nice, so good in fact that I now feel like I have a penny shoved up my nose, but I found myself wondering about Azalea as they set out to find Sai. I don’t really have a suggestion to fix this or anything, it was just something that stuck out to me.

It is Slowpoke Well. I didn’t think even Senori would know what a well is since I don’t imagine there are many near his home.

And I see what you mean. Description is my weakest point in writing (not only in execution but also deciding where it’s needed), in my opinion, so I’ll try to work on it more.


I lol’d at that too. Wow, Kuiora is funny, and starting to sound kinda stuck-up to me. Interesting combo there. She’s so honest with her beliefs that I want to root for her, but at the same time sounds kinda snobby and I want to roll my eyes. Nice job!

Hahaha, well I’m glad you like her. In real life I wouldn’t really want to associate with someone like her, but somehow she’s ending up as everyone’s favorite. Funny how those things work sometimes.


There it is. I loved that. No wonder Senori is trying his best to deal with Sai, it’s his atonement for what happened with his clan. I feel like I realized this before, and I’m sorry I’m mentioning it right now if its already been said in previous chapters lol. I swear, the best quality you have going for you is your talent with characters. I just want to yank Senori out of the story and talk to him. Awesome job, and yes I’ve switched back to Senori as my favorite haha

Haha, it was hinted at in the first chapter, but the resolution has grown stronger now.


How does he know that? Did he spend much time with humans before he met Sai? Senori has been with Sai since the start of the story, and has seen how flippant he is with money, and obviously Senori is a smart cookie to realize that money is important, but I keep wondering how he made that correlation. I’m not surprised he did at all, but I’m not sure how he did. Sorry if that sounds odd lol

I still imagine that Senori knows an awful lot due to the noobie trainers that pass by his forest, but I guess I never really make that clear, do I? It might be a good idea to write a scene that has Senori interacting with humans in the future to clarify this more clearly.


When I heard Sai yell out that command, I wondered how you were going to portray a defense lowering move. I honestly thought you were going to have Senori swing his tail in a hypnotic fashion, easing the Caterpie into calming down, allowing Senori to get in a surprise attack. Nice job at expanding on a common move. A ‘tail whip’ sounds exactly how you described it, and it never made sense to me why Sentret in the games never have attacking moves that deal with their tails, as its always the first thing I look at when I see a picture of them.

YES. THIS. Tail whip as a defense lowering move? Never made sense to me. I might try to incorporate it sometime for a sense of creativity but… Yeah, it doesn’t make much sense, especially when the tail seems to be the strongest/most important part of a sentret. And stuff. Yeah.


I really liked the dialogue between Senori and the Scyther, it really got me pumped. The only thing I didn’t like was how totally obedient the Scyther was. I like how he listens to his trainer, but that portion I quoted just read really weird to me. For some reason it made me think that the Scyther wouldn’t dodge a fireball that was coming towards it unless Bugsy told it too. I’m sure that’s not the case, but that’s what it made me think for a second. Oh and btw, I think it’s funny that I started reading this today and its taking place at the Azalea Gym at the same time that you have the Bugsy userbar atm from your post count haha

As a gym leader, I would think Bugsy has a lot of control over his pokémon. I don’t know. Being menacing and loyal seems like an odd mix, so I can see where you’re coming from. Not really sure how to fix it, though.

And LOL! I noticed that userbar too. I was like man, I’m going to be just like Sai now! Then I realized that’s probably not the best thing to be excited about.


I liked that portion alot as well. Senori will become Sai if he tries to much to make Sai's emotions his own. Even he leans on his emotions too much, he's going to make mistakes, and bad decisions. I'm glad he realized that. I hope that's what you were trying to say, becuase that's what I got from it lol

Indeed, he would become Sai (and again that’s probably not the best thing haha). That’s what I was trying to say, so *thumbs up* Thanks for commenting/reading!


You spelled knew knw at one point, it was towards the end when sentret was fighting scyther. Good job on the gym chapter though

Oh dear. I’ll go back and fix it, thanks for pointing it out!


-other notes from the first section: I like that Senori, for possibly his own sanity's sake, is falling back into a clan mentality. It makes a lot of sense given his whole life has been devotion to his clan, even when they no longer wanted him. Very good consistent characterization there. I'm still not enamored of Atis; perhaps I never will be. But I also don't think he's written to be liked. So whiny. :)

It’s actually Kuiora who really isn’t supposed to be likeable, but everyone loves her anyway. Atis is supposed to evoke more empathy and stuff.


See? Come on. How isn't she everyone's favorite? She's got to be the most fun to write, am I right? If she's the one who ends up dying, I might hate you forever, by the way. Don't Joss Whedon me.

Hahaha. She actually is pretty fun to write. She just randomly pops in out of nowhere… all the time. And I’d feel pretty bad killing Kuiora since she’s just a baby, not gonna lie.


-I'm curious as to why Senori refers to Bugsy as a clan leader and also himself:

Why doesn't Senori see Sai as his clan leader?

Senori considers himself the leader since that’s what he wanted to be for his last clan. And Sai just doesn’t seem competent enough for it.

Bugsy would be a “clan leader” since he owns the gym and everything in it.



-I liked the battle. It was nice to see Bugsy working harder at imparting life lessons than at battling. Perhaps he'd be happier working at Atis' old school. You described the utter hopelessness of Senori very well here in its battle with Scyther. I knew Senori really had no chance at all. Also, I'm curious as to what "deals" are being struck with the slowpokes in the well. Will we be getting an answer to that, or is it a reference I've missed?

I’m glad you liked it and got what I was trying to convey.

There won’t be an answer to the Slowpoke thing, I just assumed that the people in Azalea weren’t cruel and just taking Slowpoke tails to sell/eat like Team Rocket did. I assume they give something to them as compensation. (Shelter? Peace in the well itself? Who knows.)

Doryuzu
12th May 2012, 10:55 PM
Chapter 1 Review

This was a interesting and nice introduction chapter for the characters. The Sentret, Senori is certainly interesting. I really like his character, he's cute and fun and an interesting character that's been forced into doing something he obviously doesn't want to. You really get the feeling he cares for his clan and really wants to be liked and cared for by his family. It's really endearing, and it makes his character so warm and caring. I felt really bad for him, and you've made me really care about him.

Right now, I'm interested in Sai. But, dislike him as well. What an ***, attacking Senori like that. Forcing him to be his Pokemon, and the whole six sided dice thing was interesting, as well as his temper and personality. I don't think he's that intelligent or smart, given his behavior so far. But, he certainly is enigmatic. I really look forward to what you have planned for these two as characters, Sai is just so brutal. Sai did make me immediately think of N, due to the whole cold demeanor, attitude, and understanding Pokemon thing.

Your description is just fantastic, you really get a feel for Senori's world around him, so to speak, you understand his circumstances and how he lives in the forest. The interactions between Senori and Sai were very interesting, Senori does know the basics of the Pokemon Trainer world, just so interesting. Characterization spot on, the pacing was just intriguing, and it's a fantastic intro chapter for the story. Looking forward to Chapter 2 and reviewing it.

I wish I could have made this review longer, but their isn't much more to discuss ^^;;

Chapter 2 Review

The Totodile, whom is named, "Kuiora" is a really interesting character and second Pokemon for Sai. I like how he's curious about doing things like going into the unknown and how he sees the legendary Pokemon as "God". It's really cute how he trains hard and only wants a great trainer and believes in divine punishment for any bad things just like a Christian person does. He just had so many cute and endearing scenes, I mean like the training scene, his scenes with Elm, the goodbye, wanting to be some trainer's "first", wanting to see the world, learning to be obedient and strong. I just really like him and thank you for introducing such a relatable character.

I liked Sai's six-sided dice making a reappearance, I like it and I'm still curious about why Sai is so enigmatic as well as the dice, add Kuiora to the list as well as his belief in the legendary Pokemon and his goal as a Pokemon. I didn't dislike Sai as much as I did before, so he was better this chapter. I still question why Prof. Elm went through with what he did, especially when this kid just shows up on his doorsteps, surely trainers have appointments for these types of things? I just think it was a really strange judgment call on his part, but he is a very timid professor so I guess it's more okay.

Interactions between Elm and Totodile, Totodile and Sentret, and Totodile and the other Pokemon were really nice as well as Totodile's internal interactions. The characterization and spot on and you really seem like you're going somewhere with this story and know what you're doing with the characters, I look forward to seeing what you have planned out for the next chapters. I really like your writing style and the grammar errors were minor and minimal so I don't mind, keep up the good work. Again, I wish I could have made this review a tad bit longer. It was a great intro chapter for a new character. I really don't have anything bad to say at all yet.

Chapter 3 Review

Nice chapter. So Kuiora is a girl? ^^;; My bad I thought she was a boy up until now, she's a had a pretty male specific personality imo. I really like her a lot to and how she is just as naive as Sai is. I like how Senori feels he needs to protect Sai and Kuiora, it's really endearing. He feels bad for Ari and blames himself for all, he ended up being one of the main factors in the mass murder and ambushing of his clan of Sentret that he loved. He was only trying to help and protect that wild Pokemon, he had no clue it would turn on him. I also like to think to an extent that Ari does care about Senori despite his harsh words and that was his silent way of being nice.

Sai being on a badge quest is interesting, I can't wait to see how he battle and interacts with the Gym Leaders as well as deals with losses and wins. At this point I think of Senori as being the stronger of the two between Kuiora and him, Sucker Punch is a really cool move so I hope it's used in the future, since Senori did attempt it before almost. I can't wait to see how Sai trains and how Kuiora will further develop and learn as a Pokemon, since she does want to meet legendary Pokemon and become obedient and strong.

Cherrygrove City was skipped? That's a bit of a surprise, I guess it makes sense you wouldn't want to cover it since not much would go on in Cherrygrove with no badges there, but I think it could have been a chance to show off more, but you know better then I do, so don't sweat it. I thought the backstory on Senori was really interesting, I wonder what Pokemon he described specifically? The morbid scenes with the deaths of his clan members and the children as well as Ari's wife were pretty brutal. I wonder if Senori will indeed encounter said attacker again. I'm glad he's putting such priority in his new companions.

diamondpearl876
15th May 2012, 3:45 AM
Your description is just fantastic, you really get a feel for Senori's world around him, so to speak, you understand his circumstances and how he lives in the forest. The interactions between Senori and Sai were very interesting, Senori does know the basics of the Pokemon Trainer world, just so interesting. Characterization spot on, the pacing was just intriguing, and it's a fantastic intro chapter for the story. Looking forward to Chapter 2 and reviewing it.

I'm glad you liked the characters and the description, especially since I think description is my weak point. I'm also glad you think of Senori as "fun" though I've been told he seems mostly whiny when he's supposed to be a mixture of both. And I'll be interested to see how/if your opinion of Sai changes over time (if you continue to read the fic, anyway).


I liked Sai's six-sided dice making a reappearance, I like it and I'm still curious about why Sai is so enigmatic as well as the dice, add Kuiora to the list as well as his belief in the legendary Pokemon and his goal as a Pokemon. I didn't dislike Sai as much as I did before, so he was better this chapter. I still question why Prof. Elm went through with what he did, especially when this kid just shows up on his doorsteps, surely trainers have appointments for these types of things? I just think it was a really strange judgment call on his part, but he is a very timid professor so I guess it's more okay.

I guess I can see how appointments would be ideal. I don't know, the place seems more about the research than giving pokemon away, so taking the time to make appointments probably isn't their top priority. Hope that makes sense. Also, Elm did give in to Sai partly because he's timid, and partly because he knew how badly Kuiora wanted to leave. He didn't really know when this chance would arrive for her again, so yeah.


Nice chapter. So Kuiora is a girl? ^^;; My bad I thought she was a boy up until now, she's a had a pretty male specific personality imo. I really like her a lot to and how she is just as naive as Sai is.

Indeed, Kuiora is a girl. Many people have had genders confused, don't worry about it. I just feel like the only way to distinguish gender would inevitably make me fall into stereotypical male and female behavior... which is not really what I want. Glad you like her either way, she seems to be everyone's favorite.


I also like to think to an extent that Ari does care about Senori despite his harsh words and that was his silent way of being nice.

Interesting thought about Ari. I was hoping to bring Senori's clan back in at some point so we'll see how that goes. (Sounds silly, but I never really know how characters are until I actually start writing them.)


Cherrygrove City was skipped? That's a bit of a surprise, I guess it makes sense you wouldn't want to cover it since not much would go on in Cherrygrove with no badges there, but I think it could have been a chance to show off more, but you know better then I do, so don't sweat it. I thought the backstory on Senori was really interesting, I wonder what Pokemon he described specifically? The morbid scenes with the deaths of his clan members and the children as well as Ari's wife were pretty brutal. I wonder if Senori will indeed encounter said attacker again. I'm glad he's putting such priority in his new companions.

Skipping Cherrygrove was meant to show how much of a hurry Sai's really in. I plan to go back there sometime as well, though we'll see how that goes.

Also, the pokemon that Senori described was sneasel.

Thanks very much for reading/reviewing! I especially liked reading your comments about the characters and their actions/personalities, it felt like I was reading my character notes, so... lol. Shows how much you really understand them. Thanks again!

Sidewinder
17th May 2012, 6:57 AM
As a gym leader, I would think Bugsy has a lot of control over his pokémon. I don’t know. Being menacing and loyal seems like an odd mix, so I can see where you’re coming from. Not really sure how to fix it, though.

Now that I think about it, you're right as well. I suppose that I was looking at it from an ordianary trainer's perspective, and not a Gym Leader's. Those people are put into their position of power because they earned it, and only hold that status because of their skill. So it does make some sense for Scyther to be so completely loyal. At the same time though, anticipation and self-preservation kicks in at odd moments, especially when its a situation that you can see coming towards you. Either way, you did a good job


And LOL! I noticed that userbar too. I was like man, I’m going to be just like Sai now! Then I realized that’s probably not the best thing to be excited about.

Lol exactly. I can't really see you attacking Pokemon, staring people down, walking into random people's houses, etc, haha


I still imagine that Senori knows an awful lot due to the noobie trainers that pass by his forest, but I guess I never really make that clear, do I? It might be a good idea to write a scene that has Senori interacting with humans in the future to clarify this more clearly.

I feel like it would help clarify her knowledge, but at the same time, Senori is so intelligent that it's not even something that strikes me as really odd. I get what you're saying, and I'm sure I'll like it if you decide to add something like that in the future

Bulba the Great!
18th May 2012, 8:38 PM
So I always hate coming to the party late, because playing catch-up is hard for me. Once I'm at your more recent work I'll actually parse the text and give real nitpick feedback. But I'll tell you what I like so far!

Beginning with a quote. What I love about that is it immediately hooks me. I haven't read a word of the story and already I'm given a way in, a lens to read it with.

Writing from Sentret's perspective. You give him real, intelligent responses to everything and I love it. It adds a cruelty to Sai's attack that wouldn't have been communicated as effectively from third person or Sai's POV.

Sai. How mysterious can a boy be? I'm fascinated by the 'they' he continuously refers to. The lack of understanding the 'rules of Pokemon'. No nonsense and it's awesome.

The die. There are up to six dots, what a great parallel.

This is absolutely enthralling. I'm hooked and will be back for more ASAP.

diamondpearl876
20th May 2012, 8:17 PM
So I always hate coming to the party late, because playing catch-up is hard for me. Once I'm at your more recent work I'll actually parse the text and give real nitpick feedback. But I'll tell you what I like so far!

Beginning with a quote. What I love about that is it immediately hooks me. I haven't read a word of the story and already I'm given a way in, a lens to read it with.

Writing from Sentret's perspective. You give him real, intelligent responses to everything and I love it. It adds a cruelty to Sai's attack that wouldn't have been communicated as effectively from third person or Sai's POV.

Sai. How mysterious can a boy be? I'm fascinated by the 'they' he continuously refers to. The lack of understanding the 'rules of Pokemon'. No nonsense and it's awesome.

The die. There are up to six dots, what a great parallel.

This is absolutely enthralling. I'm hooked and will be back for more ASAP.

Indeed. Sorry, the fic was only 2-3 chapters long when I first tried the review exchange with you. ;_;

Either way, glad you like it so far. I'm also glad you liked the quote at the beginning, I think you're the first person to point it out so far. It certainly is relevant and is one of my favorite poems besides.

Thanks for commenting, hope you'll continue to read.

Doryuzu
1st June 2012, 5:38 AM
Chapter 4

Woooow, I can't believe I forgot to post my review for this chapter. I'm awful, sorry about that.

I really like Atis a lot, he's a type of character with a very "Social Anxiety"-ish demeanor and personality, that's what I like about him. He's relatable in that aspect, not to mention he's just interesting since he seems to want the students to choose a path in life other then Pokemon, which is a bit surprising since a lot of peoples' worlds in Pokemon revolve around Pokemon, trying to escape them is futile in a way. I can understand how he might feel attached to some of the kids after hanging out with them so often, it was really endearing. His attitude toward Sai was pretty nicely written, he certainly is the type of character who doesn't like too much attention despite having such strength and being fully evolved at that. He seems more street smarter and tougher then Kuiora or Senori.

I wonder why Faulkner would use his tired Pidgeotto against Atis? Seemed weird, and a bit of an advantage for Sai. I was surprised Sai gave no orders to Atis and let him do his own thing, the backstory on Atis evolving due to high amount of school battles and living with Earl was pretty nice stuff. He seems like a real fun character to write, and you really "feel" his anxiety. I also like his way of talking to the children a lot. Sai's stalker ways were a bit creepy, and one again the six-sided enigmatic die makes an appearance. Kuiora thinks Atis is awesome, I don't think that'll last long though XD

This was nicely handled gym and capturing, so I look forward to the future defiantly. Can't believe Earl just let Atis go, just like "that" with no problem. Seemed a bit strange, he'll have to get a new Pokemon for the class I suppose.

Chapter 5

Awesome chapter. The main reason I loved it so much, the interactions between Kuiora and Senori. It sort of fleshed them out personality wise and really got us to know them in a way and how they handle each other. Senori of course thinks of himself as the leader and thinks of Kuiora as a dumb little baby in a way, I thought Kuiora cat catching him in the Poke Ball was nice punishment in a way, I thought it was pretty cute she wanted to capture Sai a Pokemon, that really does show she cares not to mention her training really shows she wants to be stronger. I might even say she's stronger then Senori probably, sure Senori is Sai's first but he's not really strong for a supposed leader, at least in comparison to Kuiora and Atis. I once again love your POV changing to truly get us to feel the other characters.

The Cave Interaction scene was interesting, I wonder if that'll get done any further or if the boy will appear again. Since he pretty much scolded Sai for putting Senori in danger and left, he seems like a rival type. It was sort of nice to see Sai called out in a way and realizing he was wrong to an extent. Kuiora catching Senori was hilarious as well I forgot to mention. The fact you're having her train often will make her future victories and battles more believable. So, in the end great chapter! Nothing to say Grammar wise, your grammar and spelling is always so accurate.

Keep up the work, you really are doing a great job.

ChloboShoka
4th June 2012, 11:52 AM
The openings drew me in. I like pokemon POV's and I don't think I've read a pokemon pov in a journey fic before, so I expected it would be an interesting read.

It did live up to my expectations. It was really well written and I thought spelling and grammar was fine as well. In some of the chapters, I noticed that the end of the chapters didn't have much of a closure, which is understandable considering it's not the end. At the same time I didn't feel as if there were cliffhangers either.

The scenes where the pokemon get captured intrigued me the most because I felt I got into their mind of what it was like from being a wild pokemon to being a trained pokemon.

The characters were really well developed especially Sai and Senori. Kuiora is a really nice name as well, it's got a nice flowery tone to it. The dialogue seemed fine to me, although there were times it felt a little bit repetitive.

Overall I thought it was brilliant because it was so captivating.

Janovy
4th June 2012, 9:52 PM
Alright, I just read the first six chapters.

Your writing is brilliant and this is by no means an overstatement or some sort of exaggeration. It's one of the most unique stories I've ever had the pleasure of reading and I'm quite pleased with how things are turning out; now, onto my comments.

Sai

Sai is an enigma. When he was was first introduced, he resembled a cold-hearted robot but last chapter completely threw me off with Sai being ecstatic about stuff and wanting to go in everyone's houses - at the very end, he went crazy going as far to throw a lamp at Atis. Perhaps Sai is bipolar? Perhaps he can't control his emotions well? Could that be the reason he prefers staying cold all the time? Because it certainly seems like it. And like others have already said, he's very cryptic and I just can decipher his character - he's very interesting and, I can just say bravo for creating such an intriguing and enigmatic character who forces you to question him and his actions whilst making you wish for more and driving you crazy in your desire to find out more about him.

Is he any relation to the title of this story? Survival project? Does Sai have anything to do with this?

I wouldn't be surprised if he did, though I can't even come up with a single theory regarding that. Except for him wanting to gather all eight badges, I have no clue where this story is going and that's a good thing - that keeps things suspenseful and interesting.

Sai is simply a good character.


Senori

I like Senori. His tragic backstory is truly emotional and once we found out about it I couldn't help but to feel sorry for him. I liked him very much at first, until Kuiora was introduced, haha. He is quite clever but he sometimes he acts too clever than he actually is. But I think it was truly unfair that he was rejected by his clan merely because he decided to trust some fake Sneasel - his whole life turned around because of that. I also believe that his debut chapter was very original as the description of his thoughts, feelings as well as events surrounding him was spectacular. He surely has an interesting mindset and I can see why he could find a new clan in Sai and his team.

Kuiora

Kuiora is simply my favorite member of Sai's team, at the moment. I love the fact how, despite Elm claiming back in her debut chapter how she was much more mature than the other Totodile, she acts so rash and childish that it's hilarious. I mean, I loved the scene when she threw a Poké Ball at Senori (partially because he deserved) but also because she is so eager. Yes, that must be it. Kuiora is eager, willing to battle and develop, willing to get stronger. I only hope we get to witness her in actual trainer battles as I'm eager to see how she'd act in such a situation and how she'd respond. I have no complaints about her (nor do I have about any other aspect of this story), she's just cute, hilarious, eager and I love her.

She will definitely be the strongest one day, haha.

Atis

I like Atis, his name is short and easy to remember. :P

You know, Atis has a point about the whole world revolving around Pokémon as well as school not teaching children some really necessary stuff. I mean, of course that water types are stronger than fire types, does one really need to go to school to learn that? I'm quite happy Atis left because - being a mascot? Seriously? Is that really better than traveling the exciting world of Pokémon? I also really liked the fact that it was Atis who witnessed Sai's sudden personality change in the first place. It wasn't Senori nor Kuiora, it was his newest addition who seems to be much more human than his own trainer.

Though I want Atis to get more confident, he needs more confidence. While I can relate to him with the whole attention, social awkwardness issue, he's an evolved Pokémon so it's only natural he'll keep being noticed. Besides, he kicked that Pidgeotto's sorry ***, that was amazing, especially how he apologized before hitting it - he knew he was going to win at once.

Atis knows a lot, it's only natural after spending so much time in a school, but he needs more confidence.

And I'm really looking forward to that inevitable development.

- - -

I know, I know - this review sucks. But, I just find the way you're telling the story original and simply awesome. Your descriptions are great as the mistakes have already been pointed out by someone else - thus, repeating myself would do more harm than good. You do a great job on having a Pokémon talk about its surroundings, explaining how it feels, what it sees - I can understand which chapter revolves around which Pokémon without even looking at the title - they have distinctive personalities so it's easy to identify them.

I'm looking forward to the fourth team member, though I'm hoping for a more original way of Sai getting it. Perhaps the certain Pokémon starts following Sai around? It'd be a nice change of pace and quite refreshing.

Oh, and one last thing: How come people can understand Pokémon in your world?

Crimson Penguin
5th June 2012, 3:39 AM
Hello! I've been following Survival Project since it started, and I must say, this is one of my favorite fics on Serebii right now. You're obviously an excellent writer, and every new chapter is so intriguing and full of surprises. I've been wanting to review this for a while, and I'm glad that I finally get the chance to do so!

This is my first review, and I'm pretty new to the world of fanfiction, so you can make of my comments what you will. I'll start with a general overview of the first four chapters.

Chapter 1: Great way to start off. The first few paragraphs draw you right in, and everything just flows from there. I love the way you portrayed Senori - the simultaneous loyalty to his clan and the shame and self-doubt he feels for hurting them seemed very realistic in my opinion. And Sai is a very...interesting character. He's so set on doing things the "right" way, the way he was told...which is so far removed from a "normal" trainer's experience that I have to wonder what the heck is going on here. Also, he never seems to display the same emotion twice. I did feel that the scene where Sai is attacking Senori could have been a bit shorter, but I still liked it just for the fact that I've never heard of a trainer beating up a Pokemon with their bare hands before. ; )

I did notice one tiny mistake about 3/4 of the way down:


Maybe his parents forb him to go, but he went anyway

I think you meant "forbade."

Overall: I thought this was a really good start to the story.

Chapter 2: I liked the reference to the "horrific myth" story from Diamond and Pearl at the beginning of the chapter. It makes me wonder if this scene will become more important later on.

Kuiora is a cutie. I think you captured the fact that she is a young Pokemon very well through her fascination with everything around her, and her eagerness to go out and see the world. Her ego seems perfect for a Totodile, too. Also, she has a very unique name - how did you come up with it? (Kui means eat in Japanese, so I was wondering if that's what you were going for.) Finally, I liked the interplay between Sai, Senori, and Kuiora. Their differing personalities really contributed to the awkwardness of the scene where they all meet each other, I think. (Hope that made any sense.)

Found another little mistake:


They were having trouble standing with the wind blowing against us, though I did not feel it, as the professor standing in front of me and blocking it.

You forgot the "was" between "professor" and "standing."

Overall: strong follow-up to the first chapter.

Chapter 3: Really powerful chapter. Senori's backstory was heartbreaking, and his guilt over what happened was so well conveyed that I genuinely felt sorry for him. I don't often react like that to characters, so great job on that.

And something occured to me as I read this for the second time: I think it would be really interesting if Sai were to catch a Sneasel later on in the fic. It would certainly add an extra layer of tension to Senori's character. But you can disregard this, I'm really just thinking out loud here.

I didn't notice any errors this time around, so nicely done.

Overall: I don't have much else to say about this chapter; this was great!

Chapter 4: This was my favorite chapter so far, mainly because you helped me to see the Pokemon world in a different way. Case in point:


It wasn’t that I hated pokémon. I hated peoples’ love for pokémon. It was consuming and overwhelming and encouraged far too much. It seemed to be the only reason for people to wake up in the morning, the only thing that made life worth living. Everything else was forgotten—reading, writing, school for jobs that made food and buildings, school for jobs that helped the sick... There had to be something else to life that not enough people were seeing.

A Pokemon that wants people to be less obsessed with Pokemon? That's a very unique character you have there. Sure, I could see a person holding that viewpoint, but for a Pokemon to be talking about the Pokemon-human relationship like that is something I've never considered.

As a corollary, I really liked Atis' character overall. He reminds me a little of myself, actually: low-key and doesn't like to be the center of attention. His unsettled reaction to Sai was also quite realistic - I imagine I'd act like that myself if I met Sai in person.

Another highlight of this chapter was the battle against Falkner. Once again, I'd never thought about describing a battle from the Pokemon's perspective (and this is coming from someone who's played Pokemon for over 12 years). I believe all the characters' personalities really came through in this scene: Atis maintained his reluctant nature, but was surprisingly resourceful; Falkner and his Pidgeotto were both perfect in their competitiveness; and Sai remained as naive and indifferent as ever. I'm still wondering what Sai's true purpose is. How can he keep getting away with knowing next to nothing about Pokemon?!

Moving on, I noticed a couple more errors in this chapter.


I quietly said, “I’m sorry,” and hoped that the bird understand.

Should be "understood," or maybe "hoped that the bird would understand."


“But I—” I started to say. But what? I belonged to Earl?

This isn't too important, but something about the punctuation at the end of the bolded part seems...off to me. I know you're trying to convey that Atis is confused, but to me, the question mark there doesn't quite fit. I'm not exactly sure how to remedy that, however.


“We’re leaving in a week,” Sai said. “You best be ready.”

This might sound better: "you'd best be ready."

Overall: despite the (minor) errors, this was a great chapter.

So, as I said before, I'm really enjoying this fic so far, and I'm looking forward to see where you're going to go with this. I'll try to review Chapters 5-7 soon. (I hope my comments helped, by the way. I was really just writing down my impressions to everything, so I hope it all made sense.) I'd really appreciate if you could put me on the PM list - I'm eagerly awaiting the next chapter!

Keep up the great work!

~Crimson Penguin

Janovy
5th June 2012, 6:37 PM
And thus, I read the most recent chapter.

I'm liking Sai more and more. I keep feeling as if he was sent on this journey in order to learn how to control his emotions, to learn how to make his own choices, doesn't matter whether right or wrong, as long as he's learning out of them. Seeing him turn down a badge upon realizing Bugsy was going easy on him earned him many points in my book as there aren't many noble trainers out there. And of course, Senori will have to realize that his emotions can't always correspond to those of his trainer. I understand that Sai is always above him but that doesn't mean he's not allowed of having his own emotions, feelings in his free will.

Thankfully, Sai's mood swings seem to make him realize that he won't be able to keep up with Sai.

In a way, Senori is developing thanks to Sai's help and that's something extraordinary.

Though I'm sad that Kuiora didn't get to battle. Ah well, at least she was as amusing as always. :] You definitely have a great story going on here so keep it up! I'm looking forward to Sai's development as well as some new team members. ^^

diamondpearl876
8th June 2012, 2:29 AM
I really like Atis a lot, he's a type of character with a very "Social Anxiety"-ish demeanor and personality, that's what I like about him. He's relatable in that aspect, not to mention he's just interesting since he seems to want the students to choose a path in life other then Pokemon, which is a bit surprising since a lot of peoples' worlds in Pokemon revolve around Pokemon, trying to escape them is futile in a way. I can understand how he might feel attached to some of the kids after hanging out with them so often, it was really endearing. His attitude toward Sai was pretty nicely written, he certainly is the type of character who doesn't like too much attention despite having such strength and being fully evolved at that. He seems more street smarter and tougher then Kuiora or Senori.

Feel like I'm pretty much reading my notes here. You really got his character.


I wonder why Faulkner would use his tired Pidgeotto against Atis? Seemed weird, and a bit of an advantage for Sai. I was surprised Sai gave no orders to Atis and let him do his own thing, the backstory on Atis evolving due to high amount of school battles and living with Earl was pretty nice stuff. He seems like a real fun character to write, and you really "feel" his anxiety.

Falkner used the tired Pidgeotto because that's all he really has. It's never really explicitly stated, but since he says he's been through many battles for the day already, it can be inferred.


Can't believe Earl just let Atis go, just like "that" with no problem.

Seemed odd when I was writing it too, though Earl seems like the type of guy who goes along with anything thrown his way. He also just wanted Atis to be happy.


I might even say she's stronger then Senori probably, sure Senori is Sai's first but he's not really strong for a supposed leader, at least in comparison to Kuiora and Atis.

That's assuming that the only strength you need as a leader is physical strength. ;)


The Cave Interaction scene was interesting, I wonder if that'll get done any further or if the boy will appear again.

The boy will definitely appear again. I hope to expand on that scene since it was kind of cut short.

Thanks for reading/reviewing. Would you like to be on the PM list? You're almsot caught up.



In some of the chapters, I noticed that the end of the chapters didn't have much of a closure, which is understandable considering it's not the end. At the same time I didn't feel as if there were cliffhangers either.

Interesting. It may have something to do with the fact I've never really written anything chaptered before? I don't quite know how to close a chapter. Any suggestions?


The dialogue seemed fine to me, although there were times it felt a little bit repetitive.

I'm glad you liked the fic, and I'll watch out for repetitive dialogue in the future. Would you like to be added to the PM list?


Sai is an enigma. When he was was first introduced, he resembled a cold-hearted robot but last chapter completely threw me off with Sai being ecstatic about stuff and wanting to go in everyone's houses - at the very end, he went crazy going as far to throw a lamp at Atis. Perhaps Sai is bipolar? Perhaps he can't control his emotions well? Could that be the reason he prefers staying cold all the time? Because it certainly seems like it. And like others have already said, he's very cryptic and I just can decipher his character - he's very interesting and, I can just say bravo for creating such an intriguing and enigmatic character who forces you to question him and his actions whilst making you wish for more and driving you crazy in your desire to find out more about him.

Is he any relation to the title of this story? Survival project? Does Sai have anything to do with this?

I wouldn't be surprised if he did, though I can't even come up with a single theory regarding that. Except for him wanting to gather all eight badges, I have no clue where this story is going and that's a good thing - that keeps things suspenseful and interesting.

I'm glad you like Sai so much. And you've got some interesting theories about his odd behavior already. :) The title does refer to everyone, though it does refer to Sai more than anyone else. Hopefully the mystery behind it all won't be a disappointment.


She will definitely be the strongest one day, haha.

Oh, I love your Kuiora-like attitude here. I'm glad you like her so much, she does seem to be a lot of peoples' favorites. :)


I'm quite happy Atis left because - being a mascot? Seriously? Is that really better than traveling the exciting world of Pokémon?

"the exciting world of pokemon" - Atis may beat you up for that.


I know, I know - this review sucks.

Actually, I enjoyed the review and appreciate it very much. This is a character-driven fic so it's always nice to get feedback on the characters. :)


You do a great job on having a Pokémon talk about its surroundings, explaining how it feels, what it sees - I can understand which chapter revolves around which Pokémon without even looking at the title - they have distinctive personalities so it's easy to identify them.

Oh, yes. Good, good.


I'm looking forward to the fourth team member, though I'm hoping for a more original way of Sai getting it. Perhaps the certain Pokémon starts following Sai around? It'd be a nice change of pace and quite refreshing.

Hmmm, I was thinking about how to catch the next pokemon, but I completely forgot what I had in mind. That's what I get for leaving the fic alone for a month, though I think it was a well-needed break.


Oh, and one last thing: How come people can understand Pokémon in your world?

Nurse Joy understands them because she spends so much time with pokemon. So does Sai--it adds to his mystery as you ask, why? And where? No one else has been seen being able to talk to pokemon. I believe that if you spend time with them, you understand them based off of gestures, tone of voice, etc.

Thanks for reading/reviewing, and I'll be getting to your fic after this. Would you like to be adding to PM list?


Hello! I've been following Survival Project since it started, and I must say, this is one of my favorite fics on Serebii right now. You're obviously an excellent writer, and every new chapter is so intriguing and full of surprises. I've been wanting to review this for a while, and I'm glad that I finally get the chance to do so!

This makes me glad that I had to take a month-long break from writing this. I'm glad you decided to tell me you've been reading.


Chapter 2: I liked the reference to the "horrific myth" story from Diamond and Pearl at the beginning of the chapter. It makes me wonder if this scene will become more important later on.

If all goes according to plan, it should be important! If you're a writer you know that nothing usually goes as planned.


Also, she has a very unique name - how did you come up with it? (Kui means eat in Japanese, so I was wondering if that's what you were going for.)

I believe one of the meanings for "Kui" in Chinese is fearsome and awe-struck, and "ora" means prayer, referring to her religious fascination. There's so many meanings out there, but basically I put together small phrases/words like that and make a name.


And something occured to me as I read this for the second time: I think it would be really interesting if Sai were to catch a Sneasel later on in the fic. It would certainly add an extra layer of tension to Senori's character. But you can disregard this, I'm really just thinking out loud here.

I've been thinking the same thing. It makes me feel like a cruel, cruel person. But it's totally possible, LOL.


I'm still wondering what Sai's true purpose is. How can he keep getting away with knowing next to nothing about Pokemon?!

With a lot of luck and sympathy on the writer's part. Just kidding on that second part, kind of. He better enjoy it while it lasts.


So, as I said before, I'm really enjoying this fic so far, and I'm looking forward to see where you're going to go with this. I'll try to review Chapters 5-7 soon. (I hope my comments helped, by the way. I was really just writing down my impressions to everything, so I hope it all made sense.) I'd really appreciate if you could put me on the PM list - I'm eagerly awaiting the next chapter!

It was helpful, don't worry. And I'll fix those mistakes you pointed out soon. I'll add you to PM list as well. Thanks a lot! :)

To anyone about the next chapter:

I hope to have it up soon. I already have 1500 words down and the outline for the chapter's events, just have to keep going. I don't really want to make excuses, you can ask why I haven't written if you want, but yeah, I'll try to have it up soon. MOTIVATION, ANYONE?!

Crimson Penguin
9th June 2012, 3:52 AM
This makes me glad that I had to take a month-long break from writing this. I'm glad you decided to tell me you've been reading.

Yes, I've only had my account for a little over a week (I figured I'd wait until school got out so I could properly review without being too pressed for time); otherwise I would have responded sooner.


If all goes according to plan, it should be important! If you're a writer you know that nothing usually goes as planned.

Oh yes, I know how that goes. I'm currently working on a one-shot and a chaptered fic, and they're both frustrating the heck out of me right now, because the words just don't want to put themselves down the way I had them in my head. Aaarrgh.


I believe one of the meanings for "Kui" in Chinese is fearsome and awe-struck, and "ora" means prayer, referring to her religious fascination. There's so many meanings out there, but basically I put together small phrases/words like that and make a name.

Ah, that makes much more sense now (and it's a lot more sophisticated than my original idea, lol). I'm always curious about the meaning behind characters' names, especially since you've come up with such great unique ones.


I've been thinking the same thing. It makes me feel like a cruel, cruel person. But it's totally possible, LOL.

I'm glad I'm not the only one, then! I mean, I really like Senori, but...that seems almost too good of an opportunity to pass up. *evil grin*


With a lot of luck and sympathy on the writer's part. Just kidding on that second part, kind of. He better enjoy it while it lasts.

Hmm...can't wait to see what you have in store for him, it shall be interesting.


It was helpful, don't worry. And I'll fix those mistakes you pointed out soon. I'll add you to PM list as well. Thanks a lot!

Good, glad it helped. I hope I wasn't too harsh with pointing out the mistakes, but I'm (unfortunately) an ultra-perfectionist/grammar Nazi, so little things like that tend to catch my attention. And thank you for adding me!

Well, since I'm here, I'll go ahead and review the next chapter!

Chapter 5:


Violet City wasn’t violet. There was green grass and brown buildings and white walking paths and there weren’t even any violet flowers. And the purple roofs didn’t count. It was sort of disappointing. I don’t know what I had been expecting, but it was certainly more than this. This city looked just like New Bark Town, except just organized in an entirely different way. A city full of flower houses and purple people would have been better.

I quite like this opening. It suits Kuiora's youth and naivete perfectly.

And speaking of Kuiora, you've developed her personality excellently in this chapter. I find it funny how she's so self-confident and thinks herself to be this awesomely strong Pokemon, even though she actually has very little experience. It seems that her status as Professor Elm's "favorite" starter has spoiled her rotten.

My favorite part of this chapter is the interaction between Kuiora and Senori. They're such opposites of each other, and the clash between Kuiora's youthful energy and rebelliousness and Senori's quiet, reluctant authority made for a very interesting scene. Then there's the part after Kuiora caught Senori in a Pokeball (which was totally awesome, by the way):


Walking up to Senori’s pokéball, I wondered if I should let him back out. But that would just be asking for more teasing and more complaints about things I wanted to do. Also, he was tired… Wouldn’t it have been best to just leave him in there to rest? Plus, I wasn’t the trainer. Sai could make these kinds of decisions himself. This was just an accident, so my actions didn’t count. I picked up the ball, which was easier now that it was back to its original tiny form. It didn’t feel any heavier, nor were there any signs that a pokémon was inside of it. It was almost as if Senori didn’t exist at all. I vaguely wondered again if I should release him, because if I were him, I wouldn’t want to be erased so easily. I had so much to do. I had to get stronger. I had to be deemed worthy of the legends. So much to do, and Sai made it seem like there wasn’t much time…

I think this paragraph just about sums up everything about a child's beliefs and attitudes about the world and her role in it. Very well done.

Now, about Sai...He's getting weirder by the minute here. He seems to be so indifferent towards everything around him. From his seeming lack of need for food to his distrust of Nurse Joy, something is fundamentally off about him. The way he reacted towards the trainer who saved Senori almost reminded me of Paul from the anime - Sai has his own way of training and dealing with things. I wish I could come up with some cool conspiracy theory about who he really is, but he's just so bizarre that I can't think of a conceivable explanation.

Finally, here's another one of my nitpicks:


It was a strange looking creature that had been named Atis. It was strange looking, but also intimidating.

I'm not sure if the repetition of "strange looking" was intentional or not, but if it wasn't, you may want to change the wording here to avoid being redundant. Also, I believe that the phrase "but also" always has to be preceded by a phrase containing "not only," although I'm not 100% sure on that.

Overall: once again, I loved this chapter.

Well, I was going to review the other two chapters, but I'm a bit short on time right now, so that'll have to wait until a little later, I'm afraid. Still, I'll try to get everything written up within the next couple of days. I hope the review helped, and good luck on the next chapter!

~Crimson Penguin

diamondpearl876
9th June 2012, 10:21 PM
Yes, I've only had my account for a little over a week (I figured I'd wait until school got out so I could properly review without being too pressed for time); otherwise I would have responded sooner.

Oh well, doesn't matter when, I'm just glad you replied at all!


Oh yes, I know how that goes. I'm currently working on a one-shot and a chaptered fic, and they're both frustrating the heck out of me right now, because the words just don't want to put themselves down the way I had them in my head. Aaarrgh.

Lol, aww. I just have learned to do as little outlining/character development as possible and just let them handle it on their own as I write.


Now, about Sai...He's getting weirder by the minute here. He seems to be so indifferent towards everything around him. From his seeming lack of need for food to his distrust of Nurse Joy, something is fundamentally off about him. The way he reacted towards the trainer who saved Senori almost reminded me of Paul from the anime - Sai has his own way of training and dealing with things. I wish I could come up with some cool conspiracy theory about who he really is, but he's just so bizarre that I can't think of a conceivable explanation.

Lol, well you're not the only one who's confused! I look forward to seeing how/if your opinion of him changes over time, though.

Thanks for reviewing again! The nitpick you pointed out was intentional on my part, so I don't know if I'd change it, but it's in my head.

diamondpearl876
11th June 2012, 7:26 PM
SURVIVAL PROJECT

chapter 8 ; [KUIORA]
belong

*

I had learned some things while traveling with Sai thus far. First and foremost, I had learned that every person and pokémon should have their own name for the sake of clarity. I had learned that not everyone knows about the legendary pokémon and how special they are. I had learned that every building looks almost the same, with some exceptions. I could live with those exceptions. But I could not live with the exception for the most important thing I had learned: I had spent so much time trying to separate myself from everyone else that no one could realize my superiority.

I hated admitting it, but Senori was right. Sai didn’t know how hard I had trained, and therefore he didn’t use me in the battle like I wanted him to. I had foolishly expected him to just… know what I had done. Panic coursed through me as I saw him send Senori out to the battle field. I jumped and jumped, tried to get his attention, but it didn’t work. Asking directly didn’t work, either. Anyone can expect things to happen, jump up and down, or ask for things. But not everyone can work as hard as me to get what they want. So, naturally, I was beyond confused and had way too many questions.

The only conclusion I could come to was that there were exceptions. Senori hadn’t done anything at all to get the special attention he got at the gym. He was chosen by Sai without a second thought, and the boy stood up for him despite how he needed that badge so badly and as quickly as possible. Yes, the sentret’s battle was rather humiliating, but being chosen by our trainer was still an accomplishment. Why was Senori an exception? Why was he Sai’s first pokémon? What about Atis, who wasn’t rewarded for the hard work he did at Violet City? How did the hitmontop seem so much closer to Sai than the rest of us?

…What about me?

*

When we started walking out of the forest-like gym, I immediately started thinking of ways to get Sai’s attention next time. We would be back, after all.

I thought that, perhaps, I would have to train in odd areas, like his room in the pokémon center. Messing up his room would force him to look at me, because who wants to pay money for a damaged room when it could be avoided? That was hard when we had separate rooms. Or I would have to force myself to evolve soon so that I could be bigger and even more intimidating than my unpredictable trainer. But I wasn’t close to evolving; my body wasn’t feeling any changes, nor did I feel ready emotionally. My more desperate plans consisted of asking Senori or Atis for help. They could ask him to pay attention to me, and Sai would listen without a doubt. But that would be a last resort, I decided.

I paced back and forth in the hallway where all of our rooms were. Atis did the same, but he muttered about Senori a few times. The snarky pokémon wasn’t on my mind. In my mind I was running from New Bark Town to Azalea Town once more, except this time I imagined myself more successful and stronger. I paced back and forth, but in reality I knew that I was going nowhere. I had to do something—and fast.

I turned to Atis. “Would you have wanted to battle against the scyther and caterpie?” I asked.

The hitmontop halted, seemingly embarrassed at being noticed and confronted so suddenly. “N-No,” he stammered, “not really. The scyther looked scary.”

“It did, huh? And Senori certainly won’t want to fight again.”

“I would agree with that…”

“So I’ll be fighting next.”

“Yes…” Atis said, rubbing the back of his head. He turned to the room to his door, probably wishing that it wasn’t locked and that Sai had given us the keys.

“That’s not really fair,” I pointed out. “That means Sai will just choose me because I’m last choice.”

“You’re a baby. It’s not an insult, he’s just protecting you…”

“I’m a baby, but I’m going to be better than you soon enough. Amazing, right?” I said, glaring at the pokémon. For a fighting-type, he sure chose odd battles to fight. “Do you think Sai will be taking long?”

Atis ignored my first comment and said, “It will probably be a few hours, yeah. Healing pokémon takes a while.”

“I’m going to the gym. I’m going to get that badge by myself, then.”

“W-What?” Atis said, turning to me swiftly and nearly falling over. “Why don’t you just wait for Sai?”

“If I can get Bugsy’s badge all by myself, then I’ll be first choice next time. I’ll be doing him a favor, anyway. He’s busy and in a hurry to get things done, which is a terrible combination.”

Atis looked down, shifted uncomfortably. “I guess… I still don’t think you should go by yourself.”

“Fine,” I said, thinking that I would need to learn from my mistakes and make sure there was a witness to my power, anyway. “I’m taking you with me.”

*

Physically, the city hadn’t changed much. It was still light, and it was full of buildings and trees and people walking around, all of which, unlike me, were going nowhere. The gym hadn’t changed much either. The bug pokémon still sat on sturdy branches and watched potential challengers walking through the door with disinterest. Things were still quiet aside from the occasional yell of a trainer that the bugs were so accustomed to that they didn’t flinch or even look in the general direction of the noise.

The feelings that stirred inside me, however, were much different. Last time, I stayed relaxed yet excited for what was (supposed) to come. This time, I knew that I was going into the unknown, so I was tense yet determined. There was nothing to be done—I had set my eyes on my goal, and nothing could stop me.

“That’s the gym leader right there,” Atis said. He stopped walking and lifted his hand feebly, pointing out the small boy with purple hair and ranger clothes fit for the pretender that he was in this fake forest.

“I know that,” I said. Perhaps I spoke a bit too loudly, as the boy’s head snapped in our direction and his eyes widened in surprise. “And he knows who we are, too.”

“Where is your trainer?” Bugsy called out, standing up. His hands were curled around the handle of a watering can, and on the ground near him lay a bowl of what appeared to be berries. It would have been a decent sight had he been taking care of an actual part of nature rather than this fake place he had created.

“He’s at the pokémon center, healing the sentret,” I said, standing up as tall as I could.

“I see… Is he coming back for a gym battle later, then?”

“No,” I said sharply, offended. “I came to get the badge right here and now. I don’t need to wait for him.”

“Ah, yes. I remember you wanting to battle. Very eager, aren’t you? But you’re just like your trainer,” Bugsy said, kneeling back down and starting to water plants once more.

“My trainer?”

Bugsy chuckled lightly. “Well, you should know that strong pokémon are not always the only kind of pokémon as well. If you want my badge, then you have to evolve one of my pokémon here. It doesn’t matter which, or how you do it—just be civil, of course.”

“Of course,” I said, rolling my eyes. I considered just leaving. I had come here to battle, and now I wouldn’t even get the chance. This was a job for the shy little Atis who didn’t want anyone near him. I looked at him curiously.

“We’ll do it,” Atis said, with no hesitation.

I glared at Bugsy.

*

The forest was vast, but so was the amount of pokémon in it. Evolving a pokémon, I thought, would be easy. Professor Elm, when confronted by several of our evolution questions, said that while we could grow and evolve fast, bug-types were the quickest. I had been training and traveling with Sai for weeks now, however, and still felt little change. I was stronger, yes, but I didn’t feel stronger. My body was growing, yes, but my mind was in the same place.

“Let’s see what I can do,” I mumbled. Since Bugsy was no longer available to glare at, I stared at Atis instead, hoping to shock him into thinking that this was hopeless after all, that Sai would just have to get the badge on his own time, like a normal trainer.

“R-Right,” he said, fidgeting and turning every which way that didn’t involve him having to see me.

We came across, of course, a ton of bug pokémon. They all seemed hesitant to come near us, but still intrigued at the same time as they stuck their heads out from behind bushes and as they stared down at us from the branches.

“We just have to pick one,” I said impatiently, stopping. I turned to my left. Standing in front of the bushes was a small and yellow pokémon with no limbs that I could see. It had black beady eyes, and it spoke its name over and over with a deep voice.

“This one? A kakuna?” Atis asked, stopping as well.

“Yes.” I didn’t mention that I didn’t know it was a kakuna up until now.

“Why?”

“You’d ask that about any pokémon, so I don’t feel too inclined to answer.”

Atis was silent.

I walked up to the pokémon and very briefly explained our mission. The kakuna kept mumbling its name, completely apathetic.

“We’re pokémon, too, you know. You don’t have to say your name as if you were talking to a human… Not that you should have to say your own name when talking at all…” Atis said. He started to back up, probably thinking this was a bad idea. I was at least inclined to agree with him there.

“Uh, maybe we should find a different pokémon,” Atis suggested.

“No,” I said quickly. “If this thing is dumb enough to talk like that, then it has an awful lot to learn. Learning means growing and growing leads to evolution, right?”

“I guess…”

“Okay. Go ahead and teach it to talk. You’re a school thing.”

“Um…” Atis said, treading lightly as he moved toward the still kakuna and its robotic voice. “Well, like I said, humans will hear your name, but you can say whatever you want, okay? Please talk to us.”

“Kakuna, kakuna,” it said. Did it even have a mouth?

Atis looked back and forth between me and the kakuna, as if the little yellow creature was tricking him and going to attack at any moment. “I think evolution refers to fighting experience mostly…” he said.

“That’s the only effort you’re going to give?!” I cried, covering my face.

Atis, the smart and strong one, said, “I know about pokémon, not speech.”

“Kakuna is a pokémon!”

He had nothing to say to that. Then I got another idea. With my fist still balled up, I ran over to the kakuna as fast as I could, drew my arm back, and punched it as powerfully as I could in an attempt to get some kind of reaction. I got a reaction, yeah—from myself. Excruciating pain shot through my stubby arm and then throughout my entire body. My hand throbbed. I winced, but tried not to whine. Don’t whine, don’t show weakness, even if the kakuna is hard as rock.

“That was a bad idea,” Atis pointed out dumbly.

“You’re a bad idea,” I said, rather childishly, I would admit. My voice broke and he probably noticed. “I have another idea. I think”—I tried to regain my composure here—“that we should fight instead. Seeing things is still gaining experience.”

“I-I don’t think that’s a good idea…” Atis started, turning to leave immediately. “I think we should just go get Sai and let him take care of it…”

“If you won’t fight me, I’ll find someone who will!” I said, drawing back the same arm I used on the kakuna and running toward Atis this time. I supposed that I should have made sure the kakuna was watching first, but my rage toward Atis wasn’t really letting me think straight at the time. Since Atis was turned, I ended up punching him in the middle of his round back, sending him sprawling forward and into the dirt of the forest floor. His wails muffled as he landed, and he didn’t get back up for a while. I wondered if I had already won and proven that I was the strongest.

After a few moments, I peered over at the kakuna. It had at least stopped murmuring its own name. I vaguely wondered if, like Sai and Senori and everyone else, the kakuna had a special name aside from its species name. I didn’t get to think about it much, however, as I saw Atis stir in the corner of my eye. Looking at the kakuna again, I prepared a water gun attack. The liquid filled my mouth and was bursting to get out, it didn’t matter where. Since I was convinced that the little thing was watching, I sprayed it toward Atis, just as I had done in the hotel on a day that seemed like forever ago. I didn’t hear any wailing this time, but I could tell he was hurt, since his body was splayed out on the ground once more, unmoving.

I walked up to him, sure that the kakuna was still observing my obvious prowess. When I was close to his body, I lifted my foot and shook his hands, his legs, anything to get him up. While I wanted to be stronger, it would be bad if he lost here and I wasn’t able to evolve the kakuna. Yes, I had brought him here for something, after all, other than to witness my victory.

“Don’t be useless now,” I murmured, still kicking him lightly.

Suddenly, a green aura appeared that stung my foot a bit. Naturally, I moved back, afraid of the new… attack? I couldn’t tell what this thing was. The circular barrier surrounded all of Atis’s body, and continued to do so as he stood up slowly, not facing me.

“I’m not useless, you know,” he said—calmly, I noticed. “I know Sai better than you do. I helped children… even if I didn’t want to…”

I didn’t say anything.

He still didn’t turn to face me. He was trying to stand up for himself and was still being shy when doing so, of course. Instead, however, he lifted his leg, and I knew an attack was coming, so I braced myself, tried to move back even further so maybe he’d miss.

But I didn’t do it fast enough.

The first thing I felt was his spikes digging into me despite my tough skin. Pain immediately coursed through my entire body, and I could see blood splattering from the corner of my eye. I flew backward, seeing Atis get smaller and smaller, further and further. He was also blurry… due to the tears in my eyes. I had no idea what my destination was until, of course, my body smashed right into the poor kakuna who had simply been staring and standing still, innocently, the entire time. With the force of impact, the two of us also flew back into a nearby tree with a loud thud.

My head spun, my side hurt, I was crying, even my blood deserted me, the weak Atis was staring in horror, and I was laying on top of a glowing and mute kakuna. I vaguely sighed in relief, thinking that Atis had found a way to make it fight. But this wasn’t a fighting glow. Didn’t kakuna only know one attack, and that was to make itself harder so that poor opponents like me could break their hand with a single punch?

The kakuna kept glowing, blinding me along with the tears. I could at least make out its figure, which was growing larger by the second. I was distracted as I heard Atis running over, crying out to me.

“You need to move! I’m sorry!” he cried. Screaming as he grabbed me on both of my sides, we made it back over into the clearing, away from the evolving kakuna.

Evolving.

We could get the badge, now, at least.

I supposed that kakuna needing a small amount of experience was an understatement, and it made me chuckle slightly, though I vowed not to do that for a while as my body stung in response. I turned my head as quickly as I could while still being careful in time to see the glowing fade away and reveal a new pokémon, one with stingers, a pair of antennas, and black and yellow stripes—definitely something to be feared should anyone else come across the pokémon now. Evolution, I thought, was surely an amazing thing.

Meanwhile, Atis was still muttering, “I’m sorry,” so I told him to shut up and not ruin the moment. He listened, but Bugsy decided to ruin the moment instead. If he made it better, I sure didn’t feel any better yet. No battle, I was hurt anyway, and Atis had made the kakuna evolve, not me.

“You managed to evolve Kakuna into a beedrill after all… and it looks like you got some battle experience yourself,” Bugsy said, smirking. Did he enjoy me bleeding on his forest floor? I wondered if he had been watching the entire time. “As promised, you may have the Hive Badge.”

Atis took the badge in his hand after Bugsy took it out of his pocket. I simply looked at it, but didn’t touch it. I couldn’t get blood on it and then give it to Sai, though it may have proved I had worked for it… Nevertheless, the tiniest thing in the world, this little red badge with a black strip at the top and three black dots below it, made me smile a bit.

“Beedrill!” Bugsy yelled, also smiling. “Come over here and say something now.”

The beedrill hovered over, and I found it amusing that this was the first time I had really seen the pokemon move. Was evolution really so easy, so simple? And could the beedrill talk now, when it couldn’t before? I quickly received my answer.

“I was shy… so I kept saying my name to avoid fighting or making conversation… but I assure you, the entire time, I wanted to say thank you for choosing me.”

My head still hurt.

*

Every time Atis tried to talk after that—usually trying to say sorry or tend to my wounds—I simply said nothing.

When we were walking back with the badge, aside from dealing with Atis’s annoying self, all I could do was stare at it and think of what the kakuna—now Beedrill—had said. Now, it would be my turn to get chosen. I would make sure of it. Fighting Atis had given me an idea. We remained silent the entire way back, since I knew that if I brought it up, he would be upset and flustered once more. Nevertheless, I would do what I had to. If you won’t fight me, I’ll find someone who will.

It really was that simple. Even though it was getting dark outside now, plenty of people were out and about, and they were all staring at me, some of them covering their mouth with their hands in surprise. But they didn’t do anything to help me. We made our way to the pokémon center, found Sai in the lobby, no one bothering to say anything, not even the nurse inside. Sai was even stunned into silence at first. All is always quiet when a known victory is made.

He ran to me with Senori in his arms and dropped to his knees.

“What happened to you?” he asked, his free hand moving toward my bleeding side, grazing it with care. I could tell he wanted to do something to help me, but I wouldn’t let him.

Instead, I said, “Fight me.”

“What?” Sai said, pulling his hand back.

I took the badge from Atis’s hand and presented it to him. “I won this for you. Fight me if you want it,” I said—slowly, seriously. He had to understand…

“You won this? For me?” he replied, ignoring me as he stared at the badge dumbly.

“I did. So fight me.”

“You’re my pokémon, Kuiora. I can’t fight you.”

“You fought Senori,” I said, making the disgust clear in my voice, not because it was immoral, but because he was denying me a chance now. I remembered Senori telling me about this, and knew, at that moment, I’d get Sai to fight me someday soon so that he’d accept me, too.

“I had no pokémon to help me catch Senori.”

“Senori was weak and I’m not. Fight me.”

“I won’t,” Sai said, taking the badge out of my hand. Had I not been injured, I would have bit him, punched him, kicked him, hit him with my water gun until—

I did punch him, at least. Right in the face. Right there, in the pokémon center, where everyone could see. Sai didn’t budge because the attack wasn’t very strong; my head still spun and I just couldn’t focus. But I was going to fight him and be chosen if it was the last thing I’d do.

Others wailed in horror, and the nurse cried for Sai to stop his pokémon, to return me to my pokéball. Atis tried to hold me back, but I just sprayed him with water and he gave up easily. Senori, with his injuries, was useless, so he simply jumped out of Sai’s arms and stood on the side to watch the event unfold. Sai’s expression was slightly more angry, but not angry enough to fight me back. I punched him again and again, sometimes in the face, sometimes in the stomach, sometimes in the back. It was much easier than fighting the kakuna, but I tried not to let that bother me.

Sai took each and every hit, bleeding a bit himself and obviously having some bruises forming. But it wasn’t good enough. He wasn’t budging. His fists were clenched, and he was frowning, growling. I decided that I had to still be stronger. How could I do that? By getting rid of these wounds. All I wanted was for him to fight me and accept that I was his pokémon, a pokémon so strong that he had to fight back to control.

I had to evolve. Maybe I’d still be hurt, but I’d be stronger. My body had been growing, that was obvious. I was getting smarter, my mind was growing. I had trained so much, and in my desperate state of mind, I needed this, I needed this now.

I finally let myself do so. I stopped punching Sai, stood back, and to them, I was glowing—just like the kakuna had for me and Atis. I could feel my body changing. I grew another set of spikes, this time on my head. My tail grew longer. My jaw was changing by turning smaller and more round, my teeth growing sharper and larger in quantity as compensation. Surprisingly, it didn’t hurt at all, but I supposed that was the result of my training. Pokémon were meant for evolution, anyway, and the body and mind prepared itself nicely… so nicely that my wounds weren’t as severe. The dizziness was gone, and I could concentrate again. I was no longer bleeding, though my side still showed signs of injury from Atis’s spikes. The nurse would have to take care of me eventually, and I wondered what she’d think of me.

When I felt complete, I opened my eyes. I was taller, and I was able to look down on Sai now. Perfect. I didn’t even stop to get a feel for my new form, just started punching him immediately once more. I would get used to my new body by training more and fighting—just to evolve once more, sometime in the near future, hopefully.

I hit him and hit him and hit him. Over and over, and this time, I could hear him grunting with pain, and asking me why I was doing this, and that I had to stop. I was hardly listening, and finally, finally, when his voice was emanating throughout the entire pokémon center and I still hadn’t stopped, I got what I wanted.

Sai punched me. Did he have a choice? He punched me. Right in the face. Right there, in the pokémon center, where everyone could see.

That was all I wanted.

Janovy
11th June 2012, 8:08 PM
Amazing chapter that gave us more insight into Kuiora's personality.

She wasn't just comedic this time around, everything was just much more dramatic as Kuoir felt worthless and weak. All her '''m going to be stronger than you!' talk, it was nothing but her wishful desires. She's been training but she wasn't strong enough. She was chosen as the last one, she wasn't the one who evolved Kakuna but Atis - she simply wanted Sai's attention. I could truly feel her frustration and to be honest, I would feel frustrated as much as her in that same situation. That's why I was thrilled upon her evolution and when she started punching Sai. Sai did nothing wrong but I read those lines with pleasure and joy - the joy of Kuoira evolving and finally being able to show her trainer how strong she really was.

If anything, this chapter solidified my preference for Kuoira, she's just one amazing character.

And you, my dear friend, I can only say 'bravo' for making me this invested in her character! I'm sure we can expect many other amazing things from her! She grew and developed thus my love for Kuoira grew as well! Keep up with your excellent writing! :)

The Great Butler
12th June 2012, 8:25 AM
SURVIVAL PROJECT

chapter 8 ; [KUIORA]
belong

*

Oh boy, if this title is any indication, then this is going to be an emotional chapter.


I had learned some things while traveling with Sai thus far. First and foremost, I had learned that every person and pokémon should have their own name for the sake of clarity. I had learned that not everyone knows about the legendary pokémon and how special they are. I had learned that every building looks almost the same, with some exceptions. I could live with those exceptions. But I could not live with the exception for the most important thing I had learned: I had spent so much time trying to separate myself from everyone else that no one could realize my superiority.

I hated admitting it, but Senori was right. Sai didn’t know how hard I had trained, and therefore he didn’t use me in the battle like I wanted him to. I had foolishly expected him to just… know what I had done. Panic coursed through me as I saw him send Senori out to the battle field. I jumped and jumped, tried to get his attention, but it didn’t work. Asking directly didn’t work, either. Anyone can expect things to happen, jump up and down, or ask for things. But not everyone can work as hard as me to get what they want. So, naturally, I was beyond confused and had way too many questions.

The only conclusion I could come to was that there were exceptions. Senori hadn’t done anything at all to get the special attention he got at the gym. He was chosen by Sai without a second thought, and the boy stood up for him despite how he needed that badge so badly and as quickly as possible. Yes, the sentret’s battle was rather humiliating, but being chosen by our trainer was still an accomplishment. Why was Senori an exception? Why was he Sai’s first pokémon? What about Atis, who wasn’t rewarded for the hard work he did at Violet City? How did the hitmontop seem so much closer to Sai than the rest of us?

…What about me?

This is a little unsettling, to hear Kuiora talking like this...


When we started walking out of the forest-like gym, I immediately started thinking of ways to get Sai’s attention next time. I accidentally kicked a few bugs on the way out, but thought nothing of them. They were below me, and Bugsy’s caterpie certainly wouldn’t be causing me as many problems when we returned. We would be back, after all.

I never thought Kuiora could ever act like this. This is kinda disturbing.


I thought that, perhaps, I would have to train in odd areas, like his room in the pokémon center. Destroying his room would force him to look at me, because who wants to pay money for a damaged room when it could be avoided? That was hard when we had separate rooms. Or I would have to force myself to evolve soon so that I could be bigger and even more intimidating than my unpredictable trainer. But I wasn’t close to evolving; my body wasn’t feeling any changes, nor did I feel ready emotionally. My more desperate plans consisted of asking Senori or Atis for help. They could ask him to pay attention to me, and Sai would listen without a doubt. But that would be a last resort, I decided.

I'm beginning to see some real possessiveness here. Looks like Kuiora was a lot more complicated than I thought.


I paced back and forth in the hallway where all of our rooms were. Atis did the same, but he muttered about Senori a few times. The snarky pokémon wasn’t on my mind. In my mind I was running from New Bark Town to Azalea Town once more, except this time I imagined myself more successful and stronger. I paced back and forth, but in reality I knew that I was going nowhere. I had to do something—and fast.

I turned to Atis. “Would you have wanted to battle against the scyther and caterpie?” I asked.

The hitmontop halted, seemingly embarrassed at being noticed and confronted so suddenly. “N-No,” he stammered, “not really. The scyther looked scary.”

“It did, huh? And Senori certainly won’t want to fight again.”

“I would agree with that…”

“So I’ll be fighting next.”

I wouldn't be so sure, Kuiora...


“Yes…” Atis said, rubbing the back of his head. He turned to the room to his door, probably wishing that it wasn’t locked and that Sai had given us the keys.

“That’s not really fair,” I pointed out. “That means Sai will just choose me because I’m last choice.”

“You’re a baby. It’s not an insult, he’s just protecting you…”

I don't think I like where this is going, but we're really getting a great look into Kuiora's mind.


“I’m a baby, but I’m going to be better than you soon enough. Amazing, right?” I said, glaring at the pokémon. For a fighting-type, he sure chose odd battles to fight. “Do you think Sai will be taking long?”

Atis ignored my first comment and said, “It will probably be a few hours, yeah. Healing pokémon takes a while.”

“I’m going to the gym. I’m going to get that badge by myself, then.”

And now it just hit the fan. This will not end well.


“W-What?” Atis said, turning to me swiftly and nearly falling over. “Why don’t you just wait for Sai?”

“If I can get Bugsy’s badge all by myself, then I’ll be first choice next time. I’ll be doing him a favor, anyway. He’s busy and in a hurry to get things done, which is a terrible combination.”

Atis looked down, shifted uncomfortably. “I guess… I still don’t think you should go by yourself.”

“Fine,” I said, thinking that I would need to learn from my mistakes and make sure there was a witness to my power, anyway. “I’m taking you with me.”

It almost seems like Kuiora is more of a trainer than an actual Pokemon.


Physically, the city hadn’t changed much. It was still light, and it was full of buildings and trees and people walking around, all of which, unlike me, were going nowhere. The gym hadn’t changed much either. The bug pokémon still sat on sturdy branches and watched potential challengers walking through the door with disinterest. Things were still quiet aside from the occasional yell of a trainer that the bugs were so accustomed to that they didn’t flinch or even look in the general direction of the noise.

The feelings that stirred inside me, however, were much different. Last time, I stayed relaxed yet excited for what was (supposed) to come. This time, I knew that I was going into the unknown, so I was tense yet determined. There was nothing to be done—I had set my eyes on my, and nothing could stop me.

Nothing except Bugsy, that is.

“That’s the gym leader right there,” Atis said. He stopped walking and lifted his hand feebly, pointing out the small boy with purple hair and ranger clothes fit for the pretender that he was in this fake forest.

“I know that,” I said. Perhaps I spoke a bit too loudly, as the boy’s head snapped in our direction and his eyes widened in surprise. “And he knows who we are, too.”

“Where is your trainer?” Bugsy called out, standing up. His hands were curled around the handle of a watering can, and on the ground near him lay a bowl of what appeared to be berries. It would have been a decent sight had he been taking care of an actual part of nature rather than this fake place he had created.

I'm noticing a lot of cynicism out of Kuiora too, interestingly enough.


“He’s at the pokémon center, healing the sentret,” I said, standing up as tall as I could.

“I see… Is he coming back for a gym battle later, then?”

“No,” I said sharply, offended. “I came to get the badge right here and now. I don’t need to wait for him.”

“Ah, yes. I remember you wanting to battle. Very eager, aren’t you? But you’re just like your trainer,” Bugsy said, kneeling back down and starting to water plants once more.

“My trainer is an idiot.”

I wonder if Kuiora actually means that.


Bugsy chuckled lightly. “Well, you should know that strong pokémon are not always the only kind of pokémon as well. If you want my badge, then you have to evolve one of my pokémon here. It doesn’t matter which, or how you do it—just be civil, of course.”

What the? I'll be honest, this caught me way out of left field.


“Of course,” I said, rolling my eyes. I considered just leaving. I had come here to battle, and now I wouldn’t even get the chance. This was a job for the shy little Atis who didn’t want anyone near him. I looked at him curiously.

It sure sounds like Kuiora doesn't like her teammates.



The forest was vast, but so was the amount of pokémon in it. Evolving a pokémon, I thought, would be easy. Professor Elm, when confronted by several of our evolution questions, said that while we could grow and evolve fast, bug-types were the quickest. I had been training and traveling with Sai for weeks now, however, and still felt little change. I was stronger, yes, but I didn’t feel stronger. My body was growing, yes, but my mind was in the same place.

“Let’s see what I can do,” I mumbled. Since Bugsy was no longer available to glare at, I stared at Atis instead, hoping to shock him into thinking that this was hopeless after all, that Sai would just have to get the badge on his own time, like a normal trainer.

“R-Right,” he said, fidgeting and turning every which way that didn’t involve him having to see me.

We came across, of course, a ton of bug pokémon. They all seemed hesitant to come near us, but still intrigued at the same time as they stuck their heads out from behind bushes and as they stared down at us from the branches.

Is this the artificial forest in the Gym or the actual one just outside town?


“We just have to pick one,” I said impatiently, stopping. I turned to my left. Standing in front of the bushes was a small and yellow pokémon with no limbs that I could see. It had black beady eyes, and it spoke its name over and over with a deep voice.

“This one? A Kakuna?” Atis asked, stopping as well.

“Yes.” I didn’t mention that I didn’t know it was a Kakuna up until now.

“Why?”

“You’d ask that about any pokémon, so I don’t feel too inclined to answer.”

Atis was silent.

I walked up to the pokémon and very briefly explained our mission. The Kakuna kept mumbling its name, completely apathetic.

“We’re pokémon, too, you know. You don’t have to say your name as if you were talking to a human… Not that you should have to say your own name when talking at all…” Atis said. He started to back up, probably thinking this was a bad idea. I was at least inclined to agree with him there.

That's actually an interesting explanation of why Pokemon only say their names. I like it.


“Uh, maybe we should find a different pokémon,” Atis suggested.

“No,” I said quickly. “If this thing is dumb enough to talk like that, then it has an awful lot to learn. Learning means growing and growing leads to evolution, right?”

“I guess…”

“Okay. Go ahead and teach it to talk. You’re a school thing.”

“Um…” Atis said, treading lightly as he moved toward the still Kakuna and its robotic voice. “Well, like I said, humans will hear your name, but you can say whatever you want, okay? Please talk to us.”

“Kakuna, Kakuna,” it said. Did it even have a mouth?

Atis looked back and forth between me and the Kakuna, as if the little yellow creature was tricking him and going to attack at any moment. “I think evolution refers to fighting experience mostly…” he said.

“That’s the only effort you’re going to give?!” I cried, covering my face, wondering why I was bothering to hide my extreme disappointment.

Atis, the smart and strong one, said, “I know about pokémon, not speech.”

“Kakuna is a pokémon!”

He had nothing to say to that. I clenched my fist, bit down hard, wondering if I could chew him to pieces once we were outside and somewhere private. But then I got another idea. With my fist still balled up, I ran over to the Kakuna as fast as I could, drew my arm back, and punched it as powerfully as I could in an attempt to get some kind of reaction. I got a reaction, yeah—from myself. Excruciating pain shot through my stubby arm and then throughout my entire body. My hand throbbed. I winced, but tried not to whine. Don’t whine, don’t show weakness, even if the Kakuna is hard as rock.

Kuiora is starting to shock me. She's coming off like a completely different character now.


“That was a bad idea,” Atis pointed out dumbly.

“You’re a bad idea,” I said, rather childishly, I would admit. My voice broke and he probably noticed. “I have another idea. I think”—I tried to regain my composure here—“that we should fight instead. Seeing things is still gaining experience.”

“I-I don’t think that’s a good idea…” Atis started, turning to leave immediately. “I think we should just go get Sai and let him take care of it…”

“If you won’t fight me, I’ll find someone who will!” I said, drawing back the same arm I used on the Kakuna and running toward Atis this time. I supposed that I should have made sure the Kakuna was watching first, but my rage toward Atis wasn’t really letting me think straight at the time. Since Atis was turned, I ended up punching him in the middle of his round back, sending him sprawling forward and into the dirt of the forest floor. His wails muffled as he landed, and he didn’t get back up for a while. I wondered if I had already won and proven that I was the strongest.

After a few moments, I peered over at the Kakuna. It had at least stopped murmuring its own name. I vaguely wondered if, like Sai and Senori and everyone else, the Kakuna had a special name aside from its species name. I didn’t get to think about it much, however, as I saw Atis stir in the corner of my eye. Looking at the Kakuna again, I prepared a water gun attack. The liquid filled my mouth and was bursting to get out, it didn’t matter where. Since I was convinced that the little thing was watching, I sprayed it toward Atis, just as I had done in the hotel on a day that seemed like forever ago. I didn’t hear any wailing this time, but I could tell he was hurt, since his body was splayed out on the ground once more, unmoving.

This is starting to get a little excessive. Quite frankly, I'm beginning to lose interest slightly, just because the tone of this chapter feels so different than before.


I walked up to him, sure that the Kakuna was still observing my obvious prowess. When I was close to his body, I lifted my foot and shook his hands, his legs, anything to get him up. While I wanted to be stronger, it would be bad if he lost here and I wasn’t able to evolve the Kakuna. Yes, I had brought him here for something, after all.

“Don’t be useless now,” I murmured, still kicking him.

Suddenly, a green aura appeared that stung my foot a bit. Naturally, I moved back, afraid of the new… attack? I couldn’t tell what this thing was. The circular barrier surrounded all of Atis’s body, and continued to do so as he stood up slowly, not facing me.

“I’m not useless, you know,” he said—calmly, I noticed. “I know Sai better than you do. I helped children… even if I didn’t want to…”

I didn’t say anything.

He still didn’t turn to face me. He was trying to stand up for himself and was still being shy when doing so, of course. Instead, however, he lifted his leg, and I knew an attack was coming, so I braced myself, tried to move back even further so maybe he’d miss.

But I didn’t do it fast enough.

The first thing I felt was his spikes digging into me despite my tough skin. Pain immediately coursed through my entire body, and I could see blood splattering from the corner of my eye. I flew backward, seeing Atis get smaller and smaller, further and further. He was also blurry… due to the tears in my eyes. I had no idea what my destination was until, of course, my body smashed right into the poor Kakuna who had simply been staring and standing still, innocently, the entire time. With the force of impact, the two of us also flew back into a nearby tree with a loud thud.

My head spun, my side hurt, I was crying, even my blood deserted me, the weak Atis was staring in horror, and I was laying on top of a glowing and mute Kakuna. I vaguely sighed in relief, thinking that Atis had found a way to make it fight. But this wasn’t a fighting glow. Didn’t Kakuna only know one attack, and that was to make itself harder so that poor opponents like me could break their hand with a single punch?

This part is presented in a bit of a confusing manner. Was it Atis or the Kakuna who was glowing and what attack did Atis use? I just find the way this whole part is worded to be a bit confusing.


The Kakuna kept glowing, blinding me along with the tears. I could at least make out its figure, which was growing larger by the second. I was distracted as I heard Atis running over, crying out to me.

“You need to move! I’m sorry!” he cried. Screaming as he grabbed me on both of my sides, we made it back over into the clearing, away from the evolving Kakuna.

Evolving.

We could get the badge, now, at least.

I'm guessing that it was the Azalea Gym after all, then.


I supposed that Kakuna needing a small amount of experience was an understatement, and it made me chuckle slightly, though I vowed not to do that for a while as my body stung in response. I turned my head as quickly as I could while still being careful in time to see the glowing fade away and reveal a new pokémon, one with stingers, a pair of antennas, and black and yellow stripes—definitely something to be feared should anyone else come across the pokemon now. Evolution, I thought, was surely an amazing thing.

Meanwhile, Atis was still muttering, “I’m sorry,” so I told him to shut up and not ruin the moment. He listened, but Bugsy decided to ruin the moment instead. If he made it better, I sure didn’t feel any better yet. No battle, I was hurt anyway, and Atis had made the Kakuna evolve, not me.

Bugsy kind of just came out of nowhere in this scene after apparently not being around for the entire training.


“You managed to evolve Kakuna into a Beedrill after all… and it looks like you got some battle experience yourself,” Bugsy said, smirking. Did he enjoy me bleeding on his forest floor? I wondered if he had been watching the entire time, the little brat. “As promised, you may have the Hive Badge.”

Atis took the badge in his hand after Bugsy took it out of his pocket. I simply looked at it, but didn’t touch it. I couldn’t get blood on it and then give it to Sai, though it may have proved I had worked for it… Nevertheless, the tiniest thing in the world, this little red badge with a black strip at the top and three black dots below it, made me smile a bit.

“Beedrill!” Bugsy yelled, also smiling. “Come over here and say something now.”

The Beedrill hovered over, and I found it amusing that this was the first time I had really seen the pokemon move. Was evolution really so easy, so simple? And could the Beedrill talk now, when it couldn’t before? I quickly received my answer.

“I was shy… so I kept saying my name to avoid fighting or making conversation… but I assure you, the entire time, I wanted to say thank you for choosing me.”

I guess that explanation makes sense.


My head still hurt.

*

Every time Atis tried to talk after that—usually trying to say sorry or tend to my wounds—I simply said, “You’re weak, and I don’t want to hear it.”

Wow, um... this is really not like the Kuiora I thought I knew.


When we were walking back with the badge, aside from dealing with Atis’s annoying self, all I could do was stare at it and think of what the Kakuna—now Beedrill—had said. Now, it would be my turn to get chosen. I would make sure of it. Fighting Atis had given me an idea. We remained silent the entire way back, since I knew that if I brought it up, he would be upset and flustered once more. Nevertheless, I would do what I had to. If you won’t fight me, I’ll find someone who will.

It really was that simple. Even though it was getting dark outside now, plenty of people were out and about, and they were all staring at me, some of them covering their mouth with their hands in surprise. But they didn’t do anything to help me. We made our way to the pokémon center, found Sai in the lobby, no one bothering to say anything, not even the nurse inside. Sai was even stunned into silence at first. All is always quiet when a known victory is made.

He ran to me with Senori in his arms and dropped to his knees.

“What happened to you?” he asked, his free hand moving toward my bleeding side, grazing it with care. I could tell he wanted to do something to help me, but I wouldn’t let him.

It's good to see that Sai is still himself, at least his current mindset.


Instead, I said, “Fight me.”

“What?” Sai said, pulling his hand back.

I took the badge from Atis’s hand and presented it to him. “I won this for you. Fight me if you want it,” I said—slowly, seriously. He had to understand…

“You won this? For me?” he replied, ignoring me as he stared at the badge dumbly.

“I did. So fight me.”

“You’re my pokémon, Kuiora. I can’t fight you.”

“You fought Senori,” I said, making the disgust clear in my voice, not because it was immoral, but because he was denying me a chance now. I remembered Senori telling me about this, and knew, at that moment, I’d get Sai to fight me someday soon so that he’d accept me, too.

I understand this, but it's still quite disturbing.


“I had no pokémon to help me catch Senori.”

“Senori was weak and I’m not. Fight me.”

“I won’t,” Sai said, taking the badge out of my hand. Had I not been injured, I would have bit him, punched him, kicked him, hit him with my water gun until—

I did punch him, at least. Right in the face. Right there, in the pokémon center, where everyone could see. Sai didn’t budge because the attack wasn’t very strong; my head still spun and I just couldn’t focus. But I was going to fight him and be chosen if it was the last thing I’d do.

Others wailed in horror, and the nurse cried for Sai to stop his pokémon, to return me to my pokéball. Atis tried to hold me back, but I just sprayed him with water and he gave up easily. Senori, with his injuries, was useless, so he simply jumped out of Sai’s arms and stood on the side to watch the event unfold. Sai’s expression was slightly more angry, but not angry enough to fight me back. I punched him again and again, sometimes in the face, sometimes in the stomach, sometimes in the back. It was much easier than fighting the Kakuna, but I tried not to let that bother me.

Sai took each and every hit, bleeding a bit himself and obviously having some bruises forming. But it wasn’t good enough. He wasn’t budging. His fists were clenched, and he was frowning, growling. I decided that I had to still be stronger. How could I do that? By getting rid of these wounds. All I wanted was for him to fight me and accept that I was his pokémon, a pokémon so strong that he had to fight back to control.

I had to evolve. Maybe I’d still be hurt, but I’d be stronger. My body had been growing, that was obvious. I was getting smarter, my mind was growing. I had trained so much, and in my desperate state of mind, I needed this, I needed this now.

I finally let myself do so. I stopped punching Sai, stood back, and to them, I was glowing—just like the Kakuna had for me and Atis. I could feel my body changing. I grew another set of spikes, this time on my head. My tail grew longer. My jaw was changing by turning smaller and more round, my teeth growing sharper and larger in quantity as compensation. Surprisingly, it didn’t hurt at all, but I supposed that was the result of my training. Pokémon were meant for evolution, anyway, and the body and mind prepared itself nicely… so nicely that my wounds weren’t as severe. The dizziness was gone, and I could concentrate again. I was no longer bleeding, though my side still showed signs of injury from Atis’s spikes. The nurse would have to take care of me eventually, and I wondered what she’d think of me.

When I felt complete, I opened my eyes. I was taller, and I was able to look down on Sai now. Perfect. I didn’t even stop to get a feel for my new form, just started punching him immediately once more. I would get used to my new body by training more and fighting—just to evolve once more, sometime in the near future, hopefully.

I hit him and hit him and hit him. Over and over, and this time, I could hear him grunting with pain, and asking me why I was doing this, and that I had to stop. I was hardly listening, and finally, finally, when his voice was emanating throughout the entire pokémon center and I still hadn’t stopped, I got what I wanted.

Sai punched me. Did he have a choice? He punched me. Right in the face. Right there, in the pokémon center, where everyone could see.

That was all I wanted.

There are some good ideas here, but all of this happens way too fast, and something about it just feels wrong. I can't put my finger on just what it is, but this entire thing doesn't sit right with me.

I don't know how I feel about this chapter. There certainly isn't anything bad about it. Focusing a chapter almost entirely on a Pokemon with Sai as only an accessory to the events of the chapter was a good idea, and the ideas presented in Kuiora's thoughts were fitting and necessary to tackle. However, it feels as if you might have tried to do too much with one single chapter, because at times the plot feels erratic and rushed, particularly in how fast Kuiora's thoughts evolve. Some of the scenes are also a little disturbing, which would have made them work better with a bit more attention paid to them. Chief in my mind is the very end, where Kuiora attacks Sai for little reason, prompting some response from the crowd in the Pokemon Center, but then Sai punches his Pokemon and there is no apparent reaction yet.

I hope you won't take this the wrong way. It just wasn't my favorite chapter, and I think it could be done better in points.

diamondpearl876
12th June 2012, 10:22 AM
Amazing chapter that gave us more insight into Kuiora's personality.

She wasn't just comedic this time around, everything was just much more dramatic as Kuoir felt worthless and weak. All her '''m going to be stronger than you!' talk, it was nothing but her wishful desires. She's been training but she wasn't strong enough. She was chosen as the last one, she wasn't the one who evolved Kakuna but Atis - she simply wanted Sai's attention. I could truly feel her frustration and to be honest, I would feel frustrated as much as her in that same situation. That's why I was thrilled upon her evolution and when she started punching Sai. Sai did nothing wrong but I read those lines with pleasure and joy - the joy of Kuoira evolving and finally being able to show her trainer how strong she really was.

If anything, this chapter solidified my preference for Kuoira, she's just one amazing character.

And you, my dear friend, I can only say 'bravo' for making me this invested in her character! I'm sure we can expect many other amazing things from her! She grew and developed thus my love for Kuoira grew as well! Keep up with your excellent writing! :)

I'm glad you enjoyed it, even if she wasn't as comedic this time around. I like to think I just showed the darker side of her character, which everyone has. Thanks for commenting! :)


It almost seems like Kuiora is more of a trainer than an actual Pokemon.

Lol, that's an interesting thought. Guess it's just part of her immature personality to think she's what she's not. :p


This is starting to get a little excessive. Quite frankly, I'm beginning to lose interest slightly, just because the tone of this chapter feels so different than before.

I'm sorry to hear that, and I apologize for the poor writing. :p My excuse is that I wrote half at the beginning of May, and then the rest just today. I really just wanted to get this chapter out after the long wait, but hopefully that won't be the case again. I really hit a long depression that just didn't really help this chapter.


This part is presented in a bit of a confusing manner. Was it Atis or the Kakuna who was glowing and what attack did Atis use? I just find the way this whole part is worded to be a bit confusing.

Kakuna was glowing, and Atis used Protect. When I go back to edit I'll try to make it less confusing, thanks for pointing it out!


There are some good ideas here, but all of this happens way too fast, and something about it just feels wrong. I can't put my finger on just what it is, but this entire thing doesn't sit right with me.

I don't know how I feel about this chapter. There certainly isn't anything bad about it. Focusing a chapter almost entirely on a Pokemon with Sai as only an accessory to the events of the chapter was a good idea, and the ideas presented in Kuiora's thoughts were fitting and necessary to tackle. However, it feels as if you might have tried to do too much with one single chapter, because at times the plot feels erratic and rushed, particularly in how fast Kuiora's thoughts evolve. Some of the scenes are also a little disturbing, which would have made them work better with a bit more attention paid to them. Chief in my mind is the very end, where Kuiora attacks Sai for little reason, prompting some response from the crowd in the Pokemon Center, but then Sai punches his Pokemon and there is no apparent reaction yet.

I hope you won't take this the wrong way. It just wasn't my favorite chapter, and I think it could be done better in points.

It happens, you can't like every chapter, right? I have a habit of having things happen too fast or putting too much in one chapter (probably because of the limited point of view) but I'll try to work on it. And like I said to Janovy, I like to think that I showed the darker side of Kuiora here... a dark side which everyone has, but Kuiora would be more prone to show due to being immature and unable to see what is right or wrong just yet. I hope that makes sense. I have plans for her in the next few chapters which I believe is more like the Kuiora we've seen before.

Doryuzu
12th June 2012, 10:47 AM
Chapter 8

Nice chapter, I enjoyed it because it was nice to see Kuiora get some focus. The female Totodile's personality is pretty cute, endearing, and funny, I guess "sassy" would be the right word to describe her? Though, I'm not sure. I like how you show how Kuiora trains hard and wants to be noticed but, fighting for Sai's attention is hard for her. Also nice job bringing up the "Legendaries" again, since they are like God to Kuiora and it's nice to see that sort of realism in her character. I like how you had her cry for a while, bleed, and refuse to show pain. I really enjoyed the dialogue between the Beedrill and Kuiora and Atis, with it thanking them for choosing it. I like how you show she's just flustered and wants nothing more then her trainer's attention. Because I find that tons relatable, since I encounter that problem regularly as I am on a team, being neglected in favor of the more known or popular players(Atis and Senori), I assure you, hurts like hell. You feel frustrated, irredeemable, not cared for, and in order to compensate for your insecurities, imperfection, rookie behavior, and lack of experience you train harder and harder and harder alone(Kuiora's training) but, still you end up getting ignored(Senori VS Bugsy's Gym). I really liked that theme you threw in there, desires, true desires to be stronger and more experienced, to truly get what you want and what you strive for. Nice description, interactions, characterization, and grammar all around. I also enjoyed Atis this chapter, the Hitmontop's meek sheepish nature is always relatable and entertaining. Cheers to you for making them both such great "human"-like characters. I like how you had him stand up for himself once, so many interesting ways this story can go and I look forward to it. Overall a fantastic chapter, Kuiora wanting Sai's attention actually makes you a bit emotional in a way, so "belong" is a fitting title. I didn't care a lot for the evolution, since I had wanted to see Kuiora battle as she is for a while, but oh well no need to worry. Nice job.

1.Senori's failure at Bugsy's Gym
2.Kuiora evolution and gaining Sai's attention
3.Atis's POV with hitting Kuiora as well as his other plot

I can't wait for the next chapter : )

Sid87
12th June 2012, 2:01 PM
The only conclusion I could come to was that there were exceptions. Senori hadn’t done anything at all to get the special attention he got at the gym. He was chosen by Sai without a second thought, and the boy stood up for him despite how he needed that badge so badly and as quickly as possible. Yes, the sentret’s battle was rather humiliating, but being chosen by our trainer was still an accomplishment. Why was Senori an exception? Why was he Sai’s first pokémon? What about Atis, who wasn’t rewarded for the hard work he did at Violet City? How did the hitmontop seem so much closer to Sai than the rest of us?

…What about me?

I sneaked enough of a glimpse at the other comments you received to know this chapter isn't a "humorous Kuiora" chapter. That seems sad.
Anyway, I was thrown off by the last two lines of the big paragraph, though. How does Kuiora think Atis "wasn't rewarded", but also recognize he is the closest to Sai?


I thought that, perhaps, I would have to train in odd areas, like his room in the pokémon center. Destroying his room would force him to look at me, because who wants to pay money for a damaged room when it could be avoided? That was hard when we had separate rooms. Or I would have to force myself to evolve soon so that I could be bigger and even more intimidating than my unpredictable trainer. But I wasn’t close to evolving; my body wasn’t feeling any changes, nor did I feel ready emotionally. My more desperate plans consisted of asking Senori or Atis for help. They could ask him to pay attention to me, and Sai would listen without a doubt. But that would be a last resort, I decided.

That's already unlike bthe Kuiora of old. Not because of the penchant for purposeless destruction, but the fact that she would ask such a thing of Atis or Senori. She hasn't seemed particularly fond of them yet, so I never got the sense from her that she'd ask them for a favor. Reeking of desperation, though. It certainly hits that point.


“I’m going to the gym. I’m going to get that badge by myself, then.”

That's the Kuiora I know and love.


There was nothing to be done—I had set my eyes on my, and nothing could stop me.

I think you missed a word there. "Goal", maybe?


Nothing except Bugsy, that is.

I...actually don't love this line. I think it fits Kuiora better to leave it out. I don't think she views losing as a possibility. She HAS to win. She is determined.


“My trainer is an idiot.”

Wow, she really has changed already, I guess. Surprisingly harsh.


“You’d ask that about any pokémon, so I don’t feel too inclined to answer.”

Well...that's true, I suppose. Good observation.


“We’re pokémon, too, you know. You don’t have to say your name as if you were talking to a human… Not that you should have to say your own name when talking at all…” Atis said. He started to back up, probably thinking this was a bad idea. I was at least inclined to agree with him there.

I had a nice analogy in my head here to pokemon as black people in the 1800s. I could almost read it as Atis saying "You don't have to use your slave name!". That's....actually a really good metaphor I might like to see expanded upon.


Atis, the smart and strong one, said, “I know about pokémon, not speech.”

I'm guess that is sarcasm in the narration, since it's awfully unlikely Kuiora would refer to Atis as "smart" or "strong", and especially not in this instance.


“That was a bad idea,” Atis pointed out dumbly.

“You’re a bad idea,” I said, rather childishly,

I LOL'ed. I actually do that to people all the time. So what does that say about me? :)


I didn’t hear any wailing this time, but I could tell he was hurt, since his body was splayed out on the ground once more, unmoving.

Jesus. Is it playing opposum to get Kuiora to calm down, or is she just being extraordinarily vicious?


Meanwhile, Atis was still muttering, “I’m sorry,” so I told him to shut up and not ruin the moment. He listened, but Bugsy decided to ruin the moment instead. If he made it better, I sure didn’t feel any better yet. No battle, I was hurt anyway, and Atis had made the Kakuna evolve, not me.

Well someone is certainly a Debbie Downer all of the sudden.


Atis took the badge in his hand after Bugsy took it out of his pocket.

Not a big note, but that last part is relatively useless as far as info goes. I would just leave it with "Atis took the badge from Bugsy". Or something like that.


“I was shy… so I kept saying my name to avoid fighting or making conversation… but I assure you, the entire time, I wanted to say thank you for choosing me.”

What a surprisingly sweet, endearing moment. I REALLY like this.


I took the badge from Atis’s hand and presented it to him. “I won this for you. Fight me if you want it,” I said—slowly, seriously. He had to understand…

Wow...I would not have seen this coming.


-I guess when I re-read this, it makes sense that Kuiora was so close to evolving; she clearly had changed so much by this chapter (though I don't think it was a positive change, but that actually makes even more sense if you look at pokemon evolution a certain way: the primary form is childhood, the secondary form is adolescence, and the final form is adulthood. In that sense--and I have no idea if you were going for this at all, but it's what I gleaned from it--Kuiora was growing more bitter, resentful, and self-righteous. In short, she was becoming a teenager). It seems obvious reading it a second time, but it was startling initially.

diamondpearl876
12th June 2012, 3:57 PM
Chapter 8

Nice chapter, I enjoyed it because it was nice to see Kuiora get some focus. The female Totodile's personality is pretty cute, endearing, and funny, I guess "sassy" would be the right word to describe her? Though, I'm not sure. I like how you show how Kuiora trains hard and wants to be noticed but, fighting for Sai's attention is hard for her. Also nice job bringing up the "Legendaries" again, since they are like God to Kuiora and it's nice to see that sort of realism in her character. I like how you had her cry for a while, bleed, and refuse to show pain. I really enjoyed the dialogue between the Beedrill and Kuiora and Atis, with it thanking them for choosing it. I like how you show she's just flustered and wants nothing more then her trainer's attention. Because I find that tons relatable, since I encounter that problem regularly as I am on a team, being neglected in favor of the more known or popular players(Atis and Senori), I assure you, hurts like hell. You feel frustrated, irredeemable, not cared for, and in order to compensate for your insecurities, imperfection, rookie behavior, and lack of experience you train harder and harder and harder alone(Kuiora's training) but, still you end up getting ignored(Senori VS Bugsy's Gym). I really liked that theme you threw in there, desires, true desires to be stronger and more experienced, to truly get what you want and what you strive for. Nice description, interactions, characterization, and grammar all around. I also enjoyed Atis this chapter, the Hitmontop's meek sheepish nature is always relatable and entertaining. Cheers to you for making them both such great "human"-like characters. I like how you had him stand up for himself once, so many interesting ways this story can go and I look forward to it. Overall a fantastic chapter, Kuiora wanting Sai's attention actually makes you a bit emotional in a way, so "belong" is a fitting title. I didn't care a lot for the evolution, since I had wanted to see Kuiora battle as she is for a while, but oh well no need to worry. Nice job.

1.Senori's failure at Bugsy's Gym
2.Kuiora evolution and gaining Sai's attention
3.Atis's POV with hitting Kuiora as well as his other plot

I can't wait for the next chapter : )

I'm glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for commenting! You have Kuiora's character down very well, and that you still like her character. :) I assure you that we'll be able to see Kuiora battle soon. :P The poor thing.


I sneaked enough of a glimpse at the other comments you received to know this chapter isn't a "humorous Kuiora" chapter. That seems sad.

Like I said to another reviewer, I have plans for her that'll make her seem more like the old Kuiora everyone knows. :) Your adolescence analogy seems like it could ring true, though I see this more as a temporary act of pent up anger and desperation that went too far on her end due to being young and not knowing what is


Anyway, I was thrown off by the last two lines of the big paragraph, though. How does Kuiora think Atis "wasn't rewarded", but also recognize he is the closest to Sai?

It wasn't meant to be specific but Atis wasn't called "strong" and Kuiora's seen Atis with Sai the most lately.


That's already unlike bthe Kuiora of old. Not because of the penchant for purposeless destruction, but the fact that she would ask such a thing of Atis or Senori. She hasn't seemed particularly fond of them yet, so I never got the sense from her that she'd ask them for a favor. Reeking of desperation, though. It certainly hits that point.

It is desperation, and also the desire to have someone witness her victory.


I...actually don't love this line. I think it fits Kuiora better to leave it out. I don't think she views losing as a possibility. She HAS to win. She is determined.

Very true. Will change it and the other mistake you pointed out.


I'm guess that is sarcasm in the narration, since it's awfully unlikely Kuiora would refer to Atis as "smart" or "strong", and especially not in this instance.

It is sarcasm. Perhaps italics would emphasize this better?


I LOL'ed. I actually do that to people all the time. So what does that say about me? :)

It says you are childish at times! Who isn't? Best way to be sometimes.

Thanks for commenting!

Crimson Penguin
12th June 2012, 5:44 PM
...And I'm back for another round of reviews. I just read the latest chapter, and I'm actually quite anxious to review it, but as promised, I'll go over chapters 6 and 7 first.

One thing before I begin:


Thanks for reviewing again! The nitpick you pointed out was intentional on my part, so I don't know if I'd change it, but it's in my head.

No problem! And I had a feeling that the repetition there was intentional, but I wanted to be sure.

Chapter 6: Wow. This was a wild one. You totally turned everything I thought I knew about Sai on its head. But before I get to that, I'd like to talk about Atis.

The first few paragraphs really helped me identify with Atis' character. He's so passive, letting everything just come and go, especially with the "losing track of days" part - I feel the same way a lot of times. I think it's interesting how he's so intent on changing Sai, as if he’s finally found his mission in life. Yet the way he acts around the considerably less uptight Kuiora and Senori reveals his insecurities. I also feel that his responses to Sai's strange behavior throughout the chapter were very realistic and completely in-character. Atis always seems to be in a constant state of ambiguity - he knows he wants to be someone important, but he doesn’t quite have the confidence to become that way.

Now back to Sai. What in the world is going on with him? Before, he seemed so antisocial, and now he's going into random peoples' houses? It was an amusing nod to the games, to be sure, but even for Sai, that's just weird. Then he goes on a shopping spree to rival that of a teenage girl before the first day of school. Seriously, I'm a girl and I don't even shop like that. He sure does have a lot of money for someone his age...I wonder why? And finally, he puts shirts on his Pokemon and goes to dinner with some girl he barely knows. Sai’s suddenly become so erratic that it's almost as if he’s being controlled/possessed by somebody else. Is he bipolar, perhaps? Or maybe he has multiple personality disorder? I just can’t figure him out.


The conversation went on like this, with her trying to probe for answers, and with him not being specific at all. He had things. Yes, generic things that anyone could have. He really lived in a city… in some region. He had people who lived with him. Who? Just people. You know. No, I don’t know. Had he always been around pokémon? Maybe. He didn’t like to remember. …I hope you don’t mind my pokémon looking around. They’re curious. And they’re wearing shirts.

For some reason, I love the way this paragraph is written. It’s a vague but tantalizing glimpse at Sai’s past, and it really contributes to the confusion of the situation, I think. (That poor girl...)

And I can’t forget the part where Sai snaps.


“Well, I thought that we could… Well, you seemed happier in Azalea Town today.” I stepped a little further inside the room as I noticed that I was still by the doorway. I had to appear friendly, not scared.

“I guess… Visiting the girl was fun, but she also pointed out my enthusiasm,” Sai said, bending down to take off his shoes. Halfway through untying them, he stood up.

“That’s a bad thing?” I asked, watching him. He started rearranging things in the room—he opened the windows, put the plants in different corners, ruffled and then fixed the bed sheets. It took a long time for him to answer.

“Most of the time...” he finally said, slowly. Once again, he seemed passive, and I wasn’t sure why.

“I think it’s a good thing,” I pointed out, trying to cheer him up.

But it backfired.

“And what do you know?” he snapped, turning sharply to look at me. His eyes were still glazed over, I noticed. It was hard not to notice. I stumbled backward a bit despite myself, as if he had physically hit me.

“Being happy is a g-good thing, Sai… Y-You seemed happy here, you know? Talking to everyone and everything,” I said. I didn’t believe my own words. “M-Maybe we could stay here for a while. It doesn’t have to be permanent, but it could be longer than a few days…”

He simply kept walking around, slower this time, still cleaning things, still attempting to fix things that weren’t broken in the first place. I just stared and wondered if I had said too much and stayed too long.

Eventually, he mumbled, “Get out.”

Hmm, I wonder why he seems so afraid of his “enthusiasm”? To the point where he starts throwing things in a mad rage to get Atis to leave him alone? Something is very, very wrong with this child.


“Look, I’m sorry that happened. I-I mean… That’s not right. You have to understand. I get these moods sometimes. Everything speeds up for me, I think so much, and I want to do a million things at once and I want to talk to a million people so I forget things, things don’t get done, and there’s never enough time in the world though it goes by so slowly, and yeah, I seem happy, this is the first time I’ve ever been able to do things I wanted when like this, and it was fun but it turned wrong, I can always turn angry so fast and… and… I’m not usually violent, but that was a touchy subject. I don’t know… Being happy is depressing for me, it’s stressful, everything’s too fast. I can’t think straight right now. I can’t… Do you understand what I’m saying?”

I just stared. He was trying his best to relay his complicated feelings to me, but no, I didn’t understand. Since when was being happy a bad thing? Did all humans have emotions like this? I thought dumbly. I certainly didn’t think so, but what other explanation was there?

I agree, Atis, what other explanation is there? It is interesting that Sai is so concerned with time, as well. I’ve become convinced somebody is controlling him, but who, and why?

I thought I had another nitpick to bring up, but can't seem to find it now. Lucky you. ; )

Overall: very surprising. And confusing. I wonder if Sai will ever get one of these "moods" again (something tells me the answer is yes).

Chapter 7:


Like everyone else, I wondered what was wrong with Sai. I asked myself that question all the time, but nothing good came of it. He was my clan now, and I had to figure him out. I tried, yet something else crazy always happened the moment I thought I had him figured out.

Senori’s saying what we’re all thinking here. : ) Still, he seems to have accepted Sai more fully now, since he considers themselves part of the same “clan”. I’m glad to see him starting to get over his past demons, if only a little bit. Nice bit of characterization there.

Actually, I think this whole chapter was great at developing Senori’s character - he seems to have become more of a leader now, taking charge when Kuiora and Atis don’t.


“I guess we’re going into another cave…” I said, taking a few steps back. I could only hope that this one wasn’t as dangerous as the other. “Maybe you two should stay here. I’ll get him real quick and bring him out.”

“You obviously need us,” Kuiora said. “Who’s going to fight the wild pokémon for you?”

“It doesn’t matter,” I stated, but I didn’t say why. If I was being honest, it would be better this time, since no one would be able to save me. Or maybe my newfound energy would provide me with enough power to win. “If it’s dangerous like the other cave, then you should stay.”

“That gives us more incentive to go in!” Kuiora said, making her way to the stairs as well.

Atis chimed in before I could speak. “Maybe Kuiora’s right… She should go with you.”

“And why shouldn’t you?” I snapped.

“W-Well,” Atis stammered, “I do have the most experience out of all of us…”

Kuiora turned around and stomped her feet. “So? I already told you that I’m going to be stronger than you. Didn’t you hear me?”

“I’m sure he heard you,” I cut in. “Look—”

“Professor Elm told me stories about this kind of thing. Someone always tries to be the hero and that someone gets hurt,” Kuiora said. Despite the morbid topic, she was smiling, and she was looking at Atis, not me. “I’m not going to try to be the hero. I really am going to be the hero, and to do that, I have to get stronger.”

“Those are just stories, Kuiora…” Atis said, rubbing the back of his head and refusing to look at her.

“He tells them like they’re stories, but they’re real. If you’re lucky, maybe I’ll tell them to you someday,” she said.

“You guys can follow, then. But don’t complain if you get hurt or something,” I cut in, turning my attention to the cave. I knew I could possibly regret it later, but I was too angry to care at the moment. I had the energy to stop their fight, but it was negative energy, and I was going to take it out on Sai, just like he was taking it all out on us.

Once again, you’ve juxtaposed the Pokemons’ personalities in a way that showcases how different they are from each other. As always, Kuiora is focused solely on strength and power, and poor Atis gets the brunt of her attitude. And Senori is the reluctant peacemaker - he almost seems like he has to be the trainer when Sai isn’t there.

I also thought it was hilarious when the Pokemon found out about Sai’s Magikarp-catching spree. Again, Sai’s gone from angry to mopey to giddy in the blink of an eye. And when he mentioned that he needed to do something...it reminded me of someone with ADHD-like symptoms. I hope we get some more information on him soon - he’s driving me nuts! (Also, I can’t help but think what’s going to happen if/when Sai tries to eat a Magikarp. If you’ve seen that anime episode with James‘ Magikarp, you know it’s not going to end well. And how can Sai have all those Pokeballs with him when he should only be able to carry six at a time?)

I loved the way you handled the Gym battle. The way Bugsy recreated a forest environment inside was a nice touch, as well as Senori’s referring to him as the clan leader. Also, I love this part right here.


“Why does Senori get to battle?” Kuiora said, jumping up and down and looking frantically at Sai.

“Does it matter?” Sai asked, peering down curiously.

“Yes! I’ve been training for this!”

“He hasn’t seen you train,” I pointed out. “I was with you the entire time and even I didn’t see you train.”

“You were in a pokéball!”

“My point still stands. No one’s seen you do much,” I said, smirking, and I turned toward my opponent.

Way to put that child in her place, Senori. He must feel great to have the upper hand this time.

On to the actual battle. I thought you did a nice job of showing off each Pokemon’s strengths and weaknesses, especially when it came to Senori’s tail. It’s his greatest attribute (thank you for using Tail Whip in a non-defensive manner), but it’s also his greatest weakness if it somehow becomes impaired, like with String Shot.

When Scyther came out, I knew things weren’t going to end well for poor Senori. I felt his pain when he was hit by Fury Cutter, and it’s interesting that he saw it as his punishment for not protecting his clan. I guess he still has a long way to go to move beyond that mistake.

And Bugsy surprised me. I’d never thought of him as the kind of person who would go easy on a challenger - he always seemed quite eager to me (though I don’t remember how he was in the anime). Then Sai surprised me even more by refusing Bugsy’s badge. He really does seem to care about his Pokemon - not only about their strength, but their self-esteem as well.

Overall: quite an interesting chapter, and I’m looking forward to more Gym battles.

Chapter 8: This...was not what I was expecting at all. Kuiora took a very different turn towards the end.


I could live with those exceptions. But I could not live with the exception for the most important thing I had learned: I had spent so much time trying to separate myself from everyone else that no one could realize my superiority.

Classic Kuiora. She really thinks she’s the greatest thing since sliced bread, doesn’t she? I feel like she’s going through the childhood “seen but not heard” mentality, so she’s trying to compensate for it however she can.


“I’m going to the gym. I’m going to get that badge by myself, then.”

“W-What?” Atis said, turning to me swiftly and nearly falling over. “Why don’t you just wait for Sai?”

“If I can get Bugsy’s badge all by myself, then I’ll be first choice next time. I’ll be doing him a favor, anyway. He’s busy and in a hurry to get things done, which is a terrible combination.”

Atis looked down, shifted uncomfortably. “I guess… I still don’t think you should go by yourself.”

“Fine,” I said, thinking that I would need to learn from my mistakes and make sure there was a witness to my power, anyway. “I’m taking you with me.”

Wow, I’m a bit surprised to see Kuiora taking such initiative here. It really highlights how desperate she is to prove herself.


“Where is your trainer?” Bugsy called out, standing up. His hands were curled around the handle of a watering can, and on the ground near him lay a bowl of what appeared to be berries. It would have been a decent sight had he been taking care of an actual part of nature rather than this fake place he had created.

“He’s at the pokémon center, healing the sentret,” I said, standing up as tall as I could.

“I see… Is he coming back for a gym battle later, then?”

“No,” I said sharply, offended. “I came to get the badge right here and now. I don’t need to wait for him.”

“Ah, yes. I remember you wanting to battle. Very eager, aren’t you? But you’re just like your trainer,” Bugsy said, kneeling back down and starting to water plants once more.

“My trainer?”

Bugsy chuckled lightly. “Well, you should know that strong pokémon are not always the only kind of pokémon as well. If you want my badge, then you have to evolve one of my pokémon here. It doesn’t matter which, or how you do it—just be civil, of course.”

“Of course,” I said, rolling my eyes. I considered just leaving. I had come here to battle, and now I wouldn’t even get the chance. This was a job for the shy little Atis who didn’t want anyone near him. I looked at him curiously.

“We’ll do it,” Atis said, with no hesitation.

I glared at Bugsy.

Lots of interesting things going on here. First, I didn’t realize how Kuiora was so inclined towards nature when she mentioned the “fake” Gym. I wonder if she’s actually that reverent towards the land or if she’s just mentally spiting Bugsy. Second, Bugsy didn’t seem very surprised that a Totodile showed up at a Gym without her trainer and wants to battle on her own. Seems just a bit unrealistic to me. However, I did like the fact that Bugsy is trying to get Kuiora to not think only in terms of strength by asking her to evolve one of his Pokemon. Intriguing challenge.

Now I did notice something during the next scene. Up until now, you’ve not been capitalizing the names of Pokemon, but you didn’t do this with Kakuna - I think it was capitalized in every instance (Beedrill was capitalized as well). Why the sudden shift?

Anyway, on to the scene itself. Man, Kuiora is really starting to resent Atis, isn’t she? Their mindsets are so different.


I walked up to the pokémon and very briefly explained our mission. The Kakuna kept mumbling its name, completely apathetic.

“We’re pokémon, too, you know. You don’t have to say your name as if you were talking to a human… Not that you should have to say your own name when talking at all…” Atis said. He started to back up, probably thinking this was a bad idea. I was at least inclined to agree with him there.

“Uh, maybe we should find a different pokémon,” Atis suggested.

“No,” I said quickly. “If this thing is dumb enough to talk like that, then it has an awful lot to learn. Learning means growing and growing leads to evolution, right?”

“I guess…”

“Okay. Go ahead and teach it to talk. You’re a school thing.”

“Um…” Atis said, treading lightly as he moved toward the still Kakuna and its robotic voice. “Well, like I said, humans will hear your name, but you can say whatever you want, okay? Please talk to us.”

“Kakuna, Kakuna,” it said. Did it even have a mouth?

Atis looked back and forth between me and the Kakuna, as if the little yellow creature was tricking him and going to attack at any moment. “I think evolution refers to fighting experience mostly…” he said.

“That’s the only effort you’re going to give?!” I cried, covering my face.

Atis, the smart and strong one, said, “I know about pokémon, not speech.”

“Kakuna is a pokémon!”

Poor Atis. He just can’t do anything right in Kuiora’s eyes. She seems to think that anything not as strong as her (which, in her mind, is everyone) isn’t worth her time.

I was somewhat glad to see Kuiora get her due when she tried attacking Kakuna, and then getting attacked by Atis. Kakuna did seem to evolve very quickly, though, without much effort from Kuiora (Atis was more of the catalyst for the evolution). I hope she doesn’t let this go to her head.


“You managed to evolve Kakuna into a Beedrill after all… and it looks like you got some battle experience yourself,” Bugsy said, smirking. Did he enjoy me bleeding on his forest floor? I wondered if he had been watching the entire time, the little brat. “As promised, you may have the Hive Badge.”

That’s a little jarring for me, to see a Pokemon call a Gym Leader a brat. What’s happened to Kuiora? She seems more angry than eager now.

Then there was the scene with Sai. Kuiora’s out of control now - her frustration is making her blind. I’m surprised Sai just sat there and took the attack, and I’m also wondering why other people didn’t try to stop Kuiora.

And I have to say, I’m a little disappointed that Kuiora evolved when she did. It just seems a bit too soon, especially since Sai really hasn’t seen her battle yet. Then she just continued to whale on him, which for her just seems cruel. She really can’t think outside of violence - Sai’s words don’t have any effect on her, only his punch.

Overall: I thought this chapter was intriguing, but it was quite shocking to see Kuiora acting this way. We’ll have to see where she goes with her development.

Wow, this was a long review. Hope you don’t mind. And hooray, I’m finally caught up on chapters! I’ll be interested to see what happens next.

Thanks again for a great read!

~Crimson Penguin

Dragonicwari
12th June 2012, 11:32 PM
That was another great chapter, I don't have time to go as in depth as other people sadly, but I really liked how this chapter played out and learn more of the totodiles personality

Sidewinder
14th June 2012, 1:56 AM
How did the hitmontop seem so much closer to Sai than the rest of us?

You may have explained this to me before, but when you mention different Pokemon, why are there names not capitalized? I was under the impression that they should be. Or is it just the author's choice?


…What about me?

I knew something like that was going to manifest eventually. Kuiora is quickly becoming very unstable to me, which is evident by what happens later in the chapter. At first I liked her upstart personality and the desire to prove herself, especially since she's so young. But with that same token comes the odd sense that something is bothering her inside to have the thoughts that she's having. I actually have to disagree with The Great Butler when he said that the plot felt erratic and Kuiora's actions had little reason. I actually thought that her actions were extremely well written and true to character. It went so well with what she was feeling and looking into how she is growing. She's flawed, tempremental, eager to please, and desperate to release the unease inside even though she shouldn't have it to begin with. Her jumpy thought pattern is really spot on because it runs so closely to what someone her age would feel. lmao I hope that made sense.


“N-No,” he stammered, “not really. The scyther looked scary.”

Lol, I love Atis to death. Such a realistic thing to say coming from him. You have such a talent with characterization.


Physically, the city hadn’t changed much. It was still light, and it was full of buildings and trees and people walking around, all of which, unlike me, were going nowhere.

As much as Sai creeps me out sometimes, Kuiora is sometimes worse. Sentiments like that that she feels really make me wonder if she doesn't have some problems bouncing around in that brain. She almost seems like she has the begginning of a god complex to me; which isn't a bad thing at all, just cause for concern for the others involved. Now that I'm thinking about it, not really a 'god' complex, but more of a yuppie or socialite complex. Everyone judges people instantly, whether they say they do or not, but Kuiora is more vocal inside her head about it than I thought she would be


Bugsy chuckled lightly. “Well, you should know that strong pokémon are not always the only kind of pokémon as well. If you want my badge, then you have to evolve one of my pokémon here. It doesn’t matter which, or how you do it—just be civil, of course.”

I'm somewhat confused. Is Bugsy really in tune with the Pokemon language? Because I thought so far it had only been Sai who was able to understand them with such clarity. Sorry if me asking that has already been explained lol


“You’d ask that about any pokémon, so I don’t feel too inclined to answer.”

I really liked that line. Completely Kuiora


But it wasn’t good enough. He wasn’t budging. His fists were clenched, and he was frowning, growling.

Hmm, that's kinda interesting. Growling? Such an animalistic trait. I can honestly say I've never growled at anyone before, even when in a fist fight. Revealing, I like it.


I was no longer bleeding, though my side still showed signs of injury from Atis’s spikes. The nurse would have to take care of me eventually, and I wondered what she’d think of me.

I didn't see her evolution coming at all. It fits really well with what she's going through and I'm really glad it happened. Your take on evolution was different than I thought it would be, but I liked that you included Kuiora's feelings about it while I was happening. I don't think I've read about evolution from the first person before, and to me you did a good job on it. You know from reading me that I have a different view of the process, but your version was nicely written and fit in with your style really well. Nicely done

All in all, this chapter was as wonderful as the previous one's and worth the wait. You did a really good job of fleshing out Kuiora more and to be honest I was really surprised and excited with the way this chapter went.

diamondpearl876
15th June 2012, 4:54 AM
I just read the latest chapter, and I'm actually quite anxious to review it, but as promised, I'll go over chapters 6 and 7 first.

I hope that was a good kind of "anxious", haa.


Sai’s suddenly become so erratic that it's almost as if he’s being controlled/possessed by somebody else. Is he bipolar, perhaps? Or maybe he has multiple personality disorder? I just can’t figure him out.

Never heard the possession theory before. I'd like to say if you're on the right track, but I am secretive. ;o



Overall: very surprising. And confusing. I wonder if Sai will ever get one of these "moods" again (something tells me the answer is yes).

Something tells me yes, too. ;o


And Senori is the reluctant peacemaker - he almost seems like he has to be the trainer when Sai isn’t there.

You're not the first one to bring up the pokemon being the trainers instead. I kind of like the idea, since Sai surely isn't fit to be one himself.


Again, Sai’s gone from angry to mopey to giddy in the blink of an eye. And when he mentioned that he needed to do something...it reminded me of someone with ADHD-like symptoms.

You seem to know a lot about psychological problems/disorders. I like you.


(Also, I can’t help but think what’s going to happen if/when Sai tries to eat a Magikarp. If you’ve seen that anime episode with James‘ Magikarp, you know it’s not going to end well. And how can Sai have all those Pokeballs with him when he should only be able to carry six at a time?)

Haven't seen it, though I may have to. Also, I don't really care for the system of "a pokemon immediately disappears when detected as a 7th/8th/9th pokemon or whatever. How would that even work? It's never made sense to me. I say that it's only legal to use 6 pokemon for battle purposes, but the amount to carry around is unlimited. I've seen other fics make it works so hopefully I can too.


And Bugsy surprised me. I’d never thought of him as the kind of person who would go easy on a challenger - he always seemed quite eager to me (though I don’t remember how he was in the anime). Then Sai surprised me even more by refusing Bugsy’s badge. He really does seem to care about his Pokemon - not only about their strength, but their self-esteem as well.

I never thought gym leaders got enough character development. To me Bugsy seemed like the type of guy who likes to be right or always in first place--if teaching a lesson gets him there, then so be it. Hope that makes sense.



Second, Bugsy didn’t seem very surprised that a Totodile showed up at a Gym without her trainer and wants to battle on her own. Seems just a bit unrealistic to me.

Somehow that never occurred to me. I guess I'd explain it by saying that Bugsy expected someone so hard-headed to do something like that, human or not. Also he could have easily assumed that Sai was at the pokemon center and busy, and possibly in a hurry (like I imagine all new trainers would be).



Now I did notice something during the next scene. Up until now, you’ve not been capitalizing the names of Pokemon, but you didn’t do this with Kakuna - I think it was capitalized in every instance (Beedrill was capitalized as well). Why the sudden shift?

I stopped writing the fic for a month and apparently decided to shift ways when I started writing again. I fixed it now and will try to remember for the future, thanks!


That’s a little jarring for me, to see a Pokemon call a Gym Leader a brat. What’s happened to Kuiora? She seems more angry than eager now.[/quote]

She is acting more on anger than eagerness now due to being screwed over so many times for lack of a better term, though eagerness is her main emotion/motivation/whatever you'd call it.


And I have to say, I’m a little disappointed that Kuiora evolved when she did. It just seems a bit too soon, especially since Sai really hasn’t seen her battle yet. Then she just continued to whale on him, which for her just seems cruel. She really can’t think outside of violence - Sai’s words don’t have any effect on her, only his punch.

To be fair, she could have been worse. I put in there she could have done much more (hit, kick, bite, use water gun) but she only hit to get his attention. I am sorry you were disappointed with the evolution however. With all her training and the fact that starter pokemon evolve relatively early, I would have thought this was a perfect time. Thanks for commenting/reviewing! I do like your in-depth reviews.


That was another great chapter, I don't have time to go as in depth as other people sadly, but I really liked how this chapter played out and learn more of the totodiles personality

Not a problem, just glad to know you're reading. Glad you liked it!


You may have explained this to me before, but when you mention different Pokemon, why are there names not capitalized? I was under the impression that they should be. Or is it just the author's choice?

Author's choice. It seems the same as "my mom" or "Mom" to me--unless it's directly stated as a name, pokemon species names should not be capitalized. And you wouldn't capitalize Bug or Spider or anything in real life, either.


I actually have to disagree with The Great Butler when he said that the plot felt erratic and Kuiora's actions had little reason. I actually thought that her actions were extremely well written and true to character. It went so well with what she was feeling and looking into how she is growing. She's flawed, tempremental, eager to please, and desperate to release the unease inside even though she shouldn't have it to begin with. Her jumpy thought pattern is really spot on because it runs so closely to what someone her age would feel. lmao I hope that made sense.

Made perfect sense, and you got exactly what I was trying to portray. I was extremely worried that you wouldn't like this chapter after I saw a couple other reviews LOL so I'm glad I was wrong.

Also, the "what about me" was a total LOST reference. I love Ben so much.


As much as Sai creeps me out sometimes, Kuiora is sometimes worse.

"Woah" if all I've got to say to that.


I'm somewhat confused. Is Bugsy really in tune with the Pokemon language? Because I thought so far it had only been Sai who was able to understand them with such clarity. Sorry if me asking that has already been explained lol

I'd believe that anyone who spends a lot of time with pokemon can understand them. This includes gym leaders and Sai (but why? who knows). There's no one else thus far due to only seeing newer trainers (or very few trainers).

Thanks for reading/reviewing as always!

Crimson Penguin
18th June 2012, 5:12 AM
I'm back, so time to reply!


I hope that was a good kind of "anxious", haa.

Yes, it was a good kind of anxious. I did enjoy the chapter, even if some of my comments seemed a bit critical.


Never heard the possession theory before. I'd like to say if you're on the right track, but I am secretive. ;o

...Dang, I was hoping for even a sliver of more information about Sai. But the fact that you're keeping his "secret" under wraps makes me anticipate the reveal even more. : )


You seem to know a lot about psychological problems/disorders. I like you.

Ummm...actually, I'm not all that knowledgeable about that kind of stuff. But...thank you? (What does that say about me, I wonder? Hmm...)


Haven't seen it, though I may have to. Also, I don't really care for the system of "a pokemon immediately disappears when detected as a 7th/8th/9th pokemon or whatever. How would that even work? It's never made sense to me. I say that it's only legal to use 6 pokemon for battle purposes, but the amount to carry around is unlimited. I've seen other fics make it works so hopefully I can too.

Yeah, I can see how that wouldn't really work in a "real-life" setting. It seemed odd to me at first, considering how long I've been playing the games, but I think your plan will work out just fine. (And yes, I think you might enjoy the Magikarp episode.)


I never thought gym leaders got enough character development. To me Bugsy seemed like the type of guy who likes to be right or always in first place--if teaching a lesson gets him there, then so be it. Hope that makes sense.

Never thought of it that way, but it does make sense. I guess everyone's got their own interpretation of the Gym Leaders' personalities.


Somehow that never occurred to me. I guess I'd explain it by saying that Bugsy expected someone so hard-headed to do something like that, human or not. Also he could have easily assumed that Sai was at the pokemon center and busy, and possibly in a hurry (like I imagine all new trainers would be).

Alright, that seems like a plausible explanation. *makes mental note to self to stop expecting fics to be exactly like the games*


To be fair, she could have been worse. I put in there she could have done much more (hit, kick, bite, use water gun) but she only hit to get his attention. I am sorry you were disappointed with the evolution however. With all her training and the fact that starter pokemon evolve relatively early, I would have thought this was a perfect time.

Come to think of it, most starter Pokemon do evolve by the second Gym, so I retract my point. I think I was just more surprised than anything, given that we haven't seen Kuiora train much at all so far (which she herself pointed out several times). And I guess Sai could use a good beating every now and then. : )

Like I said, I really did enjoy reading this chapter, so I'm sorry I convinced you otherwise. Your chapters turn out so different from what I imagine that it just takes me a few times for everything to really fall into place. (Which is a good thing! Complexity is always good.)


Thanks for commenting/reviewing! I do like your in-depth reviews.

You're welcome! And I really didn't think they were that in-depth, but I'm glad I can bring something to the table, so to speak. (I'm still so new to this whole thing...)

I eagerly await the next chapter!

~Crimson Penguin

diamondpearl876
18th June 2012, 5:16 PM
Yes, it was a good kind of anxious. I did enjoy the chapter, even if some of my comments seemed a bit critical.

Oh I see. I was a bit worried there, though I do appreciate the critical comments. :D


Ummm...actually, I'm not all that knowledgeable about that kind of stuff. But...thank you? (What does that say about me, I wonder? Hmm...)

You at least seem to know basics (symptoms of ADHD, for instance, which is a disorder almost everyone thinks they have when they obviously don't, since playing on Facebook constantly when you need to do homework does not equal ADHD) and the difference between commonly misunderstood disorders (bipolar and multiple personality disorder are often considered the same thing, for instance, but if you pointed them both out in different contexts, you seem to know the basic difference). Don't mind me, I'm big into psychology stuff so I like seeing people at least acknowledge disorders or not fall into the myths surrounding them.


Alright, that seems like a plausible explanation. *makes mental note to self to stop expecting fics to be exactly like the games*

It's funny because everyone wants fics that AREN'T like the games, so I try to do that. And then people are like... what?! :P Glad you seem to like the surprises though.


Come to think of it, most starter Pokemon do evolve by the second Gym, so I retract my point. I think I was just more surprised than anything, given that we haven't seen Kuiora train much at all so far (which she herself pointed out several times). And I guess Sai could use a good beating every now and then. : )

I may have not made this point clear, my fault. Kuiora trained an awful lot... by herself, so no one else saw her. Kuiora didn't say she never trained, it was Senori who said he never saw her train. Sorry for the confusion... unless there really is some part I wrote that proved otherwise... I forget. :P

Sidewinder
20th June 2012, 1:50 AM
And you wouldn't capitalize Bug or Spider or anything in real life, either.

Excellent point lol. Thanks for clarifying that


Made perfect sense, and you got exactly what I was trying to portray. I was extremely worried that you wouldn't like this chapter after I saw a couple other reviews LOL so I'm glad I was wrong.

Oh yes I thought it was great. You fleshed out Kuiora more in this chapter than any of the characters in any of the other chapters, IMO.


Also, the "what about me" was a total LOST reference. I love Ben so much.

I can't believe I missed that lol


"Woah" if all I've got to say to that.

I thought you may say something along those lines lol. I say that because as weird as Sai is to me, I don't know enough about him to judge. He's still a mystery, and you did so much with Kuiora this time that I actually got kinda creeped out in a good way about how selfish she appeared to me. Loved it

diamondpearl876
21st June 2012, 6:18 AM
Oh yes I thought it was great. You fleshed out Kuiora more in this chapter than any of the characters in any of the other chapters, IMO.

Glad you think so... I'm sure the other characters will have their spotlight too. :P


I can't believe I missed that lol

It's okay, I missed yours too LOL.


I thought you may say something along those lines lol. I say that because as weird as Sai is to me, I don't know enough about him to judge. He's still a mystery, and you did so much with Kuiora this time that I actually got kinda creeped out in a good way about how selfish she appeared to me. Loved it

Yeah, she's certainly creepy in some ways, haha. Oh, and for the evolution thing 'cause I forgot to reply last time, I thought about it and the body preparing itself to evolve makes the most sense to me. It would explain why pokemon can evolve at any point that it's ready, why it doesn't hurt, why it's so quick, etc. Your theory made me wonder what would happen to pokemon that didn't want to evolve, and I couldn't think of an explanation for it!

diamondpearl876
21st June 2012, 10:47 PM
SURVIVAL PROJECT

chapter 9 ; [SENORI]
suspended

*

When I was watching Kuiora punch Sai over and over again, when I was watching her evolve… I felt like my body was falling away from me, through the floor, and then back into myself, over and over again. When my body was falling, it was as if I was dreaming of what my life could be, but wasn’t. And when my body righted itself again, I was reminded that this was real, and that I simply didn’t know what to do about it. The sudden violence wasn’t entirely unexpected. She had been getting more and more desperate, and I had told her about Sai fighting me, thinking nothing of it at the time…I had told her that Sai fought me because it was what fate had brought upon me, upon us, not so that she could use the idea herself. Nevertheless, here she was, freezing me and everyone else in the pokémon center, leaving us to wonder only why she was doing this, why she evolved at this moment of shame, and most of all, why Sai felt compelled to punch her back.

I snapped back to reality as I suddenly tumbled out of Sai’s arms. Though he was still on his knees, he went to pull his arm back and swing it forward, immediately colliding with Kuiora’s rounded jaw. Had she still been a totodile, she may have staggered backward. With her new and larger form, she hardly moved an inch. And just as suddenly, she stopped attacking him. She merely smirked and looked around occasionally, mostly focusing on looking down at the stricken Sai in front of her.

“Kuiora,” he said simply, using his other hand to cover the fist that he had hurt her with, “I didn’t want to hit you.”

“But you did,” she said, smiling now, a different smile from the expectant smirk that was present just moments ago.

“I know, and I’m sorry,” Sai said, standing up now. He moved slowly, carefully, as if he would break or as if Kuiora would attack him again at any moment.

“I’m strong, and I wanted you to know it. You’re not allowed to say sorry!” she replied. She crossed her arms, but made no sign of future violence.

“But I always knew that,” Sai said, chuckling slightly. I vaguely wondered if he was telling the truth, but decided that I’d never speak about it.

“Then why didn’t you use me?”

“Everyone on the team has to fight. If I only focused on you, all the others would get left behind.”

“Who cares about the others? I’m special, aren’t I?”

“Of course you are… I chose you for a reason.”

“You chose me because I was the strongest, of course!”

“Yes, yes I did. But you have quite the temper, don’t you? But you seem easy to please, so let’s make sure this never happens again…” Sai said seriously, looking down on her now, scolding her like the child she was.

Suddenly, a new voice cut in. “You can’t expect to get away with another situation like this, can you?”

I looked around once more. Up until this point, some people were still watching, whispering amongst each other, probably wondering if they should do anything about the situation and wondering about why Sai was able to understand his pokémon while they couldn’t. Others had scattered and moved on, either changed or unmoved by the incident. Only one person decided to stand up to Sai, and I immediately recognized him from the cave and from the pictures in Sasha’s house. This boy had the same blonde hair and the same serious look on his face and the same determined eyes; it was just a different day with him wearing different clothes. The boy walked up to Sai, cutting off his view from Kuiora.

“First the cave incident, and now your pokémon is attacking you. I wonder why. You obviously don’t give your pokémon the attention they need and deserve,” he said, looking Sai straight in the eye.

“I didn’t know it would go that far,” Sai said, just as serious now and having to shift his attention from Kuiora once more. He did pass her a glance, however, as he added, “I didn’t know what she wanted. She’s never told or asked me directly until now.”

“You should figure it out! You even have the advantage of being able to talk to your pokémon.”

I stared at the boy. What was his name, anyway? Did he really have to be here at the same time as us? Was there anything I could do about it? He couldn’t understand me… but he had saved me nonetheless. I was torn between wanting to spare this other boy from the grief and from trying to keep Sai on track, his emotions being my main motivation for remaining stable and calm.

Sai glared at the other boy and said, “Are you really going to be angry over me being able to talk to my pokémon while you can’t?”

“That’s not what this is about,” the boy said, breaking eye contact for just a moment. “I bet you don’t know a damn thing about your pokémon, especially not the sentret you almost got killed.”

Sai sighed, his face softening quickly. “I know that Atis likes the top bunk on the bed at night. I know that Kuiora likes to tell stories like no other. When we sleep outside I know that Senori likes the area with the most grass. Kuiora loves learning about things outside of herself even if she won’t admit it, and Senori always seems sad for some reason I can’t quite figure out yet. Just because it doesn’t look like I’m listening or watching doesn’t mean I’m oblivious.”

When Sai said that, I completely forgot about my trying to decide which trainer to stick up for. Did Sai really pay that much attention to us, enough attention to know about the little things? Did I really even like the area with the most grass? I didn’t even notice, and it certainly never seemed like he paid attention to anything but whatever crazy ramblings went on inside his head. I decided to stay silent for Sai, and watch him deal with this situation by himself.

There was a moment of silence. The boy looked around, glaring at the people who were still watching. “Doesn’t matter if you listen or watch if your pokémon don’t feel like you do,” he finally said, not looking at Sai anymore.

But it does matter, I wanted to say. It says a lot about Sai. I turned to Kuiora to see what she was thinking during all of this. She was simply standing next to Sai, eyes crossed and looking just as defiant as her trainer. She didn’t look angry anymore, and it was smart of her, I decided, to not say anything, knowing that the trainer couldn’t understand her either way. She had probably exhausted her voice for the day, anyway. Crying, yelling, battling all day… Just what had happened, anyway? So many questions were running through my head about her and my trainer, but no answers.

“If you’re not going to listen to anything I say, then we’re done here,” Sai stated, turning away from the boy. He walked up to the counter and said, “Nurse Joy, I deeply apologize for the incident here today. It won’t happen again. I would appreciate it if you healed my Kuiora now…”

“O-Of course,” the nurse said. “May I ask that your croconaw be put into her pokéball first?”

Sai’s expression hardened again, but he looked too tired to care. He returned Kuiora to her pokéball and handed it over.

But the boy wasn’t about to give up. He came up to the counter as well and said, “Have you not learned your lesson? I’m surprised Nurse Joy isn’t reporting you. If I see one more incident I will report you, though I don’t want to let it get to that.”

Sai turned to the boy, glaring once more. “And just what do you mean by that?”

“Fight me. Battle me so they can see what kind of trainer I am, and let them decide if they want to stay with you or not.”

Decide to stay with Sai or not? It almost seemed like every pokémon’s dream—every pokémon who had a bad trainer, anyway. The choice to leave. This had to be happening for a reason, or else it wouldn’t be happening at all… Without the entire situation played out, however, it was hard to judge what I would have done, should have done… and what I wanted to do.

“What’s your name, anyway, kid?”

“My name? My name is Marty.”

“Well, Marty, I’m not worried at all. You’re on, but I’m waiting for Kuiora,” Sai said, and that was the end of the scuffle in the pokémon center, but not the questions inside my head. Fate may have been trying to tell me something, maybe leaving Sai was really an option… Who could ever know?

*

The battle took place two days later. Kuiora was anxious to get started right away, of course, but Sai insisted that she wait for her injuries to be healed. It took a lot of courage, I observed, to be able to deny her after what just happened, but she seemed to realize that it was for the best—probably because Sai, at least, wasn’t ignoring her.

“You said I tell stories like no other, right?” she asked, hopping up and down on the bed. We were all back in the same hotel room, as Sai said he no longer wanted to spend money that way. He had really calmed down since Kuiora’s outburst, and it was extremely noticeable. No one had to chase him around the entire town or wonder when the next time we’d be able to buy food anymore, after all.

“Yes, yes I did,” Sai said, simply sitting next to her and bouncing up and down to whatever rhythm she wanted.

“That was different,” was all she said. She had already asked about being the strongest at least five times, anyway, since he was no longer ignoring her. Had it been on purpose? I supposed it was futile to ask, but perhaps I would someday.

“I want you to tell a story,” I said instead.

“You do?” Kuiora asked. She stopped bouncing, confused.

“Yeah. Why not?” Because yes, I was tired of hearing about her being the strongest. This could have been a more enjoyable substitute.

“A story about what?”

“Anything goes, as long as it’s not about you being the strongest.”

“Meanie,” Kuiora said, crossing her arms. “There are no legends about me yet, anyway, but there will be someday.”

“I’ll bet.”

“Do you want me to tell a story or not?” she pouted.

“Go for it,” I said, smirking. It was always fun, picking on her… and that was why I never learned to expect anything serious from her. Her outburst was unexpected, and then soon I came to realize that her serious stories were unexpected.

She told a story of an old man who burned because he was mourning for his lost wife and child. She had died in a house fire while trying to save their three-year-old son. She had sacrificed everything and still failed, according to the entire town. In the man’s mind, however, she had succeeded. Until a child is old enough to take care of himself, he thought, the mother should always follow and keep watch.

“It simply would have been a sin to the gods had she done anything else but die saving him,” she explained. Atis lay on the top bunk, as usual, saying nothing, perhaps not even listening, just thinking. I lay on the floor, curling my tail around my body, occasionally looking up to watch Sai’s reaction carefully. Yes, he was listening, and he was listening well. The croconaw went on.

Every year, on the anniversary of the day they both died, the widowed man would dance with the air, imagining his wife there instead. Every year, he read a story to himself, imagining that it was his son he was telling it to. Other than this, the town never saw him change his ways; they said he only changed his tires and his dreams.

One day, however, he wanted to face the very thing that had taken his wife and child. Oh, how badly he wanted to face the fire. He lit a candle and mourned for them. He mourned and mourned, planning to burn it and never see it again when he was done—until he heard a cackling sound, an eerie laugh. He opened his eyes, saw that the candle was gone. The candle had really been a rare pokémon shaped like a candle, its purplish glow said to steal the energy of humans and pokémon alike just to be able to burn some more. The man had no energy to stop the fire, or to even notice it was happening. He died in pain, but without even realizing he was in pain.

“The town,” Kuiora finished, “said that he was smoking in bed when he set the house on fire. And then they wondered how the house was set on fire the first time. The end!” she said, bouncing off the bed and scaring me into the corner of the room due to her new larger size and sharper fangs.

The battle took place two days later, after it finally hit me that Kuiora wasn’t just a kid—she was the same as all of us: she came with flaws and things that made her great, both of which she was afraid of showing.

*

Of course, Kuiora was also feeling much, much better. She was practically dancing over to our designated battlefield: Ilex Forest.

And of course, the battlefield reminded me of home. The forest smell and appearance was much different from home. The trees were much, much taller, and it made the place darker than the one I remembered and thought of often. And like the Azalea Town gym, several bug pokémon were everywhere, out in plain sight, as if they knew their home was protected. I wished that my clan still felt the same—I at least had the comfort of knowing that they felt safe at some point. How was Ari doing, anyway? What about the rest of the clan? Had they perhaps relocated due to what happened? I thought and thought but it was no use. No one could answer me, as usual. So I tried to focus on the issue at hand: Marty’s crazy ambition and obsession with Sai’s training abilities. We were going to be fighting in a clearing, just as Sai had attacked me in a clearing when we had first met so long ago.

Marty stood on one side of the clearing while Sai and the rest of us stood on the other side. Atis stood by my side, while Kuiora was already out in front of our trainer, knowing that she would be chosen to battle. I didn’t offer any protest this time, for I knew that this would happen as well. After her outrage, it was simply meant to be.

The other boy took no time in choosing which pokémon to send out. He sent out a pokémon he called Halcyon, a name true to the bug’s nature. The purple and white bug flew around with joy, fluttering its wings as fast as it could to pick up speed and show off.

“A butterfree, huh?” Sai said. He sounded tired, and I expected him to say something cocky like saying his croconaw was better or that he would win fast. But his feelings of invincibility seemed to have disappeared over the last few days. “Kuiora, use water gun!”

Kuiora stood up as tall as she could, just as she had when she confronted Sai. We could all tell how proud she was as she inhaled sharply and exhaled a long, steady stream of water toward the butterfree, the first official enemy of hers. Halcyon, with its wings still flapping quickly, easily moved out of the way. It stopped mid-air and looked at Kuiora, waiting for its next move. But its mistake lay in stopping, as Kuiora simply moved her body in the butterfree’s direction, bringing the water gun attack with her. The steady stream of natural liquid never stopped, just relocated—and it ended up colliding head-on with the bug’s small purple face and torso. Halcyon didn’t cry out or move, just took the brunt of the attack.

“Halcyon won’t lose to you, he won’t! Fly under it and use tackle!” Marty cried, smiling and not appearing too worried about his pokémon’s condition just yet.

Halcyon reacted instantly, as if he had known what kind of counterattack his trainer would think of. Halcyon broke free of the water gun, seemingly unscathed, and barely grazed by the attack as he flew under the water and straight into Kuiora’s body. Finally, the water stopped, and Kuiora staggered backward.

“I didn’t have time to move my attack. You got lucky,” Kuiora said. I almost chuckled at her, since her excuses were always amusing and childish to me. It reminded me of the old her—but was there really ever an old her?

“You’re fine, Kuiora. Go ahead and use bite,” Sai said calmly.

“Will do!” the croconaw responded happily. She stood there expectedly, waiting for the butterfree to get closer so she could attack.

“We simply won’t go near you then! Try a stun spore instead.”

Halcyon stayed in the air, its wings flapping slower now to help keep the bug suspended, stuck in place, just like the rest of us were at the moment. According to Marty, we were all stuck here pitifully and against our will, and according to Sai, we were all stuck here because the other boy was in our way and was just another obstacle to overcome… Whose beliefs should I have been following? Marty made me wonder, maybe only because he saved me, maybe because fate brought him to me not once, but twice now.

No matter what the case was, it didn’t change the fact that Kuiora and Halcyon were fighting right now. Halcyon was emitting a strange, yellow substance, which started emanating throughout the entire battlefield within the minute. I wished that there were more bugs in my forest so that I could have warned Kuiora. She simply stood there and waited for the substance to sink into her, unsure of what it would do and probably thinking it was harmless enough to wait for.

“Kuiora, you’re going to have to attack quick!” Sai called, finally realizing what the attack was after seeing that Kuiora was having troubles just by trying to keep her arms from drooping.

Once the croconaw realized the situation as well, she immediately started propelling herself forward, past the yellow substance that was paralyzing her. I could tell that she was trying to run, but it looked more and more like jogging. Still, the butterfree remained suspended and focused on its attack as she got closer and closer, and when she was finally close enough, she jumped as high as she could and grabbed the butterfree with her clawed hands. Halcyon’s wings could no longer help him, and the stun spore attack ceased as he tried to free himself in vain. Kuiora had a firm grasp on him, despite the attack—it simply hadn’t had enough time to sink in and get to her completely yet.

Kuiora pulled down Halcyon and kept him in place with one hand. Instead of biting, Kuiora pulled back her other hand and thrust it forward, knocking the butterfree right out of her hands and into the bushes at the edge of the clearing. Kuiora, though she did not appear as tall and proud, stood there as tall as she could, tired and restrained from her battle. She was still smiling, though, which was a good sign. Marty ran over to the bushes to check on Halcyon, but came back with nothing.

“I put him back in his pokéball,” he mumbled glumly. “I’ll send out my next pokémon. It’s my only other pokemon, so this will be a two on two battle. Are you still using the croconaw?”

Sai’s eyes widened, as if he hadn’t considered removing Kuiora from the battle. He was quiet, looking at her, thinking.

“You did well, Kuiora,” he started. I could already see her starting to frown. “But you just healed and I don’t want you to get hurt more. I’d like to send Senori in… so that you can rest from your victory.”

She smiled again at the end, and said that it was okay. Her voice sounded weak and she couldn’t nod; the stun spore was taking its effect now, and it probably wouldn’t start wearing off until the end of the battle or until she got back to a pokémon center.

So Sai ended up sending me out to battle. Last time, I was facing a menacing scyther that could easily tell my weak point due to its clan leader’s commands. This time, I was facing a little cyndaquil that I recognized as one of Professor Elm’s starting pokémon for new trainers. Did Sai and Marty start around the same time? I looked back at Kuiora to see if she knew the cyndaquil, but there was no sign of recollection, just a smile that told me she was stronger than this thing despite the type disadvantage.

“Do you know the croconaw over there?” I asked.

“Nope,” the cyndaquil said, smiling.

“Gracie, start off with an ember!” Marty cried out, clenching his fist in anticipation. He didn’t seem to want to let us talk, probably because of Sai.

The cyndaquil known as Gracie inhaled and exhaled flames, directing them at me. It reminded me of Kuiora’s water gun attack, except this seemed much more dangerous and potentially painful. I ran on all four paws in order to dodge the attack. It didn’t seem as if Gracie was as good with controlling her attacks, so nothing followed me, though I did ensure this before I stopped running.

“Senori, use tail whip!” Sai called to me.

I ran over to Gracie, who was recovering from using her ember attack. She shrieked and covered her face with her tiny cream-colored paws as I attempted to smack her with my tail.

“Are you scared?” I asked, sort of actually feeling sorry for her.

“I get scared easily…” Gracie said, her voice trailing off, “but I can still fight!”

After she finished her sentence, she removed her paws from her face and ran toward me this time, so quick that she was leaving afterimages behind her every time she moved. Every cyndaquil I saw looked the same, and I couldn’t tell who was real and who wasn’t. I turned my body to the left and right, trying to find a good time to escape, but each time I turned, Gracie or her afterimages followed and I second guessed myself. This time, she smacked into me, sending me careening into the bushes this time instead of Halcyon.

When I went to get up, however, I saw another pokémon staring down at me.

“I see that boy around here a lot,” it said. It was a bird pokémon, with white feathers covering all around its neck, with only one red feather sticking up at the top of its head. Its red colored face stared down at me, smiling. Its beak opened and shut numerous times, trying to speak. “If you want to end this quick, just hit Gracie on the back. It’s her weak point. She’ll get scared, and with her trying not to fall, you can put enough pressure on her tiny legs to where she can’t get back up.”

“W-What?” I said, confused. Where had this bird come from, anyway? Had it been watching the entire time? And why even care about Marty and Sai and Gracie and me? I stumbled back to my feet quickly and hopped out of the bushes, not even bothering to say anything or look at the pokémon.

Still, as the battle continued, I couldn’t forget what the bird had said. I didn’t want to cheat and hit Gracie on the back, but she was starting to wear me down. She had hit me into the bushes, and now she was aiming more ember attacks at me and making me run as much as possible, exhausting my energy. I did want to end this quick so that Marty didn’t win and find further reason to antagonize Sai the way he was, but still—

I decided to try a similar strategy, one that I could be proud of. When Gracie shot out her next ember attack, I stopped and let it come straight at me. I prepared my tail as I watched the oncoming embers, and when it was finally close enough, I swung my tail at each and every one. While the embers simply dissipated upon contact, Gracie thought that they were going to come flying back at her and started cowering in fear once more, covering those already closed eyes of hers. Then I ran at her again and tackled her, hitting her in the side rather than mostly on her back. Seeing how small her legs were made me think that maybe there was enough pressure applied so that she couldn’t get up again, or perhaps just be fainted after battling so long and using so much energy on her ember attacks. Either way, she was finished battling, as she didn’t get up again, just kept whining.

“Gracie, it’s okay, I know you’re not much of a battler. Return!” Marty said, and she disappeared as a mere flash of red, maybe looking at me with those closed eyes with desperation. How could I tell, anyway?

“Good job, Senori. Return,” Sai said, copying Marty, though he didn’t return me to my pokéball. He rarely did.

“Well? I may have lost, but it wasn’t about winning or losing, just seeing trainer styles and appealing to our pokémon in the best way possible. Let them choose, and let them remember how you almost let Senori get killed and how you let Kuiora get so out of hand!” Marty cried, frowning and glaring at Sai. But Sai ignored him and turned to us instead.

“You did well, Kuiora, Senori. And Atis would have done well too. I’m sorry that Marty feels compelled to do this… and I’m sorry that I’m inclined to agree with him on some points. Maybe, someday…” he said, stopping to smile softly. “Maybe someday I can love you as much as I was meant to.”

“I’d like to stay now that I can battle!” Kuiora said immediately, hugging and squeezing Sai’s leg closely to her. Sai smiled and rubbed her side, the one that had been damaged by Atis.

“The croconaw is too young to know better, but her choice is her choice,” Marty said, crossing his arms impatiently.

“Why are you so set on trying to get rid of me as a trainer?” Sai asked, looking up at the other boy.

“I should just report you and have your pokémon forcibly taken from you,” Marty retorted.

“That doesn’t answer my question,” Sai said, still calm and tired.

“Most pokémon don’t know what a real good trainer can be like. The only example they usually have is their first trainer… and by the time they realize what they really need and want in a trainer, they’re too far from home to find their way back. It’s too late, and they feel trapped. But I don’t want pokémon to feel that way!”

“I wouldn’t want them to, either,” Sai said sympathetically.

“You don’t act like it!” Marty cried, frustrated.

“I told you before… You don’t know me. I try my best.”

“Then let them choose. I let Gracie and Halcyon choose, and I’ll let Gracie choose again someday.”

“I never said I wouldn’t,” Sai said. He kneeled down once more, looked at all of us—but not expectedly. Perhaps he truly didn’t know what to expect. It made me wonder why he had accepted this battle in the first place. He did care, he cared, he did, I had to believe it. “Senori? Atis? No one should feel trapped or feel like they have to stay, Marty is right.”

There was a long silence before anyone said anything else. There were a lot of factors I had to consider. I could start over here. I could build a new clan… not of sentret, but of bugs and whatever else was in this forest. I could try to find my way back—though, like Marty said, it seemed impossible and tough and risky. I could leave Sai’s world of unpredictability and go back to a life of routine and serenity…

“I’d like to have time to think about it…” Atis mumbled eventually, finally, though something told me he would end up staying. Where else would he go? Maybe he’d stay until he found another purpose in his life, one that Sai couldn’t contribute to anymore.

And me? I wondered. It was my turn. Yes, again, I could start over here. But didn’t I say I wouldn’t let Sai’s emotions get to me? And I had been doing well so far. I acted indifferent when he was going back and forth between being angry at me for losing the way I do and sad at himself for slowing him down, which he was still doing. Surely he’d be sad again soon—he was slowing down, and actually sleeping again, and he was no longer invincible… Yes, he was a rollercoaster. He always would be. And I feared his emotions deep down, even if I ignored them—I never knew what he was capable of, never knew what would happen next, never knew what kind of day I would have when I woke up. Still, he gave me a purpose, and he came at the right time in my life. He did seem to care, though there was something that was preventing him from showing it. Maybe, someday, like he said, he could show me, show all of us, and we could be happy…

In the end… I knew I loved him more than I feared him.

I chose to stay.

Dragonicwari
21st June 2012, 11:12 PM
There was a moment of silence. The boy looked around, glaring at the people who were still watching. “It Doesn’t matter if you listen or watch, if your pokémon don’t feel like you do,” he finally said, not looking at Sai anymore.

I found it somewhat easier to read my way, but I might be totally off


Every year, on the anniversary of the day they both died, the widowed man would dance with the air, imagining his wife there instead. Every year, he read a story to himself, imagining that it was his son he was telling it to. Other than this, the town never saw him changes his ways; they said he only changed his tires and his dreams.

At the end where it says changes I believe it should say change

Halcyon stayed in the air, its wings flapping slower now to help keep the bug suspended, stuck in place, just like the rest of us were at the moment. According to Marty, we were all stuck herepitifully and against our will, and according to Sai, we were all stuck here because the other boy was in our way and was just another obstacle to overcome… Whose beliefs should I have been following? Marty made me wonder, maybe only because he saved me, maybe because fate brought him to me not once, but twice now.

Jazz14456_Plebeian
22nd June 2012, 12:16 AM
I had learned some things while traveling with Sai thus far. First and foremost, I had learned that every person and pokémon should have their own name for the sake of clarity. I had learned that not everyone knows about the legendary pokémon and how special they are. I had learned that every building looks almost the same, with some exceptions. I could live with those exceptions. But I could not live with the exception for the most important thing I had learned: I had spent so much time trying to separate myself from everyone else that no one could realize my superiority.

I hated admitting it, but Senori was right. Sai didn’t know how hard I had trained, and therefore he didn’t use me in the battle like I wanted him to. I had foolishly expected him to just… know what I had done. Panic coursed through me as I saw him send Senori out to the battle field. I jumped and jumped, tried to get his attention, but it didn’t work. Asking directly didn’t work, either. Anyone can expect things to happen, jump up and down, or ask for things. But not everyone can work as hard as me to get what they want. So, naturally, I was beyond confused and had way too many questions.

The only conclusion I could come to was that there were exceptions. Senori hadn’t done anything at all to get the special attention he got at the gym. He was chosen by Sai without a second thought, and the boy stood up for him despite how he needed that badge so badly and as quickly as possible. Yes, the sentret’s battle was rather humiliating, but being chosen by our trainer was still an accomplishment. Why was Senori an exception? Why was he Sai’s first pokémon? What about Atis, who wasn’t rewarded for the hard work he did at Violet City? How did the hitmontop seem so much closer to Sai than the rest of us?

…What about me?

In my mind, I'm screaming at Kuiora to do the simple thing: tell Sai that you want to be really good. Really good, and that Sai should let Kuiora be used to her full potential. Although, Kuiora isn't like me at all. I suppose that idea never occured/s to her.



“That’s not really fair,” I pointed out. “That means Sai will just choose me because I’m last choice.”

“You’re a baby. It’s not an insult, he’s just protecting you…”

“I’m a baby, but I’m going to be better than you soon enough. Amazing, right?” I said, glaring at the pokémon. For a fighting-type, he sure chose odd battles to fight. “Do you think Sai will be taking long?”

I love this.
Atis, socially anxious and seeing the obvious.
Kuiora, immediately assuming that Atis was threatening her (slight misjudgment... only slightly ;) ) non-existent status. So, she goes defensive, and is not to friendly to a pokemon that could probably kick her but (but would never do so, as it would be reflecting attention right at him).



“Fine,” I said, thinking that I would need to learn from my mistakes and make sure there was a witness to my power, anyway.

I don't understand the "learn from my mistakes" part.



“We’ll do it,” Atis said, with no hesitation.

Maybe its just me, but this seems very unlike Atis.
Is there some motive I'm not seeing?



“Let’s see what I can do,” I mumbled. Since Bugsy was no longer available to glare at, I stared at Atis instead, hoping to shock him into thinking that this was hopeless after all, that Sai would just have to get the badge on his own time, like a normal trainer.

Interesting. Kuiora loses all drive when there is no battle involved. She thinks that Sai won't realize her power if she gets the badge a different way.



“You’d ask that about any pokémon, so I don’t feel too inclined to answer.”

This made me laugh.



Suddenly, a green aura appeared that stung my foot a bit. Naturally, I moved back, afraid of the new… attack? I couldn’t tell what this thing was. The circular barrier surrounded all of Atis’s body, and continued to do so as he stood up slowly, not facing me.

“I’m not useless, you know,” he said—calmly, I noticed. “I know Sai better than you do. I helped children… even if I didn’t want to…”

At first I thought the light was evolution light.
This isn't going to be good.



He still didn’t turn to face me. He was trying to stand up for himself and was still being shy when doing so, of course. Instead, however, he lifted his leg, and I knew an attack was coming, so I braced myself, tried to move back even further so maybe he’d miss.

You have a double space in between "me" and him"

Wow....
At first, I din't like the chapter as much as others because it didn't have Sai in it, and your characters are the greatest thing about your story.
But then... with Atis... well, now Atis is drawing me in.

Crimson Penguin
22nd June 2012, 2:09 AM
Hello again! Here to review your latest chapter, which I thought was the most interesting one yet (I swear, I say that to myself every time).

First, though, I'll respond to your previous comments (sorry for the delay, I just didn't want to monopolize the thread, if that makes any sense).


You at least seem to know basics (symptoms of ADHD, for instance, which is a disorder almost everyone thinks they have when they obviously don't, since playing on Facebook constantly when you need to do homework does not equal ADHD) and the difference between commonly misunderstood disorders (bipolar and multiple personality disorder are often considered the same thing, for instance, but if you pointed them both out in different contexts, you seem to know the basic difference). Don't mind me, I'm big into psychology stuff so I like seeing people at least acknowledge disorders or not fall into the myths surrounding them.

Well, I guess I do have a basic knowledge of psychology-related things; I haven't taken any courses for it for a while, but I am somewhat familiar with certain disorders, I suppose. For example, I know that a lot of young kids these days are diagnosed with ADHD just because they're hyper in class when they don't actually have the disorder. (I think that's more a product of an inadequate school system, but that's another story.) But knowing that you're interested in psychology gives some insight into how you're writing your characters, I think. It helps me understand their quirks better, if you will. : )


It's funny because everyone wants fics that AREN'T like the games, so I try to do that. And then people are like... what?! :P Glad you seem to like the surprises though.

Sorry for contributing to the confusion. But yes, I do enjoy the surprises.


I may have not made this point clear, my fault. Kuiora trained an awful lot... by herself, so no one else saw her. Kuiora didn't say she never trained, it was Senori who said he never saw her train. Sorry for the confusion... unless there really is some part I wrote that proved otherwise... I forget. :P

No, you're right. I was thinking it over, and yes, Senori was the one who brought that up. Sorry (again). XD

With that done, let's move on to the latest chapter!

Chapter 9: I really, really like how things are shaping up here. Lots of great character development, and do I spot a recurring rival of sorts?


When I was watching Kuiora punch Sai over and over again, when I was watching her evolve… I felt like my body was falling away from me, through the floor, and then back into myself, over and over again. When my body was falling, it was as if I was dreaming of what my life could be, but wasn’t. And when my body righted itself again, I was reminded that this was real, and that I simply didn’t know what to do about it. The sudden violence wasn’t entirely unexpected. She had been getting more and more desperate, and I had told her about Sai fighting me, thinking nothing of it at the time…I had told her that Sai fought me because it was what fate had brought upon me, upon us, not so that she could use the idea herself. Nevertheless, here she was, freezing me and everyone else in the pokémon center, leaving us to only wonder why she was doing this, why she evolved at this moment of shame, and most of all, why Sai felt compelled to punch her back.

Once again, I think Senori is pointing out the confusion and ambiguity I felt as I read that scene for the first time. I do like the part where he implies that he was fated to be with Sai from the start and seems to think that Kuiora "stole" that right, as if he's somehow superior to her. Despite his uneasiness, his confidence does show through, in very unlikely ways.


“I know, and I’m sorry,” Sai said, standing up now. He moved slowly, carefully, as if he would break or as if Kuiora would attack him again at any moment.

“I’m strong, and I wanted you to know it. You’re not allowed to say sorry!” she replied. She crossed her arms, but made no sign of future violence.

“But I always knew that,” Sai said, chuckling slightly. I vaguely wondered if he was telling the truth, but decided that I’d never speak about it.

“Then why didn’t you use me?”

“Everyone on the team has to fight. If I only focused on you, all the others would get left behind.”

“Who cares about the others? I’m special, aren’t I?”

“Of course you are… I chose you for a reason.”

“You chose me because I was the strongest, of course!”

“Yes, yes I did. But you have quite the temper, don’t you? But you seem easy to please, so let’s make sure this never happens again…” Sai said seriously, looking down on her now, scolding her like the child she was.

Love this bit right here. Kuiora seems to have gone back to her normal, egotistical self, which is great. And I'm surprised at Sai's responses, given that he was just beaten on by his own Pokemon. He really does seem to care about the well-being of his Pokemon, even if he doesn't always show it.

Surprised to see the boy from the cave make his return, but it was a welcome surprise. I'm interested to see how Sai's interactions with him will play out over the course of the story.


“That’s not what this is about,” the boy said, breaking eye contact for just a moment. “I bet you don’t know a damn thing about your pokémon, especially not the sentret you almost got killed.”

Sai sighed, his face softening quickly. “I know that Atis likes the top bunk on the bed at night. I know that Kuiora likes to tell stories like no other. When we sleep outside I know that Senori likes the area with the most grass. Kuiora loves learning about things outside of herself even if she won’t admit it, and Senori always seems sad for some reason I can’t quite figure out yet. Just because it doesn’t look like I’m listening or watching doesn’t mean I’m oblivious.”

When Sai said that, I completely forgot about my trying to decide which trainer to stick up for. Did Sai really pay that much attention to us, enough attention to know about the little things? Did I really even like the area with the most grass? I didn’t even notice, and it certainly never seemed like he paid attention to anything but whatever crazy ramblings went on inside his head. I decided to stay silent for Sai, and watch him deal with this situation by himself.

Wow, Sai knows more about his Pokemon than I thought. I'm glad to see him stand up for his team. And he endeared himself to cute little Senori even more. : )


But the boy wasn’t about to give up. He came up to the counter as well and said, “Have you not learned your lesson? I’m surprised Nurse Joy isn’t reporting you. If I see one more incident I will report you, though I don’t want to let it get to that.”

Sai turned to the boy, glaring once more. “And just what do you mean by that?”

“Fight me. Battle me so they can see what kind of trainer I am, and let them decide if they want to stay with you or not.”

That's a bold proclamation right there. I wonder what this guy's true motive is? Is he like this with other trainers whom he perceives to have mistreated their Pokemon, or has he been... sent to keep Sai on track somehow?

Kuiora's story was creepy. Didn't expect Litwick to make an appearance. But then, after having read your one-shot, I suppose this brand of dark storytelling makes sense. ; ) Again, I wonder whether this story will come into play later?

Your battles are so interesting. They have an immediacy to them that really draws me in, and I love how you've kept each Pokemon's battling style true to their nature. Also glad to see Kuiora finally getting into the action while Sai is watching. Both Kuiora and Halcyon seemed to be in-sync with their trainers as well, something I expected coming from someone like Marty and a nice change of pace on Sai's end. His confidence in commanding his Pokemon is growing, slowly but surely.


Kuiora stood up as tall as she could, just as she had when she confronted Sai. We could all tell how proud she was as she inhaled sharply and exhaled a long, steady stream of water toward the butterfree, the first official enemy of hers. Halcyon, with its wings still flapping quickly, easily moved out of the way. It stopped mid-air and looked at Kuiora, waiting for its next move. But its mistake lied in stopping, as Kuiora simply moved her body in the butterfree’s direction, bringing the water gun attack with her. The steady stream of natural liquid never stopped, just relocated—and it ended up colliding head-on with the bug’s small purple face and torso. Halcyon didn’t cry out or move, just took the brunt of the attack.

Yay for Kuiora's (non-angry) confidence. She still operates by brute force, but there are some subtle developments of strategy here, I think.


Once the croconaw realized the situation as well, she immediately started propelling herself forward, past the yellow substance that was paralyzing her. I could tell that she was trying to run, but it looked more and more like jogging. Still, the butterfree remained suspended and focused on its attack as she got closer and closer, and when she was finally close enough, she jumped as high as she could and grabbed the butterfree with her clawed hands. Halcyon’s wings could no longer help him, and the stun spore attack ceased as he tried to free himself in vain. Kuiora had a firm grasp on him, despite the attack—it simply hadn’t had enough time to sink in and get to her completely yet.

Kuiora pulled down Halcyon and kept him in place with one hand. Instead of biting, Kuiora pulled back her other hand and thrust it forward, knocking the butterfree right out of her hands and into the bushes at the edge of the clearing. Kuiora, though she did not appear as tall and proud, stood there as tall as she could, tired and restrained from her battle. She was still smiling, though, which was a good sign. Marty ran over to the bushes to check on Halcyon, but came back with nothing.

Kuiora's strived so hard to do well for Sai. Her first real battle was a commendable one.


“Senori, use tail whip!” Sai called to me.

I ran over to Gracie, who was recovering from using her ember attack. She shrieked and covered her face with her tiny cream-colored paws as I attempted to smack her with my tail.

“Are you scared?” I asked, sort of actually feeling sorry for her.

“I get scared easily…” Gracie said, her voice trailing off, “but I can still fight!”

After she finished her sentence, she removed her paws from her face and ran toward me this time, so quick that she was leaving afterimages behind her every time she moved. Every cyndaquil I saw looked the same, and I couldn’t tell who was real and who wasn’t. I turned my body to the left and right, trying to find a good time to escape, but each time I turned, Gracie or her afterimages followed and I second guessed myself. This time, she smacked into me, sending me careening into the bushes this time instead of Halcyon.

Aww, poor Senori. His naivete and pity towards others never quite works out well for him.


When I went to get up, however, I saw another pokémon staring down at me.

“I see that boy around here a lot,” it said. It was a bird pokémon, with white feathers covering all around its neck, with only one red feather sticking up at the top of its head. Its blue-grey colored face stared down at me, smiling. Its beak opened and shut numerous times, trying to speak. “If you want to end this quick, just hit Gracie on the back. It’s her weak point. She’ll get scared, and with her trying not to fall, you can put enough pressure on her tiny legs to where she can’t get back up.”

“W-What?” I said, confused. Where had this bird come from, anyway? Had it been watching the entire time? And why even care about Marty and Sai and Gracie and me? I stumbled back to my feet quickly and hopped out of the bushes, not even bothering to say anything or look at the pokémon.

Huh, that was weird. What's a Rufflet doing in the middle of Ilex Forest? And why is it helping Senori? Will it be another one of those recurring characters? So many questions...


Still, as the battle continued, I couldn’t forget what the bird had said. I didn’t want to cheat and hit Gracie on the back, but she was starting to wear me down. She had hit me into the bushes, and now she was aiming more ember attacks at me and making me run as much as possible, exhausting my energy. I did want to end this quick so that Marty didn’t win and find further reason to antagonize Sai the way he was, but still—

I decided to try a similar strategy, one that I could be proud of. When Gracie shot out her next ember attack, I stopped and let it come straight at me. I prepared my tail as I watched the oncoming embers, and when it was finally close enough, I swung my tail at each and every one. While the embers simply dissipated upon contact, Gracie thought that they were going to come flying back at her and started cowering in fear once more, covering those already closed eyes of hers. Then I ran at her again and tackled her, hitting her in the side rather than mostly on her back. Seeing how small her legs were made me think that maybe there was enough pressure applied so that she couldn’t get up again, or perhaps just be fainted after battling so long and using so much energy on her ember attacks. Either way, she was finished battling, as she didn’t get up again, just kept whining.

Okay, Senori has officially won me over with his cuteness. He seems to feel that it's his duty to be noble towards others. I love how he thinks the tip he got from the Rufflet is "playing dirty." And he showed his ingenuity by taking that tip and adapting it to his more gentle style, without taking advantage of Gracie. So adorable. : )


“You did well, Kuiora, Senori. And Atis would have done well too. I’m sorry that Marty feels compelled to do this… and I’m sorry that I’m inclined to agree with him on some points. Maybe, someday…” he said, stopping to smile softly. “Maybe someday I can love you as much as I was meant to.”

Aww, what a nice comment from Sai. And interesting, too, that he says "as much as I was meant to." What is this kid's real purpose, anyway?!


“Why are you so set on trying to get rid of me as a trainer?” Sai asked, looking up at the other boy.

“I should just report you and have your pokémon forcibly taken from you,” Marty retorted.

“That doesn’t answer my question,” Sai said, still calm and tired.

“Most pokémon don’t know what a real good trainer can be like. The only example they usually have is their first trainer… and by the time they realize what they really need and want in a trainer, they’re too far from home to find their way back. It’s too late, and they feel trapped. But I don’t want pokémon to feel that way!”

Why has Marty taken it upon himself to educate "bad" trainers and lead their Pokemon away? He kind of reminds me of N from Black and White. This definitely isn't the last we'll see of him...

And finally, very interesting last few lines. Yeah, the moral dilemma thing really reminds me of Black and White. Hooray for another compelling subplot. And I'm glad Senori chose to stay with Sai. He can't turn his back on his clan now. : )

A couple of typos I spotted (Dragonicwari got most of them):


“Mean,” Kuiora said, crossing her arms. “There are no legends about me yet, anyway, but there will be someday.”

Did you mean "Meanie"? It doesn't seem to make sense to me as it is.


How was Ari doing, anyway? What about the rest of the clan? Had they perhaps located due to what happened?

I think you may have meant "relocated."

And one other (very minor) thing:


Nevertheless, here she was, freezing me and everyone else in the pokémon center, leaving us to only wonder why she was doing this, why she evolved at this moment of shame, and most of all, why Sai felt compelled to punch her back.

Technically a split infinitive here; "leaving us only to wonder" might sound a little better, but it's not a big deal. (My inner grammar Nazi is on overdrive right now; sorry about that! XP)

Overall: Awesome chapter. This fic keeps getting more complex and intriguing all the time.

Thanks again for a great read!

~Crimson Penguin

Jazz14456_Plebeian
22nd June 2012, 2:36 AM
Sai was able to understand his pokémon while they couldn’t.
Yeah, the IIRC was right.



“It simply would have been a sin to the gods had she done anything else but die saving him,” she explained. Atis lay on the top bunk, as usual, saying nothing, perhaps not even listening, just thinking. I lay on the floor, curling my tail around my body, occasionally looking up to watch Sai’s reaction carefully. Yes, he was listening, and he was listening well. The croconaw went on.

Interesting. Whenever he realizes something is the standard way to do it, he does it. Sometimes he overdoes it.
Which leads me to believe that something drives him to be normal... although he isn't because he doesn't know what is normal (maybe wherever he was before, what he did was normal, though). He was determined to catch a starter pokemon, shop, and listen.
I can think of three general reasons:
some traumatic event/brain damage (although I think he is in no way stupid/foolish/moronic, quiet the opposite, although he has a strange absence of knowledgable about the world he lives in) I think this is more likely then the other guesses considering your Author Profile.
something or someone is being held hostage; if he doesn't act like a normal trainer, something bad happens to him or the someone is killed/tortured
he was programmed in some way by the people he was with before to follow social norms.
Ah... when all the mysteries in this story are revealed, we will go "Duh, why didn't I think of that?"


The candle had really been a rare pokémon shaped like a candle, its purplish glow said to steal the energy of humans and pokémon alike just to be able to burn some more. The man had no energy to stop the fire, or to even notice it was happening. He died in pain, but without even realizing he was in pain.

This doesn't make sense. Kuiora is obviously talking about a Litwick, yes. But how in the world did Kuiora find out about Litwick(s)? She is very young, and has lived in Johto for all her life.

Is it to big of a spoiler to tell us whether Sai gets a new pokemon at any point in the story?

diamondpearl876
22nd June 2012, 5:39 AM
There was a moment of silence. The boy looked around, glaring at the people who were still watching. “It Doesn’t matter if you listen or watch, if your pokémon don’t feel like you do,” he finally said, not looking at Sai anymore.

I found it somewhat easier to read my way, but I might be totally off


Every year, on the anniversary of the day they both died, the widowed man would dance with the air, imagining his wife there instead. Every year, he read a story to himself, imagining that it was his son he was telling it to. Other than this, the town never saw him changes his ways; they said he only changed his tires and his dreams.

At the end where it says changes I believe it should say change

Halcyon stayed in the air, its wings flapping slower now to help keep the bug suspended, stuck in place, just like the rest of us were at the moment. According to Marty, we were all stuck herepitifully and against our will, and according to Sai, we were all stuck here because the other boy was in our way and was just another obstacle to overcome… Whose beliefs should I have been following? Marty made me wonder, maybe only because he saved me, maybe because fate brought him to me not once, but twice now.

Fixed the mistakes, thanks for pointing them out!


In my mind, I'm screaming at Kuiora to do the simple thing: tell Sai that you want to be really good. Really good, and that Sai should let Kuiora be used to her full potential. Although, Kuiora isn't like me at all. I suppose that idea never occured/s to her.

Not at all. Sai's attention wouldn't be legit if she just told him up front about it.


I don't understand the "learn from my mistakes" part.

Kuiora's made the mistake of keeping her power hidden in the past (ie training with no one watching and such) so she's learning from her mistake and bringing Atis along, etc.


Maybe its just me, but this seems very unlike Atis.
Is there some motive I'm not seeing?

Atis would prefer evolving a pokemon over battling, since it demands a lot of attention. He also doesn't think battling is everything to pokemon just as he thinks pokemon isn't everything to humans, so a change of pace was fine by him.


Is it to big of a spoiler to tell us whether Sai gets a new pokemon at any point in the story?

Yes, the next two chapters will be introducing new pokemon for Sai.

Also, Kuiora can know of Litwick because she's heard all of these stories from Professor Elm. I never really got the "Johto can't know about Unova pokemon" thing so I'm trying to incorporate other regions if I can make it work.


Well, I guess I do have a basic knowledge of psychology-related things; I haven't taken any courses for it for a while, but I am somewhat familiar with certain disorders, I suppose. For example, I know that a lot of young kids these days are diagnosed with ADHD just because they're hyper in class when they don't actually have the disorder. (I think that's more a product of an inadequate school system, but that's another story.) But knowing that you're interested in psychology gives some insight into how you're writing your characters, I think. It helps me understand their quirks better, if you will. : )

Indeed, psychology and disorders really contribute to this fic. ;) Now you know!


Wow, Sai knows more about his Pokemon than I thought. I'm glad to see him stand up for his team. And he endeared himself to cute little Senori even more. : )

I thought a lot of scenes in this chapter were cute to write, so glad you pointed some of them out. 8)


That's a bold proclamation right there. I wonder what this guy's true motive is? Is he like this with other trainers whom he perceives to have mistreated their Pokemon, or has he been... sent to keep Sai on track somehow?

I can certainly say there's no ulterior mtoive, just that Marty would do this to any trainer. It's just his personality.


Kuiora's story was creepy. Didn't expect Litwick to make an appearance. But then, after having read your one-shot, I suppose this brand of dark storytelling makes sense. ; ) Again, I wonder whether this story will come into play later?

Kuiora's stories will always come into play later, and they will all have the same theme (I'd look back to chapter 2's beginning if you're interested).


Huh, that was weird. What's a Rufflet doing in the middle of Ilex Forest? And why is it helping Senori? Will it be another one of those recurring characters? So many questions...

Rufflet's appearance will be explained next chapter. It's a new main character... I was hoping to introduce it now so I didn't have a new pokemon randomly showing up as a POV character in the next chapter and make everyone mad, lol.


Technically a split infinitive here; "leaving us only to wonder" might sound a little better, but it's not a big deal. (My inner grammar Nazi is on overdrive right now; sorry about that! XP)

Nah, don't apologize for pointing it out. Fixed the errors. Shame on me for ignoring the split infinitive when I actually know what it is.

Thanks for commenting/reviewing as always! I always look forward to your reviews.

Crimson Penguin
22nd June 2012, 7:03 AM
I thought a lot of scenes in this chapter were cute to write, so glad you pointed some of them out. 8)

I'm a sucker for cute things, what can I say. ; )


I can certainly say there's no ulterior motive, just that Marty would do this to any trainer. It's just his personality.

Alright, well, at least there's no mystery behind it this time. Interesting rival, and I'll look forward to how Marty continues to challenge Sai as the fic goes on. (He will appear again, right?)


Kuiora's stories will always come into play later, and they will all have the same theme (I'd look back to chapter 2's beginning if you're interested).

Yes, they seemed like they'd be important later on. Can't wait to see where these stories go.


Rufflet's appearance will be explained next chapter. It's a new main character... I was hoping to introduce it now so I didn't have a new pokemon randomly showing up as a POV character in the next chapter and make everyone mad, lol.

Hmm, a Unova Pokemon in Johto? I'm curious to know the backstory on this guy (or girl). Good to see Sai finally getting another Pokemon, though (besides the Magikarp XD). And Atis didn't really have any foreshadowing before his introduction, so I personally wouldn't have minded too much, but I guess it's better to be safe than sorry.


Thanks for commenting/reviewing as always! I always look forward to your reviews.

Wow, really? That's so kind. Thanks! ^_^

Now if only I could get my lazy butt in gear and write more of that one-shot I'm working on...

Anyway, I'll be looking forward to the next chapter as always!

~Crimson Penguin

diamondpearl876
23rd June 2012, 10:16 PM
Alright, well, at least there's no mystery behind it this time. Interesting rival, and I'll look forward to how Marty continues to challenge Sai as the fic goes on. (He will appear again, right?)

Yes, yes he will.


Yes, they seemed like they'd be important later on. Can't wait to see where these stories go.

Me too....... lol *has only vague idea of where they're going*


Hmm, a Unova Pokemon in Johto? I'm curious to know the backstory on this guy (or girl). Good to see Sai finally getting another Pokemon, though (besides the Magikarp XD). And Atis didn't really have any foreshadowing before his introduction, so I personally wouldn't have minded too much, but I guess it's better to be safe than sorry.

I think Rufflet/Braviary can only be male, so that settles that. Where are all the female pokemon besides Kuiora?!

And really? I guess I was slightly more wary due to the fact we're 9 chapters in now with a ton of character development done rather than just 3 chapters with little to no development. I'll keep it in mind for future chapters nonetheless.

Crimson Penguin
23rd June 2012, 10:28 PM
I think Rufflet/Braviary can only be male, so that settles that. Where are all the female pokemon besides Kuiora?!

*facepalm* Duh. How could I have forgotten that?! My Poke-knowledge fails me sometimes, lol. And yes, I would like to see another female Pokemon at some point... but that's your decision, not mine.


And really? I guess I was slightly more wary due to the fact we're 9 chapters in now with a ton of character development done rather than just 3 chapters with little to no development. I'll keep it in mind for future chapters nonetheless.

It's just my personal opinion. I don't want to convince you otherwise if you're not comfortable with it. And I think you certainly packed a lot of development into the first 3 chapters; I wouldn't say there was "little to none." Those are the chapters that drew me in right off the bat, anyway. : )

Sid87
24th June 2012, 3:26 PM
“Yes, yes I did. But you have quite the temper, don’t you? But you seem easy to please, so let’s make sure this never happens again…” Sai said seriously, looking down on her now, scolding her like the child she was.

Is Sai describing Kuiora there...or himself? Everything he just said could equally be applied to himself. Nice juxtaposition, and a little obliviousness from Sai.


“I didn’t know it would go that far,” Sai said, just as serious now and having to ignore Kuiora once more. He did pass her a glance, however, as he added, “I didn’t know what she wanted. She’s never told or asked me directly until now.”

That's a little weird because he can't be ignoring her and passing her a glance. Maybe instead of "ignoring her, you can say he had to shift his attention from her?


Sai glared at the other boy and said, “Are you really going to be angry over me being able to talk to my pokémon while you can’t?”

This is totally acceptable because it is colloquial speech and a LOT of people say it that way, but on the off chance you don't already now (and I think you do, so I apologize if I'm just preaching to the choir), that "me" should be "my". But, like I said, you probably know that, and it still works as a person's incorrect colloquial speech.


Sai sighed, his face softening quickly. “I know that Atis likes the top bunk on the bed at night. I know that Kuiora likes to tell stories like no other. When we sleep outside I know that Senori likes the area with the most grass. Kuiora loves learning about things outside of herself even if she won’t admit it, and Senori always seems sad for some reason I can’t quite figure out yet. Just because it doesn’t look like I’m listening or watching doesn’t mean I’m oblivious.”

When Sai said that, I completely forgot about my trying to decide which trainer to stick up for. Did Sai really pay that much attention to us, enough attention to know about the little things? Did I really even like the area with the most grass? I didn’t even notice, and it certainly never seemed like he paid attention to anything but whatever crazy ramblings went on inside his head. I decided to stay silent for Sai, and watch him deal with this situation by himself.

What a nice little development here. We hadn't truly gotten a sense that his pokemon were much more to Sai than tools for his mysterious mission other than a few subtle bits. But this here gives us a much better read on how much he cares.


“What’s your name, anyway, kid?”

“My name? My name is Marty.”

“Well, Marty, I’m not worried at all. You’re on, but I’m waiting for Kuiora,” Sai said, and that was the end of the scuffle in the pokémon center, but not the questions inside my head. Fate may have been trying to tell me something, maybe leaving Sai was really an option… Who could ever know?

You know what I like about this? Despite it being a Senori chapter, it has read much more as a Sai chapter. I feel kind of bad that, thus far, Senori has been reduced to narrative spectator in his own chapter, but it's given us a chance to learn more about Sai, which has been delightful.


Every year, on the anniversary of the day they both died, the widowed man would dance with the air, imagining his wife there instead. Every year, he read a story to himself, imagining that it was his son he was telling it to. Other than this, the town never saw him change his ways; they said he only changed his tires and his dreams.

I don't want to interrupt this wonderful little fable (which, though there's only been two of three to this point, have been such a great aspect of your story), but this part here was especially brilliant. Kudos.


One day, however, he wanted to face the very thing that had taken his wife and child. Oh, how bad he wanted to face the fire.

Should be "badly" because wanted is an action verb, not a linking verb. But don't feel bad...I just had to look it up myself upon reading this to be sure, and I have an English Writing degree. Some things are just unnecessarily confusing. :)


“The town,” Kuiora finished, “said that he was smoking in bed when he set the house on fire. And then they wondered how the house was set on fire the first time. The end!” she said, bouncing off the bed and scaring me into the corner of the room due to her new larger size and sharper fangs.

Again with the nice juxtaposition. Kuiora tells a horror story, but she is bouncing around and happy.


And like the Azalea Town gym, several bug pokémon were everywhere, out in plain sight, as if they knew their home was protected.

Subtle Celebii reference? ;) Not that I expect to see her in the story, but I still like the little addition.


Had they perhaps located due to what happened? I thought and thought but it was no use. No one could answer me, as usual.

*relocated, I think.


It stopped mid-air and looked at Kuiora, waiting for its next move. But its mistake lied in stopping, as Kuiora simply moved her body in the butterfree’s direction, bringing the water gun attack with her.

Typo on what should have been "lay". You got it right earlier this very chapter during the fable, so this one must have slipped through the internal filter. :)


Halcyon broke free of the water gun, seemingly unscathed, and barely grazed the attack as he flew under the water and straight into Kuiora’s body.

You missed a preposition there. "From" or "by".


She smiled again at the end, and said that it was okay. Her voice sounded weak and she couldn’t nod; the stun spore was taking its effect now, and it probably wouldn’t start wearing off until the end of the battle or until she got back to a pokémon center.

It's nice to see Kuiora maturing so suddenly and being more accepting of the way things are.


“Good job, Senori. Return,” Sai said, copying Marty, though he didn’t return me to my pokéball. He rarely did.

...Sai is so weird. Heh.


“The croconaw is too young to know better, but her choice is her choice,” Marty said, crossing his arms impatiently.

I'm curious about Marty...why has he regressed so much? When we first saw him, he didn't seem so immature and needy. I guess we never got a thorough look at him, so we didn't really know him. But...why is this so important to him? I'm guessing we will continue to see more of him throughout the story.


“Most pokémon don’t know what a real good trainer can be like. The only example they usually have is their first trainer… and by the time they realize what they really need and want in a trainer, they’re too far from home to find their way back. It’s too late, and they feel trapped. But I don’t want pokémon to feel that way!”

Someone is about to join Team Plasma. ;)



-So this chapter really felt like rounding a curve. We got a LOT of development out of everybody here. Sai's pokemon are no longer with him because of their varied reasons (Kuiora wanting to be strong, Atis because he wants to change Sai, and Senori because he's too used to doing what others want); they are all together out of love and respect. This was quite a nice character development chapter, yet you managed to add in action, as well. Very commendable. I feel like Sai should/will be getting a 4th team member soon now that everyone in the story is so well-developed. But I wouldn't mind if he didn't. These guys are all fun to read.

Sidewinder
24th June 2012, 5:56 PM
I felt like my body was falling away from me, through the floor, and then back into myself, over and over again.

Awesome way to start out. I'm back on Team Senori after that sentence lol. What he was feeling right there really spoke to me mainy because I've felt that exact same way before. Events unfolding around you that are so intense and foreign that you go in this state of shocked stopping and focus more on what's happening with you instead of the situation in front of you.


he went to pull his arm back and swing it forward, immediately colliding with Kuiora’s rounded jaw

I like the sentence a lot, however, I think arm would work better if it was replaced with fist. When I read the sentence I imagined Sai hitting her with his forearm with the wording you were using


But you seem easy to please,

If they hadn't been interrupted, I feel like Kuiora would have had something to say about that


Sai sighed, his face softening quickly. “I know that Atis likes the top bunk on the bed at night. I know that Kuiora likes to tell stories like no other. When we sleep outside I know that Senori likes the area with the most grass. Kuiora loves learning about things outside of herself even if she won’t admit it, and Senori always seems sad for some reason I can’t quite figure out yet. Just because it doesn’t look like I’m listening or watching doesn’t mean I’m oblivious.”

That surprised me a little bit. As odd and socially awkward as Sai is, I've always thought of him as being observant, but this is the first time I've really seen him show this blend of defense and affection for his Pokemon. I mean, he's shown affection before, but this passage speaks so much deeper than that. Personally, I've always been under the impression that it shows how much you love someone when you pick up on the smallest of habits. Nicely done.


Crying, yelling, battling all day… Just what had happened, anyway? So many questions were running through my head about her and my trainer, but no answers.

To me, it's almost as if Senori is feeling left out, which is reasonable seeing how the last chapter had been all about Kuiora, and I thought you did a good job with his mental quest there for an end to the struggles of her evolution and fight with Sai. As he was thinking that, I imagined him shrinking, which I'm sure makes no sense whatsoever lol


Because yes, I was tired of hearing about her being the strongest. This could have been a more enjoyable substitute.

Hah, that was really funny. Total Senori thing to say


Every year, on the anniversary of the day they both died, the widowed man would dance with the air, imagining his wife there instead.

That was a touching sentence and it really tugged at me. Nicely done


and it ended up colliding head-on with the bug’s small purple face and torso. Halcyon didn’t cry out or move, just took the brunt of the attack.

Those two sentences feel like they needed something more to me. The sound the water made when it hit, labored breathing from the Butterfree, or even making mention of the water dripping down Kuiora's mouth as the water was expelled. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to tell you how to write, it just seemed like it needed a little bit more. Another thing I was wondering. Is Kuiora just that fast now that Marty didn't think to yell at his Pokemon to move? As smart as Marty seems to be, I'm surprised he didn't attempt something faster. I know that he ordered an attack right after the attack hit, but the placement felt slightly off to me.



“Are you scared?” I asked, sort of actually feeling sorry for her.

Yup, Senori is back to being my favorite.



I chose to stay.

Lovely, perfect ending to the chapter. You did a wonderful job explaining how Senori was feeling. The rollercoaster portion was probably my favorite, and it spoke volumes to how he feels about Sai. I almost feel like Senori is starting to grow as a result from his relationship with Sai. The bit at the end where he says that he loves him more than fears him was touching, and that little portion makes me think that Senori is the most developed and important character so far. I knew he was going to stay, but the drama of realizing that he has a choice was nice.

All in all I really enjoyed this chapter, and along with the First Gym Battle chapter, it's easily my favorite. You fleshed out more of Sai than I thought was possible. Which I'm sure is a task in itself anyway seeing as how he's portrayed from everyone else's perspective instead of his own. At the same time though, it makes it better because of the mystery behind who he is and why he's doing this. You've made him easily one of the most compelling characters of the story and you've done it without even having used his point of view. Nicely done

diamondpearl876
25th June 2012, 6:25 PM
*facepalm* Duh. How could I have forgotten that?! My Poke-knowledge fails me sometimes, lol. And yes, I would like to see another female Pokemon at some point... but that's your decision, not mine.

For some reason I'm not comfortable with writing female characters even though I'm female myself, so we'll see. haha.


Is Sai describing Kuiora there...or himself? Everything he just said could equally be applied to himself. Nice juxtaposition, and a little obliviousness from Sai.

Indeed, just goes to show that he can be like other people/pokemon even if he is considered to be so different. I'm glad you caught this.


That's a little weird because he can't be ignoring her and passing her a glance. Maybe instead of "ignoring her, you can say he had to shift his attention from her?

I meant he was ignoring her words, but I can see how it's confusing, will fix along with the other mistakes you pointed out. Thanks!


You know what I like about this? Despite it being a Senori chapter, it has read much more as a Sai chapter. I feel kind of bad that, thus far, Senori has been reduced to narrative spectator in his own chapter, but it's given us a chance to learn more about Sai, which has been delightful.

With Senori feeling like he should be watching over anyone anyway, I always feel that it's okay to kind of shift focus from him to all the other characters. Hope that makes sense, haha. I definitely tried to include his thoughts and feelings though too.


It's nice to see Kuiora maturing so suddenly and being more accepting of the way things are.

Yes, Kuiora can be mature, she just has, uh, you know... anger issues. :P


I'm curious about Marty...why has he regressed so much? When we first saw him, he didn't seem so immature and needy. I guess we never got a thorough look at him, so we didn't really know him. But...why is this so important to him? I'm guessing we will continue to see more of him throughout the story.

He seems the same to me as the first time he showed up, though this time you get to see his immature side. It'll surely come more into play in the future.


-So this chapter really felt like rounding a curve. We got a LOT of development out of everybody here. Sai's pokemon are no longer with him because of their varied reasons (Kuiora wanting to be strong, Atis because he wants to change Sai, and Senori because he's too used to doing what others want); they are all together out of love and respect. This was quite a nice character development chapter, yet you managed to add in action, as well. Very commendable. I feel like Sai should/will be getting a 4th team member soon now that everyone in the story is so well-developed. But I wouldn't mind if he didn't. These guys are all fun to read.

Sai will be getting new members in the next 2 chapters. And glad you felt like it was "rounding a curve" haha, I wanted to end this part and continue with some new characters.


Awesome way to start out. I'm back on Team Senori after that sentence lol. What he was feeling right there really spoke to me mainy because I've felt that exact same way before. Events unfolding around you that are so intense and foreign that you go in this state of shocked stopping and focus more on what's happening with you instead of the situation in front of you.

Pretty much this. I'm glad you felt it worked since I was a bit unsure about it.


I like the sentence a lot, however, I think arm would work better if it was replaced with fist. When I read the sentence I imagined Sai hitting her with his forearm with the wording you were using

Fair enough, will change after this. Thanks for pointing it out.



To me, it's almost as if Senori is feeling left out, which is reasonable seeing how the last chapter had been all about Kuiora, and I thought you did a good job with his mental quest there for an end to the struggles of her evolution and fight with Sai. As he was thinking that, I imagined him shrinking, which I'm sure makes no sense whatsoever lol

Totally makes sense, LOL. And yeah, Senori feels like he has to watch over everyone but himself so I'm always kind of comfortable with ignoring him in his own chapters... I'm awesome to my characters, obviously.


Those two sentences feel like they needed something more to me. The sound the water made when it hit, labored breathing from the Butterfree, or even making mention of the water dripping down Kuiora's mouth as the water was expelled. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to tell you how to write, it just seemed like it needed a little bit more. Another thing I was wondering. Is Kuiora just that fast now that Marty didn't think to yell at his Pokemon to move? As smart as Marty seems to be, I'm surprised he didn't attempt something faster. I know that he ordered an attack right after the attack hit, but the placement felt slightly off to me.

Hmmm. You're completely right. I guess I still need more work with writing battles... I kind of tend to avoid them because I know I'm not too good with them. I'll work on it, thanks!


All in all I really enjoyed this chapter, and along with the First Gym Battle chapter, it's easily my favorite. You fleshed out more of Sai than I thought was possible. Which I'm sure is a task in itself anyway seeing as how he's portrayed from everyone else's perspective instead of his own. At the same time though, it makes it better because of the mystery behind who he is and why he's doing this. You've made him easily one of the most compelling characters of the story and you've done it without even having used his point of view. Nicely done

Thanks for reading/reviewing as always! I'm glad people are liking Sai even though he's so weird.

Sidewinder
1st July 2012, 5:19 PM
Hmmm. You're completely right. I guess I still need more work with writing battles... I kind of tend to avoid them because I know I'm not too good with them. I'll work on it, thanks!

On the contrary, you're actually very good on certain aspects of them. You're very talented on writing the feelings and thought processes associated with each Pokemon during the battle, and very good at battle strategy and coming up with the attacks involved without it feeling scripted at all. The only thing I think would make your battles better would be more imagery. Concious thoughts and feelings are spot on, but when I read your battles I have trobule visualising them occasionally. You spend so much time on the feelings that sometimes the descriptions of the attacks and their effects on other Pokemon and the enviroment. You write terrific battles, I just think you should amp up the description a little more sometimes

The Great Butler
3rd July 2012, 9:19 AM
SURVIVAL PROJECT

chapter 9 ; [SENORI]
suspended

*

"Suspended," huh? Now that raises some possibilities...


When I was watching Kuiora punch Sai over and over again, when I was watching her evolve… I felt like my body was falling away from me, through the floor, and then back into myself, over and over again. When my body was falling, it was as if I was dreaming of what my life could be, but wasn’t. And when my body righted itself again, I was reminded that this was real, and that I simply didn’t know what to do about it. The sudden violence wasn’t entirely unexpected. She had been getting more and more desperate, and I had told her about Sai fighting me, thinking nothing of it at the time…I had told her that Sai fought me because it was what fate had brought upon me, upon us, not so that she could use the idea herself. Nevertheless, here she was, freezing me and everyone else in the pokémon center, leaving us to wonder only why she was doing this, why she evolved at this moment of shame, and most of all, why Sai felt compelled to punch her back.

This paragraph alone just... terrified me. I don't even know why. Just the utter hopelessness of the whole thing, it gets me.


I snapped back to reality as I suddenly tumbled out of Sai’s arms. Though he was still on his knees, he went to pull his arm back and swing it forward, immediately colliding with Kuiora’s rounded jaw. Had she still been a totodile, she may have staggered backward. With her new and larger form, she hardly moved an inch. And just as suddenly, she stopped attacking him. She merely smirked and looked around occasionally, mostly focusing on looking down at the stricken Sai in front of her.

“Kuiora,” he said simply, using his other hand to cover the fist that he had hurt her with, “I didn’t want to hit you.”

“But you did,” she said, smiling now, a different smile from the expectant smirk that was present just moments ago.

“I know, and I’m sorry,” Sai said, standing up now. He moved slowly, carefully, as if he would break or as if Kuiora would attack him again at any moment.

I feel like this reinforces the wildly inconsistent behavior we've seen from Sai before.


“I’m strong, and I wanted you to know it. You’re not allowed to say sorry!” she replied. She crossed her arms, but made no sign of future violence.

“But I always knew that,” Sai said, chuckling slightly. I vaguely wondered if he was telling the truth, but decided that I’d never speak about it.

“Then why didn’t you use me?”

“Everyone on the team has to fight. If I only focused on you, all the others would get left behind.”

“Who cares about the others? I’m special, aren’t I?”

Now I'm disturbed even further by Kuiora's behavior. I'm really seeing some glaring signs of possessiveness bordering on outright obsession and delusion in her pursuit of Sai's approval.


“Of course you are… I chose you for a reason.”

“You chose me because I was the strongest, of course!”

“Yes, yes I did. But you have quite the temper, don’t you? But you seem easy to please, so let’s make sure this never happens again…” Sai said seriously, looking down on her now, scolding her like the child she was.

Suddenly, a new voice cut in. “You can’t expect to get away with another situation like this, can you?”

I looked around once more. Up until this point, some people were still watching, whispering amongst each other, probably wondering if they should do anything about the situation and wondering about why Sai was able to understand his pokémon while they couldn’t. Others had scattered and moved on, either changed or unmoved by the incident. Only one person decided to stand up to Sai, and I immediately recognized him from the cave and from the pictures in Sasha’s house. This boy had the same blonde hair and the same serious look on his face and the same determined eyes; it was just a different day with him wearing different clothes. The boy walked up to Sai, cutting off his view from Kuiora.

“First the cave incident, and now your pokémon is attacking you. I wonder why. You obviously don’t give your pokémon the attention they need and deserve,” he said, looking Sai straight in the eye.

Oh, not this kid again. He really picked a bad time for this.


“I didn’t know it would go that far,” Sai said, just as serious now and having to shift his attention from Kuiora once more. He did pass her a glance, however, as he added, “I didn’t know what she wanted. She’s never told or asked me directly until now.”

“You should figure it out! You even have the advantage of being able to talk to your pokémon.”

I can't help but wonder if this is a subtle hint toward Sai's backstory.


I stared at the boy. What was his name, anyway? Did he really have to be here at the same time as us? Was there anything I could do about it? He couldn’t understand me… but he had saved me nonetheless. I was torn between wanting to spare this other boy from the grief and from trying to keep Sai on track, his emotions being my main motivation for remaining stable and calm.

Sai glared at the other boy and said, “Are you really going to be angry over me being able to talk to my pokémon while you can’t?”

“That’s not what this is about,” the boy said, breaking eye contact for just a moment. “I bet you don’t know a damn thing about your pokémon, especially not the sentret you almost got killed.”

Over the line, dude. Though I doubt this kid cares.


Sai sighed, his face softening quickly. “I know that Atis likes the top bunk on the bed at night. I know that Kuiora likes to tell stories like no other. When we sleep outside I know that Senori likes the area with the most grass. Kuiora loves learning about things outside of herself even if she won’t admit it, and Senori always seems sad for some reason I can’t quite figure out yet. Just because it doesn’t look like I’m listening or watching doesn’t mean I’m oblivious.”

When Sai said that, I completely forgot about my trying to decide which trainer to stick up for. Did Sai really pay that much attention to us, enough attention to know about the little things? Did I really even like the area with the most grass? I didn’t even notice, and it certainly never seemed like he paid attention to anything but whatever crazy ramblings went on inside his head. I decided to stay silent for Sai, and watch him deal with this situation by himself.

Color me surprised just like Senori. I guess it's just hard to imagine at times that Sai cares this much about his Pokemon, that he would know these things?


There was a moment of silence. The boy looked around, glaring at the people who were still watching. “Doesn’t matter if you listen or watch if your pokémon don’t feel like you do,” he finally said, not looking at Sai anymore.

But it does matter, I wanted to say. It says a lot about Sai. I turned to Kuiora to see what she was thinking during all of this. She was simply standing next to Sai, eyes crossed and looking just as defiant as her trainer. She didn’t look angry anymore, and it was smart of her, I decided, to not say anything, knowing that the trainer couldn’t understand her either way. She had probably exhausted her voice for the day, anyway. Crying, yelling, battling all day… Just what had happened, anyway? So many questions were running through my head about her and my trainer, but no answers.

“If you’re not going to listen to anything I say, then we’re done here,” Sai stated, turning away from the boy. He walked up to the counter and said, “Nurse Joy, I deeply apologize for the incident here today. It won’t happen again. I would appreciate it if you healed my Kuiora now…”

I have to applaud Sai's maturity here.


“O-Of course,” the nurse said. “May I ask that your croconaw be put into her pokéball first?”

Sai’s expression hardened again, but he looked too tired to care. He returned Kuiora to her pokéball and handed it over.

But the boy wasn’t about to give up. He came up to the counter as well and said, “Have you not learned your lesson? I’m surprised Nurse Joy isn’t reporting you. If I see one more incident I will report you, though I don’t want to let it get to that.”

Sai turned to the boy, glaring once more. “And just what do you mean by that?”

“Fight me. Battle me so they can see what kind of trainer I am, and let them decide if they want to stay with you or not.”

Okay, I'm sorry but this one feels a little forced. I know battling is the solution to most everything in this universe, but this time it just seemed to come out of nowhere.


Decide to stay with Sai or not? It almost seemed like every pokémon’s dream—every pokémon who had a bad trainer, anyway. The choice to leave. This had to be happening for a reason, or else it wouldn’t be happening at all… Without the entire situation played out, however, it was hard to judge what I would have done, should have done… and what I wanted to do.

“What’s your name, anyway, kid?”

“My name? My name is Marty.”

“Well, Marty, I’m not worried at all. You’re on, but I’m waiting for Kuiora,” Sai said, and that was the end of the scuffle in the pokémon center, but not the questions inside my head. Fate may have been trying to tell me something, maybe leaving Sai was really an option… Who could ever know?

This is an interesting philosophical debate you're taking on. I appreciate that you're tackling it.


The battle took place two days later. Kuiora was anxious to get started right away, of course, but Sai insisted that she wait for her injuries to be healed. It took a lot of courage, I observed, to be able to deny her after what just happened, but she seemed to realize that it was for the best—probably because Sai, at least, wasn’t ignoring her.

I feel like skipping two days ahead feels a little sudden.



“Anything goes, as long as it’s not about you being the strongest.”

“Meanie,” Kuiora said, crossing her arms. “There are no legends about me yet, anyway, but there will be someday.”

Cute, I laughed.


“I’ll bet.”

“Do you want me to tell a story or not?” she pouted.

“Go for it,” I said, smirking. It was always fun, picking on her… and that was why I never learned to expect anything serious from her. Her outburst was unexpected, and then soon I came to realize that her serious stories were unexpected.

She told a story of an old man who burned because he was mourning for his lost wife and child. She had died in a house fire while trying to save their three-year-old son. She had sacrificed everything and still failed, according to the entire town. In the man’s mind, however, she had succeeded. Until a child is old enough to take care of himself, he thought, the mother should always follow and keep watch.

“It simply would have been a sin to the gods had she done anything else but die saving him,” she explained. Atis lay on the top bunk, as usual, saying nothing, perhaps not even listening, just thinking. I lay on the floor, curling my tail around my body, occasionally looking up to watch Sai’s reaction carefully. Yes, he was listening, and he was listening well. The croconaw went on.

Every year, on the anniversary of the day they both died, the widowed man would dance with the air, imagining his wife there instead. Every year, he read a story to himself, imagining that it was his son he was telling it to. Other than this, the town never saw him change his ways; they said he only changed his tires and his dreams.

One day, however, he wanted to face the very thing that had taken his wife and child. Oh, how badly he wanted to face the fire. He lit a candle and mourned for them. He mourned and mourned, planning to burn it and never see it again when he was done—until he heard a cackling sound, an eerie laugh. He opened his eyes, saw that the candle was gone. The candle had really been a rare pokémon shaped like a candle, its purplish glow said to steal the energy of humans and pokémon alike just to be able to burn some more. The man had no energy to stop the fire, or to even notice it was happening. He died in pain, but without even realizing he was in pain.

“The town,” Kuiora finished, “said that he was smoking in bed when he set the house on fire. And then they wondered how the house was set on fire the first time. The end!” she said, bouncing off the bed and scaring me into the corner of the room due to her new larger size and sharper fangs.

The battle took place two days later, after it finally hit me that Kuiora wasn’t just a kid—she was the same as all of us: she came with flaws and things that made her great, both of which she was afraid of showing.

That was a really great story, and the last line provides excellent closure to the scene. Just excellent work from beginning to end on this one.


Of course, Kuiora was also feeling much, much better. She was practically dancing over to our designated battlefield: Ilex Forest.

And of course, the battlefield reminded me of home. The forest smell and appearance was much different from home. The trees were much, much taller, and it made the place darker than the one I remembered and thought of often. And like the Azalea Town gym, several bug pokémon were everywhere, out in plain sight, as if they knew their home was protected. I wished that my clan still felt the same—I at least had the comfort of knowing that they felt safe at some point. How was Ari doing, anyway? What about the rest of the clan? Had they perhaps relocated due to what happened? I thought and thought but it was no use. No one could answer me, as usual. So I tried to focus on the issue at hand: Marty’s crazy ambition and obsession with Sai’s training abilities. We were going to be fighting in a clearing, just as Sai had attacked me in a clearing when we had first met so long ago.

I like that you still have Senori remembering his roots and that you're pointing out similarities to the forest and Senori's old home. This gives the story a feeling of continuity that increases how enjoyable it is.


Marty stood on one side of the clearing while Sai and the rest of us stood on the other side. Atis stood by my side, while Kuiora was already out in front of our trainer, knowing that she would be chosen to battle. I didn’t offer any protest this time, for I knew that this would happen as well. After her outrage, it was simply meant to be.

The other boy took no time in choosing which pokémon to send out. He sent out a pokémon he called Halcyon, a name true to the bug’s nature. The purple and white bug flew around with joy, fluttering its wings as fast as it could to pick up speed and show off.

“A butterfree, huh?” Sai said. He sounded tired, and I expected him to say something cocky like saying his croconaw was better or that he would win fast. But his feelings of invincibility seemed to have disappeared over the last few days. “Kuiora, use water gun!”

Oh boy, his mood is flagging again. This might not be a good thing.


Kuiora stood up as tall as she could, just as she had when she confronted Sai. We could all tell how proud she was as she inhaled sharply and exhaled a long, steady stream of water toward the butterfree, the first official enemy of hers. Halcyon, with its wings still flapping quickly, easily moved out of the way. It stopped mid-air and looked at Kuiora, waiting for its next move. But its mistake lay in stopping, as Kuiora simply moved her body in the butterfree’s direction, bringing the water gun attack with her. The steady stream of natural liquid never stopped, just relocated—and it ended up colliding head-on with the bug’s small purple face and torso. Halcyon didn’t cry out or move, just took the brunt of the attack.

“Halcyon won’t lose to you, he won’t! Fly under it and use tackle!” Marty cried, smiling and not appearing too worried about his pokémon’s condition just yet.

Halcyon reacted instantly, as if he had known what kind of counterattack his trainer would think of. Halcyon broke free of the water gun, seemingly unscathed, and barely grazed by the attack as he flew under the water and straight into Kuiora’s body. Finally, the water stopped, and Kuiora staggered backward.

“I didn’t have time to move my attack. You got lucky,” Kuiora said. I almost chuckled at her, since her excuses were always amusing and childish to me. It reminded me of the old her—but was there really ever an old her?

This was going very well until the last line, "It reminded me of the old her - but was there really ever an old her?" It wasn't a bad line, in fact, it was great - it just hit me with a spike of unexpected emotion.


Once the croconaw realized the situation as well, she immediately started propelling herself forward, past the yellow substance that was paralyzing her. I could tell that she was trying to run, but it looked more and more like jogging. Still, the butterfree remained suspended and focused on its attack as she got closer and closer, and when she was finally close enough, she jumped as high as she could and grabbed the butterfree with her clawed hands. Halcyon’s wings could no longer help him, and the stun spore attack ceased as he tried to free himself in vain. Kuiora had a firm grasp on him, despite the attack—it simply hadn’t had enough time to sink in and get to her completely yet.

Kuiora pulled down Halcyon and kept him in place with one hand. Instead of biting, Kuiora pulled back her other hand and thrust it forward, knocking the butterfree right out of her hands and into the bushes at the edge of the clearing. Kuiora, though she did not appear as tall and proud, stood there as tall as she could, tired and restrained from her battle. She was still smiling, though, which was a good sign. Marty ran over to the bushes to check on Halcyon, but came back with nothing.

I notice that you shifted from referring to Halcyon as "it" to "he." Was there a reason for that?

Bravo for Kuiora's victory, too. I hope this helps her out.


“Are you scared?” I asked, sort of actually feeling sorry for her.

“I get scared easily…” Gracie said, her voice trailing off, “but I can still fight!”

After she finished her sentence, she removed her paws from her face and ran toward me this time, so quick that she was leaving afterimages behind her every time she moved. Every cyndaquil I saw looked the same, and I couldn’t tell who was real and who wasn’t. I turned my body to the left and right, trying to find a good time to escape, but each time I turned, Gracie or her afterimages followed and I second guessed myself. This time, she smacked into me, sending me careening into the bushes this time instead of Halcyon.

I kind of like Gracie. Hopefully we get to see more of her.


“Gracie, it’s okay, I know you’re not much of a battler. Return!” Marty said, and she disappeared as a mere flash of red, maybe looking at me with those closed eyes with desperation. How could I tell, anyway?

“Good job, Senori. Return,” Sai said, copying Marty, though he didn’t return me to my pokéball. He rarely did.

“Well? I may have lost, but it wasn’t about winning or losing, just seeing trainer styles and appealing to our pokémon in the best way possible. Let them choose, and let them remember how you almost let Senori get killed and how you let Kuiora get so out of hand!” Marty cried, frowning and glaring at Sai. But Sai ignored him and turned to us instead.

But seeing Gracie might not be worth dealing with Marty. I really dislike him.


“You did well, Kuiora, Senori. And Atis would have done well too. I’m sorry that Marty feels compelled to do this… and I’m sorry that I’m inclined to agree with him on some points. Maybe, someday…” he said, stopping to smile softly. “Maybe someday I can love you as much as I was meant to.”

“I’d like to stay now that I can battle!” Kuiora said immediately, hugging and squeezing Sai’s leg closely to her. Sai smiled and rubbed her side, the one that had been damaged by Atis.

“The croconaw is too young to know better, but her choice is her choice,” Marty said, crossing his arms impatiently.

Marty, please go away. Sai's really trying here but Marty is ruining it.


“Why are you so set on trying to get rid of me as a trainer?” Sai asked, looking up at the other boy.

“I should just report you and have your pokémon forcibly taken from you,” Marty retorted.

“That doesn’t answer my question,” Sai said, still calm and tired.

“Most pokémon don’t know what a real good trainer can be like. The only example they usually have is their first trainer… and by the time they realize what they really need and want in a trainer, they’re too far from home to find their way back. It’s too late, and they feel trapped. But I don’t want pokémon to feel that way!”

“I wouldn’t want them to, either,” Sai said sympathetically.

“You don’t act like it!” Marty cried, frustrated.

“I told you before… You don’t know me. I try my best.”

“Then let them choose. I let Gracie and Halcyon choose, and I’ll let Gracie choose again someday.”

It's not up to you...


“I never said I wouldn’t,” Sai said. He kneeled down once more, looked at all of us—but not expectedly. Perhaps he truly didn’t know what to expect. It made me wonder why he had accepted this battle in the first place. He did care, he cared, he did, I had to believe it. “Senori? Atis? No one should feel trapped or feel like they have to stay, Marty is right.”

There was a long silence before anyone said anything else. There were a lot of factors I had to consider. I could start over here. I could build a new clan… not of sentret, but of bugs and whatever else was in this forest. I could try to find my way back—though, like Marty said, it seemed impossible and tough and risky. I could leave Sai’s world of unpredictability and go back to a life of routine and serenity…

“I’d like to have time to think about it…” Atis mumbled eventually, finally, though something told me he would end up staying. Where else would he go? Maybe he’d stay until he found another purpose in his life, one that Sai couldn’t contribute to anymore.

I notice Atis really didn't say much at all in this chapter.


And me? I wondered. It was my turn. Yes, again, I could start over here. But didn’t I say I wouldn’t let Sai’s emotions get to me? And I had been doing well so far. I acted indifferent when he was going back and forth between being angry at me for losing the way I do and sad at himself for slowing him down, which he was still doing. Surely he’d be sad again soon—he was slowing down, and actually sleeping again, and he was no longer invincible… Yes, he was a rollercoaster. He always would be. And I feared his emotions deep down, even if I ignored them—I never knew what he was capable of, never knew what would happen next, never knew what kind of day I would have when I woke up. Still, he gave me a purpose, and he came at the right time in my life. He did seem to care, though there was something that was preventing him from showing it. Maybe, someday, like he said, he could show me, show all of us, and we could be happy…

In the end… I knew I loved him more than I feared him.

I chose to stay.

Good. Senori showed good reasoning here.

This chapter wasn't bad, but a lot of it was overshadowed by the presence of Marty. There was a lot of important bonding between Sai and Kuiora/Senori but using Marty as a catalyst was something I really don't know if I like. I get that he's supposed to be an antagonistic character, but I think he could use some more development and fleshing out so he isn't so unlikeable.

diamondpearl876
3rd July 2012, 4:15 PM
Okay, I'm sorry but this one feels a little forced. I know battling is the solution to most everything in this universe, but this time it just seemed to come out of nowhere.

Does it feel forced even after Marty explains why he demanded a battle and the reasoning behind his actions?


I notice that you shifted from referring to Halcyon as "it" to "he." Was there a reason for that?

Since it's from first person POV Senori didn't know it was a he until Marty referred to Halcyon as a he.


But seeing Gracie might not be worth dealing with Marty. I really dislike him.

He's meant to be unlikable, though do you have any suggestions as to how I could portray him as unlikable, though not unbearable? 0.0



I notice Atis really didn't say much at all in this chapter.

You're the only one who noticed, and I'm glad you did. His only real line here will be important later.


This chapter wasn't bad, but a lot of it was overshadowed by the presence of Marty. There was a lot of important bonding between Sai and Kuiora/Senori but using Marty as a catalyst was something I really don't know if I like. I get that he's supposed to be an antagonistic character, but I think he could use some more development and fleshing out so he isn't so unlikeable.

Oh, okay. Well hopefully further development on Marty will make him more bearable and also make you enjoy the fic more. Thanks for reading/reviewing as always, I enjoy reading your thoughts as you read the fic.

The Great Butler
4th July 2012, 8:12 AM
Does it feel forced even after Marty explains why he demanded a battle and the reasoning behind his actions?

To a degree. It's more the sudden "challenge me to a battle!" thing coming out of nowhere that bothered me.


Since it's from first person POV Senori didn't know it was a he until Marty referred to Halcyon as a he.

Ah, that makes sense.


He's meant to be unlikable, though do you have any suggestions as to how I could portray him as unlikable, though not unbearable? 0.0

I guess character development is the most important thing. It can get me to like him.


Oh, okay. Well hopefully further development on Marty will make him more bearable and also make you enjoy the fic more. Thanks for reading/reviewing as always, I enjoy reading your thoughts as you read the fic.

You're welcome.

diamondpearl876
14th July 2012, 5:11 AM
I guess character development is the most important thing. It can get me to like him.

I'll work on it then!

Anyway, the next chapter is coming along pretty slowly. I've been extremely busy and am unsure when it'll be out, but hopefully in the next couple weeks. Just wanted to give a small update.

diamondpearl876
8th October 2012, 1:59 AM
Well, I'm sorry for the extremely long wait. What else can I say? Real life has been kicking my ***. I guess if anyone cares, they can ask for details, but I'm mainly here to release the next chapter. It's an introductory chapter for a new pokemon, so it's shorter than the others, but I hope you all enjoy it nonetheless.



SURVIVAL PROJECT

chapter 10 ; [EZREM]
grounded

*

There was a team of pokémon who had a trainer, once. She gave us all annoying names. There was Kephi the venipede, Obieme the tepig, Virokoe the purrloin, and when we went to Sinnoh and then to Johto, we got Rennio the elekid. Despite the weird names, they loved her so. I did not love her, but I tolerated her—just because she was the type of person that made you enjoy your name just because of the way she said it. And we all liked her enough to the point where we all agreed never to evolve simply because she wanted a team of non-evolved pokémon. We loved her—liked her, in my case—because she was easygoing, nice, compromising… and therefore she was also easy to manipulate.

After receiving six badges in Unova and six badges in Sinnoh, she had wanted to go to Hoenn. She never wanted our journey to be over, so she never completed any gym circuit, and she wanted to see the waters and the unique cities there, she said. I told her that I was a rufflet that came from Johto, and I wanted to see home once more. Somehow she believed me; she trusted me wholeheartedly. In reality, I had heard of a legendary pokémon that could travel through time. I wanted to travel through the future so that my journey with her could finally be over, and I could permanently find a place I could call home. She had taken me when I was young, and moving around did not satisfy me in the slightest.

Because I pretended to love her and because she truly loved us, she sacrificed her dream of going to Hoenn for me. We took a boat to get to Johto, just so that she could travel the sea as if she were really going to her dream region. She never talked about it, but we all knew she was thinking of it.

When we got to the Johto region, she of course started the gym circuit over. I had agreed to let her do this, since I told her my home was in Azalea Town—only two badges in, it wouldn’t take long, I could at least give her that. When we finally reached the town and Ilex Forest, however, I wished that it had been the last gym.

I didn’t intend to do it. People in the town said that Celebi, the forest’s protector, only came out in the face of danger. Well, then, I thought, I would have to create my own danger so that I may talk to this forest guardian! I asked the tepig named Obieme to start a fire for me and then come help me find food. But our trainer and the other pokémon aren’t here to watch the fire, he said! She was out getting wood. I said it was fine, we needed to mark a meeting place anyway, and that was what our trainer had told me to do. She hadn’t. But of course the tepig with the silly name listened to me and started the fire and left with me. And of course the fire spread because no one was near it for a very long time and the winds were strong that day.

If the forest guardian ever came, I never knew. All I knew was that my trainer must have gotten trapped somewhere along with the rest of the pokémon. Rennio escaped because he had gotten lost and got help at the next town, and though Obieme was with me, I hadn’t seen him since. They were all dead, I knew, and it was my fault. The forest guardian was meant to help me but spited me instead.

My name is Ezrem. I got that name from my trainer, once. She told me that the name sounded like it could be a type of jewel, an item to be cherished because it seemed so delicate yet, beneath its pretty exterior, was unyielding and sharp. She was certainly right, but I never got the chance to tell her so. I could not change my ways and she died for it.

My name is Ezrem, and I don’t need pity to suffer from or feel guilty for my actions. This is just the surface of my story, but details are not needed here…

*

My trainer said Johto was meant to be a new place, a new home, a new adventure. Again, she was certainly right. There was the incident, and then after, I had been watching over Rennio. Being the only survivor besides myself, he was shaken by the incident and at a complete loss as to what to do next. His situation was especially dire in his mind because I had once told him that there weren’t many elekid in the Unova or Sinnoh region—they were going extinct! And since then he had been panicking over battles and making sure that he was kept safe at all costs.

“Now that we’re the only ones, I vow to protect you!” I said to him shortly after the incident, trying to quickly atone for what I had done. It was the least I could do, and maybe he could help me find a home here in Johto, since, according to the spiteful forest guardian, going back to Unova was out of the question due to the evil stunt I had pulled. I could only hope that we wouldn’t find an elekid in Johto, which was believed to be their main region. If that ever happened, what would I do? I had not a clue.

I had not a clue about much of anything. We were, of course, still in Ilex Forest when we met Sai, three months after the incident. When Rennio was away, I liked to stand near the entrance of the forest and watch for potential trainers to manipulate into taking me home or finding me a home. So when I saw those trainers Marty and Sai, when I saw that Sai had little training experience and was copying Marty just to make himself look smart, I decided to butt in. The sentret was thrown back into the bushes, and I found my chance. I introduced myself in the best way possible—with advice! That would surely make them interested in me and think of me as a good pokémon, one who liked to help others…

Seeing the two of them fight afterward only confirmed my decision. Marty had been a contender but had failed. He was too angry, stuck in his own ways… He just wasn’t for me. On the other hand, Sai’s pokémon stayed loyal to him, and they must have been doing so for a good reason, whatever reason it was. I needed loyalty, for Sai not to betray me. His apparent lack of knowledge appealed to me as well.

I continued watching them, keeping Rennio in my mind. He was out getting food and knew exactly where to find me, just as I knew where exactly to find him. I could have gone to help him, but I was waiting for my chance to step in, here…

“You know my sister?” the boy named Marty cried. He stood in the clearing, fists clenched and his feet spread apart. I couldn’t see his face, as his back was to me, but I could assume that he didn’t look too pleased.

“I met her and saw your house,” Sai said, remaining calm. He was standing now, when before he had been kneeling down next to his pokémon. A hitmontop stood behind him, and the other two, a sentret and a croconaw, stood in front.

“Did she say anything about me?” Marty said, his tone softer, his body still betraying him.

“She said you were a good trainer.”

Now, Marty’s pose started to change. His stood up straight, his fists unclenched. His voice was growing softer as he said, “She did?”

“Yeah, she did. I bet she’d want to be as strong as you if she were a trainer.”

“She is a trainer. She wants to leave Azalea Town soon, too,” he said quietly. Then, he tried to flame up again, though I could tell it was fake as he said, “Don’t think that she’d want to travel with us or anything! Or that I would want to. I’m out of here now.”

I knew his voice was fake because his body betrayed him when he didn’t stomp off or anything, just walked like a normal person you would pass by on the road. And with that, he was out of my sight. It looked like he had gone back to Azalea Town despite saying he wanted to leave. Nevertheless, I kept a note in my head—if Marty ever showed up again, he had a weakness: his sister, and maybe just the idea of being a trainer.

This was when I decided to step out. If I waited any longer, Rennio would come back to interrupt me, or Sai would leave, and I’d lose him! It couldn’t happen. He was the one and I knew it, had to believe it. With my two stubby feet I made my way through the bushes, ignoring the giant leaves that tried to block my view of the boy. The rustling noise caught his attention, and before I even revealed myself completely, he was looking at me.

“I just saw you!” the sentret cried, darting out even further in front of Sai, as if I was an enemy.

“Yes, yes, you did! And I helped you, and you won,” I said, grinning like I was clearly an idiot.

The sentret looked confused for a moment, letting his guard down. He said, “Yes, we did win... You weren’t talking like that before, though.”

“No? I talk this way, all the time, believe me!” I said, jumping up and down, fluttering my wings ever so slightly. Ever so slightly, yes, but it would change soon enough! This was the beginning of my long flight home, wherever that was.

I looked up at Sai, expecting him to notice me and want to take me in immediately like most other trainers had. Trainers must not see rufflet in Johto very often, and it shows by their excitement, their desperation and the use of all their pokéballs, despite the fact that I can never be formally caught. My old pokéball was out there somewhere, but if Sai was the one, he would be okay with that…

But Sai didn’t do anything. He looked down at me, staring rather blankly. I thought maybe he didn’t know how rare rufflet were around these parts, and that once he knew, his mind would change easily. So I started gesturing toward Sai as clearly as I could. Speaking would be useless, as he couldn’t understand me. I flew over to him, landed by his side and used my wing to point toward his backpack, where I assumed his pokéballs were. Immediately he bent down and opened it for me, allowing me to retrieve whatever it was I wanted. In any other situation that would have been a bad idea, but alas! This time I only took out a pokéball, empty or not, didn’t matter. After I dropped it to the ground, I started jumping up and down, up and down to show my excitement. But still, Sai’s facial expression was blink, his body limp.

I stopped jumping up and down. Frowning, I turned to the sentret and said, “Tell your trainer I want to join his team.”

“He can understand you,” the sentret replied automatically, emotionlessly.

“He can?” I asked just as automatically.

“Yeah… He’s an interesting human, to say the least.”

I turned back toward Sai, looking straight into his eyes and trying to keep a blank facial expression myself. I wasn’t afraid of him! I wasn’t afraid of a trainer who could somehow talk to pokémon, and I had to show it. Yes, it only confirmed my suspicions of Sai being the one. He was special, all right. I could tell him everything straight to his face someday and he’d understand.

“I want to join your team!” I cried, jumping up and down again. “I can’t be caught in a pokéball, but I will remain loyal! I will never stray from your side if you take me with you. I have experience, I’m smart, ask your sentret there…”

“No,” Sai interrupted. My beak hung open for a moment, confused as to what I had just heard. Had Sai really just rejected me out front?

Just as I was about to try to change his mind, I heard a crackling sound and a distinct humming noise. It was loud enough to attract the attention of everyone nearby. They were alarmed while I was not. But what bad timing, I thought! It was Rennio, and I knew it. That was what happened when you were stuck with him for so long and watched his every move…

Out of the bushes jumped Rennio, screaming “Rennio has come back to the world!”

The little yellow and black elekid stood there with an armful of red berries, looking around, presumably for me. Once he spotted me, he obviously noted how friendly I was with these pokémon and this trainer already, so he steadily made his way over to us. It would be hard for him to see my inevitable disgrace and disappointment, but such was life, I supposed. I couldn’t have predicted, however, what happened next.

“Atis, get that pokémon!” Sai cried suddenly, his arm extended and pointing directly at Rennio. The hitmontop from behind peeked out around Sai as if he were peering around the side of a building, watching for danger. He saw Rennio and had a dreadful look on his face, but nevertheless launched forward and onto the spinner on the top of his head. He started spinning wildly, preparing to kick the poor elekid out of the way…

This all happened too fast for me to react right away. Once I figured out the situation, however, I remembered—I had to protect Rennio at all costs, even from Sai, my future trainer. Blowing the pokéball away in the process, I flapped my wings as aggressively as I could to make it to Rennio in time. I knocked him out of the way, figuring it was safer than attacking the dangerous hitmontop (Atis, was it?) head on.

All the red berries flew out of Rennio’s arm as he crashed to the ground beside him with a thud. The hitmontop tried to slow down and control his movement but he only succeeded in wobbling to and fro and then colliding with the same bushes that I had been watching from. He stood up a few moments later, looking for his target, but appeared dizzy. Atis was a hitmontop who wasn’t too used to spinning on its own head, apparently.

“No attacking Rennio!” I cried, admittedly unsure if I should be talking to Atis or Sai. Atis seemed like he’d listen immediately despite me not being his trainer, so I turned to Sai in the end. “He’s my friend. He would also like to join your team with me.”

“What?” Rennio asked, looking up at me. I realized that I was still standing on top of his body, so before I got electrocuted, I swiftly jumped off of him, realizing at the same time that he had no idea what the situation was at the moment. I would have to fill him in later. For now, I tried to motion for him to follow along with me.

“We would both like to join your team,” I repeated, more calmly and more determined this time. I started walking up to Sai, motioning again for Rennio to follow me. I knew he’d listen to me, as he trusted my judgment despite everything… And he did follow, leaving his berries behind.

Sai frowned, simply staring once more. This time, he was staring at Rennio. There wasn’t much else I could say. How much more straightforward could I be? We both wanted to be his pokémon. He looked like he needed a rare pokémon and an electric-type, anyway, right? But I was wrong.

I got my hopes up a lot when he started digging around in his pocket for something. At first I assumed it was a pokéball, but then thought that pokéballs were too big to fit in a human’s pocket, even when minimized. My hopes dropped away once he pulled out a black and white die, and then another one. They stared at me mockingly, just as Sai had been doing not too long ago. I started seeing what was going on when Sai handed Rennio the dice as well. Sai clearly preferred Rennio over me, though I could not tell why.

“Roll it,” said Sai.

Rennio peered over at me, and I nodded. So Rennio rolled it, or something like that. Like the berries, he dropped them on the ground as if I had just rammed him in the stomach once more. He probably wasn’t ready for another trainer’s attention, the poor guy, but it had to be done, I thought.

Both of the dice landed on the ground with a thud. One of them had a single black dot on it, while the other had three. I looked up to Sai, both eager and wary of seeing his reaction. His reaction was gleeful, overjoyed, and I felt empty.

“You’re my fourth pokémon!” Sai cried, diving down onto his knees and leaning in to apparently hug the poor electric-type. Rennio was embraced ever so lovingly, and he looked over to me, puzzled and utterly defeated. His facial expression was the equivalent of asking me whether or not he should electrocute this boy and make a run for it, but I was too stunned to move.

“Are you going to give him a name?” chimed in the croconaw, who had just been watching during this entire ordeal.

Sai paused, then carefully answered, “No. The elekid doesn’t have a name.”

“My name is Rennio, given by my other—”

“You don’t have a name,” Sai interrupted, releasing his hold on the pokémon.

“I don’t?” he said quietly, looking heartbroken, as if he would really have to give up his old name.

“No, you don’t.”

“So I’m really your pokémon?”

“Yes, you are.”

“Are you sure? What about my friend, Ezrem?” he asked, pointing to me.

“Ezrem is not my pokémon, but you are.”

Rennio frowned, but he wasn’t the type to deny others. He also wasn’t the type to doubt me, so he must have known I had something up my sleeve. Instead of turning away from Sai, he said, “Can I at least say good-bye to him first?”

“Go right ahead, but… Kuiora, go over there and make sure he doesn’t run off on us, okay?” Sai asked, petting the rather menacing looking water-type and directing her over to us.

As if she was reading my mind, the first thing that she said when the two of them made it over to the other side of the clearing was: “My trainer is very picky about what pokémon is on his team. This elekid is very lucky.”

“Lucky, huh?” I said under my breath. Yes, it confirmed that Sai was a good trainer. But what good did that do for me if I couldn’t be with him? Although I was jealous of Rennio, I tried to be happy for him, tried to lay out my future plans, but none were coming to me. And he was looking at me expectantly, clearly waiting for those plans to be said.

“Lucky!” Kuiora said, jumping up and down gleefully.

I couldn’t help but smile at the two of them. It reminded me of Obieme and the others with our former trainer, in a way…

“Well,” I said, scoffing to myself, “I have a feeling this will be a very good trainer for you, Rennio.”

“You’re just going to leave me?”

“What kind of question is that? I want to go home with you, and Sai is going to help us do just that.”

“Home?” Kuiora asked.

“Yes… to Unova, or somewhere like home.”

Suddenly, the croconaw’s eyes widened considerably. She began jumping up and down again, this time higher and higher, overflowed with joy. She also tried to tackle me in a fun way, but I thankfully dodged out of the way before any of my wings were broken.

“What was that for?”

“You’re a legendary pokémon, aren’t you?! You’re from a foreign land! I’ve heard stories about you and your evolved form! I know you’re legendary, so don’t try to hide it from me!”

“Stories?” I asked. I couldn’t help but be curious.

“Stories about such bravery and strength, about rescuing and war. Yes, they were definitely about you. I can’t believe I got to find a legendary pokémon so early on in our journey!” she said, holding her paws together and gleaming at me.

I had never heard of such stories, but I pretended like I had. I told her that yes, they were about me and my evolved form braviary. And yes, I was indeed a legendary pokémon. If Sai wouldn’t accept me, then having one of his pokémon accept me was clearly the next best thing. Then, maybe, he would realize how much his team liked me, and he would ask me to join the team. Yes, that could work, just maybe! It was worth a shot, at any rate.

“This is just great! Sai is so picky he doesn’t know what he’s doing. You should be on our team, too,” she said excitedly.

“Yes, I should be.”

“You should be on the team, Ezrem! I can’t do this alone,” Rennio said, snapping my attention back toward him. I had been so engrossed in the legendary pokémon business that I had almost forgotten him, the poor pokémon.

“Don’t worry, my friend,” I said generously. “I will go on this journey with you! I’ve got it all planned out, don’t you worry.”

“You really do?”

“I do. You should say yes to being on his team. Walk up to her replacement and welcome him home. And I will follow and protect you, despite the boy’s protests.”

“You promise?”

“I promise.”

I said I promised, and Rennio smiled. Kuiora smiled, for other reasons, but it was a smile nonetheless. I smiled, too, but I didn’t know what I was smiling for. After all, I had chosen Sai, but he hadn’t chosen me?

He betrayed me from the start. But I was stuck. I had vowed to make it up to Rennio, and it was my fault we were in this mess to begin with, anyway.

Right now, I was grounded; my wings were broken. It was crystal clear that my dreams were hanging from a wire, ready to drop and crash at any moment.

Rennio, Sai, you don’t know what you do to me.

I will make it home…

Crimson Penguin
8th October 2012, 5:14 AM
Yay, it's finally back~

I've been pretty inactive around the fanfiction forum lately, so this review might be a bit rusty, but I'll do my best.

First off: Ezrem is brilliant. I wasn't expecting such a manipulative personality to come out of an unassuming Pokemon like Rufflet, but you made it work so well. (I know firsthand how manipulative birds can be, because I have a pet cockatiel, and she has me wrapped around her little claw.) And that backstory made me want to hate him and feel sorry for him at the same time. Amazing what some misguided motivation will do. I wonder how his trainer's death will affect him later on?

I also thought it was great that you changed up Sai's "formula" for catching Pokemon. Bringing Rennio into the mix was certainly a refreshing twist, and his personality seems to contrast nicely with Ezrem's controlling nature. I wonder why Sai didn't want to give Rennio a name, though. I'd be inclined to think it's because he was owned by a different trainer, but I'm sure Sai has a different explanation. It also seems like Sai might be able to see through Ezrem's ruse, as well - otherwise I don't know why the Rufflet wasn't one of the "chosen ones." Speaking of which, though, it was interesting that Ezrem was so sure that Sai was going to be the trainer for him, and that he was so jealous when Rennio was given favor instead. Seems to me like Ezrem's manipulative ways are an attempt to hide his own insecurities?

I'd just like to point out a few places that stood out to me:


I had not a clue about much of anything. We were, of course, still in Ilex Forest when we met Sai, three months after the incident. When Rennio was away, I liked to stand near the entrance of the forest and watch for potential trainers to manipulate into taking me home or finding me a home. So when I saw those trainers Marty and Sai, when I saw that Sai had little training experience and was copying Marty just to make himself look smart, I decided to butt in. The sentret was thrown back into the bushes, and I found my chance. I introduced myself in the best way possible—with advice! That would surely make them interested in me and think of me as a good pokémon, one who liked to help others…

What a little b*****d... Even so, he still manages to be endearing. Which is exactly what he'd want. XD


Suddenly, the croconaw’s eyes widened considerably. She began jumping up and down again, this time higher and higher, overflowed with joy. She also tried to tackle me in a fun way, but I thankfully dodged out of the way before any of my wings were broken.

“What was that for?”

“You’re a legendary pokémon, aren’t you?! You’re from a foreign land! I’ve heard stories about you and your evolved form! I know you’re legendary, so don’t try to hide it from me!”

“Stories?” I asked. I couldn’t help but be curious.

“Stories about such bravery and strength, about rescuing and war. Yes, they were definitely about you. I can’t believe I got to find a legendary pokémon so early on in our journey!” she said, holding her paws together and gleaming at me.

I had never heard of such stories, but I pretended like I had. I told her that yes, they were about me and my evolved form breviary. And yes, I was indeed a legendary pokémon. If Sai wouldn’t accept me, then having one of his pokémon accept me was clearly the next best thing. Then, maybe, he would realize how much his team liked me, and he would ask me to join the team. Yes, that could work, just maybe! It was worth a shot, at any rate.

I still love Kuiora. : D I can't wait to see more interactions between these two (read: how much Ezrem can mess with Kuiora's head). I'd hate to think what would happen if/when Kuiora catches on to his tricks, though; it wouldn't be pretty for the poor bird.


I said I promised, and Rennio smiled. Kuiora smiled, for other reasons, but it was a smile nonetheless. I smiled, too, but I didn’t know what I was smiling for. After all, I had chosen Sai, but he hadn’t chosen me?

He betrayed me from the start. But I was stuck. I had vowed to make it up to Rennio, and it was my fault we were in this mess to begin with, anyway.

Right now, I was grounded; my wings were broken. It was crystal clear that my dreams were hanging from a wire, ready to drop and crash at any moment.

Rennio, Sai, you don’t know what you do to me.

I will make it home…

Aww... You sure do manage to pack in a lot of emotion into a short amount of time. It seems like there's more to Ezrem wanting to get home than he's letting on, though...

Anyway, found a few small errors:


“Atis, get that pokémon!” Sai cried suddenly, his arm extended and pointing directly at Rennio. The hitmontop from behind peaked out around Sai as if he were peering around the side of a building, watching for danger.

Should be "peeked."


He stood up a few moments later, looking for his target but appeared dizzy.

The wording here is slightly confusing, so you may want to add a comma after "target."


Rennio peered over at me, and I nodded. So Rennio rolled it, or something like that. Like the berries, he dropped them on the ground as if I had just rammed him in the stomach once more. He probably wasn’t ready for another trainer or another traner’s attention, the poor guy, but it had to be done, I thought.

Forgot an "i" in the second "trainer". Also, the bolded part seems slightly redundant to me - since it's kind of implied that a new trainer would already give attention to a newly caught Pokemon, I think you could probably reduce that passage to just one phrase or the other, if my explanation makes any sense. It's up to you, though.


I had never heard of such stories, but I pretended like I had. I told her that yes, they were about me and my evolved form breviary.

Braviary.

Other than that, though, you've done an excellent job, as always. Looking forward to more.

~Crimson Penguin

Dragonicwari
8th October 2012, 5:29 AM
That was really good and I can't find any spelling or grammatical errors that have not been mentioned s, do we get an intro chapter for the Elekid too? As far as I can tell he's just some trusting mon so far

Dragonfree
8th October 2012, 12:19 PM
So I caught up sometime after chapter nine, after lagging behind by a chapter or two since about chapter four. I haven't been making quote-by-quote notes, if you'll forgive me, but overall I really like Kuiora and her constant issues with proving herself (she's my favorite of the Pokémon), Sai is cryptic as ever, and there's been a lot of interesting stuff going on (e.g. Kuiora attacking Sai).

As for chapter ten, that was very intriguing as well. Ezrem is a bit of a puzzle; he's dangerously manipulative but also just seems confused and insecure, like manipulation is just the only way he knows to get what he wants. He seems like a fascinating character and I look forward to seeing more of him, especially since at the beginning he implies there's more to his story than what he stated there - and being that he is manipulative, I'm not sure we can entirely trust him as a narrator.

Meanwhile, yet again it's Sai that captivates me - specifically, when he says, "The elekid doesn't have a name." The Elekid doesn't have a name? It sounds like he's referring to some specific Elekid that already doesn't have a name, rather than deciding his own Elekid won't have one. I think he's laboring to reconstruct a specific team - if he was once a Pokémon, a theory I'm still holding on to, perhaps the team his own trainer used to have. Admittedly I don't remember quite well enough at the moment how his previous captures played out exactly, which could contradict that interpretation - but I still feel like I'm on to something. I might give those chapters a quick reread later.

It'll be interesting to see how Rennio copes and how Ezrem fits into the whole picture.

diamondpearl876
8th October 2012, 4:43 PM
First off: Ezrem is brilliant. I wasn't expecting such a manipulative personality to come out of an unassuming Pokemon like Rufflet, but you made it work so well. (I know firsthand how manipulative birds can be, because I have a pet cockatiel, and she has me wrapped around her little claw.)

Oh my lordy, I have six cockatiels and they're all evil. Well, not really, but they certainly can be manipulative. Glad to see another cockatiel fan out there, wooo!


And that backstory made me want to hate him and feel sorry for him at the same time.

Aw, that's what I was going for. I personally hate when I can't make up my mind on how to feel about something, and then I went and did the same thing to readers. Oops.


I wonder why Sai didn't want to give Rennio a name, though. I'd be inclined to think it's because he was owned by a different trainer, but I'm sure Sai has a different explanation.

Sai's explanations are never normal, ya know.


Seems to me like Ezrem's manipulative ways are an attempt to hide his own insecurities?

Sounds about right.


I can't wait to see more interactions between these two (read: how much Ezrem can mess with Kuiora's head). I'd hate to think what would happen if/when Kuiora catches on to his tricks, though; it wouldn't be pretty for the poor bird.

Lmao, I don't even want to think about that.


Anyway, found a few small errors:

Fixed them all, thanks for pointing them out. Although I could have sworn I spelled braviary right and then autocorrect messed it up.


That was really good and I can't find any spelling or grammatical errors that have not been mentioned s, do we get an intro chapter for the Elekid too? As far as I can tell he's just some trusting mon so far

Yes, Rennio does get an introduction chapter where his character will get fleshed out a bit more. Look out for it!


So I caught up sometime after chapter nine, after lagging behind by a chapter or two since about chapter four. I haven't been making quote-by-quote notes, if you'll forgive me, but overall I really like Kuiora and her constant issues with proving herself (she's my favorite of the Pokémon), Sai is cryptic as ever, and there's been a lot of interesting stuff going on (e.g. Kuiora attacking Sai).

As for chapter ten, that was very intriguing as well. Ezrem is a bit of a puzzle; he's dangerously manipulative but also just seems confused and insecure, like manipulation is just the only way he knows to get what he wants. He seems like a fascinating character and I look forward to seeing more of him, especially since at the beginning he implies there's more to his story than what he stated there - and being that he is manipulative, I'm not sure we can entirely trust him as a narrator.

Meanwhile, yet again it's Sai that captivates me - specifically, when he says, "The elekid doesn't have a name." The Elekid doesn't have a name? It sounds like he's referring to some specific Elekid that already doesn't have a name, rather than deciding his own Elekid won't have one. I think he's laboring to reconstruct a specific team - if he was once a Pokémon, a theory I'm still holding on to, perhaps the team his own trainer used to have. Admittedly I don't remember quite well enough at the moment how his previous captures played out exactly, which could contradict that interpretation - but I still feel like I'm on to something. I might give those chapters a quick reread later.

It'll be interesting to see how Rennio copes and how Ezrem fits into the whole picture.

Well, I'm glad my slow update was good for you to catch up! I'm also glad you still like Kuiora even with her going pretty much crazy, since some people were skeptical about that.

It sure seems like he's trying to resconstruct some kind of team, isn't he? Though I don't want to give away details, since I'm evil like that, we'll see if your theory changes later on. Thanks for commenting!

Sid87
13th October 2012, 2:07 PM
She never wanted our journey to be over so she never completed any gym circuit, and she wanted to see the waters and the unique cities there, she said.

Should be a comma before "so".


My name is Ezrem, and I don’t need pity to suffer from or feel guilty for my actions. This is just the surface of my story, but details are not needed here…

I didn't know quite where to stick this, so I'll put it here: Ezrem is interesting. It (I'm awful at guessing your pokemon's genders! Though, now that I think about it, it is a Rufflet and thus, HAS to be male) combines so many aspects of Kuiora (the love of fables and legendary pokemon), Senori (tragedy it caused involving its "pack") and Atis (seeing humans as bothersome and a means to his own personal ends).


“Now that we’re the only ones, I vow to protect you!” I said to him shortly after the incident, trying to quickly atone for what I had done. It was the least I could do, and maybe he could help me find a home here in Johto, since, according to the spiteful forest guardian, going back to Unova was out of the question due to the evil stunt I had pulled. I could only hope that we wouldn’t find an elekid in Johto, which was believed to be their main region. If that ever happened, what would I do? I had not a clue.

Oh, foreshadowing. :)


I knew his voice was fake because his body betrayed him when he didn’t stomp off or anything, just walked like a normal person you would pass by on the road. And with that, he was out of my sight. It looked like he had gone back to Azalea Town despite saying he wanted to leave. Nevertheless, I kept a note in my head—if Marty ever showed up again, he had a weakness: his sister, and maybe just the idea of being a trainer.

Ezrem may have TRAITS of Kuiora, Atis, and Senori, but it is also very much its own pokemon. Such nefariousness and plotting. It's almost a little evil... or, at least, completely selfish and narcissistic.


Out of the bushes jumped Rennio, screaming “Rennio has come back to the world!”

...Oh, god. What is this Elekid's deal?


“We would both like to join your team,” I repeated, more calmly and more determined this time. I started walking up to Sai, motioning again for Rennio to follow me. I knew he’d listen to me, as he trusted my judgment despite everything… And he did follow, leaving his berries behind.

I like the use of ellipses near the end there; I can hear Ezrem's mental voice tailing off as he again recalls what happened that put him and Rennio in the situation they find themselves.


Rennio peered over at me, and I nodded. So Rennio rolled it, or something like that. Like the berries, he dropped them on the ground as if I had just rammed him in the stomach once more. He probably wasn’t ready for another trainer’s attention, the poor guy, but it had to be done, I thought.

I might drop the "I thought" from the end there. It saps the strength of the "it had to be done" line, and I already knew Ezrem thought it--the chapter is his first person perspective. I get that he's relaying a thought he had in the past, but I just think the line would be stronger without it.


“Are you going to give him a name?” chimed in the croconaw, who had just been watching during this entire ordeal.

Sai paused, then carefully answered, “No. The elekid doesn’t have a name.”

“My name is Rennio, given by my other—”

“You don’t have a name,” Sai interrupted, releasing his hold on the pokémon.

“I don’t?” he said quietly, looking heartbroken, as if he would really have to give up his old name.

“No, you don’t.”

“So I’m really your pokémon?”

“Yes, you are.”

“Are you sure? What about my friend, Ezrem?” he asked, pointing to me.

“Ezrem is not my pokémon, but you are.”

I really liked this whole bit. Quick-hitting and fun. I do wonder why Sai dislikes the Ezrem so much. Can he see what kind of pokemon it actually is?


As if she was reading my mind, the first thing that she said when the two of them made it over to the other side of the clearing was: “My trainer is very picky about what pokémon is on his team. This elekid is very lucky.”

“Lucky, huh?” I said under my breath. Yes, it confirmed that Sai was a good trainer. But what good did that do for me if I couldn’t be with him? Although I was jealous of Rennio, I tried to be happy for him, tried to lay out my future plans, but none were coming to me. And he was looking at me expectantly, clearly waiting for those plans to be said.

“Lucky!” Kuiora said, jumping up and down gleefully.

Oh, Kuiora. I'm glad she didn't end up staying all moody and bitter. :)


“You should be on the team, Ezrem! I can’t do this alone,” Rennio said, snapping my attention back toward him. I had been so engrossed in the legendary pokémon business that I had almost forgotten him, the poor pokémon.

Man, Ezrem is a self-righteous jerk.


-As with all of your pokemon thus far (by the way! Don't think I've forgotten that one of them is eventually going to die. This makes me unhappy), Ezrem is an exceedingly deep, fulfilling character. He seems diabolical and selfish, and he, in turns, treats Rennio either like a true friend or a stupid pawn. I can't figure out if he actually cares for the Elekid or not. It's an interesting little mystery.

Sai might not know what he's getting into. Both Ezrem and Rennio have to be greatly over-leveled and powerful, given their history with their previous trainer (who I don't buy for one second is actually dead). It'll be neat to see what he thinks when he sees their power for the first time.

The Great Butler
14th October 2012, 10:28 AM
Well, I'm sorry for the extremely long wait. What else can I say? Real life has been kicking my ***. I guess if anyone cares, they can ask for details, but I'm mainly here to release the next chapter. It's an introductory chapter for a new pokemon, so it's shorter than the others, but I hope you all enjoy it nonetheless.

Welcome back! I think I'll enjoy this chapter for sure.




SURVIVAL PROJECT

chapter 10 ; [EZREM]
grounded

*

I don't think I've noticed it before, but I just realized that these chapter titles are laid out like titles of reports, or something.


There was a team of pokémon who had a trainer, once. She gave us all annoying names. There was Kephi the venipede, Obieme the tepig, Virokoe the purrloin, and when we went to Sinnoh and then to Johto, we got Rennio the elekid. Despite the weird names, they loved her so. I did not love her, but I tolerated her—just because she was the type of person that made you enjoy your name just because of the way she said it. And we all liked her enough to the point where we all agreed never to evolve simply because she wanted a team of non-evolved pokémon. We loved her—liked her, in my case—because she was easygoing, nice, compromising… and therefore she was also easy to manipulate.

Okay, I'm assuming this is the new Pokemon you mentioned narrating this, and I'm liking it so far. The idea of a Pokemon manipulating its trainer is especially unique.


After receiving six badges in Unova and six badges in Sinnoh, she had wanted to go to Hoenn. She never wanted our journey to be over so she never completed any gym circuit, and she wanted to see the waters and the unique cities there, she said. I told her that I was a rufflet that came from Johto, and I wanted to see home once more. Somehow she believed me; she trusted me wholeheartedly. In reality, I had heard of a legendary pokémon that could travel through time. I wanted to travel through the future so that my journey with her could finally be over, and I could permanently find a place I could call home. She had taken me when I was young, and moving around did not satisfy me in the slightest.

Because I pretended to love her and because she truly loved us, she sacrificed her dream of going to Hoenn for me. We took a boat to get to Johto, just so that she could travel the sea as if she were really going to her dream region. She never talked about it, but we all knew she was thinking of it.

To the degree that this Rufflet is manipulating its trainer - lying to her with carefully planned motives in mind - surprises me. This really is something I don't think I've ever seen before.

I assume that this girl was able to talk to Pokemon like Sai does? Forgive me if some details are slipping from my mind after a while.


When we got to the Johto region, she of course started the gym circuit over. I had agreed to let her do this, since I told her my home was in Azalea Town—only two badges in, it wouldn’t take long, I could at least give her that. When we finally reached the town and Ilex Forest, however, I wished that it had been the last gym.

I didn’t intend to do it. People in the town said that Celebi, the forest’s protector, only came out in the face of danger. Well, then, I thought, I would have to create my own danger so that I may talk to this forest guardian! I asked the tepig named Obieme to start a fire for me and then come help me find food. But our trainer and the other pokémon aren’t here to watch the fire, he said! She was out getting wood. I said it was fine, we needed to mark a meeting place anyway, and that was what our trainer had told me to do. She hadn’t. But of course the tepig with the silly name listened to me and started the fire and left with me. And of course the fire spread because no one was near it for a very long time and the winds were strong that day.

If the forest guardian ever came, I never knew. All I knew was that my trainer must have gotten trapped somewhere along with the rest of the pokémon. Rennio escaped because he had gotten lost and got help at the next town, and though Obieme was with me, I hadn’t seen him since. They were all dead, I knew, and it was my fault. The forest guardian was meant to help me but spited me instead.

Oh... oh wow... that's horrible. This Rufflet hasn't been around for more than a few paragraphs and I already feel an emotional connection to it, just because of how awful the things that happened to him are.


My name is Ezrem. I got that name from my trainer, once. She told me that the name sounded like it could be a type of jewel, an item to be cherished because it seemed so delicate yet, beneath its pretty exterior, was unyielding and sharp. She was certainly right, but I never got the chance to tell her so. I could not change my ways and she died for it.

My name is Ezrem, and I don’t need pity to suffer from or feel guilty for my actions. This is just the surface of my story, but details are not needed here…

That's a very apt way to end this part of Ezrem's story, I think.


My trainer said Johto was meant to be a new place, a new home, a new adventure. Again, she was certainly right. There was the incident, and then after, I had been watching over Rennio. Being the only survivor besides myself, he was shaken by the incident and at a complete loss as to what to do next. His situation was especially dire in his mind because I had once told him that there weren’t many elekid in the Unova or Sinnoh region—they were going extinct! And since then he had been panicking over battles and making sure that he was kept safe at all costs.

“Now that we’re the only ones, I vow to protect you!” I said to him shortly after the incident, trying to quickly atone for what I had done. It was the least I could do, and maybe he could help me find a home here in Johto, since, according to the spiteful forest guardian, going back to Unova was out of the question due to the evil stunt I had pulled. I could only hope that we wouldn’t find an elekid in Johto, which was believed to be their main region. If that ever happened, what would I do? I had not a clue.

I had not a clue about much of anything. We were, of course, still in Ilex Forest when we met Sai, three months after the incident. When Rennio was away, I liked to stand near the entrance of the forest and watch for potential trainers to manipulate into taking me home or finding me a home. So when I saw those trainers Marty and Sai, when I saw that Sai had little training experience and was copying Marty just to make himself look smart, I decided to butt in. The sentret was thrown back into the bushes, and I found my chance. I introduced myself in the best way possible—with advice! That would surely make them interested in me and think of me as a good pokémon, one who liked to help others…

Okay, I'm really liking how you're developing Ezrem so far. You're fitting him perfectly into Sai's narrative, and in just the paragraphs of this chapter thus far I feel that I know more about him than I do about most Pokemon in fics I see. Ezrem's relationship to Rennio also helps in fleshing him (?) out, by providing a more sympathetic angle to his character.


Seeing the two of them fight afterward only confirmed my decision. Marty had been a contender but had failed. He was too angry, stuck in his own ways… He just wasn’t for me. On the other hand, Sai’s pokémon stayed loyal to him, and they must have been doing so for a good reason, whatever reason it was. I needed loyalty, for Sai not to betray me. His apparent lack of knowledge appealed to me as well.

Showing a Pokemon choosing its trainer from the Pokemon's point of view is something I wish more writers would do. It's just so sadly rare, for moreso than it should be.


I continued watching them, keeping Rennio in my mind. He was out getting food and knew exactly where to find me, just as I knew where exactly to find him. I could have gone to help him, but I was waiting for my chance to step in, here…

“You know my sister?” the boy named Marty cried. He stood in the clearing, fists clenched and his feet spread apart. I couldn’t see his face, as his back was to me, but I could assume that he didn’t look too pleased.

“I met her and saw your house,” Sai said, remaining calm. He was standing now, when before he had been kneeling down next to his pokémon. A hitmontop stood behind him, and the other two, a sentret and a croconaw, stood in front.

“Did she say anything about me?” Marty said, his tone softer, his body still betraying him.

“She said you were a good trainer.”

Now, Marty’s pose started to change. His stood up straight, his fists unclenched. His voice was growing softer as he said, “She did?”

“Yeah, she did. I bet she’d want to be as strong as you if she were a trainer.”

“She is a trainer. She wants to leave Azalea Town soon, too,” he said quietly. Then, he tried to flame up again, though I could tell it was fake as he said, “Don’t think that she’d want to travel with us or anything! Or that I would want to. I’m out of here now.”

I knew his voice was fake because his body betrayed him when he didn’t stomp off or anything, just walked like a normal person you would pass by on the road. And with that, he was out of my sight. It looked like he had gone back to Azalea Town despite saying he wanted to leave. Nevertheless, I kept a note in my head—if Marty ever showed up again, he had a weakness: his sister, and maybe just the idea of being a trainer.

Kinda glad to see Marty go, in all honesty. Ezrem's observation about his potential weakness does develop him a bit, though.


This was when I decided to step out. If I waited any longer, Rennio would come back to interrupt me, or Sai would leave, and I’d lose him! It couldn’t happen. He was the one and I knew it, had to believe it. With my two stubby feet I made my way through the bushes, ignoring the giant leaves that tried to block my view of the boy. The rustling noise caught his attention, and before I even revealed myself completely, he was looking at me.

“I just saw you!” the sentret cried, darting out even further in front of Sai, as if I was an enemy.

“Yes, yes, you did! And I helped you, and you won,” I said, grinning like I was clearly an idiot.

The sentret looked confused for a moment, letting his guard down. He said, “Yes, we did win... You weren’t talking like that before, though.”

“No? I talk this way, all the time, believe me!” I said, jumping up and down, fluttering my wings ever so slightly. Ever so slightly, yes, but it would change soon enough! This was the beginning of my long flight home, wherever that was.

I looked up at Sai, expecting him to notice me and want to take me in immediately like most other trainers had. Trainers must not see rufflet in Johto very often, and it shows by their excitement, their desperation and the use of all their pokéballs, despite the fact that I can never be formally caught. My old pokéball was out there somewhere, but if Sai was the one, he would be okay with that…

But Sai didn’t do anything. He looked down at me, staring rather blankly. I thought maybe he didn’t know how rare rufflet were around these parts, and that once he knew, his mind would change easily. So I started gesturing toward Sai as clearly as I could. Speaking would be useless, as he couldn’t understand me. I flew over to him, landed by his side and used my wing to point toward his backpack, where I assumed his pokéballs were. Immediately he bent down and opened it for me, allowing me to retrieve whatever it was I wanted. In any other situation that would have been a bad idea, but alas! This time I only took out a pokéball, empty or not, didn’t matter. After I dropped it to the ground, I started jumping up and down, up and down to show my excitement. But still, Sai’s facial expression was blink, his body limp.

I stopped jumping up and down. Frowning, I turned to the sentret and said, “Tell your trainer I want to join his team.”

“He can understand you,” the sentret replied automatically, emotionlessly.

“He can?” I asked just as automatically.

“Yeah… He’s an interesting human, to say the least.”

I guess this means Ezrem's late trainer did not understand him, then? I'm not sure which way it's going.

I have to say Ezrem's enthusiasm is pretty adorable here.


I turned back toward Sai, looking straight into his eyes and trying to keep a blank facial expression myself. I wasn’t afraid of him! I wasn’t afraid of a trainer who could somehow talk to pokémon, and I had to show it. Yes, it only confirmed my suspicions of Sai being the one. He was special, all right. I could tell him everything straight to his face someday and he’d understand.

“I want to join your team!” I cried, jumping up and down again. “I can’t be caught in a pokéball, but I will remain loyal! I will never stray from your side if you take me with you. I have experience, I’m smart, ask your sentret there…”

“No,” Sai interrupted. My beak hung open for a moment, confused as to what I had just heard. Had Sai really just rejected me out front?

You know, somehow I should have expected this. It would have been too easy if Sai had said yes right away, not to mention that it would probably be a little outside his character.


Just as I was about to try to change his mind, I heard a crackling sound and a distinct humming noise. It was loud enough to attract the attention of everyone nearby. They were alarmed while I was not. But what bad timing, I thought! It was Rennio, and I knew it. That was what happened when you were stuck with him for so long and watched his every move…

Out of the bushes jumped Rennio, screaming “Rennio has come back to the world!”

Oh wow, Rennio's pretty great too. I like them both.


The little yellow and black elekid stood there with an armful of red berries, looking around, presumably for me. Once he spotted me, he obviously noted how friendly I was with these pokémon and this trainer already, so he steadily made his way over to us. It would be hard for him to see my inevitable disgrace and disappointment, but such was life, I supposed. I couldn’t have predicted, however, what happened next.

“Atis, get that pokémon!” Sai cried suddenly, his arm extended and pointing directly at Rennio. The hitmontop from behind peeked out around Sai as if he were peering around the side of a building, watching for danger. He saw Rennio and had a dreadful look on his face, but nevertheless launched forward and onto the spinner on the top of his head. He started spinning wildly, preparing to kick the poor elekid out of the way…

This all happened too fast for me to react right away. Once I figured out the situation, however, I remembered—I had to protect Rennio at all costs, even from Sai, my future trainer. Blowing the pokéball away in the process, I flapped my wings as aggressively as I could to make it to Rennio in time. I knocked him out of the way, figuring it was safer than attacking the dangerous hitmontop (Atis, was it?) head on.

All the red berries flew out of Rennio’s arm as he crashed to the ground beside him with a thud. The hitmontop tried to slow down and control his movement but he only succeeded in wobbling to and fro and then colliding with the same bushes that I had been watching from. He stood up a few moments later, looking for his target, but appeared dizzy. Atis was a hitmontop who wasn’t too used to spinning on its own head, apparently.

“No attacking Rennio!” I cried, admittedly unsure if I should be talking to Atis or Sai. Atis seemed like he’d listen immediately despite me not being his trainer, so I turned to Sai in the end. “He’s my friend. He would also like to join your team with me.”

“What?” Rennio asked, looking up at me. I realized that I was still standing on top of his body, so before I got electrocuted, I swiftly jumped off of him, realizing at the same time that he had no idea what the situation was at the moment. I would have to fill him in later. For now, I tried to motion for him to follow along with me.

“We would both like to join your team,” I repeated, more calmly and more determined this time. I started walking up to Sai, motioning again for Rennio to follow me. I knew he’d listen to me, as he trusted my judgment despite everything… And he did follow, leaving his berries behind.

Sai frowned, simply staring once more. This time, he was staring at Rennio. There wasn’t much else I could say. How much more straightforward could I be? We both wanted to be his pokémon. He looked like he needed a rare pokémon and an electric-type, anyway, right? But I was wrong.

I got my hopes up a lot when he started digging around in his pocket for something. At first I assumed it was a pokéball, but then thought that pokéballs were too big to fit in a human’s pocket, even when minimized. My hopes dropped away once he pulled out a black and white dice, and then another one. They stared at me mockingly, just as Sai had been doing not too long ago. I started seeing what was going on when Sai handed Rennio the dice as well. Sai clearly preferred Rennio over me, though I could not tell why.

I had a feeling that Sai would prefer Rennio the moment he came back. Actually, I think I predicted it a little earlier than that. Either way, right now I feel kind of bad for Ezrem.

Singular of "dice" is "die," by the way. There are two dice in total in this scene, but the way you're wording it, Sai took them out one at a time, right? I think it should say "he pulled out a black and white die" instead.


“Roll it,” said Sai.

Rennio peered over at me, and I nodded. So Rennio rolled it, or something like that. Like the berries, he dropped them on the ground as if I had just rammed him in the stomach once more. He probably wasn’t ready for another trainer’s attention, the poor guy, but it had to be done, I thought.

Both of the dice landed on the ground with a thud. One of them had a single black dot on it, while the other had three. I looked up to Sai, both eager and wary of seeing his reaction. His reaction was gleeful, overjoyed, and I felt empty.

“You’re my fourth pokémon!” Sai cried, diving down onto his knees and leaning in to apparently hug the poor electric-type. Rennio was embraced ever so lovingly, and he looked over to me, puzzled and utterly defeated. His facial expression was the equivalent of asking me whether or not he should electrocute this boy and make a run for it, but I was too stunned to move.

Sai's childish actions are amusing but the situation here with Rennio being separated from Ezrem and Ezrem getting rejected is pretty depressing. I don't know how to feel here...


“Are you going to give him a name?” chimed in the croconaw, who had just been watching during this entire ordeal.

Sai paused, then carefully answered, “No. The elekid doesn’t have a name.”

“My name is Rennio, given by my other—”

“You don’t have a name,” Sai interrupted, releasing his hold on the pokémon.

No. If he actually goes through with this and forces Rennio to get a new name against his will, I'm going to lose a lot of respect I built up for Sai.


“I don’t?” he said quietly, looking heartbroken, as if he would really have to give up his old name.

“No, you don’t.”

“So I’m really your pokémon?”

“Yes, you are.”

“Are you sure? What about my friend, Ezrem?” he asked, pointing to me.

“Ezrem is not my pokémon, but you are.”

Rennio frowned, but he wasn’t the type to deny others. He also wasn’t the type to doubt me, so he must have known I had something up my sleeve. Instead of turning away from Sai, he said, “Can I at least say good-bye to him first?”

“Go right ahead, but… Kuiora, go over there and make sure he doesn’t run off on us, okay?” Sai asked, petting the rather menacing looking water-type and directing her over to us.

As if she was reading my mind, the first thing that she said when the two of them made it over to the other side of the clearing was: “My trainer is very picky about what pokémon is on his team. This elekid is very lucky.”

I really cannot say that I like how Sai is coming off here. I know he can't help it and to him this behavior is right, but he's really coming off badly to me. Writing off Ezrem and basically forcing Rennio to throw out his identity bothers me, though I can't really tell if Rennio likes it or not.


“Lucky, huh?” I said under my breath. Yes, it confirmed that Sai was a good trainer. But what good did that do for me if I couldn’t be with him? Although I was jealous of Rennio, I tried to be happy for him, tried to lay out my future plans, but none were coming to me. And he was looking at me expectantly, clearly waiting for those plans to be said.

“Lucky!” Kuiora said, jumping up and down gleefully.

I couldn’t help but smile at the two of them. It reminded me of Obieme and the others with our former trainer, in a way…

“Well,” I said, scoffing to myself, “I have a feeling this will be a very good trainer for you, Rennio.”

“You’re just going to leave me?”

“What kind of question is that? I want to go home with you, and Sai is going to help us do just that.”

I don't understand exactly what Ezrem is doing here yet...


“Home?” Kuiora asked.

“Yes… to Unova, or somewhere like home.”

Suddenly, the croconaw’s eyes widened considerably. She began jumping up and down again, this time higher and higher, overflowed with joy. She also tried to tackle me in a fun way, but I thankfully dodged out of the way before any of my wings were broken.

“What was that for?”

“You’re a legendary pokémon, aren’t you?! You’re from a foreign land! I’ve heard stories about you and your evolved form! I know you’re legendary, so don’t try to hide it from me!”

“Stories?” I asked. I couldn’t help but be curious.

“Stories about such bravery and strength, about rescuing and war. Yes, they were definitely about you. I can’t believe I got to find a legendary pokémon so early on in our journey!” she said, holding her paws together and gleaming at me.

I had never heard of such stories, but I pretended like I had. I told her that yes, they were about me and my evolved form braviary. And yes, I was indeed a legendary pokémon. If Sai wouldn’t accept me, then having one of his pokémon accept me was clearly the next best thing. Then, maybe, he would realize how much his team liked me, and he would ask me to join the team. Yes, that could work, just maybe! It was worth a shot, at any rate.

It's not going to work, Ezrem. Sai doesn't operate like that, and the story about being a Legendary Pokemon is kind of flimsy.


“This is just great! Sai is so picky he doesn’t know what he’s doing. You should be on our team, too,” she said excitedly.

“Yes, I should be.”

“You should be on the team, Ezrem! I can’t do this alone,” Rennio said, snapping my attention back toward him. I had been so engrossed in the legendary pokémon business that I had almost forgotten him, the poor pokémon.

“Don’t worry, my friend,” I said generously. “I will go on this journey with you! I’ve got it all planned out, don’t you worry.”

“You really do?”

“I do. You should say yes to being on his team. Walk up to her replacement and welcome him home. And I will follow and protect you, despite the boy’s protests.”

I don't really understand the way Ezrem talks sometimes. "Her replacement" is obviously Sai, but I don't understand the "home" part completely. If you could just explain what it means a little more clearly, I would really appreciate that.


“You promise?”

“I promise.”

I said I promised, and Rennio smiled. Kuiora smiled, for other reasons, but it was a smile nonetheless. I smiled, too, but I didn’t know what I was smiling for. After all, I had chosen Sai, but he hadn’t chosen me?

He betrayed me from the start. But I was stuck. I had vowed to make it up to Rennio, and it was my fault we were in this mess to begin with, anyway.

Right now, I was grounded; my wings were broken. It was crystal clear that my dreams were hanging from a wire, ready to drop and crash at any moment.

Rennio, Sai, you don’t know what you do to me.

I will make it home…

Now I don't feel very hopeful for Ezrem at all...

I don't have much to say here. Not to reflect on you at all, it's just that there's nothing coming to mind for me to say, really. I don't have any predictions right now as to where the story will go from here. Ezrem might be either another entertaining personality on the cast or a heartbreaking one, depending on how he's used from this point, but Rennio really is caught in the middle. He doesn't deserve how seemingly poorly Sai is treating him, but I would like to believe that there's some development coming down the line that will fix up the issues there.

diamondpearl876
17th October 2012, 7:17 PM
Should be a comma before "so".

Fixed, thanks.


Ezrem may have TRAITS of Kuiora, Atis, and Senori, but it is also very much its own pokemon. Such nefariousness and plotting. It's almost a little evil... or, at least, completely selfish and narcissistic.

Sounds about right.



...Oh, god. What is this Elekid's deal?

You can blame Ezrem for just about anything.


I might drop the "I thought" from the end there. It saps the strength of the "it had to be done" line, and I already knew Ezrem thought it--the chapter is his first person perspective. I get that he's relaying a thought he had in the past, but I just think the line would be stronger without it.

I can see why it’d ruin the powerfulness of the sentence. I removed it. For some reason I have a tendency to add “I thought” in first person.


-As with all of your pokemon thus far (by the way! Don't think I've forgotten that one of them is eventually going to die. This makes me unhappy),


I don’t know what you’re talking about. ;) Glad you enjoy Ezrem, thanks for commenting!


I don't think I've noticed it before, but I just realized that these chapter titles are laid out like titles of reports, or something.

That’s pretty interesting. I never even considered that myself, but it sounds about right.


To the degree that this Rufflet is manipulating its trainer - lying to her with carefully planned motives in mind - surprises me. This really is something I don't think I've ever seen before.

I like being unique, so I’m glad you think it’s so.


I assume that this girl was able to talk to Pokemon like Sai does? Forgive me if some details are slipping from my mind after a while.

It’s okay, it’s been a while. The girl’s never been mentioned before, anyway. She could speak to her pokémon too after spending so much time with them, and it’s clarified in the next chapter.


Kinda glad to see Marty go, in all honesty. Ezrem's observation about his potential weakness does develop him a bit, though.

Hate to tell you but he’ll be back, but I think I’ve finally figured out how I’m going to develop him a bit more.


I guess this means Ezrem's late trainer did not understand him, then? I'm not sure which way it's going.

Ezrem is surprised because he thought Sai was a new trainer, and therefore unable to have the ability to communicate with pokémon just yet.


Singular of "dice" is "die," by the way. There are two dice in total in this scene, but the way you're wording it, Sai took them out one at a time, right? I think it should say "he pulled out a black and white die" instead.

Will fix, thanks for pointing it out.


Sai's childish actions are amusing but the situation here with Rennio being separated from Ezrem and Ezrem getting rejected is pretty depressing. I don't know how to feel here...

This is meant to be a depressing fic. I sorry. :(


No. If he actually goes through with this and forces Rennio to get a new name against his will, I'm going to lose a lot of respect I built up for Sai.

He won’t force Rennio to get a new name, but he won’t refer to Rennio as, well, Rennio.


It's not going to work, Ezrem. Sai doesn't operate like that, and the story about being a Legendary Pokemon is kind of flimsy.

How so, if I my ask?



I don't really understand the way Ezrem talks sometimes. "Her replacement" is obviously Sai, but I don't understand the "home" part completely. If you could just explain what it means a little more clearly, I would really appreciate that.

Ezrem talks funny sometimes, I think. Um. I think instead of “home” I should have put “in your life”. Since they’re looking for a home, it doesn’t make much more sense. So hopefully “in your life” makes more sense.


I don't have much to say here. Not to reflect on you at all, it's just that there's nothing coming to mind for me to say, really. I don't have any predictions right now as to where the story will go from here. Ezrem might be either another entertaining personality on the cast or a heartbreaking one, depending on how he's used from this point, but Rennio really is caught in the middle. He doesn't deserve how seemingly poorly Sai is treating him, but I would like to believe that there's some development coming down the line that will fix up the issues there.

Well, I have quite a few plans for Ezrem, so we’ll see how he turns out. As for Sai, I guess we’ll have to see about that too. Thanks for commenting!

The Great Butler
18th October 2012, 8:18 AM
It’s okay, it’s been a while. The girl’s never been mentioned before, anyway. She could speak to her pokémon too after spending so much time with them, and it’s clarified in the next chapter.

Okay.

For the sake of clarification, I meant that I couldn't recall if people being able to understand Pokemon easily was a common thing in this universe.


Hate to tell you but he’ll be back, but I think I’ve finally figured out how I’m going to develop him a bit more.

That's good. I think he does have potential, but he hasn't fully realized it yet. As he fleshes out into his own character more, I think we'll see an improvement there.


Ezrem is surprised because he thought Sai was a new trainer, and therefore unable to have the ability to communicate with pokémon just yet.

I see.


This is meant to be a depressing fic. I sorry. :(

There's nothing to apologize for. In fact, I think the fault lies on my shoulders for being kind of wrong in how to interpret the story in the first place. I had been approaching it as a sort of mystery story about Sai's origins with bits of comedy and tragedy laced in, but now I can readjust my approach so I get it right.


He won’t force Rennio to get a new name, but he won’t refer to Rennio as, well, Rennio.

That could be an interesting thing to see going forward. Now I'm beginning to see a really unique angle this can take.


How so, if I my ask?

It's easily debunked as a fabrication if Sai ever actually decides to do any research on it.


Thanks for commenting!

You're welcome!

diamondpearl876
20th October 2012, 5:35 AM
Thanks for all the comments again, guys!

So I've decided that I'll be writing the remainder of Survival Project for this year's upcoming NaNoWriMo. I chose this because I wanted to participate for the second year in a row, and starting something else would pretty much ensure that I'd never finish this, and I really do want to finish this fic. Whether or not I'll succeed is up in the air, of course, and this means tons of editing may be happening, but at the very least, this means that the fic will be planned out from this chapter until the end. The fic will have a total of ~30 chapters if all goes according to plan, so we're about halfway there. Wish me luck, and I'll see you all in the beginning of November with a new chapter.



SURVIVAL PROJECT

chapter 11 ; [RENNIO]
stranger

*


I still remember her like it was yesterday. She had long, flowing blonde hair, green eyes. Her love for us pokémon had no boundaries. She found beauty in all things, even the things that made people cringe when she talked about them, like philosophy and math. She was the first person I saw when I hatched from my egg. Where she got that egg, I never knew, but it was all I could do to thank her for retrieving it.

It was yesterday. In my mind. In my dreams. In my hopes, in my fears.

She asked me once, “If you were to think about it, would you predict that you’d have more fears than hopes, or more hopes than fears?”

Back then, I didn’t have to think about it.

Now, I think too much.

Yes, I remember her like it was yesterday… I remember even the little things that I observed over the years. She refused to sleep on her sides, so as to never leave her back wide open. She only spoke of Arceus to those who didn’t believe, again, to make them cringe all out of good fun. She never looked at the ground or at the sky as she walked, because she wasn’t afraid of the never-ending path in front of her.

My favorite memory was when she embraced me. She made it look like a normal hug, made it feel like a stronghold.

And it’s all so ironic, I know. I think too much about it now, these fears that outweigh my hopes.

It’s ironic because… the one time she truly needed me, I let her go.

*

Annie.

My first thought amongst the chaos.

We were simply out getting wood to build our own fire—and when we found it, all we wanted to do was get rid of it and run. It was just extra fuel for the fire heading our way, after all…

Fire!

I had to do a double take before I realized that, yes, there really was one coming our way. The crackling sound that I had heard so many times before on our journey now rang through my ears and tormented me relentlessly. The flames were taller than I’d ever seen them before, and the air smelled burnt, crisp, sharp. My senses were exhausted in a matter of seconds. I stood there, confused and dazed, wondering if I was in a dream…

Annie. Fire!

Annie, we have no water-type pokémon, we’re nowhere near the exit or entrance, and there’s nothing but more trees surrounding us, more fuel…

Something had to be done, but judging by our clear lack of action, everyone was thinking the same things as me and no one knew what to do. The fire was growing larger and coming closer to us with every passing second. Closer, closer.

*

“What are those things that are always in your mouth?” I asked once. We were just beginning our journey to Johto, as we were on the boat that would lead us to the renowned region. Though I had been traveling with her for quite some time, I had never questioned her about her peculiar eating habit.

She grabbed another spoonful of berries for me and placed them in my mouth. I smiled as I chewed in order to thank her. I was old enough to feed myself, yet she was always insisting on me being the baby of the group, the one who received all the extra special attention. I was grateful for the care, and so I thanked her for every bite.

“They’re called cigarettes,” she said, starting to prepare another mouthful for me.

“Can I have one?” I asked, swallowing the food in my mouth. “They must taste good if you have them all the time.”

“Nope, you can’t,” she said, smiling to herself. She put the white stick in her mouth once more and then removed it, a puff of smoke following behind. She always did this, over and over, until she had completely gone through the stick.

“Why not?”

“They’re not good for pokémon, and I can’t have my baby having something that isn’t good for him, right?”

“I guess not… What about the others?” I questioned, wondering if I would be jealous of the others for once instead of it being the other way around.

“They don’t get one, either.”

She continued feeding me the berries, spoonful by spoonful. I sat there and watched her smoke quietly, wondering what the taste was like, the texture, the feeling that she had when the eating session both started and ended. I supposed I would never know.

When she was done, she took out a device which sparked a bit of fire, and started all over again.

*

Fire.

That’s what must have happened. Annie must have dropped one of her cigarettes after lighting it on fire, and then left it there. There was no other explanation in my eyes. Because of her sudden carelessness, we were all stuck in this mess.

I forgave her instantly, though my body said otherwise. I wanted to stay, but my legs were quickly starting to betray me. My knees felt as if they were going to buckle at any moment, or turn and start heading in the other direction.

It was always this way. My thoughts were much different than my actions. Why couldn’t my mind and body just cooperate? Why was I such a baby on the outside and then so sure of myself on the inside? Wasn’t the mind supposed to send signals to the brain which would in turn send signals to the body? Or something like that? I remembered Annie telling me once. But it just didn’t ring true for me.

I wanted to stay. I wanted to stay and protect her, protect those green eyes in a fire that was turning everything gray.

But I was the first to run.

Annie.

*

The other pokémon on the team, particularly Ezrem, always liked to make fun of the day that I was born. Hatching from the egg and not being able to understand their taunting language was apparently amusing. And apparently, the first thing that I was told was my name.

When I hatched from my egg, the last thing that I wanted to hear about was my name. I was hungry and I was cold, so I wanted food and warmth right away. I could no longer turn to my egg to sustain me, so I had to find these things elsewhere. But on top of my basic necessities, I was overwhelmed with a sense of confusion. The only thing recognizable to me was voices, since I could hear them inside the egg. The other pokémon surrounding me were foreign, and so were my surroundings. Where was I? Was I supposed to be where I already was, or was some other place waiting for me? Did I hatch too soon, too late?

Despite my needs, Annie did not feed me or hold me or tell me where I was. Again, I was informed that the first thing she did was tell me my name.

“Rennio. Your name is Rennio,” she said. She beamed at me, along with the rest of her pokémon, all of which were foreign to me. They were whispering amongst themselves, however—or making fun of me, of course—so I assumed they must have known me somehow. I didn’t know what their names were, so I just stared at them. Their words meant nothing to me.

“Renee was my littlest sister’s name, and the end of your name makes it sound a little more boyish. It’s perfect for my new baby pokémon!” she said ecstatically.

At first, I couldn’t understand. But as Ezrem told me the story once when he felt like teasing me, I began to comprehend the situation’s significance. One of the first things a baby does when it’s born is try to figure out if the world is a safe place. Is the world trustworthy? Are people trustworthy? Annie didn’t feed me or hold me or tell me I could feel safe, but giving me a name and explaining its origin provided me with a sense of relief. That was her way of telling me that she was trustworthy. She knew I existed, and she loved and valued my existence enough to give me an identity.

My hunger and desire for warmth waited, and that was fine. I didn’t know much of anything at the time, but I felt safe here. And that was enough.

Rennio.

*

“Rennio!”

I heard her cry my name as soon as I started dashing in the opposite direction. I knew it then, I knew I should have stayed. But what else could I do? What was more important, her existence or my existence? Ezrem had told me so many times, so many times: I was the last of my species. If I were to die, there would never be another elekid or electabuzz or electivire.

This belief of almost being extinct had frozen my very being many times in the past. Because of this fear, I was unable to participate in battles, since there was always the possibility being hurt beyond repair. Because of this fear, death consumed my thoughts even in the safest of situations. Because of this fear, it was my goal in life to just be able to survive or create another one of my species.

But I was also able to understand the significance of oneself and others because of this fear. I knew that without my trainer, I could not have come as far I had. She was one who had nurtured me from the very start, and it was extremely important for me to repay my debt to her somehow. In the old days, I would usually just continue to be her baby pokémon, since that’s what she wanted, that was what she was content with. Occasionally I’d have to be with her when she cried, and I’d cheer her on in battles from the sidelines…

But because of this fear, I also ran away from my trainer when she needed me most.

I ran past the tree branches that fell to the ground, trying to block my escape. My legs were short and, due to the quick pace that I was running at, started to ache soon after my dash. Despite this, I kept on going, and I didn’t dare to look back, knowing that I’d have more regrets if I did.

To be honest, I had no idea where I was going, or even if I was truly saving myself. I just knew that standing still was not the answer unless I wanted death to come, which I certainly didn’t.

I ran. The fire was closer than ever before now, and smoke was starting to invade my lungs every time I tried to inhale. My body tried to stop itself a few times so I could cough, but I wouldn’t have any of it. I kept trudging forward despite myself, wavering from side to side as I did. Because of this, I got scorched by the fire a bit, and bumped into a few trees that were simply waiting to be devoured. I couldn’t see where I was going at all.

Moments like these are recalled as blurs because everything looks the same, no matter how you think of it. There were flames everywhere I looked, I was scared no matter where I was, and I alone everywhere I ended up. So I have no idea how I made it to the end of the forest, the opposite side from where we entered. All I knew was that I must have been running an awfully long time with an awfully large stroke of luck following shortly behind. All I knew was that my startled eyes and burnt body and shrieking self must have alerted the guards at the building, because they soon ran into the forest themselves and put out the fire.

They scoured the entire forest from top to bottom. It wasn’t hard, given the destruction. But in the end, only Ezrem and I were found. Annie and the others were nowhere to be seen.

*

A game.

Ring around the rosie, she called it.

The goal was to make yourself dizzy by spinning in a circle with other people in the group, ones you were holding hands with. Then, at the end, you were all supposed to fall together, laughing.

But she said—ashes, ashes.

She said she’d never let me fall, no matter what.

It was just a game. A kid’s game, one she didn’t expect me to understand.

I knew what she meant, deep down.

*

She left through ashes; I fell without laughing.

And remembering hurts.

I’m done.

*

But I can at least remember Ezrem without pain engulfing me. Ezrem, who has always been by my side. Even when he was teasing me, I knew that he wouldn’t betray me for anything. And now that it was just the two of us, our bond was that much stronger.

I often wondered what would have happened had he passed away in the fire with everyone else. With me being far too dependent on others, I can’t imagine that things would have gone well. I may have been crying forever, I may have gotten tangled up with a bad trainer, I may have gone off to die somewhere by myself due to some misfortune that I didn’t see coming…

Death.

Yes, Ezrem and Annie taught me all about death and the ephemeral thing that is life. I forgave him, as long as he stayed by my side.

And he did stay by my side. He explained to me his desire to return home, and it made perfect sense to me, given our situation. Who wouldn’t want to go home after a long, grueling journey? He said he’d take me with him since I had nowhere else to go, and I was more than happy to oblige. His plan involved getting a new trainer, which also made sense to me, since there was no way for us to know the layout of the regions. To find a new trainer, we also agreed to stay in the forest. Not only had we learned that it was usually full of new trainers whose potential we could judge, there was always the hope in the back of our minds that said Annie would come back for us someday, somehow.

So we remained where we were, avoiding the burned side of the forest as well as we could. We stayed near the entrance, the one full of better memories, better times, which seemed so far away now. Ezrem taught me which berries in the forest were good for eating after I explained that the thought of killing a pokémon for food was unacceptable to me. Then it became my job to retrieve our food and water while Ezrem stayed near the entrance and watched for trainers. Warmth was an afterthought; we never made fires.

I’d come back with berries every day, and I’d stare at him expectedly. He always knew that my gaze asked the same question: had he found anyone with potential? Because we don’t want just anybody.

He’d always look at me sadly, shaking his head.

“Someday, but not today,” he’d say.

*

One day, I returned with berries and simply told Ezrem, “I’m scared.”

He motioned for me to open my hands and dug his beak into the pile. Halfway through, he pulled back, finally realizing that I had said something.

“Scared of what?”

I sighed. If anyone should know what I’m scared of, it should be Ezrem. “What if I die before I’m able to keep my species from going extinct?” I asked.

“Well,” Ezrem said, swallowing though he had no berry in his mouth, “you just can’t think like that, okay?”

“Why not? It’s entirely possible.”

“If you let the fear consume you, you are destined to fail!”

“I suppose.” I paused. He was probably waiting for me to say something more, but I couldn’t think of anything. I stared at the berries, and then said awkwardly, “Will you… feed me?”

“Feed you?” Ezrem stared at me, perplexed. “Rennio, you’re not a baby anymore!”

“She used to feed me. Annie did.”

Ezrem snickered, but I knew that he was just hiding the pain that came with me saying her name. He dug his beak into my hands again, pulling back and taking a berry from my hand. He leaned in toward me, seemingly handing it to me, but he moved back again and chewed it himself. I stood there, disappointed, but it wasn’t like I wasn’t expecting it.

“Listen, Rennio!” he said after he finished the berry. “I’ll tell you what. You need more confidence. I want to teach you a catchphrase that you can have.”

“A catchphrase?” I said, dumbfounded.

“A catchphrase. Every time you battle a pokémon, you must say you have come back to the world! Every time you come back from getting food and water, you must say you have come back to the world. As time goes on you’ll say it in more and more situations. This will let everyone around you, including yourself, know that you are, indeed, alive, and that the elekid line lives on. Do you understand?”

“I-I think so,” I said, shifting my feet uncomfortably. “The idea just seems silly to me.”

“It may be silly, but babies do silly things. Now, if you want me to feed you like Annie used to, say it!”

I hesitated. I did need more confidence, but Ezrem’s solution was just words. What power did words have? They didn’t magically make me reproduce or cause elekid eggs to start lying around everywhere. They were just there to boost my ego, nothing more.

“Say it!” Ezrem said impatiently.

“I don’t know…”

“Then I’m not feeding you.”

And not only did I need more confidence, I needed Annie. As comforting as he was, Ezrem just didn’t meet all my needs. If I could have just this, I would feel much, much better, and be able to move on for just a little while longer.

“Fine,” I said, sighing. “I have come back to the world.”

“Say your name and say it loudly, or no one will know who you are!”

“Rennio has come back to the world!”

Ezrem smiled. “Yes, yes you have,” he said, taking the berries from me.

*

An unknown amount of time passed before the day we found Sai, before I felt like I really had returned to the world.

When I came back from searching for berries and shouting my silly catchphrase, I was expecting to find Ezrem still hiding behind bushes, watching. When I saw that instead, he was actually interacting with a trainer, I knew that something special was happening. Ezrem had finally found and picked someone!

I wasn’t expecting, however, to be attacked by another pokémon. And I wasn’t expecting Ezrem to get rejected, and for me to be welcomed with open arms. And I wasn’t expecting for the new trainer to try to take my name away.

Overall, I was overcome with mixed emotions. I knew that a trainer battling wild pokémon to capture them was fairly ordinary, but it had just never happened to me, so I wasn’t prepared in the slightest. The idea to defend myself hadn’t come to me; I let Ezrem do all the work to protect me, as usual. And when he was rejected despite his noble actions, I thought about unfair it was to him—after all his hard work, he had finally come to a decision only to be shut down. My heart ached for him, but there was nothing I could think of that would help him except to go along with Sai like he requested.

And that’s exactly what I did. I trusted Ezrem’s judgment, his reasoning. Even after Sai told me I had no name, I decided that he was an ideal trainer. I was okay with not having a name in his eyes as long as I knew my own true self, and as long as Ezrem knew who I was, too. I would continue to identify myself the way Annie identified me, so that her memory could live on.

It was the least I could do for her.

*

And just like that, Ezrem and I found ourselves making our way to Goldenrod City for the second time. This time was, of course, much different. We were with different pokémon, a different trainer… We were with complete strangers. The air was slightly tenser, for some reason I could not decipher just by looking at or making small talk with the strangers. Perhaps they had just gone through some ordeal, too, though I could not imagine anything as bad as our story.

The atmosphere was also much quieter. With Annie, we were always talking about something or another. Since she could understand us after being with us for such a long time, there was never a dull moment with her. I decided, then, to try to get to know my new teammates, my new trainer.

“Why don’t you guys tell us something about yourselves?” I said, talking to anyone who was willing to listen. I motioned over to Ezrem, making sure to include him in the conversations, too.

The three pokémon introduced themselves as Senori, Kuiora, and Atis. The names would be difficult to remember, but I’m sure I would learn them in time. I supposed that meant that he still thought I had no name, but he didn’t say anything in protest.

“Another trainer that gives their pokémon funny names!” Ezrem cried, keeping up with the rest of the group, just as he had promised me. I looked up at Sai, and noticed that he was still ignoring Ezrem—even more so, as he wouldn’t so much as glance at the bird.

“I do not have a funny name, thank you very much. I think it’s quite pretty,” Kuiora said, putting her small hands on her hips and glaring at Ezrem.

“It’s hardly what I’d call pretty.”

“You just say that because you’re a boy, and things aren’t pretty to you,” Kuiora retorted.

“I don’t mind mine,” said Senori while the other two bickered. “I had a different one before, but I think I like this one better.”

“You had a name before? What was it?” I asked, suddenly curious. So Sai had forced Senori to get a new name, but not me? He didn’t make any sense to me so far, but I still respected him.

“It doesn’t matter now. It was a long time ago,” Senori replied, smiling softly.

“Oh.” I decided not to press him. “What about you, Atis?” I asked, trying to include him, too, since he hadn’t said much yet.

“I didn’t have a name before…” he said shyly, keeping his head lowered toward the ground.

“Sai,” I said, noticing our trainer hadn’t said much, either, despite being able to understand us, “where do you get your names for us, then?”

“I… I knew some people with the same names. I don’t know many other names or anything, so I use them,” Sai said, looking down at me. He tried to smile but failed, as if he were recalling some painful memory. His answer seemed simple yet weird in my eyes for some reason I couldn’t explain, so I didn’t press him, either. Yes, there certainly was some pain surrounding this group, pain I didn’t know about yet. I was sure it was just another thing I’d learn in time.

If it were up to me, suffering wouldn’t exist. But it’s part of what makes us who we are, and personally, I was glad to find others who had experienced pain just like I had. So far, my journey with our new trainer seemed hopeful; it seemed like it would be a journey toward healing and peace.

I smiled at Sai. When it looked like he didn’t know how to respond, I said, “It was nice to meet you.”

“It was nice to have met you, too…” said Sai, offering a slight smile back.

“I had a trainer once before,” I said rather impulsively, catching myself off guard since I hadn’t talked about Annie to anyone except Ezrem. “She was really nice.”

“Yeah? Maybe she can travel with us sometime if we run into her,” Sai said, suddenly appearing hopeful and excited. I didn’t blame him, I really didn’t—Annie would be a great traveling companion if she were alive—but his words stung.

“She won’t be able to. She passed away a while ago,” I said, now looking down at the ground.

“Oh. Well, it looks like it’ll just be me and my pokémon, then… The trainer back there and his sister didn’t want to travel with me, either,” he said sadly, his eagerness fading. I let the conversation go once more, regretting bringing it up. I made a mental note to myself, saying that I would have to inquire and learn more about these little things that I let go now, but was still curious about.

We kept walking from there, making more small talk about things that were less significant to me. I noticed that Kuiora kept quite close to Ezrem, probably because she still thought he was a legendary pokémon for some reason or another. I thought it was amusing and chuckled at him a few times, only to have him glare at me and shut me up rather quickly.

Occasionally, a wild pokémon would attack and I would get to see my new teammates battle. While they seemed somewhat strong, I knew that they had a long way to go compared to me and Ezrem. I vaguely wondered how impressed Sai would be once he battled with us (assuming he’d eventually warm up to Ezrem and want him on the team), but I was also overly pleased with the fact that he didn’t ask me to fight even once. A fear of battling accompanied my fear of death and injury, so I didn’t want to fight if I could help it. Annie never made me do anything I didn’t want to, but with Sai, it could have been different. I supposed I would have to wait and see.

I noticed that Sai fed us plenty of food and made sure we were satisfied with a place to sleep. A few peaceful nights passed before we neared the end of the forest. Given mine and Ezrem’s past, I was also relieved about how our trek through Ilex Forest was rather uneventful. The only thing that particularly stood out to me was the damaged areas of the forest. They brought back haunting memories, mixed feelings, and an overwhelming desire to leave. Luckily, that’s exactly what we were going to do, and soon, I knew, since I recognized the forest’s exit. When we were close enough, I turned one final time to the destruction that caused me so much anguish, and said good-bye. I pretended to be walking beside Annie as I believed I was returning to the world, to our journey, starting with Goldenrod City.

The Great Butler
21st October 2012, 10:15 AM
Thanks for all the comments again, guys!

So I've decided that I'll be writing the remainder of Survival Project for this year's upcoming NaNoWriMo. I chose this because I wanted to participate for the second year in a row, and starting something else would pretty much ensure that I'd never finish this, and I really do want to finish this fic. Whether or not I'll succeed is up in the air, of course, and this means tons of editing may be happening, but at the very least, this means that the fic will be planned out from this chapter until the end. The fic will have a total of ~30 chapters if all goes according to plan, so we're about halfway there. Wish me luck, and I'll see you all in the beginning of November with a new chapter.

I wish you luck. I'm going to try the same with The Angel of Reckoning.




SURVIVAL PROJECT

chapter 11 ; [RENNIO]
stranger

*

I'm glad we get to see things through Rennio's eyes immediately after Ezrem's chapter. I think that is very important.


I still remember her like it was yesterday. She had long, flowing blonde hair, green eyes. Her love for us pokémon had no boundaries. She found beauty in all things, even the things that made people cringe when she talked about them, like philosophy and math. She was the first person I saw when I hatched from my egg. Where she got that egg, I never knew, but it was all I could do to thank her for retrieving it.

It was yesterday. In my mind. In my dreams. In my hopes, in my fears.

She asked me once, “If you were to think about it, would you predict that you’d have more fears than hopes, or more hopes than fears?”

Back then, I didn’t have to think about it.

Now, I think too much.

Yes, I remember her like it was yesterday… I remember even the little things that I observed over the years. She refused to sleep on her sides, so as to never leave her back wide open. She only spoke of Arceus to those who didn’t believe, again, to make them cringe all out of good fun. She never looked at the ground or at the sky as she walked, because she wasn’t afraid of the never-ending path in front of her.

This section does a wonderful job of telling us about Rennio's late trainer. You've supplied the reader with enough for a clear picture of the trainer to be formed - for me, I see her appearance quite clearly and I can easily visualize the personality traits you've described.


My favorite memory was when she embraced me. She made it look like a normal hug, made it feel like a stronghold.

And it’s all so ironic, I know. I think too much about it now, these fears that outweigh my hopes.

It’s ironic because… the one time she truly needed me, I let her go.

Thanks for putting up this flag now. Now I know to be ready for my heartstrings to be pulled.


Annie.

My first thought amongst the chaos.

We were simply out getting wood to build our own fire—and when we found it, all we wanted to do was get rid of it and run. It was just extra fuel for the fire heading our way, after all…

Fire!

I had to do a double take before I realized that, yes, there really was one coming our way. The crackling sound that I had heard so many times before on our journey now rang through my ears and tormented me relentlessly. The flames were taller than I’d ever seen them before, and the air smelled burnt, crisp, sharp. My senses were exhausted in a matter of seconds. I stood there, confused and dazed, wondering if I was in a dream…

Annie. Fire!

Annie, we have no water-type pokémon, we’re nowhere near the exit or entrance, and there’s nothing but more trees surrounding us, more fuel…

Something had to be done, but judging by our clear lack of action, everyone was thinking the same things as me and no one knew what to do. The fire was growing larger and coming closer to us with every passing second. Closer, closer.

Rennio's desperation really shines through here.


“What are those things that are always in your mouth?” I asked once. We were just beginning our journey to Johto, as we were on the boat that would lead us to the renowned region. Though I had been traveling with her for quite some time, I had never questioned her about her peculiar eating habit.

She grabbed another spoonful of berries for me and placed them in my mouth. I smiled as I chewed in order to thank her. I was old enough to feed myself, yet she was always insisting on me being the baby of the group, the one who received all the extra special attention. I was grateful for the care, and so I thanked her for every bite.

For some reason I like the little touch of Annie treating Rennio as the baby of the group. I can't put my finger on why, but I like it.


“They’re called cigarettes,” she said, starting to prepare another mouthful for me.

“Can I have one?” I asked, swallowing the food in my mouth. “They must taste good if you have them all the time.”

“Nope, you can’t,” she said, smiling to herself. She put the white stick in her mouth once more and then removed it, a puff of smoke following behind. She always did this, over and over, until she had completely gone through the stick.

“Why not?”

“They’re not good for pokémon, and I can’t have my baby having something that isn’t good for him, right?”

I like this detail, too. A lot of stories tend to romanticize Pokemon trainers to some degree, so to see a character engaging in a trivial vice helps it stand out, I think. Her way of telling Rennio that he can't have one is really cute, too.

Perhaps this is also massive coincidence considering how she died...


“I guess not… What about the others?” I questioned, wondering if I would be jealous of the others for once instead of it being the other way around.

“They don’t get one, either.”

She continued feeding me the berries, spoonful by spoonful. I sat there and watched her smoke quietly, wondering what the taste was like, the texture, the feeling that she had when the eating session both started and ended. I supposed I would never know.

When she was done, she took out a device which sparked a bit of fire, and started all over again.

I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but one of your absolute strongest suits is how you humanize the Pokemon. I never thought I'd be reading a line in which a Pokemon thinks about what smoking a cigarette is like, but seeing something so casual through the eyes of a Pokemon is something I like very much.

Of course, this isn't going to keep going so well for Rennio, we already know that.


Fire.

That’s what must have happened. Annie must have dropped one of her cigarettes after lighting it on fire, dropped it, and left it there. There was no other explanation in my eyes. Because of her sudden carelessness, we were all stuck in this mess.

I knew the cigarettes would be connected at least vaguely to the fire, but if this is actually why it was caused, I'm surprised. I didn't expect that.


I forgave her instantly, though my body said otherwise. I wanted to stay, but my legs were quickly starting to betray me. My knees felt as if they were going to buckle at any moment, or turn and start heading in the other direction.

It was always this way. My thoughts were much different than my actions. Why couldn’t my mind and body just cooperate? Why was I such a baby on the outside and then so sure of myself on the inside? Wasn’t the mind supposed to send signals to the brain which would in turn send signals to the body? Or something like that? I remembered Annie telling me once. But it just didn’t ring true for me.

I wanted to stay. I wanted to stay and protect her, protect those green eyes in a fire that was turning everything gray.

But I was the first to run.

Annie.

Okay, at this point, I can't imagine how Sai's treatment of Rennio is going to help at all. Rennio's got some real, legitimate issues, and he needs someone who can help him deal with the things that have happened.


The other pokémon on the team, particularly Ezrem, always liked to make fun of the day that I was born. Hatching from the egg and not being able to understand their taunting language was apparently amusing. And apparently, the first thing that I was told was my name.

When I hatched from my egg, the last thing that I wanted to hear about was my name. I was hungry and I was cold, so I wanted food and warmth right away. I could no longer turn to my egg to sustain me, so I had to find these things elsewhere. But on top of my basic necessities, I was overwhelmed with a sense of confusion. The only thing recognizable to me was voices, since I could hear them inside the egg. The other pokémon surrounding me were foreign, and so were my surroundings. Where was I? Was I supposed to be where I already was, or was some other place waiting for me? Did I hatch too soon, too late?

You know, this is amazingly realistic too. Seeing these events through Rennio's eyes is, once again, a very important part of that. We often see the birth of Pokemon from Eggs, but primarily the angle presented is that of the excited trainer. Instead, here we see a Pokemon that isn't all that thrilled to be outside his Egg for the first time, which by itself is unique. Building on that by using it to further Rennio's known relationship to Annie, Ezrem and the others makes it an even more interesting scene.


Despite my needs, Annie did not feed me or hold me or tell me where I was. Again, I was informed that the first thing she did was tell me my name.

I can't help but wonder if this is a sort of lampshading of how a Pokemon can hatch from an Egg, be nicknamed and get sent immediately into battles in the games.


“Rennio. Your name is Rennio,” she said. She beamed at me, along with the rest of her pokémon, all of which were foreign to me. They were whispering amongst themselves, however—or making fun of me, of course—so I assumed they must have known me somehow. I didn’t know what their names were, so I just stared at them. Their words mean nothing to me.

“Renee was my littlest sister’s name, and the end of your name makes it sound a little more boyish. It’s perfect for my new baby pokémon!” she said ecstatically.

At first, I couldn’t understand. But as Ezrem told me the story once when he felt like teasing me, I began to comprehend the situation’s significance. One of the first things a baby does when it’s born is try to figure out if the world is a safe place. Is the world trustworthy? Are people trustworthy? Annie didn’t feed me or hold me or tell me I could feel safe, but giving me a name and explaining its origin provided me with a sense of relief. That was her way of telling me that she was trustworthy. She knew I existed, and she loved and valued my existence enough to give me an identity.

My hunger and desire for warmth waited, and that was fine. I didn’t know much of anything at the time, but I felt safe here. And that was enough.

Rennio.

That's actually a good little bit of philosophy that I wasn't expecting. It's also very true, what you say about figuring out if the world is a safe place. You wrote this part very well, also, which brings together all your thoughts into a very appealing package.


“Rennio!”

I heard her cry my name as soon as I started dashing in the opposite direction. I knew it then, I knew I should have stayed. But what else could I do? What was more important, her existence or my existence? Ezrem had told me so many times, so many times: I was the last of my species. If I were to die, there would never be another elekid or electabuzz or electivire.

Wow, my respect for Ezrem just took a huge hit, at least for now.

I would take that as a credit to you as a writer, though - it's not easy to so drastically make readers feel differently about characters by simply changing the viewpoint that events are seen through.


This belief of almost being extinct had frozen my very being many times in the past. Because of this fear, I was unable to participate in battles, since there was always the possibility being hurt beyond repair. Because of this fear, death consumed my thoughts even in the safest of situations. Because of this fear, it was my goal in life to just be able to survive or create another one of my species.

I can already see this presenting problems with Sai.


But I was also able to understand the significance of oneself and others because of this fear. I knew that without my trainer, I could not have come as far I had. She was one who had nurtured me from the very start, and it was extremely important for me to repay my debt to her somehow. In the old days, I would usually just continue to be her baby pokémon, since that’s what she wanted, that was what she was content with. Occasionally I’d have to be with her when she cried, and I’d cheer her on in battles from the sidelines…

But because of this fear, I also ran away from my trainer when she needed me most.

I ran past the tree branches that fell to the ground, trying to block my escape. My legs were short and, due to the quick pace that I was running at, started to ache soon after my dash. Despite this, I kept on going, and I didn’t dare to look back, knowing that I’d have more regrets if I did.

To be honest, I had no idea where I was going, or even if I was truly saving myself. I just knew that standing still was not the answer unless I wanted death to come, which I certainly didn’t.

I ran. The fire was closer than ever before now, and smoke was starting to invade my lungs every time I tried to inhale. My body tried to stop itself a few times so I could cough, but I wouldn’t have any of it. I kept trudging forward despite myself, wavering from side to side as I did. Because of this, I got scorched by the fire a bit, and bumped into a few trees that were simply waiting to be devoured. I couldn’t see where I was going at all.

Moments like these are recalled as blurs because everything looks the same, no matter how you think of it. There were flames everywhere I looked, I was scared no matter where I was, and I alone everywhere I ended up. So I have no idea how I made it to the end of the forest, the opposite side from where we entered. All I knew was that I must have been running an awfully long time with an awfully large stroke of luck following shortly behind. All I knew was that my startled eyes and burnt body and shrieking self must have alerted the guards at the building, because they soon ran into the forest themselves and put out the fire.

They scoured the entire forest from top to bottom. It wasn’t hard, given the destruction. But in the end, only Ezrem and I were found. Annie and the others were nowhere to be seen.

My stomach actually turned while I read that. Even though it was only a few paragraphs, the sheer horror that Rennio felt came right through, and I felt it.


A game.

Ring around the rosie, she called it.

The goal was to make yourself dizzy by spinning in a circle with other people in the group, ones you were holding hands with. Then, at the end, you were all supposed to fall together, laughing.

But she said—ashes, ashes.

She said she’d never let me fall, no matter what.

It was just a game. A kid’s game, one she didn’t expect me to understand.

I knew what she meant, deep down.

This part comes a little out of nowhere, but... it's just depressing to read after what just happened. The way something childish and innocent can be used to illustrate both a happier time and the horrors of a tragedy is very unsettling.


She left through ashes; I fell without laughing.

And remembering hurts.

I’m done.

Oh God, that just rubs it in...


But I can at least remember Ezrem without pain engulfing me. Ezrem, who has always been by my side. Even when he was teasing me, I knew that he wouldn’t betray me for anything. And now that it was just the two of us, our bond was that much stronger.

I often wondered what would have happened had he passed away in the fire with everyone else. With me being far too dependent on others, I can’t imagine that things would have gone well. I may have been crying forever, I may have gotten tangled up with a bad trainer, I may have gone off to die somewhere by myself due to some misfortune that I didn’t see coming…

I would dare to say something he didn't see coming arrived at his doorstep in the form of Sai.



One day, I returned with berries and simply told Ezrem, “I’m scared.”

He motioned for me to open my hands and dug his beak into the pile. Halfway through, he pulled back, finally realizing that I had said something.

“Scared of what?”

I signed. If anyone should know what I’m scared of, it should be Ezrem. “What if I die before I’m able to keep my species from going extinct?” I asked.

“Well,” Ezrem said, swallowing though he had no berry in his mouth, “you just can’t think like that, okay?”

“Why not? It’s entirely possible.”

“If you let the fear consume you, you are destined to fail!”

You could just tell him the truth, Ezrem...


“I suppose.” I paused. He was probably waiting for me to say something more, but I couldn’t think of anything. I stared at the berries, and then said awkwardly, “Will you… feed me?”

“Feed you?” Ezrem stared at me, perplexed. “Rennio, you’re not a baby anymore!”

“She used to feed me. Annie did.”

Ezrem snickered, but I knew that he was just hiding the pain that came with me saying her name. He dug his beak into my hands again, pulling back and taking a berry from my hand. He leaned in toward me, seemingly handing it to me, but he moved back again and chewed it himself. I stood there, disappointed, but it wasn’t like I wasn’t expecting it.

“Listen, Rennio!” he said after he finished the berry. “I’ll tell you what. You need more confidence. I want to teach you a catchphrase that you can have.”

“A catchphrase?” I said, dumbfounded.

“A catchphrase. Every time you battle a pokémon, you must say you have come back to the world! Every time you come back from getting food and water, you must say you have come back to the world. As time goes on you’ll say it in more and more situations. This will let everyone around you, including yourself, know that you are, indeed, alive, and that the elekid line lives on. Do you understand?”

So that's how that line came about... suddenly it's not so funny anymore.

I really feel bad for these two. They've gone through so much they don't deserve...



An unknown amount of time passed before the day we found Sai, before I felt like I really had returned to the world.

When I came back from searching for berries and shouting my silly catchphrase, I was expecting to find Ezrem still hiding behind bushes, watching. When I saw that instead, he was actually interacting with a trainer, I knew that something special was happening. Ezrem had finally found and picked someone!

I wasn’t expecting, however, to be attacked by another pokémon. And I wasn’t expecting Ezrem to get rejected, and for me to be welcomed with open arms. And I wasn’t expecting for the new trainer to try to take my name away.

Overall, I was overcome with mixed emotions. I knew that a trainer battling wild pokémon to capture them was fairly ordinary, but it had just never happened to me, so I wasn’t prepared in the slightest. The idea to defend myself hadn’t come to me; I let Ezrem do all the work to protect me, as usual. And when he was rejected despite his noble actions, I thought about unfair it was to him—after all his hard work, he had finally come to a decision only to be shut down. My heart ached for him, but there was nothing I could think of that would help him except to go along with Sai like he requested.

And that’s exactly what I did. I trusted Ezrem’s judgment, his reasoning. Even after Sai told me I had no name, I decided that he was an ideal trainer. I was okay with not having a name in his eyes as long as I knew my own true self, and as long as Ezrem knew who I was, too. I would continue to identify myself the way Annie identified me, so that her memory could live on.

It was the least I could do for her.

I don't know what it is exactly but something about this just doesn't feel right to me. Rennio deserves to be treated better than this and Ezrem is being left completely out in the cold, and neither of their situations sounds like anything Annie would have wanted. Earlier, Rennio expressed a fear of ending up with a bad trainer. I don't really understand how he can have that fear and then decide Sai is an ideal trainer even though he stripped Rennio of his name. That should be a huge red flag.


And just like that, Ezrem and I found ourselves making our way to Goldenrod City for the second time. This time was, of course, much different. We were with different pokémon, a different trainer… We were with complete strangers. The air was slightly tenser, for some reason I could not decipher just by looking at or making small talk with the strangers. Perhaps they had just gone through some ordeal, too, though I could not imagine anything as bad as our story.

The atmosphere was also much quieter. With Annie, we were always talking about something or another. Since she could understand us after being with us for such a long time, there was never a dull moment with her. I decided, then, to try to get to know my new teammates, my new trainer.

“Why don’t you guys tell us something about yourselves?” I said, talking to anyone who was willing to listen. I motioned over to Ezrem, making sure to include him in the conversations, too.

The three pokémon introduced themselves as Senori, Kuiora, and Atis. The names would be difficult to remember, but I’m sure I would learn them in time. I supposed that meant that he still thought I had no name, but he didn’t say anything in protest.

“Another trainer that gives their pokémon funny names!” Ezrem cried, keeping up with the rest of the group, just as he had promised me. I looked up at Sai, and noticed that he was still ignoring Ezrem—even more so, as he wouldn’t so much as glance at the bird.

“I do not have a funny name, thank you very much. I think it’s quite pretty,” Kuiora said, putting her small hands on her hips and glaring at Ezrem.

“It’s hardly what I’d call pretty.”

“You just say that before you’re a boy, and things aren’t pretty to you,” Kuiora retorted.

The arguing between them is pretty funny and a welcome distraction from the depressing events earlier.



“Sai,” I said, noticing our trainer hadn’t said much, either, despite being able to understand us, “where do you get your names for us, then?”

“I… I knew some people with the same names. I don’t know many other names or anything, so I use them,” Sai said, looking down at me. He tried to smile but failed, as if he were recalling some painful memory. His answer seemed simple yet weird in my eyes for some reason I couldn’t explain, so I didn’t press him, either. Yes, there certainly was some pain surrounding this group, pain I didn’t know about yet. I was sure it was just another thing I’d learn in time.

Something about Sai just opening up like this strikes me as odd. I'm surprised that he wasn't hesitant to share these things all that much.


If it were up to me, suffering wouldn’t exist. But it’s part of what makes us who we are, and personally, I was glad to find others who had experienced pain just like I had. So far, my journey with our new trainer seemed hopeful; it seemed like it would be a journey toward healing and peace.

I smiled at Sai. When it looked like he didn’t know how to respond, I said, “It was nice to meet you.”

“It was nice to have met you, too…” said Sai, offering a slight smile back.

“I had a trainer once before,” I said rather impulsively, catching myself off guard since I hadn’t talked about Annie to anyone except Ezrem. “She was really nice.”

“Yeah? Maybe she can travel with us sometime if we run into her,” Sai said, suddenly appearing hopeful and excited. I didn’t blame him, I really didn’t—Annie would be a great traveling companion if she were alive—but his words stung.

I wonder if this is going to lead into some much-needed development between Sai, Ezrem and Rennio. Their relationship could use some, I think.



Occasionally, a wild pokémon would attack and I would get to see my new teammates battle. While they seemed somewhat strong, I knew that had a long way to go compared to me and Ezrem. I vaguely wondered how impressed Sai would be once he battled with us (assuming he’d eventually warm up to Ezrem and want him on the team), but I was also overly pleased with the fact that he didn’t ask me to fight even once. A fear of battling accompanied my fear of death and injury, so I didn’t want to fight if I could help it. Annie never made me do anything I didn’t want to, but with Sai, it could have been different. I supposed I would have to wait and see.

Quick note first: "I knew that had a long way to go compared to me and Ezrem?" It looks like a word is missing from there.

Anyway, I predicted this would probably come up. Sai is not going to let Rennio off without ever battling. It's only a matter of time.


I noticed that Sai fed us plenty of food and made sure we were satisfied with a place to sleep. A few peaceful nights passed before we neared the end of the forest. Given mine and Ezrem’s past, I was also relieved about how our trek through Ilex Forest was rather uneventful. The only thing that particularly stood out to me was the damaged areas of the forest. They brought back haunting memories, mixed feelings, and an overwhelming desire to leave. Luckily, that’s exactly what we were going to do, and soon, I knew, since I recognized the forest’s exit. When we were close enough, I turned one final time to the destruction that caused me so much anguish, and said good-bye. I pretended to be walking beside Annie as I believed I was returning to the world, to our journey, starting with Goldenrod City.

A strong close; it feels right to talk like this at the end, because it's not just the end of a chapter. It's also the end of Rennio's suffering (hopefully) and the end of Rennio and Ezrem living in Annie's shadow.

Overall, a very enjoyable chapter. The writing quality was strong throughout, but there are parts where it becomes even more excellent than usual; those sections of exceedingly good writing form the center of your primary strength. Taken together with the previous chapter, these events play out as one very gut-wrenching ordeal. Both Ezrem and Rennio are compelling characters with both positive and negative traits, which makes them welcome additions to the cast. My only disappointment is that Annie is a posthumous character, because she seems like someone who would have been very enjoyable to read.

Dragonicwari
21st October 2012, 3:51 PM
18th paragraph from the bottom (when they are talking about names);


“You just say that before you’re a boy, and things aren’t pretty to you,” Kuiora retorted.

I think you meant because, I haven't seen any other errors that haven't been pointed out yet

diamondpearl876
22nd October 2012, 1:25 AM
I wish you luck. I'm going to try the same with The Angel of Reckoning.

Good luck to you as well!


Thanks for putting up this flag now. Now I know to be ready for my heartstrings to be pulled.

LOL, no problem. It’s what I do.



Rennio's desperation really shines through here.

I always thought that part was a bit lacking but I wasn’t sure how, so I’m glad you thought otherwise.

Also, I’m not sure why the rest of the chapter is quoted in your comment, but something tells me you didn’t get to finish reading yet? Either way, thanks for commenting! LOL.


18th paragraph from the bottom (when they are talking about names);



I think you meant because, I haven't seen any other errors that haven't been pointed out yet

Oh dear, thanks for pointing that out. Will fix now.

The Great Butler
22nd October 2012, 10:30 AM
Also, I’m not sure why the rest of the chapter is quoted in your comment, but something tells me you didn’t get to finish reading yet? Either way, thanks for commenting! LOL.


Yeah, that's what happened. I got very tired while doing the review and I didn't want to give you a low-quality one.

I've edited the rest of the review in, so please have a look.

diamondpearl876
24th October 2012, 10:43 PM
I like this detail, too. A lot of stories tend to romanticize Pokemon trainers to some degree, so to see a character engaging in a trivial vice helps it stand out, I think. Her way of telling Rennio that he can't have one is really cute, too.

I agree that a lot of fics romanticize trainers, so I’m glad you thought this helped Annie stand out. In a way I’m also a bit disappointed she isn’t a recurring character.


I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but one of your absolute strongest suits is how you humanize the Pokemon. I never thought I'd be reading a line in which a Pokemon thinks about what smoking a cigarette is like, but seeing something so casual through the eyes of a Pokemon is something I like very much.

Thanks for the compliment. I usually worry about not making pokémon have enough animal-like qualities because they just naturally come to me as humanized creatures. So it’s good to know someone likes the way I represent them.


I can't help but wonder if this is a sort of lampshading of how a Pokemon can hatch from an Egg, be nicknamed and get sent immediately into battles in the games.

It is, lol… I actually talked with a friend about how unrealistic that seemed while writing this chapter.


I would take that as a credit to you as a writer, though - it's not easy to so drastically make readers feel differently about characters by simply changing the viewpoint that events are seen through.

Well, thanks for the compliment again! I’m glad to see that you like that part of my writing as well since I usually interpret your changing viewpoints of the characters (specifically Sai) as a negative thing.


I don't know what it is exactly but something about this just doesn't feel right to me. Rennio deserves to be treated better than this and Ezrem is being left completely out in the cold, and neither of their situations sounds like anything Annie would have wanted. Earlier, Rennio expressed a fear of ending up with a bad trainer. I don't really understand how he can have that fear and then decide Sai is an ideal trainer even though he stripped Rennio of his name. That should be a huge red flag.

Rennio decides to trust Sai as a trainer simply because Ezrem does. And there’ll definitely be more development between the three of them that will help change this.

Thanks for commenting! Your reviews are always nice to read and very helpful.

Sidewinder
26th October 2012, 5:38 PM
Chapter 10



just because she was the type of person that made you enjoy your name just because of the way she said it

That was very nicely written. I can relate to that in a big way. When my wife says my name in the street, at a store, or whenever, it gives me this warmth that starts in my stomach and radiates outward. I'm getting the feeling that someone you know IRL does this for you as well, because to me, the only way you would know to write that is if you've experienced it before. You certainly have a knack for feelings and getting people to pay attention to them because I've been stuck on that sentence for almost five minutes lol. Nicely done


and therefore she was also easy to manipulate.

That was um, unexpected


I wanted to travel through the future so that my journey with her could finally be over, and I could permanently find a place I could call home.

I liked that portion quite a bit as well. Obviously Ezrem is savy enough to manipulate his trainer into doing what he wants, and to me he's coming off as being capable of being vicious about it, but the quoted portion above suggests an almost child-like demeanor that clashes with a personality that's certainly adult. It's a weird mix that I'm liking.


despite the fact that I can never be formally caught. My old pokéball was out there somewhere, but if Sai was the one, he would be okay with that…

I would have been angry if you hadn't brought that up because that's the first thing that came to my mind once the story of Ezrem's trainer came up. Nice


After I dropped it to the ground, I started jumping up and down, up and down to show my excitement. But still, Sai’s facial expression was blink, his body limp.

I would have loved to have seen that haha. I pictured it quite clearly in my mind, and though you ended it with Ezrem stopping and speaking with Sai, I could see him tackling Sai and screaming, "DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND HOW EXCITED I AM?!?! SEE HOW IM FLAPPING AROUND, MORON?!?!" Especially since his apparent dreams may be coming to fruition and he can't do anything about it lol


“He can understand you,” the sentret replied automatically, emotionlessly.

“He can?” I asked just as automatically.

Hmm, you might consider getting rid of one of the automatically's. It read weird to me and made me stop


I heard a crackling sound and a distinct humming noise.

That was awesome. I can picturing him sounding like a powered up electrical transformer. That would get extremely annoying.


hug the poor electric-type

I know for sure this is the second, and possibly the third time you've referred to Rennio as the 'poor' electric type. I can see why you use that word because of his story and demeanor, but surely someone as wordy as you can come up with a different way to describe him rather than repeating the same one again and again.

Chapter 11



She never looked at the ground or at the sky as she walked, because she wasn’t afraid of the never-ending path in front of her.

Awesome awesome...Sometimes I wonder who you're describing when you write things like this. I suppose it's easier for me to believe that you are drawing out these passages from people you know rather than you are truely this fantastic of a writer, but in all seriousness, wow. I couldn't have come up with that kind of passage if I tried. Nicely done


But I was the first to run.

Hmm, Rennio has a few qualities reminiscent of Senori and the guilt he carries. Though Senori is much more up front about it. I'm not sure whether it has to do with Rennio's age and inexperience or maturity level, but I do have the feeling that these side issues are going to get bigger and bigger as the story progresses. Hopefully Senori can help him with that, but at the same time Senori may be too introverted to help. Or I may be totally off base with my thinking here. Meh, I suppose you and I are continuing our tradition of commenting on something that we both think doesn't make sense to the other haha


Ezrem had told me so many times, so many times: I was the last of my species. If I were to die, there would never be another elekid or electabuzz or electivire.

That really makes me hate Ezrem


And remembering hurts.

More so than knives. Such a simplistic sentence, but you still drive a point home even just using three words


there was always the hope in the back of our minds that said Annie would come back for us someday, somehow.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure that hope only exists with one of them


“Will you… feed me?”

That was awesome too lol. Hugging that defense of Annie when he's scared and hoping that Ezrem could somehow fill in that role. Out of both chapter ten and eleven, the quoted portion is by far my favorite.


“I… I knew some people with the same names. I don’t know many other names or anything, so I use them,” Sai said, looking down at me.

Once again you're able to reveal something without revealing anything at all lol. My 'Sai used to be a Pokemon' theory is gone for the moment and I've formulated a new one that I'm going to keep close for awhile. The 'people' he used did it for me. People refer to other people as people, and it just seems odd to me that a Pokemon would do it when referring to other Pokemon. Hell, I'm probably still wrong lol, but that's what's fun about it. *Sigh* <---- Can be read two different ways haha

Well, two very good chapters as always. I'm surprised you added both new characters so quickly, but you were able to do it smoothly and I liked how you filled it up with such an impressive and emotional backstory (more from Rennio's side than Ezram's, but still) I'm looking forward to see what's going to happen in Goldenrod especially since you said that you'll have a new chapter up soon, and yes in the back of my mind I want Sai to punch Ezrem very hard across the beak lol.

Sid87
29th October 2012, 12:37 AM
Yes, I remember her like it was yesterday… I remember even the little things that I observed over the years. She refused to sleep on her sides, so as to never leave her back wide open. She only spoke of Arceus to those who didn’t believe, again, to make them cringe all out of good fun. She never looked at the ground or at the sky as she walked, because she wasn’t afraid of the never-ending path in front of her.

As per usual, impeccable description and characterization. I can totally see the former trainer a real person by this point. Mischievous in a harmless sort of way and philosophical and fun-loving. It'll be interesting when she meets Sai because, like I said, I'm sure she isn't dead. :)


When she was done, she took out a device which sparked a bit of fire, and started all over again.

Hmmm...what an interesting little detail. How is that going to come back into play? Nice foreshadowing!


I wanted to stay. I wanted to stay and protect her, protect those green eyes in a fire that was turning everything gray.

But I was the first to run.

Annie.

Gorgeous dialogue here. This isn't quite the dopey, silly, "Rennio is back to the world!" Elekid we met last chapter.


My hunger and desire for warmth waited, and that was fine. I didn’t know much of anything at the time, but I felt safe here. And that was enough.

I might be making something up that isn't your intention, but the juxtaposition of Rennio's longing for warmth against the fire that killed the girl he cared so much for is really nice. There's all this... "The fire was bad, the fire was bad!", and then there is "I just wanted to be warm". And when that was what he wanted, Annie kept it from him. Later, the warmth (the fire) took Annie from him. I dunno. It's working really well in my head.


This belief of almost being extinct had frozen my very being many times in the past. Because of this fear, I was unable to participate in battles, since there was always the possibility being hurt beyond repair. Because of this fear, death consumed my thoughts even in the safest of situations. Because of this fear, it was my goal in life to just be able to survive or create another one of my species.

Again, this conflicts heavily with the seemingly happy-go-lucky, dopey Rennio we were introduced to last chapter. I wonder why he acts like that when he is, in truth, much darker inside,.


All I knew was that I must have been running an awfully long time with an awfully large stroke of luck following shortly behind. All I knew was that my startled eyes and burnt body and shrieking self must have alerted the guards at the building, because they soon ran into the forest themselves and put out the fire.

The two "All I knew" bits here tend to bump against each other. It just seems like...the first obviously wasn't all he knew if there was more that he knew. :)


She left through ashes; I fell without laughing.

And remembering hurts.

I’m done.

This part MIGHT be just a touch too melodramatic, in my opinion. It almost reads like bad teenage poetry.


Warmth was an afterthought; we never made fires.

Oh, there it is again.



I’d come back with berries every day, and I’d stare at him expectedly.

Maybe this is supposed to be "expectantly"?


I signed. If anyone should know what I’m scared of, it should be Ezrem. “What if I die before I’m able to keep my species from going extinct?” I asked.

I think that is supposed to be "sighed", not "signed".


And when he was rejected despite his noble actions, I thought about unfair it was to him—after all his hard work, he had finally come to a decision only to be shut down.

I think you missed as word in there. "...about HOW unfair it was to him..."

-Okay, that wasn't bad. The writing, as always, was fantastic. Some really nice stuff there. The only thing that bogged the chapter down for me somewhat was, well, Rennio. He's just not that engaging to me yet. He's sad and naive and childlike, okay. But I wasn't really gripped by him at any particular point. There were also some moments where the narrative felt more like your writing (this far in, I feel like I know it well enough to say such a thing) and less like it was coming from Rennio himself. It made him feel a little bit two-dimensional to me.

I guess, as a comparison, I don't like Atis. But that's because I don't like the character you have given him. My disdain for him is as a character, so you are evoking an emotion from me. I didn't really get that from Rennio. He's just kind of...there. And there's his backstory. And, again, the description and the story-telling were good, but Rennio himself was a miss to me.

But it is only the first chapter featuring him, so there's plenty of time for this to change. Not trying to be a downer, just stating my feelings. I think what it might be is that you are such a good writer that all your characters thus far have come across as eloquent and full of life and feelings. And after last chapter, I was kind of expecting Rennio to be a little herpy-derpy. And when he wasn't, I just kind of thought "this narration reads a lot like Senori's or Ezrem's or Atis'", and it threw me.

diamondpearl876
30th October 2012, 6:41 PM
That was very nicely written. I can relate to that in a big way. When my wife says my name in the street, at a store, or whenever, it gives me this warmth that starts in my stomach and radiates outward. I'm getting the feeling that someone you know IRL does this for you as well, because to me, the only way you would know to write that is if you've experienced it before. You certainly have a knack for feelings and getting people to pay attention to them because I've been stuck on that sentence for almost five minutes lol. Nicely done

I agree that one of my biggest strong points is emotion. And yes, I do have someone like that, LOL. He always calls me by nicknames so when he actually says my real name it’s great. By the way, must feel cool to be able to say “wife” now. ;)



I would have been angry if you hadn't brought that up because that's the first thing that came to my mind once the story of Ezrem's trainer came up. Nice

Oh my, glad I didn’t make you angry! LOL. But yeah, old pokéballs are something I wonder about for some reason, so I included it.


Awesome awesome...Sometimes I wonder who you're describing when you write things like this. I suppose it's easier for me to believe that you are drawing out these passages from people you know rather than you are truely this fantastic of a writer, but in all seriousness, wow. I couldn't have come up with that kind of passage if I tried. Nicely done

I’m not too observant of other people (kind of odd for a writer, I think, but oh well) so these things just come out of my head. Don’t know where they come from.


Hmm, Rennio has a few qualities reminiscent of Senori and the guilt he carries. Though Senori is much more up front about it. I'm not sure whether it has to do with Rennio's age and inexperience or maturity level, but I do have the feeling that these side issues are going to get bigger and bigger as the story progresses. Hopefully Senori can help him with that, but at the same time Senori may be too introverted to help. Or I may be totally off base with my thinking here. Meh, I suppose you and I are continuing our tradition of commenting on something that we both think doesn't make sense to the other haha

Nah, it totally makes sense. I actually hadn’t really thought of their similarities or anything or how they could help each other, so thanks for bringing that up.


Well, two very good chapters as always. I'm surprised you added both new characters so quickly, but you were able to do it smoothly and I liked how you filled it up with such an impressive and emotional backstory (more from Rennio's side than Ezram's, but still) I'm looking forward to see what's going to happen in Goldenrod especially since you said that you'll have a new chapter up soon, and yes in the back of my mind I want Sai to punch Ezrem very hard across the beak lol.[/quote]

I thought putting them both back to back would be fitting. And Ezrem has got quite another thing coming to him, so don’t you worry about him.


As per usual, impeccable description and characterization. I can totally see the former trainer a real person by this point. Mischievous in a harmless sort of way and philosophical and fun-loving. It'll be interesting when she meets Sai because, like I said, I'm sure she isn't dead. :)

LOL. I’ll tell you now so you’re not disappointed later: she isn’t going to show up. I do believe something happened to her in that fire.


Again, this conflicts heavily with the seemingly happy-go-lucky, dopey Rennio we were introduced to last chapter. I wonder why he acts like that when he is, in truth, much darker inside,.

I blame Ezrem.


The two "All I knew" bits here tend to bump against each other. It just seems like...the first obviously wasn't all he knew if there was more that he knew.

Fair enough. I don’t know why I write things like this sometimes.


This part MIGHT be just a touch too melodramatic, in my opinion. It almost reads like bad teenage poetry.

LOL. Well, focusing on emotions in my chapters, I was expecting something to be too melodramatic at some point. Thanks for pointing it out.



Okay, that wasn't bad. The writing, as always, was fantastic. Some really nice stuff there. The only thing that bogged the chapter down for me somewhat was, well, Rennio. He's just not that engaging to me yet. He's sad and naive and childlike, okay. But I wasn't really gripped by him at any particular point. There were also some moments where the narrative felt more like your writing (this far in, I feel like I know it well enough to say such a thing) and less like it was coming from Rennio himself. It made him feel a little bit two-dimensional to me.

I guess, as a comparison, I don't like Atis. But that's because I don't like the character you have given him. My disdain for him is as a character, so you are evoking an emotion from me. I didn't really get that from Rennio. He's just kind of...there. And there's his backstory. And, again, the description and the story-telling were good, but Rennio himself was a miss to me.

But it is only the first chapter featuring him, so there's plenty of time for this to change. Not trying to be a downer, just stating my feelings. I think what it might be is that you are such a good writer that all your characters thus far have come across as eloquent and full of life and feelings. And after last chapter, I was kind of expecting Rennio to be a little herpy-derpy. And when he wasn't, I just kind of thought "this narration reads a lot like Senori's or Ezrem's or Atis'", and it threw me.

I appreciate your honesty. I’ll have to work on his character so it seems less two-dimensional. Not sure how I’m going to do that yet, but I’ll figure it out. Thanks for commenting!

diamondpearl876
2nd November 2012, 11:27 PM
SURVIVAL PROJECT

chapter 12 ; [ATIS]
influence

*

He felt like progress.

…Sometimes, anyway. I couldn’t tell most of the time.

On one hand, I had been able to leave Earl and the wild kids that attended the Violet City pokémon school, just like I wanted. I was no longer able to stand giving myself up to the concept of pokémon training day after day, and Sai rescued me from that when I needed him most. But traveling with Sai was partly like being part of my nightmares, where we were training for the sake of training, getting badges for the sake of having them, and not having any future goal in mind. The other half of the journey consisted of being free, of being able to explore the world and see it for what it is. And that was what I liked. I wanted Sai to be able to contribute to the world in some way that didn’t involve pokémon, and he was beginning to do that by slowing down his journey, but… Well, yes, Sai felt like progress—but only sometimes.

And somehow, I know that pokémon don’t often get a second chance to choose their trainers. I can only count on one hand the amount of situations that could offer a second chance, and I don’t even have that many fingers. More importantly, neither scenario is pretty: a trainer either dies or abandons his pokémon. As much as I despised being the pokémon of a trainer, I wouldn’t wish that upon myself or anyone else.

But Marty, when he came along, he presented what originally seemed to be unthinkable to a trainer, people who normally can’t stand being separated from their partners. He forced Sai into reconsidering his choice in pokémon. He forced Sai into thinking about our opinions and desires and dreams. And Sai gave us a choice—to stay or go! The choice to go or stay, it was as simple as that, really, and not one that many trainers would have the guts to offer.

When it was my turn to decide and answer, I wasn’t sure what to say. Again, Sai felt like progress, but was it enough to me? Was it worth it to stay until the boy finished his journey and had to find something else to do with his life? Was it worth it to leave and try to make it on my own in a society where pokémon are nothing more than pets or tools of violence? I weighed my options right then and there, but I was very limited on time. I simply said that I needed time to think about it, and at least it was true.

So, when we were making our way to Goldenrod City, I knew I still had a choice to make. Though Sai seemed strict and set in his ways, I knew that he wouldn’t honestly take my choice away from me if I decided to bring it up again. He was clearly following someone else’s rules and setting his own aside, only allowing them to be set free when he deemed it safe and perhaps necessary. I felt that, this far into the journey, I could say this with certainty, when my life was anything but certain…

It seemed especially so when Sai suddenly stopped walking, when I was expecting him to keep going and going until he reached the gym, even if it took all his energy and hours and hours of no sleep. It wouldn’t be out of character for him, anyway. But he stopped, and I crashed into the back of his legs accidentally.

“Sai?” I said. He was glancing at a lone building in front of us. It was surrounded by a short white fence where cries of happy and playful pokémon could be heard inside. The sign ahead read: Daycare Center—We Take Care of All Pokémon! After the previous ordeal, I vaguely wondered if he was considering abandoning us here, but the thought fled from my mind just as quickly as it came. I also knew that he wouldn’t do that…

“A daycare is a place where people or pokémon stay and get taken care of, right? Fed and bathed and stuff?” he asked, turning toward Senori. I wondered how Senori would know, but didn’t say anything, as usual.

“I don’t know,” Senori admitted, “but we can always go inside and ask, if you’re really curious.”

“I am,” Sai said, moving forward now to the door. I followed closely behind him, careful not to have the chance of bumping into him again.

When we got inside, there was an older woman sitting behind a counter, reading a book. She glanced up at us and immediately stood and smiled as if she hadn’t had any visitors in years. Perhaps she was lonely after being only with pokémon. I would be lonely, too, if I was stuck with them for an extended period of time.

“Hello!” she said, putting her hands together and holding them up to her face gleefully. “Welcome to the daycare center! How can I help you?”

“You take care of pokémon, right?” Sai said, not even bothering to greet her.

“Yes, me and my husband take care of pokémon here. He’s out in the back giving a young pichu a bath right now”—so maybe she wasn’t lonely after all, I thought, and smiled, too—“and that’s just one example of what we do here. If you need a vacation day, we’re here for you! If your pokémon wants a unique place to train, this is a place to do it. We’re here for any reason you made need our services.”

“Ah, yes…” Sai said, taking his backpack off and rummaging through it. “I caught a bunch of magikarp the other day. I know I can’t carry more than six pokémon, and I know I won’t be using them on my team, so…”

“So you want us to take care of them?” the older lady finished for him.

“Exactly,” Sai said. He took out one pokéball and placed it on the counter. He went through his backpack again and pulled out another pokéball. And another. And another… In total, I counted about twenty of them. The older lady looked stunned rather than eager now.

“Son, do you know how much it’s going to cost for us to keep all of these magikarp?” she asked.

Sai looked down to the ground, and I could see that his face was turning red. “I don’t know why I caught them. I mean, I was going to use them for food… but I thought about it and that didn’t seem like a good idea…”

“You were going to eat them?”

“Yeah… I mean, yeah, isn’t that normal?”

“I’m glad you changed your mind,” she said, ignoring his question. “But it will cost a lot for you to leave them here, depending on how long it takes you to come back for them.”

“I don’t intend on coming back.”

“You don’t?”

“I have no use for them. I know they’re probably expecting a trainer to take care of them, and this is my way of showing them that they were in my thoughts. I hope you understand. They were in an old, small cave with terrible water before, and here, maybe they’ll be treated better.”

“So you’re giving them to us to keep.”

“I will give you anything. I will pay you now if you want instead,” Sai said, looking through his backpack again, probably for money.

“That would be acceptable,” she said, and told him how much it would cost. As soon as she told him, Sai paused while looking through his backpack, as if he was reconsidering his choice, but he went through with it and paid the older lady. He had a strained look on his face. I wondered if he was guilty for spending money after carelessly buying so much in Azalea Town.

But that became an afterthought as we left and kept heading toward our destination. I kept repeating the scene over and over in my head and noted that Sai could let go of pokémon—if he really tried.

I supposed that was a start.

*

Goldenrod City surely lived up to its name. The outside of each building was built with yellow bricks, save for the pokémon center, which looked like every other one we had seen so far: made of a grey exterior with a red roof, and a medical sign on the top to indicate the building’s purpose. Even the shopping center looked different than the others we had seen so far. Getting closer, I could tell that instead of it being a normal mart, it was an entire mall, with several floors and various types of sales inside. Several people were walking in, while others were walking out with bags in hand.

“This city is huge,” Kuiora pointed out as we kept walking around, getting ourselves familiar with the area we would be in for at least the next few days.

“It is! I wonder what they need all these buildings for, anyway,” Senori said.

“There’s a gambling place,” I said, reading the sign of the building we had just passed. I kept reading them as we went by. “And a radio tower. A flower shop, a bowling alley… Regular houses…”

It occurred to me, then, that I should try to take Sai around the town and expose him to these other places unrelated to pokémon, to at least expose him to other ideas out there in the world. It was worth a shot, anyway. The worst case scenario would be that Sai would despise everything and anything about each place, but the boy seemed to be excited about every little thing back in Azalea Town, so that was unlikely. Still, I could tell that he was slowing down quite a bit. I would have to observe his new tired behavior so that I could get used to it, and not be as negatively affected by it as I was by his previous outburst.

“Sai?” I said again, though this time I didn’t bump into his leg. Instead, I pulled on his pants leg, trying to get his attention as best as I could. I wasn’t used to trying to get another person’s attention, and didn’t know how much was too much or how much was too little. Still, my efforts seemed to work as he stopped to peer down at me expectantly, saying nothing in order to let me speak. “After we go to the pokémon center, why don’t we… you know… actually explore the town more thoroughly? I mean… if you’re okay with that, that is…”

“Like go into the buildings and stuff?”

“Yes!” I said a little too loudly. He was understanding me pretty well; things were going smoothly so far already. “Um, again, if that’s all right with you.”

Sai hesitated for a moment, lost in thought. After a few moments of silence and awkward staring, he finally said, “Sure, if that’s what you want. I want to go to the gym first to set up a battle appointment first, but I’ll make it happen in two weeks.”

Though this was clearly not like his ordinary self, I was cheering on the inside.

*

Within the hour, it was official: the gym battle would take place two weeks from today. Since we were already so close to the gym, we stopped by to set up Sai’s “appointment.” I didn’t know why he felt compelled to schedule the gym battle, since what we had done so far was just approach the gym leader when we were ready, but he simply explained that he was following the rules now that he knew them better. As his pokémon, I felt obligated to go along with him, so I stayed quiet.

That night, we stayed in the pokémon center, with all of us staying in the same room. Sai explained that although he was earning money from winning pokémon battles with trainers, he didn’t have enough anymore to cover the cost of all of us having our own room after the encounter with the daycare lady. None of us complained, as this was nothing new, though there were whispers about what we’d do about food. I lay on the top bunk, as always, remembering how he knew this about me, and fell asleep wondering what else he knew and kept to himself.

The day after, the first place I took him to was the shopping mall. With the building being as large as it was, surely there was something unrelated to pokémon inside. And I was right. While there were floors dedicated to supplies and pokémon food, there were sections for clothes, gifts, candy, video games, music, movies, and much more.

“You can buy us more shirts,” Kuiora said casually, walking behind Sai to stay close to Ezrem, who was just peering around, exploring the place like everyone else.

“You can have one, but I don’t want one,” Senori said. “The last one covered my tail and made things feel really weird for me.”

I wouldn’t have minded a shirt to feel more human, but I said nothing and watched as Sai looked around, trying to decide where to go first. I tried to push him toward the movie section since he was having trouble choosing, but he said, “I’ve never seen a movie in my life. I don’t know.”

“You’ve never seen a movie before?” said Rennio, who was also standing close to Ezrem. I was just glad it was the bird and not me. “Even me and Ezrem have seen a movie before. We saw one about a boy and a girl who wanted to erase their memories of each other, but then changed their minds and had to go through a lot of trouble to remember each other.”

“It sounds interesting… People make up things like that?”

“Yeah. Watching movies is something every human should do,” Rennio added, nodding.

“I don’t think it’d be appropriate to see one… Maybe some other time,” Sai said after a moment, and I stopped pushing him in that direction. The last thing I wanted to do was make him uncomfortable. Instead, I offered to take him to the gift shop. Surely he had someone back home to think of, even if he didn’t speak about his home too often.

“There’s one person,” he said, his voice quiet. “I don’t know what she’d like…”

“That’s the point of shopping—to look around and see!” I said, pushing him over there. Where I was getting this energy and motivation from, I didn’t know, but it was nice. This time, he accepted and didn’t complain.

When we finally got over there, he glanced at the various items that were stocked on the shelves. There were picture frames, bobble heads, cards, a section for the cheapest little trinkets, plush dolls. Kuiora was glancing through the shelves as well, finding a totodile plush doll and hugging it tightly to herself.

“Look at this, Ezrem! This is what I used to look like! Don’t I look much tougher now?” she said, looking at him expectantly.

“Yes, yes you do,” Ezrem said, smiling at her.

Senori was following Sai, probably eager to see what he’d choose. The sentret was always watching out for our trainer, I noticed, and that was for the best, seeing as how I couldn’t properly do it myself…

Eventually, I caught up to the two of them and started following Sai, too. He was roaming the aisles, lingering at some of them and not others. He didn’t appear to be interested in anything in particular until he came across the shelf with pieces of various outdoor equipment. There were tents, pieces of sports equipment, and a shelf for all of the smaller items, like pocket knives. And that’s exactly what he picked up: a pocket knife. He held it out in his outstretched hands, turning it over and over in his palm.

“You want that for her?” I asked incredulously.

“That’s not a very girly gift, you know,” Senori said, folding his arms and smiling.

“She’s a fan of weapons,” said Sai.

“Sounds dangerous,” Senori said, his grin disappearing from his face.

“Hmm,” was all he replied with.

“Everyone’s got a secret,” Ezrem said, coming up behind me and scaring me to the point where I almost jumped. My body turned in his direction, my breath quickly accelerating at his presence. I didn’t know if there were any ill feelings about attacking his partner, and quite frankly, his cunning personality frightened me considerably.

“W-What do you mean?” I asked. I was losing my confidence rather quickly. At least I had gotten Sai to think about something other than the gym, but now Ezrem was here.

“Who knows what he really wants to do with that knife?” he said. He fluffed up his feathers and pretended like what he was saying was nothing, though the thought seemed sinister to me, even though I didn’t think Sai was a sinister person. “There’s a secret in everyone, in every place! I bet plenty of people have stolen from this mall. My old trainer used to do so when she was out of money and desperate for food!”

“W-Well, we’re not stealing anything… even though we’re low on money…” I said in Sai’s defense, though in my opinion, I was doing poorly. Apparently, Ezrem thought so, too.

“I’m just saying,” Ezrem said. “How well do you really know your trainer?”

Not very well, I thought, but kept my mouth shut.

“Ezrem, be nice,” said Kuiora, who had been listening in on the conversation and had been giggling up until now.

“I am always nice! I’m just saying that I’d like to know my trainer real well, so I’m watching Sai.”

“You’re scaring Atis.”

“It’s not my problem if he gets scared so easily,” Ezrem retorted, grinning.

“Well, I don’t care. Just shut up. You’re not even Sai’s pokemon,” Kuiora said, going back to her childish ways, though I was thankful for it.

Needless to say, Ezrem went quiet after that comment. He watched Sai like a bird always seems to watch its prey. He made sure that Sai bought the pocketknife, and that was the end of the journey in the mall, since I couldn’t bring myself to push him anywhere else.

*

The next day, I brought him to the flower shop because the place sounded pretty innocent compared to the mall, where there was so many things to look at and consider. Ezrem wouldn’t be able to bring me down this time.

The flower shop was at the north end of the city, so I made sure to wake them all up early, though I wanted to stay at the top of the bunk and rest a little while longer. So did Sai, as it took quite a lot of shaking to get him to finally wake up, which was odd considering he never seemed to sleep. Now it seemed that he slept too much.

On the way to the flower shop, the aroma of the city changed. Before, the city air was polluted and not very appealing when breathed in. Now, the air smelled much more pleasant and inviting, which made me feel like we were going to a good place, one where we would all feel comfortable.

Inside we discovered the source of the beautiful aroma. There was a bunch of women, each of them doing their own chores within the shop. One was water the various plants, another was placing them in a satisfactory order, another waited at the counter, looking at us expectantly. From the look on her ecstatic face, I could tell that she didn’t get many men coming into the shop.

“Would you like to buy any flowers today?” she asked sweetly, cupping her hands together and holding them behind her back.

“Maybe,” Sai said quickly, and the rest of the group seemed to take that as permission to look around and see what they wanted. Kuiora was attracted to the blue flowers immediately, with Ezrem and Rennio following close behind. Senori went to the red flowers, and I stood by the yellow ones. Sai roamed around the shop, coming to each of us at least once.

When he reached Kuiora the second time, he picked out a blue flower, bent down a bit to see her face to face, and gave it to her, smiling.

“For you,” he said.

“Why?” she said, but she was reaching out nonetheless.

“For being my pokémon, of course,” he said as she took it from him.

One by one, he came to each of us and gave us a flower from the vases that we were standing by, and thanked us for being his pokémon. He even went over to Ezrem and thanked him for joining us, which was surprising to all of us considering the past rejection, but none of us protested. Then, he went to all of the individual ladies in the store and gave them one, too, saying, “You give out flowers every day, but how many times do you have flowers given to you?”

After seeing our trainer be so kind, I had to say that I was impressed. Senori must have noticed, too, as he decided to join in on the giving atmosphere and took out a red flower for Sai, trying to hand it to him.

“I don’t deserve one, but thank you,” Sai said. He took the flower from Senori’s hand, but then put it back into the vase, where he thought it belonged. Then he went up to the counter and paid for the flowers that he had given us and the ladies.

“You should take a vase with you, too, to put them in,” the lady at the counter offered, handing an empty one to him.

“What do I do with it?” Sai asked.

“Fill it with water and put the flowers in there so they don’t die. It’s on us, since you were so kind.”

“It’s okay. You don’t have to give me this.”

“We want to!” she said, smelling the blue flower in her hand and smiling.

“Well, it’s just a vase, right? Okay,” he said, finally giving into something. “Thank you, too.”

“Our pleasure,” said the lady at the counter.

The next day, I didn’t take Sai anywhere. I decided to take a day for myself, since this idea of taking charge of my life for once was absolutely draining on me. I stayed in the bunk all day as the others lounged around and talked. Sai filled the vase he got from the flower shop with water and put all the flowers we had bought into it. It didn’t look like a pretty bouquet, as the color combination wasn’t appealing with three blue flowers, one yellow, and one red. But I lay in bed all day looking at it and I smiled to myself anyway. After being rejected by Sasha and Marty, Sai had gotten the human interaction that he so desperately needed. And maybe even more important than that, he was showing us that he appreciated us for being with him. I thought, again, about my choice to stay or go. I was cherished where I was, there was no doubt. Sai wasn’t out to maliciously harm me or anything by wanting to do pokémon training; it was his own preference, and it just happened to be a preference that was similar to most others’ in the world. I decided to just keep going with my plan, to keep spending time with Sai and the others, and then I would give myself more time to decide. This wasn’t something that I could rush. No, this wasn’t something I had to rush at all…

*

I thought that maybe I’d regret it later, but I took him to the casino after the flower shop. I’d heard horror stories of people becoming addicted to gambling and losing all of their money, but I thought that we had nothing left to lose, being so low on money, anyway. And Sai didn’t seem like the type to get addicted to one thing, but instead to a bunch of things.

“This place is loud,” Rennio complained the moment we got inside. And indeed, it was loud. The sound of coins clanging against each other and on machines filled the air. Victory music was playing at some machines, but not others. There was angry shouting and cries of joy all at once. Yes, this place seemed to fit Sai perfectly, since he was happy one moment and furious the next and then seemingly sad. At least he seemed interested, but he was also completely lost.

“I have no idea what to do,” he admitted sheepishly.

“You’ve never heard of a casino before, either?” Ezrem cried, trying to be heard over the musical building.

“Nope.”

“Well, then. I know the perfect place for you to start,” Ezrem said, and I instantly forgave him for the ordeal at the shopping mall since he was choosing to take charge. He navigated the rows of games and slot machines, trying to find whatever it was that he was looking for. Eventually, we reached a table that had a wheel on top of it. The wheel consisted of black and red lines with various numbers on them. People were crowded around the table, murmuring excitedly.

“Roulette,” was all Ezrem said at first. When Sai still seemed confused, he continued, “You make bets on what color you think the ball will land on. Or you can bet on what kind of number the ball will land on. Whatever you want!”

“Sounds easy,” Sai said, walking up to the table and joining everyone else.

“Exactly!” said Ezrem, clearly proud of himself.

So Sai joined in on the next bet, with all of us sitting at the edge of table and watching intently. Most people were making complicated bets to try to get more money. They offered thirty pokédollars if the ball landed on a red number between one and eighteen, for example. But Sai focused on simplicity.

“It will land on black,” was all he said at first. When he was instructed to place money on the table to bet with, he did so, though he was reluctant. He looked at me, and I knew he was silently asking why I didn’t tell him we would be spending more money. I shrugged my shoulders, pretending that I didn’t know. The others encouraged him to put the money down anyway.

It turned out that Sai didn’t have to worry too much about money. In fact, it was the opposite. He ended up winning his first bet, and made a profit off of it. Then he won again. And again, with his simple bets. I wondered how he was so good at guessing when his chances were so low and there was no way that anyone could possibly win every time he played. Well, he did lose about once or twice, but that was it. In the end, he still made more than he lost. It reminded me of the dice he always carried around with him. When he introduced himself as my new trainer, he had instructed me to roll the dice, somehow knowing that the outcome of the roll would show a three—and sure enough, two black dots and one black dot showed up. How did he know? Was his intuition that reliable for him? As I watched him bet on red or black and win again and again, that seemed like the most plausible explanation.

I didn’t know how much Sai had earned from his adventures here at the casino, but he was smiling at the end, saying, “Now I don’t have to feel guilty for spending so much money at the daycare or at the flower shop. We can have food and a room at the pokémon center still!”

And that was all that mattered to him. He didn’t even want to leave and explore the rest of the place, he just wanted to win money at the game he was at. His childish eagerness over adult-like responsibilities made me giggle, which got me some odd looks from the others. I ignored them—was the image of a giggling hitmontop really that funny? It probably was, and the image of myself made me giggle again as we left, pokédollars still in Sai’s hands.

*

On the last day of our thorough exploration of Goldenrod City, I decided to take him to the radio tower. I didn’t know that it would be the last place we would be able to go. I just knew that Earl always used to listen to the radio back in Violet City, and the people on air always had something to say. There seemed to be no end to the amount of things they could share and laugh about. This, to me, was a good thing to show Sai. But my plan backfired.

Once again, I woke everyone up early because we had discovered that the radio tower was at the northern end of the city, like the flower shop. I wanted to make sure we had enough time to get to that part of the city and then browse the radio tower. Sai was more eager to get up today than he had been before, I noted, probably because of yesterday’s winning adventure.

When we arrived there, the man at the counter explained that the place was free. There wouldn’t be much to see, he said, because maintenance was being performed upstairs and we weren’t allowed to go any higher than the first floor. Once the man let us go, we thanked him and wandered around inside. Of course, there wasn’t much to see on the first floor. The place looked like the inside of any other building. The only striking feature I could see was that the counter that the man was at extended throughout the entire room, and even more people were behind the counter, looking at us expectantly and smiling warmly. One of them wore headphones and had an interesting, complex piece of machinery in front of them, but that was about it. There were stairs leading upstairs, but we weren’t sure whether or not we could go up, despite having paid to be here.

“Well,” Sai said dumbly. “This is it.”

“I guess so…” I said, disappointed, despite the warning we had received.

“Don’t look so forlorn, boy!” called the guy who had the headphones on. “Come over here!”

Sai obeyed instantly, and the rest of us followed. We got a closer look at the machinery the guy had. There was a microphone to accompany the headphones, and the flat part of the machine had a ton of buttons and words on it to indicate what each button did. I couldn’t read any of them upside down, though.

“Hello, guys!” the man behind the counter continued. I wondered why he was talking so loud, when we were right in front of him, clearly able to hear. “Welcome to the radio tower! I know you can’t go upstairs, so you’re probably wondering why you came here…”

“Definitely,” Kuiora butted in, peaking her head up over the counter. I winced.

“Well, you may not be able to look around the rest of the place, but you can get your spot on the radio right here! See this jar we have here?” he said, pointing to it. I hadn’t noticed it before. It was a small jar that had some pokédollars in it. “If you pay a small amount of money, I’ll record your voice so it appears on the radio. You can say just about anything you want!”

“Anything we want?” said Ezrem, who was now peering next to Kuiora.

“Well, almost anything. You must be appropriate, of course!”

“Nevermind,” said Ezrem, backing down from the counter.

“What about the rest of you? Some people just like to vent and complain, others say hi to their families, others talk about their pokémon… Why, just the other day, someone even came here just to mention that they had seen a Team Rocket member floating around the city recently,” he said, his voice growing quieter.

I could feel Sai tense up next to me almost instantly.

“T-Team Rocket?” he said.

“Yeah, the group of bad guys that took over—”

“I’m sorry, but we need to go now,” Sai said. He was turned around and walking before he was even done speaking. The man watched him go along with the rest of us.

“Are you guys confused? Because I’m confused,” Senori said to break the silence.

“Well, what are we waiting for? We have to listen to him! Let’s go!” Kuiora said, pulling along Ezrem, who pulled on one of the plugs on top of Rennio’s head.

Senori and I listened to her, knowing better than to deny her wishes. Senori waved good-bye to the man behind the counter and apologized for his trainer’s behavior.

When we were back out in the city air, we struggled to keep up. Since Kuiora, Ezrem, and Rennio got a head start, they had an easier time following Sai back to the pokémon center. We tried not to lose them, all the while wondering what was happening to Sai this time.

“Do you know what’s wrong with him?” Senori asked me, then started running on all fours, seeing that his thoughts were keeping us further and further behind. I shook my head and started running.

At the pokémon center, it was at least easy to find our room from the front lobby, since we’d gone done that hallway several times before. This time, though, none of us could get in because the door was locked. We all sat outside in complete silence, none of us daring to disturb our trainer. Eventually, though, Sai showed his face again.

“Atis?” he said, peering out into the hallway through a small crack in the door.

“Y-Yes?” I said, trying to stand up, but my feet were wobbly. I was the one responsible for this situation, yet I didn’t know how to take full responsibility. The idea was unfavorable to me, to say the least.

“Come in here, please,” he said softly, which calmed my nerves a bit, but not by much. I stumbled over Kuiora’s tail and she squealed. I apologized lamely, thinking now that neither the hallway nor the room was where I wanted to be. Sai seemed like the least threatening, so I just went into the room and quickly shut the door behind me before Kuiora could yell at me.

“Atis,” Sai said again.

I simply nodded, afraid to speak.

“I’m sorry, but we’ll have to go to the gym as soon as possible now. Forget the appointment,” Sai went on. “These people are following me. I just know it.”

“W-Who’s… following you, Sai?” I dared to ask.

Sai was quiet, then he spoke after a few moments: “Do you want to be closer to me or something? Are you feeling like the others are getting more attention or something? I didn’t know. You should have told me.”

I looked up, caught off guard. “N-No, that’s not—”

“I don’t know how to be close to people. Or pokémon, for that matter,” he said solemnly, ignoring me. “I’m not allowed to be close to anyone, so it’s fine. I guess. But if that’s what you want…”

I waited for him to go on, but he didn’t. He looked at me, his dark blue eyes full of sadness. The panic that he was in at the radio tower had vanished.

He went over to the bed and started rummaging through his backpack. He pulled out a marker, which I didn’t even know he had. It made me think that there was no end to the amount of things in his backpack, just like there was no end to the things to the radio.

“I use it to practice writing sometimes,” he said. “I don’t know what to do. It might sound weird, I know. I don’t know. We can share a secret about each other, all right? You share one secret, and I’ll share one of mine. You can read my secret, but I won’t read yours. You can write it on my back, and I’ll write yours on a piece of paper, since you don’t wear shirts.”

“Um,” was all I could think to say. A secret? About me? About my trainer? I had mixed feelings, as I usually did. I had never told anyone a secret about me since I was too shy. But it would be nice to know my trainer a bit more, and maybe it could help me make my decision…

“This could make us feel closer, you know? Since that’s what you want,” Sai went on. He went over to the table in the corner of the room, and picked up the piece of paper that had been lying there since the day we rented out the room. It had all of the pokémon center’s housing rules on it, but he took the marker and wrote over the words. Soon, I would be able to read those words, whatever they were. I noted that it took him a long time to write, as if writing each letter was agonizing for him.

When he was done, he took off his shirt. Since Earl had always told me I shouldn’t look at his body out of self-consciousness, I turned to look away from Sai as well. But then Sai came closer to me and bent down, making it hard to not see him. He handed me the marker and nodded.

“This is…” I said, trailing off. I didn’t know how to put it. It was weird, writing on a human’s back, was it not? Would it stay there forever? What if someone else saw? Couldn’t I just not write a secret, and Sai would never know?

But Sai seemed so calm compared to his panicky demeanor at the radio tower. I wanted to keep him calm. So I took the marker and wrote on his back as quickly as I could to get the awkwardness over with. I didn’t even have to think about what I wrote: I wish I was human.

Yes, I did wish I was a human. If I were human, I would do my absolute best to get rid of my shy demeanor. I’d travel the entire world, see what each city and town had to offer. I’d meet all the great kinds of people out there, and all the terrible kinds of people, too. I wouldn’t have pokémon to protect me; I’d protect myself. And as I traveled, I’d find out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

I wished the same for Sai.

I had believed that I had done a good job of finally forcing myself to do something I wanted in life. I had believed that I was doing a good thing for Sai by showing him around the city, proving to him that there was more to like than the pokémon that constantly followed him around. Perhaps I had been wrong, because now he was being paranoid. Now he seemed to be crazy again, thinking someone was stalking him, watching his every move. This seemed completely illogical to me, but there was nothing I could say to prove it to him. All I could think was that, at the end of the day, his life revolved around this journey for the gym badges. To him, there was nothing else, and though it bothered me, I couldn’t change him. His emotions and passion were fierce, his eyes set on one goal and one goal only. Still, I would wait out my decision. It wasn’t anything that I had to declare right now, and truthfully, I was afraid of deciding, anyway.

To thankfully distract me, Sai handed me the piece of paper he had written on, and turned to look away from me. I went to read it, both terrified and drawn to the idea at the same time—

I am always sick.

The Great Butler
3rd November 2012, 9:29 AM
SURVIVAL PROJECT

chapter 12 ; [ATIS]
influence

*

Ooh, Atis. Feels like it's been a while since we've had a chapter for him.


He felt like progress.

…Sometimes, anyway. I couldn’t tell most of the time.

On one hand, I had been able to leave Earl and the wild kids that attended the Violet City pokémon school, just like I wanted. I was no longer able to stand giving myself up to the concept of pokémon training day after day, and Sai rescued me from that when I needed him most. But traveling with Sai was partly like being part of my nightmares, where we were training for the sake of training, getting badges for the sake of having them, and not having any future goal in mind. The other half of the journey consisted of being free, of being able to explore the world and see it for what it is. And that was what I liked. I wanted Sai to be able to contribute to the world in some way that didn’t involve pokémon, and he was beginning to do that by slowing down his journey, but… Well, yes, Sai felt like progress—but only sometimes.

And somehow, I know that pokémon don’t often get a second chance to choose their trainers. I can only count on one hand the amount of situations that could offer a second chance, and I don’t even have that many fingers. More importantly, neither scenario is pretty: a trainer either dies or abandons his pokémon. As much as I despised being the pokémon of a trainer, I wouldn’t wish that upon myself or anyone else.

I should have realized sooner how important a perspective on Ezrem and Rennio Atis can offer. I'm really looking forward to this now.


But Marty, when he came along, he presented what originally seemed to be unthinkable to a trainer, people who normally can’t stand being separated from their partners. He forced Sai into reconsidering his choice in pokémon. He forced Sai into thinking about our opinions and desires and dreams. And Sai gave us a choice—to stay or go! The choice to go or stay, it was as simple as that, really, and not one that many trainers would have the guts to offer.

When it was my turn to decide and answer, I wasn’t sure what to say. Again, Sai felt like progress, but was it enough to me? Was it worth it to stay until the boy finished his journey and had to find something else to do with his life? Was it worth it to leave and try to make it on my own in a society where pokémon are nothing more than pets or tools of violence? I weighed my options right then and there, but I was very limited on time. I simply said that I needed time to think about it, and at least it was true.

I really appreciate how philosophical you're making Atis. Though the question of staying or going is a rather straightforward one, there's some significant weight behind it and Atis's examination of those philosophical questions really makes him more than just a Pokemon.


So, when were making our way to Goldenrod City, I knew I still had a choice to make. Though Sai seemed strict and set in his ways, I knew that he wouldn’t honestly take my choice away from me if I decided to bring it up again. He was clearly following someone else’s rules and setting his own aside, only allowing them to be set free when he deemed it safe and perhaps necessary. I felt that, this far into the journey, I could say this with certainty, when my life was anything but certain…

I notice Atis is taking note of something about Sai I noticed a long time ago, that Sai is following someone else's rules...


It seemed especially so when Sai suddenly stopped walking, when I was expecting him to keep going and going until he reached the gym, even if it took all his energy and hours and hours of no sleep. It wouldn’t be out of character for him, anyway. But he stopped, and I crashed into the back of his legs accidentally.

“Sai?” I said. He was glancing at a lone building in front of us. It was surrounded by a short white fence where cries of happy and playful pokémon could be heard inside. The sign ahead read: Daycare Center—We Take Care of All Pokémon! After the previous ordeal, I vaguely wondered if he was considering abandoning us here, but the thought fled from my mind just as quickly as it came. I also knew that he wouldn’t do that…

I hope he won't. That would be a rather unpleasant turn.



When we got inside, there was an older woman sitting behind a counter, reading a book. She glanced up at us and immediately stood and smiled as if she hadn’t had any visitors in years. Perhaps she was lonely after being only with pokémon. I would be lonely, too, if I was stuck with them for an extended period of time.

Something about that - the fact that Atis doesn't want to be among others of his own kind, at least for long - sticks with me. It just really says something to me for some reason.


“Hello!” she said, putting her hands together and holding them up to her face gleefully. “Welcome to the daycare center! How can I help you?”

“You take care of pokémon, right?” Sai said, not even bothering to greet her.

“Yes, me and my husband take care of pokémon here. He’s out in the back giving a young pichu a bath right now”—so maybe she wasn’t lonely after all, I thought, and smiled, too—“and that’s just one example of what we do here. If you need a vacation day, we’re here for you! If your pokémon wants a unique place to train, this is a place to do it. We’re here for any reason you made need our services.”

“Ah, yes…” Sai said, taking his backpack off and rummaging through it. “I caught a bunch of magikarp the other day. I know I can’t carry more than six pokémon, and I know I won’t be using them on my team, so…”

Wow, you actually remembered that! I even forgot about those Magikarp!


“So you want us to take care of them?” the older lady finished for him.

“Exactly,” Sai said. He took out one pokéball and placed it on the counter. He went through his backpack again and pulled out another pokéball. And another. And another… In total, I counted about twenty of them. The older lady looked stunned rather than eager now.

“Son, do you know how much it’s going to cost for us to keep all of these magikarp?” she asked.

Sai looked down to the ground, and I could see that his face was turning red. “I don’t know why I caught them. I mean, I was going to use them for food… but I thought about it and that didn’t seem like a good idea…”

“You were going to eat them?”

“Yeah… I mean, yeah, isn’t that normal?”

“I’m glad you changed your mind,” she said, ignoring his question. “But it will cost a lot for you to leave them here, depending on how long it takes you to come back for them.”

“I don’t intend on coming back.”

“You don’t?”

“I have no use for them. I know they’re probably expecting a trainer to take care of them, and this is my way of showing them that they were in my thoughts. I hope you understand. They were in an old, small cave with terrible water before, and here, maybe they’ll be treated better.”

I'm surprised Sai actually thought this deeply about the Magikarp and their fate. It makes me respect him a bit more again, and I think I'm coming to like just how erratic his personality is.


“So you’re giving them to us to keep.”

“I will give you anything. I will pay you now if you want instead,” Sai said, looking through his backpack again, probably for money.

“That would be acceptable,” she said, and told him how much it would cost. As soon as she told him, Sai paused while looking through his backpack, as if he was reconsidering his choice, but he went through with it and paid the older lady. He had a strained look on his face. I wondered if he was guilty for spending money after carelessly buying so much in Azalea Town.

But that became an afterthought as we left and kept heading toward our destination. I kept repeating the scene over and over in my head and noted that Sai could let go of pokémon—if he really tried.

I supposed that was a start.

I do feel like this point could have been a little stronger if we knew a little more about at least one of the Magikarp, though. That way, they would feel a little less like plot devices.


Goldenrod City surely lived up to its name. The outside of each building was built with yellow bricks, save for the pokémon center, which looked like every other one we had seen so far: made of a grey exterior with a red roof, and a medical sign on the top to indicate the building’s purpose. Even the shopping center looked different than the others we had seen so far. Getting closer, I could tell that instead of it being a normal mart, it was an entire mall, with several floors and various types of sales inside. Several people were walking in, while others were walking out with bags in hand.

Great description.


“This city is huge,” Kuiora pointed out as we kept walking around, getting ourselves familiar with the area we would be in for at least the next few days.

“It is! I wonder what they need all these buildings for, anyway,” Senori said.

“There’s a gambling place,” I said, reading the sign of the building we had just passed. I kept reading them as we went by. “And a radio tower. A flower shop, a bowling alley… Regular houses…”

I'm curious, can Atis read because he came from a school, or can all the Pokemon read?


It occurred to me, then, that I should try to take Sai around the town and expose him to these other places unrelated to pokémon, to at least expose him to other ideas out there in the world. It was worth a shot, anyway. The worst case scenario would be that Sai would despise everything and anything about each place, but the boy seemed to be excited about every little thing back in Azalea Town, so that was unlikely. Still, I could tell that he was slowing down quite a bit. I would have to observe his new tired behavior so that I could get used to it, and not be as negatively affected by it as I was by his previous outburst.

“Sai?” I said again, though this time I didn’t bump into his leg. Instead, I pulled on his pants leg, trying to get his attention as best as I could. I wasn’t used to trying to get another person’s attention, and didn’t know how much was too much or how much was too little. Still, my efforts seemed to work as he stopped to peer down at me expectantly, saying nothing in order to let me speak. “After we go to the pokémon center, why don’t we… you know… actually explore the town more thoroughly? I mean… if you’re okay with that, that is…”

At this point I'm getting a growing feeling that Atis is going to leave the group sometime soon. Call it a hunch, but I just feel like I'm moving in that direction. His interest in getting Sai to do new things is understandable, though - it will help both Sai and Atis himself in some ways.


“Like go into the buildings and stuff?”

“Yes!” I said a little too loudly. He was understanding me pretty well; things were going smoothly so far already. “Um, again, if that’s all right with you.”

Sai hesitated for a moment, lost in thought. After a few moments of silence and awkward staring, he finally said, “Sure, if that’s what you want. I want to go to the gym first to set up a battle appointment first, but I’ll make it happen in two weeks.”

Though this was clearly not like his ordinary self, I was cheering on the inside.

I think "ordinary" Sai is exactly what this inconsistent personality Sai is.

I continue to be intrigued by Atis. He's a curious one...


Within the hour, it was official: the gym battle would take place two weeks from today. Since we were already so close to the gym, we stopped by to set up Sai’s “appointment.” I didn’t know why he felt compelled to schedule the gym battle, since what we had done so far was just approach the gym leader when we were ready, but he simply explained that he was following the rules now that he knew them better. As his pokémon, I felt obligated to go along with him, so I stayed quiet.

Thanks for spending little time on the appointment being made. I was afraid the chapter would get bogged down in focusing on it.


That night, we stayed in the pokémon center, with all of us staying in the same room. Sai explained that although he was earning money from winning pokémon battles with trainers, he didn’t have enough anymore to cover the cost of all of us having our own room after the encounter with the daycare lady. None of us complained, as this was nothing new to us, though there were whispers about what we’d do about food. I lay on the top bunk, as always, remembering how he knew this about me, and fell asleep wondering what else he knew and kept to himself.

The day after, the first place I took him to was the shopping mall. With the building being as large as it was, surely there was something unrelated to pokémon inside. And I was right. While there were floors dedicated to supplies and pokémon food, there were sections for clothes, gifts, candy, video games, music, movies, and much more.

“You can buy us more shirts,” Kuiora said casually, walking behind Sai to stay close to Ezrem, who was just peering around, exploring the place like everyone else.

I had to smile here, with another mention of the shirts.

Curious that it took this long for Ezrem to be mentioned, though. I kind of thought he'd be having more interaction with Atis.


“You can have one, but I don’t want one,” Senori said. “The last one covered my tail and made things feel really weird for me.”

I wouldn’t have minded a shirt to feel more human, but I said nothing and watched as Sai looked around, trying to decide where to go first. I tried to push him toward the movie section since he was having trouble choosing, but he said, “I’ve never seen a movie in my life. I don’t know.”

“You’ve never seen a movie before?” said Rennio, who was also standing close to Ezrem. I was just glad it was the bird and not me. “Even me and Ezrem have seen a movie before. We saw one about a boy and a girl who wanted to erase their memories of each other, but then changed their minds and had to go through a lot of trouble to remember each other.”

I'm trying to think if I know what movie this is, but if it's a real movie or not, I suspect this is a Chekhov's Gun for something regarding Sai.


“It sounds interesting… People make up things like that?”

“Yeah. Watching movies is something every human should do,” Rennio added, nodding.

“I don’t think it’d be appropriate to see one… Maybe some other time,” Sai said after a moment, and I stopped pushing him in that direction. The last thing I wanted to do was make him uncomfortable. Instead, I offered to take him to the gift shop. Surely he had someone back home to think of, even if he didn’t speak about his home too often.

“There’s one person,” he said, his voice quiet. “I don’t know what she’d like…”

Did we just learn something about Sai's past?

I really want to see where this goes. This is really getting me excited to know more.


“That’s the point of shopping—to look around and see!” I said, pushing him over there. Where I was getting this energy and motivation from, I didn’t know, but it was nice. This time, he accepted and didn’t complain.

When we finally got over there, he glanced at the various items that were stocked on the shelves. There were picture frames, bobble heads, cards, a section for the cheapest little trinkets, plush dolls. Kuiora was glancing through the shelves as well, finding a totodile plush doll and hugging it tightly to herself.

“Look at this, Ezrem! This is what I used to look like! Don’t I look much tougher now?” she said, looking at him expectantly.

“Yes, yes you do,” Ezrem said, smiling at her.

Adorable, I like it.


Senori was following Sai, probably eager to see what he’d choose. The sentret was always watching out for our trainer, I noticed, and that was for the best, seeing as how I couldn’t properly do it myself…

Nice job keeping everyone in character and remembering their histories here.


Eventually, I caught up to the two of them and started following Sai, too. He was roaming the aisles, lingering at some of them and not others. He didn’t appear to be interested in anything in particular until he came across the shelf with pieces of various outdoor equipment. There were tents, pieces of sports equipment, and a shelf for all of the smaller items, like pocket knives. And that’s exactly what he picked up: a pocket knife. He held it out in his outstretched hands, turning it over and over in his palm.

“You want that for her?” I asked incredulously.

“That’s not a very girly gift, you know,” Senori said, folding his arms and smiling.

“She’s a fan of weapons,” said Sai.

Again, whoever this girl or woman from Sai's past is is really intriguing me. She certainly sounds quite unique.


“Sounds dangerous,” Senori said, his grin disappearing from his face.

“Hmm,” was all he replied with.

“Everyone’s got a secret,” Ezrem said, coming up behind me and scaring me to the point where I almost jumped. My body turned in his direction, my breath quickly accelerating at his presence. I didn’t know if there were any ill feelings about attacking his partner, and quite frankly, his cunning personality frightened me considerably.

“W-What do you mean?” I asked. I was losing my confidence rather quickly. At least I had gotten Sai to think about something other than the gym, but now Ezrem was here.

“Who knows what he really wants to do with that knife?” he said. He fluffed up his feathers and pretended like what he was saying was nothing, though the thought seemed sinister to me, even though I didn’t think Sai was a sinister person. “There’s a secret in everyone, in every place! I bet plenty of people have stolen from this mall. My old trainer used to do so when she was out of money and desperate for food!”

And now we get the Atis/Ezrem interaction I expected... and it doesn't disappoint. These two and their clashing is really something to see.

I can't tell if Ezrem is grandstanding or telling the truth about Annie here.


“W-Well, we’re not stealing anything… even though we’re low on money…” I said in Sai’s defense, though in my opinion, I was doing poorly. Apparently, Ezrem thought so, too.

“I’m just saying,” Ezrem said. “How well do you really know your trainer?”

Not very well, I thought, but kept my mouth shut.

“Ezrem, be nice,” said Kuiora, who had been listening in on the conversation and had been giggling up until now.

“I am always nice! I’m just saying that I’d like to know my trainer real well, so I’m watching Sai.”

“You’re scaring Atis.”

“It’s not my problem if he gets scared so easily,” Ezrem retorted, grinning.

“Well, I don’t care. Just shut up. You’re not even Sai’s pokemon,” Kuiora said, going back to her childish ways, though I was thankful for it.

Needless to say, Ezrem went quiet after that comment. He watched Sai like a bird always seems to watch its prey. He made sure that Sai bought the pocketknife, and that was the end of the journey in the mall, since I couldn’t bring myself to push him anywhere else.

That was slightly disturbing but a very entertaining exchange of characters. I really would like to see more of Ezrem and Atis going at it, because their parts stood out to me. Ezrem is clearly planning something, but he's being a lot more sneaky about it than Atis, who also has a plan but is going about it in a different way. The parallels between them are quite curious.

Kuiora's insertion into this scene was great, too.


The next day, I brought him to the flower shop because the place sounded pretty innocent compared to the mall, where there was so many things to look at and consider. Ezrem wouldn’t be able to bring me down this time.

I don't know about that, Atis...



“Would you like to buy any flowers today?” she asked sweetly, cupping her hands together and holding them behind her back.

“Maybe,” Sai said quickly, and the rest of the group seemed to take that as permission to look around and see what they wanted. Kuiora was attracted to the blue flowers immediately, with Ezrem and Rennio following close behind. Senori went to the red flowers, and I stood by the yellow ones. Sai roamed around the shop, coming to each of us at least once.

I wonder if Ezrem and Rennio following Kuiora to the blue flowers is significant in any way.


When he reached Kuiora the second time, he picked out a blue flower, bent down a bit to see her face to face, and gave it to her, smiling.

“For you,” he said.

“Why?” she said, but she was reaching out nonetheless.

“For being my pokémon, of course,” he said as she took it from him.

One by one, he came to each of us and gave us a flower from the vases that we were standing by, and thanked us for being his pokémon. He even went over to Ezrem and thanked him for joining us, which was surprising to all of us considering the past rejection, but none of us protested. Then, he went to all of the individual ladies in the store and gave them one, too, saying, “You give out flowers every day, but how many times do you have flowers given to you?”

Wow, Sai is really impressing me here. I know this can't last, but while it's here, it's nice to have him being so polite and thoughtful.


After seeing our trainer be so kind, I had to say that I was impressed. Senori must have noticed, too, as he decided to join in on the giving atmosphere and took out a red flower for Sai, trying to hand it to him.

“I don’t deserve one, but thank you,” Sai said. He took the flower from Senori’s hand, but then put it back into the vase, where he thought he belonged. Then he went up to the counter and paid for the flowers that he had given us and the ladies.

Ditto for Senori acting like this.



The next day, I didn’t take Sai anywhere. I decided to take a day for myself, since this idea of taking charge of my life for once was absolutely draining on me. I stayed in the bunk all day as the others lounged around and talked. Sai filled the vase he got from the flower shop with water and put all the flowers we had bought into it. It didn’t look like a pretty bouquet, as the color combination wasn’t appealing with three blue flowers, one yellow, and one red. But I lay in bed all day looking at it and I smiled to myself anyway. After being rejected by Sasha and Marty, Sai had gotten the human interaction that he so desperately needed. And maybe even more important than that, he was showing us that he appreciated us for being with him. I thought, again, about my choice to stay or go. I was cherished where I was, there was no doubt. Sai wasn’t out to maliciously harm me or anything by wanting to do pokémon training; it was his own preference, and it just happened to be a preference that was similar to most others’ in the world. I decided to just keep going with my plan, to keep spending time with Sai and the others, and then I would give myself more time to decide. This wasn’t something that I could rush. No, this wasn’t something I had to rush at all…

I'm kind of surprised Atis hasn't decided to stay yet. He seems very happy.


I thought that maybe I’d regret it later, but I took him to the casino after the flower shop. I’d heard horror stories of people becoming addicted to gambling and losing all of their money, but I thought that we had nothing left to lose, being so low on money, anyway. And Sai didn’t seem like the type to get addicted to one thing, but instead to a bunch of things.

Oh no, I can't imagine this'll end up well.


“This place is loud,” Rennio complained the moment we got inside. And indeed, it was loud. The sound of coins clanging against each other and on machines filled the air. Victory music was playing at some machines, but not others. There was angry shouting and cries of joy all at once. Yes, this place seemed to fit Sai perfectly, since he was happy one moment and furious the next and then seemingly sad. At least he seemed interested, but he was also completely lost.

“I have no idea what to do,” he admitted sheepishly.

“You’ve never heard of a casino before, either?” Ezrem cried, trying to be heard over the musical building.

“Nope.”

“Well, then. I know the perfect place for you to start,” Ezrem said, and I instantly forgave him for the ordeal at the shopping mall since he was choosing to take charge. He navigated the rows of games and slot machines, trying to find whatever it was that he was looking for. Eventually, we reached a table that had a wheel on top of it. The wheel consisted of black and red lines with various numbers on them. People were crowded around the table, murmuring excitedly.

“Roulette,” was all Ezrem said at first. When Sai still seemed confused, he continued, “You make bets on what color you think the ball will land on. Or you can bet on what kind of number the ball will land on. Whatever you want!”

Now I believe that Ezrem was telling the truth about Annie, because he knows how to play roulette.

Stop making me want a spinoff prequel about Annie. :P


“Sounds easy,” Sai said, walking up to the table and joining everyone else.

“Exactly!” said Ezrem, clearly proud of himself.

So Sai joined in on the next bet, with all of us sitting at the edge of table and watching intently. Most people were making complicated bets to try to get more money. They offered thirty pokédollars if the ball landed on a red number between one and eighteen, for example. But Sai focused on simplicity.

“It will land on black,” was all he said at first. When he was instructed to place money on the table to bet with, he did so, though he was reluctant. He looked at me, and I knew he was silently asking why I didn’t tell him we would be spending more money. I shrugged my shoulders, pretending that I didn’t know. The others encouraged him to put the money down anyway.

It turned out that Sai didn’t have to worry too much about money. In fact, it was the opposite. He ended up winning his first bet, and made a profit off of it. Then he won again. And again, with his simple bets. I wondered how he was so good at guessing when his chances were so low and there was no way that anyone could possibly win every time he played. Well, he did lose about once or twice, but that was it. In the end, he still made more than he lost. It reminded me of the dice he always carried around with him. When he introduced himself as my new trainer, he had instructed me to roll the dice, somehow knowing that the outcome of the roll would show a three—and sure enough, two black dots and one black dot showed up. How did he know? Was his intuition that reliable for him? As I watched him bet on red or black and win again and again, that seemed like the most plausible explanation.

I didn’t know how much Sai had earned from his adventures here at the casino, but he was smiling at the end, saying, “Now I don’t have to feel guilty for spending so much money at the daycare or at the flower shop. We can have food and a room at the pokémon center still!”

I did get a gut feeling at the beginning of this part that he would have some sort of magic touch, and I guess I was right.



On the last day of our thorough exploration of Goldenrod City, I decided to take him to the radio tower. I didn’t know that it would be the last place we would be able to go. I just knew that Earl always used to listen to the radio back in Violet City, and the people on air always had something to say. There seemed to be no end to the amount of things they could share and laugh about. This, to me, was a good thing to show Sai. But my plan backfired.

Oh no... not after everything that went right...


Once again, I woke everyone up early because we had discovered that the radio tower was at the northern end of the city, like the flower shop. I wanted to make sure we had enough time to get to that part of the city and then browse the radio tower. Sai was more eager to get up today than he had been before, I noted, probably because of yesterday’s winning adventure.

When we arrived there, the man at the counter explained that the place was free. There wouldn’t be much to see, he said, because maintenance was being performed upstairs and we weren’t. allowed to go any higher than the first floor. Once the man let us go, we thanked him and wandered around inside. Of course, there wasn’t much to see on the first floor. The place looked like the inside of any other building. The only striking feature I could see was that the counter that the man was at extended throughout the entire room, and even more people were behind the counter, looking at us expectantly and smiling warmly. One of them wore headphones and had an interesting, complex piece of machinery in front of them, but that was about it. There were stairs leading upstairs, but we weren’t sure whether or not we could go up, despite having paid to be here.

There's a stray period in that paragraph, after the word "weren't."


“Well,” Sai said dumbly. “This is it.”

“I guess so…” I said, disappointed, despite the warning we had received.

“Don’t look so forlorn, boy!” called the guy who had the headphones on. “Come over here!”

Sai obeyed instantly, and the rest of us followed. We got a closer look at the machinery the guy had. There was a microphone to accompany the headphones, and the flat part of the machine had a ton of buttons and words on it to indicate what each button did. I couldn’t read any of them upside down, though.

“Hello, guys!” the man behind the counter continued. I wondered why he was talking so loud, when we were right in front of him, clearly able to hear. “Welcome to the radio tower! I know you can’t go upstairs, so you’re probably wondering why you came here…”

Oh I am getting a bad feeling about where this is going...


“Definitely,” Kuiora butted in, peaking her head up over the counter. I winced.

“Well, you may not be able to look around the rest of the place, but you can get your spot on the radio right here! See this jar we have here?” he said, pointing to it. I hadn’t noticed it before. It was a small jar that had some pokédollars in it. “If you pay a small amount of money, I’ll record your voice so it appears on the radio. You can say just about anything you want!”

“Anything we want?” said Ezrem, who was now peering next to Kuiora.

“Well, almost anything. You must be appropriate, of course!”

“Nevermind,” said Ezrem, backing down from the counter.

I'd laugh if I wasn't so nervous right now.


“What about the rest of you? Some people just like to vent and complain, others say hi to their families, others talk about their pokémon… Why, just the other day, someone even came here just to mention that they had seen a Team Rocket member floating around the city recently,” he said, his voice growing quieter.

I could feel Sai tense up next to me almost instantly.

Okay, major red flag about Sai's past. I think I just pieced something together, but I'm going to keep it to myself for now.



“Do you know what’s wrong with him?” Senori asked me, then started running on all fours, seeing that his thoughts were keeping us further and further behind. I shook my head and started running.

At the pokémon center, it was at least easy to find our room from the front lobby, since we’d gone done that hallway several times before. This time, though, none of us could get in because the door was locked. We all sat outside in complete silence, none of us daring to disturb our trainer. Eventually, though, Sai showed his face again.

“Atis?” he said, peering out into the hallway through a small crack in the door.

“Y-Yes?” I said, trying to stand up, but my feet were wobbly. I was the one responsible for this situation, yet I didn’t know how to take full responsibility. The idea was unfavorable to me, to say the least.

“Come in here, please,” he said softly, which calmed my nerves a bit, but not by much. I stumbled over Kuiora’s tail and she squealed. I apologized lamely, thinking now that neither the hallway nor the room was where I wanted to be. Sai seemed like the least threatening, so I just went into the room and quickly shut the door behind me before Kuiora could yell at me.

“Atis,” Sai said again.

I simply nodded, afraid to speak.

“I’m sorry, but we’ll have to go to the gym as soon as possible now. Forget the appointment,” Sai went on. “These people are following me. I just know it.”

My theory is getting stronger, but wow are my nerves tense right now. You've really got me wound up with this paranoia.


“W-Who’s… following you, Sai?” I dared to ask.

Sai was quiet, then he spoke after a few moments: “Do you want to be closer to me or something? Are you feeling like the others are getting more attention or something? I didn’t know. You should have told me.”

I looked up, caught off guard. “N-No, that’s not—”

“I don’t know how to be close to people. Or pokémon, for that matter,” he said solemnly, ignoring me. “I’m not allowed to be close to anyone, so it’s fine. I guess. But if that’s what you want…”

He's making me really, really nervous here. My heart is about to jump into my throat.



But Sai seemed so calm compared to his panicky demeanor at the radio tower. I wanted to keep him calm. So I took the marker and wrote on his back as quickly as I could to get the awkwardness over with. I didn’t even have to think about what I wrote: I wish I was human.

Yes, I did wish I was a human. If I were human, I would do my absolute best to get rid of my shy demeanor. I’d travel the entire world, see what each city and town had to offer. I’d meet all the great kinds of people out there, and all the terrible kinds of people, too. I wouldn’t have pokémon to protect me; I’d protect myself. And as I traveled, I’d find out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

That opens up a lot about Atis's mind to me. I suddenly understand his character a lot more.

Also, I find the idea of a Pokemon wishing to be human quite curious, in a time when a lot of fics are written involving people becoming or wanting to become Pokemon.



To thankfully distract me, Sai handed me the piece of paper he had written on, and turned to look away from me. I went to read it, both terrified and drawn to the idea at the same time—

I am always sick.

This is far more significant a line than it might initially seem, I'm sure of it. It has so many potential meanings that guessing exactly what it indicates would be fruitless. I will keep my theory to myself for now, though, and wait for more information.

Great chapter. It gave us a lot of information and plenty of enjoyable content, such as Atis and Ezrem going at each other. It really got thoughtful and intense, though, and that's where I'm really hoping to see more.

diamondpearl876
4th November 2012, 8:44 PM
Ooh, Atis. Feels like it's been a while since we've had a chapter for him.

It's been 6 chapters! I'm sure he totally missed the attention.


Wow, you actually remembered that! I even forgot about those Magikarp!

Lol, yeah, it's been a while since they were caught. Darn things.


I do feel like this point could have been a little stronger if we knew a little more about at least one of the Magikarp, though. That way, they would feel a little less like plot devices.

Good point, I had planned to include them more but it never seemed like the right time to do so.


I'm curious, can Atis read because he came from a school, or can all the Pokemon read?

He can read because he came from the school.



Thanks for spending little time on the appointment being made. I was afraid the chapter would get bogged down in focusing on it.

I actually was going to focus more on it but couldn't find any way to make it interesting... so I knew it was time to scrap the idea. lol.


Did we just learn something about Sai's past?

I really want to see where this goes. This is really getting me excited to know more.

Damn right we did. This chapter was fun when it came to revealing more about Sai.


I'm kind of surprised Atis hasn't decided to stay yet. He seems very happy.

He's in no rush. ;)


Stop making me want a spinoff prequel about Annie. :P

Yes, sir.


Okay, major red flag about Sai's past. I think I just pieced something together, but I'm going to keep it to myself for now.

Keeping it to yourself is no fun for me. :'(


My theory is getting stronger, but wow are my nerves tense right now. You've really got me wound up with this paranoia.

Awesome.


Great chapter. It gave us a lot of information and plenty of enjoyable content, such as Atis and Ezrem going at each other. It really got thoughtful and intense, though, and that's where I'm really hoping to see more.

Glad you liked it. Thanks for commenting as always!

Sidewinder
5th November 2012, 5:23 AM
He felt like progress.

You might consider rewording that. It may just be me, but it was a little difficult to make sense of it at first. After I read the second sentence it clicked, but for a second I stumbled. If I seem off base just ignore me lol


The other half of the journey consisted of being free, of being able to explore the world and see it for what it is. And that was what I liked. I wanted Sai to be able to contribute to the world in some way that didn’t involve pokémon, and he was beginning to do that by slowing down his journey, but… Well, yes, Sai felt like progress—but only sometimes.

Like I've said countless times, you have a wonderful talent at being able to have readers sympathize with your characters. After reading the quoted portion I found myself wanting to reach out to Atis, and give him what he wants.


He was clearly following someone else’s rules and setting his own aside, only allowing them to be set free when he deemed it safe and perhaps necessary.

Couldn't have phrased it any better myself. Like a barely visible trail through the woods that's become almost invisible with age. He's trying so hard to make sure he does this the right way, but subtle little things like social graces escape him, but at the same time he knows he needs to get badges. Hmmm, I have a new theory! I'll wait to the end of this chapter to see if it pans out.


I wondered how Senori would know, but didn’t say anything, as usual.

Lol that's what I was wondering when I read the previous sentence. If anything, Atis would be the one to ask. Over the last few chapters it has felt like Sai is giving preferential treatment to Senori, though I can't imagine why as he made such an obsessive grab for all of them when he wanted them. Hope I didn't miss anything important there, but I doubt it


noted that Sai could let go of pokémon—if he really tried.

That was a very nice effective way to put Atis a little more at ease. Thanks for being creative and not stuffing it down our throats. Nicely done


Senori said. “The last one covered my tail and made things feel really weird for me.”

Lol I showed that line to my wife, and after I showed her a picture of a Sentret, she thought it was adorable. Nicely done


“Even me and Ezrem have seen a movie before. We saw one about a boy and a girl who wanted to erase their memories of each other, but then changed their minds and had to go through a lot of trouble to remember each other.”

Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind? Maybe?


“Yeah. Watching movies is something every human should do,” Rennio added, nodding.

“I don’t think it’d be appropriate to see one… Maybe some other time,” Sai said after a moment,

HE SAID THAT BECAUSE HE'S NOT A REAL HUMAN!!


“That’s the point of shopping—to look around and see!” I said, pushing him over there.

It's almost like since Atis isn't human, he's trying everything in his power to live vicariously through Sai in the sense that if Sai has these experiences, maybe Atis will be able to feel what they mean as if he was a human too. It's sad in a pretty sort of way


The next day, I didn’t take Sai anywhere.

Lol I'm surprised he took him somewhere the second day haha


I wondered how he was so good at guessing when his chances were so low and there was no way that anyone could possibly win every time he played.

I'm glad you followed that up with the dice situation, because that's the first place my mind went as well. To be honest the quoted portion screams at me to pay better attention, but I am at a complete loss as to what it might be. I firmly have my theory now, and the dice is the only thing that doesn't fit


There wouldn’t be much to see, he said, because maintenance was being performed upstairs and we weren’t.

Nice game reference


Yes, I did wish I was a human. If I were human, I would do my absolute best to get rid of my shy demeanor. I’d travel the entire world, see what each city and town had to offer. I’d meet all the great kinds of people out there, and all the terrible kinds of people, too. I wouldn’t have pokémon to protect me; I’d protect myself. And as I traveled, I’d find out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

Wow, just wow. Awesomely done on that bit, and I'd be lying if I didn't say I didn't get misty eyed. I've told you several times that my favorite character changes with every chapter you release, but after that thought from Atis, I am firmly on his team. You'll be hard pressed to change that unless you can top the quoted portion. It was fabulously written

Wonderful chapter as always, and once again I can't wait for the next chapter. I'm going to PM you my new theory because even though I'm sure I'm off base with it, I don't want to accidentally get lucky and ruin it for everyone else lol

Sid87
5th November 2012, 2:07 PM
I was no longer able to stand giving myself up to the concept of pokémon training day after day, and Sai rescued me from that when I needed him most.

That first bit reads a bit hard. Maybe it would be better as "I was no longer able to stand the concept of giving myself up to pokemon training..." ?


And somehow, I know that pokémon don’t often get a second chance to choose their trainers. I can only count on one hand the amount of situations that could offer a second chance, and I don’t even have that many fingers.

Okay, that was funny.


So, when were making our way to Goldenrod City, I knew I still had a choice to make. Though Sai seemed strict and set in his ways, I knew that he wouldn’t honestly take my choice away from me if I decided to bring it up again. He was clearly following someone else’s rules and setting his own aside, only allowing them to be set free when he deemed it safe and perhaps necessary. I felt that, this far into the journey, I could say this with certainty, when my life was anything but certain…

Atis has a very clear and distinctive voice here, contrasting my complaint about Rennio last chapter. His thoughts are consistently broken up and separated by clauses. This goes a long way in exhibiting his wishy-washy nature and inability to decide what is best.


When we got inside, there was an older woman sitting behind a counter, reading a book. She glanced up at us and immediately stood and smiled as if she hadn’t had any visitors in years. Perhaps she was lonely after being only with pokémon. I would be lonely, too, if I was stuck with them for an extended period of time.

Wow...what a knife-twist of characterization. Atis really hates everyone, doesn't he? Or, at least, he has no faith in man nor pokemon.


“Sai?” I said again, though this time I didn’t bump into his leg. Instead, I pulled on his pants leg, trying to get his attention as best as I could.

Cute and earnest.


None of us complained, as this was nothing new to us,

The two "us" so close together there jarred me. Maybe take out the "to us" in the second part? Might just be me.


“You’ve never seen a movie before?” said Rennio, who was also standing close to Ezrem. I was just glad it was the bird and not me. “Even me and Ezrem have seen a movie before. We saw one about a boy and a girl who wanted to erase their memories of each other, but then changed their minds and had to go through a lot of trouble to remember each other.”

I love Eternal Sunshine. I wonder if there is a thematic reason you chose that movie to reference... Hmmmm. Must keep that in mind.


“Who knows what he really wants to do with that knife?” he said. He fluffed up his feathers and pretended like what he was saying was nothing, though the thought seemed sinister to me, even though I didn’t think Sai was a sinister person. “There’s a secret in everyone, in every place! I bet plenty of people have stolen from this mall. My old trainer used to do so when she was out of money and desperate for food!”

So hard to tell with Ezrem what is the truth and what is just deceit. I also wonder why Sai is letting Ezrem follow him around when he clearly has no interest in him. Previously, I'd thought Ezrem has sneaking along and staying hidden, but that doeesn't seem to be the case now.


“Well, I don’t care. Just shut up. You’re not even Sai’s pokemon,” Kuiora said, going back to her childish ways, though I was thankful for it.

It's nice to see Kuiora sticking up for her "family" rather than just going along with Ezrem since she has been marveled by him so far.


-Okay, I have to start getting ready for work, so I will come back to this as soon as I can. Sorry I'm having to break up the review like this, but... que sera sera.


EDIT: More!


Inside we discovered the source of the beautiful aroma. There was a bunch of women, each of them doing their own chores within the shop. One was water the various plants, another was placing them in a satisfactory order, another waited at the counter, looking at us expectantly. From the look on her ecstatic face, I could tell that she didn’t get many men coming into the shop.

I'm going to interject here just to say how I love the life you give each city and the landmarks therein. This almost reads as sort of a love letter to Johto.


Sai filled the vase he got from the flower shop with water and put all the flowers we had bought into it. It didn’t look like a pretty bouquet, as the color combination wasn’t appealing with three blue flowers, one yellow, and one red.

I think it is odd and interesting that Atis, who cares so little for the pokemon world and envisions himself as somewhat more worldly and experienced, can't even be bothered to know the names of types of flowers. It's an odd little thing I can't put my finger on.


-Okay, so it's a short update from me before the casino scene. I'm plugging away!

The bit with Sai hating to accept the vase while being so happy to give everyone flowers seems odd. He seesms a bit more self-loathing there than I'd thought of him for a while (since the last Atis chapter, anyway, so perhaps there is some projection there on Atis' part...).


EDIT: More again!


It turned out that Sai didn’t have to worry too much about money. In fact, it was the opposite. He ended up winning his first bet, and made a profit off of it. Then he won again. And again, with his simple bets. I wondered how he was so good at guessing when his chances were so low and there was no way that anyone could possibly win every time he played. Well, he did lose about once or twice, but that was it. In the end, he still made more than he lost. It reminded me of the dice he always carried around with him. When he introduced himself as my new trainer, he had instructed me to roll the dice, somehow knowing that the outcome of the roll would show a three—and sure enough, two black dots and one black dot showed up. How did he know? Was his intuition that reliable for him? As I watched him bet on red or black and win again and again, that seemed like the most plausible explanation.

So...curious. He's got to have some low-level mental ability, right? That's how he's choosing his team; he knows their destiny. Yes? Or I'm WAY off.


I didn’t know how much Sai had earned from his adventures here at the casino, but he was smiling at the end, saying, “Now I don’t have to feel guilty for spending so much money at the daycare or at the flower shop. We can have food and a room at the pokémon center still!”

It's petty, but considering the story is paste-tense, you shouldn't say "here". It should be "there at the casino..."


And that was all that mattered to him. He didn’t even want to leave and explore the rest of the place, he just wanted to win money at the game he was at. His childish eagerness over adult-like responsibilities made me giggle, which got me some odd looks from the others. I ignored them—was the image of a giggling hitmontop really that funny? It probably was, and the image of myself made me giggle again as we left, pokédollars still in Sai’s hands.

How charmingly un-Atis-like. He's loosening up.


There wouldn’t be much to see, he said, because maintenance was being performed upstairs and we weren’t. allowed to go any higher than the first floor.

You have an odd period mid-sentence there. Between "weren't" and "allowed".


“Anything we want?” said Ezrem, who was now peering next to Kuiora.

“Well, almost anything. You must be appropriate, of course!”

“Nevermind,” said Ezrem, backing down from the counter.

Isn't it kind of a big deal that Sai can understand his pokemon so easily? This guy is doing it, no problem. I might be misinterpreting the past, though.


“What about the rest of you? Some people just like to vent and complain, others say hi to their families, others talk about their pokémon… Why, just the other day, someone even came here just to mention that they had seen a Team Rocket member floating around the city recently,” he said, his voice growing quieter.

OH. This feels like a clue. Now we have a timeframe; this all takes place right around G/S/C....maybe.


But Sai seemed so calm compared to his panicky demeanor at the radio tower. I wanted to keep him calm. So I took the marker and wrote on his back as quickly as I could to get the awkwardness over with. I didn’t even have to think about what I wrote: I wish I was human.

This scene is all so confusing and touching at the same time.


proving him that there was more to like than the pokémon that constantly followed him around.

Missed a "to" in there. Proving TO him.


Yeah, I've got absolutely no idea what's going on here. You and Sidewinder are so damn good at keeping your mysteries mysterious. I have even less of an idea what's going on with Sai than I ever had before.

Atis...what a lovely chapter to change my mind on him. He was unsteady, earnest, open, and heartfelt. So much more than his previous judgmentality and timidness. There were times this chapter where I wished I could be with Atis, and that's crazy. Kuiora is still my FAVORITE member of this team for entertainment, but damn if I wouldn't rather HAVE Senori or even Atis now. Damn you for being so bloody good at that.

diamondpearl876
8th November 2012, 2:33 AM
Lol that's what I was wondering when I read the previous sentence. If anything, Atis would be the one to ask. Over the last few chapters it has felt like Sai is giving preferential treatment to Senori, though I can't imagine why as he made such an obsessive grab for all of them when he wanted them. Hope I didn't miss anything important there, but I doubt it

Nah, there’s nothing important you’re missing. Sai knows Atis doesn’t like attention so he turns to Senori, who has known some human-like things in the past, that’s all.


Lol I showed that line to my wife, and after I showed her a picture of a Sentret, she thought it was adorable. Nicely done

YOU TWO ARE TOO CUTE. GAH.


Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind? Maybe?

Yes, yes, and yes.


HE SAID THAT BECAUSE HE'S NOT A REAL HUMAN!!

BOOM! We already spoke about this, so I’ll say nothing more.



Wonderful chapter as always, and once again I can't wait for the next chapter. I'm going to PM you my new theory because even though I'm sure I'm off base with it, I don't want to accidentally get lucky and ruin it for everyone else lol

Glad you liked it, thanks for commenting as always!


That first bit reads a bit hard. Maybe it would be better as "I was no longer able to stand the concept of giving myself up to pokemon training..." ?

Will fix, thanks for pointing it out. Someday I’ll write a chapter in which nothing reads too “hard” or awkwardly.


Wow...what a knife-twist of characterization. Atis really hates everyone, doesn't he? Or, at least, he has no faith in man nor pokemon.

I didn’t quite think that part was THAT powerful, haha.


I also wonder why Sai is letting Ezrem follow him around when he clearly has no interest in him. Previously, I'd thought Ezrem has sneaking along and staying hidden, but that doeesn't seem to be the case now.

Nah, Sai’s not the type to push others away. He just doesn’t want Ezrem to officially be a part of the team.

I originally was going to have him hide and follow, but that seemed to allow very little room for character development so I scrapped the idea.


I think it is odd and interesting that Atis, who cares so little for the pokemon world and envisions himself as somewhat more worldly and experienced, can't even be bothered to know the names of types of flowers. It's an odd little thing I can't put my finger on.

He wants to be worldly and experienced, though he hasn’t had the means to do so, so I doubt he’d know the name of flowers.


The bit with Sai hating to accept the vase while being so happy to give everyone flowers seems odd. He seesms a bit more self-loathing there than I'd thought of him for a while (since the last Atis chapter, anyway, so perhaps there is some projection there on Atis' part...).

He’s supposed to be more self-loathing than before. :O


So...curious. He's got to have some low-level mental ability, right? That's how he's choosing his team; he knows their destiny. Yes? Or I'm WAY off.

Sometimes, the answer is a lot more simpler than you think.



Isn't it kind of a big deal that Sai can understand his pokemon so easily? This guy is doing it, no problem. I might be misinterpreting the past, though.

Yeahhhhh…. He’s not supposed to understand pokémon. That was my bad.



Yeah, I've got absolutely no idea what's going on here. You and Sidewinder are so damn good at keeping your mysteries mysterious. I have even less of an idea what's going on with Sai than I ever had before.

My goal is complete. *evil cackle*



Atis...what a lovely chapter to change my mind on him. He was unsteady, earnest, open, and heartfelt. So much more than his previous judgmentality and timidness. There were times this chapter where I wished I could be with Atis, and that's crazy. Kuiora is still my FAVORITE member of this team for entertainment, but damn if I wouldn't rather HAVE Senori or even Atis now. Damn you for being so bloody good at that.

Yay! This means a lot to me. I’m glad you liked the chapter… and Atis!

Crimson Penguin
10th November 2012, 4:23 AM
...Oh, man. It's been a while, hasn't it? I'm sorry it's taken me so long to review these last two chapters. School and all that jazz.

Well, on with the review...

Chapter 11

This chapter felt a little different to me. Not bad at all, just different. I think it's because we saw Rennio from such a dramatic change in perspective - rather than the happy-go-lucky Pokemon he appeared to be in the previous chapter, he seemed so much more vulnerable and naive in this one. I will say, though, I think you did a good job of reinforcing the fact that Elekid is a "baby" Pokemon through his mindset and his close relationship with Annie. It makes the events of the chapter that much more emotional, because an innocent little creature like that just shouldn't have to go through such a terrifying experience, but as you showed, life can sometimes be very cruel.

As others have said, Annie came through as a well-developed and quite intriguing character. Intelligent and openminded, but also warm and devoted to her Pokemon at the same time. Those traits really fit the idea of a true Pokemon trainer, I think. She seems to recognize that it's not always winning or losing that's most important, but the entire journey and the experiences that come with it. Her personality is a nice contrast to Sai's comparatively narrow focus and always wanting to follow the "rules," whatever those may be. I think he'll get there one day, though.

Finally, Ezrem. That bird has Rennio completely brainwashed, doesn't he? I mean, he's the one that betrayed his trainer and his fellow Pokemon, yet Rennio still believes Ezrem is his true friend. And with Ezrem saying that Rennio is the last Elekid, and making him say that little catchphrase... What a jerk. My hate for Ezrem has gone right back up again. You seem to be good at doing that. :P

And now, for the grammar...


That’s what must have happened. Annie must have dropped one of her cigarettes after lighting it on fire, dropped it, and left it there. There was no other explanation in my eyes.

Not sure if the repetition of "dropped" was intentional, but if it was, you may want to change the preceding comma to a dash or a semicolon to make the passage a little clearer.


They were whispering amongst themselves, however—or making fun of me, of course—so I assumed they must have known me somehow. I didn’t know what their names were, so I just stared at them. Their words mean nothing to me.

Should be a "t" at the end there since you're in past tense.


One day, I returned with berries and simply told Ezrem, “I’m scared.”

He motioned for me to open my hands and dug his beak into the pile. Halfway through, he pulled back, finally realizing that I had said something.

“Scared of what?”

I signed. If anyone should know what I’m scared of, it should be Ezrem. “What if I die before I’m able to keep my species from going extinct?” I asked.

Should this be "sighed"?

Overall, though, great chapter.

Sorry for the short review, but the next one should hopefully be a little longer. I'll try to post it sometime over the weekend (hooray for holidays)! Until next time...

~Crimson Penguin

Dragonicwari
12th November 2012, 9:44 PM
Should the word "we" be in the excerpt?; (between when and were)




So, when were making our way to Goldenrod City, I knew I still had a choice to make. Though Sai seemed strict and set in his ways, I knew that he wouldn’t honestly take my choice away from me if I decided to bring it up again. He was clearly following someone else’s rules and setting his own aside, only allowing them to be set free when he deemed it safe and perhaps necessary. I felt that, this far into the journey, I could say this with certainty, when my life was anything but certain…




Also should where he thought he belonged be changed to where he thought it belonged?;




“I don’t deserve one, but thank you,” Sai said. He took the flower from Senori’s hand, but then put it back into the vase, where he thought he belonged. Then he went up to the counter and paid for the flowers that he had given us and the ladies.

diamondpearl876
13th November 2012, 12:07 AM
...Oh, man. It's been a while, hasn't it? I'm sorry it's taken me so long to review these last two chapters. School and all that jazz.

Not a problem, I know things get busy sometimes!


Her personality is a nice contrast to Sai's comparatively narrow focus and always wanting to follow the "rules," whatever those may be. I think he'll get there one day, though.

That's some cute faith you have in him right there. I hope he'll make it, too.


Finally, Ezrem. That bird has Rennio completely brainwashed, doesn't he? I mean, he's the one that betrayed his trainer and his fellow Pokemon, yet Rennio still believes Ezrem is his true friend. And with Ezrem saying that Rennio is the last Elekid, and making him say that little catchphrase... What a jerk. My hate for Ezrem has gone right back up again. You seem to be good at doing that. :P

You're welcome. I do like to do that.


And now, for the grammar...

Fixed all.

Thanks for commenting as always!



Should the word "we" be in the excerpt?; (between when and were)



Also should where he thought he belonged be changed to where he thought it belonged?;

Fixed both, thanks for pointing them out!

diamondpearl876
15th November 2012, 9:05 PM
SURVIVAL PROJECT

chapter 13 ; [RENNIO]
automatic

*

I had only been with Sai for a few days now, and already I could spot the many differences between him and Annie. For one, Sai was just weird. He’d never seen a movie before? Annie couldn’t leave a city without watching at least one. He bought knives as gifts? Okay, Annie might have done that, too, but I always thought she was silly for it, while she said it was a joke. Sai was clearly serious. And then there was the part where Sai fled out of nowhere! He seemed so easily frightened, and Annie was fearless. Were the two of them even from the same planet? It didn’t seem very likely.

Despite this, he was a good trainer—he kept us fed, sheltered, and was guilty when he felt he couldn’t take care of us. And I was glad to learn more about him. I was always glad to learn something about people. I had much to learn about the world, I knew, and being with this new team was helping me. I also learned more about religion thanks to Kuiora and her constantly following of Ezrem. She worshipped him, no doubt. I didn’t know how Ezrem was so special, though, but I didn’t say anything. And I learned that Atis was quiet, but I still have yet to figure out why. I hope someday to get him to talk to me.

Senori, he told me his story about his old clan after I told him about Annie. We had been walking to the north side of town, to the flower shop that day.

“So there are others out there like me,” I said to him, trying to cheer him up after he kept looking down to the ground solemnly.

“What do you mean?” he said, peering up.

“There are pokémon—and probably people—out there who carry around an endless amount of guilt, and try to hide it,” I said. “It feels good to be understood, to say the least. I don’t think I’ve ever felt understood before…”

“Well,” Senori started, “if you ever need someone to talk to, I’m here. I like to take care of others, so you’re on the right team.”

I thought so, too.

Over the past few days, the idea of the team being carried around by a ton of pain had… slightly gone away. With Senori and me, there was clearly a lot of pain. There was pain with Ezrem, too, but he hid it a lot better. And there was clearly something bothering Atis and Kuiora and Sai, but they showed me that they could forget about their suffering under the right circumstances. In their cases, they needed proper distractions, and then they seemed fine. I wondered how they felt, then, when reality came crashing down on them.

I decided to figure it out on my own rather than asking. Asking could be too personal, after all. “So what is it like to be happy, and then have your life come flying back into view out of nowhere?” I wanted to know, but that wouldn’t go over too well. So I kept an eye on the people and pokémon around as we went from place to place every day. I kept mental notes to myself, notes about every happy instance that I saw.

A little green pokémon that looked suspiciously like one of the plush dolls we saw helped an older lady find her way to the shopping mall, as she was obviously lost, what with her going around in circles and everything. The little green pokémon helped the lady, and then went back to her trainer, receiving praise. That was happiness, I thought, being able to help others in their time of need. But who could I help at this moment? Senori was supposed to help me, so that didn’t make sense. I didn’t know the others well enough yet to determine whether they needed me. So I tried to lead Ezrem to all the places that we went to, tried to stay in front of him and tell him to follow me, but he brushed me off, scoffing each and every time. Still, I was glad to be with him.

Something else I saw: a human saying hello to everyone and anyone he passed by on the street. Those he said hi to had originally been staring down at the ground rather emotionlessly, but as soon as they were acknowledged, they had a giant smile on their faces. I started saying hello to everyone, too. The pokémon I said hello to waved or said hello back, while the humans just looked at me, confused. I stopped once Kuiora told me that not every human was like Sai, that not all of them could understand pokémon—but it was an interesting experience for me nonetheless.

Finally, I saw a most peculiar thing: a pokémon carrying another pokémon. The larger pokémon, the one who was doing the carrying, almost looked like a human, but its skin was blue in color, and it wasn’t wearing any clothes aside from a black belt around its waist. Its muscles were also fairly big compared to a human’s. The smaller pokémon was a simple purple rodent. My best guess was that it was injured somehow, probably from battle. Well, I could certainly sympathize with the rodent, and I left it at that.

The rest of the city seemed sad, or emotionless, somehow.

So, what did I learn in Goldenrod City? I learned that people came and went… They interacted with each other, sometimes on a superficial level, and sometimes on a deeper level that only the people in question could understand… But why they interacted with others, I could only guess. Maybe it was to ease themselves in thinking they were important. Maybe they just liked the way others made them feel. And maybe they did it because they simply felt they had to, like it was a rule that all humans faced.

In the end, I knew the truth: Annie was gone. I was still coming to terms with it, and it was hard, when everything reminded me of her. Even the way that the city air smelled reminded me of the many other places we had been. But there was nothing that I could do to bring her back, as much as I wanted to. There was nothing I could do to erase the fire, to erase our search for a new trainer, to erase the surprise and grief that accompanied us fully. All I had were memories to think of from time to time, when I felt I could handle it. So now I knew: when reality crashed back down on me, it felt like… being kissed by her ghost—as if she were kissing me on the cheek, calling me her baby, like she used to—and having her promising me that the distance between us was nothing.

*

It didn’t take long, though, for my suffering to increase tenfold…

Originally, Sai had planned for the gym battle to take place in two weeks. Two weeks! That gave me plenty of time to try to prepare mentally, in case he wanted me to fight. And while looking for happy pokémon and people, that’s partly what I did. Happiness could maybe keep the nerves from getting to me when the time came. I wished that I could say I was sure, but it had been far too long since I battled. The last time I had battled was against Ezrem when he had said something to offend me—whatever it was had escaped my mind now that I had forgiven him—and he knew better than anyone about my fear, so he went easy on me…

That wasn’t very likely to happen in a gym battle, against two people who were very, very determined to defeat each other. Then again, I hadn’t seen Sai’s fighting style, nor much of the Johto region’s gym leader. I just didn’t know what to think.

Needless to say, I was surprised when Sai announced that we would be going to the pokémon gym the day after we visited the radio tower. A while after calling Atis inside by himself for whatever reason, he gathered us all back into the room and sat us down to talk about it.

“After today, I’ve decided to forget about the appointment and just go,” he explained.

“But why?” I couldn’t help but blurt out. Maybe it was childish of me—no, it definitely was—but it just wasn’t fair!

“I know you’re new, Rennio, so you don’t know, right? We’ve been flying through the cities up until now. We’ve gotten the last two gym badges without problem. So we have to continue doing that, okay?” he said, trying to be reassuring. My nervousness must have been shining through somehow.

I thought that Ezrem would say something in protest, but apparently he didn’t think it was his place to speak. And none of the other pokémon said anything, either—they were used to this already, and accepted it for what it was.

But I couldn’t accept it. That night, I lay in the bottom bunk with everyone else, too anxious to sleep. And I wasn’t even sure if Sai would use me in battle or not! But what if he did? What if he used me in battle after all and I got hurt? What if I got injured so badly that I died, or had to be carried like that purple rodent? Who would carry me, then, and help me? Was there any help for me? There was just no telling what would happen to me tomorrow, and it killed me.

I huddled up next to Ezrem, wishing for Annie’s warmth, and didn’t sleep at all.

*

In the morning, we went to the Goldenrod City pokémon gym… just as planned. I tried to distract myself by finding more happy things in people and pokémon outside, but we were going far too fast for me to be able to pay attention to others and still keep up with everyone else. When we got there, I was more nervous than ever.

Next distraction: the inside of the building. It almost felt like a maze, and an inviting one at that! Like the flower shop, the aroma inside was nice. Several plants lined the walls and the ground, and the walls were colored white with various shades of pink. Every time we walked to the end of a path and turned onto a new one, we hoped it was the last path that we’d have to go through, but they never seemed to end. I would have been okay with that.

As luck would have it, we eventually reached the end of the… maze. It didn’t really feel like a maze anymore by the time we were done with it. It was too straightforward to be one. But as any path promises, we reached our destination and received our prize for it: the gym leader. She looked very young with that smile of hers, just like Annie had, and she almost blended in with the walls with her pink hair, her pink shorts, and her tight white shirt. It wasn’t much of a distraction, but I vaguely wondered what kind of pokémon she specialized in. I would soon find out, I supposed.

“You’re back already?” she said in a sing song voice. “I thought we had set up an appointment. Not that many trainers set up appointments, anyway, but, you know.”

“Yeah…” Sai said, rubbing the back of his head. “I’d like to just battle now, Whitney. If that’s possible, of course…”

“Well, does it look like I’m busy?” Whitney retorted, spreading her arms out as if she was encouraging us to look around. All I saw were more plants, more walls. “We can battle now if that’s what you really want.”

My heart fell, but Sai’s smile was wide.

“Thank you so much,” he said.

“Sure. It’ll be a two on two battle. Get over to that wall, and we’ll battle right here,” she instructed.

“Okay,” Sai said. He turned and motioned for all of us to back up, which we did. When we were against the wall, I knew it was time for him to pick which pokémon he was going to use. “Kuiora”—I let out a breath I didn’t know I had been holding—“do you want to battle first? I know you like to fight.”

“Yes! I do, I do!” she said immediately, and jumped back forward into the arena.

“All right, then, let’s get started,” Whitney said, smiling now. She reached behind her and pulled forth a pokéball. She didn’t say who was going to be choice of pokémon as she threw it forward. Perhaps not so surprisingly, a small, pink pokémon emerged from the ball. Yes, the pokémon was all pink, and it seemed exuberant over the fact with the hearty smile on its face and with its body dancing over to the middle of the arena.

“Clefairy!” it cried.

“I don’t know what that is,” Sai admitted, “so, uh, Kuiora, you can start off however you want.”

“Too lazy to think of an opening strategy? That’s not going to help you win!” Whitney cried, putting her hands on her hips. “Clefairy, use encore when you get the chance.”

I simply watched the battle, wondering what move Kuiora would use and have to repeat. Encore was a nasty, deceptive move, I knew, having had teammates be the victims of its manipulation once or twice.

Kuiora looked like she wasn’t going to do anything at first, but then she pulled her body back, preparing for an attack. When her body lurched forward, she also released a massive stream of water from her mouth, and it was headed straight for the clefairy. The clefairy jumped to the left in an attempt to dodge it. When Kuiora simply moved her jaw in the direction of the clefairy’s location, the pink pokémon jumped to the right. Kuiora kept moving her body and the clefairy kept dancing around like this until the croconaw got fed up and stopped.

“Why did you stop?” cried the clefairy. “It was such a good move! Please do it again!”

“What?” Kuiora asked, dumbfounded. “You thought it was a good move? It didn’t even hit you!”

“So? The water was so pretty.”

“Uh, Kuiora—” Sai said, probably understanding now where this was going.

“Fine,” she said, not listening. “I’ll do it again!”

And she did exactly that. She did it the same way as she had done before, right down to the part where she had to keep chasing the clefairy by turning her jaw in the direction of the pink pokémon’s jumps. This time, however, the clefairy jumped not only to the left and right, but also forward—and eventually, it became close enough to become a threat to Kuiora. Despite this, Kuiora did not stop the attack.

“Clefairy, doubleslap!” cried Whitney.

Since the clefairy was close enough, it took its tiny pink paws and scratched at Kuiora’s face, immediately stopping the flow of water emerging from her mouth. The clefairy did this over and over, on both sides of Kuiora’s face. Due to the tiny claws on its paws, the clefairy was able to draw a little bit of blood from Kuiora.

“Kuiora, punch it back so it stops hitting you!” Sai cried.

“Clefairy, keep using encore,” Whitney said calmly.

“That’s… not… going to happen again!” Kuiora said in between slaps, and finally she pulled her arm back and punched the clefairy in the belly, sending it flying backward. The opponent’s pokémon landed on its feet, but just barely, as it was putting its paws against the ground to help keep composure.

“But the water was so pretty,” the clefairy whined, dusting itself off.

“Of course it’s pretty! It’s my attack,” Kuiora said, grinning wildly. Still, she knew this was no time to be joking around, and she got right back down to business shortly after, her face turning serious. She stood there in battle position, presumably waiting for a command from Sai.

“Oh,” Sai said. “Well, water gun isn’t working, huh? Try bite!”

“Okay!” Kuiora said, making me wonder how she could be so silly and so serious at the same time. I wondered about that regarding myself, often, as that’s how Ezrem described me—but it was another thing entirely to see it happening in another pokémon. I kept watching, intrigued by her—and Sai’s—battling style. Sai, it seemed, didn’t like to be too involved; he liked being a spectator, just like me.

Kuiora leapt forward, dashing straight toward the clefairy, who simply stood there, also waiting for a command.

“Use sing, Clefairy!” cried Whitney, a hint of franticness in her voice now. Apparently, that encore trick worked a lot longer in the past.

The clefairy had started the song before Whitney had even finished calling out her command. It sang a song that sounded suspiciously like a lullaby I had heard in the past. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, my heart fell further, as it reminded me of Annie.

As far as the battle went… The attack was meant to put Kuiora to sleep, but it didn’t have an effect on the croconaw. Either the clefairy didn’t have the time to sing enough of the song, or Kuiora was beyond determined to fulfill our trainer’s commands. She reached the clefairy rather quickly, opened her jaw, and clamped down on top of the clefairy’s head, immediately causing the pink pokémon’s lovely voice to be replaced by shrieking. This seemed to cause Kuiora to only bite harder, as the shrieking grew louder and louder over time. Eventually, the shrieking was reduced to crying, and Kuiora let go, leaping backward and surveying the damage.

“Clefairy, are you okay?” yelled Whitney. She looked like she was going to run into the arena, but stopped herself just in time.

“Yeesh… It hurts…” the clefairy said, rubbing the top of its head, staining its hands with a tiny bit of blood. I decided never to get on Kuiora’s bad side, as her teeth seemed too powerful for me to handle.

“Let’s keep going, clefairy! You can do it. Take your chances and use metronome!”

Surprisingly, I had never heard of this move before. I watched with interest as the clefairy did its best to recover and stand its ground. It took its bloodied hands and lifted them up in the air. Then it started moving its fingers in unison back and forth, back and forth. It did this for a long time, so long that I came to the conclusion that it was just a move to regain composure and focus one’s mind.

“Um, okay,” Sai said, apparently having similar thoughts. “Use bite again, Kuiora!”

Kuiora nodded and made her way over to her opponent, slower this time, probably not seeing the clefairy as much of a threat this time around. Once Kuiora reached the clefairy, she opened her mouth and was about to attack when the clefairy suddenly split into two. When Kuiora clamped her jaw down, the clefairy she was biting down on turned out to only be an illusion, one that disappeared just as quickly as it came.

“What?” she cried. She looked around. The clefairy had split again and again, and now a total of five pink pokémon were surrounding Kuiora on the arena.

Whitney laughed and said, “You already know double team, Clefairy! But I guess it works. Use metronome again!”

“Kuiora, find the real one, and fast!” Sai yelled as he was starting to finally see how dangerous the situation could turn out to be.

Kuiora went to each clefairy, one by one, and attempted to punch each in the stomach. The illusions disappeared, and she could tell she was running out of time as all of the illusions—and the real one—were waving their fingers around again. She went through three of them before the clefairy’s fingers glowed brightly. I heard the familiar cackling of electricity coming from the arena, and closed my eyes in response. I knew what was going to happen next; I didn’t need to watch. I didn’t hear Kuiora cry out, but I did hear her fall to the ground with a thud. Only then did I dare to open my eyes and see that she had fainted.

“Wow. A thundershock attack against a water-type! Yeah, how lucky!” Whitney said, confirming my thoughts. I let out a sigh of relief, glad that the thundershock attack was over. It had shaken me up inside, reminding me of my past battles, and how I had shocked others and been shocked myself. It was never fun, or fulfilling, or enlightening, or whatever pokémon battles were supposed to be.

“Whatever. I bet you knew it was going to an electric-type attack,” Sai said bitterly, returning Kuiora to her pokéball. He placed it in the backpack, which he had taken off and set behind him. “I guess that means I need someone who’s resistant to electricity…”

I froze. I had the vague notion that I should curse Ezrem for being a flying-type pokémon, but that wouldn’t have been fair. I knew what was coming, and there was nothing I could do to stop it. There was nothing I could do in any situation, it seemed.

“I want you to fight,” Sai said, turning to me.

“What?” I blurted out. Stupidly.

“I want you to fight,” he repeated.

“But—” I stopped myself, wondering what I could say. I didn’t know enough about the metronome attack to argue. In my haste, I tried to reason. “Whitney said that it was lucky, right? Right? That means—oh man—that the clefairy can use any attack out there… Any attack… Ground-type attacks… Oh, oh…”

The more and more I thought about it, the more devastated I became. I was about to be put up against an enemy that could use any attack in the world! One stroke of bad luck and I could surely be killed! I couldn’t face that.

Then again, I couldn’t put any of my teammates in that situation either. Now, I decided to curse the gym leader for having such a dangerous pokémon on her team. That just wasn’t fair! It wasn’t! Surely it was against the rules. I peered over at Ezrem, who only nodded to me.

“Ezrem! Ezrem—”

But that was all I could say.

“You should fight, Rennio! For our new trainer!” he said. He was trying to be reassuring, but I could tell that he didn’t have much hope for me. I didn’t know how I knew. It was a hunch of sorts that I couldn’t deny.

“But it’s been so long! And the gym leader has t-two pokémon left!” I cried, flailing my arms around.

“Please,” said Sai. “I need someone who won’t get hurt by electricity.”

“But the clefairy can use attacks other than electric-type attacks!” I cried, but Sai just wasn’t getting it.

“If you won’t fight for Sai,” Ezrem said loudly, “then you should fight for Annie.”

Annie. That hit me, and it hit me hard. Even though she considered me her baby, I knew she wouldn’t want me to act like one forever. She’d want me to grow and be strong and proud. I just couldn’t do that, not when I was the last elekid in the world, not when my species’ continuation depended on me.

But apparently, Sai took my quietness as a sign of surrender, as he said, “Okay. My elekid will fight.”

And apparently, Ezrem took my time to think as a sign of surrender, too, as he pushed me into the arena and left with a cheery “Good luck!”

I didn’t even have the energy to yell at him, to call him a jerk. Because that’s what he was being. A jerk! A real jerk… And what was I being?

“All right,” Whitney said. “Clefairy, use doubleslap!”

The clefairy was coming my way now. I knew that I had to get myself together, and fast. In reality, I knew I could win this battle. I had seen enough moves and strategies and battles for me to put something together quickly and come out as the victor. I had been on a journey long enough for me to have evolved into an electivire by now, though I hadn’t done that because Annie didn’t want a team of evolved pokémon. Yes, I knew that I could win, and easily. I wouldn’t die, or even come close to it. Still, I was frozen.

I was still frozen as the clefairy came up and hit me in the cheeks, over and over again. There was hardly any pain; the clefairy wasn’t that strong, which again told me I could win, and that I wouldn’t die. But there was another pokémon to fight after this! Even if I mustered up the strength to fight the clefairy, I’d have to do it all over again whenever the second pokémon came out. I just couldn’t handle that. So I stood there.

“Elekid, use your own thundershock!” Sai cried.

My first command from Sai. And I wasn’t going to be able to follow it. I continued to let the clefairy hit me, and pretended it hurt. In some ways, it did hurt. It hurt my pride, what little of it I had left. It hurt my species, and the image of strength that I believed we had… I tried to imagine being the clefairy as it used its thundershock. I tried to remember the feeling of releasing the neverending amount of electricity from my body. But I was so detached from myself that I couldn’t imagine it.

“Thundershock!” Sai said again, his voice louder this time.

I vaguely heard Ezrem’s voice, too, cheering me on. Then, I heard everyone’s voice. They were all trying to encourage me to fight, but it wasn’t going to work. I could barely hear them above my own thoughts.

I tried to imagine what it was like to be another elekid or electabuzz or electivire in their time of dying. Did it hurt? What move had finished them off? Or was it an accident? What happened when you died, anyway? What would happen to our legacy if I died and didn’t fulfill my goal to keep the species alive? It was times like these where I wished it was just all over already, so I wouldn’t have to bother trying.

Finally, I tried to imagine Annie… What her face would look like if she were here right now… I saw the fire, and the smoke, and the faces those guards made when I showed up at the end of Ilex Forest… It all haunted me, and perhaps it always would.

I knew—it all came down to one thing: I just wasn’t ready to move on. I just wasn’t ready to try.

“I forfeit,” Sai suddenly said. “I forfeit! Stop hitting him!”

The clefairy ceased its slapping session and stepped back. It smiled at me, but it was a painful smile, not a victorious smile. I wondered how pathetic it thought I was, and then decided I didn’t want to know. I bowed, turned around, and made my way back to my... new trainer, my new team.

“I should have listened to you,” Sai said as I walked back. He put his hands on the sides of his head. “Why don’t I ever listen to anyone? Why do people always tell me what to do?”

“It’s okay. It’s not your fault,” I said, suddenly feeling more terrible. I had been thinking far too much during the battle, but not once had I thought about Sai. Since he was my new trainer, I wanted to please him, I really did, but now I had done nothing but fail him and cause him to question himself.

“It is my fault! They always tell me that it’s my fault—”

“Who does?” Senori chimed in.

“They always do! And now, I’m not listening, so they’re following me!” Sai cried, shaking his head.

I looked at the team, hoping that they knew him well enough by now to know what to do when Sai got in these situations. But no one did anything, no one said anything. How could they not know? Then, I turned to Whitney, wondering if her knowledge of being a gym leader could help somehow. But she looked like she was about to cry, she was staring at us so sadly.

“I need to go,” Sai said, turning around. He walked around the corner, going back through the maze that we came through. He even forgot his backpack.

“Let’s go,” Senori said, leading us all to the maze as well after picking up the bag. When we reached the corner, though, we could hear him running instead of walking now. We started chasing after him, but when we reached the entrance to the gym, he had already left.

“He’s probably going back to the pokémon center,” Senori offered.

So we started heading there.

“Rennio, you really gotta learn to fight again sometime,” Ezrem said on the way back. I knew that he was going to say something, but I didn’t want it to be now. Couldn’t he tell that I felt horrible about what happened? Couldn’t he tell that I was still shaken up?

“I know,” I said quietly.

“Really, I meant what I said! You gotta do it for Annie. But now, more importantly, you’ve got to do it for Sai. He’s our new trainer! He can give us the happiness we’ve always dreamed of! But we can’t just get it for free,” Ezrem said, his voice turning calmer now. “We have to work for it. Okay?”

“I know.” My voice was barely above a whisper.

“Okay. We’ll work on it. I know you can do it,” Ezrem said, and that was the end of that. The rest of the journey to the pokémon center was uneventful and quiet.

We all thought that we’d find Sai locked in his room again, and we all thought that we’d have to sit outside in the hallway again. Senori knocked on the door over and over when we got to the room. But he didn’t answer. He wasn’t there.

“Where else could he be?” Senori said, talking to himself more than he was talking to us.

“Maybe the radio tower,” Atis offered.

“A good idea.”

But he wasn’t there either, despite the emotional reaction he had had there yesterday. He wasn’t at the flower shop, giving flowers to everyone. He wasn’t at the shopping mall, browsing and buying crazy things. We tried other places in the town, places we hadn’t explored yet. We tried searching all day.

…I never expected it to happen so soon.

I’m not talking about fighting, though that was unexpected, too. I’m talking about losing my trainer once more.

Sai, we couldn’t find him anywhere.

The Great Butler
16th November 2012, 9:01 AM
SURVIVAL PROJECT

chapter 13 ; [RENNIO]
automatic

*

I had only been with Sai for a few days now, and already I could spot the many differences between him and Annie. For one, Sai was just weird. He’d never seen a movie before? Annie couldn’t leave a city without watching at least one. He bought knives as gifts? Okay, Annie might have done that, too, but I always thought she was silly for it, while she said it was a joke. Sai was clearly serious. And then there was the part where Sai fled out of nowhere! He seemed so easily frightened, and Annie was fearless. Were the two of them even from the same planet? It didn’t seem very likely.

It kind of makes me wish the two of them could meet. Of course, we sadly know that's impossible. Or is it? You've surprised me before!


Despite this, he was a good trainer—he kept us fed, sheltered, and was guilty when he felt he couldn’t take care of us. And I was glad to learn more about him. I was always glad to learn something about people. I had much to learn about the world, I knew, and being with this new team was helping me. I also learned more about religion thanks to Kuiora and her constantly following of Ezrem. She worshipped him, no doubt. I didn’t know how Ezrem was so special, though, but I didn’t say anything. And I learned that Atis was quiet, but I still have yet to figure out why. I hope someday to get him to talk to me.

Senori, he told me his story about his old clan after I told him about Annie. We had been walking to the north side of town, to the flower shop that day.

I like how you're showing the bonds growing between Sai's Pokemon. This is a very important thing for all authors to remember to do.


“So there are others out there like me,” I said to him, trying to cheer him up after he kept looking down to the ground solemnly.

“What do you mean?” he said, peering up.

“There are pokémon—and probably people—out there who carry around an endless amount of guilt, and try to hide it,” I said. “It feels good to be understood, to say the least. I don’t think I’ve ever felt understood before…”

Wow, Rennio's pretty thoughtful. I have to admit I'm a little surprised at how deep he actually is.


“Well,” Senori started, “if you ever need someone to talk to, I’m here. I like to take care of others, so you’re on the right team.”

And that's very grown-up of Senori. I'm impressed with them both.


I thought so, too.

Over the past few days, the idea of the team being carried around by a ton of pain had… slightly gone away. With Senori and me, there was clearly a lot of pain. There was pain with Ezrem, too, but he hid it a lot better. And there was clearly something bothering Atis and Kuiora and Sai, but they showed me that they could forget about their suffering under the right circumstances. In their cases, they needed proper distractions, and then they seemed fine. I wondered how they felt, then, when reality came crashing down on them.

Rennio, you're going to find out how the three of them act when reality comes crashing down on them very, very soon, I think.


I decided to figure it out on my own rather than asking. Asking could be too personal, after all. “So what is it like to be happy, and then have your life come flying back into view out of nowhere?” I wanted to know, but that wouldn’t go over too well. So I kept an eye on the people and pokémon around as we went from place to place every day. I kept mental notes to myself, notes about every happy instance that I saw.

A little green pokémon that looked suspiciously like one of the plush dolls we saw helped an older lady find her way to the shopping mall, as she was obviously lost, what with her going around in circles and everything. The little green pokémon helped the lady, and then went back to her trainer, receiving praise. That was happiness, I thought, being able to help others in their time of need. But who could I help at this moment? Senori was supposed to help me, so that didn’t make sense. I didn’t know the others well enough yet to determine whether they needed me. So I tried to lead Ezrem to all the places that we went to, tried to stay in front of him and tell him to follow me, but he brushed me off, scoffing each and every time. Still, I was glad to be with him.

Something else I saw: a human saying hello to everyone and anyone he passed by on the street. Those he said hi to had originally been staring down at the ground rather emotionlessly, but as soon as they were acknowledged, they had a giant smile on their faces. I started saying hello to everyone, too. The pokémon I said hello to waved or said hello back, while the humans just looked at me, confused. I stopped once Kuiora told me that not every human was like Sai, that not all of them could understand pokémon—but it was an interesting experience for me nonetheless.

Finally, I saw a most peculiar thing: a pokémon carrying another pokémon. The larger pokémon, the one who was doing the carrying, almost looked like a human, but its skin was blue in color, and it wasn’t wearing any clothes aside from a black belt around its waist. Its muscles were also fairly big compared to a human’s. The smaller pokémon was a simple purple rodent. My best guess was that it was injured somehow, probably from battle. Well, I could certainly sympathize with the rodent, and I left it at that.

Very observant of Rennio, too. I have to admit I never expected anything like this from him.

I could see this having unforeseen consequences, though. If Rennio continues to internalize his observations and place so much stock in them, it could affect him poorly in the long run.


The rest of the city seemed sad, or emotionless, somehow.

This strikes me as important, though I'm not sure why yet.


So, what did I learn in Goldenrod City? I learned that people came and went… They interacted with each other, sometimes on a superficial level, and sometimes on a deeper level that only the people in question could understand… But why they interacted with others, I could only guess. Maybe it was to ease themselves in thinking they were important. Maybe they just liked the way others made them feel. And maybe they did it because they simply felt they had to, like it was a rule that all humans faced.

In the end, I knew the truth: Annie was gone. I was still coming to terms with it, and it was hard, when everything reminded me of her. Even the way that the city air smelled reminded me of the many other places we had been. But there was nothing that I could do to bring her back, as much as I wanted to. There was nothing I could do to erase the fire, to erase our search for a new trainer, to erase the surprise and grief that accompanied us fully. All I had were memories to think of from time to time, when I felt I could handle it. So now I knew: when reality crashed back down on me, it felt like… being kissed by her ghost—as if she were kissing me on the cheek, calling me her baby, like she used to—and having her promising me that the distance between us was nothing.

I love Rennio now. Not that I didn't like him before, but we're barely into this chapter and the way you're writing him is making me love him. He's seen way too much in his life already and I just want to see everything turn out okay for him.


It didn’t take long, though, for my suffering to increase tenfold…

But of course, things couldn't turn out okay. I expected it.


Originally, Sai had planned for the gym battle to take place in two weeks. Two weeks! That gave me plenty of time to try to prepare mentally, in case he wanted me to fight. And while looking for happy pokémon and people, that’s partly what I did. Happiness could maybe keep the nerves from getting to me when the time came. I wished that I could say I was sure, but it had been far too long since I battled. The last time I had battled was against Ezrem when he had said something to offend me—whatever it was had escaped my mind now that I had forgiven him—and he knew better than anyone about my fear, so he went easy on me…

That wasn’t very likely to happen in a gym battle, against two people who were very, very determined to defeat each other. Then again, I hadn’t seen Sai’s fighting style, nor much of the Johto region’s gym leader. I just didn’t know what to think.

Needless to say, I was surprised when Sai announced that we would be going to the pokémon gym the day after we visited the radio tower. A while after calling Atis inside by himself for whatever reason, he gathered us all back into the room and sat us down to talk about it.

I wonder how the other Pokemon would react if they knew about what happened in that room between Atis and Sai. That's the first thing that jumps into my mind.


“After today, I’ve decided to forget about the appointment and just go,” he explained.

“But why?” I couldn’t help but blurt out. Maybe it was childish of me—no, it definitely was—but it just wasn’t fair!

“I know you’re new, Rennio, so you don’t know, right? We’ve been flying through the cities up until now. We’ve gotten the last two gym badges without problem. So we have to continue doing that, okay?” he said, trying to be reassuring. My nervousness must have been shining through somehow.

Something's got Sai freaked out. It makes me wonder about the thought I had last chapter...


I thought that Ezrem would say something in protest, but apparently he didn’t think it was his place to speak. And none of the other pokémon said anything, either—they were used to this already, and accepted it for what it was.

But I couldn’t accept it. That night, I lay in the bottom bunk with everyone else, too anxious to sleep. And I wasn’t even sure if Sai would use me in battle or not! But what if he did? What if he used me in battle after all and I got hurt? What if I got injured so badly that I died, or had to be carried like that purple rodent? Who would carry me, then, and help me? Was there any help for me? There was just no telling what would happen to me tomorrow, and it killed me.

I huddled up next to Ezrem, wishing for Annie’s warmth, and didn’t sleep at all.

I know I keep saying it, but I just cannot get over how much I like your characterization. Rennio is just shining so much right now now that he's getting a chapter that really focuses on him. We're seeing straight into his mind and getting an amazing look at how he operates. Everything he feels is so understandable and makes so much sense that you can't help but sympathize with him.


In the morning, we went to the Goldenrod City pokémon gym… just as planned. I tried to distract myself by finding more happy things in people and pokémon outside, but we were going far too fast for me to be able to pay attention to others and still keep up with everyone else. When we got there, I was more nervous than ever.

Next distraction: the inside of the building. It almost felt like a maze, and an inviting one at that! Like the flower shop, the aroma inside was nice. Several plants lined the walls and the ground, and the walls were colored white with various shades of pink. Every time we walked to the end of a path and turned onto a new one, we hoped it was the last path that we’d have to go through, but they never seemed to end. I would have been okay with that.

I am so glad you actually kept the design of the Goldenrod Gym. I couldn't imagine the Goldenrod Gym without the Clefairy maze.


As luck would have it, we eventually reached the end of the… maze. It didn’t really feel like a maze anymore by the time we were done with it. It was too straightforward to be one. But as any path promises, we reached our destination and received our prize for it: the gym leader. She looked very young with that smile of hers, just like Annie had, and she almost blended in with the walls with her pink hair, her pink shorts, and her tight white shirt. It wasn’t much of a distraction, but I vaguely wondered what kind of pokémon she specialized in. I would soon find out, I supposed.

“You’re back already?” she said in a sing song voice. “I thought we had set up an appointment. Not that many trainers set up appointments, anyway, but, you know.”

“Yeah…” Sai said, rubbing the back of his head. “I’d like to just battle now, Whitney. If that’s possible, of course…”

“Well, does it look like I’m busy?” Whitney retorted, spreading her arms out as if she was encouraging us to look around. All I saw were more plants, more walls. “We can battle now if that’s what you really want.”

I see Whitney's the same as always. Good to see something that can be relied upon when so much is unpredictable.


My heart fell, but Sai’s smile was wide.

“Thank you so much,” he said.

“Sure. It’ll be a two on two battle. Get over to that wall, and we’ll battle right here,” she instructed.

“Okay,” Sai said. He turned and motioned for all of us to back up, which we did. When we were against the wall, I knew it was time for him to pick which pokémon he was going to use. “Kuiora”—I let out a breath I didn’t know I had been holding—“do you want to battle first? I know you like to fight.”

“Yes! I do, I do!” she said immediately, and jumped back forward into the arena.

Forgive me if I've forgotten something, but does Sai know that Whitney uses Normal-types? I thought Atis would be first.


“All right, then, let’s get started,” Whitney said, smiling now. She reached behind her and pulled forth a pokéball. She didn’t say who was going to be choice of pokémon as she threw it forward. Perhaps not so surprisingly, a small, pink pokémon emerged from the ball. Yes, the pokémon was all pink, and it seemed exuberant over the fact with the hearty smile on its face and with its body dancing over to the middle of the arena.

“Clefairy!” it cried.

“I don’t know what that is,” Sai admitted, “so, uh, Kuiora, you can start off however you want.”

“Too lazy to think of an opening strategy? That’s not going to help you win!” Whitney cried, putting her hands on her hips. “Clefairy, use encore when you get the chance.”

I simply watched the battle, wondering what move Kuiora would use and have to repeat. Encore was a nasty, deceptive move, I knew, having had teammates be the victims of its manipulation once or twice.

Kuiora looked like she wasn’t going to do anything at first, but then she pulled her body back, preparing for an attack. When her body lurched forward, she also released a massive stream of water from her mouth, and it was headed straight for the clefairy. The clefairy jumped to the left in an attempt to dodge it. When Kuiora simply moved her jaw in the direction of the clefairy’s location, the pink pokémon jumped to the right. Kuiora kept moving her body and the clefairy kept dancing around like this until the croconaw got fed up and stopped.

“Why did you stop?” cried the clefairy. “It was such a good move! Please do it again!”

“What?” Kuiora asked, dumbfounded. “You thought it was a good move? It didn’t even hit you!”

“So? The water was so pretty.”

“Uh, Kuiora—” Sai said, probably understanding now where this was going.

“Fine,” she said, not listening. “I’ll do it again!”

And she did exactly that. She did it the same way as she had done before, right down to the part where she had to keep chasing the clefairy by turning her jaw in the direction of the pink pokémon’s jumps. This time, however, the clefairy jumped not only to the left and right, but also forward—and eventually, it became close enough to become a threat to Kuiora. Despite this, Kuiora did not stop the attack.

This is actually an excellent depiction of Encore's effect, and Kuiora and Clefairy make a great combination.


“Clefairy, doubleslap!” cried Whitney.

Since the clefairy was close enough, it took its tiny pink paws and scratched at Kuiora’s face, immediately stopping the flow of water emerging from her mouth. The clefairy did this over and over, on both sides of Kuiora’s face. Due to the tiny claws on its paws, the clefairy was able to draw a little bit of blood from Kuiora.

“Kuiora, punch it back so it stops hitting you!” Sai cried.

“Clefairy, keep using encore,” Whitney said calmly.

“That’s… not… going to happen again!” Kuiora said in between slaps, and finally she pulled her arm back and punched the clefairy in the belly, sending it flying backward. The opponent’s pokémon landed on its feet, but just barely, as it was putting its paws against the ground to help keep composure.

Good for Kuiora, actually managing to catch on to how Encore worked. I almost think Clefairy drawing blood helped snap her out of it.


“But the water was so pretty,” the clefairy whined, dusting itself off.

“Of course it’s pretty! It’s my attack,” Kuiora said, grinning wildly. Still, she knew this was no time to be joking around, and she got right back down to business shortly after, her face turning serious. She stood there in battle position, presumably waiting for a command from Sai.

“Oh,” Sai said. “Well, water gun isn’t working, huh? Try bite!”

“Okay!” Kuiora said, making me wonder how she could be so silly and so serious at the same time. I wondered about that regarding myself, often, as that’s how Ezrem described me—but it was another thing entirely to see it happening in another pokémon. I kept watching, intrigued by her—and Sai’s—battling style. Sai, it seemed, didn’t like to be too involved; he liked being a spectator, just like me.

Kuiora leapt forward, dashing straight toward the clefairy, who simply stood there, also waiting for a command.

“Use sing, Clefairy!” cried Whitney, a hint of franticness in her voice now. Apparently, that encore trick worked a lot longer in the past.

That wasn't the way I was expecting the battle to turn here. I thought they would both stick to straightforward attacking.


The clefairy had started the song before Whitney had even finished calling out her command. It sang a song that sounded suspiciously like a lullaby I had heard in the past. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, my heart fell further, as it reminded me of Annie.

Nice emotional touch right in the middle of the battle.


As far as the battle went… The attack was meant to put Kuiora to sleep, but it didn’t have an effect on the croconaw. Either the clefairy didn’t have the time to sing enough of the song, or Kuiora was beyond determined to fulfill our trainer’s commands. She reached the clefairy rather quickly, opened her jaw, and clamped down on top of the clefairy’s head, immediately causing the pink pokémon’s lovely voice to be replaced by shrieking. This seemed to cause Kuiora to only bite harder, as the shrieking grew louder and louder over time. Eventually, the shrieking was reduced to crying, and Kuiora let go, leaping backward and surveying the damage.

Well now, that was unexpected. I'm surprised Kuiora avoided falling asleep, and I'm even more surprised she attacked so viciously. Could evolution be coming again?


“Clefairy, are you okay?” yelled Whitney. She looked like she was going to run into the arena, but stopped herself just in time.

“Yeesh… It hurts…” the clefairy said, rubbing the top of its head, staining its hands with a tiny bit of blood. I decided never to get on Kuiora’s bad side, as her teeth seemed too powerful for me to handle.

“Let’s keep going, clefairy! You can do it. Take your chances and use metronome!”

Oh boy, this sure came out of nowhere. I bet whatever move it pulls is going to be shocking too.


Surprisingly, I had never heard of this move before. I watched with interest as the clefairy did its best to recover and stand its ground. It took its bloodied hands and lifted them up in the air. Then it started moving its fingers in unison back and forth, back and forth. It did this for a long time, so long that I came to the conclusion that it was just a move to regain composure and focus one’s mind.

“Um, okay,” Sai said, apparently having similar thoughts. “Use bite again, Kuiora!”

Kuiora nodded and made her way over to her opponent, slower this time, probably not seeing the clefairy as much of a threat this time around. Once Kuiora reached the clefairy, she opened her mouth and was about to attack when the clefairy suddenly split into two. When Kuiora clamped her jaw down, the clefairy she was biting down on turned out to only be an illusion, one that disappeared just as quickly as it came.

“What?” she cried. She looked around. The clefairy had split again and again, and now a total of five pink pokémon were surrounding Kuiora on the arena.

Double Team, huh? That's not one I thought it would be.


Whitney laughed and said, “You already know double team, Clefairy! But I guess it works. Use metronome again!”

Okay, that was funny. Whitney shouldn't be revealing Clefairy's known moves to her opponent, but the surprise of Metronome pulling a movie Clefairy already had is worth a laugh.


“Kuiora, find the real one, and fast!” Sai yelled as he was starting to finally see how dangerous the situation could turn out to be.

Kuiora went to each clefairy, one by one, and attempted to punch each in the stomach. The illusions disappeared, and she could tell she was running out of time as all of the illusions—and the real one—were waving their fingers around again. She went through three of them before the clefairy’s fingers glowed brightly. I heard the familiar cackling of electricity coming from the arena, and closed my eyes in response. I knew what was going to happen next; I didn’t need to watch. I didn’t hear Kuiora cry out, but I did hear her fall to the ground with a thud. Only then did I dare to open my eyes and see that she had fainted.

“Wow. A thundershock attack against a water-type! Yeah, how lucky!” Whitney said, confirming my thoughts. I let out a sigh of relief, glad that the thundershock attack was over. It had shaken me up inside, reminding me of my past battles, and how I had shocked others and been shocked myself. It was never fun, or fulfilling, or enlightening, or whatever pokémon battles were supposed to be.

That was more like what I was expecting all along, something that would give Clefairy a trump card over Kuiora.


“Whatever. I bet you knew it was going to an electric-type attack,” Sai said bitterly, returning Kuiora to her pokéball. He placed it in the backpack, which he had taken off and set behind him. “I guess that means I need someone who’s resistant to electricity…”

I froze. I had the vague notion that I should curse Ezrem for being a flying-type pokémon, but that wouldn’t have been fair. I knew what was coming, and there was nothing I could do to stop it. There was nothing I could do in any situation, it seemed.

“I want you to fight,” Sai said, turning to me.

A Gym battle in a Rennio chapter probably inevitably means this was coming.


“What?” I blurted out. Stupidly.

“I want you to fight,” he repeated.

“But—” I stopped myself, wondering what I could say. I didn’t know enough about the metronome attack to argue. In my haste, I tried to reason. “Whitney said that it was lucky, right? Right? That means—oh man—that the clefairy can use any attack out there… Any attack… Ground-type attacks… Oh, oh…”

The more and more I thought about it, the more devastated I became. I was about to be put up against an enemy that could use any attack in the world! One stroke of bad luck and I could surely be killed! I couldn’t face that.

Then again, I couldn’t put any of my teammates in that situation either. Now, I decided to curse the gym leader for having such a dangerous pokémon on her team. That just wasn’t fair! It wasn’t! Surely it was against the rules. I peered over at Ezrem, who only nodded to me.

“Ezrem! Ezrem—”

But that was all I could say.

“You should fight, Rennio! For our new trainer!” he said. He was trying to be reassuring, but I could tell that he didn’t have much hope for me. I didn’t know how I knew. It was a hunch of sorts that I couldn’t deny.

“But it’s been so long! And the gym leader has t-two pokémon left!” I cried, flailing my arms around.

Now, once again, I'm surprised. I thought Rennio would be willing to fight and not freak out until something went wrong during the battle. Although, I suppose you could say that Metronome is the thing that went wrong.


“Please,” said Sai. “I need someone who won’t get hurt by electricity.”

“But the clefairy can use attacks other than electric-type attacks!” I cried, but Sai just wasn’t getting it.

“If you won’t fight for Sai,” Ezrem said loudly, “then you should fight for Annie.”

Very good logic, Ezrem. Maybe it'll help.


Annie. That hit me, and it hit me hard. Even though she considered me her baby, I knew she wouldn’t want me to act like one forever. She’d want me to grow and be strong and proud. I just couldn’t do that, not when I was the last elekid in the world, not when my species’ continuation depended on me.

That thing about being the last Elekid in the world is going to be a major arc in Rennio's story, I can tell.


But apparently, Sai took my quietness as a sign of surrender, as he said, “Okay. My elekid will fight.”

And apparently, Ezrem took my time to think as a sign of surrender, too, as he pushed me into the arena and left with a cheery “Good luck!”

I didn’t even have the energy to yell at him, to call him a jerk. Because that’s what he was being. A jerk! A real jerk… And what was I being?

“All right,” Whitney said. “Clefairy, use doubleslap!”

The clefairy was coming my way now. I knew that I had to get myself together, and fast. In reality, I knew I could win this battle. I had seen enough moves and strategies and battles for me to put something together quickly and come out as the victor. I had been on a journey long enough for me to have evolved into an electivire by now, though I hadn’t done that because Annie didn’t want a team of evolved pokémon. Yes, I knew that I could win, and easily. I wouldn’t die, or even come close to it. Still, I was frozen.

I was still frozen as the clefairy came up and hit me in the cheeks, over and over again. There was hardly any pain; the clefairy wasn’t that strong, which again told me I could win, and that I wouldn’t die. But there was another pokémon to fight after this! Even if I mustered up the strength to fight the clefairy, I’d have to do it all over again whenever the second pokémon came out. I just couldn’t handle that. So I stood there.

I see where this is going, and it's not going to be pretty...


“Elekid, use your own thundershock!” Sai cried.

My first command from Sai. And I wasn’t going to be able to follow it. I continued to let the clefairy hit me, and pretended it hurt. In some ways, it did hurt. It hurt my pride, what little of it I had left. It hurt my species, and the image of strength that I believed we had… I tried to imagine being the clefairy as it used its thundershock. I tried to remember the feeling of releasing the neverending amount of electricity from my body. But I