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View Full Version : Brothers' Bond (PG-13)



Sid87
13th April 2012, 4:15 PM
CHAPTER LIST (direct links)
Chapter One (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?568749-Brothers-Bond-%28PG-13%29&p=14422538#post14422538)
Chapter Two (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?568749-Brothers-Bond-%28PG-13%29&p=14431398#post14431398)
Chapter Three (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?568749-Brothers-Bond-%28PG-13%29&p=14451489#post14451489)
Chapter Four (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?568749-Brothers-Bond-%28PG-13%29&p=14466739#post14466739)
Chapter Five (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?568749-Brothers-Bond-%28PG-13%29&p=14490670#post14490670)
Chapter Six (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?568749-Brothers-Bond-%28PG-13%29&p=14533010#post14533010)
Chapter Seven (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?568749-Brothers-Bond-%28PG-13%29&p=14567534#post14567534)
Chapter Eight (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?568749-Brothers-Bond-%28PG-13%29&p=14605932#post14605932)
Chapter Nine (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?568749-Brothers-Bond-%28PG-13%29&p=14647465#post14647465)
Chapter Ten (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?568749-Brothers-Bond-%28PG-13%29&p=14683640#post14683640)
Chapter Eleven (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?568749-Brothers-Bond-%28PG-13%29&p=14786633#post14786633)
Chapter Twelve (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?568749-Brothers-Bond-%28PG-13%29&p=14840315#post14840315)
Chapter Thirteen (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?568749-Brothers-Bond-%28PG-13%29&p=14909794#post14909794)
Chapter Fourteen (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?568749-Brothers-Bond-%28PG-13%29&p=14962302#post14962302)
Chapter Fifteen (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?568749-Brothers-Bond-%28PG-13%29&p=15011728#post15011728)
Chapter Sixteen (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?568749-Brothers-Bond-%28PG-13%29&p=15075617#post15075617)
Chapter Seventeen (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?568749-Brothers-Bond-%28PG-13%29&p=15272016#post15272016)
Chapter Eighteen (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?568749-Brothers-Bond-%28PG-13%29&p=15438777#post15438777)
Chapter Nineteen (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?568749-Brothers-Bond-%28PG-13%29&p=15488311#post15488311)
Chapter Twenty (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?568749-Brothers-Bond-%28PG-13%29&p=15590930#post15590930)
Chapter Twenty-One (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?568749-Brothers-Bond-%28PG-13%29&p=15628854#post15628854)
Chapter Twenty-Two (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?568749-Brothers-Bond-%28PG-13%29&p=15746145#post15746145)


Prologue: 15 Years Ago

Sammy Stark stared down at the yellow-and-green orb in his hand. The boy had never held an actual pokeball before in his life, he had only seen them used by others: trainers, his dad, his brother Tommy...but never was he allowed to handle one. His father had always been adamant that Sammy would not be allowed to touch a ball until the day he was given his own and sent to catch his first pokemon. Realizing what he'd just thought, Sammy’s freckled cheeks blushed; his dad wouldn’t have approved of that, either, as dad always called them “friends”. Sammy had never previously cared when his dad told stories of acquaintances and co-workers of his who let their own kids use pokemon because dad had been trying to teach him a lesson about maturity and earning a privilege, but all Sammy ever thought about were the other kids in Goldenrod Elementary who got to go out on the weekend and play with their parents’ pokemon. Miah Vanderbelt was the one who always had a new story on Mondays about his dad’s Bellsprout. They either went to the Pokeathalon or they took a trip to Ecruteak together to look for ghosts (Miah always said that they found ghosts together, but Sammy was skeptical) or they just played in river or picked berries. So while his dad tried to impart a message of the rites of growing up, Sammy just imagined how nice it would be if he could take dad’s Sandslash out with Miah for just one weekend and help him look for ghosts.

But that was when he was eight. Sammy was ten now, and felt like he was much more mature. Would he be able to appreciate this moment as much if he’d been allowed to play with dad’s friends when he was younger? Would the ball in his hand feel so heavy? Would his chest feel like it was about to collapse every time he breathed out? He was there in Ilex Forest about to catch his first pokemon; his first friend.

“You can stare at it all day, Sammy. It doesn’t do any tricks until you throw it.”

Of course Sammy hadn’t been sent into the forest by himself. Tommy had been asked by dad to help him not get lost and find a suitable friend. Sammy had not even realized he was still staring at the ball as they walked when he should have been looking towards the trees. He still couldn’t bring himself to take his eyes off of it, though. No matter what he caught today, it would always be his first ever friend. From now on, when Sammy threw this ball, something would emerge. What would it be? Sammy mentally pictured going into fifth grade this fall and showing off a fearsome Noctowl. Man, the look on Miah’s face when Sammy would jump onto Noctowl’s back and fly up to the top of Goldenrod Elementary; he could see it now! He’d be stuck standing there with his mouth open while all the kids asked Sammy if they could have the next ride. Bellsprout and those fake ghosts wouldn’t seem so special then!

“All right, fine. I’m going back home and telling dad you went all catatonic. No friend for you.”

“Noo!” His voice came out with much more whine than he wanted it to, so Sammy swallowed hard and regained himself. “I can do this, Tommy! Don’t tell dad I can’t!” He cursed himself mentally where he knew no one could hear and scold him; he still sounded more whiney than he wanted.

Tommy’s arm locked around his neck, and he felt his older brother start abusing his head with noogies. This stupid buzzcut that dad made him get last week made the attack all the more painful. Noogies aside, Sammy was happy to have Tommy with him. It had been five years since Tommy was ten and allowed to catch a friend of his own, and ever since then, Tommy was the guy that Sammy aspired to be. In his first year of high school, Tommy was Trainer of the Year, beating out kids four years older than himself! Tommy was already almost six feet tall, and his styled, sandy hair would never have to be buzzed down because it always stuck up. When Tommy’s friends came over, they always talked about what girls in Goldenrod High wanted to go out with him that week, but Tommy would just laugh them off. On the weekends when they were at home playing video games while dad was at work, Sammy would ask why he didn’t just go out on a date with one of those girls instead, but Tommy’s answer was always just to laugh and say the same thing. ‘Sammy, you’d burn the house down if I wasn’t here!’.

“Hey, look up in that tree!” The noogies had suddenly stopped, and Tommy was whispering. Sammy craned his neck in his brother’s grip and looked up at the nearest oak tree. Out on the edge of a branch was a tiny Caterpie chewing on a leaf. Even by Caterpie standards, this thing was scrawny. And yet, unlike probably everything else in the forest, it didn’t flee at all the ruckus Sammy and his brother had just made. It simply ignored them as it focused on its leaf. “I think you should catch it.”

Sammy, now fully free of his brother’s grasp, glanced down at the ball in his hand. He was hesitant as he pictured the Noctowl in his fantasy turn into a butterfly that wouldn’t be able to bear his weight. The image of Miah shocked in silence turned to an image of him laughing like a hyena.

“It’s a Nest Ball, Sammy. That’s why dad gave it to you to start. It’s designed to catch weaker pokemon. He wanted you to earn your first friend by proving you wouldn’t blow that ball on something too strong for you to handle.” Tommy looked back up at the Caterpie in the tree. “I’m pretty sure anyone could handle that little bug.”

Sammy noticed the leaf that this Caterpie was eating twitch a bit at those words and couldn’t help but think it must have let out a huff. But that was impossible...right? Regardless, that’s what it came down to: all those years of lectures, and dad knew that Sammy wasn’t ever really listening. He knew Sammy wanted to fit in with everyone else, and so today was his lesson. Sammy knew he had to choose between trying--and possibly failing--to get a friend he could impress the kids at school with or getting one he could grow with. His brain flashed to the image of Miah Vanderbelt laughing at the silly, undersized bug pokemon, then to that of his dad giving him another lecture if he came home with nothing. The two options juggled in his head. Miah, dad. Dad, Miah. Without realizing he was even doing it, his arm thew the ball as if it was making his mind up for him.

The ball split open when it got within catching distance of the tiny Caterpie and released a crackle of red energy. Caterpie dropped its leaf as its body was converted into the same energy and absorbed into the ball. As the ball started dropping to the ground, Sammy saw it struggling in the air. By the time it landed in a bed of oak leaves, the struggle was over. The Caterpie had been caught with barely any resistance. Sammy immediately regretted his action; until he was able to earn some money from dad, this would be the only pokeball he’d ever get, and he just used it to catch a Caterpie. He remembered hearing about the middle school kids who started out with some kind of insect pokemon--they were made fun of and called “Bug Catchers”. Their lockers were broken into, and the other kids put toy bug nets inside. A couple of kids who were less careful would get grabbed in the locker room after gym and have straw hats duct-taped on their heads. Was this really what Sammy had to look forward to until he could get the money to buy a better ball?

Tommy’s outburst of laughter disrupted the thought. “Oh man, you caught a Caterpie. You’re going to be such a bug catcher!” Yes, Sammy thought, that’s apparently what I have to look forward to. “Listen,” Tommy continued, “it’s not so bad. I mean, that little guy wasn’t scared of us, so maybe he knows something we don’t know. But the only way for us to figure that out...”

“A battle?” Sammy cried, having realized where Tommy was going. “But I just caught it! I don’t know anything about it yet!”

“Well how do you think you get to know it? Take it out on a date?”

“But it...”

“I’ll go easy on you. I’ll let you make the first move, and I won’t go all-out. But come on, Sammy. You’ve got to do it eventually.”

Sammy wanted to argue and protest, but he knew that there were moments when Tommy did not take no for an answer, and this was clearly about to be one of them. Without really wanting to, Sammy held out his Nest Ball and squeezed it gently; a splash of red energy emerged with a hum from the outlet on the front of the ball. The energy converted into a Caterpie (‘My Caterpie’, Sammy thought) as fluidly as the reverse had happened just minutes before. The Caterpie turned around to face its new trainer, tilted its head in each direction, and then crawled off towards an oak leaf lying just a few feet to its left. Caterpie continued the lunch that had just been so rudely interrupted. Sammy wanted to say something, but the words were cut off by the sound of another hum. Suddenly on the forest ground sat Tommy’s Vulpix, Vlam.

“Vlam?” Sammy protested. “That’s not fair!”

Tommy shrugged. “I said I wasn’t going to go all-out, don’t worry. Calm it down, kiddo.”

Vlam was Tommy’s first friend, one that he had caught in a Dusk Ball at midnight on his tenth birthday. Dad always had more faith in Tommy than Sammy, the younger brother thought. But beyond that resentment, he realized his little Caterpie was in an impossible battle. Not only had Vlam been training with Tommy for five years, but it had a huge type advantage over bug pokemon, who hate fire.

“I said you’d get the first shot in, so...go for it.”

Sammy shook his head. Vlam had just played a major role in Tommy winning Goldenrod High Trainer of the Year; this was so not fair. Why couldn’t he have used something else? “Caterpie, tackle the Vulpix!” he finally ordered.

Caterpie looked up from his leaf and tilted its neck like it had when it emerged from its Nest Ball.

“You can have a leaf later if you want, I promise! Just...tackle that pokemon!”

The Caterpie twisted its head to the other side, still studying Sammy.

“Oh. Oh no. I get it.”

“What? Get what? What do you get?”

“Sammy, it’s not that it’s not listening to you. It just...,” Tommy stopped and chewed his lower lip, “I don’t think it knows how to tackle.”

Sammy snapped his attention back to Caterpie so quickly, he felt a nerve pinch in his neck, but shook it off. “No, that’s not...come on! What the heck? You just...run at it and throw your body at it, bug! It’s simplest attack in the world!” The Caterpie just continued staring back at him. “Run! You’ve got, like, a dozen little legs!” The creature went back to its leaf, seemingly bored with what the boy was telling it.

“Well, this is embarrassing.”

Sammy wasn’t listening to Tommy. He was thinking of Miah Vanderbelt again. He was still laughing, only this time he was rolling back-and-forth on the ground in an absolute fit of laughter. In the mental picture, the tiny bug sat and ate a leaf while Miah’s friends strapped a straw hat to Sammy’s head.

“Maybe it just needs an example? Vlam, tackle that Caterpie.”

“No, don’t!” Sammy called out, but it was too late, Vlam was charging headlong at his Caterpie. Sammy felt like he wanted to close his eyes, but they were paralyzed open; he couldn’t look away. Vlam was about to make contact...and then it suddenly stopped and backed away. “What?” Sammy mouthed.

“Caterpie release a terrible scent when they are scared. That’s how they keep predators away. I’m assuming it just did that and Vlam got a whiff of it. As far as attacks go, though, I’m not sure it’s optimal.”

“So...that’s what it does? It stinks?” In his head, Miah’s friends were now beating him with plastic bug nets.

“Seems like.”

Sammy wanted to reply, but all that came out of his mouth was a nonsensical trail of consonants and vowels that didn’t make up so much as a single word.

“Sorry, Sammy. Maybe this thing’s got to learn how to battle the hard way. Vlam, use your ember on it.”

The new trainer wanted to protect his Caterpie, but his mouth and brain were still on separate pages. To his amazement, though, the Caterpie hardly seemed to need his help as it rolled nimbly to its right to avoid the spray of burning ash. Sammy regained his bearings enough to say the only thing he could think of. “String shot the Vulpix!” At the words, Caterpie pulled itself upright and spat a stream of high-speed silk that snared Vlam’s four legs, sending the tiny fox pokemon tumbling to its side.

“That’s some good instinct!” Tommy cheered. Sammy noticed he was also clapping and nodding his head. “I thought you froze up there for a sec, but you thought of an attack pretty quickly and you used enough force in your voice to get Caterpie to listen. Very professional, kiddo.” The elder brother tilted his head down and grinned, “Still, some silly string isn’t about to beat Vlam. Vlam, can you tear that stuff?”

Sammy tried madly to think of something else a Caterpie could do, but nothing was coming to mind. He couldn’t let Vlam just tear itself free, though. “Caterpie, keep pouring on the string shot!”

As Vlam struggled against the silk already there, even more piled on, creating a burgeoning cocoon. Tommy was chuckling. “Not giving me a chance to catch my breath, huh? All right, little brother, let’s put an end to this silliness. Vlam, use ember to burn away the string shot.” Vlam turned her head down to her paws and legs that were now coated in fine Caterpie silk. More burning ash erupted from its mouth. Sammy felt a lump catch in his throat that he couldn’t swallow away as the ash effortlessly disintegrated the string. But then something strange happened: Vlam cried out in agony!

“Vlam! Are you okay? Return!” Tommy held out his Dusk Ball and squeezed it twice. Vlam ceased struggling against the silk as it transformed into its energy form and was sucked back into its portable home.

“What...why did you do that?”

Tommy shook his head. “Vlam was a little careless with the ember, and it burned too fast through the silk. She ended up burning her own paw.”

Sammy gasped, “Is she okay?”

“Yeah, she’ll be fine. We have stuff for that back in Goldenrod, of course.”

Sammy called Caterpie back to its Nest Ball and then caught up with his brother, who was already making his way to the northern path that would lead them back home. Tommy had trained so many days away here in the forest that he could find his way out if he was blindfolded; Sammy’s only hope was to stay close behind him. They walked several yards with neither saying a word. Sammy finally felt an enormous smile paint his face. “So wait. I totally just beat you, right?”

Tommy slowed his pace, but never turned back to face his brother. “I said Vlam was burned. Not out cold.”




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Aurea
13th April 2012, 6:19 PM
First off, I like the story, it is very well written. The descriptions were good, wide range of vocabulary that really helped the reader to picture the battle. I would have liked to see a little more description on the surroundings and Pokemon, you mentioned that Vlam was a female Vulpix, but I think you needed to describe her more, make her different; you could of said she had a 'fierce spark in her ruby eyes' or 'her left ear was torn from her intensive battles'. I liked Tommy, you have already given him a strong personality of 'the annoying big brother' which is very good seeing as it's only the first chapter. Also, there were very few mistakes, and the one's I've listed here are either really small, or I'm just being picky.


When Tommy’s friends came over, they always talked about what girls in Goldenrod High wanted to go out with him that week, but Tommy would just laugh them off.

Although this sort of makes sense, this would be better:


When Tommy’s friends came over, they always talked about which girls in Goldenrod High wanted to go out with him that week, but Tommy would just laugh them off.



Sammy felt like he wanted to close his eyes, but they were paralyzed open...

I don't know if 'paralyzed open' makes sense, but even so, maybe something like this would be a little clearer:


Sammy felt like he wanted to close his eyes, but he was unable to tear his gaze away from the battle...



At the words, Caterpie pulled itself upright and spat a stream of high-speed silk that snared Vlam’s four legs, sending the tiny fox pokemon tumbling to it's side.

Small grammar correction there in Bold.



Vlam, use ember to burn away the string shot.

You have done this several times, but I'm only going to quote one line, you have missed off capital letters on String Shot seeing as it is a name of a move.



Sammy called Caterpie back into it's Nest Ball and then caught up with his brother,

Corrections in Bold.


Overall, I've really enjoyed reading this and I will probably check back after the next few chapters to read some more, I really hoped this helped!

Sid87
13th April 2012, 6:43 PM
First off, I like the story, it is very well written. The descriptions were good, wide range of vocabulary that really helped the reader to picture the battle. I would have liked to see a little more description on the surroundings and Pokemon, you mentioned that Vlam was a female Vulpix, but I think you needed to describe her more, make her different; you could of said she had a 'fierce spark in her ruby eyes' or 'her left ear was torn from her intensive battles'. I liked Tommy, you have already given him a strong personality of 'the annoying big brother' which is very good seeing as it's only the first chapter. Also, there were very few mistakes, and the one's I've listed here are either really small, or I'm just being picky.

Although this sort of makes sense, this would be better:

I don't know if 'paralyzed open' makes sense, but even so, maybe something like this would be a little clearer:

Small grammar correction there in Bold.

You have done this several times, but I'm only going to quote one line, you have missed off capital letters on String Shot seeing as it is a name of a move.

Corrections in Bold.

Overall, I've really enjoyed reading this and I will probably check back after the next few chapters to read some more, I really hoped this helped!

Yeah, I caught the part where I forgot a word when Caterpie went back to its ball; I just forgot to update it in here. I fixed it in my Abiword document though! Now I'll get it here. As for the names of the moves...I was not terribly enamored of capitalizing them. My idea was, if I was writing a story with two martial artists, I wouldn't say "Jim unleashed a mighty Punch! But Tim countered with a Sweep Kick". :) But that might just be my preference on that area.

I also get the correctness of switching "what" for "which", but I was also trying to keep the narrator in the head of Sammy. It's not first-person, but it's still attached to him, so I was trying to keep the narration at his level.

I should have, yes, described Vlam a little better. I'm not terribly good at remembering to describe everything I want to/should. I need to make a mental note of that going forward, I suppose. When I start consciously thinking "I need to describe this", it tends to come across (in my mind) as robotic necessity writing, which I strive to avoid. But I really need to add little flavor text like that just humanize things more often.

Aurea
14th April 2012, 12:29 AM
Yeah, I caught the part where I forgot a word when Caterpie went back to its ball; I just forgot to update it in here. I fixed it in my Abiword document though! Now I'll get it here. As for the names of the moves...I was not terribly enamored of capitalizing them. My idea was, if I was writing a story with two martial artists, I wouldn't say "Jim unleashed a mighty Punch! But Tim countered with a Sweep Kick". :) But that might just be my preference on that area.

I also get the correctness of switching "what" for "which", but I was also trying to keep the narrator in the head of Sammy. It's not first-person, but it's still attached to him, so I was trying to keep the narration at his level.

I should have, yes, described Vlam a little better. I'm not terribly good at remembering to describe everything I want to/should. I need to make a mental note of that going forward, I suppose. When I start consciously thinking "I need to describe this", it tends to come across (in my mind) as robotic necessity writing, which I strive to avoid. But I really need to add little flavor text like that just humanize things more often.

I'm really picky when it comes to Pokemon moves, I like to have them with capital letters, but as you said you don't like them with caps, so my fault on that.

And even if it was from the point of view from Sammy, that's no excuse for bad grammar...... and if it was intentional you need to add more to clearly show that grammar mistakes are there on purpose.

Yes, you don't have to add much more, just little bits that give characters their own quirks, and what you did have was good so no worries. And, I forgot to mention, please add me to a PM list of there is one.

Sid87
14th April 2012, 2:29 PM
Chapter 1: Present Day

Sam Stark woke up in the strange bed struggling for each breath. He caught a glimpse of the alarm clock next to his bed: Three in the morning. Sam pounded his fist into the too-hard mattress; he was used to having the nightmare by now, but he knew he’d never get used to how it felt waking from it. He briefly considered lying back down, but it was all-too-common that he never fell back to sleep after this nightmare. The disappointment of not being able to do so yet again was too much to bear. Rubbing his face in frustration, he felt the beard he’d been ignoring for far too long. Shaving, he thought, would be a good way to pass the time so early in the morning.

He was thankful that Sinnoh had outlets that accommodated devices brought from other continents as he plugged his trimmers into the wall adjoining the bathroom sink. He had heard that other areas of the world like Unova weren’t as readily accessible for foreign devices. Thinking like that made Sam realize how big the world truly was, and that, in turn, made him realize just how far he’d traveled to get to Sinnoh. He’d left so much behind on his trip here, but really...what was left for him at home? He had talked to every doctor on both sides of Mount Silver; none of them had any answer that could satisfy him.

A realization fell down upon him: today was the 17th. It had been two weeks since he’d arrived in Sinnoh! That meant when the customs office in downtown Jubilife City opened in the morning, he’d be able to get his friends back. He’d had them thoroughly checked at the Goldenrod Pokemon Center before his flight so he was sure that he wasn’t bringing any foreign diseases into Sinnoh, but customs still insisted on keeping them to run their own tests. It was an annoyance, however mild. Two more weeks on top of how long he’d already waited, but these ones felt longer than the rest. He was closer now than ever to what he needed, and to wait for a silly, redundant government clearance seemed an unnecessary chain holding him back.

Sam ran his palm along his newly smooth face. He would be meeting with Professor Rowan by mid-day (he did some quick math in his head: if he could get his friends promptly at nine when customs opened, he could be to Sandgem town by noon), and he wanted to be presentable. No doubt that upon speaking to the professor he would think Sam crazy, so there was no need to show up bearded and wearing unwashed clothes to punctuate the point. What to wear? Sam had brought a suit, but that now seemed too stuffy; he wasn’t here to do a PowerPoint presentation or ask Professor Rowan to marry him, after all. He passed on the jacket and matching pants in favor of just the blue button-down and a pair of khakis that he still had plenty of time to iron. It wasn’t even four yet, after all.

As of eight o’clock, Sam had never managed to get any more sleep when his hotel phone rang. It was the customs office verifying that his pokemon (the lady on the other end of the line seemed disaffected when Sam corrected her to call them his “friends”) were medically cleared for arrival in Sinnoh. Sam was still frustrated to have had to wait even this long, and she must have heard the annoyance in his voice because she seemed to be compelled to tell him about the lady several years ago who brought a Delcatty from Hoenn without having it medically cleared. Apparently, according to the attendant, Sinnoh’s Glameow community is only now recovering to its previous numbers after a leukemia variant swept through them. Sam thanked her for this information in an effort to get her off the phone, and she reminded him that their doors open at nine.

Jubilife City reminded Sam of Goldenrod back home. The television station here reminded him of the radio building back home, and, oddly enough, both cities’ high schools had a Rhydon as their mascot. And both cities were huge! Rush hour in Jubilife was as frantic as it was in Goldenrod. Sam could hear his dad’s voice complaining about all the other drivers every morning. Everyone was already on their way to work when Sam left the hotel, and getting a bus down to customs was nearly impossible. Three of them, already filled to safety capacity, passed his stop without him. When one finally did have a small enough load to let more passengers on, Sam decided to forego the last seat he saw available so that an older woman could have it. She thanked him, and he nodded; at this point he didn’t care if he sat, stood, or danced the Hokey Pokey...he just wanted to get his friends back and get to Sandgem Town. Customs was clear on the other end of the city--near the condominiums--but traffic was nearly impassable. Sam hadn’t wanted to bring his luggage with him; he thought he could check-out after he came back with his friends, but as he watched the minute hand on his watch move faster than the bus, he started to fear he would be charged another day’s stay. The heat battered him through the windows of the bus as they sat behind lines of cars that couldn’t manage a simple merge point during construction. Didn’t these drivers understand how important this was?

Sam had targeted nine o’clock; in actuality he arrived at nine-forty. He approached the window and gave the attendant his confirmation slip. She vanished into a back-room for several moments before finally emerging with the two pokeballs he had left there after his plane arrived. He snatched the Nest Ball into his right hand and the Dusk Ball into his left, then carefully latched them to the notches on his belt. He patted the Nest Ball gently as he did so and looked up at the clock. Everything felt better now. The discomfort of the bus, the heat from the morning sun, the thought of paying for another day at the Jubilife Resort, and the fear that perhaps he should have worn the blazer and pants after all wafted to the sidelines now that the emptiness of not having his friends was filled. He emerged from the customs office and pulled the Nest Ball right back off of his hip. With a gentle squeeze of the ball, a Butterfree appeared in the air, stoically beating its wings to stay aloft. The black spots in the veins of its wings marked it as a female of its species; her long, black antennae zipped back and forth, helping her take in the brand new environment.

“Sorry about the customs office, Bree,” Sam said, finally getting the Butterfree’s attention, its antennae pointing at him, “I wish I hadn’t had to do that." Bree hummed lightly and shook its head, which Sam took as a sign that it was no big deal. “Are you ready to see Professor Rowan?” Bree hummed louder and fluttered up and down in the air in front of him. Sam nodded his approval at her energy. “Do you think our other friend wants to come out, too?” He snatched the Dusk Ball off of the other side of his belt and squeezed it lightly. A Ninetales emerged from the flash of crimson energy. It shook off each of its paws as if stretching out muscles that hadn’t been used in ages. The orange fox creature looked up at the tall buildings around it, decided the busy city was not worth the attention, then leaned down to lick its front paws to keep them as elegantly groomed as the rest of its fur. Its lengthy tails flopped about slowly, each in order. Sam bit down on the inside of his bottom lip as he watched his friend enjoy its freedom.

“Does it feel good to be out of your ball, Vlam?”

Aurea
14th April 2012, 3:14 PM
*bows down* Now that was what I call good writing! You included lots of descriptions, Sam grew a lot in character, I loved the funny lines and thoughts you put in, well done!

Before I go into more detail about the good stuff..... I have two negative points:

1) Not a lot happened, but the amazing writing made up for it, you should have put more emphasis on Sam's nightmare problem, extended it a little more.

2) Grammar mistake!


“I wish I hadn’t had to do that. Bree hummed lightly

Where is that other speech mark? I was confused for a minute or two there....


Anywho, on to the positive points:


He was thankful that Sinnoh had outlets that accommodated devices brought from other continents as he plugged his trimmers into the wall adjoining the bathroom sink.
This is clever, I like how other Regions have different electric plugs, like they do in other countries.



lady several years ago who brought a Delcatty from Hoenn without having it medically cleared. Apparently, according to the attendant, Sinnoh’s Glameow community is only now recovering to its previous numbers after a leukemia variant swept through them.
As with the first point, I like how you are mixing our way of treating foreign animals in the Pokemon world, and it was nice that you included a mini story to make it more believable.



...at this point he didn’t care if he sat, stood, or danced the Hokey Pokey...
I like this line.



...but as he watched the minute hand on his watch move faster than the bus,
This is a clever line here, nice style of writing.



The discomfort of the bus, the heat from the morning sun, the thought of paying for another day at the Jubilife Resort, and the fear that perhaps he should have worn the blazer and pants...
The end of this line made me laugh.



“Does it feel good to be out of your ball, Vlam?”
*gasp* Major twist! A very good way to end the chapter as well! And I noticed you developed Vlam's character more, which is good.

I hoped this helped, and keep up the good writing!

PhantomDragon
14th April 2012, 5:25 PM
Aurea has pretty much pointed out all the highlights and mistakes of the chapter.
Very interesting timeskip, especially since it's suggesting that Sam is a lot older now and that he has his brother's Nineteales. I agree that extending the nightmare scene would have been good though, as it felt as if you were trying to get it out of the way. The different Regional plugs is a VERY nice little detail.
So yeah, knowing the backstory behind the timeskip/Vlam etc will be interesting...

Sid87
15th April 2012, 4:30 AM
I agree with both of you; I should have done more with the nightmare. Not in revealing what it was just yet, but at least done more with his reaction afterwards. I regretted that shortly after getting this wrapped up. And yeah, this wasn't an extremely movable chapter, but I wanted to set up that Sam has a purpose and has changed since his youth. And also, obviously, that he now has his brother's Ninetails.

Thanks for your feedback, guys!

Sid87
16th April 2012, 3:51 PM
I'm trying to power through as much of this as I can on my 4-day weekend here, so here's chapter 3. With any luck, I'll have chapter 4 up in the late afternoon. After that, chapters will update at a much slower pace, I promise. :)



Chapter 2: Twelve Years Ago

“Vlam, use your confuse ray on it!”

The small, red fox pokemon’s six tails stood erect from her hindquarters, and her amber eyes glowed with energy. The Machoke that had been charging her suddenly stumbled and fell over, its head cracking a rock on the field in two. The crowd assembled around the battle let out a cheer; the courageous Vulpix had clearly won their hearts by displaying her own against such a battle-proven foe. Tommy’s perpetual smile, well-groomed blonde hair, and positive mannerisms certainly didn’t hurt, either. At least not with the young ladies in attendance.

Sammy, from his seat in section P row 12, let out the loudest cheer of all. Tommy had done great so far in making it to the Johto Regional Quarterfinals of his first year in the World Pokemon League, but the competition this round had stiffened dramatically. Tommy and his opponent, a tall, pale man from Olivine with tattoos sleeving his arms, had been battling for twenty minutes already. Tommy’s Crobat, Magneton, and Pidgeotto had all already fallen, and the opponent--Sammy looked up at the scoreboard to recall that his name was Thurmond--still had this Machoke and something else unrevealed in play. Tommy was down to just Vlam in this four-on-four quaterfinal. Sammy’s excitement at Vlam’s grabbing the upper-hand temporarily made him forget the empty seat next to him; the seat he’d been expecting his dad to show up and claim for the last hour.

Back on the field, Vlam maintained her offensive while the fighting-type pokemon struggled to regain its bearings. She darted left and right, each movement inching her closer to her foe. Sammy recognized this instantly: it was Tommy’s way of maximizing Vlam’s foe’s confused state. The Machoke and its trainer had no idea from where she would be attacking. A double juke put her behind the Machoke, and she began covering herself in a ball of fire. Thurmond’s voice roared for Machoke to turn around, but the bewildered pokemon couldn’t understand its trainer’s command. Vlam’s flame wheel connected into the small of Machoke’s back. The crowd hailed strong approval, which incited Thurmond to yell back at them and shake an angry fist.

Sammy was so into the moment, he never paid any mind to the man who finally came down the aisle and took the seat next to him. Sammy’s senses were ensnared by the battle; Vlam was lining up her enemy for a flamethrower, and Machoke was certainly about to go down.

“Samuel Stark?” the man next to Sammy said, oddly enough like it was a question.

“It’s about time you got here, dad. You’ve been missing Tommy’s first ever quarterfinals. You’re lucky he didn’t realize you were late. Even luckier that I’m not going to break his heart and tell him.”

The man’s arm reached out to Sammy’s shoulder. “I’m sorry, son. I’m not your father.”

Sammy flinched at the words, and pulled his arm away. He was about to ask the man who he was and why he was in Sammy’s dad’s seat, but when Sammy saw him, he realized by the uniform that he was an officer. The man nodded as a greeting, took off his blue cap, and pulled out what looked to be a wallet. He flipped it open to reveal his badge. “I’m officer Trufant. I didn’t mean to startle you, Samuel.”

Sammy’s mind wandered; why was a cop here for him? He thought about this past year in eighth grade when he told Evelyn Simmons that he was going to steal her new gaming system so he’d have something to do over the summer. Did she take him seriously? Was he going to go to jail or something? He stole a glance to the field; Vlam had just knocked out Machoke and was waiting for Thurmond’s final pokemon. Tommy had no idea what was going on! Sammy might be in jail for days before anyone noticed he was missing!

“Son, can I talk to you for a moment? It would be better if we could speak privately.”

Sammy was numb. Without a word, he got up and followed the officer to the concession area. At least he wasn’t handcuffing him in front of the crowd...in front of Tommy. Sammy couldn’t help but think that if Tommy looked up into the crowd and saw his little brother getting arrested, he’d forfeit the quarterfinals to rush the stands and save him. It was better this way, Sammy thought. His older brother shouldn’t pay for Sammy’s dumb joke on a classmate.

”Why don‘t you take a seat on this bench?”

Sammy thought it odd that this cop wanted to arrest him while he was sitting down, but maybe it was harder to resist if you were sitting. He put himself down on the bench outside Taco Barn to which Officer Trufant had pointed.

“I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, Samuel. Your father is in critical condition.”

“I know, but I didn’t actually--” Wait. What did he say? Sammy had already convinced himself this was about Evelyn. His brain needed a few extra seconds to absorb this information. “My dad?” he cried, shocking a family who was getting a snack nearby. “What does that mean?”

Officer Trufant rubbed his mouth with his hand. “He was pulling out of the hospital and was involved in an automobile collision with a tractor trailer. He was thrown...,” the officer stopped there and seemed to reconsider what he was about to say. “It just doesn’t look very good. You and your brother need to come with me to see him. We’ve arranged for an escort for the both of you, and several of my fellow officers are outside waiting for us.”

Sammy knew his father needed him, but what about Tommy? He didn’t even know yet, and he had worked and trained so hard to get where he is. But this cop made it sound like dad could be... (Sammy couldn’t bear to finish that thought, and his brain redirected) ...like dad really needed to see them right away. The exclamation from the crowd out in the open-air stadium reminded Sammy that the battle was still going on. He felt a clock ticking inside of him as the officer looked at him expectantly. Dad had always said the road leaving work was awful; he talked constantly about wanting them to put a stop light there. Tommy was possibly just minutes away from the semi-finals. But how soon did they need to get to the hospital? A hundred bees swarmed inside his brain, and before he knew what he was doing, he was at the railing over the battlefield screaming his brother’s name.

---

En route to the hospital, Sammy apologized to Tommy for what felt like the thousandth time (he was losing count between his own sobs). Tommy had rushed from the competition at the sight of his brother yelling for him maniacally and took the disqualification loss in the regional quarterfinal round of his first year in the WPL. Tommy squeezed around his little brother’s shoulders one more time and gently shushed him. Since the day they caught Sammy’s first friend, Tommy had continued to grow, and his one-arm embrace engulfed the little brother who was clearly the runt of the family. Aside from the shushing and the sobbing and the squealing of the siren above them, the car was silent as they raced to the University of Goldenrod City Medical Center. Sammy and Tommy had both been to this hospital countless times--heck, their dad worked there, and it had long-since gotten to the point where Sammy forgot most people don’t usually want to go to hospitals. When the brothers were there, it was usually just a trip out there to pick something up at the office or to make arrangements with dad’s co-workers. Sammy tried to convince himself that this was all just a prank by dad and his buddies; that they were just messing around with his sons. His brain wasn’t buying it.

Being pushed through the hospital doors by the cops as they ordered patients waiting in the E.R. to clear the way was very surreal to Sammy. The cops told the attendant at the nurse’s station who the boys were, and even though Sammy understood the message of what he said, the words seemed to come out as a jumbled language he couldn’t decipher. They were ushered through more doors until they were in the middle of the emergency room. The officers spoke again with the information area of the E.R., but Sammy’s senses still felt disconnected; it wasn’t until he noticed the nurse at the information desk shake her head and he heard Tommy gasp that everything returned to focus.

“He didn’t make it, I’m sorry. He passed just a few minutes ago.”

Sammy’s initial thought--a thought he would regret countless times over the next several months--was that he cost his brother the tournament for nothing. It was immediately replaced with the realization that he and his brother were alone now. Mom died of cancer when Sammy was three, and now dad was gone, too. Tommy was all he had left.

PhantomDragon
16th April 2012, 4:55 PM
That was...not at all expected. Poor Sammy. :(
No spelling or punctuation mistakes that I could see, so congrats there. I have to say, the way you changed from the battle scene to Sammy's point of view with the officer was very good, as it felt pretty natural and not forced. The battle scene itself was well written as well, imo. Sammy's eaction to the news that his dad was injured was also very realistic.

Aurea
16th April 2012, 8:10 PM
Again, you have written this chapter fantastically well, you have a unique writing style that mixes up the narrators descriptions in with Sammy's own thoughts. Very well done to you, sir. Although, I must say, I didn't feel as if the chapter was quite as good as the previous one, but still really good. Another thing to point out is that the readers have never seen Sammy's father, nor has he been in a scene yet, so any sadness you want the reader to feel probably doesn't sadden them quite as much as you wanted it to. Sure, I feel sorry for Sammy, but I'm not that sad or that pitiful because there wasn't a big character development. Of course you can't do anything about it now since you have already posted the chapter, but just for the future, if you want to include deaths of close friends/family of main characters; really make the reader feel as if they know them, make the reader love that certain character. Even if they don't have a big role, if you can get readers to like them, then any death will really shock and sadden people. As a result, I felt as if the chapter didn't have much of a point, but that's just me.

Anyway, as PhantomDragon said, the switch between the battle descriptions and Sammy's thoughts really flowed together, it felt natural and it was easy to read through. I liked Vlam's description, and it feels as if she is starting to develop a rather feisty and determined, (if a little bit vain) character, so I hope that will show in future chapters. Well done as always, and I hardly spotted any grammar mistakes, and the ones I did just made it feel even more as if Sammy is narrating some parts and we are hearing his thoughts.

Sid87
16th April 2012, 9:14 PM
You know...I really wrestled with (and went back-and-forth a few times on) whether or not their dad was going to be alive when they got to the hospital so that he could be actually introduced. In retrospect, yeah he should have been. But I also decided it was the story of Sammy and Tommy (mostly Sammy), so a part of me wanted to keep the rest of their lives ethereal and, I dunno, out on the fringe. I also had the idea that, at Sammy's age, a boy's father is still a larger-than-life figure to you. He's a role model of almost mythical proportions (to the point where Sammy thought it was inconceivable that his father wouldn't be at one of his son's events even though he was working), and I considered the idea that actually showing him...hmmm. I dunno. Yeah, I probably should have had him still alive when they got to the hospital so he could have at least been a character. Ah well. :)

Aurea
16th April 2012, 9:55 PM
You know...I really wrestled with (and went back-and-forth a few times on) whether or not their dad was going to be alive when they got to the hospital so that he could be actually introduced. In retrospect, yeah he should have been. But I also decided it was the story of Sammy and Tommy (mostly Sammy), so a part of me wanted to keep the rest of their lives ethereal and, I dunno, out on the fringe. I also had the idea that, at Sammy's age, a boy's father is still a larger-than-life figure to you. He's a role model of almost mythical proportions (to the point where Sammy thought it was inconceivable that his father wouldn't be at one of his son's events even though he was working), and I considered the idea that actually showing him...hmmm. I dunno. Yeah, I probably should have had him still alive when they got to the hospital so he could have at least been a character. Ah well. :)

Exactly, a boy's father is a role-model, no child could ever imagine a life without his father, and I feel that this chapter didn't show that love between father and son because we have not seen the father interacting with his boy. Although, I must give you credit because you still made me feel sorry for poor Sammy because you managed to get that idea of children's innocence of the world really well. And Sammy acted in a believable way which any boy under those circumstances would have. And also that thought at the end about it being a 'waste of time' was a nice touch, because we all have thoughts like that sometimes, and that makes Sammy not look as if he is a perfect angel = a more believable character we can relate to.

Sid87
19th April 2012, 1:42 AM
Exactly, a boy's father is a role-model, no child could ever imagine a life without his father, and I feel that this chapter didn't show that love between father and son because we have not seen the father interacting with his boy. Although, I must give you credit because you still made me feel sorry for poor Sammy because you managed to get that idea of children's innocence of the world really well. And Sammy acted in a believable way which any boy under those circumstances would have. And also that thought at the end about it being a 'waste of time' was a nice touch, because we all have thoughts like that sometimes, and that makes Sammy not look as if he is a perfect angel = a more believable character we can relate to.

Thanks! When I doubt my ability to remember to adequately describe things or rush through areas that I should be focusing on, I at least take solace in my ability to write believable characters and dialogue. Glad you noticed. :)

ALSO: Supermegaultralove goes out to fellow Serebii user YaDunGoofed, whose amazing work now graces my signature as a link to this very story.

ALSO ALSO: I wrote a few paragraphs of Chapter 4 last night, and if I may say so, they are my favorite part of this story I've written so far. Hopefully I'll get it posted by tomorrow evening!

Sid87
21st April 2012, 6:07 PM
Odd coincidence I noticed this chapter: I unwittingly gave my brothers a family name that is also the name of the mountain in Sinnoh. That wasn't on purpose, but now I feel like I should throw in a subplot about their ancestors climbing that mountain or something. Heh.




Chapter 3: Present Day

Sam sat in the lobby of Professor Rowan’s laboratory thumbing through the magazine selection on the small desk next to his seat. Newsweek, Linoone Fancy, National Geographic, World Pokemon League Illustrated, and Ponyta Dressage Today; nothing that really seemed to catch his eye. Sam thought this odd because he usually enjoyed Newsweek, at least, but his heart just didn’t seem to be in a place for reading about other peoples’ problems. He felt a shiver in the base of his neck that he was unsure if he could attribute to his nerves or the air-conditioning. Just as he had always heard, Sandgem had beautiful weather outside, but it could get to be stifling indoors where the breeze from Sandgem Bay could not penetrate. Air conditioning in this seaside beach town was much less of a convenient luxury like it would be at home in Goldenrod and much more of a life necessity. Every few minutes, he’d catch the fact that the foot crossing over his opposite leg was swaying rapidly. He’d stop it, but as soon as his mind wandered off, the appendage began gleefully oscillating again. After several tries of stopping it only to find it swaying again on its own soon after, he placed his right hand on it in an attempt to hold it in place. He nodded as if to motion that this would teach his errant foot for its impudence, and he went back to rooting through the magazines for something to catch his eye. He passed a men’s fashion periodical and again cursed himself for nixing the full suit.

Bree was oblivious to all of this, as she had fluttered her way into a corner of the room and was pecking around an overgrown houseplant whose vines were snaking between Rowan’s window blinds. Time and again, she’d dig her head into the heart of the plant only to snap it back out in alarm when its leaves tickled her wings. “There’s no honey in there, Bree,” Sam would say to her as she stared down the plant, her wings stretched wide to make herself appear large. After several seconds, Bree would forget the advice and again dig into it.

Vlam watched this with what appeared to be great disinterest, curled around Sam’s inactive foot. She had always seemed slightly annoyed by Bree’s impetuousness, and Sam imagined that her thoughts must have been something along the lines of ‘How has this thing not outgrown this yet?’. Vlam had entered battles very much like Tommy always did--meticulous, patient, and subtle. She would almost always concede an opponent’s opening salvo so that she could get a taste of their power and strategy. Bree, meanwhile, never outgrew her trainer’s methods of battling from his younger days--headstrong, fast, and furious. Bree and Vlam had sparred countless times over the years while Sam was growing up; to say that Vlam had a winning record would almost be an understatement, but despite her displeasure at Bree’s immaturity, she always licked Bree’s cheek after a victory and let the butterfly pokemon chase her many tails. Bree never seemed to mind her losses to her sister much, anyway. Despite the Butterfree’s innocent veneer, she and Sam had become a potent duo not unlike Tommy and Vlam. Sam’s youthful fear of being referred to as ‘Bug Catcher’ by his classmates quickly dissipated when the two of them were constantly near the top of his class rankings. In the corner of the room, Bree had again found herself assaulted by the plant and was now buzzing at it furiously. Vlam--perhaps weary of her sister’s noise or perhaps wanting to comfort her--disengaged herself from Sam’s leg and took patient steps towards the plant. Bree studied her as Vlam buried her own head in the plant, shook its leaves, and then emerged. Bree chirped a response, Vlam cooed back, and that seemed to be the end of her great interest in the plant for the moment.

The door to the left of Sam finally opened, and he whipped the magazines back onto the table where they came from as if they had been illicit, and, in equally quick fashion, Sam was on his feet. Through the door came a much older man, a red vest covering his shirt and tie. It was hard for Sam to discern exactly how old he might be thanks to the walrus beard he was sporting that could have actually made him appear much younger by hiding his wrinkles. A sucker in his mouth not only disguised his potential age but his profession as well. The sucker switched to his left cheek as he studied Sam. “Sam Stark?” he asked. Sam nodded, and the man resumed, “Good to meet you, son. I’m Professor Rowan. I’m sorry to have kept you waiting, but I don’t get many visits without appointments.” Sam could not tell if this was an honest statement or a rebuke on Sam’s part for not having scheduled his arrival. “I was in the middle of a rather lengthy correspondence with a peer, and I did not want to lose my train of thought.” As he said that, his lollipop’s stick was also getting lost under the bristle of his mustache. “How can I help you, my boy?”

Sam wiped his palms on the inside of his khakis pocket before extending his right arm. “Yes, it’s nice to meet you, professor. I’m Sam--wait, you already said...I’m sorry.” Sam shook his head and chided himself internally. “Let me start over, Professor Rowan: it’s very nice to meet you. My father spoke of you when I was younger.”

Rowan’s eyes narrowed, then shot open. “You’re Evander’s son! Little Sammy Stark!” Sam again nodded at this more colloquial introduction. “Heavens! You wouldn’t actually remember this, but you and I have met before. When you were just a pup.”

“I was told, sir. He always held you in high regard.”

Sam’s father had apparently won an internship under Professor Rowan in his younger days. Before going into anesthesiology for human patients, he had considered working in the field of pokemon medicine. During that part of his life, he worked with Rowan in Kanto and studied pokemon physiology, evolution, and development. Sam recalled that while his father ended up going a different direction with his work, he never failed to praise Rowan as the greatest mind under which he ever worked.

“High regard then from a man who deserved to be held equally high from what I understand.” Rowan removed his red sucker and smoothed his beard with his free hand. “It was a terrible loss what happened to him. I know it was ages ago, but you have my sympathies, Sammy.”

Sam waved in the air as if pushing smoke aside. “It’s just Sam, professor. I haven’t gone by Sammy in years.”

Rowan nodded right at the time Vlam had approached him from behind and rubbed her muzzle against his hanging right hand. “Yes, I suppose that’s a name a lot of young men would grow out of.” Vlam circled the professor’s legs before settling down at his feet and closing her eyes. She had, in Sam’s estimation, always been a great judge of character, and for the first time in a year Sam had hope. Perhaps this man would be able to help him after all.

“So how can I assist the family of an old friend, Sam? This is a long way to come just to visit a man you can’t ever remember meeting.”

Sam sighed and turned away from the professor. He walked over to the wall of the waiting room where hung a map of Sinnoh. Sam studied it up and down; it was not that different from Johto back home. Mount Silver separated Johto from Kanto just as Mount Coronet here separated the two ends of Sinnoh, and much of the continent was a solid land mass, as opposed to the Hoenn islands. Despite the similarities, however, Sinnoh had something of great importance that Johto did not, and that was why Sam had left his life behind on hold to come here. Bree flittered over after noticing her trainer was engrossed in the map; she flapped about his head trying to get his attention, but he barely registered her. All he saw were three points on the map. Lake Valor. Lake Verity. Lake Acuity. The reasons he had come here.

“I need them, professor. I need the legends.” He turned away from the map and stared down Rowan unflinchingly. “Azelf, Mesprit, and Uxie. I’ve come for them, and I won’t leave Sinnoh without them.”

PhantomDragon
21st April 2012, 6:56 PM
Ooh...the plot thickens! No grammar or typos that I could pick up on, so kudos (unless someone else finds some...)
Cheers for the PM as well, if I could officially be on the PM list, that would be great. :)
Lovely description of Sam waiting for Professor Rowan, imo. You added lots of small details, but it didn't feel over-detailed. It conveyed how Sam was trying to focus on small things really well, and putting that amount of detail and pulling off a good effect isn't easy.
By the way, just wondering, how come you renamed Mount Coronet? And is Stark a Game Of Thrones reference?

Sid87
21st April 2012, 7:03 PM
Ooh...the plot thickens! No grammar or typos that I could pick up on, so kudos (unless someone else finds some...)
Cheers for the PM as well, if I could officially be on the PM list, that would be great. :)
Lovely description of Sam waiting for Professor Rowan, imo. You added lots of small details, but it didn't feel over-detailed. It conveyed how Sam was trying to focus on small things really well, and putting that amount of detail and pulling off a good effect isn't easy.
By the way, just wondering, how come you renamed Mount Coronet? And is Stark a Game Of Thrones reference?

GAH. I was reading the Bulbapedia of Sinnoh, and I came across Stark Mountain (where Heatran is), and confused it with Mount Coronet. I edited the change. :) Thanks for catching that, it was a silly mistake on my part.

I'd be happy to continue PMing you, so thank you for not minding. :)

Sidewinder
23rd April 2012, 10:46 PM
Hello there. I saw that you posted in the Fanfic review exchange thread, and I was hoping we could exchange reviews. I'll list small grammar incidents I found with each chapter, then summarize what I've read after I'm done

@ Prologue


He still couldn’t bring himself to take his eyes off of it, though.

Comma isn't needed here


Sammy noticed the leaf that this Caterpie was eating twitch a bit

Should be 'twitched'


down to: all those

You use ':' alot I've noticed. You could accomplish the same things with a ';', I believe


Tommy’s outburst of laughter disrupted the thought. “Oh man, you caught a Caterpie. You’re going to be such a bug catcher!” Yes, Sammy thought, that’s apparently what I have to look forward to.

When a new character speaks, or gives his or her thoughts on something, you should split it with a line. As I read that sentence, I got a little confused as to who the focus was on, and had to re-read it to understan.


Dad always had more faith in Tommy than Sammy, the younger brother thought.

That part I think could have been on its own in a seperate line. That would give it more power. As I was reading, it stuck out for me because I was trying to discern the paragraph from the thought, if that makes sense. Maybe put the thought in italics and quotations, and that might rule out confusion

Chapter 1


his bed: Three in the morning.

'Three' doesn't need to be capitalized


oddly enough, both cities’ high schools

Misplaced apostrophe


The television station here reminded him of the radio building back home, and, oddly enough, both cities’ high schools had a Rhydon as their mascot. And both cities were huge!

The second sentence doesn't have to be on its own, as it had to do with what the first sentence was talking about


other end of the city--near the condominiums--but traffic was nearly impassable.

You could replace the '--' with commas or semi-colons easily

@ CHAPTER 2

Didn't really find anything here, though you may want to go back and check yourself.

One thing I noticed however, is you went from the Prologue, to Chapter 1, to Chapter 2, then to Chapter 4. It skipped 3. It may have just been a numbering mistake, but yeah

@ Chapter 4


Bree never seemed to mind her losses to her sister much, anyway.

That comma is not needed


A sucker in his mouth not only disguised his potential age but his profession as well. The sucker switched to his left cheek as he studied Sam. “Sam Stark?” he asked. Sam nodded, and the man resumed, “Good to meet you, son. I’m Professor Rowan. I’m sorry to have kept you waiting, but I don’t get many visits without appointments.” Sam could not tell if this was an honest statement or a rebuke on Sam’s part for not having scheduled his arrival. “I was in the middle of a rather lengthy correspondence with a peer, and I did not want to lose my train of thought.” As he said that, his lollipop’s stick was also getting lost under the bristle of his mustache. “How can I help you, my boy?”


Once again, when a new character speaks, it helps to put a line between their speech and the description beforehand. Puts emphasis on the character and what they are talking about without distraction

Well, besides those mistakes I mentioned, I enjoyed what you have so far. Mistakes I pointed out can usually be avoided with a paragraph by paragraph proof-read. Grammar goes a long way when reading a story. When I don't have to stop and look back, and don't stumble over grammar mistakes, it makes the read much more enjoyable. I'm really in no position to preach, because I still make some of these same silly mistakes in my own fic, but if you take a little more time with your work, you should be able to weed out almost all of them.

Another thing I wanted to touch on was Chapter length. I didn't put the Prologue into a word processor to check its length, but it felt like to me that the Prologue was longer than the following chapters. The prologue had perfect length, density, and scale. When it came to the chapters however, I was left wanting more. Which is always a good thing, but it left me wanting more in the sense that the chapters felt too short. It didn't feel like enough was happening, and left me somewhat unfufilled. Don't be afraid to write longer chapters. As long as you have a story that captures someones attention, they'll stick with the fic regardless of the length. Not that there is anything wrong with writing shorter chapters either when the occasion calls for it. Make sense?

Description was another area that I found somewhat lacking. You did good describing Caterpie's size in the Prologue, but other than that, there was nothing. When it came to Vlam as well, all I could picture was a game sprite. It's an important thing to describe Pokemon in a fic. How is this Caterpie different from all the rest? Despite its size, what sets it apart? Coloration, weight, tendencies, color, body structure, etc. Granted, almost everyone who comes to this forum to read your fic will know what Vlam and Caterpie look like, but when you describe them more fully, it helps to the reader to fully form a picture in their head about what they are.

One thing that really stood out for me was the description of the hazing that took place with the insect pokemon trainers. It was really realistic and a nice touch. Typically, insect Pokemon are shown as weak, or unworthy of being trained when compared with other species, so it was nice to see that you acknowledged that stygma. It was almost like the kids who get bullied for liking Pokemon by the athletic clique, if that makes sense. And btw, I prefer Caterpie over Bellsprout any day. Miah is a moron.

As others have mentioned, I like the fact that you included the adaptability of the electrical devices in Sinnoh, and called to attention the fact that some of the other continents didn't. Really nice touch! That's the kind of detail that I love to see, and was a really bright addition on your part. Some of the regions are seperated by huge expanses of water, just like North America is from Europe. So it should be no different that there are going to be some differences when it comes to day to day nuances like outlets. Good Job!

All in all, I think the Fic needs a little more attention. You have a great premise, and I'm starting to like Sammy more and more. Just expand further on the ideas that you have and take notice of the advice other people have given you. Though it does need some work, you have a decent start, and I'm excited to see where you take this. Good job, and add me to the PM list

Sid87
24th April 2012, 12:33 AM
A lot of that you are right on (especially the randomly misnumbered chapter...that's actually really embarrassing), and I will get to fixing them and watching more carefully from here out but I'm going to defend a few of the points you mentioned.


Comma isn't needed here

It's not NEEDED, but it's not wrong, either. Using a comma before "though" or "anyway" is a preference, and I prefer to do it. :)


Should be 'twitched'

Actually, "twitch" is right there. It could have been "had twitched", but as it stands, it is right to see twitch.


When a new character speaks, or gives his or her thoughts on something, you should split it with a line. As I read that sentence, I got a little confused as to who the focus was on, and had to re-read it to understan.

You're really on this point, and if it bothers enough people, I guess I could change it, but it's hardly an uncommon thing to do in writing. The narration, while not first-person, is glued to Sam, so his point of view is inserted into the narration. I do get what you are saying about it making it hard to read, but I try not to break up paragraphs more than I have to (since I already inherently write short paragraphs, heh).


Misplaced apostrophe

I don't think that's the case. They are the high schools that belong to the two cities. The cities' high schools.


You could replace the '--' with commas or semi-colons easily

Well, not semi-colons. Maybe you mean parentheses? Either way, commas, dashes, and parantheses all do the same thing to a different degree. Dashes are meant to emphasize the separated text, parantheses are supposed to de-emphasize, and commas are neutral. I just liked dashes for the separated thought in that instance.



The prologue actually WAS substantially longer than anything else thus far. I think it was 5 pages, the other chapters have been maybe a paragraph or so longer than 2. Leading into that is that the story is basically all taken from the prologue, which is an idea I had YEARS ago, but never wrote anything down (originally it was a rookie trainer and his rival, not two brothers. So the reason it might have been longer is its an idea I'd fleshed out quite a while ago. I always tend towards shorter scenes/chapters. I think it keeps the story flowing better when read all at once, but yes, I agree, it is all a bit abrupt when read bit-by-bit and not all at once. I'll work on that.

Sid87
24th April 2012, 5:06 PM
Chapter 4: 10 Years Ago

The sidewalk to Sam’s house had never seemed so long before. Heck, the day itself had never seemed so long! Even on the days where he had back-to-back-to-back exams, none were as long as this day had been. It had been exactly four class periods, twenty-eight minutes into a fifth, and a bus ride home since he had gotten the news, and all he wanted to do since that moment was tell Tommy. He had briefly considered getting his cell phone out of his locker between classes, but it wasn’t worth having his whole PokeGear taken away again. But the classes and the bus ride were behind him now, and it felt like the handful of seconds he spent running up his walkway might as well have been another hour. The front door was locked--Tommy always kept it locked, and Sam usually joked that he did it just to prolong the time it took him to be officially home from school--and fumbling his key into the lock was agony. Why couldn’t he just pass right through the door like a ghost?

He barged into the kitchen to see Tommy stuffing junk mail into the garbage next to their countertop. “Tommy! Guess what?”

Tommy studied him. Sam knew Tommy could tell how imperative this was by the gusto with which he’d asked him to guess, and he knew that Tommy was pretending to put careful thought into his reply when he was really just dragging it out even longer.

“You finally got an A in Geometry?”

Sam let out a laugh at the improbability of that. “No, stupid! I--”

“You can’t get an A in Geometry, and I’m the stupid one. That’s fair.”

Sam ignored him. “I got top seed in the freshman class!”

Tommy nodded his approval. Sam remembered that it was just six years ago that Tommy had been the top freshman pokemon trainer in his school, and he had carried that through to four consecutive years as Trainer of the Year at Goldenrod High School. Tommy had changed only slightly since those days; he was still a very charming young man, but now--even at just twenty years old--he had slight bags under his eyes from all he’d taken on in the last two years; his hair was less naturally flowing and more frazzled and out-of-place. Sam was embarrassed when he realized he must have been beaming; he wasn’t as good of a trainer as Tommy, but he was still apparently pretty good on some level. He probably wouldn’t finish as top trainer overall like his brother, but at least he was seeded higher than Miah Vanderbelt. The look on his face when they had announced him as number two in the class was the second best part of Sam’s day; he had been insufferably smug ever since his dad gave him a Tangrowth for Christmas.

“Tommy, this is all because of you. Seriously. If you hadn’t been pushing me and training with me so much, I’d have never been good enough to get this.”

Tommy grinned. “Well I’m related to you, stinky. I couldn’t face the customers at work if they came in every day and said ‘Hey, isn’t your brother the kid that couldn’t beat Miah and his Tangrowth?’”

“Oh, so I told you about that?”

“Just once or fifty times. And there was a lot of muttering under your breath about how you’d like to see his Tangrowth hit Bree while she was in the air.”

“Yeah, I really don’t think it can...”

“Well I tell you what, champ. Anything you want for dinner tonight. You name it. I’ll run out to the department store and pick it up. Twenty percent employee discount celebratory dinner.”

“Sloppy Joes!” Sam responded with no hint of hesitation.

Tommy laughed and shook his head in disbelief. “Sam, you are cheaper and easier to feed for a year than most pokemon. You’re too good to me.”

Tommy picked his wallet up from the counter and began rooting around in his pocket for his keys; he probably did not notice Sam’s expression sobering up. The news of being top of his class for training wasn’t the only thing he had brought home with him today. There was also a sharp lump in his right pocket. Tommy was musing aloud about never having the sense to put his keys in the same place, but Sam was miles away from those words, in his own head. What would Tommy think? Would he be excited? Saddened? Sam’s hand slowly went fishing into the pocket and pulled out the rock he had been given at the seeding ceremony hours ago. When he pulled it out, he unconsciously checked it to make sure it was the same as what was presented to him: a bright, transparent orange crystal. Wordlessly, he held it out in an open palm for Tommy to see. His brother, having finally reclaimed his keys from the top of the refrigerator, stopped short at the sight of it.

“Where did you get that?”

“They handed out prizes to the top seeds in each class this year,” Sam replied sheepishly. For some reason he couldn’t figure out, his eyes refused to meet his brother’s. “Freshman class winner got a fire stone.”

Tommy’s hand was patting Sam’s shoulder so fast, he hadn’t even seen his brother extend it.”That’s great, Sam! I guess poor little Zeek is going to become a Flareon! And just in time for your Trainer of the Year tournament.”

Sam wanted to use words, but he suddenly found that he didn’t know any. He merely shook his head, afraid of what his brother would say when he found out.

“No, huh? You’re still shooting for an Espeon, I guess. You really should groom it a little better then, Sammy. I can’t imagine it loves it when I am cutting the knots out of its fur.”

“Vlam.” It was the only word that Sam’s brain would release.

Tommy withdrew his arm from his younger brother’s shoulder. His mouth opened, but then closed again right away. A second time it gaped, but again no words followed. Tommy was twenty now, and had been with Vlam for half of his life. Sam knew their father could have gotten Tommy a fire stone if he had wanted to while the elder brother was growing up, but he never did. Sam remembered the lesson his father had taught him once, giving the impetuous child a Nest Ball for catching his first friend. Was keeping Vlam a Vulpix all those years a lesson for Tommy? Sam tried to imagine what lesson that might be: appreciating what you have? Not expecting others to change for you? It didn’t matter. Dad was gone now, and Sam wanted his brother to have this stone.

“No, that’s all right, Sammy.” Tommy’s voice was barely above a whisper. “Vlam’s been fine all these years. And she barely ever gets to battle anymore except in our spars. You should keep that.”

Sam shook his head furiously, his brain still on the fritz for spoken language. His eyes did finally get the bravery they needed to look into Tommy’s.

Tommy sighed. “Okay.” He relented, Sam thought, and the pressure that had been building in his jaw that he hadn’t even been aware of until now eased away. The older brother grabbed Sam and pulled him in for a hug. When was the last time they had spontaneously hugged? Sam couldn’t even recall. “Dad would be so proud if he could see you, Sammy. Just like I am.” And just like that, Sam was hugging him back.

After releasing each other, they said their temporary goodbyes so that Tommy could get going to the Goldenrod Department Store where he worked as an assistant manager and pick up Sam’s victory Sloppy Joes. Tommy had been employed there since shortly after dad had passed. Their father was a doctor, so thankfully he had managed to save enough to help keep the brothers afloat, but there were still taxes to be paid on the family property, as well as utility bills and upkeep costs. Sam had thought it would be better if the two of them just moved into a smaller apartment, but Tommy wouldn’t hear it. Their parents had this house built when they found out mom was pregnant with Tommy, and he refused to let it go; he thought of it as his birthright. It was uncomfortable to think about, but they had been kind of lucky ever since dad passed. The University of Goldenrod City Medical Center swallowed all of their dad’s medical costs and they footed the bill for his burial. And since dad worked at a university-owned hospital, Tommy (and eventually Sam, too) had their tuition paid for at the school, as well. That assistance only went so far, however, and Tommy did the best that he could to cover all the bases, working as many hours as he could grab when it wasn’t absolutely necessary for him to be in class.

Sam’s mind went back around to the Trainer of the Year tournament; he’d need to choose which friends he’d be entering. Bree was a no-brainer; she was his first and his best. As his brother had noted, Zeek was not ready for this, though. He hadn’t heard from the Johto Day-Care Center recently, so he didn’t know how his Nidorino, Barnabus, was doing. It was weird, the day care had been mailing him weekly updates, but he hadn’t heard from them in a while... Sam’s eyes caught a glimpse of the garbage can and he remembered his brother stuffing mail in their as Sam walked in the door. He might not have recognized the update letter and thrown it away. Sam started digging through the pile of coupon periodicals and credit card offers, and while he did not find the letter he was hoping for, he did see an official-looking paper from the University of Goldenrod City. He easily recognized the UGC watermark that had come on so many of Tommy’s other notices from the school. He either must have thrown it away by accident or it just wasn’t important; Sam checked just to be sure.

He was barely a few words in when the shock of the letter hit him. Tommy had failed out of the university! The notice attributed this to bad grades and an overall lack of regular attendance. But Sam couldn’t figure out how that could be; his brother was always so smart and ahead of his class. Even if not for his family ties to the university that got him in for free, Tommy’s test scores had assured him a slew of scholarships at any school of his choosing. There’s just no way he could have failed out! The realization crept into Sam’s awareness like a spider stalking prey in its web. Tommy hadn’t failed his classes because he couldn’t handle them; he had failed because he simply wasn’t going often enough. He was working fifty hours a week at the department store on top of taking care of the house and helping Sam with his studying and training. He had forsaken his future in favor of providing Sam one for himself.

Tommy had given his brother a normal life despite their parents both being dead. Sam, in return, gave him a rock. He buried the letter back in the trash where he found it and headed to his room to study Geometry.

diamondpearl876
24th April 2012, 8:17 PM
YO. FINALLY GETTING TO YOUR FIC.


Sammy’s freckled cheeks blushed, his dad wouldn’t have approved of that, either; dad always called them “friends”.

Saying “his dad” like that is correctly, though the “dad” after the semi-colon should be capitalized since it’s being referred to as his name. Though in third person, it seems odd to just call him “Dad,” so you could add “his” in there too. You do this a few times throughout the prologue, so I thought I’d point it out at least once.


On the weekends when they were at home playing video games while dad was at work, Sammy would ask why he didn’t just go out on a date with one of those girls instead, but Tommy’s answer was always just to laugh and say the same thing. ‘Sammy, you’d burn the house down if I wasn’t here!’.

At the end, there. Just because Tommy’s not currently saying it now, doesn’t mean that quotation marks should be used. I would fix that, and also, there doesn’t need to be a period at the end—the exclamation point is your ending punctuation instead.


“A battle?” Sammy cried, having realized where Tommy was going. “But I just caught it! I don’t know anything about it yet!”

“Well how do you think you get to know it? Take it out on a date?”

Quite amusing. I’d like to see this date scene.

I also look forward to seeing how Tommy’s impulsive and criticizing self effects Sammy throughout the fic.


The energy converted into a Caterpie (‘My Caterpie’, Sammy thought) as fluidly as the reverse had happened just minutes before.

Should be:

(my Caterpie, Sammy thought)

No need for apostrophes, and it isn’t the beginning of a brand new sentence, so the beginning doesn’t need to be capitalized. If you’re trying to emphasize thought, I would recommend italics instead.


“Sammy, it’s not that it’s not listening to you. It just...,” Tommy stopped and chewed his lower lip, “I don’t think it knows how to tackle.”

Sammy snapped his attention back to Caterpie so quickly, he felt a nerve pinch in his neck, but shook it off. “No, that’s not...come on! What the heck? You just...run at it and throw your body at it, bug! It’s simplest attack in the world!” The Caterpie just continued staring back at him. “Run! You’ve got, like, a dozen little legs!” The creature went back to its leaf, seemingly bored with what the boy was telling it.

LOL. I had to try not to laugh out loud for real in class here. I quite like the realisticness of this—a baby pokémon (I assume the Caterpie is young since he’d be evolved already if he wasn’t) not knowing even the simplest of things? Nice. String shot makes sense since that’s a survival tactic, but tackle doesn’t.

Anyway, I quite liked the prologue. The family interaction particularly interests me. I always like seeing how male/male relationships turn out (and I mean platonically or otherwise) simply because so many people try to provide a mix of character genders. It reminds me of Supernatural (especially since one of the brother’s name is Sammy).

The childish imagery and description you provided was also nice. You do a good job of portraying Sammy’s young self without appearing way too young and naïve, as some authors do. Calling pokémon “friends” is a nice touch that specifically helped this childish tone.

The only thing I might have added is description of Tommy and Sammy, especially since they’re main characters and since Sammy daydreams so much. He daydreams so much but yet I can’t imagine what he’s thinking, which isn’t good.

CHAPTER 1


Sam pounded his fist into the too-hard mattress; he was used to having the nightmare by now, but he knew he’d never get used to how it felt waking from it. He briefly considered lying back down, but it was all-too-common that he never fell back to sleep after this nightmare. The disappointment of not being able to do so yet again was too much to bear.

I find it odd that Sammy would want to go back to sleep after having nightmares. As someone who has nightmares almost nightly, I find myself avoiding sleep at all costs, no matter how tired I am. Of course, everyone’s different, but I’d still like to know his reasons. This doesn’t seem important, but lack of sleep can affect his character greatly, so yeah.


As of eight o’clock, Sam had never managed to get any more sleep when his hotel phone rang.

Sometimes, you have wordy sentences like this. As a writer, I feel that you should always try to make your message as clear and concise as possible (unless, of course, you’re trying to be mysterious—but that doesn’t seem to be the case here). I think this would sound better as: It was eight o’clock when his hotel phone rang, and Sam hadn’t gotten anymore sleep. Or something along those lines. Try experimenting with different sentence structures and with using less words and you’ll be okay. I’d also suggest reading your work out loud to be able to point out when things get wordy/confusing.


Customs was clear on the other end of the city--near the condominiums--but traffic was nearly impassable.

Should be “Customs were” since customs is plural.

Like Sidewinder, I like the obvious differences between regions that you add in here. It makes traveling feel more realistic. Description is still fine here, also—you give plenty of little details that bring the story to life (like the Rhydon mascot mention). I also like the kind of sort of cliffhanger at the end—why does Sammy had Vlam? Where’s Tommy and his dad? I have a feeling nothing good is going to happen since doctors were mentioned, but we’ll see. Hmm.

CHAPTER 2


Tommy was down to just Vlam in this four-on-four quaterfinal.

“quarterfinal”

If I’m being honest, I found it kind of jarring that you went from flashback, to present, to flashback. It may have made more sense to have the prologue, then chapter 2, then chapter 1, so that we could see the characters grow rather regress. I hope that makes sense. It was just an odd transition.

The dad’s death also made me feel more sorry for Sammy and Tommy than the dad himself. Other people said that you could have introduced the dad, but I think that it should have been done in the other flashback. You mentioned some things, though now that he died so quickly, more could have been added. Introducing him and trying to interpret him only to see him die a few paragraphs later would have also been jarring. That said, it wasn’t what I was expecting, but it was emotional, suspenseful, and overall nicely written—just a bit fast paced.

CHAPTER 3


Bree was oblivious to all of this, as she had fluttered her way into a corner of the room and was pecking around an overgrown houseplant whose vines were snaking between Rowan’s window blinds. Time and again, she’d dig her head into the heart of the plant only to snap it back out in alarm when its leaves tickled her wings. “There’s no honey in there, Bree,” Sam would say to her as she stared down the plant, her wings stretched wide to make herself appear large. After several seconds, Bree would forget the advice and again dig into it.

I particularly like this section. Often we forget that pokémon do very, uh, pokémon/animal-like things and that they aren’t very similar to humans (I do this a lot in my fic, blah), but you portray their animalistic traits pretty well.


“High regard then from a man who deserved to be held equally high from what I understand.” Rowan removed his red sucker and smoothed his beard with his free hand.

The part “from what I understand” sounded odd to me. That implies that Professor Rowan never really worked with Sammy’s father, but instead just heard about him. I don’t know, it just doesn’t sound like something you’d say about a friend.


I haven’t gone by Sammy in years.

Too bad, I’m calling you Sammy, Sammy.


Anyway, I liked this chapter for its reflection upon life after his dad’s death, and also since the main plot has apparently been introduced. I’m quite interested to see what he wants with the three lake pokémon. I think they’re quite fascinating and have a lot of potential, so I look forward to what you do with them.

CHAPTER 4

Once again, the flashback switching seems kind of out of place to me. Also, you haven’t delved into Tommy and Sammy’s character enough for me to see the changes between then and now. You write well, but the past is odd for me still.

This chapter was most notable for its dialogue, I think. It was adorable; I’ll always be looking forward to Tommy and Sammy’s interactions.

By the way, Barnabus is an awesome name.

Description was fine, and grammar seemed nearly faultless in this chapter—it means you’re improving!

This review is kind of short since class is about to end and I already covered everything I wanted to cover in other chapters, but I’ll be looking forward to more. Add to PM list for real now, please? 8)

PhantomDragon
24th April 2012, 8:46 PM
his brother stuffing mail in their
Should be there.


There’s just no way he could have failed out!
Embedded in a paragraph that is talking about Tommy's academic ability in the past tense, you might want to change this so it fits in better.


Tommy had given his brother a normal life despite their parents both being dead. Sam, in return, gave him a rock.
I get what you're trying to say here, but imo it could be better phrased. It just feels a tad awkward to me.

How old is Sammy in this chapter? The impression I got was that he's about 10-11, but obviously I can be wrong. Thought it was a good chapter though, giving us an impression of how the brothers' bond (pun not entirely intended) has developed since their father died. I also liked the fact that you described how Tommy has changed and how their circumstances changed without info-dumping. Keep up the good writing!

Sid87
24th April 2012, 11:04 PM
Should be there.

Well that one's just embarrassing. :)


How old is Sammy in this chapter? The impression I got was that he's about 10-11, but obviously I can be wrong. Thought it was a good chapter though, giving us an impression of how the brothers' bond (pun not entirely intended) has developed since their father died. I also liked the fact that you described how Tommy has changed and how their circumstances changed without info-dumping. Keep up the good writing!

Sam is 15 here (the same age Tommy was in the Prologue). The math is there, but it's kind of obscure, I guess. Sammy was 10 and Tommy, 15 in the Prologue which was 15 years ago. The last chapter was ten years ago.

And thanks! I will. :)




I also look forward to seeing how Tommy’s impulsive and criticizing self effects Sammy throughout the fic.

THAT actually frightens me that you gleaned that because Sammy is the MUCH more impulsive one. Hmmm.


No need for apostrophes, and it isn’t the beginning of a brand new sentence, so the beginning doesn’t need to be capitalized. If you’re trying to emphasize thought, I would recommend italics instead.

I actually went back-and-forth on how I would indicate Sammy's direct inner monologue. I ended up deciding I would not indicate it directly at (via half-quotations or italics), but I guess I missed that one there. Nuts. :(


Saying “his dad” like that is correctly, though the “dad” after the semi-colon should be capitalized since it’s being referred to as his name. Though in third person, it seems odd to just call him “Dad,” so you could add “his” in there too. You do this a few times throughout the prologue, so I thought I’d point it out at least once.

The narration shifts from a pure third-person attached to occasionally giving us a glimpse of Sammy's direct thought process, hence why there are the bits where it just says "Dad". I had wrestled with whether to capitalize that, and came down on the side of not doing so. But an argument could be made either way.


Anyway, I quite liked the prologue. The family interaction particularly interests me. I always like seeing how male/male relationships turn out (and I mean platonically or otherwise) simply because so many people try to provide a mix of character genders. It reminds me of Supernatural (especially since one of the brother’s name is Sammy).

The main character being named Sam/Sammy is a DIRECT homage to Supernatural. Good pick up. :) And one thing that runs AMAZINGLY consistently in my stories is a male/male partnership. Not shippy relationship stuff, but I love the dynamic. It's so much fun.


Should be “Customs were” since customs is plural.

Yes, but it's actually shorthand for "customs office", so that's actually correct. Sort of like how you would say "Lego come in many colors" instead of "comes" because Lego is shorthand for "Lego blocks". :)


If I’m being honest, I found it kind of jarring that you went from flashback, to present, to flashback. It may have made more sense to have the prologue, then chapter 2, then chapter 1, so that we could see the characters grow rather regress. I hope that makes sense. It was just an odd transition.

Eep. Well, it's going to be going on this way for at least the next several chapters. I like the dynamic of slowly building the Sam/Tommy relationship rather than just gutting it all out right away. I don't know what else to tell ya on this one. ;) Hope you can bear with it!


I particularly like this section. Often we forget that pokémon do very, uh, pokémon/animal-like things and that they aren’t very similar to humans (I do this a lot in my fic, blah), but you portray their animalistic traits pretty well.

I was actually comparing that in my head. In my story, pokemon are very much like really powerful pets. But in your story, there are quite cognizant people. I just think my ways makes them cute. :) And it allows the focus to be on Sam and Tommy and less on the pokemon (Having never done a pokemon story before, I'm more at ease with humans being the lead, obviously).

Thanks to both of you, and I hope you enjoy what is to come!

diamondpearl876
24th April 2012, 11:20 PM
I can see Sammy being impulsive. He did run up to Tommy in the middle of a battle and apparently went to Sinnoh out of nowhere, of course. Though Tommy's words are more impulsive. He suggests things like battling RIGHT NOW, and I'm sure failing out of college had a lot to do with impulse with doing something besides attending school.

Sid87
25th April 2012, 12:14 AM
I see that, yes. I was more trying to characterize him as a typical 15-year old, giving his brother a hard time, so I do get that he seemed more impulsive there. Good call on that.



BY THE WAY! For anyone following and/or enjoying this story, stay tuned to Chapter 5 in which we WILL find out why Sam has Vlam and where Tommy is (or isn't...) in the present day.

Sidewinder
25th April 2012, 4:30 AM
Why couldn’t he just pass right through the door like a ghost?

I liked that part quite a bit. It's pretty realistic as I can see myself feeling like that, especially when I'm in a hurry


He had briefly considered getting his cell phone out of his locker between classes, but it wasn’t worth having his whole PokeGear taken away again.

That part stuck out to me as well. I've noticed that you're really adept at describing things that happen in schools. Wether it be electronics taken away, or people being bullied because of their choices, etc. You have a really good handle on the things that would actually go on in a school setting. I like it


“Vlam.” It was the only word that Sam’s brain would release.


That was touching. I like the thought of him trying to please Tommy. He looks up to him, and probably wants to give it to him because of all the responsibility he's taken on since their father's death. It was a really nice sentiment :)


Sam started digging through the pile of coupon periodicals and credit card offers

Nicely done as well. I swear, I get credit card offers daily, and they go straight to the trash

All in all, I really liked the chapter. Tommy's sacrifice for Sammy and their house was really great, and I'm not ashamed to say that this chapter got me slightly emotional. Very well written, and you expressed Tommy's love in a very subtle, yet satisfying way. I really felt like you did a complete turnaround from your earlier chapters, and it really shows. The flashbacks are a nice touch too, although they seem somewhat intentional (which obviously they are since you're writing them), however, spacing them out a bit more might make them feel a little more fluid. One thing that may help as you're writing these flashbacks, is have a certain memory, or item, or action throw Sammy into it, which may make it feel more natural and not so bouncy.

Chapter length got better in this chapter, but it's still leaving me kinda unfufilled. I want more, which is good, but I felt like the chapter ended before it should have. As I read on, I imagined that Sammy would confront Tommy when he got back, or would refuse dinner when Tommy made it, so he could show how commited he was to his schoolwork. Or really anything to continue on the chapter in a way that built on the really great scene that was happening. I'm really liking what I'm seeing so far, I just need more when it comes to each chapter lol

All in all, I enjoyed what you did here. I can tell you're improving. And other than a word or two I would have used differently, I couldn't really find anything I didn't like, besides the things I mentioned. I'm looking forward to reading more. Good Job!

Sid87
25th April 2012, 1:23 PM
I really felt like you did a complete turnaround from your earlier chapters, and it really shows.

I was struck by this line, and I felt compelled to ask what you thought had changed. Not saying I disagree, but I wasn't consciously aware of having changed anything, so I was curious as to what you noticed different so I could keep doing it since you liked it. :)


Wether it be electronics taken away, or people being bullied because of their choices, etc. You have a really good handle on the things that would actually go on in a school setting. I like it

I also especially appreciate your comment about my being in touch with a teenager's life, because one of my two primary stories is a story about kids in high school, and I CONSTANTLY feel like, as an elderly 31 year old man, I'm insanely out-of-touch with actual high school kids. So I certainly like anyone telling me that I'm not. :) Makes me feel good.


The flashbacks are a nice touch too, although they seem somewhat intentional (which obviously they are since you're writing them), however, spacing them out a bit more might make them feel a little more fluid. One thing that may help as you're writing these flashbacks, is have a certain memory, or item, or action throw Sammy into it, which may make it feel more natural and not so bouncy.

I actually completely agree with everything you said there. I've thought about having the linking moment/item between the current flashback and the current present moment, but it just hasn't panned out as well as I want. The Prologue had Caterpie and Vulpix, then chapter 1 showed that Sam now had both. But aside from that, I've not been linking nearly as well as I want. And I think the flashbacks MAY get spaced out a bit more from here out; I just wanted to get those three flashbacks in particular done since they were all so vivid to me. But I will endeavor to do better with them from here-out.

Also, I don't want to leave you feeling out-to-dry. I totally intend to get into Requiem as soon as I can. I am just also trying to catch up to diamondpearl876's story which was several chapters in when I started, too. If I get a lunchbreak today, hopefully I'll be able to read the most recent two chapters of his story, and that puts yours next in queue.

Sidewinder
25th April 2012, 5:27 PM
I was struck by this line, and I felt compelled to ask what you thought had changed. Not saying I disagree, but I wasn't consciously aware of having changed anything, so I was curious as to what you noticed different so I could keep doing it since you liked it.

To be honest, I really can't explain it. The chapter just felt better organized, more fluid, if that makes sense. If you didn't do anything different, then nvm lol, but I liked it


I also especially appreciate your comment about my being in touch with a teenager's life, because one of my two primary stories is a story about kids in high school, and I CONSTANTLY feel like, as an elderly 31 year old man, I'm insanely out-of-touch with actual high school kids. So I certainly like anyone telling me that I'm not. Makes me feel good.

You're insight is very good and realistic. So for being out of high school for that long and still having an understanding, kudos to you

elyvorg
25th April 2012, 5:37 PM
I actually quite like the way the flashbacks work; in fact, to me, they seem less like flashbacks and more like you've just deliberately chosen to tell the story out of chronological order. It gives me the feeling of slowly piecing together everything that happened to the brothers, which I assume is what you were going for, and it does make things more interesting than they'd likely have been if you'd just given us everything chronologically.

I can kind of see where the other reviewers are coming from on them seeming a bit... disconnected, though. It might help if you had more of Sam actively recalling them, perhaps - maybe put a past scene and a present-day scene in the same chapter with some kind of transition between the two. It would be nice to get more of a feeling that all these things that happened to young Sammy have affected and influenced who Sam is today, rather than feeling almost like they're kind of two separate characters - especially as Sam's relationship with his brother, which we've so far only seen in the past scenes, is clearly going to be the driving force for whatever he'll be doing in the present.

I like the way you portrayed Vlam and Bree in the lab's waiting room. Even though Pokémon in this fic are seemingly further towards the animalistic end of the spectrum than in a lot of fics, you still gave them each a distinct personality and I for one found them rather endearing. It's nice how Sam thinks of them as "sisters"; makes sense, seeing as their respective owners are brothers. I was going to point out an issue in the earlier chapters I'd had with the narration calling them "it" despite that Sammy clearly knew their gender and wouldn't be the type to ignore it, but that's been fixed in the more recent chapters.

I also enjoyed the brief snippet of Vlam's battle back in chapter 2. Her strategy with maximising Confuse Ray's effect was clever and more interesting to read than just attacks blasting back and forth, and it did a good job of establishing Tommy as the skilled trainer he's meant to be. While it seems this fic might not have that many battles, as you've said it focuses mostly on the human characters, hopefully any future battles there are will be similarly well-thought-out, especially as Sammy's apparently just as skilled as his brother.

I tend to really love close platonic relationships in fiction, as well as characters who'd do anything for the sake of someone they care about, so I get the impression that I'm going to start enjoying this even more once we get into the real meat of the story. I look forward to learning the answers to those little questions such as when and how Vlam evolved and where Tommy is in the present day, too.

Sid87
25th April 2012, 5:39 PM
By the way...that makes me sound kind of skeevy or something, that I'm writing about high school kids! :D For clarification's sake, these are characters I created when I was 19, and have been perpetually re-working (and re-re-working and re-re-re-working) for the last decade+. They are my babies.

Sid87
25th April 2012, 5:46 PM
I actually quite like the way the flashbacks work; in fact, to me, they seem less like flashbacks and more like you've just deliberately chosen to tell the story out of chronological order. It gives me the feeling of slowly piecing together everything that happened to the brothers, which I assume is what you were going for, and it does make things more interesting than they'd likely have been if you'd just given us everything chronologically.

That is actually it exactly. You just managed to phrase it more eloquently than I have at this point. :)


I can kind of see where the other reviewers are coming from on them seeming a bit... disconnected, though. It might help if you had more of Sam actively recalling them, perhaps - maybe put a past scene and a present-day scene in the same chapter with some kind of transition between the two. It would be nice to get more of a feeling that all these things that happened to young Sammy have affected and influenced who Sam is today, rather than feeling almost like they're kind of two separate characters - especially as Sam's relationship with his brother, which we've so far only seen in the past scenes, is clearly going to be the driving force for whatever he'll be doing in the present.

This is 100% true, too. I wish I'd been doing a better job with that, as I'd mentioned earlier. I am going to work harder at it going forward, of course. :)


I tend to really love close platonic relationships in fiction, as well as characters who'd do anything for the sake of someone they care about, so I get the impression that I'm going to start enjoying this even more once we get into the real meat of the story. I look forward to learning the answers to those little questions such as when and how Vlam evolved and where Tommy is in the present day, too.

I'm certainly glad you enjoyed what you read, and I look forward to hearing more from you in the future! Sorry for the short replies to what you said, but I'm still at work sneaking some replying in while waiting to hear on my afternoon meetings. Shhh. :)

Sid87
30th April 2012, 5:55 PM
Chapter 5: Present Day

Sam felt less secure in Rowan’s laboratory than he previously had in the lobby. The lab had no windows, only lifeless fluorescent bulbs above him. One, which was not quite in the center of the ceiling but a few feet to the right, flickered continuously since Sam and the professor entered. Amidst all the other lights that glowed flawlessly, this one shouldn’t have bothered anyone; it barely registered in the room that something was off in the lighting, but it still reminded Sam that the light was not natural. The laboratory seemed to be cut off from all signs of life and nature whatsoever, actually. There was no weaving plant here to integrate itself into blinds; to that point, there were no windows to blind there at all. The sterile white walls held no portraits or paintings. The floor was a hard vinyl surface that helped reflect the chill from the air conditioning upwards. Sam yearned for the natural light, hardwood walls, and vegetation of the waiting room as he pondered how a professor who assists in raising young pokemon can operate in such a dead room.

“I’m sorry I asked you to put your pokemon away--what were their names again?”

“Vlam and Bree,” Sam answered, his voice as lifeless as the room. He made no attempt to differentiate which was the Ninetales or the Butterfree. His brain was busy being shuffled back through countless rooms like this one, where he received disheartening word after disheartening word for more than 12 months now. The image of Vlam curling around Rowan’s feet and the hopefulness that her analysis of his character provided felt like they had happened to someone else he might have read about in a story. All he could think of was his rage at useless so-called medical experts. And his brother’s black, emotionless eyes.

“Yes, Vlam and Bree. I’m sorry I asked you to put Vlam and Bree away before coming here. This is where I work on any sick pokemon that come my way. You’ll understand that I need to maintain as germ-free an environment as possible, right?”

Sam nodded, but all he could ponder was how anyone--human or pokemon--could possibly feel better while in this room.

“You seem discomforted here. I apologize, Sam. I merely hoped we could speak in private. Speaking of going after our continent’s legendary pokemon...that is obviously a sensitive matter. I wouldn’t want just anyone to hear you talking like that.”

“I don’t care who hears me, professor,” Sam barked. Rowan’s words had stirred something inside him, and now his spine felt prickly. “I am going to catch them.”

“Now now, son. I can’t imagine how you even think this possible. First of all, no one has seen or documented any proof of the legends in decades,” Rowan stopped there and appeared to be playing with numbers in his head, “possibly centuries! Secondly, you’re hardly the first headstrong young man to come to Sinnoh with designs on capturing them. It’s a countless number of trainers that have failed; how could you think you’ll succeed? And also--”

Sam was tired of his words. Where previously the professor had spoken to him respectfully, possibly even affectionately, his words were now sharpened with the points of lecture. Sam knew he was being scolded, an insolent child who thought himself too big for his britches. “I’m not like the others.”

Rowan’s mouth froze in mid-thought. “How do you feel so?” His words had an air of being rhetorical. He was merely humoring Sam with this question.

Sam shook his head and turned away from the professor. This laboratory was bad enough, but Rowan’s attitude was the same as everyone else’s. The same as dozens of doctors who had no answers for Sam and looked at him like he just grew a second mouth every time he challenged their certainty. He turned away from the professor. “When they came here, why did they do it?”

“Do what?”

Are you following this conversation at all, old man, Sam thought but did not verbalize. “Come for the legends.” Sam turned back and Rowan was stroking his beard.

“To become more powerful, I suppose. Either as trainers or as human beings looking for the secrets of infinite willpower or knowledge.”

“So they came here for themselves?”

“It would make the most sense.”

Sam closed his eyes and thought of a still-charming man confined to a hospital bed, having not spoken a word or moved a muscle in a year’s time. Sam thought of eyes that used to invite you into conversation, and that now were as empty as the vacuum of space. Sam thought of Tommy.

“Well I don’t want the legends, Professor Rowan. I don’t want to train them, I don’t want to battle with them, and I don’t want their secrets. I need them to save my brother’s life. Or give him one back,” his voice began failing with uncertainty. “I don’t know...I don’t know what I need them to do, but I...I need it...”

“Your brother...Tommy.” Rowan’s eyes rolled to the top of his head as if he could see the lightbulb going on there. “I am sorry, I had forgotten you had one. It’s been so long…” He pushed his hands into the pockets of his vest; it reminded Sam of a chided young boy who felt guilty about something. “But I don’t understand. How could the legends help him?”

Sam had steeled himself for having to do this, and so he began his explanation of something that had happened just over a year ago, but had roots much deeper in his past than that. He told the story of Tommy Stark, an amazing young man who thought nothing of raising his younger brother after their father died. Tommy, who sacrificed everything just to make sure that Sam would never want for anything.

A year ago, Tommy's sacrificing for Sam should already have been over. Sam had been a year out of college; he should have been finding a job. But the job market was hard for everyone, so Sam was still living at home. He often wondered if he would move out even if he had his own job. At twenty-four years old, his brother was all he’d ever known. Tommy worked two jobs at that point; he had long-since been promoted to manager position of the Goldenrod Department Store, but he was working part-time at the Pokemon Center, too. Tommy never said it aloud, but Sam knew he missed battling, and working at the Center gave him the chance to be around pokemon and trainers all day. Was Tommy jealous of Sam? Sam was in the World Pokemon League just like Tommy had so briefly been. Was he jealous to see Sam living the life that should have been his? He always seemed so happy, so proud. Sam hated wondering if he himself could ever be so selfless with his life because he feared he’d not like the truth of the answer.

Sam had already had a busy day that evening when he finally arrived home. Leaving Tommy at home to tend to the headache his older brother woke up with, he had spent the morning at the CareerLink working on his resume and finding job listings. He managed to drag himself out to a few places that were looking for entry-level workers. He’d finally given up looking for work that would put his degree in Pokemon Psychology to use, so at that point, anything would have worked. Tommy told him that eventually they’d need counselors at the Pokemon Center, but there were just no openings currently, so Sam wanted something to merely get him through until that day. He barely got out of his last meeting in time to get to his WPL match in the afternoon. Coach William Overton, a lanky older man with too much product in his fiery hair, chewed Sam out for almost missing his check-in time, but all was forgiven when Sam swept his rookie opponent away. After a few customary interviews and the post-match handshake, it had been safe to say the only thing on Sam’s mind was when he would start getting matches on prime-time television.

Tommy had cheered Sam away from such distraction by preparing stuffed porkchops, one of Sam’s favorites, for dinner that evening. Sam remembered their discussion that day about the match and the job-hunting, and how a few times, he saw Tommy shaking his right hand as if he was trying to clear it of invisible spiders. Sam didn’t think much of it at the time, just that his brother must have burned himself on the casserole dish and was flinching in pain. They sat at the table, and Tommy began telling Sam that he thought there was going to be an opening at the Pokemon Center soon. One of the resident pokemon therapists was apparently interviewing in Azaela for a head counselor position, so Sam would have a possible foot in the door in the coming weeks.

After dinner they settled in to watch some other WPL Johto matches--Tommy was always very insistent that Sam study as much of his opponents as possible—and it was then that Sam noticed something: Tommy was trying to describe the methods of one of the trainers they were watching, but his words weren’t coming out right. It was like there was a fog hanging in front of his mouth catching the words as he made them.

“A few seconds after that, he collapsed. He’d suffered a massive stroke,” Sam’s voice felt tiny as he finished relaying the memory to the pokemon professor. “He’s been catatonic ever since.”

Both men were silent for some time after that, and Sam actually appreciated it. As much as it pained him to do so, Sam had relayed this story several times since it happened, and so many times the other person’s reaction has been to saccharine their voices and pull Sam into a hug and tell him what a “poor thing” he is. In contrast to that, he admired what he viewed as reverent silence from Rowan. All good things, as they say, do come to ends, and Rowan broke the space between them.

“I would never make so little of your pain as to say that I know what you’re going through, Sam. My parents both lived full lives, and my sisters are both with me today and have given me beautiful nieces and nephews. What you’ve gone through is awful. But it doesn’t answer the question of why you think the legends can help you.”

“My brother is stuck in a bed, unable to will himself move. He’s forgotten everything about his previous life. And he can’t remember his relationships. Not with Vlam and not with me. Do you see what he’s missing? Willpower, knowledge, and emotion.”

Rowan’s eyes widened. “Son, you’re talking about mythical abilities attributed to legendary pokemon. Not only are we not sure they still exist, but we have no way of knowing if they are truly responsible for such matters.”

“Well what else am I going to do?” Sam’s voice grew large again. “Go see a specialist? Or a homeopathic doctor? Oh wait, I already have! More than I can count. I haven’t found a single human being alive that has an answer for the severity of stroke that Tommy suffered. And if I can’t find a human…”

“It’s…not unheard of. There’s certainly healing abilities in the pokemon kingdom that have proven useful on human conditions. But what you are asking for…what you are expecting…”

“Professor, I’m going to do this. I’m going to at least look for them. I don’t know what else to do. It’s the only shot I have left.”

Again, Rowan was silent. Sam knew he was carefully considering his response. He probably didn’t believe in what Sam needed to do, but perhaps he would at least empathize with it. Finally he replied, “I can’t leave my lab or my offices. I simply have too many people that depend on me. But if this is something you truly want to do, I can send an assistant to guide you around Sinnoh. I will be honest, Sam, I think you’d have a better chance chasing the end of a rainbow; I honestly do. But as a favor to your family, I’ll help you as much as I can within reason.”

It was all Sam could have asked.



I promise in chapter 6, this story is totally going to start actually HAVING pokemon in it instead of just passively talking about pokemon or pokemon-related things.

PhantomDragon
30th April 2012, 7:18 PM
New chapter = YAY.


Sam yearned for the natural light, hardwood walls, and vegetation of the waiting room as he pondered how a professor who assists in raising young pokemon can operate in such a dead room.


"Can" should be "could". That aside, I really like the comparison you've put in this sentence.


His brain was busy being shuffled back through countless rooms like this one, where he received disheartening word after disheartening word for more than 12 months now.

I thought you built up the suspense until near the end where Sam relates what happened to Tommy very well. It wasn't too informative but very intriguing, particularly when they were discussing the fact that other Trainers only want the Lake Trio for themselves.


A year ago, that should long have been over.

This confuzzled me slightly. Is this implying that the events of the year (aka Tommy being in a coma) have stretched the year out metaphorically so it is longer?


“A few seconds after that, he collapsed. He’d suffered a massive stroke,” Sam’s voice felt tiny as he finished relaying the memory to the pokemon professor. “He’s been catatonic ever since.”


I'm sorry, this was an "Awwww" moment. Although...
Tommy was probably up to something shady, wasn't he? This may be off, but as Sam was so young, if Tommy had to resort to unscrupulous means to keep them afloat 1) he wouldn't have known 2) I wouldn't be surprised.

I'm wondering whether Vlam's evolution was his choice or Sammy's, though. That'll be interesting to find out (assuming you characterise the Pokémon that way - I know not everyone does.)

Sid87
1st May 2012, 6:33 PM
This confuzzled me slightly. Is this implying that the events of the year (aka Tommy being in a coma) have stretched the year out metaphorically so it is longer?


That's one of the things I agree on 100%, but I couldn't figure out how to fix it. I proofread this section twice and BOTH times, I hit that line and even I had to think "Wait, what?" It really is awful. It's SUPPOSED to say that a year ago, Tommy should have been done having to "parent" his younger brother, but you're right...it can read as almost anything else. I need to fix it eventually.

Thanks for the rest of the comments and the speculation (which is always fun). :)

PhantomDragon
1st May 2012, 7:24 PM
That is a really oddly phrased part, I agree. I had a brainstorm just now, and I couldn't find a way around it...did you try rephrasing the paragraphs around it?

Sid87
1st May 2012, 7:45 PM
I just changed it to "A year ago, Tommy's sacrificing for Sam should already have been over.". How's that look?

PhantomDragon
1st May 2012, 8:10 PM
Much better. This is just a suggestion, and sorry if I'm being too picky, but I thought of this:


A year ago, Tommy's sacrificing himself for Sam

What do you think?

diamondpearl876
2nd May 2012, 8:56 PM
I haven’t read any of your other reviews so sorry if I point things out that were already mentioned.

I quite liked the description at the beginning of the chapter. You did a good job at showing how the room was lifeless rather than just saying “the room was lifeless” and leaving it at that. It was also kind of creepy and very fitting for the setting, I think. The dialogue between Sam and Rowan was also good. Rowan's reactions to Sam's actons were perfectly reasonable and they made sense for his character (or how I imagine his character to be).


“Vlam and Bree,” Sam answered, his voice as lifeless as the room. He made no attempt to differentiate which was the Ninetails or the Butterfree.

Should be “Ninetales”. I’d get in the habit of trying to remember that spelling. I know it can be tricky, but Vlam seems important to the story, so yeah.


His brain was busy being shuffled back through countless rooms like this one, where he received disheartening word after disheartening word for more than 12 months now.

12 should be “twelve”. It’s pretty much an unspoken rule that you should always spell out numbers under one hundred.

I was also going to say that if you read this, having the word “disheartening” appear twice so close in a row kind of ruins the flow, but now that I think about it, I like it, since Sam’s thoughts keep trying to be interrupted. The flow being interrupted represents this in a way.


One of the resident pokemon therapists was apparently interviewing in Azaela for a head counselor position, so Sam would have a possible foot in the door in the coming weeks.

“Azalea”

Anyway… This family just doesn’t have any luck, huh? This chapter certainly resonated with me, especially the part about Tommy having a stroke. When I was 8 my mother had a sudden stroke when I was alone with her, and she was catatonic for an entire year afterward. No one knew what to do, no matter where my father put her. Not the same exact situation, but close enough for me to relate to your story on a very personal level, which is a good way to get to reader’s emotions and have them become attached to your story. I’m sure others can relate with stroke-related incidents as well. Your story also makes me think more about how far we will go to help the ones we love. Even if Sam's actions seem completely irrational or crazy, the intentions are pure, and perhaps that’s what counts the most.

I look forward to more.

Sid87
2nd May 2012, 9:54 PM
1) Thanks. I, personally, actually had a lot of fun writing about the room, and I hoped it didn't come across as just meandering around a point. I'm glad you appreciated it.

2) It's so weird that I've been playing Pokemon since 1999 and NEVER noticed that is how it's spelled. I can't believe that. :)

3) It's also odd that I missed that 12 because I've made such a concentrated effort to change every other numeral I accidentally typed out. I wonder how that one slipped by me. Ah well.
3A) I'll have to re-read that and correct it. I hadn't caught that in my readthroughs, which is silly; those thinhs usually REALLY stick out to me.

4) Another word I didn't know how to spell. :p

I'm glad you were able to associate with this chapter, and thanks for the advice. I've actually NOT had any strokes in my family, but I can imagine how awful they must be. I'm truly sorry to hear about your mom. I hope you enjoy the story going forward!

Sidewinder
3rd May 2012, 3:41 PM
Took me awhile, but I'm here.

I felt like you did a good job describing Rowan's lab. It made me think that Sam is more accustomed to sleeping outdoors than indoors for some reason. The whole description really stood out for me mainly because you made his discomfort in the room seem very real and believeable. In the last chapter he spoke with so much confidence about finding the three pokemon, but now when you described the room he's in, it's almost like he's unsure of himself. It's funny how something as simple as a room can put someone on edge. Its happened to me a few times before. The room where they have CAT scan machines >.>

To be honest, I had forgotten they were in Goldenrod until you mentioned that Tommy had been promoted at the department store. As you described the interviews, WPL, CareerLink, I found myself wanting to know more about Goldenrod. What do the buildings look like, is it crowded, what's the weather like? I know that Goldenrod is just a byproduct of the story, but for me it would help to get a little bit of a clearer picture of what's happening if I could picture the setting better. I know at this point in the story you're just telling what happens to Tommy and there's not really alot of room for description, but that's just one thing that stuck out for me.


have burned himself on the casserole dish and was flinching in pain.

I felt like that sentence would have been better if you had put 'dealing' with the pain instead of 'flinching'. To me, flinching implies a sudden, full or partial body spastic movement. I see what you were trying to say about Tommy's hand shaking, but it just read kinda odd to me.

Nicely done on the ending, I knew there was a reason I liked Rowan, lol. Plot is starting to shape up, and I can say I'm eager to see where you take it. I was never a big fan of Sinnoh, but after reading this chapter I went to Bulbapedia and read up on those three legendaries to refresh my knowledge on them. I think you did a good job fitting them into the story with regards to Sam's approach to think of a way to help his brother.



I promise in chapter 6, this story is totally going to start actually HAVING pokemon in it instead of just passively talking about pokemon or pokemon-related things.

I see what you're saying here, but I don't think that you should feel that way completely. Obviously, Pokemon are an integral part of Pokemon Fanfiction, but going for stretches where they are only mentioned is not a bad thing. Pokefiction usually involves humans as well as Pokemon, and taking stretches where they dont play such an important role is never really a bad thing. Obviously you know the direction your story is going, and I DO look forward to seeing more Pokemon, but having the focus on humans and their struggles, etc, is really helpful as well. I'm sure you know that, but I felt like mentioning it.

Good job!

Sid87
3rd May 2012, 6:11 PM
To be honest, I had forgotten they were in Goldenrod until you mentioned that Tommy had been promoted at the department store. As you described the interviews, WPL, CareerLink, I found myself wanting to know more about Goldenrod. What do the buildings look like, is it crowded, what's the weather like? I know that Goldenrod is just a byproduct of the story, but for me it would help to get a little bit of a clearer picture of what's happening if I could picture the setting better. I know at this point in the story you're just telling what happens to Tommy and there's not really alot of room for description, but that's just one thing that stuck out for me.

I had mentioned in passing in Chapter 1 that Sam was struck by the similarities between Goldenrod and Jubilife, but yeah...beyond describing Jubilife, I haven't touched on Goldenrod much. Good call. I feel like I've mentioned Goldenrod several times throughout the story, though (it was the city university where the brothers' dad worked; it was Sam and Tommy's high school), but if I haven't made those comments memorable enough, that's bad on me.


Nicely done on the ending, I knew there was a reason I liked Rowan, lol. Plot is starting to shape up, and I can say I'm eager to see where you take it. I was never a big fan of Sinnoh, but after reading this chapter I went to Bulbapedia and read up on those three legendaries to refresh my knowledge on them. I think you did a good job fitting them into the story with regards to Sam's approach to think of a way to help his brother

I was one of those odd people that LOVED Gen4, but I know what you mean. I have a whole browser window open at home with tabs dedicated to Rowan, Uxie, Azelf, Mesprit, Sinnoh, and some other things. And I'm glad you liked my Rowan.


I see what you're saying here, but I don't think that you should feel that way completely. Obviously, Pokemon are an integral part of Pokemon Fanfiction, but going for stretches where they are only mentioned is not a bad thing. Pokefiction usually involves humans as well as Pokemon, and taking stretches where they dont play such an important role is never really a bad thing. Obviously you know the direction your story is going, and I DO look forward to seeing more Pokemon, but having the focus on humans and their struggles, etc, is really helpful as well. I'm sure you know that, but I felt like mentioning it.

I'm worried about striking a balance between this story not having enough pokemon or pokemon battles and not feeling like I'm shoe-horning that stuff in. I don't want to do anything the story doesn't call for, but I also realize I just went two chapters where no pokemon was ever actually involved. And, to be honest, I have absolutely adored writing Vlam and Bree so far, so I do look forward to doing more of that. But having never written a pokefiction story before, my natural inclination is for it to be based around the humans. So I'm going to keep trying to walk that line between underusing them and forcing them in where they aren't needed.

Thanks for the thoughts!

Shadow Lucario
3rd May 2012, 7:29 PM
Damn. I get it when every grammar mistake is pointed out. And there weren't much so I commend you on that. Anyway, much like sidewinder, I saw your post in the review exchange and thought we might be able to, well, exchange. The story is very interesting and the way it is organized is something I haven't seen done, let alone this well. The plot appears to be moving at a reasonable pace. It's not too slow and you're not rushing it. I know that I sometimes tend to struggle in that area.

I'm not too sure how I feel about your characters because, well they have no faults. The brothers are excellent battlers and both top of their class. They seem very Gary Stuish in that respect. Also, why don't they go on a journey through a region collecting badges, ribbons, symbols, or whatever else there is? Does this story take place in a time where badge collecting and the like are outlawed? Surely they would be much stronger if they went on a journey since they would encounter many different types of trainers and challenges.

I do like the story, but as with every fic, there is room for improvement. I'll definitely be checking back for the next chapter. Until next time.

Sid87
3rd May 2012, 8:00 PM
Damn. I get it when every grammar mistake is pointed out. And there weren't much so I commend you on that.

Honestly, I'm not super concerned with that, anyway. I have a degree in English Writing. My grammar is fine, it's just my typing that is lazy and poor. :) So I don't really need grammar lessons as much as I just need someone to occasionally point out what I mistyped. :) Which, admittedly, happens more than it should, heh.


Anyway, much like sidewinder, I saw your post in the review exchange and thought we might be able to, well, exchange.

I can try that. Sidewinder's story was already 9 chapters in when I got it, so I've been reviewing it one chapter per day on my lunchbreaks. Yours is even further in, but I may forego doing chapter-by-chapter breakdown and just do a summary until the new chapters come out (not unlike what you just did for me). It still might take me a few days to get through it, but I promise I will.


I'm not too sure how I feel about your characters because, well they have no faults. The brothers are excellent battlers and both top of their class. They seem very Gary Stuish in that respect.

I can see that correlation with Tommy, sure, but my only defense here is that battling hasn't mattered much in the story. It's basically a character story that also has pokemon. And to show how much Sam looks up to Tommy, it makes sense that Tommy should be good. But I don't see either of them being great battlers. In a world where I envision that pokemon battling is akin to the NFL (or soccer or the NBA or what have you), they've just been described as being good locally. They were good at their school; they were good in local competition. There are a lot of basketball players who were great in high school and maybe in a minor league, but they weren't superstars or building a career out of it. Not that I'm dismissing your claim: Tommy has really been a flawless character as we've seen him through the eyes of his brother who idolizes him, and even through that lens, I've thought the same thing: that he's too pristine. I'm going to have to do more with that in the flashbacks if I can. But Sam has been demanding, impetuous, and self-important. He's grown up from his youth, but I wouldn't call him faultless.


Also, why don't they go on a journey through a region collecting badges, ribbons, symbols, or whatever else there is? Does this story take place in a time where badge collecting and the like are outlawed? Surely they would be much stronger if they went on a journey since they would encounter many different types of trainers and challenges.

Basically a reiteration of what I said in my last paragraph, I always saw a pokemon-based world as being more like the NFL. With high school, collegiate, minor-league, and professional levels. I think it would quickly organize into something more money-based and entertainment-driven. But that's just my vision here. The point of the story isn't really "go around, collect the badges, become a champ", so having gyms or having a league isn't a big deal. Yet. Who knows which way the story will end up taking me, though? :)

Shadow Lucario
3rd May 2012, 10:54 PM
I would normally go through and respond to individual quotes, but I'm on my iPod right now. An English degree? Good job I say. There were very minor mistypes such as "an" being in the wrong place. Other than that I couldn't spot anything. It's an interesting take on it and like I said I will be back for more. Good luck with the story.

Sid87
11th May 2012, 8:21 PM
Chapter 6: Present Day

The newly caught Shinx bounced happily at its trainer’s left side. Occasionally Bree would float down to it and let out a sharp chirp, and the Shinx would reply by rearing up on its stubby hindlegs and swatting up at the Butterfree. Bree was too quick, however, and would always flap herself just out of reach. The Shinx would let out a few yips to let it know it wanted the butterfly pokemon to come lower so they could play together. On Sam’s right side, Vlam kept up with her trainer’s gait and ignored the other two more childish pokemon.

Sam couldn’t rationalize in his head why he felt compelled to capture the Shinx. He had already left most of his friends behind, in the comfort of neighbors and friends who pitied Sam and were happy to do what they could while he did what he had to do. Secretly, he suspected they all thought he was losing his mind, so perhaps they felt they were doing right by the pokemon to keep them out of their trainer’s mad hands. Whatever the reason, he left many of them behind and had decided only on bringing the two. Waiting two weeks for customs to clear just Vlam and Bree could have turned into an indeterminable wait if he had brought even more of his friends, and besides that, it felt right to just bring the Ninetales and Butterfree. But if that was the case, he wondered, why stop in the woods to catch the black and blue creature? Sam looked over to his left at Bree, then in the other direction to gaze at Vlam. When Sam had encountered the Shinx, it was in a forest where everything else that crossed his path fled at the sight of him. Starly and Bidoof zipped off into the high branches of their trees when alerted to Sam’s presence. But when he saw this underfed Shinx, it barely registered Sam’s existence. It had its head buried in a berry bush, live electric sparks snapping off of its tail as it crunched away. It had a small torso yearning to be filled with food, and it was not giving up its treasure no matter who was there...just like another friend he caught one day, Sam realized as Bree buzzed about his head. Was that all there was to it? He stood back and watched the Shinx trying to match Vlam’s pace on its much scrawnier and stubbier four legs. It was disinterested in Bree now, and yelped in the deepest voice Sam imagined it could muster at Tommy’s Ninetales. The elder pokemon refused to turn its head back in acknowledgment, but Sam saw her lightly flick her tail around to keep the Shinx interested. It felt good to be standing still while he watched them; he had taken a rental car to the end of the main roads, but since then he’d been walking for hours through these woods. The tall trees kept the sun off of him, and he realized, now that he was relaxing, just how sweaty he’d become. The Shinx was now swatting Vlam’s paws and barking back-and-forth, from Vlam to Bree; sparks were radiating from its tail just as it had been when he came across it. It dawned on Sam that the Shinx thought that Vlam was not aware of the Butterfree’s presence and was now trying to alert her. The name Chispa came to his mind; it seemed to suit the little girl.

When Sam had woken up that morning in Professor Rowan’s guest bedroom, the professor told him that the assistant who would be helping Sam was already at Lake Verity. Apparently the assistant lived near to the lake and received word from Rowan to go there over night. Rowan had also been kind enough to set Sam up with a rental car. Sam asked what he owed for it, but Rowan waved him off. Sam indulged in an omelette and sausage and a warm shower after seeing the car; for the first time since arriving in Sinnoh, Sam did not feel rushed. He hadn’t realized how many meals he’d ignored lately not because he didn’t have the time, but because his mind was too burdened to think of regular sustenance. Everything seemed so imminent all of the sudden. Sam would soon find out the car was packed with tents and food and other necessities. He was taken aback by the professor’s generosity, and asked if Rowan had any final advice for him.

“Life is full of changes of plans.”

Those were the words Rowan had left him with late in the morning. The drive down Route 201 wasn’t terrible; it took Sam only two hours, and the weather just off of the Sandgem beach was impeccable. But where the road ended, the Verity Forest began. Sam had expected to meet the assistant there, but there was no sign of anyone. A quick call to Rowan confirmed that the assistant had already made it to the lakefront, but not to worry because the lake was a straight shot through the woods. Ninety minutes later, Sam was wondering just how much of a shot Rowan was talking about. The path was clear enough, and Sam did not doubt he was making his way there, but an endless expanse of trees gave no hint that a lake was before him. Starly who saw him called out in song to the rest of the forest, warning them to flee from possible predators. It was the only sign of life in the forest aside from when he’d encountered Chispa. The Shinx was nice, sure, but she wasn’t the Mesprit he’d come here to catch.

Mesprit, the Being of Emotion, as it was called in legend, was rumored to be a unique psychic type pokemon that had resided at Lake Verity for centuries. The stories were that when it and its brothers were hatched from a single egg, their mere existences gave human beings abilities that they had previously lacked. Mesprit found that it could fly above the world using its vast mental powers, and when it did so, it awakened base emotions in humanity. For the first time, parents loved their children and rivals hated each other and people mourned the loss of family and friends. Sam thought of Tommy’s eyes that were no longer capable of even recognizing his own brother. Changes of plans, Sam thought, were simply not on the menu. Sam would find Mesprit and he would restore his brother. That was all there was to it.

“Halt! These are my woods, and if you want to pass, you’ll have to battle me!”

Sam had been so entranced in the thought of having Mesprit’s gifts bring Tommy back, he had allowed himself to be come upon from behind. He turned to see a teenage boy--not quite yet an adult--with wild blonde hair curling upwards on either side of his head. Fiery orange eyes stared into Sam’s, and the young man flung the arms of his scarf back dramatically. The weather certainly was not calling for a scarf, so Sam thought the boy must have been wearing it ironically. Shinx clawed at Sam‘s leg, clearly startled at the boy‘s booming voice, and even Vlam‘s tails had stiffened at the sound of it.

“Excuse me?”

“Don’t play dumb. You heard me. Battle me for the rights to walk in my woods!”

It was the silliest thing Sam had ever heard. The woods were apparently endless, and this kid just haphazardly decided he owned them?

“Look, I’m just looking for something. I really don’t--”

“You can use those three jokes for pokemon if you want, buddy.”

It would take more than that to insult Sam or get his ire up. “Get lost. Seriously.”

“Like you already are?”

“I know where I’m going. I’m following a path.”

“You know where you’re going. Right. That’s why you missed the turn about 15 minutes ago that would have put you right out on the lake.”

Sam was confused. At first that he had somehow missed an apparently obvious turn, but then at the fact that this boy knew he was trying to find the lake. “Wait...how did--”

“How did I know you were looking for the lake? Yeah, like I’d be such a good assistant to Professor Rowan if I wasn’t out here waiting for some dumb foreigner to miss his turn.”

“Assistant?”

“Yeah. You’re late, by the way. I’ve been here all day. Just for that, I’m fining you a million bucks!”

No way, Sam thought. There’s no way Rowan was working with some overeager brat like this. Was there?

“Yeah, I’m the assistant, knucklehead,” the boy replied as if reading Sam’s mind. “Name’s Barry, and I hear you’re the fool who thinks he can catch one of our legends.”

Sam made a mental note to talk to Rowan about the professionalism of his staff. He then made another one to talk to him about child labor laws. “How old are you, kid?”

“Old enough to beat your sorry butt in a battle!”

Sam groaned. Just talking to this kid felt like running a marathon. He wished he was back to being alone and lost. “Okay, I’m sorry I called you ‘kid’. How old are you, Barry?”

Barry straightened his posture, and tightened his scarf. “I’m sixteen.”

“Is that old enough to have some kind of internship with an established professor?”

“If you’re concerned that I’m not up to your standards, don’t. I’ve worked with Professor Rowan for years. He gave me my first pokemon! And I’ve helped him out of some jams.”

“What kind--”

“Anyway, the turn you missed is back here a ways. I uprooted some bushes and used them to cover it up. I thought it’d be funny to watch you wander on past it.”

Sam wanted to have Vlam set this kid on fire. It was suddenly the only thing he’d ever wanted in his life.

“Come on,” Barry continued, “I got a camp set up at the lakefront and everything. We can catch up on how much more awesome than you I am there.”

Vlam, use flamethrower. Those words tasted better in Sam’s mouth than any cake he’d ever eaten. But he swallowed them and followed the teen. Barry had fallen wordless on the way back to the missed path; he simply hummed to himself. Sam also remained quiet, but it was simply out of fear that if he opened his mouth it could only be to make his team attack the young assistant. When Barry revealed the missing ‘path’, Sam understood how he missed it: there was no way to possibly discern it! Barry must have torn up a dozen shrubs and planted them back right on the cleared walkway. What the heck was wrong with this kid? Just as gleefully as he must have placed the plants there, the youth knocked them all back out of the way.

“It’s just about half a mile this way,” Barry announced after revealing the path.

As they followed the path, Sam found himself oddly impressed by the young assistant’s stride. It was very upright and very swift. Even though Sam was older and taller (not that much older, Sam thought before reassuring himself that he was in his physical prime as a man in his mid-twenties), he was having a hard time keeping up with it. There was a cockiness to the way Barry moved, as if nothing could be as important as what he’d set his mind to. Sam wondered if Barry would even have noticed something as mundane as a Shinx too caught up in its meal to acknowledge that it should be afraid of him. Noticing Chispa’s failing attempt to keep up with him keeping up with his new partner, Sam withdrew his friends into their portable homes. They didn’t need any more insults from this kid, anyway.

The lake was far bigger than Sam had imagined. He could see the other side, but it was quite a distance away and nothing distinguishable could be made out, and the length was enormous, as well. The eastern side actually disappeared into the woods, so Sam had no idea how much further that way went. Sam was not sure what he imagined would be here; perhaps a giant cave? Or a totem? Or just Mesprit itself floating above the water? But there was no sign of anything. There was a brief shoreline covered in branches and leaves, a calm lake, and then a far off opposite shore. Sam’s heart sunk in his chest; where did he go from here? The lake was unaffected by Sam’s heartbreak; calm water licked the shoreline as it was brushed in gently by the breeze between the trees. Sam could see minnows dancing in the shallowness by the shore. He glanced away from the water itself; maybe it was a red herring, he thought, so he looked all around at the trees and the shoreline. There had to be some kind of clue; some way to draw Mesprit out.

“All right, what’s the plan, man?”

The words bounced off the interior of Sam’s skull. Initially, he planned to stay at the lake as long as it took to find Mesprit. But now with this impatient child with him, would that still even be an option?

“Well, we just got here. First things first, we’ll need to get my things out of my car and ready for the night. After that, obviously I need to explore the circumference of the lake. From there I’ll need to examine the surrounding area. I need to get some kind of idea as to what draws it out and how. We’ll move forward with catching it from there.” Sam hoped the confidence he was trying to project with his voice was there. Barry agreed--whether because of the confidence of because he was just agreeable--and they began to unpack for the evening. Night arrived faster than Sam had expected after getting all of his supplies out and integrated with Barry’s, and he still had no solution to the riddle of Lake Verity other than this idea of simply looking around. He thought that a fresh day might give him renewed perspective on how to progress from here, and Barry agreed.


Tommy sat in his hospital bed with his sunken face leaning down, chin resting on his sternum. Sam tried to speak to him, but his voice was gone. The hospital room was black except for the light over Tommy’s bed, and Sam could hear none of the telltale signs of being in a hospital. There were no machines humming, no nurses ordering medications, no other patients talking to each other. It was just Sam and Tommy and this dark room. The silence suffocated Sam, but no matter how much he tried to call out to his brother, his vocal cords refused to obey him. When Sam tried reached out to take his brother’s hand, Tommy’s bed glided away from him. He slammed his fist down on the end of the railing near Tommy’s feet in anger at his own impotence, and his older brother’s head jumped. Sam leapt back with a start; had Tommy moved on his own, or had the force of the slam jarred it? He reached again for his brother, and this time the bed stayed in place, allowing Sam to stroke Tommy’s chin.

Tommy’s hand shot up and grabbed Sam’s arm. Sam yelped twice: once in surprise at Tommy’s reaction, and again when his older brother twisted the arm away from his chin. “Tommy, please!” Sam shouted, his throat finally back in control. “It’s me, Sam!”

Tommy’s face lifted to meet Sam’s; his eyes were solid black and his mouth was wretched into a scowl. As their eyes met, Tommy pulled himself out of the hospital bed. This caused Sam to fall backwards onto his rear and try to crawl away from his approaching brother. “You,” Tommy said. “Sam. You.” Sam’s arms pushed him back as rapidly as they could, but his previously crippled brother was gaining on him. “You did this.” Even worse than the accusations of his brother was the sudden beeping sound of Tommy’s hospital bed; a beeping that was growing in volume...

Sam’s eyes opened to find the beeping permeated his reality, as well. No, he thought, the beeping was real to begin with, and it had crawled into his nightmare. The next thought he had was that Barry was not only wide awake, but he was standing upright, staring across the water. As Sam regained more of his bearings in the awakened world, his ears let him know the sound seemed to be coming from the direction Barry was looking.

“What is that sound?”

Barry shook his head, but never removed his gaze from past the lake. “I don’t know.”

Shadow Lucario
11th May 2012, 9:17 PM
Whoa. Now that's a chapter. I very much enjoyed it, especially your portrayal of Barry. It was spot on and refreshing to see someone other than the main character used as the assistant. Your description improved a great deal in such a short period of time. I love when you describe the lake. It has to be my favorite part. The only mistakes were cases of typing too fast. When wondering where Mespirit is you put gave instead of cave. Other than the few minor errors it was a great chapter. Until next time.

Sid87
13th May 2012, 12:07 AM
Whoa. Now that's a chapter. I very much enjoyed it, especially your portrayal of Barry. It was spot on and refreshing to see someone other than the main character used as the assistant. Your description improved a great deal in such a short period of time. I love when you describe the lake. It has to be my favorite part. The only mistakes were cases of typing too fast. When wondering where Mespirit is you put gave instead of cave. Other than the few minor errors it was a great chapter. Until next time.

You really liked the lake description? Not that I'm going to tell you not to be, but I wasn't entirely happy with that scene. It felt like I ran out of things to say about water even more quickly than I thought I would. :D And I am glad using Barry isn't too stereotypical; having never taken any part in pokefiction into find this forum, I had no idea whether it would be or not. Either way, shortly after realizing I wanted this story to be in Sinnoh, I knew I had to use Barry. He seems like a lot of fun, so hopefully I do him justice. And thanks for the heads-up on "gave". Got that fixed. Damn inattentive blindness!

Bulba the Great!
13th May 2012, 1:21 AM
I'm new to this fic and I've only read the first chapter, but it's absolutely fantastic. Seriously. The chapter length, character description, everything is perfect. I really like the way you described Caterpie, and I already have a pretty good sense of who Sammy is from the get-go. Nice use of familial expectations. I look forward to catching up so I can actually try to give critical feedback!

diamondpearl876
14th May 2012, 3:07 AM
It felt good to be standing still while he watched them; he had taken a rental car to the end of the main roads, but since then he’d been walking for hours through these woods. The tall trees kept the sun off of him, and he realized now that he was relaxing just how sweaty he’d become.

I think at the end there, you meant to only put JUST "relaxing" OR "how sweaty he'd become", not both. Also, the paragraph that this section in is unbelievably huge. Readers could be turned off by large blocks of text like this, so I would separate it into shorter paragraphs if possible.


Sam indulged in an omelette and sausage and a warm shower after seeing the car; for the first time since arriving in Sinnoh, Sam did not feel rushed. He hadn’t realized how many meals he’d ignored lately not because he didn’t have the time, but because his mind was too burdened to think of regular sustenance. Everything seemed so imminent all of the sudden.

I like sections like this where readers can subtly infer that Sam may indeed be going a little crazy, or at least a little obsessive about his newfound mission. It also adds a lot to his character, since seeing how someone handles tough situations can really define them. Good job, I like it.


Changes of plans, Sam thought, were simply not on the menu. Sam would find Mesprit and he would restore his brother. That was all there was to it.

“Halt! These are my woods, and if you want to pass, you’ll have to battle me!”

This seemed a little abrupt. There was poor transitioning here. At first Sam is thinking about Rowan, and then all of a sudden someone is in his way? You say shortly after that Sam was lost in his thoughts, but the tone of the piece doesn't really show any element of surprise or anything. A simple mention of "suddenly Sam heard footsteps or heard a voice" before the actual dialogue might have made it flow a little bit smoother.

I also liked the Shinx's capture. It seems random, but I think it shows how lonely Sam is becoming. His only companions are Vlam and Bree, both of whom probably remind him of his lost family. Someone new and fresh in his life seems important... and I look forward to seeing what you have planned for the Shinx.

My biggest complaint about this chapter is that it almost readers like a summary. You really only tell what happens to Sam on the beginning of his journey here. I would have liked to see each scene fleshed out in more detail... It seemed as if you were breezing over supposedly non-important parts only to get to the important scenes (aka the ones involving the three lake pokemon). The scene with Barry was good but the rest made me want more. This can be really dangerous since you're going to lack any subplots and such, and therefore you'll be missing a lot of opportunities to flesh out your characters.

I'll look forward to what you have planned next. Seems there's some potential important characters coming up, and the nightmare about Tommy and the cliffhanger was used effectively. :)

Sidewinder
14th May 2012, 2:30 PM
Finally here, sorry it took so long.

The first thing I noticd was the huge block of text in the beginning of this chapter. it's not incorrect that it's there because it's all about the newly captured Shinx (who's one of my favorite Sinnoh Pokemon BTW), but I found myself losing my place several times. Obviously you're going to have paragraph's that are longer than others, but this one just seemed a little bit excessive. You can split that paragraph in two, and make it alot easier to read. It makes it easier for your regular readers to get through, and new readers as well.

I agree with diamondpearl that meet Barry was a little quick for my taste. An easier lead up like suspecting that someone was nearby, or seeing footprints, etc, would have been a little bit easier. To be completely honest, Barry kind of annoys me. His attitude is somewhat childish, which doesnt really match up with him being such a young assistant. Obviously he got to that point by being brilliant and good at his job, and from what you've made me think of Rowan, his age wouldnt really matter. But Rowan really does seem like he has a low tolerance for behavoir like this. It goes both ways though, as even though I don't like Barry, I quite liked the interractions he had with Sam.


“Yeah. You’re late, by the way. I’ve been here all day. Just for that, I’m fining you a million bucks!”

That's an example of what I'm talking about. I like the in your face personality, but I dislike the thing he's saying. Either way, I look forward to more dialogue between Sam and Barry.

I liked the length of this chapter better as well. I didn't put it in a word processor to measure it up against previous chapters, but it read really well. I'm still wanting more though when it comes to length. I want to have so much in the chapter that I have to stop and take notes as I'm reading instead of being able to remember my points as I read. If that makes sense.

The cliffhanger at the end was a really nice touch. I actually have no theory as to what it might be, besides Mespirit of course. Maybe Barry and Sam are in the territory of some water Pokemon by chance? Either way, I'm looking forward to the next chapter. Keep up the good work ;)

Sid87
14th May 2012, 4:39 PM
I'm new to this fic and I've only read the first chapter, but it's absolutely fantastic. Seriously. The chapter length, character description, everything is perfect. I really like the way you described Caterpie, and I already have a pretty good sense of who Sammy is from the get-go. Nice use of familial expectations. I look forward to catching up so I can actually try to give critical feedback!

I'm glad you enjoyed it, and I hope you continue to do so!


I think at the end there, you meant to only put JUST "relaxing" OR "how sweaty he'd become", not both. Also, the paragraph that this section in is unbelievably huge. Readers could be turned off by large blocks of text like this, so I would separate it into shorter paragraphs if possible.

Actually, the "now that he was relaxing" should either have been put off by commas or put at the beginning of the sentence. It's a tad unwieldy the way it is, and I'm going to edit that part to the beginning.

As for the length of that paragraph, Sidewinder said the same thing, and I have to admit, I'm not seeing that. Actually, I purposely wrote a larger paragraph because I so often write short paragraphs that I feel like I could always embellish on. When I'm constantly writing short paragraphs, I feel like I have A.D.D. or something. :) Like "Why can't I find more to say here?" I feel like it's better writing if I can flesh out paragraphs, but if you don't want to read it, I'll see what I can do going forward.



This seemed a little abrupt. There was poor transitioning here. At first Sam is thinking about Rowan, and then all of a sudden someone is in his way? You say shortly after that Sam was lost in his thoughts, but the tone of the piece doesn't really show any element of surprise or anything. A simple mention of "suddenly Sam heard footsteps or heard a voice" before the actual dialogue might have made it flow a little bit smoother.

More defending myself here (because, honestly dammit, I really liked this chapter), I don't see a problem here at all, and once again both you and Sidewinder said the same thing. The narration was attached to Sam, and Sam did not see or hear anything, so...suddenly someone was there. If the narrator mentioned that there was someone coming up behind Sam, that would take me out of the consistent narrator who is limited to just Sam. The only mistake I might have made, and I can tell I did by what you just said, is that Barry was BEHIND Sam, not in front of him. Sam passed the path, and Barry followed him from that point before finally surprising him. Perhaps I should have been more direct there. I mean, it follows: in real life, sometimes people sneak up on you, and you don't know they are there. And actually, surprise dialogue (I just made that term up) is something I have always done a lot of in my writing. Someone is unaware or lost in thought, and then--BAM!--someone's there.



My biggest complaint about this chapter is that it almost readers like a summary. You really only tell what happens to Sam on the beginning of his journey here. I would have liked to see each scene fleshed out in more detail... It seemed as if you were breezing over supposedly non-important parts only to get to the important scenes (aka the ones involving the three lake pokemon). The scene with Barry was good but the rest made me want more. This can be really dangerous since you're going to lack any subplots and such, and therefore you'll be missing a lot of opportunities to flesh out your characters.

I think, in my defense, this was a case of "Sam eating his omelette" wasn't going to further the plot in any meaningful way, so it was better just to say that it happened. I could have had a whole extra chapter of Sam waking up and eating breakfast, but at this point, I've established Sam and his relationship with Rowan, so where else could I go there other than shoe-horning something in that isn't needed there? I also feel like I meandered on enough just getting to THIS point (there were already two chapters of Sam sitting around talking to Rowan; a third felt extraneous). But still, it's honestly a duly noted point, and I will keep it in mind going forward.


Finally here, sorry it took so long.

The first thing I noticd was the huge block of text in the beginning of this chapter. it's not incorrect that it's there because it's all about the newly captured Shinx (who's one of my favorite Sinnoh Pokemon BTW), but I found myself losing my place several times. Obviously you're going to have paragraph's that are longer than others, but this one just seemed a little bit excessive. You can split that paragraph in two, and make it alot easier to read. It makes it easier for your regular readers to get through, and new readers as well.

As I noted up there to diamondpearl, I'm actually surprised this is a point of contention. But I said everything I needed to say up there, so I'll keep the comments from both of you in mind and move on.


I agree with diamondpearl that meet Barry was a little quick for my taste. An easier lead up like suspecting that someone was nearby, or seeing footprints, etc, would have been a little bit easier. To be completely honest, Barry kind of annoys me. His attitude is somewhat childish, which doesnt really match up with him being such a young assistant. Obviously he got to that point by being brilliant and good at his job, and from what you've made me think of Rowan, his age wouldnt really matter. But Rowan really does seem like he has a low tolerance for behavoir like this. It goes both ways though, as even though I don't like Barry, I quite liked the interractions he had with Sam.

I covered this in my reply to diamondpearl, too. My premise is, you know, this is Sam Stark. Not Batman. :) I've never personally really noticed footprints when I've been out walking in the woods.

As for Barry, yeah, he's kind of an impulsive jerk, but he is also, yes, very good at what he does. He's basically Barry from the D/P/Pl games, but a few years older and better at what he does. And the line you didn't like, that's basically my homage to what he actually says in the game. :) But not everyone's going to like every character, do I'll accept that. I think you'll like him more as the story goes on. But he IS a teenager.



I liked the length of this chapter better as well. I didn't put it in a word processor to measure it up against previous chapters, but it read really well. I'm still wanting more though when it comes to length. I want to have so much in the chapter that I have to stop and take notes as I'm reading instead of being able to remember my points as I read. If that makes sense.

This was longer, yes, and while I agree that previous chapters that were just a bit over 2 pages were probably two short, I tend to look at huge chapters in the same manner that you and diamondpearl noted that you looked at my single long paragraph here. I have always had a tendency towards shorter, quick-hitting chapters, and, like I mentioned with stretching out that one paragraph to give myself exercise in doing so, I could probably stand to lengthen my chapters a tad. I just feel like chapters that are more than 5 or 6 pages are a bit tedious to read. Though, granted, short chapters read better when the whole story is put together and read worse when being posted chapter-by-chapter. Something else to keep in mind as I go on.

diamondpearl876
15th May 2012, 2:17 AM
Actually, the "now that he was relaxing" should either have been put off by commas or put at the beginning of the sentence. It's a tad unwieldy the way it is, and I'm going to edit that part to the beginning.

Fair enough.


As for the length of that paragraph, Sidewinder said the same thing, and I have to admit, I'm not seeing that. Actually, I purposely wrote a larger paragraph because I so often write short paragraphs that I feel like I could always embellish on. When I'm constantly writing short paragraphs, I feel like I have A.D.D. or something. :) Like "Why can't I find more to say here?" I feel like it's better writing if I can flesh out paragraphs, but if you don't want to read it, I'll see what I can do going forward.

It really isn't about the length of the paragraphs so much as it is the content of them. As long as you say what you need to say, then you can move on.

Also, I'm sure you know that you should start a new paragraph every time a new idea is presented, and I believe that paragraph I pointed out focused on way too much at once. You could have separated some of the parts and still have gotten the job done.


More defending myself here (because, honestly dammit, I really liked this chapter), I don't see a problem here at all, and once again both you and Sidewinder said the same thing. The narration was attached to Sam, and Sam did not see or hear anything, so...suddenly someone was there. If the narrator mentioned that there was someone coming up behind Sam, that would take me out of the consistent narrator who is limited to just Sam. The only mistake I might have made, and I can tell I did by what you just said, is that Barry was BEHIND Sam, not in front of him. Sam passed the path, and Barry followed him from that point before finally surprising him. Perhaps I should have been more direct there. I mean, it follows: in real life, sometimes people sneak up on you, and you don't know they are there. And actually, surprise dialogue (I just made that term up) is something I have always done a lot of in my writing. Someone is unaware or lost in thought, and then--BAM!--someone's there.

Don't get me wrong, I liked this chapter too, since Barry's scenes were incredibly well written and realistic. I just pointed out things that seemed iffy to me to try to help you.

And fair enough then if the narration is third person limited. I was under the impression that it was third person omniscient (in which case you could have added something about Barry sneaking up on Sam) since I believe we've been told about Tommy's thoughts before, and/or things Sam might not have known at the time of the narration. Perhaps I remembered wrong.


I think, in my defense, this was a case of "Sam eating his omelette" wasn't going to further the plot in any meaningful way, so it was better just to say that it happened. I could have had a whole extra chapter of Sam waking up and eating breakfast, but at this point, I've established Sam and his relationship with Rowan, so where else could I go there other than shoe-horning something in that isn't needed there? I also feel like I meandered on enough just getting to THIS point (there were already two chapters of Sam sitting around talking to Rowan; a third felt extraneous). But still, it's honestly a duly noted point, and I will keep it in mind going forward.

I agree about the Sam eating his omelette part, lol, and about the Rowan part. Focusing too much on Rowan wouldn't have been very good either. For this chapter, I was mostly talking about the Shinx capture. Why include it if it's not important? If it's important, why not expand on it?

It just seemed like last chapter, Sam had just announced his plans, and now, with very little time passing, he's at the lake already. What planning did he do? What were his initial travels during his journey like after he left Rowan's lab? You could have added other scenes beside the Rowan one to help expand other characters or Sam. Even with your chapters being out of chronological order, it seems a tiny bit rushed.


This was longer, yes, and while I agree that previous chapters that were just a bit over 2 pages were probably two short, I tend to look at huge chapters in the same manner that you and diamondpearl noted that you looked at my single long paragraph here. I have always had a tendency towards shorter, quick-hitting chapters, and, like I mentioned with stretching out that one paragraph to give myself exercise in doing so, I could probably stand to lengthen my chapters a tad. I just feel like chapters that are more than 5 or 6 pages are a bit tedious to read. Though, granted, short chapters read better when the whole story is put together and read worse when being posted chapter-by-chapter. Something else to keep in mind as I go on.

There's nothing wrong with this. Some people just prefer longer chapters, some prefer shorter. I've seen plenty of books with 1-2 page chapters... The difference here is that we have to wait a week or more to see the next chapter, whereas in regular books, you can keep on reading immediately. Do with that what you will.

Sid87
15th May 2012, 4:30 PM
I hope you (or Sidewinder) don't think I was dismissing your opinions; I wasn't. I wouldn't have been using smileys throughout my reply if I was actually defensive or upset. I just thought I needed to defend a few points. I absolutely value what you guys said, 100%, and am serious when I say I'll consider them going forward.

A few new points:

-You're probably right about the lack of showing the capture of the Shinx. My only excuse is when I was visualizing the scene, I greatly enjoyed the image of Shinx bobbing along next to Sam and playing with Bree. I just wanted to open with that since I liked the visual.

-I may have screwed up and shown another character's thought process before, but I might hate myself if I have. I can't stand inconsistent narration. I know I'vedone a few "Tommy seemed to think..." or "Rowan appeared to be..." so I could allude to their inner processes, but it's all done through Sam's perception. But that doesn't mean mistakes weren't made. I'd just be really unhappy. :)

-I wanted to display here that Sam DIDN'T do any planning. I thought I did a good job of that, but perhaps not. I wanted to show that he is getting frantic and desperate, and even when things are going well, he still hasn't thought it all out. So that's why I didn't show him coming up with a plan: he didn't have one. He thinks he can just wing it. If I didn't display that well enough...shame on me.

Bulba the Great!
17th May 2012, 4:25 AM
Chapter One, here we go! *cracks knuckles*



He was thankful that Sinnoh had outlets that accommodated devices brought from other continents as he plugged his trimmers into the wall adjoining the bathroom sink.

This is a delightful little detail that makes your world so accessible. Love it.



As of eight o’clock, Sam had never managed to get any more sleep when his hotel phone rang.

That should probably be "Sam had not managed". Otherwise there's some weeird tense stuff going on.

I like the paragraph describing his frustration at waiting. The bit about the minute hand being faster than the bus? Gold.


helping him take in the brand new environment

Are you referring to the Butterfree? Because you just stated it was female...


An Ninetails

Not to be the grammar nazi, but it would just be 'a Ninetales'.

What a nifty way to hook me for the next chapter! Bravo.

I swear I'll read faster and catch up once the week is out.

Sid87
17th May 2012, 2:17 PM
Are you referring to the Butterfree? Because you just stated it was female...

....yes, that's....yep. I can't believe no one else caught that one. In my defense, I wrote the line about Bree's wings a few times and couldn't decide if it was a he or a she. I guess after I decided on "she", I forgot to change that line.

And yeah...I need to go back and edit almost all my uses of "Ninetails". I can't believe I never noticed that was how it was spelled. I, unfortunately, need to edit a few of the typos that have been caught so far. Just haven't had time. :(

Thanks for the continued support, though. :)

diamondpearl876
17th May 2012, 3:22 PM
I hope you (or Sidewinder) don't think I was dismissing your opinions; I wasn't. I wouldn't have been using smileys throughout my reply if I was actually defensive or upset. I just thought I needed to defend a few points. I absolutely value what you guys said, 100%, and am serious when I say I'll consider them going forward.

No worries, and I believed you. :o And it's okay to defend yourself but I'll still give my opinion haha. Also, we're not always right anyway. You know your story better than we ever will!


But that doesn't mean mistakes weren't made. I'd just be really unhappy. :)

Fair enough, "seemed" and "appeared" are good words to use. But they can be misleading still if the reader isn't focusing on your story enough or whatever.


-I wanted to display here that Sam DIDN'T do any planning. I thought I did a good job of that, but perhaps not. I wanted to show that he is getting frantic and desperate, and even when things are going well, he still hasn't thought it all out. So that's why I didn't show him coming up with a plan: he didn't have one. He thinks he can just wing it. If I didn't display that well enough...shame on me.

You did do a good job showing he was frantic and desperate, no doubt. It just seems unrealistic that he didn't do ANY planning for something so important, you know? Maybe he could have done some planning, but not very good planning.

Sid87
18th May 2012, 10:15 PM
Chapter 7: Present Day

Sam had thought Barry was moving fast when they were just on their way to the lake yesterday, but he realized he hadn’t seen fast until the young man, abandoning camp and all of their belongings, raced along the edge of the lake in an attempt to get to the northern side. His feet came down so hard and so quickly, he almost trampled a family of Bidoof who weren‘t aware of his presence until nearly too late.

“Barry!” Sam called out from behind him as he did his best to stay caught up. “Barry, what’s going on? You’re leaving all of our supplies behind!”

“You can stay with them if you want, but I’d rather you came with me. So either keep up or don’t!” Barry’s gait hardly changed as he yelled the order back to Sam.

Sam had no time at all to be indecisive, and he knew it. If he paused to consider his actions for even a moment, Barry would be out of sight. With that realization, Sam increased his speed in an effort to stay just behind Barry’s trail of dust. He still had no idea why Barry was running so fervently, but it was obvious that the sound from the other side of the lake had awoken something dire within the young man. It was a side of Barry that Sam had seen no sign of yesterday.

After a few minutes of a dead sprint around the periphery of Lake Verity, Barry finally slowed down, placing his right arm over his chest as he did so. Sam knew Barry must have been feeling the same vice squeezing his lungs that he did. Their pace reduced itself to a quickened walk, and Sam finally had enough time to realize wherever they were rushing off to, they were doing it in their pajamas. Sam tried to imagine whatever creature was making the mechanical beeping noise being intimidated by his flannel sweatpants and white tank top, but it seemed all-too-unlikely. Somewhere in his haste, he had lost one of his knitted slippers, and he tried to calculate if having one was any more ridiculous than either having both or just being barefoot. He settled on kicking the other one off to match his bare feet; he could recover the socks when they came back around the lake.

“Did you bring your pokemon?”

Sam was almost shocked that Barry had spoken; he hadn’t said anything since demanding Sam’s decision. Sam’s hand went to the exterior of his pockets and he felt the three lumps within. “I did, yeah. Why--”

“Good. You sleep with them? Smart.” Barry was still not even turning his head to Sam when he spoke, choosing instead to keep his eyes locked on the shoreline. He really must not have wanted to lose even a step’s worth of his speed, even while recuperating from the sprint.

“I guess. I just--”

“Do you know anything about the beeps?”

“The beeps? You mean the noise? No, how would I? I just got here--”

“It has nothing to do with you?”

Sam desperately wanted to finish a thought without another interruption, but this question wrecked into his brain like a runaway car. “What? With me? No, no it’s not.”

Barry nodded and picked up his pace to a light jog. His vice must have loosened somewhat. Sam wished his chest would tell him the same. Nevertheless, he increased his own speed to match.

The beeping that had saved Sam from his nightmare grew louder as they rounded Verity. Sometimes it would disappear for minutes at a time, only to re-emerge later. As they got closer, other sounds began mixing in. First, a heavy, rapid sound of two hard materials colliding. After that, the sound of hydraulics. What they were approaching was definitely man-made. Not only that, but it had to be some kind of heavy machinery. He was considering the implications of that thought when he saw that Barry had come to a stop and was crouching. The motion he made with his hand signaled Sam to do the same.

Maybe a hundred yards of trees and shrubs separated Sam and Barry from a small construction force in a clearing of the woods. There was a large, orange backhoe that emitted a cautionary beep--the sound that he had been chasing--when it needed to back up. Not far from the backhoe sat an idling bulldozer and a matching orange breaker. All three pieces of machinery had the same picture of a fiery bird blazoned on their doors. There was obviously a man in the backhoe steering it backwards off a mound of dirt the equipment must have dug up, but the other vehicles seemed empty, and half a dozen men milled about outside them, all clad in matching construction hats and red jumpsuits. There were too far away for Sam to discern anything they could be saying.

“What do you think is going on here?” As Sam turned to Barry to get an answer to his question, he found the young man snapping pictures with his cell phone. Sam stared on as Barry then began inputting information into the touchscreen. “What are you doing?”

“Sending these pics to the professor. You seriously don’t know these guys?”

“What? No. I told you--”

“Awesome. Good. Okay, I have to call him. Hold on.”

Another statement interrupted by Barry, but Sam was much less concerned about this one. Barry pulled the phone to his ear, and Sam went back to studying the crew. The last man working exited the backhoe and joined his partners on the ground, studying the hole that Sam figured the breaker and backhoe joined forces to bore.

“Professor Rowan, hey it’s me. Did you get the pictures I sent you?...Good...Yeah, they’re just here at the north side of the lake...So did you recognize the emblem on...Phoenix Shipping Corporation?...No, I never heard of it...” Sam’s eyes shot back-and-forth between Barry and the workers by their equipment. It seemed impossible that they could hear Barry at this distance, but what if they could? Were they allowed to be here while this crew was working? Barry’s conversation continued, “Well that doesn’t sound so bad...No, he’s right here with me, he doesn’t seem to know these guys...Yeah, I believe him. I am not particularly suspicious of guys who whimper in their sleep...Do we have permission to?...Awesome...Oh, you know I can, but what about--CHRIST!”

When the ground shook, it dislodged the phone from Barry’s hand, sending it into a bush several feet away. Both Sam and Barry toppled to the ground as the floor of the forest revolted beneath their feet. Sam felt a sticky rain trickle down on him, but only for a moment--it stopped as suddenly as the earthquake underneath him had. He reached to the back of his head to feel the wetness of the rain, but it was more than wet. It was also thick, and when he brought his hand back around, he could see it was white and brown. He lifted his gaze to the trees, and that’s when it hit him: whatever had so suddenly startled himself and Barry seemed to also scare the birds and the pokemon in the trees above them. “Son of a--”

“Hey, are you okay? What was that?”

Sam’s attention was called back to the more pressing matter. “I don’t know...” Suddenly a thought hit him. “Well those guys dug a hole, right? Maybe they set off some kind of explosive when the hole got deeper than their machines could go?”

“Those idiots. Look, Sam, I know you’re here to see Mesprit or whatever, but I might need your help, and you’d be doing Professor Rowan a favor, too. You want to come help me stop some unlicensed construction?”

Barry was right enough that this was not why Sam had come to this lake. Whatever this was, it really wasn’t his business, and what authority did he or Barry have to tell these guys what they could or could not do? But when Sam thought past that, he concluded that he might never see Mesprit with these people here destroying the forest. “Sure. Whatever. I mean, I guess. But what do we--”

Barry pulled two of his pokeballs out of his pocket. They were plain red-and-white pokeballs, the cheap kind that were generally so undependable that they were used almost exclusively to catch fresh, defenseless hatchlings. “Follow my lead.”

Barry shot out of their cover and into the clearing where the men worked. “Excuse me, gentlemen!” he called out, “I’ve come to check your paperwork and licensing for your project here today!”

The men began exchanging words with each other, but Sam could not understand them; not because he was too far away now, but because they were speaking in a language he did not know. Now that Sam was closer, he could see the skin tone of these men was slightly different from his own, as if they had a permanent suntan, and that’s when it hit him: they were no more native to Sinnoh than he was. They must have come from one of the equatorial regions. One of them, a man with full, bushy sideburns, stepped forward from the rest. He was not as thickly built as Sam imagined construction workers to be, but maybe with so many machines and explosives doing the work, he did not need to be. “Hey, kids. This is not a playground, there are dangerous stuff at work here. I am sorry if we did startle you, but you are going to have to get go from here.” The man’s imperfect speech and accent seemed to confirm what Sam already suspected.

“Happy to,” Barry smiled at the worker, “just as soon as we check to see if all your paperwork is in order. Verity Forest is protected land, after all.”

Sideburns turned back to his group and shouted something in what was probably his native tongue. His coworkers replied in kind, and he turned back to Barry. “Child, I am to be serious. You have to leave. It is,” he put his hand on a Great Ball that hung from his belt by a keychain, “not safe here for you.”

That was apparently all Barry needed. Both of his arms pressed forward, red energy flashing forth from his two pokeballs. In the space between himself and Sideburns materialized two pokemon: one, a child-sized monkey with red and blue warpaint on its face and flames dancing on the end of its tail; the other a tortoise creature that was easily the size of a large SUV. Sam recognized them from the tour guides he had read about Sinnoh as a Monferno and a Torterra, respectively. The Torterra was especially impressive, having a fully grown small tree sprouting from its shell and protective, rocky plates growing out from the sides of its head. Upon its emergence, it sat perfectly still except for its head, which moved to study its environment. The Monferno shuffled swiftly from side-to-side and stretched its knuckles to crack them.

Sideburns yelled something back to his crew while he unhooked his Great Ball. Sam braced for them to rush forward to help him, but they instead turned towards the heavy equipment and raced for them. Energy was just emerging from Sideburns’ ball when Barry yelled to Sam.

“You deal with whatever he’s got! I’m going to stop those guys! Torterra, fissure away those vehicles!”

The massive tortoise slammed its oak-like left front leg about a foot deep into the forest floor. A crack in the earth broke under the breaker, and the machine teetered sideways into it. Sam tried to watch to see if anything was happening to the other devices, but his view was suddenly obscured by a large, rotund pokemon. Sam was familiar with it as a Hariyama on only a rudimentary level from the studying he did when he was still active in the World Pokemon League. He never had the displeasure of actually seeing one in person until now. It’s huge, three-fingered palms swayed in the air in front of him, and its thick eyebrows formed a menacing V-pattern on its forehead.

Sam fumbled for his pocket. He had never been in a purely confrontational fight before; all of his previous battles, many though they had been, were either friendly spars or WPL matches. He found the Nest Ball in his left pocket and squeezed it one time, bringing Bree forward in a flush of energy. While the boy he was with was destroying Sideburns’ machines, it seemed a bad time for Sam to ask what the rules might be for this fight. Sideburns yelled something to Hariyama in the language Sam couldn’t understand, and the massive fighting-type brought its flattened hand down in a chop onto Bree. She reeled backwards from the impact, but managed to stay airborne.

“Hey! I can’t understand that! That’s...really unfair.” Sam found that he was pointing an accusing finger at the foreigner. Sideburns shouted another mystery order, but this time, Sam had his bearings more together. “Bree, fly up! Just...stay away from it!”

Hariyama’s right leg whipped around to kick Bree, but she had managed to narrowly avoid the impact by flying several feet into the air. “Yeah, you can yell all the gibberish you want now, but your fatty ninja pokemon can’t fly, so why don’t you calm down? We just asked to see your license and paperwork!” Sideburns scowled in response and let out another roar that did not sound like the friendly invitation to drink coffee and sort this all out that Sam had hoped for.

Hariyama bent forward and slammed both of its hands into the ground in front of him. After a second of straining, it pulled a clump of dirt and stone the size of an oven from the earth and pitched it at Bree in one fluid movement. The Butterfree was struck by the rock, but still managed to use her ability to fly to roll with the impact and stay aloft. Sideburns opened his mouth to call another attack.

“Oh, I’m done with this. Butterfree, psychic the heck out of tubby and end this!”

Bree zipped down and landed directly on top of Hariyama’s head. She dug her blue feet and paws into the fighting-type’s scalp and splayed her wings wide. Visibly, nothing else seemed to happen until Hariyama screamed in agony. It fell onto its belly, defeated.

“Do you yield?” Sam had no idea why he barked those words, but he had to admit to himself: it sounded really good. Sideburns recalled his Hariyama and took three hesitating steps backwards. When it seemed that Sam and Bree were not pursuing him, he turned and rushed off into the woods. Sam noticed the rest of his group must have already fled there; it was now just Sam, Barry, their pokemon, and some wrecked machinery.

“Really? ‘Do you yield’? That’s the direction you decided to go there?”

Sam shrugged. “It felt right.”

“I thought you were threatening to cut his head off.”

“I think he thought so, too. Did you see him book it out of here?”

Barry rolled his eyes. “Yeah, you’re a lion among men, what with your bird poop hair and your night whimpering”

“Oh, you caught both of those, huh?" The adrenaline from the fight was beginning to fade, and Sam’s thoughts went back to the lake. Had those guys frightened away Mesprit? Would he still have a chance to catch it after all the ruckus they had made? He was removed from his thoughts by a sudden sensation on his back; Barry’s Monferno jumped up onto his shoulders and bounced in place. He panted heavily into Sam’s ear.

“Hey, stranger danger! We talked about this.” Monferno waved Barry’s words off and continued to happily bounce around on Sam’s back. “Eh,” Barry continued, “I guess he knows you’re with me. He likes everyone, though. Don’t be too proud of it.”

Sam scratched Monferno’s large, oval ears. “What do we do now?”

“Well you’re here to play Lake Warrior or whatever, but I’ve got to get back to Professor Rowan. These guys work for some shipping company that just opened in Canalave City. No idea what they’d be doing here. If you want to come along, I wouldn’t say no.”

Sam knew he had a decision to make. This wasn’t why he’d come here, and he had no idea what it even was. He did know that it was none of his business, and it certainly wasn’t going to help Tommy. But seeing Mesprit seemed less likely than ever now. Maybe, he thought, if he went back to Sandgem Town with Barry, he could take the time to study what he now knew of Lake Verity and find its secrets.

Sidewinder
19th May 2012, 12:24 AM
Sam had thought Barry was moving fast when they were just on their way to the lake yesterday, but he realized he hadn’t seen fast until the young man, abandoning camp and all of their belongings, raced along the edge of the lake in an attempt to get to the northern side. Rowan’s assistant might as well have been sightseeing earlier compared to the purposeful pace he took to track down the beeping noise that had awoken them. His feet came down so hard and so quickly, he almost trampled a family of Bidoof who weren‘t aware of his presence until nearly too late.

That seemed a bit forced to me. I would have stopped after the second sentence when describing Barry's speed. It's almost like you're trying too hard to describe how fast he was. Fast is fast, and unless the speed is happening with different actions (like slicing, running, jumping, etc), it can feel like you are trying too hard to convince us of what's happening. Make sense?


“It has nothing to do with you?”

I liked Barry's suspicion of Sammy there


As they got closer, other sounds began mixing it.

Mixing it? should it be mixing in?


He lifted his gaze to the trees, and that’s when it hit him: whatever had so suddenly startled himself and Barry seemed to also scare the birds and the pokemon in the trees above them.

I liked that. Nice small touch of comedy in the middle of the situation.



The man’s imperfect speech and accent seemed to confirm what Sam already suspected.

I really liked the addition of the bad speech from 'sideburns'. That's actually a really realistic touch and can be all too common IRL. Accents are hard for me to write, and especially sound out when I'm intentionally using bad grammar. I think you nailed it, and it added to the foreign nature of this weird group. Good job!


“Hey! I can’t understand that! That’s...really unfair.” Sam found that he was pointing an accusing finger at the foreigner. Sideburns shouted another mystery order, but this time, Sam had his bearings more together. “Bree, fly up! Just...stay away from it!”

You did a good job showing Sammy's inexperience with violent situations. His experience so far has come from controlled enviroments, and giving him the opposite of that did alot to show a weakness for him and confirm that he still has alot to learn. I do like his simplistic approach to keeping Bree out of danger, as it was somewhat effective. He seems to advance into these situations with know forethought, so I'm hoping a situation like this will teach him to think more before just rushing headlong into unfamiliar territory.



She dug her blue feet and paws into the fighting-type’s scalp and splayed her wings wide. Visibly, nothing else seemed to happen until Hariyama screamed in agony. It fell onto its belly, defeated.

That part felt odd to me. I know that psychic is super effective against fighting and all, but that seemed too easy. I was hoping for more of a display of her power, and I did feel like the battle was ended before it really began. Psychic is a mental attack so I liked the take on an invisible force tearing itself through Hariyama's mind. A little more description on what the Pokemon were feeling while it was taking place would have done alot to help out the scene I formed in my head. Nice job on adding a Hariyama BTW, as its always been one of my favorite Pokemon ^^

All in all, I liked the chapter. The action and pacing were well done, and it felt nice getting thrust into an unfamiliar situation and see more Pokemon doing what they do. You mentioned a few chapters ago something about adding more Pokemon, and I still hold true to what I said back then, but at the same time it is very nice to see more Pokemon being introduced. Keep up the good work

Sid87
19th May 2012, 1:07 AM
That seemed a bit forced to me. I would have stopped after the second sentence when describing Barry's speed. It's almost like you're trying too hard to describe how fast he was. Fast is fast, and unless the speed is happening with different actions (like slicing, running, jumping, etc), it can feel like you are trying too hard to convince us of what's happening. Make sense?

It does, and I eliminated the second sentence entirely. I didn't catch it until you said that, but you're right. Thanks!


Mixing it? should it be mixing in?

Yes. And now it is. :)


I really liked the addition of the bad speech from 'sideburns'. That's actually a really realistic touch and can be all too common IRL. Accents are hard for me to write, and especially sound out when I'm intentionally using bad grammar. I think you nailed it, and it added to the foreign nature of this weird group. Good job!

Thanks. I felt like I was stradding a TOUGH line of not making him a caricature, but still having just enough incorrect grammar that it reflects on his foreign nature. I'm glad you appreciated it.


That part felt odd to me. I know that psychic is super effective against fighting and all, but that seemed too easy.

Yeah, I can see that. All three "battles" I've written here have been short because I have never written pokemon battles before this story. So I'm keeping them brief while I get my practice in and not letting myself drone on in the meantime. But yeah, it was pretty easy, I can agree. I apologize if I besmirched your boy Hariyama. ;)

Bulba the Great!
19th May 2012, 11:59 PM
He thought about this past year in eighth grade when he told Evelyn Simmons that he was going to steal her new gaming system so he’d have something to do over the summer. Did she take him seriously? Was he going to go to jail or something?

I like the honesty this brings to Sammy. Only a youth would possibly think of this explanation for an official's presence.


heck, their dad worked there, and it had long-since gotten to the point where Sammy forgot most people don’t usually want to go to hospitals.

This adds tremendously to the visit; the sensation of false security when entering the hospital just adds this layer that I really like.

The realism of the boys not even making it to their father's side is tragic. I only hope we get to meet him in future chapters, through flashback or something.

It seems pointless reviewing these earlier chapters, but I wouldn't want to just skip over my thoughts and reactions. Maybe it's a neat little blast to the past for you.

See you @Ch. 3!

diamondpearl876
20th May 2012, 7:28 AM
His feet came down so hard and so quickly, he almost trampled a family of Bidoof who weren‘t aware of his presence until nearly too late.

Amusing. Sounds just like Barry. I like little details like this that really show characters, so good job.


Sam’s eyes shot back-and-forth between Barry and the conversation he was having and the workers by their equipment.

Seems kind of weird to say that Sam’s eyes are looking at Barry’s conversation. I’d just remove the conversation part.


Barry’s conversation continued, “Well that doesn’t sound so bad...No, he’s right here with me, he doesn’t seem to know these guys...Yeah, I believe him. I am not particularly suspicious of guys who whimper in their sleep...Do we have permission to?...Awesome...Oh, you know I can, but what about--CHRIST!”

For future reference, there are supposed to be spaces after ellipses.


Barry pulled two of his pokeballs out of his pocket. They were plain red-and-white pokeballs, the cheap kind that were generally so undependable that they were used almost exclusively to catch fresh, defenseless hatchlings.

You shot down my perfect image of a perfect pokéball… *cries* Not really. This was amusing to read, though, especially from the eyes of an experienced trainer.


We just asked to see your license and paperwork!”

I doubt a bunch of full grown men would give in to 2 children asking for paperwork, but then again, Barry acts before he thinks, and Sam is just going along with anything that might bring him closer to his goal. Interesting.



Barry rolled his eyes. “Yeah, you’re a lion among men, what with your bird poop hair and your night whimpering”

All in all, another good chapter. I like how the entire chapter was fleshed out compared to last chapter, where only certain parts where. Also, I liked the good balance between action and comedy relief. Barry and Sam make a pretty entertaining duo, I must say. The description was good, and I liked the part where you included a foreign language for people from another region, that's not something I normally see in fics. I’ll be interested to see what Sam has in store for him at Sandgem Town, since his plans are kind of out the window and he’s got no direction now. Keep it up!

Sid87
21st May 2012, 3:47 AM
Seems kind of weird to say that Sam’s eyes are looking at Barry’s conversation. I’d just remove the conversation part.

Makes sense. Good call.


I doubt a bunch of full grown men would give in to 2 children asking for paperwork, but then again, Barry acts before he thinks, and Sam is just going along with anything that might bring him closer to his goal. Interesting.

You know, the entire time I was writing this in my head, Barry was going to state that as a representative of Professor Rowan, he had some kind of de facto authority to question on this matter, but it was a matter of the chapter writing itself when I got there. The characters just didn't want to go in that direction, so...they didn't. It's always fun how you plan these things, and then the story goes where it wants to. :)

katiekitten
21st May 2012, 8:47 PM
x3 The relationship between the brothers when they were young is really adorable! That leapt out at me immediately when I was reading the prologue. :3 It really helped the story flow, and I get the feeling I'm going to continue to enjoy it as the plot continues to unfold. The motivations that went behind Sammy's choosing of a pokemon, and his characterisation in general was really well done, he felt his age. x3 The entire battle and capture scene was very original, so much kudos for that! x33 Characterisation and plot wise, you have my attention. x3 Can't really notice anything on the grammar/spelling/description front - your writing style reads well, which is always important! The introduction leads you gently into the story: I quite liked how you began to bring in the character's personality through introducing us to his voice, it came across quite nicely.

On to the next chapter - ooh, you've really got me intrigued! The elements of mystery and suspense you slipped in were very well placed, and if I had more time (I shouldn't even be doing this review, but it was only fair, and this story is too good to warrant you being skipped) I would certainly catch up. The continuities between this new Sam and his younger self were delightful- most obviously in the continued reference to 'friends', but I look forward to seeing the character develop all the more. His personality, from this snapshot seems lovely. The development of elements of the prologue were very well done, m'dear. :3 No critique, really, except that at the beginning the transition between his thoughts (when he was considering which clothes to wear) and his actions (with what seemed to be him changing into the clothes) seemed a little sketchy, I wasn't certain whether he was changing or just still thinking about it, which threw me off a bit? You may want to consider taking another peek at that. Beside that, however, I really can't find anything to critique. x3 It was generally enjoyable, and i'll be back for more~! :3

Chibi Pika
21st May 2012, 11:41 PM
Since I ninja'd you out of a review in the Review Game thread, I figured I might as well stop by your thread since I'd been meaning to for a while anyway. ;)



Sammy’s freckled cheeks blushed, his dad wouldn’t have approved of that, either; dad always called them “friends”.
This feels very run-on. The first half before the semicolon feels like it ought to have a semicolon in the middle of it, and the second half feels like it should just be a separate sentence.

But that was then he was eight.
I think you meant "when" here.


“All right, fine. I’m going back home and telling dad you went all catatonic. No friend for you.”
Hehe, that's cute.


“A battle?” Sammy cried, having realized where Tommy was going. “But I just caught it! I don’t know anything about it yet!”

“Well how do you think you get to know it? Take it out on a date?”
Their conversations are adorable, I'm loving them so far.

The Caterpie turned around to face its new trainer, tilted its head in each direction, and then crawled off towards an oak leaf lying just a few feet to its left. Caterpie continued the lunch that had just been so rudely interrupted.
Oh dear. xD Does it even know how to battle?

Tommy shook his head. “Vlam was a little careless with the ember, and it burned too fast through the silk. She ended up burning her own paw.”
Seems a bit odd for the narration to describe Vlam as "it" when Sammy knows that she's female.

A realization fell down upon him: today was the 17th. It had been two weeks since he’d arrived in Sinnoh! That meant when the customs office in downtown Jubilife City opened in the morning, he’d be able to get his friends back. He’d had them thoroughly checked at the Goldenrod Pokemon Center before his flight so he was sure that he wasn’t bringing any foreign diseases into Sinnoh, but customs still insisted on keeping them to run their own tests. It was an annoyance, however mild. Two more weeks on top of how long he’d already waited, but these ones felt longer than the rest. He was closer now than ever to what he needed, and to wait for a silly, redundant government clearance seemed an unnecessary chain holding him back.
I always love worldbuilding, so it's neat to see little details like legal requirements on trainers.

The black spots in the veins of its wings marked it as a female of its species; its long, black antennae zipped back and forth, helping her take in the brand new environment.
Hm, the inconsistency in the pronouns feels a bit weird.

“Do you think our other friend wants to come out, too?” He snatched the Dusk Ball off of the other side of his belt and squeezed it lightly. An Ninetales emerged from the flash of crimson energy.
Heh, I was guessing it would be a Ninetales...that's interesting. Also, this paragraph could probably afford to broken up a bit more, especially since it has several lines of dialogue in it.

Back on the field, Vlam maintained her offensive while the fighting-type pokemon struggled to regain its bearings. She darted left and right, each movement inching her closer to her foe. Sammy recognized this instantly: it was Tommy’s way of maximizing Vlam’s foe’s confused state. The Machoke and its trainer had no idea from where she would be attacking. A double juke put her behind the Machoke, and she began covering herself in a ball of fire.
Your battles flow nicesly and are enjoyable to read. I'm actually a bit surprised she's only a Vulpix in such a large tournament, though it could always just be that Evolution Stones are rare or valuable in this fic.

Sammy’s mind wandered; why was a cop here for him? He thought about this past year in eighth grade when he told Evelyn Simmons that he was going to steal her new gaming system so he’d have something to do over the summer. Did she take him seriously? Was he going to go to jail or something?
Despite the fact that I sense things are about to take a turn for the worst, this got a good chuckle out of me. It's a hilarious train of thought and fits great for a 13-year-old.


Sammy knew his father needed him, but what about Tommy? He didn’t even know yet, and he had worked and trained so hard to get where he is. But this cop made it sound like dad could be... (Sammy couldn’t bear to finish that thought, and his brain redirected) ...like dad really needed to see them right away. The exclamation from the crowd out in the open-air stadium reminded Sammy that the battle was still going on. He felt a clock ticking inside of him as the officer looked at him expectantly. Dad had always said the road leaving work was awful; he talked constantly about wanting them to put a stop light there. Tommy was possibly just minutes away from the semi-finals. But how soon did they need to get to the hospital? A hundred bees swarmed inside his brain, and before he knew what he was doing, he was at the railing over the battlefield screaming his brother’s name.
I really like the way this thought process was laid out. It really summarizes all of the different weights on his mind and forces the reader to worry.

And wow...yeah I kind of suspected something like this would happen, since stories focusing on a pair of siblings tend to have them alone in life. It's cruel, but it's the hardships like that can make a story really memorable since the characters are forced to grow and overcome.

I'm surprised at the shortness of your chapters, but it makes them a light, easy read, so in a way it's kind of nice.

The door to the left of Sam finally opened, and he whipped the magazines back onto the table where they came from as if they had been illicit, and, in equally quick fashion, Sam was on his feet.
It's the hilarious side notes like this that make the narrative of this fic so flavorful to read.

“I need them, professor. I need the legends.” He turned away from the map and stared down Rowan unflinchingly. “Azelf, Mesprit, and Uxie. I’ve come for them, and I won’t leave Sinnoh without them.”
Well then, this is an interesting place to leave things. We've gotten lots of backstory and character development, but I sense that we might be getting into some plot here. Especially since Sam has Vlam which seems to suggest that something has happened to his brother.

That's all I've got time for today, I'm afraid--I've been spending far too long reading fics and need to get back to all the things I need done. xP I'll be back though! These chapters are light and the narrative style makes them rather enjoyable.

~Chibi~;249;;448;

Sid87
22nd May 2012, 1:14 PM
x3 The relationship between the brothers when they were young is really adorable! That leapt out at me immediately when I was reading the prologue. :3 It really helped the story flow, and I get the feeling I'm going to continue to enjoy it as the plot continues to unfold. The motivations that went behind Sammy's choosing of a pokemon, and his characterisation in general was really well done, he felt his age. x3 The entire battle and capture scene was very original, so much kudos for that! x33 Characterisation and plot wise, you have my attention. x3 Can't really notice anything on the grammar/spelling/description front - your writing style reads well, which is always important! The introduction leads you gently into the story: I quite liked how you began to bring in the character's personality through introducing us to his voice, it came across quite nicely.

On to the next chapter - ooh, you've really got me intrigued! The elements of mystery and suspense you slipped in were very well placed, and if I had more time (I shouldn't even be doing this review, but it was only fair, and this story is too good to warrant you being skipped) I would certainly catch up. The continuities between this new Sam and his younger self were delightful- most obviously in the continued reference to 'friends', but I look forward to seeing the character develop all the more. His personality, from this snapshot seems lovely. The development of elements of the prologue were very well done, m'dear. :3 No critique, really, except that at the beginning the transition between his thoughts (when he was considering which clothes to wear) and his actions (with what seemed to be him changing into the clothes) seemed a little sketchy, I wasn't certain whether he was changing or just still thinking about it, which threw me off a bit? You may want to consider taking another peek at that. Beside that, however, I really can't find anything to critique. x3 It was generally enjoyable, and i'll be back for more~! :3

Considering you did not have to review this by any means, I greatly appreciate your doing so. I hope to someday get into Ember Days, but as it is, I'm on catching up on a couple stories here I got a late start on. But I might be able to get all caught up on them this weekend, so perhaps afterwards I can give it a peek. :)

Thanks for all your kind words, and I'm going to re-read that section with the clothes and see if I can clean it up.




Since I ninja'd you out of a review in the Review Game thread, I figured I might as well stop by your thread since I'd been meaning to for a while anyway. ;)

I am sure I will appreciate it!


This feels very run-on. The first half before the semicolon feels like it ought to have a semicolon in the middle of it, and the second half feels like it should just be a separate sentence.

That sounds better, yes. I think I will look at that during my lunch and fix it.


I think you meant "when" here.

That I can fix right now.


Their conversations are adorable, I'm loving them so far.

Thanks! I have always thought I wrote entertaining dialogue, so I'm happy others are noticing. It's one of my few strengths. ;)


Seems a bit odd for the narration to describe Vlam as "it" when Sammy knows that she's female.

The "it" there was the ember attack, not Vlam. But I can see the confusion. Perhaps I will change that, as well.


Your battles flow nicesly and are enjoyable to read. I'm actually a bit surprised she's only a Vulpix in such a large tournament, though it could always just be that Evolution Stones are rare or valuable in this fic.

I appreciate this because I had never ever written a pokemon battle before this story, so I'm glad they aren't awful. As of chapter 7, I've only done three battles so far, and they've all been relatively short (or unfinished as the one you are talking about here). I'm hoping for more as we move forward, but it just hasn't turned out that way so far.


I'm surprised at the shortness of your chapters, but it makes them a light, easy read, so in a way it's kind of nice.

Honestly, this story has been a seat-of-the-pants kind of thing. After reading some other great things on this forum, I decided I wanted to try my hand at a fanfiction. I literally wrote the first chapter with two things in mind: The prologue was a scene I dreamed up in my head years ago but never wrote or did anything with, and I wanted to use my favorite legendaries (the Lake Guardians). That was it. So a few of the earlier chapters are short because I was basically just feeling everything out. Starting with chapter 5, they've started getting longer. And this story keeps changing on me. :) As I write it, it takes on the life of its own, and I keep changing the ending and the details along the way. It's fun to be so fluid with it, because the vast majority of my writing tends to be rigidly planned out long in advance. I like letting the characters and their actions dictate to me where this one should head.


It's the hilarious side notes like this that make the narrative of this fic so flavorful to read.

Thank you so much. :)


Well then, this is an interesting place to leave things. We've gotten lots of backstory and character development, but I sense that we might be getting into some plot here. Especially since Sam has Vlam which seems to suggest that something has happened to his brother.

That's all I've got time for today, I'm afraid--I've been spending far too long reading fics and need to get back to all the things I need done. xP I'll be back though! These chapters are light and the narrative style makes them rather enjoyable.

~Chibi~;249;;448;

Thank you muchly for the critiques and compliments. I intend to get into the beginnings of TLC during lunch today, so look forward to that!

Sid87
27th May 2012, 4:50 AM
Just FYI: I don't have an actual list of who has or has not requested to be on the PM list here, so if you could let me know again, I'd appreciate it. I feel bad PMing people and worrying they haven't actually asked to be put on the list. I hate to just assume. :)




Chapter 8: Six Years Ago...

“Most kids can’t wait to get as far away from home as possible for college, and you want to stay here? You’re crazy, Sammy.”

Sam and Tommy stood outside Ilex Hall, the largest educational building on the University of Goldenrod City’s campus, hosting most of the math and business courses that the school offered. Seeing as how Tommy had attended the university, however briefly, Sam couldn’t have imagined anyone he’d rather have guide him around the campus. The first place they toured had been, of course, Whitney Williams Stadium, the school’s official pokemon stadium, just a short bus ride off of campus and named in honor of one of Goldenrod City’s most famed trainers. Tommy was very insistent that Sam enter the National Collegiate Pokemon Association right away in his freshman year and see if he could translate the success he had in high school to a more competitive level. Not that it would take much prodding for Sam to do that; he knew he’d be signing up as soon as registration for first-years was open. After that, they’d visited the cafeteria halls; Tommy had made it clear that while the cafeteria was a good bargain with the meal plans the university offered, the restaurants around campus were the better option taste-wise. Since then, they’d been visiting the various educational facilities. Harrison Hall, where most of the science labs were located, was a very modern building whose eastern wall was entirely glass window panes, and it stood in stark contrast to the gothic layout and worn concrete walls of liberal arts building, the Abeshire Building. They had skipped the southern area of campus where most of the dormitories were located; Sam had made it clear that he wanted to live at home for at least his freshman year.

“I mean, with your grades and your marks as a trainer, I’m sure most of the universities in Johto would accept you in a second. There’s no reason to feel tied to Goldenrod if you don’t want to be.”

Tommy wasn’t wrong, and it made Sam feel egotistical to think so. But UGC was a respected school, not to mention the only one Sam could attend entirely on scholarship due to his late father’s employment there. Tommy was already working so hard to provide for them both that Sam knew he couldn’t entertain the notion of adding college costs on top of that.

“Yeah right. And what happens while I’m gone? You sit around and talk to yourself until you go crazy? Or you finally start working the ten hours a week you don’t already and drive yourself into the ground? Face it, you don’t know where you’d be without me.”

“I’d be neck-deep in women is where I’d be. Without the oh-so-sexy declaration of ‘No, baby. We can’t go back to my place. My kid brother is up watching pro wrestling’, I’d be solid gold.”

Sam sputtered a few words, but nothing pointed was coming to him as he tried to imagine his brother meeting women. It was a disturbing thought, broken up by Tommy’s laughter. “Oh man, you need to see your own face, Sammy. I think I just broke your brain.” Tommy patted his brother between the shoulders. “Like I have time to date? Wishful thinking. But man...you are so gullible, kiddo.”

Sam was relieved, first that he did not have to imagine Tommy dating any further, and then by the fact that his living with his older brother wasn’t the reason Tommy didn’t get to do so. He’d never admit it to his brother, but the weight of the guilt he felt over everything that Tommy did for him was pretty heavy. The fewer things he could add to that pile, the better.

They moved away from Ilex Hall so that Tommy could show him the Banner Memorial Library that was on Sitrus Avenue, the main road through campus. Every so often, Sam would notice Tommy take a deep breath and just stare off at a building or a university transit bus or a bench on the lawn outside of a building. It would only last a moment, but there was definitely something there. A memory, Sam thought, or perhaps a regret? If Tommy felt bad about his failing out of UGC, he’d never let Sam know it. He still remembered the day the letter came and his questioning his brother over it. Tommy just chuckled and replied, “College is hard, kiddo. You better get your grades up so you can see just how hard some day.” And then he effortlessly changed the subject to using his new Fire Stone to evolve Vlam. As Sam thought of it like that, college was the only thing that Tommy didn’t make seem effortless. He was constantly on the receiving end of promotions at work, he had more friends than Sam could count, and he usually made short work of Sam when they sparred their friends. His brother was everything Sam was and then some; if Tommy couldn’t handle college, how would he be able to?

He hadn’t consciously stopped walking, but he knew the fear of his upcoming freshman year had halted him when he saw that Tommy was now several feet ahead of him and turned back looking at him.

“Hey, you only need to stop and look both ways at an intersection. It doesn’t really apply to the middle of the sidewalk.”

“What if I can’t do it?” He instantly felt ashamed at having to speak loudly enough for Tommy to hear him. Any of the other kids milling about campus could just have heard him, and what if he had to share classes with them this year? They’d remember him as that whiny freshman who can’t hack it.

“Can’t do what? Stop at an intersection? I’d kind of hope that’d be a skill you’d have mastered by now...”

“No. College.”

Tommy bridged the gap between them. He studied Sam for a second, and Sam waited for his advice. “Well we’re always hiring at the department store!” Sam looked back at him expectantly. He needed something real now, and Tommy seemed to understand. “Hey, listen. You got this. You’re a better man than you know. For someone, you know, who’s barely a man.” A short jab in Sam’s arm punctuated his last point...




“Are you even listening? Does senility really hit this early?”

Sam was shocked out of his recollection of another time by this youthful voice next to him. When his eyes refocused on the present, he saw what had sent him into his own memories so many minutes ago.

“Waves.” Sam swallowed a burp. “Seasick. God...”

Barry and Sam had boarded the ferry bound for Canalave City about an hour ago. By that estimation, it was approximately fifty-five minutes ago that Sam’s insides began revolting against him. He could only remember one other occasion when he’d been aboard a ship, and that was when he was twelve. Tommy, his father, and he had taken a summer vacation cruise to Cianwood City. Not far from the coast of their destination, the sea had turned rocky and a storm battered their ship. If Sam were to put it crudely, he figured he must have lost 5 pounds just from regurgitating into their cabin washroom. That memory made even the mild waves brushing their ferry almost more than he could bear. After that, he enjoyed no aspect of the vacation. It was no wonder, Sam figured, that his mind saw fit to distract him with a more pleasant memory of years gone by.

“Really? Wuss. It’s just some water. Look,” Barry started doing jumping jacks on the deck of the ship. “See? I’m fine.” He kept going. Jumping. Up and down. Up and down. Up and--

“Oh god, please stop that!”

“What?”

“The jumping and the moving all the time!” Sam exclaimed while pressing his palm to the side of his head. “Stop it!”

Barry finally settled back down. “This plan is failsafe. We’re totally going to find out what the Phoenix Shipping Corporation is up to. You know, as long as they don’t do anything dastardly like bounce around.”

“I’ll be fine once we’re on land.”

“Better be. By the way, while you were ignoring me, I was trying to show you the herd of Wailmers along the side of the ferry. Too bad we aren’t allowed to catch them from here, though.”

“Do Wailmers really come in a ‘herd’?”

Barry shrugged. “What would it be then?”

Sam pursed his lips in thought. Nothing was coming to him. Flock? No. Pack? Maybe. “Herd it is,” he finally replied, done wasting brainpower on the matter. Barry nodded, triumphant.

The ferry’s speaker system broke the sudden silence between them, “We’ll be docking at Canalave City momentarily. We hope you enjoyed your time with Canalave Ferry, and we look forward to serving you again.” A shot of static signaled the end of the announcement.

Canalave City was supposed to be to the Sinnoh continent what Olivine City was to the Johto: the region’s major port and import/export town. Sam had rarely been to Olivine back home, and one of those few times was when he was boarding his unfortunate cruise. It was an awful town as Sam remembered it. The air constantly smelled of dead fish no matter where you went, and the boardwalk was loaded with garish, tourist-trap souvenir shops trying to sell sweatshirts with pictures of Krabby or the Olivine Lighthouse on them. The lighthouse seemed to account for all of the town’s history; apparently it was a big deal twenty years ago when it had to be physically moved backwards into the shore a few hundred yards due to the erosion of the land by water over time. It was all anyone talked about when he had visited. The ships coming in and out of the docks were loud and obnoxious, and the huge crane devices propped on the water’s edge to assist with removing cargo were a tremendous eyesore. Even thinking just these details about Olivine was enough to ball Sam’s fists, but at least he’d stopped thinking about the water.

He still wasn’t sure why he was doing this. After the disaster in the forest hoping to catch a glimpse of Mesprit, and instead getting a glimpse of possible illegal activity, he and Barry had met up with Professor Rowan in Barry’s sleepy hometown of Twinleaf Town. Rowan asked Barry and Sam to take this trip to Canalave to see what they could find out about Phoenix Shipping. Barry was, of course, excited to go. Sam, less so. But what was he to do? Barry was brash and reckless, and if everybody at Phoenix had the same violence-first crisis management skills that those workers at the lake had, the kid could be in real trouble. Sam cursed Rowan for sending Barry on such an errand, and then he cursed himself for not just letting them dig their own graves without involving him.

The ferry slowly docked, and Sam’s first impression wasn’t a bad one. The city was constructed around an inlet of water that dug into its heart. As the ferry cruised to its final destination, Sam saw buildings on both sides. It was an impressive feel, as if the city was welcoming him fully into itself. Sam inhaled deeply as he took in the encompassing city. Dead fish smell. “I hate port towns,” he muttered to himself.

“Hey excuse me!” Sam noticed Barry was banging on the window of the ferry conductor. “How do we get to Phoenix Shipping? We’re supposed to meet someone there.” The conductor mouthed a reply from inside his cockpit, but Sam couldn’t hear it from where he was standing. Barry seemed to be able to, however, as he nodded and gave the conductor a thumbs up. “It’s pretty close to here,” he noted to Sam. “Just right up the boardwalk.”

They were halfway between the ferry dock and the Phoenix building when it finally occurred to Sam to ask the most rhetorical question he imagined he’d ever ponder. “You don’t really have a plan for what to do when we get there, do you?”

“Nope. Just gonna play this by ear.”

“Okay, yes. Tell me, what is your ear playing right now?”

Barry scratched his chin with his index finger. “Hm. Walk in. Find the receptionist or accountant or CEO or whoever’s at the front desk. Say ‘why were those guys performing illegal construction at Lake Verity?’ in a very menacing voice. Get answers.”

“Yep, that’s pretty good. But how about instead of that, we do anything else?”

“I like the sound of that, too. What have you got?”

Sam grabbed Barry’s shoulder to stop their progress down the boardwalk. Getting to the building before the plan was fully fleshed out seemed unwise. “Okay. You work for Professor Rowan. Professor Rowan is the legally authorized Pokemon Professor of Sinnoh, right?”

“Right.”

“Okay. I’m going to assume that, just like in Johto, Regional Pokemon Professor is a cabinet position, yes? Rowan was appointed by and serves under your Minister Benicini. Am I right so far?”

“As rain.”

“Then you--and by extension, I--are legally representing not just the Pokemon Professor Rowan, but Secretary Rowan. We greet the receptionist as such, prove our credentials by contacting the professor, and ask to speak to Phoenix Corporation’s legal advisory team regarding some--and we won’t say what kind--but some kind of ‘sketchy legal matters’. Still with me?”

Barry nodded, but it seemed to Sam as though the assistant was looking through him. He certainly didn’t seem like the kind with an attention span large enough for a detailed plan. Undaunted, Sam continued.

“We ask the legal team why the Phoenix Shipping Corporation would be performing illegal drilling and construction on government-protected land, and why they responded to queries about their licensing with violence.” Sam pulled his hands up to his chest in an innocent manner. “We explain that we are sure it is just a misunderstanding as to how they ended up there, and perhaps their employees were just startled by our presence, but we are required to report back to Secretary Rowan with answers on this matter regardless. We make it seem like it’s all a big inconvenience, and we want to help them clear it up as quickly as--”

“We’re going to sneak onto a boat.”

Sam smacked his lips in response to Barry’s latest interruption. He sighed, “Yes, that is also a robust plan. Detailed plan of action filled with subterfuge and tact, vis a vis sneaking on a boat. Dilemmas like this keep men up at night...”

Barry pointed out past Sam, to the docks behind them. Curious, Sam turned and saw the boat to which Barry was alluding. Sam’s frustration grew, but he felt it best to continue to humor Barry. “It is a nice boat, I’m sure, but I think you’ll find my plan has more--”

“It’s a cargo ship.” Suddenly, it was Barry who sounded exasperated at Sam. “And the cargo being loaded was labeled ‘Acuity Project’.”

Sam was struck silent. A second of the three Sinnoh lakes that housed the legendary trio was Lake Acuity. Was it possible that whatever this company was doing at Lake Verity, they also had planned for Lake Acuity? And, if that was the case, it seemed almost certain that the Phoenix Corporation was after the legends, as well. If that vessel made it to Lake Acuity while Sam and Barry were busy pussy-footing with a bunch of lawyers, who knows what its crew could do?

“Gotta say, Barry. Loving this boat plan.”

They studied the cargo ship in silence as they slowly made their way close to the pier, being careful not to get close enough to rouse any kind of suspicion. A total of five more crates, labeled just as the ones Barry had seen, were loaded onto the deck. Some of the crates were as small as compact cars, others were as large as a storage unit. From the boardwalk, they had counted just a handful of crew onboard, not many more than what they’d seen working the site at Lake Verity. This crew seemed harried, checking tie-downs and scanning in crates, but as the crates finished being loaded, they disappeared into the ship. Taking this as their opportunity, Sam and Barry rushed to the side of the ship.

Sam’s heart sank. They couldn’t just walk in the pier entrance, but the boat was at least twenty feet tall. Now that they were next to it, he couldn’t think of any way to get on board. He shrugged his shoulders to Barry, still careful not to make more noise than necessary in case they missed a crew member on deck.

Barry shook his head and then tapped his temple. He snatched one of his regular pokeballs from his pocket and released Monferno. The fiery monkey bobbed happily on the pier until Barry waved for its attention. Still trying to remain quiet, Barry made a cup with his two hands and bent forward. Then he sprung back upright, bringing his cupped hands upward as he did so. Monferno nodded in understanding, and likewise cupped his hands and bent forward.

Barry pointed to Sam, who arched his eyebrows and shook his head. Having this little monkey who could fit on Sam’s shoulders heave them up and onto the deck? It seemed crazy. Barry nodded his head in reply to Sam, and Sam realized he might not have any choice. The ship would undoubtedly be departing, so it was now or not at all. He reluctantly placed his right foot into Monferno’s hands.

Sam was not quite sure how he stifled his screams as he was heaved upwards and then landed on the metal deck with his back, but he had. He would have never imagined Monferno had that kind of power in him. Moments after Sam’s landing came Barry’s; it was equally graceless, but he seemed less disturbed by it than Sam had been. They both sprang up to their feet; Sam did it to look around and ensure no one saw them, while Barry did so to withdraw Monferno back to the safety of its ball from its spot on the docks. Sam saw no one, but he still didn’t want to take a chance. He pointed to an array of crates, and the two of them ran to conceal themselves in it. As they got there, they felt the cargo boat pulling away from the dock. Whether it was the superior plan or not didn’t matter now; they were on their way to Acuity.

diamondpearl876
28th May 2012, 3:25 AM
“Most kids can’t wait to get as far away from home as possible for college, and you want to stay here? You’re crazy, Sammy.”

Sam and Tommy stood outside Ilex Hall, the largest educational building on the University of Goldenrod City’s campus, hosting most of the math and business courses that the school offered. Seeing as how Tommy had attended the university, however briefly, Sam couldn’t have imagined anyone he’d rather have guide him around the campus. The first place they toured had been, of course, Whitney Williams Stadium, the school’s official pokemon stadium, just a short bus ride off of campus and named in honor of one of Goldenrod City’s most famed trainers. Tommy was very insistent that Sam enter the National Collegiate Pokemon Association right away in his freshman year and see if he could translate the success he had in high school to a more competitive level.

Wow. You creating all of these new things for your pokemon world really brings the fic to life and adds a lot to it. Even better, you added a bit of Sam's characterization in there by saying he'd love to have Tommy around, even if someone better could replace him. I liked this intro paragraph a lot.


Tommy just chuckled and replied “College is hard, kiddo. You better get your grades up so you can see just how hard some day”.

Not sure if you suddenly forgot the rules of speech tags here or if it was intentional, but yeah. Comma after "replied" and the quotation mark after "day" should be outside of the period.


He was constantly on the receiving end of promotions at work, he had more friends than Sam could count, and he usually made short work of Sam when they sparred their friends. His brother was everything Sam was and then some; if Tommy couldn’t handle college, how would he be able to?

Everyone always says college is supposed to be "the best time in a person's life." I'm glad you don't use that cliche here and that you actually take the idea very seriously and convey that very openly in the fic.


They’d remember him as that whiny freshman who can’t hack it.

"can't" should be "couldn't". Random tense changes FTW.


“Really? Wuss. It’s just some water. Look,” Barry started doing jumping jacks on the deck of the ship. “See? I’m fine.” He kept going. Jumping. Up and down. Up and down. Up and--

“Oh god, please stop that!”

Lol, poor Sammy. But I do like the use of repetition here to convey his sickness.


Taking this as their opportunity, Sam and Barry rushed to the side of the ship.
Sam’s heart sank. They couldn’t just walk in the pier entrance, but the boat was at least twenty feet tall. Now that they were next to it, he couldn’t think of any way to get on board. He shrugged his shoulders to Barry, still careful not to make more noise than necessary in case they missed a crew member on deck.

Forgot to put a space between these two paragraphs.


The ship would undoubtedly be departing , so it was now or not at all. He reluctantly placed his right foot into Monferno’s hands.

Misplaced comma.

Overall not much happened this chapter, but it was well written nonetheless. You're getting better at expanding on important scenes, and the little details you add for worldbuilding are really great. Also, Sam really doesn't have any plans, huh? Doesn't help that Barry is going to ruin every plan he makes, either. I look forward to more of their crazy adventures.

Sid87
29th May 2012, 3:49 PM
Not sure if you suddenly forgot the rules of speech tags here or if it was intentional, but yeah. Comma after "replied" and the quotation mark after "day" should be outside of the period.

Yeah...that was weird. Dunno how that happened.


"can't" should be "couldn't". Random tense changes FTW.

The can't there was from the context of Sam thinking "I'll be in class with these kids and they'll all think 'that guy can't cut it, I heard him whining that one day.'" So it's not really a tense change, but I guess it is unclear that that's how he's imagining it.


Forgot to put a space between these two paragraphs.

I don't know why, but I'm writing this all single-spaced in Abiword with identation, and then just double-spacing the paragraphs when I cut and paste it here. I knew I'd miss one sooner or later. :)


Overall not much happened this chapter, but it was well written nonetheless. You're getting better at expanding on important scenes, and the little details you add for worldbuilding are really great. Also, Sam really doesn't have any plans, huh? Doesn't help that Barry is going to ruin every plan he makes, either. I look forward to more of their crazy adventures.

Yeah, I know. I'm having a lot of not much happening, but I REALLY need to establish the Sam/Barry dynamic as well as I can, or I fear later moments won't make as much sense. I really need to get their partnership fleshed out, and while I didn't WANT to have another scene of just people talking, it seems necessary. I enjoyed this chapter, though, so I regret nothing. :) And Sam is getting better at having ideas and plans (though, to his credit in this case, he was thrown into something he couldn't have seen coming), but they get subverted a lot.

Sidewinder
31st May 2012, 10:23 PM
But UGC was a respected school, not to mention the only one Sam could attend entirely on scholarship due to his late father’s employment there. Tommy was already working so hard to provide for them both that Sam knew he couldn’t entertain the notion of adding college costs on top of that.

What a realistic thing to mention. Money is so important in most aspects in life, and I'm glad you call attention to it here. It affects where you live, schooling,etc, and to be honest I do get somewhat tired of fics where characters seem to have endless amounts of cash without any sort of explanation on how they got it. Tommy surprised me though when he spoke about how smart Tommy was. I never thought that Sammy was dumb or anything, but it's surprising to me that he's so intelligent that any school would love to have him. I suppose I need to revamp my picture of him. Nice


“I’d be neck-deep in women is where I’d be. Without the oh-so-sexy declaration of ‘No, baby. We can’t go back to my place. My kid brother is up watching pro wrestling’, I’d be solid gold.”

I loved that bit as well. Another realistic statement. Im starting to hate that Tommy's in a coma


Barry scratched his chin with his index finger. “Hm. Walk in. Find the receptionist or accountant or CEO or whoever’s at the front desk. Say ‘why were those guys performing illegal construction at Lake Verity?’ in a very menacing voice. Get answers.”

Lmao, oh Barry


“Yes, that is also a robust plan. Detailed plan of action filled with subterfuge and tact, vis a vis sneaking on a boat. Dilemmas like this keep men up at night...”

vis a vis? What?

Anyway, nicely done. This was a nice chapter. The interraction between Tommy and Sammy are nice, as usual. The whole premise for your story is interesting, and since I started reading it, I wondered how you would show the 'bond' between them. You're doing an excellent job so far. These little flashbacks, even some of the inconsequential ones do alot to solidify that relationship that you obviously have thought out quite a bit. I look forward to these little trips down memory lane just as much as I do the advancement of the plot. The pair of them sneaking on board the ship was almost a little too convienent, but after some thought, I decided that I liked it and it was a really good way to advance the story. Perhaps on the ship they might learn a bit more about this corporation

Nice work

Janovy
1st June 2012, 10:15 AM
Hey man, I'm here to do my review!

Prologue:



“You can stare at it all day, Sammy. It doesn’t do any tricks until you throw it.”
Haha, it's funny because it's true.



Sammy mentally pictured going into fifth grade this fall and showing off a fearsome Noctowl. Man, the look on Miah’s face when Sammy would jump onto Noctowl’s back and fly up to the top of Goldenrod Elementary; he could see it now! He’d be stuck standing there with his mouth open while all the kids asked Sammy if they could have the next ride. Bellsprout and those fake ghosts wouldn’t seem so special then!
I really like this bit and how you keep going back to Sammy proving himself to his peers. He's acting like an actual ten year old which is what I really adore, he's acting realistically.



Tommy’s armed locked around his neck, and he felt his older brother start abusing his head with noogies.
Don't you mean 'arms' ?


Sammy, now fully free of his brother’s grasp, glanced down at the ball in his hand. He was hesitant as he pictured the Noctowl in his fantasy turn into a butterfly that wouldn’t be able to bear his weight. The image of Miah shocked in silence turned to a image of him laughing like a hyena.

His brain flashed to the image of Miah Vanderbelt laughing at the silly, undersized bug pokemon, then to that of his dad giving him another lecture if he came home with nothing. The two options juggled in his head. Miah, dad. Dad, Miah. Without realizing he was even doing it, his arm thew the ball as if it was making his mind up for him.
You did it again, Sammy's primary motive is to prove himself to his buddies at school in order to fit in, I like it.


Vlam was Tommy’s first friend, one that he had caught in a Dusk Ball at midnight on his tenth birthday.
At midnight? On his tenth birthday? Haha, seems a bit unlikely, but okay.


Not only had Vlam been training with Tommy for five years, but it had a huge type advantage over bug pokemon, who hate fire.
'Hated'.


“You can have a leaf later if you want, I promise! Just...tackle that pokemon!”
Hmm, so you're not capitalizing the moves nor Pokémon?


Sammy snapped his attention back to Caterpie so quickly, he felt a nerve pinch in his neck, but shook it off. “No, that’s not...come on! What the heck? You just...run at it and throw your body at it, bug! It’s simplest attack in the world!”
Haha, sounds easy, right? :P


The Caterpie just continued staring back at him. “Run! You’ve got, like, a dozen little legs!”
Another amusing little scene.


Tommy slowed his pace, but never turned back to face his brother. “I said Vlam was burned. Not out cold.”
Oh, he totally won that battle.

I'm kinda baffled by the fact how your prologue is longer than some of your current chapters, but eh, I don't really mind short chapters - it makes it easier for me to go through them. This prologue was actually done pretty well and despite some slight grammar issues that others have pointed out before, you've shown me a relationship that has a lot of potential to become something amazing, a relationship between two brothers, something that seems vital to this story and I think that your prologue does a good job on establishing that.

Sammy was portrayed realistically, there's no doubt in my mind about that, all he cares about is fitting in and all those sudden imaginations of his about his peers laughing him out were really amusing as they perfectly described Sammy's character and his fears. I also liked the bit when he throw the ball and captured Caterpie, he realized that he had just caught a silly little Caterpie, it just fit so well.

Chapter 1:



He was thankful that Sinnoh had outlets that accommodated devices brought from other continents as he plugged his trimmers into the wall adjoining the bathroom sink. He had heard that other areas of the world like Unova weren’t as readily accessible for foreign devices.
Very realistic.


Sam had brought a suit, but that now seemed too stuffy; he wasn’t here to do a PowerPoint presentation or ask Professor Rowan to marry him, after all.
The last bit would be amusing to see, hehe.


With a gentle squeeze of the ball, a Butterfree appeared in the air, stoicly beating its wings to stay aloft.
It's 'stoically'.


The orange fox creature looked up at the tall buildings around it, decided the busy city was not worth the attention, then leaned down to licks its front paws to keep them as elegantly groomed as the rest of its fur.
Ninetales isn't really orange, to be honest.


“Does it feel good to be out of your ball, Vlam?”
Nice.

You ended your chapter on somewhat of a shocker evoking the readers to wonder why the hell he has his brother's Vlam and when did she evolve, nice job! The chapter itself was done well and you portrayed many aspects of your own Pokémon universe realistically such as the check for diseases or the thing about foreign devices. Sam himself seems much more mature of a character which prompts me to look forward to further developments regarding him and this whole story. Why is he in Sinnoh, though?

I didn't really notice many grammar mistakes, everything flowed well and your descriptions were handed quite decently, in fact.

Chapter 2:



Back on the field, Vlam maintained her offensive while the fighting-type pokemon struggled to regain its bearings. She darted left and right, each movement inching her closer to her foe. Sammy recognized this instantly: it was Tommy’s way of maximizing Vlam’s foe’s confused state. The Machoke and its trainer had no idea from where she would be attacking. A double juke put her behind the Machoke, and she began covering herself in a ball of fire. Thurmond’s voice roared for Machoke to turn around, but the bewildered pokemon couldn’t understand its trainer’s command. Vlam’s flame wheel connected into the small of Machoke’s back. The crowd hailed strong approval, which incited Thurmond to yell back at them and shake an angry fist.
This is a nice tactic and great description of a battle.


Sammy’s mind wandered; why was a cop here for him? He thought about this past year in eighth grade when he told Evelyn Simmons that he was going to steal her new gaming system so he’d have something to do over the summer. Did she take him seriously? Was he going to go to jail or something?
I really liked this bit and his thoughts keep shifting to other aspects of his life.


“He didn’t make it, I’m sorry. He passed just a few minutes ago.”

Tommy was all he had left.
I guess this marks a major change in the story, but I did kinda expect his father to die since the moment the officer showed up. It was good chapter, although quite short. It could have been longer, honestly. I also have to comment on your shifts between past and present, I actually really like them as they give us some nice contrast between Sam's past and his current personality.

I have no complaints, but it could have been longer.

Chapter 3:


Sam thought this odd because he usually enjoyed Newsweek, at least, but his heart just didn’t seem to be in a place for reading about other peoples’ problems.
Don't you mean; 'Sam thought this was odd ...' ? Either that or 'Sam thought of this as odd'. Either way, you're missing something here.


Bree was oblivious to all of this, as she had fluttered her way into a corner of the room and was pecking around an overgrown houseplant whose vines were snaking between Rowan’s window blinds. Time and again, she’d dig her head into the heart of the plant only to snap it back out in alarm when its leaves tickled her wings. “There’s no honey in there, Bree,” Sam would say to her as she stared down the plant, her wings stretched wide to make herself appear large. After several seconds, Bree would forget the advice and again dig into it.
Bree has a personality, nice job on establishing that.


Vlam watched this with what appeared to be great disinterest, curled around Sam’s inactive foot. She had always seemed slightly annoyed by Bree’s impetuousness, and Sam imagined that her thoughts must have been something along the lines of ‘How has this thing not outgrown this yet?’. Vlam had entered battles very much like Tommy always did--meticulous, patient, and subtle. She would almost always concede an opponent’s opening salvo so that she could get a taste of their power and strategy. Bree, meanwhile, never outgrew her trainer’s methods of battling from his younger days--headstrong, fast, and furious. Bree and Vlam had sparred countless times over the years while Sam was growing up; to say that Vlam had a winning record would almost be an understatement, but despite her displeasure at Bree’s immaturity, she always licked Bree’s cheek after a victory and let the butterfly pokemon chase her many tails. Bree never seemed to mind her losses to her sister much, anyway. Despite the Butterfree’s innocent veneer, she and Sam had become a potent duo not unlike Tommy and Vlam. Sam’s youthful fear of being referred to as ‘Bug Catcher’ by his classmates quickly dissipated when the two of them were constantly near the top of his class rankings. In the corner of the room, Bree had again found herself assaulted by the plant and was now buzzing at it furiously. Vlam--perhaps weary of her sister’s noise or perhaps wanting to comfort her--disengaged herself from Sam’s leg and took patient steps towards the plant. Bree studied her as Vlam buried her own head in the plant, shook its leaves, and then emerged. Bree chirped a response, Vlam cooed back, and that seemed to be the end of her great interest in the plant for the moment.
This whole scene was just marvelous, in my opinion. Not only did you use it to expand on Sam's future you've also expanded on the relationship between Bree and Vlam as well as on her personality. Some writers treat Pokémon merely as animals with no actual personality so seeing this makes me one happy readers/reviewer!


“I need them, professor. I need the legends.” He turned away from the map and stared down Rowan unflinchingly. “Azelf, Mesprit, and Uxie. I’ve come for them, and I won’t leave Sinnoh without them.”
Oh, the plot thickens, huh?

This was yet another great chapter, but I feel like you might want to separate those blocks of text in paragraphs, I don't know - I just feel that it would be much easier for me to read them that way and I bet it'd be the same way for others as well. Like I commented before, I'm happy Vlam and Bree have distinctive personalities but I'm especially intrigued by Sam's wish to have the lake spirits - what is he up to?

Chapter 4: Oh, we're back in the past.


Tommy laughed and shook his head in disbelief. “Sam, you are cheaper and easier to feed for a year than most pokemon. You’re too good to me.”
A great example of their loving and brotherly relationship.


“Vlam.” It was the only word that Sam’s brain would release.
Sammy really cares about his bro, huh?


The realization crept into Sam’s awareness like a spider stalking prey in its web. Tommy hadn’t failed his classes because he couldn’t handle them; he had failed because he simply wasn’t going often enough. He was working fifty hours a week at the department store on top of taking care of the house and helping Sam with his studying and training. He had forsaken his future in favor of providing Sam one for himself.
Aww. :/


Tommy had given his brother a normal life despite their parents both being dead. Sam, in return, gave him a rock.
I feel really sad for Tom and I can see that this abrupt realization stroke Sammy hard - this will definitely influence him a lot. Though it's not just a rock, it's a Fire Stone, aren't those rare? But I guess Sammy was just being hard on himself upon the overwhelming feeling of guilt - you can tell that he feels really bad. I mean, who wouldn't?

I'll get to the next four chapters later on, but I hope you were satisfied by my review. This story doesn't have a lot of grammar issues, as far as I've read, and it's an above average tale of two brothers whose relationship, I assume, has yet to fully unfold. I'm intrigued by the fact that Sam wants Azelf, Uxie and Mesprit as I can't think why he'd need them but I'm assuming it has something to do with his brother.

It's a good story, I hope your next chapters are even better as well as slightly longer but I guess that quality is always ahead of quantity.

I hope you liked my review! I'll be back soon! :)

Sid87
1st June 2012, 2:02 PM
What a realistic thing to mention. Money is so important in most aspects in life, and I'm glad you call attention to it here. It affects where you live, schooling,etc, and to be honest I do get somewhat tired of fics where characters seem to have endless amounts of cash without any sort of explanation on how they got it. Tommy surprised me though when he spoke about how smart Tommy was. I never thought that Sammy was dumb or anything, but it's surprising to me that he's so intelligent that any school would love to have him. I suppose I need to revamp my picture of him. Nice

Yeah, it's just another step that Sam made growing up. He was never dumb (like you said), but he wasn't amazingly bright, either. It was after the last time we saw Young Sam and he realized what all Tommy was going through for him that he decided to buckle down even harder and make Tommy proud.


that bit as well. Another realistic statement. Im starting to hate that Tommy's in a coma

I originally didn't think many people enjoyed the flashback moments, which is why I went a few chapters without one. But I really wanted to add this moment in. To be honest, ALL the previous flashbacks should have been combined with a present-time chapter like this one was, as I think this worked best. And I'm glad you enjoyed the flashback and Tommy, so maybe I will keep going with them. :)


is? What?

It's a Latin phrase (I believe) that has gained popularity as a saying, not unlike "quid pro quo" or "carpe diem". I didn't think it too obscure to use here. It just means "compared with" or "versus". Something like that.


nicely done. This was a nice chapter. The interraction between Tommy and Sammy are nice, as usual. The whole premise for your story is interesting, and since I started reading it, I wondered how you would show the 'bond' between them. You're doing an excellent job so far. These little flashbacks, even some of the inconsequential ones do alot to solidify that relationship that you obviously have thought out quite a bit. I look forward to these little trips down memory lane just as much as I do the advancement of the plot. The pair of them sneaking on board the ship was almost a little too convienent, but after some thought, I decided that I liked it and it was a really good way to advance the story. Perhaps on the ship they might learn a bit more about this corporation.

Nice work

I hadn't thought of it until you said that, but yeah...it was kind of easy. I should have had them peter around Canalave a bit more first, anyway, and kept playing up Sam's disdain of seaside towns. But I really like the cargo ship scene coming up, and kind of wanted to speed onto that. :) And yes, within the next 3 or 4 chapters, we should be getting the scoop on the Phoenix Shipping Corporation. It's not as easy as one might believe....








I really like this bit and how you keep going back to Sammy proving himself to his peers. He's acting like an actual ten year old which is what I really adore, he's acting realistically.

Thanks! It's really hard to write a credible 10 year old when I haven't been ten in 20 years!


At midnight? On his tenth birthday? Haha, seems a bit unlikely, but okay.

LOL. Okay, yes. But I was doing that to show the differing levels of trust dad had in Tommy and Sammy.



Hmm, so you're not capitalizing the moves nor Pokémon?

Yeah. I think I wrote somewhere on page 1 that I wouldn't write "Jim hit him with a Punch". So...makes sense to me. :)


I'm kinda baffled by the fact how your prologue is longer than some of your current chapters, but eh, I don't really mind short chapters - it makes it easier for me to go through them. This prologue was actually done pretty well and despite some slight grammar issues that others have pointed out before, you've shown me a relationship that has a lot of potential to become something amazing, a relationship between two brothers, something that seems vital to this story and I think that your prologue does a good job on establishing that.

Honestly, I had dreamed up that prologue scene about TEN YEARS AGO (longer, actually. It was back when only R/B/Y existed), and just never used it. So it was really vivid to me, and that's why it was longer than anything else for a while. Also, I was basically making the story up as I went, so I didn't want to say too much I'd end up not being able to work with. But it's all pretty well thought out by now.


Sammy was portrayed realistically, there's no doubt in my mind about that, all he cares about is fitting in and all those sudden imaginations of his about his peers laughing him out were really amusing as they perfectly described Sammy's character and his fears. I also liked the bit when he throw the ball and captured Caterpie, he realized that he had just caught a silly little Caterpie, it just fit so well.

thank you very much!


This is a nice tactic and great description of a battle.

Thanks. Having never written a battle before, I was really wary of how they'd come across, but surprisingly, people have dug my battles so far. Good news to me, because my next chapter (chapter 9) is going to have a big one (I think...or it might now. We'll see how it goes).


I have no complaints, but it could have been longer.

Yeah, it should have been. But they get longer, I promise!


This whole scene was just marvelous, in my opinion. Not only did you use it to expand on Sam's future you've also expanded on the relationship between Bree and Vlam as well as on her personality. Some writers treat Pokémon merely as animals with no actual personality so seeing this makes me one happy readers/reviewer!

It's funny to me how radically different pokemon are portrayed just across fan fiction here. In some stories, they are flavorless battle creatures, yes. In mine, they are very pet-like (in that they are just like a cat or dog in that they have personality, but aren't human-level intelligent), and in others they speak with their trainers. I'm glad you like my take!


I feel really sad for Tom and I can see that this abrupt realization stroke Sammy hard - this will definitely influence him a lot. Though it's not just a rock, it's a Fire Stone, aren't those rare? But I guess Sammy was just being hard on himself upon the overwhelming feeling of guilt - you can tell that he feels really bad. I mean, who wouldn't?

I'll get to the next four chapters later on, but I hope you were satisfied by my review. This story doesn't have a lot of grammar issues, as far as I've read, and it's an above average tale of two brothers whose relationship, I assume, has yet to fully unfold. I'm intrigued by the fact that Sam wants Azelf, Uxie and Mesprit as I can't think why he'd need them but I'm assuming it has something to do with his brother.

It's a good story, I hope your next chapters are even better as well as slightly longer but I guess that quality is always ahead of quantity.

I hope you liked my review! I'll be back soon! :)

Thanks for all your kind words, and your pointing out the misspellings others have missed; I really had NO IDEA how to spell "stoically", and I'm surprised spell checker didn't catch that. LOL)! I hpe you enjoy the rest of the story going forward.

Janovy
1st June 2012, 2:55 PM
Alright, I just read the last four chapters.

I love Barry's character.

I'm not really surprised by that because I strangely find myself liking almost every version of Barry (anime version, manga version, game version) but your Barry is especially hilarious, and I gotta say, I loved the scene on the ship when Barry was up and down, up and down, up and down, haha, that was really funny especially due Sam's reactions on his behavior. I also love the fact he has a Torterra, one of the Pokémon I really like.

It's also sad to hear that Tom suffered a stroke and like I expected, Sam is blaming himself as evident by his nightmare which was really creepy but insightful at the same time. I finally understand Sam's motives and they are quite noble - suddenly the title makes so much sense as their bond is the driving the plot of the story you're writing. Speaking of Sam, I'm glad you're expanding on his character as we progress - we gradually keep finding out more silly stuff about him such as that he gets seasick or that he hates port towns such as Canalave or Olivine (by the way, very nice description there).

Oh, oh and I'm quite happy that you've began finally separating the paragraphs - it's much easier for me to read it now.

There were some mistakes but others have already pointed them out so I won't bother this time, it would just take too much time and I hope my comment on your characters and other stuff will suffice for the time being. What else can I say? Keep up with the good work! You seem to have your plot all planned out and with those Phoenix guys around we seem to be approaching the bad guy zone. Oh, and let Barry stay Barry, he's awesome that way.

katiekitten
3rd June 2012, 8:32 PM
:D All caught up - and I love where this is going! The relationship between the brothers has bloomed beautifully, and I love Barry, he loves a delightful dimension to it. x3 I'm a fan of the longer chapters, as well, although your shorter ones were stylistically the same and just as good - I guess the difference is just having a better chance to sink into particular scene? In any case, I really do like how you've woven the narrative so close to Sammy, his character really emerges throughout, and the manner in which you describe settings in his voice (particularly your description of the inner room of Rowan <3). x3 The plot is developing wonderfully, and poor Tommy...! Looking forward to how you continue this, would you mind putting me on the PM list? :3

Sid87
4th June 2012, 11:51 PM
Janovy: I like Torterra, too. Turtwig is actually my favorite starter in any generation. :) I actually have never seen the anime (since the first season) or the manga, so I'm not up on anything regarding Barry except for the video games, but I'm glad I am continuing a tradition of your liking him.

Katie: PM list; done! :)




Sorry I have been updating SO FREQUENTLY as of late, but I have my wedding coming up in two weeks and have had an unusual amount of free time lately. I promise to slow down as of this chapter. I don't want to alienate readers by updating so frequently.

This chapter is the longest of the story so far, and I hope you enjoy it! It also has my first pokemon battle of substantive length. I hope you enjoy it!




Chapter 9: Present Day

Chispa whimpered unhappily. Sam thought that letting her out of her Friend Ball so that she could stretch her eager little legs would make her happy, but it quickly became obvious that all she wanted was to run about the deck of the cargo ship. Sam considered that this was not a great idea given that he had no way of knowing when any of the Phoenix Corporation crew might need to come out onto the deck, and so it went that she would start moving towards the edge of the crates where Sam and Barry had concealed themselves and Sam would have to issue the most stern whisper he could muster to get the Shinx to come pouting back to his side. This would last for a few minutes at best before she would start testing his attention again by creeping towards the opening that lead to the deck.

If Sam were to be honest with himself, he was thankful for Chispa’s misbehaving; it kept him on alert for her and distracted from the three sensations within him that were joining forces in an attempt on his life and sanity. The first, and the one he most expected, was his seasickness. While the Canalave Ferry had only a calm strait to cross to get to Canalave City, the Phoenix Corporation vessel was circumnavigating the Sinnoh continent, and the waters here on the ocean were much more vulgar than those the ferry had to contend with. His stomach lurched with every wave that assailed the ship, and his mind was flooded with memories of the storm off of Cianwood in his youth. He had thus far been able to keep his insides under the control, but he couldn’t help but wonder how long that would last.

The second sensation, one that was seemingly in direct conflict with the first, was that of hunger. Sam and Barry had been aboard this ship for almost twenty-four hours. Having not intended to be away from civilization for so long when they arrived in the city, the two of them had no inclination to bring any supplies or food with them. As the hours passed, Sam couldn’t help but ponder how long they’d be at sea before he’d have a chance to eat something. Anything. And what if the boat they were on did not dock near a town or a city? Would they have to abandon surveillance on the crew to get something to eat instead? He thought that one day without food was probably not terrible; people had survived much worse than that under more dire circumstances. It did little to settle him. He was still hungry.

The third of these sensations was by far the worst at this point. The stowaway voyage had started in the quite temperate Canalave City, but as it stretched up the Sinnoh continent, bitter cold slammed his body. For as poorly as Sam and Barry had planned for a time without food, they were even less prepared for this insidious chill. Sam wore only two layers of short-sleeved tops and jeans; Barry was possibly even worse off with just a long-sleeve top and shorts. Sam wondered if he now missed the scarf he’d worn earlier to Lake Verity just for fashion. The cold was the reason why they’d released their pokemon to begin with a few hours ago; at least Vlam and Barry’s Monferno were capable of radiating warmth. It had gotten to the point where the risk they ran of being spotted due to the light of their friends’ flames was easily worth it.

The thought of Vlam using her heat to protect him made him appreciative, and he reached out to stroke her back. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed Chispa using what she must have perceived as his lack of attention to inch towards the edge of the cargo crates. Sam hissed shortly through his teeth, and she yelped in frustration but returned to him.

“I think we could train her here.” Barry’s mouth was having a hard time properly enunciating his words due to the chill within him. They had been quite conversational, if quietly so, upon boarding the ship, but hunger and cold and annoyance were settling in to both of them, and they spoke less and less. Barry probably, like Sam, just wanted the ship to dock as soon as possible. “She’s small, and we could probably do it here without being noticed.”

Sam shook his head, and it was more vigorous than he intended since his body must have taken it as a cue to unleash a prolonged shiver. “No,” he answered when he finally regained control of himself. “I’m not training her.”

He could tell Barry was already asking why not, but he was not sure he even had an answer to give. It reminded him of the same feeling he got when he was in Verity Forest and felt compelled to capture her. The Shinx looked back at him as he found himself studying her, and she wagged her sparking tail before flopping to the ground beside him, her belly exposed for him to rub. She was too innocent in the forest that day to know that she was supposed to run from him. Was that all it was? Regardless of the reason, Barry nodded without an answer to his question and went back to making sure his energetic Monferno wasn’t about to set the crates about them on fire with his tail flame.

Sam still couldn’t believe the cargo was so brazenly labeled. The Acuity Project. What would an international shipping company be doing running around the lakes of Sinnoh? There were hardly any packages that needed to be delivered to protected national park lands. On the other hand, it wasn't hard to write off how the workers on the Verity site reacted to his and Barry’s presence. Barry was an overzealous kid, and hell, he made Sam want to attack him, as well; that really might have been a misunderstanding on Sideburns’ part. It wasn’t a pleasant thought, the idea that he was freezing to death on this cargo ship, his stomach racing itself to see if he starved or threw up from seasickness first, all over a misunderstanding and some easily explainable happenstance.

He opened his eyes without even realizing he had closed them. Mentally, he made a note to watch that; the cold was apparently a more subtle foe than he imagined, and he doubted his body could afford the slowed heartrate that sleep would bring. Chispa was gone! The thought hit him in the face like a glass of water. He couldn’t feel her body next to him; she must have dashed out onto the deck when his eyes closed. Barry’s eyes were closed, too, so he couldn’t have noticed her leaving, either. Sam cursed himself for succumbing that easily. Before he was even on his feet to find and retrieve Chispa, he heard a familiar foreign noise. A voice speaking in a language he didn’t understand, and it was coming from the other side of the crates. Chispa must have been seen!

He rushed out from his safe spot, his body no longer recognizing cold or hunger or the rocking of the boat. There was a man in a padded coat waving his arms and shouting at poor Chispa who’d been backed to the edge of the ship. Sam had no way of knowing if this man wanted to throw her overboard or give her a treat, but he wasn’t about to find out.

“Hey! Leave her alone!”

The man turned to Sam. He had a dark, ungroomed moustache, and it made Sam think of Sideburns. Did these guys all come from the Cult of the Thick Facial Hair or what?

“Just back away from her, and we’ll talk this out.” Sam held up his open palms peacefully, to show he was no threat. “Just let me recall her, okay? We’ll play this however you want after that.”

The men at the Verity site seemed to understand and speak English, even if they weren’t particularly peaceful. That did not seem to be the case for this one, though, as his reaction to Sam pulling Chispa’s Friend Ball from his pocket was to shout back at him and reach for something in his coat’s pocket.

“Monferno, toss him!”

Sam’s attention was pulled to Barry’s voice behind them, and then immediately back to the man with the moustache. Monferno had sneaked close enough to him to grab around the waist. Sam looked on in horror as Barry’s pokemon flipped the foreigner overboard.

“NO!” Sam shouted. On pure instinct, he rushed to the edge of the ship, grabbed a life vest that hung there, and threw it into the sea as close to the man as he could. “Grab it!” Sam yelled, pointing at the vest. He was as relieved as he could ever remember being in his life when he saw the shivering figure make it to the safety device. “Are you psychotic, Barry?”

“What are you talking about? That’s basic problem-solving there.”

“That guy could die out there! The water here’s got to be about thirty-three degrees, and who knows how close to land we are. We’ve got to try to save him.”

“No. You should worry about to save yourself.”

Sam looked upward, to where the new voice had come from. Behind the railing going around the second level of the ship stood the rest of its crew, eight men all of similar foreign skin tone. Sam instantly thought back to the shout he let loose in horror as Monferno threw their co-worker overboard; they must have heard him, and here they were in response. Sam couldn’t help but jealously note that they were all dressed appropriately for the weather.

Next to him, Barry seemed frozen in the moment. He never even acknowledged the threat of the ship’s staff. He was still looking out over the side of the vessel; his hands were shaking, but Sam somehow got the sense that it wasn’t from the cold. Barry was rash--there’s a good chance he hadn’t thought about his actions when he ordered his friend to deal with the crew member. He must have locked up when Sam presented him with the reality of what could have happened. Sam felt awful now for yelling at him and questioning his sanity; he had just been trying to help and clearly didn't want to hurt that guy. Chispa was cowering behind his feet, and Sam realized it might be up to him to get them out all of this.

“Thank goodness you guys are here,” Sam lied, “your friend fell overboard when we tried to present him our credentials. We need to get him back on-board before he freezes or drowns. I threw him a life vest, but the water is so--”

“We will put down a lifeboat for him. You do not worry about it. What you should worrying about is what we do to hitchhikers.”

The man who was speaking was surprisingly clean of facial hair, and he appeared to be very large. It was hard to say if he was as big as he appeared due to all the warm layers he was wearing. Snow pants, a padded coat like the other man’s, and a ski cap added to his size. He had the same accent that Sam remembered from Sideburns.

“We’re not hitchhikers,” Sam replied. It was true, at least. Something was lost in translation between their language barrier there. “We just...” He thought back to his plan in Canalave; it was worth a shot. “We’re here legally representing Secretary Rowan, and--”

The man whom had taken the lead speaking role for the crew raised his right arm, and his companions all pulled out various kinds of pokeballs. Sam paused, then started waving his hands downward to signify for them to calm down. Ending this without conflict, however improbable, was definitely ideal.

“Whoa! Hold on, guys! No one is in trouble here. We just have some questions about--”

“Sam, watch out!”

At Barry’s words, a dozen flashes of luminous energy erupted onto the deck of the ship; its crew had unleashed their pokemon. At least their abrupt aggressiveness shocked Barry out of whatever stupor had possessed him. It was Sam who now felt as though he had been stunned. Barry summoned his Torterra, as well as a third friend that Sam hadn’t seen him release before. It was a blue penguin-like creature with four white dots on its stomach and two yellow crests lining its head from its beak upwards. Sam recognized it as a Prinplup, a rare aquatic pokemon from the Sinnoh region. It shuddered, happy to be free and ready to battle.

“Sam, I really need some help here, if you’d like to get in the game! I’m handicapped enough as it is by how much Torterra can’t do on a boat.”

Sam nodded and recalled Chispa into her Friend Ball. Stuffing her ball into his right front pocket, he grabbed the Nest Ball inside it. Bree was released into the air just as Vlam bounded out from behind the safety of the crates to his side. The Phoenix workers’ pokemon outnumbered his and Barry's friends more than two-to-one, and Sam quickly realized that Barry was right about the limitations of his most fully evolved and powerful friend. Without any earth beneath Torterra’s feet, it was going to be unable to use some of its fiercest attacks. Sam recalled the fissure it had used earlier and realized that was right out, but he was interrupted by a dozen voices he couldn’t understand before he could consider any others. The Phoenix Corportation pokemon were being ordered to attack.

“Vlam, confuse rays and baffle attacks! As many as you can handle, all right, girl? There’s too many of them, and I need them off balance! You’ve got to do that for me.” Vlam seemed to bob her head in agreement with Sam’s words before streaking off to the middle of the fray, her magnificent tails stiffening outward. “Bree, fly out of range as high as you can. I want you to put anything that isn’t with me or Barry to sleep. Can you do that?” Bree hummed a reply and sped up above the boat’s deck as fast as her silky wings would carry her. Trickery tactics seemed like the best bet at this moment given the odds; if they could keep their enemies off-balance, they might be able to hold out and calm everybody down. Vlam was moving fast, darting in front of enemy pokemon and stopping just briefly enough to hit them with a blue-toned light show before dashing off to the next foe.

In the air, Bree was not so lucky; she had no sooner gotten into the night sky than a blue bird pokemon with a red breast began following her. The bird--Sam recognized this foreign pokemon as either a Taillow or a Swellow, he couldn’t remember which was the evolved form’s name--moved too quickly for her, and it refused to allow Bree the time to set up a sleep powder attack.

“Bree, whirlwind! Blow it out of the sky!”

Bree began forming a swirling vacuum using the power of her wings, but the bird opponent began doing the same. Sam cursed under his breath at not being able to discern who was giving it orders. The crew were all looking in every direction at the chaotic battle scene; it was impossible to discern who was guiding the bird. The bursts of wind crossed in mid-air, dissipating each other almost immediately on contact.

Sam wanted to issue another command, but he was knocked from his feet by a charging iron lizard. Sam tried to right himself, but the spike-backed steel salamander before him stared him back down. It looked as though it would charge again if Sam didn’t stay where he was. He tried to crawl backwards and earn himself some distance, but the Lairon wasn’t having any of it; it was outpacing Sam’s backwards movement as it stepped forward towards him.

Out of the corner of his eye, Sam saw Monferno rush away from the Lotad it was engaged with and knock the Lairon onto its side with right fist that ignited in a blaze upon impact. Lairon let out a shrill, metallic screech as it tried to get back to its feet; its frantic movements signified how much the fire punch had hurt it. Barry’s Monferno extended its left hand and pulled Sam back up to his feet. Monferno made a throaty, joyful noise which Sam acknowledged with a nod and then bounded back to the ground fray against Lotad. Sam glanced up to see that the avian pokemon had taken advantage of both Sam’s distraction and its speed advantage; it was striking fast with stiff shots from its wings. Butterfree was still aloft, but it was dazed and hurt. Sam decided to take a note from Lairon's playbook and give the Swellow something else to think about for a few moments.

“Vlam! Use a fire blast on that bird!”

Vlam came to a halt from her rapid-fire offense and belched a sofa-sized fireball into the sky. Butterfree’s opponent caught sight of the attack at the last instant and rolled out of its path. It might have singed a feather or two, but it mostly avoided the fireball. That was fine with Sam since it had now given distance between itself and Bree,

“Bree, psybeam! Stop it from staying airbone, at least!”

Bree’s antennae twitched, found the bird across the air from it, and then stiffened. The bird froze, then let out an agonized squawk and began spiraling downward. Sam’s exclamation of victory was short-lived, however, when he saw Monferno crash to the deck after a burst of water attack hit it dead on. Above the fray, Bree did not have even a moment to catch her breath from her previous battle; a Golbat was now chasing her through the sky.

“Vlam!” He wanted to call out another fire blast from his Ninetales, but she was equally engaged in dodging the rapid-fire strikes of a Meditite whose psychic powers were able to defend it from Vlam’s confusion tactics. Vlam let out a pained howl; the Meditite, floating in the air in a yoga position, must have been using its invisible telepathic powers. “Vlam, fight it off with a fire spin!”

Vlam shook her head to fight off the Meditite’s attack and unleashed a spinning vortex of flames. The Meditite seemed at first to be engulfed by the attack, but it appeared in an instant outside the flames. It must have teleported free, and it went back on the attack on a stunned Vlam.

“Barry! This isn’t working out super well for us! Please tell me you’ve got a back-up plan.”

Just a few feet away, Barry nodded and recalled Monferno into its pokeball. “Use a surf attack, Prinplup. As hard as you can, buddy!”

The penguin pokemon shoved away a a tiny lobster pokemon that had been trying to attack it with its pinchers. Before the Corphish could right itself, Prinplup blasted it with a concentrated burst of water from it beak for good measure. Prinplup crossed its wings in front of its body, and its eyes began to glow with blue energy. The foreign enemies seemed to pause and brace themselves for a big attack, but as the seconds passed, it became clear nothing was happening.

“That back-up plan was underwhelming,” Sam sighed. “Anything else?”

“I don’t know. I really thought that’d work better out here on the ocean.”

The Phoenix crew’s pokemon, who had previously been cowed by Prinplup’s potential attack, regained their assurance and started pressing forward again. Golbat was again terrorizing a weakened Bree in the air, and Vlam was back to facing off with the Meditite. Sam suddenly wished that was all of the bad news.

“Oh god," he muttered in Barry's direction. "What did you do?”

Barry turned, presumably to ask Sam what he was talking about, but he didn’t even need to get any words out; it was impossible to miss what Sam had seen. An enormous wave was barreling towards them, having formed several dozen yards out in the ocean. It had to have been the result of Prinplup’s surf attack. With the whole ocean and the force of the water and wind behind it, the wave attack had reached massive proportions. And it was bearing down on the ship. Sam figured the crew had to have seen it by that point, too, but he was too mesmerized by it to check them.

Sam gained just enough of his wits back to withdraw Bree and Vlam into the safety of their pokeballs right before the wave hit. The world vanished in a flush of water which quickly became all he knew. He felt the force of the wave push him backwards, causing his back to slam into a hard object. It forced the air out of his lungs, and he was barely able to gulp another lungful down before the water pulled him all the way under. He pinballed off several more things--one felt like the railing on the ship and another like one of the crates he had been using for protection--but he forcefully held onto the precious oxygen in his lungs until the impacts ceased. He lost all track of what happened to Barry and the ship’s crew, but that was replaced by another realization: he was no longer on the boat at all. Whether he was washed away alone or the entire vessel tipped under the ferocity of the surf was unknown to him. He was underwater in the middle of the ocean, and he had no idea which direction was which. He tried to swim in the first direction his body would move towards in the hopes he would find air, but the water was frigid and it assailed his muscles; they refused to work with him. He collided with something large, and it was propelling him in the direction he then knew must have been down; the object must have been one of those crates, and that most likely meant the entire ship was down. His lungs felt like they would rip open if that’s what they had to do to release his last breath. The air inside of him seemed like a vicious enemy now, but he knew he had to fight to hold onto it. If he exhaled now, he was finished. A thousand lights flickered against the backdrop of his eyelids, and consciousness was becoming just a memory as the cargo box continued to ride him to the bottom of the sea.

katiekitten
5th June 2012, 12:28 AM
...Cliff hanger lord! x3 I really enjoyed the battle scene, you handled the multiple points of focus very well with the pace of the story, once more you really felt yourself in Sammy's shoes. Nothing else that I noticed, really - too caught up - but I really enjoyed this. Well done~! x3

Janovy
5th June 2012, 8:51 AM
Review time!


Sam thought letting her out of her Friend Ball so that she could stretch her eager little legs would make her happy, but it quickly became obvious that all she wanted was to run about the deck of the cargo ship.
This sentence is quite flawed. First off, you miss either 'of' or 'about' (Sam thought of letting her our ... or Sam thought about letting her our) and the second part is just weird. Notice the bolded part? It makes no sense to me whatsoever.

How about: "Sam thought of letting her out of her Friend Ball thinking that stretching her eager, little legs would make her happy, but it quickly became obvious that all she wanted was to run about the deck of the cargo ship."

Just a suggestion, but that sentence definitely needs to be rewritten.


If Sam were to be honest with himself, he was thankful for Chispa’s misbehaving;
That sentence just doesn't click to me for some reason.

"If Sam were to be honest with himself; he'd realize he was thankful for Chispa's misbehaving;

Again, it's only a suggestion.


The cold wasthe reason why they’d released their pokemon to begin with a few hours ago;
Slight error, just separate 'was' and 'the'.


The man turned to Sam. He had a dark, ungroomed moustache, and it made Sam think of Sideburns. Did these guys all come from the Cult of the Thick Facial Hair or what?
I am honestly considering this as a possibility. xD


“What are you talking about? That’s basic problem-solving there.”
Haha, not sure if I agree with's Barry way of solving problems.


“No. You should worry about to save yourself.”
Hmm. "You should worry about saving yourself." ?


It was a blue penguin-like creature with four white dots on its stomach and two yellow crests lining its head from its beak upwards. Sam recognized it as a Prinplup, a rare aquatic pokemon from the Sinnoh region. It shuddered, happy to be free and ready to battle.
So Barry has all three starters? Kinda strange considering how rare they are.


If he exhaled now, he was finished. A thousand lights flickered against the backdrop of his eyelids, and consciousness was becoming just a memory as the the cargo box continued to ride him to the bottom of the sea.
Drop the double 'the'. ^^

Overall, I really, really liked this chapter. It was action-packed and I'm amazed by the fact how you could maneuver so many battles at the same time; I'd probably have hard time with a simple double battle. We also got more glimpse into Chispa's personality which, although eager and rash, got them into trouble (with Barry's rashness simply worsening the issues). But the cliffhanger was amazing and I could just imagine a giant, destructive sea wave approaching their ship. Though it was to be expected after Prinplup's Surf attack apparently didn't work ... ON THE SEA! XD

Great chapter, I'm really interested in where Sam and Barry will wind up.

diamondpearl876
7th June 2012, 2:00 AM
As the hours passed, Sam couldn’t help but ponder how long they’d be at sea before he’d have a chance to eat something

Never been on a boat, but don’t they have food available to buy? Or have buffets? Or is that my wishful thinking?


They had been quite conversational, if quietly so, upon boarding the ship, but hunger and cold and annoyance were settling in to both of them, and they spoke less and less. Barry probably, like Sam, just wanted the ship to dock as soon as possible.

Wow, so even Barry has something that can keep him quiet sometimes. Nice.


Barry was rash--there’s a good chance he hadn’t thought about his actions when he ordered his friend to deal with the crew member.

Should be “there was” not “there’s”


Sam recalled the fissue it had used earlier and realized that was right out, but he was interrupted by a dozen voices he couldn’t understand before he could consider any others.

Should be “fissure” I believe

That’s really all I saw for mistakes. The chapter was good overall, it was an action-packed chapter and you described everything well and in a frantic way, as an action scene should be. My only suggestion is to perhaps add more emotion in action scenes. I say this because there was emotion before the fight started, but not during, and not after (maybe Sam is scared, but there’s very little about it, just a description of what he feels). Keep it up! Hope to see a chapter as soon as you can get to it.

Sidewinder
7th June 2012, 6:07 PM
and the waters here on the ocean were much more vulgar than those the ferry had to contend with

Hmm, you might try switching the bolded word for something else. I can't think of anything to switch it with atm, but it read weird to me.


He thought that one day without food was probably not terrible; people had survived much worse than that under more dire circumstances. It did little to settle him. He was still hungry.

I liked that whole portion alot. It's odd, I read a few fics where real pangs like thagt never come to the surface. People eat several times a day, and while its okay to not comment on it with every chapter you write, I like the fact that you're calling this to the surface. I doubt I would have thought about that if I was writing the same scene. Hunger can influence mood and decisions in a big way; well, it does with me haha. Good job


they ran of being spotted due to the light of their friends’ flames was easily worth it.

Misplaced apostrophe


Sam still couldn’t believe the cargo was so brazenly labeled.

That made me laugh


that really might have been a misunderstanding on Sideburns’ part.

Misplaced apostrophe


“What are you talking about? That’s basic problem-solving there.”

Hah, I'm starting to like Barry


Sam nodded and recalled Chispa into her Friend Call.

Friend Ball

And the battle. You actually kinda surprised me. I didn't imagine that your first major battle would be on such a large scale. These group battles can be hard to write because they have so many moving parts, and so many things to keep track of, but I felt like you did an awesome job. One thing that really stood out to me was when the Lairon started attacking Sam. As you know from reading my Fic, I'm no stranger to having Pokemon attack humans, it adds such realisim, especially when you think about the fact that enemy Pokemon know that the Pokemon they're fighting are being commanded by Trainers. Quickest way to eliminate that threat is to get the humans out of the picture. So great job on realizing that and putting that into play.

Another portion I really liked was Bree's battle in the sky. Putting her up against a Swellow was a tricky challenge. I liked that you called Vlam in to help, which also went to show Bree's weakness against Swellow's typing. It also showed that you were keeping tabs on the characters placement and not forgetting about anyone. One thing that would make it a little more intense (at least for me), would be to add a few more sound effects. The sound Lairon's feet made when they smacked against the deck of the ship, the sound the water made when it sprayed across the ship when Prinlup used water gun. That in no way is saying that the battle wasn't good, because I loved it. Brilliant job, and I'm going to expect nothing less from you from now on when it comes to battles ;)

Great ending too, BTW. It's a unique was to go when it comes to a life endangering situation. Under the ocean, freezing water, bounched around against the ship. I'm eager to see how Sam's going to get out of this situation

Doryuzu
7th June 2012, 11:04 PM
Review Exchange

Prologue

Wow, what I say? Nice job, so it's a time skip fic in a way. I defiantly got to say I like both of your characters, Tommy and Sammy. You've done nicely with giving them some good background story and characterization. Your description is also exceptional, you did good on describing the Caterpie's feelings about battling, its area, and both of the boys. I totally called Caterpie pulling a String Shot out of its butt and immobilizing Vlam like that. I also like how you convey Sammy's feelings in regard to being made fun of and that was a great reference with him being picked on for being a "Bug Catcher". Overall a nice chapter and I look forward to how you develop the characters, a tad shorter then I thought so this review for this chapter isn't very long. But, your grammar is clean and nice as well. I wonder if we'll ever see this Miah character.

Chapter 1

Interesting, so Sam a.k.a Sammy is older and apparently in possession of his bro's Ninetales, Vlam and his Caterpie, a female one(nice job on describing the differences in genders about the species), Bree is now a Butterfree. So, if the time skip is correct that means Sam is now 25, you did good on describing why such things are done by with the whole diseased Delcatty infecting the Glameow population. Description was great, and I wonder why Vlam is now his? I'm speculating that Tommy ends up dying and leaves Vlam to his brother. Nice job showing off the annoyance regarding the woman and Sam.

Chapter 2

Wow, I was not expecting a death to occur so early. Samuel's death seemed pretty tragic and seems to be because of the lack of a stop light/sign where one is needed. This is interesting, and also after another time skip, this time by only a few years rather than 15 shows that the boys seemed to have aged and Tommy managed to get strong enough to make it far in the tournament and reveals he has new Pokemon. I liked his strategy with that sort of "double-confusion" thing regarding Vlam, interesting and unique indeed, haven't ever heard it. For a second I thought the police was just gonna take a seat to watch the battle, but this was an emotional ending indeed. We, the readers, never knew Samuel so we probably didn't really have too many strong feelings over his death as you wanted us to emotionally, but I wonder how it's gonna affect the brothers.

Chapter 3

So over the years, I'm assuming, Samuel's death pretty much made Sammy a bit more rougher around the edges. I mainly think this cause of that comment about him being Sam now, instead of Sammy. Interesting that Professor Rowan and Samuel worked together in those younger years. Characterization for Vlam and Bree was nice, with Bree appearing to be a tad eccentric and Vlam appearing to be annoyed at the younger Pokemon's behavior. So, Sammy came to Sinnoh for the Lake Trio. The only reason I think he would come for the Lake Trio is because he wants to use them to bring his father back to life, or something of that nature. I wouldn't be surprised if that is the case, or if it involved his brother too. Maybe he will use the Lake Trio to help him get a grip on his emotions? I don't know, but I all I know for sure is, the plot thickens and everything can possibly go terribly wrong since the Lake Trio can eliminate emotions from human beings if they want to. The chapter sizes seem to fluctuate quite a bit as well.

Chapter 4


The characterization in this chapter was great, we get some backstory on Sam and learn that he's managed to become quite the battler and he's caught many new Pokemon. Vlam's evolution was because of his victory prize Fire Stone gift to Tommy. Indeed, the death of their father has taken a toll on not just Sam, but Tommy as well basically a lack of attendance at school has caused him to sadly fail. He gave up his future for his brother's sake, that shows the bond and emotion between the two and it shows he really does care a lot for his bro. For a second, I thought you were referring to Sam's Tangrowth rather then it being Miah. Sam has a tourney coming up, that's something to look forward to. But, overall a nice chapter for some character interactions and such. Barnabus is a unique name.

Chapter 5

Nice in-depth description at the beginning of the chapter. I like how he's a tad sensitive about Vlam and Bree being Poke Ball'd and how the Lake Trio being caught is such a sensitive matter. My previous speculation regarding Tommy being dead turned up true, interesting to say the least. Well, not so dead more so, immobile I guess. Interesting, so these are Sam's goal, finding the Lake Trio to help heal his paralyzed brother. It's a shame he forgot his Pokemon and everything ever since the stroke, what an awful thing to happen. I wonder how Sam is going to even attempt to catch legendary Pokemon, they're elusive and extremely powerful. He'd have to put up a hell of a fight to even weaken one, so I'm looking forward to the next chapter for sure.

Sid87
8th June 2012, 2:48 PM
...Cliff hanger lord! x3 I really enjoyed the battle scene, you handled the multiple points of focus very well with the pace of the story, once more you really felt yourself in Sammy's shoes. Nothing else that I noticed, really - too caught up - but I really enjoyed this. Well done~! x3

Thank you!






Review time!


This sentence is quite flawed. First off, you miss either 'of' or 'about' (Sam thought of letting her our ... or Sam thought about letting her our) and the second part is just weird. Notice the bolded part? It makes no sense to me whatsoever.

How about: "Sam thought of letting her out of her Friend Ball thinking that stretching her eager, little legs would make her happy, but it quickly became obvious that all she wanted was to run about the deck of the cargo ship."

Just a suggestion, but that sentence definitely needs to be rewritten.

I keep re-reading that sentence, and it makes perfect sense to me. Does anyone else have a thought on this?



Hmm. "You should worry about saving yourself." ?

Well, yeah, but that is intentional. As I wrote them before, Sinnoh-ese isn't these guys' first language. So their Sinnoh-ese is a bit broken. And conjugating verbs is usually the hardest thing to do in translation, so that's what I keep having them screw up.



So Barry has all three starters? Kinda strange considering how rare they are.

I figure it makes sense given that he works with Rowan. :)


Overall, I really, really liked this chapter. It was action-packed and I'm amazed by the fact how you could maneuver so many battles at the same time; I'd probably have hard time with a simple double battle. We also got more glimpse into Chispa's personality which, although eager and rash, got them into trouble (with Barry's rashness simply worsening the issues). But the cliffhanger was amazing and I could just imagine a giant, destructive sea wave approaching their ship. Though it was to be expected after Prinplup's Surf attack apparently didn't work ... ON THE SEA! XD

Great chapter, I'm really interested in where Sam and Barry will wind up.

I'm glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for your comments!








Never been on a boat, but don’t they have food available to buy? Or have buffets? Or is that my wishful thinking?

Well, you are generally right, but they aren't on a cruise or a luxury liner; they are onboard a cargo ship that is owned privately by the Phoenix Corp., and they are stowaways. They can't exactly just walk into the mess hall and order some food. :)


That’s really all I saw for mistakes. The chapter was good overall, it was an action-packed chapter and you described everything well and in a frantic way, as an action scene should be. My only suggestion is to perhaps add more emotion in action scenes. I say this because there was emotion before the fight started, but not during, and not after (maybe Sam is scared, but there’s very little about it, just a description of what he feels). Keep it up! Hope to see a chapter as soon as you can get to it.

Ah, I could see that. Good call, makes sense. I will keep that in mind for the future. I was getting a sense that the battlefield was harried and Sam wouldn't really have time to sort out his feelings much, but still...I could have done more. I will do so going forward!





I liked that whole portion alot. It's odd, I read a few fics where real pangs like thagt never come to the surface. People eat several times a day, and while its okay to not comment on it with every chapter you write, I like the fact that you're calling this to the surface. I doubt I would have thought about that if I was writing the same scene. Hunger can influence mood and decisions in a big way; well, it does with me haha. Good job

I know I'd be miserable if I went 24 hours without eating. :)


And the battle. You actually kinda surprised me. I didn't imagine that your first major battle would be on such a large scale. These group battles can be hard to write because they have so many moving parts, and so many things to keep track of, but I felt like you did an awesome job. One thing that really stood out to me was when the Lairon started attacking Sam. As you know from reading my Fic, I'm no stranger to having Pokemon attack humans, it adds such realisim, especially when you think about the fact that enemy Pokemon know that the Pokemon they're fighting are being commanded by Trainers. Quickest way to eliminate that threat is to get the humans out of the picture. So great job on realizing that and putting that into play.

Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed the battle. On second reading, it's STILL a brief one (I tend to REALLY like interrupting battles, apparently), but it certainly was busy!


Another portion I really liked was Bree's battle in the sky. Putting her up against a Swellow was a tricky challenge. I liked that you called Vlam in to help, which also went to show Bree's weakness against Swellow's typing. It also showed that you were keeping tabs on the characters placement and not forgetting about anyone. One thing that would make it a little more intense (at least for me), would be to add a few more sound effects. The sound Lairon's feet made when they smacked against the deck of the ship, the sound the water made when it sprayed across the ship when Prinlup used water gun. That in no way is saying that the battle wasn't good, because I loved it. Brilliant job, and I'm going to expect nothing less from you from now on when it comes to battles ;)

I'll keep the note on describing the sounds and sights of things in mind. :)









Wow, what I say? Nice job, so it's a time skip fic in a way. I defiantly got to say I like both of your characters, Tommy and Sammy. You've done nicely with giving them some good background story and characterization. Your description is also exceptional, you did good on describing the Caterpie's feelings about battling, its area, and both of the boys. I totally called Caterpie pulling a String Shot out of its butt and immobilizing Vlam like that. I also like how you convey Sammy's feelings in regard to being made fun of and that was a great reference with him being picked on for being a "Bug Catcher". Overall a nice chapter and I look forward to how you develop the characters, a tad shorter then I thought so this review for this chapter isn't very long. But, your grammar is clean and nice as well. I wonder if we'll ever see this Miah character.

You know...I, too, have wondered whether Miah will ever comke back or not. And even I haven't decided. So...maybe!


Chapter 1

Interesting, so Sam a.k.a Sammy is older and apparently in possession of his bro's Ninetales, Vlam and his Caterpie, a female one(nice job on describing the differences in genders about the species), Bree is now a Butterfree. So, if the time skip is correct that means Sam is now 25, you did good on describing why such things are done by with the whole diseased Delcatty infecting the Glameow population. Description was great, and I wonder why Vlam is now his? I'm speculating that Tommy ends up dying and leaves Vlam to his brother. Nice job showing off the annoyance regarding the woman and Sam.

You did the math, right (and are the first person, I think, to verbally say so, so good work!).


Chapter 2

Wow, I was not expecting a death to occur so early. Samuel's death seemed pretty tragic and seems to be because of the lack of a stop light/sign where one is needed. This is interesting, and also after another time skip, this time by only a few years rather than 15 shows that the boys seemed to have aged and Tommy managed to get strong enough to make it far in the tournament and reveals he has new Pokemon. I liked his strategy with that sort of "double-confusion" thing regarding Vlam, interesting and unique indeed, haven't ever heard it. For a second I thought the police was just gonna take a seat to watch the battle, but this was an emotional ending indeed. We, the readers, never knew Samuel so we probably didn't really have too many strong feelings over his death as you wanted us to emotionally, but I wonder how it's gonna affect the brothers.

I like that you named Sammy and Tommy's dad because I'm pretty sure I never did. But you REALLY have him set as "Samuel". If I did call him that, congratulations: you paid more attention to my story than I did!


Chapter 3

So over the years, I'm assuming, Samuel's death pretty much made Sammy a bit more rougher around the edges. I mainly think this cause of that comment about him being Sam now, instead of Sammy. Interesting that Professor Rowan and Samuel worked together in those younger years. Characterization for Vlam and Bree was nice, with Bree appearing to be a tad eccentric and Vlam appearing to be annoyed at the younger Pokemon's behavior. So, Sammy came to Sinnoh for the Lake Trio. The only reason I think he would come for the Lake Trio is because he wants to use them to bring his father back to life, or something of that nature. I wouldn't be surprised if that is the case, or if it involved his brother too. Maybe he will use the Lake Trio to help him get a grip on his emotions? I don't know, but I all I know for sure is, the plot thickens and everything can possibly go terribly wrong since the Lake Trio can eliminate emotions from human beings if they want to. The chapter sizes seem to fluctuate quite a bit as well.

The chapter sizes ARE a bit all over the place due to the early goings being a LOT of my feeling everything out and deciding where to go. They should be more consistent for the rest of the story.


Chapter 4


The characterization in this chapter was great, we get some backstory on Sam and learn that he's managed to become quite the battler and he's caught many new Pokemon. Vlam's evolution was because of his victory prize Fire Stone gift to Tommy. Indeed, the death of their father has taken a toll on not just Sam, but Tommy as well basically a lack of attendance at school has caused him to sadly fail. He gave up his future for his brother's sake, that shows the bond and emotion between the two and it shows he really does care a lot for his bro. For a second, I thought you were referring to Sam's Tangrowth rather then it being Miah. Sam has a tourney coming up, that's something to look forward to. But, overall a nice chapter for some character interactions and such. Barnabus is a unique name.

Chapter 5

Nice in-depth description at the beginning of the chapter. I like how he's a tad sensitive about Vlam and Bree being Poke Ball'd and how the Lake Trio being caught is such a sensitive matter. My previous speculation regarding Tommy being dead turned up true, interesting to say the least. Well, not so dead more so, immobile I guess. Interesting, so these are Sam's goal, finding the Lake Trio to help heal his paralyzed brother. It's a shame he forgot his Pokemon and everything ever since the stroke, what an awful thing to happen. I wonder how Sam is going to even attempt to catch legendary Pokemon, they're elusive and extremely powerful. He'd have to put up a hell of a fight to even weaken one, so I'm looking forward to the next chapter for sure.

Well, Nine chapters in, and the legends haven't even appeared yet. I like the Lake Guardians a lot, though, so I intend on treating them respectfully. Thank you so much for your comments!

Chibi Pika
10th June 2012, 6:54 PM
Hello there, I have finally returned, and this time I am all caught up!


Tommy had given his brother a normal life despite their parents both being dead. Sam, in return, gave him a rock. He buried the letter back in the trash where he found it and headed to his room to study Geometry.
Oosh. Now there's a powerful line.


I'm actually quite liking how the story is told out of chronological order, because it makes the progression of events feel more interesting than just knowing everything right away.

The image of Vlam curling around Rowan’s feet and the hopefulness that her analysis of his character provided felt like they had happened to someone else he might have read about in a story. All he could think of was his rage at useless so-called medical experts. And his brother’s black, emotionless eyes.
This is a wonderfully well done passage that sums up a lot of things at once, from the main character's emotions, to hints at what happened in the past, to setting a strong mood.

And I've got to say, I was actually quite surprised to see that his brother's plight was so very...down-to-earth and realistic. It somehow strikes the reader differently than the typical larger-than-life events of the Pokemon fandom. But then also has a very logical connection to the Legendaries, which will likely cause some larger-than-life events as a result, so we've got a very interesting balance of story elements.

Where previously the professor had spoken to him respectfully, possibly even affectionately, his words were now sharpened with the points of lecture. Sam knew he was being scolded, an insolent child who thought himself too big for his britches.
This is a great way to use flavor for describing someone's style of speech, and several of them at that.

Sam hated wondering if he himself could ever be so selfless with his life because he feared he’d not like the truth of the answer.
I always like it when a character is forced to question whether or not they would be selfish in something, because it really is a serious, uncomfortable question.

“I would never make so little of your pain as to say that I know what you’re going through, Sam. My parents both lived full lives, and my sisters are both with me today and have given me beautiful nieces and nephews. What you’ve gone through is awful. But it doesn’t answer the question of why you think the legends can help you.”
I really like how this response of his was written. It has a very genuine feel, and also manages to slip the reader more information about Rowan. That's one thing I really like: your prose very frequently multitasks, and it does it well.


Olol, I love Chispa, and I think it's neat to give Sam another Pokemon.


“How did I know you were looking for the lake? Yeah, like I’d be such a good assistant to Professor Rowan if I wasn’t out here waiting for some dumb foreigner to miss his turn.”

“Assistant?”

“Yeah. You’re late, by the way. I’ve been here all day. Just for that, I’m fining you a million bucks!”
Oh lolz, it's Barry! Yessssss. I loved Barry in DPPt, he was a wonderful change of pace after the (imo) borring supporting characters in Gen 3, and he is likewise already amazing here.

“Anyway, the turn you missed is back here a ways. I uprooted some bushes and used them to cover it up. I thought it’d be funny to watch you wander on past it.”

Sam wanted to have Vlam set this kid on fire. It was suddenly the only thing he’d ever wanted in his life.
FFFFFFFF, Barry. Barry is amazing. And I just love the wording of "It was suddenly the only thing he’d ever wanted in his life." Lines like that are always great. x3

Sam’s eyes opened to find the beeping permeated his reality, as well. No, he thought, the beeping was real to begin with, and it had crawled into his nightmare. The next thought he had was that Barry was not only wide awake, but he was standing upright, staring across the water. As Sam regained more of his bearings in the awakened world, his ears let him know the sound seemed to be coming from the direction Barry was looking.
I can attest that this frequently happens to me, but while it is usually an alarm clock, here it was actually the next bit of plot. Interesting.

Sam tried to imagine whatever creature was making the mechanical beeping noise being intimidated by his flannel sweatpants and white tank top, but it seemed all-too-unlikely.
Ffffff...Sam's narration just gets more and more golden with each chapter.

Sideburns scowled in response and let out another roar that did not sound like the friendly invitation to drink coffee and sort this all out that Sam had hoped for.
Pfffft, this is hilariously similar to a line from Spencer waaay in the future of LC. (I'm sure this comes as no surprise.)

Sam sputtered a few words, but nothing pointed was coming to him as he tried to imagine his brother meeting women. It was a disturbing thought, broken up by Tommy’s laughter. “Oh man, you need to see your own face, Sammy. I think I just broke your brain.”
I loved Sam's reaction here. xD And Tommy's trollish intent behind the line to begin with.

Barry finally settled back down. “This plan is failsafe. We’re totally going to find out what the Phoenix Shipping Corporation is up to. You know, as long as they don’t do anything dastardly like bounce around.”
Stop murdering me with Barry's dialogue! xD

“Nope. Just gonna play this by ear.”

“Okay, yes. Tell me, what is your ear playing right now?”

Barry scratched his chin with his index finger. “Hm. Walk in. Find the receptionist or accountant or CEO or whoever’s at the front desk. Say ‘why were those guys performing illegal construction at Lake Verity?’ in a very menacing voice. Get answers.”

“Yep, that’s pretty good. But how about instead of that, we do anything else?”
Anything else. xD Damn, these two play off each other wonderfully. Really, adding another character to banter with Sam added tons of flavor to the story.

“It’s a cargo ship.” Suddenly, it was Barry who sounded exasperated at Sam, “And the cargo being loaded was labeled ‘Acuity Project’.”
The way that middle part is worded doesn't feel like a dialogue tag so I don't believe it should be followed by a comma.

A total of five more crates, labeled just as the ones Barry had seen had been, were loaded onto the deck.

The repetition here kind of throws off the flow. I'd ditch the "had been" as the sentence's meaning is still apparent without it.

Some of the crates were as small as compact cars, others were as large as an storage unit.
Wrong article there (probably a typo). Also this technically should have a semi colon to avoid being run-on. While I do advocate the use of strategic run-ons to influence the flow of narration, that doesn't appear to be the intent here.

Before the Corphish could right itself, Prinplup blasted it with a concetrated burst of water from it beak for good measure.
Typo here. I'm surprised spellcheck didn't catch it.


And dang, that last chapter certainly ended on an intense note. You've got me hooked, I can say that much! Looking forward to more! ;)

~Chibi~;249;;448;

Sid87
13th June 2012, 12:15 PM
Chapter 10

Sam had just finished putting away the dishes, and he looked around the kitchen. Spotless again. Ever since Tommy’s stroke, he had gotten pretty good at keeping the house in order. It wasn’t so hard, he thought, it was merely just about keeping your promises to yourself that you would do it. If Sam made sure to vacuum and dust and wash the dishes just a little each day, it only took a little bit of his time, and things never got out of control. Besides, it was his job to clean up now that he was the man of the house. He was the only one in the house, at that.

He set his dishtowel on the rack next to the sink and turned the knobs to the stop the water pressure, but the water didn’t let up; he tried again, but the knob just spun loosely in his hand. The water was unstoppably filling the sink, and he knew soon it would fill his home. The drain wouldn’t be able to handle the deluge, and it would overflow and fill the kitchen and then the living room and then whole house and then his lungs--

A noise from the living room distracted him. It was the sound of someone moving about. Sam poked his head around the corner of his cyan-colored divider wall and saw Tommy up and out of his hospital bed. He was disconnecting all the wires and machines that had been monitoring his health.

“Hey, Tommy. You can’t do that. You’re in a coma; you have to take it easy.”

“Am I?” Tommy asked, looking down at his hands and then up his forearms. “Am I in a coma?”

Sam nodded.

“I don’t feel like I’m in a coma. I think I’m dead. Is that why you can see me? Am I dead?”

“You might be.” It did make sense to Sam. If Tommy was dead, then that would explain why he could see and talk to his older brother.

Tommy pulled the last IV out of his arm and came forward to hug his brother. Sam felt the tears well up in his eyes as he burrowed his face into Tommy’s shoulder. For being dead, Tommy felt really soft. Sam wished his brother wasn’t so dead.

“I’m sorry I died, Sammy. I really didn’t want to leave you.”

Sam’s tears were an irresistible force, and they flowed into the sleeve of Tommy’s favorite sweater, the blue one with the grey, horizontal stripe he wore twice a year at Thanksgiving and Easter. Sometimes on Easter it would be too warm for a sweater, so Tommy would pull it out of his closet anyway put it on a third chair at their dinner table and tell Sam that the sweater wanted to celebrate anyway. They would always put a plate of food in front of it and joke that the reason it didn’t eat was because it didn’t want to burst at the seams. It was really funny.

“Sammy, you have to go to school soon, so I think you should go get a bath.”

Sam agreed. Now that his brother was dead and awake, Sam could start going to school again. He would tell Miah Vanderbelt that Tommy came back to him, and no one in Miah’s family would do that for Miah. That would really get him good.

He rushed up the stairs and turned the bathtub on; it seemed to take a long time to get the water temperature right. No matter how much he fidgeted with and manipulated the knobs, the water still came out extremely cold. Sam studied the water pouring out of the tub faucet. It reminded him of something from earlier, but he couldn’t remember what. He tried to think...after he came home from school, he did the vacuuming. What else?

“Is the water right?”

Sam was startled out of his thoughts by his brother’s words. He ran his hand under the spout one more time. The water was warm now. “Perfect,” Sam answered. He turned the water off and hopped over the wall of the tub into it. His hand scooped water up and run it over his other arm, rubbing it clean through his shirt sleeve.

“Is it making you clean?”

“It is. I feel a lot better, Tommy.”

“Is it washing away your sin?”

“What sin? What are you--”

Sam’s words were cut off by Tommy’s hands around his neck. His brother’s face was flush with red now, and his pupils were tiny. His blonde hair was completely disheveled. Arched eyebrows punctuated his rage. “You forgot about me!”

Sam tried to argue that he never did, but Tommy’s hands cut the words off at his throat and they died there, unspoken. His brother continued, “You were supposed to stop me from dying, but you didn’t! You went all the way to another country because you promised me you’d get the legends, but instead you went chasing after that bird.”

The bird. Sam remembered now. Tommy made him promise to catch the legendary pokemon, but he forgot about it and started trying to find it instead. The legendary pokemon would have woken Tommy up from his coma; what would that stupid phoenix have done for either of them?

Tommy’s hands forced Sam under the bath water, and the tub spout was running again. There was too much water above him and too much weight pushing him into it. All he could see as he looked up was Tommy’s malice weighing him down. Sam wondered if he’d still be able to see Tommy now that he was dead.



Sam sat up suddenly and gulped the air around him. He swallowed one sharp breath followed by another, followed by another. There wasn’t enough air in the white room to fill his lungs; he needed more! Something... there was something in his nostrils. He yanked the plastic tube out with force; it was coming between him and the air that he needed. He needed all of it. Sam heard words, but they were nonsense. To his left, he saw Barry. Barry’s mouth was moving and words were coming out, but none of it made any sense to Sam; the speech was garbled and hollow. Rowan’s assistant’s head turned and he began shouting his echoing gibberish to someone else. Several people in white uniforms flooded his vision and pushed Sam flat back onto the bed in which he lay. These were the same people that couldn’t help Tommy back home, and they were here now to not be able to help him, either. He just needed air; he just needed to breathe, so why were they resisting him? Something pricked Sam’s arm, and he felt his opposite hand slap one of these people. They were trying to put him back to sleep; they were trying to take his air away. Sam wanted to continue swatting at them, but there must have been weights attached to his hands now, they were so hard to move. The people positioned the object back into his nostrils while Sam begged them not to. He heard one of them start counting, and then Sam’s world faded to black.



When Sam’s eyes opened again, he immediately realized he had no idea how long it had been since he was awake the last time. The fluorescent bulbs gave no hint of the daylight (or lack thereof, Sam pondered) outside. Another hospital room full of artificial light and artificial life; Sam’s body shuddered.

“So are you going to spaz out again or what?”

Sam turned his head at the sound of Barry’s voice and was surprised at how sore his muscles were and how much effort he had to exert just to get his neck to cooperate. When he had woken up last time, he moved with much less discomfort. The joys of adrenaline, he thought. “No. No, I’m sorry about that. I was really out of it, I guess. Where are we?”

“Snowpoint Hospital.”

“How long have we been here?”

“Not that long, really. Maybe a day?”

Sam’s mind refused to stop sending in questions as he rubbed the IV in his right arm. The feeling of the catheter under his skin was unsettling, but it was hardly at the forefront of his mind. A lot of things must have happened since Barry’s surf attack. “Let’s just skip ahead and I’ll ask one question that is all the questions: What happened?”

Barry nodded. “I might have underestimated the potency of that wave attack back on the boat.” Barry let out a chuckle and rubbed the back of his head. “It knocked the whole thing over on its side. I had Prinplup--” Barry paused and looked upward for just a moment before meeting Sam’s eyes again. “I guess that’s ‘The Artist Formerly Known As Prinplup’ at this point, but I had him round you and those other guys up and take us all to shore. It took a few dives to get all of them, but it wasn’t tugging at my heart to make them wait a few minutes while I saved you and me, you know?”

“Did you get them all?” Sam knew firsthand what being in that water was like, and he wouldn’t have wished it on anyone.

“Dude, are you auditioning for sainthood or something? I did, but damn. Okay, the first guy that Monferno chucked I messed up on and felt bad about. But after that, they jumped us without any explanation. Screw’em.”

“Where are they now?”

Barry shrugged. “Don’t know. Don’t care. Not all of them were in shock and half-drowned like you were, so I just left them on the shore to fend for themselves. If I stayed there and played junior paramedic with them, I was running the risk of... well, something happening to you. I put as much distance between them and us as I could, and then I called the ambulance.”

Sam wanted to ask Barry how he could have left people who were soaking wet out in the freezing weather, but he found it extraordinarily hard to scold someone who’d just busted his hump to save Sam’s life. “Thanks,” was all that he could get out.

“Think nothing of it. Hey, did you catch that part where I oh-so-subtly hinted that my Prinplup evolved after all this? It was awesome! I mean, he did beat, like, fifteen pokemon at once. Oh, and you. He beat you, too, I guess.”

The thought of Barry’s pokemon shocked Sam to attention and reached down to where his pockets should have been. He found only the warm skin of his thigh, uncovered by his hospital gown under the bed sheets. “Where are my balls?”

Barry froze, his tongue caught beneath his teeth, staring at Sam reaching downwards under his sheets. A smile spread across his lips. “... Heh heh...”

“My friends!” Sam corrected, the thought of what he just said dawning on him. “The balls with Bree, Vlam, and Chispa. Where are those?”

Barry pointed to a tall, narrow closet next to the restroom door. “You had them secured. They’re with your clothes in there.”

Thank god, Sam thought. He clearly remembered recalling his friends into their transportable form, but he hadn’t any idea if he managed to hang onto their pokeballs during the wave. Relief settled the panic inside him as quickly as it had arisen just seconds ago.

“The good thing in all this is that those guys aren’t making it to Lake Acuity. So that part turned out well, right? I guess we can let Rowan know that we put a stop to them in that regard, (let’s not tell him how, though). I wonder if we should think about heading to Lake Valor next and see what the odds are that they’ve got guys working there by now...”

Barry trailed off, now pondering their next move to himself. Or maybe it only seemed like Barry got quieter as Sam went into his own mind. He had come all the way to the northern-most area of the continent, and now Barry wanted to leave without ever having visited the lake. Uxie, the second of the Sinnoh lake guardians and the being of knowledge, could be right under his nose, and already Barry was planning for moving on. Knowledge. Sam recalled Tommy in his hospital bed, unable to think or remember anything about his life.

“Barry, I--”

“No, I got this already. We’re not going to stress you out. I’m going to call and book us some bus tickets. Nice and leisurely this time. Getting on that boat was a stupid idea, and I coulda got you killed. We’re gonna do this next one the right way.”

Sam wanted to reply, but what could he say? This was important to Professor Rowan, and the professor had already done so much to help Sam. He set Sam up with Barry, he gave him the rental car and supplies, he treated Sam’s mad plan with respect after it was explained to him. And couldn’t these two plans come together? Sam could always come back to Lake Acuity later if he needed to. Until then, going with Barry could only ensure the safety of the third of the guardians, Azelf. Really, what was the downside of continuing on with Barry?

“You forgot about me!” The words from his dream earlier echoed in his mind. Sam rationalized to himself that it was not that he was forgetting about Tommy--he was doing this for Tommy, in fact. The goals were not mutually exclusive.

Barry was lost in his thoughts, probably preparing for the bus ride he’d mentioned, so Sam sat and fidgeted with the oxygen tube in his nostrils. Even now that he had his wits about him, it was annoying and uncomfortable. Sam felt embarrassed by his outburst earlier. What was he supposed to tell the nurses when they came back in? Sorry I tried to assault you; I thought my comatose brother was trying to murder me in a bathtub for breaking a promise to him. Yeah, that’d go over gangbusters. He’d probably get an all-expenses-paid trip to the psychiatric ward for forty-eight hours.

Sure enough, shortly after that thought, a pair of young nurses did enter the room to check Sam’s vitals. He was humbled yet again when he realized he was so caught up in himself earlier, he had no idea if these two were there when it happened. He elected to just say nothing and try not to dwell on it; it was surely not the first time hospital staff saw a patient erupt like that. The shorter brunette nurse said something about his blood pressure being a little high; Sam couldn’t help but laugh. After that, they asked him to fill out the paperwork he obviously was incapable of doing when the paramedics brought him in. As Sam filled in his insurance information, he wondered if any insurance company in the world would ever touch any children that he might ever have. He imagined his family’s last name would be on every insurance company’s blacklist for the next three generations. We’re sorry Mr. Stark, an insurance company would tell his hypothetical son, but apparently car accidents, strokes, and falling in the ocean are all pre-existing conditions in your family.

Sam was pleasantly surprised when the nurses informed him that he was healthy enough to leave whenever it suited him now that he was awake and aware. His body had recovered from the state of shock, and there was no frostbite damage. It had been far too long since any medical staff gave Sam good news, so he didn’t question it. Sam announced he was going to change into his clothes--which the hospital had so kindly laundered for him, he was told--and Barry couldn’t get out of the room fast enough.

“Did I tell you Prinplup evolved?” Barry called out from the other side of the door as Sam pulled his polo shirt over his head.

“You actually did.”

“It was pretty awesome. It beat, like, twenty pokemon at once.”

“And me.”

“Yeah, he beat you, too. Hospitalized you! So you better think twice before you mess with me, buddy. More where that came from.”

Sam heard the smile in Barry’s voice, and it lifted his spirits. Barry was happy that Sam wasn’t badly hurt. And not just in the sense that he was generically happy he didn’t accidentally kill a man; there was something more to it that Sam couldn’t put his finger on.

“All right, I’m done,” Sam called as he pulled up his zipper.

“Are you sure?”

Sam stared at the door between them, incredulous. “No, I forgot to put on my underwear and pants, oops. Yes, I’m sure. I know how to dress myself.”

“Can’t be too sure,” Barry said as he opened the door and walked back into the room. He plopped himself down in the chair that was next to Sam’s hospital bed and seemed engrossed in his phone. He must have felt Sam’s eyes on him, because he held up the device and just said “Ordering bus tickets.” Then he went back to work on the keypad.

Sam grabbed the three pokeballs in his pocket. He had no clue what he would have done if he hadn’t managed to fasten them before the wave hit. It’s possible that Prinplup would have been able to recover them just as it had rescued Sam, but if not... the thought was too awful to continue. Sam redirected his brain. Next time it came up in conversation, he needed to ask Barry the genders of his friends; Sam felt bad just calling Prinplup an ‘it’ in his head.

A knocking on the door to his room pulled him out of that thought.

“Come in; I’m dressed.” Sam winced at offering that. It made it sound like there was a perpetual valid concern that he might not be.

The man who walked through his door was not hospital staff. Immediately, Sam noticed he had the same skin tone as the men from the two crews he and Barry had encountered. He was clearly not any kind of laborer like they had been, however. He was flawlessly dressed in a pinstriped grey suit and solid red necktie. His thick black hair was meticulously styled to the right side, arching slightly upwards as it parted. No, this man certainly never worked a day of his life on a construction site. He was tall, too; at five-foot-eleven, no one had ever accused Sam of being short, but this man was a solid three or four inches larger than he. He had no facial hair, but he did have a glowing smile.

“Mr. Stark and Mr. West?” As Sam and Barry affirmed his inquiry, he continued. “It’s a pleasure to meet you boys. For transparency’s sake, I will let you know I am here in direct opposition to my lawyer’s advice. But I am certain we can discuss whatever it is we need to like the civil gentlemen I’m sure we all are. I told him I had every faith we could sort all this out.”

Lawyer’s advice? What was going on here? “I’m sorry, sir; I’m a little confused. I must have missed your name...”

The man blinked slowly and bobbed his head. “No, I’m afraid I forgot to give it. My apologies. I am Henrique Alonzo. I am the President of Phoenix Shipping Corporation.”

diamondpearl876
14th June 2012, 2:07 AM
Sam had just finished putting away the dishes, and he looked around the kitchen. Spotless again. Ever since Tommy’s stroke, he had gotten pretty good at keeping the house in order. It wasn’t so hard, he thought, it was merely just about keeping your promises to yourself that you would do it. If Sam made sure to vacuum and dust and wash the dishes just a little each day, it only took a little bit of his time, and things never got out of control. Besides, it was his job to clean up now that he was the man of the house. He was the only one in the house, at that.

For some reason I find this beginning paragraph particularly heartbreaking. Probably because Sam goes from saying he's doing it for Tommy to realizing that he's alone and that Tommy isn't even there. Sam's growing up.


For being dead, Tommy felt really soft. Sam wished his brother wasn’t so dead.

Oh, geez. It goes from being vaguely heartbreaking to super heartbreaking. I like it, you're doing a good job portraying emotions and evoking them from readers.


They would always put a plate of food in front of it and joke that the reason it didn’t eat was because it didn’t want to burst at the seams. It was really funny.

"It was really funny" sounds pretty informal and outlandish here, I'd just remove it. Saying it was a joke means it's funny enough.


The people positioned the object back into his nostrils while Sam begged them not to. He heard one of them start counting, and then Sam’s world faded to black.

Not sure why this whole paragraph has 2 spaces separating it from the paragraph before and after it. It doesn't really add anything, in my opinion.


Hey, did you catch that part where I oh-so-subtly hinted that my Prinplup evolved after all this? It was awesome! I mean, he did beat, like, fifteen pokemon at once. Oh, and you. He beat you, too, I guess.”

LOL, poor Sam. Amusing dialogue here, I like it.


So that part turned out well, right? I guess we can let Rowan know that we put a stop to them in that regard, (let’s not tell him how, though).

Having parenthesis in dialogue is really... odd. O:


As Sam filled in his insurance information, he wondered if any insurance company in the world would ever touch any children that he might ever have.

This sentence seems worded a bit oddly, might just be me, though. Took me a few read-throughs to get it. Though the next few lines after this were amusing. Sam's musings never seem to amuse me.


He must have felt Sam’s eyes on him, because he held up the device and just said “Ordering bus tickets.” Then he went back to work on the keypad.

Still need a comma after "said"

Overall, a good chapter with a lot of development on Barry's part, I think. He went from being really reckless to really caring about others and trying to restrain himself from being stupid. Sam also is learning a lot about priorities. The cliffhanger was a nice touch and I'll be looking forward to next chapter. Congrats on your vacation/wedding, and hope to see you soon.

Janovy
14th June 2012, 8:49 AM
Um, wow ... those dream/nightmare sequences were pretty damn scary especially with Tommy drowning Sam though I can't say I didn't expect. You know, due to the whole drowning thing in the previous chapter and then suddenly him making his bath, it was kinda obvious. Nevertheless, it was still frightening. We also learn that Sam made a promise to his brother to catch a legendary bird, Moltres? Ho-oh?

I feel like there was foreshadowing in this chapter, I'm not really sure.

And yes, Barry was amusing as always - I really liked him in this chapter. I especially liked his oh-so-subtle way. :P
I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next! Until then, keep writing! Also, congratulations on your wedding, haha :D

Sidewinder
15th June 2012, 3:09 AM
It wasn’t so hard, he thought, it was merely just about keeping your promises to yourself that you would do it.

I really liked that line. Obviously it speaks volumes to Sammy's motivation and reveals alot about what he's doing and why he's doing it. It such a simple thing to think of, but it applies to both what he's doing in the dream sequence and his actual reality. Wonderfully done


“Is it making you clean?”

This line feels really odd to me for some reason, and I don't really think it's needed. I don't have anything you could replace it with, but it kinda broke the flow of the story for me.

I also liked the portion with Tommy forcing Sam under the water in refrence to him starting to drown in the previous chapter. These kind of dream sequences have always really appealed to me and I thought you did a good job on this one. I can say that I wouldn't have thought of something like this, and you transitioned to the next portion really well.


“Let’s just skip ahead and I’ll ask one question that is all the questions: What happened?”

This is another sentence that feels off to me for some reason. I think it would sound better like:

"Let's just skip ahead to the only question that matters: What happened?"


It took a few dives to get all of them, but it wasn’t tugging at my heart to make them wait a few minutes while I saved you and me, you know?”

Question. When Barry's Pokemon summoned the enormous wave, it flipped the ship, right? If that's the case and he had to dive down and get the sailors, did they really all last that long? Underwater is such a tricky enviroment to work with, especially since you can't breathe underneath, and the one thing that kept bothering me was if Barry was really able to save all of them. Being down there for several miutes would take their chances down alot, and if he had to dive to get them, I'm really surprised they all survived.


“Think nothing of it. Hey, did you catch that part where I oh-so-subtly hinted that my Prinplup evolved after all this? It was awesome! I mean, he did beat, like, fifteen pokemon at once. Oh, and you. He beat you, too, I guess.”

Hah! I really like Barry after this. To be honest, when he was first introduced I was hoping he wouldn't be a regular character because I didn't like the way he spoke or his attitude at all, but after a statement like that, I'm really starting to like him. I'm wondering, how old is he? I feel like you mentioned it earlier but I can't remember how old you said he was. That statement seemed so natural coming from him and if it didn't involve Pokemon I would have thought you had heard it or said it somewhere before. Nicely done


Barry pointed to a tall, narrow closet next to the restroom door. “You had them secured. They’re with your clothes in there.”

I'm glad you brought that up. However, the placement seems off to me. I felt like that should have been the first question he asked. Not only because of Chispa and Bree, but Vlam especially. Vlam is the one link Sammy has of Tommy while he's traveling, and it just seems a little odd that that's not the first place his mind raced to. I know that his thoughts would be frantic waking up in the hospital like this, but that's what would go through my head.


“It was pretty awesome. It beat, like, twenty pokemon at once.”

That part made me laugh as well. I love how proud he is and how the number that Prinplup defeated keeps jumping every time around.


I am Henrique Alonzo. I am the President of Phoenix Shipping Corporation.

Yikes. Nice cliffhanger. This part really has me curious. Obviously he's going to be pissed about what happened, and being the head of a corporation makes the lawyer angle seem organic, but at the same time he's obviously in the wrong with all the drilling and stuff. I found myself wondering though, does his company have permission to do what they've been doing? As far as I know, Barry and Sammy have no concrete evidence that the Phoenix Corporation doesn't have the permits/permission/whatever to do what it's been doing. Judging from the aggressive behavoir of its employees, they don't, but the lawyer's knowing of the situation makes me wonder if they do. Hmm

All in all, I really liked the chapter. I'm glad that everyone came out relatively unscathed, and you provided some more insight into Sammy with the dream sequence he went through. I'm looking forward to what Mr. Alonzo has to say, keep it up

Doryuzu
15th June 2012, 4:37 PM
Chapter 6

My only real complaint about this paragraph is the large box of text at the beginning. I suggest splitting it into two(or three) so it's easier to read and navigator through without losing your place. Barry is a pretty good character at times for me, in PokeSpe, the Anime, and the games I've found times where I like his character, and times where I'm very annoyed by his character. I mainly like the PokeSpe version of him. In-regards to Barry being a lab assistant that's a bit hard to believe, don't get me wrong I don't dislike Barry. But, Rowan doesn't seem like the type of person who would have a high understanding and tolerance for someone like Barry, such a hyper attitude and he seems quite immature. His interactions were nice for the most part, and I liked them.

Chispa, the newly caught Shinx is pretty cute. I liked her interactions with Vlam and Bree, especially how she was protective of Vlam to an extent in warning her about Bree. Oh, and that reminds me that Sam has all female Pokemon now, that's usually unlikely but interesting. Nice cliffhanger ending btw, Sam's dream about Tommy blaming him for it all is something I can't wait to see more. This makes me think of Darkrai with the bad dream.

Chapter 7

So, there's a group of people doing illegal stuff at the Lakefront, interesting. For a sec I thought it might be Team Galactic, interesting that it isn't. I liked how cautious Barry was of them and how he immediately called Rowan, that shows he isn't immature 100 percent of the time. I was susprised how Bree easily dispatched Sideburn's Hariyama, it almost seemed to quick and easy. Nice description of the accents and accented characters. So, Barry and Sam are heading back to Rowan's lab. Putting Sam's goal on pause for a bit. Interesting that Sam was all "not fair" when Sideburns battled. I also really wonder why Barry and Sam expected grown adults to give them paperwork. Overall, a solid chapter.

katiekitten
17th June 2012, 1:57 PM
<3! I loved the development in this chapter, the syncing together of his dream and his drugged-up state was lovely. :3 The disjointed nature of the dream, where he wasn't thinking, he was just acting and the dream scape was shifting around him without him registering it: awesome. xD And what a cliff hanger...!


Sam heard the smile in Barry’s voice, and it lifted his spirits. Barry was happy that Sam wasn’t badly hurt. And not just in the sense that he was generically happy he didn’t accidentally kill a man; there was something more to it that Sam couldn’t put his finger on.

Now that was a delightful little detail added in there, the comment about how happy he seemed- it just makes me wonder a little more about him and his past. :3 We don't know much about him, do we? His open personality leads you to feel like you've known him a while, and that he's just like any kid- but to get his pokemon so high levelled (although I guess that in itself isn't particularly unusual), his can-do relationship with Rowan all insinuates an interesting past, and this little tidbit just reminded me. x3

<3 Well done with slipping this in with everything, and I hope you have/had a lovely honeymoon! :D Sorry for the lateness of this review, too - been caught up. D: Told myself though that if I was going to procrastinate anyway, I might as well fulfil my obligations. xD

Sid87
22nd June 2012, 9:04 PM
For some reason I find this beginning paragraph particularly heartbreaking. Probably because Sam goes from saying he's doing it for Tommy to realizing that he's alone and that Tommy isn't even there. Sam's growing up.



Oh, geez. It goes from being vaguely heartbreaking to super heartbreaking. I like it, you're doing a good job portraying emotions and evoking them from readers.

Thanks. I'm glad you connected with those scenes. :)



"It was really funny" sounds pretty informal and outlandish here, I'd just remove it. Saying it was a joke means it's funny enough.

I was actually trying to convey the airy, ethereal, informal feeling of a dream; that's why I went with a few lines like that. If I wrote that chapter over again, I'd actually have not used anything other than short, declarative sentences to keep it like that. Ah well.


Not sure why this whole paragraph has 2 spaces separating it from the paragraph before and after it. It doesn't really add anything, in my opinion.

Yeah, I can see that. I was trying to keep the scene break from being too abrupt, but I didn't like the extra spacing, either.


Overall, a good chapter with a lot of development on Barry's part, I think. He went from being really reckless to really caring about others and trying to restrain himself from being stupid. Sam also is learning a lot about priorities. The cliffhanger was a nice touch and I'll be looking forward to next chapter. Congrats on your vacation/wedding, and hope to see you soon.

Thank you for the well-wishes. It was a nice vacation, and I'm unhappy to be back. :)




Um, wow ... those dream/nightmare sequences were pretty damn scary especially with Tommy drowning Sam though I can't say I didn't expect. You know, due to the whole drowning thing in the previous chapter and then suddenly him making his bath, it was kinda obvious. Nevertheless, it was still frightening. We also learn that Sam made a promise to his brother to catch a legendary bird, Moltres? Ho-oh?

No...the bird stuff was just Sam's brain thinking about the word "phoenix". Didn't mean to be confusing there; there is no legendary bird involved. :)


I feel like there was foreshadowing in this chapter, I'm not really sure.

And yes, Barry was amusing as always - I really liked him in this chapter. I especially liked his oh-so-subtle way. :P
I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next! Until then, keep writing! Also, congratulations on your wedding, haha :D

Thank you!





I really liked that line. Obviously it speaks volumes to Sammy's motivation and reveals alot about what he's doing and why he's doing it. It such a simple thing to think of, but it applies to both what he's doing in the dream sequence and his actual reality. Wonderfully done

Thanks!


Question. When Barry's Pokemon summoned the enormous wave, it flipped the ship, right? If that's the case and he had to dive down and get the sailors, did they really all last that long? Underwater is such a tricky enviroment to work with, especially since you can't breathe underneath, and the one thing that kept bothering me was if Barry was really able to save all of them. Being down there for several miutes would take their chances down alot, and if he had to dive to get them, I'm really surprised they all survived.

Well I tried to have Barry explained not everyone was in the same situation as Sam (pinned under a crate, plummeting). The others were [mostly] just washed up in the cold. And, I figure, some of them had water-types, too. But I see the point. But then, Barry didn't really care that much about them in that moment. Suffice to say, he did his best. :)


Hah! I really like Barry after this. To be honest, when he was first introduced I was hoping he wouldn't be a regular character because I didn't like the way he spoke or his attitude at all, but after a statement like that, I'm really starting to like him. I'm wondering, how old is he? I feel like you mentioned it earlier but I can't remember how old you said he was. That statement seemed so natural coming from him and if it didn't involve Pokemon I would have thought you had heard it or said it somewhere before. Nicely done

I'm glad you're getting into Barry; I've had fun working with him. I think I had off-handedly mentioned he was 17 once? But maybe I'm misremembering. I might not have remembered to say so.


I'm glad you brought that up. However, the placement seems off to me. I felt like that should have been the first question he asked. Not only because of Chispa and Bree, but Vlam especially. Vlam is the one link Sammy has of Tommy while he's traveling, and it just seems a little odd that that's not the first place his mind raced to. I know that his thoughts would be frantic waking up in the hospital like this, but that's what would go through my head.

Hm, good point.


Yikes. Nice cliffhanger. This part really has me curious. Obviously he's going to be pissed about what happened, and being the head of a corporation makes the lawyer angle seem organic, but at the same time he's obviously in the wrong with all the drilling and stuff. I found myself wondering though, does his company have permission to do what they've been doing? As far as I know, Barry and Sammy have no concrete evidence that the Phoenix Corporation doesn't have the permits/permission/whatever to do what it's been doing. Judging from the aggressive behavoir of its employees, they don't, but the lawyer's knowing of the situation makes me wonder if they do. Hmm

All in all, I really liked the chapter. I'm glad that everyone came out relatively unscathed, and you provided some more insight into Sammy with the dream sequence he went through. I'm looking forward to what Mr. Alonzo has to say, keep it up

I think people MIGHT be surprised by what Henrique is here for. Maybe. :) Hopefully. So stay tuned. Things will be shifting soon...





Chapter 6

My only real complaint about this paragraph is the large box of text at the beginning. I suggest splitting it into two(or three) so it's easier to read and navigator through without losing your place. Barry is a pretty good character at times for me, in PokeSpe, the Anime, and the games I've found times where I like his character, and times where I'm very annoyed by his character. I mainly like the PokeSpe version of him. In-regards to Barry being a lab assistant that's a bit hard to believe, don't get me wrong I don't dislike Barry. But, Rowan doesn't seem like the type of person who would have a high understanding and tolerance for someone like Barry, such a hyper attitude and he seems quite immature. His interactions were nice for the most part, and I liked them.

In a few chapters from now; we'll be getting the Barry/Rowan backstory. It's been in place for a while, and it will make their working relationship make a lot of sense (I hope!).


Chispa, the newly caught Shinx is pretty cute. I liked her interactions with Vlam and Bree, especially how she was protective of Vlam to an extent in warning her about Bree. Oh, and that reminds me that Sam has all female Pokemon now, that's usually unlikely but interesting. Nice cliffhanger ending btw, Sam's dream about Tommy blaming him for it all is something I can't wait to see more. This makes me think of Darkrai with the bad dream.

That WOULD be an interesting twist, wouldn't it...?


So, there's a group of people doing illegal stuff at the Lakefront, interesting. For a sec I thought it might be Team Galactic, interesting that it isn't. I liked how cautious Barry was of them and how he immediately called Rowan, that shows he isn't immature 100 percent of the time. I was susprised how Bree easily dispatched Sideburn's Hariyama, it almost seemed to quick and easy. Nice description of the accents and accented characters. So, Barry and Sam are heading back to Rowan's lab. Putting Sam's goal on pause for a bit. Interesting that Sam was all "not fair" when Sideburns battled. I also really wonder why Barry and Sam expected grown adults to give them paperwork. Overall, a solid chapter.

Thanks. And you mentioned something that will be brought up later, but I shan't be saying which part. ;)






<3! I loved the development in this chapter, the syncing together of his dream and his drugged-up state was lovely. :3 The disjointed nature of the dream, where he wasn't thinking, he was just acting and the dream scape was shifting around him without him registering it: awesome. xD And what a cliff hanger...

Thanks! :)


Now that was a delightful little detail added in there, the comment about how happy he seemed- it just makes me wonder a little more about him and his past. :3 We don't know much about him, do we? His open personality leads you to feel like you've known him a while, and that he's just like any kid- but to get his pokemon so high levelled (although I guess that in itself isn't particularly unusual), his can-do relationship with Rowan all insinuates an interesting past, and this little tidbit just reminded me. x3

Like I just said...there is a definite backstory behind Rowan and Barry, and I'm really glad people are intrigued by it, because it is definitely part of the story. I agree they don't seem to blend together, but there is a reason...


<3 Well done with slipping this in with everything, and I hope you have/had a lovely honeymoon! :D Sorry for the lateness of this review, too - been caught up. D: Told myself though that if I was going to procrastinate anyway, I might as well fulfil my obligations. xD

LOL. Well I'm glad you liked it.

Sid87
5th July 2012, 1:35 AM
Chapter 11

It was pretty basic as far as world history goes.

Sometime around three hundred years ago or so, the country of Kanto was the first civilization on the planet to learn that pokemon could be both efficiently captured and trained to work with humans. The Kantoans discovered the process by which they could transform pokemon into high-frequency, unstable energy that could be contained in a mechanical orb that would harmonize the energy signature and keep the creatures in stasis. It was all very technical and would require a science class to understand rather than a history lesson. As pokemon were brought from out of the wild and into households, it was found that the energy stasis aided in relaxing them and making them more peaceful and pliable to working with humans.

Well, humans being humans, Kanto barely had time to take a deep breath with their new friends before the Premier of Kanto decided that the best way to use this new technology was on a national defense level. Pokemon may have been living creatures, but they were creatures with tremendous offensive potential, as well as hides that were highly resistant to many of the weapons of the day. Within a few decades, Kanto had a huge militarized pokemon force. There was an Air Force of precision Charizards, flying through the skies with more maneuverability than the most advanced jets of the age and blasting pure flame at their enemies. Then there was a Navy of raging Gyarados, able to withstand and attack from the harshest depths of the ocean and swimming circles around helpless submarines. And this was to say nothing of an infantry of Machamps and Gravelers, shredding tanks into heaps of scrap as artillery bounced off their massively powerful bodies. The Kantoan armed forces became the world’s most dominant power overnight by ignoring mechanical weapons and using instead the ones with which nature had surrounded us.

Johto was quick to accept the offer of annex that Kanto had offered. Being close to Kanto in both proximity and relations, they knew what kind of military force the Kantoans had at their disposal, and they happily agreed to peaceful surrender into what would become Kanto’s burgeoning empire. After that, Kanto turned its eyes to the rest of the northern continents and launched an invasion next on Sinnoh. The history books would tell you that war lasted thirty-eight days and was more than a little one-sided. It was such an overwhelming and popular victory that General Rayner, who oversaw the action, was swept into office as the next Premier of Kanto after Premier Jordan retired.

It was apparently said back in those days that the Kantoan empire spread around the north more quickly than water from a spilled glass across a countertop. So many countries deferred without a struggle, it was debated throughout the history texts as to what even constituted an official war or battle. It was not until Kanto turned its gaze southwards that it encountered its first true resistance.

As tales of the limitless Kantoan military force circulated the globe, the southern continent of Hoenn began work on its own pokemon armed forces. They had struck an alliance with the resources-rich region of Unova, and were able to develop their own pokemon technology in a fraction of the time it had taken Kanto so many years before. When the Northern Empire began moving south, Hoenn was able to strike back at them with a ferocity they’d not yet encountered. Not only was Hoenn suddenly a near-equal military foe, but they had species of pokemon at their disposal that the North had only sparingly seen before.

The Century War was the name given to the hundred-plus years of relatively endless battles between Kanto and its Northern Empire and Hoenn and the United Southern Continents. It was said to have been the most brutal war in the history of the world, no doubt helped by the fact that quite a few unsavory characters came into power during that time. Premier Gardner was a brute who came into power midway through the century and was known to order the torture of southern prisoners in order to extract information. President Stewart of the south had a penchant for sending attacks to areas densely populated with non-military personnel in an attempt to terrorize the north into turning on their leaders out of fear. The casualities, of both human and pokemon, were innumerable.

Fortunately, most of these vicious ploys backfired. As Kanto and Hoenn continued a war in which neither side made much progress in expansion, new philosophies were quickly spreading throughout their citizens. The idea that pokemon were living, feeling creatures that should not be used as tools of war was taking hold in the hearts of the public. When the empire started, people had only known pokemon as wild animals, but when the technology to catch and train them became more widespread, humanity found these creatures to be powerful, yes, but also smart and empathetic. What started as a few sparsely-attended meetings would turn into government petitions and then into large-scale rallies. The populace decided they wanted the pointless war they grew up under to end, and they wanted pokemon free from their shackles as military weapons. On both sides of the equator, politics became inundated with people who shared these new progressive lines of thought, and the world started changing, even if slowly. The war between north and south lessened and finally came to a halt with the signing of the Scott Treaty--named for Premier Scott who proposed it--and Kanto granted independence to the regions under its empire that wanted it. Pokemon were taken off of the battle field and put back into the wild, as well as in households, sanctuaries, and stadiums where they could enjoy playful, sanctioned battles under the watchful eye of medical professionals and rights activists.

Still, even though the military actions had ended, there was still tension between the northern and southern continents. Hate and prejudice doesn’t tend to quite fade away, even after so many decades; it stays simmering, just beneath the surface. The two sides maintained strictly separate cultures and traditions. Tourism was low between the hemispheres due to the harassment foreigners faced in each region. The World Pokemon League only sparingly had special events between northern and southern regions since riots were so frequent. Society on a global scale may have shifted towards a peaceful and progressive attitude, but individuals were still very full of insecurities and distrust; despite the new age of enlightenment, the separate regions sometimes seemed like they were still worlds apart. That was why it was so odd to Sam.

“You speak really good Kantoan for someone from Hoenn, Mr. Alonzo.”

“Thank you, Mr. Stark. I’d be poorly equipped for the travels and meetings my position requires of me if I were anything less than fluent in the world’s most relevant languages, but I still appreciate your attention and compliment.”

“Yeah, we’re all--”

This time Sam cut Barry off. Barry’s voice had an edge to it, and Sam knew that this meeting had to be played a little more tactfully that what might have been in his partner’s repertoire, “How can we help you, Mr. Alonzo?” Obviously he was here because Sam and Barry had destroyed so much of the Phoenix Corporation’s property, and for that reason, it seemed best to just play dumb for as long as they could get away with it.

“Please, Mr. Stark. I’m not so uncouth as to walk into a man’s hospital room and expect a him to assist me in the midst of his recuperating . At the moment, I’m afraid I simply want to tell you that I am happy you and your associate are in good health, and I would very much like to meet with you when you are feeling well enough to leave here.”

“Yeah well, it’s your lucky--”

“I’m sure we can arrange that, yes,” Sam again cut Barry’s impetuousness off at the pass. “Hopefully I’ll be able to leave shortly here since I’m doing all right. How would we go about finding you when we do?”

“I’ve a room at Snowpoint Resort. It’s under my name. I’ll tell the front desk to be expecting you so that they can direct you to my suite.” Mr. Alonzo extended his right hand, and Sam took it. Mr. Alonzo’s handshake was sturdy, but not intimidatingly so. “Again, I’m very pleased that you seem to be recovered.”

Sam thanked the President of the Phoenix Corporation for the comment, and Mr. Alonzo turned out of the room. Barry began to speak, but Sam shushed him; it was ridiculous to think of a successful businessman leaning over to listen at doors, but Sam imagined this was the kind of man who would do anything it took to get what he wanted. A minute passed, and then two, before Sam finally broke the thickening silence.

“Well that was odd.”

“I was going to ask if you two wanted to be alone for a second there. What was with all the playing nice-nice?”

“It’s the old ‘honey versus vinegar’ concept.”

Barry stared at Sam and wore a vacant expression. “What?”

“You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. It pays off more to be nice than abrasive.”

“I am not familiar. Why are we catching flies?”

“It’s not... we’re... it’s just a saying--”

“You know what catches the most flies? A fly swatter.”

The fly swatter analogy was actually a pretty good metaphor for Barry, so Sam merely nodded in reply.

“So what’s the play here? Are we actually going to this jerk’s hotel room? Or are we getting the heck out of town?”

Sam looked back to the door through which Henrique Alonzo had just left. He hadn’t really had an answer to that yet.

---

“So, hey, if I invite you guys into this very obvious trap, do you think you could, you know, walk right into it?”

“Why yes, I do believe that is what we’ll do. We'd love to.”

As their banter suggested while they trudged through the streets of Snowpoint City—streets that were buried in over a foot of snow despite the calendar’s clear indication that it was the tail-end of spring--Sam and Barry were convinced that Henrique’s invitation was nothing short of sinister. It made perfect sense: why would he refuse to talk to them inside a crowded hospital and then invite them to a secluded suite? Given Sam and Barry’s short history with Mr. Alonzo’s employees and property, why was he even so gracious and personable to them? Unless, of course, he was guilty of something, Sam determined. And if he was guilty of something, what were the odds he’d continue to be so pleasant?

“So, seriously, why are we actually going to his place when we openly agree it’s a trap? This is a dude who’s catching flies. What’s he using?”

Sam rubbed his chin with his thumb. “Well, he was nice to us, so he’s using honey. According to the saying.”

Barry shook his head. “Are you sure you have that right? Like, shouldn’t it be bees? Bees want honey. Not flies.”

“No, bees make their own honey; they don’t want honey. It’s like...you don’t have to go out and get hair. You make your own.”

“Bees make honey like people make hair?”

“That analogy really got away from me. Look, I didn’t make the saying up. I can’t answer for it.”

“It’s a dumb saying.”

Sam shrugged and backpedaled to Barry’s original question. “The reason we’re going there is that it’s really the only lead we’ve got. We can keep bouncing from lake-to-lake trying to stay ahead of these guys, but that’s hardly ideal. For all we know, they've already been to Lake Valor, anyway. Besides, running makes us look like the bad guys here. We’ve got nothing to hide, so why take off like criminals?”

“Because the real criminals are luring us into a trap?”

“I can’t really refute that.” Sam was going to continue, but he felt a large chunk of snow slide down his boot and wet his socks. It eliminated everything else from the front of his mind. “Seriously? God. What is it with this town? We’re, like, three weeks away from the first day of summer.”

“Higher altitude and further from the equator. Good skiing, though.”

“You ski?”

“No.”

“Oh.” Sam went back to ruing the snow in his shoe. When he was young, around Barry’s age, he’d started keeping track of all the things he’d do if he ever got elected to power. The list was simply for fun, as Sam had never had any political aspirations, and its contents were haphazard. He’d periodically rule on matters like banning certain foods he didn’t like and making television programs he did (but felt were underrated) mandatory viewing. He hadn’t thought about that list in years, but his mind flashed to it here; he decided he would make snow illegal. He could already feel the dampness pooling at the bottom of his sock and wrinkling the flesh on his toes.

When this kind of weather hit Goldenrod City, the city shut down harder than if an army was invading. School was cancelled days in advance, stores would only open a few hours at a time--and even then only to sell necessities--and nobody left their house unless they had just about chopped an entire arm off. Snowpoint, conversely, was apparently oblivious to its conditions. The sidewalks were full of people going about their lives, and every building Sam and Barry passed was open for business. Even the roads had their fair share of traffic, most certainly helped by the plow trucks that came by each block every 25 minutes like clockwork. Sam tried to imagine what the carnage would be like on the streets of Goldenrod during this kind of weather, but his brain couldn’t do it; when it snowed at home, the vehicles vacated immediately.

Snowpoint Resort was a ski lodge in the most classic sense. It spread out over the course of several miles of property, and its claim to fame, besides the immaculate slopes, was the lodges themselves. They were fashioned from wood, but—according to the pamphlet Sam was given at the hospital when he informed the nurse he’d be heading there—contained all the amenities of home, such as a jacuzzi, individual heating controls for each room, king-sized beds, and theater screens. Whose home did they get these amenities from, Sam couldn’t help but wonder. The attendant at the front desk informed Sam that Mr. Alonzo was staying at the Coronet Suite; it was a large cabin on the fringe of the resort boundary. Doubt crept into Sam’s head and told him that perhaps Barry had the right idea of just ignoring Mr. Alonzo’s invitation and moving on with their lives. A private suite with no adjacent rooms or guests, at the edge of a posh resort? In Snowpoint, no one can hear you scream, Sam thought.

As they approached the cabin door, Barry announced that he did not want to be the one who knocked on Alonzo’s door. Whether this was because he wanted to absolve himself from blame if the meeting went sideways or because he thought the door itself might attack him, Sam didn’t care. At this point, it was just a matter of getting it done with. And getting his wet feet out of the snow.

“Mr. Stark and Mr. West!” Henrique Alonzo beamed as he opened the door and waved for them to enter. “Thank you so much for coming. I was looking forward to your visit.”

“Wouldn’t miss it.” There was still a crust to Barry’s voice, but at least his words were pleasant enough.

“I know it seemed so odd that I came to your room at the hospital only to stay so briefly. I was torn, you see, between wanting to meet with you in person rather than sending a proxy and not wanting to disrupt your rest. I just hope I didn’t come across as…well…”

Sam could tell Henrique was searching for the right word and decided to spare him the trouble. “Please, don’t worry about it. We thought no such thing.”

Mr. Alonzo smiled and nodded lightly. He then motioned towards the sofa in his suite and shut the door behind the three of them. Sam took one last look back to see the outside world disappear behind the wooden door.

“May I offer you both something to drink?”

“Vodka on the rocks.”

Sam soured his lips at Barry in disapproval, even though he was mostly sure his partner had been joking. “We’ll both take coffee; that’d be great. It's pretty cold out there.”

Henrique reached down to the intercom on the glass endtable next to the black leather couch. “May I have two coffees in the Coronet Suite? We have cream and sugar here in the room.”

Sam’s muscles relaxed, and he realized he didn’t even feel himself tense up when Mr. Alonzo reached for the phone as if it had been a pokeball or a gun. “Thank you.”

Mr. Alonzo settled into the extravagant-looking couch and crossed one leg over the other. “Gentlemen, I’m sure we could make meandering small talk and not really say anything for quite some time, but I respect you both, so I’m going to get to the heart of the matter. I am aware of the…,” he paused and seemed to yet again mull over a selection of what to say, “incidents you’ve had with my employees.”

In a way, Sam was relieved by Mr. Alonzo’s directness. At least it eliminated the stress of wondering what this meeting was about. “Yes, those incidents have been quite unfortunate…”

“I assure you both, I accept that my men were at least half to blame in those—“

“Yeah, at least,” Barry interjected, emphasizing the last word. Sam shook his head at him, but Mr. Alonzo just chuckled.

“My men are not quite as well-versed in your language and culture as I am. Not to mention that most of their interactions here in your country haven’t been ideal. They are threatened a lot. They get screamed at that they are stealing jobs from the people of Sinnoh. When they go shopping for supplies or groceries, store clerks follow them around as if they would steal anything they could fit under their shirt. They’ve gotten used to everyone’s default reaction to them being racism and jingoism.”

“I’m very sorry to hear that,” Sam said, and he was. His trip to Sinnoh hadn’t been marred by any of that, but then again, he didn’t know what it was like to look and speak differently than the citizens there. With Mr. Alonzo presenting these facts to him, Sam remembered he'd always heard others say that people from the Hoenn area were thugs and criminals…did he let that color his actions when he encountered them?

“Well, so am I, because I fear that when you both showed up, it lead to their attacking you because they felt as though you were the aggressors. Either there to attack them or sabotage the machinery.”

Sam’s sympathy turned to skepticism here; the entire crew of construction workers and heavy machinery handlers were intimidated by a high school student and a recent college grad? It seemed unlikely, but Sam said nothing. Mr. Alonzo was being very gracious, and there was no reason to start challenging him yet. Sam was thankful to find that even Barry was holding his tongue.

“Their actions cost me quite a substantial amount in equipment, to say nothing of the lost hours of labor or transportation costs. But sometimes that is just the price of business.” Mr. Alonzo leaned back into the couch. Sam nodded, but could think of nothing else to add. Mr. Alonzo switched gears. “You both have no doubt figured out that I’ve come here for the legends of Sinnoh, right?”

Sam nearly choked on his own tongue; He and Barry had certainly suspected that, but to have Mr. Alonzo so freely admit to it was beyond what he’d imagined. What a brazen thing to say, Sam thought. “We… well… yeah. We kind of figured that, of course, but—“

“You’re aware that poaching legendary pokemon is illegal, right?” Barry spat, “Why would anyone just come out and admit to that?”

"Poaching?" Mr. Alonzo, the pitch of his voice rising. "No, not even close, Mr. West. Let me ask you a question: When a farmer needs assistance raising his crops, is it poaching when he catches a Gloom to encourage their growth? When a demolition crew catches a Rhyhorn to help them tear down a building and remove rubble, is that poaching? Or is it poaching when a hospital uses an Audino to heal an injured person's minor bruises or superficial injuries?"

Barry raised an eyebrow. "That's three questions."

"Pokemon are a huge part of our daily lives. But we don't even know all about them. We have pokemon that transport us to our jobs. We have pokemon that work on construction sites to help us build. We have pokemon that battle in stadiums to entertain us. But these are just rudimentary day-to-day duties. They do these things because they are strong or because they can manipulate plants, sure. But what about the legendary pokemon?"

Sam's mouth was dry suddenly, and he wished the coffee had made its way to the cabin. What was Henrique Alonzo talking about, and why was it making Sam uncomfortable?

"People talk about legendary pokemon, and we're talking about abilities that range from controlling the weather to manipulating time and space and everything in between. Think about how that could benefit humanity, gentlemen. We could stop storms and natural disasters in their tracks before lives and property are lost. We could erase our greatest mistakes from history; no more Century War and the hate it spread between our regions." Mr. Alonzo opened his arms wide in front of him as if to emphasize the scope of his ideas. "We could have perfect knowledge and understanding of the world around us. I've not come here to capture Sinnoh's legends or put them on display. I've come here to find them and get them to use their powers to benefit mankind. All of us. "

"They don't belong to mankind, though; they belong to the world." Barry's words shocked Sam out of his laser focus on Henrique's words. Sam had been engrossed in the thoughts, but Barry had wasted no time in having a rebuttal. "Do you really think it's in anyone's best interest to corral pokemon that can control time? Or human emotion? Yeah, gee, what's the worst that could happen there, right?"

"And those abilities are safer unmonitored in the wild?"

"Considering that, historically, the legends basically just putz around on their own, hide, and not mess with us? Yeah, I'd think so. They don't go around using their powers on a whim, so they're probably a lot smarter than we are."

Sam watched as Barry and Mr. Alonzo went back-and-forth. What was Barry saying? Wasn't he with Sam to help him get the lake guardians so that Sam could heal his brother?

"Your view of what these pokemon could mean to the world is awfully short-sighted, Mr. West."

"And your view of how gracious and well-meaning humanity would be in the face of these possibilities is awfully wrong-sighted."

Mr. Alonzo tilted his head down and smiled. Slowly, he shook his head a few times as if he were pardoning himself from engaging in a verbal battle with Barry. "I see your point of view, Mr. West, don't get me wrong. And I also get that you must feel very confident in expressing it. After all, you and Professor Rowan have had the legendary pokemon of Sinnoh hidden away and protected for quite some time now, haven't you?"

Sidewinder
5th July 2012, 9:04 PM
It was pretty basic as far as world history goes.

I found myself confused here. I liked the description of the past events, and I’ll touch on it in a moment, but the placement of the sentence and the description of the events before we get back to real time felt oddly placed to me. I remember leaving off with the head of Phoenix bombing in, and when I picked up on this chapter I almost forgot what was going on in the previous chapter. Is this portion dialogue?


the creatures in stasis. It was all very technical andwould require a science class to

Need a space between the bolded portion


Gravelers, shredding tanks into heaps of scrap as artillery bounced off their massively powerful bodies

I can see where you were coming from with Machamp, but I’m a little biased against Graveler…My friend Dorian could tell you more about why :P



“You speak really good Kantoan for someone from Hoenn, Mr. Alonzo.”

So it was Alonzo talking the whole time?

Anyway, I liked the backstory on the regions. It always seemed logical to me that there would be wars between the regions in the past as well as presently. Since all of them are bound by how much they can grow because of the size of their regions, it makes perfect sense to go to war over territory expansion. I felt like it was a tad bit too rushed in a few spots, but all in all I liked reading your version of the past, and I hope you expand more on this in the future.



“Thank you, Mr. Stark. I’d be poorly equipped for the travels and meetings my position requires of me if I were anything less than fluent in the world’s most relevant languages, but I still appreciate your attention and compliment.”

You did a good job putting him apart from other characters with his proper speech and general aura of importance. He seems like a snake to me. His words have a sharp edge to them that I like quite a bit



The fly swatter analogy was actually a pretty good metaphor for Barry, so Sam merely nodded in reply.

My thoughts exactly. I’m actually liking Barry more with each chapter



“No, bees make their own honey; they don’t want honey. It’s like...you don’t have to go out and get hair. You make your own.”

“Bees make honey like people make hair?”

“That analogy really got away from me. Look, I didn’t make the saying up. I can’t answer for it.”

“It’s a dumb saying.”

That made me laugh. You actually are getting more of a knack for comedic chapters as time goes on and I’m enjoying it quite a bit. Is this something you’ve been actively trying for, or do you have situations like this planned out in advance?


They’ve gotten used to everyone’s default reaction to them being racism and jingoism.”

When I saw the word ‘jingoism’, I actually had to look it up because I had never heard it before. Nicely done.


"Poaching?" Mr. Alonzo, the pitch of his voice rising. "No, not even close, Mr. West. Let me ask you a question: When a farmer needs assistance raising his crops, is it poaching when he catches a Gloom to encourage their growth? When a demolition crew catches a Rhyhorn to help them tear down a building and remove rubble, is that poaching? Or is it poaching when a hospital uses an Audino to heal an injured person's minor bruises or superficial injuries?"

That portion stood out to me as well. Nice iron slap to the face of Barry haha. This man’s way with words and the obvious power he has is starting to make me think he’s a lot more dangerous than Sammy and Barry believe. I’m starting to like this character quite a bit. Wonderfully done



"Considering that, historically, the legends basically just putz around on their own, hide, and not mess with us? Yeah, I'd think so. They don't go around using their powers on a whim, so they're probably a lot smarter than we are."

And Barry’s back!

Anyway, nicely done on this chapter. The only portion I didn’t really respond to was the beginning with the history of the Century war. The placement just seems so off to me that it wasn’t until closer to the middle of the chapter that I really got back into it. Don’t get me wrong I loved the history but I just felt like it could have been a bit better if it was a little more fleshed out instead of lumping it up at once.

Good job

Sid87
5th July 2012, 9:27 PM
I found myself confused here. I liked the description of the past events, and I’ll touch on it in a moment, but the placement of the sentence and the description of the events before we get back to real time felt oddly placed to me. I remember leaving off with the head of Phoenix bombing in, and when I picked up on this chapter I almost forgot what was going on in the previous chapter. Is this portion dialogue?

It's not dialogue, no. It's just narration, as affixed to Sam. That's why it begins and ends with the two lines "It was basic..." and "And that's why Sam thought it was odd..." (whatever I actually had those lines say). To go deeper into it, Sam had heard Mr. Alonzo talk and realized he was with the foreigners when he said who he was. So he knew where Alonzo was from. We then get a quick narration into the history of the world that explains Sam's curiousity that Alonzo speaks so well (it also explains the discussion of racism and distrust between the regions that is brought up later). It was meant to be jarring and make the reader think "wait, what the...?", but I also didn't mean for it to be confusing as to who was saying/thinking it. I can say this, though: I'm a stickler for consistent narration, and this story is third-person permaffixed to Sam, so ANYTIME there is narration, it is, even if indirectly, Sam's voice and thoughts.


Need a space between the bolded portion

Boy, you'd think a half dozen proofreadings would have caught that. D'oh!


I can see where you were coming from with Machamp, but I’m a little biased against Graveler…My friend Dorian could tell you more about why :P

LOL...I was going to say "Golems", but it seemed a bit corny to use the fully evolved forms of both, so I just went with Graveler.


So it was Alonzo talking the whole time?

No, but I answered that prematurely. :)


Anyway, I liked the backstory on the regions. It always seemed logical to me that there would be wars between the regions in the past as well as presently. Since all of them are bound by how much they can grow because of the size of their regions, it makes perfect sense to go to war over territory expansion. I felt like it was a tad bit too rushed in a few spots, but all in all I liked reading your version of the past, and I hope you expand more on this in the future.

Actually, my full intention is, assuming enough people enjoy that segment and don't think it is out-of-place nonsense, to do a short-story or two that expands upon the Century War. As it was presented, it was just meant to explain a few things that would/will be important in the upcoming scenes/chapters.


You did a good job putting him apart from other characters with his proper speech and general aura of importance. He seems like a snake to me. His words have a sharp edge to them that I like quite a bit

He's not so bad!


My thoughts exactly. I’m actually liking Barry more with each chapter

Thanks. I really dig the little fella.


That made me laugh. You actually are getting more of a knack for comedic chapters as time goes on and I’m enjoying it quite a bit. Is this something you’ve been actively trying for, or do you have situations like this planned out in advance?

It just kind of comes to me as I plan out dialogue. I imagined Sam using the cliche to describe the interaction with Alonzo, and instantly something in my head shot back "Barry would not recognize that because it doesn't seem relevant to him". And then out spilled all the subsequent discussion of it. The little part of my brain that knows my characters better than my consciousness does often dictates to me what they should say in response to things.


When I saw the word ‘jingoism’, I actually had to look it up because I had never heard it before. Nicely done.

For SOME REASON. it felt to me like I was using a lot of SAT words this chapter. I have no idea why. :)


That portion stood out to me as well. Nice iron slap to the face of Barry haha. This man’s way with words and the obvious power he has is starting to make me think he’s a lot more dangerous than Sammy and Barry believe. I’m starting to like this character quite a bit. Wonderfully done



And Barry’s back!

I had more fun with their back-and-forth than I thought I would. It was initially written differently, but I hated it and replaced it all with better Alonzo/Barry debate. Glad you approved.


Anyway, nicely done on this chapter. The only portion I didn’t really respond to was the beginning with the history of the Century war. The placement just seems so off to me that it wasn’t until closer to the middle of the chapter that I really got back into it. Don’t get me wrong I loved the history but I just felt like it could have been a bit better if it was a little more fleshed out instead of lumping it up at once.

Good job

Like I said, I was going for the jarring effect in hopes of forcing the reader to start paying close attention right away. But, hm, I definitely should have hinted at more of the History Of The World before that part; that would have been better, yes.

I'm curious as to what everyone else's opinion of that segment is... if it was just a swing-and-a-miss on my part or what. I felt like I was taking a risk throwing it in when and where I did, but it might not have worked out.

diamondpearl876
6th July 2012, 1:03 AM
As pokemon were brought from out of the wild and into households, it was found that the energy stasis aided in relaxing them and making them more peaceful and pliable to working with humans.

I like this idea. I think it's been said somewhere that catching a pokemon makes it more friendly but it's not a very implemented idea, and I'm glad you're expanding on that idea a bit.



Well, humans being humans, Kanto barely had time to take a deep breath with their new friends before the Premier of Kanto decided that the best way to use this new technology was on a national defense level. Pokemon may have been living creatures, but they were creatures with tremendous offensive potential, as well as hides that were highly resistant to many of the weapons of the day. Within a few decades, Kanto had a huge militarized pokemon force. There was an Air Force of precision Charizards, flying through the skies with more maneuverability than the most advanced jets of the age and blasting pure flame at their enemies. Then there was a Navy of raging Gyarados, able to withstand and attack from the harshest depths of the ocean and swimming circles around helpless submarines. And this was to say nothing of an infantry of Machamps and Gravelers, shredding tanks into heaps of scrap as artillery bounced off their massively powerful bodies. The Kantoan armed forces became the world’s most dominant power overnight by ignoring mechanical weapons and using instead the ones with which nature had surrounded us.

God I've been waiting for a fic that would say pokemon were used for something like this, LOL. It seems like plain guns and such seems useless with pokemon around.



It was apparently said back in those days that the Kantoan empire spread around the north more quickly than water from a spilled glass across a countertop.

Words like "Apparently" and "Well" that you use make the thing sound informal. I haven't gotten around to the next section yet


They had struck an alliance with the resources-rich region of Unova were able to develop their own pokemon technology in a fraction of the time it had taken Kanto so many years before.

This sentence is a little hard to read when you get to "Unova were able".


Hate and prejudice doesn’t tend to quite fade away, even after so many decades; it stays simmering, just beneath the surface.

I like this sentence. It's true and appropriately said, with little amount of words.


That was why it was so odd to Sam.

Might wanna specify what "it" is, as I was a bit confused at first.


“Please, Mr. Stark. I’m not so uncouth as to walk into a man’s hospital room and expect a him to assist me in the midst of his recuperating .

Misplaced period.


“I am not familiar. Why are we catching flies?”

“It’s not... we’re... it’s just a saying--”

“You know what catches the most flies? A fly swatter."

LOL, these 2 never cease to amaze me together.


He’d periodically rule on matters like banning certain foods he didn’t like and making television programs he did (but felt were underrated) mandatory viewing. He hadn’t thought about that list in years, but his mind flashed to it here; he decided he would make snow illegal.

Lol, I'd like to see him try.


“My men are not quite as well-versed in your language and culture as I am. Not to mention that most of their interactions here in your country haven’t been ideal. They are threatened a lot. They get screamed at that they are stealing jobs from the people of Sinnoh. When they go shopping for supplies or groceries, store clerks follow them around as if they would steal anything they could fit under their shirt. They’ve gotten used to everyone’s default reaction to them being racism and jingoism.”

I like how realistic you make their entrance into the country. I also liked how Sam was so stunned by Snowpoint City, since it was so different frm home. I think one of the themes for your fic involves different cultures and lifestyles, and you portray it wonderfully and intriguingly show how everyone/everything can be so different.


After all, you and Professor Rowan have had the legendary pokemon of Sinnoh hidden away and protected for quite some time now, haven't you?"

The last sentence is very haunting and was a very good place to stop. I look forward to more, as Mr. Alonzo and his troops seem like both good and bad guys here.

Also, I did like the beginning section, though it was a bit long and drawn out. That's all. You may want to explain that Mr. Alonzo is telling Sam/Barry about this at the very beginning, too, so people aren't confused.

Rotomknight
6th July 2012, 6:38 PM
I am delighted that I caught up.
Would you please add me to the pm list.
This due is very fascinating....
What will sammy do. It is like roran is assiting them and wants Sammy to learn but at the same time he hides... Maybe roran wants this to end or maybe he tests the purity of them.
Personally I feel some are ok for humans to use. The emotions could be use in the medical proffesion yes but cyrus proves somethings must be out of bounds. Just keep things up.

PLEASE ADD ME TO THE PM LIST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sid87
7th July 2012, 2:59 PM
I am delighted that I caught up.
Would you please add me to the pm list.
This due is very fascinating....
What will sammy do. It is like roran is assiting them and wants Sammy to learn but at the same time he hides... Maybe roran wants this to end or maybe he tests the purity of them.
Personally I feel some are ok for humans to use. The emotions could be use in the medical proffesion yes but cyrus proves somethings must be out of bounds. Just keep things up.

PLEASE ADD ME TO THE PM LIST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You've been added. Thanks for enjoying it!


I like this idea. I think it's been said somewhere that catching a pokemon makes it more friendly but it's not a very implemented idea, and I'm glad you're expanding on that idea a bit.

That IS actually in the games or something, isn't it? I had forgotten about that. It just came to me as I was writing the chapter, but it's nice to know my subconscious is picking up on things to drop back on me later. Heh.



Words like "Apparently" and "Well" that you use make the thing sound informal. I haven't gotten around to the next section yet

Well, it is still attached to Sam, and I figured since both the opening and closing lines are more directly attached to him, it'd make sense for the segment to be. Because, since the narrator is not omniscient, these things still only "apparently" happened in the past; Sam was not there to definitely say what did or did not. ThoughI could just SWERVE! and make Sam some kind of ageless elder god :)


This sentence is a little hard to read when you get to "Unova were able".

Fixed!


Might wanna specify what "it" is, as I was a bit confused at first.

That's supposed to be slight forshadowing to the next line: the "it" is that Mr. Alonzo has spoken very eloquent English (Kantoan? Sinnohan? Hmmm...) despite being from the South where the cultures are so different.



I like how realistic you make their entrance into the country. I also liked how Sam was so stunned by Snowpoint City, since it was so different frm home. I think one of the themes for your fic involves different cultures and lifestyles, and you portray it wonderfully and intriguingly show how everyone/everything can be so different.

I'm a-tryin'. It's hard to travel and see how different a culture can be, even when it is one similar to yours (and that's usually under pleasant, vacationy circumstances). And, unfortunately, foreigners face a lot of prejudices. It seemed pretty necessary and "real" to incorporate that.


The last sentence is very haunting and was a very good place to stop. I look forward to more, as Mr. Alonzo and his troops seem like both good and bad guys here.

Also, I did like the beginning section, though it was a bit long and drawn out. That's all. You may want to explain that Mr. Alonzo is telling Sam/Barry about this at the very beginning, too, so people aren't confused.

So another not a fan of the beginning. Nerts. And another person who interpreted it as being said by Henrique. Double nerts. I really like that scene, too. At least the general consensus is that the details of the scene were good, but the juxtaposition of it was not ideal.

Knightfall
16th July 2012, 11:26 PM
Well, here I am at last. I’ll split my review into a few separate parts, doing two or three chapters at a time until I’m caught up.



Prologue: 15 Years Ago



“You can stare at it all day, Sammy. It doesn’t do any tricks until you throw it.”

I laughed at this; it sounds exactly what I’d tell my little brother.



“All right, fine. I’m going back home and telling dad you went all catatonic. No friend for you.”

I’ve read ahead some, and now I realize that this foreshadowing is cruelly ironic.



“Noo!” His voice came out with much more whine than he wanted it to, so Sammy swallowed hard and regained himself. “I can do this, Tommy! Don’t tell dad I can’t!” He cursed himself mentally where he knew no one could hear and scold him; he still sounded more whiney than he wanted.

The bolded part doesn’t sound right. I think it should be whinier, though I’m not certain.



On the weekends when they were at home playing video games while dad was at work, Sammy would ask why he didn’t just go out on a date with one of those girls instead, but Tommy’s answer was always just to laugh and say the same thing. ‘Sammy, you’d burn the house down if I wasn’t here!’.

Nothing wrong here, it just sounds like another appropriate older sibling response.



The image of Miah shocked in silence turned to a image of him laughing like a hyena.

I believe that should be an “an”. Anyways, good imagery there.



Tommy’s outburst of laughter disrupted the thought. “Oh man, you caught a Caterpie. You’re going to be such a bug catcher!” Yes, Sammy thought, that’s apparently what I have to look forward to. “Listen,” Tommy continued, “it’s not so bad. I mean, that little guy wasn’t scared of us, so maybe he knows something we don’t know. But the only way for us to figure that out...”

Another great big brother moment, and with the description of the “Bug Catchers” in the last paragraph, I now feel bad for all of the ones I ruthlessly beat in my FireRed game.


Sammy snapped his attention back to Caterpie so quickly, he felt a nerve pinch in his neck, but shook it off. “No, that’s not...come on! What the heck? You just...run at it and throw your body at it, bug! It’s simplest attack in the world!” The Caterpie just continued staring back at him. “Run! You’ve got, like, a dozen little legs!” The creature went back to its leaf, seemingly bored with what the boy was telling it.


Now this passage was humorous. “You’ve got, like, a dozen little legs!” that was great, and it really shows Sammy’s frustration at his new Pokemon.



“So...that’s what it does? It stinks?” In his head, Miah’s friends were now beating him with plastic bug nets.

Another great line and Sammy’s fear of being beaten by bug nets. You’ve done a great job of making this prologue memorable.



Sammy finally felt an enormous smile paint his face. “So wait. I totally just beat you, right?”

And this is exactly what a typical little brother would say.

Anyways, this prologue was decent. You did an excellent job portraying Sammy’s first capture and battle, and you introduced the main character and his humorous elementary rivalry with Miah.
And though it’s the prologue, you also introduced Tommy pretty well. He seems like a caring big brother, and a good battler.
Not too many mistakes that I was able to find, and considering that you’ve had multiple people reviewing this story, I’m not surprised that I found so few.



Chapter 1: Present Day




He snatched the Dusk Ball off of the other side of his belt and squeezed it lightly. An Ninetales emerged from the flash of crimson energy.

I think the bolded should be an “a”, it doesn’t sound correct to me as it is. Though maybe that’s some sort of little known grammar rule I’m not familiar with yet. : )



“Does it feel good to be out of your ball, Vlam?”

And there’s the plot twist. When I first read this, it compelled me to read on, because I wanted to know why Tommy was without his prized Vlam. So good job on that.
Overall, this was another good chapter. Though a bit compressed for my tastes (you know how I write), but not lacking in detail or description at all. The only thing is was lacking in is mistakes, and that’s great.



Chapter 2: Twelve Years Ago




Sammy was so into the moment, he never paid any mind to the man who finally came down the aisle and took the seat next to him. Sammy’s senses were ensnared by the battle; Vlam was lining up her enemy for a flamethrower, and Machoke was certainly about to go down.

We see some more of Tommy, it looks like he is an exceptional battler, and gives us the impression that was his future.



“Samuel Stark?” the man next to Sammy said, oddly enough like it was a question.

“It’s about time you got here, dad. You’ve been missing Tommy’s first ever quarterfinals. You’re lucky he didn’t realize you were late. Even luckier that I’m not going to break his heart and tell him.”

The man’s arm reached out to Sammy’s shoulder. “I’m sorry, son. I’m not your father.”

This puzzles me, how would he not know his own father’s voice? Maybe it was because he was paying close attention to the battle that he didn’t notice?




Officer Trufant rubbed his mouth with his hand. “He was pulling out of the hospital and was involved in an automobile collision with a tractor trailer. He was thrown...,” the officer stopped there and seemed to reconsider what he was about to say. “It just doesn’t look very good. You and your brother need to come with me to see him. We’ve arranged for an escort for the both of you, and several of my fellow officers are outside waiting for us.”

I have a family member who was involved in a car crash (they’re fine), but when you first get the news it makes your heart stop wondering if they’re alright.



“He didn’t make it, I’m sorry. He passed just a few minutes ago.”

Sammy’s initial thought--a thought he would regret countless times over the next several months--was that he cost his brother the tournament for nothing. It was immediately replaced with the realization that he and his brother were alone now. Mom died of cancer when Sammy was three, and now dad was gone, too. Tommy was all he had left.


That’s horrible, though it makes for good plot development. Now that Tommy’s his only family left, it makes sense that he would go through such extreme measures to help him.

Another good chapter, you wrote the battle scene very well, even though it wasn’t the main focus of the chapter. I also liked the detail you put into Sammy’s mind while in the police cruiser. Denying that his dad was really in critical condition and that it was all some sort of prank, very well written.

Not much criticism from me, I’d surprised I found anything even remotely wrong with this.
I’m working on the review for the next few chapters, sorry this one took so long to actually post, life got in the way.

Knightfall signing off…;005;

Sid87
17th July 2012, 2:05 AM
Chapter 12

Sam had nothing. He had no words or thoughts or actions. His brain was preoccupied with processing what the President of the Phoenix Shipping Corporation had just said. Just when it seemed like he was on the verge of accepting it, something inside him replied “No. No, that can’t be right” and forced him to reconsider it. Barry having had the lake guardians all this time? It was inconceivable. Implausible, even.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Barry answered Mr. Alonzo’s claim. And he couldn’t have known. There was just no way he had the legends. None.

“He doesn’t know,” Sam agreed, but his voice was so tiny, he wasn’t sure if Barry or Mr. Alonzo even heard him.

“Mr. West,” Henrique smiled softly, “my company and my people and I have been here in Sinnoh for months. We’ve examined every inch of those lakes. We’re relatively sure the legends aren’t there. The only reason we’ve still been excavating the areas is to look for signs of their current whereabouts. But when we realized they were missing, we started digging in a different fashion: we asked around. Most people...well, most people still don’t even believe the legends are real. They think that they are just a nice fairytale to tell their children at bedtime; a simple tale of powerful, benevolent pokemon who’ve inspired the human race. But some people do believe in them. And some of those people started telling us rumors they’d heard.”

Barry was unflinching. “Well, rumors. I guess if you’ve heard some rumors then there’s no way you could be refuted--”

“We started hearing about the Church of Cyrus.”

Barry’s left eye twitched, and he suddenly lost the ability to response to what Mr. Alonzo had said. Sam thought he heard a grunt coming from Barry’s clenched mouth.

“Yes, that. We know about that. And, what’s more, Mr. West, we know that after that affair, you and Professor Rowan hid the legends to protect them. Now, I would never blame you for that, son.” Mr. Alonzo placed an arm around Barry’s shoulders; Barry’s face recoiled at the act, but he did not physically resist it. Sam wished he knew--he needed to know--what Barry was thinking. “You and Professor Rowan did an admirable thing then. But I’m not them. I’m not those men. I just told you why I want the legends. It’s not even that I ‘want’ them--I shouldn’t have said it like that--I think the world needs them. I think the world is owed them. There is so much good that they can do.”

“And I told you,” Barry finally replied, his voice throatier than Sam had heard it before, “that they don’t belong to humanity.”

Wait, what? That didn’t make any sense to Sam; why wasn’t Barry shooting down the rumors about this Cyrus church thing? Why had his argument regressed to being about who the legends do or do not belong to? This guy had just accused Barry and the professor of some massive conspiracy, and Barry was letting it go. Barry and Mr. Alonzo were still debating just feet from Sam, but his ears weren’t processing the sound of their words. There was no reason for Barry to ignore the more important accusation there. Unless...

“You son of a *****.”

Henrique and Barry both froze mid-sentence and turned towards Sam. Their widened eyes showed that each man thought Sam’s quiet accusation was referring to him. Sam’s sense of reason fled him, and he charged Barry. As his shoulder drove into the young assistant’s stomach and crashed them both through the door to his cabin, Sam thought he heard Mr. Alonzo let out an exclamation of shock. It didn’t matter. All that mattered was what Barry knew. His legs continued driving himself and Barry several feet from the door before finally slamming Barry down to the snow-covered ground. He dug his fingers into Barry’s wild blonde hair to hold him in place.

“Son of a *****!” Sam was much louder this time. “You knew the whole time!”

“Sam! My head! Stop--”

“Do you know? Tell me the truth!”

Barry cried out in pain again. “I know! I know, okay! Let me go, and we can talk--”

Sam’s rage deepened at Barry’s confession, and he moved his hands down to Barry’s face, grabbing at the skin around his eyes and nose and mouth. “You saved my life! You pulled me out of that lake! And for what? So you could lie to me some more? So you could keep me from them?” His fingernails dug into Barry’s skin.

Sam felt Barry’s hand moving around down by both of their legs and realized the young man was going for one of his pokemon to help remove him from the situation. Sam let Barry grab onto one of his pokeballs just so he could swat it out of Barry’s hand and helplessly into the snow.

“No!” Sam shouted. “This is about us, not them! You damn liar! You saved my life; for what? So I can go back to my brother and tell him I can’t help him? So I can tell him I let him down? So I can say those words and know he can’t even hear them? Is that why you saved me? You should have just let me die!”

Sam was shocked by the words that came out of his mouth. He had been yelling on instinct and adrenaline, and that’s what spilled forth. He felt the tears on his cheeks and couldn’t even remember when he’d started crying. “You should have just let me die,” he repeated as the strength left his body and he rolled off of Barry. As he lay face-up in the cushiony snow, all he could think about was Tommy. Lifeless Tommy was stuck in his hospital bed with no one there to be with him, and Sam had been continents away, running around and trying to solve other peoples’ problems. And those other people had no intention of helping Sam; they were using him and feeding off of his need to help his brother. Leeches, that was all they were. He put his hands over his face to wipe away the tears.

“Gentlemen! Mr. West! Mr. Stark! Are you both okay? This...this is not what I wanted. Do I need to call for help? Is anyone hurt?”

“I think...I think I fractured my spleen. But I should be okay. I think. It hurts clear through to my soul, though. Ow.” Barry’s voice seemed to be coming from above Sam, and Sam figured that must have meant Barry had pulled himself up to his feet. So Barry must not have sustained any serious injury when Sam tackled him. A voice in his brain asked why he cared about that, and Sam had no answer for it. He opened his eyes and saw Barry standing over him, extending an open hand. “Come on, I’ll help you up.”

No, Sam thought. He would not accept any more “help” from this kid. He reached up and slapped Barry’s hand away before regaining enough composure to put himself back upright.

“Mr. Stark? Are you all right?”

Sam ignored Mr. Alonzo; he had nothing to say to him at the moment. He instead walked a few feet away and plucked Barry’s pokeball out of the snow.

“Thanks, I guess. Sam, we can talk about this.”

Sam shoved the ball into Barry’s chest. “Let it out.”

“What? Why?”

“Let them all out.” Sam pulled his own Nest, Dusk, and Luxury balls from his pocket.

“What is this?”

Sam looked over to Mr. Alonzo and decided to answer his question this time. “This is my wanting to kick his teeth down his throat but knowing he’s not even a legal adult yet.” He squeezed Bree’s ball once with his right hand and did likewise to the balls of Vlam and Chispa in his left, bringing all three of them out into the snow. “Do it!” he shouted to Barry.

“Man, Sam...I didn’t mean to trick you.”

“Oh?” Sam laughed openly, “please, tell me how you tricked me by accident then, Barry.”

Barry winced at those words and must have realized that was a stupid thing to say. He shook his head and raised his arms to release Monferno, Torterra, and Empleon. The new Empleon was an impressive sight to Sam. It was at least three feet taller than Prinplup had been, and the yellow crests that had previously wrapped back across its head now extended up in the air from its forehead, forming a vicious trident. Its once blue body was now black, and it seemed to shine when it shifted its weight under the sun as if it was covered in a light metal. As a Prinplup, this pokemon had been powerful enough to flip a cargo ship, and Sam knew he would not wise to underestimate it now.

“Are you battling with Chispa?” Barry asked him as Sam studied Emploeon. “I thought you said you weren’t ever going to do that.”

The words reignited the rage he’d felt moments ago. “You’re going to talk to me about honesty and integrity? You? Now?” While Chispa bounced contentedly in the snow, Vlam and Bree turned to Sam, perhaps upset at the fire in his voice. Bree hummed softly, but Sam ignored it. He could tell them what Barry had done later.

“What’s the point of this, Sam? What we are even accomplishing here?”

“You’ll see when I’m done.”

“Yeah? Well, life is full of disappointments.”

The words stuck in Sam’s ear and reminded him of something someone told him fairly recently. “Your professor once told me that life is full of changes in plans. Right before he sent me out to look for something that he knew wasn’t even there. Like an idiot! While my brother,” Sam’s fists balled as the full meaning of what Rowan told him washed over him, “is drooling on himself and dying! So you tell me...the fact that you won’t help me save him, is that a bigger disappointment or change of plan?”

“Damn it, Sam.”

Sam looked over his friends. Vlam and Bree had turned their attention back to Barry’s team; he saw Vlam’s muscles tensing under her fur and recognized the purpose with which Bree beat her wings. Chispa was burying her head in the snow and shaking it roughly to move the snow about, clearly unconcerned with the goings-on around her. “Bree, up in the air! Vlam, quick attack Monferno!”

Vlam’s quick attack was usually just short of a blur to the eye, but for some reason--perhaps the thick snow up to her knees; perhaps concern for Sam’s attitude and temper--she was a beat slower than usual. As she came upon Monferno, this slowed reaction allowed the fire ape to catch her and flip into the snow with a judo throw. Vlam tried to get up, but Monferno was on quickly on top of her and holding her in place.

“Empoleon, hit the Ninetales with a hydro pump!”

“Bree, you have to come down and free Vlam! Use a psychic attack on Monerno!”

Bree began zipping out of the sky to help her sister, but she was interrupted by a flurry of leaves slicing through the air in front of her. Torterra had summoned a razor leaf attack to cut off her progress, and while she was able to avoid contact by flying up and away from the blade-like leaves, she was incapable of getting to Vlam’s aid. It was apparent to Sam that while the fight was essentially three-against-two, he was in trouble. Just feet from where Vlam was pinned, a geyser of water erupted, spraying water, snow, and mud all around. Just as it had previously done on the ship with the seawater, Empoleon was manipulating water pressure around it, this time from underground run-off. It was an extremely powerful burst of water, but seemingly hard to control. Still, Sam knew it was unlikely that Empoleon would miss a second time. He needed to get Chispa involved somehow.

“Chispa! Can you hit that Empoleon with a spark attack for me, girl?”

The Shinx lifted her head out of a snow pile she had built and rubbed the excess flakes off of her nose with a paw. She yipped in apparent delight at Sam’s decision to use her and charged through the snow towards her target with her tail shooting off tiny bursts of electricity. As she closed in on Barry’s water-type, she flipped sideways and smacked her tail into Empoleon’s leg; it let out a noise that seemed more annoyed than pained. Chispa darted to the space between Emploeon and Vlam and spread its feet wide as it yelped repeatedly at the large penguin, warning it away from her friend. Even Empoleon seemed shocked by the heart of the young pokemon. In an instant, however, Chispa’s yelping ended, and she began looking around as if something were wrong. Something had gotten her attention, but Sam couldn’t figure out what it could have been.

“Oh no, damn it. Monferno, save the Shinx, buddy!”

Sam had no idea what Barry was talking about, but Monferno bounced off of Vlam and pushed Chispa from the spot she had claimed. As Chispa rolled in the snow, another hydro pump erupted from underneath Monferno, knocking him several yards into the air. He crashed back to the ground with a thud.

“Monferno, sorry. Come on back.” Barry recalled the fire-type into his pokeball.

What was that supposed to be, Sam thought. Was Sam supposed to be thankful now because Barry had saved Chispa? Was that supposed to somehow make up for the fact that he had doomed Tommy? Not even close. The mere thought of it incensed Sam; did that kid really think that Sam would call the battle off if he saved Sam’s friend?

Chispa struggled to her feet--seemingly more confused than actually hurt--and Sam withdrew her as Barry had done to Monferno. The battle was even again at two each, and it just made sense; Chispa was clearly out of her weight class, anyway. Sam saw Bree still dodging razor leaves in the air and decided to go on the offensive.

“Bree, use your stun spores on Torterra!”

“Sam, are we really keeping this up? You beat one of mine already. Let’s just call it.”

Sam felt a twitching in the back of his neck. Was beating one of Barry’s friends in battle going to bring Tommy back? Of course not. “Ignore him and do it, Bree!”

In the air, Bree backflipped away from another flurry of leaves and began vibrating her wings at high speed. A fine layer of scales broke free from her wings as she did so and floated to the ground beneath her.

“Torterra, disrupt that spore with more razor leaves!” Barry ordered, sounding clearly frustrated. On command, Torterra unleashed another attack of precision leaves from the tree sprouting on its back right into the heart of the stun spore; the leaves knocked the shedded scales helplessly into the breeze. Fortunately, Torterra taking its eyes off of Bree was exactly what Sam had wanted all along.

“It lost you, Bree! Bug buzz!”

Bree, who used the momentary distraction of the stun spore to sneak in close to Torterra, zipped frantically around the large tortoise’s head. While flying in a crazed pattern, she shrieked a high-frequency pitch. Something about the sound did seem to be causing Torterra great agony; it lowered its head and tried in vain to cover its ears with its massive, yet unwieldy, legs. Frustrated and in agony from its failure to protect itself from the Butterfree’s assault, it let out a pitiful roar. Bree seemed to have the situation well in-hand until a fast-moving dart of water crashed into her wings, sending her crashing to the ground.

Sam glanced over; he had been so engaged in Bree and Torterra that he had temporarily forgotten Vlam and Empoleon. “Vlam!" he called out to his brother's closest friend, “tackle Empoleon!"

“Aqua jet!"

Vlam charged, but she was caught by a similar dart of water from Empoleon's beak and easily tossed back to the ground. Sam bit his lower lip and cursed; he knew Vlam was in trouble due to Empoleon's being water-based. Bree would have to help out against it. “Bree..."

Sam began issuing a command, but when he turned to see Bree, he saw that Torterra was pinning it to the ground with its powerful front leg. The same legs that had been so useless at blocking out Bree’s bug buzz were much more potent when it came to holding the significantly smaller butterfly pokemon in place.

Barry was saying something--probably offering Sam a chance to surrender or calm down--but Sam was already analyzing the situation and had his voice shut out almost entirely. With both Empoleon's pure power and type advantage over Vlam and Torterra's positioning over Bree, both battles seemed all-but over. Sam knew that there was always an opening if he just looked hard enough; Vlam and Bree were too good to be completely overpowered. What would he have done during his days in the WPL? What would Tommy do in this situation?

Two aspects of the situation jumped out to him so abruptly, he wanted to smack his head for not seeing them before. Torterra had Bree grounded and pinned, but in doing so, its head was perilously close to Bree's. And while Empoleon may have been water-based, but its body had that metallic shimmer to it now; it had evolved into a steel coating. In most situations, that would be beneficial and protective, but against Vlam, it was a huge chink in the literal armor.

“Bree, supersonic!”

Sam’s friend let out another strange shriek, this one even higher in pitch than the buzz attack had been. Torterra stumbled back from the noise and started shaking its head. With its third step backwards, it fell over onto its knees; Bree’s supersonic cry had been so loud at their closed-distance that it probably did some kind of inner-ear damage to the Torterra. It clearly could not regain its bearings as Bree lifted itself back off the ground.

“Empoleon, aqua jet the Butterfree again!”

Sam waited until Empoleon turned all the way around and positioned its weight to launch the water dart. He had it where Vlam wanted it.

“Vlam, fire blast!”

Vlam’s tilted her head back, then stretched it forward in a shot. An orb of fire flared from her mouth, gaining size and power as it combusted with the oxygen in the air. Despite the fireball’s intensity, it was possible that Empoleon would have been able to neutralize it with a water attack, but now that it was turned away from Vlam, it would have no chance to get the leverage it needed to launch an attack powerful enough to do so. The fire attack collided with Empoleon’s side, and the water bird squawked in pain. The flames were heating up its metal exterior, no doubt causing great agony. Barry recognized this immediately and summoned it back into its pokeball.

All that was left was the debilitated Torterra, and Sam felt a part of himself ache at the pain he just caused the Empoleon; it wasn’t these pokemons’ fault for what Barry had done, so it was not fair to take the rage Sam felt inside himself out on them. He held out an open hand, palm down, and waved twice in the air. Recognizing their symbol, Bree positioned herself over the grass-based turtle and let off another dusting of scales from its wings. The scales covered Torterra’s body and head, and within seconds, it was asleep from Bree’s sleep powder.

“All right, did you get that out of your system then?” Barry asked, withdrawing Torterra from the snow.

Sam, moving quickly towards Barry, had no intention of dignifying that question with answer. All he knew was that with every word Barry had said, the inside of his head felt hotter and hotter. He knocked the pokeballs out of Barry’s hands and picked them up from the snow while his former partner issued a cry in protest.

“How does it feel to have something you love taken from you?”

“You’re just--”

“Yeah. I am.” Sam pressed his chest against Barry‘s and glared into his eyes.

Barry was as unblinking as he was. “Sam, I know you’re pissed at me, but you gotta just talk this out with me. You’re really on the wrong side of this one.”

“Gentlemen, are you both done? I truly didn’t mean for anything like this to happen.”

Until Mr. Alonzo’s voice cut into Sam’s ears, Sam had completely forgotten he was even there. He had tunnel-visioned in on Barry and the deception of which he’d been a victim, and the rest of the world had vanished. Mr. Alonzo saw the whole thing; anybody else in eyeshot of the cabin did, too. Sam noticed a handful of skiers paused on the slope and looking down on the scene, and he gave Barry one more look of disgust before pocketing the taken pokeballs. “I’m done. I’m done. I’m....I guess I’m sorry about the door. I hope that it’s nothing too bad for you.”

Mr. Alonzo looked back to the cabin’s busted door. “I am sure I can cover that. But what happens now?”

Sam looked from Mr. Alonzo to Barry and then back to Mr. Alonzo. “Do you really think you can use the legends to help people?”

“Man, Sam, don’t...”

“I do, Mr. Stark. You heard what I said, and I meant that. There are pokemon in the world that can fix so much of what’s wrong with the human condition.”

Sam saw Barry shaking his head but no longer refuting anything Henrique Alonzo was saying. When Barry realized that Sam’s eyes were on him, he looked down at the snow. He never stopped shaking his head. Sam didn’t personally care about the “human condition”, as Mr. Alonzo called it. But Tommy? He cared very much for Tommy, and if this man from Hoenn could help him bring Tommy back, that was all that mattered.

“Get him home,” Sam said, pointing to Barry. “He lives in Twinleaf Town. Just see that he gets home from here.”

Mr. Alonzo looked over at Barry and scrunched his lips. “I suppose I can do that, yes.” Barry was still shaking his head, but he did not look up. “What are you going to do now?”

Sam sighed. “I’m not sure yet. But I know that for as mad as I am at him, Barry’s just a kid...just an assistant. So there’s somebody else who owes me some real answers before I make my next move.”

diamondpearl876
17th July 2012, 9:47 PM
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Barry answered Mr. Alonzo’s claim. And he couldn’t have known. There was just no way he had the legends. None.

Well, Barry’s talking differently, so that can’t be good! Good job editing his dialogue based on the situation.



“No!” Sam shouted. “This is about us, not them! You damn liar! You saved my life; for what? So I can go back to my brother and tell him I can’t help him? So I can tell him I let him down? So I can say those words and know he can’t even hear them? Is that why you saved me? You should have just let me die!”

This line really shows how angry Sam is, and also how desperate he is to help Tommy. He’d rather die than not be able to help him? A distinguishing character trait for sure.


He opened his eyes and Saw Barry standing over him, extending an open hand. “Come on, I’ll help you up.”

“Saw” shouldn’t be capitalized.



Bree began zipping out of the sky to help her sister, but she was interrupted by a flurry of leaves slicing through the air in front of her.

I like the idea of them considering each other sisters. Nice touch.


Sam sighed. “I’m not sure yet. But I know that for as mad as I am at him, Barry’s just a kid...just an assistant. So there’s somebody else who owes me some real answers before I make my next move.”

Someone’s gonna have a lot of explaining to do.

Overall, a good chapter packed with a lot of emotion and action, action that even further emphasized the emotions you were trying to convey. My only complaint is that Barry and Sam didn’t seem to be too close to have as much as an impact as it could have. So if you had revealed this much later in the fic it might have been a bigger impact. That might just be me, though. Nevertheless this chapter was pertinent to the overall fic and gave development in all areas so I look forward to seeing more.

Sid87
19th July 2012, 5:44 PM
Well, Barry’s talking differently, so that can’t be good! Good job editing his dialogue based on the situation.

This line really shows how angry Sam is, and also how desperate he is to help Tommy. He’d rather die than not be able to help him? A distinguishing character trait for sure.

“Saw” shouldn’t be capitalized.

I like the idea of them considering each other sisters. Nice touch.

Someone’s gonna have a lot of explaining to do.

Overall, a good chapter packed with a lot of emotion and action, action that even further emphasized the emotions you were trying to convey. My only complaint is that Barry and Sam didn’t seem to be too close to have as much as an impact as it could have. So if you had revealed this much later in the fic it might have been a bigger impact. That might just be me, though. Nevertheless this chapter was pertinent to the overall fic and gave development in all areas so I look forward to seeing more.

I was wondering if anyone was going to catch that. If you actually go back to chapter 5 (or wherever they met) and follow the time line to chapter 12...Barry and Sam have only known each other for about a week. It feels like longer, but it hasn't been. Heh. I do think they've been through a lot together, so their relationship should be somewhat seasoned past its duration, but still...it has been brief. I kinda put myself on the spot, though, by introducing Henrique Alonzo when I did, and it didn't feel right for the characters to leave town without talking to him. It will probably lead to my changing the second half of the story a bit, but I can live with that.

diamondpearl876
20th July 2012, 2:59 AM
I was wondering if anyone was going to catch that. If you actually go back to chapter 5 (or wherever they met) and follow the time line to chapter 12...Barry and Sam have only known each other for about a week. It feels like longer, but it hasn't been. Heh. I do think they've been through a lot together, so their relationship should be somewhat seasoned past its duration, but still...it has been brief. I kinda put myself on the spot, though, by introducing Henrique Alonzo when I did, and it didn't feel right for the characters to leave town without talking to him. It will probably lead to my changing the second half of the story a bit, but I can live with that.

Whatever you have to do! It was still a powerful scene with your writing, it just wasn't the best timing, 'tis all. I'm sure you'll have more awesome twists like this in the future.

katiekitten
23rd July 2012, 3:41 PM
Mr. Alonzo tilted his head down and smiled. Slowly, he shook his head a few times as if he were pardoning himself from engaging in a verball battle with Barry. "I see your point of view, Mr. West, don't get me wrong. And I also get that you must feel very confident in expressing it. After all, you and Professor Rowan have had the legendary pokemon of Sinnoh hidden away and protected for quite some time now, haven't you?"

...What a twist! x33 I feel like I should've seen it coming, with Barry insisting they immediately move on to follow the corporation people rather than continuing the search, but it caught me completely by surprise! x3 Lovely to have you back, by the way - hope the wife-y is good! x3

The exposition was really interesting, as well! x3 I really enjoyed your interpretation of the history. :3

And the battle in the next chapter - very well written, the confrontation between Sam and Barry especially. Was almost poignant, for despite how little actual time they've spent together, it's been some jam packed days...! I quite like the ambiguity, as well, of exactly where Sam stands in the more typical 'good-evil' struggle between the corporation and Barry-Elm - the moral ambiguity of all sides, really. x3 He really isn't on any ones side except his own - and his brothers. It leads to an intriguing and unpredictable plot. :3

Lovely, generally, m'dear!

Zibdas
24th July 2012, 6:16 AM
Alright, here I am for the Review Game! I read all the way from the Prologue to Chapter 7, so here I am. Yay? YAY.

I'm going to begin with, well, the beginning. I thought you captured that extremely well; the beginning gave a really good introduction to Sam, Tommy, their father and introduced us to Sam's early concerns with Bree. I'm taking this opportunity to also say you really flesh out your characters and right from their introduction they have distinct personalities.

Speaking of which, the characters. Loved them. They were really well thought out and just seemed so natural. Barry's interactions are ones I could see coming right from the game, as are Rowan's. Sammy and Tommy's, too, though not a canon characters, they are both so alive and seamless. It just made an already great story that much better.

Also, the story. It is clear and apparent that you have invested a great deal of time and thought into this, and it really shows. From the seven (eight if you count the prologue) chapters I read, you managed to leave me constantly wondering, "What's going to happen next?" "Where will this go?" "Who's these guys and what are they doing?" and all sorts of things that make me enthusiastic for the next read.

Overall,it's also very much enjoyable. It has a fun yet descriptive writing style that is very pleasing to the eye and makes the reading natural and fun. There were very few, if any discernible, grammatical mistakes, of which I applaud you for. You have a very distinctive writing style, and I hope you keep it up.

Other than the sole nitpick I had (with moves being uncapitalized), this is pretty much flawless. I will be finishing up what is currently posted shortly when I have more time, but until then, I'm going to finish the review by asking to be on the PM list.

Sid87
25th July 2012, 7:58 PM
...What a twist! x33 I feel like I should've seen it coming, with Barry insisting they immediately move on to follow the corporation people rather than continuing the search, but it caught me completely by surprise! x3 Lovely to have you back, by the way - hope the wife-y is good! x3

The exposition was really interesting, as well! x3 I really enjoyed your interpretation of the history. :3

And the battle in the next chapter - very well written, the confrontation between Sam and Barry especially. Was almost poignant, for despite how little actual time they've spent together, it's been some jam packed days...! I quite like the ambiguity, as well, of exactly where Sam stands in the more typical 'good-evil' struggle between the corporation and Barry-Elm - the moral ambiguity of all sides, really. x3 He really isn't on any ones side except his own - and his brothers. It leads to an intriguing and unpredictable plot. :3

Lovely, generally, m'dear!

Everything is going well (Hm, well-ish, at least), and thanks for your thoughts, as always. I am trying to keep everyone ambiguous (including and especially Sam), as so little in life is as cut-and-dry as "good" or "bad". If I do my job right, any reader could decide that Sam, Barry, Henrique, or none of them actually has the right idea. :)



Alright, here I am for the Review Game! I read all the way from the Prologue to Chapter 7, so here I am. Yay? YAY.

I'm going to begin with, well, the beginning. I thought you captured that extremely well; the beginning gave a really good introduction to Sam, Tommy, their father and introduced us to Sam's early concerns with Bree. I'm taking this opportunity to also say you really flesh out your characters and right from their introduction they have distinct personalities.

Speaking of which, the characters. Loved them. They were really well thought out and just seemed so natural. Barry's interactions are ones I could see coming right from the game, as are Rowan's. Sammy and Tommy's, too, though not a canon characters, they are both so alive and seamless. It just made an already great story that much better.

Also, the story. It is clear and apparent that you have invested a great deal of time and thought into this, and it really shows. From the seven (eight if you count the prologue) chapters I read, you managed to leave me constantly wondering, "What's going to happen next?" "Where will this go?" "Who's these guys and what are they doing?" and all sorts of things that make me enthusiastic for the next read.

Overall,it's also very much enjoyable. It has a fun yet descriptive writing style that is very pleasing to the eye and makes the reading natural and fun. There were very few, if any discernible, grammatical mistakes, of which I applaud you for. You have a very distinctive writing style, and I hope you keep it up.

Other than the sole nitpick I had (with moves being uncapitalized), this is pretty much flawless. I will be finishing up what is currently posted shortly when I have more time, but until then, I'm going to finish the review by asking to be on the PM list.

I'm glad you enjoyed it, and I have added you to the PM list. :)

Knightfall
26th July 2012, 7:24 PM
I swear I’m incompetent, but here it is, the second part of my multi-part review of Brother’s Bond. Again, I’m sorry it’s taking so long to do these.



Chapter 3: Present Day




He’d stop it, but as soon as his mind wandered off, the appendage began gleeflully oscillating again.
I think that’s supposed to be gleefully.



“I need them, professor. I need the legends.” He turned away from the map and stared down Rowan unflinchingly. “Azelf, Mesprit, and Uxie. I’ve come for them, and I won’t leave Sinnoh without them.”

At least he doesn’t beat around the bush with an hidden ulterior motive, he just goes right out and says it. This was a really great piece of dialogue to end the chapter with, it’s not a request, it’s an order. Though at this point in the story we don’t know why he needs them, but it’s great how much emotion is behind those sentences. As soon as I read them, I knew he needed them for something vitally important.

Aside from the single error, I didn’t really find too much else wrong with this chapter.



Chapter 4: 10 Years Ago



Tommy hadn’t failed his classes because he couldn’t handle them; he had failed because he simply wasn’t going often enough. He was working fifty hours a week at the department store on top of taking care of the house and helping Sam with his studying and training. He had forsaken his future in favor of providing Sam one for himself.

Tommy had given his brother a normal life despite their parents both being dead. Sam, in return, gave him a rock. He buried the letter back in the trash where he found it and headed to his room to study Geometry.


That was … wow. I said something about emotion earlier, but now, this plot turn. It really shows just how much Tommy cares for his little brother. Giving up his dreams so Sam could have a normal life, so selfless. And now Sam knows just how much his brother has sacrificed for him, and feels that he owes it to Tommy that he make the best of the life he has.
Anyways, this chapter was, again, great. If for no other reason then we see how Tommy and Sam are living after their father’s death. No mistakes that I saw.



Chapter 5: Present Day



“Now now, son. I can’t imagine how you even think this possible. First of all, no one has seen or documented any proof of the legends in decades,” Rowan stopped there and appeared to be playing with numbers in his head, “possibly centuries! Secondly, you’re hardly the first headstrong young man to come to Sinnoh with designs on capturing them. It’s a countless number of trainers that have failed; how could you think you’ll succeed? And also--”

After the first “now” I think there needs to be a comma.



After dinner they settled in to watch some other WPL Johto matches--Tommy was always very insistent that Sam study as much of his opponents as possible—and it was then that Sam noticed something: Tommy was trying to describe the methods of one of the trainers they were watching, but his words weren’t coming out right. It was like there was a fog hanging in front of his mouth catching the words as he made them.

“A few seconds after that, he collapsed. He’d suffered a massive stroke,” Sam’s voice felt tiny as he finished relaying the memory to the pokemon professor. “He’s been catatonic ever since.”

As soon as I read this, I had to go over it and read it again. That was sudden, I mean, really sudden. I know that Sam is recounting this memory to Rowen, and that he wants to get through it quickly, but wow, within a few sentences Tommy goes from being seemingly all right, to catatonic. I guess that’s realistic, so good job on that.



“My brother is stuck in a bed, unable to will himself move. He’s forgotten everything about his previous life. And he can’t remember his relationships. Not with Vlam and not with me. Do you see what he’s missing? Willpower, knowledge, and emotion.”

Rowan’s eyes widened. “Son, you’re talking about mythical abilities attributed to legendary pokemon. Not only are we not sure they still exist, but we have no way of knowing if they are truly responsible for such matters.”

“Well what else am I going to do?” Sam’s voice grew large again. “Go see a specialist? Or a homeopathic doctor? Oh wait, I already have! More than I can count. I haven’t found a single human being alive that has an answer for the severity of stroke that Tommy suffered. And if I can’t find a human…”

“It’s…not unheard of. There’s certainly healing abilities in the pokemon kingdom that have proven useful on human conditions. But what you are asking for…what you are expecting…”

That’s pretty cool, I mean, going after legendary Pokemon isn’t a new plot idea or anything, but I’ve never seen a fic quite like this. Anyways, Sam has to be desperate if he’s willing to go on this quest for these legendaries all with a vague hope that they might heal his brother.

Aside from that single comma mistake I saw, there was nothing wrong with this chapter. I feel as if I’m being redundant with the end of every chapter.



Chapter 6: Present Day



The newly caught Shinx bounced happily at its trainer’s left side. Occasionally Bree would float down to it and let out a sharp chirp, and the Shinx would reply by rearing up on its stubby hindlegs and swatting up at the Butterfree. Bree was too quick, however, and would always flap itself just out of reach. The Shinx would let out a few yips to let it know it wanted the butterfly pokemon to come lower so they could play together. On Sam’s right side, Vlam kept up with her trainer’s gait and ignored the other two more childish pokemon.

I really like how Bree shares Sam’s personality, the lighter one he had before Tommy’s incident, and how Vlam has Tommy’s more serious personality. Anyways, interesting way to start the chapter, an off-screen capture.



He was taken aback by the professor’s generosity, and asked if Rowan had any final advice for him.

“Life is full of changes of plans.”


I get that Rowen might be acting so nice toward Sam out of sympathy, but his last words to him make me think otherwise. And as I have read a head, this sort of fits into what comes later. Sam certainly did have a change of plans after the debacle in Snowpoint.



For the first time, parents loved their children and rivals hated each other and people mourned the loss of family and friends. Sam thought of Tommy’s eyes that were no longer capable of even recognizing his own brother. Changes of plans, Sam thought, were simply not on the menu. Sam would find Mesprit and he would restore his brother. That was all there was to it.
I really liked how you worded the first couple sentences of this paragraph, it shows how important emotions are to life.



“How did I know you were looking for the lake? Yeah, like I’d be such a good assistant to Professor Rowan if I wasn’t out here waiting for some dumb foreigner to miss his turn.”

“Assistant?”

“Yeah. You’re late, by the way. I’ve been here all day. Just for that, I’m fining you a million bucks!”

No way, Sam thought. There’s no way Rowan was working with some overeager brat like this. Was there?

Oh, God. Barry. The hyperactive, impulsive, rival. Good choice for someone to assist Sam on his quest. Opposites don’t attract, one of them drives the other down a swift path to insanity.
Examples:


“Yeah, I’m the assistant, knucklehead,” the boy replied as if reading Sam’s mind. “Name’s Barry, and I hear you’re the fool who thinks he can catch one of our legends.”



“Old enough to beat your sorry butt in a battle!”



“Anyway, the turn you missed is back here a ways. I uprooted some bushes and used them to cover it up. I thought it’d be funny to watch you wander on past it.”

Sam wanted to have Vlam set this kid on fire. It was suddenly the only thing he’d ever wanted in his life.


“Come on,” Barry continued, “I got a camp set up at the lakefront and everything. We can catch up on how much more awesome than you I am there.”[/quote]

If Sam isn’t completely insane by the time this story reaches its conclusion, then I’ll be very impressed.



Tommy’s hand shot up and grabbed Sam’s arm. Sam yelped twice: once in surprise at Tommy’s reaction, and again when his older brother twisted the arm away from his chin. “Tommy, please!” Sam shouted, his throat finally back in control. “It’s me, Sam!”

Tommy’s face lifted to meet Sam’s; his eyes were solid black and his mouth was wretched into a scowl. As their eyes met, Tommy pulled himself out of the hospital bed. This caused Sam to fall backwards onto his rear and try to crawl away from his approaching brother. “You,” Tommy said. “Sam. You.” Sam’s arms pushed him back as rapidly as they could, but his previously crippled brother was gaining on him. “You did this.” Even worse than the accusations of his brother was the sudden beeping sound of Tommy’s hospital bed; a beeping that was growing in volume...

Extremely vivid nightmares of a lost sibling that accuse you of being guilty of their plight? And so the insanity begins …

I literally have nothing bad to say about this chapter, and I’m fine with that. I’d rather focus on the good aspects anyways.

If I failed to mention it before, this a great story, and I look forward to what the future holds.
I suppose this will suffice for now, and I promise it won’t take two weeks to get the next part up.

Knightfall signing off … ;005;

Sid87
27th July 2012, 5:05 PM
I swear I’m incompetent, but here it is, the second part of my multi-part review of Brother’s Bond. Again, I’m sorry it’s taking so long to do these.

I think that’s supposed to be gleefully.

Oy. And fixed.


as I read this, I had to go over it and read it again. That was sudden, I mean, really sudden. I know that Sam is recounting this memory to Rowen, and that he wants to get through it quickly, but wow, within a few sentences Tommy goes from being seemingly all right, to catatonic. I guess that’s realistic, so good job on that.

Yeah, I tend to really be in love with the sudden line of importance that catches the reader unaware and forces them to go back and make sure they read it right. :) I totally did what I meant to do if that was the honest reaction you had.


pretty cool, I mean, going after legendary Pokemon isn’t a new plot idea or anything, but I’ve never seen a fic quite like this. Anyways, Sam has to be desperate if he’s willing to go on this quest for these legendaries all with a vague hope that they might heal his brother.

Yeah, having not really READ any pokemon fic before I started this, I was hoping that this would not be a played out idea. It seems like people want the legendaries to get stronger or save the world or prove their strength...it just struck me that what if you wanted them to save one person's life?


Oh, God. Barry. The hyperactive, impulsive, rival. Good choice for someone to assist Sam on his quest. Opposites don’t attract, one of them drives the other down a swift path to insanity.

Honestly, I never thought one way or the other about Barry while playing the games, but I have LOVED writing him, and the reaction to him has generally been positive, so I'm glad I decided to go in that direction. To think I was initially torn between using Barry or Lucas. Pfft.


If Sam isn’t completely insane by the time this story reaches its conclusion, then I’ll be very impressed.

Extremely vivid nightmares of a lost sibling that accuse you of being guilty of their plight? And so the insanity begins …

I literally have nothing bad to say about this chapter, and I’m fine with that. I’d rather focus on the good aspects anyways.

If I failed to mention it before, this a great story, and I look forward to what the future holds.
I suppose this will suffice for now, and I promise it won’t take two weeks to get the next part up.

Knightfall signing off … ;005;

I'm glad you have been enjoying it so far! Hopefully the rest floats your boat, too.

Sid87
1st August 2012, 9:09 PM
Chapter 13: 5 Years Ago

“Hey! Buddy! Are you supposed to be in charge of this craphole? I was at the Rooftop Cafe, and the vending machine ate my money. You owe me a drink.”

Tommy must have recognized his brother’s voice, because all he did was shrug and continue counting inventory of weight belts. “Good to know the new Rip-off Idiots feature is working then.” Tommy put his scanning gun down on the counter and finally turned to face Sam. The brothers embraced, with Tommy slapping Sam hard on the back as usual, before he continued, “Don’t you have Advanced Theories of Pokemon Psychology tonight? What are you doing here?”

“Coach T. said he spoke with Professor Nelson about my being excused from class so I can train for my qualifying match tomorrow.”

Tommy nodded. “Well, coming to my work and pestering me is pretty strenuous training. I’m certain you have this one all wrapped up.”

“Man can not survive on pokemon training alone.”

“That’s cute. Did you learn that in class?”

“Probably. Let’s go with ‘yes’. Anyway, I was thirsty so I came out here; the machine upstairs really did eat my money.”

“We really did install a feature to rip-off idiots.” Tommy moved back behind his counter on the fourth floor of the Goldenrod Department Store and began rooting around for something. Tommy had been department manager of that floor--hardware and sporting goods--for a few months now and was expecting a promotion any day now based on the glowing quarterly report he’d just had from his supervisor. Sam knew Tommy secretly wanted to be put in charge of the sixth and seventh floors--pokemon goods, food, and supplies--even if he wouldn’t come right out and say it. Sam had been considering calling Tommy’s boss one of these days and reminding her of all the overtime and hard work Tommy had been putting in, but he also didn’t want to embarrass his sibling or speak out of turn. As Sam mulled over the possibility of calling her some more, Tommy emerged from behind his counter with a bottle of iced tea.

“Isn’t that yours? That’s the kind we have at home that you pack for lunch.”

“You know me. If I don’t work through lunch, it’ll be a miracle. Better you have it than I waste it. What with all the vigorous standing around you’re doing in preparation for tomorrow, I’m sure you are working up quite the thirst.”

Sam bobbed his head slowly, eyes down. “Yeah yeah. I’ll be working on it when I get home. I think some of my teammates are coming over to work on our training in a group.”

Tommy’s face shined with mock amusement. “Oh, really? I love when you give me no notice whatsoever that I’ll be cooking for a dozen people.”

“Ha! I told them to eat before they come. See? I was thinking of you.”

“First time for everything. Hey, can you have Alison save me a seat tomorrow at the stadium? I’ll probably be running late. Opening shift. So you’re on your own for pre-match breakfast.”

Sam flinched. He felt bad that he hadn’t told his brother yet, but due to Tommy’s heavy schedule at the department store and Sam’s own classload and involvement in the NCPA, it had just never come up until this point. “Oh. Yeah. We broke up. I’m not...we’re not seeing each other anymore.”

“Wow, you’d been together since last semester.”

“Yeah, it just kind of--”

“That’s a long time for her to have just seen you naked for the first time.”

Sam sputtered a few sounds, but nothing of consequence. Tommy was laughing so hard his eyes were wet. “I hate you,” Sam finally said.

“I know. And I probably deserve it.” Tommy was still laughing. “So what happened?” Sam shrugged in response, causing Tommy to tilt his head. “Really, a shrug? Did you just turn fourteen again? Use your words.”

“She thought it’d be easier to date someone who lived on campus.”

Tommy clapped his hands together and then pointed at Sam. “Didn’t I tell you to live on campus this year? Why doesn’t anyone listen to me? I am full of unused wisdom.”

“It’s no big deal.”

“It is a big deal. It’s a big deal. You don’t break up with someone you dated for months and have it not be a big deal. I vaguely remember having relationships. It’s a big deal.”

Sam was beginning to regret coming to the store after all; Tommy was making him feel worse. It had only been a week since he and Alison had broken up. Tommy was right, even if Sam was trying to downplay it. They’d been together for half of a year, and just like that, she dropped him over what Sam thought was a pretty stupid reason. Tommy may have seen that etched in his brother’s face because he suddenly shifted gears. “How many people are coming over tonight?”

Sam did the counting in his head and came up with the answer. “Maybe eight?”

“Are you going to clean up after yourselves?”

“Yeah.”

“Yeah, but really?”

“Really!” Sam shot back. ”We‘ll take care of it.”

“Thank god, because college-aged boys left to their own devices...I shudder to think of it,” Tommy said with a smile.

An elbow in his side knocked Sam from his memory. As he glanced around the bus, he was unsure whether he had been sleeping or merely thinking about that day. Most likely, he imagined, he was somewhere between the conscious world and the land of his dreams. Regardless, he hadn’t thought about Alison in quite some time.

The man next to Sam on the Arcanine Line bus across Sinnoh removed his elbow from Sam’s diaphragm, rolled back over to the opposite side of the seat, and continued his sleep. Sam looked out of the window and saw the beach of Sandgem Town in the distance; he’d finally made it. It had taken two days worth of bus rides, transfers, and waiting around in bus stations--the Oreburgh City stop was not in the most pleasant area of town, and Sam would be happy never to have to spend five hours waiting there again with rough-looking men trying to get him to wager on a card game in the corner of the building--but he’d be at Rowan’s lab in virtually no time at all. He made a mental note to never ride a bus again in his life if he could help it. Bus stations that seemed to be one sideways glance away from erupting in gang violence, cramped seats on the busses themselves that got you either elbowed by a sleeping neighbor or pestered about the health benefits of eating whole garlic by a chatty one, and air conditioning and heating that were spotty at best did not combine for convenient travel. Sam figured next time he’d just hitchhike. It couldn’t possibly be any worse.

Whether the memory of Tommy had been a dream or just a recollection, his mind drifted back to the day that followed. Sam remembered that he’d lost his match that day, but what he most recalled was that Tommy did end up getting a seat next to Alison Parker. Apparently they chatted about her breakup with Sam and what Tommy would have to do to get her to take him back. When Sam finished his match and left the Whitney Williams Stadium to find his brother, he saw him standing with her, and the two of them were laughing at some joke he had told. Sam was a little befuddled at it all since Alison had been avoiding him since they broke up, but after whatever Tommy and she had spoken about, she kissed Sam on the cheek and assured him that they’d still be friends and that she’d still help him with Johto Agricultural History class (Sam had been having trouble staying awake, much less excelling, in that one). With that, she grabbed the university shuttle back to her dorms and stopped avoiding Sam when he saw her on campus.

Sam jerked his head upward in attempt to make sure he did not doze off; missing his stop and spending a minute longer than he had to on this bus was the worst torture of which he could dream. He imagined a man being released from a prisoner of war camp and told he could be free if he took a bus back to his home and family across the country; the man would undoubtedly turn around and beg to be allowed back inside the camp.

The electric sign at the front of the bus flashed “Seventh Avenue”, and Sam got to his feet and prepared to get off the bus. His feet kissed the concrete of the sidewalk, the bus behind him pulled away, and his stomach fluttered about in his chest. Two days since the incident in Snowpoint, and he still had no idea how he would react to Professor Rowan once they were face-to-face. Flipping out on Barry in the heat of the moment was one thing--and Sam was already regretting his behavior there--but confronting the professor was another entirely. Rowan knew Sam and Tommy personally, yet he deceived Sam regardless. Still, Sam knew there was a world of difference between attacking a fit young man in the heat of the moment versus doing so to an older scholar after having time to digest his rage. He walked absent-mindedly down the street, having not even decided how he would respond to the answering of Rowan’s office door when he found himself outside it. Sam shook his head and knocked.

Rowan answered, his fingers fumbling to open the wrapper of a piece of hard candy as he saw Sam at his doorstep. “Sam Stark! How are you, son? How may I assist you?”

Sam’s mouth curled, but he still didn’t have any idea what to say. His brain finally relented that at least he should step inside before saying anything. “Mind if I come in, professor?”

Rowan motioned for Sam to enter as he popped the candy into his mouth. Sam walked past him into the lobby with the plant. Rowan offered a piece of the candy to Sam, but he declined. “Is Barry with you? Will he be joining us?” Sam noticed Rowan was holding the door open and glancing outside for his assistant.

“Tell me about the Church of Cyrus.”

Rowan’s head stopped craning to look outside, and he slowly shut his office’s front door. “I expect Barry will not be coming after all,” he said.

“Not quite.”

Rowan rolled his eyes slowly. “Sam, Sam. What you must think of me...”

Sam lifted his hands. “Stop. Don’t want your pity party. Want to know why you lied to me.”

Rowan appeared ready to scold Sam, but his face dropped and his shoulders heaved. Sam couldn’t tell if it was guilt or not, but the professor seemed to forego whatever was coming and instead began the story of the Church of Cyrus.

“It was almost a decade ago, Sam, that a man named Cyrus first appeared. It was absolutely nothing at first; he was just some street looney who wandered from town to town with signs about it being the end times. He would stand on street corners and talk to passers-by about the coming end of the world. It got the point where he was just kind of...a thing. News stations would humorously cover where the crazy guy with the sandwich board was today. ‘He’s outside the Hearthome Contest Hall, he’s at the Floaroma Gardens, he’s in Pastoria’s Great Marsh Park’, that kind of thing. He was more of Sinnoh’s adorable mascot than anything else.

“Then people started listening to him. He’d be in one city, and he’d have followers set up in other locations to help spread his word. His signs became pamphlets which later became small books. People weren’t just listening to him and helping him spread his word; some started donating him money. Even then, it was just a joke. ‘The Church of Cyrus’. All these people who started following around the loudmouth.”

Rowan tugged on the end of his tie. “Like a lot of people, it was around then that I actually started listening to what Cyrus was saying. It wasn’t some doomsaying prophecy of the world’s end; he was calling for a bringing about of the end! His belief was that there was too much hatred in the world. Our entire human race had succumbed to racism and greed and pride. We as a people, according to him, could never reach our full potential, and those ‘in charge’ (whatever that was supposed to mean) were promoting disdain between the hemispheres so that they could keep all the money and power to themselves. His message was actually that the system was so corrupted from the top down, that the only solution was to literally bring about the end of the world and let our species start over. A World Without Corrupt Emotion. That was what his first book was called. It’ actually what he wanted.”

Rowan stopped for a moment as if to grant Sam a chance to ask any questions. Sam had none; the story was mildly interesting at best, but all he wanted was for Rowan to get the part where using the legends to cure his brother’s sickness was unacceptable.

“Yes, so. Cyrus’ plan was to use two of the historical legendary pokemon, Dialga and Palkia, to destroy the world and recreate it in his own image. Now, on this I am telling you the truth: no one has ever seen these two. I honestly have no idea if they exist or not. But Cyrus claimed they spoke to him, that they somehow whispered to him. That should tell you the caliber of man we were dealing with; he was hearing voices and attributing them to mythological pokemon. He claimed that with the power of the guardians of the lakes, he would be able to summon Dialga and Palkia. It was at this point that the Prime Minister contacted me and told me that my Department and I were charged with stopping Cyrus. So I called upon some of the most talented trainers I knew. Two of them were Barry’s parents.

“Unfortunately,” Rowan rubbed his nose at the word, “I underestimated just how fervent Cyrus’ supporters were. There was a riot when news broke that the government had declared him a threat to national security, and... well, Barry’s parents did not make it back with us. We were able to apprehend Cyrus; he’s been remanded to the care of a psychiatric institution in Veilstone. Barry, meanwhile, I took him in with the assistance of a friend in Twinleaf. I thought I’d never have to use someone close to me in these matters before, but when Barry saw those men at Verity, I think some part of him wanted to live up to his parents’ legacy.”

Sam crossed his arms. “And you couldn’t have told me all of this when I first came to you?”

“With the look in your eyes and your determination? Would you have believed me? Would you have cared what I said?”

“No.” Sam’s statement was unabashedly plain.

“That’s why. So I figured it was safer to have you go look for yourself and figure that the legends didn’t even exist anymore.”

Sam tightened his jaw so hard, he felt a sharp pain shoot through his molars from being ground together. “So I came to you for help, and you led me around like a dog on a leash because you think I’m no different than a psychopath who,” Sam laughed at his final words--they were just too ridiculous, “wanted to destroy the world?”

“Sam--”

“Oh, until Barry and I saw something strange, and then I was more than good enough to get sent out to do your dirty work.”

“Sam, listen--”

“So you sent me and Barry out to die just like you did his parents. I was good enough--”

Rowan’s fist slammed down hard on his desk, knocking down pictures that had been sitting there of Rowan with various children, shaking hands with colleagues, and with his arm around a woman. “Mr. Stark! Whatever you may think of me, you will not speak to me that way in my office. I will not stand for it.”

“Righteous indignation doesn’t fit you very well, professor. Not right now.”

Rowan did not back down; he simply glared into Sam’s eyes. “I would never knowingly put Barry at risk. Never.”

“Just my brother, right?”

Rowan sighed. “And what happens with the guardians after you bring him back?”

“What do you mean?”

“Just what I said. Say you found them and brought them back to Johto. And say they could even cure your brother. Then what?”

Sam paused; he had not considered this before. He rubbed his hands together as he thought about what he would do then; he had not realized how sweaty his palms had gotten since his arrival at Rowan’s office. He meant what he told Rowan earlier when they met the first time; he had no interest in the legends. He didn’t want them for himself. “I would let them go. Either let them leave them as they want or bring them back here so they’d be home.”

“Do you honestly think it would work like that?”

Sam narrowed his eyes. What was the professor getting at?

“Once you’ve brought them into society and gave the world irrefutable, visual proof that they exist, do you think they could ever just go on with their lives? Everyone would want them. Crazies like Cyrus would be just the start. Every ambitious trainer in the world would be after them. Even well-meaning folks like yourself. All of you, trifling with forces mankind was never meant to control, for your own personal gain. The legends are able to keep the forces of nature in balance because they are free to do so. Without that peace, who knows what would come of things?”

“But my brother’d be--”

Rowan slammed his hand down again. “There is more to life than your brother, Mr. Stark!”

Sam pursed his lips and gritted his teeth again. This conversation was clearly going nowhere, and Sam knew at that moment what he had to do next anyway. “Not to me, there isn’t”. Before Rowan could issue another word of protest, Sam walked out the front door.

He had gotten several yards away from Rowan’s laboratory before he felt secure that the professor was not going to follow him and try to continue their discussion. Most likely, he was as exhausted from it as Sam was. Sam couldn’t help but wonder why Barry and Rowan couldn’t see how much Sam needed this. Why were they being so selfish and uncaring? There was a life at stake, and it was apparent that they would do anything in their power not to help save it. If that was the case, Sam would simply get in touch with those he knew would be on his side. As soon as he found a place to stop, he’d make a call to the Phoenix Shipping Corporation. Mr. Alonzo would have to take his call since Sam suddenly knew where to start looking for the guardians.

Rotomknight
2nd August 2012, 7:23 PM
As I mentioend early.
Not everythiy is Black and White. (Or Diamond and Pearl)
I feel theplot is in a way similar to BW.
One has a noble purpoe and a pure heart, but becomes insane following his ideals.
FYI: I think Mr. Alonzo=Cyrus.
Deranged men pursuing a terrible reality for the hope of a better world.

Sid87
5th August 2012, 1:21 AM
As I mentioend early.
Not everythiy is Black and White. (Or Diamond and Pearl)
I feel theplot is in a way similar to BW.
One has a noble purpoe and a pure heart, but becomes insane following his ideals.
FYI: I think Mr. Alonzo=Cyrus.
Deranged men pursuing a terrible reality for the hope of a better world.

Do you mean Mr. Alonzo is correlative to to Cyrus, or do you mean he's LITERALLY Cyrus?

I'd love to tease that along and say "Ho ho ho, I guess we'll see", but I can spoiler enough to say he assuredly is not actually Cyrus. Barry would have recognized him otherwise. :)

Morpher01
9th August 2012, 1:08 PM
Well...I'm finally here.

Really liking the story so far. Every chapter ends on either a "oh snap" note or a "what's going to happen next" note. Always important for cliffhangers.

Barry's inclusion was also fun. Interesting that you gave him all three starters (although, given that he's Rowan's assistant, it makes sense if you think about it). Although, how is Rowan capable of hiding all the Sinnoh legendaries? I'm pretty sure that anything along the lines of Arceus would not be easy to keep captive. XD Maybe to be addressed in a future chapter?

And now for Sam (who coincidentally shares a last name with Iron Man, although I'm fairly certain that it wasn't intentional XD). When I read that his family referred to his Pokemon as "friends" back in the prologue, my first thought was "wait, N's his father?". After further reading, this was obviously not the case. XD As for Sam himself...I think he's in for a lot more development as the story progresses. He wants to use the Lake Trio to restore his brother to life, but said Lake Trio has been hidden out of society's eyes. Given Rowan's dialogue in chapter 13, Sam appears to be playing with fire right now.

So, now I'm caught up at chapter 13, and Sam is on his lonely quest for the Lake Trio. The plot SEEMS predictable at this point: Sam eventually finds legends, must make choice to use or not to use, etc. There's been a decent amount of twists up to this point, however (examples being Sam owning Vlam, Alonzo ratting on Rowan, etc.), so I may be completely wrong. Well, we'll all find out eventually. XD

What will happen next in chapter 14? Hmm...given Sam's current situation, it should be interesting. I eagerly await the upcoming chapter. :)

Sid87
10th August 2012, 5:53 PM
Really liking the story so far. Every chapter ends on either a "oh snap" note or a "what's going to happen next" note. Always important for cliffhangers.

Yeah, I sometimes think I overdo it with those, but darn it, I enjoy ending things like that. :)


Barry's inclusion was also fun. Interesting that you gave him all three starters (although, given that he's Rowan's assistant, it makes sense if you think about it). Although, how is Rowan capable of hiding all the Sinnoh legendaries? I'm pretty sure that anything along the lines of Arceus would not be easy to keep captive. XD Maybe to be addressed in a future chapter?

It's addressed directly in the VERY NEXT chapter, which has been written for a few days. I'm just waiting in posting it since, like, NONE of my regular readers commented on last chapter. I think I drove them all away. :(


And now for Sam (who coincidentally shares a last name with Iron Man, although I'm fairly certain that it wasn't intentional XD). When I read that his family referred to his Pokemon as "friends" back in the prologue, my first thought was "wait, N's his father?". After further reading, this was obviously not the case. XD As for Sam himself...I think he's in for a lot more development as the story progresses. He wants to use the Lake Trio to restore his brother to life, but said Lake Trio has been hidden out of society's eyes. Given Rowan's dialogue in chapter 13, Sam appears to be playing with fire right now.

It actually IS intentional. I needed a last name for Sam, so I looked up at my DVD collection and saw Iron Man. Heh. Actually, I've snuck quite a few comic surnames into the story so far. A regular comic book fan would have noticed that in the chapter where I told the history of the Century War, all the Prime Ministers or Premiers referred to by name were named after Green Lanterns. [Hal] Jordan, [Kyle] Rayner, [Alan] Scott, [John] Stewart, and [Guy] Gardner.

I actually hadn't thought about the correlation to N before. Interesting pick up, but yeah, there's nothing there.


What will happen next in chapter 14? Hmm...given Sam's current situation, it should be interesting. I eagerly await the upcoming chapter.

I'll probably post it this weekend. I'm several pages into chapter 15 already as it is.

I'll be getting into Proving Grounds soon, too. It's one of two stories here I want to get a start on hopefully this weekend.

andresballer03
10th August 2012, 6:24 PM
ive been waiting so long for the next chapter dude POST IT. :)

Knightfall
11th August 2012, 11:57 PM
Review time again. Let’s get started.



Chapter 7: Present Day



His feet came down so hard and so quickly, he almost trampled a family of Bidoof who weren‘t aware of his presence until nearly too late.


I like the detail in that sentence. Poor Bidoof, they get no love.



Sam tried to imagine whatever creature was making the mechanical beeping noise being intimidated by his flannel sweatpants and white tank top, but it seemed all-too-unlikely. Somewhere in his haste, he had lost one of his knitted slippers, and he tried to calculate if having one was any more ridiculous than either having both or just being barefoot. He settled on kicking the other one off to match his bare feet; he could recover the socks when they came back around the lake.

Again, loving the amount of detail in this, and Sam’s concerns of anything being intimidated by his pajamas are just funny.



“Professor Rowan, hey it’s me. Did you get the pictures I sent you?...Good...Yeah, they’re just here at the north side of the lake...So did you recognize the emblem on...Phoenix Shipping Corporation?...No, I never heard of it...” Sam’s eyes shot back-and-forth between Barry and the workers by their equipment. It seemed impossible that they could hear Barry at this distance, but what if they could? Were they allowed to be here while this crew was working? Barry’s conversation continued, “Well that doesn’t sound so bad...No, he’s right here with me, he doesn’t seem to know these guys...Yeah, I believe him. I am not particularly suspicious of guys who whimper in their sleep...Do we have permission to?...Awesome...Oh, you know I can, but what about--CHRIST!”

I wonder if Barry even took a breath at all, knowing him, probably not. And subliminally making fun of Sam in that dialogue was pretty creative, I didn’t see it until a little while ago when I read it again. (when he says Sam whimpers in his sleep)



“Those idiots. Look, Sam, I know you’re here to see Mesprit or whatever, but I might need your help, and you’d be doing Professor Rowan a favor, too. You want to come help me stop some unlicensed construction?”

Hmm, interesting way to start off the secondary conflict in the plot. That’s all I have to say about it.


Barry pulled two of his pokeballs out of his pocket. They were plain red-and-white pokeballs, the cheap kind that were generally so undependable that they were used almost exclusively to catch fresh, defenseless hatchlings. “Follow my lead.”

Hmm, well that explains why every time an egg hatches the Pokemon is always caught in a standard ball.



He was not as thickly built as Sam imagined construction workers to be, but maybe with so many machines and explosives doing the work, he did not need to be. “Hey, kids. This is not a playground, there are dangerous stuff at work here. I am sorry if we did startle you, but you are going to have to get go from here.” The man’s imperfect speech and accent seemed to confirm what Sam already suspected.

Hurray for broken English, or Sinnish, whatever their native language is called. :)



“Hey! I can’t understand that! That’s...really unfair.” Sam found that he was pointing an accusing finger at the foreigner. Sideburns shouted another mystery order, but this time, Sam had his bearings more together. “Bree, fly up! Just...stay away from it!”

In Sideburn’s defense, Sam and Barry did just come up out of nowhere and start destroying their machines, and it’s a fight, it doesn’t have to be fair.



Hariyama’s right leg whipped around to kick Bree, but she had managed to narrowly avoid the impact by flying several feet into the air. “Yeah, you can yell all the gibberish you want now, but your fatty ninja pokemon can’t fly, so why don’t you calm down? We just asked to see your license and paperwork!” Sideburns scowled in response and let out another roar that did not sound like the friendly invitation to drink coffee and sort this all out that Sam had hoped for.

Another scene that made me laugh. You know, for a person who’s on a quest to heal his only remaining family member, Sam’s got a decent sense of humor.



“Do you yield?” Sam had no idea why he barked those words, but he had to admit to himself: it sounded really good. Sideburns recalled his Hariyama and took three hesitating steps backwards. When it seemed that Sam and Bree were not pursuing him, he turned and rushed off into the woods. Sam noticed the rest of his group must have already fled there; it was now just Sam, Barry, their pokemon, and some wrecked machinery.

“Really? ‘Do you yield’? That’s the direction you decided to go there?”

That is exactly the question I was thinking. Interesting choice of words, but odd at the same time.

Nothing erroneous with this chapter that I saw. Loved all the humor that you put into the dialogue and the battle against Sideburns.
Anyways, moving on.



Chapter 8: Six Years Ago...



“Yeah right. And what happens while I’m gone? You sit around and talk to yourself until you go crazy? Or you finally start working the ten hours a week you don’t already and drive yourself into the ground? Face it, you don’t know where you’d be without me.”

Even though you haven’t specified the exact cause of Tommy’s stroke, I’m going to assume it was stress or something of that nature. If it is stress, then Sam’s question is a good foreshadowing (since this is in the past).



“I’d be neck-deep in women is where I’d be. Without the oh-so-sexy declaration of ‘No, baby. We can’t go back to my place. My kid brother is up watching pro wrestling’, I’d be solid gold.”

Again, loving the sarcastic humor of this story.



“What if I can’t do it?” He instantly felt ashamed at having to speak loudly enough for Tommy to hear him. Any of the other kids milling about campus could just have heard him, and what if he had to share classes with them this year? They’d remember him as that whiny freshman who can’t hack it.

“Can’t do what? Stop at an intersection? I’d kind of hope that’d be a skill you’d have mastered by now...”

Oh, Tommy, too bad you’re in a coma because I like your sense of humor.



“Are you even listening? Does senility really hit this early?”


Only when someone’s traveling with you Barry.



If Sam were to put it crudely, he figured he must have lost 5 pounds just from regurgitating into their cabin washroom.
Lovely description. Ugh, seasickness, I can sort of relate since I have a similar problem.



“Really? Wuss. It’s just some water. Look,” Barry started doing jumping jacks on the deck of the ship. “See? I’m fine.” He kept going. Jumping. Up and down. Up and down. Up and--

“Oh god, please stop that!”

If you keep this up, this entire review will just be me pointing out all the funny parts in these chapters.



“Better be. By the way, while you were ignoring me, I was trying to show you the herd of Wailmers along the side of the ferry. Too bad we aren’t allowed to catch them from here, though.”

“Do Wailmers really come in a ‘herd’?”

Barry shrugged. “What would it be then?”

I’m not sure what it’d be called either. I know a group of whales are called a pod, so maybe it’s the same for Wailmer.



It was an awful town as Sam remembered it. The air constantly smelled of dead fish no matter where you went, and the boardwalk was loaded with garish, tourist-trap souvenir shops trying to sell sweatshirts with pictures of Krabby or the Olivine Lighthouse on them. The lighthouse seemed to account for all of the town’s history; apparently it was a big deal twenty years ago when it had to be physically moved backwards into the shore a few hundred yards due to the erosion of the land by water over time. It was all anyone talked about when he had visited. The ships coming in and out of the docks were loud and obnoxious, and the huge crane devices propped on the water’s edge to assist with removing cargo were a tremendous eyesore. Even thinking just these details about Olivine was enough to ball Sam’s fists, but at least he’d stopped thinking about the water.


Marvelous description of Olivine, I can almost smell the smell of decaying fish.



Sam cursed Rowan for sending Barry on such an errand, and then then he cursed himself for not just letting them dig their own graves without involving him.


An error? Can it really be? It’s been so long since I last saw one…. Anyways, “then” is repeated twice in a row.


They were halfway between the ferry dock and the Phoenix building when it finally occurred to Sam to ask the most rhetorical question he imagined he’d ever ponder. “You don’t really have a plan for what to do when we get there, do you?”

“Nope. Just gonna play this by ear.”

“Okay, yes. Tell me, what is your ear playing right now?”

Barry scratched his chin with his index finger. “Hm. Walk in. Find the receptionist or accountant or CEO or whoever’s at the front desk. Say ‘why were those guys performing illegal construction at Lake Verity?’ in a very menacing voice. Get answers.”

“Yep, that’s pretty good. But how about instead of that, we do anything else?”

That is almost exactly the response I expected. Oh course, Barry doesn’t have a plan, but luckily Sam is here to save the day.



“We ask the legal team why the Phoenix Shipping Corporation would be performing illegal drilling and construction on government-protected land, and why they responded to queries about their licensing with violence.” Sam pulled his hands up to his chest in an innocent manner. “We explain that we are sure it is just a misunderstanding as to how they ended up there, and perhaps their employees were just startled by our presence, but we are required to report back to Secretary Rowan with answers on this matter regardless. We make it seem like it’s all a big inconvenience, and we want to help them clear it up as quickly as--”

“We’re going to sneak onto a boat.”

Interesting insight into the government structure of Sinnoh, and I never thought about the regional Professors having a government position, but that makes perfect sense.

And I just love how Barry completely ignored Sam’s rational plan.



Sam was not quite sure how he stifled his screams as he was heaved upwards and then landed on the metal deck with his back, but he had. He would have never imagined Monferno had that kind of power in him. Moments after Sam’s landing came Barry’s; it was equally graceless, but he seemed less disturbed by it than Sam had been. They both sprang up to their feet; Sam did it to look around and ensure no one saw them, while Barry did so to withdraw Monferno back to the safety of its ball from its spot on the docks. Sam saw no one, but he still didn’t want to take a chance. He pointed to an array of crates, and the two of them ran to conceal themselves in it. As they got there, they felt the cargo boat pulling away from the dock. Whether it was the superior plan or not didn’t matter now; they were on their way to Acuity.

Pretty good ending. A drastic change in plans from what they had originally planned on doing, but it adds to the intrigue of what Phoenix Shipping Co. plans on doing at the lakes.



Chapter 9: Present Day



Sam considered that this was not a great idea given that he had no way of knowing when any of the Phoenix Corporation crew might need to come out onto the deck, and so it went that she would start moving towards the edge of the crates where Sam and Barry had concealed themselves and Sam would have to issue the most stern whisper he could muster to get the Shinx to come pouting back to his side. This would last for a few minutes at best before she would start testing his attention again by creeping towards the opening that lead to the deck.

He’s just now considering that this plan is a bad idea?
Sick, hungry, and cold on a cargo ship, yeah, awesome idea.



Was that all it was? Regardless of the reason, Barry nodded without an answer to his question and went back to making sure his energetic Monferno wasn’t about to set the crates about them on fire with his tail flame.

Ah, the dangers of having a tail flame. Leo knows them all too well.



Sam still couldn’t believe the cargo was so brazenly labeled. The Acuity Project. What would an international shipping company be doing running around the lakes of Sinnoh?


The question of the ages.



“NO!” Sam shouted. On pure instinct, he rushed to the edge of the ship, grabbed a life vest that hung there, and threw it into the sea as close to the man as he could. “Grab it!” Sam yelled, pointing at the vest. He was as relieved as he could ever remember being in his life when he saw the shivering figure make it to the safety device. “Are you psychotic, Barry?”

“What are you talking about? That’s basic problem-solving there.”

“That guy could die out there! The water here’s got to be about thirty-three degrees, and who knows how close to land we are. We’ve got to try to save him.”


Nice to see that Sam has a touch of humanity, trying to prevent that foreigner from making like the Titanic’s passagners. Hypothermia: it’s a cold-hearted killer.



Barry was rash--there’s a good chance he hadn’t thought about his actions when he ordered his friend to deal with the crew member. He must have locked up when Sam presented him with the reality of what could have happened.

He didn’t think it through? Wow, surprising. I know I’m giving Barry a lot of flack, but I really like his character.



The man who was speaking was surprisingly clean of facial hair, and he appeared to be very large. It was hard to say if he was as big as he appeared due to all the warm layers he was wearing. Snow pants, a padded coat like the other man’s, and a ski cap added to his size. He had the same accent that Sam remembered from Sideburns.

No facial hair? At least he’s trying to break the mold and be different.



The Phoenix Corportation pokemon were being ordered to attack.


Corporation, you’ve got one too many “t”s in there.



Out of the corner of his eye, Sam saw Monferno rush away from the Lotad it was engaged with and knock the Lairon onto its side with right fist that ignited in a blaze upon impact. Lairon let out a shrill, metallic screech as it tried to get back to its feet; its frantic movements signified how much the fire punch had hurt it. Barry’s Monferno extended its left hand and pulled Sam back up to his feet. Monferno made a throaty, joyful noise which Sam acknowledged with a nod and then bounded back to the ground fray against Lotad. Sam glanced up to see that the avian pokemon had taken advantage of both Sam’s distraction and its speed advantage; it was striking fast with stiff shots from its wings. Butterfree was still aloft, but it was dazed and hurt. Sam decided to take a note from Lairon's playbook and give the Swellow something else to think about for a few moments.


Again, wonderful description of the battle. There’s plenty of other examples of this, but this one I found particularly good.



“Barry! This isn’t working out super well for us! Please tell me you’ve got a back-up plan.”

Just a few feet away, Barry nodded and recalled Monferno into its pokeball. “Use a surf attack, Prinplup. As hard as you can, buddy!”


When I first read this, I had a feeling of what a Surf in the middle of the ocean would look like.



“Oh god," he muttered in Barry's direction. "What did you do?”

Barry turned, presumably to ask Sam what he was talking about, but he didn’t even need to get any words out; it was impossible to miss what Sam had seen. An enormous wave was barreling towards them, having formed several dozen yards out in the ocean. It had to have been the result of Prinplup’s surf attack. With the whole ocean and the force of the water and wind behind it, the wave attack had reached massive proportions. And it was bearing down on the ship. Sam figured the crew had to have seen it by that point, too, but he was too mesmerized by it to check them.

That scene was perfect. I don’t know why when something that life threatening is about to hit, all you can do is stare. I wonder why that is.



If he exhaled now, he was finished. A thousand lights flickered against the backdrop of his eyelids, and consciousness was becoming just a memory as the cargo box continued to ride him to the bottom of the sea.


This has got to be the most dramatic cliffhanger yet, no doubt about it. I applaud your writing skills, the battle was great, and the back-up plan was clever.



Chapter 10



He set his dishtowel on the rack next to the sink and turned the knobs to the stop the water pressure, but the water didn’t let up; he tried again, but the knob just spun loosely in his hand. The water was unstoppably filling the sink, and he knew soon it would fill his home. The drain wouldn’t be able to handle the deluge, and it would overflow and fill the kitchen and then the living room and then whole house and then his lungs—

Ah, it’s a dream sort of thing. I see.



“Hey, Tommy. You can’t do that. You’re in a coma; you have to take it easy.”

“Am I?” Tommy asked, looking down at his hands and then up his forearms. “Am I in a coma?”

Sam nodded.

“I don’t feel like I’m in a coma. I think I’m dead. Is that why you can see me? Am I dead?”

“You might be.” It did make sense to Sam. If Tommy was dead, then that would explain why he could see and talk to his older brother.

Wait, what? I am now thoroughly confused…



Sam agreed. Now that his brother was dead and awake, Sam could start going to school again. He would tell Miah Vanderbelt that Tommy came back to him, and no one in Miah’s family would do that for Miah. That would really get him good.


………………………




“Is it washing away your sin?”

“What sin? What are you--”

Sam’s words were cut off by Tommy’s hands around his neck. His brother’s face was flush with red now, and his pupils were tiny. His blonde hair was completely disheveled. Arched eyebrows punctuated his rage. “You forgot about me!”


………………………………………………………………………………



When Sam’s eyes opened again, he immediately realized he had no idea how long it had been since he was awake the last time. The fluorescent bulbs gave no hint of the daylight (or lack thereof, Sam pondered) outside. Another hospital room full of artificial light and artificial life; Sam’s body shuddered.

All right, Sam has returned to the realm of the living. Wow, that dream/hallucination scene was trippy. Well done with that. When I first read that, I couldn’t really summon any kind of reaction. I didn’t know whether to be scared, or something else.




“Think nothing of it. Hey, did you catch that part where I oh-so-subtly hinted that my Prinplup evolved after all this? It was awesome! I mean, he did beat, like, fifteen pokemon at once. Oh, and you. He beat you, too, I guess.”


I would think that destroying an entire cargo ship would qualify for evolution.
I love the humor in this story, even though it’s meant to be serious.



He found only the warm skin of his thigh, uncovered by his hospital gown under the bed sheets. “Where are my balls?”

Barry froze, his tongue caught beneath his teeth, staring at Sam reaching downwards under his sheets. A smile spread across his lips. “... Heh heh...”

“My friends!” Sam corrected, the thought of what he just said dawning on him. “The balls with Bree, Vlam, and Chispa. Where are those?”

Barry pointed to a tall, narrow closet next to the restroom door. “You had them secured. They’re with your clothes in there.”

Oh, Barry. What are we going to do with you (though I know what happens in a few chapters)?



Thank god, Sam thought.

Italics, maybe? You suggested the same thing for me, and it differentiates between the text and thoughts.



“The good thing in all this is that those guys aren’t making it to Lake Acuity. So that part turned out well, right? I guess we can let Rowan know that we put a stop to them in that regard, (let’s not tell him how, though). I wonder if we should think about heading to Lake Valor next and see what the odds are that they’ve got guys working there by now...”

Yeah, I don’t think Rowan would be excited in knowing that you destroyed potentially millions of dollars worth of cargo.




He imagined his family’s last name would be on every insurance company’s blacklist for the next three generations. We’re sorry Mr. Stark, an insurance company would tell his hypothetical son, but apparently car accidents, strokes, and falling in the ocean are all pre-existing conditions in your family.

I laughed here; you always know when to put the funny into the story.



Lawyer’s advice? What was going on here? “I’m sorry, sir; I’m a little confused. I must have missed your name...”

The man blinked slowly and bobbed his head. “No, I’m afraid I forgot to give it. My apologies. I am Henrique Alonzo. I am the President of Phoenix Shipping Corporation.”


In walks the man that you just cost millions of dollars in damages, what will you do now, Mr. Stark?

Anyways, an excellent batch of chapters. I always look forward to reading the next installment, because it’s that great to read.

Not much by way of errors in these chapters, a drastic decrease in what the earlier chapters had.
I hope to (hopefully) be all caught up by the end of the next review, then I can spend more time on the individual chapter.

Knightfall signing off …;005;

Sid87
12th August 2012, 9:47 PM
Hurray for broken English, or Sinnish, whatever their native language is called. :)

I think I just recently referred to it in chapter 15 as "Kantoan". Kantoan and Hoennese are the two primary world languages. :)



An error? Can it really be? It’s been so long since I last saw one…. Anyways, “then” is repeated twice in a row.

Derp. Fixed.



Ah, the dangers of having a tail flame. Leo knows them all too well.

:D


This has got to be the most dramatic cliffhanger yet, no doubt about it. I applaud your writing skills, the battle was great, and the back-up plan was clever.

Thank you for this, as well as the rest of your kind compliments through the review. I'm glad you are enjoying the story so far. :) Hopefully that keeps up!


All right, Sam has returned to the realm of the living. Wow, that dream/hallucination scene was trippy. Well done with that. When I first read that, I couldn’t really summon any kind of reaction. I didn’t know whether to be scared, or something else.

Did you ever realize that nothing in dreams really makes sense if you think about it? The scene shifts, the very things going on change, and things that are utter nonsense make perfect sense to you in the dream? I was going for that effect.




Being laid off from my job has led to my having a lot of extra time to write. I've been sitting on Chapter 14 for a few days now, but I figured I'd just post it. Chapter 15 is going to be HUGE by my typical standards (most of my chapters have been 5 pages in AbiWord before double-spacing the paragraphs. Chapter 15 is already about 5 pages long, and I'm less than halfway through what all I want to get done there. Woo! I really like Chapter 15 and have been looking forward to it for a long time. :) That said, I thought I might as well post Chapter 14 while I'm tearing through 15. Enjoy!




Chapter 14

Sam rubbed the bridge of his nose between his forefinger and thumb. Apparently, it was nearly impossible to call the offices of a worldwide corporation and just speak directly to the President. Receptionists were hesitant to put a call through to his phone, if they even had that ability at all. It was fast becoming Sam’s experience that they would be more than happy to transfer him. First there was another, equally-unhelpful, receptionist, then the disinterested floor manager, and then, most recently, some idiot in an office with a nonsense job title.

“This is Alberto Rivera, Secretary of Domestic Relations and Image. How can I help you this afternoon, sir?”

Sam sighed audibly. “Mr. Alonzo. I want to speak to Henrique Alonzo.”

“I’m sure I can help you out, sir. Why don’t you go ahead and tell me who you are and what your concerns are with the Phoenix Shipping Corporation today?”

I think I know where the guardians of the Sinnoh lakes are, and I was hoping Mr. Alonzo and I could go check it out so that we can save my sick brother and possibly countless other individuals all across the world, Sam thought but did not say. Instead, he suppressed a grumble in his throat. “Look, I don’t even know what 'domestic relations and image’ is. My name is Sam Stark. If you just get a hold of his cell phone and let him know I need to speak to him, that will--”

“I’m sure Mr. Alonzo would be pleased to speak to you, sir, but he is regrettably unavailable. In the meantime, I really think I can help you out. Why don’t you go ahead and tell me what your concerns are. Did we lose a package of yours?”

Sam smacked the receiver end of his cell phone off his forehead three times before closing his eyes and reminding himself to try to remain calm. “No, you did not lose a package,” Sam spoke very slowly, picturing Mr. Rivera as a small child who couldn’t grasp large, intricate ideas. “Mr. Alonzo knows me. We are acquaintances. He is probably even expecting my call.”

“I’m sure he is,” Alberto Rivera replied. Sam could somehow hear the Secretary of Domestic Relations and Image rolling his eyes. “But, as I said, I can not contact him at the moment. If you feel I can not accommodate your needs in a satisfactory manner, I’ll tell you what I can do...”

“NO!--”

“...I will just transfer...”

“DON’T YOU--”

“...you down the hall to...”

“I don’t want to be transferred again!”

“...the head of our Communications department...”

Sam let out a very primal yell as he pressed the End Call button on his phone as vengefully as he could. He rued modern technology for taking away the old-fashioned ability to slam a handset down into its cradle.

Having wasted almost half an hour on the phone call to nowhere, Sam pondered his next move. His rental car was probably still parked at the ferry station across the strait from Canalave, but Sam could barely stand the idea of retrieving it. Rowan had gotten the car for him, and that last thing Sam wanted now was to depend on anything having to do with that man. It had been a few days since Snowpoint by this time, and Sam had no idea if Henrique was still there. Still, it was the only lead he had left. Sam turned his phone back on and searched for the number for Snowpoint Resort. He pressed the number when it showed on his phone’s screen.

“Is Henrique Alonzo still available?” Sam asked the lady who answered his call. She placed Sam on hold; with any luck, Mr. Alonzo was still there. If not, Sam’s next best idea was camp out in the middle of the Phoenix Corporation office floor in Canalave until someone put him in touch with their president.

“This is Mr. Alonzo,” the voice on the other end responded. Sam recognized it and was immediately both relieved and frustrated. He was relieved, of course, that he had gotten through; he was frustrated that he wasted so much time trying to navigate the maze of Mr. Alonzo’s employees before calling the resort.

“Mr. Alonzo, thank goodness you are still at the resort. This is Sam, Sam Stark.”

“Yes, Mr. Stark. Good to hear from you. And, yes, I am afraid the resort has asked me to stay until after my suite’s front door has been repaired. To make sure my security deposit covers the damages.”

Sam swallowed and decided it best to steer the conversation away from that topic. No good could come of acknowledging that. “Yeah, hm. I was wondering if you would be able to meet me at the World Pokemon League stadium in Canalave City. There’s a match there this weekend.”

There was a pause on the other end of the line, then finally, “I am certain I could, yes. But why would you want to meet with me there? Or even at all?”

“I have information you might want. I think I know where the legends could be.”

---

Three days later, Sam found himself getting more invested in a WPL match than he had been in over a year. On the field, a young man named Alabaster was readying his Kadabra for battle against a World Pokemon League veteran named Cornelius and his Rhydon. Both men were down to their last friend, and the battle had already been raging for over thirty minutes. Sam figured that Alabaster’s Kadabra’s psychic abilities would enable to stay out of range of the upright rhinoceros’ brutal attacks, but he also knew Rhydon probably only needed to get lucky once for the match to be over.

Sam had long forgotten how much he enjoyed the WPL--both watching it and participating in it. Over the course of the last year, his entire life had been dedicated to caring for Tommy and finding a doctor who could offer a more promising prognosis. Sam must have forfeited dozens of matches in that time, and he certainly did not have it in him to sit down and watch a battle and let it remind him of what he was missing. This day was different, though; Sam was as close to the end of this tunnel as he had been since he began his undertaking. Nothing was set in stone, no, but he finally had a solid lead. He knew that he had been hopeful before, but that was when he was being deceived by others. This time, he had started figuring things out on his own. He just needed resources and manpower.

That was where Henrique Alonzo came in. If anyone had not only the resources that Sam required but also the drive to help Sam achieve his goal, it was the president of the Phoenix Corporation. Sam had been feeling so giddy over the possibility that he even agreed to buy Mr. Alonzo a ticket to the matches and leave it at will-call so they would have seats together. The match between Alabaster and Cornelius was the first of the afternoon, so there was still plenty of time for Mr. Alonzo to show up. Confident in this, Sam allowed himself to keep enjoying the match.

On the field, the orange-and-brown humanoid Kadabra twirled its spoon around in his clawed hand. It had thus far seemed content to hang back and force the gray, rock-skinned Rhydon to initiate combat. Cornelius seemed too clever for this tactic, though, and had Rhydon steadily waiting rather than attacking half-cocked. Despite the excitement of the opening minutes of the match, the crowd was growing restless at the timidity both pokemon were displaying. Sam knew firsthand that a vocal and unhappy crowd could really affect an inexperienced trainer’s concentration and ability to stay on-point. He focused his attention on Alabaster to check him for any signs of wilting under the pressure of the audience, and, sure enough, the younger trainer was wrinkling his nose and sweating hard. He was, perhaps, getting as annoyed at the crowd as they were at him. Conversely, Cornelius’ face betrayed no signs of frustration as he kept his eyes focused on the Kadabra’s movements. Sam heard Alabaster call out to Kadabra to try a psybeam attack, and Cornelius yelled back for Rhydon to dig a hole underneath its own feet. Kadabra closed its eyes in concentration and thrust out its palms while Rhydon smashed its thick fist into the ground beneath it. The battlefield beneath Rhydon erupted in a cloud of debris, dust, and rubble as the audience, Alabaster, and Kadabra all lost sight of it. As the dust faded, there was a large hole in the ground where the rhinoceros had previously been standing, and Rhydon was nowhere to be seen.

“Oh man. Sucker,” Sam chuckled aloud.

“Do you suppose so?”

Sam glanced to the voice from over his right shoulder and saw Henrique standing there. Figuring it would be the proper thing to do, Sam stood and shook the man’s hand. It couldn‘t hurt to butter him up a bit.

“Good to see you got the ticket I left you.”

“Yes, this is interesting. I haven’t sat in the crowd in ages. I usually get box seats when I come to these.”

“Oh,” Sam said while nodding. He felt an odd mixture of embarrassment and anger that someone would so flippantly imply the seats were not up to his usual standards, but Sam decided to swallow those feelings. He motioned back to the arena. “Do you not suppose the Kadabra just fell into the Rhydon’s trap?”

“I think that trying to hide from a psychic is a foolish idea.”

Sam couldn’t help but agree that it made sense, but it also came down to just how effective the psychic was. From the battlefield, Sam heard Alabaster call out for a telekinesis attack from Kadabra. The ground rumbled for several seconds before the hidden Rhydon was pulled up just feet away from Kadabra. As Rhydon emerged from the ground and was lifted into the air, it seemed to struggle against an unseen force moving it against its will. Rhydon hovered above the broken ground for a moment and then was slammed chest first into the battlefield by the invisible power. The battle was far from over, but both Sam and Cornelius had learned not to underestimate the fresh-faced trainer and his Kadabra.

“As much as I enjoy a good pokemon league match, I do believe you called me here with,” Mr. Alonzo smacked his lips, “somewhat more pressing matters.”

“Yeah, and I figured we should meet in public this time.”

“Fewer doors for you to destroy?”

“I’m sure I could find some if that would make you feel better.” Sam would let Mr. Alonzo think the meeting was public for whatever reason he wanted; Sam knew it was because he was not yet sure if he could trust Henrique.

“I think we will have to pass on that. To the point, I am curious how you suddenly have information on where...,” Henrique looked around at the crowd. As engrossed in the match as they were, he seemed to want to ensure no one around understood the subject at hand, “...where they could be.”

“Simple deduction, really,” Sam answered as the crowd let out a unanimous gasp around them. Rhydon had just barely missed Kadabra with a horn attack. “Rowan is incredibly forceful about protecting them, especially since the whole Cyrus thing. So he took them and hid them away, right?”

“I already know this, Mr. Stark.”

“But follow along here. The trio themselves... they don’t really know any better. They are just pokemon, after all. Their base instinct is always going to be to return to the lakes. That’s their homes; it’s all they know. But, as you’ve already found out, they aren’t there.”

“So the professor put them elsewhere; I already know this.”

“But why haven’t they returned, is what I’m saying. It’s because he had to leave them with someone. Someone who would guard them and convince them to stay. And for him to do that...”

“It would have to be someone the professor trusts. Someone close to him.”

Sam snapped his fingers. “That’s right. It dawned on me when I was at his office and saw his desk. There were pictures of him with his nieces and nephews and with some friends and possibly with a...,” Sam stopped as he thought about the next word. Girlfriend? Sounds immature for a man of Rowan’s stature. Lover? Sam shuddered at that thought. Finally, he came up with an alternative. “A paramour.”

A roar erupted from the crowd, and Sam looked down at the battle to see Rhydon had finally connected with some attack; Kadabra was down on all fours and wincing in obvious agony.

Mr. Alonzo was apparently oblivious to this excitement. “How is this helpful? We don’t know where these people are.”

“The family shouldn’t be that hard to find. Professor Rowan is a public figure, so someone’s got to know where his sisters live. His friends, well okay; that will be a bit harder, but still workable. The ladyfriend of his, though, she’s got to live at a higher elevation. There was fog in the background of the picture, and I think I saw a pretty obvious mountainside view.”

“Celestic Town,” Mr. Alonzo mused.

Sam shrugged his shoulders. “If you say so. I haven’t studied the whole region.”

“So why are you telling me this? You certainly have not seemed like my biggest fan up until now. Now that you know what I stand for, do you see I have everyone’s best interests at heart?”

“Your ‘best interests’ can go blow,” Sam stated, shaking his head. “I came to you because you have the resources and the desire to help me meet the trio. We get their help, first thing is first, and that’s that I help my brother.” Sam was not sure Mr. Alonzo even knew anything about Tommy other than from the fit Sam had on Barry back in Snowpoint. “After that, I don’t care if you bring them back home or making everyone happy all the time or dress them up in doll clothes. Doesn’t matter to me.”

Sam stared expectantly at Mr. Alonzo who seemed in no hurry to respond. Sam, feeling particularly proud of the posturing he had just done, turned his attention back to the field. Rhydon was shaking its head in either frustration or agony; the Kadabra was recovered and back on its feet several yards away. Sam assumed a full-on psychic attack was being executed from across the distance and wished Bree had the mental prowess to be able to unleash her psychic attack from so far away. Cornelius yelled out for Rhydon to attempt an earthquake attack, and the large, grey pokemon responded by jumping as far off the ground as it could and slamming both of its feet into the battlefield. The resulting shockwaves knocked Alabaster’s Kadabra from its feet. Sam thought that perhaps distance was overrated after all.

“So what do you think we should do from here?”

“Well, if you think the one place was Celestic Town, let’s start there. Set me up with one of your little excavation crews. We’ll get a sense of whether they’re there or not--hopefully with 100% less blowing-crap-up than your men have enjoyed in the past--and get in touch with you on how to proceed if they are. If they aren’t, we’ll move on to the next place he might have stashed them. While we’re searching, you can use your contacts to figure out where that next place might be.”

Mr. Alonzo nodded. He seemed as if he were about to reply when the crowd burst out in cheers. After a hard-fought battle, Kadabra was declared by the judges to be unable to continue battling. Cornelius won the battle. Mr. Alonzo smiled at the result and turned to Sam. “A good lesson, I think. No matter how young, enthusiastic, and driven a competitor is, he’ll always lose out when he challenges someone older with more experience.”

Sam wrinkled his nose and said nothing.

“Come to my building tomorrow, Mr. Stark. We’ll set you up with a team and get you on your way to Celestic.” Mr. Alonzo bowed pulled himself out of the seat and bowed his head. “Have a good evening until then.”

Rotomknight
13th August 2012, 2:23 AM
Excellent...
Is mr. Alonzo heroic or evil, or grey.

Zibdas
13th August 2012, 4:13 AM
Alrighty, caught up. I can't say anything that hasn't been said already praising your work other than it is vastly superior than anything I could hope to dream of, and that I look forward to Chapter 15~

Noticed this in Chapter 12;

“Bree, you have to come down and free Vlam! Use a psychic attack on Monerno!”
and this in 13:

nt in Snowpointe, a
and again in 14

It had been a few days since Snowpointe

diamondpearl876
14th August 2012, 1:06 AM
Well I just got to this tonight since I didn't want to risk forgetting to review again.

Chapter 14 seemed like a filler chapter, but I suppose a necessary one to get the plot rolling, so I'll look forward to what chapter 15 brings for us.

To be honest I didn't quite see the point of the first section where Sam has to try so hard to contact Mr. Alonzo. It didn't seem to add anything to the fic or to anyone's characterization (except maybe it proved that Mr. Alonzo is a shady, busy character who is so immersed in his own business that he has to make everyone else do his less important work). Other than that, I loved the way you portrayed a battle and Sam/Mr. Alonzo's talk at the same time. The battle between a psychic and a non-psychic really corresponds with the battle between Sam and the legends and then the battle between Sam and Mr. Alonzo (which one would be psychic in this battle, I wonder? You do a good job at portraying their mysterious relationship, I must say).


“A good lesson, I think. No matter how young, enthusiastic, and driven a competitor is, he’ll always lose out when he challenges someone older with more experience.”

I know I didn't point out specific parts like I usually do, but this part stood out to me the most. It seems like a major piece of foreshadowing that I hope you expand on in the future.

Skiyomi
15th August 2012, 12:11 AM
Hey there. I'm here from the review game. I know you were more interested in getting responses on your latest chapters than on the early stuff, but since I'm a brand-new reader I had to start at the beginning. I've gotten about halfway through what you have already, prologue-chapter 7, and I figured I'd give you my thoughts on that. I hope that's okay with you.

Opening: To me, the prologue is probably the weakest link in the chain as far as the chapters in this story go. It has a tendency toward exposition dumps, which isn't at all unusual in prologues, but I still think it's better to avoid it. Stuff like Sam's dad's attitude about things could've been displayed more viscerally if the prologue had included a real-time scene with him. In the same way, Tommy's success and popularity could've been established better with, say, a scene involving his friends talking about his success or a girl giving him the eye or a shot of a award on the wall instead of us just hearing it second-hand from Sam.

There's plenty of good stuff in the prologue, though. Particularly the relationship between Sam and Tommy is established very well as are their characters. Not only that, but I really loved some of Tommy's lines in the story.

Characters:

Sam- Sam makes for a good main character in this. His guilt-ridden drive to save his brother makes him a very sincere, relatable and likeable guy. The details filtering through his brain are very well rendered and he has a sort of ironic humor that crops up occasionally to very good effect.

Tommy- I more or less instantly liked Tommy when I read the prologue just because I immediately connected with his teasing tone toward his brother. It's just the right balance and never loses its fondness. The moments when he's giving out teasing lines like that are the moments when Tommy feels the most real to me.

Unfortunately Tommy has felt less and less real to me as I go forward reading this. Some of this was present in the prologue, but there just reaches a point where he starts feeling too perfect. Succesful, popular, good work ethic, nurturing... the guy's got it all. The closest he comes to a "flaw" is that he's too self-sacrificing... and that's really so admirable that it hardly seems to count. Nobody, particularly someone as put-upon as a older sibling who is forced to take the role of a parent, is that saintly all the time. I understand that the main drive of this story is Sam's love for the brother who did everything for him, so it's important that Tommy is someone that Sam can idolize. But I don't think Tommy showing a moment of weakness would take away from that. I think it would ultimately make him more human and make me, the reader, care more about getting him back.

Dad- As of chapter 7, we don't have any actual scenes with him interacting with the characters. Since he's dead, I'm not holding out much hope that he will in later chapters, though a flashback is certainly possible. He seems like a "my way or the highway" kind of guy, but still very admirable in his way. But because I only hear about him second-hand, I really have no connection to him, which was why his death had little to no effect on me.

Barry- I LOVE BARRY IN THIS. You do a great job at portraying him with such high energy, quirk, and good-natured obnoxiousness (which I love in him. I'm not saying obnoxiousness as an insult. It's just his way). I feel like he hops on screen and suddenly the pacing just quickens so nicely and every page he's on feels lively.

Bree & Vlam- I'll just stop to say that I think these two make great character foils. Bree's vigor and curiosity is a great match for Vlam's more patient, focused attitude.

Relationships: I may have had a few complaints about Tommy, but I think the relationship between Sam and Tommy is wonderful strong in this. I think that familial bond is something that a lot of people can relate to and you pull it off with aplomb. Sam's willingness to do anything to get the Tommy he knows back is a driving force here, and it functions excellently as one.

Writing: You have a great flair for detail because you seem to think so specifically. The details about bug catchers getting teased, or Sammy's childhood flights of fancy, or the governmental insistance on holding his Pokemon to make sure they weren't carrying diseases, or even the magazines in Rowan's lobby (Pontya Dressage Today was my favorite). You write a lot of concrete details into this that not only help me visualize what's going on, but help to build the world of the story.

Technical Issues: I didn't really see any major spelling/grammar/punctuation problems. Aside from maybe a few comma splices in the prologue and a few typos, you're solid. It's clear you know what you're doing here. If I were to give one recommendation, though, and this is not really a mistake just something I think could be improved: I'd break up some of your longer paragraphs. It's the kind of thing that improves readability, flow, and helps maintain focus (for both your reader and you). Some of your paragraphs do feel a little long and like they're dealing with multiple things, so I think chopping them up would improve matters.

Pace: Prior to about chapter five, pacing would've been the number one thing I wanted to talk about here. You have a lot of very short chapters early on where the bulk of what happens is concentrated in the last couple of paragraphs. The effect is that by the time I feel like the action in a chapter has started, it's ended. Combine this with the back-and-forth of flashback and present time and it felt very choppy and slow to come together to me. I never felt that I was in one context for long enought to really feel invested in it, and once I started to care, I was whisked off somewhere else. The upside to this was that I initially always had a great reason to read on, since you're really good at ending chapter stings. But after awhile, that wore thin, and I honestly began to get a little frustrated with the slow pace and the lack of answers. There's a compliment in there, I swear, because I did want to know. But the frustration at the pacing did end up eroding away at my desire to read on at certain points.

A lot of this has more or less evaporated in the last couple of chapters I read. By chapter 5 we get to the real premise of the story and things feel like they're gearing up more. In chapter 6 Barry appears and livens things up. Not only that, but the task is begun in earnest. I believe the chapter length has increased too, which makes the chapters feel more whole and complete.

So... it does look like you ironed out the pacing problem. Which makes me really happy! I do think, however, that it would be worthwhile go back and iron out the pacing problems prior to chapter 5. There are a lot of ways you could do it and expanding content is one of them. Though, if I were to do it (and I obviously can't tell you how to deal with it, or to even deal with it at all and this would be a big edit) I would honestly combine a lot of the earlier chapters and cut some of the exposition (or turn it into an extra scene). I think with the amount of material you had to cover for the beginning of the story, the "premise chapter" could've come earlier than all the way at chapter 5. But that's one chick's opinion.

All in all, a few wrinkles, but I enjoyed myself and it's nice to read a piece with so much earnest feeling in it. I'm really sorry that I couldn't give you the review of the latter chapters right now, but hopefully I'll be along to read them later (particularly if the pacing continues it's newly quickened status). Good luck as you continue!

Sid87
15th August 2012, 1:50 AM
Excellent...
Is mr. Alonzo heroic or evil, or grey.

He is...Mr. Alonzo. :)



Alrighty, caught up. I can't say anything that hasn't been said already praising your work other than it is vastly superior than anything I could hope to dream of, and that I look forward to Chapter 15~

Noticed this in Chapter 12;

and this in 13:

and again in 14


Thanks. For some reason, I could have sworn that Snowpoint had an E at the end. I'll fix those.

BTW, I've been meaning to tell you: I've had Zub opened in a tab for literally 2-3 weeks. I have been meaning to get to it for a while, and eventually I will.



Well I just got to this tonight since I didn't want to risk forgetting to review again.

Chapter 14 seemed like a filler chapter, but I suppose a necessary one to get the plot rolling, so I'll look forward to what chapter 15 brings for us.

To be honest I didn't quite see the point of the first section where Sam has to try so hard to contact Mr. Alonzo. It didn't seem to add anything to the fic or to anyone's characterization (except maybe it proved that Mr. Alonzo is a shady, busy character who is so immersed in his own business that he has to make everyone else do his less important work). Other than that, I loved the way you portrayed a battle and Sam/Mr. Alonzo's talk at the same time. The battle between a psychic and a non-psychic really corresponds with the battle between Sam and the legends and then the battle between Sam and Mr. Alonzo (which one would be psychic in this battle, I wonder? You do a good job at portraying their mysterious relationship, I must say).

I know I didn't point out specific parts like I usually do, but this part stood out to me the most. It seems like a major piece of foreshadowing that I hope you expand on in the future.

Originally, I had started the chapter at the Canalave Arena, but I ended up thinking it needed an intro other than "Sam had called Mr. Alonzo", just to explain why Alonzo would even agree to meet Sam. But when I wrote the beginning part...it ended up having almost nothing to do with that. :) I was worried that the story was going to border on melodramatic since the falling out with Barry, so I wanted to inject some levity into it. Maybe I was reaching too hard there.




Hey there. I'm here from the review game. I know you were more interested in getting responses on your latest chapters than on the early stuff, but since I'm a brand-new reader I had to start at the beginning. I've gotten about halfway through what you have already, prologue-chapter 7, and I figured I'd give you my thoughts on that. I hope that's okay with you.

Yeah, that's fine. I was hoping, yes, to get stuff for later, but...que sera sera. :)


Opening: To me, the prologue is probably the weakest link in the chain as far as the chapters in this story go. It has a tendency toward exposition dumps, which isn't at all unusual in prologues, but I still think it's better to avoid it. Stuff like Sam's dad's attitude about things could've been displayed more viscerally if the prologue had included a real-time scene with him. In the same way, Tommy's success and popularity could've been established better with, say, a scene involving his friends talking about his success or a girl giving him the eye or a shot of a award on the wall instead of us just hearing it second-hand from Sam.

Okay, I can see the possible need for those things to show Tommy. I actually am shocked because I think most people told me they liked the prologue as much as anything else. Heh. Ah well, can't please everyone. I certainly see and agree with your point, though.


Tommy- I more or less instantly liked Tommy when I read the prologue just because I immediately connected with his teasing tone toward his brother. It's just the right balance and never loses its fondness. The moments when he's giving out teasing lines like that are the moments when Tommy feels the most real to me.

Unfortunately Tommy has felt less and less real to me as I go forward reading this. Some of this was present in the prologue, but there just reaches a point where he starts feeling too perfect. Succesful, popular, good work ethic, nurturing... the guy's got it all. The closest he comes to a "flaw" is that he's too self-sacrificing... and that's really so admirable that it hardly seems to count. Nobody, particularly someone as put-upon as a older sibling who is forced to take the role of a parent, is that saintly all the time. I understand that the main drive of this story is Sam's love for the brother who did everything for him, so it's important that Tommy is someone that Sam can idolize. But I don't think Tommy showing a moment of weakness would take away from that. I think it would ultimately make him more human and make me, the reader, care more about getting him back.

I don't disagree at all, but my thought on the matter are that the narration is strictly attached to Sam, maybe just a step removed from first-person. So it has not made too much sense to me just yet for Sam to be thinking of Tommy in a negative light. But it is certainly an understood and taken point.


Technical Issues: I didn't really see any major spelling/grammar/punctuation problems. Aside from maybe a few comma splices in the prologue and a few typos, you're solid. It's clear you know what you're doing here. If I were to give one recommendation, though, and this is not really a mistake just something I think could be improved: I'd break up some of your longer paragraphs. It's the kind of thing that improves readability, flow, and helps maintain focus (for both your reader and you). Some of your paragraphs do feel a little long and like they're dealing with multiple things, so I think chopping them up would improve matters.

I tend to meander on at times, yes. I've always been so concerned that my paragraphs are too short and choppy, that sometimes I go a bit too far the other way. Still working on finding a balance there. I will endeavor to continue progress on that!


Pace: Prior to about chapter five, pacing would've been the number one thing I wanted to talk about here. You have a lot of very short chapters early on where the bulk of what happens is concentrated in the last couple of paragraphs. The effect is that by the time I feel like the action in a chapter has started, it's ended. Combine this with the back-and-forth of flashback and present time and it felt very choppy and slow to come together to me. I never felt that I was in one context for long enough to really feel invested in it, and once I started to care, I was whisked off somewhere else. The upside to this was that I initially always had a great reason to read on, since you're really good at ending chapter stings. But after awhile, that wore thin, and I honestly began to get a little frustrated with the slow pace and the lack of answers. There's a compliment in there, I swear, because I did want to know. But the frustration at the pacing did end up eroding away at my desire to read on at certain points.

Yeah, those first few chapters were very short, and if I re-write them, I'll probably mash up chapters 2-5 and recombine them into 2 separate chapters. Admittedly, I've been winging and ad libbing this story as an exercise to see if I am better at keeping my motivation up when I'm doing that (long story short: my motivation tends to die on stories that I have plotted out long in advance, so I thought I'd go in the complete opposite direction for this exercise). The major problem with that (besides a few plot points I'm SURE I forgot to bring back up) is that the early chapters was a LOT of brief, me-feeling-things-out. And it wasn't necessarily pretty. Already, just a few months later, I am really disappointed in the length (and some other details) of chapters 2-5. But I think it's gotten better. Better-ish. :) Anyway, I completely agree with your assessment, and it's been something I've been intentionally improving.


So... it does look like you ironed out the pacing problem. Which makes me really happy! I do think, however, that it would be worthwhile go back and iron out the pacing problems prior to chapter 5. There are a lot of ways you could do it and expanding content is one of them. Though, if I were to do it (and I obviously can't tell you how to deal with it, or to even deal with it at all and this would be a big edit) I would honestly combine a lot of the earlier chapters and cut some of the exposition (or turn it into an extra scene). I think with the amount of material you had to cover for the beginning of the story, the "premise chapter" could've come earlier than all the way at chapter 5. But that's one chick's opinion.

I'm admittedly AWFUL at going back and revising older chapters (whereas I'm annoyingly willing to scrap entire stories and start writing them from scratch; that's a terrible solution). Maybe I should use this story as an exercise to do that (especially after chapter 15 where I think I might be hitting a lull [not in the story! Just in my free time]). :)


All in all, a few wrinkles, but I enjoyed myself and it's nice to read a piece with so much earnest feeling in it. I'm really sorry that I couldn't give you the review of the latter chapters right now, but hopefully I'll be along to read them later (particularly if the pacing continues it's newly quickened status). Good luck as you continue!

Thank you VERY MUCH for the amazing, insightful, and well-done review. I certainly hope to see you back sometime!

Ememew
18th August 2012, 9:02 AM
Hey there! Just started reading this fic and it was already 14 chapters in at the time I began, so I’ll just try to stick with the more interesting points I think of for a few chapters at a time until I catch up. Sorry it took so long to get around to this.

Prologue: 15 Years Ago

Sammy Stark stared down at the yellow-and-green orb in his hand. The boy had never held an actual pokeball before in his life, he had only seen them used by others: trainers, his dad, his brother Tommy...but never was he allowed to handle one. His father had always been adamant that Sammy would not be allowed to touch a ball until the day he was given his own and sent to catch his first pokemon. Sammy’s freckled cheeks blushed, his dad wouldn’t have approved of that, either; dad always called them “friends”. I like the use of a pokéball other than the standard red-and-white model early on – especially since more specialized types like Nest or Dusk Balls would make sense for new trainers’ first captures when they wouldn’t have anything to weaken a target with. One nitpick, though. I had to reread the last bit a few times to realize that it was the use of the term “pokémon” instead of friend that caused him to blush. Maybe it was just me.
Sammy had never previously cared when his dad told stories of acquaintances and co-workers of his who let their own kids use pokemon. Dad had been trying to teach him a lesson about maturity and earning a privilege, but all Sammy ever thought about were the other kids in Goldenrod Elementary who got to go out on the weekend and play with their parents’ pokemon. I guess the “previously never cared” part refers to before he was in school? Maybe this could be stated a bit more neatly, as it sounds like he never cared about other kids having pokémon at the same time as it was all he thought about.

But that was when he was eight. Sammy was ten now, and felt like he was much more mature. Would he be able to appreciate this moment as much if he’d been allowed to play with dad’s friends when he was younger? Would the ball in his hand feel so heavy? Would his chest feel like it was about to collapse every time he breathed out? He was there in Ilex Forest about to catch his first pokemon; his first friend. I like how his excitement and nervousness are both captured by this phrasing. I also like his daydreaming about what his pokémon would be – and his worries about how classmates will react to a Caterpie. The way the daydreams are handled helps him seem like a real kid.

I also noticed that the e’s are missing the accent mark in pokéball, pokémon, and pokéathelon. If you’re not sure where to find the é symbol on your writing program (as it can be different from program to program), you can also copy and paste it in.

“All right, fine. I’m going back home and telling dad you went all catatonic. No friend for you.” Foreshadowing?

It had been five years since Tommy was ten and allowed to catch a friend of his own, and ever since then, Tommy was the guy that Sammy aspired to be. In his first year of high school, Tommy was Trainer of the Year, beating out kids four years older than himself! Tommy was already almost six feet tall, and his styled, sandy hair would never have to be buzzed down because it always stuck up. When Tommy’s friends came over, they always talked about what girls in Goldenrod High wanted to go out with him that week, but Tommy would just laugh them off. On the weekends when they were at home playing video games while dad was at work, Sammy would ask why he didn’t just go out on a date with one of those girls instead, but Tommy’s answer was always just to laugh and say the same thing. ‘Sammy, you’d burn the house down if I wasn’t here!’. I wonder just how much of this is the real Tommy and how much is Sammy’s respect-inflated idea of his brother. Tommy’s teasing seems relatively good natured, at least.

“It’s a Nest Ball, Sammy. That’s why dad gave it to you to start. It’s designed to catch weaker pokemon. He wanted you to earn your first friend by proving you wouldn’t blow that ball on something too strong for you to handle.” Tommy looked back up at the Caterpie in the tree. “I’m pretty sure anyone could handle that little bug.” The teasing (anyone could use a Caterpie) seems a little meaner here, especially in the context of his dad thinking he can’t handle as much while giving Tommy a chance to catch a Vulpix. Is it just parental favoritism, or is the difference in their talents really that great? I know you later say this is because he’s trying to teach Sammy a lesson because he was more worried about his image than doing things the right way at that point, but without more context it looks like neither of his family members has much faith in him.

Tommy’s outburst of laughter disrupted the thought. “Oh man, you caught a Caterpie. You’re going to be such a bug catcher!” Yes, Sammy thought, that’s apparently what I have to look forward to. “Listen,” Tommy continued, “it’s not so bad. I mean, that little guy wasn’t scared of us, so maybe he knows something we don’t know. But the only way for us to figure that out...” Since we see Sammy’s first-person thoughts here, you might want to put them in italics.

“A battle?” Sammy cried, having realized where Tommy was going. “But I just caught it! I don’t know anything about it yet!”

“Well how do you think you get to know it? Take it out on a date?” This was pretty funny here! So was pretty much the entire scene when he realizes just how young a Caterpie he caught and the use of Caterpie’s defensive stink.

As Vlam struggled against the silk already there, even more piled on, creating a burgeoning cocoon. Tommy was chuckling. “Not giving me a chance to catch my breath, huh? All right, little brother, let’s put an end to this silliness. Vlam, use ember to burn away the string shot.” Vlam turned its head down to its paws and legs that were now coated in fine Caterpie silk. More burning ash erupted from its mouth. Sammy felt a lump catch in his throat that he couldn’t swallow away as the ash effortlessly disintegrated the string. But then something strange happened: Vlam cried out in agony! I’m not sure that the exclamation point is really necessary at the end here. Also, I’m not sure why Vlam is referred to with it throughout this scene when Sammy and Tommy call her a she just a bit after this. Sammy obviously already knows Vlam’s female.

Chapter 1: Present Day Others have already commented on the touch of realism added by the customs and hotel outlets, but I thought I’d just leave a short agreement. Nice detail. I also like how the medical experts line is added in innocuously here rather than just telling the reader what the problem is immediately.


As of eight o’clock, Sam had never managed to get any more sleep when his hotel phone rang. It was the customs office verifying that his pokemon (the lady on the other end of the line seemed disaffected when Sam corrected her to call them his “friends”) were medically cleared for arrival in Sinnoh. Sam was still frustrated to have had to wait even this long, and she must have heard the annoyance in his voice because she seemed to be compelled to tell him about the lady several years ago who brought a Delcatty from Hoenn without having it medically cleared. Apparently, according to the attendant, Sinnoh’s Glameow community is only now recovering to its previous numbers after a leukemia variant swept through them. Sam thanked her for this information in an effort to get her off the phone, and she reminded him that their doors open at nine. I like how this paragraph captures both sides of the miniature conflict here, showing both Sam’s frustration and the reasons the policy exists in the first place in as few words as needed.

With a gentle squeeze of the ball, a Butterfree appeared in the air, stoically beating its wings to stay aloft. The black spots in the veins of its wings marked it as a female of its species; its long, black antennae zipped back and forth, helping her take in the brand new environment. You switch between saying “it(s)” and “her” when referring to the Butterfree here and in some of the following paragraph as well. You might want to change those to female pronouns. I think this was mentioned by others too, so sorry if I sound like I’m nitpicking. It’s just that it’s sort of noticeable when it occurs within the same sentence.

The orange fox creature looked up at the tall buildings around it, decided the busy city was not worth the attention, then leaned down to licks its front paws to keep them as elegantly groomed as the rest of its fur. Its lengthy tails flopped about slowly, each in order. Sam bit down on the inside of his bottom lip as he watched his friend enjoy its freedom.

“Does it feel good to be out of your ball, Vlam?” Just noticed one major thing here: licks should be lick. I like how much personality this simple action shows, likewise with Bree’s excited humming from seeing her trainer again.

Just a question: should you use she/her when describing the Ninetales? I think that you’re using “it” to make it a surprise that this Ninetales is Vlam, but I don’t think it would hurt to reveal her gender before her name.

Chapter 2: Twelve Years Ago

Sammy, from his seat in section P row 12, let out the loudest cheer of all. Tommy had done great so far in making it to the Johto Regional Quarterfinals of his first year in the World Pokemon League, but the competition this round had stiffened dramatically. Tommy and his opponent, a tall, pale man from Olivine with tattoos sleeving his arms, had been battling for twenty minutes already. Tommy’s Crobat, Magneton, and Pidgeotto had all already fallen, and the opponent--Sammy looked up at the scoreboard to recall that his name was Thurmond--still had this Machoke and something else unrevealed in play. Tommy was down to just Vlam in this four-on-four quaterfinal. Sammy’s excitement at Vlam’s grabbing the upper-hand temporarily made him forget the empty seat next to him; the seat he’d been expecting his dad to show up and claim for the last hour.Minor thing here: the two hyphens didn’t turn into a dash in the actual story. Some writing programs do this automatically, others don’t.

Sammy was so into the moment, he never paid any mind to the man who finally came down the aisle and took the seat next to him. Sammy’s senses were ensnared by the battle; Vlam was lining up her enemy for a flamethrower, and Machoke was certainly about to go down.

“Samuel Stark?” the man next to Sammy said, oddly enough like it was a question.

“It’s about time you got here, dad. You’ve been missing Tommy’s first ever quarterfinals. You’re lucky he didn’t realize you were late. Even luckier that I’m not going to break his heart and tell him.”

The man’s arm reached out to Sammy’s shoulder. “I’m sorry, son. I’m not your father.” Yeah, you can tell things aren’t going to go well from that sort of introduction.

Sammy was numb. Without a word, he got up and followed the officer to the concession area. At least he wasn’t handcuffing him in front of the crowd...in front of Tommy. Sammy couldn’t help but think that if Tommy looked up into the crowd and saw his little brother getting arrested, he’d forfeit the quarterfinals to rush the stands and save him. It was better this way, Sammy thought. His older brother shouldn’t pay for Sammy’s dumb joke on a classmate.

”Why don‘t you take a seat on this bench?”

Sammy thought it odd that this cop wanted to arrest him while he was sitting down, but maybe it was harder to resist if you were sitting. He put himself down on the bench outside Taco Barn to which Officer Trufant had pointed. As heartbreaking as this is, knowing what’s coming, I do like how you had Sammy’s somewhat naïve ideas about what was happening take hold of him because it shows how he thinks at that age.

A hundred bees swarmed inside his brain, and before he knew what he was doing, he was at the railing over the battlefield screaming his brother’s name. This seems to be a trend with young Sammy, as he also threw the Nest Ball before consciously deciding to. I haven’t gotten very far past my current review yet, but I’d expect the “acting on instinct with his conscious thoughts catching up a bit later” pattern to continue into his adult personality. So far, it already seems to have transitioned nicely into his adult impatience (i.e. being willing to dance the Hokey Pokey if it would get him to his pokémon faster).

Since the day they caught Sammy’s first friend, Tommy had continued to grow, and his one-arm embrace engulfed the little brother who was clearly the runt of the family. I think this would sound better if the bolded part was written more concisely, perhaps as “engulfed the clear runt of the family.”

“He didn’t make it, I’m sorry. He passed just a few minutes ago.”

Sammy’s initial thought--a thought he would regret countless times over the next several months--was that he cost his brother the tournament for nothing. It was immediately replaced with the realization that he and his brother were alone now. Mom died of cancer when Sammy was three, and now dad was gone, too. Tommy was all he had left. As others have pointed out (sorry for being horribly repetitive) the fact that both parents are written off before the reader sees them doesn’t leave a large impact. I guess it’s excusable with his mother, as Sammy wasn’t old enough himself and this is mostly from his perspective. However his dad had enough time to leave an impression in Sammy, so he should leave an impression on the readers as well. Considering you were able to show a lot of Vlam’s personality in a small space, I don’t think we’d even need to see him for long so long as we saw him in person. (Of course, I also haven’t read too far beyond the point my review stops, so you may have already added this in a later flashback).

Odd coincidence I noticed this chapter: I unwittingly gave my brothers a family name that is also the name of the mountain in Sinnoh. That wasn't on purpose, but now I feel like I should throw in a subplot about their ancestors climbing that mountain or something. Heh. Or they could have had some relation to Heatran. :)

Chapter 3: Present Day

Every few minutes, he’d catch the fact that the foot crossing over his opposite leg was swaying rapidly. He’d stop it, but as soon as his mind wandered off, the appendage began gleefully oscillating again. After several tries of stopping it only to find it swaying again on its own soon after, he placed his right hand on it in an attempt to hold it in place. He nodded as if to motion that this would teach his errant foot for its impudence, and he went back to rooting through the magazines for something to catch his eye. He passed a men’s fashion periodical and again cursed himself for nixing the full suit. Again, you’re really good at capturing a person in a hurry who ends up having to wait. You can feel the alternating boredom and irritation he feels without having to actually use those words.

Bree never seemed to mind her losses to her sister much, anyway. Despite the Butterfree’s innocent veneer, she and Sam had become a potent duo not unlike Tommy and Vlam. Sam’s youthful fear of being referred to as ‘Bug Catcher’ by his classmates quickly dissipated when the two of them were constantly near the top of his class rankings. In the corner of the room, Bree had again found herself assaulted by the plant and was now buzzing at it furiously. Vlam--perhaps weary of her sister’s noise or perhaps wanting to comfort her--disengaged herself from Sam’s leg and took patient steps towards the plant. Bree studied her as Vlam buried her own head in the plant, shook its leaves, and then emerged. Bree chirped a response, Vlam cooed back, and that seemed to be the end of her great interest in the plant for the moment. I like the use of the term “sisters” for these two as well as the rest of the ways their trainers’ traits rubbed off on them.

Sam wiped his palms on the inside of his khakis pocket before extending his right arm. “Yes, it’s nice to meet you, professor. I’m Sam--wait, you already said...I’m sorry.” Sam shook his head and chided himself internally. “Let me start over, Professor Rowan: it’s very nice to meet you. My father spoke of you when I was younger.”

Rowan’s eyes narrowed, then shot open. “You’re Evander’s son! Little Sammy Stark!” Sam again nodded at this more colloquial introduction. “Heavens! You wouldn’t actually remember this, but you and I have met before. When you were just a pup.” I like this being one of the reasons he decided to come to Rowan (rather than just the location of a certain legendary trio) as it looks less like he’s just chasing myths but rather like he’s chasing myths with a tangible anchor to reality to go on. In all honesty, it sort of reminds me of the search for the philosopher’s stone in FullMetal Alchemist, in which Ed and Al start looking for something that may not exist but have a concrete reason for choosing it over some other mythical device.

Chapter 4: 10 Years Ago

He barged into the kitchen to see Tommy stuffing junk mail into the garbage next to their countertop. “Tommy! Guess what?”

Tommy studied him. Sam knew Tommy could tell how imperative this was by the gusto with which he’d asked him to guess, and he knew that Tommy was pretending to put careful thought into his reply when he was really just dragging it out even longer.

“You finally got an A in Geometry?”

Sam let out a laugh at the improbability of that. “No, stupid! I--”

“You can’t get an A in Geometry, and I’m the stupid one. That’s fair.”

Sam ignored him. “I got top seed in the freshman class!” These little conversations work to show the brothers’ personalities pretty well, as well as give the reader a reason to care about what happened to Tommy. The use of back-and-forth between the present and the past at this point keeps the reader as invested in Tommy’s wellbeing as Sam is while telling the first few chapters chronologically might lead Tommy’s personality to be forgotten after his active participation in the story comes to an end.

And since dad worked at a university-owned hospital, Tommy (and eventually Sam, too) had their tuition paid for at the school, as well. That assistance only went so far, however, and Tommy did the best that he could to cover all the bases, working as many hours as he could grab when it wasn’t absolutely necessary for him to be in class. Minor nitpick time again! I seem to remember one of my English teachers saying that you shouldn’t start sentences with “and”.

He was barely a few words in when the shock of the letter hit him. Tommy had failed out of the university! I know I mentioned it before, but I don’t like seeing exclamation points in narration – they seem like emphasis someone would have in their thoughts, not in an otherwise objective description of the events as they unfold.

Tommy had given his brother a normal life despite their parents both being dead. Sam, in return, gave him a rock. He buried the letter back in the trash where he found it and headed to his room to study Geometry. This makes the attempted gift of the fire stone even more depressing because it’s the point where the reader also realizes that the fire stone is just one more reminder of the training career Tommy gave up to help pay the bills at home. I’m not sure I buy how oblivious Sammy was to his brother struggling to keep up with jobs and school, though.

So far I like what I see (and what I’ve skimmed ahead to and will read properly soon). Sam’s personality is very believable even as he ages, with childhood impulsiveness turning into adult impatience. Vlam and Bree are also depicted clearly, as is the side of Tommy he lets his brother see. I do think it might help to expand on the flaws Tommy had to keep the reader invested, as this will help them see Tommy-the-person Sam wants to save rather than Tommy-the-ideal Sam looks up to (unless the fact that Tommy is unobtainable both literally and figuratively is the point). I also agree with the suggestion that some of the earlier chapters might be better off longer, but am unsure about the best way to mash them up. I would suggest keeping the non-chronological approach, as this keeps Tommy fresh in the readers’ thoughts longer. I’m looking forward to catching up.

Sid87
19th August 2012, 5:52 PM
Hey there! Just started reading this fic and it was already 14 chapters in at the time I began, so I’ll just try to stick with the more interesting points I think of for a few chapters at a time until I catch up. Sorry it took so long to get around to this.

Happy to have you along!


One nitpick, though. I had to reread the last bit a few times to realize that it was the use of the term “pokémon” instead of friend that caused him to blush. Maybe it was just me.


I guess the “previously never cared” part refers to before he was in school? Maybe this could be stated a bit more neatly, as it sounds like he never cared about other kids having pokémon at the same time as it was all he thought about.

Yeah, I never noticed any problems with those until you pointed them, and then I didn't like them, either. :) I changed both of those lines to, hopefully, be a little clearer.


I also noticed that the e’s are missing the accent mark in pokéball, pokémon, and pokéathelon. If you’re not sure where to find the é symbol on your writing program (as it can be different from program to program), you can also copy and paste it in.

I went ahead and figured out how to do that in Abiword. It's a bit tedious, so I can't promise I'll ever actually follow through (I have to go through and Insert > Symbol and then find the accented E), but at least now I know. I'll try to see about doing so. :)


Foreshadowing?

Honestly, that was just a happy accident.


The teasing (anyone could use a Caterpie) seems a little meaner here, especially in the context of his dad thinking he can’t handle as much while giving Tommy a chance to catch a Vulpix. Is it just parental favoritism, or is the difference in their talents really that great? I know you later say this is because he’s trying to teach Sammy a lesson because he was more worried about his image than doing things the right way at that point, but without more context it looks like neither of his family members has much faith in him.

I wouldn't say Tommy didn't have faith him in; Tommy was just kind of an obnoxious 15-year old big brother here, picking on his sibling. That said, yeah, their dad obviously saw more potential and maturity in Tommy than Sammy.


Since we see Sammy’s first-person thoughts here, you might want to put them in italics.

I actually was just talking to Skiyomi about this in my review of her prologue to a story. I, personally, hate italics in the middle of a story. I think it's distracting to eye and detracts from all the words around it by drawing the reader's attention straight to the italicized words. I totally get the points of italics and why people use it, but I almost never, ever will. Just a personal preference.


I’m not sure that the exclamation point is really necessary at the end here. Also, I’m not sure why Vlam is referred to with it throughout this scene when Sammy and Tommy call her a she just a bit after this. Sammy obviously already knows Vlam’s female.

On the whole, I totally agree. I don't often use exclamations in third-person narration, but this narration is extremely closely attached to Sam, and when I let it drift closer to his personal thoughts and feelings, sometimes the exclamation point feels "right". I usually default to the period, but sometimes, like this time here, I read it and think "No, that's more of a reaction from Sam, so that needs to be more emphasized".

Also, I fixed the "it"s. I don't know why I did that, but it was a stupid oversight. Thanks!


Others have already commented on the touch of realism added by the customs and hotel outlets, but I thought I’d just leave a short agreement. Nice detail. I also like how the medical experts line is added in innocuously here rather than just telling the reader what the problem is immediately.

I like how this paragraph captures both sides of the miniature conflict here, showing both Sam’s frustration and the reasons the policy exists in the first place in as few words as needed.

Than you :)


You switch between saying “it(s)” and “her” when referring to the Butterfree here and in some of the following paragraph as well. You might want to change those to female pronouns. I think this was mentioned by others too, so sorry if I sound like I’m nitpicking. It’s just that it’s sort of noticeable when it occurs within the same sentence.

No, you're right, and I can't believe that happened twice. I fixed that.


Minor thing here: the two hyphens didn’t turn into a dash in the actual story. Some writing programs do this automatically, others don’t.

Yeah, I wonder why that is. Stupid Abiword.


This seems to be a trend with young Sammy, as he also threw the Nest Ball before consciously deciding to. I haven’t gotten very far past my current review yet, but I’d expect the “acting on instinct with his conscious thoughts catching up a bit later” pattern to continue into his adult personality. So far, it already seems to have transitioned nicely into his adult impatience (i.e. being willing to dance the Hokey Pokey if it would get him to his pokémon faster).

Yeah, this is consistent with Sam. He only has shown improvement when he's absolutely HAD to (later on when paired with an even more instinct-driven partner). But it's a defining trait.


I think this would sound better if the bolded part was written more concisely, perhaps as “engulfed the clear runt of the family.”

I agree that that might not be ideal. I'll fix that shortly.


In all honesty, it sort of reminds me of the search for the philosopher’s stone in FullMetal Alchemist, in which Ed and Al start looking for something that may not exist but have a concrete reason for choosing it over some other mythical device.

I've never actually read/seen FMA. Is it good?


Minor nitpick time again! I seem to remember one of my English teachers saying that you shouldn’t start sentences with “and”.

Yeah, it's not ideal. For as adamant as I get when people end sentences in prepositions or don't treat gerunds as nouns or use "alright", you'd think I'd be more stringent about starting sentences with conjunctions. It's just one of those rules that never bothered me as much. But I should still change it since it is improper.

-I accidentally erased the other point I wanted to discuss and that was your saying you weren't sure you bought Sam's obliviousness to Tommy's plight. Oops. Anyway, I don't necessarily think it was obliviousness: I think Sam knew how much Tommy was doing for him, he just didn't realize Tommy was failing out of college over it, and since it's not something Tommy would advertise, I think that makes sense. Plus, teenagers are inherently self-centered. They are experiencing hormones and new challenges and, in Sam's case, extra-curricular activities and classes, so it's easy at that age to get lost in all that and not fully realize or question things going on around you. But maybe that's just my interpretation. I'll keep your thoughts in mind for the future, though.

-Anyway, thank you very much again for the time and the advice and the opinions. I greatly appreciate it and look forward to seeing what else you have to offer!

katiekitten
21st August 2012, 6:21 AM
:D Catching up again on the latest two chapters - it's been a heck of a summer! Lovely as always, although I'm sorry to hear you've been laid off! D: Wish you the best.


Sam’s mouth curled, but he still didn’t have any idea what to say. His brain finally relented that at least he should step inside before saying anything. “Mind if I come in, professor?”


- Just a little tidbit of detail that summed up the delightfulness of the characterisation in chapter 13. x3 The opening flashback was wonderful.


A World Without Corrupt Emotion. That was what his first book was called. It’ actually what he wanted.”

- Little typo - It's.

I'm also a fan of the foreshadowing. <3 Looking forward to the next update! x3

Sid87
23rd August 2012, 1:46 AM
Chapter 15

Of course it had to be Sideburns.

His name was apparently, as it turned out, not actually “Sideburns”; it was Carlos. And he had been sitting next to Sam for several hours as they navigated the mountainous route 210. The route was unpleasant enough by itself--much of the road crawled around the exterior of Mount Coronet and was protected with guardrails that looked as though they would surrender to the force of a speeding bicycle--but the fog was an absolute nightmare. What fog he had noticed in the background of the picture on Rowan’s desk was merely the malnourished little sister of this mist on the mountainside. This haze around the road up the mountain was very proactive in its enveloping of the truck Carlos was driving; it clung tightly to the hood of their vehicle and gave up little more than a few feet of visibility at best. With every overcorrection of the steering wheel that Carlos had to make to ensure they rounded a curve that they could barely see coming, Sam felt his head grow lighter and lighter.

Carlos (Sam was still struggling not to call him Sideburns, even in his own head) seemed as annoyed to be with Sam as Sam was to be with him. Still, it was less awkward than it would have been if Sam had been forced to travel with anyone that had been on the cargo ship. Sam probably had not helped the situation when, upon seeing a sign on the merge ramp to the highway instructing them to yield to traffic, he asked Carlos, “Do you yield? At this sign, I mean?" and then giggled at his own joke. Carlos had barely said a word to Sam, and he seemed to be just pouting in his seat. Sam felt like reminding him of the time Bree kicked his Hariyama’s butt, but it did not seem wise to instigate further than he already had. Carlos was a foreman on the Phoenix Corporation crew, and that was probably why he had been one of the few to learn Kantoan. Almost no one else on the crew that Sam had been sent to Celestic with spoke a word of it, and it made Sam really uncomfortable when they were all around him speaking a language he could not understand while occasionally shooting glances his way. For all Sam knew, they were planning what the best way to cook him was (Sam immediately scolded himself for the potentially racist thought that all Hoennese were barbaric cannibals; still, he could not help but think they were discussing things that had to do with him, even if he knew that was just paranoia). Sam could understand Carlos’ frustration, though; Sam knew he would not enjoy it if he were a supervisor of a crew and was then told by his boss to take some non-employee along and do whatever he says. Armed with that thought, he’d previously tried to make conversation with his new truckmate, but to little avail.

So it was that they rode the foggy, narrow path to Celestic Town in relative silence until Sam’s cell phone rang out from his pocket. Sam fumbled to retrieve the phone as his seatbelt resisted him; the call had to come from Mr. Alonzo since no one back home in Johto knew this number. While Sam was stuck waiting on customs in Jubilife, he picked up a disposable cell phone just for calls he might need to make in Sinnoh due to the international rate on his regular service being so astronomical. He finally managed to defeat his seatbelt and pull out the phone to see the screen flashing the caller’s identity. Professor Rowan. Sam pounded the “Ignore” button with his thumb and stuffed the phone back into his pocket.

“You are not to answer that?” Carlos asked, looking over at Sam. Perhaps, for as little as he seemed to want to talk to Sam, he wanted some voice to break the silence. Or perhaps he just liked eavesdropping on phone calls.

“No, I am not. Keep your eyes on the road.” If he had taken a moment to compose himself, he’d not have been so sour to the man he was now working with, but seeing that Rowan was attempting to contact him had hampered his mood. It was possible that Rowan figured out what Sam was up to and was calling to dissuade him, but it was too late now; the crew would be in Celestic shortly. Sam tried to allow himself to get excited at the prospect, but the triple beeps from his phone alerting him to a new voicemail gloomed his spirits anew.

Carlos twisted the steering wheel to make it around another mountain curve he barely saw coming through the fog, and Sam felt the remnants of an egg and bagel sandwich he’d eaten two hours ago at a truck stop lurch in his stomach. Convenience store food was never a wise choice on its own, but to combine it with essentially riding a roller coaster seemed to bode ill for Sam. He tried to repeating in his head that at least it wasn’t a boat, but he really wanted little else than to get out of that truck. That was when he saw the marker sign: two more miles to Celestic Town.

“Hey, did you see that? Two more miles.”

Carlos nodded without speaking (perhaps he was upset that Sam had scolded him) and pressed the red button on the walkie-talkie affixed to the dashboard. He spoke into it with Sam still incapable of deciphering what he was saying and then turned the device off. Most likely he was telling the crew in the other trucks behind them what Sam had just seen in case they missed it, but it still frustrated Sam to feel so excluded.

As the fog started to thin out, Sam could make out a few buildings in the distance. They certainly did not seem to be much, just a few houses and maybe a storefront or two, but it was still a good thought that he’d be free of the terror of route 210 soon. From what Sam saw at the distance, to even call Celestic a town might have been an exaggeration. It was, at best in Sam’s view, a simple rural mountain community.

“Whoa, hold up. Stop the truck, stop the truck.”

Carlos lifted an eyebrow at Sam, but did as he was told and brought the truck to a halt about a quarter of a mile from the town. “What is this?”

“What is this? I can tell you what it’s not. Stealthy. We’re just--” More foreign words came with a burst of static from the dashboard walkie-talkie. Sam reached over and pressed the button. “The adults are having a discussion. Sit quietly and think about what you’ve done for a while.” Sam flipped the device to off and returned his attention to Carlos. “We’re just going to roll up into their town with six flatbed trucks and a bunch of heavy equipment? You think that won’t get attention?”

“You can to deal with this attention.”

“What? No! I can not to deal with this attention! Think about it. If the trio is here and the town sees us coming, they’re going to try to save them somehow before we even have an idea where in the town they’re hidden. Not only would we be going in blind, but we’d be flashing our arrival as extremely suspect. At best.”

“There is a cave in the back of the town. If the pokemon are here, they are probably to be hiding in it.”

“What? A cave? I didn’t know about that.”

Carlos grinned and started the truck back up. “We know about it.”

Sam cursed under his breath; why hadn’t he been told about this? “Fine, you know about it, great. We’re still playing this my way. Mr. Alonzo said I’m in charge, so keep the truck turned off and radio the rest of the crew. We’re walking in from here.”

“What about our equipment?”

“Leave it here in our little pull-off. If we need it, we come back and get it. But how about instead of going in and dynamiting the hell out of everything, we start off with some old fashioned looking around?”

Carlos huffed and turned the truck back off. As Sam undid his seatbelt and opened the passenger door, he heard Carlos barking angrily into the walkie talkie. No doubt the rest of the crew would not have liked this tactic, either, but Sam just figured that was too bad. He was put in charge of this search, and they were just the hired muscle. It was only a quarter of a mile to Celestic, so that could be covered in a few minutes on foot, but it should also provide security for their vehicles. They were not so close to civilization that people would start messing with them. As Sam predicted, the rest of the crew did not look thrilled to be exiting their trucks. He wanted to say something to them that would reassure them, but then he realized he’d forgotten most of their names. Instead, he just turned to Carlos.

“Everybody ready? Let’s go.”

Celestic Town was no more impressive up close than it had been at a distance. It seemed as though someone had once wanted to build a settlement, but thought that clearing trees or establishing infrastructure was too much work. Route 210 cut through town, but it was the only thing Sam would really call a road; the homes that were not right on the main route were only accessible by barely-paved, one-lane paths. The storefront that Sam had seen from the distance was just a market and the only business he noticed until he caught site of a medical center closer to the middle of town. Those two were apparently it for Celestic commerce. Sam’s decision to leave the trucks and equipment behind was beginning to seem like a terrible idea; this was clearly not a place that received many visitors, and every eye in town seemed to be on Sam and the crew from the minute they entered. He’d seen enough horror movies growing up to immediately think that this was the kind of place where strangers got chained up in leaky basements and tortured by people who made boots out of human flesh.

“Before I soil myself, please tell me you guys know where the cave is,” Sam whispered to Carlos. Yes, because clearly the place we want to be is a dark mystery cave in the middle of Jason Vorhees-ville, his own brain mocked him.

“It is in back of the town,” Carlos answered as he glanced back and forth before pointing to his right. “North. It should to be that direction.”

Sam nodded. “Well let’s to be going there then.”

As Sam and the crew cut into a cross-town path that headed in the direction Carlos thought the cave would be, Sam noticed several members of town pulling out cell phones and either sending messages or making calls. This only served to heighten his already prevalent fear of the town even as he wondered how such a backwater village had cell service. Luckily, none of these people approached his group; Sam thought maybe they were as primitive as bears and were as scared of him as he was of them. With that thought, he straightened his back to add to his posture since he read once that if confronted by a bear, you are supposed to make yourself look larger.

As they followed the road to the north past the houses that made up the bulk of Celestic Town, the path became less of a street and more of a lackadaisical, weed-covered guideline of where to go. Sam was growing less convinced by the moment that Carlos had picked the right direction. He started thinking that maybe it was not the residents of Celestic Town he should be afraid of; maybe good old Sideburns was luring him into the woods for a revenge beating. Sam bent over to fidget with his already-tied shoes just to let the Phoenix crew all get ahead of him so that no one was at his back when he started walking again.

“Celestic Ruins.”

Sam had been so involved in looking around for danger, he had not been looking ahead, and sure enough, Carlos was pointing to an opening in the hillside.

“So that’s the cave,” Sam said rhetorically as he scratched his chin. “All right. We’ve got our pokemon with us, and we’ve got lamps. I guess we should--”

“Excuse me!”

Sam turned around at the stranger’s voice to see a pair of people coming down the path behind them on an all-terrain vehicle. Sam, Carlos, and the crew exchanged confused glances as the couple pulled their ATV up to them and came to a stop. They removed their helmets, and Sam recognized one of them immediately: it was the lady Professor Rowan had been holding close to him in the photo. She was older, right around Rowan’s age, and had straight, gray hair that did not quite reach her shoulders and wrinkles marking her face. She was certainly spry for her age, however, especially given that she had been driving the ATV, and now that she was on her feet, she moved quickly and steadily. She had not been dressed for her vehicle; she was clothed in a white lab coat and khakis. Her partner was significantly younger, and Sam found her to be one of the most attractive young women he had ever laid eyes on. Her wavy blonde hair hung just below her waist, and she was dressed in all black: black pants, a black blouse, and a black, fur-rimmed jacket. Her features were soft, and she was probably right around Sam’s age, if not maybe a year or two younger. Sam found that seeing her before him was the most pleasant thing Sinnoh had given him yet.

“I’m sorry, but the Celestic Ruins are quite dangerous and are off-limits to everyone,” the older lady stated. It was her voice that had yelled out to them moments before.

Sam heard grumbling behind him from the crew, but he quickly held up his hand to silence them. Situations like this were why he was with them, after all. “I appreciate your concern, Ms...?” He left the word dangling in the air as an invitation for her to fill in the blank.

“Professor, not Ms. And it is Professor Carolina, young man.”

Sam took slow steps towards her and extended his hand. “I apologize then. And it’s a pleasure to meet you, professor. My name is Samuel Stark.” He found himself hoping the young woman with Professor Carolina was noting his gentlemanly nature. “We appreciate the hazards of these ruins, of course; it’s actually why we’re here. We are studying ancient areas of Sinnoh. My compatriots here are from the south, and we’re doing research on how the northern regions’ geology varies from that of the southern regions.”

The blonde whose name Sam did not yet know spoke up. “That may be--”

“Hogwash,” Professor Carolina interrupted. “What are you really doing here?”

“I just said, we’re here for research. Honestly.” It was honest, even if what they were there to research was the legendary guardians.

“Young man, we will stop you from entering that cave if we have to.”

“Gram, we don’t know yet--”

“You know why they’re here, Cynthia. Don’t defend them.”

Sam enjoyed briefly imagining that she was defending him from the lady who must have been her grandmother because she thought he was charming, but he realized it was a wasted thought. She probably would not be too impressed with him shortly. “Carlos,” he said, turning to his reluctant partner but keeping one eye of Carolina, “get going. You know what you need to find.”

“I told you, Cynthia.”

“We’re not here to hurt anybody or anything. It’s just research. I certainly don’t want to be upsetting anyone.”

“Mr. Stark, we really can’t have anyone in that cave.”

“I understand that, Cynthia, but we really need to get in there.”

“Cynthia, there’s no more time for talk! Those men are in the cave already!”

Cynthia frowned and pulled a ball from inside her coat. Sam recognized it as an Ultra Ball from its yellow-and-black design. “Please stand aside and allow us to get those gentlemen out of the cave, Samuel. It is imperative.”

Sam chewed the inside of his lip in frustration and pulled Chispa’s Friend Ball from his pocket. “I can’t do that. I’m sorry.” He squeezed the Friend Ball, and crimson energy shot forth from the ball’s outlet, releasing the blue-and-black cub onto the grassy floor of the Celestic woods. As usual, sparks danced off of her yellow, star-like tail in her own personal display of happiness to be out. The rest of the world outside her ball was seemingly irrelevant to her as she intertwined Sam’s legs, rubbing her head on his shins. If Sam had any designs on intimidating Cynthia and Professor Carolina into submission, those were clearly just nixed.

Cynthia’s Ultra Ball released a burst of concentrated energy, as well. Sam braced himself for the appearance of her friend; he had no idea what it could be or what it was capable of. The energy coalesced on the ground and formed a rock. It did not appear to be a rock-typed pokemon--at least not one Sam had ever heard of living in the Sinnoh region--it was merely a cone-like, gray rock with a crack in its top. Sam waited a few seconds that felt significantly longer for the stone to do something, but it did not.

“What is this?” He asked.

“This is your last chance. I don’t want to have to do this, Samuel.”

Sam really wanted to ask her to call him Sam, but this did not seem the time or place. “Neither do I.”

Cynthia shook her head slowly, as if in pity, it occurred to Sam. Still, the rock just sat there, and she did not give it an order. Sam continued studying it, but he could not discern anything of note. It was a rock, and much more than he would describe a Geodude as a rock. It was a blank, cracked stone. It didn’t move. Still, it was impossible to just catch a plain rock in a pokeball, so it had to be some kind of pokemon. Sam nudged Chispa out from between his legs. “Be careful, but investigate that for me, Chispa. Can you investigate the rock for me?”

Chispa yipped back in happy reply, her tongue sticking out the side of her smiling mouth. She sneaked up on the rock, but given that neither she nor Sam could know where its eyes--if it even had any--were, it seemed futile. The earnest Shinx got within mere feet of the stone, and it still had not moved.

“Shadow ball!” Cynthia cried out, causing Chispa to flinch when the trainer’s words broke her silent concentration.

From out of the crack in the stone emerged something Sam could only describe as a colorful, jaggedly round shadow. It was mostly a deep violet, but there were lightning-like flashes of green energy inside it. While most of the flashes swirled about in the shadowy body, two remained steadily in place. They were crescent-shaped and floated in the middle of the strange form like the crooked eyes of a jack-o-lantern. Sam recognized it immediately as a pokemon he’d heard of but thought was only an urban legend.

“A Spiritomb?” He cried in alarm. “Chispa, get out of the way!”

An orb of violet energy split off from the ethereal body of the Spiritomb and propelled towards Sam’s Shinx. She barely managed to roll out of the way of the spiritual attack. The ball of energy dissipated as it hit the ground where she had stood, and it left no sign that it had ever been there at all.

Sam was stunned; he still never imagined he’d see a pokemon as fantastic as a Spiritomb. He knew he had no choice but to shake himself out of his awe, however; Chispa was counting on him to guide her through this battle.

“Chispa,” Sam called out before sputtering. He was not even sure what would work against that thing. “Use a spark attack!”

In the space between Cynthia and Sam, Chispa growled her agreement. Her tail, radiating more brightly than Sam had seen it glow before, began shooting off sparks of electricity, and Chispa charged her shadowy foe. Spiritomb--perhaps because it thought it had nothing to fear; perhaps because it was anchored motionlessly to its rock--held its ground. With the distance between them closed, Chispa jumped towards the Spiritomb and twisted her body mid-leap to smack it with her tail. It passed harmlessly through Spiritomb’s cloud-like body, and the Shinx landed on her side, though she easily rolled through onto her paws. The Spiritomb seemed to be completely unaffected.

Sam was undaunted; somehow, Chispa had to have just missed the attack. It was the only thing that made sense. “Bite it, Chispa!”

Chispa shook her head as if to clear out the cobwebs from her confusion at missing the Spiritomb before lunging again. This time she dove straight into the heart of the creature with her mouth wide, but as before, she passed harmlessly through its incorporeal body as her jaws snapped shut. She landed on her feet after this attempt, but was still as befuddled as she had been after her first failed strike. Sam, however, started putting it together; if Spiritomb’s body was barely physical to begin with, physical attacks were not going to work particularly well on it. He needed to come up with a different strategy.

Cynthia took advantage of the time it was taking Sam to come up with a plan against her pokemon. “Use your shadow sneak, Mouri!”

Mouri--apparently, Sam realized, the name of her Spiritomb--hissed in reply to her command; its green flashes started popping more rapidly and then began erupting with energy inside the Spiritomb’s spiritual form. With a rush of unexpected speed, its body stretched out as far as it could while still anchored to its rock home. Chispa screeched in pain as Mouri’s body overtook her.

“Chispa, come back,” Sam said, wincing at his friend’s agony as her held up her Friend Ball and squeezed it twice. The ball made an electronic humming sound as Chispa reverted to her kinetic energy transport form and was absorbed back to safety. If physical attacks were not going to cut it against Spiritomb, he’d try another path. He grabbed another of the balls in his pocket and released Vlam.

“Mr. Stark, my granddaughter defeated your Shinx fair and square! Stand aside and let us into the cave to get your friends out of there.”

“I’m not defeated yet,” Sam replied. “Vlam, use your flamethrower!”

“Mouri, withdraw from it,” Cynthia said to her Spiritomb in response to Sam’s command. She did not seem interested in backing up her grandmother’s request that he give up; perhaps she was as into the battle as Sam found himself.

Vlam’s mouth opened, and an uninterrupted stream of fire burst forth from it. Sam was eager to see if Vlam’s attack was any more effective than Chispa’s physical assault had been. The instant before the flaming attack could hit, however, Mouri vanished. The flamethrower passed through the air where the Spiritomb had previously been floating. When Vlam’s attack subsided, there was simply the odd stone on the ground with no sign of Mouri.

“Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me,” Sam mumbled. Mouri even had a way around non-physical attacks.

“You can’t hurt Mouri, Sam. Please let us pass.”

Sam ignored Cynthia’s plea. Carlos and his men had been in the cave for several minutes now; he just needed to buy them a little more time. “All right, Vlam. If it wants to hide in the rock, we’ll just knock it clear out of the forest. Use a double kick on it!” Vlam rushed forward. Sam may not have been able to hurt the Spiritomb, but as long as it was bound to the rock, he could at least get rid of it.

“Shadow sneak!”

As Vlam approached, Mouri emerged from its crack and shot its anchored, spiritual body towards her. As with Chispa earlier, the crackling energy that made up the Spiritomb caused Vlam great agony as it enveloped her. Sam considered taking her out of the battle, too, but she was much more durable than the little Shinx and was able to fight her way out of Mouri’s attack. Free from the shadow sneak, she carefully backed away from Mouri’s range; Sam noticed she was shivering slightly as she did so, but she still appeared to have some fight in her. He also noticed she was still much closer to the Spiritomb than she had been when he first brought her into the battle.

“Flamethrower!” He called out. Again, she shot a stream of fire towards her enemy. Sam heard Cynthia cry for Mouri to withdraw, but this time it was too close, and the defensive order came too late. The flames tore through the shadowy body, and Mouri let out a piercing, echoing shriek. The sound was so inhuman and loud, Sam instinctively cupped his hands over his ears. “Keep it up, Vlam!” He yelled over the wail. “You’ve got it on the ropes!”

Vlam continued her onslaught of fire, but Mouri must have regained its composure from the initial pain of the attack because it did finally withdraw itself into its stone. Sam cursed; while Mouri had the option of retreat, he and his friends were at its mercy. It could attack when it wanted to attack and hide when it wanted to hide. He was going to have to find a way to work in the windows Cynthia gave him. If he tried an attack in close while it was withdrawn, he risked putting Vlam in line for another shadow sneak.

“Mouri, use your psybeam now,” Cynthia ordered. Mouri again revealed itself and this time released an invisible psychic attack. Vlam yelped and howled, shaking her head violently. Sam knew he had no choice but to bring her out of battle like he had with Chispa. He held out her Dusk Ball and squeezed it twice.

“I’m sorry, Vlam,” he said as she was absorbed safely into the ball, “I thought you could do it.” He had only one option left, but this time he also had a plan. “I know you can, though.” With a squeeze of the Nest Ball, Bree appeared in the clearing. Sam expected another demand of surrender from Carolina, but none ever came. Perhaps she was acquiescing to her daughter’s apparent desire for the match to continue, or perhaps she just thought Sam did not have a chance and was not worth bothering with. That was fine by Sam; people had been underestimating Bree his entire life.

Cynthia seemed hesitant; she did not call out any attacks or instructions at all. Sam thought about the cave for a moment and what Carlos and the crew were doing in there, but he knew he could not allow himself the mental distraction.

“Bree, I want you to use your bug buzz attack on that Spiritomb. All right?” Bree bobbed in the air in reply and beat her wings so she could zip towards her foe. As she closed the gap between them, she began vibrating her wings rapidly and letting out a disorienting buzzing sound. As she had done with the larger, less mobile Torterra previously, she would begin circling around Mouri too fast for it strike back, and then...

“Mouri, withdraw again until the moment is right.”

“Jackpot,” Sam whispered to himself. Before Bree even really got to begin her bug buzz, the Spiritomb pulled away into its protective rock, just as Sam had wanted.

“Bree, that’s what we needed, girl. I want you to cover that rock in sleep powder now!” In the air above Mouri’s stone, Bree shook her wings fervently. Powder-fine scales broke loose and fell to the area below. With nothing to interrupt her, Bree let the scales fall for several seconds until everything below was covered in them. “That’s good, Bree. Come back over to me.” Sam looked across the field and saw Cynthia grimacing; she must have figured it out. “That’s right. Your Spiritomb’s protective home just became its prison. Bring it out now, and it’s going to absorb all the sleep powder.”

“Well played then, Mr. Stark. But enough fooling around, I suppose.” Cynthia withdrew Mouri back into is ball and placed it inside her coat. As her hand went in with one ball, it returned with another. “Your turn, Perang,” she said calmly.

Sam felt every muscle in his body tense. That Spiritomb had been dynamite, and it was just what she used to feel him out. Cynthia was clearly a very capable and experienced trainer. There was no telling what else she might have, but Sam already doubted Bree’s ability to handle it alone. He looked back towards the entrance to the Celestic Ruins; all he had to do was keep buying time. What was taking Carlos so long?

He was shocked back to attention on the battle by a roar that made the blood in his veins feel chilled. Before Cynthia was standing a creature several feet taller than she or Sam. It was a dull purple on most of its body except for its underbelly which was half yellow and half red. On either side of its shark-like head were two appendages that looked to Sam like mini torpedoes. Its forearms ended as pectoral fins, and its upper arms and thighs were lined with bony spikes. Behind its stout legs and clawed feet was a tail that ended with a caudal fin. It was a monstrosity Sam recognized as a Garchomp, an extremely powerful, and equally as rare, dragon-type pokemon. Sam and his butterfly pokemon were both in awe.

“Last chance, Mr. Stark,” Cynthia offered. There was an edge to her voice that Sam had not picked up on before. Maybe she really was just fooling around at first. “Give up and let us go get those gentlemen.”

Sam continued looking at the Garchomp. Almost as if on cue to emphasize its trainer’s point, the dragon licked its lips. Sam swallowed and turned his gaze to Bree. “Well, girl. You ready to really see what you can do?”

Bree did a forward somersault in the air and buzzed intently. She was, as ever in the face of a challenge, undaunted. Sam knew that Cynthia could put five Garchomps on the field, and Bree would still be dead certain she could win. He silently hoped that after this fight, that was the only kind of dead she would be. Sam dug his feet into the ground and thought of what he’d need to do just for her to survive this.

“Bree, go--”

An explosion behind him stole the rest of his command. The concussive force of the blast barreled out the opening of the cave and knocked Sam off of his feet. He rolled over onto his back to steal a glance upwards; thankfully, Bree was still aloft, albeit shakily. For her own safety, he quickly withdrew her back into her ball. Looking over, he saw that Cynthia had grabbed her grandmother to hold her up, but both were still on their feet due to being further from the opening than Sam had been. Other than an obnoxious humming in his ears and a pair of bloody forearms from impact with the ground, everyone appeared to be all right.

“What was that?” He found himself shouting in unison with Cynthia. The look on her face revealed she must have been surprised that he did not already know.

“They weren’t supposed to do anything like that!” Sam shouted over the squeal in his eardrums. “I promise, this wasn’t my intention at all!”

Cynthia began rushing to the entrance of the cave, and Sam instinctively decided to follow her. He had no idea what had just happened; he did not even think anybody on the crew brought anything capable of such a blast. They were just as reckless and foolhardy as they had been at Verity lakefront and on the cargo ship. Before Sam and Cynthia could enter the cave, they were stunned to see three small figures exit it in a blur. They stopped for just a second as they met the sunlight before shooting upwards into the sky.

They were the legendary guardians of the lake.

Sam only got a full view of them for a moment, but he’d immediately recognized them from the sketches he’d studied. They were small, none of the three could possibly have been much more than a foot tall, and from the neck-down, they were identical: gray bodies with proportional arms and tiny nubs for legs and twin, three-pronged tails. It was their heads that distinguished the trio; they each had a unique crest on their head, and while Mesprit and Azelf had large, yellow eyes, Uxie’s eyes were closed. Uxie, the Being of Knowledge, also had a thick, yellow crest that rounded back around its skull like a bicycle helmet with vertical ridges. Azelf, the Being of Willpower, had a blue crest protruding upwards from its head like a soft pyramid. Mesprit, the Being of Emotion, had a light purple crest that hung down from its head in the form of four tendril-like appendages. Sam did not care how tiny they were in person, at that moment, they were the most brilliant pokemon he’d ever seen in his life.

From near him, he heard Cynthia give an order. “Perang, Kelaparan, block the entrance to the cave so the guardians can escape!

A new pokemon stood next to Cynthia’s Garchomp, and it was one that Sam had seen back home near Johto. The Snorlax was huge--about as tall as Garchomp, but much more rotund--green with a white underbelly, and had pointed, feline ears. It partnered with the dragon to guard the cavern hole and keep the crew from following the legends. Sam did not care; all that he knew is now that he finally found them, they were using their immense telekinetic power to soar away.

“Please!” He called out them, just hoping they’d hear him. “Please, I won’t let them hurt you, I promise! I need you! I’ve come so far, and without you, my brother will die! Please don’t leave now! He needs you. I need you.”

In the distance of the sky, one of them came to a halt. Sam could faintly make out the crest that marked it as Mesprit. Perhaps something in his voice got through to the small guardian. “Please, I will do anything--anything--for my brother! I would never hurt you or try to catch you, but he means everything to me and nothing will stop me from saving him. Please come back!” With those words, he saw a second stop; this time it was Azelf. As Azelf floated down to its brother Mesprit, Uxie also came to a stop, if only due to curiosity as to what had gotten the attention of the other two. They hovered in the air far from Sam and stared at him. “Please...,” Sam muttered, as he fell to his knees. “Help me.”

Much slower and more cautiously than the trio had flown into the sky, they began coming back down. Above the ruckus from the entryway to the ruins where the crew must have been trying to get past the Garchomp and Snorlax, Sam heard Professor Carolina let out a startled gasp; she obviously did not expect the guardians to stop their flight to freedom. Sam felt her approach his side, but he did not care. All that mattered was convincing the guardians that he meant what he said. The professor put a hand on Sam’s shoulders, but there was no anger in her grip. She was merely lightly comforting him.

Mesprit reached Sam first, and it had gotten much closer than Sam thought it would. He could have reached out and touched it if he wanted, but he refused to entertain the thought. He needed them to trust him not fear him; it was Tommy’s only chance. The red gem in the middle of Mesprit’s head shone, and Sam could not tell whether it was reflecting the noon sun or if it was Mesprit’s own doing. The spritely pokemon bobbed in the air from right to left, but never took its eye off of Sam. It made a short, songlike hum that seemed to cue Azelf and Uxie, their gems sparkling as well, to come nearer to him. Uxie simply hovered in place, its eyes still tightly closed, but Azelf zipped around Sam’s head and hummed in a low grumble. Mesprit cooed in reply to its brother’s grouchy tone, and Azelf quieted down and settled into one spot in the air across from Sam and along with Mesprit and Uxie.

“Do you know I’m telling the truth?”

Mesprit looked to its left at Uxie, and the Being of Knowledge squeaked; Mesprit then glanced to Azelf, who simply huffed. Mesprit let out a sound Sam could only interpret as a giggle and then turned back to Sam. Mesprit’s large, amber eyes locked onto his, and the legendary guardian nodded slowly. It trusted him!

The din of mayhem disturbed the moment, and Sam turned to see that a gang of pokemon--led by Carlos’ Hariyama--had battled their way past Cynthia’s Garchomp and Snorlax and had cleared the way of the ruins’ entrance. Carlos himself was right behind the pokemon, and he pointed at the legends and yelled something in Hoennese back to the crew.

“No!” Sam yelled. He knew they would ruin everything, but it was too late. The battle spilling outside the cave, the frantic yelling of the Phoenix workers, and the sight of them charging towards Sam were all too much for the legends. They took back off into the sky as swiftly as they had fled the cave. Well before Carlos and the others reached Sam, the guardians were out of sight.




Author's Notes (I KNOW! I don't usually do these!)

-First of all, big ups to Rayquaza The First (link to his profile is in my O.P.) for the new banner! I wanted something that showed Chispa and Sinnoh itself, so here it is. I hope you all think it is as snazzy as I do.

-Second of all, I like to think of this as Brothers' Bond's mid-season finale or intermission. A lot of the first half of the story was driving to this point, and here it is. I'm not saying that this is exactly halfway--I have no idea how long the second act will be--but it feels like this where I'd want to draw a median in the story. There will [hopefully] be big surprises in store for everyone as the story goes forward as Sam continues battling with his own morality in the face of what he feels needs to be done.

-Cynthia appeared! I was fairly sure she would at some point, and I was glad to get to work with her. She allowed me to write one of my favorite pokemon ever, too: Spiritomb. By the way: +5 internets to the first person who can tell me why Cynthia's pokemon are named what they are.

-Sideburns came back! He'll be around for a bit now, actually...

-And the legendary trio is real! So close, Sammy. So close... Unlike Cynthia and Sideburns, no promises on whether they'll make any more appearances...

-MOST IMPORTANTLY: Thank every single one of you for bearing with this story. I really, honestly appreciate everything you've all said and all the advice you've given me. In just the 15 chapters I've written so far, I feel like I have improved and gotten better ideas because of your feedback. I know I'm prone to defending some of the choices I've made, but I've cataloged all your words of wisdom as I've carried on and tried to use it to improve every aspect of this and other stories of mine. I've totally had moments in my chapters where I've thought "Aurea thought I should do this..." or "diamondpearl mentioned doing this this way..." among several other examples. You're all terrific, and I thank you for the time and attention you've given my little fan fiction.

diamondpearl876
24th August 2012, 11:24 PM
Her wavy blonde hair hung just below her waist, and she was dressed in all black: black pants, a black blouse, and a black, fur-rimmed jacket. Her features were soft, and she was probably right around Sam’s age, if not maybe a year or two younger. Sam found that seeing her before him was the pleasant thing Sinnoh had given him yet.

Sam having a crush on Cynthia sounds really amusing. Not sure why, but it does.


Sam recognized it immediately as a pokemon he’d heard of but thought was only an urban legend.

Tsk, tsk. If anyone Sam should know better by now than to think something is improbable.


Sam was stunned; He still never imagined he’d see a pokemon as fantastic as a Spiritomb.

“He” shouldn’t be capitalized after the semi-colon.


Chispa shook her head as if to clear out the cobwebs from her confusion at missing the Spiritomb before lunging again. This time she dove straight into the heart of the creature with her mouth wide, but as before, she passed harmlessly through its incorporeal body as her jaws snapped shut. She landed on her feet after this attempt, but was still as befuddled as she had been after her first failed strike. Sam, however, started putting it together; if Spiritomb’s body was barely physical to begin with, physical attacks were not going to work particularly well on it. He needed to come up with a different strategy.

I was going to make some remark about how electric and dark type attacks should work against the Spiritomb, but I quite like the idea of physical attacks not effecting him at all. It seems more realistic for a ghost-type pokémon, one that wouldn’t work for the games, but is interesting to see in a fic. Kudos to you.


Perhaps she was acquiescing to her daughter’s apparent desire for the match to continue, or perhaps she just thought Sam did not have a chance and was not worth bothering with. That was fine by Sam; people had been underestimating Bree his entire life.

Seems a bit uncharacteristic of Sam to lets others think so ill of his friend. Maybe it’s just me, though. You could just say that Sam planned to prove Cynthia and everyone else wrong about Bree’s abilities. As it stands, though, it seems like Sam is just letting the judgment pass and that doesn’t sit right with me.


“Jackpot,” Sam whispered to itself.

“itself” should be “himself”


Powder-fine scales broke loose and fell the area below.

Should be “fell to the area below.”


He looked back towards the entrance to the Celestic Ruins; all he had to do was keep buying time. What was taking Carlos so long?

Also seems a little odd to me that Sam would be trusting Carlos to get done what exactly needs to be done.


He needed them to trust him not fear him,; it was Tommy’s only chance.

Pick one: semi-colon or comma!


The din of mayhem disturbed the moment, and Sam turned to see that a gang of pokemon--led by Carlos’ Hariyama--had battled their way past Cynthia’s Garchomp and Snorlax and had cleared the way of the ruins’ extrance.

“entrance” not “extrance”

All in all it was another good chapter. I found it a bit odd that Sam put so much faith in Carlos and the crew after so clearly showing his disdain for them, but that was it, really. The battle was well described and well balanced (I wasn’t expecting Sam to do spectacularly against the champion, after all) and the scene between the trio/Sam was bittersweet and hopeful, and fleeting, gone just as quickly as it came. I look forward to how Sam reacts to this situation and whether or not anything changes for him.

Ememew
25th August 2012, 9:54 AM
Unfortunately this doesn’t cover up to your most recent chapters yet, but here’s my next round of comments.

Chapter 5: Present Day

“Vlam and Bree,” Sam answered, his voice as lifeless as the room. He made no attempt to differentiate which was the Ninetales or the Butterfree. His brain was busy being shuffled back through countless rooms like this one, where he received disheartening word after disheartening word for more than 12 months now. The image of Vlam curling around Rowan’s feet and the hopefulness that her analysis of his character provided felt like they had happened to someone else he might have read about in a story. All he could think of was his rage at useless so-called medical experts. And his brother’s black, emotionless eyes. Here’s another sentence that starts with “And.” That said, even though the sentence is incomplete, I think in this case it helps the tone and importance of this bit stand out.

“You seem discomforted here. I apologize, Sam. I merely hoped we could speak in private. Speaking of going after our continent’s legendary pokemon...that is obviously a sensitive matter. I wouldn’t want just anyone to hear you talking like that.”

“I don’t care who hears me, professor,” Sam barked. Rowan’s words had stirred something inside him, and now his spine felt prickly. “I am going to catch them.”

“Now now, son. I can’t imagine how you even think this possible. First of all, no one has seen or documented any proof of the legends in decades,” Rowan stopped there and appeared to be playing with numbers in his head, “possibly centuries! Secondly, you’re hardly the first headstrong young man to come to Sinnoh with designs on capturing them. It’s a countless number of trainers that have failed; how could you think you’ll succeed? And also--” I’m a little confused by this bit, to be honest. If there’s no proof such pokémon exist, then why is it such a sensitive matter to discuss? I would guess it wouldn’t be seen as a taboo to look for something that might just be a myth, so is it because he’s afraid Sam would sound like a crazy person for looking for them?

“Well I don’t want the legends, Professor Rowan. I don’t want to train them, I don’t want to battle with them, and I don’t want their secrets. I need them to save my brother’s life. Or give him one back,” his voice began failing with uncertainty. “I don’t know...I don’t know what I need them to do, but I...I need it...” Should that be “them” instead of “it” since he’s referring to the trio?

I do like how you integrated in the kinds of jobs and degrees the pokémon world would have into Sam’s job-hunting. They’re mentioned as though they’re just normal things in the Pokémon world rather than like you’re just adding “Poké” to the front of things (one of the things I tend to worry about when creating things for my non-trainers to do). Well done.

They sat at the table, and Tommy began telling Sam that he thought there was going to be an opening at the Pokemon Center soon. One of the resident pokemon therapists was apparently interviewing in Azaela for a head counselor position, so Sam would have a possible foot in the door in the coming weeks.

After dinner they settled in to watch some other WPL Johto matches--Tommy was always very insistent that Sam study as much of his opponents as possible—and it was then that Sam noticed something: Tommy was trying to describe the methods of one of the trainers they were watching, but his words weren’t coming out right. It was like there was a fog hanging in front of his mouth catching the words as he made them.

“A few seconds after that, he collapsed. He’d suffered a massive stroke,” Sam’s voice felt tiny as he finished relaying the memory to the pokemon professor. “He’s been catatonic ever since.”
Wow. I like the casual, and even hopeful (considering a possible job opening for Sam) tone being interrupted by Tommy’s symptoms (from subtle signs to the full on stroke). The tragedy coming during the midst of an otherwise ordinary day is chillingly realistic.

A stroke was a good choice, considering what Sam wants to use to reverse the situation, but it does seem a little unusual for a 24-year-old to suffer one.

“My brother is stuck in a bed, unable to will himself move. He’s forgotten everything about his previous life. And he can’t remember his relationships. Not with Vlam and not with me. Do you see what he’s missing? Willpower, knowledge, and emotion.”

Rowan’s eyes widened. “Son, you’re talking about mythical abilities attributed to legendary pokemon. Not only are we not sure they still exist, but we have no way of knowing if they are truly responsible for such matters.”

“Well what else am I going to do?” Sam’s voice grew large again. “Go see a specialist? Or a homeopathic doctor? Oh wait, I already have! More than I can count. I haven’t found a single human being alive that has an answer for the severity of stroke that Tommy suffered. And if I can’t find a human…”

“It’s…not unheard of. There’s certainly healing abilities in the pokemon kingdom that have proven useful on human conditions. But what you are asking for…what you are expecting…”

“Professor, I’m going to do this. I’m going to at least look for them. I don’t know what else to do. It’s the only shot I have left.”

Again, Rowan was silent. Sam knew he was carefully considering his response. He probably didn’t believe in what Sam needed to do, but perhaps he would at least empathize with it. Finally he replied, “I can’t leave my lab or my offices. I simply have too many people that depend on me. But if this is something you truly want to do, I can send an assistant to guide you around Sinnoh. I will be honest, Sam, I think you’d have a better chance chasing the end of a rainbow; I honestly do. But as a favor to your family, I’ll help you as much as I can within reason.” Sam’s desperation and Rowan’s skepticism really show through here. I’m not sure about the last sentence, though, as it seems a little wordy. I’m not sure what would improve it, however.

I’m also not sure why Sam would necessarily need Rowan’s blessing to pursue the legends. Surely they’re associated with the lakes enough in mythology that he could choose explore those areas without a guide.


Chapter 6: Present Day

The newly caught Shinx bounced happily at its trainer’s left side. Occasionally Bree would float down to it and let out a sharp chirp, and the Shinx would reply by rearing up on its stubby hindlegs and swatting up at the Butterfree. Bree was too quick, however, and would always flap itself just out of reach. The Shinx would let out a few yips to let it know it wanted the butterfly pokemon to come lower so they could play together. On Sam’s right side, Vlam kept up with her trainer’s gait and ignored the other two more childish pokemon. Once again, you’re switching between her and it for Bree. Figured I’d point it out since it can be hard to find all of these individually.

Sam couldn’t rationalize in his head why he felt compelled to capture the Shinx. He had already left most of his friends behind, in the comfort of neighbors and friends who pitied Sam and were happy to do what they could while he did what he had to do. Secretly, he suspected they all thought he was losing his mind, so perhaps they felt they were doing right by the pokemon to keep them out of their trainer’s mad hands. Whatever the reason, he left many of them behind and had decided only on bringing the two. Waiting two weeks for customs to clear just Vlam and Bree could have turned into an indeterminable wait if he had brought even more of his friends, and besides that, it felt right to just bring the Ninetales and Butterfree. But if that was the case, he wondered, why stop in the woods to catch the black and blue creature?While I do like the background and information provided here, parts of this segment seem a bit repetitive. Maybe this could be condensed a bit?
But when he saw this underfed Shinx, it barely registered Sam’s existence. It had its head buried in an berry bush, live electric sparks snapping off of its tail as it crunched away. A, not an.
The Shinx was now swatting Vlam’s paws and barking back-and-forth, from Vlam to Bree; sparks were radiating from its tail just as it had been when he cam across it. “came” is missing an e.

“Halt! These are my woods, and if you want to pass, you’ll have to battle me!”

Sam had been so entranced in the thought of having Mesprit’s gifts bring Tommy back, he had allowed himself to be come upon from behind. He turned to see a teenage boy--not quite yet an adult--with wild blonde hair curling upwards on either side of his head. Fiery orange eyes stared into Sam’s, and the young man flung the arms of his scarf back dramatically. The weather certainly was not calling for a scarf, so Sam thought the boy must have been wearing it ironically. Shinx clawed at Sam‘s leg, clearly startled at the boy‘s booming voice, and even Vlam‘s tails had stiffened at the sound of it.

“Excuse me?”

“Don’t play dumb. You heard me. Battle me for the rights to walk in my woods!” Probably one of the best ways possible to introduce Barry! This was cool. It really shows Barry’s personality.


“Anyway, the turn you missed is back here a ways. I uprooted some bushes and used them to cover it up. I thought it’d be funny to watch you wander on past it.”

Sam wanted to have Vlam set this kid on fire. It was suddenly the only thing he’d ever wanted in his life.

“Come on,” Barry continued, “I got a camp set up at the lakefront and everything. We can catch up on how much more awesome than you I am there.”

Vlam, use flamethrower. Those words tasted better in Sam’s mouth than any cake he’d ever eaten. But he swallowed them and followed the teen. This exchange continues to be amusing.

The first time we see Sam’s nightmares is pretty intense. The way you start it makes it seem like it could either be a memory or a dream, then it establishes itself as a dream just before turning into a nightmare. I think it’s the “calm before the storm” aspect of the beginning that makes it work so well.

Chapter 7: Present Day

Sam had no time at all to be indecisive, and he knew it. If he paused to consider his actions for even a moment, Barry would be out of sight. With that realization, Sam increased his speed in an effort to stay just behind Barry’s trail of dust. He still had no idea why Barry was running so fervently, but it was obvious that the sound from the other side of the lake had awoken something dire within the young man. It was a side of Barry that Sam had seen no sign of yesterday. I think it might help maintain the pace of the scene if you combine the bolded phrases into one, as saying both slows the action while you’re actively trying to speed it up. Perhaps “Sam knew that if he paused to make his decision for even a moment, Barry would be out of sight” or something similar would work better?

Somewhere in his haste, he had lost one of his knitted slippers, and he tried to calculate if having one was any more ridiculous than either having both or just being barefoot. He settled on kicking the other one off to match his bare feet; he could recover the socks when they came back around the lake. This was a nice little detail.

“Professor Rowan, hey it’s me. Did you get the pictures I sent you?...Good...Yeah, they’re just here at the north side of the lake...So did you recognize the emblem on...Phoenix Shipping Corporation?...No, I never heard of it...” Sam’s eyes shot back-and-forth between Barry and the workers by their equipment. It seemed impossible that they could hear Barry at this distance, but what if they could? Were they allowed to be here while this crew was working? Barry’s conversation continued, “Well that doesn’t sound so bad...No, he’s right here with me, he doesn’t seem to know these guys...Yeah, I believe him. I am not particularly suspicious of guys who whimper in their sleep...Do we have permission to?...Awesome...Oh, you know I can, but what about--CHRIST!” Someone seems to have an ulterior motive . . . I’m not clear on why he (and Rowan as well, apparently) keeps checking to make sure Sam wasn’t involved with them at this point though. I’m guessing this will be cleared up as I go.

Sideburns yelled something back to his crew while he unhooked his Great Ball. Sam braced for them to rush forward to help him, but they instead turned towards the heavy equipment and raced for them. Energy was just emerging from Sideburns’ ball when Barry yelled to Sam.

“You deal with whatever he’s got! I’m going to stop those guys! Torterra, fissure away those vehicles!” I’m guessing this is going to be typical Barry behavior. If you’re not in on his plan, you’d better hurry up and improvise!

Sam was familiar with it as a Hariyama on only a rudimentary level from the studying he did when he was still active in the World Pokemon League.I had to reread the beginning of this sentence to make sure of what you were saying. Maybe “Sam recognized it as . . .” would work better?

“Hey! I can’t understand that! That’s...really unfair.” Sam found that he was pointing an accusing finger at the foreigner. Sideburns shouted another mystery order, but this time, Sam had his bearings more together. “Bree, fly up! Just...stay away from it!” Yep, Sam’s out of his element on this one.

Hariyama’s right leg whipped around to kick Bree, but she had managed to narrowly avoid the impact by flying several feet into the air. “Yeah, you can yell all the gibberish you want now, but your fatty ninja pokemon can’t fly, so why don’t you calm down? We just asked to see your license and paperwork!” while barefoot and in pajamas. Nothing suspicious here! ;) I enjoyed how the battle was written, too. Well paced. I always hate writing battle scenes (for Pokémon-based stories or otherwise), so I respect people who can pull them off well.

Chapter 8: Six Years Ago...

Sam sputtered a few words, but nothing pointed was coming to him as he tried to imagine his brother meeting women. It was a disturbing thought, broken up by Tommy’s laughter. “Oh man, you need to see your own face, Sammy. I think I just broke your brain.” Tommy patted his brother between the shoulders. “Like I have time to date? Wishful thinking. But man...you are so gullible, kiddo.” These interactions are great, and keep Tommy in the story so the reader gets to see what Sam’s fighting for rather than just hearing about him.

They moved away from Ilex Hall so that Tommy could show him the Banner Memorial Library that was on Sitrus Avenue, the main road through campus. Every so often, Sam would notice Tommy take a deep breath and just stare off at a building or a university transit bus or a bench on the lawn outside of a building. It would only last a moment, but there was definitely something there. A memory, Sam thought, or perhaps a regret? If Tommy felt bad about his failing out of UGC, he’d never let Sam know it. He still remembered the day the letter came and his questioning his brother over it. Tommy just chuckled and replied, “College is hard, kiddo. You better get your grades up so you can see just how hard some day.” And then he effortlessly changed the subject to using his new Fire Stone to evolve Vlam. As Sam thought of it like that, college was the only thing that Tommy didn’t make seem effortless. I like the lighthearted, if guilt-tinged, interactions, but they can also be problematic for reasons previously stated. Maybe Sam catching Tommy in a moment of weakness (examples could be snapping when he’s annoyed enough or just venting his frustration when he doesn’t think Sam’s looking) and that might make him seem more rounded? Yes, we see how the situation affects him by his college grades and forlorn looks while he’s giving Sam the tour of the campus, but always shrugging it off positively until he can’t anymore just doesn’t seem realistic to me.

“Really? Wuss. It’s just some water. Look,” Barry started doing jumping jacks on the deck of the ship. “See? I’m fine.” He kept going. Jumping. Up and down. Up and down. Up and--

“Oh god, please stop that!”

“What?”

“The jumping and the moving all the time!” Sam exclaimed while pressing his palm to the side of his head. “Stop it!” You have “annoying kid” down to a T with Barry. Well done. He may not be a character I’d want to spend any length of time stuck on a boat with, but he’s still a great character. I think it’s Sam’s realistic reactions to him that really cement him as fun to read about, though.

They were halfway between the ferry dock and the Phoenix building when it finally occurred to Sam to ask the most rhetorical question he imagined he’d ever ponder. “You don’t really have a plan for what to do when we get there, do you?”

“Nope. Just gonna play this by ear.”

“Okay, yes. Tell me, what is your ear playing right now?”

Barry scratched his chin with his index finger. “Hm. Walk in. Find the receptionist or accountant or CEO or whoever’s at the front desk. Say ‘why were those guys performing illegal construction at Lake Verity?’ in a very menacing voice. Get answers.”

“Yep, that’s pretty good. But how about instead of that, we do anything else?”

“I like the sound of that, too. What have you got?” This really captures the “make it up as you go along” attitude I imagine the game-verse Barry has.

Sam grabbed Barry’s shoulder to stop their progress down the boardwalk. Getting to the building before the plan was fully fleshed out seemed unwise. “Okay. You work for Professor Rowan. Professor Rowan is the legally authorized Pokemon Professor of Sinnoh, right?”

“Right.”

“Okay. I’m going to assume that, just like in Johto, Regional Pokemon Professor is a cabinet position, yes? Rowan was appointed by and serves under your Minister Benicini. Am I right so far?”

“As rain.”

“Then you--and by extension, I--are legally representing not just the Pokemon Professor Rowan, but Secretary Rowan. We greet the receptionist as such, prove our credentials by contacting the professor, and ask to speak to Phoenix Corporation’s legal advisory team regarding some--and we won’t say what kind--but some kind of ‘sketchy legal matters’. Still with me?” Good way of incorporating some of your world-building details in.


“We ask the legal team why the Phoenix Shipping Corporation would be performing illegal drilling and construction on government-protected land, and why they responded to queries about their licensing with violence.” Sam pulled his hands up to his chest in an innocent manner. “We explain that we are sure it is just a misunderstanding as to how they ended up there, and perhaps their employees were just startled by our presence, but we are required to report back to Secretary Rowan with answers on this matter regardless. We make it seem like it’s all a big inconvenience, and we want to help them clear it up as quickly as--”

“We’re going to sneak onto a boat.”

Sam smacked his lips in response to Barry’s latest interruption. He sighed, “Yes, that is also a robust plan. Detailed plan of action filled with subterfuge and tact, vis a vis sneaking on a boat. Dilemmas like this keep men up at night...” I laughed. It’s also good that Barry’s not just being impulsive here and actually has reasons for the jump to “sneak onto a boat.”

If that vessel made it to Lake Acuity while Sam and Barry were busy pussy-footing with a bunch of lawyers, who knows what its crew could do? I think “knows” should be “knew” here, as the rest of the statement is all in past tense.

Sam was not quite sure how he stifled his screams as he was heaved upwards and then landed on the metal deck with his back, but he had. He would have never imagined Monferno had that kind of power in him. Moments after Sam’s landing came Barry’s; it was equally graceless, but he seemed less disturbed by it than Sam had been. They both sprang up to their feet; Sam did it to look around and ensure no one saw them, while Barry did so to withdraw Monferno back to the safety of its ball from its spot on the docks. Sam saw no one, but he still didn’t want to take a chance. He pointed to an array of crates, and the two of them ran to conceal themselves in it. As they got there, they felt the cargo boat pulling away from the dock. Whether it was the superior plan or not didn’t matter now; they were on their way to Acuity. Poor Sam, back at sea again.

Yeah, that’s all I have at the moment. Chapters 9 and beyond will be coming soon (probably). So far, I like how fleshed out the characters are, but I’m not sure on certain points, such as why Sam felt the need to ask Rowan to let him search for the legends beyond having someone else reassure him he’s not crazy for trying (which, I’ll admit, seems like a good reason for wanting to ask Rowan for help, it just could be better).

Now that I think about it, teenage self-centeredness probably would be enough to keep Sam from noticing a lot of his brother’s struggling (along with Tommy’s tendency to try to hide this from his brother). I was referring more to his not realizing that Tommy was being overwhelmed at all by the situation rather than him going out of his way to provide for the pair. As for FullMetal Alchemist, I liked it/them (there are two anime series, one that follows the manga more closely than the first) for the most part.

9 – 15 will be reviewed soon.

Zibdas
25th August 2012, 2:37 PM
Finally found the time to read this! Sorry it's rather late, I'm unfortunately busy with school in a few days....
And now we're at the climax. I just felt a chill. I'm not too good with words that ahven't been used, but keep it up!
In regards to your PM, I personally rather like Brothers' Bond. Also, Boots of Human Flesh sounds like an old 80's horror movie.


"You can to deal with this attention."
This bit confused me though.

Doryuzu
26th August 2012, 2:56 PM
Chapter 8

Hm.....not much to say. Not much of anything happened this chapter. Though we do find out a bit more about Tommy and Sam's past and we also learn about the shady group's actions back at Lake Verity. I wish I could say more but not much of anything happened significantly. I once again enjoyed Tommy and Sam's interactions and how you showed off how unselfish Tommy is. Dialogue flowed nicely and I'm getting the feeling of Cresselia or Darkrai appearing for some reason.

Knightfall
26th August 2012, 3:46 PM
Again, sorry for the delay. But this is the final block review, so now I can focus on one chapter at a time!



Chapter 11



Sometime around three hundred years ago or so, the country of Kanto was the first civilization on the planet to learn that pokemon could be both efficiently captured and trained to work with humans. The Kantoans discovered the process by which they could transform pokemon into high-frequency, unstable energy that could be contained in a mechanical orb that would harmonize the energy signature and keep the creatures in stasis. It was all very technical and would require a science class to understand rather than a history lesson. As pokemon were brought from out of the wild and into households, it was found that the energy stasis aided in relaxing them and making them more peaceful and pliable to working with humans.

This is an interesting way to start a chapter, as a guy who enjoys history (whether real or fiction) I like this. Three hundred years ago is a long time, though I’m certain that their technology is further advanced then ours by a long shot.



Within a few decades, Kanto had a huge militarized pokemon force. There was an Air Force of precision Charizards, flying through the skies with more maneuverability than the most advanced jets of the age and blasting pure flame at their enemies. Then there was a Navy of raging Gyarados, able to withstand and attack from the harshest depths of the ocean and swimming circles around helpless submarines. And this was to say nothing of an infantry of Machamps and Gravelers, shredding tanks into heaps of scrap as artillery bounced off their massively powerful bodies. The Kantoan armed forces became the world’s most dominant power overnight by ignoring mechanical weapons and using instead the ones with which nature had surrounded us.

Wow, I just loved this. On a deeper scale it shows how humanity can take anything, even nature, and use it to gain an advantage over others. On a much shallower scale, it has a Charizard Air Force. So much bad-assery.



The history books would tell you that war lasted thirty-eight days and was more than a little one-sided.

Pfft, the Combine conquered the entire planet in seven hours. You can do better Kanto.
Sorry, I couldn’t resist making a HL2 reference.




Still, even though the military actions had ended, there was still tension between the northern and southern continents. Hate and prejudice doesn’t tend to quite fade away, even after so many decades; it stays simmering, just beneath the surface. The two sides maintained strictly separate cultures and traditions. Tourism was low between the hemispheres due to the harassment foreigners faced in each region. The World Pokemon League only sparingly had special events between northern and southern regions since riots were so frequent. Society on a global scale may have shifted towards a peaceful and progressive attitude, but individuals were still very full of insecurities and distrust; despite the new age of enlightenment, the separate regions sometimes seemed like they were still worlds apart. That was why it was so odd to Sam.

“You speak really good Kantoan for someone from Hoenn, Mr. Alonzo.”

A huge info dumping paragraph sort of, but I enjoyed it. It provided a great insight into the structure of the world in your story, and why it is that way.

And, thank God they didn’t use nuclear or biochemical weapons (if they even had them) in the war. That’d make everyone’s lives much more difficult in the present.




“So, hey, if I invite you guys into this very obvious trap, do you think you could, you know, walk right into it?”

“Why yes, I do believe that is what we’ll do. We'd love to.”
As their banter suggested while they trudged through the streets of Snowpoint City—streets that were buried in over a foot of snow despite the calendar’s clear indication that it was the tail-end of spring--Sam and Barry were convinced that Henrique’s invitation was nothing short of sinister. It made perfect sense: why would he refuse to talk to them inside a crowded hospital and then invite them to a secluded suite? Given Sam and Barry’s short history with Mr. Alonzo’s employees and property, why was he even so gracious and personable to them? Unless, of course, he was guilty of something, Sam determined. And if he was guilty of something, what were the odds he’d continue to be so pleasant?

Mr. Alonzo isn’t acting how an antagonist would normally be acting. Especially considering they cost him and his company huge amounts of money in damages.

Maybe he’s good at hiding his true motives like any politician or person in power does.




He could already feel the dampness pooling at the bottom of his sock and wrinkling the flesh on his toes.

As someone who has experienced that sensation, that’s a pretty good description of it.




Mr. Alonzo settled into the extravagant-looking couch and crossed one leg over the other. “Gentlemen, I’m sure we could make meandering small talk and not really say anything for quite some time, but I respect you both, so I’m going to get to the heart of the matter. I am aware of the…,” he paused and seemed to yet again mull over a selection of what to say, “incidents you’ve had with my employees.”

He’s not a normal antagonist, I think I’ve said that before. No small talk, no angry monologue, he just get’s straight to the point. I like that.



“Their actions cost me quite a substantial amount in equipment, to say nothing of the lost hours of labor or transportation costs. But sometimes that is just the price of business.” Mr. Alonzo leaned back into the couch. Sam nodded, but could think of nothing else to add. Mr. Alonzo switched gears. “You both have no doubt figured out that I’ve come here for the legends of Sinnoh, right?”

He’s being nice to them? He freely admits his plans to the very people who stalled them? What sort of trickery are you playing at Mr. Alonzo?



"Poaching?" Mr. Alonzo, the pitch of his voice rising. "No, not even close, Mr. West. Let me ask you a question: When a farmer needs assistance raising his crops, is it poaching when he catches a Gloom to encourage their growth? When a demolition crew catches a Rhyhorn to help them tear down a building and remove rubble, is that poaching? Or is it poaching when a hospital uses an Audino to heal an injured person's minor bruises or superficial injuries?"

Barry raised an eyebrow. "That's three questions."


His reasoning is sound, actually. Is it poaching? Is it truly acceptable? Is Pokemon Training basically hunting? Is Mr. Alonzo truly a villain?



"People talk about legendary pokemon, and we're talking about abilities that range from controlling the weather to manipulating time and space and everything in between. Think about how that could benefit humanity, gentlemen. We could stop storms and natural disasters in their tracks before lives and property are lost. We could erase our greatest mistakes from history; no more Century War and the hate it spread between our regions." Mr. Alonzo opened his arms wide in front of him as if to emphasize the scope of his ideas. "We could have perfect knowledge and understanding of the world around us. I've not come here to capture Sinnoh's legends or put them on display. I've come here to find them and get them to use their powers to benefit mankind. All of us. "

Oh no. I’ve scene this exact scenario many times, I’ve even considered using it in my own story. Using the Legendaries to solve humanity’s problems, stopping disasters, twisting around the very fabric of time to erase our mistakes, it will only lead to the destruction of the world.
When you mess with the time stream entire futures collapse, pasts are corrupted beyond repair, and the present is plunged into unending darkness. Mr. Alonzo, you think the Legendaries will solve our problems? You are wrong.



"They don't belong to mankind, though; they belong to the world." Barry's words shocked Sam out of his laser focus on Henrique's words. Sam had been engrossed in the thoughts, but Barry had wasted no time in having a rebuttal. "Do you really think it's in anyone's best interest to corral pokemon that can control time? Or human emotion? Yeah, gee, what's the worst that could happen there, right?"

For once, I agree with Barry one hundred percent.



"And your view of how gracious and well-meaning humanity would be in the face of these possibilities is awfully wrong-sighted."

Once again, absolutely correct. Humanity cannot be trusted with power, we only corrupt it.

“See? This is why we can’t have nice things!”



Mr. Alonzo tilted his head down and smiled. Slowly, he shook his head a few times as if he were pardoning himself from engaging in a [/b]verball[/b] battle with Barry. "I see your point of view, Mr. West, don't get me wrong. And I also get that you must feel very confident in expressing it. After all, you and Professor Rowan have had the legendary pokemon of Sinnoh hidden away and protected for quite some time now, haven't you?"


Besides the plot altering statement by Mr. Alonzo, “Verbal” is misspelled. You have two “L”s in the word.
Anyways, wow, this might be the one that effects the plot the most. Sam’s trust is Barry and the Professor is going to be pushed to the extremes, if not broken completely.
Mr. Alonzo seems to have good intentions, but as we all know, they pave the road to hell.





Chapter 12



Sam had nothing. He had no words or thoughts or actions. His brain was preoccupied with processing what the President of the Phoenix Shipping Corporation had just said. Just when it seemed like he was on the verge of accepting it, something inside him replied “No. No, that can’t be right” and forced him to reconsider it. Barry having had the lake guardians all this time? It was inconceivable. Implausible, even.

Pretty awesome way to show Sam’s disbelief in what Mr. Alonzo just said, but the bolded part needs to be fixed. The “Or” between “Words” and “Thoughts” doesn’t need to be there.



“We started hearing about the Church of Cyrus.”

It makes sense, actually. That Team Galactic could be classified as a church of some sort. Cyrus had a doctrine that claimed that he could reshape this imperfect world, and people believed him.



Barry and Mr. Alonzo were still debating just feet from Sam, but his ears weren’t processing the sound of their words. There was no reason for Barry to ignore the more important accusation there. Unless...

“You son of a *****.”


A perfect summarization of the angered and confused thoughts Sam is having.



Sam’s rage deepened as Barry’s confession, and he moved his hands down to Barry’s face, grabbing at the skin around his eyes and nose and mouth. “You saved my life! You pulled me out of that lake! And for what? So you could lie to me some more? So you could keep me from them?” His fingernails dug into Barry’s skin.

Whoh, Sam is starting to scare me a little. Though his anger is (mostly) just, his rage is quickly getting the best of him.



“No!” Sam shouted. “This is about us, not them! You damn liar! You saved my life; for what? So I can go back to my brother and tell him I can’t help him? So I can tell him I let him down? So I can say those words and know he can’t even hear them? Is that why you saved me? You should have just let me die!”

Again, powerful speech. That’s one of the reasons I love this story.



“Gentlemen! Mr. West! Mr. Stark! Are you both okay? This...this is not what I wanted. Do I need to call for help? Is anyone hurt?”


Mr. Alonzo, ever the peacekeeper. I think this is exactly what he wanted to happen.
Now Sam can never trust the Professor, or Barry again.



“Man, Sam...I didn’t mean to trick you.”

“Oh?” Sam laughed openly, “please, tell me how you tricked me by accident then, Barry.”

And the sarcasm is back. The humor in this story is in the most unexpected of places, I love it.



Mr. Alonzo looked back to the cabin’s busted door. “I am sure I can cover that. But what happens now?”

Sam looked from Mr. Alonzo to Barry and then back to Mr. Alonzo. “Do you really think you can use the legends to help people?”

“Man, Sam, don’t...”

“I do, Mr. Stark. You heard what I said, and I meant that. There are pokemon in the world that can fix so much of what’s wrong with the human condition.”

While it isn’t an entirely unexpected turn of events, it’s still kind of shocking to hear Sam siding with Alonzo mere minutes after he was convinced he was a villain.



Sam sighed. “I’m not sure yet. But I know that for as mad as I am at him, Barry’s just a kid...just an assistant. So there’s somebody else who owes me some real answers before I make my next move.”

And so, Professor Rowen becomes target one on Sam’s hit list. A great chapter, and a really great battle. It might have been that Barry wasn’t trying to win against Sam, but I found Sam’s victory kind of … I don’t know … empty.



Chapter 13: 5 Years Ago




“Wow, you’d been together since last semester.”

“Yeah, it just kind of--”

“That’s a long time for her to have just seen you naked for the first time.”

Sam sputtered a few sounds, but nothing of consequence. Tommy was laughing so hard his eyes were wet. “I hate you,” Sam finally said.

I love Tommy, I really hope he recovers so we can hear more of his dialogue. It’s one of the reasons why I like reading the flashback portions of the chapters. And Sam, you should probably get a Burn Heal. I’m sure you can guess the reason why.



Tommy clapped his hands together and then pointed at Sam. “Didn’t I tell you to live on campus this year? Why doesn’t anyone listen to me? I am full of unused wisdom.”


I’m certain my mom and my teachers all feel the same way.



He made a mental note to never ride a bus again in his life if he could help it. Bus stations that seemed to be one sideways glance away from erupting in gang violence, cramped seats on the busses themselves that got you either elbowed by a sleeping neighbor or pestered about the health benefits of eating whole garlic by a chatty one, and air conditioning and heating that were spotty at best did not combine for convenient travel. Sam figured next time he’d just hitchhike. It couldn’t possibly be any worse.

Ah, the lovely side effects of public transportation. You’re not the only author I’ve seen criticize Sinnoh’s Department of Transportation. However, this story portrays it in a better light and not openly cursing its existence.



Two days since the incident in Snowpointe, and he still had no idea how he would react to Professor Rowan once they were face-to-face. Flipping out on Barry in the heat of the moment was one thing--and Sam was already regretting his behavior there--but confronting the professor was another entirely. Rowan knew Sam and Tommy personally, yet he deceived Sam regardless. Still, Sam knew there was a world of difference between attacking a fit young man in the heat of the moment versus doing so to an older scholar after having time to digest his rage.

Yes, Sam. Attacking the elderly is not right. And I know you’ve already been briefed on this, but Snowpoint has no “e” at the end.



Rowan rolled his eyes slowly. “Sam, Sam. What you must think of me...”

Sam lifted his hands. “Stop. Don’t want your pity party. Want to know why you lied to me.”

Sam’s dialogue seems a little disjointed here, but I’m sure that’s on purpose.



“It was almost a decade ago, Sam, that a man named Cyrus first appeared. It was absolutely nothing at first; he was just some street looney who wandered from town to town with signs about it being the end times. He would stand on street corners and talk to passers-by about the coming end of the world. It got the point where he was just kind of...a thing. News stations would humorously cover where the crazy guy with the sandwich board was today. ‘He’s outside the Hearthome Contest Hall, he’s at the Floaroma Gardens, he’s in Pastoria’s Great Marsh Park’, that kind of thing. He was more of Sinnoh’s adorable mascot than anything else.

Hmm, I’ve never seen Cyrus portrayed in this manner. As a religious fanatic, but, again, it makes sense.




“Unfortunately,” Rowan rubbed his nose at the word, “I underestimated just how fervent Cyrus’ supporters were. There was a riot when news broke that the government had declared him a threat to national security, and... well, Barry’s parents did not make it back with us. We were able to apprehend Cyrus; he’s been remanded to the care of a psychiatric institution in Veilstone. Barry, meanwhile, I took him in with the assistance of a friend in Twinleaf. I thought I’d never have to use someone close to me in these matters before, but when Barry saw those men at Verity, I think some part of him wanted to live up to his parents’ legacy.”

Wow, now Barry’s eagerness to stop the construction crew and Alonzo’s plans makes a lot more sense. And something tells me that we haven’t heard the last from our friend Cyrus.



“So you sent me and Barry out to die just like you did his parents. I was good enough--”

Rowan’s fist slammed down hard on his desk, knocking down pictures that had been sitting there of Rowan with various children, shaking hands with colleagues, and with his arm around a woman. “Mr. Stark! Whatever you may think of me, you will not speak to me that way in my office. I will not stand for it.”

“Righteous indignation doesn’t fit you very well, professor. Not right now.”

This scene is just so picturesque, I can clearly see it unfolding as Sam accuses the Professor and him lashing back. Awesome work.



“Once you’ve brought them into society and gave the world irrefutable, visual proof that they exist, do you think they could ever just go on with their lives? Everyone would want them. Crazies like Cyrus would be just the start. Every ambitious trainer in the world would be after them. Even well-meaning folks like yourself. All of you, trifling with forces mankind was never meant to control, for your own personal gain. The legends are able to keep the forces of nature in balance because they are free to do so. Without that peace, who knows what would come of things?”

Wow, it’s not often that both of the conflicting sides in a story have equally compelling reasons why they are right, or rather, why the other side is wrong. Rowen is reiterating what I said about Mr. Alonzo earlier.



“But my brother’d be--”

Rowan slammed his hand down again. “There is more to life than your brother, Mr. Stark!”

Sam pursed his lips and gritted his teeth again. This conversation was clearly going nowhere, and Sam knew at that moment what he had to do next anyway. “Not to me, there isn’t”. Before Rowan could issue another word of protest, Sam walked out the front door.


Wow, this chapter was filled with drama. Sam and Rowen’s debate about the ethics of using the legends, I loved it.
Damn, this review is just devolving into me complimenting on things I liked about it (though I’m sure you don’t mind). There’s not even any errors to point out anymore….



Chapter 14



Sam smacked the receiver end of his cell phone off his forehead three times before closing his eyes and reminding himself to try to remain calm. “No, you did not lose a package,” Sam spoke very slowly, picturing Mr. Rivera as a small child who couldn’t grasp large, intricate ideas. “Mr. Alonzo knows me. We are acquaintances. He is probably even expecting my call.”

I am very fortunate to have only gone through the experience with being endlessly transferred a few times, but I understand Sam’s frustration completely.



“NO!--”

“...I will just transfer...”

“DON’T YOU--”

“...you down the hall to...”

“I don’t want to be transferred again!”

“...the head of our Communications department...”

Sam let out a very primal yell as he pressed the End Call button on his phone as vengefully as he could. He rued modern technology for taking away the old-fashioned ability to slam a handset down into its cradle.

You have no idea how hard I laughed at this.



Rowan had gotten the car from him, and that last thing Sam wanted now was to depend on anything having to do with that man.

I think the bolded word is supposed to be “for”, not “from”.



“I have information you might want. I think I know where the legends could be.”


I assume this is supposed to be the part in the story where the hero betrays the “good” side for the “bad”, but I’m not sure which side is which. Or if there is a clear cut “good and bad”.




“The family shouldn’t be that hard to find. Professor Rowan is a public figure, so someone’s got to know where his sisters live. His friends, well okay; that will be a bit harder, but still workable. The ladyfriend of his, though, she’s got to live at a higher elevation. There was fog in the background of the picture, and I think I saw a pretty obvious mountainside view.”

“Celestic Town,” Mr. Alonzo mused.

That’s a pretty detailed memory Sam has, considering he only ever saw those pictures twice.



“Your ‘best interests’ can go blow,” Sam stated, shaking his head. “I came to you because you have the resources and the desire to help me meet the trio. We get their help, first thing is first, and that’s that I help my brother.” Sam was not sure Mr. Alonzo even knew anything about Tommy other than from the fit Sam had on Barry back in Snowpointe. “After that, I don’t care if you bring them back home or making everyone happy all the time or dress them up in doll clothes. Doesn’t matter to me.”

It’s not a good idea to bash the ideals of the man who’s going to be backing your expedition, Sam.

Not too much happening in this chapter really, but still a great chapter. I’m still a little uncertain of Mr. Alonzo’s true intentions, but I’m sure we’ll see them unfold in the coming chapters.
I wonder if we’ll see anymore of Barry? I’m sure we will, but there’s always the chance.



Chapter 15



Of course it had to be Sideburns.

His name was apparently, as it turned out, not actually “Sideburns”; it was Carlos. And he had been sitting next to Sam for several hours as they navigated the mountainous route 210.

Wow, I never figured we’d see Sideburns again. Maybe I should used your idea and try to reuse my minor characters. 



For all Sam knew, they were planning what the best way to cook him was (Sam immediately scolded himself for the potentially racist thought that all Hoennese were barbaric cannibals; still, he could not help but think they were discussing things that had to do with him, even if he knew that was just paranoia).

It’s interesting to see what you do with the racial tensions between the hemispheres. I’ve never seen racism used in any story in as great of an issue as it is here. Another quirk that differentiates this from all the other journey/adventure fics.



While Sam was stuck waiting on customs in Jubilife, he picked up a disposable cell phone just for calls he might need to make in Sinnoh due to the international rate on his regular service being so astronomical.

Again with the things that makes this unique, cell phone rates between regions. I mean, I have never seen another story even mention that.



“You are not to answer that?” Carlos asked, looking over at Sam. Perhaps, for as little as he seemed to want to talk to Sam, he wanted some voice to break the silence. Or perhaps he just like eavesdropping on phone calls.

More broken Kantoen, yay.




“Leave it here in our little pull-off. If we need it, we come back and get it. But how about instead of going in and dynamiting the hell out of everything, we start off with some old fashioned looking around?”

It wouldn’t be the first time someone threatened to blow up Celestic Town.



Sam’s decision to leave the trucks and equipment behind was beginning to seem like a terrible idea; this was clearly not a place that received many visitors, and every eye in town seemed to be on Sam and the crew from the minute they entered. He’d seen enough horror movies growing up to immediately think that this was the kind of place where strangers got chained up in leaky basements and tortured by people who made boots out of human flesh.

Wonderful image in that last sentence. Which makes me wonder, what kind of horror movies has Sam been watching?



Sam turned around at the stranger’s voice to see a pair of people coming down the path behind them on an all-terrain vehicle. Sam, Carlos, and the crew exchanged confused glances as the the couple pulled their ATV up to them and came to a stop.

You have the word “the” repeated twice.




“Hogwash,” Professor Carolina interrupted. “What are you really doing here?”

“I just said, we’re here for research. Honestly.” It was honest, even if what they were there to research was the legendary guardians.

Technically, I guess Sam wasn’t lying, but not that it matters.



“Gram, we don’t know yet--”

“You know why they’re here, Cynthia. Don’t defend them.”

I’ve never seen Cynthia’s grandmother as a professor, but it really makes sense.
Another thing about this story that I love, everything makes sense sooner or later.



Sam enjoyed briefly imagining that she was defending him from the lady who must have been her grandmother because she thought he was charming, but he realized it was a wasted thought. She probably would not be too impressed with him shortly. “Carlos,” he said, turning to his reluctant partner but keeping one eye of Carolina, “get going. You know what you need to find.”

Keep dreaming, Sam.



The rest of the world outside her ball was seemingly irrelevant to her as she intertwined Sam’s legs, rubbing her head on his shins. If Sam had any designs on intimidating Cynthia and Professor Carolina into submission, those were clearly just nixed.


Though I’m sure that your choice of using her would perplex them for a minute, therefore, still stalling them.



Cynthia shook her head slowly, as if in pity, it occurred to Sam. Still, the rock just sat there, and she did not give it an order. Sam continued studying it, but he could not discern anything of note. It was a rock, and much more than he would describe a Geodude as a rock. It was a blank, cracked stone. It didn’t move. Still, it was impossible to just catch a plain rock in a pokeball, so it had to be some kind of pokemon. Sam nudged Chispa out from between his legs. “Be careful, but investigate that for me, Chispa. Can you investigate the rock for me?”

I didn’t realize what Pokemon this was until after you said what it was, though the “cracked rock” should have been a massive red flag for me.



Cynthia took advantage of the time it was taking Sam to come up with a plan against her pokemon. “Use your shadow sneak, Mouri!”

Mouri--apparently, Sam realized, the name of her Spiritomb--hissed in reply to her command; its green flashes started popping more rapidly and then began erupting with energy inside the Spiritomb’s spiritual form. With a rush of unexpected speed, its body stretched out as far as it could while still anchored to its rock home. Chispa screeched in pain as Mouri’s body overtook her.

Ghost Pokemon, nasty bunch they are. Poor Chispa, though Sam’s choice in using her seems a little … stupid in my opinion.



Sam ignored Cynthia’s plea. Carlos and his men had been in the cave for several minutes now; he just needed to buy them a little more time. “All right, Vlam. If it wants to hide in the rock, we’ll just knock it clear out of the forest. Use a double kick on it!” Vlam rushed forward. Sam may not have been able to hurt the Spiritomb, but as long as it was bound to the rock, he could at least get rid of it.

Huh, it never occurred to me that you could do that since Spirtomb is tied to that Keystone. Interesting little piece of info.



“Jackpot,” Sam whispered to itself. Before Bree even really got to begin her bug buzz, the Spiritomb pulled away into its protective rock, just as Sam had wanted.

“Bree, that’s what we needed, girl. I want you to cover that rock in sleep powder now!” In the air above Mouri’s stone, Bree shook her wings fervently. Powder-fine scales broke loose and fell the area below. With nothing to interrupt her, Bree let the scales fall for several seconds until everything below was covered in them. “That’s good, Bree. Come back over to me.” Sam looked across the field and saw Cynthia grimacing; she must have figured it out. “That’s right. Your Spiritomb’s protective home just became its prison. Bring it out now, and it’s going to absorb all the sleep powder.”


Sometimes, I forget at how competent a battler Sam really is. Using Sleep Powder like that, it was a stroke of genius.



“Last chance, Mr. Stark,” Cynthia offered. There was an edge to her voice that Sam had not picked up on before. Maybe she really was just fooling around at first. “Give up and let us go get those gentlemen.”

Sam continued looking at the Garchomp. Almost as if on cue to emphasize its trainer’s point, the dragon licked its lips. Sam swallowed and turned his gaze to Bree. “Well, girl. You ready to really see what you can do?”

I was bracing myself for a quick, brutal end to this battle, but it seems it never happens.



“What was that?” He found himself shouting in unison with Cynthia. The look on her face revealed she must have been surprised that he did not already know.

“They weren’t supposed to do anything like that!” Sam shouted over the squeal in his eardrums. “I promise, this wasn’t my intention at all!”

You know Carlos, him and dynamite, you can’t keep the two away from each other.

And I can clearly see Sam trying to explain to Cynthia and Professor Carolina that he didn’t mean to blow up their town’s ruins.



They were the legendary guardians of the lake.

Wow, this is it. The part of the story we’ve all been waiting for. The Lake Trio finally show themselves.



“Please!” He called out them, just hoping they’d hear him. “Please, I won’t let them hurt you, I promise! I need you! I’ve come so far, and without you, my brother will die! Please don’t leave now! He needs you. I need you.”

In the distance of the sky, one of them came to a halt. Sam could faintly make out the crest that marked it as Mesprit. Perhaps something in his voice got through to the small guardian. “Please, I will do anything--anything--for my brother! I would never hurt you or try to catch you, but he means everything to me and nothing will stop me from saving him. Please come back!” With those words, he saw a second stop; this time it was Azelf. As Azelf floated down to its brother Mesprit, Uxie also came to a stop, if only due to curiosity as to what had gotten the attention of the other two. They hovered in the air far from Sam and stared at him. “Please...,” Sam muttered, as he fell to his knees. “Help me.”

Ohboyohboyohboy! This is it!



“No!” Sam yelled. He knew they would ruin everything, but it was too late. The battle spilling outside the cave, the frantic yelling of the Phoenix workers, and the sight of them charging towards Sam were all too much for the legends. They took back off into the sky as swiftly as they had fled the cave. Well before Carlos and the others reached Sam, the guardians were out of sight.

And that cracking sound was my heart. It just burst from a mixture of excitement, sadness, and more excitement. Sadness that Sam has just lost the only hope he has of restoring his brother, and excitement that this is only half of the story and that there’s still another half to go.

A wonderful group of chapters, the best I’ve reviewed so far. I tried to find as many errors as I could, but there were only two or three that I was able to find.

This marks the end of my reviewing of multiple chapters, so now I can focus solely on individual chapters. Because, let’s face it, I haven’t put the most dedication into each and every chapter’s review, so now, we won’t have that problem.

I’ll reiterate what I’ve said countless times before, this is an amazing fanfic. Your skills as an author and an overall original idea are what really make this story. I’m going to be putting this into my signature shortly. I can’t wait to review the next chapter.

Oh, and I hope you find another job soon. In this economy you need all the luck you can get. So, good luck.

And awesome banner, I like it.

So, until the next one,

Knightfall signing off … ;005;

Sid87
27th August 2012, 2:50 AM
Sam having a crush on Cynthia sounds really amusing. Not sure why, but it does.

He needed some more aspects of his personality; he'd been pretty single-minded of late. And Cynthia seems like she'd be a pretty girl. :)


Tsk, tsk. If anyone Sam should know better by now than to think something is improbable.

You'd think, right?


I was going to make some remark about how electric and dark type attacks should work against the Spiritomb, but I quite like the idea of physical attacks not effecting him at all. It seems more realistic for a ghost-type pokémon, one that wouldn’t work for the games, but is interesting to see in a fic. Kudos to you.

It seemed interesting of an idea to me.


Seems a bit uncharacteristic of Sam to lets others think so ill of his friend. Maybe it’s just me, though. You could just say that Sam planned to prove Cynthia and everyone else wrong about Bree’s abilities. As it stands, though, it seems like Sam is just letting the judgment pass and that doesn’t sit right with me.

I think it's just a matter of Sam being confident in Bree's ability, so there's a smugness that comes with letting people underestimate her right before she smacks them upside the head. Also, it might not be the best battle strategy to start arguing back "She's really strong!". :)


Also seems a little odd to me that Sam would be trusting Carlos to get done what exactly needs to be done.

All Sam really knows about Carlos at this point is that he doesn't like Sam and that he's kind of a hothead. But as far as Sam knows, Carlos is good enough at his job. After all, his crew had managed to correctly determine that Mesprit was not at Lake Verity.


All in all it was another good chapter. I found it a bit odd that Sam put so much faith in Carlos and the crew after so clearly showing his disdain for them, but that was it, really. The battle was well described and well balanced (I wasn’t expecting Sam to do spectacularly against the champion, after all) and the scene between the trio/Sam was bittersweet and hopeful, and fleeting, gone just as quickly as it came. I look forward to how Sam reacts to this situation and whether or not anything changes for him.

Like I said, Sam and Carlos weren't buddies, but Sam had no reason to believe Carlos was not a particularly competent worker. Trust me when I say it's not a mistake Sam will be repeating (Sam and Carlos have a confrontation to start off chapter 16). I hope you continue to enjoy the story as it goes!



I’m a little confused by this bit, to be honest. If there’s no proof such pokémon exist, then why is it such a sensitive matter to discuss? I would guess it wouldn’t be seen as a taboo to look for something that might just be a myth, so is it because he’s afraid Sam would sound like a crazy person for looking for them?

This ends up getting explained in chapter 14, I believe. Rowan is very particular about anyone having designs on the trio or Sinnoh's legends.


A stroke was a good choice, considering what Sam wants to use to reverse the situation, but it does seem a little unusual for a 24-year-old to suffer one.

I did some research on strokes before I wrote this (because I wasn't certain I was going to have Tommy's affliction even be a stroke at first). One of the reasons I went for it was because strokes are more common in young adults than people think. Especially under stressful, unhealthy lifestyles


while barefoot and in pajamas. Nothing suspicious here! ;) I enjoyed how the battle was written, too. Well paced. I always hate writing battle scenes (for Pokémon-based stories or otherwise), so I respect people who can pull them off well.

I'd never actually written a pokemon battle before this story, so I'm pleasantly surprised at how not terrible I am at them. I was REALLY hesitant to have too many of them for most of the story, but I've been going to town over the last few chapters. :)


I like the lighthearted, if guilt-tinged, interactions, but they can also be problematic for reasons previously stated. Maybe Sam catching Tommy in a moment of weakness (examples could be snapping when he’s annoyed enough or just venting his frustration when he doesn’t think Sam’s looking) and that might make him seem more rounded? Yes, we see how the situation affects him by his college grades and forlorn looks while he’s giving Sam the tour of the campus, but always shrugging it off positively until he can’t anymore just doesn’t seem realistic to me.

People have mentioned this enough to the point where, sure, I guess I'm in the wrong with it, but still...I regret nothing. This is all told from Sam's perspective and memories, and it doesn't seem that realistic to me that he'd be thinking about the bad times or any of Tommy's faults. If your mom/dad/grandparent/sibling just died or was in a coma, you probably wouldn't be thinking "Boy, remember that time that he was a real jerk to me?". If the narration was not as attached to Sam as it is, sure; there could be scenes with Tommy making more mistakes in life, but it seems unnatural, driven by guilt as Sam is, that he'd be recalling Tommy in a less flattering light. But, like I said, that's apparently just me, and I'm keeping it well in mind going onward.


Yeah, that’s all I have at the moment. Chapters 9 and beyond will be coming soon (probably). So far, I like how fleshed out the characters are, but I’m not sure on certain points, such as why Sam felt the need to ask Rowan to let him search for the legends beyond having someone else reassure him he’s not crazy for trying (which, I’ll admit, seems like a good reason for wanting to ask Rowan for help, it just could be better).

Now that I think about it, teenage self-centeredness probably would be enough to keep Sam from noticing a lot of his brother’s struggling (along with Tommy’s tendency to try to hide this from his brother). I was referring more to his not realizing that Tommy was being overwhelmed at all by the situation rather than him going out of his way to provide for the pair. As for FullMetal Alchemist, I liked it/them (there are two anime series, one that follows the manga more closely than the first) for the most part.

9 – 15 will be reviewed soon.

I corrected the errors you noticed, and thanks for the compliments along the way. :) Yeah, everyone seems to be digging Barry; He's been MIA for a few chapters now, and I feel like all my readers are going to jump ship if I don't bring him back ASAP. ;)

The reason Sam went to Rowan was not to get permission so much, it was to see how much Rowan would assist him. Sam fully imagined that Rowan would just drop everything and leave his lab to help him find the guardians; obviously that wasn't the case, so Sam just took what he could get from there.

I can see Sam probably having had to notice more. I'll keep that in mind for the future. Thanks!




Finally found the time to read this! Sorry it's rather late, I'm unfortunately busy with school in a few days....
And now we're at the climax. I just felt a chill. I'm not too good with words that ahven't been used, but keep it up!
In regards to your PM, I personally rather like Brothers' Bond. Also, Boots of Human Flesh sounds like an old 80's horror movie.


This bit confused me though.

Thanks!

and the bit that confused you is, I think, Carlos' broken "English". He's foreign, and not great at Sam's (and the Northern Hemisphere's) native tongue. He has a lot of problems with verbs mostly. :)




Chapter 8

Hm.....not much to say. Not much of anything happened this chapter. Though we do find out a bit more about Tommy and Sam's past and we also learn about the shady group's actions back at Lake Verity. I wish I could say more but not much of anything happened significantly. I once again enjoyed Tommy and Sam's interactions and how you showed off how unselfish Tommy is. Dialogue flowed nicely and I'm getting the feeling of Cresselia or Darkrai appearing for some reason.

Probably because that was in Canalave and on a boat. But no, no Darkrai or Cresselia...YET (and wow, Sinnoh has a LOT of legendary pokemon).




Pfft, the Combine conquered the entire planet in seven hours. You can do better Kanto.
Sorry, I couldn’t resist making a HL2 reference.

I have no idea what HL2 is. :)


A huge info dumping paragraph sort of, but I enjoyed it. It provided a great insight into the structure of the world in your story, and why it is that way.

Yeah, it seemed like that section was not nearly the hit I was hoping for. No one seems to have enjoyed it very much on the whole (yea, others, like you, enjoyed the details, but not the section as a whole). Ah well, lessons for next time. :)


Maybe he’s good at hiding his true motives like any politician or person in power does.

I just don't think, as yet, that Mr. Alonzo is a very cut-and-dried individual.


His reasoning is sound, actually. Is it poaching? Is it truly acceptable? Is Pokemon Training basically hunting? Is Mr. Alonzo truly a villain?

He doesn't think he is. :)


Oh no. I’ve scene this exact scenario many times, I’ve even considered using it in my own story. Using the Legendaries to solve humanity’s problems, stopping disasters, twisting around the very fabric of time to erase our mistakes, it will only lead to the destruction of the world.
When you mess with the time stream entire futures collapse, pasts are corrupted beyond repair, and the present is plunged into unending darkness. Mr. Alonzo, you think the Legendaries will solve our problems? You are wrong.

Yeah, I didn't think the idea was brand new when I came up with it, so it's my chore to make it a worthwhile read even if it's not exactly an unheard of concept. Hopefully I do a good enough job.


Anyways, wow, this might be the one that effects the plot the most. Sam’s trust is Barry and the Professor is going to be pushed to the extremes, if not broken completely.
Mr. Alonzo seems to have good intentions, but as we all know, they pave the road to hell.

I'm glad that chapter had the desired effect. :)


It makes sense, actually. That Team Galactic could be classified as a church of some sort. Cyrus had a doctrine that claimed that he could reshape this imperfect world, and people believed him.

Obviously my story doesn't take place in the game canon world (see: the WPL, the lack of gym leaders, etc). It struck me that I should go a route with Team Galactic's history that is a bit more realistic and less goofy and nefarious. I hope it works.


While it isn’t an entirely unexpected turn of events, it’s still kind of shocking to hear Sam siding with Alonzo mere minutes after he was convinced he was a villain.

Desperation makes for strange bedfellows.


And so, Professor Rowen becomes target one on Sam’s hit list. A great chapter, and a really great battle. It might have been that Barry wasn’t trying to win against Sam, but I found Sam’s victory kind of … I don’t know … empty.

Yeah, Barry really had the fight in the bag until he sacrificed Monferno to help poor Chispa. And he was trying to calm Sam down and subdue him while Sam was [mostly] trying to inflict pain to Barry. If the fight had been on an even kiel, it would have gone differently. It maybe it will...


Ah, the lovely side effects of public transportation. You’re not the only author I’ve seen criticize Sinnoh’s Department of Transportation. However, this story portrays it in a better light and not openly cursing its existence.

I am LEGITIMATELY DEPRESSED that this is not the first fanfic you read that details Sinnoh's transportation (I don't necessarily see the bus Sam was on as PUBLIC transportation, but more of a private company like Greyhound. But I see what you mean).


Yes, Sam. Attacking the elderly is not right. And I know you’ve already been briefed on this, but Snowpoint has no “e” at the end.

I REALLY thought it did for a while. D'oh.


I assume this is supposed to be the part in the story where the hero betrays the “good” side for the “bad”, but I’m not sure which side is which. Or if there is a clear cut “good and bad”.

I think that in the "real world", good and bad are both very subjective concepts.


That’s a pretty detailed memory Sam has, considering he only ever saw those pictures twice.

Yes....that. Heh. I was trying not to spoil anything, but given how close the narration is to Sam, I probably should have (and heaven knows I've had trouble in other areas where I've wanted to keep things a secret from the reader by the narration has made it hard), I probably should have noted that Sam realized as soon as he saw the photos he realized what they might mean.[/quote]


I wonder if we’ll see anymore of Barry? I’m sure we will, but there’s always the chance.

Short answer: Yes. He'll be back.


Again with the things that makes this unique, cell phone rates between regions. I mean, I have never seen another story even mention that.

I went to Grand Cayman back in June and came across how terrified we were to use our cell phones, so this was still fresh in my mind. :)

Also, as unpleasant as it is, racism/jingoism/prejudices are just SO prevalent in the world. I couldn't justify introducing all of these characters across continents and not have this kind of stuff come up. The world just can't be that idyllic.


It wouldn’t be the first time someone threatened to blow up Celestic Town.

Wow, I completely forgot that! But yep. Good point.


I’ve never seen Cynthia’s grandmother as a professor, but it really makes sense.
Another thing about this story that I love, everything makes sense sooner or later.

The bit about Cynthia's grandmother being a former professor (and named Carolina) is from Bulbapedia. I didn't know it, either!


You know Carlos, him and dynamite, you can’t keep the two away from each other.

What can I say? He has a shtick.

And I'm glad you dug the scene with the trio. That was hard to write because I knew how important it had to be. Sometimes, I re-read it, and I worry about Sam being too melodramatic, but what he said had reason behind it (first pleading to Mesprit's emotions and then to Azelf's willpower). I'm happy with the scene. Happy-ish. I can promise that Sam is done crying for a while (he'd done it a lot lately). He's getting harder and more of an edge...

LadyLady
28th August 2012, 7:48 PM
Chapter 3: Present Day

Sam sat in the lobby of Professor Rowan’s laboratory thumbing through the magazine selection on the small desk next to his seat. Newsweek, Linoone Fancy, National Geographic, World Pokemon League Illustrated, and Ponyta Dressage Today; nothing that really seemed to catch his eye. Sam thought this odd because he usually enjoyed Newsweek, at least, but his heart just didn’t seem to be in a place for reading about other peoples’ problems. He felt a shiver in the base of his neck that he was unsure if he could attribute to his nerves or the air-conditioning. Just as he had always heard, Sandgem had beautiful weather outside, but it could get to be stifling indoors where the breeze from Sandgem Bay could not penetrate. Air conditioning in this seaside beach town was much less of a convenient luxury like it would be at home in Goldenrod and much more of a life necessity. Every few minutes, he’d catch the fact that the foot crossing over his opposite leg was swaying rapidly. He’d stop it, but as soon as his mind wandered off, the appendage began gleefully oscillating again. After several tries of stopping it only to find it swaying again on its own soon after, he placed his right hand on it in an attempt to hold it in place. He nodded as if to motion that this would teach his errant foot for its impudence, and he went back to rooting through the magazines for something to catch his eye. He passed a men’s fashion periodical and again cursed himself for nixing the full suit.


Ok, so being truthfully honest the opening didn't really get my attention, however the description is brilliant and I loved the little sentence about the air conditioning, it was a nice little touch, you didn't need to have it in the air but it flowed nicely with the rest of the scene.



Bree was oblivious to all of this, as she had fluttered her way into a corner of the room and was pecking around an overgrown houseplant whose vines were snaking between Rowan’s window blinds. Time and again, she’d dig her head into the heart of the plant only to snap it back out in alarm when its leaves tickled her wings.

This was my favourite paragraph, you're capturing Bree's personality beautifully. She seems repetitive, like no matter what the consequence shell do it again, awaiting a different outcome. I also enjoyed the fact you referred to 'Rowans blinds' another nice touch. Your vocabulary is a nice wide rang too.


Vlam watched this with what appeared to be great disinterest, curled around Sam’s inactive foot. She had always seemed slightly annoyed by Bree’s impetuousness, and Sam imagined that her thoughts must have been something along the lines of ‘How has this thing not outgrown this yet?’.

I like how Vlam has a kinda stuck up personality, as it goes with her image well, but if being honest that was expected. Although, I don't like the fact you're telling Vlams feelings through Sam. Maybe show it more clearly through Vlams actions and expressions, like maybe have her shake her head as she stared at Sam, helplessly, unable to escape the immaturity. Just a thought.



“I need them, professor. I need the legends.” He turned away from the map and stared down Rowan unflinchingly. “Azelf, Mesprit, and Uxie. I’ve come for them, and I won’t leave Sinnoh without them.”

The ending gave a few mixed emotions to me, it kinda annoyed me how it took so long in the chapter to get to this point, although in fairness I did enjoy your description that lead up to Sam and Rowans meeting. What I wanna know though is why Sam has such determination for the legends, he literally needs them. Overall I thought it was an interesting chapter, could of moved faster, but at the same time I liked the build up, I hope I'm not being too picky aha, well done though! :D

energo
29th August 2012, 10:15 PM
From the prologue I got a strong impression that this story was going to be heartfelt. The relationship between the brothers is blatantly evident at the start; from the way Sammy looks up to Tommy, to his dependence on his brother to make their way out of the forest. As well as that you’ve also set up a conflict of interest in Tommy’s first capture based on social and family pressure, something that goes completely ignored in most initial captures. I also think that in having Vlam burn itself, it shows Tommy isn’t completely adept yet at training and emphasises his age and role as both a mentor to Sammy yet still a learner. Methinks I’m going to read this all today.

In the first chapter I got from the very first use of his name that a lot had happened. Clever use of shortening his name down to ‘Sam’ as it removes the childish and inexperienced traits we knew him to have in the prologue. Upon mentioning the Dusk and Net balls I assumed who the Pokemon were but the confirmation at the end raised further questions and intrigue into what happened to the brother - excellent writing device, rather than immediately explaining it through Sam’s feelings and inner thoughts. I am particularly envious of your descriptions as you’ve certainly brought the city to life with little nods to customs, traffic, school etc. I would have liked to know what the nightmare was about but am willing to wait for that information as it builds up the mystery.

And there was me thinking that something had happened to Tommy. Altogether a very heartbreaking chapter and we have yet to see the resulting emotions of their father’s death. Despite the sadness, you still manage to drop in a little comedy in the form of the gaming system lie which helps to keep balance and prevent it from becoming overly serious at all times. Don’t really have anything negative to say on this one – perhaps perfectly executed. Reading other people’s comments on the lack of the father’s appearance, I thought that the relationship between him and Sammy was quite distant, as if he spent a lot of time away from the brothers. Forgive me if I read it wrong but that was the impression I got, although I realise it isn’t explicitly mentioned. However, the reason I believe it to still be so gut-wrenching is because now we know it is just Tommy and Sammy. I guess if there was more inclusion of the father, it would emphasise the lack of him thereafter though. Sorry I’m playing both sides.

To describe Vlam and Bree as sisters is quite an unusual tactic, one I wouldn’t have thought of at least. Definitely a great way to describe their relationship since their initial encounter in the prologue and perhaps paralleling that of Sammy and Tommy. I found the most engaging bit to be their interaction with the plant, described as if watching a wildlife show but with tame creatures. You treat them as characters rather than props which makes them realistic and with personality, which is why I disagree with another reader that they have to look different in some way. It is their character which sets them apart in my opinion.


Tommy grinned. “Well I’m related to you, stinky.

Tommy laughed and shook his head in disbelief. “Sam, you are cheaper and easier to feed for a year than most pokemon.
I’m sure you’re aware but speech would start on a new line.
Why do you do this to me?! You give us the fire stone with one hand and despite their dad’s death all is good in the world and then you take with the other hand and it all comes crashing down. Incredible writing device right there. I don’t know if it’s to come later but it might be interesting to witness Vlam’s reaction to Sammy handing the stone over to Tommy and Tommy talking about Zeek initially. I realise I’m way behind so it might not be of use to you.

For your sake I might read through to the end without commenting and start from the latest chapter haha. They’re pretty much annoyingly perfect anyway.

Also I must be on the PM list. It is essential to my continuing existence on this planet :P

SilentMemento
30th August 2012, 2:03 AM
Okay. I've read pretty much the entire story, and it was amazing, by the way. I promised that I'd review this fic earlier on, so I hope that this one is long and detailed enough to help you out:

Prologue

First off, I want to get this out of the way...


“All right, fine. I’m going back home and telling dad you went all catatonic. No friend for you.”

That is some very, very frightening foreshadowing, especially given what we learn later on. If this was intentional (which I'm thinking it almost certainly was), you did this incredibly well, and it's a perfect example of how a writer can tell everyone about a huge twist without really telling them anything at all. Major kudos to you.

Sammy's thoughts on that other kid, Miah, are a very cool addition to this story as well as his thoughts on the so-called "bug-catcher" designation. It's good to see a main character (when they're a kid) in a trainer fic being portrayed as advertised.

Tommy seems pretty impulsive. Wanting to battle Sammy right after he caught the Pokemon and using his Vulpix against it? I find it humorous and ironic that Sammy technically beat Tommy in this fight (even though he tried to gloss it over). Teenagers...XD

Chapter One

Hmm...there are two things that one could take from the sudden switch to "Sam". Either he's fully matured past his childhood...or he subconsciously wants to bury his past. Now that I've read the entirety of this story, I'm definitely thinking that it's the latter.

I loved Sam's reaction to the receptionist being so disinterested in his friends. I can't blame her, though. She probably listens to many different trainers, and a lot of them aren't nearly as nice as Sam was. Customer service can be draining, and it's nice of you to portray that.

Hmm...I'm curious about Vlam's motives. Maybe she decided to go with Sam in order to help her original trainer?

Chapter Two

Another short chapter...but very powerful. You did a great job by saying more with less. Officer Trufant seems like a chill guy as well. Pity that Sammy did see him under better circumstances. I shouldn't say this, but I'm glad that neither of them got to see their father before he died. If I were in their position, I'd rather remember him as he was rather than a shell of himself.

Sammy's emotions were surprisingly realistic for this chapter. You've done a good job portraying him as a kid.

Chapter Three

Bree's attention span is like that of a kitten's or a puppy's. It's rather cute, I must admit. And Vlam's interactions with Bree are cute as well.

So, Sam's father studied under Rowan as an assistant? It does make sense; the professors probably need a lot of interns to help them out. It also gives the medical background a story of its own, which is nice. It gives the reader something to think about.

So Vlam trusts Rowan? Hmm...maybe Sam should listen to her instincts since they're usually right.

And now the plot is starting to take form. Sam wants Uxie, Mesprit, and Azelf...well, so do a lot of people. And not all of them have the motives that he has.

Chapter Four

Ha! Is that a reference to how pathetic and unpopular Flareon is in competitive battling (and how awesome and popular Espeon is?) If so, that was brilliant.

Hmm...I get that Tommy's supposed to be a very likeable character and all, but this portrayal is concerning me. No, not because of the misconception that Tommy is a perfect character. He's clearly not...because there's no way in hell that a guy working as an assistant manager in a department store would have the funds to adequately pay for the costs of a young teenager and - to my count - at least six Pokemon, as well as cover the bill for Sammy's Pokemon. Let's not forget that a daycare would likely charge a fair bit of money to take care of even a single Pokemon, so Tommy's likely footing the bill for that as well. Oh, and there's university, the house bills, traveling costs, etc. Even dropping university wouldn't help with those costs. And we can't trust Sammy's perspective in this; Tommy seems like the type of character who would rather gloss over his problems and bumps in the road (hinted in the prologue when he denied that Sammy had beaten him in his first battle), especially when talking to Sammy, whom he deeply cares about.

All of that makes me believe that Tommy either asked for too much money from the wrong people or that he took a high-paying job that wasn't exactly legal. Either way, Sam's going to be proven wrong about his brother, and it's not going to be pretty when it happens. Just my honest opinion.

Chapter Five

Heh. Sam just got himself into a huge political shitstorm. Some guy from Johto trying to take Sinnoh's legends, potentially by force? That's going to go over so well.

Interviews after a match? Another nice bit of realism. Pokemon battles are the biggest sport in the world, so it makes sense that it would play out as other sports would in today's era.

Migrane headache, involuntary movement, slurred speech...that's actually a very good depiction of the signs before a stroke. Sam's gone through so much tragedy in his young life...I truly feel for the guy. I'm not sure why he didn't at least ask if his brother was okay, though; it's a natural human reaction to ask someone if they're okay when they flinch in apparent pain. And given the fact that Tommy already had a migrane headache...it just shocks me that Sam wouldn't even ask if his brother felt alright.

Chapter Six

Okay...this is definitely scary. Sam showing signs of paranoia is not a good thing. When you have someone who thinks that everyone is out to get him (him thinking that his neighbors think he's crazy) and you give him the means to find out if it's true (Uxie says "hi")...well, that's a recipe for utter disaster right there.

In other news, Chispa is so cute. Enough said.

Barry's behavior in the beginning - and Rowan's - makes absolutely no sense. I'm sorry, but he just seems a bit OOC to me. He may be wacky, immature, overconfident, and more than a bit ADD, but he doesn't seem like the type to play pranks or insult someone's Pokemon. And there's no way Rowan would've let Barry on his staff if he was this immature. I don't care if he's the son of two people he respected; Rowan would've put his foot down long before that would've ever become a problem. It makes even less sense when Barry shows more of his personality in later chapters; he's almost a completely different person than the guy I'm seeing here.

The nightmare sequence was rather...frightening as well. Obviously Sam feels an enormous amount of guilt; he believes that the stress of taking care of him caused Tommy's stroke, hence the "you did this". Very, very well portrayed.

Chapter Seven

Hmm...why does this situation remind me of companies using illegal immigrants as cheap labor? I'm already beginning to dislike the Phoenix Corporation...


It’s huge, three-fingered palms swayed in the air in front of him, and its thick eyebrows formed a menacing V-pattern on its forehead.

Minor grammatical typo. You want "its".

Hmm...the battle scene was okay, but the pace seemed a bit fast. It's not a problem. It's more of an observation I had.

Okay, I'm going to continue this in another later review. I just want to say that I'm truly enjoying this story and where it's going. I love the realism, I love the personalities you've crafted, and I love how you're portraying your main character. I'd love to be added to the PM list, if you don't mind. Either way, I'll be keeping tabs.

Sincerely,

Mem.

energo
30th August 2012, 3:10 AM
I've read all the chapters now and been mulling over the last chapter and I'm sorry but the interactions with Cynthia irk me a bit. I'm not sure if these events take part way through Cyrus' campaign or after he's defeated but at this point Cynthia would be the Sinnoh League Champion, no? Despite coming from another region, Sam is at least competent in battling and would be aware of such facts even if she is from another continent's league? It's like a football fan knowing the top players / managers of another country's team. And yet he is quite ignorant to who she is. Furthermore, being a Champion, her Pokemon have proven themselves the strongest on the continent, the best of the best. And yet the offhanded way in which her Snorlax and Garchomp are batted aside at the entrance of the cave by a group of Pokemon owned by some workers of the Phoenix company, in favour for swiftly bringing in the moment with Sam and the trio, makes them seem not that powerful.

Also, if the Professor and Cynthia did want to protect the trio that badly, why would she play silly games with a trainer she could beat flat out? I appreciate you needed time for the workers to do their thing in the cave but it doesn't seem right that they'd waste that much time dealing with Sam. Up until this point I thought the story was pitch perfect. The fight with Barry was incredibly well done from a character perspective and motivations, even Sam joining the company made sense. I hope I'm not being too over critical.

Sid87
30th August 2012, 11:24 AM
Oh wow. Lots of stuff to reply to all of the sudden, so let me not leave you guys hanging. Thanks for all your thoughts, too! :)



I like how Vlam has a kinda stuck up personality, as it goes with her image well, but if being honest that was expected. Although, I don't like the fact you're telling Vlams feelings through Sam. Maybe show it more clearly through Vlams actions and expressions, like maybe have her shake her head as she stared at Sam, helplessly, unable to escape the immaturity. Just a thought.

I get what you're saying, and I'm usually more conscious (at least, I think I am) about "showing" over "telling", so I will work to keep this in mind.

Thanks for the rest of your review, too! I hope you did enjoy the read.





In the first chapter I got from the very first use of his name that a lot had happened. Clever use of shortening his name down to ‘Sam’ as it removes the childish and inexperienced traits we knew him to have in the prologue. Upon mentioning the Dusk and Net balls I assumed who the Pokemon were but the confirmation at the end raised further questions and intrigue into what happened to the brother - excellent writing device, rather than immediately explaining it through Sam’s feelings and inner thoughts. I am particularly envious of your descriptions as you’ve certainly brought the city to life with little nods to customs, traffic, school etc. I would have liked to know what the nightmare was about but am willing to wait for that information as it builds up the mystery.

I tend to strive towards giving fictional world a realistic touch that makes them feel like "Yes, I believe that this could actually happen." I appreciate that you enjoyed that. :)


And there was me thinking that something had happened to Tommy. Altogether a very heartbreaking chapter and we have yet to see the resulting emotions of their father’s death. Despite the sadness, you still manage to drop in a little comedy in the form of the gaming system lie which helps to keep balance and prevent it from becoming overly serious at all times. Don’t really have anything negative to say on this one – perhaps perfectly executed. Reading other people’s comments on the lack of the father’s appearance, I thought that the relationship between him and Sammy was quite distant, as if he spent a lot of time away from the brothers. Forgive me if I read it wrong but that was the impression I got, although I realise it isn’t explicitly mentioned. However, the reason I believe it to still be so gut-wrenching is because now we know it is just Tommy and Sammy. I guess if there was more inclusion of the father, it would emphasise the lack of him thereafter though. Sorry I’m playing both sides.

To me, it was always that Tommy was Sam's primary male role model. It's not that Dad wasn't there or wasn't important, it's just that Tommy was always the person he most looked up to. But yeah, I wrote myself into a corner by stressing Dad's role so much in the prologue that, despite Tommy being more important, I really SHOULD have included him. Lessons for next time.


I’m sure you’re aware but speech would start on a new line.

Actually, not necessarily. You can start dialogue with the dialogue tag or description first. Dialogue USUALLY starts a new line, but it's not a rule.


Why do you do this to me?! You give us the fire stone with one hand and despite their dad’s death all is good in the world and then you take with the other hand and it all comes crashing down. Incredible writing device right there. I don’t know if it’s to come later but it might be interesting to witness Vlam’s reaction to Sammy handing the stone over to Tommy and Tommy talking about Zeek initially. I realise I’m way behind so it might not be of use to you.

No no, it's very useful. I store advice and criticism away in my head to remind myself what to do later. As for witnessing Vlam's reaction: I'm a stickler for consistent narration, so with the story so firmly attached to Sam, it might be hard to figure out a way to show Vlam's reaction (but, admittedly, not impossible).


For your sake I might read through to the end without commenting and start from the latest chapter haha. They’re pretty much annoyingly perfect anyway.

Also I must be on the PM list. It is essential to my continuing existence on this planet :P

Happy to add you, yes. :)



I've read all the chapters now and been mulling over the last chapter and I'm sorry but the interactions with Cynthia irk me a bit. I'm not sure if these events take part way through Cyrus' campaign or after he's defeated but at this point Cynthia would be the Sinnoh League Champion, no? Despite coming from another region, Sam is at least competent in battling and would be aware of such facts even if she is from another continent's league? It's like a football fan knowing the top players / managers of another country's team. And yet he is quite ignorant to who she is. Furthermore, being a Champion, her Pokemon have proven themselves the strongest on the continent, the best of the best. And yet the offhanded way in which her Snorlax and Garchomp are batted aside at the entrance of the cave by a group of Pokemon owned by some workers of the Phoenix company, in favour for swiftly bringing in the moment with Sam and the trio, makes them seem not that powerful.

Also, if the Professor and Cynthia did want to protect the trio that badly, why would she play silly games with a trainer she could beat flat out? I appreciate you needed time for the workers to do their thing in the cave but it doesn't seem right that they'd waste that much time dealing with Sam. Up until this point I thought the story was pitch perfect. The fight with Barry was incredibly well done from a character perspective and motivations, even Sam joining the company made sense. I hope I'm not being too over critical.

I'm going to temporarily skip Mem to address this since I was already just talking to you. :)

I may not have made this as clear as I had intended, but my version of the pokemon world is NOT canon at all. I have the WPL in lieu of gyms/Elite 4/Champion, etc because, dating back to another point I made to you, I strive for realism. Little kids running around a continent battling weird gym leaders does not smack to me of a realistic world. :) But a professional, organized sports league? Makes sense. And while the WPL is "world", it is also distinctly separate leagues. So Cynthia IS incredibly powerful and successful, but Sam wouldn't know more about her than I, a fervent NFL fan, would know about the Canadian Football League or the [now-defunct] European NFL.

Now, your point about her playing games with him. That's just an annoying truth of the pokemon world. Sam's not the kind of guy to use his pokemon against humans (GENERALLY, though his morals are fluid right now...), but with Vlam and Bree (and, I guess, poor Chispa), if he wanted to keep them out of the cave, he could have. So Cynthia has to fight him to get past him. Where I DO agree with you is that her starting with Mouri is a weaker decision because Mouri is a stall-wall, and if she was in a hurry, it doesn't make sense to use him. BUT I really wanted to write a Spiritomb. So don't tell anybody else. (I did realize halfway through that scene that if she was in a hurry, she'd have just thrown Garchomp out). I also don't imagine Garchomp and Snorlax being BEATEN at the entrance to the cave; just that there were about half a dozen guys in the cave, each with their own pokemon. So if they had 2 each on average, that's 12 against 2. Even then, I really only see the crew's pokemon doing enough to push Perang and Kelaparan out of the way; not outright beat them. Maybe I wasn't clear enough there, though.

Thanks for the critique and the thoughts! They were insightful, and I will put them to heart!





Okay. I've read pretty much the entire story, and it was amazing, by the way. I promised that I'd review this fic earlier on, so I hope that this one is long and detailed enough to help you out:

I'm certainly glad you enjoyed it, and thank you so much for giving it a read!


That is some very, very frightening foreshadowing, especially given what we learn later on. If this was intentional (which I'm thinking it almost certainly was), you did this incredibly well, and it's a perfect example of how a writer can tell everyone about a huge twist without really telling them anything at all. Major kudos to you.

I don't honestly remember if it was intentional or not. It may have been. But I've changed the story SO MUCH as I've gone that I'm not even sure the plan as of the prologue was for Tommy to be in his stroke-induced coma. But heck, let's say it WAS intentional and be really happy with me. :)


Sammy's thoughts on that other kid, Miah, are a very cool addition to this story as well as his thoughts on the so-called "bug-catcher" designation. It's good to see a main character (when they're a kid) in a trainer fic being portrayed as advertised.

I sometimes I feel bad that I dedicated as much time to Sam thinking about Miah as I have considering Miah does not appear in the story (YET!). I have gone through periods where I think he should, but I always then think that would be way too convenient and contrived. But I admit, I like the Miah thoughts, too.


Tommy seems pretty impulsive. Wanting to battle Sammy right after he caught the Pokemon and using his Vulpix against it? I find it humorous and ironic that Sammy technically beat Tommy in this fight (even though he tried to gloss it over). Teenagers...XD

Impulsiveness is a common family trait for them. :)


Bree's attention span is like that of a kitten's or a puppy's. It's rather cute, I must admit. And Vlam's interactions with Bree are cute as well.

I'll be honest, I LOVE writing Bree and Vlam (and later, Chispa). They're such disparate personalities that I like to try to bring across without actually giving them speaking roles (I have always seen pokemon in my head as extremely durable, powerful pets, and one of my favorite things about reading the fanfictions these past few months are the wonderful multitudes of representations of their intelligence and personalities).


Ha! Is that a reference to how pathetic and unpopular Flareon is in competitive battling (and how awesome and popular Espeon is?) If so, that was brilliant.

That's a good point, but I'm not as hip on the competitive battling scene as I'd like to be. Poor, useless Flareon.


Hmm...I get that Tommy's supposed to be a very likeable character and all, but this portrayal is concerning me. No, not because of the misconception that Tommy is a perfect character. He's clearly not...because there's no way in hell that a guy working as an assistant manager in a department store would have the funds to adequately pay for the costs of a young teenager and - to my count - at least six Pokemon, as well as cover the bill for Sammy's Pokemon. Let's not forget that a daycare would likely charge a fair bit of money to take care of even a single Pokemon, so Tommy's likely footing the bill for that as well. Oh, and there's university, the house bills, traveling costs, etc. Even dropping university wouldn't help with those costs. And we can't trust Sammy's perspective in this; Tommy seems like the type of character who would rather gloss over his problems and bumps in the road (hinted in the prologue when he denied that Sammy had beaten him in his first battle), especially when talking to Sammy, whom he deeply cares about.

I'm very glad you brought this up because it's CLEARLY an aspect that I knew in my head, but never got around to writing out. So I will take the time to explain it NOW in lieu of editing it into the story and saying "Uhhh...you missed it! Go back and re-read it!" :)

Sam and Tommy's dad was a well-paid physician, and he had all the life insurance and 401K and what not that a typical medical job would have. When he died, the boys inherited enough money to help them get by for quite a while. Now, I'm not saying they're Bruce Wayne; they clearly aren't (but OH MAN. This story would be a LOT BETTER if they were!), but the house was fully paid for and they had money to cover the taxes and bills. They also have a lot of family friends (their dad's co-workers and what not) that have assisted them over the years. Now, despite this, Tommy knows the money isn't infinite, AND he knows he has to put on a good show for Sam and be a role model, which is why he works so hard (especially in regards to accruing more jobs as they age because the money is becoming more and more finite). Tommy, of course, gets himself into trouble because he doesn't want to rely on help from family friends or the inheritance as he gets older (he wants as much of the inheritance as possible to be saved up in case they need it later in life), so he overdoes it. But that's all shown later on.

What, you mean I didn't include all that earlier? ;) I actually thought I did, but it dawned on me pretty quickly that I obviously did not. Sigh.


Interviews after a match? Another nice bit of realism. Pokemon battles are the biggest sport in the world, so it makes sense that it would play out as other sports would in today's era.

I thought so. :)


Migrane headache, involuntary movement, slurred speech...that's actually a very good depiction of the signs before a stroke. Sam's gone through so much tragedy in his young life...I truly feel for the guy. I'm not sure why he didn't at least ask if his brother was okay, though; it's a natural human reaction to ask someone if they're okay when they flinch in apparent pain. And given the fact that Tommy already had a migrane headache...it just shocks me that Sam wouldn't even ask if his brother felt alright.

Thanks, I did try to do a bit of research on strokes (to make sure Tommy was age-appropriate or if I needed to go another route), so I am glad I was able to present them well. And yeah, Sam was always a little more self-centered than he would like to admit (his not realizing Tommy was working so hard he failed college). There's more than a little guilt driving Sam's present-day motives (as his nightmares might tell you).


In other news, Chispa is so cute. Enough said.

I know, right?


Barry's behavior in the beginning - and Rowan's - makes absolutely no sense. I'm sorry, but he just seems a bit OOC to me. He may be wacky, immature, overconfident, and more than a bit ADD, but he doesn't seem like the type to play pranks or insult someone's Pokemon. And there's no way Rowan would've let Barry on his staff if he was this immature. I don't care if he's the son of two people he respected; Rowan would've put his foot down long before that would've ever become a problem. It makes even less sense when Barry shows more of his personality in later chapters; he's almost a completely different person than the guy I'm seeing here.

I may just be copping out here, but I see Barry as multi-faceted. He's impulsive and silly and out-there, but he's not an idiot, and he knows to show up when things are important. But left to his own devices, he'd rather just be spontaneous and have fun. Not to mention, he was originally not enamored of Sam or the idea that someone was after the lake legends (due to his backstory, people with such goals aren't his favorite kinds of people, but he saw Sam as less threatening and less likely to achieve his goals than he ends up seeing Mr. Alonzo), so he was more than willing to screw around with Sam upon their initial meeting. Also, in regards to Rowan...well, there's a LOT of guilt there considering he feels responsible for Barry's being an orphan. And he also knows Barry is straight-laced enough to take the right things seriously when he has to.


The nightmare sequence was rather...frightening as well. Obviously Sam feels an enormous amount of guilt; he believes that the stress of taking care of him caused Tommy's stroke, hence the "you did this". Very, very well portrayed.

It probably says something about me that SO MANY of my characters are driven by guilt. Heh.


Hmm...the battle scene was okay, but the pace seemed a bit fast. It's not a problem. It's more of an observation I had.

No, you're totally right. Aside from the Bree/Vlam pseudo-fight in the prologue, this was the first pokemon battle I ever wrote, so I wasn't great at it. I like to think my subsequent battles have gotten better, but yeah...this one was totally short and unfulfilling.



Okay, I'm going to continue this in another later review. I just want to say that I'm truly enjoying this story and where it's going. I love the realism, I love the personalities you've crafted, and I love how you're portraying your main character. I'd love to be added to the PM list, if you don't mind. Either way, I'll be keeping tabs.

Sincerely,

Mem.

Happy to add you, and I'm glad you have enjoyed it thus far. :)

Da_bomb.com
1st September 2012, 9:55 PM
I Think this is a great fanfic. I can't seem to find grammar errors that other people haven't found though. I'm not that good at reviewing, so I will spare myself the torture. Can you add me to PM list?

Chibi Pika
3rd September 2012, 10:37 PM
Okay, I’m back! I swear I at some point had quoted and commented on some parts of the first couple of chapters I had missed, but I lost them during the huge time delay, and figured that instead of procrastinating on coming up with comments for chapters I read weeks ago but never got time to comment on, I just decided to jump in commenting halfway through chapter 11.

“Their actions cost me quite a substantial amount in equipment, to say nothing of the lost hours of labor or transportation costs. But sometimes that is just the price of business.” Mr. Alonzo leaned back into the couch. Sam nodded, but could think of nothing else to add. Mr. Alonzo switched gears. “You both have no doubt figured out that I’ve come here for the legends of Sinnoh, right?”
Whoa! That was...direct. I definitely wasn't expecting that, so good on you there. I mean, we'd known all along that Sam and Barry were suspicious of a hidden agenda along those lines, but having it confirmed outright by this guy is another things entirely, and I can see this having the potential to thicken the plot considerably.

"People talk about legendary pokemon, and we're talking about abilities that range from controlling the weather to manipulating time and space and everything in between. Think about how that could benefit humanity, gentlemen. We could stop storms and natural disasters in their tracks before lives and property are lost. We could erase our greatest mistakes from history; no more Century War and the hate it spread between our regions." Mr. Alonzo opened his arms wide in front of him as if to emphasize the scope of his ideas. "We could have perfect knowledge and understanding of the world around us. I've not come here to capture Sinnoh's legends or put them on display. I've come here to find them and get them to use their powers to benefit mankind. All of us. "
Ah ha HAH. Now THERE is something interesting. This is one of my favorite story themes surrounding the Legendaries, and seeing it here is awesome. Also, mega kudos, because I'm honestly surprised by the lack of this theme in many other fics.

"And those abilities are safer unmonitored in the wild?"
:3 Mr. Alonzo, I do believe you are channeling the ideology of my fic 20 chapters from now.

Oh man. Well, while you already knew it was a given that your characters had me engrossed in this story, you've gone and thrown in my favorite Legendary themes, so now I'm like...doubly hooked. Onward to the next chapter~!

“And I told you,” Barry finally replied, his voice throatier than Sam had heard it before, “that they don’t belong to humanity.”
Oh man, seeing the more adamant side of Barry now is really awesome.

Barry’s left eye twitched, and he suddenly lost the ability to response to what Mr. Alonzo had said. Sam thought he heard a grunt coming from Barry’s clenched mouth.
*Respond


Wait, what? That didn’t make any sense to Sam; why wasn’t Barry shooting down the rumors about this Cyrus church thing? Why had his argument regressed to being about who the legends do or do not belong to? This guy had just accused Barry and the professor of some massive conspiracy, and Barry was letting it go. Barry and Mr. Alonzo were still debating just feet from Sam, but his ears weren’t processing the sound of their words. There was no reason for Barry to ignore the more important accusation there. Unless...
I really liked Sam's thought process here as we worked out everything that was going on. It felt very natural, wheras a lot of authors might have just had the character figure things out immediately without showing how they came to that conclusion.

The Shinx lifted her head out of a snow pile she had built and rubbed the excess flakes off of her nose with a paw. She yipped in apparent delight at Sam’s decision to use her and charged through the snow towards her target with her tail shooting off tiny bursts of electricity. As she closed in on Barry’s water-type, she flipped sideways and smacked her tail into Empoleon’s leg; it let out a noise that seemed more annoyed than pained. Chispa darted to the space between Emploeon and Vlam and spread its feet wide as it yelped repeatedly at the large penguin, warning it away from her friend.
Awww. That...that's adorable. And kind of sad because she clearly doesn't stand a chance against them. :(


Two aspects of the situation jumped out to him so abruptly, he wanted to smack his head for not seeing them before. Torterra had Bree grounded and pinned, but in doing so, its head was perilously close to Bree's. And while Empoleon may have been water-based, but its body had that metallic shimmer to it now; it had evolved into a steel coating. In most situations, that would be beneficial and protective, but against Vlam, it was a huge chink in the literal armor.
It's awesome and refreshing to see a fic take the creative angle in Pokémon battles.

*Finishes chapter and lets out a low whistle.* Daaannng. Not many fics have the strength to throw such a powerful curveball that splits the main characters like that. All of the characters' reactions were very natural and believable, too.


“Coach T. said he spoke with Professor Nelson about my being excused from class so I can train for my qualifying match tomorrow.”

Tommy nodded. “Well, coming to my work and pestering me is pretty strenuous training. I’m certain you have this one all wrapped up.”

“Man can not survive on pokemon training alone.”

“That’s cute. Did you learn that in class?”
Damn it. Stop being so good at writing lovable banter between characters!

...Okay, I'm getting further in this conversation and HOLY CRAP HOW DO YOU WRITE DIALGOUE SO WELL. I mean, I consider dialogue one of my strong points, but damn I cannot fathom how you get every single line to be so natural, endearing, illuminating and quotable!

And I just love how many parts of this fic have gone and addressed the real-world consequences of issues like using the power of the Legendaries.

The conversation between Sam and Alonzo at the stadium had a nice atmosphere of tension about it, which worked well when paired with the Pokémon battle going on in the background, which provided a nice backdrop.

And as silly as it feels, I have to cut this review short. And only one chapter away from being fully caught up, too. ><; I really want to get if posted though, since I hadn't reviewed in such a long time. I don't think I need to tell you that I'll be back soon, though. ;P

~Chibi~;249;;448;

The Oncoming Storm
4th September 2012, 8:32 AM
Well that was a blast to read! I just want to say that you have created one of the best non-canon pokemon worlds ever. I would give a review but I am very limited due to having to use a 3ds, so I'll just say thanks for writing this.

PS. PM list please?

Sid87
6th September 2012, 8:11 PM
Okay, I’m back! I swear I at some point had quoted and commented on some parts of the first couple of chapters I had missed, but I lost them during the huge time delay, and figured that instead of procrastinating on coming up with comments for chapters I read weeks ago but never got time to comment on, I just decided to jump in commenting halfway through chapter 11.

Happy to have you back! :)


Ah ha HAH. Now THERE is something interesting. This is one of my favorite story themes surrounding the Legendaries, and seeing it here is awesome. Also, mega kudos, because I'm honestly surprised by the lack of this theme in many other fics.

:3 Mr. Alonzo, I do believe you are channeling the ideology of my fic 20 chapters from now.

Uh oh! It seems pretty obvious, though, right? And who's to say it is the wrong idea?


I really liked Sam's thought process here as we worked out everything that was going on. It felt very natural, wheras a lot of authors might have just had the character figure things out immediately without showing how they came to that conclusion.

My biggest regret so far is that I didn't just do this story as first person to show more DIRECTLY Sam's thought processes more often, but oh well. I enjoy getting to do it when I can. :)


Awww. That...that's adorable. And kind of sad because she clearly doesn't stand a chance against them. :(

It's awesome and refreshing to see a fic take the creative angle in Pokémon battles.

I love everything Chispa does. And thanks!


...Okay, I'm getting further in this conversation and HOLY CRAP HOW DO YOU WRITE DIALGOUE SO WELL. I mean, I consider dialogue one of my strong points, but damn I cannot fathom how you get every single line to be so natural, endearing, illuminating and quotable!
~Chibi~;249;;448;

I try really hard to write witty, believable dialogue. So thanks for noticing and appreciating. :)




Chapter 16

Sam was determined to make the trip back to Canalave City as miserable as he could for Carlos. It was not even a small percentage of payback for what Carlos had cost him, but it was the only way Sam could stop himself from putting his own fist through the windshield in frustration.

“First of all, I have no idea why you went in there and decided to set off explosives. That had to be the dumbest damn idea I can imagine. You think you’ll find three skittish, hiding pokemon, and your genius solution is to try and blow up half the cave. You’re a god damn idiot. Then--then!--when you get out of the cave after we were actively trying to keep you inside so you could maybe not ruin everything ever, you charge ahead like raging Tauroses and scare them away a second time. And that time, for good. So yes, now they’re gone, and we have no idea what our next move is. Congratulations, Sideburns! You’re the worst person in history.”

Carlos snorted. “We thought they was attacking you.”

“Oh, you’re about five seconds away from seeing what an attack looks like so next time you’ll know.”

Carlos pumped hard on the breaks, jerking Sam forward into his seat. The seatbelt jammed into Sam’s sternum, pushing the air out of his lungs and bruising his chest. Sam realized that Carlos did it out of aggressive frustration--some kind of manly posturing to show Sam he couldn’t be spoken to that way--so Sam reached into his pocket as a threat.

“Do it. Come on, Sideburns. I’ll give you a hint, we already played this game, and--spoiler alert--you lost. But go ahead and threaten me. I could use a big, dumb idiot to bang my pokemon against for a few minutes. Let’s go.”

Carlos, who was breathing heavily and audibly, glared at Sam for a few seconds before simply clearing his throat and turning back to the wheel. Sam was quietly thankful; he was more angry than he could ever recall being before, but once Carlos’ crew realized their foreman was being attacked and came to back him up, Sam would really not have liked the way that confrontation ended. For the moment, though, he had successfully alpha male’d Carlos, and that would have to do.

“God, I can’t wait to tell Mr. Alonzo how this went down. I hand him the guardians’ location on a silver-freakin’-platter, and then it all goes to pot. Everything’s screwed up, and I--” Sam felt an air pocket in his throat and knew he needed to redirect his emotions before he showed weakness in front of Carlos. “Damn it!" He slammed a fist down onto his side of the dashboard so hard, it knocked their walkie talkie free. Not wanting to acknowledge his outburst, Sam scooped it off of the ground without a word and placed it back.

Sam turned to stare out the window at the feeble guardrail and the valley below. He would not be in Canalave for several hours at best, and the last thing he wanted was to be once again cooped up in that truck with Carlos. He had been so close; the trio had been right in front of him, and they seemed to be willing to help him out. Over a year of searching had brought a solution to his fingertips, and it was gone again to who-knows-where over the bumbling of some idiots with whom Sam had been stuck. Sam rubbed his eyes so hard that when he pulled his fingers away, black spots danced in front of him. The construction crew made Barry look like a baron of foresight and careful planning; when Sam got back to the Phoenix Shipping Corporation offices, he was going to insist on a new group of men to work with, or he was going back on his own. The choice might have been out of his hands anyway since he no longer had anything to offer Mr. Alonzo in exchange for their help (help of course being a term used extremely loosely in their case). Now that the guardians were on their own, Sam had no insight into where they could possibly be.

His mind flashed to the girl and her grandmother. Who were they? Cynthia’s Spiritomb was amazingly strong, and the strategies she used were nearly flawless. On top of that, she had wrecking balls like a Garchomp and a Snorlax? Crazy, he thought. Sam wondered if she was in the Sinnoh division of the WPL, and, if so, if that was how hard the championship tiers were. He knew Bree would be disappointed that she did not get to battle, even against a monstrosity like that Garchomp. She hated not getting to be involved, and the next time he released her, he knew she was going to be high-strung and still battle-ready. He felt the multitude of pokeballs bulging in his pocket and wondered if any of Barry’s pokemon would have fought for him should it have come to that. He suspected the high-energy, affectionate Monferno might have, but Empoleon and Torterra were bigger x-factors. It was probably for the best to keep them all contained for the moment. Eventually Sam knew he’d have to make his way to Twinleaf Town and drop the three of them off. At the moment, he could not bring himself to think of facing Barry, though.

Sam remembered the empathetic feel of Professor Carolina’s hand on his shoulder. It was not just the guardians that felt Sam’s anguish and came to trust him in his moment of pleading. The lady who had just moments before been so forceful and aggressive with Sam felt something, too. He took a look at Carlos, his face full of sideburns and a scour. Sam could not help but think he had made the wrong choice leaving Celestic with the crew with which he came. But no...he could not have stayed behind with Carolina and Cynthia; no matter whether they were sympathetic to him or not, they were firmly entrenched with Rowan’s belief that the legends were to be protected from humanity. They would never help him find them again. Mr. Alonzo was still the only real avenue Sam could pursue. He would have liked to have depended on the professor and her lovely granddaughter, but they would surely only seek to dissuade Sam from his purpose. Just like Rowan.

Sam’s head felt full, and the fog going back down the mountain hid the sun successfully enough that it felt much later to him than it was. His eyes rebelled against his attempts to keep them open, even as he considered how unwise it might be to doze off with Carlos around. The world of thinking about how close he’d been to getting the trio and whether going back with Carlos to Canalave was the right idea just seemed too arduous at the moment, though, and he let his eyes win.

When they opened again, the first thing Sam noticed was the large cranes. He thought he’d somehow slept all the way to Canalave and its piers, but he also knew he could not have been that tired. When he looked over to Carlos for a clue, he saw that traffic on the other side of the road was a string of dump trucks. A look out his passenger side window showed him a large, rocky hillside with what seemed to be a covered waterslide jutting out of it. The tube was propped up on the outside of the hillside by reinforced pillars and disappeared off in the distance behind the tree line. Sam’s sleep-adled brain finally recognized it as a coal pipeline. They must have been in the coal-mining town of Oreburgh. Sam surrendered himself to a yawn as he tried to regain his bearings after the uncomfortable truck nap that left him feeling worse than he did before.

“I thought you would sleep all day,” the man next to him said.

“It felt like I did,” Sam responded, his anger from earlier feeling less important while his mind continued trying to find its focus. “Oreburgh?”

“Yes.”

“So we’re close to the strait then,” Sam noted rhetorically. It was going to be a chore getting all of the Phoenix Corporation equipment back onto a cargo ship just to get across to Canalave, but it was hardly his concern; Carlos and his men would handle that. Sam briefly wondered if they resented him for that but discounted the thought. It was probably fine with them that he did not touch anymore of their stuff. They tended to end up in fissures or at the bottom of the sea when he did.

Sam’s eyes wandered back out his side window. They stared up past the nearby mills’ smokestacks that rose into the Oreburgh sky. He resented the steam and smoke they released as he looked to the clouds. The odds were slim that he would see the guardians here (and he knew even calling the odds “slim” gave them far too much credit), but he knew he had to look. They were somewhere, after all... why not right above his convoy? With no conversation to be had from Carlos, Sam lost track of how many minutes he’d watched the sky. Occasionally he’d catch sight of a Starly or some other bird and think it was one of the trio before realizing his folly. Sam sighed as he lost sight of the world above him because the truck entered the Oreburgh Gate Tunnel; how long would it be before he saw them again? Would he see them again? These were pokemon that only a handful of people had seen in the last several centuries, and Sam was hoping to find them twice in his life. He knew it was unlikely, but what other choice did he have? He’d given up too much to quit now. The hope that he’d find them was almost all he had left.

Sam’s phone rang when the truck was mere feet inside the tunnel; it was Rowan’s name on his display again. Sam thought it over--Rowan did not seem the sort to call just to mock him for failing to get the legends. Maybe Professor Carolina told Rowan about Sam’s encounter and what she witnessed; maybe Rowan knew now that Sam’s heart was in the right place. He decided to answer.

“Professor?”

“Sam? Sam, you answered. Thank goodness. Sam, we need to talk.”

“Is this about Celestic Town? Do you know what happened?”

“Celes-- --No, I-- --were even there--.”

“Professor? Can you hear me?” Sam began speaking more loudly into his phone. This caused Carlos to give him an annoyed look. “I’m in the Oreburgh Gate, and I’m losing you. Can you hear me?”

“Yes, I-- --you. Is something-- --hear me?”

“I’m in the Gate! Oreburgh Gate! I can barely hear you!”

“Well I’ll-- --then. I-- --voicemail and I need-- --Barry-- --home. He-- --and I-- --is. I don’t think-- --with it-- --Phoenix--”

“Professor Rowan, I have no idea what you’re saying. I--damn it.” Sam put a hand over the transmitter end of his cell phone. He was going to ask Carlos if they were almost through the tunnel, but then it occurred to him: Professor Rowan was not calling about how Sam had gained the trio’s trust at all. He was talking about Barry and the Phoenix Corporation. He was just calling to talk Sam out of this again. No faith. No trust. Just another lecture. “Are you still there, Professor?”

He heard Rowan still talking right through the question. Rowan must not have been able to hear Sam any longer, either. “--please, I-- --help and-- --care for-- --doesn’t deserve--” Finally, Sam’s phone emitted a beep, and he knew the call was lost entirely.

He growled as he pocketed his phone again. If the professor was not going to be helpful, why couldn’t he just leave Sam alone? Sam looked out ahead of the truck; the tunnel seemed to stretch for miles.

“You lost your call?”

Sam nodded, though he was initially shocked at Carlos’ words. He could not tell whether Carlos was mocking him or simply asking a question. He decided it was not worth challenging him. “Yeah. Didn’t matter, though. Whatever.”

The tunnel did eventually end, of course, but Sam never got the return call he was expecting. He briefly considered calling Rowan back, but he figured it was not worth the hassle to put himself in position for the likely scolding. Without any more calls, the ride continued in silence as they passed through the crowded streets of Jubilife City. Ever since he had arrived at Jubilife Airport weeks ago, he’d only felt more and more hopeful with every passing day. It had been a roller coaster climb of anticipation he had been on, and the pinnacle of it was Celestic Town. Unfortunately, when he reached the top of the track, he found that there was no station in sight where the roller coaster would end. There was only another rapid descent with his heart in his throat. Sam tried his best to ignore the city and continue looking upwards and around the skyscrapers for any sign of the legends.

When the route west through Jubilife City was halted by a broken down city transit bus, Sam began wondering what bus deity out there resided in Sinnoh, and why he hated Sam so much. Carlos sighed angrily and repeatedly sounded the horn from his truck. Angry foreign voices shouted through the walkie talkie, and Carlos responded to them in kind. For all Sam knew, they were exchanging pie recipes; everything in their native language sounded harsh and bitter. Getting a headache from their roaring voices, he opened the passenger side door.

“Where do you go?”

Sam waved his arm ahead of them to the stalled bus and the Jubilife police officers arriving on the scene. “Who knows how long we’re going to be stuck here, but I’m kind of over the whole sitting-in-a-truck thing. I’m just stretching, Sideburns; don’t worry. I shouldn’t be far.”

Sam distanced himself from the crowd on 8th Avenue that had gathered to gawk at the bus and the mayhem of traffic it was causing. He pulled his three pokeballs from his pocket; Vlam and Chispa should have been healed enough by being in their energy stasis, but Sam wanted to make sure. He could always buy them medicine now that he had time to kill. With three squeezes, his friends emerged to the street. Bree cut rapidly through the air in a zig-zag pattern; just as Sam expected, she still had plenty of energy to burn, despite having been in stasis, since she had been so psyched up to battle the Garchomp. Vlam’s legs and tails were stiff, and she sniffed the air with determination. Sam felt guilty that the last few times she’d been free from her ball were to battle, and now she was apparently beginning to expect it. He promised to himself to give them all more time free to relax. Chispa was, as usual, nonplussed by anything that had previously happened to her, and immediately began assailing a pebble she found on the sidewalk. She swatted it a few feet away and then wriggled her rear end and pounced onto it.

“Are you girls okay?”

Chispa’s attention was grabbed first; she immediately forgot about her enemy pebble and rushed to Sam’s legs, winding herself between them. Bree chirped a response in the air, though the sudden, darting movements of her antennae told Sam she still thought the Garchomp was around. Vlam let out a huff of air and did a circle on the sidewalk before lying down.

“It’s okay, Bree. You’re okay. No one is here. It’s just us, okay?”

Bree tilted her head and hummed abruptly. Apparently settled somewhat, she flittered towards Sam and settled on his shoulder. He coughed as a smattering of her spores invaded his sinuses. He flicked her wing gently to get her attention. “You’ve got to be careful with those things, little girl.” He wiped away water that was welling in his eyes as a reaction to her scales, and she rubbed her round head against his in a form of apology.

Chispa nipped at his ankle, probably upset at the lack of attention from him. He leaned down, careful not to shift his weight so much that Bree fell from his shoulder, and scratched the back of her neck. Doing so increased the pace at which she was intertwining his legs. Chispa and Bree seemed contented enough, but there was something off about Vlam. She lay inattentively on the sidewalk, moving only enough to look from left to right and let out a yawn.

“All right, what’s the matter with you?”

Vlam dodged Sam’s attempt at getting into her line of sight by turning away from him. He moved over to where she shifted her head, but the fox pokemon turned to face the other direction. She was clearly giving him the silent treatment. “Oh, whatever it is, I’m sorry,” Sam sighed. “Just let me know, okay?”

Vlam slowly pushed up to her feet and butted the crown of her head into Sam’s left pocket. He felt Barry’s pokeballs bobble there. “Is that what it is? You want to see Barry’s friends?” Vlam continued staring intently at him. Sam shrugged. “All right, fine.” He reached in his pocket with mild trepidation; he had no idea how Barry’s pokemon would react to him. Still, it was not as if he was gambling on their battling for him, so they should be safe to just let free for a bit. With a gentle squeeze to each red-and-white sphere, he released them.

Monferno emerged much like Bree had, with his head shooting from left-to-right and obviously wound up. He seemed disoriented at first, but upon noticing Sam, that faded. He leapt upwards, causing Sam to have to catch the fire-type in his arms to avoid a collision. Monferno grunted in a high voice and patted Sam’s face. Bree, seemingly perturbed by Monferno’s playfulness, flew off of her trainer’s shoulder. Barry’s Empoleon and Torterra were apparently less excited to be with Sam. They each stood stoically next to the other shooting Sam looks that he could only discern as unpleasant disdain.

“So... hi there.” Sam rubbed Monferno’s chin more for the benefit of Empoleon and Torterra than for Monferno. He wanted them to see that he was not an enemy. “Sorry that you haven’t been out for a while.” Empoleon replied with a throaty cackle that didn’t sound happy and caused some of the on-lookers to turn their heads to them.

Sam contemplated saying something else, but before he could, he felt a paw swiping at his leg. He looked down to find Vlam staring up at him. “Be my guest,” Sam said to her and moved his hand towards Empoleon and Torterra. Vlam walked over to Barry’s pokemon and barked softly. They were unfazed. She tried again, this time brushing her tails gently against Torterra’s leg, but again was given no visible reply. A third attempt to communicate something to them was met with a loud growl from the immense tortoise, and Sam decided that was enough. He recalled Torterra and Empoleon into their balls.

“Sorry, Vlam. I know you were trying, but they clearly weren’t buying what you were selling.” Vlam cooed in response and wiped her muzzle with a paw. Monferno, at least, was not swayed by his family’s reaction; he continued crawling around Sam’s shoulders and trying to find a comfortable position. “I’m going to get you guys back home, I promise,” Sam pointed out to the fiery monkey, “I just need to find the opportunity. I’m not sure Barry would love seeing me right now.” Monferno grinned and clapped his hands together, and Sam could only assume he was just happy to hear his trainer’s name.

A few yards ahead of him, he could see that the bus was finally mobile again and was getting pulled off the road. He promised the four friends around him that when he was out of the stuffy truck, he’d let them free again and recalled them into stasis. With that, he rushed to the truck before Carlos could leave without him.




Brief Author's Note (because this is apparently a thing I do now): This chapter was originally going to be longer, but I didn't like the scene-break that occurred at this point, so I just cut the chapter off here and started the next scene at Chapter 17. Ah well. This chapter does feel short, and I might regret the separation, but it felt right at the time.

The Oncoming Storm
7th September 2012, 12:22 AM
How did Sam get barrys pokemon?

Sid87
7th September 2012, 12:47 AM
How did Sam get barrys pokemon?

It happened back in chapter 12 at the end of their battle:


Sam, moving quickly towards Barry, had no intention of dignifying that question with answer. All he knew was that with every word Barry had said, the inside of his head felt hotter and hotter. He knocked the pokeballs out of Barry’s hands and picked them up from the snow while his former partner issued a cry in protest.

“How does it feel to have something you love taken from you?”

“You’re just--”

“Yeah. I am.” Sam pressed his chest against Barry‘s and glared into his eyes.

Zibdas
8th September 2012, 4:07 AM
Aww. I can't help but feel sorry for Same regarding their reaction, but still... he's not terribly likable, you know?? Stll, I enjoy your wordplay and shall look forward to reading this more in the guture~

Ememew
10th September 2012, 5:14 AM
Oh, look! I do still exist! Sorry it’s been a while since my last post here. I’ll just jump right in where I left off.
Chapter 9: Present Day

Chispa whimpered unhappily. Sam thought [that] letting her out of her Friend Ball so that she could stretch her eager little legs would make her happy, but it quickly became obvious that all she wanted was to run about the deck of the cargo ship. When I re-read this sentence, I realized it was ok, but it threw me off the first time I read it. Maybe adding a “that” where I indicated above would prevent confusion?

If Sam were to be honest with himself, he was thankful for Chispa’s misbehavingSort of similar situation here. I think that it might work better if you said “… he would realize he was thankful for Chispa’s misbehaving . . .”

The thought of Vlam using her heat to protect him made him appreciative, and he reached out to stroke her back. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed Chispa using what she must have perceived as his lack of attention to inch towards the edge of the cargo crates. Sam hissed shortly through his teeth, and she yelped in frustration but returned to him. Aww, Chispa’s cute here.

Sam still couldn’t believe the cargo was so brazenly labeled. The Acuity Project. What would an international shipping company be doing running around the lakes of Sinnoh? There were hardly any packages that needed to be delivered to protected national park lands. On the other hand, it wasn't hard to write off how the workers on the Verity site reacted to his and Barry’s presence. Barry was an overzealous kid, and hell, he made Sam want to attack him, as well; that really might have been a misunderstanding on Sideburns’ part. It wasn’t a pleasant thought, the idea that he was freezing to death on this cargo ship, his stomach racing itself to see if he starved or threw up from seasickness first, all over a misunderstanding and some easily explainable happenstance. The longer you go without action, the more second thoughts start to settle in. Well captured.

He opened his eyes without even realizing he had closed them. Mentally, he made a note to watch that; the cold was apparently a more subtle foe than he imagined, and he doubted his body could afford the slowed heartrate that sleep would bring. Chispa was gone!Hmm, maybe a bit of a transition between waking and realizing Chispa’s missing would help here? Perhaps something like “Sam thought for a moment. Something seemed different from when he must have closed his eyes” before he realizes the Shinx has wandered off? There isn’t much transition between the two thoughts as it is.


“Monferno, toss him!”

Sam’s attention was pulled to Barry’s voice behind them, and then immediately back to the man with the moustache. Monferno had sneaked close enough to him to grab around the waist. Sam looked on in horror as Barry’s pokemon flipped the foreigner overboard.

“NO!” Sam shouted. On pure instinct, he rushed to the edge of the ship, grabbed a life vest that hung there, and threw it into the sea as close to the man as he could. “Grab it!” Sam yelled, pointing at the vest. He was as relieved as he could ever remember being in his life when he saw the shivering figure make it to the safety device. “Are you psychotic, Barry?”

“What are you talking about? That’s basic problem-solving there.”

“That guy could die out there! The water here’s got to be about thirty-three degrees, and who knows how close to land we are. We’ve got to try to save him.” More to suggest that Barry isn’t just your run of the mill professor’s aid.

“No. You should worry about to save yourself.”

Sam looked upward, to where the new voice had come from. Behind the railing going around the second level of the ship stood the rest of its crew, eight men all of similar foreign skin tone. Sam instantly thought back to the shout he let loose in horror as Monferno threw their co-worker overboard; they must have heard him, and here they were in response. Sam couldn’t help but jealously note that they were all dressed appropriately for the weather. The broken English (Sinnish? Kantoan?) threw me for a second, as I was expecting the next speaker to be Barry rather than one of the foreigners. That’s probably the intent, but it might help to add that the voice belonged to someone unfamiliar in the same paragraph he speaks in, so you don’t accidentally leave a reader wondering where Barry’s grammar skills went to all of a sudden.

Next to him, Barry seemed frozen in the moment. He never even acknowledged the threat of the ship’s staff. He was still looking out over the side of the vessel; his hands were shaking, but Sam somehow got the sense that it wasn’t from the cold. Barry was rash--there’s a good chance he hadn’t thought about his actions when he ordered his friend to deal with the crew member. He must have locked up when Sam presented him with the reality of what could have happened. Sam felt awful now for yelling at him and questioning his sanity; he had just been trying to help and clearly didn't want to hurt that guy. Chispa was cowering behind his feet, and Sam realized it might be up to him to get them out all of this. Poor Barry. Wonder if it’s good or bad for Sam to be around someone as or more impulsive as himself?

Barry summoned his Torterra, as well as a third friend that Sam hadn’t seem him release before. It was a blue penguin-like creature with four white dots on its stomach and two yellow crests lining its head from its beak upwards. Sam recognized it as a Prinplup, a rare aquatic pokemon from the Sinnoh region. It shuddered, happy to be free and ready to battle. Seem should be seen, easy typo to make. And the third Sinnoh starter now takes its turn to shine.

In the air, Bree was not so lucky; she had no sooner gotten into the night sky than a blue bird pokemon with a red breast began following her. The bird--Sam recognized this foreign pokemon as either a Taillow or a Swellow, he couldn’t remember which was the evolved form’s name--moved too quickly for her, and it refused to allow Bree the time to set up a sleep powder attack. I’m not sure if this counts as advice or random musings on my part, but maybe mentioning the birds in reverse-evolution order (Swellow first) might add to the idea that Sam doesn’t remember which is the evolved one’s name? Saying them in the correct order by coincidence still gets the point across, so maybe it’s just me overthinking it.

Vlam came to a halt from her rapid-fire offense and belched a sofa-sized fireball into the sky. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that move described that way before. Something about “sofa-sized fireball” amuses me.
Bree’s antennae twitched, found the bird across the air from it, and then stiffened.The bird froze, then let out an agonized squawk and began spiraling downward.You appear to be missing a space after stiffened.
Sam’s exclamation of victory was short-lived, however, when he saw Monferno crash to the deck after a burst of water attack hit it dead on. Above the fray, Bree did not have even a moment to catch her breath from her previous battle; a Golbat was now chasing her through the sky. It’s just one thing after another, huh? Poor guys.

“Barry! This isn’t working out super well for us! Please tell me you’ve got a back-up plan.”

Just a few feet away, Barry nodded and recalled Monferno into its pokeball. “Use a surf attack, Prinplup. As hard as you can, buddy!”

The penguin pokemon shoved away a a tiny lobster pokemon that had been trying to attack it with its pinchers. Before the Corphish could right itself, Prinplup blasted it with a concentrated burst of water from it beak for good measure. Prinplup crossed its wings in front of its body, and its eyes began to glow with blue energy. The foreign enemies seemed to pause and brace themselves for a big attack, but as the seconds passed, it became clear nothing was happening.

“That back-up plan was underwhelming,” Sam sighed. “Anything else?”

“I don’t know. I really thought that’d work better out here on the ocean.” This exchange was fairly amusing, but there are a few typos in the description of the action, a double a and an it that should be its.

Also, good luck getting Sam on a boat ever again after Surf hit. First seasickness, now this.

Chapter 10
He set his dishtowel on the rack next to the sink and turned the knobs to the stop the water pressure, but the water didn’t let up; he tried again, but the knob just spun loosely in his hand. The water was unstoppably filling the sink, and he knew soon it would fill his home. The drain wouldn’t be able to handle the deluge, and it would overflow and fill the kitchen and then the living room and then whole house and then his lungs— Ok, looks like another dream. Let’s see where this goes . . .


Sam agreed. Now that his brother was dead and awake, Sam could start going to school again. He would tell Miah Vanderbelt that Tommy came back to him, and no one in Miah’s family would do that for Miah. That would really get him good. The bizarre non-reaction to the situation is probably what makes it so creepy.

He rushed up the stairs and turned the bathtub on; it seemed to take a long time to get the water temperature right. No matter how much he fidgeted with and manipulated the knobs, the water still came out extremely cold. Sam studied the water pouring out of the tub faucet. It reminded him of something from earlier, but he couldn’t remember what. He tried to think...after he came home from school, he did the vacuuming. What else?

“Is the water right?”

Sam was startled out of his thoughts by his brother’s words. He ran his hand under the spout one more time. The water was warm now. “Perfect,” Sam answered. He turned the water off and hopped over the wall of the tub into it. His hand scooped water up and run it over his other arm, rubbing it clean through his shirt sleeve.

“Is it making you clean?”

“It is. I feel a lot better, Tommy.”

“Is it washing away your sin?”

“What sin? What are you--”

Sam’s words were cut off by Tommy’s hands around his neck. His brother’s face was flush with red now, and his pupils were tiny. His blonde hair was completely disheveled. Arched eyebrows punctuated his rage. “You forgot about me!”

Sam tried to argue that he never did, but Tommy’s hands cut the words off at his throat and they died there, unspoken. His brother continued, “You were supposed to stop me from dying, but you didn’t! You went all the way to another country because you promised me you’d get the legends, but instead you went chasing after that bird.”

The bird. Sam remembered now. Tommy made him promise to catch the legendary pokemon, but he forgot about it and started trying to find it instead. The legendary pokemon would have woken Tommy up from his coma; what would that stupid phoenix have done for either of them?

Tommy’s hands forced Sam under the bath water, and the tub spout was running again. There was too much water above him and too much weight pushing him into it. All he could see as he looked up was Tommy’s malice weighing him down. Sam wondered if he’d still be able to see Tommy now that he was dead. And now I’m reminded that between Canalave and Snowpoint lie the Full Moon and New Moon islands. It’s probably not the best idea in the world for a guy who has nightmares to travel past Darkrai’s domain.

Sam sat up suddenly and gulped the air around him. He swallowed one sharp breath followed by another, followed by another. There wasn’t enough air in the white room to fill his lungs; he needed more! Something... there was something in his nostrils. He yanked the plastic tube out with force; it was coming between him and the air that he needed. He needed all of it. Sam heard words, but they were nonsense. To his left, he saw Barry. Barry’s mouth was moving and words were coming out, but none of it made any sense to Sam; the speech was garbled and hollow. Rowan’s assistant’s head turned and he began shouting his echoing gibberish to someone else. Several people in white uniforms flooded his vision and pushed Sam flat back onto the bed in which he lay. These were the same people that couldn’t help Tommy back home, and they were here now to not be able to help him, either. He just needed air; he just needed to breathe, so why were they resisting him? Something pricked Sam’s arm, and he felt his opposite hand slap one of these people. They were trying to put him back to sleep; they were trying to take his air away. Sam wanted to continue swatting at them, but there must have been weights attached to his hands now, they were so hard to move. The people positioned the object back into his nostrils while Sam begged them not to. He heard one of them start counting, and then Sam’s world faded to black. Pretty good way to show Sam’s disorientation.

Barry nodded. “I might have underestimated the potency of that wave attack back on the boat.” Barry let out a chuckle and rubbed the back of his head. “It knocked the whole thing over on its side. I had Prinplup--” Barry paused and looked upward for just a moment before meeting Sam’s eyes again. “I guess that’s ‘The Artist Formerly Known As Prinplup’ at this point,*groan* Good pun, Sid87, good pun.
“Think nothing of it. Hey, did you catch that part where I oh-so-subtly hinted that my Prinplup evolved after all this? It was awesome! I mean, he did beat, like, fifteen pokemon at once. Oh, and you. He beat you, too, I guess.” Barry’s so helpful.

The thought of Barry’s pokemon shocked Sam to attention and reached down to where his pockets should have been. He found only the warm skin of his thigh, uncovered by his hospital gown under the bed sheets. “Where are my balls?”

Barry froze, his tongue caught beneath his teeth, staring at Sam reaching downwards under his sheets. A smile spread across his lips. “... Heh heh...” “… Heh heh… “ indeed.

Sam wanted to reply, but what could he say? This was important to Professor Rowan, and the professor had already done so much to help Sam. He set Sam up with Barry, he gave him the rental car and supplies, he treated Sam’s mad plan with respect after it was explained to him. And couldn’t these two plans come together? Sam could always come back to Lake Acuity later if he needed to. Until then, going with Barry could only ensure the safety of the third of the guardians, Azelf. Really, what was the downside of continuing on with Barry?

“You forgot about me!” The words from his dream earlier echoed in his mind. Sam rationalized to himself that it was not that he was forgetting about Tommy--he was doing this for Tommy, in fact. The goals were not mutually exclusive. Something tells me this won’t be the last time the goals seemingly conflict.

As Sam filled in his insurance information, he wondered if any insurance company in the world would ever touch any children that he might ever have. He imagined his family’s last name would be on every insurance company’s blacklist for the next three generations. We’re sorry Mr. Stark, an insurance company would tell his hypothetical son, but apparently car accidents, strokes, and falling in the ocean are all pre-existing conditions in your family. I chuckled.

“Did I tell you Prinplup evolved?” Barry called out from the other side of the door as Sam pulled his polo shirt over his head.

“You actually did.”

“It was pretty awesome. It beat, like, twenty pokemon at once.” Barry’s estimation of the number of pokémon Prinplup beat seems to be growing. Well, that’s in character, all right.

“Come in; I’m dressed.” Sam winced at offering that. It made it sound like there was a perpetual valid concern that he might not be. Sam second-guessing his words and actions is becoming a trend too.

The man blinked slowly and bobbed his head. “No, I’m afraid I forgot to give it. My apologies. I am Henrique Alonzo. I am the President of Phoenix Shipping Corporation.” Something tells me the plans Barry was making for him and Sam were just put on hold.

Chapter 11

It was pretty basic as far as world history goes.

Sometime around three hundred years ago or so, the country of Kanto was the first civilization on the planet to learn that pokemon could be both efficiently captured and trained to work with humans. The Kantoans discovered the process by which they could transform pokemon into high-frequency, unstable energy that could be contained in a mechanical orb that would harmonize the energy signature and keep the creatures in stasis. It was all very technical and would require a science class to understand rather than a history lesson. As pokemon were brought from out of the wild and into households, it was found that the energy stasis aided in relaxing them and making them more peaceful and pliable to working with humans.

Well, humans being humans, Kanto barely had time to take a deep breath with their new friends before the Premier of Kanto decided that the best way to use this new technology was on a national defense level. Pokemon may have been living creatures, but they were creatures with tremendous offensive potential, as well as hides that were highly resistant to many of the weapons of the day. Within a few decades, Kanto had a huge militarized pokemon force. There was an Air Force of precision Charizards, flying through the skies with more maneuverability than the most advanced jets of the age and blasting pure flame at their enemies. Then there was a Navy of raging Gyarados, able to withstand and attack from the harshest depths of the ocean and swimming circles around helpless submarines. And this was to say nothing of an infantry of Machamps and Gravelers, shredding tanks into heaps of scrap as artillery bounced off their massively powerful bodies. The Kantoan armed forces became the world’s most dominant power overnight by ignoring mechanical weapons and using instead the ones with which nature had surrounded us.

Johto was quick to accept the offer of annex that Kanto had offered. Being close to Kanto in both proximity and relations, they knew what kind of military force the Kantoans had at their disposal, and they happily agreed to peaceful surrender into what would become Kanto’s burgeoning empire. After that, Kanto turned its eyes to the rest of the northern continents and launched an invasion next on Sinnoh. The history books would tell you that war lasted thirty-eight days and was more than a little one-sided. It was such an overwhelming and popular victory that General Rayner, who oversaw the action, was swept into office as the next Premier of Kanto after Premier Jordan retired.

It was apparently said back in those days that the Kantoan empire spread around the north more quickly than water from a spilled glass across a countertop. So many countries deferred without a struggle, it was debated throughout the history texts as to what even constituted an official war or battle. It was not until Kanto turned its gaze southwards that it encountered its first true resistance.

As tales of the limitless Kantoan military force circulated the globe, the southern continent of Hoenn began work on its own pokemon armed forces. They had struck an alliance with the resources-rich region of Unova, and were able to develop their own pokemon technology in a fraction of the time it had taken Kanto so many years before. When the Northern Empire began moving south, Hoenn was able to strike back at them with a ferocity they’d not yet encountered. Not only was Hoenn suddenly a near-equal military foe, but they had species of pokemon at their disposal that the North had only sparingly seen before.

The Century War was the name given to the hundred-plus years of relatively endless battles between Kanto and its Northern Empire and Hoenn and the United Southern Continents. It was said to have been the most brutal war in the history of the world, no doubt helped by the fact that quite a few unsavory characters came into power during that time. Premier Gardner was a brute who came into power midway through the century and was known to order the torture of southern prisoners in order to extract information. President Stewart of the south had a penchant for sending attacks to areas densely populated with non-military personnel in an attempt to terrorize the north into turning on their leaders out of fear. The casualities, of both human and pokemon, were innumerable.

Fortunately, most of these vicious ploys backfired. As Kanto and Hoenn continued a war in which neither side made much progress in expansion, new philosophies were quickly spreading throughout their citizens. The idea that pokemon were living, feeling creatures that should not be used as tools of war was taking hold in the hearts of the public. When the empire started, people had only known pokemon as wild animals, but when the technology to catch and train them became more widespread, humanity found these creatures to be powerful, yes, but also smart and empathetic. What started as a few sparsely-attended meetings would turn into government petitions and then into large-scale rallies. The populace decided they wanted the pointless war they grew up under to end, and they wanted pokemon free from their shackles as military weapons. On both sides of the equator, politics became inundated with people who shared these new progressive lines of thought, and the world started changing, even if slowly. The war between north and south lessened and finally came to a halt with the signing of the Scott Treaty--named for Premier Scott who proposed it--and Kanto granted independence to the regions under its empire that wanted it. Pokemon were taken off of the battle field and put back into the wild, as well as in households, sanctuaries, and stadiums where they could enjoy playful, sanctioned battles under the watchful eye of medical professionals and rights activists.

Still, even though the military actions had ended, there was still tension between the northern and southern continents. Hate and prejudice doesn’t tend to quite fade away, even after so many decades; it stays simmering, just beneath the surface. The two sides maintained strictly separate cultures and traditions. Tourism was low between the hemispheres due to the harassment foreigners faced in each region. The World Pokemon League only sparingly had special events between northern and southern regions since riots were so frequent. Society on a global scale may have shifted towards a peaceful and progressive attitude, but individuals were still very full of insecurities and distrust; despite the new age of enlightenment, the separate regions sometimes seemed like they were still worlds apart. That was why it was so odd to Sam. This is a very interesting and well thought out history of the pokémon world. The Gyarados Navy seemed particularly frightening, especially in light of what a Prinplup’s surf can do. However, I’m not sure about its placement here. It’s a fairly lengthy bit of background, but only the lingering distrust between Hoenn and the southern areas and northern areas like Sinnoh pertain directly to the scene at hand.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the long version and would hate to see it just scrapped for just a brief bit of info relevant to the current scene, but I think the long version might be better saved for an “Extra” (like an appendix or something similar) than be in the middle of the story like this.

Sam thanked the President of the Phoenix Corporation for the comment, and Mr. Alonzo turned out of the room. Barry began to speak, but Sam shushed him; it was ridiculous to think of a successful businessman leaning over to listen at doors, but Sam imagined this was the kind of man who would do anything it took to get what he wanted. A minute passed, and then two, before Sam finally broke the thickening silence.

“Well that was odd.”

“I was going to ask if you two wanted to be alone for a second there. What was with all the playing nice-nice?”

“It’s the old ‘honey versus vinegar’ concept.”

Barry stared at Sam and wore a vacant expression. “What?”

“You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. It pays off more to be nice than abrasive.”

“I am not familiar. Why are we catching flies?”

“It’s not... we’re... it’s just a saying--”

“You know what catches the most flies? A fly swatter.”

The fly swatter analogy was actually a pretty good metaphor for Barry, so Sam merely nodded in reply. And that pretty much sums up Barry’s idea of tact.

“So, seriously, why are we actually going to his place when we openly agree it’s a trap? This is a dude who’s catching flies. What’s he using?”

Sam rubbed his chin with his thumb. “Well, he was nice to us, so he’s using honey. According to the saying.”

Barry shook his head. “Are you sure you have that right? Like, shouldn’t it be bees? Bees want honey. Not flies.”

“No, bees make their own honey; they don’t want honey. It’s like...you don’t have to go out and get hair. You make your own.”

“Bees make honey like people make hair?”

“That analogy really got away from me. Look, I didn’t make the saying up. I can’t answer for it.”

“It’s a dumb saying.” This continues to be amusing. Although I wonder if the pokémon world might use a Bug-type pokémon in this metaphor rather than flies. I guess the use of the saying establishes that there are also real-world animals in this fic-verse, but the importance of pokémon in the world might lend itself to sayings about attracting . . . wait! Is there even a housefly pokémon yet?

“Oh.” Sam went back to ruing the snow in his shoe. When he was young, around Barry’s age, he’d started keeping track of all the things he’d do if he ever got elected to power. The list was simply for fun, as Sam had never had any political aspirations, and its contents were haphazard. He’d periodically rule on matters like banning certain foods he didn’t like and making television programs he did (but felt were underrated) mandatory viewing. He hadn’t thought about that list in years, but his mind flashed to it here; he decided he would make snow illegal. He could already feel the dampness pooling at the bottom of his sock and wrinkling the flesh on his toes. Good luck with that one, Sam. ;)

In Snowpoint, no one can hear you scream, Sam thought. And now I’m reminded of an NPC in Snowpoint who informs you that it’s quiet there because the snow swallows up sound.

“May I offer you both something to drink?”

“Vodka on the rocks.”

Sam soured his lips at Barry in disapproval, even though he was mostly sure his partner had been joking. “We’ll both take coffee; that’d be great. It's pretty cold out there.” Still amusing, Barry, joke or otherwise.

“My men are not quite as well-versed in your language and culture as I am. Not to mention that most of their interactions here in your country haven’t been ideal. They are threatened a lot. They get screamed at that they are stealing jobs from the people of Sinnoh. When they go shopping for supplies or groceries, store clerks follow them around as if they would steal anything they could fit under their shirt. They’ve gotten used to everyone’s default reaction to them being racism and jingoism.”

“I’m very sorry to hear that,” Sam said, and he was. His trip to Sinnoh hadn’t been marred by any of that, but then again, he didn’t know what it was like to look and speak differently than the citizens there. With Mr. Alonzo presenting these facts to him, Sam remembered he'd always heard others say that people from the Hoenn area were thugs and criminals…did he let that color his actions when he encountered them? A very realistic way of introducing these themes into the story.

Mr. Alonzo switched gears. “You both have no doubt figured out that I’ve come here for the legends of Sinnoh, right?”

Sam nearly choked on his own tongue; He and Barry had certainly suspected that, but to have Mr. Alonzo so freely admit to it was beyond what he’d imagined. What a brazen thing to say, Sam thought. “We… well… yeah. We kind of figured that, of course, but—“ I think Sam’s reaction pretty well mirrors the readers’ thoughts. It’s surprising when a character is this direct about something of such magnitude.

“You’re aware that poaching legendary pokemon is illegal, right?” Barry spat, “Why would anyone just come out and admit to that?”

"Poaching?" Mr. Alonzo, the pitch of his voice rising. "No, not even close, Mr. West. Let me ask you a question: When a farmer needs assistance raising his crops, is it poaching when he catches a Gloom to encourage their growth? When a demolition crew catches a Rhyhorn to help them tear down a building and remove rubble, is that poaching? Or is it poaching when a hospital uses an Audino to heal an injured person's minor bruises or superficial injuries?"

Barry raised an eyebrow. "That's three questions."

"Pokemon are a huge part of our daily lives. But we don't even know all about them. We have pokemon that transport us to our jobs. We have pokemon that work on construction sites to help us build. We have pokemon that battle in stadiums to entertain us. But these are just rudimentary day-to-day duties. They do these things because they are strong or because they can manipulate plants, sure. But what about the legendary pokemon?" So I take it that this fic-verse presents legendaries as less godlike and more like really powerful, really rare (possibly endangered) species? Pretty good way to present that.

"People talk about legendary pokemon, and we're talking about abilities that range from controlling the weather to manipulating time and space and everything in between. Think about how that could benefit humanity, gentlemen. We could stop storms and natural disasters in their tracks before lives and property are lost. We could erase our greatest mistakes from history; no more Century War and the hate it spread between our regions." Mr. Alonzo opened his arms wide in front of him as if to emphasize the scope of his ideas. "We could have perfect knowledge and understanding of the world around us. I've not come here to capture Sinnoh's legends or put them on display. I've come here to find them and get them to use their powers to benefit mankind. All of us. " I heard of some path . . . it’s supposed to be paved with good intentions. Where did it lead, again?

"And those abilities are safer unmonitored in the wild?"

"Considering that, historically, the legends basically just putz around on their own, hide, and not mess with us? Yeah, I'd think so. They don't go around using their powers on a whim, so they're probably a lot smarter than we are."

Sam watched as Barry and Mr. Alonzo went back-and-forth. What was Barry saying? Wasn't he with Sam to help him get the lake guardians so that Sam could heal his brother? Pretty decent counterarguments between these two, though I expect Barry’s youth and relative inexperience to be his undoing in the argument. It’s easy to see how Sam’s doubts are setting in against his previously trusted partner, too.

"Your view of what these pokemon could mean to the world is awfully short-sighted, Mr. West."

"And your view of how gracious and well-meaning humanity would be in the face of these possibilities is awfully wrong-sighted." Yep. Barry’s not exactly coming off as a seasoned debater, while Mr. Alonzo’s years of practice are beginning to shine.

Mr. Alonzo tilted his head down and smiled. Slowly, he shook his head a few times as if he were pardoning himself from engaging in a verbal battle with Barry. "I see your point of view, Mr. West, don't get me wrong. And I also get that you must feel very confident in expressing it. After all, you and Professor Rowan have had the legendary pokemon of Sinnoh hidden away and protected for quite some time now, haven't you?" You can almost hear Sam’s current train of thought coming to a screeching halt in order to process this new information.

Chapter 12

Barry was unflinching. “Well, rumors. I guess if you’ve heard some rumors then there’s no way you could be refuted--” At least Barry recovers quickly . . .

“We started hearing about the Church of Cyrus.”

Barry’s left eye twitched, and he suddenly lost the ability to response to what Mr. Alonzo had said. Sam thought he heard a grunt coming from Barry’s clenched mouth. . . . or at least until correctly provoked. Alonzo’s done his research, it seems (and possibly into Sam’s background as well, as this information seems designed to divide and conquer). So if this doesn’t take place in the usual canon universe, how did the events of Cyrus and the Spear Pillar play out?

“Yes, that. We know about that. And, what’s more, Mr. West, we know that after that affair, you and Professor Rowan hid the legends to protect them. Now, I would never blame you for that, son.” Mr. Alonzo place an arm around Barry’s shoulders; Barry’s face recoiled at the act, but he did not physically resist it. Placed is missing the d at the end.

Henrique and Barry both froze mid-sentence and turned towards Sam. Their widened eyes showed that each man thought Sam’s quiet accusation was referring to him. Or maybe it wasn’t divide and conquer after all, and just a lucky coincidence?
Sam’s sense of reason fled him, and he charged Barry. As his shoulder drove into the young assistant’s stomach and crash them both through the door to his cabin, Sam thought he heard Mr. Alonzo let out an exclamation of shock. It didn’t matter. All that mattered was what Barry knew. His legs continued driving himself and Barry several feet from the door before finally slamming Barry down to the snow-covered ground. He dug his fingers into Barry’s wild blonde hair to hold him in place. Crash should be crashed.

Sam’s rage deepened at Barry’s confession, and he moved his hands down to Barry’s face, grabbing at the skin around his eyes and nose and mouth. “You saved my life! You pulled me out of that lake! And for what? So you could lie to me some more? So you could keep me from them?” His fingernails dug into Barry’s skin. Ouch. When Sam snaps, he really snaps. Just ouch.

Sam ignored Mr. Alonzo; he had nothing to say to him at the moment. He instead walked a few feet away and plucked Barry’s pokeball out of the snow.

“Thanks, I guess. Sam, we can talk about this.”

Sam shoved the ball into Barry’s chest. “Let it out.”

“What? Why?”

“Let them all out.” Sam pulled his own Nest, Dusk, and Luxury balls from his pocket.

“What is this?”

Sam looked over to Mr. Alonzo and decided to answer his question this time. “This is my wanting to kick his teeth down his throat but knowing he’s not even a legal adult yet.” He squeezed Bree’s ball once with his right hand and did likewise to the balls of Vlam and Chispa in his left, bringing all three of them out into the snow. “Do it!” he shouted to Barry. I can certainly see why Sam feels so betrayed, but he seems . . . I don’t know. . . I’m not sure such a quick burst of anger would still be going this strong at this point, after the initial energy’s been let out. It’d probably have settled into a cooler rage by this point, rather than asking for another fight.

“Man, Sam...I didn’t mean to trick you.”

“Oh?” Sam laughed openly, “please, tell me how you tricked me by accident then, Barry.”

Barry winced at those words and must have realized that was a stupid thing to say. I like how even though the narration is tied to Sam you can sort of guess at Barry’s thought process beyond what Sam’s interpreting here.

“Yeah? Well, life is full of disappointments.”

The words stuck in Sam’s ear and reminded him of something someone told him fairly recently. “Your professor once told me that life is full of changes in plans. Right before he sent me out to look for something that he knew wasn’t even there. Like an idiot! While my brother,” Sam’s fists balled as the full meaning of what Rowan told him washed over him, “is drooling on himself and dying! So you tell me...the fact that you won’t help me save him, is that a bigger disappointment or change of plan?”

“Damn it, Sam.” Just the repetition of similar words drives the betrayal in deeper, well written.

What was that supposed to be, Sam thought. Was Sam supposed to be thankful now because Barry had saved Chispa? Was that supposed to somehow make up for the fact that he had doomed Tommy? Not even close. The mere thought of it incensed Sam; did that kid really think that Sam would call the battle off if he saved Sam’s friend? Wow, Sam’s even interpreting Barry’s rash actions as more manipulation, huh?

Sam felt a twitching in the back of his neck. Was beating one of Barry’s friends in battle going to bring Sam back? Of course not. “Ignore him and do it, Bree!” I think you meant Tommy there.

Bree, who used the momentary distraction of the stun spore to sneak in close to Torterra, zipped frantically around the large tortoise’s head. While flying in a crazed pattern, she shrieked a high-frequency pitch. Something about the sound did seem to be causing Torterra great agony; it lowered its head and tried in vain to cover its ears with its massive, yet unwieldy, legs. Frustrated and in agony from its failure to protect itself from the Butterfree’s assault, it let out a pitiful roar. Bree seemed to have the situation well in-hand until a fast-moving dart of water crashed into her wings, sending her crashing to the ground.

Sam glanced over; he had been so engaged in Bree and Torterra that he had temporarily forgotten Vlam and Empoleon. “Vlam!" he called out to his brother's closest friend, “tackle Empoleon!" Good thing Barry was similarly distracted, or the Vlam and Empoleon fight would probably have already been over.

Sam waited until Empoleon turned all the way around and positioned its weight to lauch the water dart. He had it where Vlam wanted it. launch

“Vlam, fire blast!”

Vlam’s tilted her head back, then stretched it forward in a shot. An orb of fire flared from her mouth, gaining size and power as it combusted with the oxygen in the air. Despite the fireball’s intensity, it was possible that Empoleon would have been able to neutralize it with a water attack, but now that it was turned away from Vlam, it would have no chance to get the leverage it needed to launch an attack powerful enough to do so. The fire attack collided with Empoleon’s side, and the water bird squawked in pain. The flames were heating up its metal exterior, no doubt causing great agony. Barry recognized this immediately and summoned it back into its pokeball. I like the way you described the way Steel’s fire weakness works.

“All right, did you get that out of your system then?” Barry asked, withdrawing Torterra from the snow. Barry, that was quite possibly the worst timing for such a question. Don’t remind him that he’s mad at you when you’re out of pokémon.

Sam, moving quickly towards Barry, had no intention of dignifying that question with answer. All he knew was that with every word Barry had said, the inside of his head felt hotter and hotter. He knocked the pokeballs out of Barry’s hands and picked them up from the snow while his former partner issued a cry in protest.

“How does it feel to have something you love taken from you?”

“You’re just--”

“Yeah. I am.” Sam pressed his chest against Barry‘s and glared into his eyes. Uh . . . Sam? Sam, what are you doing? I get that he’s angry, but the theft sort of comes out of nowhere. I’m not sure that it doesn’t work, but I’m also not yet sure that the scene does, either.

Sam looked from Mr. Alonzo to Barry and then back to Mr. Alonzo. “Do you really think you can use the legends to help people?”

“Man, Sam, don’t...”

“I do, Mr. Stark. You heard what I said, and I meant that. There are pokemon in the world that can fix so much of what’s wrong with the human condition.” There’s something not-quite-trustworthy about Alonzo’s reaction to Sam’s side-change. It could be read as him wanting to be agreeable so Sam doesn’t fight him too, but he seems a little to calm about the whole ordeal. Yes, he seems like someone to keep an eye on.

“Get him home,” Sam said, pointing to Barry. “He lives in Twinleaf Town. Just see that he gets home from here.”

Mr. Alonzo looked over at Barry and scrunched his lips. “I suppose I can do that, yes.” Barry was still shaking his head, but he did not look up. “What are you going to do now?”

Sam sighed. “I’m not sure yet. But I know that for as mad as I am at him, Barry’s just a kid...just an assistant. So there’s somebody else who owes me some real answers before I make my next move.” Looks like Rowan’s going to have some explaining to do.

I enjoyed these scenes. You manage large, multi-pokémon battles pretty well and introduce the points of contention – race relations and the debate on the ethics of using legendary pokémon – believably. My only main concerns with this group of chapters are the placement and size of the history of the pokémon world within the story and the thoroughness of Sam’s defeat of Barry (i.e. the claiming of his pokémon as the spoils of victory) being somewhat unprecedented in terms of what we know of Sam thus far. That’s all I’ve finished up to for now, but I’m still impressed by what I’ve seen.

diamondpearl876
13th September 2012, 7:37 PM
You think you’ll find three skittish, hiding pokemon, and you’re genius solution is to try and blow up half the cave.

“your genius solution”


Sam felt an air pocket in his throat and knew he needed to redirect his emotions before he showed weakness in front of Carlos.

I find it interesting that Sam seems to think weakness can only be shown through words. I would argue that being so angry at the hands of someone else could be a sign of weakness as well, especially for a man.


Over a year of searching had brought a solution to his fingertips, and it was gone again to who-knows-where over the bumbling of some idiots with whom Sam had been stuck.

“with whom Sam had been stuck.” Sounds a little too formal for the rest of your informal writing. Keep things simple.


He took a look at Carlos, his face with full of sideburns and a scour.

Remove “with”. I also like how you keep pointing out this guy’s sideburns, LOL.


Sam’s eyes wondered back out his side window.

I think you meant to say “wandered”.


Vlam and Chispa should be healed enough by being in their energy stasis, but Sam wanted to make sure.

“should have been”


Sam felt guilty that the last few times she’d been free from her ball were to battle, and now she was apparently beginning to expect it.

Don’t know why, but I really like this part. It shows how much Sam cares for his pokémon and also makes me wonder how many pokémon out there really react like this.

Overall, the chapter was enjoyable. You portrayed Sam's anger well, and you're moving the plot along well with Professor Rowan's mysterious phone call and with Sam trying to figure out what to do next. It was also nice to see the pokemon out again, the scenes are always cute and fluffy.

Sidewinder
14th September 2012, 3:54 PM
Sorry it has taken me so long buddy

Chapter 12


“Mr. West,” Henrique smiled softly,

Lmao I'm really starting to like him. That small smile probably cut through the air like a knife when he did it. Nicely done on setting the tone of the chapter with little actions like that


Barry’s face recoiled at the act, but he did not physically resist it.

Like what I quoted above, this adds somepower to what's going on. Nicely done. Henrique is obviously well informed, almost clairvoyant by Barry's reactions. Not only is this opening up things about Barry that I wasn't thinking about, but it obviously is going to place some turmoil on his relationship with Sam. I'm intrigued


Sam’s sense of reason fled him, and he charged Barry.

Haha, exactly. That reaction didn't surprise me, but I got closer to the screen when Sam started getting physical. Nicely done


It hurts clear through to my soul, though.

I'm not sure if I'm in love with that phrasing. Hurts down to my spirit, to my core, to my being - those I think would have sounded a little better. I know you're not meaning anything religiously metaphysical here, but that's what my mind flashes to for some reason lol


Bree began zipping out of the sky to help her sister,

That phrasing though, I really liked. Obviously it shows the bond between Bree and Vlam, but it also speaks volumes to how YOU see the characters. You can see their closeness and the bond they have even though they are different species. I mean, they're going to get close over time, but Bree thinking that way made me realize that their bond goes much deeper than I previously imagined.

The battle was well written and actually perfectly timed. Any longer would have dragged, and I salute your knowledge of type effectiveness in the heat of battle and directing the Pokemon's moves accordingly. Sam kind of channeling Tommy in the midst of the chaos helped him quite a bit, and to be honest I didn't think he had it in him to slow down and analyze the situation. He was so charged up and acting on adrenaline when he attacked Barry, that once the battle started I was sure that he was going to lose. You surprised me with the outcome in a good way. Calling point to the fact that Chispa is too young to be a real threat was a realistic touch as well. This battle definitely ranks high in my favorite battle scenes you've done

Chapter 13


Sam had been considering calling Tommy’s boss one of these days and reminding her of all the overtime and hardwork Tommy had been putting in, but he also didn’t want to embarrass his sibling or speak out of turn.

I liked that you called attention to that awkward social situation. I know the line you're referring to when you wrote that all too well. It's a very weird line to tread when you know someone deserves something while at the same time putting away your personal feelings about the subject. Nice touch


“Really, a shrug? Did you just turn fourteen again? Use your words.”

LMAO, that cracked me up. It really seemed like something Shelton would say haha. It's moments like these that you really hammer in the core of your story. The relationship between Tommy and Sam, especially in heartfelt funny moments like these really shine brightly, at least for me. Nicely done


Our entire human race had succumbed to racism and greed and pride.

I'm not sure if I would have used those words as examples as to why Humanity deserves to be ast away. Consumption, Genocide, lack of Empathy, Intolerance, Religious segregation, Violence, Self-destructive attitude towards nature and others, Pollution, etc, I believe would have been better examples., at least for our world. Your version of things might be different, but if you're drawing on examples from our world, it may have been better to go a little deeper. I can feel the gravity of what Rowan is trying to convey, but the words he uses there kinda throw me off. Hope that makes sense lol


It’ actually what he wanted.”

Should be it's

This was one of the chapters involving Sam and Tommy's backstory that I liked the most. There's a film called "Gone in 60 Seconds" that really reminded me of Sam's feelings for Tommy; the film focuses on a man trying to save the life of his brother. I don't know if you've seen it or not, but there's this one portion near the end where the cop that's been chasing the main character throughout the film lets him go. The guy asks him why he's doing it, and the detective responds, " A brother's love, is a brother's love."

Chapter 14


It was fast becoming Sam’s experience that they would be more than happy to transfer him. First there was another, equally-unhelpful, receptionist, then the disinterested floor manager, and then, most recently, some idiot in an office with a nonsense job title.

Lmao, see Samsung's customer service hotline. You're really good at describing situations that annoy most people with uncanny accuracy. Nice work


“But why haven’t they returned, is what I’m saying. It’s because he had to leave them with someone. Someone who would guard them and convince them to stay. And for him to do that...”

“It would have to be someone the professor trusts. Someone close to him.”

I'm totally with what's going on with Sam and Henrique right now, but you've written the battle scene with the Kadabra and Rhydon so well that I can't help but wonder what's going on with them. I know in a bit you touch back on it soon, but as I played their conversation out in my head, a lot should have happened on the battlefield and I couldn't stop but wondering what was going on. I know that what Sam and Henrique are talking about is important, but you may think about adding some snippets of the battle between their dialogue

Sam joining up with Henrique was unexpected, which was probably what you were going for, and it's something I should have seen coming, but it surprised me nonetheless. Part of me is still somewhat taken aback, but I also think that that part is still underestimating what Sam is willing to do to help his bother. I like t

Chapter 15


Of course it was Sideburns

Lol, nice way to start off the chapter. Not only does it give me the visual of the guy with four foot sideburns, but it helped me to set the tone for this chapter


“Leave it here in our little pull-off. If we need it, we come back and get it. But how about instead of going in and dynamiting the hell out of everything, we start off with some old fashioned looking around?”

I love the parallel between Sam's forward thinking and Sideburn's 'I don't give a ****, go with the flow atitude'...If they end up staying together for awhile I can see some funny situations arising.


Cynthia shook her head slowly, as if in pity, it occurred to Sam.

OMG he has no idea what's coming. Lol, if your version of Cynthia is like the one I've always had in my mind, she could trash all of them without batting an eyelash. I'm glad you decided to include her.

Literally wanted to punch my laptop in the face when Carlos and crew came out just when Sam was so close. I know it had to happen for the fic's sake but still, you built that up wonderfully and yanked it out from under me in fantastic fashion. Their descriptions and traits are just how I imagined them to be with your story and I was pretty impressed. Sam opened up more to them with his words than I would have thought, and I love how he forgot the chaos going on all around him in order to try and get their attention. Obviously they were having a pretty intense conversation between each other in their minds, and to be honest that's what I can't stop thinking about. I wonder what they said about Sam or the situation in general. Maybe you'll touch on that later, but at the same time I liked that you didn't so I can make my own suppositions.

Chapter 16


Tauroses

I see what you're going for here, but I think you can leave it as just Tauros. I think. If I see several deer in the road, I don't say, "Hey, look at all those deers!"

Hmm, this chapter was shorter than the one's that followed it, and while I liked it quite a bit, nothing really stood out for me enough to comment on it. I know why you need chapters like this; to bridge the gaps between important events. Rowan's call has me wondering what's going on, and to be honest I was pretty sure that Empoleon was going to impale Sam on one of his head spikes when he was released, but I'm glad that I was wrong on that one. To me, the portion that stuck out the most in this chapter was Sam thinking back about Cynthia. Not only was it intricately described, but it spoke volumes to the inner desire of Sam not just to save Tommy, but to battle, in the literal aspect and on the emotional plane. It's almost like he's associating that strong trainer with what he mentally feels like he's up against.

And caught up. Keep it up

SilentMemento
17th September 2012, 10:52 AM
Okay, I'm back to review the remaining chapters. Looks like I have a lot of catching up to do, but I'll try to make it long and detailed:

Chapter Eight

Whitney Williams Stadium? You've got to be kidding me. Just makes me intensely dislike that gym leader even more, for some odd reason...oh well. At least that (censored for five minutes) Miltank isn't making an appearance (at least; I hope not). XD

Hmm...I'm beginning to see why Sam would do anything to help his brother. Tommy, to me, seems less like a person and more like what Sam wants to be. Tommy is Sam's ideal for a person. From what I've seen from Sam (and please correct me if I'm wrong), it fits his character; he's shown that he has a little bit of narcissism, not just mere selfishness. It's not to the point where the characteristic has dominated his character, but it's clearly there, and if it's intentional, you've done a nice job showing it.

It also shows that Sam has one of Tommy's major flaws: glossing over imperfections and bumps in the road. He's willing to overlook every single fault that his brother has so that he can construct a perfect fantasy (or delusion, if you want to be harsher) of who he wants to be. Tommy may be the one in a coma, but Sam is clearly the person who's falling apart, and he's painted a picture of his brother that may or may not be entirely accurate. I mentioned this before, and I'm not changing my stance on this: he's not going to enjoy whatever revelation comes out about Tommy.


“Better be. By the way, while you were ignoring me, I was trying to show you the herd of Wailmers along the side of the ferry. Too bad we aren’t allowed to catch them from here, though.”

“Do Wailmers really come in a ‘herd’?”

Barry shrugged. “What would it be then?”

Sam pursed his lips in thought. Nothing was coming to him. Flock? No. Pack? Maybe. “Herd it is,” he finally replied, done wasting brainpower on the matter. Barry nodded, triumphant.

Nah, it's totally a pod of Wailmer. ;)

Wow. If Sam hates port towns and boardwalks so much, he would totally hate Ocean City, Maryland. XD

Barry rejecting Sam's sound plan (hey, even the best lawyers can't talk their way out of a jam when a competent government gets involved) for sneaking on board a ship is one of the worst plans I've heard...but Sam going along with it while ditching said sound plan is even worse. Based on what comes up later, I guess he is that desperate, but still...

Chapter Nine

Hmm...Sam's also forgetting about another major foe, one that would kill them quite easily: thirst. They won't die of hunger, but thirst will surely get them, especially when they're out at sea. The salty air would wear them down far before hunger or even the cold would set in. And since Prinplup hasn't been shown yet, it wouldn't have been able to help. I really think that you may have forgotten about that aspect.

And Barry...wow. Throwing a guy overboard was quite possibly the dumbest thing he's done yet. Has he ever heard of the term "hypothermia"? If he has a Pokemon like Prinplup, he should have. Sam shouldn't feel guilty at all for chewing him out; in fact, I think he's showing tremendous restraint by not going into a full-blown rant.

And what about these crew members, huh? You'd think that these guys would be buddies; they're from the same region working on the same ship, and the leader completely blows off the fact that one of his guys is overboard in the freezing water? With friends like him, who needs enemies?


Butterfree was still aloft, but it was dazed and hurt. Sam decided to take a note from Lairon's playbook and give the Swellow something else to think about for a few moments.

“Vlam! Use a fire blast on that bird!”

Vlam came to a halt from her rapid-fire offense and belched a sofa-sized fireball into the sky. Butterfree’s opponent caught sight of the attack at the last instant and rolled out of its path. It might have singed a feather or two, but it mostly avoided the fireball.

Hmm...you may want to add the word "the" in front of the two bolded words; when you use the word "Butterfree", it makes it sound like the Pokemon isn't Bree. It can be a bit jarring, to tell you the truth. It's the only mistake of this type that I've seen thus far, though. Right now, your grammar is impeccably-good.

...I take back what I said about Barrry. That was the dumbest thing I've ever seen him do. What kind of trainer uses a freaking surf attack in the middle of the freaking ocean while on a freaking ship? Now he's endangered numerous lives - including his own as well as Sam's and both of their Pokemon - instead of merely one. I'll be quite surprised if none of them end up dying as a result of his stupidity. I'm almost ready to pull a Gandalf to Barry's Pippen.

But then again, that's your talent shining through. I love the fact that you're able to make me this animated about your characters. A lot of people can't do anything close to that.

Chapter Ten

I love what you're doing with this dream. It's actually a very accurate portrayal; every dream has some correlation to real life, and this...nightmare was obviously taking place while Sam was drowning. And the nightmare itself was just stunning (and definitely frightening). You can clearly see his guilt about everything. It's even projected into the hallucination of Tommy; Tommy's apology for dying feels more like Sam's subconsciousness apologizing to Tommy for (supposedly) dying and leaving him alone. I'm seriously loving the way you're portraying both of their characters.

I honestly can't say the same for your portrayal of Barry. He nearly killed a lot of people and just blew it off; hell, some of them might've frozen to death because he didn't bother to get them medical attention. The guy who he threw overboard definitely drowned or froze to death; there's no way he would've lasted that long in the ocean, especially since Barry went to save Sam first. I'm really not liking this callous version of Barry; it just doesn't fit who he is. It seems so out of character. It feels wrong.

Barry's rash and doesn't think things through. I get it. That part I don't mind so much. I wouldn't even mind the whole thing if he did it in the heat of the moment and showed regret for his actions. But I don't think he'd ever be this remorseless about potentially killing people. The way you've portrayed him thus far is bordering dangerously close to psychopath territory, and it's probably the one thing that I absolutely don't like about the fic right now.

Oh my fate, that part about the insurance company putting his family on their blacklist was hysterical...in a very morbid way.

Oh...wow. Now the freaking President of the Phoenix Corporation is meeting them in person. This is going to be really interesting, especially with Barry's recent actions.

Chapter Eleven

Hmm...while I appreciate the world-building in this (you clearly put a ton of thought into this world of yours, and I love reading about it), I truly believe that you could've incorporated some of it into spoken dialogue, particularly the hatred between Kanto/Johto/Sinnoh and Hoenn/Unova. I don't see a problem with anything else, though, and I feel that it adds to it a lot. This is your world, and you can - and should - describe things as they happen(ed).

Am I the only one who's not buying any of the **** that Alonzo's selling? The racism/jingoism part, maybe, but the poaching rant and the stuff about sharing the blame? Come on. Sam has to see that this guy's flat out lying. Barry, at least, knows better.

For one thing, poaching something like a Gloom or a Rhyhorn just doesn't compare with taking legends out of their natural environment and asking them to - and I quote - "benefit mankind". Well, what about the legends? I don't see any way this benefits them. Barry's absolutely right on this, and I never thought I'd say that.

Secondly, you have to look at it from his view. These kids put his employees' lives at risk and potentially killed some of them. If I were the employer, I'd be furious at Sam and Barry. He's clearly lying through his teeth and trying to play the role of a peacemaker in order to get both of them off his back.

And finally, that last part there? That was an obvious ploy to divide them in two. I can't believe that Sam isn't seeing this...

Chapter Twelve

...And now Alonso has succeeded in driving Sam and Barry apart. I have to give the guy credit; he did his research. He's already establishing himself as a villain to keep an eye out for. Manipulating Sam like that...that was utterly brilliant on his part.


Sam’s rage deepened at Barry’s confession, and he moved his hands down to Barry’s face, grabbing at the skin around his eyes and nose and mouth. “You saved my life! You pulled me out of that lake! And for what? So you could lie to me some more? So you could keep me from them?” His fingernails dug into Barry’s skin.

Sam felt Barry’s hand moving around down by both of their legs and realized the young man was going for one of his pokemon to help remove him from the situation. Sam let Barry grab onto one of his pokeballs just so he could swat it out of Barry’s hand and helplessly into the snow.

“No!” Sam shouted. “This is about us, not them! You damn liar! You saved my life; for what? So I can go back to my brother and tell him I can’t help him? So I can tell him I let him down? So I can say those words and know he can’t even hear them? Is that why you saved me? You should have just let me die!”

...I just involuntarily flinched at those lines. These lines...these are purely from his heart and filled with emotion. Now I feel sorry for Sam because his last hope is completely gone. Everyone lied to him. Barry, Rowan, Alonso, everyone. And you can feel that hope fade out of existence along with the small part of Sam that still trusted people. This...was an incredibly powerful scene.

And now Sam wants to hurt Barry the only way he can: by hurting his Pokemon. And he doesn't even care if his own Pokemon get hurt in the process. He wants to lash out at something...and he's using a young and innocent Pokemon in Chispa to do it. And then he takes Barry's Pokemon in the end... It's almost too painful to read, and I mean that as a total compliment. You're doing this scene absolutely right.

Oh, no. Sam's seriously trusting Alonso to get Barry home safely? There's no way this guy will keep his word...

Chapter Thirteen

And Tommy's full of advice, as always. That part of him, I think is real. Tommy definitely seems like he's more empathetic than Sam, and he seems like the type to help a younger sibling out with their problems.

You know, I actually can picture Cyrus as a bit of a lunatic who would form a cult...but in your universe, that means that Palmer was murdered...

Wow. Rowan doesn't respond to Sam's ranting at all? He just bears it? That's not the professor that I kno-


Rowan’s fist slammed down hard on his desk, knocking down pictures that had been sitting there of Rowan with various children, shaking hands with colleagues, and with his arm around a woman. “Mr. Stark! Whatever you may think of me, you will not speak to me that way in my office. I will not stand for it.”

There's the professor I know and respect! I knew he'd come out eventually.

And that last paragraph clearly highlights Sam's delusions at this point. Barry and Rowan aren't being selfish and uncaring in this regard; everything they've done has been for the sake of the legends. He's incapable of realizing that at this point, though, and that saddens me.

Chapter Fourteen

Heh. I love the transfers that Sam's having to go through. That's just hilarious stuff. XD

Alabaster and Cornelius...hmm...reminds me of Sam and Alonso, actually. Alonso all but said that if Sam challenges his authority, he'll lose. Sam must be more desperate than I thought if he's willing to trust this guy.

But you did a great job with the battle scene...and judging by the place you're going to, there's going to be another fantastic one in the next chapter.

Chapter Fifteen

Heh. Why do I get the feeling that Carlos is going to be a major secondary antagonist?

Oh, by the way, Sam, that is a racist thought. I'm just calling it like it is. And more references to paranoia. Yeah. Paranoid...delusions...Sam's really starting to scare me as a character.

Oh, wow. Cynthia...er, sorry. XD But Cynthia's in the fic. Sam's not getting anywhere near the legends with her there. But why is she just fooling around? She knows that Sam's there to take the legends. Everyone in Celestic probably knows it. Why even bother to tell him to stand aside when you know he's not going to do it?

Oh, that's a very nice depiction of a Spiritomb. Even the battle style seems to reflect on the species very well; it's a literal wall. XD Sam was smart to figure out how to stop it. Pity that he won't be able to beat her Garchomp. None of his Pokemon would stand a chance, and I don't think Barry's Pokemon would stand much of a chance either.

And of course, the Hoenn crew ruins everything...twice. Once by using dynamite and then they botch the capture of the legends when Sam was clearly in control of the situation. I can't believe that the legends actually trusted Sam. Apparently, I've thought a lot less of him than I should have.

Chapter Sixteen

Wow, Sam. Not a very smart move to pick a fight with Carlos, especially when he's up against his crew as well. He's lucky that he didn't get the snot kicked out of him.

Heh. Looks like Cynthia's strong battling skills isn't the only impression he got from her. XD

Oh, no. From what I gathered from Rowan's call, I don't think Barry ever got back home. You can tell by the last part that Rowan deeply cares about Barry.

Oh, wow. You're not the only author who hates the Sinnoh bus system. XDD

And looking at Barry's Pokemon, Torterra and Empoleon clearly hate him for what he did to Barry. They know that he took them. I think he's damn lucky that Monferno's not fully-evolved; if he was, he might've acted the same way.

Overall, I loved the last few chapters. The only thing I really didn't like was Barry's portrayal, but everything else was spot on, and I truly enjoyed reading it. This is a literal gem. I love the world-building that's going on, and I love the way you're portraying the mature themes in your story. Take as long as you need for the next chapter; greatness should never be rushed, and this story is great.

Sincerely,

Mem.

Skiyomi
20th September 2012, 4:19 AM
Sorry it took me so long to get back, but I've got my reviewing tiara on and I'm ready to give my thoughts on chapters 8 and 9. *adjusts tiara*

Chapter 8 Notes:

Good world-building with the college facility names

Loving the conversation between Sam and Tommy about what Tommy would do if Sammy went to a college that was farther away. I know I said last time that I was pulling away from Tommy because he’d come a bit too perfect to me through Sam’s vision… but it’s moments like this that really pull me back to liking him.

Hmm. Sam’s disturbed by the idea of his brother meeting a woman. An interesting thought. Just general wincing from imagining a family member in a romantic entanglement or fear of Tommy finding someone that’s more important to him than Sam is?

I think you could’ve found a bit of a more subtle way to say that Sam feels guilt over the sacrifices Tommy’s made for him. First off because, well, that’s very clear at this point and secondly because it feels a little too on the nose. I’d feel his guilt more if he didn’t tell me he was guilty… if that makes sense. I mean, I don’t think you need a major change or anything. Just something that removes the basic iteration of “I feel guilty.” “It’s bad enough that Tommy already blah blah blah, without him having to blah blah blah” might manage the job without that direct statement of feeling.

I also think you could plum more psychologically out of this moment. Give Sam a chance to basically smokescreen himself from feeling guilty about the possibility of denying his brother a love life by instead telling himself that he’s just ew-ed out over the concept of his brother being romantically involved with someone.

Not just in this circumstance, but I think there are a lot of places in this that you could play with perception. We’re seeing this from Sam’s perspective, so he doesn’t always have to be reliable in his reports of the goings on in his own mind. I’m not saying he should be a liar, by any means—just that everyone deceives themselves at some point and it creates a more rewarding experience for the reader when they have to filter through those perceptions, those lies-we-tell-ourselves, to the heart of what’s really going on. Doing that could also be a good chance to give Tommy one of those moments of weakness I asked about in my last review. Sam will likely only remember Tommy as the perfect brother, but sometimes the reader can see something that the narrator misinterprets or represses or warps or doesn’t have enough information to understand. Just a thought.

*snickers* I love Barry.

*looks it up* Well, actual whales come in pods, gams, herds, schools, and mods, so herd should be correct for Wailmer.

I like the description of Olivine. A touristy port-town, from the perspective of someone who doesn’t like seafood or sea travel, would come off pretty bad.

Hmmm. I like the idea of Professor as a cabinet position. Government is something I always wished the franchise itself was more specific on in terms of its world.

I’m not saying that the ending to this chapter is bad because it’s not, but I think if you’d ended at the “loving this boat plan” line, you’d have a much stronger ending to the chapter. Because all that really seems important to me at least about the scene of them sneaking onboard is the fact that they… well, get onboard. And if you begin your next chapter with them actually on the boat, maybe with a brief explanation of how it happened (which you probably don’t really need. Being able to sneak onto a boat is not an unimaginable phenomena) then the reader can assume that they got on the boat. I just don’t think extending the scene is necessary here and I think Sam’s line makes a great chapter end stinger.

Chapter 9 Notes:

*snort* The Cult of Thick Facial Hair? Loving it.


“No. You should worry about to save yourself.”

Sounds like something’s off here. Perhaps it should be “worry about how to save yourself” or “worry about saving yourself.”

Umm… I love Barry and all, but getting his Pokemon to toss a man overboard is pretty cold… I know you go on to say that he probably just acted rashly, but it kinda seems over the top to me.

Hmm. His situation is rough, but bringing Professor Rowan into this could’ve been troublesome. If he’s in a political position, then it might not look good to have people claiming they represent him stowing away on a ship. Then again, the operation on the ship itself might not be legal and their situation is desperate, so I suppose giving it a try wasn’t a bad idea. Didn’t work though.

I can't give too much commentary on the battle because... battles are not my favorite subject both when it comes to writing and reading. I think you did a good job on it and kept the pace moving, but they're never going to be the kind of scenes I latch onto.

As far as endings go... tidal waves and near-drowning are pretty extreme! I think it's a nice suspenseful place to end, but I do think this is a situation where you could've increased dramatic effect by breaking up the last paragraph a bit. A lot happens in it and I think each seperate thing would have more of an impact if it wasn't all clumped together. I think I mentioned breaking up longer paragraphs in my last review? I'd say that also applies to a few other places in these two chapters.

All in all, quite exciting events going on here and whether we're with Sam and Tommy in the past or Sam and Barry in the present, there's a great rapport between the characters that makes them likeable and the story fun to read.

Sid87
20th September 2012, 11:34 PM
So many awesome comments; thanks guys!

I want you all to know I'm not blowing you off; I started a new job at the end of last week, and I'm currently in the first of 11 non-consecutive weeks of training with 12+ hour training days. When I'm home, I'm pretty much either sleeping or eating, so I haven't had time to reply to all your great comments (this apology goes double for you, Skiyomi: I've had the new chapter of Out Of My League opened in a tab ever since you updated it, but haven't had time to read it or the other updated chapter of another story I have opened. Sigh), but I will eventually get to them and reply(maybe even tonight; who knows?).

This also means chapter 17 will be delayed until WHO KNOWS WHEN. But it has been started (I delayed it to work on a One-Shot story for here I got 12 unglorious pages into before the new job came a-callin'), so it's not, I suppose, THAT far away.

But thank you all again!

Azurus
22nd September 2012, 4:49 PM
Well I just started reading and finally caught up, I'll admit that the beginning was a little slow for me, but that's maybe just because I like action scenes, I do, however, like where this is heading and enjoyed pretty much everything after the 4th chapter if I am remembering correctly. Keep up the good work and good luck with your training.

I also noticed that chapter 16 isn't in your direct links, though I imagine you already knew that.

Knightfall
23rd September 2012, 4:16 PM
Alright, I know it’s a little late, but here it is. My review of Chapter 16!



“First of all, I have no idea why you went in there and decided to set off explosives. That had to be the dumbest damn idea I can imagine. You think you’ll find three skittish, hiding pokemon, and you’re genius solution is to try and blow up half the cave. You’re a god damn idiot. Then--then!--when you get out of the cave after we were actively trying to keep you inside so you could maybe not ruin everything ever, you charge ahead like raging Tauroses and scare them away a second time. And that time, for good. So yes, now they’re gone, and we have no idea what our next move is. Congratulations, Sideburns! You’re the worst person in history.”

Well, I think we’ve already established the relationship between Carlos and explosives.
And from Sam’s dialogue, I’d say he’s not too happy with Carlos and his crew’s actions back there.



Carlos snorted. “We thought they was attacking you.”

“Oh, you’re about five seconds away from seeing what an attack looks like so next time you’ll know.”

Broken Kantoen, yay! And, this quote was just too good to go unnoticed.



“Do it. Come on, Sideburns. I’ll give you a hint, we already played this game, and--spoiler alert--you lost. But go ahead and threaten me. I could use a big, dumb idiot to bang my pokemon against for a few minutes. Let’s go.”

Again, too good of a quote to let go.



Sam was quietly thankful; he was more angry than he could ever recall being before, but once Carlos’ crew realized their foreman was being attacked and came to back him up, Sam would really not have liked the way that confrontation ended. For the moment, though, he had successfully alpha male’d Carlos, and that would have to do.

*Angrier



“God, I can’t wait to tell Mr. Alonzo how this went down. I hand him the guardians’ location on a silver-freakin’-platter, and then it all goes to pot. Everything’s screwed up, and I--” Sam felt an air pocket in his throat and knew he needed to redirect his emotions before he showed weakness in front of Carlos. “Damn it!" He slammed a fist down onto his side of the dashboard so hard, it knocked their walkie talkie free. Not wanting to acknowledge his outburst, Sam scooped it off of the ground without a word and placed it back.

Yeah, I’m sure that Carlos won’t be foreman after Mr. Alonzo hears of this.



Sam rubbed his eyes so hard that when he pulled his fingers away, black spots danced in front of him. The construction crew made Barry look like a baron of foresight and careful planning; when Sam got back to the Phoenix Shipping Corporation offices, he was going to insist on a new group of men to work with, or he was going back on his own. The choice might have been out of his hands anyway since he no longer had anything to offer Mr. Alonzo in exchange for their help (help of course being a term used extremely loosely in their case). Now that the guardians were on their own, Sam had no insight into where they could possibly be.

I love the detail with Sam rubbing his eyes and the black spots. Anyways, it brings a good question to mind: what will Mr. Alonzo do now? Sam has nothing to offer him now, so he can’t pull that trick again.



He felt the multitude of pokeballs bulging in his pocket and wondered if any of Barry’s pokemon would have fought for him should it have come to that. He suspected the high-energy, affectionate Monferno might have, but Empoleon and Torterra were bigger x-factors. It was probably for the best to keep them all contained for the moment. Eventually Sam knew he’d have to make his way to Twinleaf Town and drop the three of them off. At the moment, he could not bring himself to think of facing Barry, though.

Wow, I completely forgot that Sam had Barry’s Pokemon. It wasn’t mentioned much since he took them in Snowpoint so I didn’t remember it until now.



He took a look at Carlos, his face with full of sideburns and a scour. Sam could not help but think he had made the wrong choice leaving Celestic with the crew with which he came. But no...he could not have stayed behind with Carolina and Cynthia; no matter whether they were sympathetic to him or not, they were firmly entrenched with Rowan’s belief that the legends were to be protected from humanity. They would never help him find them again. Mr. Alonzo was still the only real avenue Sam could pursue. He would liked to have depended on the professor and her lovely granddaughter, but they would surely only seek to dissuade Sam from his purpose. Just like Rowan.

I’m sensing that this entire paragraph is going to be really ironic in the future, him feeling that he has no choice but to depend on Mr. Alonzo.



“I thought you would sleep all day,” the man next to him said.

“It felt like I did,” Sam responded, his anger from earlier feeling less important while his mind continued trying to find its focus. “Oreburgh?”

“Yes.”

“So we’re close to the strait then,” Sam noted rhetorically.


Ah, the awkward small talk.



It was going to be a chore getting all of the Phoenix Corporation equipment back onto a cargo ship just to get across to Canalave, but it was hardly his concern; Carlos and his men would handle that. Sam briefly wondered if they resented him for that but discounted the thought. It was probably fine with them that he did not touch anymore of their stuff. They tended to end up in fissures or at the bottom of the sea when he did.


Yep, I wonder how the bill for all that stuff is going to look…



He heard Rowan still talking right through the question. Rowan must not have been able to hear Sam any longer, either. “--please, I-- --help and-- --care for-- --doesn’t deserve--” Finally, Sam’s phone emitted a beep, and he knew the call was lost entirely.


Hmm, interesting. I wonder what Rowan wants now?



Ever since he had arrived at Jubilife Airport weeks ago, he’d only felt more and more hopeful with every passing day. It had been a roller coaster climb of anticipation he had been on, and the pinnacle of it was Celestic Town. Unfortunately, when he reached the top of the track, he found that there was no station in sight where the roller coaster would end. There was only another rapid descent with his heart in his throat. Sam tried his best to ignore the city and continue looking upwards and around the skyscrapers for any sign of the legends.

Wow, has it only been two weeks since he left to go see Rowan? There’s been so much happening. Anyways, the sentences comparing his feelings to a roller coaster couldn’t have been worded better. It’d be exactly how I’d describe the journey too.




When the route west through Jubilife City was halted by a broken down city transit bus, Sam began wondering what bus deity out there resided in Sinnoh, and why he hated Sam so much.

Heh, Sam, you’re not the only person the bus god hates. By the way, the other fic I said also decries Sinnoh’s public transportation is My Trip to the End of Time by Cutlerine. Just in case you were wondering.
Though I think you portray the hatred better.



“Where do you go?”

Sam waved his arm ahead of them to the stalled bus and the Jubilife police officers arriving on the scene. “Who knows how long we’re going to be stuck here, but I’m kind of over the whole sitting-in-a-truck thing. I’m just stretching, Sideburns; don’t worry. I shouldn’t be far.”


I love Carlos, he may be just a minor character, but I hope he sticks around. The broken language has grown on me.



With three squeezes, his friends emerged to the street. Bree cut rapidly through the air in a zig-zag pattern; just as Sam expected, she still had plenty of energy to burn, despite having been in stasis, since she had been so psyched up to battle the Garchomp. Vlam’s legs and tails were stiff, and she sniffed the air with determination. Sam felt guilty that the last few times she’d been free from her ball were to battle, and now she was apparently beginning to expect it. He promised to himself to give them all more time free to relax. Chispa was, as usual, nonplussed by anything that had previously happened to her, and immediately began assailing a pebble she found on the sidewalk. She swatted it a few feet away and then wriggled her rear end and pounced onto it.


Just in how they act you can clearly see their personalities. I love how you write the Pokemon in this story, especially Chispa.
“Assailing a pebble” that’s just so damn cute.



Bree tilted her head and hummed abruptly. Apparently settled somewhat, she flittered towards Sam and settled on his shoulder. He coughed as a smattering of her spores invaded his sinuses. He flicked her wing gently to get her attention. “You’ve got to be careful with those things, little girl.” He wiped away water that was welling in his eyes as a reaction to her scales, and she rubbed her round head against his in a form of apology.


Well considering that her scales are designed to cause poisoning and paralysis, I’d say she needs to be very careful.



Vlam slowly pushed up to her feet and butted the crown of her head into Sam’s left pocket. He felt Barry’s pokeballs bobble there. “Is that what it is? You want to see Barry’s friends?” Vlam continued staring intently at him. Sam shrugged. “All right, fine.” He reached in his pocket with mild trepidation; he had no idea how Barry’s pokemon would react to him. Still, it was not as if he was gambling on their battling for him, so they should be safe to just let free for a bit. With a gentle squeeze to each red-and-white sphere, he released them.

Vlam the Peacemaker, it’s a good title. It’ll catch on.



Monferno emerged much like Bree had, with his head shooting from left-to-right and obviously wound up. He seemed disoriented at first, but upon noticing Sam, that faded. He leapt upwards, causing Sam to have to catch the fire-type in his arms to avoid a collision. Monferno grunted in a high voice and patted Sam’s face. Bree, seemingly perturbed by Monferno’s playfulness, flew off of her trainer’s shoulder. Barry’s Empoleon and Torterra were apparently less excited to be with Sam. They each stood stoically next to the other shooting Sam looks that he could only discern as unpleasant disdain.

Considering the fact that he stole them from their trainer, I’d assume they wouldn’t be too happy with him.



Sam contemplated saying something else, but before he could, he felt a paw swiping at his leg. He looked down to find Vlam staring up at him. “Be my guest,” Sam said to her and moved his hand towards Empoleon and Torterra. Vlam walked over to Barry’s pokemon and barked softly. They were unfazed. She tried again, this time brushing her tails gently against Torterra’s leg, but again was given no visible reply. A third attempt to communicate something to them was met with a loud growl from the immense tortoise, and Sam decided that was enough. He recalled Torterra and Empoleon into their balls.

Well, I guess the “Peacemaker” thing is out of the question then.



“Sorry, Vlam. I know you were trying, but they clearly weren’t buying what you were selling.” Vlam cooed in response and wiped her muzzle with a paw. Monferno, at least, was not swayed by his family’s reaction; he continued crawling around Sam’s shoulders and trying to find a comfortable position. “I’m going to get you guys back home, I promise,” Sam pointed out to the fiery monkey, “I just need to find the opportunity. I’m not sure Barry would love seeing me right now.” Monferno grinned and clapped his hands together, and Sam could only assume he was just happy to hear his trainer’s name.


Hm, I’m wondering just where the story is going to go now. The Lake Trio are gone, and aren’t likely to be found for a while. You’ve hinted that Sam will eventually go to Rowan and talk and possibly return Barry’s Pokemon, but I haven’t the foggiest about what the big plot point is.
I assume it’ll become clearer over time.

A great chapter, I expected nothing less. Only one mistake I was able to find, and it was small.
I liked how Sam was able to “cool down” somewhat after the fiasco in Celestic town, and how uncertain the future is for him and his quest.

I’m sorry about how long this took to get out, I’ve been busy with school and life lately.

So, I can’t wait until the next chapter, and good luck with your new job. Hopefully the training will be over soon and you’ll have a better work schedule.

Knightfall signing off… ;005;

Ememew
24th September 2012, 5:12 AM
Congratulations on the new job, and don’t worry about taking a while to post – it gives me more time to catch up with your other chapters!

Chapter 13: 5 Years Ago

“Hey! Buddy! Are you supposed to be in charge of this craphole? I was at the Rooftop Cafe, and the vending machine ate my money. You owe me a drink.”

Tommy must have recognized his brother’s voice, because all he did was shrug and continue counting inventory of weight belts. “Good to know the new Rip-off Idiots feature is working then.” Tommy put his scanning gun down on the counter and finally turned to face Sam. The brothers embraced, with Tommy slapping Sam hard on the back as usual, before he continued, “Don’t you have Adanced Theories of Pokemon Psychology tonight? What are you doing here?” This brotherly interaction feels pretty real, nice job. Also, “Advanced” is missing a v.

Tommy nodded. “Well, coming to my work and pestering me is pretty strenuous training. I’m certain you have this one all wrapped up.”

“Man can not survive on pokemon training alone.”

“That’s cute. Did you learn that in class?”

“Probably. Let’s go with ‘yes’. You’re pretty good at this banter between the two – certainly had me chuckling. I think going back to a lighthearted conversation after all the drama was a nice way of allowing Sam to retain the reader’s sympathy. These interactions with Tommy help remind the reader just why he’s desperate enough to get as angry as he did.

Tommy had been department manager of that floor--hardware and sporting goods--for a few months now and was expecting a promotion any day now based on the glowing quarterly report he’d just had from his supervisor. Sam knew Tommy secretly wanted to be put in charge of the sixth and seventh floors--pokemon goods, food, and supplies--even if he wouldn’t come right out and say it. Sam had been considering calling Tommy’s boss one of these days and reminding her of all the overtime and hardwork Tommy had been putting in, but he also didn’t want to embarrass his sibling or speak out of turn. As Sam mulled over the possibility of calling her some more, Tommy emerged from behind his counter with a bottle of iced tea. Just another reminder that you have a few double-hyphens instead of dashes scattered around. Also, hard work is usually two separate words.

“You know me. If I don’t work through lunch, it’ll be a miracle. Better you have it than I waste it. What with all the vigorous standing around you’re doing in preparation for tomorrow, I’m sure you are working up quite the thirst.” I think this mention of Tommy’s not taking care of himself while sacrificing for Sam was a bit better done than some of the others. It’s more subtle and natural and it makes more sense that Sam might overlook it than some of the previous mentions have appeared.

“That’s a long time for her to have just seen you naked for the first time.”

Sam sputtered a few sounds, but nothing of consequence. Tommy was laughing so hard his eyes were wet. “I hate you,” Sam finally said. Scenes like this are great! Tommy seems a lot more real here, and I laughed right alongside him.

Rowan answered, his fingers fumbling to open the wrapper of a piece of hard candy as he saw Sam at his doorstep. “Sam Stark! How are you, son? How may I assist you?” Looks like Barry hasn’t been in communication with him since the incident. I’m guessing he wasn’t delivered back to his hometown as promised.

Rowan appeared ready to scold Sam, but his face dropped and his shoulders heaved. Sam couldn’t tell if it was guilt or not, but the professor seemed to forego whatever was coming and instead began the story of the Church of Cyrus. Oooh, this ought to be interesting. This seems a pretty good way of creating a Team Galactic that’s not actually called Team Galactic, which makes sense for your continuity. Of course, this also means Palmer (Barry’s father) isn’t around in this continuity either, unless he went missing instead of being killed off. I like the set up and how it works in a pokémon world without Gyms, and it’s a little fun guessing what aspects are kept from the canon universe and what aspects are changed.

“Unfortunately,” Rowan rubbed his nose at the word, “I underestimated just how fervent Cyrus’ supporters were. There was a riot when news broke that the government had declared him a threat to national security, and... well, Barry’s parents did not make it back with us. We were able to apprehend Cyrus; he’s been remanded to the care of a psychiatric institution in Veilstone.Better hope he doesn’t get out!

Sam crossed his arms. “And you couldn’t have told me all of this when I first came to you?”

“With the look in your eyes and your determination? Would you have believed me? Would you have cared what I said?”

“No.” Sam’s statement was unabashedly plain.

“That’s why. So I figured it was safer to have you go look for yourself and figure that the legends didn’t even exist anymore.”

Sam tightened his jaw so hard, he felt a sharp pain shoot through his molars from being ground together. “So I came to you for help, and you led me around like a dog on a leash because you think I’m no different than a psychopath who,” Sam laughed at his final words--they were just too ridiculous, “wanted to destroy the world?” Yep, Sam’s got reason to be angry, all right. Although, I think his anger builds more realistically here than with Barry.

Rowan’s fist slammed down hard on his desk, knocking down pictures that had been sitting there of Rowan with various children, shaking hands with colleagues, and with his arm around a woman. “Mr. Stark! Whatever you may think of me, you will not speak to me that way in my office. I will not stand for it.” Rowan’s timing is good, too, trying to let Sam vent until he realizes he’s heating up rather than cooling down, and then moving to stop him.


Rowan sighed. “And what happens with the guardians after you bring him back?”

“What do you mean?”

“Just what I said. Say you found them and brought them back to Johto. And say they could even cure your brother. Then what?”

Sam paused; he had not considered this before. He rubbed his hands together as he thought about what he would do then; he had not realized how sweaty his palms had gotten since his arrival at Rowan’s office. He meant what he told Rowan earlier when they met the first time; he had no interest in the legends. He didn’t want them for himself. “I would let them go. Either let them leave them as they want or bring them back here so they’d be home.”

“Do you honestly think it would work like that?”

Sam narrowed his eyes. What was the professor getting at? I like Sam’s confusion here – it helps show just how one-track-minded he is about this and how naïve he is about the consequences of his actions. I can’t say I approve of Rowan’s decision to lead him on, but I can understand his reasons for not wanting Sam to have access to the trio.

That said, I do wonder if this could have been resolved by Rowan suggesting that Sam somehow bring his brother to the location of the legends in secret. The logistics of getting a catatonic man out to a secluded location might be complicated, but I would think it would be doable – unless Rowan’s concerned about the idea of playing favorites or is worried that Sam might let word of the legends get out anyway.

Sam pursed his lips and gritted his teeth again. This conversation was clearly going nowhere, and Sam knew at that moment what he had to do next anyway. “Not to me, there isn’t”. Before Rowan could issue another word of protest, Sam walked out the front door.

He had gotten several yards away from Rowan’s laboratory before he felt secure that the professor was not going to follow him and try to continue their discussion. Most likely, he was as exhausted from it as Sam was. Sam couldn’t help but wonder why Barry and Rowan couldn’t see how much Sam needed this. Why were they being so selfish and uncaring? There was a life at stake, and it was apparent that they would do anything in their power not to help save it. If that was the case, Sam would simply get in touch with those he knew would be on his side. As soon as he found a place to stop, he’d make a call to the Phoenix Shipping Corporation. Mr. Alonzo would have to take his call since Sam suddenly knew where to start looking for the guardians. It also seems pretty risky for Rowan to just let Sam leave in the mood he’s in, now that he knows they exist. Even if he doesn’t know about Sam’s contact with Mr. Alonzo, you’d think he’d be concerned that Sam might start trying to convince someone of importance to track them down.
Chapter 14

Sam smacked the receiver end of his cell phone off his forehead three times before closing his eyes and reminding himself to try to remain calm. “No, you did not lose a package,” Sam spoke very slowly, picturing Mr. Rivera as a small child who couldn’t grasp large, intricate ideas. “Mr. Alonzo knows me. We are acquaintances. He is probably even expecting my call.”

“I’m sure he is,” Alberto Rivera replied. Sam could somehow hear the Secretary of Domestic Relations and Image rolling his eyes. “But, as I said, I can not contact him at the moment. If you feel I can not accommodate your needs in a satisfactory manner, I’ll tell you what I can do...” Sam’s not having a very good day. Although, I do wonder why Mr. Alonzo didn’t provide Sam with an easier mode of contact when he seemed like he would be happy to have Sam on his side before.

Also, if I remember right from highschool, “cannot” is written as one word.

“NO!--”

“...I will just transfer...”

“DON’T YOU--”

“...you down the hall to...”

“I don’t want to be transferred again!”

“...the head of our Communications department...”

Sam let out a very primal yell as he pressed the End Call button on his phone as vengefully as he could. He rued modern technology for taking away the old-fashioned ability to slam a handset down into its cradle. Haha, this is a great mental image, though.


It had been a few days since Snowpoint by this time, and Sam had no idea if Henrique was still there. Still, it was the only lead he had left. Sam turned his phone back on and searched for the number for Snowpoint Resort. He pressed the number when it showed on his phone’s screen.

“Is Henrique Alonzo still available?” Sam asked the lady who answered his call. She placed Sam on hold; with any luck, Mr. Alonzo was still there. If not, Sam’s next best idea was camp out in the middle of the Phoenix Corporation office floor in Canalave until someone put him in touch with their president.

“This is Mr. Alonzo,” the voice on the other end responded. Sam recognized it and was immediately both relieved and frustrated. He was relieved, of course, that he had gotten through; he was frustrated that he wasted so much time trying to navigate the maze of Mr. Alonzo’s employees before calling the resort. Good reasoning, though, in figuring out an alternative. You can almost feel the lightbulb going off in his head when he resorts to calling Mr. Alonzo where he last saw him (ok, bad pun, I know).


“Oh man. Sucker,” Sam chuckled aloud.

“Do you suppose so?”

Sam glanced to the voice from over his right shoulder and saw Henrique standing there. Figuring it would be the proper thing to do, Sam stood and shook the man’s hand. It couldn‘t hurt to butter him up a bit.

“Good to see you got the ticket I left you.”

“Yes, this is interesting. I haven’t sat in the crowd in ages. I usually get box seats when I come to these.”

“Oh,” Sam said while nodding. He felt an odd mixture of embarrassment and anger that someone would so flippantly imply the seats were not up to his usual standards, but Sam decided to swallow those feelings. He motioned back to the arena. “Do you not suppose the Kadabra just fell into the Rhydon’s trap?”

“I think that trying to hide from a psychic is a foolish idea.” Nice timing for his arrival, too. Experience and a fresh face are colliding in more arenas than the one on the field below.

“I’m sure I could find some if that would make you feel better.” Sam would let Mr. Alonzo think the meeting was public for whatever reason he wanted; Sam knew it was because he was not yet sure if he could trust Henrique. I’m guessing Henrique already knows, Sam. Also, I like the way the battle is thrown in throughout this exchange – it’s always good when a writer makes sure to work the environment in where appropriate.

Sam snapped his fingers. “That’s right. It dawned on me when I was at his office and saw his desk. There were pictures of him with his nieces and nephews and with some friends and possibly with a...,” Sam stopped as he thought about the next word. Girlfriend? Sounds immature for a man of Rowan’s stature. Lover? Sam shuddered at that thought. Finally, he came up with an alternative. “A paramour.” I’m not sure about the term paramour, as it refers to “especially a lover to a married person” like a “mistress.”

“So why are you telling me this? You certainly have not seemed like my biggest fan up until now. Now that you know what I stand for, do you see I have everyone’s best interests at heart?”

“Your ‘best interests’ can go blow,” Sam stated, shaking his head. “I came to you because you have the resources and the desire to help me meet the trio. We get their help, first thing is first, and that’s that I help my brother.” Sam was not sure Mr. Alonzo even knew anything about Tommy other than from the fit Sam had on Barry back in Snowpointe. “After that, I don’t care if you bring them back home or making everyone happy all the time or dress them up in doll clothes. Doesn’t matter to me.” Sam’s one-track mind might lead to trouble, even if Mr. Alonzo truly does have the world’s best interests at heart. Also, Snowpoint doesn’t have an e at the end.

Mr. Alonzo smiled at the result and turned to Sam. “A good lesson, I think. No matter how young, enthusiastic, and driven a competitor is, he’ll always lose out when he challenges someone older with more experience.” This has double meaning written all over it.

Chapter 15

Sam probably had not helped the situation when, upon seeing a sign on the merge ramp to the highway instructing them to yield to traffic, he asked Carlos, “Do you yield? At this sign, I mean?" and then giggled at his own joke. Nope, that probably did not help at all. I’m not sure how wise it is to rub in his victory when Carlos is driving on such a precarious stretch of road. It doesn’t help make Sam likable, that’s for sure.
For all Sam knew, they were planning what the best way to cook him was (Sam immediately scolded himself for the potentially racist thought that all Hoennese were barbaric cannibals; still, he could not help but think they were discussing things that had to do with him, even if he knew that was just paranoia).Yep, that seems pretty racist, all right, Sam, and not too helpful for making him likable combined with his attempts to provoke Carlos when they’re on the same side now. Is this scene meant to establish just how ingrained the prejudices are in the culture you’ve created for this fic? It doesn’t help me like Sam, despite the previous chapters doing better in that regard.
“You are not to answer that?” Carlos asked, looking over at Sam. Perhaps, for as little as he seemed to want to talk to Sam, he wanted some voice to break the silence. Or perhaps he just like eavesdropping on phone calls. Like should be past tense.

“What is this? I can tell you what it’s not. Stealthy. We’re just--” More foreign words came with a burst of static from the dashboard walkie-talkie. Sam reached over and pressed the button. “The adults are having a discussion. Sit quietly and think about what you’ve done for a while.” Sam flipped the device to off and returned his attention to Carlos. “We’re just going to roll up into their town with six flatbed trucks and a bunch of heavy equipment? You think that won’t get attention?” I get that Rowan’s attempts to communicate frustrated him, but stuff like this just sounds more spiteful than anything. Although I do like the use of Celestic Cave – it always disappointed me how empty it was in the games, despite being clearly connected to the legendaries.


Celestic Town was no more impressive up close than it had been at a distance. It seemed as though someone had once wanted to build a settlement, but thought that clearing trees or establishing infrastructure was too much work. Route 210 cut through town, but it was the only thing Sam would really call a road; the homes that were not right on the main route were only accessible by barely-paved, one-lane paths. The storefront that Sam had seen from the distance was just a market and the only business he noticed until he caught site of a medical center closer to the middle of town. Those two were apparently it for Celestic commerce. Sam’s decision to leave the trucks and equipment behind was beginning to seem like a terrible idea; this was clearly not a place that received many visitors, and every eye in town seemed to be on Sam and the crew from the minute they entered. He’d seen enough horror movies growing up to immediately think that this was the kind of place where strangers got chained up in leaky basements and tortured by people who made boots out of human flesh. I think the paragraph could be broken up a bit in the spot I indicate in bold. The first part is a description of town, the second is Sam’s horror-movie filled imagination and second thoughts taking over instead. Also, good job building the creepy atmosphere of the town.

Sam found that seeing her before him was the pleasant thing Sinnoh had given him yet. I think you’re missing the word “most” in there.

Sam took slow steps towards her and extended his hand. “I apologize then. And it’s a pleasure to meet you, professor. My name is Samuel Stark.” He found himself hoping the young woman with Professor Carolina was noting his gentlemanly nature. I hope this is just showing off for a pretty face rather than a “love-at-first-sight” thing, because I don’t tend to find the latter very realistic. That said, it is funny when compared to the previous mood, so it helps deflect some of the seriousness of the scene.

“Cynthia, there’s no more time for talk! Those men are in the cave already!”

Cynthia frowned and pulled a ball from inside her coat. Sam recognized it as an Ultra Ball from its yellow-and-black design. “Please stand aside and allow us to get those gentlemen out of the cave, Samuel. It is imperative.” She seems a little too polite about this, given the situation at hand. If Cynthia and her grandmother are supposed to be guarding the legends (and possibly have already been informed about someone named Sam Stark from Rowan) you’d think she’d be a bit less concerned with formalities when the guys are already in the cave.

Sam chewed the inside of his lip in frustration and pulled Chispa’s Friend Ball from his pocket. “I can’t do that. I’m sorry.” He squeezed the Friend Ball, and crimson energy shot forth from the ball’s outlet, releasing the blue-and-black cub onto the grassy floor of the Celestic woods. As usual, sparks danced off of her yellow, star-like tail in her own personal display of happiness to be out. The rest of the world outside her ball was seemingly irrelevant to her as she intertwined Sam’s legs, rubbing her head on his shins. If Sam had any designs on intimidating Cynthia and Professor Carolina into submission, those were clearly just nixed. Chispa is awesome. That is all.

It was a rock, and much more than he would describe a Geodude as a rock. It was a blank, cracked stone. It didn’t move. Still, it was impossible to just catch a plain rock in a pokeball, so it had to be some kind of pokemon. Sam nudged Chispa out from between his legs. “Be careful, but investigate that for me, Chispa. Can you investigate the rock for me?”

Chispa yipped back in happy reply, her tongue sticking out the side of her smiling mouth. She sneaked up on the rock, but given that neither she nor Sam could know where its eyes--if it even had any--were, it seemed futile. The earnest Shinx got within mere feet of the stone, and it still had not moved.

“Shadow ball!” Cynthia cried out, causing Chispa to flinch when the trainer’s words broke her silent concentration. Again, with the other men already at the cave, it seems unusual that Cynthia would use tactics that involve waiting and lulling Sam into a false sense of security.


From out of the crack in the stone emerged something Sam could only describe as a colorful, jaggedly round shadow. It was mostly a deep violet, but there were lightning--like flashes of green energy inside it. While most of the flashes swirled about in the shadowy body, two remained steadily in place. They were crescent-shaped and floated in the middle of the strange form like the crooked eyes of a jack-o-lantern. Sam recognized it immediately as a pokemon he’d heard of but thought was only an urban legend. “there were lightning” just doesn’t sound right, but otherwise I like the description of Spiritomb.

“Chispa, come back,” Sam said, wincing at his friend’s agony as her held up her Friend Ball and squeezed it twice. The ball made an electronic humming sound as Chispa reverted to her kinetic energy transport form and was absorbed back to safety. If physical attacks were not going to cut it against Spiritomb, he’d try another path. He grabbed another of the balls in his pocket and released Vlam.

“Mr. Stark, my granddaughter defeated your Shinx fair and square! Stand aside and let us into the cave to get your friends out of there.” I can see why Sam’s still there, as he’s basically stalling for Carlos’s crew, and you suggest that Cynthia is more interested in the battle than the cave, but why is professor Carolina still standing around? Why are they taking their time with a single trainer when there’s a whole group already inside the cave they’re protecting?

“You can’t hurt Mouri, Sam. Please let us pass.”

Sam ignored Cynthia’s plea. Carlos and his men had been in the cave for several minutes now; he just needed to buy them a little more time. “All right, Vlam. If it wants to hide in the rock, we’ll just knock it clear out of the forest. Use a double kick on it!” Vlam rushed forward. Sam may not have been able to hurt the Spiritomb, but as long as it was bound to the rock, he could at least get rid of it. And these two points in bold, when taken together, are why I just don’t find this set-up very believable, sorry to say. I’d find Sam’s attempts to get past a Spiritomb’s nearly impenetrable defenses much more engaging if not for the distraction of how unusual the cave’s protectors’ behavior is.


As Vlam approached, Mouri emerged from its crack and shot its anchored, spiritual body towards her. As with Chispa earlier, the crackling energy the made up the Spiritomb caused Vlam great agony as it enveloped her.I think you mean the crackling energy that made up the Spiritomb.

“Flamethrower!” He called out. Again, she shot a stream of fire towards her enemy. Sam heard Cynthia cry for Mouri to withdraw, but this time it was too close, and the defensive order came to late. The flames tore through the shadowy body, and Mouri let out a piercing, echoing shriek. The sound was so inhuman and loud, Sam instinctively cupped his hands over his ears. “Keep it up, Vlam!” He yelled over the wail. “You’ve got it on the ropes!” Too is missing an o, here.

“I’m sorry, Vlam,” he said as she was absorbed safely into the ball, “I thought you could do it.” He had only one option left, but this time he also had a plan. “I know you can, though.” With a squeeze of the Nest Ball, Bree appeared in the clearing. Sam expected another demand of surrender from Carolina, but none ever came. Perhaps she was acquiescing to her daughter’s apparent desire for the match to continue, or perhaps she just thought Sam did not have a chance and was not worth bothering with. That was fine by Sam; people had been underestimating Bree his entire life. And at this point, I’m starting to wonder if their illogical politeness is actually because the cave is a red herring or a trap.

“Bree, that’s what we needed, girl. I want you to cover that rock in sleep powder now!” In the air above Mouri’s stone, Bree shook her wings fervently. Powder-fine scales broke loose and fell to the area below. With nothing to interrupt her, Bree let the scales fall for several seconds until everything below was covered in them. “That’s good, Bree. Come back over to me.” Sam looked across the field and saw Cynthia grimacing; she must have figured it out. “That’s right. Your Spiritomb’s protective home just became its prison. Bring it out now, and it’s going to absorb all the sleep powder.” A clever strategy indeed. I love how in fanfic you don’t necessarily have to defeat opponents so long as you can incapacitate them, and am glad when I see this idea isn’t overlooked.

“Last chance, Mr. Stark,” Cynthia offered. There was an edge to her voice that Sam had not picked up on before. Maybe she really was just fooling around at first. “Give up and let us go get those gentlemen.” Finally the patient waiting game is coming to a close. Garchomp licking its lips really adds to the intimidation here.

An explosion behind him stole the rest of his command. The concussive force of the blast barreled out the opening of the cave and knocked Sam off of his feet. He rolled over onto his back to steal a glance upwards; thankfully, Bree was still aloft, albeit shakily. For her own safety, he quickly withdrew her back into her ball. Looking over, he saw that Cynthia had grabbed her grandmother to hold her up, but both were still on their feet due to being further from the opening than Sam had been. Other than an obnoxious humming in his ears and a pair of bloody forearms from impact with the ground, everyone appeared to be all right.

“What was that?” He found himself shouting in unison with Cynthia. The look on her face revealed she must have been surprised that he did not already know.

“They weren’t supposed to do anything like that!” Sam shouted over the squeal in his eardrums. “I promise, this wasn’t my intention at all!” The Cult of the Thick Facial Hair loves explosives, it seems. Sam has bitten off more than he can chew on two fronts.

Cynthia began rushing to the entrance of the cave, and Sam instinctively decided to follow her. He had no idea what had just happened; he did not even think anybody on the crew brought anything capable of such a blast. They were just as reckless and foolhardy as they had been at Verity lakefront and on the cargo ship. Before Sam and Cynthia could enter the cave, they were stunned to see three small figures exit it in a blur. So they were there after all. Hmm . . .

From near him, he heard Cynthia give an order. “Perang, Kelaparan, block the entrance to the cave so the guardians can escape! You seem to be missing the end quotes from Cynthia’s sentence.

In the distance of the sky, one of them came to a halt. Sam could faintly make out the crest that marked it as Mesprit. Perhaps something in his voice got through to the small guardian. “Please, I will do anything--anything--for my brother! I would never hurt you or try to catch you, but he means everything to me and nothing will stop me from saving him. Please come back!” With those words, he saw a second stop; this time it was Azelf. As Azelf floated down to its brother Mesprit, Uxie also came to a stop, if only due to curiosity as to what had gotten the attention of the other two. They hovered in the air far from Sam and stared at him. “Please...,” Sam muttered, as he fell to his knees. “Help me.”

Much slower and more cautiously than the trio had flown into the sky, they began coming back down. Above the ruckus from the entryway to the ruins where the crew must have been trying to get past the Garchomp and Snorlax, Sam heard Professor Carolina let out a startled gasp; she obviously did not expect the guardians to stop their flight to freedom. Sam felt her approach his side, but he did not care. All that mattered was convincing the guardians that he meant what he said. The professor put a hand on Sam’s shoulders, but there was no anger in her grip. She was merely lightly comforting him. She’s not the only one surprised. Also, good job in conveying their distinct personalities through these small details.

The din of mayhem disturbed the moment, and Sam turned to see that a gang of pokemon--led by Carlos’ Hariyama--had battled their way past Cynthia’s Garchomp and Snorlax and had cleared the way of the ruins’ entrance. Carlos himself was right behind the pokemon, and he pointed at the legends and yelled something in Hoennese back to the crew.

“No!” Sam yelled. He knew they would ruin everything, but it was too late. The battle spilling outside the cave, the frantic yelling of the Phoenix workers, and the sight of them charging towards Sam were all too much for the legends. They took back off into the sky as swiftly as they had fled the cave. Well before Carlos and the others reached Sam, the guardians were out of sight. I think this scene works especially well because the guardians turned back at Sam’s plea at first. Had they just left, it would have been one thing, but the fact that they came closer before taking off makes the scene all the more emotional because Sam’s hopes are raised and dashed in such quick succession.
Chapter 16

Sam was determined to make the trip back to Canalave City as miserable as he could for Carlos. It was not even a small percentage of payback for what Carlos had cost him, but it was the only way Sam could stop himself from putting his own fist through the windshield in frustration. Here the decision to provoke Carlos seems more reasonable than the previous occurrences did, as Sam’s anger is much fresher.
Carlos, who was breathing heavily and audibly, glared at Sam for a few seconds before simply clearing his throat and turning back to the wheel. Sam was quietly thankful; he was more angry than he could ever recall being before, but once Carlos’ crew realized their foreman was being attacked and came to back him up, Sam would really not have liked the way that confrontation ended. For the moment, though, he had successfully alpha male’d Carlos, and that would have to do. I have to agree with Knightfall – angrier.

Sam turned to stare out the window at the feeble guadrail and the valley below.Guardrail is missing a letter here.
He would not be in Canalave for several hours at best, and the last thing he wanted was to be once again cooped up in that truck with Carlos. He had been so close; the trio had been right in front of him, and they seemed to be willing to help him out. Over a year of searching had brought a solution to his fingertips, and it was gone again to who-knows-where over the bumbling of some idiots with whom Sam had been stuck. Sam rubbed his eyes so hard that when he pulled his fingers away, black spots danced in front of him. The construction crew made Barry look like a baron of foresight and careful planning; when Sam got back to the Phoenix Shipping Corporation offices, he was going to insist on a new group of men to work with, or he was going back on his own. The choice might have been out of his hands anyway since he no longer had anything to offer Mr. Alonzo in exchange for their help (help of course being a term used extremely loosely in their case). Now that the guardians were on their own, Sam had no insight into where they could possibly be. Really, I though he earlier reasoned that the guardians would likely return to their home Lakes if they weren’t being kept elsewhere . . . or is he doubting that reasoning now?

He would liked to have depended on the professor and her lovely granddaughter, but they would surely only seek to dissuade Sam from his purpose. Just like Rowan. You’re missing the word “have” in between here.

When they opened again, the first thing Sam noticed was the large cranes. He thought he’d somehow slept all the way to Canalave and its piers, but he also knew he could not have been that tired. When he looked over to Carlos for a clue, he saw that traffic on the other side of the road was a string of dump trucks. A look out his passenger side window showed him a large, rocky hillside with a what seemed to be a covered waterslide jutting out of it. There’s also an extra “a” here.

“So we’re close to the strait then,” Sam noted rhetorically. It was going to be a chore getting all of the Phoenix Corporation equipment back onto a cargo ship just to get across to Canalave, but it was hardly his concern; Carlos and his men would handle that. Sam briefly wondered if they resented him for that but discounted the thought. It was probably fine with them that he did not touch anymore of their stuff. They tended to end up in fissures or at the bottom of the sea when he did. I’m not sure, but I think any more should be two words here.

Sam’s eyes wondered back out his side window. Wandered.

Sam’s phone rang when the truck was mere feet inside the tunnel; it was Rowan’s name on his display again. Sam thought it over--Rowan did not seem the sort to call just to mock him for failing to get the legends. Maybe Professor Carolina told Rowan about Sam’s encounter and what she witnessed; maybe Rowan knew now that Sam’s heart was in the right place. He decided to answer.

“Professor?”

“Sam? Sam, you answered. Thank goodness. Sam, we need to talk.”

“Is this about Celestic Town? Do you know what happened?”

“Celes-- --No, I-- --were even there--.” Ah, cell phone garble at what is probably the worst of moments. Can you hear me now?

“Well I’ll-- --then. I-- --voicemail and I need-- --Barry-- --home. He-- --and I-- --is. I don’t think-- --with it-- --Phoenix--” Here’s hoping Sam didn’t just delete the earlier voicemail out of disgust. Somehow I think he’s wondering about what happened to Barry after Snowpoint, not that Sam will come to that conclusion.

Chispa’s attention was grabbed first; she immediately forgot about her enemy pebble and rushed to Sam’s legs, winding herself between them. Bree chirped a response in the air, though the sudden, darting movements of her antennae told Sam she still thought the Garchomp was around. Vlam let out a huff of air and did a circle on the sidewalk before lying down. I like the reactions the three have, all distinct.

Chispa and Bree seemed contented enough, but there was something off about Vlam. She lay inattentively on the sidewalk, moving only enough to look from left to right and let out a yawn.

“All right, what’s the matter with you?”

Vlam dodged Sam’s attempt at getting into her line of sight by turning away from him. He moved over to where she shifted her head, but the fox pokemon turned to face the other direction. She was clearly giving him the silent treatment. “Oh, whatever it is, I’m sorry,” Sam sighed. “Just let me know, okay?”

Vlam slowly pushed up to her feet and butted the crown of her head into Sam’s left pocket. He felt Barry’s pokeballs bobble there. “Is that what it is? You want to see Barry’s friends?” Vlam continued staring intently at him. Sam shrugged. “All right, fine.” He reached in his pocket with mild trepidation; he had no idea how Barry’s pokemon would react to him. Still, it was not as if he was gambling on their battling for him, so they should be safe to just let free for a bit. With a gentle squeeze to each red-and-white sphere, he released them. I also like Vlam’s reactions here. The ninetales has been shown to be insightful before, and the trend continues.

Monferno emerged much like Bree had, with his head shooting from left-to-right and obviously wound up. He seemed disoriented at first, but upon noticing Sam, that faded. He leapt upwards, causing Sam to have to catch the fire-type in his arms to avoid a collision. Monferno grunted in a high voice and patted Sam’s face. Bree, seemingly perturbed by Monferno’s playfulness, flew off of her trainer’s shoulder. Barry’s Empoleon and Torterra were apparently less excited to be with Sam. They each stood stoically next to the other shooting Sam looks that he could only discern as unpleasant disdain.

“So... hi there.” Sam rubbed Monferno’s chin more for the benefit of Empoleon and Torterra than for Monferno. He wanted them to see that he was not an enemy. “Sorry that you haven’t been out for a while.” Empoleon replied with a throaty cackle that didn’t sound happy and caused some of the on-lookers to turn their heads to them. Sam’s in for an awkward moment or two.

“Sorry, Vlam. I know you were trying, but they clearly weren’t buying what you were selling.” Vlam cooed in response and wiped her muzzle with a paw. Monferno, at least, was not swayed by his family’s reaction; he continued crawling around Sam’s shoulders and trying to find a comfortable position. “I’m going to get you guys back home, I promise,” Sam pointed out to the fiery monkey, “I just need to find the opportunity. I’m not sure Barry would love seeing me right now.” Monferno grinned and clapped his hands together, and Sam could only assume he was just happy to hear his trainer’s name.

A few yards ahead of him, he could see that the bus was finally mobile again and was getting pulled off the road. He promised the four friends around him that when he was out of the stuffy truck, he’d let them free again and recalled them into stasis. With that, he rushed to the truck before Carlos could leave without him. Well, Sam’s probably in for more trouble while he figures out his next move.

Overall, I liked these chapters, especially Sam’s interactions with Tommy in his memory and with Barry’s pokémon at the end. The encounter with the Legends before losing them again was well done as well. There are also sufficient hints of future plot points to keep me interested and curious about what’s next.

The main weak points were Sam’s spiteful treatment of Carlos when he first found he’d be working with him. After the Celestic Town incident the hostility makes sense, but before it when he’s angrier with Rowan than with the crew he fought before, it seems misplaced. The other weakness was Cynthia and Professor Carolina’s asking Sam to move aside politely when the men he was with were clearly closing in on the Lake trio. If they had been stalling because the cave was a ruse to keep Sam and the others away from the real area the legends were hidden it might have worked, but since they seem to have been in the Celestic Ruins after all, the slower, more polite approach becomes more of a distraction to the battle because of how illogical it seems. If you rework or better build these scenes (especially the Cynthia part), the effect would be much more engaging.

Sid87
24th September 2012, 5:58 PM
All right, I'm going to TRY to start replying to some of your comments here, even if briefly, since you all put so much effort into reading and commenting and deserve recognition of that!

#1 Zibdas: Yeah, I'm getting a lot that Sam's not very likable right now, and he's not supposed to be for the moment. He's certainly veering off track!

#2 Ememew (first time): First of all, I am admittedly an awful (AND ONE FINGER!) typer, so yeah...typos tend to abound. Even after editting and re-reading, I really have a lot of inattentive blindness. I believe I fixed most everything you noted. I think it's a bit GOOD for Sam to be around some as impulsive as he, since it has forced him to reconsider his actions a bit more, but he usually needs his own guiding hand! And yeah, NOBODY seemed to like the placement of world history back in chapter 11 (or 12...I forget), so...alas. I dug it, but it must just be me. :) I'll be honest...I never bought the concept of pokemon totally supplanting animals in the world (I have a few times referenced "Starly and birds), so I think that there could be pokemon AND, say flies (for the analogy). sam DOES tend to be repentive of his anger at Barry and his reaction, but he was still blinded by rage at that moment. If he had it to do over again, he'd like to, and he certainly blames Rowan more for the deceit than Barry. But he was REALLY mad initially and just flew off the handle. He's got anger issues compounding his desperation. He wasn't really in his right mind during the Snowpoint outburst.

#3 diamondpearl876: Sam's still fairly young and really stressed and desperate. In his mind, all of his outbursts (aside from actually assaulting Barry) have been justified. So he doesn't view them as weakness because he's not that forward-thinking. I'm glad you enjoyed the chapter!

#4 Sidewinder: Welcome back! I'm glad you liked the Sam/Barry battle; I enjoyed writing it! I dig that you can see your own characters in mine; I think there's a lot of correlation. I see mine in your story nowadays, too. I guess I could have used a LOT of negatives to society in that line, but I decided to stick to the ones more thematic to the story. I have NOT seen Gone in 60 Seconds, though. Maybe some day. It's good to have you back reviewing!

Okay, lunch is about over, so I'll get to Mem, Skiyomi, Knightfall, Azurus, and Ememew (again!) when I get time later! Sorry I'm not replying more in-depth, but...time constraints and a crappy training work computer are not my allies. :)

Chibi Pika
25th September 2012, 11:13 PM
ASDF AND NOW I AM CAUGHT UP.

Seriously, why is it that anytime I say I'll do something "soon" I end up getting to it weeks later? Argh. It didn't even feel that long, either.

Anyways! Chapter 14!


Her partner was significantly younger, and Sam found her to be one of the most attractive young women he had ever laid eyes on. Her wavy blonde hair hung just below her waist, and she was dressed in all black: black pants, a black blouse, and a black, fur-rimmed jacket.
It wasn't until the very end of that passage that I found myself going "...wait. ...WAIT. NO."

Sam enjoyed briefly imagining that she was defending him from the lady who must have been her grandmother because she thought he was charming, but he realized it was a wasted thought. She probably would not be too impressed with him shortly.
Ffffff, it's amusing to thought like this from Sam, as it's something that hasn't had an opportunity to come up yet.

“I told you, Cynthia.”

“We’re not here to hurt anybody or anything. It’s just research. I certainly don’t want to be upsetting anyone.”

“Mr. Stark, we really can’t have anyone in that cave.”

“I understand that, Cynthia, but we really need to get in there.”

“Cynthia, there’s no more time for talk! Those men are in the cave already!”
I know that you prefer to keep the dialogue tags sparce, but it gets a bit suspect when you have a three person conversation like this. I was able to follow who was saying what fairly easily, except for Sam's second line being addressed to Cynthia, which implies that the third line was said by her rather than Carolina. The brief moment it took to interpret that succeeded in breaking the flow for me, so I'd advise at least one action marker or dialogue tag on the third line.

Cynthia frowned and pulled a ball from inside her coat. Sam recognized it as an Ultra Ball from its yellow-and-black design. “Please stand aside and allow us to get those gentlemen out of the cave, Samuel. It is imperative.”

Sam chewed the inside of his lip in frustration and pulled Chispa’s Friend Ball from his pocket. “I can’t do that. I’m sorry.”
Ohhhhhhhh crap. xD Sam...uh, Sam? Don't do this, Sam.

Cynthia’s Ultra Ball released a burst of concentrated energy, as well. Sam braced himself for the appearance of her friend; he had no idea what it could be or what it was capable of. The energy coalesced on the ground and formed a rock. It did not appear to be a rock-typed pokemon--at least not one Sam had ever heard of living in the Sinnoh region--it was merely a cone-like, gray rock with a crack in its top. Sam waited a few seconds that felt significantly longer for the stone to do something, but it did not.
Phew. Well, okay, at least the rampaging engine of hate known as Garchomp isn't descending upon him.

He was shocked back to attention on the battle by a roar that made the blood in his veins feel chilled.
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

Nice battle by the way. I like how you addressed different strategies for physical or special moves depending on what "state" Spiritomb was in. I also like what it said about her character that she didnt just demolish him right away. However, the battle felt a bit backwards as a result. By having the emphasis be on how hard it was for Sam to hurt her Pokemon, it casts Cynthia as playing the defender in the fight, despite the fact that Sam is the one desperately stalling for time.

And was that a chapter ending, or what?! Whew! I wasn't expecting him to actually get a chance to address the legends! Maybe see them, but not talk with them. But what on earth is he going to do now? That was his only lead. Methinks this is going to require a plot twist in the near future to give Sam a new direction to follow.

Carlos snorted. “We thought they was attacking you.”

“Oh, you’re about five seconds away from seeing what an attack looks like so next time you’ll know.”
Oosh, pushing this a bit hard, aren't we, Sam? Don't want to make more enemies.

He felt the multitude of pokeballs bulging in his pocket and wondered if any of Barry’s pokemon would have fought for him should it have come to that. He suspected the high-energy, affectionate Monferno might have, but Empoleon and Torterra were bigger x-factors. It was probably for the best to keep them all contained for the moment. Eventually Sam knew he’d have to make his way to Twinleaf Town and drop the three of them off. At the moment, he could not bring himself to think of facing Barry, though.
Whoa, that's right, I had actually forgotten that he still had them. I mena, I remember him taking them after the fight, but thought he had given them back at some point.

Professor Rowan was not calling about how Sam had gained the trio’s trust at all. He was talking about Barry and the Phoenix Corporation. He was just calling to talk Sam out of this again. No faith. No trust. Just another lecture. “Are you still there, Professor?”

He heard Rowan still talking right through the question. Rowan must not have been able to hear Sam any longer, either. “--please, I-- --help and-- --care for-- --doesn’t deserve--” Finally, Sam’s phone emitted a beep, and he knew the call was lost entirely.
Mmm...I'm sensing that's not the case here.

Angry foreign voices shouted through the walkie talkie, and Carlos responded to them in kind. For all Sam knew, they were exchanging pie recipes; everything in their native language sounded harsh and bitter.
*Snrk* That's hilarious. Reminds me of a time a firend of mine made a series of completely innocuous statements in German come out overly angry. xD

Not much else to comment on, since 16 was a short chapter. I am finally caught up, woohoo!

~Chibi~;249;;448;

Sid87
26th September 2012, 1:40 PM
Okay, I'm back. This is how busy I am these days; I'm struggling to find time to give shortened replies to comments. Oy!

#5 SilentMemento: I think I might (or might not) have explained this better in a comment earlier, but the Barry thing is something else that might have been better in my head than in reality. In my head, between Barry's efforts and the PSC crew's water-types, no one died (it's not like they were helpless or Barry was the only person knocked off the ship by the wave), but Barry wasn't sticking around to patch them up, either. They all (probably, in Barry's best guess) had cell phones or radios to get help. He just wasn't super concerned about people who attacked them. So in my head, it's not awful. It's more of a "Did they die? No. Good, then screw'em". But I'll keep an eye out for that. I wouldn't say Sam necessarily TRUSTS Alonzo, but sees him as a means to an end. At least Alonzo is in the same chapter (if not the same page) as Sam. I actually have no idea who "Palmer" is. Must have missed some research there; oh well.

The whole Cynthia thing is getting its own paragraph because a few people have thus far (rightfully) called me out on it: I realized, like, halfway through that fight that Cynthia's usage of Spiritomb was less than well-thought-out. But...I really wanted to write that Spiritomb scene. :) I have internally rationalized it a few ways: 1) I got a sense while writing Cynthia that she is a Son Goku-esque character. She lives for the battle and proving her strength. And, in that regard, she sometimes does things that seem counter-intuitive, or she stalls when she should be hurrying because she's caught up in the thrill of battle (*cough* Planet Namek). She sensed that Sam was a tough trainer, and she got lost in the battle. Also, as Prof Carolina pointed out, they assumed after a one-out match (when Chispa lost), that that'd be the end of it, so since Spiritomb is a winner, that's what she chose.

But yeah, ultimately, it was my just really having a vivid image of that Spiritomb battle and wanting to use it. So yeah. My bad there, and I realized it. Thanks to everyone for holding me accountable!


#6 Skiyomi: (First off, I'm going to read Out Of My League's new chapter SOMEDAY). Yeah...the "guilty" bit makes sense. I'll keep an eye out for stuff for that going forward. You're totally right about how the Canalave City cargo ship chapter should have ended. Dang. I wish I had thought of that. Oh well. A few readers at this point have had trouble picking up on the broken Kantoan of the PSC guys. I wonder why that is? I haven't wanted to make them sound TOO silly because that'd by a bit cartoonish, but as it is, some people are missing it. Hm.


#7 Azurus: Oops! I'll have to add a link to chapter 16 later today! Thanks for letting me know!


#8 Knightfall: I think it is amusing-ish that I am apparently contributing to a meme with the whole Sinnoh public transportation thing. That was mentioned earlier, too. I might have to check that story out and see what its take is. :) Glad you enjoyed the new chapter!


...All right, still not done. Sigh. I'll get to Ememew (there's a lot I want/need to address of yours, even beyond the Cynthia stuff I covered with SilentMem) and Chibi Pika later on. Whew. I think page 8 of this topic is going to be all replies and comments. Ugh! :)


And I'm back!

#9 Ememew: Abiword doesn't default double-hyphens to dashes...I don't know why. It means the same thing, though, so I am generally nonplussed about it. I'll have to see if maybe I can FORCE it somehow. As i mentioned earlier, my love of Sinnoh is possibly underdeveloped and under-researched in the sense that I don't remember Palmer at all. Drats. Might have just screwed that one up. I'll have to Google it later. Rowan COULD have just let Sam bring Tommy to the legends, but Rowan is extremely distrustful in regards to the legends and didn't know Sam from Adam when they mett. Obviously it's a decision all parties involved regret right now. When Sam last met Mr. Alonzo (prior to meeting at the match), Sam was kind of unstable and had just shown a proclivity towards violence. That's why I would think Alonzo was not bursting forth to give him a phone number to be friends. Brief note on the paramour thing: at my last job, I worked with individuals with intellectual/development disabilities. It was generally accepted to refer to their boyfriends and girlfriends as "paramours", so that's where I got the term. Certainly hadn't heard it used regarding a mistress, though! Maybe Rowan is getting some on the side;) As I mentioned previously in my first batch of replies, Sam isn't supposed to be particularly likable here. He's really gotten to the point where he distrusts EVERYONE and is only out for himself. He doesn't like Carlos much and sees no reason to sugar coat it; Carlos is just another means to an end as far as Sam is concerned. He needs to refind his conscience... Sam and Cynthia is not love at any sight, I promise. But she will be back, so I won't say too much. Chispa IS awesome, and I'm thrilled everyone likes her. To think, I regretted introducing her at first and thought I'd made a mistake. She is playing an important role, I think, even if nobody has [outwardly] noticed it. You bring up a point that comes up next chapter, and that's the logical assumption that Sam has actually expressed before: won't the legends just return to their homes? I think Sam is feeling mopey and despondent and borderline hopless here after having just been SO CLOSE, and that's why he doesn't IMMEDIATELY go to that, but...he gets there soon. I promise that wasn't just an oversight. :)


I think this just leaves Chibi, and I'll get to you in a bit!


#10 Chibi: I'll try to keep an eye on making all dialogue distinctive and using more tags when necessary. Sometimes my disdain of heavy use of dialogue tags gets the better of me. :) I've addressed the Cynthia stuff above. And thanks for continuing reading, and I'm glad you enjoyed it.


All caught up! Now to get back to actual WRITING.

Sid87
23rd October 2012, 11:03 PM
Chapter 17

Sam, for as displeased as he was to have been back on the sea once again, was at least happy he’d made it through the ferry ride to Canalave without Barry’s Monferno tossing anybody overboard.

The ferry had a prominently posted notice asking riders to keep their pokemon contained (“for their own safety and the safety of the rest of our guests”, the sign told Sam), but he found that he barely cared. Really, what were they going to do to him, he wondered; stop the ferry and insist he get off in the middle of the strait? As it was, Monferno and his own friends had been promised they’d get more time to relax, and Sam had no intention of taking any such time away from them. He heard some of the other passengers complain about their freedom when they thought Sam was out of earshot; he hardly cared about their annoyance. Sam thought of the words on the sign. Safety? He was not some child with his first friend and no idea how to manage it. He was a grown man who had been with pokemon his whole life. He’d just been deemed worthy by the legendary lake guardians. He’d stood up to Professor Rowan, Henrique Alonzo, and an army of doctors who told him there was nothing that could be done for his brother; the last thing he was going to do was let some damn sign on a boat boss him around.

Carlos and the Phoenix Corporation crew were on the far end of the ferry. They refused to leave the cargo holding area because they did not trust the Sinnohans not to mess with their machinery. That was fine with Sam since any moment away from Sideburns was a minor victory in his book. Before Sam had ventured to the more scenic area of the ferry, he noticed that Carlos and his workers managed to look like a fine gang and not at all suspicious by surrounding their equipment and standing in front of it with their arms crossed.

Upon deboarding, Sam found a bench in front of the ferry station and parked himself so that Carlos and the others could bark orders at the ferry workers on how to properly unload their equipment. Sam intended to just walk to the Phoenix Shipping Corporation building without the lot of them, but he was still feeling the effects of the ocean even after being back on solid ground, and he needed the moment to regain his composure. Obviously, having been tossed into the sea and almost drowning one of the last times he had been on a boat had done little for his seasickness. That was the more private and selfish reason he had no intention of stowing away his friends while on board; they provided him with at least a little distraction from the waves and the rocking of the boat.

If any of his friends shared his displeasure of travel by water, there was no sign of it. Monferno was as chipper and energetic as every other time Sam had seen him; he panted in joy and bounded around Sam’s shoulders like the trainer was personal jungle gym. Bree seemed to be more resentful of Monferno’s keeping her from resting on her trainer than anything. She tried to buzz close to whichever side of Sam Monferno was not hogging, but as soon as Barry’s pokemon swung over to that side, she let out a sharp hum and fluttered away. Chispa had discovered rapture in watching the swaying of Vlam’s tails, and the eldest friend of the group seemed quietly content to amuse the cub with them. Sam breathed deep to help steady himself as he watched Chispa raise a jittery paw, unsure whether or not to swat at Vlam’s tail. A clubbing sensation to the back of the head knocked Sam forward and almost off of his bench; he turned to see Monferno waving an angry fist at his Butterfree.

“Can’t you two calm down?” At Sam’s words, Monferno and Bree turned their attention to him. “You’re gonna concuss me if you don’t stop acting so jealous over each other.” Bree buzzed and stiffened her antennae out in Monferno’s direction. “I don’t care whose fault it was. I just don’t want to get banged in the head anymore. Behave!”

Monferno hopped from the back of the bench to return to Sam’s shoulders where he began patting the back of the trainer’s head. Bree let out high-pitched hum and zipped over to her sisters. She settled onto Vlam's back and turned so that Sam could no longer see her face.

“Seriously?”

“Seriously what?”

Sam’s head turned to follow the sound of the voice to his right and saw Carlos standing there. Sam rolled his eyes; he had hoped he was done with that guy for at least a while longer. “You guys got done fast enough.”

“Not done. It should to be take a while for now. I came back to go with you to see Mr. Alonzo. He should know what happened.”

Sam stood up from the bench, causing Vlam to rise to her feet next to him. This, in turn, caused a new annoyance for Bree as she tumbled on the Ninetales’ back before getting airborne. “Can’t wait.”

Sam and Carlos walked together in the same manner as how they drove together: with barely a word between them. Carlos’ gait was slightly more determined than Sam’s was, which--when Sam thought about it--made little sense. Carlos should not have been in any more of a hurry to see Henrique than he was. If anything, he should have been dreading it more than Sam. He was the one who chased the trio away when they were so close. Perhaps Carlos just wanted to get it all over with, Sam thought. What was the worst that Mr. Alonzo could do? Fire Carlos, sure, but to Sam? He wasn’t sure. The worst case scenario seemed to be that he’d end up back at square one with no one to help him and no idea what to do.

The Phoenix Shipping Corporation Sinnoh Division building was across the street from a gothic structure with large, stone monuments in front of it. One monument was simply a round globe. Another was of the mythical pokemon Mew. A third was of a rabbit-like character Sam remembered from a children’s book his mother read him. This was apparently the Canalave Library, Sinnoh’s national library. Sam could not help but wonder if this was coincidence or not. How long had the corporation had a headquarters in Sinnoh? Was it ordered here by Mr. Alonzo? If so, was it located here so that he’d have easy access to all the reference material he’d need on Sinnoh? Perhaps that was how he’d known so much about Celestic Town just from the brief description Sam gave him of a picture he’d seen, or even how he knew so much about the guardians to begin with. But to think that the president of an international company would erect a building across from a library just for research... Sam could not help but think that was a reach. Wasn’t it?

“Are you coming?”

Sam shook his head to rouse himself. He hadn’t realized he had gotten lost in his own mind while staring across the street at the Canalave Library. He nodded in affirmation to Carlos’ question and followed him through the glass revolving doors. He was careful to hold the doors in place as he and his friends entered and exited them; others trying to leave the building at that moment gave him a dirty look for upsetting the momentum of the doors, but the last thing Sam wanted was for Vlam to lose a tail in there.

There was a corridor to the left of the receptionist’s desk that led to the elevators, according to a sign hung from the ceiling. Sam briefly considered giving the young, blonde, bespectacled clerk at the reception desk a sarcastic thanks for helping him reach Henrique earlier, but he immediately thought better of it. To the right of the reception area was a set of double glass doors that led to a conjoining café; the etching on the doors told Sam that it was called The Canalave Bistro. Carlos headed towards the elevators while digging in his right pants pocket, and Sam began following.

As they passed a plain, metallic, grey door, Monferno bounced off of Sam’s back. The pokemon rushed to the door and began pawing at it.

“What’s going on, buddy?” Sam asked as he approached the ape pokemon. Monferno turned to face him, but only momentarily; his attention was heavily focused on the door. Sam noticed a placard in the wall next to it that told him it was the stairs. “You really want some exercise, huh? I guess I did have you cooped up in your ball for a while. I don’t know if I have the energy to follow you up however many floors it is to Mr. Alonzo’s office.”

Monferno ignored Sam and continued scratching at the door. In his insistence to get in, he was leaving scrapes in the paint.

“All right, all right! Jeez. I’ll check, hold on.” Sam called out to Carlos, who was standing in the corridor and waiting for an elevator, “Hey, the monkey here really wants to run around on the stairs. Can we take these up to Mr. Alonzo’s office?”

Carlos held out a tiny green stick. “No. We to need this key in a elevator to access the office.”

Sam shrugged at Monferno. “Sorry, pal. I promise to run with you for a bit after we’re done here, okay? Get some of that energy out.”

Monferno glanced towards the stairwell door again and let out a whimper. Seemingly very reluctant, he reached up a paw to take Sam’s hand. Despite his agreement to leave the stairs behind, the monkey huffed and whined as he walked with Sam to the elevator. Chispa seemed to be saddened by Monferno’s mood, and she rubbed her head against him as they walked. Bree, conversely, probably couldn’t have been happier; she bounced in the air next to Sam’s head and hummed cheerfully.

Monferno’s head was still downturned as Sam watched the elevator doors close and Carlos slide his key into the control panel. After flipping the key to the right, he pressed the buttons for both the nineteenth and twentieth floors. Sam shook his head and crunched his brow.

“Did you forget which floor your own boss is on?”

“There is a floor between nineteen and twenty. It can not be to access without this key turning and pressing both of the buttons.” Carlos said it as simply as if he’d been reading a traffic report.

“Your boss is on the nineteen-and-a-halfth floor?” Sam mused. “Yeah, that’s not shady at all. Tell me, is his doorknob also a skull?”

“We can not let his office be accessible to anyone. Obviously. He likes to be in the middle of the building. He says it putting him in the middle of the business.”

The elevator lurched upward, and Sam said nothing in return. It made sense, he imagined, but it still seemed weird. He turned his attention to his friends behind him. Vlam was trying to appear aloof by lying down and turning her head away, but he noticed she was wagging her tails near Monferno, most likely in an attempt to cheer him up. It didn’t seem to be having any effect, however; the ape continued standing still and looking down. The only sign of life from him was an occasional snort of breath. He was clearly having a child-like temper-tantrum.

As the elevator passed the nineteenth floor, Sam felt his stomach rise in his gut; they were clearly slowing down suddenly. The control panel beeped three times, and the elevator stopped with both the lights for floors nineteen and twenty illuminated. The doors parted to reveal a completely mundane hallway that was not at all lined with torchlight and filled with laser security beams such as what Sam had fancied when he thought of the hidden floor. At the end of the short hall, he saw Mr. Henrique Alonzo through an open office door. He sat at a desk that was not made of Donphan ivory and wrote on paperwork with a pen that was apparently not a quill dipped in blood.

“Mr. Stark, please come in.”

Sam nodded; there was no more time to think about how the meeting would go. It was about to happen. He and Carlos passed through the open doorway, and each took one of the seats on the near side of Mr. Alonzo’s desk. Sam could not help but look beneath his seat; there did not appear to be a trap door. Sam almost could not help but feel disappointed at the nineteen-and-a-halfth floor’s lack of mystique.

“I understand we had something of a mishap in Celestic, and the legends were lost to us.”

Of course, Sam thought. There were more people there than just Carlos and himself. Anyone else in any of the other trucks could have called in the situation. Which meant that they got to put their own personal spin on it well before Sam had a chance to defend himself. He opened his mouth to do just that, but Henrque cut him off.

“I was told that you were admirable in your efforts, but my crew got a little impetuous and frightened them off before you could finish.” Henrique rubbed his palms as if he were washing them. “Mr. Stark, I am exceedingly sorry about this. I promised you a crew to assist you, and instead, they impeded you. I understand if you’ll not be wanting to work with us going forward.”

Sam choked out a noise through his gaping mouth. He had never imagined such a reaction from Henrique. It felt surreal. Perhaps there was yet some magic on the ninteen-and-a-halfth floor.

“Your men did their best, Mr. Alonzo; I think they were just caught up in the heat of the moment and thought that I was about to be attacked.” Sam heard a sharp intake of breath from Carlos. “I don’t think anyone was really to blame.” He was not sure why he was defending those idiots when they had so terribly screwed everything up. Perhaps it was the thought that one of them took enough responsibility for his own actions that he reported the truth to his boss. Perhaps because he felt caught up in whatever kind of game Henrique Alonzo might have been playing. “I certainly don’t hold any of them accountable.”

Carlos shifted in his seat and scratched his nose.

“Were your men out-of-line, Mr. Morales?”

“No, Mr. Alonzo. It is,” Carlos stammered for a second, “just as Mr. Stark say. Accidents. That is all. They are much sorry for what happened.”

Carlos was clearly as disconcerted by the conversation as Sam had been. Served him right.

“Do you have any ideas going forward, Samuel?”

Sam rolled his tongue against the roof of his mouth. “The lakes. It’s the only thing I can think of. If they aren’t being kept somewhere--and they feel like they’ve just been attacked--I think they’d scatter to their homes. To what they think is safe.”

Mr. Alonzo was nodding slowly and stretching back in his chair. Moments passed without any more words. Sam had nothing else to offer--the trio either went home, or he had no idea what they’d do--but Henrique seemed inclined to neither agree nor disagree. While the silence fogged the air, Sam noticed Bree had flown to the ceiling of the windowless office and was circling around the chandelier as the room’s main source of light.

“Would you be willing to investigate the lakes? I can absolutely arrange for a new crew to work with you so that we won’t be encountering any more...,” Mr. Alonzo’s eyes moved to Carlos, “accidents.”

Sam felt his own words burning in his chest. He had nothing left to offer, so why was Alonzo still so willing to work with him? It did not make any damn sense. Was it just because his crew had godawful people skills and he needed someone to face for them? Was it because he, unlike the Hoennese workers, was less likely to get harassed by locals? These reasons did not seem to matter when it came to the secluded lakes. Sam weighed the notion that Mr. Alonzo would even tell him the truth if he asked; he could feel a tangible game of cat-and-mouse being played, but he could not put his finger on which role he was filling.

“Why?”

“What do you mean?”

“I don’t work for you. I barely know you. Why are you so interested in having me involved?” Sam’s posture straightened and he felt bold as he spoke the words. He figured, cat or mouse, it was worth a shot to try getting ahead of this game.

Mr. Alonzo placed his hands on his desk and pushed himself up. Sam stayed in his seat as the president answered him. “I am, I’m afraid, using you, Mr. Stark. Not maliciously or cruelly, but simply because I need you. Could I find the legends without you? And bring them in? Almost certainly, yes. I am, if little else, a man of means. But then what? Then I get painted as a villain by a society that respects and adores men like Professor Rowan. My stature and wealth are used against me to portray me as an elitist or a smuggler or an eccentric or just someone who scoffs at the law. But you? God, Sam, you bring legitimacy. You’re the man who has faced so much; the everyman who needs the legends to repair your fractured life. Society will see you and your brother on every television channel in the world, and they’ll know I’m right. That our world deserves better.”

“Even if I don’t necessarily agree with your stance and I’m just doing this for myself?”

Mr. Alonzo drew in his lower lip, and Sam realized he must have been biting it, even if just slightly. “Even then, yes. All I ask is that you tell your honest story to the media and let them know how willing I was to help out. You don’t have to like or agree with me. Just be honest about what happened and the role I played.”

Sam tilted his head to his right. It seemed too easy, too little to expect in return. “Verity is the closest lake. I’m going there now; just have your boys call me when they arrive.” He knew better than to try to get anything else out of Mr. Alonzo. It was simpler to just let him play his own game while Sam ensured the safety of Tommy. After that was taken care of, he could deal with whatever Henrique had planned. After the president acknowledged his statement with a quick nod, Sam headed out the open door to the escalator. Carlos was right behind him.

Sam wondered what Carlos was thinking. Was he embarrassed that one of his own men cut his legs out from under him? Was he happy to not have taken any more personal blame? Was he disappointed at the possibility of being replaced the rest of the way? Whatever it was, he wasn’t feeling any more like sharing than usual; he summoned the elevator and boarded after the pokemon and Sam without another word.

The doors opened a few silent moments later on the ground floor, and Monferno shocked Sam by breaking free of his grip and darting through the elevator corridor. Sam reached out to grab him, but Barry’s friend was already well out of range. He charged directly to the stairwell door in which it had been so interested before.

“Monferno, we’re done here. We’re not using--”

Monferno balled a fist. A thunder-like crack came next as he smashed the door open.

“No, Mon--damn it! No!”

As Sam gave chase, he couldn’t help but imagine the next time he had to visit Mr. Alonzo, the Phoenix Corporation president might just have all doors removed from their hinges in advance to expedite the inevitable.

Sam made it to the doorway, finding the door itself to be broken in half. Monferno was already out of sight, but Sam could hear him bounding downward, so that was the direction he took after him. Sam leaped over steps two-by-two in a frantic attempt to stop the monkey from destroying any more property. It was foolish to have let him out of the ball, Sam realized. He had no idea what the ape’s tendencies were. Of course he was as impetuous and instinctive as his trainer; of course!

A cream-colored blur shot by Sam as he rounded a turn in the stairwell. Vlam had caught up and was tracking down Monferno, too. Sam, in his haste to catch Monferno, had forgotten that his pokemon were all loose, too. Vlam was in front of him, and a look to his right showed him Bree, who was having a much easier time traversing stairs since she could fly. Chispa was nowhere in sight, but since he had stopped, he could hear her whimpering from several floors above him. Sam cursed to himself.

“Bree, go keep an eye on Chispa, okay? Don’t let anything happen to her. Can you do that?”

Bree bobbed in the air, then sped upwards to guard her little sister. Sam continued his rush down the stairs.

Having finally reached the bottom of the steps, Sam found yet another decimated door. This one had been wooden, and it had ruptured into splinters from whatever Monferno had done to it. The room behind the door was full of plumbing and large water heaters; pipes both thick and thin criss-crossed the ceiling and ran down the walls into each heater; the room reminded Sam of the puzzle games he’d play as a child, trying to follow a string from one end to another through a jumble of other strings. But what he did not see was any sign of Monferno or Vlam.

“Monferno! This is a boiler room, not a banana room! What are you doing here?”

He heard Vlam bark in response. They were definitely still there somewhere. Sam walked carefully through the boiler room, careful not to bump any pipes or disturb anything that Monferno hadn’t already. He called out to Vlam, and she reacted again, allowing Sam to follow her voice to wherever Monferno was hiding. He was briefly startled as a small, purple, stinging pokemon known as Skorupi skittered out in front of him, but before he could do anything about it, it vanished under one of the water tanks. Sam just wanted to get out of the room. Carlos and security were probably on their way down the steps to deal with the mess Monferno had made; Chispa was upstairs, probably upset by how quickly Sam had ran off. He felt bad about it, but until he had a chance to give the pokemon back, he knew Monferno would have to stay in his ball from here-out.

A last bark by Vlam directed Sam to a small broom closet doorway at the far end of the boiler room. The room appeared to be unlit, but as he approached, he could see sprites of flame dancing on the walls. The light from Monferno’s fiery tale, no doubt.

“All right, so what’s the big idea--” Sam began as he entered the doorway, but what he saw stopped him dead in his tracks.

Rotomknight
23rd October 2012, 11:42 PM
There is no good or evil, only shades of gray.
Alonzo wants to bring suffering so others have prosperity, Stark wants to imprison to free.
What was with that dang philosphy!

Azurus
23rd October 2012, 11:46 PM
Aww did you have to stop there? There won't be another update for a long while...

I bet Barry is knocked out or seriously injured and Monferno picked up on it, thus making the Phoenix Corp be as truthful as they led, or at least, not as harmless as they claim to be.

Anyways, I'm looking forward to another great chapter.

diamondpearl876
24th October 2012, 10:07 PM
The ferry had a prominently posted notice asking riders to keep their pokemon contained (“for their own safety and the safety of the rest of our guests”, the sign told Sam), but he found that he barely cared. Really, what were they going to do to him, he wondered; stop the ferry and insist he get off in the middle of the strait? As it was, Monferno and his own friends had been promised they’d get more time to relax, and Sam had no intention of taking any such time away from them. He heard some of the other passengers complain about their freedom when they thought Sam was out of earshot; he hardly cared about their annoyance. Sam thought of the words on the sign. Safety? He was not some child with his first friend and no idea how to manage it. He was a grown man who had been with pokemon his whole life. He’d just been deemed worthy by the legendary lake guardians. He’d stood up to Professor Rowan, Henrique Alonzo, and an army of doctors who told him there was nothing that could be done for his brother; the last thing he was going to do was let some damn sign on a boat boss him around.

This is a pretty strong opening where Sam’s personality shines through. You also do a nice job of summing up the events of the fic thus far without it sounding like a boring summary. This part also made me think about, again, what your writing would be like in first person. I do hope you try that route someday, as it seems like you’d be much better suited for first person compared to third person.


“Your boss is on the nineteen-and-a-halfth floor?” Sam mused. “Yeah, that’s not shady at all. Tell me, is his doorknob also a skull?”

Oh, Sam. You never cease to amuse me.


He likes to be in the middle of the building. He says it putting him in the middle of the business.”

I think you forgot a word in the second sentence there.



“I was told that you were admirable in your efforts, but my crew got a little impetuous and frightened them off before you could finish.” Henrique rubbed his palms as if he were washing them. “Mr. Stark, I am exceedingly sorry about this. I promised you a crew to assist you, and instead, they impeded you. I understand if you’ll not be wanting to work with us going forward.”

Sam choked out a noise through his gaping mouth. He had never imagined such a reaction from Henrique. It felt surreal. Perhaps there was yet some magic on the ninteen-and-a-halfth floor.

Man, Sam really expects the worst of everything, doesn’t he?

Also, “ninteen” should be “nineteen”.



“No, Mr. Alonzo, It is,” Carlos stammered for a second, “just as Mr. Stark say.

“It” shouldn’t be capitalized.


“The lakes. It’s the only thing I can think of. If they aren’t being kept somewhere--and they feel like they’ve just been attacked--I think they’d scatter to their homes. To what they think is safe.”

I’d put “To where they think is safe” instead. It seems to make more sense to me.


Sam wondered what Carlos was thinking. Was he embarrassed that one of his own men cut his legs out from under him? Was he happy to not have taken any more personal blame? Was he disappointed at the possibility of being replaced the rest of the way? Whatever it was, he wasn’t feeling any more like sharing than usual; he summoned the elevator and boarded after the pokemon and Sam without another word.

The parts where Sam stops to reflect by asking several questions at once gets kind of repetitive in this chapter. The sections aren’t poorly written or anything, but I’d find another way to express his thoughts if you can.



As Sam gave chase, he couldn’t help but imagine the next time he had to visit Mr. Alonzo, the Phoenix Corporation president might just have all doors removed from their hinges in advance to expedite the inevitable.

LOL, indeed this should happen. Sam is just doomed to be smashing doors everywhere he goes.


It was foolish to have let him out of the ball, Sam realized. He had no idea what the ape’s tendencies were. Of course he was as impetuous and instinctive as his trainer; of course!

I like the idea of Barry and his pokémon being pretty similar. It’s cute and makes a lot of sense.


He was briefly started as a small, purple, stinging pokemon known as Skorupi skittered out in front of him, but before he could do anything about it, it vanished under one of the water tanks.

“startled” not “started”

Overall, a well written chapter. You did well at showing Sam’s personality through his interesting dialogue and actions as always, and Mr. Alonzo’s motivations were interesting to see this chapter as well. I’m quite curious as to what Monferno was so desperate to see, so get the next chapter out ASAP!

Doryuzu
27th October 2012, 4:47 PM
Chapter 8

Nice job, you've told me in this one chapter that Sammy loves and cares for Tommy enough that he doesn't want to leave Goldenrod and wants to stay with his brother. It's a very tender connection they have, I find it relatable since it reminds me of my teammates and coaches in a way and it shows how much Tommy and Sammy have influenced each other's lives emotionally in a brotherly bond. Other than that this was a nice set-up chapter for the next few chapters which I'm sure will be action-packed and dramatic in a way. I'm also sure Barry and Sam interactions will be climbing higher and becoming better and better. I don't know why but I can't shake the feeling something big is gonna erupt soon, either way I'm excited. Wish I could have made this review longer, but not much happened and it wasn't a very large chapter. ^^;;



“I’d be neck-deep in women is where I’d be. Without the oh-so-sexy declaration of ‘No, baby. We can’t go back to my place. My kid brother is up watching pro wrestling’, I’d be solid gold.”
Lines seems a little, I dunno. Dated? I think. XD Like something you would hear in a early 2003 cartoon. It works


Canalave City was supposed to be to the Sinnoh continent what Olivine City was to the Johto: the region’s major port and import/export town. Sam had rarely been to Olivine back home, and one of those few times was when he was boarding his unfortunate cruise. It was an awful town as Sam remembered it. The air constantly smelled of dead fish no matter where you went, and the boardwalk was loaded with garish, tourist-trap souvenir shops trying to sell sweatshirts with pictures of Krabby or the Olivine Lighthouse on them. The lighthouse seemed to account for all of the town’s history; apparently it was a big deal twenty years ago when it had to be physically moved backwards into the shore a few hundred yards due to the erosion of the land by water over time. It was all anyone talked about when he had visited. The ships coming in and out of the docks were loud and obnoxious, and the huge crane devices propped on the water’s edge to assist with removing cargo were a tremendous eyesore. Even thinking just these details about Olivine was enough to ball Sam’s fists, but at least he’d stopped thinking about the water.
Nice detailing on Canalava, you're really giving a feel for the modern city of it and how it operates in a way.

Ememew
28th October 2012, 8:51 PM
Before I get into the recent chapter, I feel like offering a suggestion for the Cynthia thing. I can see how she might care more about a chance to battle than the cave, but her grandmother just standing by and not trying to get Cynthia to change her focus is the part that seems off to me. Therefore I offer a possible solution: That the pair is somehow able to feel comfortable with a bit of stall even with Carlos’s crew in the cave. How? I don’t know. Maybe the legends are hidden behind the walls in a way they think Carlos and the others won’t be able to notice? Maybe there are booby traps inside? I don’t know – just something about the way the cave works to allow the Professor some level of comfort with her granddaughter battling Sam for a longer period. Maybe Carlos himself could elaborate on this in some later scene to explain what his crew found inside that prompted the use of explosives?

Chapter 17

The ferry had a prominently posted notice asking riders to keep their pokemon contained (“for their own safety and the safety of the rest of our guests”, the sign told Sam), but he found that he barely cared. Really, what were they going to do to him, he wondered; stop the ferry and insist he get off in the middle of the strait? I’m sure they could charge a fine or something if they really wanted to enforce it.
Sam thought of the words on the sign. Safety? He was not some child with his first friend and no idea how to manage it. He was a grown man who had been with pokemon his whole life. He’d just been deemed worthy by the legendary lake guardians. He’d stood up to Professor Rowan, Henrique Alonzo, and an army of doctors who told him there was nothing that could be done for his brother; the last thing he was going to do was let some damn sign on a boat boss him around.I do like how much of Sam’s personality shows through this mini-summary of events, though.

Upon deboarding, Sam found a bench in front of the ferry station and parked himself so that Carlos and the others could bark orders at the ferry workers on how to properly unload their equipment. Deboarding? I’ve usually heard the term “disembarking” for this sort of thing.
“I don’t care whose fault it was. I just don’t want to get banged in the head anymore. Behave!” I laughed.

Monferno hopped from the back of the bench to return to Sam’s shoulders where he began patting the back of the trainer’s head. Bree let out high-pitched hum and zipped over to her sisters. She settled on the back of Vlam and turned so that Sam could no longer see her face.
I wonder if that might read better if you say “she settled on Vlam’s back” instead.

but the last thing Sam wanted was for Vlam to lose a tail in there. Now you’ve got me wondering: is the idea of Ninetales laying curses on those that mess with their tails a myth or a reality in your fic-verse? I’m guessing myth from this, but there could be some interesting implications if Vlam could curse the company because their doors squished a tail.

As they passed a plain, metallic, grey door, Monferno bounced off of Sam’s back. The pokemon rushed to the door and began pawing at it.

“What’s going on, buddy?” Sam asked as he approached the ape pokemon. Monferno turned to face him, but only momentarily; his attention was heavily focused on the door. Sam noticed a placard in the wall next to it that told him it was the stairs. “You really want some exercise, huh? I guess I did have you cooped up in your ball for a while. I don’t know if I have the energy to follow you up however many floors it is to Mr. Alonzo’s office.”

Monferno ignored Sam and continued scratching at the door. In his insistence to get in, he was leaving scrapes in the paint. I almost didn’t notice this scene when I first read over the chapter, but now that I’m actively commenting on it, I like this unobtrusive foreshadowing.

Bree, conversely, probably couldn’t have been happier; she bounced in the air next to Sam’s head and hummed cheerfully. I like how Bree mirrors her trainer’s personality. Nice touch.


Monferno’s head was still downturned as Sam watched the elevator doors close and Carlos slide his key into the control panel. After flipping the key to the right, he pressed the buttons for both the nineteenth and twentieth floors. Sam shook his head and crunched his brow.

“Did you forget which floor your own boss is on?”

“There is a floor between nineteen and twenty. It can not be to access without this key turning and pressing both of the buttons.” Carlos said it as simply as if he’d been reading a traffic report.

“Your boss is on the nineteen-and-a-halfth floor?” Sam mused. “Yeah, that’s not shady at all. Tell me, is his doorknob also a skull?”

“We can not let his office be accessible to anyone. Obviously. He likes to be in the middle of the building. He says it putting him in the middle of the business.” Mr. Alonzo also boards the train on platform nine-and-three-quarters.

As the elevator passed the nineteenth floor, Sam felt his stomach rise in his gut; they were clearly slowing down suddenly. The control panel beeped three times, and the elevator stopped with both the lights for floors nineteen and twenty illuminated. The doors parted to reveal a completely mundane hallway that was not at all lined with torchlight and filled with laser security beams such as what Sam had fancied when he thought of the hidden floor. At the end of the short hall, he saw Mr. Henrique Alonzo through an open office door. He sat at a desk that was not made of Donphan ivory and wrote on paperwork with a pen that was apparently not a quill dipped in blood. Sam’s active imagination is as entertaining as ever, I see.

“Your men did their best, Mr. Alonzo; I think they were just caught up in the heat of the moment and thought that I was about to be attacked.” Sam heard a sharp intake of breath from Carlos. “I don’t think anyone was really to blame.” He was not sure why he was defending those idiots when they had so terribly screwed everything up. Perhaps it was the thought that one of them took enough responsibility for his own actions that he reported the truth to his boss. Perhaps because he felt caught up in whatever kind of game Henrique Alonzo might have been playing. “I certainly don’t hold any of them accountable.” It’s nice to see Sam showing some maturity here, whatever his own reasons for it are.

Moments passed without any more words. Sam had nothing else to offer—the trio either went home, or he had no idea what they’d do--but Henrique seemed inclined to neither agree nor disagree. While the silence fogged the air, Sam noticed Bree had flown to the ceiling of the windowless office and was circling around the chandelier as the room’s main source of light. I don’t quite know why, but the bolded phrase seems a little weird to me.

“Would you be willing to investigate the lakes? I can absolutely arrange for a new crew to work with you so that we won’t be encountering any more...,” Mr. Alonzo’s eyes moved to Carlos, “accidents.” That doesn’t sound sinister at all . . . I wouldn’t want to be Carlos right now.

Mr. Alonzo placed his hands on his desk and pushed himself up. Sam stayed in his seat as the president answered him. “I am, I’m afraid, using you, Mr. Stark. Not maliciously or cruelly, but simply because I need you. Could I find the legends without you? And bring them in? Almost certainly, yes. I am, if little else, a man of means. But then what? Then I get painted as a villain by a society that respects and adores men like Professor Rowan. My stature and wealth are used against me to portray me as an elitist or a smuggler or an eccentric or just someone who scoffs at the law. But you? God, Sam, you bring legitimacy. You’re the man who has faced so much; the everyman who needs the legends to repair your fractured life. Society will see you and your brother on every television channel in the world, and they’ll know I’m right. That our world deserves better.” I’m sure the fact that the legends actually paused and moved toward Sam before being chased off played a role as well.

As Sam gave chase, he couldn’t help but imagine the next time he had to visit Mr. Alonzo, the Phoenix Corporation president might just have all doors removed from their hinges in advance to expedite the inevitable. I like this bit of humor added to the action. Doors and boats seem unavoidable obstacles for Sam.

Sam made it to the doorway, finding the the door itself to be broken in half. “the” was written twice here.

A cream-colored blur shot by Sam as he rounded a turn in the stairwell. Vlam had caught up and was tracking down Monferno, too. Sam, in his haste to catch Monferno, had forgotten that his pokemon were all loose, too. Vlam was in front of him, and a look to his right showed him Bree, who was having a much easier time traversing stairs since she could fly. Chispa was nowhere in sight, but since he had stopped, he could hear her whimpering from several floors above him. Sam cursed to himself.

“Bree, go keep an eye on Chispa, okay? Don’t let anything happen to her. Can you do that?” I’m wondering if splitting up might be a bad thing. Guess I’ll see next chapter.

The room behind the door was full of plumbing and large water heaters; pipes both thick and thin criss-crossed the ceiling and ran down the walls into each heater; The room reminded Sam of the puzzle games he’d play as a child, trying to follow a string from one end to another through a jumble of other strings. But what he did not see was any sign of Monferno or Vlam. These points are separated by a semicolon, but the word “the” is capitalized after like a new sentence.

“All right, so what’s the big idea--” Sam began as he entered the doorway, but what he saw stopped him dead in his tracks. A cliffhanger huh? I’m going to go with the apparently popular guess of Sam discovering Barry being held here against his will. The alternative might be one of the legends already in Alonzo’s possession, but I doubt Monferno would be this frantic over anything less than his trainer.

Anyway, I like the tension in the conversation. Sam senses something is amiss but cannot put a finger on what. I bet he's about to find out (at least some of) what it was.

Sid87
30th October 2012, 12:42 PM
This is a pretty strong opening where Sam’s personality shines through. You also do a nice job of summing up the events of the fic thus far without it sounding like a boring summary. This part also made me think about, again, what your writing would be like in first person. I do hope you try that route someday, as it seems like you’d be much better suited for first person compared to third person.



Oh, Sam. You never cease to amuse me.



I think you forgot a word in the second sentence there.



Man, Sam really expects the worst of everything, doesn’t he?

Also, “ninteen” should be “nineteen”.



“It” shouldn’t be capitalized.



I’d put “To where they think is safe” instead. It seems to make more sense to me.



The parts where Sam stops to reflect by asking several questions at once gets kind of repetitive in this chapter. The sections aren’t poorly written or anything, but I’d find another way to express his thoughts if you can.



LOL, indeed this should happen. Sam is just doomed to be smashing doors everywhere he goes.



I like the idea of Barry and his pokémon being pretty similar. It’s cute and makes a lot of sense.



“startled” not “started”

Overall, a well written chapter. You did well at showing Sam’s personality through his interesting dialogue and actions as always, and Mr. Alonzo’s motivations were interesting to see this chapter as well. I’m quite curious as to what Monferno was so desperate to see, so get the next chapter out ASAP!

Thanks for once again finding the things my lazy eyes don't. :) I'll have to keep an eye out for the repetitive questions thing. I didn't notice it during the proofreading, but I shall attempt to be more vigilant! :)

And as I told you in PM...I do adore first person...I don't know why I haven't been using it more often here. Stylistic mistake, possibly.


There is no good or evil, only shades of gray.
Alonzo wants to bring suffering so others have prosperity, Stark wants to imprison to free.
What was with that dang philosphy!

Heh. That's cryptic. :)



Aww did you have to stop there? There won't be another update for a long while...

I bet Barry is knocked out or seriously injured and Monferno picked up on it, thus making the Phoenix Corp be as truthful as they led, or at least, not as harmless as they claim to be.

Anyways, I'm looking forward to another great chapter.

Glad you enjoyed it!



Before I get into the recent chapter, I feel like offering a suggestion for the Cynthia thing. I can see how she might care more about a chance to battle than the cave, but her grandmother just standing by and not trying to get Cynthia to change her focus is the part that seems off to me. Therefore I offer a possible solution: That the pair is somehow able to feel comfortable with a bit of stall even with Carlos’s crew in the cave. How? I don’t know. Maybe the legends are hidden behind the walls in a way they think Carlos and the others won’t be able to notice? Maybe there are booby traps inside? I don’t know – just something about the way the cave works to allow the Professor some level of comfort with her granddaughter battling Sam for a longer period. Maybe Carlos himself could elaborate on this in some later scene to explain what his crew found inside that prompted the use of explosives?
I’m sure they could charge a fine or something if they really wanted to enforce it. I do like how much of Sam’s personality shows through this mini-summary of events, though.
Deboarding? I’ve usually heard the term “disembarking” for this sort of thing. I laughed.

I wonder if that might read better if you say “she settled on Vlam’s back” instead.
Now you’ve got me wondering: is the idea of Ninetales laying curses on those that mess with their tails a myth or a reality in your fic-verse? I’m guessing myth from this, but there could be some interesting implications if Vlam could curse the company because their doors squished a tail.
I almost didn’t notice this scene when I first read over the chapter, but now that I’m actively commenting on it, I like this unobtrusive foreshadowing.
I like how Bree mirrors her trainer’s personality. Nice touch.

Mr. Alonzo also boards the train on platform nine-and-three-quarters.
Sam’s active imagination is as entertaining as ever, I see.
It’s nice to see Sam showing some maturity here, whatever his own reasons for it are.
I don’t quite know why, but the bolded phrase seems a little weird to me.
That doesn’t sound sinister at all . . . I wouldn’t want to be Carlos right now.
I’m sure the fact that the legends actually paused and moved toward Sam before being chased off played a role as well.
I like this bit of humor added to the action. Doors and boats seem unavoidable obstacles for Sam.
“the” was written twice here.
I’m wondering if splitting up might be a bad thing. Guess I’ll see next chapter.
These points are separated by a semicolon, but the word “the” is capitalized after like a new sentence.
A cliffhanger huh? I’m going to go with the apparently popular guess of Sam discovering Barry being held here against his will. The alternative might be one of the legends already in Alonzo’s possession, but I doubt Monferno would be this frantic over anything less than his trainer.

Anyway, I like the tension in the conversation. Sam senses something is amiss but cannot put a finger on what. I bet he's about to find out (at least some of) what it was.

Hm...when I "quote" you here, all your points tend to bunch up. I wonder why that is...? Anyway...

I don't think Vlam could really lay any curses, but it's certainly possible; we're already dealing with animals that shoot fire and electricity, so it wouldn't hurt the "realism" aspect at all in that regard. I hadn't thought of it. That said, Vlam isn't much of a curse-giver. She's pretty laid back.

Thanks for, like DP876, finding more of my crap that my inattentiveness glosses over. I am, and remain, really bad at proofreading! I'm glad you enjoyed it, and I will endeavor to continue having it entertain.

ChloboShoka
30th October 2012, 8:17 PM
I think this this is a really great fic because of the character's great personalities and I really like the writing style. And can you add me on the PM list please? I'm not as active on the forums as I used to be, but I always come in once in a while and check my messages.

Knightfall
1st November 2012, 4:19 AM
Well, it’s not as late as I usually am with these things. So, there’s that…


Chapter 17



Sam, for as displeased as he was to have been back on the sea once again, was at least happy he’d made it through the ferry ride to Canalave without Barry’s Monferno tossing anybody overboard.

If people not being thrown overboard is the only positive aspect of traveling, you desperately need to rethink your life.



He’d stood up to Professor Rowan, Henrique Alonzo, and an army of doctors who told him there was nothing that could be done for his brother; the last thing he was going to do was let some damn sign on a boat boss him around.

Who needs authority -- or signs for that matter—when you have creatures that can breathe fire?



Upon deboarding, Sam found a bench in front of the ferry station and parked himself so that Carlos and the others could bark orders at the ferry workers on how to properly unload their equipment.

I thought about labeling this with a giant question mark. “Deboarding”, I’ve never heard of the word. Perhaps, “disembarking” or something like that would work.



“Can’t you two calm down?” At Sam’s words, Monferno and Bree turned their attention to him. “You’re gonna concuss me if you don’t stop acting so jealous over each other.” Bree buzzed and stiffened her antennae out in Monferno’s direction. “I don’t care whose fault it was. I just don’t want to get banged in the head anymore. Behave!”

Replace the Pokemon names and antennae with my siblings and you would have the average argument in my family. It has the “sibling rivalry” sort of vibe to it.



Sam could not help but wonder if this was coincidence or not. How long had the corporation had a headquarters in Sinnoh? Was it ordered here by Mr. Alonzo? If so, was it located here so that he’d have easy access to all the reference material he’d need on Sinnoh? Perhaps that was how he’d known so much about Celestic Town just from the brief description Sam gave him of a picture he’d seen, or even how he knew so much about the guardians to begin with. But to think that the president of an international company would erect a building across from a library just for research... Sam could not help but think that was a reach. Wasn’t it?

Hmm, it does raise a point. Why build it there? Or is Sam thinking about it too much?



“There is a floor between nineteen and twenty. It can not be to access without this key turning and pressing both of the buttons.” Carlos said it as simply as if he’d been reading a traffic report.

“Your boss is on the nineteen-and-a-halfth floor?” Sam mused. “Yeah, that’s not shady at all. Tell me, is his doorknob also a skull?”

The furniture is also made up of limb bones and the pencil sharpener runs purely on tormented souls. The lights are also dimed to a dull red because it saves money and the environment.



The doors parted to reveal a completely mundane hallway that was not at all lined with torchlight and filled with laser security beams such as what Sam had fancied when he thought of the hidden floor. At the end of the short hall, he saw Mr. Henrique Alonzo through an open office door. He sat at a desk that was not made of Donphan ivory and wrote on paperwork with a pen that was apparently not a quill dipped in blood.


Awww… I was totally expecting something like that. Stupid impracticality of having an office made of limbs.



Sam almost could not help but feel disappointed at the nineteen-and-a-halfth floor’s lack of mystique.

I feel your pain Sam. I honestly do.



“I understand we had something of a mishap in Canalave, and the legends were lost to us.”

Wait? Canalave? I thought the legends were in Celestic.



“I was told that you were admirable in your efforts, but my crew got a little impetuous and frightened them off before you could finish.” Henrique rubbed his palms as if he were washing them. “Mr. Stark, I am exceedingly sorry about this. I promised you a crew to assist you, and instead, they impeded you. I understand if you’ll not be wanting to work with us going forward.”

That’s a light way of putting things. Considering that everything just hit the fan and still hasn’t stopped falling from the ceiling.



“Your men did their best, Mr. Alonzo; I think they were just caught up in the heat of the moment and thought that I was about to be attacked.” Sam heard a sharp intake of breath from Carlos. “I don’t think anyone was really to blame.”

“I certainly don’t hold any of them accountable.”

Wait … what? Did Sam just divert all the blame from Carlos and his men? What sort of madness is this?



“Do you have any ideas going forward, Samuel?”

Sam rolled his tongue against the roof of his mouth. “The lakes. It’s the only thing I can think of. If they aren’t being kept somewhere--and they feel like they’ve just been attacked--I think they’d scatter to their homes. To what they think is safe.”

Pretty acute reasoning on his part, but than again, he has been to the lakes before. And he knows a little about them from Rowan, so it’s a logical guess for him.



“I am, I’m afraid, using you, Mr. Stark. Not maliciously or cruelly, but simply because I need you. Could I find the legends without you? And bring them in? Almost certainly, yes. I am, if little else, a man of means. But then what? Then I get painted as a villain by a society that respects and adores men like Professor Rowan. My stature and wealth are used against me to portray me as an elitist or a smuggler or an eccentric or just someone who scoffs at the law. But you? God, Sam, you bring legitimacy. You’re the man who has faced so much; the everyman who needs the legends to repair your fractured life. Society will see you and your brother on every television channel in the world, and they’ll know I’m right. That our world deserves better.”

“Even if I don’t necessarily agree with your stance and I’m just doing this for myself?”

Damn, he has this entire scheme planned out to even cover how he’ll be portrayed by the media. Meticulous to the very last detail, aren’t you Henrique?



Sam wondered what Carlos was thinking. Was he embarrassed that one of his own men cut his legs out from under him? Was he happy to not have taken any more personal blame? Was he disappointed at the possibility of being replaced the rest of the way? Whatever it was, he wasn’t feeling any more like sharing than usual; he summoned the elevator and boarded after the pokemon and Sam without another word.

You know? I hope Carlos stays around, I’ve honestly grown to enjoy his broken Kantoen and his overall personality. Besides, from a minor character being called “Sideburns”, to a more developed character of Carlos Morales, the foreman of the Phoenix Company’s excavation/exploration/demolation crew.



A last bark by Vlam directed Sam to a small broom closet doorway at the far end of the boiler room. The room appeared to be unlit, but as he approached, he could see sprites of flame dancing on the walls. The light from Monferno’s fiery tale, no doubt.

“All right, so what’s the big idea--” Sam began as he entered the doorway, but what he saw stopped him dead in his tracks.

And you accuse me of putting too many unanswered questions in my story. XD
I kid, but you made a darn good cliffhanger.

I’m going to take a wild stab in the dark and say that Barry has something to do with what stopped Sam in his tracks. And that the true motives of Mr. Alonzo will be revealed.

There is always the chance that I am dead wrong about this, but guessing is half the fun of having a cliffhanger.

So, all in all, another great chapter. Aside from the two things I found in bold/italics, there’s nothing in the way of errors. I can’t wait for the next one and hopefully we’ll see what is going on.

Knightfall signing off… ;005;

Sidewinder
4th November 2012, 3:05 AM
Really, what were they going to do to him, he wondered; stop the ferry and insist he get off in the middle of the strait?

Right before I read that bit I found myself asking the same question. Especially for same as a person, they can't really threaten him. With the amount of Pokemon on his side, plus the value he showed Phoenix Corp he has when the guardians took special interest in him previously, he has shown himself to be pretty valuable. No doubt someone will try and test the rule, but for the moment I judge for him to be at least relatively safe.


Before Sam had ventured to the more scenic area of the ferry, he noticed that Carlos and his workers managed to look like a fine gang and not at all suspicious by surrounding their equipment and standing in front of it with their arms crossed.

I love the little dashes of sarcasm you throw in from Sam every once in awhile


Bree seemed to be more resentful of Monferno’s keeping her from resting on her trainer than anything. She tried to buzz close to whichever side of Sam Monferno was not hogging, but as soon as Barry’s pokemon swung over to that side, she let out a sharp hum and fluttered away. Chispa had discovered rapture in watching the swaying of Vlam’s tails, and the eldest friend of the group seemed quietly content to amuse the cub with them. Sam breathed deep to help steady himself as he watched Chispa raise a jittery paw, unsure whether or not to swat at Vlam’s tail. A clubbing sensation to the back of the head knocked Sam forward and almost off of his bench; he turned to see Monferno waving an angry fist at his Butterfree.

I liked the quoted portion quite a bit. You did a good job introducing their little traits without shoving it down my throat. Especially the portion with Chispa and Vlam. I could picture the scene with the two of them quite easily and vividly. Nicely done


Bree let out high-pitched hum and zipped over to her sisters.

Lol, the sisters portion was a nice touch as well. You have a neat talent at subtle relationship building in the way that I can only appreciate a scene after I read it, then want to reread it immedeately afterward


Ninetales’ back before getting airborne.

Should that be Ninetales's?


He nodded in affirmation to Carlos’

That one as well


Monferno ignored Sam and continued scratching at the door. In his insistence to get in, he was leaving scrapes in the paint.

Hmm, interesting. The only thing I can think of behind the door is Barry, but that can't possibly be it, and besides (input room full of bannana's joke here, I can figure out why he'd be doing that, at all. After I read that sentence I stopped for several minutes to try and think of what it could be, but I got nothing. I'll be watching this


Bree, conversely, probably couldn’t have been happier; she bounced in the air next to Sam’s head and hummed cheerfully.

Hah, nice


Monferno’s head was still downturned as Sam watched the elevator

Don't get me wrong, you're not doing it right now, and I'm sure you know this, but be careful about hammering a point in too much. I get that Monferno is upset he can't get through there, you did a good job making that known, but after three sentences associated with that feeling so quickly after the event, it almost seems like you're trying to beat it into me when I'm totally following what's happening. Like I said, you're not doing it, I just want to make sure you know not to make it happen in the future. You dig?


“Yeah, that’s not shady at all. Tell me, is his doorknob also a skull?”

Lmao, Sam is becoming quite the lovable smartass


The doors parted to reveal a completely mundane hallway that was not at all lined with torchlight and filled with laser security beams such as what Sam had fancied when he thought of the hidden floor. At the end of the short hall, he saw Mr. Henrique Alonzo through an open office door. He sat at a desk that was not made of Donphan ivory and wrote on paperwork with a pen that was apparently not a quill dipped in blood.


That was an awesome paragraph. I had to reread it twice because I started laughing so hard. I've seen bits of comedy from you before, but you're really impressing me here. Stunning visual, with a sudden shift to what's real, then repeating it with something different. You have me jumping back and forth in a very pleasant way.


but since he had stopped, he could hear her whimpering from several floors above him.

Several floors? That doesn't seem possible, unless Sam has superhuman hearing. Whimpering is a softer sound, which would be hard to hear from several rooms away, much less between floors of steel and concrete. Was that a typo, because if not, that doesn't really make much sense from a pratical perspective. You dig?


“Monferno! This is a boiler room, not a banana room!

Lol, although I did laugh at that, it doesn't feel really appropriate given the situation they're in. Monferno is smashing through doors to an end we do not know, Chispa is crying, Bree just flew off to find her; it just seems to be too much of a serious situation to drop in some comedy. Don't get me wrong, comedy in certain extreme situations can add to the excitement, as I know you know, but on this occasion it doesn't feel quite right.


“All right, so what’s the big idea--” Sam began as he entered the doorway, but what he saw stopped him dead in his tracks.

ARGH!

Nicely done buddy, I enjoyed myself, and you've definitely piqued my interest for the next chapter.

Sid87
8th November 2012, 3:40 PM
I think this this is a really great fic because of the character's great personalities and I really like the writing style. And can you add me on the PM list please? I'm not as active on the forums as I used to be, but I always come in once in a while and check my messages.

Happily added you. :)




I thought about labeling this with a giant question mark. “Deboarding”, I’ve never heard of the word. Perhaps, “disembarking” or something like that would work.

Deboarding REALLY sounds right to me, but you're the second to bring that up. Maybe my brain is just wonky.


Wait? Canalave? I thought the legends were in Celestic.

...herp. Fixed. :)


You know? I hope Carlos stays around, I’ve honestly grown to enjoy his broken Kantoen and his overall personality. Besides, from a minor character being called “Sideburns”, to a more developed character of Carlos Morales, the foreman of the Phoenix Company’s excavation/exploration/demolation crew.

You'll see more of Carlos...


And you accuse me of putting too many unanswered questions in my story. XD
I kid, but you made a darn good cliffhanger.

I’m going to take a wild stab in the dark and say that Barry has something to do with what stopped Sam in his tracks. And that the true motives of Mr. Alonzo will be revealed.

There is always the chance that I am dead wrong about this, but guessing is half the fun of having a cliffhanger.

So, all in all, another great chapter. Aside from the two things I found in bold/italics, there’s nothing in the way of errors. I can’t wait for the next one and hopefully we’ll see what is going on.

Knightfall signing off… ;005;

Glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for reading!





I love the little dashes of sarcasm you throw in from Sam every once in awhile

I fall into the habit of writing lovable a-holes a lot.


Lol, the sisters portion was a nice touch as well. You have a neat talent at subtle relationship building in the way that I can only appreciate a scene after I read it, then want to reread it immedeately afterward

Thanks!



Should that be Ninetales's?



That one as well

I think I remember if a word/name ends with an S, it can go either way, but it's generally accepted that you should JUST add the apostrophe. I will double-check, though.


Don't get me wrong, you're not doing it right now, and I'm sure you know this, but be careful about hammering a point in too much. I get that Monferno is upset he can't get through there, you did a good job making that known, but after three sentences associated with that feeling so quickly after the event, it almost seems like you're trying to beat it into me when I'm totally following what's happening. Like I said, you're not doing it, I just want to make sure you know not to make it happen in the future. You dig?

Dug and noted for the future. Thanks!


Several floors? That doesn't seem possible, unless Sam has superhuman hearing. Whimpering is a softer sound, which would be hard to hear from several rooms away, much less between floors of steel and concrete. Was that a typo, because if not, that doesn't really make much sense from a pratical perspective. You dig?

I think I meant "several" in the sense of 2 or 3. And by whimpering, I was thinking of a louder, more insistent whining noise. Maybe poor word choice, alas.

I accidentally deleted the quote part about the Banana Room...I was just having Sam use humor to mask his frustration there. He's not the kind to yell at or scold his friends (or any pokemon, really), so he covers up his anger by defusing it into humor.

thanks for reading, as always. Sidenote: I've READ the current chapter of Requiem, just haven't had time to comment. HOPEFULLY tomorrow morning.

elyvorg
8th November 2012, 6:29 PM
Hi! Despite my lack of commenting, I am still reading and have rather enjoyed where this has been going recently. Moral greyness is always fun, and I'm especially liking how much more noticeably messed-up Sam is gradually becoming in his desperation to save Tommy no matter the cost.

I just popped in to comment on this chapter because I have one thing to say that no-one else seems to be bringing up, and that is that the way you wrote this chapter's cliffhanger is, in my opinion, the very textbook example of how not to write a cliffhanger. Ending the chapter after indicating that there is something shocking there but before telling us what this something actually is is just not that exciting, because, ultimately, I don't know what it is and so I don't have anything tangible to get excited about. The way things are, in order to get myself excited about the next chapter I basically have to take your word for it - or rather, Sam's brief reaction's word for it - that this truly is something shocking that I want to find out about. Which is all very well, but it would be so much better of a reader experience if I'd found out what that something was at the end of this chapter so that I could feel that shock for myself.

Don't think that letting us know what Sam found at the end of this chapter would ruin any potential for speculation the cliffhanger would have, either. I get the feeling you did it like this because you want to get us speculating on what it might have been that he found there, but all we're asking ourselves now is a very vague, very broad, "What, out of many possible things, did Sam find?" Whereas if you'd told us what it was, we'd still have been asking questions, but they'd have been much more specific and therefore more interesting to think about - we'd be wondering what it's doing there, how it got there, being able to eagerly anticipate the possible consequences it might have. We can't really do that when we don't know what it actually is.

So, while the ultimate result of this cliffhanger is that I do want to read the next chapter to find out what this thing is, it's for the wrong reasons: I want to find out because I believe it will excite me when I do, not because I'm excited about it right now. Leading up to something that seems like it'll be exciting then cutting off before actually getting to the exciting part is more just anticlimactic and kind of frustrating. And you might be thinking that cliffhangers often are frustrating, which can be true, but the best cliffhangers are always frustrating in a good way, in an in-universe way. This cliffhanger is just frustrating in a bad way, I'm afraid.

I don't know if you actually want to edit the end of the chapter, or whether you doing so would fully restore the cliffhanger's potential impact now that I and several other readers have already read the currently-anticlimactic version. But at least this is something I hope you'll keep in mind if you ever want to end a chapter on a cliffhanger in the future - I really like cliffhangers when they're done right, and I do think that if you'd ended this chapter by telling us what was there then I would have enjoyed it, so I don't want to miss out on any further moments like that that there could potentially be in the future of this fic.

Zibdas
21st November 2012, 4:46 AM
Confound it, cliffhangers! Regardless, I apologize profusely for posting late, I'm a horrible procrastinator. Regardless, I'll just reinforce the obvious; your writing skills are amazing, and I was on the edge of my seat for a good bit of this chapter, looking forward to the next one.

Sid87
4th December 2012, 5:35 PM
Chapter 18

Floaroma Town was barely an outskirt of a suburb, a small stopover village nestled in the woods at the bottom of Mount Coronet. In comparison, Celestic Town may well have been a bustling center of trade. But where Celestic was surrounded by perpetual mountain haze, looming pine trees, and a jagged, knife-like terrain that combined to cause Sam to fear for his life at the movement of his own shadow, Floaroma Town was much more sleepy and calm. The village was literally alive with colors; flowers bloomed from the east end to the western highway out towards Eterna City, and roads and walkways were shaped windingly around their beds so as to molest them as little as possible. Despite the frantic nature in which Sam had arrived at Floaroma Town just hours before, he felt a sense of relaxation as he made his way to the Val-U-Stay motel where he’d rented a room. The peacefulness of the quiet village and the hypnotic sway of the floral scenery reminded Sam of a movie he’d seen as a child, but these flowers--unlike the ones in the film--did not seem to have the nefarious side effect of putting travelers to sleep at a witch’s command. A witch would have been the least of Sam’s concerns at the moment, anyway.

There certainly was some effect from the flowers, though. Sam had been running all-but nonstop for two days as he tried to put as much distance between himself and Canalave City as possible. It was not until he’d reached Floaroma that the idea of catching his breath and figuring out his next move came to him. Maybe it was something about the easiness of the flowers that had calmed him down after all. The Val-U-Stay seemed to be the most anonymous place in town, so he settled on that despite the unimpressive boasting on its vacancy sign. “Beds. Cable TV. Private Rooms”. They weren’t the most fascinating amenities Sam could imagine, but it did certainly beat the alternative, which was apparently having a public room with no beds.

Sam found himself mesmerized in place and admiring the intertwining of a bush of red flowers with another bush of yellow flowers (Sam was humbled by being incapable of naming the plants, but he realized he never claimed to be a botanist) when the proprietor of the Val-U-Stay emerged from the front office to sweep the sidewalk. The sight of her brought him back to reality; he pulled the brim of the ballcap he had lifted from a gas station outside Jubilife City down to cover as much of his face as possible and nodded at her as he hurried away up the stairwell to the second floor.

Sam pushed open the door to room seventeen and was almost immediately tackled by Monferno, causing the bag of convenience store delicacies he had left the motel room for in the first place to scatter to the ground.

“Damn it! I had soup in there!” Sam cried in frustration as Monferno rubbed his face on Sam’s chest. “Why is he even out of his ball?”

“Well he’s hungry, too. And he doesn’t like being cooped up in his ball anymore than we like being cooped up in a motel room.”

Monferno bounced from Sam’s body and began sniffing around the fallen bag. Sam saw the monkey begin licking at it and knew right away that the lid must have come free from the soup. So much for dinner, he thought. “Barry, you and this ape couldn’t spell ’subtlety’ if I tattooed it on each of your foreheads. What if he made so much noise that someone--”

“Well of course we couldn’t.”

Sam froze and narrowed his eyes. He took a deep breath before deciding to address whatever Barry was talking about. “Couldn’t what?”

“Spell it. I mean, if you tattooed it on our heads. Because then it would be backwards.”

Sam felt his eyes begin to water. “I--what now?”

“If you tattooed it on our heads and we looked in the mirror to see how it was spelled, it’d be all backwards. Then there’s the fact that I’m pretty sure Monferno can’t spell words anyway--”

There might have been more, and knowing Barry, there probably was. But Sam’s brain had deactivated as part of some kind of self-defense mechanism. All he could hear was the steady, high-pitched grunt building in the back of his throat. Sure enough, Barry’s mouth was still moving. Sam shuddered and turned to the fire pokemon; it was still licking the inside of the plastic bag.

“Am I right?” Barry apparently concluded.

“I--yes. That is--yes. Right. Okay. Sure. Backwards.” Sam’s brain was not offering up more than one word at a time. Disagreeing with Barry never seemed to net much gain.

Barry nodded, possibly proud of himself for yet another deep thought, and the two of them stood facing each other as the seconds dawdled past. Monferno was still crouched on the ground and pawing at the bag of lost soup, and he was not being neat about it with broth and noodles slopping up the floor. It occurred to Sam that Barry had no interest in cleaning up after his friend, so if it was going to get done, he’d have to be the one to do it.

“I guess I’ll get a towel to clean that up,” Sam said, letting his eyes linger on Barry for a few moments as he started towards the bathroom.

Barry was undeterred, and only pressed his palms downwards. “I’ll hold everything down here,” he answered as if the duty were vitally important.

Sam pulled a washrag off of the towel rack in the motel bathroom that was barely capable of holding a shower, a toilet, a sink, and a human being within its walls. They couldn’t stay in this motel for long, and he knew it. Sam was beginning to feel like he had nowhere left to turn. He could not possibly go back to the Phoenix Corporation, yet Professor Rowan was hardly any better of an option. And back home to Goldenrod City, empty-handed? That was simply out of the question. His brain pressed him, Where are you going, Sam?

His eyes caught the light coming through the window, and Sam could not help but wonder who would put a window in a motel bathroom? His gaze settled back on the swaying colors outside. A burst of violet settled in amongst a sea of muted yellow, and Sam could see the movement of insects busily floating from blossom to blossom to collect their dinners. Sam leaned his neck to look up to the sky; he wondered if the flowers’ colors were arranged in such a way that they made an image to passing aircraft. Something simple, but pleasant enough to charm anyone passing by and hopefully let them forget about the stresses of their life until they reached their destination.

“Hey, Sam?” Barry called from outside the bathroom. “Any idea why we would be on TV?”

Sam’s attention was wrenched from the peacefulness of the window, and he rushed to Barry’s side in front the tiny motel television set. Sure enough, there were two photos of them in the corner of a news report. The shot of Barry was a simple stock photo--probably a school picture with the way he was mugging in the image--and the one of Sam looked to be a still picture from a security camera in Canalave. Sam would be lying if he claimed he had not thought this might happen, but he was counting on Mr. Alonzo’s secretive nature and distrust of Sinnohans to keep it from coming to this.

“Turn it up,” he told Barry, though the words had to fight their way out of his mouth.

“No word today to follow up yesterday’s report of a violent kidnapping in Canalave City. Samuel Stark of Johto, pictured right, was abducted from the Phoenix Shipping Corporation Building in Canalave by accused eco-terrorist Barry West, pictured left. In the middle of the afternoon business day--”

“What the hell?” Sam squinted at the report as if he could see beyond it to something else.

“Eco-terrorist?” Barry mused, his breath chortling out through his nose.

“--witnesses have corroborated the story that Mr. West was trying to break into the building through the basement. When Mr. Stark allegedly caught him in the act, Mr. West took him hostage and fled the city, possibly aboard a ferry or cargo ship. If you see either of these men--”

“Who corroborated that? Who possibly--” Sam’s words died with the dawning of a realization. “What the hell kind of game is Alonzo playing here?”

“Eco terrorist! Ha!”

“According to Phoenix Corporation President, Henrique Alonzo, Barry West is dangerous, possibly disturbed, and prone to violent, destructive outbursts. He is responsible for millions of dollars of damaged property, and he allegedly made an attempt on the lives of several Phoenix employees off the coast of Snowpoint City.”

“Well, okay. Most of that one is true...”

“I’m gonna terrorize all the ecos!”

“--still awaiting official word from Sinnoh’s Secretary of Pokemon Affairs, Professor Rowan. Professor Rowan is the legal guardian of Barry West, and previous attempts to contact him have been politely declined, though Professor Rowan did state the accusations against Mr. West are absurd, and he’d be calling a press conference tomorrow morning to directly address the concerns.”

Sam lowered his face down into his hands and rubbed his eyes until he saw sparks dancing in his eyelids. The news report had been, of course, untrue. Sam did not find Barry trying to break into the building; he found him there being held in the boiler room against his will. It had become apparent to Sam then that when Sam had left Barry in Snowpoint with Mr. Alonzo, the latter held onto Barry, labeling him as some kind of threat. It was another in a long line of mistakes Sam had made lately, but he immediately decided to make up for it by taking Barry as far from Henrique as possible. Since charging out of the Phoenix Corporation Building after rescuing Barry and gathering up their friends, Sam had been so frazzled he had not stopped to consider what would be best for Barry.

“We’ve got to get you back to Sandgem Town. Now.”

“Well, we could, but I can’t promise not to blow up a tree on the way. Because that’s what I do, you know?”

“That’s not even what it--no, come on. We’re not that far off. We can get you back together with Rowan by tonight if we push it. Then you can go out there with him tomorrow and say what’s really going on. With you, with me, with Alonzo. The whole truth.”

Barry scratched his cheek. “Yeah, that’d be pretty neat. You, me, and Rowan all at a podium together, being all like 'Mr. Alonzo is a dick’! Let’s see what he has to say in response to that, right?”

“Right...,” Sam looked down at the carpet and saw the soup stain. The mess he still hadn’t cleaned up and now would never get to. “Look, I’m not staying if we go. I’ll get you to the lab, but that’s as far as I go. Alonzo might be crackerjacks, but Rowan... he’s not exactly on my Christmas card list, either.”

Barry shrugged, but offered nothing else. Sam felt compelled to go on. “Look, I screwed up, and I got you hurt. That was really pathetic of me; I know it. But those two? Man, it was bad enough when they were both moving me like a pawn on a checkerboard. Now they’re going to make their little to-do public? Keep me out of it.”

“Chessboard.”

“What?”

“You use a pawn on a chessboard, not a checkerboard.”

Sam’s instant rebuttal was that they were the same thing, but he kept it to himself. Had Barry heard anything else he said, or was Sam basically just talking to the cold stain on the seafoam green carpet?

“So where are you going? After dropping me off, that is.”

Sam looked over his right shoulder as the answer sprang to him. “Lake Valor. Verity is too close to Canalave, and Acuity is too risky if Henrique ends up back at his little resort. I’m going to find Lake Valor and see if any of the guardians returned there. They’ll be willing to help me; I saw that in them. It’s what I have to do.”

Barry nodded emphatically. He pulled one of his pokeballs from his pocket and recalled Monferno into it. “Lake Valor’s going to be a long trip. You better run back across the street before we leave and stock up on energy drinks. I get sleepy on busses and trains.”

“Yeah, but no. Did you miss the part where I’m taking you back to Sandgem so you can clear your name?”

“I did, but that was the boring part of the plan that I’m ignoring. So we’re going to Valor together instead.