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Missingno. Master
9th June 2012, 4:11 AM
June 7th, 2009. A date I will never forget.

It started out like any other day. This was back when I was traveling the Sinnoh region. I had already scored all eight badges, already kicked some Elite 4 buttocks. Now I was just traveling around, finding and catching whatever new Pokémon came my way, and training them for the next big challenge; the Battle Frontier. And not only training, either; recently, a bunch of people professing to be move tutors had set up shop in various areas around the region. Oddly enough, they took no viable form of currency in return for their services, but rather worked in exchange for various colored shard. Fragments of some sort of ancient relic. It was beyond my understanding what possible use they could've seen in these little clay fragments. They didn't even sell for too much at Pokémarts. But it was better than paying them in actual money- or worse, Battle Points. Heard of a Battle Frontier in the Hoenn region where you had to pay the local move tutors in Battle Points. You ever try racking up a good couple dozen Battle Points? It's doable, yes, but very slow going.

So I spent many a day just digging away in the underground tunnels of Sinnoh, collecting any and all treasures I could excavate. Which included, on occasion, a couple of colored shards. More than that, every morning I sent out my trusty Pelipper and we made tracks for Pastoria City. Inside the Great Marsh, among all the tourists and trainers and what have you was a little kid, he seemed to live in the place full-time. At least, I've never seen him outside the Great Marsh. But anyway, this kid, I don't know how he does it, but every day I talk to him, and every day he's found a colored shard and willingly gives it to me. A shard a day- I'm lucky to get that sort of deal in the underground tunnels, and that kid did not strike me as the kind of person who is especially adept at wielding a pickax or sledgehammer. But you know what? For an extra shard each and every day, I wasn't about to look this gift Ponyta in the mouth, no sir.

Then came that fateful day. June 7th. That day, as I was paying the attendant the usual 500 Pokédollar admission fee to get into the Great Marsh, something occurred to me. Every day, I shelled out 500 big ones to this money-hungry attendant I was sure was stealing from the register just to go in, get a shard, and get out. I was paying 500 Pokédollars for a tiny colored shard of clay! Oh, sure, Poké Balls only cost 200, but at least they're essential enough equipment to justify that. I was paying more than double that for something that for all I know came out of some ancient pottery class.

By this point, the attendant knew me well. He knew my morning routine, and knew to expect me to exit the place within two minutes. Still, he held up the usual burlap sack stuffed with thirty of the Great Marsh's specialty Poké Balls- Safari Balls- with a questioning look on his face, waiting for me to shake my head. Today, however, was different. I held out my hand. The attendant was surprised, but asked no questions. He handed me the bag of Safari Balls and allowed me into the Great Marsh. Today, see, I was determined to make this excursion worth the admission fee. I was going to catch my money's worth in these Safari Balls.

First thing I did, naturally, was talk with that little boy who seemed to live there 24/7. He happily forked over a Green Shard, and once again, his only response to my usual inquiry as to where he got them was a mysterious smile. But I couldn't be bothered by that today. I spent 500 Pokédollars to get in here and damned if I wasn't going to get my money's worth.

Presently, I approached a large, yet shallow pond filled entirely with mud. Thankful that the pants I was wearing were well adapted to this sort of thing, I began wading around. I headed for an area of the pond where patches of tall grass was growing; the top of the grass was just poking up out of the mud. Almost immediately, I saw a small creature stick its light blue head up out of the mud- a Wooper. Wasting no time, I took a Safari Ball out of the bag, heaved it at the Wooper, and caught it with little issue. I smirked to myself as the ball vanished, signifying Wooper's departure for the PC storage system. Technology really was incredible.

I went on in this vein for some time. What irks me most about Poké Balls in general is their tendency to shatter into pieces upon failing to catch a wild Pokémon, which makes the thirty allotted Safari Balls all the more precious. I made use of the Marsh's tram system to quickly move from one area to another, and before long, I had caught several Wooper, a pair of Bibarel, a Carnivine, and one Exeggcute that had given me much grief. There may even have been others. All I know is that once Exeggcute was sent to the PC, I was down to my last ten Safari Balls. I wandered around a bit more.

And then I saw it.

I had come face-to-face with a large, imposing creature. By its height alone I could tell it was a Tropius- nothing else in the Great Marsh could come up to its height, with the possible exception of a Kangaskhan. And even then, it's quite difficult to confuse Kangaskhan and Tropius. But the fact that I had encountered a Tropius wasn't what made me stop dead in my tracks. No, see, on regular Tropius, the head and leaves were a dark green, and the rest of the body a dark brown. This Tropius's head and leaves were a bright, vibrant shade of green, and the rest of its body a rich golden color.

As if to confirm what my eyes already knew, the beast opened its mouth and let out a cry of "Trooooo!", whereupon a host of sparkling blue stars materialized out of nowhere and swirled around it briefly before vanishing once more. There was no mistaking it; I had come across a Shiny Tropius.

No sudden movements, I told myself. Tropius scare rather easily, and damned if I was going to let a Shiny get away from me! Aside from my reputation as a top trainer, I also had a reputation as a Shiny Hunter- a trainer who actively seeks out and catches Shiny Pokémon. Immensely difficult, owing to the general extreme rareness of Shinies, but the thrill is like no other. Of course, Safari Parks such as Sinnoh's Great Marsh greatly complicated manners, as the Pokémon in such environments tend to be much more prone to fleeing, and one could not simply use one's own Pokémon for assistance. Then there was the matter of catching any Tropius at all. They were not the easiest Pokémon to catch, even when weakened. Catching one that was completely unscathed in what amounted to camoflauged Great Balls, while hoping it stuck around that long? It sounded to be an impossible task. Indeed, it did seem that way; months prior, I had traversed the Great Marsh in hopes of filling up my Pokédex, and managed to catch a regular Tropius, but only after getting through no fewer than twenty-two more of its kind.

I viewed my options. I could throw some bait at the Tropius- included with the bag of Safari Balls was a small sack of Pokémon bait. That would help it stick around, sure enough, but as my past experiences have shown, there's no guarantees. And even if the bait did have its desired effect, it appears to make the Pokémon more likely to be able to resist a thrown ball. If I still had all thirty, maybe, but I was down to ten Safari Balls. It would be an extremely risky, nigh suicidal move. No. No, bait was out of the question.

My eyes then lingered on the mud I was standing almost knee-deep in. I could scoop a handful of that and throw it at the Tropius. But that was even more foolish; a Pokémon that's been hit by mud would be likely to flee on the spot. If not, though, it would be angered, and an angered Pokémon, don't ask me why, is apparently easier to catch in a Poké Ball. But I wasn't gonna risk it. Still, I knew I had to try something. So, summoning all my courage, I slowly, very slowly, drew a Safari Ball from the bag, pressed the button to bring it to full size, then with all the strength in my right arm, launched the sphere at the Tropius. It struck the dinosaur-esque creature, converted it into red transparent energy, and sucked it inside. The ball wobbled back and forth as it landed on top of the mud. It shook once... Twice... Three times...

...and shattered. Shards of Safari Ball flew in all directions as Tropius's massive form re-emerged, the sparkles flying around it once more. I tensed up- in my experience, Pokémon were much more likely to flee immediately after an attempted and failed capture. But to my surprise, the Shiny still stood there, meeting my gaze unwaveringly. I was surprised, but I dared not question it. Instead, I slowly took a second Safari Ball out of the bag, enlarged it, and threw it at the Tropius. The sizable Shiny was sucked inside, and the ball shook once... Shook twice... Shook three times....

...and shattered again. My heart sank as Tropius once again came into view, mysterious blue sparkles flying around it. I braced myself for the flapping sounds of its leaves, but this did not come. Tropius continued to stand in place, watching me intently. I met its gaze, wondering what exactly was keeping it in place. I knew it couldn't be stuck in the mud, not even an infant Tropius could get stuck in a shallow pool of Great Marsh mud. Even if that was the case, it would have been flapping its wings frantically, trying to escape. But this one clearly wanted to remain in place. Slowly, and with a feeling that I was pressing my luck, I took out a third Safari Ball and threw it. It sucked Tropius inside, but shattered before it even hit the ground. And yet, amazingly, the Shiny stayed still. It was almost like... almost like she wanted to be captured. And yet, at the same time, I got this strange feeling, a feeling like Tropius's patience was waning. I don't know how I knew, all I knew was it was now or never. So, braced for the worst, I launched a fourth Safari Ball. It sucked Tropius inside, landed on top of the mud, and shook once... twice... three times...

And then it clicked.

It took me a full five seconds to realize that Tropius wasn't escaping this Safari Ball- I had done it! I had caught a Shiny Tropius! Had the ball not vanished and gone to the PC storage system, I surely would have picked it up and began dancing around in celebration. Instead, I hastened to exit the Great Marsh. It had been a nerve-wracking experience, and I had no desire for a repeat of it that could possibly have a less fortunate outcome. Of course, that very thing happened just under a year later in the Safari Zone of Johto, but that's another story.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
And now, a few notes.

1: This was my entry in Ysavvryl's tall tale one-shot contest, where it took third place.

2: If anyone from the old Shiny Hunter's club thinks this sounds familiar, there's a good reason for that; this story was based on true events. Anyone who went into the Shiny Hunter's club on June 7th, 2009 will have seen me excitedly going into detail on these very events which led to me catching a female Shiny Tropius.

3D992
11th June 2012, 4:23 AM
Wow! I love that you included your pelliper! As soon as the shiny appeared I scrolled down and searched your shiny banner. When I found tropius I knew you'd catch it! I so expected some mischeif from the safari worker and kid. I guess not!

Dragonfree
11th June 2012, 12:11 PM
Hm. I can't help but not be very moved by this, I'm afraid. I'm sure it was thrilling for you when you were doing this on your game, but as a reader of this as a work of fiction, it's just difficult to care at all whether this anonymous trainer catches the shiny Tropius. Short stories generally have a point, a concept that they want to explore from some interesting angle - for example, Psychic's entry in this contest explores the psyche of an NPC and why he keeps calling you - but this isn't really making any kind of interesting point about shiny hunting; the trainer just wants to catch the Tropius, it stands there while he throws some balls, and then he successfully catches it. Even if you write the emotions well, the story just doesn't hold up on its own. There are ways you could have fictionalized that Safari trip that would give it purpose and impact, such as writing it from the Tropius's point of view and imagining why it did stay there and not flee, or if you strayed from the truth regarding the motivations of the trainer and made that something unique and interesting, but as it is this is just describing a fairly typical Safari Zone shiny capture by an average trainer whose feelings on it are pretty much exactly what you'd expect. Something about as ordinary could be compelling as part of a longer story where the reader is already invested in the characters, but in a short story the particular story being told has to stand out as interesting in some manner.

The first-person writing is okay - it really feels like the trainer is telling us the story, and you show his thought process decently. I have to boggle at how the trainer is using the process of elimination on Pokémon of Tropius's size to figure out that the Tropius is a Tropius, though - the fact Tropius are very large also means that even if you see one from afar, it's pretty clear what it is unless you don't know what Tropius look like (which the trainer does, seeing as he goes on to describe what a normal Tropius looks like in contrast to this shiny one). I realize what probably happened on your game is that you recognized the size of the silhouette sliding across the screen as it appeared and had your interest awakened even before you'd processed that it was a Tropius, but some things in-game can't very sensibly be adapted into story form, and it doesn't contribute to the story, so I'd suggest you leave that bit out.

Two spelling errors I caught:


Of course, Safari Parks such as Sinnoh's Great Marsh greatly complicated manners, as the Pokémon in such environments tend to be much more prone to fleeing, and one could not simply use one's own Pokémon for assistance. Then there was the matter of catching any Tropius at all. They were not the easiest Pokémon to catch, even when weakened. Catching one that was completely unscathed in what amounted to camoflauged Great Balls, while hoping it stuck around that long?
It's "matters" and "camouflaged".

Psychic
11th June 2012, 11:19 PM
Long review is long.


I realized while typing that it was hard to talk about your protagonist, since, while you do use first person limited point of view, the protagonist never introduces himself. I get that this is a personal story, but it’s clear that the protagonist is a character in his/her own right, rather than this just being an entry in Missingno. Master’s journal, so it’s a bit of a shame that we don’t know even the basics, like their name and gender.

Since I don’t know the basics about your protagonist, I’ll assume they’re male and call him You, capitalized so as not to confuse the protagonist with the actual author. So henceforth, “you” = Missingno. Master, and “You” = protagonist. This will surely cause confusion and shenanigans~

I like that you establish that You (see?! XD) is not just wandering the region randomly, so it gives a good idea of how experienced he is and where he is in his life. The goal of challenging the Battle Frontier helps set up the story, and I really rather like the mysterious appearances of the move tutors and strange shard-giver. They provided for some interesting comments, though I kind of wish you’d taken the extra time to have You muse on them, perhaps where they might come from or why they’re there, as you do have a reputation for writing comedy. The gift horse comment also worked, but it’s a thought.

I found You’s interactions with pretty much every other character pretty limited. You don’t really treat them as characters with minds of their own so much as things that act for and around You. Part of this is because they simply don’t do much. When You sends out his Pelipper, the Pokemon doesn’t cry out its name or flap its wings or do anything, despite being a living, breathing creature. This continues with all Pokemon You encounters in the story, which is a shame since the point was to expand and bring the setting to life. That said, this can quite easily be fixed with just a little editing.

I do kind of wish that you included a reason for You to suddenly decide to catch Pokemon on this particular day at the Great Marsh. There’s all this emphasis on the date, but no real explanation as to why You decides to finally make use of his time in the Marsh on this day. Does he see a trainer leaving with a batch of newly-caught Pokemon? Does he realize he’s draining his bank account over this? Does he see other trainers being given hugs bags of balls and decide he’s missing ouy? It would be nice if something consciously made You decide to finally catch some Pokemon, even if it’s just made-up for the story. It’s a story – don’t be afraid to get creative!

I would have really liked to see some description of the Great Marsh when You enters. What sounds and smells does he perceive? Do the tourists distract him? Where does he go to find the little boy? Does he know the way so well his feet practically take him there automatically? Some description here would be nice.

The fact that Pokeballs shatter read as a terrible idea to me. I see what you meant to do, since Pokeballs only work once and then seem to disappear, but shattering means that shards of metal are flying into the skin of every person and Pokemon nearby. Then again, maybe they just shatter and fall straight down instead of flying in all directions (but that’s still lethal to anything on the ground).

Then we finally see your Shiny! However, I found everything with the Tropius a little boring. It doesn’t get much description aside from the mention of colours, so we don’t know what it’s doing or how it’s acting. It would be nice to see some description of it and the impression it makes on You, like having Tropius tower over him, shaking its leaves impressively, the bananas on its chin swinging. Instead it just stands there, apparently doing nothing, while You throws exploring balls at it. Living creatures don’t act like that, and the fact that the Tropius does removes a lot of the interest and tension that could be there. I knew the “almost like she wanted to be captured” line was coming up without having to read ahead, and frankly, it’s cliché and nonsensical. What would motivate a living creature to do that? The “patience was waning” line did help make up for this, but the fact that You seems to intuitively KNOW these things just feels kind of cheap. Instead of making Tropius a proper character with its own agency, as it should be, it might as well just be a very large tree waiting to be cut down.

The remedy is, again, pretty simple: have Tropius act and react to everything around it. When it sees You, we should see its reaction. When it breaks free of the ball, we should see it shake its head or flutter its leaves or glare at You. When its patience is waning, it can stomp its feet uneasily and look away anxiously. Pokemon are characters who act and react, not just tools who do nothing while your character does stuff to it. Since the Tropius is the focus of the story and one of the few other characters, it really would add a lot to the story.

The whole point is that Tropius is the antagonistic force to your protagonist. It’s Hunter VS Hunted, but because the opposing force to your character is so weak, we don’t get much drama or tension out of their interaction. We never really doubt that You will succeed because Tropius is standing there like a tree waiting to be cut down, thus not providing much of a challenge or a threat.



Aside from that I wish you had broken up the paragraphs a little more, as each one was quite uniformly large – it’s nice to have some variation. For instance, the “I went on in this vein for some time” paragraph includes two separate topics, one about how many Safari Balls you’re given, the other about using the tram to catch multiple Pokemon. Don’t be afraid of short paragraphs!

This is also in need of some editing, because I did find some mistakes that could be found on a reread. Additionally, just adding some description here and there would have helped, describing the Great Marsh, the Pokemon You encounters, the way Pokemon act and react and so on.



and training them for the next big challenge; the Battle Frontier.
The semicolon should be a regular colon here. Semicolons are only for lists or if there is an independent clause (ie complete sentence) on either side of it. “The Battle Frontier” alone is not a proper sentence.


but rather worked in exchange for various colored shard. Fragments of some sort of ancient relic.
Should be “shards,” and the second sentence isn’t a complete sentence, so join it up with the previous one using a comma. There are a lot of instances of this for no particular reason, and it doesn’t add anything, instead just making the read choppy and distracting.


Heard of a Battle Frontier in the Hoenn region where you had to pay the local move tutors in Battle Points.
Need a question mark here.


Inside the Great Marsh, among all the tourists and trainers and what have you was a little kid, he seemed to live in the place full-time.
Place a comma after “what have you” and an “and” and the comma that’s already there. Also, I think this would be a good place to mention that this is a Safari Zone-esque place (I personally had no idea, since I’ve never played these games).


Every day, I shelled out 500 big ones to this money-hungry attendant I was sure was stealing from the register just to go in, get a shard, and get out.
It sounds like the attendant is the one going in to get a shard, here. Put a comma after “register” to fix this.


Still, he held up the usual burlap sack stuffed with thirty of the Great Marsh's specialty Poké Balls- Safari Balls- with a questioning look on his face, waiting for me to shake my head.
This seems light a high ineffective and inconvenient way to both give our and carry thirty items. Also, if he knows You is just going to refuse, I imagine the attendant wouldn’t lug around the bag he knows won’t be taken, and instead just gesture to it or something. Also, You never gives the attendant the money here. Dashes should be surrounded by spaces on both sides, so it should be “Poké Balls – Safari Balls – with a questioning look.” Lastly, “my money’s worth” comes up twice consecutively – at the end of this paragraph and the next one, so I’d suggest changing one.


Thankful that the pants I was wearing were well adapted to this sort of thing, I began wading around.
Actually, it’s not so much the pants that you want to worry about here, but the shoes. Depending on the mud, You’s shoe could get stuck and his feet could lift right out of it. Also it’s generally difficult to walk through mud, and his shoes will be disgusting after. And...is it a pond or a body of mud? Water can be muddy, but I’m not sure if that’s what you meant. Also, some description of You moving through the mud could make for some icky fun description!


Aside from my reputation as a top trainer, I also had a reputation as a Shiny Hunter- a trainer who actively seeks out and catches Shiny Pokémon.
Eh, I’m not sure if I like that this is thrown in at this moment, or at least the way it’s done. That said, I’m not sure if it would have been better to place near the beginning during the Battle Frontier part, but it would be nice to see this expanded on a little, such as mentioning how successful he’s been, when he started doing this, or if there’s a community of Hunters like him (*hinthint*). Again, there should be a space before the dash here.


I viewed my options.
You don’t really “view” options, but you can “look at” or “consider” them.


My eyes then lingered on the mud I was standing almost knee-deep in.
Wait, when did You get back into the mud? Also, aren’t attendees given mud?


So, summoning all my courage, I slowly, very slowly, drew a Safari Ball from the bag,
The attempt at building tension here is lost by the lack of real reason to be tense; the Tropius is just standing there staring off into space, so there’s no reason for You to feel courageous and/or work slowly. If the Tropius was reacting to him like any wild creature responds to an alien presence (ie by looking at and assessing the threat, showing clear signs of nervousness or anger, deciding between fight and flight) it would add a LOT to this scene, but it instead falls pretty flat and doesn’t feel very exciting.


Even if that was the case, it would have been flapping its wings frantically, trying to escape.
I rather like this observation. Unfortunately, at the same time it calls attention to the fact that Tropius is doing nothing, like it might as well be a statue. Again, living things shouldn’t come off like this, so throwing in some action description can do a world of good.



Anyhow, it was overall a decent read. I can imagine the tension of trying to catch a Pokemon in a Safari Zone (I personally would start freaking out and panicking), I just wish that there had been more tension and drama in this. It’s important to remember when writing Pokemon fanfiction that Pokemon are characters, too, and by not giving them agency you lose out on a lot of opportunities. As I said, I think it would be pretty easy to bring up the level of your story and the amount of drama just by adding to your Pokemon characters. People will probably enjoy it anyway, but you seem to have potential to be even better that you’re simply missing out on.

Looking forward,

~Psychic