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Negrek
24th July 2005, 6:49 AM
This is the first revised edition of my first-ever fanfiction, The Ninetales' Curse. I hope that you enjoy it.

Disclaimer: Sadly, the only pokémon that I own are the ones in my video games. All original characters, locales, and pokémon that may appear in this piece are mine, however.

Rating: PG-13 for strong language, violence, blood, and gore. This 'fic is rated PG and is only bumped up a level due to board regulations; swearing appears only in later chapters and will be noted. The majority of this 'fic is PG.


Prologue: The Dawn

The morning sunlight crept slowly through the foggy window, almost as though it was reluctant to disturb the dark, brooding interior of the mansion. Its warm glow did little to enliven the bowels of the huge, silent house, which was slowly crumbling away beneath the weight of years of neglect and painful memories. The brave sunbeam struggled through eddying dust motes to cast a small patch of golden radiance on the floor, an oasis of light and hope in this, the domain of despair.

As the morning brightened, the ray of illumination intensified, drawing back the veil of darkness that shrouded the room into which it had intruded. It revealed sagging, defeated furniture quietly decomposing in the perpetual gloom, small piles of plaster fallen from the deteriorating ceiling, and, curiously enough, another light source, twin patches of red light lurking near the back of the room.

These mysterious lights were nearly as different from the perpetually optimistic sunbeam as it was possible to be, however; they glowed with baleful malice, seemingly offended by the sun’s trespassing on their domain. And, most surprising of all, they moved forward, revealing that they were not, in fact, lights, but eyes—the eyes of a ninetales, illuminated from within by the pokémon’s mystical power.

The fire-type moved silently through the patch of sunlight, her golden fur briefly illuminated before being swallowed once more by shadows. She proceeded through the darkness with the grace and ease of memory, stepping lightly around holes in the floorboards. Her luxurious tails swept away cobwebs and brushed up against moldering furniture as she passed, hardly making any sound at all.

She stepped out of the perpetually ajar front door and into the fresh air of early morning. Continuing out onto the garden path, she padded lightly across cracked stepping stones, now almost completely indiscernible beneath the tangle of unkempt grass that had grown up to engulf them. She continued past flowerbeds now overgrown with weeds, the only flowers remaining there feral, twisted specimens, eternally at war with one another for sunlight and nourishment. The air was scented with rot and damp, a perfume suitable for the decomposing mansion.

The ninetales left through the old garden gate, which now hung by one hinge, rusted open. Leaving behind the dismal mansion, she stepped out onto the windswept cliff top upon which it rested. The building behind her seemed even more forlorn from the outside, a lone, hunched crone huddled dejectedly on a cold, windy street, clutching her twisted gardens about her like a ragged cloak. One entire wing of the mansion was gone, only a few charred posts and sections of wall remaining to testify that a fire had occurred there long ago.

The ninetales, however, did not look back at her home as she strode purposefully up to the very edge of the cliff. A wide swath of forest spread out below, only just awakening to the trills of birds and the sigh of ocean breezes in its leaves. The ninetales surveyed it for a moment, her attitude almost scornful, before turning her gaze out to the ocean beyond. Its calm, peaceful waters sparkled in the early morning light, seeming to stretch on forever. As the ninetales stared out across its boundless miles, she looked not only out across her domain but also back in time, to an era long past and which few humans remembered. Her eyes burned with cold fire as she allowed her mind to wander back through her dark memories, utterly oblivious to the teasing breeze that toyed with the thick ruff of fur around her neck as she stood motionless on the edge of the precipice. She remembered.

She would never forget.

She would never forgive.


*****

The rattata tore through the forest, his four small feet pounding the ground as he streaked through the underbrush, kicking up fallen leaves as he went. He had been running hard for several minutes now, and his light purple fur was soaked with sweat. His sensitive ears told him that his pursuer was still not far behind him, however, loping easily after him on her long, powerful legs. He forced himself to a still greater speed, and he flew through the sparse vegetation, knowing he was not far from a safe haven.

As he raced around a tree trunk, the rattata felt an unusual tingle spread across his body, starting at the tip of his nose and traveling down his body to the tip of his tail. It made his whiskers quiver and he nearly missed a step, but his body flooded with relief anyway. He threw himself into a blackberry bush that was just ahead, his small form able to squeeze through a gap between the plant’s thorny branches without injury. Once inside his leafy sanctuary, he slumped to the ground, sides heaving.

Nishivma slowed to a halt and sat down outside of the blackberry bush, her cunning eyes fixed on the spot where the rattata had disappeared. She feigned nonchalance, extending a foreleg and working her tongue through the rich cream-colored fur that covered it. Her gaze never left the bush, lest her quarry try to escape while she appeared preoccupied. Once she determined that she had given the rattata sufficient time to recover his wits, she returned her paw to the earth and leaned closer to the bush, her wide ears detecting the small noises of the rattata within. "Jeremy, darling," she purred in a silky voice, "you know that you shouldn't have run away." The blackberry bush rustled in response.

Nishivma sat back on her haunches once again, the red gem set into her forehead gleaming as it caught a stray sunbeam. She continued her admonishment in a gentle, reproving tone, though beneath it her words seemed to have a sharp edge, clearly threatening. "You know how it upsets the Mistress so. Oh, she does so hate to see her guests leave without any notice. Imagine! Insulting her...hospitality..." Nishivma trailed off, letting the words hang in the crisp morning air. "You mustn't do anything like that ever again, Jeremy. I shudder to think at what might happen the next time you tried something like this. Why, I might just have to see to it that you would never be able to run away again."

Jeremy the rattata had recovered enough from his mad dash to sit up and glare out at Nishivma between the leaves of the bush. She couldn't see him, he was fairly sure, but he could see her perfectly well, her feline face set in a false expression of regret. He could see the cunning lurking behind her eyes and understood that she was enjoying the act, toying with him as cats are wont to do. "You know you could never kill me," he spat back at her. "The Mistress would be terribly displeased with you if you ever did that."

A sudden flicker of fear passed across Nishivma's slitted eyes but was gone almost before Jeremy was sure that he had seen it. The Persian’s false kindly air evaporated completely, her manner turning deadly as she leaned in close once more, glaring into the bush, eyes searching for its concealed occupant. "Don't test me, rodent. It is by my courtesy alone that you are alive to taunt me," she growled warningly. Rising to her feet, she shot a last venomous glare at the bush and trotted off, deadly as a gengar and twice as silent.

Once he was positive that the Persian had left and was not just lurking out of sight, waiting for him to emerge, Jeremy rose to his feet as well. His head swam with dark, defiant thoughts as he slowly climbed out of his prickly savior. Nishivma or no, he would escape this accursed forest and free its inhabitants from their mutual nightmare.

-----

If you found any errors, please note them so that they can be changed. I want to get rid of as many as I can in one revision sweep.

JoHn_C
24th July 2005, 8:11 AM
Well your doing nice so far, and anyways you used to much commas ,

Negrek
24th July 2005, 9:21 AM
Too many commas where? I'd be happy to eliminate incorrect ones if you'd point them out.

Act
24th July 2005, 1:21 PM
Well your doing nice so far, and anyways you used to much commas ,

So did you o.o;; :P

Anyway, I'm not up for an error-by-error concrit right now, so I didn't read too heavily. I s'pose I might do it later.

The banner turned out very nice :) Was that the one you drew?

Anyway, I do like the prolgue. Personally, my favorite character was Trevor. I'm not sure why. But I'm glad you're posting this, and good luck on the revision ^^;

Saffire Persian
25th July 2005, 4:35 AM
Very nice! I'd give out any critique or suggestions if I could. However, I find that I can't. This first chapter was very well done, and checked over. The grammar was perfect, and you really do have a flair for writing. I quite enjoyed it, and the appearance of the Persian only made me like it more.

Call me as biased as you like, but I adore that thing. Of course, that's not just what makes me like your story so much... I hope I'm not quite that shallow. The description was richly done, especially in the opening with the Ninetales. You could really feel the mood you were trying to convey in the writing.

I can't wait to see where this story goes, and I hope you'll continue.

Negrek
26th July 2005, 8:22 PM
I look forward to a crit review, Act. XD It's been a long while since I've gotten a good one of those. And I'm glad you like the banner; yeah, that's the one I drew. I'm not terribly pleased with how it turned out, but I'll live with it.

Glad you liked it, Saffire Persian. I hate to tell you, but Nishivma is only a minor character; you won't be seeing very much of her, I'm afraid.

Nagashi
27th July 2005, 1:32 PM
A great prologue, Negrek.

...I'm not really sure what else to say.[/worst reveiew ever]

Ryano Ra
27th August 2005, 5:39 PM
This is a very interesting story already. You live up to your reviews; this is just too beautiful for words. ;; And I love that name, Nishivma, it sounds elegant and perfect. The description is top-notch, considerably one of the beast details you can find around here. I couldn't spot any errors, actually, though my eyes are a bit tired, since I just woke up and decided to read this story (I have a thing for Ninetales fanfictions). Well, hopefully, the first chapter will be coming sometime soon, because I'd love to read it.

~Syra~

SnoringFrog
28th August 2005, 1:58 AM
This sounds like a it will be a very good fic, Negrek. Can't wait for the first chapter to be posted!

Kamex
29th August 2005, 10:57 PM
I haven't gotten too much into fanfic reviewing, but this is a good place to start.

Well, I have to say, I'm quite impressed. The description was nicely done, and I'm already getting attached to the story. I like the mysteriousness and spookiness you gave the mansion. I bet we'll be seeing a lot of it, won't we?

Nishivma was an interesting character. Jeremy and Ninetails were, too. I'm wondering how things will turn out with this curse, not to mention the cursed. ^^

Negrek
2nd September 2005, 6:34 AM
Thanks to everyone for reviewing! And Syra, it's nice to know that you don't think my reviews are too hypocritical. As for the mansion, Blue Pokémon Master, we actually won't be seeing all that much of it. Not the inside of it, at least.

I've fixed a few of the more embarrassing errors in the prologue before posting this; again, all error reports are greatly appreciated. My formatting got eaten when I put this up on the forum, so mention it if you see a paragraph squish, please.


Chapter One: The Island

If there was one thing that Katherine loved about pokémon training, it was flying. She loved how the wind rushed through her hair and howled in her ears. She loved how all of the cares and worries of the world fell away as she rose above it. Not only that, but there were so many places that became open to you once you became certified to fly with your pokémon. For Katherine, flight was always an adventure, always something new and undiscovered.

It was a wonderful morning for it, too. The sun had burned away any trace of a cloud in the sky and its light soared unhindered to the ocean far below, glimmering off of its gently undulating surface. Pidgeot was feeling refreshed and adventurous this morning, as was his trainer. The pair had been looking forward to a chance to explore after the relative doldrums of trekking familiar ground for several weeks.

Katherine sat calmly astride Pidgeot, her long black hair streaming out behind her and her intense brown eyes fixed eagerly on the trackless ocean, searching for some sign of land. She ignored the icy tendrils of wind that somehow managed to wrap themselves about her despite the thick black sweatshirt that she wore. The Rayquaza that coiled across its front seemed as exhilarated as she was, its gaping maw open in what appeared to be a challenging shriek directed at gravity. It was always cold, flying, but Katherine was used to it. As the battered silver pokédex strapped to her trainer’s belt attested, she had been training for some time now, long enough to be willing to endure a bit of discomfort in hopes of a great reward. Long enough to know, too, that if she wanted to travel far, she would have to travel light; Katherine had left her pack back at camp, taking all that she really needed with her in the pockets of her beige cargo pants.

It looked like they wouldn’t have to go as far as she had thought to find adventure today, however. It was now coming up beneath her, a dark splotch on the shining ocean’s surface. Katherine had certainly never heard of an island out here, off of the western coast of Johto, but then, there was a lot that she hadn’t heard of. Trainers were always off in search of adventure, off to discover places that no one had ever been to before. Of course, there were a great, great many of them who enjoyed whatever it was that they found out there so much that they never came back. It was a sobering thought, but Katherine ignored it. What would life be without a little risk now and then?

Katherine leaned forward, yelling above the roar of the wind, “Let’s take a look, Pidgeot!” The great raptor obliged, going into a steep dive as Katherine reflexively clung tighter to his feathery back. The deep, instinctual part of her brain screamed in terror as her mount rocketed towards the ground, but her conscious mind was quick to override it, turning her terror into pure elation. She thoroughly enjoyed the swooping feeling in the pit of her stomach as Pidgeot banked, correcting his course.

Pidgeot leveled off some hundred feet above the island, his keen eyes scanning it intently, spotting far more than Katherine could ever hope to. She squinted down at the island anyway, hoping to see something of interest. It looked to be a wooded island, with a large cliff at one end, sloping down to a forested valley below and continuing to slope down to a rocky beach where waves broke in frothy explosions. Something clearly unnatural perched atop the cliff, however, rigidly rectangular against the soft curves of the island’s contours. “Let’s get a little closer,” Katherine suggested.

Pidgeot dived again, dropping another fifty feet and drifting over to the top of the cliff, guessing that the strange building atop it was what his trainer wanted to inspect. This close, Katherine could see that it was a mansion. It appeared abandoned, and almost half of it had been badly damaged by fire. Who would have gone to the trouble to build a mansion out on a little uncharted island like this and then abandon it?

“Take us down there, Pidgeot,” she said eagerly.

But Pidgeot seemed uneasy about something. Rather than confidently swooping in as usual, he circled downward slowly, nervously sweeping the open plateau that surrounded the mansion with his eyes. He suddenly gave a small “Geot!” and pulled up so sharply that Katherine was forced to grab onto one of his long red crest feathers or risk falling off.

Katherine was annoyed. She knew that Pidgeot was very distrustful of the unknown and that he didn’t like to take risks of any sort. For some reason the sight of the deserted mansion had unsettled him. “Oh, come on, you big baby,” she chided him gently. “It’s just a big old house. It won’t hurt you.”

Pidgeot maintained a dignified silence and veered off over the island’s forest. Katherine sighed. She had hoped that she would be able to goad him into carrying her down to the intriguing building, but it looked like she would have to do a little walking if she wanted to reach the place. Pidgeot was stubborn and unlikely to change his mind and carry Katherine there himself.

“All right, all right, you win. We won’t fly over to the big, creepy house, okay? Just put me down at the edge of the forest.” Once again Pidgeot seemed reluctant, but he dipped smoothly and carried his trainer swiftly towards the ground all the same. He expertly pulled up just shy of plowing into the earth, executing a perfect landing on the small strip of grass that separated the island’s rocky beach from the forest that covered most of it.

Katherine slid off of Pidgeot’s back eagerly, already scanning the trees for some sign of pokémon life. Who knew what kind of rare, powerful creatures could be hiding in this unexplored forest? As she peered eagerly into the trees, however, she thought she felt a hint of what had made Pidgeot nervous. Something felt wrong about this forest, for all that it looked innocent enough and was teeming with the usual woodland noises. Suddenly her eye caught a flash of movement and Pidgeot let out an exclamation. Katherine was sure that she had seen something cream-colored dart away from her, deeper into the trees. She stepped forward and raised a hand to motion to Pidgeot, fully intending to pursue the mysterious creature, when she was stopped by a rustling in the underbrush.

Something else was coming their way, and though it wasn’t very large by the sound of it, you could never be sure about how rare it was. After all, eevee might be small, but they were still some of the most sought-after creatures in the pokémon world. Katherine took a step back, scanning the underbrush to try do determine where the whatever-it-was would emerge. She didn’t have to search long before she saw that a patch of shrubbery not six feet away was shuddering ominously. Pidgeot had already noticed this and sidled closer to the spot.

“Pidgeot, get ready for a battle,” Katherine whispered to him. He nodded eagerly, his dark eyes alight with anticipation. Katherine smiled to herself in satisfaction; if there was one thing that would banish Pidgeot’s fears about this place, it would be a nice, rousing pokémon battle. Katherine reached into one of her pockets and withdrew an ultra ball. No larger than a marble in its minimized form, she was easily able to conceal it in her palm. Nothing would make a pokémon turn around and head for shelter faster than the sight of an ultra ball, and she didn’t want to scare the mystery creature headed her way off. It was possible that a pokémon out here, where human contact was incredibly minimal, wouldn’t recognize an ultra ball, the mark of a highly experienced trainer who had won enough battles to be able to afford such advanced equipment, but she wasn’t willing to risk it.

Suddenly, the pokémon emerged from the bushes. Small and purple, with wide ears and long, white whiskers, it stared up at Katherine suspiciously. Katherine nearly laughed aloud as she scornfully returned the ultra ball to her pocket. How silly of her, getting all worked up like that over a rattata! Well, if they managed to infest nearly every part of the mainland it was really no surprise that a few should have set up camp out here, too. “Come on, Pidgeot, it’s just a rattata. Let’s go see if we can pick up the trail of that pokémon that we saw earlier,” she said, starting towards the forest.

The rattata didn’t seem at all pleased by this idea. It began to chatter angrily, bristling and showing its enormous incisors threateningly. Again, Katherine nearly laughed at the comical sight. A tiny rodent pokémon challenging a well-trained terminal evolution over four times its size? It was absurd. But the laughter died when she didn’t hear an answering cry from Pidgeot. “Uh, Pidgeot?” she asked, turning around to stare at her companion.

The bird pokémon was staring at the rattata in shock, his eyes bulging. Pidgeot shrieked and opened his wings suddenly, startling the rattata somewhat. Katherine was mystified. Pidgeot was treating this little rattata like a dangerous foe, trying to intimidate it with his impressive size and wingspan. The purple rat seemed a little daunted at first, but quickly regained its nerve and began chattering all the louder, now making quick dashes toward Pidgeot.

Now Katherine really did laugh. “I don’t believe this, Pidgeot! Show this little shrimp why you don’t mess with one of my pokémon! Use wing attack!” On any normal day, Pidgeot would have obligingly given the rattata a hefty clout with his powerful wings that would surely have put the diminutive creature down for the count.

Today was not a normal day, however. Pidgeot didn’t even seem to hear Katherine. He was now screaming loudly at the Rattata. “Geooottt! Ge! Ge! Ge!” His feathers were bristling, his magnificent crest was raised, and he was occasionally beating the air with his wings, the resulting gust of wind blasting the rattata back repeatedly. The normal-type determinedly picked itself up each time, however, and kept coming.

Though Pidgeot was certainly doing his best intimidation routine, he was actually horribly scared, or so Katherine observed. He was loud and proud and apparently ready and raring to battle, but whenever the rattata advanced he fell back, and whenever it made a sudden lunge for him he would scramble away so quickly that he nearly tripped over his own tail feathers several times. Puzzled, Katherine again scanned the nearby trees for anything that might be making Pidgeot nervous.

It was then that she realized something utterly terrifying. The forest behind the rattata had inexplicably gone silent. Gone were the calls of the pidgey nesting in the trees, the drone of beedrill as they went about their work in the distance. The hairs on Katherine’s neck began to rise. A trainer for nearly a year now, she had learned to listen to the land for the subtle signs that it gave. Right now, they were all screaming, Danger! Danger! Run while you still can! Something was coming through the trees that scared the whole forest silly, and Katherine had a feeling that she wanted to be out of its way as well. She turned her attention back to the strange display going on between her pidgeot and the rattata. “Forget it, Pidgeot! We’re getting out of here!”

Pidgeot gave a cry of appreciation as Katherine ran over to climb onto his back. She had barely had time to clamber aboard before he took off, pumping his wings furiously to gain altitude. He flew as Katherine had seen him fly only once before, and that was the time that the duo was being tailed by a full flock of skarmory. That had been after she had stumbled upon a large cluster of their nests and had unwisely decided to take a closer look at the eggs within one of them. An adult had spotted her as she did so, and the flock had given chase in rage. She had been sure to avoid the area ever since.

Pidgeot’s rapid ascent soon caused the island to dwindle away to a mere speck beneath them once more. He soared back out over the open ocean in the direction that they had come. Katherine felt herself grow calmer as the island faded away into the distance, and even had the capacity to be slightly annoyed. She couldn’t expect any further exploring today, as Pidgeot would certainly be exhausted after his wild escape and the terror that he had experienced on the island. This was what puzzled Katherine most. Why had he been so afraid of that little rattata? She had never seen Pidgeot act like that in the face of a wild pokémon before.

She couldn’t ask him about that now, of course. He was too busy navigating, retracing their flight path over the constantly shifting waves. Katherine certainly didn’t want to distract him and potentially cause them to end up far away from their camp, or even worse, end up missing the continent altogether. She gave a small shrug, deciding to ask him about it later, after he had calmed down a bit.

Unnoticed by trainer and pokémon, the hood on the back of Katherine’s sweatshirt stirred. Two cunning red eyes peered out from the fold in the fabric, small white whiskers testing the frigid air.

Ryano Ra
3rd September 2005, 12:28 AM
;-; Okay, now I'm about to break into tears. I must say, arguarbly, you are one of the best writers around here, preferably one of my favorite authors to emerge. Your descriptions just blow me away to the streets of Firedragon; I understand how your details differ from mine, and I'm pretty much glad as to why I'm reading this, since it is helping me to improve my writing skills and make details flow so beautifully. Wonderful job, and please continue this fantastic story.

Now, I will admit, I did find your reviews very hypocritical, but now, they just seem like you are trying your best to help. ^^ Again, fantastic job with this story. This deserves a shot at an award for the Summer Fiction Awards.

Act
5th September 2005, 12:38 AM
::pokes:: I just realized I never concritted this! And I feel extra bad because I didn't review the original on ffNET. I'm sorry -_-' I'll do it some day /too forgetful for her own good.

Anyway, I figured I'd bump this. Please nag me to concrit -_-' Gah, and you have like 500 people who you actually WILL reply to... I have ADD or something, I really do...

Ryano Ra
5th September 2005, 8:53 PM
Also, I have a question that I'd like to ask. Seeing as I need to be nominating lots more Fanfictions in the Summer Fiction Awards, I found that your story is quite deservable of being nominated. So, I was wondering what the Genre of your story was? Call me an idiot if you must, for I usually can't detect the type of Genres in the beginning of the story.

~Syra~

Negrek
6th September 2005, 5:12 AM
Well, this is categorized as being Action/Adventure/Supernatural at FF.net.

In terms of the genres offered by the summer fanfic awards, let's see... it is not a comedy 'fic, not a generic journey 'fic, not a shipping/romance 'fic and, IMO, not a horror 'fic.

It doesn't really fit one of the proffered categories, I'm afraid.

Kamex
6th September 2005, 11:38 PM
As for the mansion, Blue Pokémon Master, we actually won't be seeing all that much of it. Not the inside of it, at least.
Really? Heh, well, it seemed like it would be one of the centers of focus in the story. We will be seeing much of the island, though, right?

Anyway, this is getting more and more interesting. I like how well you described all of Pidgeot's flying. All the details made me feel like I was right there with the Pidgeot, flying with it and Katherine.

You're also establishing the mystery (and perhaps curse) of the island and its forest and its Pokemon well. I like that.

And we have a cliffhanger! Nice. I can't wait to read what happens next, Negrek. ^^

BTW, how many chapters had you already finished prior to starting this new thread?

Negrek
7th September 2005, 4:55 AM
Oh, yes, the island is very important. I'm glad you like the flying scene; I tried to make it much nicer this version.

Well, since this is a rewrite, all twenty chapters plus the prologue/epilogue are of course already written, but when I started this thread I had only the prologue redone. Thus the obscenely long update gaps.

Ryano Ra
8th September 2005, 12:01 AM
Well, this is categorized as being Action/Adventure/Supernatural at FF.net.

In terms of the genres offered by the summer fanfic awards, let's see... it is not a comedy 'fic, not a generic journey 'fic, not a shipping/romance 'fic and, IMO, not a horror 'fic.

It doesn't really fit one of the proffered categories, I'm afraid.Well, seeing as Supernatural Genres seem to collide with Fantasy at specific times, would you categorize this story as a Fantasy story? Also, from your posts, I am assuming that this story is twenty chapters total?

Lady Barbara
8th September 2005, 2:19 AM
My only quibble with your story is the term 'half-ajar.' If a door is ajar, it's partly open. You could say it's half-open or ajar, but I've never seen the term 'half-ajar' before, and it's not in any dictionary I own.

That aside, I love the pace of your story. Your descriptions are very well done and you've managed to build credible suspense with the mysterious mansion and Rattata. I'm hoping to read more, and best wishes with the fanfiction awards.

Negrek
8th September 2005, 4:53 AM
I think it's more horror than fantasy, and less than real horror, frankly. The only reason it's classed as "supernatural" is because ghosts play a very large role, as do things relating to (one of the) other planes. There's really no magic, mystical creatures, and whatnot. Well, I guess there's the curse, but that's general pokémon canon. You can nominate however you feel like it, tho. XD


My only quibble with your story is the term 'half-ajar.' If a door is ajar, it's partly open. You could say it's half-open or ajar, but I've never seen the term 'half-ajar' before, and it's not in any dictionary I own.
Wow yeah, you're right. Thanks for pointing that out! I think I've seen the term "partially ajar" somewhere, but yeah, that's redundant, now that I look at it. *scuttles off to change*

Negrek
1st October 2005, 7:01 AM
Chapter two. Voila!

And yes, it's short. Bite me. I believe in pacing.


Chapter Two: The Escape

The ninetales was out for an early morning stroll. She had descended from on high to see her domain and its inhabitants, the other pokémon of the island that lived in its forest. Of course, the vast majority of them hid at her approach, but those that she did spot she knew to be her loyal servants. It was a beautiful day, dappled sunlight reaching through the canopy to light the ninetales’ fur in a patchwork of alternating fiery radiance and muted gold. She was both an awe- and terror-inspiring sight as she padded casually to nowhere in particular.

A noise caught her attention, though she did not pause in her regal stride. Some pokémon was crashing through the underbrush to her right, clearly coming in her direction. The ninetales gave a small sigh of irritation, the weary sigh of a ruler long disposed to dealing with idiots and bunglers. No doubt the approaching creature was one of her numerous underlings, on his or her way to complain about something or other. Moments later, a Persian erupted from the undergrowth, a female that the ninetales recognized as the one known as Nishivma. The persian was out of breath, apparently having run for quite some distance. Nishivma bowed her head respectfully before blurting out, "Urgent news, Mistress!"

"What is it?" the ninetales replied in a bored tone. Few things that the denizens of the forest deemed "urgent" were actually of much concern.

"A trainer!" Nishivma gasped. "On the beach! Jeremy ran out to her!"

"What?!" the ninetales snarled, all traces of boredom gone. Her eyes burned and Nishivma cowered back, whimpering. “It is your duty to prevent any of the Cursed from leaving the forest, especially when there are trainers about! And why has this trainer not entered the trees?"

"I am sorry, Mistress, but I think Jeremy distracted her. She is very strong. I was afraid..."

"You should be far more afraid of me than of any human scum," the ninetales snarled, cutting Nishivma off. "It appears that I must deal with the situation myself, as you are apparently too incompetent to handle even such a simple thing. And if I were you," the ninetales continued, glaring threateningly at the cowering Nishivma, "I would pray that I had not completely failed in my duties."

With that, the ninetales was off and running. For all that she was waited upon by the pokémon of the forest, she was far from soft and complacent. She darted through the forest with a speed and grace of which any Arcanine would be envious, leaping effortlessly over rotting logs and swerving around trees without breaking stride in the slightest. The few denizens of the forest that had not already taken cover did so, doing everything in their power to stay out of the way of their fiery Mistress. As the ninetales sped on, the air surrounding her grew steadily warmer as her anger stoked the fire burning within her, and as her speed and rage increased still more she left a trail of smoldering foliage in her wake.

With a final great leap, she soared over the final barrier of bushes that marked the edge of the forest and out onto the grassy strip between trees and sand. She landed heavily, her paws carving deep gouges in the earth as she checked her incredible momentum. So focused was she on her goal that she had not even felt the strange shiver of power pass across her as she left her domain, and she failed notice the way that the grass surrounding her blackened and fell to ash as the extreme heat she radiated incinerated it. Panting slightly, the ninetales furiously turned her head this way and that, searching for the foolish trainer who dared trespass in her domain and the still more foolish Cursed pokémon who was attempting to escape her grasp.

A shadow passed across her face and she whipped her head upwards, craning her neck as she searched the sky. A pidgeot was circling over her, climbing higher and higher into the vaulted heavens that were beyond her power to control. There was clearly a trainer on its back; the human had escaped, then. As the ninetales glared at the departing trainer, seething with hatred and frustration, her second sight caught something else. A faint aura of magic surrounded the trainer, a fiery halo that the ninetales could only just make out as the pidgeot banked away, heading east. Recognizing the hazy power signature as a curse of her own working, the ninetales felt an icy trickle of fear threaten to drown the flame that constantly burned inside of her. It couldn't be! Eyes locked on the swiftly shrinking form of pidgeot and rider, she let out a howl. The eerie sound, suffused with anger and despair, rang out across the nervously silent island, striking fear into the hearts of its inhabitants.

Argoxoz Crucificus
1st October 2005, 7:06 AM
Ninetales, as a Pokemon (proper noun) should start with a capital letter.

Chapter Two was a little short, but still nice.

Negrek
1st October 2005, 7:49 AM
I don't use pokémon as proper nouns, so I don't capitalize them. I view them instead as the names of species (i.e. parakeet, tarsier, ant) and therefore not capiatlized.

Glad you like chapter two despite its length.

Ryano Ra
1st October 2005, 2:57 PM
Ah, the second chapter. I must say, although the length was short (from your terms), I feel as though it was just enough. The description you added made up for the loss, in my opinion, and I feel proud that it was a shorter chapter. I also believe in pacing, but strangely, my mind is starting to function longer chapters for a very weird reason. Anyways, you did an excellent job this time around, and I shall await for the third chapter to swing and blossom.

Saffire Persian
8th October 2005, 12:33 AM
Mmmm.. definitely different from the Ninetails I was envisioning from what I read about her in the Prologue. But I like it, and it definitely lends a harsher tone to the Ninetails that has me thinking avidly of the Japanese Kitsune that Ninetails is based upon. Nvishima (sp?) only a minor character? A shame, but I still like her nonetheless, small role or no.

What disturbed the Ninetails exactly is perplexing, as well as the whole Curse idea with Ninetails that has always fascinated me in a sense. I look forward to more of your chapters. I'd also like to comment I like the way you switch between the human perspective, and the Pokemon perspective, as it gives us an apt balance of both.

There was one mistake I found.


Recognizing hazy power signature as a curse of her own working,

Correct me if I'm wrong, but shouldn't it be Recognizing the hazy power signature?

Kamex
8th October 2005, 1:06 AM
I don't mind the short length, as long as it gets its point across. Which it did.

I'm quite curious about this curse, and I'll be looking forward to reading more about it. Can't think of much to say... can't wait for the next chapter.

Negrek
8th October 2005, 6:38 AM
Thanks for the review, Saffire Persian. I wouldn't go characterizing the Ninetales just yet, though... she's a difficult one to pin down (or at least that's what's intended 0_o). As for why she's all freaked out... all in due time...


Correct me if I'm wrong, but shouldn't it be Recognizing the hazy power signature?
Most definitely yes. Curse thee, articles. >> *fixes*

Thanks for reviewing, Blue Pokemon Master. I'm glad you liked the chapter even though it was short. I need to stop being paranoid about that stuff...I've just been seeing too many "length" rants lately...

Act
8th October 2005, 2:22 PM
I don't remeber this being short. :shrug: I read this a while ago, though.

I'm too lazy to bother looking; is this the revision or the original? Because it's true that in revisions, you're bound by what happens in the surrounding chapters, so there's only so much you can do. Or at least that's what I find, anyway.

Regardless. Um... I should probably go through it carefully and concrit it... but I won't... -.-'

I found it sort of comical the way you portrayed Jeremy in the shadows, lurking around Katherine, evil and ominous... yet in the end... it was a rattata. :shrug: He really did screw Katherine over, thought, didn't he?

Wow, what a beautiful review :sigh: My apologies.

Negrek
10th October 2005, 1:55 AM
Heh, this chapter was shorter than I remembered. And there was even some content added to the revision. But, yes, this is the revision.

It's all right that you don't want to concrit it right now. I can see that you have your hands full. *cringes at long work list of long stories in your sig* Good luck getting all those done!

Sike Saner
30th October 2005, 1:19 AM
Have you ever been astounded and ashamed at the same time? Quite a feeling, let me tell you...Anyway, mentally speaking, that's where I am right now. The astonishment is the result of reading something which is head and shoulders above many other stories; the shame comes from having not read this sooner.

The description is the very finest I have ever encountered, both in quantity and in quality. Gotta have both for a maximally satisfying and accessible read, and it's thoroughly evident that you know that very well. As early in the story as it is, I already find myself liking the characters quite well (Nishivma in the prologue = priceless). As for errors...what errors? I found not a single one.

I'm very impressed with your work here. I'll gladly see this story through any and all future chapters.

Negrek
31st October 2005, 4:28 AM
My, such high praise. Thanks for the review, and I'm glad that you enjoyed the story so much.

Oh, and I do still plan to review Communication... I know that I did the first couple chapters, but I've been very busy lately and haven't gotten a chance to look at the rest.

Kamex
1st November 2005, 12:33 AM
Lol, I came to this thread hoping it was actually updated with a chapter. o_o

But take your time, I just wanted to let you know... that I'm still here. ^^

Negrek
1st November 2005, 12:58 AM
Yeah, sorry about that. I was afraid someone might think that. I've been busy lately, but I hope that the next chapter will be done by the end of this week.

pisces_beedrill
24th November 2005, 11:45 AM
Prologue: The Dawn

The morning sunlight crept slowly through the foggy window, almost as though it was reluctant to disturb the dark, brooding interior of the mansion. Its warm glow did little to enliven the bowels of the huge, silent house, which was slowly crumbling away beneath the weight of years of neglect and painful memories. The brave sunbeam struggled through eddying dust motes to cast a small patch of golden radiance on the floor, an oasis of light and hope in this, the domain of despair.

As the morning brightened, the ray of illumination intensified, drawing back the veil of darkness that shrouded the room into which it had intruded. It revealed sagging, defeated furniture quietly decomposing in the perpetual gloom, small piles of plaster fallen from the deteriorating ceiling, and, curiously enough, another light source, twin patches of red light lurking near the back of the room.

These mysterious lights were nearly as different from the perpetually optimistic sunbeam as it was possible to be, however; they glowed with baleful malice, seemingly offended by the sun’s trespassing on their domain. And, most surprising of all, they moved forward, revealing that they were not, in fact, lights, but eyes—the eyes of a ninetales, illuminated from within by the pokémon’s mystical power.

The fire-type moved silently through the patch of sunlight, her golden fur briefly illuminated before being swallowed once more by shadows. She proceeded through the darkness with the grace and ease of memory, stepping lightly around holes in the floorboards. Her luxurious tails swept away cobwebs and brushed up against moldering furniture as she passed, hardly making any sound at all.

She stepped out of the perpetually ajar front door and into the fresh air of early morning. Continuing out onto the garden path, she padded lightly across cracked stepping stones, now almost completely indiscernible beneath the tangle of unkempt grass that had grown up to engulf them. She continued past flowerbeds now overgrown with weeds, the only flowers remaining there feral, twisted specimens, eternally at war with one another for sunlight and nourishment. The air was scented with rot and damp, a perfume suitable for the decomposing mansion.

The ninetales left through the old garden gate, which now hung by one hinge, rusted open. Leaving behind the dismal mansion, she stepped out onto the windswept cliff top upon which it rested. The building behind her seemed even more forlorn from the outside, a lone, hunched crone huddled dejectedly on a cold, windy street, clutching her twisted gardens about her like a ragged cloak. One entire wing of the mansion was gone, only a few charred posts and sections of wall remaining to testify that a fire had occurred there long ago.

The ninetales, however, did not look back at her home as she strode purposefully up to the very edge of the cliff. A wide swath of forest spread out below, only just awakening to the trills of birds and the sigh of ocean breezes in its leaves. The ninetales surveyed it for a moment, her attitude almost scornful, before turning her gaze out to the ocean beyond. Its calm, peaceful waters sparkled in the early morning light, seeming to stretch on forever. As the ninetales stared out across its boundless miles, she looked not only out across her domain but also back in time, to an era long past and which few humans remembered. Her eyes burned with cold fire as she allowed her mind to wander back through her dark memories, utterly oblivious to the teasing breeze that toyed with the thick ruff of fur around her neck as she stood motionless on the edge of the precipice. She remembered.

She would never forget.

She would never forgive.

*****

The rattata tore through the forest, his four small feet pounding the ground as he streaked through the underbrush, kicking up fallen leaves as he went. He had been running hard for several minutes now, and his light purple fur was soaked with sweat. His sensitive ears told him that his pursuer was still not far behind him, however, loping easily after him on her long, powerful legs. He forced himself to a still greater speed, and he flew through the sparse vegetation, knowing he was not far from a safe haven.

As he raced around a tree trunk, the rattata felt an unusual tingle spread across his body, starting at the tip of his nose and traveling down his body to the tip of his tail. It made his whiskers quiver and he nearly missed a step, but his body flooded with relief anyway. He threw himself into a blackberry bush that was just ahead, his small form able to squeeze through a gap between the plant’s thorny branches without injury. Once inside his leafy sanctuary, he slumped to the ground, sides heaving.

Nishivma slowed to a halt and sat down outside of the blackberry bush, her cunning eyes fixed on the spot where the rattata had disappeared. She feigned nonchalance, extending a foreleg and working her tongue through the rich cream-colored fur that covered it. Her gaze never left the bush, lest her quarry try to escape while she appeared preoccupied. Once she determined that she had given the rattata sufficient time to recover his wits, she returned her paw to the earth and leaned closer to the bush, her wide ears detecting the small noises of the rattata within. "Jeremy, darling," she purred in a silky voice, "you know that you shouldn't have run away." The blackberry bush rustled in response.

Nishivma sat back on her haunches once again, the red gem set into her forehead gleaming as it caught a stray sunbeam. She continued her admonishment in a gentle, reproving tone, though beneath it her words seemed to have a sharp edge, clearly threatening. "You know how it upsets the Mistress so. Oh, she does so hate to see her guests leave without any notice. Imagine! Insulting her...hospitality..." Nishivma trailed off, letting the words hang in the crisp morning air. "You mustn't do anything like that ever again, Jeremy. I shudder to think at what might happen the next time you tried something like this. Why, I might just have to see to it that you would never be able to run away again."

Jeremy the rattata had recovered enough from his mad dash to sit up and glare out at Nishivma between the leaves of the bush. She couldn't see him, he was fairly sure, but he could see her perfectly well, her feline face set in a false expression of regret. He could see the cunning lurking behind her eyes and understood that she was enjoying the act, toying with him as cats are wont to do. "You know you could never kill me," he spat back at her. "The Mistress would be terribly displeased with you if you ever did that."

A sudden flicker of fear passed across Nishivma's slitted eyes but was gone almost before Jeremy was sure that he had seen it. The Persian’s false kindly air evaporated completely, her manner turning deadly as she leaned in close once more, glaring into the bush, eyes searching for its concealed occupant. "Don't test me, rodent. It is by my courtesy alone that you are alive to taunt me," she growled warningly. Rising to her feet, she shot a last venomous glare at the bush and trotted off, deadly as a gengar and twice as silent.

Once he was positive that the Persian had left and was not just lurking out of sight, waiting for him to emerge, Jeremy rose to his feet as well. His head swam with dark, defiant thoughts as he slowly climbed out of his prickly savior. Nishivma or no, he would escape this accursed forest and free its inhabitants from their mutual nightmare.



just commenting on that area. brilliant, you used a bit of vagueness, and created an air of mystery and cold. the ninetales was a brilliant descrption, well done. brilliant, describe Nishivma a bit more though. brilliant use of suspence. i love it!

Another Fan
25th November 2005, 11:16 PM
Wow. I remeber you from Fanfiction.net. You were like one of the best pokemon fanfiction writers. I read the story before. Loved it. So, do you plan on changing it or have you changed it? I read the story quite a long time ago so it is strange that it is treated here as new. What has changed? I remeber reading about one with a contest in Olivine Light House with like robotic lugia. Was that you? I never finished reading that story though. You were not done with it when I was there.

pisces_beedrill
26th November 2005, 3:53 PM
Chapter One: The Island


If there was one thing that Katherine loved about pokémon training, it was flying. She loved how the wind rushed through her hair and howled in her ears. She loved how all of the cares and worries of the world fell away as she rose above it. Not only that, but there were so many places that became open to you once you became certified to fly with your pokémon. For Katherine, flight was always an adventure, always something new and undiscovered.

It was a wonderful morning for it, too. The sun had burned away any trace of a cloud in the sky and its light soared unhindered to the ocean far below, glimmering off of its gently undulating surface. Pidgeot was feeling refreshed and adventurous this morning, as was his trainer. The pair had been looking forward to a chance to explore after the relative doldrums of trekking familiar ground for several weeks.

Katherine sat calmly astride Pidgeot, her long black hair streaming out behind her and her intense brown eyes fixed eagerly on the trackless ocean, searching for some sign of land. She ignored the icy tendrils of wind that somehow managed to wrap themselves about her despite the thick black sweatshirt that she wore. The Rayquaza [confusing]that coiled across its front seemed as exhilarated as she was, its gaping maw open in what appeared to be a challenging shriek directed at gravity. It was always cold, flying, but Katherine was used to it. As the battered silver pokédex strapped to her trainer’s belt attested, she had been training for some time now, long enough to be willing to endure a bit of discomfort in hopes of a great reward. Long enough to know, too, that if she wanted to travel far, she would have to travel light; Katherine had left her pack back at camp, taking all that she really needed with her in the pockets of her beige cargo pants.

It looked like they wouldn’t have to go as far as she had thought to find adventure today, however. It was now coming up beneath her, a dark splotch on the shining ocean’s surface. Katherine had certainly never heard of an island out here, off of the western coast of Johto, but then, there was a lot that she hadn’t heard of. Trainers were always off in search of adventure, off to discover places that no one had ever been to before. Of course, there were a great, great many of them who enjoyed whatever it was that they found out there so much that they never came back. It was a sobering thought, but Katherine ignored it. What would life be without a little risk now and then?

Katherine leaned forward, yelling above the roar of the wind, “Let’s take a look, Pidgeot!” The great raptor obliged, going into a steep dive as Katherine reflexively clung tighter to his feathery back. The deep, instinctual part of her brain screamed in terror as her mount rocketed towards the ground, but her conscious mind was quick to override it, turning her terror into pure elation. She thoroughly enjoyed the swooping feeling in the pit of her stomach as Pidgeot banked, correcting his course.

Pidgeot leveled off some hundred feet above the island, his keen eyes scanning it intently, spotting far more than Katherine could ever hope to. She squinted down at the island anyway, hoping to see something of interest. It looked to be a wooded island, with a large cliff at one end, sloping down to a forested valley below and continuing to slope down to a rocky beach where waves broke in frothy explosions. Something clearly unnatural perched atop the cliff, however, rigidly rectangular against the soft curves of the island’s contours. “Let’s get a little closer,” Katherine suggested.

Pidgeot dived again, dropping another fifty feet and drifting over to the top of the cliff, guessing that the strange building atop it was what his trainer wanted to inspect. This close, Katherine could see that it was a mansion. It appeared abandoned, and almost half of it had been badly damaged by fire. Who would have gone to the trouble to build a mansion out on a little uncharted island like this and then abandon it?

“Take us down there, Pidgeot,” she said eagerly.

But Pidgeot seemed uneasy about something. Rather than confidently swooping in as usual, he circled downward slowly, nervously sweeping the open plateau that surrounded the mansion with his eyes. He suddenly gave a small “Geot!” and pulled up so sharply that Katherine was forced to grab onto one of his long red crest feathers or risk falling off.

Katherine was annoyed. She knew that Pidgeot was very distrustful of the unknown and that he didn’t like to take risks of any sort. For some reason the sight of the deserted mansion had unsettled him. “Oh, come on, you big baby,” she chided him gently. “It’s just a big old house. It won’t hurt you.”

Pidgeot maintained a dignified silence and veered off over the island’s forest. Katherine sighed. She had hoped that she would be able to goad him into carrying her down to the intriguing building, but it looked like she would have to do a little walking if she wanted to reach the place. Pidgeot was stubborn and unlikely to change his mind and carry Katherine there himself.

okay commenting on zat part, brilliant, well explained, just work on the parts in bold.

Kei
26th November 2005, 4:52 PM
I just started reading this story and I must say is it really good. Your description is great. Its almost like i'm there, Ha-ha. I can't wait to read the next chapters. Oh! I'm really starting to like the pokemon trainer, Katherine.

pisces_beedrill
27th November 2005, 3:45 PM
ow commenting on this part

Katherine slid off of Pidgeot’s back eagerly, already scanning the trees for some sign of pokémon life. Who knew what kind of rare, powerful creatures could be hiding in this unexplored forest? As she peered eagerly into the trees, however, she thought she felt a hint of what had made Pidgeot nervous. Something felt wrong about this forest, for all that it looked innocent enough and was teeming with the usual woodland noises. Suddenly her eye caught a flash of movement and Pidgeot let out an exclamation. Katherine was sure that she had seen something cream-colored dart away from her, deeper into the trees. She stepped forward and raised a hand to motion to Pidgeot, fully intending to pursue the mysterious creature, when she was stopped by a rustling in the underbrush.

Something else was coming their way, and though it wasn’t very large by the sound of it, you could never be sure about how rare it was. After all, eevee might be small, but they were still some of the most sought-after creatures in the pokémon world. Katherine took a step back, scanning the underbrush to try do determine where the whatever-it-was would emerge. She didn’t have to search long before she saw that a patch of shrubbery not six feet away was shuddering ominously. Pidgeot had already noticed this and sidled closer to the spot.

“Pidgeot, get ready for a battle,” Katherine whispered to him. He nodded eagerly, his dark eyes alight with anticipation. Katherine smiled to herself in satisfaction; if there was one thing that would banish Pidgeot’s fears about this place, it would be a nice, rousing pokémon battle. Katherine reached into one of her pockets and withdrew an ultra ball. No larger than a marble in its minimized form, she was easily able to conceal it in her palm. Nothing would make a pokémon turn around and head for shelter faster than the sight of an ultra ball, and she didn’t want to scare the mystery creature headed her way off. It was possible that a pokémon out here, where human contact was incredibly minimal, wouldn’t recognize an ultra ball, the mark of a highly experienced trainer who had won enough battles to be able to afford such advanced equipment, but she wasn’t willing to risk it.

Suddenly, the pokémon emerged from the bushes. Small and purple, with wide ears and long, white whiskers, it stared up at Katherine suspiciously. Katherine nearly laughed aloud as she scornfully returned the ultra ball to her pocket. How silly of her, getting all worked up like that over a rattata! Well, if they managed to infest nearly every part of the mainland it was really no surprise that a few should have set up camp out here, too. “Come on, Pidgeot, it’s just a rattata. Let’s go see if we can pick up the trail of that pokémon that we saw earlier,” she said, starting towards the forest.

The rattata didn’t seem at all pleased by this idea. It began to chatter angrily, bristling and showing its enormous incisors threateningly. Again, Katherine nearly laughed at the comical sight. A tiny rodent pokémon challenging a well-trained terminal evolution over four times its size? It was absurd. But the laughter died when she didn’t hear an answering cry from Pidgeot. “Uh, Pidgeot?” she asked, turning around to stare at her companion.

The bird pokémon was staring at the rattata in shock, his eyes bulging. Pidgeot shrieked and opened his wings suddenly, startling the rattata somewhat. Katherine was mystified. Pidgeot was treating this little rattata like a dangerous foe, trying to intimidate it with his impressive size and wingspan. The purple rat seemed a little daunted at first, but quickly regained its nerve and began chattering all the louder, now making quick dashes toward Pidgeot.

Now Katherine really did laugh. “I don’t believe this, Pidgeot! Show this little shrimp why you don’t mess with one of my pokémon! Use wing attack!” On any normal day, Pidgeot would have obligingly given the rattata a hefty clout with his powerful wings that would surely have put the diminutive creature down for the count.

Today was not a normal day, however. Pidgeot didn’t even seem to hear Katherine. He was now screaming loudly at the Rattata. “Geooottt! Ge! Ge! Ge!” His feathers were bristling, his magnificent crest was raised, and he was occasionally beating the air with his wings, the resulting gust of wind blasting the rattata back repeatedly. The normal-type determinedly picked itself up each time, however, and kept coming.

Though Pidgeot was certainly doing his best intimidation routine, he was actually horribly scared, or so Katherine observed. He was loud and proud and apparently ready and raring to battle, but whenever the rattata advanced he fell back, and whenever it made a sudden lunge for him he would scramble away so quickly that he nearly tripped over his own tail feathers several times. Puzzled, Katherine again scanned the nearby trees for anything that might be making Pidgeot nervous.

It was then that she realized something utterly terrifying. The forest behind the rattata had inexplicably gone silent. Gone were the calls of the pidgey nesting in the trees, the drone of beedrill as they went about their work in the distance. The hairs on Katherine’s neck began to rise. A trainer for nearly a year now, she had learned to listen to the land for the subtle signs that it gave. Right now, they were all screaming, Danger! Danger! Run while you still can! Something was coming through the trees that scared the whole forest silly, and Katherine had a feeling that she wanted to be out of its way as well. She turned her attention back to the strange display going on between her pidgeot and the rattata. “Forget it, Pidgeot! We’re getting out of here!”

Pidgeot gave a cry of appreciation as Katherine ran over to climb onto his back. She had barely had time to clamber aboard before he took off, pumping his wings furiously to gain altitude. He flew as Katherine had seen him fly only once before, and that was the time that the duo was being tailed by a full flock of skarmory. That had been after she had stumbled upon a large cluster of their nests and had unwisely decided to take a closer look at the eggs within one of them. An adult had spotted her as she did so, and the flock had given chase in rage. She had been sure to avoid the area ever since.

Pidgeot’s rapid ascent soon caused the island to dwindle away to a mere speck beneath them once more. He soared back out over the open ocean in the direction that they had come. Katherine felt herself grow calmer as the island faded away into the distance, and even had the capacity to be slightly annoyed. She couldn’t expect any further exploring today, as Pidgeot would certainly be exhausted after his wild escape and the terror that he had experienced on the island. This was what puzzled Katherine most. Why had he been so afraid of that little rattata? She had never seen Pidgeot act like that in the face of a wild pokémon before.

She couldn’t ask him about that now, of course. He was too busy navigating, retracing their flight path over the constantly shifting waves. Katherine certainly didn’t want to distract him and potentially cause them to end up far away from their camp, or even worse, end up missing the continent altogether. She gave a small shrug, deciding to ask him about it later, after he had calmed down a bit.

Unnoticed by trainer and pokémon, the hood on the back of Katherine’s sweatshirt stirred. Two cunning red eyes peered out from the fold in the fabric, small white whiskers testing the frigid air.


brilliant. you are talented, suspece, imagination, i love it!!!

Saffire Persian
24th December 2005, 6:07 PM
Yes, maybe this isn't the best place to post this, but I'm doing this for everyone..so...maybe the Mods will forgive this bump on accounts it's for Christmas or what have you.

Ironically enough, I made you this banner before you ever posted in my banner shop... It's for this story, and I realize you have a banner, but for Christmas, I wanted to make some gifts.. and since banners were one of the few things I could do.. I did.

Perhaps you could also consider it a bribe to post the next chapter?

The Ninetales' Curse (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v290/Belle_starlia/nintalescurse.jpg)

Also consider it a thank you for reviewing, and actually reading it and pointing out the things I need to work on! Thanks, and Merry Christmas.

Kamex
25th December 2005, 3:07 AM
Wow, that banner's amazing... not that I really have anything to do with it. Do you make banners in a thread, or is it just something you're good at?

BTW, I'm really eager for another chapter, Negrek. Maybe a special early release for Christmas? ^^

Saffire Persian
25th December 2005, 4:48 AM
I do have a banner shop.. 0_o The link's in the sig, if you'd like one.. I've made Negrek's for Christmas.. because it's one of the only things I could do.. But I dunno about an early Christmas Release.. but we'll see.

billy5772
2nd January 2006, 9:15 PM
Yes! I’ve been wanting to review this since you released it, but it just kept slipping my mind. How glad am I that it’s still only two chapters in?

The prologue was excellent. You did a great job of creating that aura of mystery about the abandoned mansion by introducing a strange ninetales.

The first chapter was very well done, too. One thing that bothered me about it, and about fly in general, is the pressure change. You described her as flying so fast and so high away from that island that it became a speck. That’d be ear-popping, can’t breath city, I would think! With the rest of that chapter, though, you had effectively created some kind of vicarious tension in the scene with the rattata and the pigeot. I could feel the ominous foreboding that the silence of the forest creatures created. Awesome. That rattata in her hood at the end of chapter one was very creepy. I wonder what kind of disaster will ensue from this creature leaving the island.

I like how you did the same scene from the Ninetales’ point of view in chapter two [whoa, that rhymed. Watch out, NiGHTS!] It was a very valuable chapter for further developing the ninetales’ authority and the whole situation surrounding the island.

Cool fic. I’m gonna stick with it.

Negrek
9th January 2006, 5:49 AM
I apologize for not responding to reviews; I hadn’t wanted to bump this thread until I actually had a new chapter to offer you. And because the chapter itself is presumably what you’re most interested in, I’ve put review responses at the bottom this time. I hope you enjoy this much-belated installment!


Chapter Three: The Curse

Katherine was considerably relieved when, just a little over half an hour later, the ocean broke up against a rocky shore and the great Ilex forest rolled out beneath her instead of trackless waves. The ancient, close-packed trees that cast the floor of the forest in perpetual twilight cloaked the land below in an almost uniform carpet of dark green, their swaying boughs mirroring the heaving sea, broken only by small islands of open ground where one of the great trees had fallen and carved out a haven of sunlight. It was one of these that Katherine was looking for, or rather, that Pidgeot was looking for, as his trainer was completely lost.

Fortunately for both of them, Pidgeot was naturally adept at navigating by landmarks and had an excellent memory and sense of direction. It was fortunate, too, that sight was not all that he would have to rely on as he searched for their campsite. The great bird angled his flight downward, leveling off just above the trees. The wind of his passage stirred the branches below into a frenzy and tore up a cloud of loose leaves to dance in their wake. Katherine grinned and almost laughed, the terror of the island already fading as she flew above the sunlight-soaked canopy, so different from the gloomy interior of the forest below.

Suddenly, an overpowering stench struck her almost like a physical blow. She gagged reflexively, her stomach heaving, and even Pidgeot, for all his battle training, faltered as the scent washed over them. The trees beneath them suddenly disappeared, leaving Pidgeot floating over a small, grassy clearing. He braked hastily, backwinging furiously as he slowly lowered himself and his trainer to the ground below. Katherine at last managed to wipe the grimace off of her face, brushing away the tears that had sprung up in response to the horrifying smell. Here, close to the ground, it only seemed worse, a hideous amalgamation of skunk and rotting eggs, laced with the sickly sweet of fruit left too long in the sun. Katherine tried to clamp down on her disgust and sternly reminded herself that she would grow used to the smell; in fact, in a few minutes she wouldn't even notice it.

Pidgeot's talons at last touched the earth and sunk in immediately, the huge bird clinging to the ground as though he planned to never leave it again. He heaved a sigh as Katherine slid off of his back, shuddering slightly and fluffing out his feathers. After a cursory glance around the clearing to make sure that everything appeared all right, Katherine reached for his pokéball.

"Good job this morning, Pidgeot," she said, and he nodded wearily. "Hey, listen, I know I shouldn't have made you go down to that island when you didn't want to. I'm really sorry, and I don't know what would have happened if you hadn't been there to bail me out. Thanks." Pidgeot nodded again and made an odd little shrug with his wings, and though his eyes remained dull and tired, Katherine thought she saw a flicker of pride in them. "Care for a rest?" Katherine asked him, grinning as she raised the pokéball to eye level. Pidgeot gratefully returned to his pokéball in a burst of red energy, and Katherine made for her backpack, which was still leaning against the large, rotted-out stump that sat in the center of the clearing.

Absently clipping Pidgeot's pokéball back to her belt, Katherine carefully sat down on the stump, making a face at the way its rotting bark crumbled off on her skin and clothes. She worked her hands opened and closed ruefully; they were stiff and numb after the cold, fast flight from the island back to camp. Resolving to buy a good pair of gloves before attempting another long flight, she surveyed her campsite once again. It was just as she had left it; there was the fire pit that she had constructed a few days ago, and spread out next to it, her sleeping bag. A few strange bands of dead grass crisscrossed the clearing, looking almost like massive slug tracks. Only one thing missing, really.

Scanning the forest's edge but not spotting anything, Katherine called, "I'm back, Muk! Where are you?"

The foliage near the edge of the clearing shifted and rustled as something large moved through it. A large pile of purple sludge shoved its way through the undergrowth and out into the open field beyond, oozing forward in a series of disgusting rippling motions. Katherine could almost have mistaken it for a pile of toxic waste come horribly to life, but for the small eyes that peered out from amongst the ridges of slime. The digusting mass shivered to a halt some three feet away from her, a huge hand distinguishing itself from the featureless slime and slowly rising into the air, dripping gobbets of sludge. At the same time, a huge pit appeared beneath the strange creature's eyes as it slowly opened its huge maw.

"Muk! Muuuuk!" the pokémon gurgled enthusiastically, waving its gooey pseudopod at Katherine.

"Yes, I'm glad to see you, too," Katherine replied with a strained smile, returning the wave. This close, Muk's scent was absolutely overpowering. "Have a good morning?"

"Mukmuk. Muk. Muuk!"

"Well, that sounds nice. No problems, then?"

Katherine was very fond of her muk. While not the most sanitary nor the most odiferous of her companions, it was certainly one of the most friendly. Much to Muk's dismay, however, no one seemed eager to receive one of his affectionate handshakes or pats on the back; in fact, most people and pokémon kept their distance from him as much as possible. This, of course, made Muk an excellent guard. Almost anyone, upon catching the scent of a muk in the air, would turn and hurry off in the other direction. Even thieves and pokémon trainers would be reluctant to investigate a muk's territory, as generally the rewards weren't worth the smell. And in the unlikely event that someone should brave Muk's stench and stumble upon her campsite with the intent of doing it harm, Muk was an excellent battler and could easily dispatch of a fumes-dizzied foe.

"Well, Muk, it's about lunchtime, so if you want to head out and grab something to eat, the rest of us will just be hanging around here for a bit."

"Mukmuk," Muk replied a little sadly before turning and oozing off towards the tree line again, leaving a broad trail of dying vegetation in his wake.

Katherine watched him go for a minute, then turned back to the tree stump, smiling slightly as she reached for her pack. Seating herself, she rifled through the contents of her backpack until she found the lunch that she had packed for herself that morning, wrapped in cellophane and smelling faintly of peanut butter, and set it aside on the stump before diving back into her capacious bag. “I wonder why Pidgeot was so scared of that rattata this morning,” she thought aloud as she dredged up some pokéchow.

“Maybe because he can tell that I’m no ordinary rattata,” a small voice said from very nearby.

Katherine jumped slightly, accidentally dropping the pokéchow canister. She twisted around hurriedly, only to find herself staring into the grinning face of a rattata. The rodent was sitting uncomfortably close to her lunch, and his large red eyes seemed to glow with merriment.

“You…how…” Katherine spluttered.

“Oh, quite simple really. I climbed aboard during all of the excitement back on the beach. Your hood is really quite comfortable, you know,” the rattata told her with a hint of smugness in his voice.

“But…you speak English!” Katherine exclaimed.

“Good observation!” the pokémon replied, grin broadening. When Katherine just stared at him, he sighed and added, “It’s my native tongue.”

“Wait,” Katherine said, her mind still trying to catch up to the impossible situation that it had been presented with. “No. No, that can’t be. You’re a pokémon! All you’re supposed to be able to say is your name!”

“I!” the rattata exclaimed, apparently extremely offended, “I am no more a pokémon than you are a banana!”

Katherine tilted her head slightly, as though wondering if the talking rodent would look different from another angle. Now that her initial shock was beginning to wear off, she was starting to suspect that this was some sort of practical joke. “But you look just like a rattata,” she said doubtfully. “What are you? Are you a pokémorph?” Katherine had heard of the horrific experiments conducted by Team Rocket and other evil organizations that half-transformed people into pokémon, or gave them the ability to change into a certain pokémon. She’d never heard of anyone being turned into a rattata, though.

As her thoughts spiraled into a confused jumble, shook her head, still perplexed, and for good measure added, “And I look nothing like a banana.”

“No, I’m not a pokémon. What I wouldn’t give to be at least half human again! But neither am I really a rattata, you see. And as for the banana thing, well, I guess you don’t, really. It was just your nose that gave me the impression…”

“This is ridiculous!” Katherine shrieked, her frustration at last bubbling over. “I'm being insulted by a little rattata that claims he's a person and who won’t give me a straight answer on anything!”

“All right, all right,” the pokémon sighed huffily. “Excuse me for trying to lighten the mood a little bit. What I said before was true, though. I’m actually a human who’s been turned into a rattata.”

“Sort of like the Poliwag Prince?” Katherine asked. “You need someone to kiss you, and then you'll turn back into a person?”

The rattata’s mirth seemed to be ebbing away, and his whiskers actually began to droop as Katherine watched. “If only it were that simple,” he sighed. “No, I have been cursed. That’s why I had to escape with you, see? I’ve been trapped on that island for…well, too long. I could never have found a way to lift the curse if I stayed there. I knew that if I was to have any chance of being restored to my former self I would have to get off that accursed isle.”

Katherine shook her head, turning away from the rattata with the excuse of picking up the pokéchow that she had dropped earlier. In truth, she needed time to think. Talking rattatas that were actually people? Cursed islands? It seemed she had gone out for a little adventure and accidentally brought a huge, tangled dilemma crashing down on her head. Her stomach growled, displeased with the delay in getting lunch together. Sighing, Katherine turned back to the pokémon. “Look, rattata, or whatever you are, we can discuss this after lunch. My pokémon and I need to eat.”

“The name’s Jeremy,” the rattata announced, holding a white forepaw out to her. Katherine awkwardly extended her index finger and Jeremy took it, shaking it solemnly. He then grinned, perking up. “Speaking of grub, could I get a bit? I’m starving.”

Katherine had returned to digging through her pack but continued to eye Jeremy askance. “Well, I don’t have any more human food. You’ll have to have some pokéchow or berries or something.”

Jeremy shrugged, an odd gesture for a rattata. “It’s gotta be better than what I could scrounge up on the island. Give me whatever you’ve got.”

Katherine nodded absently, pulling various food items out of her bag and arranging them carefully before herself. Meal preparation was always a big hassle for Katherine, largely due to the disparate tastes of her pokémon. The only one she didn’t have to cook for was Muk, as she flatly refused to cart his favorite foods—industrial waste and the like—all over the region with her. He was on his own to rustle up grub, but he didn’t seem to mind very much. Her other pokémon, however, grudgingly accepted that letting them out to hunt made Katherine uncomfortable but in return demanded that their meals be prepared precisely to their specific tastes. Although all that she could afford to feed them on a regular basis was generic dry pokéchow, each of them preferred that different seasonings be added to their bowls.

Thus the litany that played through Katherine’s head as she mechanically dumped a bit of pokéchow into each of the bowls and started adding condiments. Ketchup for Electabuzz, but make sure his bowl is not next to Donphan’s; the ground-type loathed anything remotely resembling a tomato by-product and would make a fuss about going to eat somewhere else otherwise. For Donphan, nuts; mixed berries for Heracross, make sure that none are crushed or overripe; the jerky for Arcanine, of course; and make sure that nothing has made its way into Pidgeot’s bowl—being more of a plain-vanilla fellow, the bird preferred to take his meals unadulterated.

Her task completed, Katherine offered the various additives to Jeremy and grimaced as he commented on the wide selection. Dragging her pokémon’s favorite foods as well as their bowls back and forth across the continent got tiresome, to say the least. She knew that she spoiled them all rotten, but they were happy to return the favor by trouncing her opponents in battle, so she didn’t complain.

Making sure that everything was ready, Katherine let the rest of her pokémon out. “Lunchtime, everybody!” she announced as she tossed her pokéballs out into the field. Her pokémon burst out of confinement enthusiastically, dashing over to their respective bowls and digging in with gusto. Katherine neatly caught their now-empty pokéballs as they reversed trajectory and came spinning back to her hand. She sat on the stump next to Jeremy, eating her sandwich and sipping from her canteen as she mulled over the day’s events. Fortunately, her team seemed too engaged in their lunches to take any notice of the rattata; she didn’t want any of them freaking out like Pidgeot had.

For his part, Jeremy had scorned the dried food and was instead feasting on the condiments. At this point, he was stuffing his whiskered face with berries, having already polished off several pieces of jerky. When he appeared finished, sitting back on his haunches and beginning to groom his whiskers, which were caked with ketchup and bits of nuts, Katherine decided that it was time to get some answers.

“All right, rodent,” she said in a stern voice, “just what is going on here, anyway?”




And now, review responses.

pisces: Could I ask that you maybe cut down the area that you quote in future reviews? Just say that you liked a certain part, there's no need to paste half the chapter in there. I can see how the first bolded thing is confusing, and I'll look into changing that. I don't understand the problem with the second, however; fear of the unknown is a fairly common affliction and referred to in just that way. How would you suggest that I describe Nishivma more?

Another Fan: The changes to this fanfic are mainly in the areas of characterization, flow, description, and the like. The overall plot remains the same, though I may be adding or removing scenes in later chapters if I don't like them. And yeah, the robot lugia is from me. That 'fic still isn't finished--it's on chapter thirty-three now and has as good fifteen more to go, if not a few more. I'm glad that you liked this one so much.

Kei: Thanks for reviewing! I'm glad that you like my style of description, and that you are beginning to like Katherine. I'm trying to work hard on her character in the rewrite.

Act: Replying to your review of Clouded Sky, actually. Yes, the revision is going up at FF.net, but all I'm doing is replacing the chapters with the edited versions, so it's not actually being updated per se.

Saffire Persian: Thanks so much for the banner! I love it, and I'll be using it as soon as your bandwidth gets reset.

Kamex: Eh heh. Guess a pre-Christmas release probably isn't happening. Sorry for the tremendous wait.

billy5772: I'm glad you enjoyed it. You did bring up something that I was worried about, though: the flight thing. I wasn't sure how to portray the size of the island or the altitude to which Pidgeot would fly; I don't really know about those things. Do you think you could give me an idea of how to make it more realistic (e.g. what size should the island be?)

Random fact: the original TNC had no chapter three. FF.net automatically numbered the Prologue as chapter one, which caused it to label this one four. Confused, I labelled it as the same and ended up numbering every chapter after it wrong as well. For a little while after finding this out I toyed with doing a parody one-shot to do with the "missing chapter three" but it never went anywhere.

cyndaquil_dratini
10th January 2006, 2:25 AM
Wow, Negrek, I'm very, very impressed. The standard of your writing is astounding- your flow of descriptive words and characterisation is impeccable. I said I'd be thorough; when I read your prologue and first chapter, I picked up on maybe one or two grammatical errors or typos...but then I looked back and couldn't find them again, so that was very stupid of me, not to highlight them or something. I've completely forgotten where they were or what they had to do with at all, so I'm thoroughly annoyed with myself now, and I've taken to highlighting spelling errors and things and saving them in a seperate word document, so I can be sure to find them later (I only go to such lengths, of course, for fantastic writers like yourself who have obviously gone to much trouble to ensure that their writing is without mistakes.)

I found two spelling errors in that last chapter-


Absently clipping Pidgeot's pokéball back to her belt, Katherine carefully sat down on the stump, making a face at the way its rotting bark crumbled off on her skin and cltothes.


This, of course, made Muk and excellent guard.

I don't know how to bold things yet, since I'm a newbie, so I hope you can find them, but I don't think you'll have too much trouble.

The other two things I copied and pasted into my word document from this chapter was this paragraph-


“No, I’m not a pokémon. What I wouldn’t give to be at least half human again! But neither am I really a rattata, you see. And as for the banana thing, well, I guess you don’t, really. It was just your nose that gave me the impression…”

-because it was one of the only pieces of writing in the entire story so far I felt you could have really improved on. I think that Rattata's dialogue in this sequence is a little corny, and kind of unrealistic, too- I think you're holding out on us about the curse thing for a little too long- in my opinion, Rattata would just say it. I also think Jeremy's character needs to be developed much more, especially in this chapter, where we get to meet him much more closely. The joke about the banana isn't very funny.....


Katherine had returned to digging through her pack but continued to eye Jeremy askance.

I almost positive the word "askance" isn't a typo- I highlighted it mainly because I've in my entire life come across it at all, and it's a fantastic word, so I'd love to know what it means (although I can sort of guess in this context anyway).

Right, now that's out of the way (sorry again for not finding those other two typos- maybe you fixed them already), on to the review of the story overall, which really should be the most important part.

Your prologue is the best prologue I've ever read. I say that with much confidence- this is exactly what a prologue should be about, it's thrilling, it's catchy, it's intriguing. It introduces some very important characters very effectively- I love your descriptions of Ninetails in this section, I am awed by the way you string your words together, particularly in the first few paragraphs. Nashivma (or whatever the name it, it's a wonderful name but it's easy to forget) also caught my attention immediatly as a very interesting character, and Jeremy also seemed to have an interesting story behind him. I was immediatly attracted to the story after reading this prologue- it did everything a prologue should do, it gave you all the background information a prologue needs, it set up characters which are important for the coming chapters- and it made me want to read more. Congratulations, this is an amazing effort.

The trouble with starting off so well is that the reader automatically expects greatness the entire way through. Chapter one started beautifully- the flight on Pidgeot was wonderfully described; it reminded me of rollercoasters and things that I'd been on. It was interesting that Katherine loved flying- every time a trainer learns to fly, they seem to love it- certainly, based on your description, I'd be completely petrified of flying and wouldn't ever want to look at another bird pokemon for my entire life. But I'm a sissy little fairy boy. Moving on.

The description of the island was wonderful- I loved Katherine's perspective on the characters we had already met. I liked guessing what was happening, which characters Katherine was spotting in the forest, what Pidgeot was scared of- I agree with other reviewers that your ability to change from pokemon P.O.V to person P.O.V was very effective (although, as we all know now, they're not pokemon at all.) The aura of mystery successfully shrouded the whole thing, and I wasted no time scrolling down to Chapter Two.

Overall, I enjoyed "The Escape" for its brilliant character development, particularly concerning Ninetails, but also Persian. I liked Ninetails' response to Katherine's actions, which we had seen the chapter previously, that was a stroke of genius. But, as much as I hate to contradict what everyone's been saying, I found the length annoying. It was very well-written, and kept that mystery for the readers effectively, but by the end of it, I felt like I had simply read an extension of the chapter before- like there was no need to create a new chapter at all. I believe in pacing too, I guess, but I don't see it as an excuse to make a chapter so short. To be fair, the air of mystery was fleshed out superbly here, and the character development you provided gave the reader enough to think about- but I feel like a chapter should be more, that more should happen for it to constitute as an entire chapter- especially if, as seems the case here, you take so long to post the chapter following.

Chapter three was the worst so far, which of course, doesn't mean that I hate your writing and that it was a terrible chapter- just, as I had said before, your incredible beginning set up such great expectations that you would surely have to come down at some point. I think what I didn't like about "The Curse" was the way it revealed all the myserty that had been built up over the course of the story so far. It was all gone, just in the blink of an eye- you knew exactly what was going on, straight away, as soon as the rattata introduced himslef as Jeremy. You have ended this chapter on a sort of cliff-hanger, with the readers waiting to discover the full story, but you've given us most of it already- we get the idea now, it's not exciting to discover more. What would be exciting, and what I expect will happen, since you're such a brilliant writer, is that our expectations will turn out the be false, and that there's some big twist in the story that we can guess so easily from what has happened.

I like the idea of the Ninetails' Curse leaving pokemon as humans, I think that's a very clever premise for a story. I loved your description of Muk, and your explanation for Katherine's clear fondness for him- I thought that was brilliant. I'm interested to continue reading this, very inerested to see how it finishes- and since it is a rewrite, it is with no doubt that it will finish- and I hope you don't take my criticisms too harshly. I'm not the most tactful reviewer in the universe, but I think you can handle that. You are clearly one of the most talented writers in here, and I am honoured that you asked me to review- and overjoyed that I discovered such a well-written fanfic. I can't think of any more big, long, pretty describing words for your story, I've already repeated 'wonderful' and 'beautiful' a thousand times in my reivew.

I'll leave with one final criticism, one which I'm very picky of, but which I believe affects how many readers discover how brilliant a story like yours is. I hate the title, it's too bland. That, simply, is the only reason I didn't read this story sooner.

Saffire Persian
10th January 2006, 5:44 AM
Belated or not, I'm glad to see the final release of this chapter. I liked it, though, personally, I liked the first chapter and the prologue best out of them all so far. There were a few moments I very much enjoyed in this chapter, first and foremost of all being the appearance of Muk, who I already sympathize with. I love the personality you gave him, and when he oozed away I couldn't help but feel immensely bad for him, and also for t he first time, have felt like actually raising a Muk... which is a Pokémon I don't normally care for.

Kudos for that one.

Of course, the revelation on what exactly the Ninetales' Curse was, is ingenious in itself - I never would have thought of that had you not revealed it - or, at least, not for another few chapters. Granted, I thought you might keep us hanging a touch about what the Ninetales' Curse really was, which turned out not to be so, which may have kept it from making it a slightly more startling impact. Still, I'm not complaining about it in the least. The very idea in itself amazed me to no end that you thought of it, and you're left with the thought 'why didn't I think of that'.

Now, onto Jeremy. I agree with Cyndaquil_Dratini about him not having much development in this chapter; however, I can kind of see why he doesn't. This chapter is a shorter one, and thus there wasn't time to cover more characterization on Jeremy, and so I really don't see it as wrong or faulty.. although, he seems somewhat learned - or at least, more refined in his way of speaking.


No, I’m not a pokémon. What I wouldn’t give to be at least half human again! But neither am I really a rattata, you see. And as for the banana thing, well, I guess you don’t, really. It was just your nose that gave me the impression…”

Maybe it's from being a Pokémon for who knows how long?

The conversation about the banana also, like Cyndaquil said, did not strike me as funny... I don't think you meant it to, but I did find the dialogue a tad odd, particularly Katherine's response for it.


As her thoughts spiraled into a confused jumble, shook her head, still perplexed, and for good measure added, “And I look nothing like a banana.”

That most particularly.. which leads me to wonder what age exactly she is.. since she replied in that matter.. If you understand what I'm saying - if you don't, I can try to explain myself.

Still, I did enjoy this release, and I'm intrigued to what exactly Jeremy's story is.

Also, after I made your banner for Clouded Sky (The bandwidth has been reset, BTW) I couldn't help but become curious about the story itself. Has it been posted already, or are you in the middle of working on it. If it's the former, I'd like to read it, wherever it might be posted.

Negrek
10th January 2006, 11:43 PM
My goodness, I hadn't expected to come back to find such wonderful reviews! Thank both of you so much.

cyndaquil_dratini

Oy. Those spelling errors are bad. I don't know how they managed to escape, especially the "clothes" one since MS Word should even have underlined it in pretty red for me. Gah. Will fix ASAP.

I do agree with you on the dialogue; it's never been one of my strong areas, and while I did try to improve upon the original for this chapter, it still didn't feel very right to me at the end. The banana thing isn't supposed to be funny, and while I did try to make it less of a groaner than it was in the original version, I in the end decided to keep it in there for reasons of characterization...

...which brings me to the next point. Characterization is another thing that I tend to struggle with, but Jeremy is a particularly difficult one to do. For this chapter, I wanted to introduce as much through dialogue as possible; namely, he's a person who likes to be exasperating and a constant joker, though he's really terrible at it. Sort of an incorrigible type, perhaps because it's the way that he deals with his life. Anyway, I'll try to improve upon it for the next chapter.

Oh, and askance is just a sort of sideways glance, usually with wariness or mistrutst.



It was interesting that Katherine loved flying- every time a trainer learns to fly, they seem to love it- certainly, based on your description, I'd be completely petrified of flying and wouldn't ever want to look at another bird pokemon for my entire life.
Heh, yes, this is a bit of me in the character; I've always wanted to fly (I always try to get the window seat on airplanes) and I think that being able to fly with my pokemon would be one of my favorite things to do, were it possible. I want to learn to hangglide, but thus far my parents have not been...encouraging...

Ah, yes, the second chapter. When revising, I initially considered splicing together the two parts of the storyline in each chapter, a la the prologue. However, it made more sense to me to keep them distinct and separate. The problem is, they have to line up time-wise (I don't really have the luxury of skipping around in time like some people who write dual storylines, as the entire 'fic takes place over a period of three days) and the amount of significant happenings in the two different storylines doesn't always line up. I wanted to show the ninetales' reaction to Nishivma and to Jeremy's departure there, but there's really nothing else going on at that point and I didn't really want to bloat the chapter with useless waffling. There are some other characters that I could have introduced, but I prefer them to appear at the time that I had written them in in the earlier version.

And oh, the title--I very much want to change it, but unfortunately I can't come up with anything more fitting. That's unusual for me; usually I don't have much of a problem in this respect, but I've probably just gotten too used to this one to change it.

Anyway, I'm glad that you enjoyed the story overall, and hope that you find the next chapter more to your liking. And don't worry about coming off as harsh--I asked for you to review because I knew that you would be thorough and honest, because after all I am trying to improve and would like to hear what didn't work as well as what did. Thanks again for the wonderful review and the quick reply, too. I'm afraid that I won't be able to reciprocate as quickly, as this is finals week for me, but I promise I'll have a look at Alexi soon!

Oh, and the bold code is pretty simple:


Bolded Junk

Saffire Persian

I'm glad to hear that you liked this chapter fairly well; I'll agree with you that the first chapter and prologue are much better, though.

Jeremy seems learned? Eek. That was one of the things that I was trying to cut down on in this revision because he isn't really supposed to be like that (in the original version he didn't speak in contractions, even 0_o). Any idea what gave you that impression so I can see what I can do about it.

And yes, the banana thing is not meant to be funny, but I don't want it to be so awful that it's distracting or a turnoff from the story. Ick.

Oh, Katherine's age. I've always expected people to ask me that, but nobody ever has. To tell the truth, I honestly don't know, as it's not something I consider important. By the way that she acts and where she is on her pokemon journey at the moment, I'd guess about twelve, maybe a little older, but not older than thirteen.

Yes, the curse thing is not something that I keep a mystery for very long. There's other stuff going on in the 'fic that it focuses on more than the actual curse itself, and the suspense isn't really supposed to come from not knowing what it is, and there's no real way I could have held it off. I suppose that's another bad thing about the title; it implies that the curse itself is very important, where it isn't so much.

Yup, I've uploaded both of the banners onto my own account now, so you can delete them off of yours--and again, thanks for taking the time to make them. As for Clouded Sky, it has been posted as a WIP on FF.net. It's on chapter thirty-three at the moment. If you'd like to read it, it's right here (http://www.fanfiction.net/s/2146127/1/).

Thanks again for reviewing!

Well, while I'm a little disappointed that this chapter didn't deliver, I'm not very surprised. Honestly, one of the reasons it took me so long to do this one is that I dislike it myself; I think it's one of the weakest, if not the weakest (there's another one farther on that's a bit of a snooze), but hopefully I'll be able to do better with the next.

Sike Saner
11th January 2006, 1:43 AM
Well, the quality is definitely still here. Still has that excellent, yet coherent description, and is still continuing to introduce interesting characters. You've shown a few sparkles of personality in the members of Katherine's party already (and points for using Muk, by the way ^^), and then...we have Jeremy. I will tell you, those banana-cracks he made got a few good laughs out of me. Didn't see the laughs coming, so that was a pleasant surprise.

Wish I had more to say... :/ This is rather a shorter review than I had hoped to post...

Negrek
12th January 2006, 2:41 AM
Thanks for reviewing, Sike. I'm glad that you, and other people, seem to like muk; he's one of my favorites. A lot of the pokemon on Katherine's team are ones that I like but a lot of people don't seem to find interesting or outright despise.

Now I've just got to figure out a way to work nosepass in here...

mindripper
13th January 2006, 11:15 PM
I was looking through the thread, and I was feeling pretty stupid after I saw that I have not posted a review for this fic yet. Sincerely, I read it all before, and I could have sworn that I reviewed, or at least I think htat I did. Luckily, it is only on its third chapter. I am going to be focusing on the third chapter. The prologue was very good, as most have already said, but the first chapter was a little too short. You know, kinda like in olden days, when they used to dangle carrots in front of horses' eyes so that the horses would run faster?


their swaying boughs mirroring the heaving sea, broken only by small islands of open ground where one of the great trees had fallen and carved out a haven of sunlight

Good line, that.


While not the most sanitary nor the most odiferous of her companions

Truer words have never been spoken, but the quirjky way in which you put it was really amusing. You must have done something nice, but for the life of me I cannot put my finger on it.


“Good observation!” the pokémon replied, grin broadening. When Katherine just stared at him, he sighed and added, “It’s my native tongue.”

Sharp wit! Nice nice nice.

Actually, I did like the third chapter, and found it better than the second. I think the main problem we had with the second chapter was the static way in which the story went along. As in we are still at a status quo as far as the storyline goes. We have met a very nice Muk and a cursed Rattata who assumes noses look like bananas, but we have not moved very far forward in terms of storyline. In some fics, we have battles, or backstory, or action sequences, or even some alone time with our characters to see how they think, and how they work. I realised that you have done a great linguistic job of the chapter, and your sharp wit shows your intelligence as a person as well as the ability to mix it up as a writer. However, this is at the price of progress, because the chapter was reasonably short, and we had paragraphs on a meal and its preperation. I would have loved to see some flashbacks or backstory, or hints. All this would have been negated if more meat had been tacked onto the end of this chapter, but as things stand, you have a great chapter, but your story only progresses because we have seen the Rattata, who is bound to play a huge part.

Sorry if I came across as being a little harsh, but I just wrote what I thought was true. Other chapters have filler like battles to keep the rise and fall of action, while progressing the story. You should incorporate more of that. Of course, you can choose to ignore this. In any case, I never noted that you were any less than a fair reviewer. I do not see why anyone would think anything else.

Timid Kyogre
14th January 2006, 8:37 PM
Amazing! I read all of the three chapters and I must say...Wow

But you could've wrote more chapters, you have to focus on this fic more and you'll get even more reviewers! But everything in this fic is just...Fantastic!

Just be careful with the commas, don't use too much commas :)

This should be great for the interview :D Please all of you who are reviewing this fic, check out Negrek's interview coming VERY SOON (The thread is in the Authors Cafe)

~Timid Kyogre

Kamex
15th January 2006, 10:52 PM
The trouble with starting off so well is that the reader automatically expects greatness the entire way through.
That was a problem I had with my fic, Pokemon War. I had a Prologue that a lot of people were really into, but then chapter 1 was very rushed and starved of description. :/ But this fic is doing well, IMO.

Nice to be introduced to Katherine's Pokemon (or at least, find out about them). I agree that Muk'll be a good character to get to know.

Jeremy had a nice, unique personality. And the whole idea of Rattata being a human before and being cursed somehow into becoming a Pokemon grabbed my attention. But even if Ninetails' curse won't be one of the most important elements of the story, I don't see how it can be a small one at this point.

Nice chapter, keep on going.

Negrek
19th January 2006, 5:08 AM
It's pretty sad that I forgot to respond to reviews on my own fanfiction. Actually, it's more than a little sad...

mindripper

I hear you on the fact that not much has been happening in the fanfic yet. I hesitate to say that I've already given you plenty of clues as to what's going on, but I'm not really of the mind to be revealing more at this point. There are only a couple of people who have noticed them thus far, but they're there.

I realize that the chapters are rather flat. We're still in the exposition, of course, and I'm hesitant to add in further action for the reason that it would be purely extraneous and distract from the true storyline. Flashbacks are very problematic for this piece, as past events have a huge amount of bearing on the current events, and flashing back to the happenings that the characters are most likely to focus on would be very hard to do without revealing too much. They appear more in the later "revelation" chapters. However, I'll try to keep in mind a bit more of a rise in fall for future chapters, as looking back I can see how they're not doing much.

Timid Kyogre

I'm glad that you enjoyed reading this. I'm not sure that simply posting more chapters is going to get me more reviews--not that I'm really deprived, here--but I hope to get future updates up sooner.

And yes, you've always got to watch the commas. You never know when the little buggers are going to jump up and bite you.

Kamex

I'm glad that you still enjoyed it and appreciate Jeremy's personality. He's one of my favorite characters for this 'fic, so I'm doing my best with him.

Ryano Ra
20th January 2006, 12:18 AM
Oh no, I feel behind. *lays himself upon black train tracks*

First, the banner. o.o It is so elegant and wonderful and it has a gray background and it has a Ninetales! I just absolutely love it, and one day, I will trick you, steal the banner, and run away happily. Muk is a very interesting choice in Pokemon to use in a story. I think they can have rather eccentric personalities, which definitely draws me in. The descriptions just tore through the skies and brung about crystal-yellow lightning strikes. The chapter was longer, and it held more of an ethereal feeling, use the Muk and all. I'm sorry for this lame review, but I'm just stunned to finally see the purple sludge monster being used. I think I should make a Muk clan.

Fantastic job, Negrek. Also, will you be composing a PM Notification List sometime soon?

Negrek
21st January 2006, 6:31 AM
I just absolutely love it, and one day, I will trick you, steal the banner, and run away happily.
...and then you would get mauled by Saffire Persian for stealing her stuff. XD

I'm glad you liked the use of muk. I still don't get why so few people seem to like them.

As for a PM notification list, I don't really... "do" those. I've had a couple people ask me to PM them whenever a new chapter comes out, which I'll do, but I don't really see the point of putting together one in the thread itself and going "omg, post to be added!" If you would like me to PM you for new chapters, then, sure, I will. I just don't understand the point of notifications lists, I guess... probably because I have no life and am always on here and hardly miss anything.

Ryano Ra
21st January 2006, 2:38 PM
...and then you would get mauled by Saffire Persian for stealing her stuff. XD

I'm glad you liked the use of muk. I still don't get why so few people seem to like them.

As for a PM notification list, I don't really... "do" those. I've had a couple people ask me to PM them whenever a new chapter comes out, which I'll do, but I don't really see the point of putting together one in the thread itself and going "omg, post to be added!" If you would like me to PM you for new chapters, then, sure, I will. I just don't understand the point of notifications lists, I guess... probably because I have no life and am always on here and hardly miss anything.Oh darn...well, I will, um...steal the Muk out of your story. ^^; *points gun at whoever owns the Muk*

Oh, I understand. For the PM Notification List, it is a bit work, sending out all of those PMs and constantly updating it, but it is quite useful for the ones that don't have much time to check the threads thoroughly for updates. But yes, do send a PM to me - I'll be busy for quite some time, writing a huge one-shot and updating Rhapsody, so it would really help. ^^

deadlyrose
9th July 2006, 8:20 AM
absolutely lovely {i have just read the 1st post} but it is lovely and has such a sweet air of mystery! j'adore ca!