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Thread: The Quest for the Legends, now with its ILCOETH revision!

  1. #1551
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    Great chapter! It was a bit anticlimactic to find out Letaligon's father was already dead, but it was actually a pretty interesting backstory. I liked it. And I agree with moonlightning; it's like her journey with Mark was ultimately to no avail. Although she did grow stronger, and that's still a good thing.

    Mark was frozen for a moment before he realized that this was truly it. “Goodbye, Letaligon,” he called belatedly after her, unable to think of anything better to say. “Try to be happy –” – and suddenly his voice broke on the last word, because in a sweeping moment it hit him hard that she probably wouldn’t listen to him, any more than she had ever wanted to listen to him, and she really might spend the rest of her life not even trying to find her drive again.
    Mark's a good trainer. He really cares about his Pokemon...I liked this paragraph.

    Good job; sorry for the short review. Excited for the next chapter!
    I'll be online on weekends, mostly, and as often as I can.

    Greetings from the asylum of my insanity.
    Chapter 3: Should be up by December 31st.

    Dex: 128 created! ~ My DeviantART link to be posted here...once I actually post something on my DeviantART. =P

  2. #1552
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    Anticlimax is anticlimactic.

    But, still, Letaligon was a sociopath for wanting her father's blood on her claws, so it's decently lulzy to know that the only reason the pack leader is still alive is because an ivisible Maurie jumped in and said, "You're not the father."

    Epic stuff, as usual.

  3. #1553
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    And there is finally a new chapter.

    Quote Originally Posted by moonlightning
    I wonder if it is truly over. It seems crazy to me that Letaligon doesn't want to help save the world or anything, especially now that he has nothing else to do.
    Letaligon never really cared about anything other than defeating her father, and she didn't get long enough after losing that purpose to start figuring out if there was something else she'd like to do with her life instead. Maybe she'd have decided to stick around if she'd gotten a few days or weeks to think about it. As it is, her mother just took her away before she'd had the chance to make much of a decision about anything.

    Quote Originally Posted by moonlightning
    Great chapter, things seem to have gone a bit quiet, action-wise. I can still remember those awesome legendary catching battles, most of which ended in a Master Ball and me thinking "well they could have just done that in the first place."
    "Most of which"? That's a bit of an exaggeration, isn't it? They had two Master Balls; one got used on Polaryu when he was about to attack Mark, the other on Dragoreen when all three of the dragons were about to escape. And now they're left with no Master Balls at all, so thinking they ought to have just thrown the Master Balls before it even became clear things were that desperate seems rather rash.

    Incidentally, it hasn't been that long; the last legendary battle was chapter 55. I just write slowly.

    Anyway, thanks for reviewing. Chapter 59 is a bit over six pages and almost entirely conversation, but a bit of it is relevant to stuff, so I hope it's of at least some interest. Chapter 60 is probably going to be quick, but it's also going to be entirely about Scyther, so if you don't give a damn about him, you probably won't care about that chapter, either. Chapter 61, on the other hand, has plot developments!



    Chapter 59: December

    “All right,” said May. “Ready... go!”

    All at once, the ten Pokémon sprang into action. Jolteon and Raichu fired two simultaneous Thunder Waves in two different directions; May’s Butterfree flapped her wings rapidly to create a tailwind behind them. Charizard and Blaziken Flamethrowered their adversary from both sides as Spirit burst into black flames; meanwhile, Floatzel and Sneasel leapt up with ice crystals surrounding their paws, expertly avoiding getting in the way of Gyarados’s Dragon Beam and Scyther’s Aerial Ace.

    Skarmory and Dragonite never stood a chance.

    Mark looked sheepishly at the unconscious legendary-substitutes as the smoke cleared. He always felt kind of bad about this, even though the Pokémon had all agreed it was a good idea and they rotated the legendary roles. The legendaries were powerful; it seemed fair to gang up on them.

    He sighed. “Okay, well done, guys. That was quick.”

    May was already reviving the two fainted Pokémon with a practiced speed. “I don’t think there’s much more we can do for now,” she said. “We might as well head back to the Eastern Cliffs tomorrow and see how we do.” She hesitated a moment. “Meanwhile, we should probably contact Alan.”

    Mark nodded. It was implicit in that ‘we’ that she really meant him; though they hadn’t talked to Alan for a couple of months now, neither of them wanted to test whether he was ready to talk to May yet. He walked over to her bag, found her Pokégear and dialled Alan’s number.

    It took a bit before there was an answer. “Hi,” said Alan’s voice, impassive.

    “Hi, Alan,” Mark said. “How have you been doing?”

    “Okay, I guess,” Alan said. “You?”

    “Good. We’ve been doing a lot of practicing with group fights. We were thinking we’d set off back to the Eastern Cliffs tomorrow and try our luck.”

    There was a pause. “All right,” Alan said after a moment. “Just come by my place when you’re heading out and I’ll be ready.”

    Mark took a deep breath. “Actually, I think it would be better if you met us now or later tonight. We’ve been preparing a lot of new strategies and we should probably get you and your Pokémon in on them. We’re on Route 311, just west of the city; you should see our campfire from the road.”

    There was another pause, longer this time. “Can’t we do that tomorrow?” Alan replied eventually.

    Mark looked at May; she shrugged and he had a feeling she wasn’t exactly dying to have Alan camping with them again either, so he sighed and said, “Fine. We’ll be there at ten o’clock.”

    “All right.” Alan hesitated for a long second. “How’s May?” he asked finally.

    She looked up; Mark waited, but she didn’t speak. “Fine,” he said instead on her behalf. “Better.”

    “Okay. Good.”

    There was silence.

    “See you tomorrow.”

    “Yeah. See you.”

    And Alan hung up.

    “It’s getting late,” May said after a further silence. “We should make that campfire anyway.”

    They did, but the mood for conversation had largely been killed, and as they sat around the fire with their Pokémon Mark eventually took to browsing idly through his Pokédex. In the intervening months since their capture of Dragoreen, he had properly discovered for the first time how many functions it had that seemed to exist solely for statistics geeks – he could access a log of every time he had sent out his Pokémon, for instance, complete with a list of which of his Pokémon had seen the least out-of-Pokéball-time in the past month (Thunderyu, Dragoreen and Chaletwo had a large red zero, as if to scold him for never letting them out). This time, he started skimming through the list of ‘seen’ Pokémon, which for these newer models appeared to automatically record some basic data for every Pokémon had had been within a certain radius from the device.

    Thunderyu was a big question mark near the end of the list, tentatively identified as an Electric/Dragon type. The only other data was a list of crazy stats. Mark looked at the intimidating entry with a mixture of pride and amusement. They’d defeated and caught that.

    Volcaryu and Polaryu, since they hadn’t been caught by him, had even less information, only showing the Fire/Dragon and Ice/Dragon type classifications; a full Pokéball scan would have been required to create a stat approximation. After them, the Pokédex showed a question mark that meant Dragoreen – Dragon/Flying-type, more crazy stats – and then two question marks that had to be Raudra and Puragon.

    Mark blinked at their info pages. Again, there were no stats, since he hadn’t caught them; the only data was the type classification.

    And the type classification, for both of them, was also Dragon/Flying.

    “May?” Mark said hesitantly. “Could you come over here for a second?”

    She shuffled over as the Pokémon craned their necks to see over Mark’s shoulder. “This is the data the Pokédex recorded for Raudra and Puragon. Look at the typing.”

    “Ah!” said Floatzel behind him, grinning in realization. “That explains a lot, yes?”

    May pulled the Pokédex out of his hand and stared at it for a moment. “Oh, hell,” she muttered, her fingers tightening around the device, “yeah, it does.”

    “Is it an error?” Mark asked in confusion.

    “I don’t think so,” May said, shaking her head. “God, it explains everything. The Fire Pokémon did terrible against Puragon because she wasn’t an Ice-type. We were doing it all wrong. No wonder we were doing so well against Dragoreen but then barely scratched the others; she was the only one whose type we actually guessed correctly. We’re idiots.”

    And Mark suddenly remembered the legend behind the Color Dragons. They had all been the same, eggs of the same mother, but they’d hatched and grown up in different locations, and they’d adapted. Raudra, the one in the volcano, had learned to use fire because fire was all around her; Dracobalt, at the bottom of a lake, had learned to use water instead. Puragon had learned to use ice, and Venoir poison. It wasn’t that they were fundamentally different, only that they’d been flexible enough in their original form to grow up using completely different moves and techniques. And their evolution had then eliminated their flexibility, setting their adapted preferences in stone forever.

    He had never heard it said outright, but on reflection he thought he remembered a passage in that book he had read at the library at the beginning of his journey, where the dragons’ type affinities were called special abilities. Not types. Which was very vague, but –

    “Chaletwo,” Mark said sharply, “did you know this?”

    “No, but truth to be told, I’m not sure they know it themselves,” Chaletwo said. “Type classifications are a human discovery. Pokémon know what elements they’re most comfortable with and learn what they’re weak and resistant against through battling during their lives, but legendaries don’t spend a lot of their time being hit by attacks that are sufficiently powerful for them to discern a difference. The only reason I know I’m a Dark-type is that Mew couldn’t sense me psychically.”

    “Did it actually happen like the legend says?” Mark asked, wanting to be sure of his interpretation.

    “I don’t know. What does the legend say?”

    “There was a dragon called Vaxil, she hid her eggs in different places, they hatched into Lidreki and adapted to their different environments, then Preciure pushed Dragoreen out of the cave, she found the others and brought them back to fight him, but on the way were distracted hating each other, and when Vaxil saw the conflict between her children she threw herself off a cliff,” Mark said, in one breath.

    “Huh,” Chaletwo said. “Well, it’s missing some details. Color Dragons have been around for many Wars. Technically they can breed, but if they do they sacrifice their immortality and die soon after, so the last time it happened is fabled even among the legendaries. After the last War we recreated Vaxil, who had been around before, and a male called Yddri, and for some reason they hit it off. The suicide was breeding to begin with. Yddri died immediately, and Vaxil spread the eggs around different environments like Color Dragons do, took the last couple with her and waited for her own death. I doubt she liked all the petty rivalry between her children, but she was already dying. I’m not sure she even survived to the point Preciure pushed Dragoreen out of the cave, if that even happened and isn’t just something Dragoreen told the others to justify her little crusade against her brother, but if she did, she would have been barely alive, likely delirious and immobile – which would probably be why she didn’t intervene. And the way I heard it, after the children evolved, they noticed their mother was dead, started blaming each other for it to claim their right to her cave, and at some point in the scuffle they threw her body off the cliff themselves.”

    Mark couldn’t stare at Chaletwo, so he stared at May instead.

    “Well, that’s kind of horrifying,” she said, echoing his thoughts. The story of Vaxil had seemed like a cautionary tale about consequences – the children had fought, it had caused their mother’s death, and subsequently they’d decided to leave one another in peace. But the humans witnessing it had no doubt only seen the dragons fighting and then found the mother’s body on the ground, and then they’d drawn their own conclusions – probably in such a way as to make it fit into a cautionary tale about consequences, so as to have something to scare their kids with.

    It shouldn’t have surprised Mark by now. It really shouldn’t. One by one, he’d seen all the legendaries they’d met turn out to be nothing like how he’d imagined legendaries as a kid, with different motives, different attitudes – not just different, but flawed. And he hadn’t even known that much about the Color Dragons as a kid, so it wasn’t as if he’d had much of an idealized image of them beforehand. But it was still the same cold shock every time to be reminded that the gods that were supposed to watch out for the world could be petty and hateful and selfish.

    “Well,” he said after a pause, forcing his mind to move on, “they were spread around to different environments and adapted to them, with the evolution just solidifying it later on, right? So then it makes sense their type never changed. Raudra and Puragon just got good with Fire and Ice moves, and even if their looks now reflect that, their defensive typing doesn’t.”

    “Something like that,” Chaletwo replied. “Whatever the reason, at least this is good to know if we’re going to battle them again.”

    “Yeah,” May agreed. “We go for Ice attacks whenever we can, no matter how counterintuitive. Floatzel, just be bombarding them with Ice Punch.” The sea otter grinned enthusiastically. “And Sneasel...” The weasel looked expectantly at May, who paused for a moment. “I don’t suppose you’re opposed to evolving.”

    Sneasel snorted at the absurdity of the notion.

    “Well, we should definitely try to find ourselves a Razor Claw, then; you’re going to be a lot more instrumental to this battle than we thought. You already learned Ice Shard anyway, so we don’t have anything to lose anymore. Sound okay?”

    Sneasel nodded in satisfaction.

    “Where do we get one?” Mark asked, looking at May.

    “Probably at the Green Town Department Store,” she suggested with a shrug.

    Someone cleared his throat behind them, and Mark turned sharply around to see Alan standing sheepishly a short distance away. “Actually, I... I’ve got one.”

    “Alan?” Mark said suspiciously. “What are you doing here already?”

    Alan sighed, not moving from where he stood; May was looking at him too, still wary, but didn’t say anything. “I’m sorry,” he said, finally. “We have something important to do. I shouldn’t comporomise that just because I feel weird about it, no matter how justified.” He glanced around, his gaze finding Stantler and staying there.

    “You must be Alan,” Stantler said after a moment.

    “Hi,” he said with a forced smile. “You’re... you’re May’s?”

    “She is my trainer, yes,” Stantler responded.

    “Yeah,” he said quickly, “that’s what I meant.”

    There was another pause. “For what it’s worth,” Stantler went on, “I don’t think my trainer needs your help to feel like a murderer, so I’d appreciate if you’d move on and treat her like a person.”

    Alan blinked at her; May looked like she’d been stung, but kept her gaze on him.

    “Yeah,” Alan said after a second, expelling a breath. “I’m sorry about that, too. Look, I...” He looked at May, finally, his expression defeated. “I wasn’t sure if I was going to come, to be honest. But I wanted to know if you’d just bounced back to the same old, like when Lapras wanted to leave, or if you’d really changed. So I came and listened to a bit of your conversation without announcing myself and...”

    There was a pause. “And?” May repeated, wary.

    “And you asked Sneasel if she wanted to evolve. You weren’t even forcing yourself to do it to sound better. You just did.”

    It was May’s turn to blink.

    “I mean, it’s a really small thing,” Alan said quickly, “and it’s not a sure indicator of anything, but I don’t think you’d ever have done that before.”

    Stantler looked thoroughly unimpressed with that, and Mark kind of agreed. “You could have just asked, you know,” he said. “Treating somebody like a person doesn’t involve eavesdropping on them, last time I checked.”

    Alan looked at him and kind of deflated, sighing; his shoulders sagged, and suddenly he looked very tired. “Yeah, you’re right. I just... yeah. May’s a person. Consider that filed.” He shook his head, spreading his arms out. “Well, I’m back. I’ll stop being an idiot now and just shut up.”

    He sat down by their fire, silently. “So yeah, I have a Razor Claw,” he said after a second. “I bought it for a friend when I was on my journey, but then her Sneasel decided he didn’t want to evolve after all. It should still be on my PC system. If you want, that is.”

    Mark nodded. “Yeah, thanks. We can...”

    “I want to evolve tonight,” said Sneasel immediately, looking at Mark. “If he has the item, we can do it now.”

    “I’ll help,” Floatzel said enthusiastically.

    Mark looked at May and Alan and then shrugged. “Fine by me,” he said. “I’m not that tired.”

    Alan took out his Pokédex and an item box and retrieved the Razor Claw with a few button-presses, handing it to Mark without words.

    “Thanks,” Mark said before turning to Sneasel. “Should we go somewhere where there’s more space?”

    “And more darkness,” May added, speaking for the first time in a while. “Sneasel can’t evolve unless it’s dark around.”

    “Yeah, that too.” Mark looked at them, hesitating. “While I’m gone, can you fill him and his Pokémon in on the strategies?” he asked, directing the question at May. She nodded wordlessly.

    “All right, then. See you later.”

    As he walked towards the forest with Sneasel and Floatzel, he heard indistinctly as Alan sent out his Pokémon and May started to talk about their training as if nothing were more natural. Sometimes he just didn’t get how her brain worked.

    He was only barely out of sight when there was a hiss out of a bush by his side; he turned wildly around, heart jumping into his throat, before it registered that it had been Scyther’s voice, saying his name.

    “You scared me,” he muttered as the mantis stepped out. “What is it?”

    “Sorry,” Scyther said quietly, looking uncomfortable. “There’s just something I have to do.”

    “What?”

    “All the time we’ve been here,” Scyther went on, looking him in the eye, “I’ve been trying to forget. I was going to let go of the Code and the swarm and my life in the wild. But it’s hard and I can’t. I can’t just leave again. I have to go and find my swarm.”

    Things felt strange and surreal all of a sudden; flashbacks of Letaligon assaulted Mark, but this time, after going through that with her, he was oddly calm. “Will you be coming back?” he just said.

    Scyther shook his head slowly. “I don’t know. The swarm isn’t going to want me back, but maybe...” He was silent for a few moments, his gaze distant. “If I’m not back by dawn,” he said eventually, “don’t wait for me. Tell them all goodbye and that I loved battling with them. That goes for you too.” At the last sentence, he inclined his head to Floatzel and Sneasel; they both just looked faintly puzzled.

    “All right.” Mark’s mind still felt strangely detached, frozen. “Whatever you do,” he heard himself saying, “I hope you choose what makes you happiest.”

    Scyther nodded; there was a tinge of genuine gratitude in his eyes. “Thanks for everything,” he said, and before the fact Mark might never see him again had even properly begun to sink in, the mantis had dashed off between the trees and out of sight.

    Chapter 64: Hide and Seek
    The story of an ordinary boy on an impossible quest in a world that isn't as black and white as he always thought it was.
    (rough draft of the remaining chapters finished for NaNoWriMo; to be edited and posted)

    Morphic
    (completed, plus silly extras)
    A few scientists get drunk and start fiddling with gene splicing. Ten years later, they're taking care of eight half-Pokémon kids, each freakier than the next, while a religious fanatic plots to murder them all.

    Lengthy fanfiction reviewing guide / A more condensed version
    Read and I will be very happy for a large number of reasons.

  4. #1554
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    No reviews. . . yet? Well, guess that makes me first. Alright, here we go:

    She looked up; Mark waited, but she didn’t speak. “Fine,” he said instead on her behalf. “Better.”

    “Okay. Good.”

    There was silence.

    “See you tomorrow.”

    “Yeah. See you.”

    And Alan hung up.
    I think if there was one word to some up that entire conversation it would be this: awkward. Two months fly by, and neither May, Mark, or Alan hold a normal conversation without some unspoken awkwardness passing between them. That's human emotions for ya.

    They did, but the mood for conversation had largely been killed, and as they sat around the fire with their Pokémon[insert] Mark eventually took to browsing idly through his Pokédex.
    Missing a punctuation of your choice here.

    In the intervening months since their capture of Dragoreen, he had properly discovered for the first time how many functions it had that seemed to exist solely for statistics geeks – he could access a log of every time he had sent out his Pokémon, for instance, complete with a list of which of his Pokémon had seen the least out-of-Pokéball-time in the past month (Thunderyu, Dragoreen and Chaletwo had a large red zero, as if to scold him for never letting them out).
    This sentence is rather long. I think it would actually be considered a run sentence if I am not mistaken.

    Someone cleared his throat behind them, and Mark turned sharply around to see Alan standing sheepishly a short distance away.
    I had to laugh at the irony of this scene. Alan seems to paint himself as a ne'er-do-bad, yet this scene depicts a rather different picture. Ah, the irony of it.

    There was another pause. “For what it’s worth,” Stantler went on, “I don’t think my trainer needs your help to feel like a murderer, so I’d appreciate if you’d move on and treat her like a person.”

    Alan blinked at her; May looked like she’d been stung, but kept her gaze on him.
    Almost makes me want to have a Stantler. Absolutely love her personality. Motherly, blunt, and digs right to the point. Though, it makes me think. I may be wrong, but hasn't Mark and May try to get Alan to forget the past and move forward, and both fail. Yet this Stantler drives this point home, and Alan actually heeds her words over the attempts of the other two. Maybe its different if someone outside the incident says it.

    “All the time we’ve been here,” Scyther went on, looking him in the eye, “I’ve been trying to forget. I was going to let go of the Code and the swarm and my life in the wild. But it’s hard[comma] and I can’t. I can’t just leave again. I have to go and find my swarm.”

    Things felt strange and surreal all of a sudden; flashbacks of Letaligon assaulted Mark, but this time, after going through that with her, he was oddly calm. “Will you be coming back?” he just said.
    Grammar nitpick first: As the second half is considered a clause, it does deserve a comma so that it does not look like a run on.

    Now for the reaction. Odd that Scyther's past is haunting him again. Actually, better idea. . .

    Question to Scyther: I don't suppose you would be willing to indulge us readers with why or what is driving you back to your old home before the next chapter is penned? What do you expect to gain? Or are you hinting that you are going to lead the swarm yourself now? Now that would be an interesting idea.

    Well, as this was a rather good chapter, it definitely was a bland filler chapter. Nothing really happens except that Scyther takes off, and Alan joins the group again. I will bet my bottom dollar that the next chapter will be exciting as old faces and unpleasant memories among the swarm will be resurfaced.

    EDIT: And on a more random and off topic question, how was NaNoWriMo?
    Last edited by Agent Tectonic; 28th November 2011 at 6:00 AM.
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  5. #1555
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    I was going to read through this whole 'fic and post my review all at once, but after getting up to page 5, I realized that the review would be too huge to do all at once. Also, the part of the review including the first two chapters was lost somehow, so I'll have to go rewrite those. Also, I know I've read this 'fic before, but it was years ago and I don't recall very much at all besides Chaletwo, and since then I have grown much as a writer, anyway. I can't recall if I ever wrote a full review. If I did, sorry for re-reviewing (and congrats for keeping this story going for so long!)

    For now, here's my review for pages 2-5.

    Mark went straight up to the bell on the desk and hammered it with his hand until a red-haired nurse dressed in white, whose name was most likely Joy, came out of a room in the back.

    “No need to be so harsh on the bell,” she said serenely.

    “I… I found this Eevee,” Mark panted, attempting to catch his breath, and gently placed the little Pokémon, unconscious, on the desk. “He was fainted near the road to Sailance…”

    “Sailance?” the nurse, whom Mark just decided to call Joy, questioned. “Isn’t that out of the Pokémon-inhabited area?”

    “Yes, it is, is Eevee going to be fine?” Mark asked very quickly.

    “What was an Eevee doing there?” repeated Nurse ‘Joy’.

    “Should I know that?” Mark said loudly. “I asked: Is he going to be all right?”
    He sure has an affinity for finding incredibly rare Pokemon, eh......?
    The best definition I have ever read of a Mary Sue/Gary Stue is that they are a character who warps the very world to act in their favor. They have incredible luck, they win every battle, every Pokemon wants to belong to them...

    Not to mention, this whole quote just seems to exist to show how caring and selfless Mark is. He can barely keep it together, for a Pokemon he has never met. How very selfless, and not over-the-top at all.

    “What type of Pokémon does the gym leader train?” Mark asked, happy to have managed to get to the point so quickly.

    “Legendary Pokémon,” she answered simply.
    This just seems.. really... I can't think of the word. Childish? Unrealistic? Why would this guy want to be a gym leader, anyway? And why the hell would they make him the very first gym leader you fight? And why wouldn't EVERYONE be clamoring to become one of his junior trainers?

    “Megan, your Pokémon have been fully healed,” Nurse Joy said with a small bow, handing three Pokéballs to the girl, then turning to Mark, “and your Eevee is going to be in perfect battle condition tomorrow. The hotel is just round the corner, if you plan on staying there.”

    “Battle condition?” Mark questioned. “But isn’t he too young to battle?”

    “Technically, yes,” Nurse Joy sighed. “But he’s been battling, apparently. Got some Rattata bites and scratches. Goodness knows what he’s been through…”

    “Oh, okay,” said Mark. “But I’ll release him afterwards, right? He isn’t caught in a Pokéball…”

    “Well…” said Nurse Joy sadly, “I have to admit that I don’t think that’s a very good idea. He’s been battling, but hasn’t fared all too well. If he came across a Raticate or Sandslash…”

    “You mean I should take him?” asked Mark, shocked.
    ... Hmmmmm. So technically he's too young to battle, but Joy, a Pokemon health expert, thinks he should keep going, because he's been forced to before... Yeahhhhh. Because it's not like there's anyone in the world who could take care of the Eevee and not battle it. It's not like Pokemon Centers have the resources and capability of taking care of a Pokemon who, as Joy said, is too young to battle, or making sure it is taken care of properly. Of course, Mark is too selfless to even think about wanting such a rare and sought-after Pokemon as Eevee, but once again, it just falls right into his lap.

    What a coincidence, Mark gets a cute young Eevee who also happens to be capable of battling, according to a horrifically apathetic Nurse Joy. Charmander and Eevee... I believe you know my views on giving those Pokemon to trainers, especially on, LOL, what, his first day training? First two? I'm going to guess that he gets a Dratini next.

    “Your ID number, please?”

    Mark immediately realized that of course, he had forgotten to buy a Pokédex, and what was more, he had never actually read Pokémon Training for Dummies. Feeling stupid, he blushed and said: “Er, I don’t have one yet.”

    “It’s necessary to give your trainer ID before checking in,” said the woman.

    “I’ll go to the Pokémart and buy a Pokédex, then, and come back afterwards,” Mark suggested. The woman nodded and sank back into her newspaper.
    Eh? You only have a Trainer ID if you BUY a Pokedex? That makes no sense. And in some cases, like if you were some kind of criminal, it would actually be advantageous. And I can only assume that Mark has no other forms of identification. So basically, unless you can afford a Pokedex, and it doesn't break or something, there is absolutely no way to identify you.

    reaching crazily down
    This sounds silly. I have trouble imagining someone reaching 'crazily' down.

    WARNING: Legendary Pokémon possess power that no human could dream of and should never be attacked, provoked or even approached. Travelers are advised to leave the Lake before nightfall.
    Which is why the first gym is Legendary...

    The air chilled as a graceful, dark blue shadow rushed out from the forest to the right. The elegant, catlike shape stopped at the bank of the lake, to be illuminated by the moonlight which now flowed out after a cloud passed above.
    So on his first day he gets Charmander, Eevee, and sees a legendary. Yes, I know, the legendary supposedly goes there every night, but it still seems like a ploy to make sure Mark gets to see a legendary. Again, the entire world seems to exist to make sure Mark gets and sees cool Pokemon..

    “It doesn’t matter! What you do is catch me and get me to a Pokémon center. You must not tell anybody where you found me. You must never mention what happened here to anybody. If you just do that, I will serve you with all my might forever. Agreed?”
    I LOL'D. Four Pokemon: Charmander, Eevee, Sandshrew, and Gyarados. In one day. Not to mention a legendary sighting. And he doesn't even have to go through the awkward Magikarp stage, the reason why Gyarados are so uncommon in 'fics! Does this really strike nobody as odd? What justifies this absurdity? I have no problem with an abnormally strong, talking Gyarados. I DO have a big problem with one being given to a trainer on his first day- not to mention literally hours after a Charmander and and an Eevee.

    Also, weren't there a bunch of people there just a minute ago? Why would he wait for Mark, in particular?

    “I fed him very nicely,” said the nurse, smiling. “After eating, he even said – in English, mind you; that’s quite some Pokémon you got! – that I was the second-nicest human in the world, after you.” She giggled.
    The Joys sure seem like tools who're there to make Mark seem godly. And she doesn't seem curious at all as to how his super overpowered Gyarados speaks English.....?

    “Yes. You must have earned his respect very well; most Gyarados are quite overwhelmed by their power when they evolve and are some of the most arrogant, impolite Pokémon you’ll ever see – he isn’t like that at all.”

    “Well, that’s good,” Mark said, brightening up. To think of it… Gyarados would actually obey and be his strongest Pokémon…
    Mark is so absurdly overpowered...

    “Don’t you know what a Pokémon trainer is?”

    Eevee shook his head and looked up at Mark curiously.
    A possibly abused Eevee who is too young to battle and, in fact, doesn't know what battle is? Sure, trainer! Here, make it strong. Why would they give such a young Pokemon, in such a delicate situation, to an extremely novice trainer who has little to no experience with Pokemon, period?

    “Great,” said Mark, still not believing what was happening. Him, with an Eevee!

    “Will you come into the Pokéball now, then?” he asked upon realization that Eevee was waiting for him to say something else. The Pokémon thought a bit, but then nodded, smiling. Mark recalled Eevee into the Pokéball, convinced that he was the luckiest person alive.
    I'm pretty sure he is. I recall reading this story once, many years ago. And I recall it being very hard to get into, with many Stu-ish aspects (though I do enjoy the writing style- I promise I'm not trying to outright bash your 'fic). And now I remember why I can't remember Mark or any of his team, only Chaletwo and some stuff about Legendaries. Mark and his team are a bit ridiculous.

    A smooth, peaceful-sounding cry of “a-ar” emitted from the magnificent, parrot-like icy blue bird
    Wha? Articuno is nothing like a parrot. Parrots have huge, curved beaks and large heads. Articuno has a very small beak and head. Articuno has always struck me as having a peacock-like body (if not the tail).

    Parrot: http://okgrassroots.com/wp-content/u...11/Parrot2.jpg

    Articuno: http://www.arkeis.com/images/pokemon...y/articuno.png

    Peacock: http://taylorlifescience.pbworks.com...acock_wrk1.jpg


    Also, isn't this the first battle that Sandshrew has been in? Why would he make the Sandshrew's first battle the gym battle, against LEGENDARIES, no less? Why didn't he train him up a little, first? That seems incredibly neglectful.

    Charmander’s now pure white shape was steadily growing larger and bulkier. A small horn grew out of the back of the Pokémon’s head. His muzzle lengthened. Then the growth came to a halt. For a second, the shape was just there emitting a bright aura; then the glow faded revealing a crimson red Charmeleon; bigger, more muscular and dragon-like, but otherwise somewhat similar to Charmander.

    A more adult-shaped eye looked at Mark. A weak, deep “Char…” came from the evolved Pokémon, but then his legs collapsed under him and he lay limply on the ground, fainted.
    Charmander evolved.... on their second day of training? ................................

    Jesus, I've never even had my starter evolve in my second day of playing Pokemon, and in a story it's downright absurd.

    “Charmeleon,” he said in a formal tone, “are you willing to accept this Flamethrower as your first Technical Machine move?”

    The Pokémon grinned. “I do,” he then said seriously.
    ... And has Flamethrower? And a level 9 Sandshrew has Earthquake? Mark really doesn't seem hideously overpowered to you, on his second day of training? ...... Sigh.


    Well, that's all I saved on my computer (no internet, so I CTRL+S pages I want to read).

    I'm sorry I kind of tore into your 'fic, but I remember you mentioning that your last try at it wasn't great because nobody told you the problems it had. So here you go. I'm no pro writer myself, and considering the popularity of this 'fic, I wouldn't be surprised if I got flamed for this (BRING IT), but I sure wish someone had told me that my awful earlier stuff sucked.

    Don't get me wrong, you're not a bad writer at all. I like your simple style of writing. The description's pretty good and it reads smoothly. I think the problem is, you're beating a dead horse. You said your previous tries ended up in very bad fanfiction. Well, here's the thing: yes, your writing is probably better, but everything else is the same quality. The plot, the characters... They haven't grown with you. They still have the feeling of being written by a nine-year-old, and from reading your very first post here, you seem adamant to ignore these flaws.

    I recall QFTL having some unique and interesting plot elements as relating to the legendaries, and in between the absurdities it's rather pleasant to read, so I'll try to review the rest of it (haha, I'm sure you're thrilled). Plus, as I've mentioned, you do write smoothly. Mark and his team are the only painful elements of the 'fic. Otherwise, it's rather pleasant to read- the only things I really have to criticize are the various plot points I've mentioned. Otherwise, nice description (I'd prefer more, though), great grammar and spelling.

    I look forward to seeing you grow as a writer.
    Last edited by Estuary; 5th December 2011 at 10:45 PM.




    { Click above to see my art thread. }

    I also write.
    { Song of the Small }

    A study of the journey 'fic.


    'I should like to lie at your feet and die in your arms.'
    ~Voltaire



  6. #1556
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    Guh, what.

    Estuary, the chapters you're reviewing were written in 2004. Of course they are completely ludicrous and almost all of your criticisms are absolutely correct; I've been facepalming at all that stuff for several years now, and I'm the first person to admit that. But "I look forward to seeing you grow as a writer" is a bit of a weird thing to say to someone after reading something they wrote seven years ago. Do you really think what I wrote when I was fourteen reflects my current state as a writer?

    Obviously that doesn't fix the mistakes. It doesn't make the fic better. It doesn't mean you can't find it ridiculous (you should) or criticize it (you have every right to comment on whatever you thoughts are on any part of it). But it does mean that writing meticulous quote-by-quote reviews explaining to me why those early chapters make no sense is wasting your time, because I know. I am way, way beyond thinking anything I wrote into the first chapters of this fic is a good idea. Don't even remind me.

    Now you may ask why, since I know how stupid all of this is, I haven't just ditched the thing and moved on by now. That would be because I'm stubborn as all get-out and I actually kind of love this fic, in that crazy, completely non-quality-related way you start to love something when you've spent way too long working on it and thinking about it. I love the characters; they're alive to me and I love writing them. Doesn't mean I love the silly and nonsensical ways I introduced or presented those characters seven years ago, but I love them for what they are to me now. I love the plot that I eventually figured out after patching up plot holes and changing my mind back and forth about everything for years. I just generally love writing it. If I have any long-term goal in my life right now, it is to write the end of this thing - not to get it over with, but because I've looked forward to it for so many years that I couldn't stop doing so if I tried. And if it so happens that there are other people who have enjoyed it along the way for one reason or another - perhaps by ignoring all that silliness, perhaps by just not caring about it in the first place, perhaps by having been following it since they were as naďve and ridiculous as I was - who would also like to see it finished, that's great too. But the reason I'm still writing it is very much a warts-and-all thing, not some delusional idea that it doesn't have huge, ridiculous, gaping problems.

    You can definitely read on if you want - though again, I advise you that it'll be a waste of time to write detailed reviews on all this years-old stuff, even though it continues to be profoundly stupid for quite a bit. (That joke you made about him getting a Dratini next? He does. And then the legendary Gym leader decides to just hand him Mew, but he releases it because he's just awesome like that. It's even more facepalm-worthy than it sounds.) If you do so and get to the parts that are written more recently (the last chapter that really makes me cringe right now is chapter 31), you will hopefully find that I've improved. You will find that I stop glorifying Mark's AWESOME ULTRA KINDNESS!!!1 and start loving him for his failures instead. You'll find that things start to generally sound less like a fourteen-year-old writing a plot envisioned by a twelve-year-old. And maybe you'll still have plenty to criticize - in which case, awesome! I really do love thoughtful critique.

    But right now you're trying to advise a twenty-one-year-old woman about writing based on the mistakes she made when she was fourteen (with half of them carried over from when she was twelve). That is beating a dead horse.

    So, in summary, although I appreciate that you made the effort to try to help and your criticisms are spot-on, it really just isn't very helpful to review stuff I wrote seven years ago. I already think it's terrible. In general, odds are anybody who's been writing for ten years thinks the stuff they wrote when they'd been writing for three is pretty terrible. It's not a good startoff point for determining what I, today, as in the person you're actually talking to, need help with.


    Septic Scepti1e:

    This sentence is rather long. I think it would actually be considered a run sentence if I am not mistaken.
    Run-on sentences are a very specific grammatical concept; they're sentences containing two or more independent clauses (i.e. clauses that could be full sentences of their own) that are improperly separated, such as "My name is Bob I am a Pokémon trainer." So no, it's not a run-on sentence - but yes, you're right that it's too long. I just hate it when people misuse 'run-on sentence' to apply to any long sentence. :P

    Though, it makes me think. I may be wrong, but hasn't Mark and May try to get Alan to forget the past and move forward, and both fail. Yet this Stantler drives this point home, and Alan actually heeds her words over the attempts of the other two. Maybe its different if someone outside the incident says it.
    I think Alan gives a bit more weight to her opinion because she actually is one of May's Pokémon and has first-hand knowledge of how May has treated her Pokémon recently.

    Question to Scyther: I don't suppose you would be willing to indulge us readers with why or what is driving you back to your old home before the next chapter is penned? What do you expect to gain? Or are you hinting that you are going to lead the swarm yourself now? Now that would be an interesting idea.
    Scyther: I just... have to see Stormblade and Shadowdart again, I suppose. Last time we met, they seemed so changed; all I've been able to think in this time we've spent around Ruxido is why. I have to know what happened while I was gone. And... I suppose I have to see if they can forgive me. I've missed them.

    As for being Leader... *chuckle* Whoever the swarm would want as Leader, it is not somebody who has broken every law of the Code. I wouldn't have the gall to even attempt that.

    Well, as this was a rather good chapter, it definitely was a bland filler chapter. Nothing really happens except that Scyther takes off, and Alan joins the group again.
    Don't forget them finding out more about the Color Dragons. In a way that was the main focus of the chapter, along with Alan returning.

    But yes, more eventful chapters are coming. Sorry for all the slowness recently.

    I didn't do NaNo this year; too much other stuff on my hands. I kind of meant to try to rewrite Morphic, but I didn't have time to get around to all the planning I'd have needed to do first.
    Last edited by Dragonfree; 6th December 2011 at 1:25 AM.

    Chapter 64: Hide and Seek
    The story of an ordinary boy on an impossible quest in a world that isn't as black and white as he always thought it was.
    (rough draft of the remaining chapters finished for NaNoWriMo; to be edited and posted)

    Morphic
    (completed, plus silly extras)
    A few scientists get drunk and start fiddling with gene splicing. Ten years later, they're taking care of eight half-Pokémon kids, each freakier than the next, while a religious fanatic plots to murder them all.

    Lengthy fanfiction reviewing guide / A more condensed version
    Read and I will be very happy for a large number of reasons.

  7. #1557
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    Arrow

    Haa, I probably should have looked at the date. There have been so many revisions, I just kind of assumed that this one was more recent (I only get to spend about an hour or two online per week, so I pretty much rush everything that I do). Mghh, it's going to be really hard to get up to current speed without reviewing, sigh (your 'fic is MASSIVE, congrats!), but I will attempt to review... someday. Sorry for the fuss.

    -Est




    { Click above to see my art thread. }

    I also write.
    { Song of the Small }

    A study of the journey 'fic.


    'I should like to lie at your feet and die in your arms.'
    ~Voltaire



  8. #1558
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    Excellent chapter as always.

    “Huh,” Chaletwo said. “Well, it’s missing some details. Color Dragons have been around for many Wars. Technically they can breed, but if they do they sacrifice their immortality and die soon after, so the last time it happened is fabled even among the legendaries. After the last War we recreated Vaxil, who had been around before, and a male called Yddri, and for some reason they hit it off. The suicide was breeding to begin with. Yddri died immediately, and Vaxil spread the eggs around different environments like Color Dragons do, took the last couple with her and waited for her own death. I doubt she liked all the petty rivalry between her children, but she was already dying. I’m not sure she even survived to the point Preciure pushed Dragoreen out of the cave, if that even happened and isn’t just something Dragoreen told the others to justify her little crusade against her brother, but if she did, she would have been barely alive, likely delirious and immobile – which would probably be why she didn’t intervene. And the way I heard it, after the children evolved, they noticed their mother was dead, started blaming each other for it to claim their right to her cave, and at some point in the scuffle they threw her body off the cliff themselves.”
    Wait, that seemed a bit mixed up. Shouldn’t it be “The breeding was suicide to begin with”?

    “And you asked Sneasel if she wanted to evolve. You weren’t even forcing yourself to do it to sound better. You just did.”

    It was May’s turn to blink.

    “I mean, it’s a really small thing,” Alan said quickly, “and it’s not a sure indicator of anything, but I don’t think you’d ever have done that before.”
    Yeah, I really like how May is developing. Although Alan seemed very awkward when talking to her, understandably.

    Interesting how the legendaries’ characteristics are called special abilities as opposed to types because they adapted to their environment. Is that only true for legendaries, or is it true for other Pokemon as well?

    And Scyther...sad to see another one of Mark’s Pokemon (potentially) leave, but still a good addition to the plot. Should be interesting when he returns to the swarm.

    Anyway, great job with the chapter; excited for the next one.
    I'll be online on weekends, mostly, and as often as I can.

    Greetings from the asylum of my insanity.
    Chapter 3: Should be up by December 31st.

    Dex: 128 created! ~ My DeviantART link to be posted here...once I actually post something on my DeviantART. =P

  9. #1559
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    Estuary: Heh, don't worry about it. I was just a bit whuh? Thanks if you do end up reading/reviewing the whole thing; I do know it is ridiculously long.

    GastlyMan: Okay, you're not actually the first person to read that sentence wrong so I should probably reword it, but here's how I explained it to the other person:

    Chaletwo is saying she committed suicide by breeding to begin with, not as a result of what her children did. It is written that way around to make the suicide the subject of the sentence: he's not discussing the fact that breeding was suicidal (he's already established that), but the fact that the actual suicidal act happened before the modern Color Dragons were even born. Basically, the sentence breaks down as "[The suicide was] [breeding to begin with]", not as "[The suicide was breeding] [to begin with]".

    Or, if that's incomprehensible, basically it amounts to this:

    "She committed suicide by throwing herself off a cliff because her children were fighting?"

    "No, actually, the suicide was when she screwed their father."
    Interesting how the legendaries’ characteristics are called special abilities as opposed to types because they adapted to their environment. Is that only true for legendaries, or is it true for other Pokemon as well?
    I'm not quite sure what you mean, but I'm pretty sure it's not what I meant. What I was trying to insinuate is that rather than having different types as they assumed originally, the Color Dragons have different abilities. All of them are plain Dragon/Flying-types; however, Puragon has an ability that powers up her Ice attacks, Raudra has an ability that powers up her Fire attacks, etc.

    Glad you enjoy the developments. Chapter sixty is coming along fairly well, although my laptop just went weird so it could be a bit before I can continue with it. Thanks for reviewing!

    Chapter 64: Hide and Seek
    The story of an ordinary boy on an impossible quest in a world that isn't as black and white as he always thought it was.
    (rough draft of the remaining chapters finished for NaNoWriMo; to be edited and posted)

    Morphic
    (completed, plus silly extras)
    A few scientists get drunk and start fiddling with gene splicing. Ten years later, they're taking care of eight half-Pokémon kids, each freakier than the next, while a religious fanatic plots to murder them all.

    Lengthy fanfiction reviewing guide / A more condensed version
    Read and I will be very happy for a large number of reasons.

  10. #1560
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    Hey DragonFree,

    Nice Chapter I loved the reveal on how the Dragons are actually Dragon/Flying rather than Dragon/Element but still have 3 STABs (Same Type Added Bonus) through use of their Pokemon abilities. Preeeeetty damn clever! I can totally understand how easy it would be to assume a pokemon's typing by its colour and its common attacks. I really can't wait to see how their battle strategies will develop as a result of this new information. Pokedex ARE useful after all :P haha The explanation on the origins of the myths of the Dragons was pretty cool as well.

    And Woop! Alan's back, awkward teenage emotions are back, and the trio is back together.

    and my favourite bit? This lil snippet :P

    “And Sneasel...” The weasel looked expectantly at May, who paused for a moment. “I don’t suppose you’re opposed to evolving.”

    Sneasel snorted at the absurdity of the notion.
    Snorting Sneasel? Ha! I was chuckling for ages at that mental image. Should be a meme.

    *thumbs up*

    Till next time!
    Beautifly are my Bishie!
    hands off or my Beautifly's shall take you away and have their way with you!



  11. #1561
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    Hi, I'm not sure if I'm a familiar face around these parts, but I'll just come out and post my review of the first several chapters, which I've read so far.

    I am just now on chapter 18, and have of course read all the rest of the chapters, and I have to say that this was written excellently!

    I have to say that it was very original, and needless to say very good, as I'm usually a hellishly picky reader...LOL

    Perhaps the only thing I MAY see wrong with this is that Mark seems to have gotten his team rather fast, in this length fanfic, but that's extremely miniscule compared to the grand scale of things, which is for lack of better words, epic, awesome, and other such words that mean that same thing.

    I have very little need to say this, but I will say it anyway. This work is excellent in almost every definition of the word, and I do plan on reading it alll the way to the last page, perhaps posting random comments here and there.

    ^_^
    Check out my newly-opened Trade Shop!!!
    ------------
    I have claimed Volcarona!
    ----------------
    FC: 3411 0844 2159

  12. #1562
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    Razor Shiftry: Thanks for reviewing. I'm glad you liked the dragons' typing thing; it's one of very unfortunately few things that make the Color Dragons distinct from the Dragons of Ouen.

    Cosmic Fury: Hey, and thanks for reading. There are very, very definitely many more things wrong with it than the speed at which Mark gets his team, but I'm glad you managed to overlook those things anyway. :P Hope you go on to reach the chapters that don't make me cringe horribly.


    Anyway, chapter sixty is here. It turned out to take longer than I thought, largely because it turned out to be longer than I thought - the fact there's no battle in it taking up space made me figure it was going to be one of those six- or seven-page chapters, but no, it ended up at thirteen.

    I don't know how this chapter really comes across to people who haven't read the spin-offs - it shouldn't be confusing, but parts of it probably won't really mean anything to you. It's hard to say just how much that should actually hamper your ability to enjoy the chapter, but.



    Author’s Note: This chapter brings up details that were only briefly mentioned in chapters 27 and 29 regarding Scyther’s backstory and Scyther society. Some of them could sensibly be recapped within the text of the chapter, but others couldn’t without some kind of extremely awkward as-you-know-Bob. This wouldn’t really be a problem if this were a novel published in one piece, since they could still be expected to at least ring a bell and the rest of what mattered could be deduced from the context. However, because this is serially published fanfiction and I am a slow writer, it has been several years since many of you actually read those chapters, and that means it would be wholly unreasonable to expect you to still remember any of these details (unless you read the spin-offs, in which they were more prominently featured; in that case, you can skip the rest of this author’s note).

    So, to jog your memory and save you the trouble of looking for the explanation in ancient horribly-written inconsistent chapters from my dramatic-dialogue-should-end-in-an-ellipsis phase that I’d prefer nobody ever read again: Scyther swarms have a leader, to whom they refer as simply ‘Leader’; any member of the swarm who can defeat the leader in a duel can become Leader in the current one’s stead. ‘True duels’ are about life and death, but they also have friendly duels, which are not. Mark’s Scyther used to have two friends within the Scyther swarm, Stormblade and Shadowdart, and they called him Razor. And the Scyther have a very strict system of ethics (the Code), of which he has broken all of the five most sacred moral decrees.

    This chapter also discusses the events of the spin-off The Fall of a Leader. It spoils many key plot points of it, so if you were planning to read that soon, this would probably be a good time to do it (though I apologize in advance for the frequently terrible writing in it). Otherwise, basically everything this chapter mentions as having happened since Razor left the swarm is shown in more detail there, so if you haven’t read it, that’s where you should look if you think it sounds intriguing.

    Chapter 60: The Swarm

    Razor drew his scythe across the Nidorino’s throat and held him down as his struggles became death spasms and then faded into dull twitching.

    It felt good to hunt – freeing, really, after only being able to do it in secret for so long – and he wouldn’t have done it had he not been somewhat hungry, but just the same, the main reason he was hunting was to have something to offer as an excuse before approaching another Scyther. They had every reason to despise him, but food was food.

    He ate half, sliced off the skull, spikes and thickened skin to reduce the remaining weight, and then picked up the rest of the carcass in his mouth, supporting it with his scythes as he headed towards the plains. If Stormblade and Shadowdart didn’t want to talk to him, perhaps they’d at least let him share his prey with them, and at this point that was all he could really ask for.

    -------

    That old oak tree on the hill had haunted his dreams ever since his departure; seeing it in the flesh again felt strangely unreal, like he might wake up and find himself back in the Gym with Rob any moment now. He felt a strange, tingling apprehension as he approached it, slowing from his flight-assisted dash to a hesitant walk.

    Way back when, it had been chance that their favourite place was a bit apart from the rest of the swarm. Now he was kind of relieved that he didn’t have to come close enough to the other Scyther for them to recognize him; he might be able to just talk to his friends again and disappear without anyone else knowing he was even there.

    The Leader’s rock, he noted absently, was unoccupied. Presumably the Leader was out hunting, then, though it was unusual for him to be doing so this late. He shivered at the thought; it meant he could have encountered the Leader in the woods, and there was no chance he would have been appeased by half a Nidorino.

    Razor stopped, laying his prey onto the ground in front of him. He saw indistinct shapes lying by the tree, facing away from him, and had to gather his courage for a second before he said, “Stormblade? Shadowdart?”

    One of the shapes rose up immediately, turning towards him. “Razor?” said Stormblade in disbelief, his one eye blinking sleepily. “What are you...?”

    The other shape got to its feet more slowly, and something was immediately off about the way it moved; this wasn’t Shadowdart, Razor realized quickly, and then recoiled in horror as he noticed it was red and metallic, and then... “...Nightmare?”

    She looked at him, meeting his eyes for just a moment, her expression inscrutable, and then lay back down as if he was never there.

    “Razor, it’s been...” Stormblade was by his side now, but he didn’t care, because nothing made sense. “Are you back for good?”

    “Why is she...?”

    “A lot of things happened while you were gone,” Stormblade murmured. “Let’s just talk. We have a bit of catching up to do.”

    Razor took a deep breath and tore his gaze away from the barely-visible shape of the Scizor. He noticed the Nidorino by his feet, nearly forgotten in his general shock. “Are you hungry?” he said automatically. Stormblade nodded gratefully and started to eat.

    “Where’s Shadowdart?” Razor asked after a moment.

    Stormblade cringed. “Dead,” he whispered.

    Razor was silent. Only six or seven months ago, when he had met Stormblade and Shadowdart in Ruxido, the latter had been suddenly fierce and dominating, bore the marks of having challenged the Leader, and called Razor unworthy. Dead seemed just one more bizarre descriptor, something that simply didn’t fit. “How?” he said eventually.

    “Suicide of guilt.”

    “Shadowdart?” That made even less sense. Shadowdart had never admitted to being guilty of anything, much less considered suicide over it. “Why?”

    Stormblade swallowed and sat down. “After you left, he became obsessed with the Code,” he said.

    Razor couldn’t hold back a chuckle. “Shadowdart?” he said again. “Nine-tries-to-catch-a-Rattata-with-closed-eyes Shadowdart?”

    Stormblade didn’t appear to find it funny in the least; he just shook his head. “He’d go off on passionate rants about the moral decay of the swarm and our Leader’s hypocrisy, and he’d train obsessively so he could replace him and set things right. He became very strong – you wouldn’t have believed it. He lost the first few attempts, but then he said it was all part of some master plan to scout out the Leader’s techniques, and eventually he won. He became Leader.”

    Razor chuckled again in disbelief: it was all he could really do. If he hadn’t had that one little glimpse of how Shadowdart had changed half a year ago, he wouldn’t have believed Stormblade at all. As it was, he didn’t protest, but that made none of it any less absurd.

    “Then he just... started to go wrong. He got this idea that he should execute Scyther who failed to commit suicide of guilt when they’d broken the Code – I think it was all a way for him to get back at you, somehow. Eventually I left, too – that’s when I met Nightmare again.”

    “Are you two...?” Razor asked, without really deciding to.

    “No,” Stormblade said, shaking his head; there was pain in his voice that Razor couldn’t place. “Just friends.”

    Razor nodded as Stormblade took a half-hearted bite out of the Nidorino.

    “We went back,” the older Scyther went on at last, his voice faint. “When we got here, Shadowdart had gotten worse. He was killing Scyther for just talking about breaking the Code. And he’d done... things.” Stormblade shuddered visibly. “You don’t want to know. I guess after we got there and confronted him, the Scyther he used to be managed to claw through and realize what he’d become.”

    There was a pause while this sank in. “And he killed himself?”

    Stormblade gave a very small nod. “He used his left scythe, too. It was the one he used to kill the old Leader. Sometimes I wonder if that meant anything.”

    Razor stared over the scattering of Scyther below them, trying to wrap his mind around all this – Shadowdart was gone, and not just gone but mad and Code-obsessed and tyrannical and that wasn’t Shadowdart – “You’re thinking about it too much,” he said firmly. “You always thought about things too much.”

    Yes. That, at least, was static and still made sense. The first time they’d met, Stormblade had been a strange dreamer suggesting the clouds weren’t really Pokémon like all the other Scyther said, and even after that, he’d...

    Something occurred to him suddenly. “You were actually right about the clouds, you know,” he said. “Humans researched them and found out they’re just a lot of tiny drops of water.”

    Stormblade nodded again, slightly. “I know,” he said.

    Razor wondered vaguely how Stormblade would know that, but it was silly and didn’t matter and he didn’t ask.

    There was silence.

    “Nightmare told me you dueled again,” Stormblade said.

    Razor shouldn’t have been surprised Stormblade knew that, not when Nightmare was here, but somehow he hadn’t imagined she’d tell anyone. “We did,” he said. “And I won and spared her, so I guess we’re even.”

    “Even?” Stormblade replied sharply, his voice suddenly hard. “You’re not even. You let her be caught. You stood there and let her be caught and evolved. She never got even for that.”

    Razor winced. It had been a stupid thing to say, the moment he had said it. “I was scared.”

    “That’s not an excuse,” Stormblade went on, that unfamiliar pain entering his voice again. “You kept saying you were in love, and then when it mattered...”

    “Love is fake,” Razor said. “It’s just a stupid obsession. I didn’t –”

    “Do you know how I lost my eye?” Stormblade interrupted. “I had a mate. And there was a Letaligon, and she was behind me, and I stayed in its way instead of dodging. Because I loved her. Don’t you dare talk to me about love. You don’t know what it is.”

    Razor looked at him for a long moment, finally making sense of what was bothering Stormblade. “Is she dead, too?”

    Stormblade nodded wordlessly.

    “I’m sorry.”

    The older Scyther was still silent. Razor looked at him, trying to work out how to answer. His practiced tirades against love, all the drunken speeches he’d made to Rob and Mark and the world about why it was empty or shallow or nonexistent, suddenly felt hollow and trite.

    “You’re right,” he said eventually. “I didn’t love her. I barely knew her. I just cared about the fantasy of her. I should have helped her anyway – but yes, I was scared.”

    Stormblade didn’t look at him.

    “But if I really had loved her, I would have. And I would have done it for you. I would have done it for Shadowdart.”

    This, too, seemed to hit a spot somewhere. Stormblade glanced at him, silently, and then looked back at the Scyther scattered in the grass ahead of them. “Would you?” he asked after a second had passed. “For Shadowdart?”

    Razor looked at him, trying to read what he was thinking. “Of course I would have. He was my friend.”

    “Was he?” Stormblade gave him a searching look that Razor had no idea how to respond to. After a moment he looked away again with a sigh and continued: “I always thought of him as a friend, too, but then I started thinking about it and realized we barely ever treated him like one.”

    Razor opened his mouth to protest, but no words came out. On reflection, he’d never taken Shadowdart very seriously, had he? It had never quite occurred to him to question their friendship, per se, but looking back, he’d spent more of his time... well, ridiculing him, than showing he cared. Had he cared? He couldn’t tell anymore; the years he’d spent rambling drunkenly to Rob about his days in the swarm had cast things in a certain mold in his mind that might not be as accurate as he’d have liked.

    He thought of his conversation with Mark after their last encounter. Shadowdart was always a wuss. He thought of how laughable the idea of Shadowdart as Leader had seemed just earlier. Nine-tries-to-catch-a-Rattata-with-closed-eyes Shadowdart. Ridiculous.

    And now he was dead, and Razor missed him.

    He sighed. “No, I suppose we didn’t.” (We? Stormblade had been perfectly decent as far as Razor could remember.)

    They were silent. A lone Venomoth fluttered overhead; after those years of friendly battling with every manner of Pokémon, the instinct that wanted to leap up and kill it was just a dull tug at the edge of his consciousness.

    “I still wanted to see him again,” Razor said quietly.

    “Yeah,” Stormblade said, still staring unseeingly at the sky.

    “Who’s Leader now, if he died?”

    “It’s being decided by friendly duels, since he wasn’t killed by a challenger. In the meantime, Nightmare and I have been overseeing the rituals. It just sort of happened.”

    Razor blinked at him in incomprehension. “Nightmare and you?”

    “Yeah.”

    “They... the swarm accepts... her?”

    Stormblade chuckled, like it hadn’t occurred to him quite how bizarre that was. “It doesn’t take so long to get used to her,” he said. “And after Shadowdart and her part in exposing him, I suppose they were more ready to give her the benefit of the doubt. She still gets side glances and occasional hostility, but...” He shrugged. “For the most part, they don’t mind. They know she used to be just like them and that a human did that to her. I think they can’t help but realize on some level that the same could happen to them.”

    Razor looked at him in astonishment, part of him weirdly relieved and part of him too baffled to be relieved. And some small part was ashamed, ashamed that here the swarm was tolerating Nightmare as a Scizor when he’d seethed at the very sight of the species and then rubbed it in her face when he’d met her and neglected to kill her.

    “How is she?” he asked.

    Stormblade let out a long sigh. “You should probably talk to her yourself,” he finally said, without meeting Razor’s eyes. “She deserves an apology, if nothing else.”

    Razor’s heart stung. “Would she want to talk to me?”

    “I don’t know,” Stormblade said quietly.

    And that was all. Stormblade had changed; he was distant, cold, reluctant. Razor hadn’t imagined a happy reunion, exactly – well, perhaps he had imagined it, but he certainly hadn’t expected it – but Stormblade had always... cared about him. Sought his company. Considered him a friend.

    As he stood up in silence and picked up what was left of the Nidorino, Stormblade didn’t even look at him, and ultimately that was what wrenched at Razor’s heart more than anything else.

    He turned and walked heavy steps toward the old oak. Nightmare had risen while he was talking to Stormblade and was standing by the side of the tree, unmoving, her red armor gleaming in the moonlight. Her eyes met his, but she said nothing as he stepped in front of her and put his prey down.

    “I’m sorry,” he said quietly, the words feeling empty and futile. Because of his cowardice, she’d been caught and evolved; an apology couldn’t make up for that.

    She regarded him in silence for a moment. “What’s the point?” she said eventually. “It’s been too long. By now, if things hadn’t gone the way they did, I wouldn’t be who I am today, so what would it even mean for me to say I wish you’d warned me?”

    He looked up and stared at her, so confounded by that train of thought that he couldn’t quite begin to formulate a reply. She picked up the carcass in her pincers, as if this was all perfectly normal, and tore a strip of flesh from it.

    “So your trainer released you too, huh?” she went on after swallowing.

    Razor shook his head numbly.

    She glanced away. “Oh. Are you staying?”

    “I don’t know,” he said.

    “I know the feeling,” she said, without looking at him. She didn’t elaborate; the statement just hung there in the air, and it struck Razor suddenly, with a hint of irony, that now, more than three years after he’d left the swarm proclaiming that he loved her, they actually had something in common.

    “So you...”

    She turned towards him, a humourless chuckle escaping her. “You know what’s funny? I miss him. He caught me and turned me into a freak, and now here I am and I miss him.”

    Razor thought of seeing her trainer at the Pokémon Frenzy Tournament, where that face had been engraved in his mind; of the blind hatred that had consumed him as he’d attacked him in the forest; of the grim satisfaction of staring him down at the League and knowing that the boy recognized him. “You liked your trainer,” he said slowly as it sank in.

    “He was just a kid,” she said. “It had never even occurred to him that a Scyther wouldn’t want to evolve. He was devastated when I told him. He never stopped telling me he was sorry.”

    He started to laugh. There was nothing else to do. She looked at him with a vague sort of curiosity.

    “I tried to kill him,” he said; he couldn’t lie to her now, not after everything else he’d done. “I tried to kill him twice because I hated him so much for doing that to you. And when my trainer battled him in the League, he recognized me and...”

    Nightmare blinked at him. Then another blink. “It was you?” she said, realization building in her voice. “Flareon said there was a Scyther and he had a breakdown and... it was you? He released us because of you?”

    He giggled helplessly. He was the curse that had returned three years on to destroy her life yet again. To think that he’d been the one to name her ‘Nightmare’.

    He expected her to lunge at him and tear his throat out then and there, but the appalled incredulity in her eyes just faded again; she looked away and sighed dully, putting the meat down as if she’d had enough. “In a way it’s for the best,” she said, a hint of bitterness in her tone. “Part of me always wanted to come back, but I never would have taken the chance of returning until I had nothing to lose. And now where would the swarm be without me? Still cowering under a mad rapist?”

    Razor twitched as his understanding of Leader-Shadowdart jerked violently yet again, still further from any hope of being reconciled with the one he remembered. You don’t want to know, Stormblade had said.

    “That Leader used to be my friend,” he muttered, but didn’t really know why.

    “So I’ve heard,” she said. “Does that make it all better?”

    He shook his head.

    She looked away from him, staring over the plains and at all the other Scyther. “I’m going to try to become Leader,” she said suddenly; her voice had changed, its previous dull bitterness replaced with a resentful determination.

    Razor looked sharply at her, puzzled. “Leader? Why?”

    “Because for once,” she spat, “I wish a generation of Scyther could grow up without living in compulsive fear of breaking the Code. The others don’t get it; they’ve lived their whole lives knowing nothing else and would just regurgitate the same crap that their Leader taught them. But I’m different. Living with a human opened my eyes. Mistakes should be something you learn from, not a death sentence. I want to create a swarm where the Code is just a crazy myth and morality comes from common sense.”

    He stared at her; after a second he let out a surprised half-chuckle. Her ideas were huge, strange, radical; it was all too much to take in at once. “How are you going to become Leader like that?” he said; it was the only thing that stuck properly. “You’re not... you’re not a Scyther anymore.”

    “You were the first Scyther I’d duelled in years, back at the Pokémon Frenzy Tournament,” she said. “I lost because I was trying to fight you like a Scyther. Since I got here I’ve been practicing, and now I know how to duel like a Scizor. And I’m good.” There was a fierce glint in her eyes as she said the last word. “I think I can beat all the other Leader candidates. And if I can’t, it doesn’t matter, because it’s all friendly duels. I have nothing to lose.”

    He must have looked as sceptical as he felt. “I’m not a cripple,” she went on, her voice harsh. “I can show you.”

    It took him a moment to catch on; his brain was still trying to process the fact that apparently she thought there just shouldn’t be any suicide of guilt, at all. “You mean a friendly duel?” he said warily.

    She gave a scornful laugh. “I don’t do true duels anymore. I had a bad experience once.”

    He nodded mechanically without thinking about it; he couldn’t think right now, not while his mind was still reeling with the fact she was clearly mad. At least a duel would be a distraction.

    They stepped back from one another, his scythes at the ready, her pincers gleaming. He looked in her eyes and saw calm, deadly conviction. That was the thing: she didn’t look mad; she looked like she knew exactly what she was doing. The strangely alluring confidence that had defined her the day of their first duel was still there, even in this hideous, mangled body. The dissonance unsettled him, and he shuddered.

    And suddenly, taking advantage of his distraction, she was flinging herself at him.

    He let out a surprised yelp and raised his scythes in defense. A Scyther would have met his scythes with her own, but she simply barrelled straight into him, his scythes scraping uselessly against her stronger metallic armor without putting a scratch in it. Her greater weight easily knocked him into the ground; reflexively, he kicked hard at her abdomen to prevent her from landing on top of him, successfully throwing her over his head to buy time to scramble back to his feet.

    He whirled around to face her; rather than having crashed as he’d hoped, she had easily regained control, turned around and planted her pointed feet in the ground. She hissed, gesturing tauntingly at him with her pincers; he lunged towards her with a roar, raising his scythes and aiming for her seemingly fragile arms.

    He took a swipe with his right scythe – and it was suddenly stopped short as her left pincer lashed out and locked around it in a deathgrip. His whole body thrown off balance, he crashed into her from the side, but her feet dug firmly into the ground and absorbed his momentum. Still reeling, he swung his left scythe, only for her to clamp onto it with her other pincer and hold it still.

    He yanked his right scythe towards him; pain shot through his arm as her grip only tightened around the blunt edge, drawing bluish-black blood. His left arm fared no better, and panic bubbled up within him as he realized he could not move his scythes at all. Crying out, he desperately tried to kick her, but her seemingly delicate metallic legs didn’t even budge. She smirked at his shock for a moment more, as if to give him time to comprehend his situation; then she leaned forward, wrestled him easily into the ground with her weight, and twisted his left scythe around to his own throat.

    His heart hammering, his breath caught, it struck him suddenly that perhaps it had been a trap all along – her easy forgiveness, their conversation, disorienting him with her bizarre Leader idea (no Code), all to get him to agree to a duel so that she could finally finish the job she’d left unfinished three and a half years ago.

    For the second time, he lay at her mercy, expecting or hoping or wishing to feel a blade slicing through his trachea, taste blood for the last time, and then fade away into a sweet, just nothingness.

    And for the second time, she relaxed her grip, rose, and stepped off him.

    He gasped for breath, the edges of his scythes still aching where she had crushed them. It took him several seconds before he could rise up and stumble back to the tree to sit against it.

    “Still think a Scizor can’t become Leader?” Nightmare said, sitting down beside him; her tone was a little smug, but not spiteful. He shook his head numbly.

    They sat there for a minute without speaking, listening to the sounds of the night. Her grotesque metallic body shone in the moonlight, like a scythe, like something beautiful when it wasn’t. It confused and frightened him, like she did in general. And yet...

    “Thank you,” he muttered, finally.

    “For what?”

    “Sparing me.”

    She snorted. “That was a friendly duel, you dolt.”

    He shook his head. “Back then. I always used to resent you for it, but you’re right – if I’d died that day, I wouldn’t even be here to think about it, and I’d never have grown up from who I was then.” He took a deep breath. “So thank you, for... letting me grow up.”

    She smiled faintly. “That was the day I realized the Code was wrong. I didn’t understand it, then, but I looked at you and didn’t want to kill you, and that was the spark. I’ll never forget.”

    The day I realized the Code was wrong. He twitched instinctively. So it was that simple, to her. The Code was wrong, so she didn’t need to feel guilty or twisted for breaking it. The Code was wrong, so she could – should – just stop teaching it to the hatchlings and come up with something better. The Code was wrong, even though it was the Code that defined right and wrong in the first place.

    He had meant to conclude once and for all that her ideas were mad, but the thought didn’t seem quite as crazy as he’d intended it to once he’d actually thought it. It clung to his mind as he tried to dismiss it, squeezed into every available space and refused to let go. The Code was wrong. What if it really was that simple? Other Pokémon got on fine without the Code, and yet they got their morality from somewhere. So did humans. Mark had thought the Code was wrong, back at the League. What if he was right?

    The Code was wrong. He tested the thought in his head, tentatively; it was strange, alien, but not actually that bad. The Code was wrong, so there didn’t have to be any suicide of guilt. The Code was wrong, so there was no need to even decide that you were too far gone for it to make a difference anymore. The Code was wrong, so there was never anything to feel guilty about in the first place.

    The Code was wrong. It was such a simple, mind-boggling, blasphemous, freeing idea. And somehow... it had never even occurred to him.

    His head spun. Part of him screamed this was a dangerous way to go, that the Code was sacred and whatever else you did you couldn’t just dismiss it wholesale or something terrible would happen, and another part was filled with the same soaring excitement as three and a half years earlier, the excitement of following her lead in some kind of crazy rebellion.

    “So,” Nightmare said with a sigh, snapping him out of a trance, “in short, I liked my trainer fine, but I have a job to do, and if I weren’t here I couldn’t do it. I’m just not so sure about him, or the others on the team.”

    Guilt stung at him, new guilt that had nothing to do with the Code and maybe didn’t have to. Even if he did see that boy again someday, he doubted he could do anything to help him – much less the other Pokémon he had released. But perhaps he could try.

    “What about you? Did you like your trainer?” she asked after a moment, and he couldn’t shake the feeling she was trying to change the subject.

    He considered telling her about Rob, who had saved his life and been his best friend for three years, and then it had all changed when his obsession with Mew had taken over – but his mouth was dry and the thought was painful, so he just nodded silently. She gave him a curious look, but didn’t ask.

    “So have you decided yet if you’re staying?” she said after a while.

    There was a part of him that wanted to say yes, wanted to stay here and continue to hear about her strange, liberating ideas and watch her become Leader and change the swarm – a part that had been childishly infatuated with her for four years and didn’t quite seem to be able to let it go even now that she was a Scizor.

    But there was another part that really had grown up.

    He took a deep breath, shaking his head, and rose to his feet. “I think you’ll be a great Leader,” he said, and he meant it. “But now that I think about it, I have a job to do, too.”

    She nodded, and he could tell that she understood. He’d never before thought of himself as having a calling – he’d been too caught up in trying to distract himself from the fact everything he knew told him he was worthless and ought to be dead – but if the Code was wrong, it was obvious, really. Nightmare’s calling, the most worthy thing that it was in her power to do, was to change the swarm. But the most worthy thing it was in his power to do was to help his trainer stop the War of the Legends.

    “Are you ever coming back?” she asked.

    “Maybe,” he said. “If everything goes well.”

    They looked at one another for a moment more. “Goodbye, then,” she said.

    He nodded to her. “Goodbye.”

    Three and a half years ago, he had blindly followed her in rebelling against the Code and leaving the swarm, without truly understanding why. Now, she had inspired him to go his own way and do something that mattered – not because it was the best available distraction from his own self-loathing, but because it needed to be done.

    Whatever his life might have been like without her, he couldn’t help feeling that on the whole she had made him better.

    “Don’t forget your Nidorino,” she said as he was turning to leave.

    “Keep it.” He smiled faintly. “Consider it my thanks.”

    -------

    Stormblade was still sitting a short distance away, staring up at the stars.

    Razor walked up to his side and stopped. “I’m going back,” he said when his friend didn’t acknowledge him.

    “I heard your conversation,” Stormblade said, without looking around. For a moment, it seemed as if that would be all. Then, he turned his head and said, “You said you had a job to do. What did you mean by that?”

    Razor took a deep breath. “My trainer... is on a kind of quest. There are legendary Pokémon involved. Many difficult battles need to be fought, and... I’m one of the team.”

    Stormblade looked at him for a long second before nodding. “You really need to go, then,” he said, and Razor realized he sounded disappointed.

    “Were you hoping I’d stay?”

    Stormblade sighed heavily. “I don’t know,” he said. “I used to think I was angry with you on Nightmare’s behalf for not helping her, but she’s never really cared. Thinking about it, that probably wasn’t ever really it.” He paused. “I think the thing is that you ran off. And in the meantime Shadowdart went...”

    He looked away, uncomfortably. “I didn’t mind at first. I kind of admired you, you know – for defying the Code for the sake of love, and all that. And then we met you again there in the forest and you’d just... you’d left her to get caught. And you were trained.”

    That disdain for trained Pokémon seemed almost alien now, but Razor remembered it from his swarm days: Pokémon that willingly went with humans had given up, lost their independence, and lived the lowest sort of existence – spending their days manipulated by another, fighting for them, living for them. The very opposite of any kind of defiance.

    “Trainers aren’t...” Razor began.

    “I know,” Stormblade said in exasperation. “Nightmare says that too. But I don’t understand that. I don’t think I can understand it. All I know is you left and Shadowdart’s dead and Pearl’s dead and...”

    Razor had never heard the name Pearl, but he guessed she must have been Stormblade’s mate. “I’m sorry,” he said again.

    “Now it’s just me and Nightmare,” Stormblade said with a sigh. “But it’s not the same. We’re friends, but there’s so much she’s been through that I could never get my head around.”

    Razor looked at him in silence. “Would you like to come with me?” he said suddenly, on an impulse.

    Stormblade looked up sharply. “What?”

    “You could come with my trainer, help us fight. It’s something worthy to do.”

    Stormblade stared at him, his gaze turning distant; a few seconds passed before he shook his head. “No, I don’t think I could do that,” he said quietly.

    “Because it’s a trainer?” Razor guessed.

    “Because I want to help Nightmare, any way I can,” Stormblade said, his voice hardening. “Ultimately it was the Code that took you and Shadowdart away. I want it gone.”

    Razor nodded numbly. Only an hour earlier, that comment would have confused and disoriented him; now it seemed almost routine, in a strange, detached way. They were all rejecting the Code. He could almost imagine it was the normal thing to do.

    “Do you think she’ll make it?” he asked after a moment. “Become Leader, I mean?”

    “I think she will. She can beat them all in a duel. All I’m worried about is...” Stormblade hesitated. “Even if they can take having a Scizor in the swarm, I don’t know if they could get behind having a Scizor as Leader, especially if she’s trying to make radical changes.”

    “But the purpose of the Leader is to be the strongest member of the swarm,” Razor pointed out, doubtful.

    “Yeah, I hope they think so, too,” Stormblade said, sighing. “But it doesn’t matter. If worse comes to worst, we’ll just leave again. She always says running from a lost cause isn’t cowardly, just smart.”

    They stared over the swarm for a moment. Razor wondered if the Scyther that were scattered there were loyal enough to the Code to revolt against an attempt to make it irrelevant, and he was struck with a sudden, overwhelming sense of futility: why were they so attached to the Code in the first place? Why had he been? It had never occurred to him to even ask himself that.

    But now he was free, and if Nightmare succeeded, soon they would all be.

    “You should go,” Stormblade said quietly. “Your trainer needs you.”

    Razor nodded silently. “I hope it all goes well for you.”

    “Good luck to you, too.” Stormblade paused a moment. “So you’ll come back when you’re done?”

    “I promise,” Razor said.

    Stormblade exhaled, gave him a small nod, and then actually smiled. “Goodbye, Razor,” he said, the same way he had said goodbye three and a half years ago.

    Razor smiled back at him. “Goodbye, Stormblade.”

    And for the second time, he turned around to dash back into the forest of Ruxido, set on a new purpose.

    Chapter 64: Hide and Seek
    The story of an ordinary boy on an impossible quest in a world that isn't as black and white as he always thought it was.
    (rough draft of the remaining chapters finished for NaNoWriMo; to be edited and posted)

    Morphic
    (completed, plus silly extras)
    A few scientists get drunk and start fiddling with gene splicing. Ten years later, they're taking care of eight half-Pokémon kids, each freakier than the next, while a religious fanatic plots to murder them all.

    Lengthy fanfiction reviewing guide / A more condensed version
    Read and I will be very happy for a large number of reasons.

  13. #1563
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    I don't really have much to criticize on this Chapter. It was a wonderful read. The quick friendly duel was exhilarating. The conversation was a wee bit of an emotional rollercoaster, in my opinion, well written and I could really feel the character's emotions behind their words.

    Thanks for brightening up my day Dragonfree!
    Beautifly are my Bishie!
    hands off or my Beautifly's shall take you away and have their way with you!



  14. #1564
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    Well, just picking up off my short (and possibly pathetic) review for the parts up through Chapter 18...

    Just in short, I read the whole thing, right through chapter 60--and coming from an extremely picky reader like me, that's a pretty darned good sign. I very much like the story, and I can see improvements in character development and plot...

    And overall, I can say that as a writer, in comparison to you I suck. LOL

    I'm looking forward to Chapter 61 already. Keep up the awesomeness!
    Check out my newly-opened Trade Shop!!!
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    I have claimed Volcarona!
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    FC: 3411 0844 2159

  15. #1565
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    So here is my long, rambly review of chapter 60, because it is awesome enough to deserve one and because it was your birthday yesterday! Sorry I couldn't get this done then, and happy birthday again. :3 This will of course be from the perspective of someone who's read the spinoffs, and I have no idea if this chapter is anywhere near as meaningful and moving to someone who hasn't, but still.

    Having read the spinoffs, one thing that really struck me about Razor coming back here was his outside perspective on everything that happened in The Fall of a Leader. After reading TFoaL, the first thing that comes to mind upon hearing the name "Shadowdart" is "Code-obsessed tyrant", which makes sense to us because we've seen his development throughout the story; it takes Razor's confusion here for it to properly sink in that once upon a time he was a nervous, stubborn thing who could barely kill a Rattata, and what on earth happened for him to end up like this?

    In a similar vein, Razor's outside perspective also serves to show how much Stormblade has changed - not as drastically, but still he used to wonder happily about clouds and have duels with his friends, and it's rather heartbreaking to see how hardened and bitter and lonely he's become. D: Even as it's awesome that he wants to help get rid of the Code so no-one else has to suffer what he did, it's still tragic that he's been through so much that he'd rather do that than be with his best friend again like the young Scyther he used to be would probably have done in a heartbeat. One thing that really brings to light how Stormblade and Razor gone through so much separate from each other is the fact that they both found out what clouds are really made of, in completely different ways. I love the nod to that oh-so-Stormbladey of subjects, and I also like how Razor doesn't even bother asking how Stormblade found out, showing that like most Scyther he isn't the kind to wonder unnecessarily about trivial things.

    Another thing that's great to have here is Stormblade's perspective on some of the events of TFoaL, having had time to reflect on things, since the actual spinoff ended pretty soon after Shadowdart's death. I really like Stormblade's thoughts on the fact that Shadowdart killed himself with the same scythe he used to kill the old Leader, something I can't believe I'd never properly thought about before. And it's also interesting to think that, when Shadowdart killed the old Leader, he saw himself in those eyes for a moment; then when he was killing himself, he was killing "the Leader" too.

    Then it's really awesome to see Razor, with the help of Stormblade, finally realising stuff about himself that readers have been aware of for ages, such as the fact that he never properly treated Shadowdart like a friend (and it's adorable that despite this, he did (probably) care about Shadowdart and misses him now that he's gone). There's also his realisation that he never really loved Nightmare and that real love isn't hollow and fake, despite what he'd been claiming during all his drunken tirades - as well as Stormblade finally getting to confront Razor over not protecting someone he claimed to love, which had been bothering him ever since encountering Razor before and having his idealised view of him shattered. It felt good to see Stormblade get that off his chest. In some ways this chapter feels kind of like an epilogue to The Fall of a Leader, with the characters reconciling and realising new things about themselves and moving on from everything that's happened; I think that's one of the main reasons it had such a big impact on me.

    (also it's adorable that Razor would have risked himself for Stormblade or Shadowdart if it'd been them and not Nightmare. Eeee, platonic friendship. :3)

    Meanwhile, Nightmare is just damn awesome, as I've already told you. It's hard not to admire her outlook of moving on from the past and making the most of what she has now, not holding any regret or grudge for anything she's been through. Then there's her contrast with Razor's totally opposite outlook and the way she and he are on completely different wavelengths throughout most of their conversation without either of them realising. This line of hers:
    "Mistakes should be something you learn from, not a death sentence."
    pretty much sums up the difference between the two of them: Nightmare's spent her life learning from all the crap she's been through to become a better, stronger person, while Razor's just been brokenly fixated on the fact that he should be dead and so hasn't really been able to get anywhere with himself.

    Nightmare's also pretty awesome when it comes to duelling as a Scizor; there's something about her style of utilising her greater strength to use her opponent's scythes against them that's just cool. It was a powerful moment when she had Razor pinned down and he thought she was going to kill him - not only would it have been her "revenge" and finishing what she didn't do three and a half years ago, but she would have done it with his scythe, making it also symbolically like Razor finally committing the suicide of guilt he'd tried but failed to do so many times. The fact that Razor even believes she would do it is just another sign of how he can't comprehend that she's moved on, because he still hasn't; he still harbours all that guilt and believes he deserves to die. (I also love how Nightmare's casually smug comment at the end of the duel there shows she has no idea how big a moment that just was for him.) It's great that, from this duel, Razor already begins to share a little of her worldview, being glad that she spared him three and a half years ago because he wouldn't have grown up otherwise, even as he has no idea just how much she's about to help him grow up even more.

    Before I read this chapter, I still didn't fully appreciate just how much Razor was still hung up on the Code and still utterly believed it was right even after spending so much time around humans and other Pokémon who don't have it. Seeing his baffled reaction to Nightmare's views, utterly unable to comprehend her wanting to get rid of it at first, really brought that home. Then the moment where he starts to grasp the notion that the Code is wrong was also a powerful one, especially with all the repetition - it's like he has to repeat it that many times to get it into his head because it's so alien to him, while at the same time it's such a freeing thought that he repeats ot because he wants to savour the full joy of it. It's wonderfully heartwarming to see Razor realise all this and finally be able to stop hating himself and feel he's doing something worthwhile with his life instead of just using it as a distraction (even as part of him can't help idolising Nightmare just like before, which is also kind of sweet). Having messed-up characters is always fun, but that also means that it's always adorable if they ever manage to get over whatever it is that's messing them up and become better people, so eeee.

    I also really love the way you draw parallels between all the things Razor is realising and going through here and what went down three and a half years ago - it makes this whole thing feel like one big, meaningful, interconnected story that has finally come full circle and been resolved. And now Nightmare can go on and become Leader, and with Stormblade's help she'll get rid of the Code, and then once Mark has stopped the War of the Legends (because it'll totally be that simple), Razor can come back and be epic friends with Stormblade again in a Code-free swarm. My inner sap loves being able to imagine idealistic happy endings like this (even if it would probably never actually be that easy). :3 The only person involved in this who still doesn't get one is poor Michael; I doubt Razor will ever get a chance to let him know it was all him and that he's sorry, or that that would necessarily help Michael get over things.

    Also this really makes heartwarming in hindsight that scene in chapter 50 where Mark announces he's going to quit training and Scyther looks all lost because he won't have anything else to live for - well, now he will! I went back and reread all of the Scyther-centric scenes in chapter 50 after this, and it's adorable seeing him being all messed-up and confused while knowing that in only ten chapters time he'll have got over it and be fine.

    So yeah. This is a lovely, heartwarming, thought-provoking chapter that does a great job of wrapping up the Scyther storylines. A mixture of many sad and happy tears were shed by me the first time through, and even reading it again for this I ended up blubbing a couple of times towards the end when Nightmare was being all inspiring and Stormblade was being all sad and adorable but determined nonetheless. Definitely one of my favourite chapters of the fic. :3
    .: Evolution is a battle .:. Something has to lose :.
    LOST EVOLUTION
    Chapter 33: Inside has been posted.


    Foregone Conclusion
    Spinoff/prequel/backstory/thingy to Lost Evolution, written for NaNoWriMo 2010

    Three Heads Are Better Than One

  16. #1566
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    Ok I've only read the first 30 something chapters but you kept saying Dragonair could fly how is that possible Dragonite is the one who could fly ,or is it some new dragon technique that you made for this fic? Other than that the story is very good keep up the good work and I'm looking forward to reading your other fics.
    My Black Friend Code is 2494-8412-9545 and my name on Black is Trysten.
    This is my badge for the NCTH to earn it you have to challenge the League and defeat me in a battle. Credit goes to Glover for the badge.
    And here's the link to my fic http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthr...irth-of-a-Hero

  17. #1567
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    Dragonair can fly in the anime; I didn't just make that up. Actually, I found that pretty bizarre too when I first heard of it, but it's canon. *shrug* I don't quite remember because it was in 2004, but I actually think in the original version I didn't make him able to fly and somebody complained.

    Anyway, thanks for reading. You're getting to the parts that don't make me want to slink away in embarrassment!

    Thanks for reading, everyone. Especially elyvorg, for being amazing and rambly.

    Chapter 61 is... not very far along, I'm afraid, and I've been very busy recently, but hopefully I'll be able to get going with it soon.

    Chapter 64: Hide and Seek
    The story of an ordinary boy on an impossible quest in a world that isn't as black and white as he always thought it was.
    (rough draft of the remaining chapters finished for NaNoWriMo; to be edited and posted)

    Morphic
    (completed, plus silly extras)
    A few scientists get drunk and start fiddling with gene splicing. Ten years later, they're taking care of eight half-Pokémon kids, each freakier than the next, while a religious fanatic plots to murder them all.

    Lengthy fanfiction reviewing guide / A more condensed version
    Read and I will be very happy for a large number of reasons.

  18. #1568
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    Oh ok I don't keep up with the anime I was going by what I know about them from the games. Could you please add me to the PM list. I also just wanted to let you know that this story is great but I'm a reader who ejoys watching the author advance in skills as the story progresses, because honestly writing is mainly trial and error as your story progressed you've learned what the readers enjoy plus like you said it was more than 8 years ago when you started this. Keep up the good work.
    My Black Friend Code is 2494-8412-9545 and my name on Black is Trysten.
    This is my badge for the NCTH to earn it you have to challenge the League and defeat me in a battle. Credit goes to Glover for the badge.
    And here's the link to my fic http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthr...irth-of-a-Hero

  19. #1569
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    Great chapter. I don’t have a lot to say other than I really enjoyed reading it. ^^

    The Code was wrong. He tested the thought in his head, tentatively; it was strange, alien, but not actually that bad. The Code was wrong, so there didn’t have to be any suicide of guilt. The Code was wrong, so there was no need to even decide that you were too far gone for it to make a difference anymore. The Code was wrong, so there was never anything to feel guilty about in the first place.

    The Code was wrong. It was such a simple, mind-boggling, blasphemous, freeing idea. And somehow... it had never even occurred to him.
    Excellent epiphany Razor has here. I really liked this passage.

    It’s great that Razor has decided to rejoin Mark. I would’ve missed him if he had left.

    And as for what Shadowdart did...wow. Really good backstory there.

    Excited for the next chapter!
    I'll be online on weekends, mostly, and as often as I can.

    Greetings from the asylum of my insanity.
    Chapter 3: Should be up by December 31st.

    Dex: 128 created! ~ My DeviantART link to be posted here...once I actually post something on my DeviantART. =P

  20. #1570
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    Hello, everyone. Sorry for how long this short chapter took; I kind of finished it a while ago but I wasn't happy enough with some bits and ended up rewriting them from scratch, and it's still not really my favorite chapter (though I had way too much fun writing Chaletwo in it). But it is plotty!




    Chapter 61: Mewtwo

    When Mark woke up the next morning, it took him a moment of looking over the sleeping Pokémon around them to realize Scyther was there, awake, sitting against Charizard’s side.

    He crawled out of his sleeping bag, blinking the sleep out of his eyes. “Hey,” he said, smiling, and walked over to Scyther. “You’re still here.”

    “The Code is wrong,” Scyther said softly, a slight hint of a grin on his face.

    Mark blinked again. “What?”

    “The moral code of the Scyther,” the mantis said. “I was all set to try to ignore it for the sake of my happiness, but it never actually crossed my mind that it was just wrong.”

    Mark stared at him for a moment. “So you... you found your swarm?”

    Scyther nodded. “Nightmare was there, too.”

    “Nightmare?” Mark asked, still puzzled. “Wasn’t she... wasn’t she Michael Willows’ Scizor?”

    “He released all his Pokémon sometime after that battle,” Scyther said, averting his eyes again. “But she liked him. He was sorry for evolving her.”

    “Oh,” Mark said. He felt a pang of guilty discomfort; even his flimsy justification for not forfeiting the battle against Michael was now void, but he supposed there was little he could do about it now. “Is she okay?”

    “Yeah,” Scyther said. “She set herself on becoming Leader. She wants to abolish the Code.”

    Mark stared at him again. He couldn’t really comprehend quite what all this meant; all he knew of Scyther society were the bits and pieces that Scyther had told him, and he’d never imagined the code of ethics that Scyther had been hung up on since first joining him was something that could simply be changed.

    “Shadowdart’s dead,” Scyther went on, distantly.

    Mark couldn’t remember who Shadowdart was, but if Scyther thought the name would mean something to him, he figured it had to be one of Scyther’s two friends that they had met in Ruxido that one time. “I’m... sorry,” he said hesitantly.

    Scyther looked at him for a moment, like he was considering whether to say something else, then shook his head. “I’ve still got some things to figure out about living without the Code – I doubt you could help with that. But now that it isn’t holding me back anymore, I’ve realized I can choose what I truly want to do with my life, and this is it. The War needs to be stopped, and I want to be part of that. And then I can go back to my swarm.”

    Mark nodded. He was still somewhat confused, but now for the first time as far as he could remember, Scyther sounded like he had something to live for, and that was what was most important. “I’m glad,” he said. “That you’re figuring things out, I mean.”

    “Me too,” Scyther replied and smiled.

    -------

    They set off eastwards later in the morning. May’s Floatzel and the freshly-evolved Weavile tagged along outside their Pokéballs under the pretense of needing to practice their Ice moves, although it looked suspiciously like they were more concerned with continuing the competition they’d started the previous night over who could take down more wild Pokémon. May and Alan seemed to be getting along okay, but there still wasn’t much in the way of conversation.

    Mark was slipping into that sense of jaded boredom that had become permanently associated with this route in his mind when something seemed to prick at the edge of his mind, something that wasn’t Chaletwo. He looked up warily; May and Alan had stopped as well, even Floatzel, and Weavile asked, “What?” and then...

    ...and then Mewtwo was standing in front of them, and he looked straight at Mark and said, “Chaletwo, I want to talk to you.”

    Mark felt a double dose of dumbstruck, staring at the legendary that had just appeared. “How did you know I was here?” Chaletwo asked sharply for both of them.

    “Did you believe it was still a secret?” Mewtwo asked. His telepathic voice sounded eerily similar to Chaletwo’s; it gave the bizarre impression he was talking to himself, which really didn’t help Mark process any of what he was saying. “Raudra and Puragon warned us that trainers had captured Dragoreen and that you were with them. Mew told us you were likely trying to stop the War. I do not agree with your methods, but that isn’t why I’m here.”

    Mark was stunned; this possibility really, really should have occurred to them at some point before now, but somehow Raudra and Puragon had never actually registered as agents capable of knowledge and suspicion.

    “What’s with everyone knowing about the War all of a sudden?” Chaletwo said irritably. “And if they know, why aren’t they helping us?”

    “Raudra and Puragon are livid that you attacked and captured their sister instead of explaining the situation,” Mewtwo replied. “By provoking their hostility, you have made them despise you. They know you will be back for them, and they plan to fight to the last. There is no hope they will cooperate with you.”

    A rush of flustered anger arose in the back of Mark’s mind. “Why are they being idiots about this?” Chaletwo said fiercely. “They’re both going to die if they’re not captured! Or if they just made soul gems we could leave them alone, but if they’re...”

    “You would have to discuss that with them, though I doubt they would listen,” Mewtwo said. “The two things they care about most are one another and their power balance with their brothers. You have already taken both away from them; I feel they would not seal their brothers’ victory by giving up their bodies for good, least of all when this would help you, even if it means the death of all that lives.”

    Part of Mark was appalled by this, but part dully thought that sounded exactly like the kind of petty, spiteful thing they’d do. And yet another part could kind of see they were coming from, thinking guiltily of the Master Ball he had thrown at Dragoreen without ever attempting to simply explain things and negotiate with them – it had never occurred to him that they could.

    “In any case,” Mewtwo went on when Chaletwo didn’t reply, “that isn’t what I came here to discuss. I wanted to talk to you about Mew.”

    “What about Mew?”

    “I am concerned. She has been growing ever more quiet and aimless.”

    “He’s been like that for a while,” Chaletwo said. “My bet is he’s conflicted about the War, even if he tries to pretend he thinks it’s fated.”

    “That isn’t all,” Mewtwo went on. “She was distracted but sane when Raudra and Puragon came, but yesterday, she suddenly appeared on my island and was outright delirious. She rambled incoherently about the War and Chalenor and escaping it, and she seemed not to remember who I was. Then she kept saying she needed insurance. And as I tried to ask her what and why, she created a copy of my body and then teleported away.”

    Everyone stared at Mewtwo. Alan was the first to say what they were all thinking: “Why would Mew do that?”

    “I had hoped that Chaletwo would know, having known about the War and been close to Mew longer than I.” Mewtwo looked back at Mark, waiting.

    “Well, there’s only one thing ‘insurance’ is likely to mean. He’s figured out another way to escape from the War, and presumably it involves having a spare body around. Don’t know what he’s thinking; it could be as simple as planning to be resurrected into it from a soul gem.”

    “But why Mewtwo’s body?” May said, speaking for the first time. “Do you think it’s just a coincidence it specifically went and got Mewtwo’s body?” She looked searchingly at Mark.

    “What are you insinuating?” Chaletwo said, defensively.

    “Well, anything,” she said, shrugging. “All I’m saying is it’s odd. If it was just looking for a body, why would it go to Mewtwo’s island instead of copying its own or snatching the nearest wild Pokémon? And not only that; it’s also the same body as Chaletwo’s.”

    Mark was silent. His brain was tying itself into knots trying to figure out how all this connected; he knew there was something there and it seemed only barely beyond his reach. “So, what, you think he wants to impersonate one of us or something?” Chaletwo was saying, filling up Mark’s mind with that instead of the thought that was trying to slip away, and he wished the legendary would stop talking. “I don’t think there’s any connection. It was pure chance that I had Mewtwo’s body in the first place; it was just Mewtwo happened to...”

    Why Chaletwo had Mewtwo’s body. “Wait,” Mark said as everything finally clicked into place. “Maybe we have it all wrong. You said Mewtwo had gone back in time with Chalenor and that’s why Mewtwo’s body was there after the last War. Right?”

    “Right, but you shouldn’t really be talking about Mewtwo’s future when he’s right –”

    “And that doesn’t make sense because living creatures belong to a certain time and should bounce back there when the Destroyer has drained the power that’s keeping them there. But Mewtwo’s body isn’t quite a living creature, is it?”

    “But you can’t travel back in time –”

    “Yes, you can, if the past is where you originally came from,” Mark pressed on. “So that wasn’t Mew having gotten worse since Raudra and Puragon talked to him. That was Mew from a thousand years ago – that’s why he didn’t recognize Mewtwo, he’d never met him before – and when he went back he took Mewtwo’s body with him. Mew and Chalenor must have gone to the future together looking for ‘insurance’. And then, after the War, he used that body to create Chaletwo. It all fits.”

    There was a beat of silence as everyone stared at him.

    “That’s ridiculous,” Chaletwo said. “We already know that Mew wasn’t there and Chalenor took Mewtwo back because he was interested in seeing the past. The only mystery is why he wasn’t pulled back to his own time...”

    “That’s just what Mew told you,” Mark said. “Isn’t it time we faced the fact that Mew may not have told you the whole truth about everything?”

    “That doesn’t make any sense!” Chaletwo said heatedly. “Why in the hell would Mew lie about something like that?”

    “What about him not recognizing Mewtwo?” May said. “I’m with Mark. It’s all very far-fetched the other way.”

    “He’s been unravelling mentally for years! It’s just the stress of the War coming when he’s already been through it once. It doesn’t mean he’s the goddamn Destroyer. What is wrong with you people?”

    May raised an eyebrow at Mark; Floatzel looked up, intrigued, as Weavile tried to pull her back into their mock fight. Mewtwo and Alan just seemed puzzled.

    “I wasn’t even saying he’s the Destroyer,” Mark said cautiously. “I was saying he went to the future with Chalenor before the last War looking for ‘insurance’. If anything that sounds more like he isn’t the Destroyer.”

    “And then you’re saying he went and lied about the whole thing, made up a bunch of crap about how Mewtwo wanted to see Chalenor’s time, and hid the fact he was even there, for no reason whatsoever, simply because you’ve decided everything Mew says is automatically suspect. And you think that’s the more plausible version? Well, forgive me if I’m not convinced.”

    There was a beat of silence. “I have to agree that it does not sound like Mew,” Mewtwo then said. “She did not tell the rest of us about the War, but I have never known her to lie; Chaletwo has known about the War since the beginning, and yet you presume she told him an outright fabrication regarding his own origins. Do you suspect her of being the Destroyer?”

    “Well, maybe,” Mark said hesitantly. “I just found it pretty odd that he explicitly told Chaletwo not to try to stop the War and tried to keep it from the other legendaries. But now he’s been telling you and Raudra and Puragon and the Beasts, so I guess that doesn’t quite fit, and the insurance thing sounds more like he was trying to escape it.”

    “Nothing we know makes sense if Mew is the Destroyer,” Chaletwo said. “I don’t see why you’re still even considering it an option.”

    “But still,” Mark went on, “I wasn’t suggesting he was the Destroyer, just that he lied. Maybe he just thinks he made a horrible mistake trying to escape the War for some reason, doesn’t want you to know about it because he doesn’t want you to try, and discouraged you from trying to stop it for the same reason. Isn’t that at least possible? Didn’t you say he was really devastated after the last War?”

    “That was just because Chalenor died!”

    “Do you know that?” May said. “Because it sounds more like an assumption to me.”

    “Guys,” Alan interrupted before Chaletwo could respond. “Aren’t we being a little presumptuous with the theorizing here? Most of this is just wild speculation that doesn’t match up with Chaletwo’s impressions, and Chaletwo’s literally known Mew for a thousand years. I’m not saying Mark couldn’t in theory be right, but you have to see that we really can’t just assume that.”

    “Thank you, Alan,” Chaletwo said. “Good to see you’re still sane.”

    Mark took a deep breath and then nodded reluctantly. “Yeah, you’re right. We can’t say anything for sure, and it’s not our biggest concern for now, anyway.”

    Even though he said that, he was almost completely convinced he was on to something. Part of him noted cautiously that some of the reason for his conviction might be a kind of cynical backlash against the idea of legendaries with perfectly pure motives and nothing to hide, but the fact it seemed to explain several apparent contradictions at the same time, even if it left some puzzling motives behind, couldn’t be just a coincidence. And while he trusted Mewtwo’s opinion somewhat more, he’d never gotten the feeling Chaletwo was at all objective where Mew was concerned.

    “So,” Mewtwo said after a pause, slowly, “supposing Chaletwo does come for me, what will happen if I do not go with him?”

    May looked doubtfully at Mark. He was momentarily confused before it hit him what Mewtwo was getting at: he would now have to knowingly go with Chalenor to his death in order for Chaletwo’s version of events to happen like it supposedly did. He gave Chaletwo an anxious mental prod, now wishing he hadn’t said anything (though would that have made it any better, really?); his previous certainty of his theory felt vastly overconfident now that it had occurred to him that there were serious consequences involved.

    A few seconds passed before Chaletwo answered. “I don’t know,” he said reluctantly. “It could unravel the universe for all we know, and I don’t care to find out.”

    Mewtwo looked at them in silence for a second and then gave a slow nod. “Then that means I must.”

    “I’m sorry,” Mark said, and he was. Of all legendaries, it was Mewtwo who just nodded without a complaint when faced with the prospect of sacrificing his life – perhaps precisely because he hadn’t lived for a thousand years believing he was truly immortal. Though he had only known him a couple of minutes, Mark already felt a deep respect for him, and if any legendary should die in the War, it seemed like it shouldn’t be him.

    “I still don’t think that’s going to happen,” May said, breaking the silence. “And if Chalenor never comes to take you back in time and you’re still out and about when this War starts, everything we’ve been doing is for nothing. I think that’s the more important possibility here.”

    “I can recall myself into a ball if Chalenor has not come before a given time,” Mewtwo said. “If I become too weak to travel, I will assume he is not coming. You are certain that Pokéballs will stop the onset of madness?”

    Chaletwo hesitated. “If they don’t,” he said, “then there’s little we can do.”

    Mewtwo looked at Mark for a moment, his violet eyes piercing and inscrutable. “Very well. I still believe you should approach the others diplomatically before picking any fights.”

    “Mew forbade us to tell anyone about the War!” Chaletwo replied heatedly. “I don’t know why he’s blabbing it to anyone and everyone now, but explaining things just wasn’t an option –”

    “You were already going against her wishes to not try to stop it,” Mewtwo said. “I have tremendous respect for Mew, but sometimes she is wrong. You should have told them anyway.”

    Mewtwo waited several seconds for a response, but there wasn’t one.

    “Farewell, then,” he said. “If I meet any other legendaries, I will try to persuade them to take measures against the War. Good luck.”

    And then he was gone, vanished before their eyes as if he were never there.

    Chapter 64: Hide and Seek
    The story of an ordinary boy on an impossible quest in a world that isn't as black and white as he always thought it was.
    (rough draft of the remaining chapters finished for NaNoWriMo; to be edited and posted)

    Morphic
    (completed, plus silly extras)
    A few scientists get drunk and start fiddling with gene splicing. Ten years later, they're taking care of eight half-Pokémon kids, each freakier than the next, while a religious fanatic plots to murder them all.

    Lengthy fanfiction reviewing guide / A more condensed version
    Read and I will be very happy for a large number of reasons.

  21. #1571
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    Well hello. I’ve been reading this since I joined a few months ago. I work in retail sales and sometimes I have to wait for hours before I get a customer, so I usually use my phone to read a few different fics. When I started your’s, it was on some random Tuesday, and I ended up finishing it the following Thursday. I have to say that I was hooked pretty quick. Literally couldn’t go more than an hour without trying to finish another chapter. And honestly that doesn’t happen to me very much lol. I can see how you’ve progressed over the years, and my favorite chapters have to be all of them past forty or so. I read a few times that you said that the beginning wasn’t the best for you, but it’s nice to see your improvement chapter by chapter. I saw that you posted a new chapter yesterday, so after I read it I thought I might as well just review.

    For me, Chalenor set the stage for everything. His introduction in the beginning (albeit dead), was some powerful foreshadowing, and I found myself really liking the small tidbits you threw in throughout the story. Obviously legendary’s are the ‘gods’ of Pokemon, but he (assuming Chalenor is a he), for some reason always seemed higher. Omnipotent almost. His power, which passed to Chaletwo was frightening and really inventive of you. Eyes closed and he can see the world, whereas if his eyes are open he can’t see and he destroys. It’s a really interesting twist that spoke volumes about what happened throughout the later chapters. They don’t know anything about what is and could happen, despite Chaletwo’s advice. Close your eyes and think, don’t believe what you see. I may be totally off base, but that’s what I got from it anyway.

    Mark is the standout human for me. I know you had several things to say about the quality of your earlier chapters, and honestly, he was a little too cliché for me in the beginning. Living in the only area of his region without Pokemon, seeing all his friends go, his parents telling him he can’t, were all easy examples of the drive to make him want to leave, and to me it almost felt like he was just following every example of ‘classic action’ trainer. Especially his ignorance at some things. I mean, for a kid that is as enamored by Pokemon as he is, I felt like he should be the authority when it came to Pokemon. Specie, attacks, appearance, etc, are all things I thought he should know right away, so I was somewhat confused when he saw Pokemon from his own region and had no idea what they were. Eventually though in later chapters he started to redeem himself by speaking up and actually having an opnion, along with his acknowledgement and understanding that he wants to be a trainer, but may not be quite the fan of the whole ‘league’ aspect of it. To me, he loves Pokemon and he likes training and battling, but maybe the competiveness of it just isn’t for him; and I think he’s starting to realize that. That’s what I get from him anyway haha.

    The agreement was a nice touch as well. Very inventive, and it made a lot of sense. Though I am somewhat confused by one rule, and I’m sorry if I’m missing something obvious. For example, when Tyranitar killed Taylor, if it was found out, would Tyranitar be put down? Would May be imprisoned? I felt like you mentioned consequences before but I just can’t seem to remember. Anyway, you did a good job attempting to put limits on Pokemon when it comes to battling and the relationship between Pokemon and their trainers. So often do I read fics that follow game law to the letter and don’t both to go behind the mechanics and rules behind it. Great job on that.

    The Pokemon Festival chapters were a lot of fun as well. It’s not something I feel like I’ve seen in a fic before, and I have to say that those were my favorite to read so far. The attack approval was extremely inventive, and I salute your inventiveness because I doubt I ever would have thoughts of something like that. And who do we get introduced to as this is taking place? Why Alan and Ash Ketchum! Alan is interesting so far, and it’s nice to see your version of Adult Ash as well. The festival definitely seems like something he’d be down for, and you did a good job describing his actions and thoughts. To me, those feelings seem like ones he would actually have if we were able to examine him years in the future. The one thing I didn’t like was hi somewhat offhanded passing when it came to taking part in the quest years ago. I know that Alan being an infant was a factor, as well as his high profile, but the Ash that I’ve seen in different outlets has never passed up on something as epic and important as this, regardless of how it may look to the public. Hell, as a child he would race forward against three legendary’s at once lol. Not that you need to stick to what the anime/manga/games do when you expand on
    characters, but that just felt slightly off to me.

    One thing that felt off to me was your use of coloration words throughout the fic. One part that really sticks out for me is when you had someone call one of the Pokedex’s ‘Kyorgre’ colored. That just seemed really odd to me. I’m sure you know this but sometimes it is okay to call the color blue, blue. Lol, I try harder with words and use synonyms a lot in my own fic to spice things up with different words, but sometimes I catch myself going over the line and it becomes almost too much, if that makes sense? One other thing, in Chapter 30, every time that ‘Pokemon’ is spelled, it comes out as ‘Pok&#233’. It’s probably just some weird typo, but you may want to go back and fix that because it became somewhat hard to read after awhile.

    I’m kinda caught between Entei’s theory and how to deal with the coming war, and Chaletwo’s. Obviously being in a Pokeball is a way to take you out of the fight, but when you can easily be released that kinda rules that choice out. But at the same time if you were to make a soul gem and hide your essence in a Pokemon that can get captured as well, it presents the same problem. Obviously as Chaletwo explained in one of the chapters, they won’t die willingly if they can help it. I mean, it’s a natural reflex to fight in some way for survival, but even more so when you’re immortal and don’t have to worry about succumbing to old age. It’s funny, as I write this I’m going back through chapters in my head trying to decide which plan I like better, and I feel like I’m answering my own question. Screw it, at least if they’re all captured they are all in one place; so I guess that’s the route I would take. The plot is shaping up really well, and I feel like if you keep doing this the same way you have been, this is easily going to end up at 85+ chapters.

    The last thing I’ll touch on is the region/new Pokemon you’ve introduced. It really hows how talented you are since you can just seemingly invent this whole region. And not just invent it, but make it believable. I think I remember saying that you started this and invented town names when you were twelve? If that’s the case than I’m actually really impressed. 90% of the time, I would much rather read fic’s with established Pokemon and the normal regions that follow the normal routines. Your fic actually falls into that luck 10% that I really like to read. The Pokemon themselves were always excellently described, which is obviously a must since you’re inventing them, but I never had trouble believing their actions or powers. I don’t know many authors who are able to do what you have involving new Pokemon, and to be honest I haven’t really been immersed in any new Pokemon before, but I always got really excited when you described a new city or Pokemon. Really fantastic job.

    Wow, I didn’t touch on half the stuff I wanted to. Partly because I’ve run out of time, and the main reason being that this fic is just so massive and has so many moving parts that I keep coming up with things I want to discuss lol. The portions I mentioned were the ones I wanted to touch on the most, and as you continue the story and put new chapters out, I’ll be able to really focus on specific points. All in all though, I’ve really enjoyed reading this, and you’ve done a really good job making this standout. You can definitely count on my continued reading.

    An Ancient Treasure, a Terrible Price. Take the Risk, Eat the World
    (Final Chapter added 05-15-2014)

    -Thanks to PopPrincess_Lyra for the banner above, and Sworn Metalhead for the banner below -


    All Hail the Six Kings...
    Chapter One added (12-07-2014)

  22. #1572
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    Hello, Sidewinder! Thanks for reading. I'm going to respond to some of your points, if you don't mind.

    I mean, for a kid that is as enamored by Pokemon as he is, I felt like he should be the authority when it came to Pokemon. Specie, attacks, appearance, etc, are all things I thought he should know right away, so I was somewhat confused when he saw Pokemon from his own region and had no idea what they were. Eventually though in later chapters he started to redeem himself by speaking up and actually having an opnion, along with his acknowledgement and understanding that he wants to be a trainer, but may not be quite the fan of the whole ‘league’ aspect of it. To me, he loves Pokemon and he likes training and battling, but maybe the competiveness of it just isn’t for him; and I think he’s starting to realize that. That’s what I get from him anyway haha.
    As Mark stated pretty explicitly in chapter 50 where he was telling his Pokémon he's going to stop training, he actually doesn't really like training or battling, and he never really has; he wanted to be a trainer because he loved being around Pokémon and because everyone else was a trainer, but moves and battles and strategy just aren't his thing and never interested him even before he set out on his journey. (Hence why at the beginning he's spending his time drawing in battling class.) I do assume in the world of the fic (now - please chalk the early "what is this scorpion Pokémon from my own region whose existence has completely escaped my notice until now even though we have a ridiculously dangerous desert that is completely full of them" up to fourteen-year-old me's flimsy excuses for infodumping about her fake Pokémon) that the average person recognizes every species of Pokémon, and he has a pretty good grasp on stuff like types, but things like abilities or exactly what attacks Pokémon learn or other more battle-exclusive features aren't really within his area of interest any more than an animal lover would necessarily feel the need to know cell biology, so his knowledge of those is a lot shakier.

    For example, when Tyranitar killed Taylor, if it was found out, would Tyranitar be put down? Would May be imprisoned?
    May is a juvenile, so no, she wouldn't be imprisoned, but the trainer would be considered partly responsible when it's a trained Pokémon. Pokémon aren't part of the human legal system; if someone is killed by a wild Pokémon, it is treated as an accident (though if a Pokémon were out systematically killing humans or trained Pokémon, League officials would go out and deal with it).

    The one thing I didn’t like was hi somewhat offhanded passing when it came to taking part in the quest years ago. I know that Alan being an infant was a factor, as well as his high profile, but the Ash that I’ve seen in different outlets has never passed up on something as epic and important as this, regardless of how it may look to the public. Hell, as a child he would race forward against three legendary’s at once lol. Not that you need to stick to what the anime/manga/games do when you expand on
    characters, but that just felt slightly off to me.
    No, you kind of do need to stick to characters' fundamental character. I was just terrible at it. :P I doubt Ash is going to appear in the next revision at all. (Until then, my excuse is that he grew up and sometimes people are very different as adults from what they were like as kids.)

    One thing that felt off to me was your use of coloration words throughout the fic. One part that really sticks out for me is when you had someone call one of the Pokedex’s ‘Kyorgre’ colored. That just seemed really odd to me. I’m sure you know this but sometimes it is okay to call the color blue, blue.
    It is 'Kyogre-colored' because Mark's Pokédex is a "Kyogre edition" with a general Kyogre-themed design (i.e. blue and white with decorative red lines resembling Kyogre's markings), as described way too lengthily in chapter five. Believe me, I wouldn't randomly use "Kyogre-colored" when I just mean "blue", even when I was fourteen. (Which isn't to say "Kyogre-colored" isn't a pretty weird and confusing way to refer to something patterned to resemble Kyogre, but at least that's just general poor writing as opposed to wtf.)

    One other thing, in Chapter 30, every time that ‘Pokemon’ is spelled, it comes out as ‘Poké’. It’s probably just some weird typo, but you may want to go back and fix that because it became somewhat hard to read after awhile.
    That happened to a lot of old posts with és in them during the forum move; I'll look into fixing it.

    The plot is shaping up really well, and I feel like if you keep doing this the same way you have been, this is easily going to end up at 85+ chapters.
    76, actually; I've got the rest plotted out chapter by chapter. There could be tweaks, but it's likelier to end up shorter than longer.

    Thanks for the long review, and I hope you keep on reading.

    Chapter 64: Hide and Seek
    The story of an ordinary boy on an impossible quest in a world that isn't as black and white as he always thought it was.
    (rough draft of the remaining chapters finished for NaNoWriMo; to be edited and posted)

    Morphic
    (completed, plus silly extras)
    A few scientists get drunk and start fiddling with gene splicing. Ten years later, they're taking care of eight half-Pokémon kids, each freakier than the next, while a religious fanatic plots to murder them all.

    Lengthy fanfiction reviewing guide / A more condensed version
    Read and I will be very happy for a large number of reasons.

  23. #1573
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    ASDFHDGFHJDGHSGF OH GOD WHAT.

    Okay…*takes deep breath* Let me explain.

    As I am writing these words, I have not yet read the chapter. Or rather, I started to. I got to the part where Mewtwo showed up and was of course instantly intrigued. But then I started watching some anime with my roommate and forgot about the chapter, and then when I came back to it, I scrolled down a bit too far and caught sight of this:
    She rambled incoherently about the War and Chalenor and escaping it
    AND MY BLOOD INSTANTLY RAN COLD.

    You see…when I post things, I tend to plan out what I will say far in advance. And when I saw you had a new chapter, I already began planning my typical rambles earlier this afternoon. They were going to go something like this:
        Spoiler:

    Okay, okay, some context. I was thinking about Chalenor (for…reasons…) and then recalled how you said that he’d be significant later in the fic. And then my brain just went off the deep end, generating all sorts of random theories, many of which made no sense or contradicted each other, but some of which I actually found interesting, but couldn’t come up with any kind of evidence for (therefore, I decided against actually telling you any of them until I had enough substance behind any of them to make one of my typical “big speculation posts”.)

    Ogod…I need to just read the chapter already.

    Alright…reading it now.

    “And that doesn’t make sense because living creatures belong to a certain time and should bounce back there when the Destroyer has drained the power that’s keeping them there. But Mewtwo’s body isn’t quite a living creature, is it?”
    YES. Oh man, yes. I KNEW that whole “maybe it was okay for him to take someone back with him” thing couldn’t possibly be right.
    Mew and Chalenor must have gone to the future together looking for ‘insurance’. And then, after the War, he used that body to create Chaletwo. It all fits.”
    There was a line earlier in the fic. I don’t remember where, but I remember it being something along the lines of someone theorizing that there was a previous attempt to stop the war that went bad, and then Chaletwo dismissing it, or something. That line was one that stood out very much in my mind.
    “But still,” Mark went on, “I wasn’t suggesting he was the Destroyer, just that he lied. Maybe he just thinks he made a horrible mistake trying to escape the War for some reason, doesn’t want you to know about it because he doesn’t want you to try, and discouraged you from trying to stop it for the same reason. Isn’t that at least possible? Didn’t you say he was really devastated after the last War?”
    ASDFSAFDSFADGAS, SEE?
    “Do you know that?” May said. “Because it sounds more like an assumption to me.”
    THANK YOU MAY. Seriously, that was what had been eating at my head the most throughout all those nights of speculating. We only saw Chalenor’s eye. How did we ever even know he died? And every time you have answered a theory with “Chalenor is dead” it seemed too…impassive and matter-of-fact for there to not be more to the story.

    (And yes, I know that May is specifically questioning the certainty of the cause of Mew's depression, rather than the certainty of Chalenor's death, but I still like that line regardless.)
    “So,” Mewtwo said after a pause, slowly, “supposing Chaletwo does come for me, what will happen if I do not go with him?”
    …You mean Chalenor?


    *Finishes chapter.*

    YESSSSS oh man here we go yeessssss.
        Spoiler:

    Also I don’t think you should delete Molzapart from the IALCOTN. I had a big list of reasons why, but I’ll save that for another day. :P

    Gah. These long chapter waits make me go slightly insane. But that’s okay. Because knowing that SOME DAY it will all be resolved is more than enough to make even the longest wait totally worth it. Someday this will all be resolved. That is the best feeling in the world (and I already know what I’m going to do for that day.)

    ~Chibi~

    (And yes. I specifically quested to find a place with internet just to post this, rather than waiting til later in the week like I thought I would.)
    Last edited by Chibi Pika; 5th June 2012 at 4:49 AM.


    Ever wondered what would happen if humans had the power to overthrow the Legendaries? To either use them for their own ends, or eliminate them altogether? One thing is for certain...the balance between human and Legendary is unstable.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    8/30/12: CHAPTER 7: “Into the Fire” POSTED!!!
    Chapter 8 progress: 9/12 pages


  24. #1574
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    I never replied to Chibi Pika's insanely long theorizing ramble? Blasphemy!

    ...well, I can't do much in the way of replying other than sitting triumphantly on my throne of plot and grinning knowingly, but that was very fun to read and I'm thrilled whenever somebody's brain goes wild with speculation, so keep at it! It's also going to be fun to look back on when I've finished the fic.

    Anyway. I have chapter 62. I also have news: I'm currently attempting to finish this fic for NaNoWriMo, as in this November's NaNoWriMo. I've already finished chapter 63 and am well into chapter 64. Obviously those are rough drafts of rough drafts, so I'm not going to be posting these chapters as I go, but chapter 62 was finished before NaNo (I just couldn't post it because I was in England and having epic times with elyvorg), so that's being posted now.

    The projected remaining length of the fic assuming the chapters that are left are as long on average as the chapters so far is something like 68,000 words, which should be doable. Moreover, I strongly suspect the average remaining chapter length is considerably shorter than the average chapter length so far, because the longest chapters so far have been so because they featured major battles between trainers, and there aren't a lot of those left (none unless something changes, actually), and the average chapter length discounting those chapters would be significantly lower. And even aside from all averages, a lot of the remaining chapters are just chapters that I suspect will be fairly short. So all in all I think my chances are pretty good.

    Moreover, even if I don't make it all the way in November, I'll probably get reasonably far at the very least, and that would be a huge help because the next bunch of chapters are not chapters I've been looking forward to writing for years, and it would probably have taken ages to prod me into finishing them. Just getting into the seventies chapters would be a huge help, because at that point I'd have my excitement for the final chapters urging me on. So even if it doesn't get finished in November, it's quite likely I wouldn't take that long after that to get to the finish line.

    Again, I'm not going to be posting chapters as I finish them in November, because they would be terrible. When November is over I'll take the chapters I wrote and edit them for posting. I don't know how long it will take, but I hope to be able to post the final chapter no later than June 19th 2013, the fic's eleventh birthday. (April 3rd is the HMMRCIG version's ninth; that would also be a reasonably poetic possibility if my editing is somewhat quicker than that - but do note that last time I did NaNoWriMo, I was excited enough about the editing to finish posting it in January. I'll probably edit better now because I'm five years older and better at writing, but.)


    Anyway. Chapter 62. Enjoy.


    Chapter 62: Diplomacy

    Mark didn’t know what he had been expecting, but he had not been expecting Raudra and Puragon to descend murderously upon them the moment they were within range of the Eastern Cliffs.

    “Floatzel, Weavile, Ice Punch!” May shouted, eyes wide, as the two dragons dived towards them. Without hesitation, Floatzel leapt at Raudra and Weavile at Puragon, each delivering powerful blows that sent them veering off course. “Mark, Alan, send out your Pokémon, quick!”

    Mark automatically fumbled for his Pokéballs as the dragons recovered in the air and swooped in for another assault. “You don’t have to do this!” Chaletwo said to their attackers. “If you’d only be caught willingly, this would be so much easier...”

    “Kidnapper!” Raudra roared and fired a bright Flamethrower towards Mark; he threw himself unthinkingly to the side and crashed into the ground as Floatzel darted into the Fire attack with a Waterfall in her wake, neutralizing it. His heart hammered in his chest as he scrambled back to his feet, only one thought managing to take hold in his mind: Raudra and Puragon were aiming for them, not their Pokémon. They had no intention of respecting the Agreement; they just wanted to kill them.

    “We can release her!” he shouted frantically. “We’ll release Dragoreen if you want, if you just agree to...”

    “Why should we trust you?” Puragon hissed as she swung her tail at Skarmory and sent him spiralling towards Raudra, who received him with a jet of fire. “Why should we do anything for you, when you came here with deceit and violence and stole her away in a Master Ball?”

    “Because otherwise you’re dooming the whole world, that’s why,” Chaletwo said. “Don’t play dumb. We know you know about the War.”

    “You can make soul gems!” Mark called, raising his hands to show no Pokéballs in the vain hope that the peaceful gesture would help somehow. “If you don’t want to be caught, you don’t...”

    “Deceitful child!” Raudra spat, aiming another Flamethrower; as Weavile leapt up to strike Puragon with an Ice Punch, she turned and fired the Flamethrower at her instead. “You who threw the Master Ball when we had won the battle, you who...”

    Make them calm down. Something, anything, to make them calm down. “I’m sorry!” Mark shouted, grasping wildly at his belt for his Pokédex. “Look!”

    “Are you out of your mind?” Chaletwo said inside his head as he fumbled at the buttons with shaking fingers. “You can’t just –”

    “Mewtwo said we should try to negotiate, right?” Mark said, almost convincing himself this was a good idea as he took the Master Ball he had swapped Scyther for and threw it.

    “See,” he called as Dragoreen began to form in mid-air, over Chaletwo’s vehement protests, “she’s unharmed, it’s okay, you can just...”

    Dragoreen’s distorted screech materialized into a furious roar; her gigantic tail swung and lashed out, and a vicious force smashed into Mark’s arm. The world spun; he realized in a split second that the Master Ball was no longer in his fingers, and then everything gave way into blinding pain.

    “Idiot!” Chaletwo hissed at him as he crumpled face-down to the ground, his vision swimming. “Negotiating doesn’t mean negating everything we achieved last time! What did you think that would accomplish?”

    He indistinctly heard May say, “Oh, damn it – Floatzel, dive after that Master Ball, quick! Weavile, cover her!”

    “Liar,” Puragon said, icy disdain in her voice. “Pretending to release her but wanting to keep the ball?”

    “Cowards,” Raudra muttered; Mark felt the heat rush of an oncoming Flamethrower and made a feeble attempt to move, but his good arm was shaking too much. He heard Mist’s cry and the heat dissipated; he could only assume she’d deflected the attack.

    “Are you okay?” he heard a voice say next to him and realized it was Alan, who must have run up to check on him.

    “I’m... I don’t know,” he mumbled, but wasn’t sure he was heard. Searing pain was still pulsing through his limp right arm with every pounding beat of his heart. He tried to stand up again, but to no avail. “Chaletwo, I can’t... I can’t...”

    “Don’t try to stand up. Just send out your Pokémon. They can fight on their own. Goddamn it, why did you do that?”

    Mark shook his head and managed with a heave of effort and support from Alan to roll over onto his back. “Please,” he said, as loudly as he could manage; that wasn’t very loudly, so he took a painful breath and tried again. “Please, just listen. We’re only fighting back because you attacked. If we could just have a ceasefire...”

    “A ceasefire?” Raudra snarled. Her body was cloaked in dragon flames; she must have used Outrage while Mark was down, and in that state she couldn’t be very receptive to the idea.

    “I bet our brothers sent you,” Puragon said before she fired an Ice Beam at Charlie.

    At that seemingly off-hand comment, Raudra hissed fiercely. “Yes, they must have,” she said. “Scheming males!”

    “We should have known,” Puragon growled.

    “I bet they made up the War of the Legends, too, so they could get at us,” Raudra said, fury building in her voice.

    “What?” Mark said in panicked bewilderment as Puragon voiced her immediate agreement with Raudra’s theory. “No! What are you talking about?”

    “Idiots!” Chaletwo shouted. “Haven’t you felt your power growing weaker? Didn’t Mew explain the War to you himself?”

    “You’re on their side!” Raudra spat and scorched Raichu and Stantler with a Fire Blast. “You’re all on their side! Coming here and kidnapping our sister and lying!”

    “Trying to rope us into your harebrained scheme,” said Puragon.

    “Should kill all of you, to send them a message,” Raudra suggested.

    “If only we could see the look on their faces.”

    Mark stared at the dragons, who were reaching a bizarre agreement that that was the correct course of action, and wished he could rewind the past few minutes. Chaletwo was right: attempting to negotiate had seemingly only made the sisters more determined to kill them. He should never have even tried.

    Looking quickly around, he realized Weavile was lying fainted on the ground near Raudra; he grabbed her Pokéball with his left hand, recalled her, and did his best to throw three of his other balls. Charizard, Jolteon and Dragonite materialized, rushing for their respective planned targets; he cursed that he’d fallen too far from the cliff to be able to send out Gyarados.

    He looked around again to try to properly take in the state of the battle. Out of Alan’s team, only Diamond remained, making impressive leaps to dodge Puragon’s attacks but not having much luck actually striking her, though Blaziken was doing better. Mutark was hanging onto Raudra by her claws, slashing at her belly with her teeth, but with another Outrage, she fell limp to the ground. Stantler’s attempts at Hypnosis weren’t working on either of them. They were losing again, he realized with a sickening knot of dread in his stomach – in large part because his stupid attempt to pacify them had led to them unexpectedly fighting three dragons instead of two.

    Speaking of which, said a wary voice in the back of his mind, where’s Dragoreen?

    He turned quickly and found her hovering to the right, over the cliffs. He’d registered her firing Thunderbolts and Dragonbreaths earlier, picking off their Pokémon as they tried to attack her sisters, but she wasn’t now; she was looking between the other dragons, hesitantly. “What is the War of the Legends?” she said.

    “A lie is what it is,” Raudra snarled. “Devious manipulation.”

    “It’s the reason you’ve been losing your powers,” Chaletwo said. “Your crazy sisters are in denial, but you’ve got to have noticed.”

    For a split second Dragoreen hung there, clearly dissatisfied; then, all of a sudden, she was diving straight towards Mark. He screamed as sharp claws dug into his sides; pain shot through his arm again, replaced by panic and nausea when she pulled him off the ground and swooped back over the edge of the cliffs, taking him with her. “Tell me,” she hissed as she stopped in mid-air; his gaze could only find the sharp rocks that pierced the foaming water far, far below. “Tell me the truth or I’ll drop you.”

    “It’s, it’s, it’s a thing, the legendaries are going to go mad and fight until there’s only one left,” he blurted out without thinking. On the cliffside, Alan, May and his Pokémon were staring towards him, and he wondered for a split second in a bizarre anger why they weren’t doing anything; then he realized all they could do was make her more likely to drop him. Raudra and Puragon, both cloaked with dragon fire, rushed back at the Pokémon, and they were forced to turn their attention back to the fight at hand. He was on his own.

    “Why?” Dragoreen said, boring her claws into his ribcage; it took him a moment to wrap his terrified brain around what she was talking about.

    “The, there’s a legendary that’s the Destroyer, and it makes it happen every thousand years, it drains your power and then redistributes it evenly –”

    “Mew explained it to your sisters,” Chaletwo said. “I’m trying to stop it by having all the legendaries caught in Pokéballs before it happens. If I’m right, it will stop the War from happening.”

    “Why didn’t we know about this?” she asked; below, the waves crashed against the cliffs, cold and merciless. Mark’s mind replayed a hypothetical fall in a wretched loop that he couldn’t break out of: a rush of air, a spray of salt, water in his lungs, smashing against rocks, blood mixing with the seawater.

    “Mew forbade us to...”

    “We should have told you!” Mark said frantically, squeezing his eyes shut. “It was wrong to attack you without explaining what was going on and to use the Master Ball – I’m sorry!”

    For several seconds, Dragoreen was silent, her body lurching up and down with every beat of her wings, sending Mark’s stomach roiling. He heard Raudra cry out in pain among the Pokémon; they might have been bringing her down at last.

    “Stop,” Dragoreen said, shaking him for emphasis; a fresh jolt of pain coursed from his arm, wrenching his eyes back open. “Stop attacking, or he dies.”

    They did; as one, his Pokémon froze and stepped back in alarm, and some strange part of Mark managed to be weirdly touched. Raudra was beginning to crawl to her feet; Puragon, who was still in the air, took a deep breath and started to gather ice crystals in front of her mouth.

    “You too!” Dragoreen said. “Stop it!”

    Puragon turned towards her, clearly outraged, but let the ice dissolve nonetheless. “Do you believe their lies?”

    “Did Mew tell you about this War of the Legends or not?”

    “Our brothers must have threatened...”

    “That’s not what happened!” Mark shouted desperately, his sides still aching. “We’ve been out capturing legendaries since May, and some trainers have been around doing it for years – it had nothing to do with you!”

    “That’s what you say,” Raudra spat. “You would say anything to get us to agree.”

    “You’ve been losing your power and this is why! Get it through your thick skulls that –”

    “Chaletwo,” Dragoreen said sharply. “You do not insult my sisters. If you do it again, I will throw your vessel in the ocean and you can watch the War from there.”

    “The power loss is a good point,” May said before Chaletwo could respond to the threat; Mark had never been so glad to hear her speak. “How do you explain it if you deny the War?”

    “It’s just one of their tricks,” Puragon said, but there was a hint of uncertainty in her voice this time.

    “It’s not a trick! If they could drain your powers away, they’d have attacked you already to take advantage of it! You of all Pokémon should know them well enough to realize that!”

    Puragon looked unsurely at Mark, then at Dragoreen. “They’re lying!” Raudra hissed from her place on the ground. “It’s all trickery, all of it. They want to confuse us and string us along so they can laugh at us.”

    There was a strange note of desperation in her voice, almost pleading, and from somewhere within Mark’s panicked mind came a pang of pity. This wasn’t just some petty, hateful sibling rivalry; it was a genuine, obsessive paranoia, so deep-set and all-consuming that it poisoned all rational thought. Raudra really believed that everything was somehow orchestrated by her brothers, and she was probably terrified out of her wits. Dragoreen likely only had a somewhat more objective perspective because this was the first time she was hearing about the War, instead of having had it feeding into existing fears for months with nobody but an equally paranoid sibling to discuss it with.

    “Look,” May said very carefully, looking at Dragoreen; her eyes were wider than usual, but her voice was steady. “When you’re caught, you stop losing your powers. You felt that, right?”

    Dragoreen nodded slowly.

    “We’re going to capture your brothers too. And because we went for you first, if you let yourselves be caught, they’re going to have lost more of their powers by the time they’re caught, so at the end you’re going to be more powerful than them. But if you continue to fight back and kill all of us, and your brothers make the smart choice when one of the other trainers finds them, it will be the other way around.”

    “Lies!” Raudra snarled, releasing a Flamethrower in May’s direction; she scrambled to the side at the same time as her Blaziken rushed to deflect it with a Heat Wave.

    “Stop,” Dragoreen said. “They’re right. We stop losing our powers if we’re caught. There’s no sense waiting around as we grow weaker.”

    “Could we really gain the upper hand on them?” Puragon asked with a wary interest.

    “Yes,” May said firmly. “The sooner you’re caught compared to them, the better.”

    On any other day Mark would have winced at the idea of encouraging this, but at the moment he didn’t care; if it made Dragoreen put him down, it was worth it. He listened with shaking breaths as Dragoreen and Puragon encouraged Raudra to agree, and as Raudra continued to refuse and tell them with increasing fanaticism they were being taken in by a massive conspiracy, but increasingly couldn’t focus on them under his building nausea and the pulsing pain and pins-and-needles sensation in his arm and the claws still clutching at his ribs.

    By the time he thought maybe Raudra was starting to budge a little, everything had blended together into arguing voices and pain and sickness.

    Chapter 64: Hide and Seek
    The story of an ordinary boy on an impossible quest in a world that isn't as black and white as he always thought it was.
    (rough draft of the remaining chapters finished for NaNoWriMo; to be edited and posted)

    Morphic
    (completed, plus silly extras)
    A few scientists get drunk and start fiddling with gene splicing. Ten years later, they're taking care of eight half-Pokémon kids, each freakier than the next, while a religious fanatic plots to murder them all.

    Lengthy fanfiction reviewing guide / A more condensed version
    Read and I will be very happy for a large number of reasons.

  25. #1575
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    “Kidnapper!” Raudra roared and fired a bright Flamethrower towards Mark; he threw himself unthinkingly to the side and crashed into the ground as Floatzel darted into the Fire attack with a Waterfall in her wake, neutralizing it.
    I feel like this is a missed opportunity to put in a little more description. The sound the roaring flame makes, the hiss of steam as the waterfall hits the flame and cancels it out, maybe describing the wet track the waterfall left behind on the way to the flame, etc. Hell, you know better than anyone how much more enjoyment a bit more description can bring.

    “You can make soul gems!” Mark called, raising his hands to show no Pokéballs in the vain hope that the peaceful gesture would help somehow. “If you don’t want to be caught, you don’t...”
    I really gotta hand it to Mark for trying to give them this option when he knows it won't work at all; that he won't be able to calm them down. I've been to that point myself, where you're in a situation you can't control so you start screaming things or lashing out with actions because at your core you're scared and have no idea what to do. If that was your intention with this quoted portion, you did a wonderful job

    Dragoreen’s distorted screech materialized into a furious roar; her gigantic tail swung and lashed out,
    Yup, figured that would happen. Actually I thought it would try and eat him, but yeah

    At that seemingly off-hand comment, Raudra hissed fiercely. “Yes, they must have,” she said. “Scheming males!”
    Lol that line made me actually lol

    “Idiots!” Chaletwo shouted. “Haven’t you felt your power growing weaker? Didn’t Mew explain the War to you himself?”

    “You’re on their side!” Raudra spat and scorched Raichu and Stantler with a Fire Blast. “You’re all on their side! Coming here and kidnapping our sister and lying!”
    It really wouldn't surprise me if this is the last straw and how it started. With their little fight being the match to the gas.

    Mutark was hanging onto Raudra by her claws, slashing at her belly with her teeth
    That sentence didn't make sense to me at first because I couldn't imagine how you would 'slash with teeth', but then I remembered what Mutark looked like. She is the one with the sabertooth like teeth, correct? Because if that's the one I'm thinking of then the quoted portion would work.

    “Tell me the truth or I’ll drop you.”
    That'll inspire the truth from someone lol

    “They’re lying!” Raudra hissed from her place on the ground. “It’s all trickery, all of it. They want to confuse us and string us along so they can laugh at us.”
    You summarized his paranoia extremely well in the paragraph after this quoted sentence, but I chose to comment on this because this whole chapter Raudra has rightly seemed somewhat more standoffish and psychotic than her sisters, and wanted to let you know I thought you did a good job slowly dripping the little hints about her throughout the chapter rather than commenting on it right away.

    into arguing voices and pain and sickness.
    You might consider losing sickness. Not only does arguing voices and pain read and end well, but sickness just feels kinda thrown in last minute with no real objective.

    All in all, it was a good chapter, which is what I've come to expect from you since I started reading the fic. Grammatically sound as always too, which is something I'm very envious of you for lol. I guess my only real gripe this chapter is with the length. I don't know how many pages it was but it felt like it ended before it should have. As I reached the end I found myself longing for the resolution of the conflict that's happening; which can be a good thing because it builds anticipation for the next chapter, but I felt like going a bit farther with it this time would have enhanced the read a little bit more. Besides that, nice job and I eagerly await the next chapter.

    An Ancient Treasure, a Terrible Price. Take the Risk, Eat the World
    (Final Chapter added 05-15-2014)

    -Thanks to PopPrincess_Lyra for the banner above, and Sworn Metalhead for the banner below -


    All Hail the Six Kings...
    Chapter One added (12-07-2014)

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