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Thread: ~ Choice and Consequence ~

  1. #51
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    w00tness on your latest chapter! Keegan catches a butterfree and gets Koga ****** off at her all in one stroke!

    I noticed you misspelt faint attack. you spelt it feint attack. other than that i'd say you're clean!

    well, gotta go!

    L@er!
    The Corei Quest's latest chapter: Chapter Forty Seven: Tricks of the Trade (24 April 2014)
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  2. #52
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    Okay. So I'm back. ^^; I totally failed at trying to like quit serebii. I blame the awesome authors here and the fact i wanted to read some stuffs today. ^^; And now that the loading isn't as bad as before, I'm back.
    So now to the review. I SO REMEMBER THIS PART!!!! It was pretty much exactly the same as the last version as you said. But I did notice you made it better. I don't know how yet but I'll figure it out soon. ^^; I hope the next one won't be a long wait. I'll give you errors in that one since i had to read 2 chapters. ^^
    jirachiman out
    Yes people, I have returned.
    Pearl FC. Arlen 1718-9710-2821
    Eat More Chicken!!! Self-proclaimed, unofficial spokesman for Chick-Fil-A.

  3. #53
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    ^.^;;

    Another fantastic chapter. I think this is one of the best chapters I have read thus far (though you haven't updated since the Dragon's Age of Destruction), solely because it involved one of my favorite bug-type pokemon--Butterfree. ^^ There isn't much to say at this point, for I'll be repeating myself several times throughout this story. Fantastic job && keep updating my dearest friend.
    ~ COMING SOON ~


    Shiftry leapt into the air, shrieking and roaring as she started glowing and absorbing the sun’s light. Leaves shifted and curled at the edges as footsteps sounded on the grass. Her eyes were wide open and crazed, glazed with a white radiance. A slim, dark figure spontaneously crossed overhead, elegant and mysterious as it disappeared within the rose-colored vortex. It all seemed like a medieval fantasy; only reality blended in to make it all seem practical. The new otherworldly essence drifted in, allowing the illumination to bless the woman and reveal herself to the world. Karen had arrived

  4. #54
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    And here I thought I'd been away for so long I'd be way behind. Looks like I only had one chapter to catch up on, but that's fine.

    Tarn followed, his slim body almost seeming to undulate through the mulch coating the forest floor.
    I love how you used undulate to describe Tarn, a water type,'s movements.

    That's all I've got for anything specific, the rest was great, and I think I liked this chapter alot more this time around.

    I remember when "The Authors' Cafe" was still "The Author's Cafe".
    Scrap, purple_drake, Ryano Ra, and Burnt Flower are my fanfic idols.


    --fics--
    NEW:Emory In Viridian- A more realistic spin on a new trainer trekking through Viridian Forest. [one-shot]
    NEW:Pallet Evening News [on DeviantArt and not Serebii due to short length] - A disturbing report from Pallet Town's evening news concerning three new trainers. [one-shot]
    Tómur -Dark contemplations of an undisclosed Pokemon about nothingness and the end. [one-shot]
    The Traveler - A lonely traveler encounters a malevolent pokemon during the night on Route 8. [one-shot]
    Redead - A Redead's perspective on its own life. [Legend of Zelda one-shot]

    More at my DeviantArt



  5. #55
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    A/N: *waves sheepishly* Hello, people, please don't kill me. I have various excuses for not updating in so long, some good, some bad. I won't get into them. Suffice to say, I'm not happy with the chapter but it's been too long and now it's done and edited, I may as well put it up, right?

    Firstly, to those reviewers I never replied to--thank you for letting me know you were still reading! ^.^;

    Secondly, this chapter has upped the story's rating to PG-15 for excessive language use, so be warned--there's a lot of swearing in here. I didn't intend it, but Tynan just wouldn't shut his mouth, so blame him. Plus, I've gone back and revamped some stuff in previous chapters (or will have, eventually. The idea of having to reformat all those bold and italics tags is... ehhhh). Nothing major, really; just stuff like... now Tarn and Keegan don't seem to bond as easily as they did before, that kinda thing. Noticeable if you were to go back and read it, perhaps, but not terribly important in the big picture.

    Finally, I want to dedicate this chapter, despite its suckiness, to two members of this forum: Flannery and Arwen, because they both cared enough to take the time and PM me with encouragement about this chapter (even though it probably didn't help as much as we all hoped).

    Unfortunately, the next chapter won't be out quickly either. It won't take as long as this one (I hope/promise/Godhelpme) but some of the upcoming plot needs rethinking and I'm in my final semester of Uni (as in, I'll be graduating at the end of this year, eep!) so... yeah. Sorry! ;_;

    To make up for it though, here are some pictures of my OC characters, including one who will appear in about chapter 22. :3 I have more, but they're not inked, so you don't get to see them. Yet.

    http://purple-drake.deviantart.com/a...on-OC-93638677
    http://purple-drake.deviantart.com/a...on-OC-93638867
    http://purple-drake.deviantart.com/a...on-OC-93638997

    That's it. ^^ Enjoy, and have fun pointing out all the suckiness, especially towards the end.


    ~ VII ~
    TO RECOVER WHAT IS LOST


    STORM CLOUDS.

    Brother could hear them, taste them, feel their chill in his fur, their blinding illumination making his vision flare white every time lightning flashed.

    He licked the air almost pathetically, hoping beyond hope that the Wish-Giver might have answered his prayers, but all he could taste was water, water and trees and soil. There was nothing to follow. There was no trail. There was nothing.

    “Brrreeeenn!” he keened in frustration, dark paws kneading the ground in little showers of dirt every time he pulled up with his claws. The bush under which he was sheltered kept on dripping, leaving his short fur sodden, his long ears drooping on either side of his head beneath the weight.

    The Woodland of Bondage was nearby, and with it, the Town of Ensnarement. They were the icons of the area—that girl, that human, she was sure to have gone there.

    But the legends-damned sky-water washed away any chance of picking up that familiar and loathed scent, warm and spicy, tempered by the tang of salt. He couldn’t follow her through the Path of Turning Circles, had lost her trail in the Woodlands because of the weather, could only assume that she had been to the Town of Ensnarement.

    Now she was gone, and Bairn, sweet, frail Bairn, had gone with her.

    And he didn’t know where.

    O Guiding Light, show me where the Stained has walked, so I may seek my pack, my litter-mate, my brother, he thought despairingly, casting the prayer up to the heavens for the Guardian to hear.

    He would wander forever if he had to, but he couldn’t afford to waste the time; there was no telling how she could hurt him, subvert him, if Brother got lost, if Bairn was left in her clutches for too long.

    The sky roared, water began to fall, and Brother could only flop miserably down to the semi-dry ground, at a complete loss, his lithe body beginning to shiver a little in the cold.

    And then came running the human answer to his prayer.



    Thunder boomed overhead, the wind lashing at the foliage, whipping the leaves. Rain pelted the ground like bombs, the crackle of lightning casting an eerie, intermittent glow over the path.

    Damn—damn—damn—damn!! Tynan cursed inwardly, one arm raised to stave off the downpour, the other clutching his bag close, his boots pounding the wet dirt as he ran down the path which supposedly led to Fuchsia City. How people can stand this—I can’t believe I left home for this!

    His sleeveless green coat flicked and flapped around his legs, the material heavy with dampness, dripping in his wake, its hem peppered with mud that flecked onto his trousers with every step.

    Cover, I need cover—damn this storm, anyway, no wonder no one ever goes travelling—

    Well, no one worth knowing, at any rate.


    The path dipped, making him step through a puddle before he could detour, water splashing up to drench the tops of his boots, but he didn’t do much more than curse; there was no point in stopping, he’d only get wetter.

    I’ll probably reach the gym sooner than the Centre, it’s on the outskirts—I can wait there until it stops raining, the city proper isn’t far after that.

    Thank God for that, at least. He’d left Celadon City several days ago, but after having travelled Cycling Road and been confronted by those idiot bikers, he was more than ready to get into a real city. He didn’t know whether what’s-her-name, Keegan, would still be there or not—or whether he’d beaten her there—but he figured if she’d left then someone would’ve seen which way she went and he could trail along.

    He did, briefly, contemplate the thought of travelling with her—but he didn’t want her to start getting expectations and he didn’t intend to follow her for long anyways. Just until he got on his feet, so to speak. Or until he managed to get a clue as to her and Erika’s secret.

    Although he’d be damned if he was gonna keep on if it was still raining by then…

    “Bruuuun!”

    The abrupt howl made Tynan recoil in surprise as a darting figure of yellow and pitch-black exploded from the foliage lining the thin path. The young man swore heavily, instinctively dodging away from it with soggy footsteps, casting up sheets of mulch and water.

    The figure—an umbreon?! Tynan thought incredulously—skidded across the width of the track, fur bristling wildly and fangs bared in a snarl, its tail and swept-back ears quivering with hostility. Without pausing for breath it launched itself at Tynan in a flurry of leaves.

    Shit!

    Tynan jerked aside, his boots slipping on the slick terrain to send him crashing to the ground with a breath-stealing thump, the pokéball he’d just managed to snatch up arcing through the air to bounce off a wrinkled tree nearby. The umbreon landed at the same time that a black-feathered murkrow coalesced into existence, sending herself into a shallow stoop with a powerful thrust of her wings.

    What the hell…? Tynan rolled over with a groan, pushing himself up onto his elbows, the sleeves of his white shirt soaked through and clinging to his skin. He lifted his head, shaking back his damp fringe, in time to see the umbreon leap away from his murkrow’s Peck attack, the flying pokémon flaring her wings just enough to angle her back upwards with a series of flaps.

    The umbreon came down on soft paws, head drawn back as shadows built in its throat, wisped over its muzzle, and Tynan’s heart jolted in recognition. Shadow Ball—

    “Murkrow, dodge!” he shouted desperately, rearing up onto his knees, oblivious to the leaves and mulch which clung to his clothes.

    “Krrawk?”

    The pokémon sounded startled, but at the hollow roar behind her she banked so sharply to the side that she rolled in midair, wings tucked close to her body as the dusty globe shot past, darkness steaming along behind it. The force of the attack sent the flyer tumbling, uncontrolled, even as the Shadow Ball punched through the canopy and writhed into nothingness beneath the downpour which greyed the sky.

    She didn’t manage to catch her balance before the umbreon was right there, but before any attack could connect the murkrow dissolved into red light, recalled.

    The umbreon hit ground once again, springing instead for the trainer who had just staggered to his feet, Murkrow’s pokéball still clutched in one hand. With a hiss through gritted teeth which may or may not have been a curse Tynan jerked instinctively back to avoid the umbreon who sailed past, boots kicking up mulch as he twisted to follow the pokémon’s path, a red-and-white pokéball in his hand and pitched before the umbreon had landed.

    It was a second after that that he realized the pokéball he’d just thrown was empty.

    Fuck!

    The umbreon skidded across mulch, legs outstretched to slow itself down, and turned around just in time to see the pokéball coming—and to wait for it, red eyes flashing with some emotion Tynan didn’t understand.

    Then it dematerialized, the pokéball dropping to the damp turf, vibrating fiercely for a moment before locking down.

    Tynan stared, slightly stunned. I caught it? But I didn’t even hurt it!

    Although…

    It was almost like it
    wanted to be caught…

    Thunder boomed, startling Tynan out of his thoughts, and the teen shook his head violently, hitching his bag up onto his shoulder. What the hell am I doing, I’ll get soaked if I don’t keep moving! Re-energised, the trainer dashed forward, scooping up the pokéball as he passed and continued on his run down the narrow path, casting up leaves and debris in his wake.

    And inside the sphere in his hand, a red-eyed pokémon trembled with adrenaline and wild glee, fighting the urge to burst from his prison, scornful at the human’s arrogance to think that he’d be so easily subdued. Take me to her, human.

    I will endure this indignity, I will endure being called
    your Kin, so long as you take me to her.



    The storm-pelted trees opened up ahead of the muddied path, and Tynan hissed in relieved triumph as he saw the tall, thick timber barrier fencing the gym’s extensive grounds, the wood darkened by water and the green roof tiles swept with rain. He ducked through the broken curtain of droplets that scattered over the ground at the edge of the clearing’s canopy, the hem of his coat further drenched by the mud splattering up behind him as he ran across the short hard-earthed stretch of ground between him and the mansion.

    The tall wooden gate stood open, the long trail leading up to the entrance lined with dishevelled bushes that were only a blur as Tynan hurried past, his only concern getting inside and out of the wet. It was only once the massive doors had shut behind him with a hollow boom that he stopped to relax, leaning wearily back against the timber and gulping down air, struggling to slow his pounding heart.

    The corridors in front of him and to his sides were all identical: narrow, the walls and floor plain wood, lit with round lights set into the ceiling. The thought of just waiting here at the doorway like a coward didn’t appeal to the turquoise-haired trainer, but as his breath slowed to something more comfortable Tynan eyed the passageway warily. He remembered reading about Koga and the Ninja Clan for his history class last year, and the Elite was known for booby-trapping the gym.

    True, all gym leaders usually set up some kind of obstacle, but the Fuchsia gym had made it a serious custom. The whole ninja thing, probably… they’ve always been really big on discipline.

    He could do without it, but considering that the gym doubled as a ninja training dojo, he wasn’t sure he was going to get a choice. The clans tended to be very… focused… when it came to their training. Those that are left, anyway. There aren’t many truly traditional establishments left anymore, let alone pure clan-lines.

    The Dragon Clan was very secretive about their techniques, the martial clans less so; but the ninjas tended to practise on visiting trainers.

    He shivered suddenly, the insidious cold of his wet clothing becoming apparent now he’d cooled down, and he wrapped his arms around himself, hunching his shoulders to keep his bag from falling. The action made him remember the pokéball he still clutched in his gloved hand, and he lifted it closer to study the black-and-yellow figure inside. Umbreon had good senses, he knew, aside from the fact that they practically had no sense of smell—and their sense of taste more than made up for that.

    But, looking at those flashing red eyes and the bristling fur, Tynan decided that this was the last place he should risk releasing a recalcitrant, probably hostile pokémon. It wouldn’t do any good for my reputation to be seen being disobeyed.

    Instead he called out his short, dinosaur-like marowak, who did have a good sense of smell and would be able to tell with reasonable success whether another pokémon was nearby.

    “Mmarr,” Marowak rumbled, leaning his weathered bone comfortably on his scrawny shoulder and cocking his head enquiringly at Tynan.

    The trainer shook his head, hugging himself tightly, brushing off a stray drop which trailed down his neck. “Just be ready,” he said a little wearily, fingering the semi-transparent surface of the umbreon’s pokéball. “I don’t intend on going in any further.” The Fuchsia gym was just about last on my list of gyms to visit. I don’t like the idea of being sneak-attacked.

    As if those two nights he’d spent outside hadn’t been enough—he’d hardly slept at all, because of all the damn noises, the paranoid fear that something might attack him while he rested—to say nothing of the damned rain. And then there had been those idiot bikers who’d ambushed him on the Cycling Road—not once, but twice, one gang at the entrance to Celadon and a couple of grimy wannabes nearer Fuchsia.

    So in all, Tynan wasn’t a happy camper.

    He was right about one thing, however.

    He didn’t get a choice.

    From somewhere nearby there came a muffled pop, following by a low hiss, and automatically Tynan whirled around, only to be met with a stream of acrid smoke. He flinched away from it, one hand flashing up to cover his mouth and nose, the air harsh on his throat as he breathed.

    “Mmraa!” Marowak cringed, hunching down as though it would be help him avoid the fumes and gesturing insistently down a corridor with his bone, his brown tail cutting through the smoke which billowed around his scrawny form. Tynan grimaced at the thought—deeper into the lion’s den—but then another shallow breath caused him to choke and cough. With a mental curse he turned on his heel and fled the main doors in a cloud of miasma, his marowak a swift figure beside him.

    His rain-slick boots slipped on the polished floor when he tried to take the first corner, and with an automatic oath on his lips his hands shot out to snatch for balance. As if on cue there came a howl of warning from Marowak, a second before something hard hit the back of Tynan’s knees, making them buckle.

    “Sh—”

    He was cut off by an explosion of breath when he hit the floorboards, automatically curling over the twinging shoulder which had landed first. “Maro— the hell—?!” he gasped, head aching slightly with the abrupt change in position.

    “Mmmrr,” Marowak rumbled, pointing his bone into the airspace above his trainer. With a slight huff Tynan rolled half onto his back, feet slipping as he tried to push himself up, shoving his bag aside—and finally saw the twinkle of the electrified spinarak web suspended at what had been his chest height.

    What… the…? He stared dumbly, unable to reconcile the sight as truth, unable to accept that the ninjas had actually set a trap so dangerous for him. Trick panels and smoke bombs were all well and good, but outright electrocution…?!

    “Mmarrr!” Marowak jabbed him impatiently on the shoulder, causing the young man to automatically jerk away with a hiss when the club hit developing bruises, snapping him out of his disbelief.

    I need to get out of this nuthouse, was the first thing to come into his mind, followed by the incredulous thought of: they just tried to kill me!

    The idea spurred him back to his feet, his wet coat heavy around his legs, once again remembering the umbreon only when he put his hand out to push himself off the wall. Grimacing, Tynan stuffed the pokéball into its pouch on his belt, slung his bag onto his shoulder, and ducked cautiously under the sparking line to move down the corridor.

    He only made the first few steps before Marowak stopped him with an out-thrust paw and a terse grunt. Unthinkingly the trainer froze in place, chest clenching in sudden apprehension and eyes darting around the passageway to find what had given Marowak pause. With a practised flick the dinosaur-like pokémon sent his bone spinning end-over-end down the hall, ripping through glittering spinarak silk with sparks of severed currents, threads trailing like banners behind it. The club struck the wall at the far end of the corridor, dropping to the floor with a clatter and making Tynan twitch.

    Now is it safe?” he asked with a mixture of guardedness and slight desperation, shifting his weight in preparation for movement—either forward or back, he wasn’t fussed as long as he could get out of there. I can’t believe the Association actually supports this place!

    A floorboard stirred beneath his foot and his stomach dropped as he froze for the second time in under a minute. You must be joking.

    “Marowak…”

    Good God, that could not be his voice—his voice wasn’t that high, and his voice didn’t shake

    And then he really didn’t have time to think about it, because there came a wooden clunk from somewhere behind them. Eyes wide in his ashen face, Tynan twisted slightly around to see the rest of the hall, thready wisps of smoke drifting around the corner from the entrance.

    He swallowed, his heart beating painfully fast in his ribs as he turned further, trying to see something he didn’t know was there. “Maro— Marowak—what—”

    His foot slipped, the floorboard skidding out from underneath him, and with a curse he staggered, struggling to keep his balance. The walls shuddered, groaned, a panel at the near end sliding up into the ceiling, and suddenly Tynan really didn’t care about the fact that he’d almost gone ass-first towards the ground.

    He wasn’t exactly a film buff, but he’d seen enough movies to know what was going to happen next.

    Fuck.

    “Mmmarrr!”
    Marowak tugged urgently on his trainer’s coat, and without waiting to see what was going to emerge from the opening—although judging by the rattles there were a lot of them—the pair turned on their heels and ran.

    “Trrrrrrzzzz…”

    A high buzz filled the hall, the air almost seeming to vibrate with the sound, counterpointed by the clatter of many round bodies against wood.

    Tynan’s back prickled wildly with fearful anticipation, his boots pounding the floor in unison with his heart against his ribs, but he resisted the urge to look back; he knew what they were.

    Voltorb! Why the hell did it have to be voltorb—they’re fucking Bomb Balls!

    He pushed himself to go faster, his bag dragging at his shoulder and coat flapping behind him, Marowak’s pattering footfalls an accompaniment to the thud of Tynan’s steps and the slight whisper of dragging silk as it clung to their feet.

    The end of the corridor approached in a blur of wooden walls and near-panic, the air behind them crackling with sparks of electricity. The floor shuddered beneath the force of the rolling pokémon, Tynan’s ears ringing with their unending, high-pitched drone to the point that it felt like it was the only thing in the entire world—all except for the harsh rasp in the back of his throat and the stitch growing in his side.

    Then he was there, and he was going too fast, and with a curse he slammed shoulder-first into the wall at the far end—

    A hidden panel gave way beneath him as he hit and he hurtled into the unlit room beyond, feet slipping on the layer of spinarak silk. Already off-balanced by an expected collision, he crashed to the floor with a whump that left him breathless and wheezing, his previously uninjured shoulder taking the brunt of the blow.

    No time no time no time—

    Red-faced, Tynan rolled over clumsily, scrabbling into the small room and shoving the hidden door closed with his feet as Marowak darted in, snatching up his bone club when he swept past where it lay. The trainer caught a glimpse of the red-and-white mob packing the corridor beyond—I was right, they’re voltorb—and his stomach twisted violently with a terrifying realization—it’s not gonna stop them, it didn’t stop me and it won’t stop them and they’ll explode and I’m a goner—automatically scrambling back from the crackling juggernaut.

    The panel clicked shut, outlined only by the bright glow of electricity.

    Marowak snarled from somewhere beside him, barely audible over the ear-splitting buzz which vibrated the close walls.

    Something hurtled across the darkened space, striking a tab on the wall with a thud.

    A trave fell across the door just as the voltorb hit the other side of the barrier. The small room rocked violently with multiple explosions, the near-deafening sounds making Tynan clutch his ears and curl into himself. The panel was almost blasted off its hinges, slivers of wood bursting inwards, the timber splitting, dust and debris billowing in the confined space.

    Then it was over, and for a few seconds Tynan just lay and trembled, struggling to control his gasping breaths. When he finally unfolded himself from his foetal position it was with the twinge of aching muscles, his eyes wide in a pale face as he pushed himself up just enough to look blankly back in the direction of the still-very-much intact barrier, ignoring the cloud of dust settling around him. There’s no way…

    “Mmrrr,”
    Marowak grunted, accompanied by the scrape of tough hide on timber, and Tynan took a deep, shaky breath, deliberately pushing away the thought of just how close he’d been to those explosions. Shit, but they didn’t teach me anything about this at the University!

    Another deep breath. Light. I need light. Almost immediately he decided against letting Flareon out; the room was stuffy enough as it was, and even though he’d been cold not long ago he now felt flushed, his clothes sticking to him damply. Instead he fumbled for the penlight keychain he usually kept on his belt, clicking it on so that the thin bean wavered over the timber walls, his hand still not quite steady enough for his liking.

    Scrambling to his feet, he hitched his bag onto his shoulder, taking a cautious step forward and kicking something that rattled across the slightly debris-strewn floor.

    Fuck!

    He flinched and froze, his heart leaping back into his throat after just having settled. Wasn’t he ever going to catch a break?!

    “Mmmr,” Marowak scoffed at his trainer’s reaction, waddling into the dim light and picking up his bone, the glow playing across the sharp edges of his sleek skull helmet.

    Oh. was all Tynan thought for a moment, recalling the sudden, sharp motion in the air in front of him just before the voltorb had struck the panel. A second later he shook his head as though to throw off the confusion, discomforted by his uncertainty, unnerved by his position. I don’t know what the hell I was thinking when I decided to do this, he thought bitterly as he bent down to scoop up his bag. These people are nuts. That Keegan girl is nuts. The League is fucking nuts!

    Scanning the ground with his torch, he approached the door warily, the wood furry with splinters and splits. It was only when he looked closer, shining the light over a particularly deep groove, that he realized the panel was significantly thicker than its weight and ease of movement would suggest, likely due to the matte grey material behind the wood.

    Lead. The fucking door is lead-lined.

    With something between a sigh and a groan he thunked his head against the door, resting his brow against the warm timber and closing his eyes wearily. I should’ve fucking known. Not even the ninjas are fanatical enough to kill challenging trainers. If Marowak hadn’t dropped the beam then they probably would’ve done it themselves in a second.

    Which meant they were watching him—he already knew that.

    It was just that he hadn’t exactly behaved in a manner befitting himself.

    I hate this fucking gym.

    “Mmmarr!”


    Something tugged impatiently on his still-wet coat, but still Tynan snatched an extra second or two of motionlessness, aware of his various aches and the adrenaline-weary drag of his limbs. This was not what he wanted to be doing when he left home, this was not how things were supposed to go! When I get out of here…

    When he got out of there he didn’t know what he was going to do, but it included putting the Fuchsia City gym on his list of places he never wanted to go again. In fact he was quite willing to imagine the place didn’t exist. Period.

    I’ll check out the city, he thought viciously, opening his eyes and scowling at a fuzzy splinter just in front of them. The zoo. Maybe I’ll see if I can’t catch something in the Safari Zone, if I have time—not like I’m short on cash, not with what I had saved and the allowance from the Association.

    Anything to expunge my memories of
    this place!

    “Mmaarr!”


    “I know, I know,” Tynan grumbled into the panel, and with a huff the trainer raised his head, blinking in the dim light.

    Now what? he thought grumpily. We can’t get out this way, the voltorb will be blocking the door—and I’ve been close enough to voltorb to last me a lifetime, I am not going to go wading through them. Besides, how do I know they’re all fainted? I could go out there and get exploded for real!

    “Mmaarraww!”


    Something hit him on the back of the legs and Tynan jumped, his heart leaping to his throat as he whirled around, his penlight wavering over an impatient-looking Marowak. The dinosaur pokémon grunted as though to say ‘finally!’, pointing impatiently with his bone at the opposite wall.

    For a moment Tynan couldn’t see what the big deal was, but then the beam from his penlight played over the wood in just the right way and he saw the fracture-thin shadow that was the seam between door and jamb. He resisted the urge to slap his head, feeling his cheeks warm in embarrassment. A second door. I should’ve thought of that.

    Damn ninja.


    He and Marowak spent the next ten minutes making sure the door actually was safe to go through, as quickly and thoroughly as they could in the dim light. When they finished, Tynan eyed the timber warily, still skittish, but his desire to get the hell out of that cursed gym overruled his fear. He prodded the door cautiously near the edge, the weight distribution causing it to swing open easily and without a sound.

    The room on the other side appeared even darker than the stuffy antechamber, and Tynan’s mouth turned down in displeasure. The beam from his penlight was like a pinprick in the gloom, their footsteps sounding loud on the floorboards as they entered guardedly. Everything seemed muffled and close, and Tynan could swear he could hear something in the walls, but when he paused to listen there was only the faint drum of rain on the roof.

    Still storming, I guess.

    The surface beneath his feet softened, but angling the penlight down only showed a glimmery silver carpet… which, considering he was in the middle of a ninja’s dojo, was kind of strange.

    Make that very strange.

    Cautiously, his heart doing a slow pound low in his ribs, Tynan scanned the room with the penlight, but he couldn’t see much of the walls—it seemed to get kind of foggy the further the dim light had to travel. “Marowak, can you—”

    He walked into something.

    His heart moved from low gear to high and he jerked automatically away from the thin web with a curse, but the threads had already clung to his skin and clothes. A second later they pulled taut and he was yanked off his feet, dropping his penlight, airborne for a gut-wrenching moment before his back hit soft wall with a whoomp. His boots found the floor, his bag bounced against his side, still dangling from his shoulder, and he found himself bound to the thick silver web coating the timber wall.

    He snarled uselessly into the dark, hands flexing with adrenaline and resentment, straining against the tough silk holding him still. Shit, I am sick and tired of being flung around!

    “Marowak!” he snapped, eyes scanning the darkened room. The beam from the penlight was a soft glow somewhere out ahead of him, illuminating the ‘carpet’—more webs—but other than that there was no movement.

    “Mrra-rrr,” Marowak’s stilted, disembodied voice sounded, but Tynan couldn’t tell from where.

    I’ve had it with this fucking gym! he growled to himself angrily, tugging at his bonds, twisting his wrists this way and that, to no avail.

    “I’d stop doing that if I were you,” said an unfamiliar, female voice, and Tynan jerked in surprise, his head snapping up to search the dark room.

    “Stop hiding and show yourself!” he shouted, his tone thick and shaking with anger and annoyance.

    “Temper,” the woman chided with slight amusement, but the ceiling flared with over-bright lights, making the trainer flinch away and squeeze his eyes shut against the dazzle.

    After a few moments the glow through his eyelids abated and he cracked them open cautiously, squinting a little through the lingering glare, his breath and heartbeat sounding loud in his ears.

    The first thing he saw was Marowak ensnared in the corner, the pokémon straining against the silk cocooning him, his eyes narrowed and concentrated as he stretched—futilely—for the bone lying on a bare patch of floor nearby.

    The second thing he saw was the massive, red-bodied spider clinging to the opposite wall, its pincers moving slowly. A chill ran down Tynan’s spine, his eyes lingering on the pokémon for several long moments before he managed to tear his eyes away. Shit, that’s a big fucking bug.

    That was when he finally noticed the young woman standing a half-dozen feet in front of him, clad in a dark, thigh-length kimono, her pink hair tied in a short, spiky ponytail and her lower face obscured by the magenta scarf wound around her neck, draping down her back. He could only see her eyes, slanted and amused.

    The teen bristled. Smoke me out, electrocute me, scare me to death, humiliate me, but don’t you dare fucking laugh and think you’re going to get away with it!

    “Who the hell are you?!”

    …smooth, Montgomery, real smooth…

    The woman raised a hand before her eyes, a pokéstar caught between two fingers, and seemed to smile coyly. “I am Janine, daughter of Koga, gym leader of Fuchsia City.”

    The gym leader’s daughter. Shit! Tynan cursed with a particularly savage yank at his restraints, his wrist throbbing when the silk dug into his skin. He didn’t notice—his tingling fingers had unexpectedly brushed the round form of a pokéball beneath his coat.

    Abruptly only half his attention was on Janine; the rest was diverted to straining his bonds, stretching for the elusive device as discreetly as he could possibly manage while praying it wasn’t the umbreon’s. Maybe the ninja weren’t actually out to kill him, but they were doing a fucking good imitation and that still made them nuts in his book.

    “You know,” Janine said almost conversationally, crossing one arm over her stomach and moving the pokéstar aside so she could study him without it being in the way. “It’s usually good manners for a challenging trainer to introduce themselves first.”

    Tynan mustered the best sneer he could manage with his heart pounding in his throat and his hands beginning to throb persistently, threatening to go numb, as he continued to work at the silk. “Then you’re not a very good ninja, are you? I only came into the gym to get out of the fucking rain!”

    “Ma-aarr!” Marowak growled an echo to his trainer’s shout, heaving against the web pinning him down and drawing an admonishing chitter from the spindly-legged ariados on the wall.

    “Oh my.” The pokéstar shifted back in front of Janine’s face, the flatter side pressed against the cloth over her mouth as though in self-chastisement. It might’ve been convincing, too, except that her brown eyes were gleaming with laughter, their corners crinkling with an otherwise unseen smile. “My mistake.”

    Stop. Fucking. Laughing. Tynan snarled inwardly just as he managed to get a hold on the pokéball through his coat. His heart skipped a beat and he had to fight the wave of satisfaction which swept through him lest it show on his face.

    “Just as well, I suppose,” Janine mused, apparently not noticing Tynan’s struggles or the reason for them. “Quite aside from the fact that my father isn’t present at this time, you’re clearly not a very good trainer.”

    Excuse me?! Tynan snapped back to attention with a snarl. “What did you just say?!” he demanded angrily with a jerk at the ariados silk, wrenching his shoulders and causing him to hiss at the twinges that ran down his arms.

    Janine raised a delicate eyebrow, in disdain or amusement Tynan couldn’t tell, but neither sat well with him. “I did warn you not to do that, you know,” she observed mildly.

    “Answer the fucking question!” Tynan hissed, feeling stupid as soon as he’d said it, just because the question itself hadn’t been particularly intelligent.

    “Well,” Janine said slowly, drawn out, as though debating whether or not he was worth her wisdom. “It’s just that it’s usually the trainer who commands the pokémon, rather than the other way around.”

    What the fucking hell does that mean?! Tynan gritted his teeth furiously. “If you’re going to talk, at least make some fucking sense!”

    The woman sighed behind her makeshift mask, shaking her head slightly without taking her eyes off him—her eyes, which were suddenly serious and… pitying?

    “A good trainer isn’t made through education, wealth or the possession of strong pokémon,” she said quietly, and pointed at Marowak with her pokéstar. “Let me guess—this one belonged to a family member or friend before he started travelling with you, correct?”

    Tynan tensed, suddenly on edge, but he still didn’t take the chance to make his move, sensing she had a point to make and curious to know what it was despite her attitude. “What of it?”

    “Because,” Janine shook the pokéstar at the dinosaur, the pokémon watching her carefully. “He’s the one making the decisions—he’s the one who warned you about the ariados webs, he’s the one who blocked the door, he’s the one who got you out of the antechamber, all without your help.”

    The turquoise-haired boy flushed, opening his mouth to defend himself, but Janine wasn’t finished. “He’s the one who’s done just about everything, and you’ve just been following his lead.” The pokéstar shifted from Marowak to point accusingly at Tynan. “He’s the pokémon. You’re the trainer. It’s your responsibility to lead, not his.”

    The pokéstar was pulled back, the woman resting her elbow on her other arm, the bladed ball held next to her face. “It’s just as well you’re not here for a gym battle,” she concluded grimly. “You’re nowhere near ready for one.”

    Tynan ground his teeth, his face as hot as a furnace as he struggled to think of a retort—and yet, he couldn’t find one.

    Because she was right.

    Fuck it all, despite everything, she was right.

    What the hell am I doing wrong?

    For a moment in which he was stuck in a quandary, that was all he could wonder, suspended between shame and anger and what realisation his pride didn’t immediately quash.

    Then he shook his head violently, making himself shake in his bonds. Stop it! I can’t get distracted now—if I’m to save any face at all, I have to get out of here under my own power.

    His eyes narrowed. “I may not be ready for a gym battle,” he growled, his heart pounding and head throbbing with tension, determination thrumming in his arms and hands and veins. “But I’m more than capable of taking you on!”

    And he heaved at the silk binding him, throwing himself to the side to toss an abnormally warm pokéball forward with a short jerk. It hit the cushioned ground less than a foot in front of him and exploded in a burst of red light and the roar of purple flames, Tynan already hunching away from the light and heat.

    “Smokescreen!”

    With a swirl of smoke the flames turned to smog, the Smokescreen blanketing the room. Holding his breath and blinking rapidly against the thick, ashy haze, Tynan pulled hard at his restraints. With only a little pressure they snapped, charred and weakened by Flareon’s downplayed Will-O-Wisp. He shook them off, counting himself lucky that it had been Flareon. He had spent a lot of time training with the eeveelution to maximise his speed and efficiency by preparing moves while still in the pokéball and taking advantage of their opponents’ delays and his own attacks.

    He chose to ignore the similarity in that method with the ninja’s own techniques.

    “Two against one is a little unfair,” Janine’s amused voice seemed to echo through the smog.

    “Fuck you,” Tynan snarled, his voice strained as he yanked himself away from the wall entirely, raising an arm to cover his mouth with his shirt.

    “Language,” Janine chastised in a singsong voice which resonated into a never-ending laugh, making Tynan’s back prickle and the trainer spin around automatically before righting himself.

    Breathing shallowly through the material over his face, he stumbled in Marowak’s direction and almost ended up tripping over the pokémon’s hunched form, who was busy straining against the weakened silk while hiding his nose in his paws to temper the stench. Eyes watering fiercely and throat burning because of the smoke, Tynan caught his balance and snatched up the bone Marowak had finally abandoned, using it to break the threads without them sticking to his hands.

    Marowak reared up, snapping the last of his bonds, and Tynan thrust the makeshift weapon at the pokémon, already turned half away to searching the thinning smoke for Flareon. The bone had barely left his fingers before he caught sight of a fox-like silhouette standing watch through the nearest veil of the haze, its ears tilted and straining for warning sounds and long fur wavering like sputtering flames.

    Tynan tried to think quickly, but he could hardly see or breathe, the ash thick in his mouth and nose and against his smarting skin. Smokescreen probably wasn’t a good idea, he realised with dismay, because even though it had provided him with cover it was now a burden.

    But what else could I have done?

    “Ariados, Constrict!”

    Tynan’s heart leapt to his throat, his stomach twisting so sharply that for a moment he thought he’d been the target.

    Which wasn’t all that impossible, considering she’d been targeting him almost directly since he’d walked in the door.

    No, she hasn’t, he realised. Everything she’s done ‘til now has threatened me and Marowak.

    Which meant she would target all of them, catch all of them in one attack.

    Which meant Flareon wouldn’t be able to burn the cords without hurting him more.

    Which meant…

    Stop thinking!

    “Protect!” he shouted desperately just as the lingering smoke seemed to shift beneath the cutting edge of twinkling silk.

    “Mmarr!” For what seemed like the nth time, something hit the back of Tynan’s knees. He buckled with a curse, head spinning with the movement, as there was a flare of green light in his fire pokémon’s general direction. A dully glittering veil rolled over them, missing Tynan’s head by an inch as he pushed himself to his elbows. The silk broke upon it and it shattered into drifting shards of fading light, the threads floating gently to the cushioned ground.

    “Mmaaar-a!” With a grunt Marowak pulled back his throwing arm and sent his bone spinning away into the thinning haze on the heels of the Protect’s vanishing glow. Tynan staggered to his feet, coughing and pressing the heel of his palm to his throbbing temple.

    “We need an exit,” he said hoarsely, the lightly burned skin of his face pulling slightly as he spoke. Preferably not the one we came in by.

    Marowak snorted in an ‘well that’s obvious’ manner, his bone returning to him in a waft of smoke and slapping into his paw. Too late they saw the silk attached, and hardly had the dinosaur pokémon’s stubby fingers grasped around it then the thread yanked and brought the ariados hurtling through the last wisp of miasma, its spindly yellow-ringed legs cocked and braced for a landing.

    The sheer suddenness and proximity of a bug that size made Tynan jerk back, his heel catching on a knot of silk in the ‘carpet’ and making him stumble. The sharp movement made his head pound so he wasn’t sure if what came out of his mouth was a curse or a cry or an actual order, but Marowak ducked and tugged hard on his weapon, looping the silk around three of the spider’s legs. The thread slingshot around, hauling the ariados with it on a collision course with the not-so-far wall.

    Before the pokémon could hit, air hummed and a draught of wind blades sliced through the silk, passing so near to Tynan’s head that he ducked to the ground with a curse and decided to stay there. With a convulsive motion of its legs the ariados freed itself, shooting a pin of thread to catch the wall and flip itself upright.

    “Fire Spin, Bonemerang!” Tynan shouted, jabbing a finger at the ariados while craning his head to find the bat pokémon somewhere above. Fire roared past as Tynan scrambled back, wiping silk off his hands, while Marowak ducked low to avoid the flames, hurling his bone into the inferno.

    The ariados shot a thread to the ceiling, gliding upwards on a glistening cord of silk and avoiding the worst of the flames. There came a puff of embers as the bone came hurtling from the roiling streamer of fire, echoed by a blaze of sparks as Flareon exploded out in a Quick Attack, fur ablaze with red and gold veins of fire.

    The crobat banked with a silent twist of its lower wings, the blackened club soaring past. With an urgent chitter the ariados tugged on its thread to swing itself out of the way, and Flareon rebounded off the scorched wall with the crack of smouldering embers.

    Timber splintered and collapsed beneath the fox’s burning paws, a panel shifting beneath his weight to swivel open, charred ariados silk stretched across the gap like a damaged veil.

    Tynan’s head had snapped at up the first sound of wood breaking and for a moment he could only stare at the prospect of freedom only a few feet away, certain it was a trick.

    Then: “Protect!” he roared to both his pokémon as Marowak caught his bone with a grunt and Flareon landed on a patch of cleared floor, primly shaking ash off his paws. Two heads cocked towards their trainer in response to his order, and then the corner was cast with double films of fragmented green light.

    A second later the first one rippled and shattered beneath the pounding of sludge bombs, purple gunk splattering over wood and web. The second hummed and splintered the way of the other as Pin Missiles hailed down upon it, but shards of light fizzled to nothingness only on shimmering silk, the panel in the wall swinging ever so slightly and the sound of running footsteps muffled by thick walls.

    In a hollow across the room, Janine just smiled slightly beneath the mask of her red scarf, recalling both her pokémon with shafts of red light to the pokéstars between her fingers. He has potential.

    Potential, but little experience. He’s not worthy. Yet.


    She let him go.

    Until he was ready, they wouldn’t meet again.

    * * *
    Last edited by purple_drake; 11th August 2008 at 2:51 PM.

  6. #56
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    The boat rocked beneath the splash and swell of waves, the breeze sharp with salt. Koga stood motionless at the stern’s rail with his hands clasped loosely behind his back, the wind ruffling his spiky hair and olive-green uniform, tugging at his long red scarf.

    Behind him the polished deck was a flurry of movement, black-uniformed agents hard at work with the cargo and ship. Black-uniformed, but not in the traditional sense; their clothes consisted of lightweight pants and sleeveless shirts only, with no sign of any distinguishing marks. A ship was far too public to take risks.

    Koga wasn’t paying attention, however. For the thousandth time since he’d come in from the Safari Zone, his thoughts were turned to that interfering (and irritating) young woman. It bothered him—not the fact that she’d meddled in his business, oh no. He was used to that, considering who his associates were and what his occupation was. What bothered him most was that she bothered him, and she bothered him because she was so familiar.

    He ran her image over in his mind once again. Slender and tanned, with bright blue eyes shaded by a bobbing fringe, set in a thin face made larger by the blonde, red-tinged hair pulled back into a doubled-over ponytail.

    I supposed she could be reminding me of someone else, he mused. It hadn’t just been her looks which seemed familiar, but her single-mindedly passionate attitude and the knowledgeable, determined look in her eyes.

    Internally he sighed; he was getting nowhere, and now she was becoming a distraction he couldn’t afford. He pushed the issue from his thoughts to be pondered on a later date and turned back to his present task, running over his recent meeting with his associates in his mind.

    “Are you shittin’ me?!” Lieutenant Surge leaned into the vidscreen as though he could loom over Sabrina menacingly as he so often did when he was talking to someone who irritated him, his thick eyebrows drawn forward in an expression of hostile annoyance.

    The slender young woman merely sighed and flipped her long blue-black hair back over the shoulder of her short-sleeved dress.


    “You heard me,” she answered unemotionally, crossing her arms over the glaring red ‘R’ on the front of her dress, the long black sleeves playing a stark contrast to the white material. “He has no place in my squadron. He failed to complete his mission and allowed his team-mate to be captured with potentially dangerous information in hand.”

    Surge growled. “And what makes you think I’d want a pantywaist like him in my squadron?!”

    “Now really,” Koga interposed himself before the argument could become truly heated; both his comrades could be stubborn, especially because both of them were dominating and Surge, in particular, wasn’t used to be questioned. “Haven’t you ever heard the saying, ‘discretion is the better part of valour’?”

    Surge scowled and Sabrina’s head moved slightly, an indication that she’d shifted to look at Koga’s image on her viewscreen. “If he hadn’t run,” the ninja continued, “We would have no detailed knowledge of the incident.”

    For a moment there was silence; then Sabrina lowered her head, conceding the point. “Nonetheless, Koga, I don’t tolerate failure. He’d do better elsewhere.”

    That Sabrina didn’t tolerate failure was true, Koga reflected, but Surge didn’t tolerate betrayal, so the redheaded grunt they were currently discussing wasn’t going to have a good time under the former lieutenant’s command.

    Then again, it could be good for the man.


    “Fine,” Surge grumbled, glowering off-screen at the wall and almost absently cracking his knuckles. “He can learn the meaning of teamwork aboard the S.S. Aqua.”

    “It also means we’ll have to forget out plans for the Goldenrod Game Corner,” Sabrina settled back into her chair with a slight, displeased twist to her thin lips. “The Association is on alert there now. However, that is the least of our worries.”

    Koga’s mouth drew tight; ah, yes. The ESP: a fragment of technology from a high-class experiment which had recently and inexplicably gone missing. That damnable object which was such a sophisticated piece of hardware they didn’t even know how to use it anymore. Not that it was their fault; almost everyone who had been involved with the original project was dead.

    And the one that wasn’t was no longer on their side.


    “It was under the scientists’ jurisdiction, wasn’t it?” The spiky-haired blonde on one side of Koga’s vidscreen rubbed his clean-shaven chin, eyes narrowed in thought.

    “It was under Blaine’s,” Sabrina answered with more frost than before, and Surge growled slightly.

    “Hasn’t he been found yet?!”

    “No,” Koga answered flatly, fingers tapping an idle rhythm against the arm folded across his chest. “Harry has had no luck thus far.”

    “Well, fix it!” The military man snarled, jabbing a finger at the viewscreen. “Cinnabar’s a god-damned island, how hard can it be?!”

    “He has hidden himself well.” Koga answered in grudging monotone. “But I will soon be departing for Cinnabar to supervise the search myself.”

    Surge settled back with a slight huff, apparently satisfied that Koga wasn’t neglecting his duty, and Sabrina tilted her head in acknowledgement. It was a little annoying, actually, that Harry was reflecting so badly upon him, but Janine deserved some time in charge of the gym and Koga had seen far too much of the Safari Zone in the past few months.

    Fortunately, this wasn’t only on his head. “No leads as to its location?”


    The question was directed at Surge; he had been in charge of its transport after its use in Professor Sebastian’s failed attempt at creating a Raikou-capturing system and subsequent retrieval for storage by the two agents entrusted with the mission. It had been delivered to Olivine and then simply disappeared.

    “No,” Surge muttered irritably.

    “I doubt it’s in their hands,” Sabrina put in calmly. “Erika has had the Celadon Game Corner under watch, but they have made no moves as of yet.”

    “Maybe not theirs, but the alternative isn’t much better,” Surge leaned on the desk, keying something into the keyboard with his spare hand until an image of a vaguely ‘A’ shaped emblem appeared in the corner of the screen. “Team Aqua. They raided the Tin Tower soon after it vanished.”

    “Why?” Sabrina demanded, and Surge scowled.

    “Fuck if I know, woman,” he retorted. “I ain’t the mind-reader here.”

    Sabrina’s eyes flashed—literally—but she said and did nothing but stare coldly into the screen. The lieutenant just chuckled lowly, too used to her glares to be too bothered.

    “So,” Koga murmured, tucking his chin down in thought, his darkened room shadowing his eyes to the others. “They finally decided that Johto was too much a temptation.” His chest was tight with tension; he didn’t know much about the Aquas, but where the Aquas went, so did—

    He cut that train of thought off before it became dangerous, and lifted his face to meet Sabrina’s raised eyebrow and appraising gaze.


    “Whatever their reason for being in Johto,” she said, opting not to call him on his unease—to his faint relief—and tapped one finger in vague annoyance on her black-sleeved arm. “We can’t allow them to think they can wander in whenever they desire.”

    “Agreed.” Koga tilted his head at Surge. “Ken?”

    The burly blonde nodded. “He’s free,” he said brusquely. “I’ll send him to Johto to keep an eye on the Aquas.” He smirked. “And on second thought, the pantywaist can go with him.”

    “Meantime Ryu will remain in Celadon,” Sabrina said, before her cold eyes shifted slightly to Koga once more. “And I hope we can trust that the efforts to catch Blaine will be successful in the near future?”

    Koga turned off the screen without giving her an answer.

    Koga’s eyes opened almost without him realising he’d closed them, and he had to resist the urge to sigh out loud, the wind sharp and cold with spray against his angular face, the overcast sky weighing down on him invisibly.

    Things were getting complicated.

    And he had a feeling that, contrary to Sabrina’s hope, they were only going to become more so.


    A/N: I am aware that Flareon doesn’t learn Smokescreen, but they do learn Smog, which is a similar attack in form (as in, it’s a cloud of thick gas and smoke etc) so I don’t believe it’s too much of a stretch for them to at least simulate Smokescreen.
    Last edited by purple_drake; 11th August 2008 at 2:46 PM.

  7. #57
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    It's been a year since you last updated??? I hope people are still here. I totally missed this fic forever girl!!!! I'm soooo glad you're back!!!!! *glomps*

    Anyway, great chap here. I love the whole scene with tynan in the gym. He got pwned!!! And you did very well in describing everything it was very very good. ^^ Great stuff. Man nothing really more to comment on. ^^; Which kinda sucks but it was great stuff.

    I hope we get more in less than a year okay???
    jirachiman out
    Yes people, I have returned.
    Pearl FC. Arlen 1718-9710-2821
    Eat More Chicken!!! Self-proclaimed, unofficial spokesman for Chick-Fil-A.

  8. #58
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    Yes, it's been a year since I last updated. *hides behind Lance*

    I hope people are still here too. ^.^;; Although I wouldn't blame anyone if they'd given up on me, just be a bit disappointed (in myself, mostly, for being so slack).

    I'm glad to know that at least one person still remembers me, though! XD *is glomped*

    Yeah, it was really fun for Tynan to get pwned. >D Mostly I just liked how Janine played with him. XD She was fun to write, I can't wait to write her again.

    I hope you get more in less than a year too. XD Although it's good, 'cos part of what was hindering me was the knowledge that I had some plot revamping to do. Now that in the past few days I've sat down and considered how to change it, I know what's happening and how things are changing, so that roadblock's pretty much over.

    Fortunately, since the first of the major changes will be happening in the next chapter. XD

    Anyway! ^^ Good seeing you're still around, and thanks for reviewing! *offers platter of dragonite cookies*

  9. #59
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    *eats dragonite cookies* So where is everyone else??? lol *goes and attacks them to come and read*
    jirachiman out
    Yes people, I have returned.
    Pearl FC. Arlen 1718-9710-2821
    Eat More Chicken!!! Self-proclaimed, unofficial spokesman for Chick-Fil-A.

  10. #60
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    Sorry for not reviewing the last chapter earlier. I actually did once, but Serebii ate it. >.> Here’s a short version of it though. XD

    On the last chapter, like everyone else it’s quite interesting. Cool Keegan got a Butterfree and very fun seeing how she used that Pokemon. Also, love that car chase scene and also Koga’s personality. Ninjas rock. XD

    Now, for the latest chapter. Very interesting the umbreon was captured just so he can get his brother. Tynan being in the gym’s booby trap was very fun and also I like Janine in there. Yeah, looks like she was fun to write. XD Lastly, I find this quote interesting:

    The question was directed at Surge; he had been in charge of its transport after its use in Professor Sebastian’s failed attempt at creating a Raikou-capturing system and subsequent retrieval for storage by the two agents entrusted with the mission. It had been delivered to Olivine and then simply disappeared.
    I assume that’s why Raikou appeared at the beginning of the story?

    There’s one thing I was confused about, though. At the ending of Janine and Tynan’s battle I’m confused what happened and who won (though jirachiman876 did mention Janine pwning him XD). Sorry to ask. ^^;

    Overall, quite like the last two chapters. Glad you’re getting back at this and also managed to think the plot over. Can’t wait for the next one!


    Tumblr | FFnet | Author's Profile| Archive of Our Own | Banner: Umi Mizuno
    I'm still writing, but probably not much Pokemon stuff at the moment. HAM!


  11. #61
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    ^^!

    YAY! FINALLY! YAY! W00T!

    You know how much of a fan I am for Tynan. Despite his very creative language license in his mouth, I love his personality. The Fuchsia City completely creeped him out and owned him, especially when Janine came in. ^^ I actually could see Flareon using Smokescreen, so I had no problems there. Looks like both of his pokemon are more versatile and competitive than in the original chapter (I believe it was the 8th chapter in the old version. Yes, I have a good memory with this story. xD!) I loved every bit of the action, and the return of that infamous Ariados and Crobat. Excellent. Just excellent. I also liked that little part about Koga and the dream with Lt. Surge. Very interesting, but portrayed fantastically. As for how you are able to hit Koga's personality to the teeth is beyond my imagination, but I'm envious. @_@;

    *throws Lance cookies and plushies everywhere* Partay in the Clouds !
    ~ COMING SOON ~


    Shiftry leapt into the air, shrieking and roaring as she started glowing and absorbing the sun’s light. Leaves shifted and curled at the edges as footsteps sounded on the grass. Her eyes were wide open and crazed, glazed with a white radiance. A slim, dark figure spontaneously crossed overhead, elegant and mysterious as it disappeared within the rose-colored vortex. It all seemed like a medieval fantasy; only reality blended in to make it all seem practical. The new otherworldly essence drifted in, allowing the illumination to bless the woman and reveal herself to the world. Karen had arrived

  12. #62
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    I had been waiting for this! ^.^
    Thanks for posting it despite your busy schedule.

    This chapter wasn't sucky in any way. Where did you see that? o.0I like the fact that we got to see more of Tynan. x] It doesn't look like he enjoyed his stay at the Fushia gym at all. You've got a great ability of passing a character's emotions through your text. What Janine said was humiliating for the poor guy. >< I wonder is he's actually go back in there? I loved the action, he was quite lucky at times, or lucky that Marrow was there.
    I like the way you're portraying Koga, as well as all of the characters. We can feel the differences in their personalities. It gives a unique aspect to each of them, something writers sometimes fail at, but that you completly master. I hope we'll see a bit of Keegan in the next chap.!
    The description was flawless, as usual. I couldn't say anything bad about this, I wouldn't even come close to writing something like that. It's brilliant! =)
    Last edited by Flannery; 6th August 2008 at 6:07 PM.

  13. #63
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    Bay:

    Cool Keegan got a Butterfree and very fun seeing how she used that Pokemon.
    Yeah, I'll admit, I love the move Sleep Powder. XP Sooo much potential for mischief, and unfortunately underrated in game mechanics. Although that doesn't stop me from using it. XP

    Ninjas rock. XD
    They do indeed. :3

    I assume that’s why Raikou appeared at the beginning of the story?
    :3

    ...well, it's not all that much of a spoiler, I suppose. XD If you've seen the Special episode 'Raikou: Legend of Thunder', then that should explain the background of that incident for you. :3 *likes making connections*

    There’s one thing I was confused about, though. At the ending of Janine and Tynan’s battle I’m confused what happened and who won (though jirachiman876 did mention Janine pwning him XD). Sorry to ask. ^^;
    Don't be sorry. XD Your confusion is probably a result of the badness of that scene's ending... that's the part I was most unhappy with, actually.

    There's no clearcut winner, really. Flareon hit the wall and accidentally opened a trick door which Tynan used to escape. The use of Protect by his pokemon was to cover his back while he left. However, the fact that he ran rather than finish the battle means that technically Janine won. Whether or not he could have gotten his act together and won eventually is up in the air, but the odds probably would have been against him.

    After that Janine let him go because she didn't consider him worth her time battling again at his current skill level. ^.^; Hope that clears some stuff up.

    Glad to see you're still around, and that you enjoyed that chapter. ^^ Thanks for reviewing!


    Ryano: Yus, woot! ^^

    Ahahaha, I'm loving Tynan. ^^ He was so flat in the original, now he's actually got personality, and it's so much fun to write. He really doesn't know what he's doing; he's out of his field right now, but things are going to happen in the near future to completely destroy his way of thinking and force him to consider who he really is and what he wants to be. So yus, big plans for him. >D Stay tuned.

    That little bit with Lt. Surge and Sabrina was actually a flashback more than a dream... I guess you thought the latter because I said he opened his eyes afterwards? Well, they were supposed to be closed in thought, not sleep. ^.^;; Oh well!

    Fwee! *glomps Lance plushie and scoffs cookies* ^^ Thaaaaaaaaaankies~


    Flannery: Hello~!

    Sorry I didn't reply to your last PM. ^.^;; At the time I honestly thought I could get the chapter out within the next few days (as a substitute for an actual answer :P ), but it didn't happen and then I just kept hoping it wouldn't take long... and then weeks had passed.

    Well, I guess it still just feels a little rough around the edges, especially the final scene and the end of Janine and Tynan's battle. XD

    Yes, we're going to be seeing a lot more of Tynan now that I've revamped the plot somewhat. :3 Muahahaha. And yeah, Janine was pretty harsh, wasn't she? XD You can tell she's Koga's daughter, they don't exactly seem to hold back, do they?

    Don't worry, plenty of Keegan in the next chapter. ^^ And I'm sure you're not that bad of a writer--besides, practice makes perfect. I wasn't very good either. XD

    *glomps* You're way to kind to me! *showers with dragonite cookies* Thanks so much for reviewing! ^^

  14. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by purple_drake View Post
    Ryano: Yus, woot! ^^

    Ahahaha, I'm loving Tynan. ^^ He was so flat in the original, now he's actually got personality, and it's so much fun to write. He really doesn't know what he's doing; he's out of his field right now, but things are going to happen in the near future to completely destroy his way of thinking and force him to consider who he really is and what he wants to be. So yus, big plans for him. >D Stay tuned.

    That little bit with Lt. Surge and Sabrina was actually a flashback more than a dream... I guess you thought the latter because I said he opened his eyes afterwards? Well, they were supposed to be closed in thought, not sleep. ^.^;; Oh well!

    Fwee! *glomps Lance plushie and scoffs cookies* ^^ Thaaaaaaaaaankies~
    Ooohh that was a flashback? XD Yeah I definitely thought Koga was dreaming, but I reread that bit and figured out that it was better as a flashback than a dream. But yeah, Tynan's personality is attaching to me greatly and I'm loving him. But needless to say, Keegan is by far the most important and favorite character thus far. I wonder when she and Tynan'll meet up again. ^.^
    ~ COMING SOON ~


    Shiftry leapt into the air, shrieking and roaring as she started glowing and absorbing the sun’s light. Leaves shifted and curled at the edges as footsteps sounded on the grass. Her eyes were wide open and crazed, glazed with a white radiance. A slim, dark figure spontaneously crossed overhead, elegant and mysterious as it disappeared within the rose-colored vortex. It all seemed like a medieval fantasy; only reality blended in to make it all seem practical. The new otherworldly essence drifted in, allowing the illumination to bless the woman and reveal herself to the world. Karen had arrived

  15. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by purple_drake View Post
    Yes, it's been a year since I last updated. *hides behind Lance*
    If it's any consolation, it's been more than a year and a half since my last update. XD;

    Anyway... First of all, I loved all of Brother's terms for things and places. ^^ "Town of Ensnarement" and "Path of Turning Circles" are my personal favorites. ^^ Little touches like that... they just really seem to impart this great otherness to the character. I'm by no means saying that different names for things is something that must be present in order to make a non-human character seem non-human; what I am saying is that in this case, it really does seem, to me at least, to have a beneficial effect towards helping Brother really seem something other than human. ^^

    I am really liking Marowak as a character. ^^ Heh, it's definitely a good thing that Tynan brought that Marowak out for the occasion, I'd say--things would surely have gone considerably worse for Tynan if that Marowak hadn't been there looking out for him. X3 I especially loved it when he had to bring Tynan back to his senses--with his club. XD That was great, I thought. X3

    Speaking of Tynan, I found him to be quite the source of entertainment in that chapter. His little bloopers and brain-farts were one main part of the reason I enjoyed reading about him so much in this chapter; the other main part of the reason came in the form of a number of the thoughts that ran through his head (the part when he was mentally declaring certain people to be nuts being a prime example X3).

    I loved the mansion scenes. ^^ I really enjoyed the eerie, suspenseful sort of air that hung over the place, and also really enjoyed all the great "oh, ****!" moments as Tynana and Marowak came across each of the traps--especially great was when all those Voltorb entered the picture.

    And great handling of Koga as a character once again. ^^ Great handling of all the gym leaders depicted in that chapter, for that matter. ^^

        Spoiler:- Other highlights:


    That chapter was a lot of fun. I'll be back to read the next. ^^
    DON'T CALL IT A COMEBACK
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    If it's any consolation, it's been more than a year and a half since my last update.
    It is a bit; at least I know I'm not the only one who's lousy with a timetable. XD

    Anyway... First of all, I loved all of Brother's terms for things and places. ^^ "Town of Ensnarement" and "Path of Turning Circles" are my personal favorites. ^^ Little touches like that... they just really seem to impart this great otherness to the character. I'm by no means saying that different names for things is something that must be present in order to make a non-human character seem non-human; what I am saying is that in this case, it really does seem, to me at least, to have a beneficial effect towards helping Brother really seem something other than human. ^^
    Fwee, thank you! ^^ I love using new terminology, but I'm always wary of it seeming like it's just thrown in there... that would be disappointing, considering I've actually put quite some effort into thinking about how to showcase pokemon's 'otherness', as you say. Brother's not the only one who uses those terms, he's just the first one who really had the opportunity to showcase them.

    I am really liking Marowak as a character. ^^ Heh, it's definitely a good thing that Tynan brought that Marowak out for the occasion, I'd say--things would surely have gone considerably worse for Tynan if that Marowak hadn't been there looking out for him. X3 I especially loved it when he had to bring Tynan back to his senses--with his club. XD That was great, I thought. X3
    Ahahahaha, well, Marowak was actually owned and trained by Tynan's father in his days as a trainer, so that little dinosaur has quite a bit of experience to draw upon--much, much more than Tynan, that's for sure. I guess you can say he's kind of a 'bodyguard'--around to make sure Tynan doesn't get into too much trouble, or at least has someone who can get him out of it. :P Because he knows Tynan's so green, he doesn't exactly have much patience for him... yes, he's a fun character. XP

    Speaking of Tynan, I found him to be quite the source of entertainment in that chapter. His little bloopers and brain-farts were one main part of the reason I enjoyed reading about him so much in this chapter; the other main part of the reason came in the form of a number of the thoughts that ran through his head (the part when he was mentally declaring certain people to be nuts being a prime example X3).
    Well, like I said just before, Tynan's really really green. XP He's studied about pokemon at the university and even raised and bred them in the same setting, but has no experience in the real world, as a travelling trainer. Because of that, even though he's a fairly good strategist, he doesn't know how to improvise very well simply because he's never had to. So yus, he's going to have a very interesting journey. XP

    And lol, yeah, I liked that line in particular too. XD

    And great handling of Koga as a character once again. ^^ Great handling of all the gym leaders depicted in that chapter, for that matter. ^^
    I actually didn't particularly like the final scene, with Koga and the others. XD A lot of it came from the original and it didn't seem particularly... iono, full, I guess. Janine was really fun though... does she count as a gym leader? XD

    Thanks a ton, I'm glad you're still around! *glomps* I'm already working on the next chapter, and it's coming along decently well considering. :3 No predictions as to when it'll be out, though... although at this rate it'll be way before a year is up, so no worries! XD

  17. #67
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    I thought the scene with Lt. Surge, Sabrina and Koga was very well written, in fact. And Janine's scene with Tynan was not just fun, but funny. Especially when she chastises him for language.

    I've enjoyed this story a lot. The character's have distinct personalities, and some interact with bizarre consequences (Janine and Tynan, for instance). I probably should criticize this instead of just praising it, but I can't find anything that bothers me. Great job!

  18. #68
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    Unhappy Step by step plan for late reviews

    Step 1: Begin by sayin' Sorry for being late, cuz if you don't it's like you don't care...

    Step 2: Review...

    So, my main forte, grammar check, yielded no major errors, but if there were, someone'll be bound to spot them.

    Somehow, I enjoyed reading how much Tynan struggled with the Fuschia Gym and Janine's lecture afterwards on just how much of an unreliable (it rhymes with tick and starts with a p) he was compared to Marowak.

    Interesting battle too, and with Aqua and Magma moving into Johto, Koga may not be the only one considering a round trip to the western part of the pokemon world...

    All in all, this was rather fun to read, and i eagerly await what happens next. Sorry again for the late review, I have so much stuff to review and beta, that i lose track of some fics before i remember the others.

    L@er!
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  19. #69
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    Ok, first things first.

    HOLYCRAPPURPLEDRAKESBACKANDITSBEENALMOSTAYEARANDIT HOUGHTITWASGONEYAY! *ahem* Yeah...I really thought this was gone, kinda randomly popped into SPPF to check a PM, and saw this on my updated threads list.

    The Woodland of Bondage was nearby, and with it, the Town of Ensnarement. They were the icons of the area—that girl, that human, she was sure to have gone there.

    But the legends-damned sky-water washed away any chance of picking up that familiar and loathed scent, warm and spicy, tempered by the tang of salt. He couldn’t follow her through the Path of Turning Circles, had lost her trail in the Woodlands because of the weather, could only assume that she had been to the Town of Ensnarement.

    Now she was gone, and Bairn, sweet, frail Bairn, had gone with her.

    And he didn’t know where.

    O Guiding Light, show me where the Stained has walked, so I may seek my pack, my litter-mate, my brother, he thought despairingly, casting the prayer up to the heavens for the Guardian to hear.
    Woodland of Bondage, Town of Ensnarement, sky-water, Path of Turning Circles, Stained...I love how Brother names things, really serves to give him more of an...untamed? feel. Although, what is the Path of Turning Circles? Would that be Cycling Road?

    Wow...I actually forgot how good this story was, lol. Reading the first half of chatper 7 ((or is this 8? I don't remember...)) just has me...wow. I don't remember how much of this was in the original and how much is new, but either way it's still pretty darn amazing. Loved the whole section with Tynan. Now I'm giong to stop typing and get back to reading.

    The slender young woman merely sighed and flipped her long blue-black hair back over the shoulder of her short-sleeved dress.

    “You heard me,” she answered unemotionally, crossing her arms over the glaring red ‘R’ on the front of her dress, the long black sleeves playing a stark contrast to the white material. “He has no place in my squadron. He failed to complete his mission and allowed his team-mate to be captured with potentially dangerous information in hand.”
    Is it short sleeved or long sleeved? And already at this point I love the characterization of both Surge and Sabrina. Despite the fact that they've only been involved for 3 paragraphs, you managed a hefty amount of unwritten info in there.

    “So,” Koga murmured, tucking his chin down in thought, his darkened room shadowing his eyes to the others. “They finally decided that Johto was too much a temptation.” His chest was tight with tension; he didn’t know much about the Aquas, but where the Aquas went, so did—

    He cut that train of thought off before it became dangerous, and lifted his face to meet Sabrina’s raised eyebrow and appraising gaze.
    Even if you did just say it, I forgot about Sabrina being psychic; love that Koga is aware enough to actually catch himself mid-thought like that in her presence though.

    Amazing work, as always. Not really sure what else to say, but I'm uber-happy this is back. Can't wait for more of it ((which, if it's on the next page of the thread...Serbii's being mean and not letting me see that right now, so I'll have to go to "The Good Fight" that I opened in another tab earlier, or get to that homework I was trying to do...haha))

    I remember when "The Authors' Cafe" was still "The Author's Cafe".
    Scrap, purple_drake, Ryano Ra, and Burnt Flower are my fanfic idols.


    --fics--
    NEW:Emory In Viridian- A more realistic spin on a new trainer trekking through Viridian Forest. [one-shot]
    NEW:Pallet Evening News [on DeviantArt and not Serebii due to short length] - A disturbing report from Pallet Town's evening news concerning three new trainers. [one-shot]
    Tómur -Dark contemplations of an undisclosed Pokemon about nothingness and the end. [one-shot]
    The Traveler - A lonely traveler encounters a malevolent pokemon during the night on Route 8. [one-shot]
    Redead - A Redead's perspective on its own life. [Legend of Zelda one-shot]

    More at my DeviantArt



  20. #70
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    Hey, I have reviews. XD


    esninetalespeon: Hah, it's probably just me then. XD And I love Janine. I want to write more Janine. She is pwesomness.


    Air Dragon: *waves* Hewwo!

    Heh, well, no complaints about late reviews from me. Otherwise I could only be known as a hypocrite. ^.^;

    Yeah, Tynan's not very reliable right now. XD He'll get there; he just needs some experience.

    Glad to see you're still around!


    SnoringFrog:

    HOLYCRAPPURPLEDRAKESBACKANDITSBEENALMOSTAYEARANDIT HOUGHTITWASGONEYAY! *ahem* Yeah...I really thought this was gone, kinda randomly popped into SPPF to check a PM, and saw this on my updated threads list.
    Wow, people get so excited over this story. ^.^; It makes me feel guilty and flattered in equal amounts. Sorry to make you think it was gone... I know I'm slow, but I'm a tenacious little--*cough*--thing, so don't worry about the story dying. If it did (which it won't, 'cos I've spent far too much time and energy on it) I'd definitely say something.


    Although, what is the Path of Turning Circles? Would that be Cycling Road?
    It is indeed.


    Wow...I actually forgot how good this story was, lol. Reading the first half of chatper 7 ((or is this 8? I don't remember...)) just has me...wow. I don't remember how much of this was in the original and how much is new, but either way it's still pretty darn amazing. Loved the whole section with Tynan. Now I'm giong to stop typing and get back to reading.
    It's, uhm... *checks* chapter 7. :P

    Well, the actual happenings were all in the original, but in different places or portrayed differently. Tynan's capture of Brother was in about chapter 5, I think (which I think was the original draft's chapter 6/7). The talk between the gym leaders was something like chapter 11.

    Tynan's meeting with Janine was in the original too, but it was very different (Janine wasn't nearly as mature, and Tynan was more of a jack*ss for another). Plus, he didn't trip any traps--I think I pretty much skipped any description of him roaming the house and got straight to the confrontation. Much more fun this way, don'tcha think? :P


    Is it short sleeved or long sleeved? And already at this point I love the characterization of both Surge and Sabrina.
    Both, technically. XD She's wearing a short-sleeved white dress over a long-sleeved black top (which is an absolutely chore to describe because of potential repetition/wordiness, especially when I'm trying to insert it subtly into an action and she's just standing there). *makes a note to clarify in her next edit*


    Even if you did just say it, I forgot about Sabrina being psychic; love that Koga is aware enough to actually catch himself mid-thought like that in her presence though.
    Yanno, I didn't even think of that? XD They're talking over video-phones, and I figure even a powerful psychic like Sabrina can't read minds over radio waves, so his stopping his thought is more of a... 'this thought will potentially lead me to begin doubting myself so I had better stop thinking such things so I can perform my duty'.

    I think she'd probably have trouble reading his mind anyway; true, his type-specialty has a direct disadvantage, but I figure the ninja would be aware of such a weakness and incorporate some kind of anti-mind-reading training into their daily regime (I think I called it 'the art of mind-closure' in the original).

    Glad you enjoyed it, and I'm working on the next chapter, really I am! :P G'luck with your homework, lol (funfunfun, eh?).

  21. #71
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    Having re-read this more than is probably healthy, I noticed that somewhere in Chapter 5, Tynan, in his thoughts, refers to his Dad as Da.

    And, on a completely unrelated note, will Keegan ever call Simon, like she said she would? It's probably just me, but I still want to know.

    I now realize that there are many questions I want to ask about this story. Here goes (nothing).

    1) How long was Tynan's father a trainer?

    2) Will we see more of Ross (and Miriam, and Pete)?

    3) Where will Keegan travel after Fuchsia?

  22. #72
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    esninetalespeon:

    Having re-read this more than is probably healthy, I noticed that somewhere in Chapter 5, Tynan, in his thoughts, refers to his Dad as Da.
    But rereading things is fun! XD *has a few favourite 30-or-more-chapter stories which she's reread God-only-knows how many times*

    'Da' is actually a word and an alternate (and colloquial, but I'm not sure just which region it's from) way of referring to one's father ... my brother uses it all the time with our dad. ^^ I thought it suited Tynan more than the formal 'Father', and 'Dad' was far too affectionate and casual.


    And, on a completely unrelated note, will Keegan ever call Simon, like she said she would? It's probably just me, but I still want to know.
    This subject bugs me, because I'm as forgetful as Keegan is about it. XD I have thought of it, though, and I really do intend on it happening, I just have to figure out where.


    1) How long was Tynan's father a trainer?

    I'm not sure; Tynan's father doesn't have time to chat about inanities like his past with a uni-student who's far too much into writing and doesn't even work. XD Interesting question, though; you're making me find to more myself.

    That said, I do know that Tynan's father turns out to be surprisingly important later on. :3



    2) Will we see more of Ross (and Miriam, and Pete)?
    'See', no; you might hear them, if I ever figure out when Keegan can make that phone call.

    But that's only in CaC. The sequel is another matter.


    3) Where will Keegan travel after Fuchsia?
    That's for me to know~

    And you to not. >D



    General update: The next chapter is about half-finished, guys. I'm not exactly busy with RL anymore, but there are a few stories trying to mug me, and I'm getting pulled in a few different directions ... I need a whip and a chair to keep these things under control. They're not bunnies, they're flipping lions and tigers!

  23. #73
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    But rereading things is fun! XD *has a few favourite 30-or-more-chapter stories which she's reread God-only-knows how many times*
    Yes, it is... But I reread things to the point of insanity and beyond! Also, with a five-day break that I had when I posted, imagine how much I might have read.

    'Da' is actually a word and an alternate (and colloquial, but I'm not sure just which region it's from) way of referring to one's father ... my brother uses it all the time with our dad. ^^ I thought it suited Tynan more than the formal 'Father', and 'Dad' was far too affectionate and casual.
    That's today's little piece of knowledge for me. And, judging from Tynan's attitude, Dad does seem too affectionate.

    That said, I do know that Tynan's father turns out to be surprisingly important later on. :3
    If you didn't know these things, I'd be worried for this story's future.

    That's for me to know~

    And you to not. >D
    At this point, the sane part of me is screaming "I TOLD YOU SO!!!", but I didn't expect an answer.

    They're not bunnies, they're flipping lions and tigers!
    I can find a good lion and tiger tamer if you want.

  24. #74
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    Hum... I was debating with myself whether to post a comment or not, so I actually had to fly over to reread the rules really quickly and seeing how it hasn't been thirty days yet, I think this is legal...

    Anyhow, PD, not too sure if you remember me or not, because if you've reposted both HotM and this, then my comments might not have survived. Or I may have never have commented, I simply can't remember- but I do remember this story and when it first came out. It seems to have been forever, and I've occasionally dropped around to see if my favorite fanfictions would survive. I'm glad this is, so far. ^^

    I can help you tame lions! *Gets out chairs*

    Anyways, this is beautiful work and it's kept me coming back for quite a while so please update soon! ^^
    Temporal Tower Trilogy
    Temporal Tower Fell: The World Went to Hell (rated PG-13)/Temporal Tower Fell 2: Rebirth Dawn/Temporal Tower Fell 3: Paradox Scream

  25. #75
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    A/N: Okay, so at least it's been less than a year, just like I promised. ^.^;

    Quickly: Hi, Kayote's Bane! I don't believe you did review the last copy, but welcome back and I'm glad you're still enjoying it. ^^

    Now: You guys can consider this chapter in two lights: either as a slightly early birthday present for Flannery (happy birthday! See, deadlines help me get things done!) or as a slightly late gift from me to you for my birthday, in true Hobbitish fashion.

    Either way, enjoy what there is to enjoy, and feedback is very much appreciated, since there are some things in here I'm not entirely sure about … but then, I have gotten into stuff I haven't written before, so I supposed it's part and parcel of walking a story's new ground.

    Oh, warning for swearing in this chapter.


    ~ VIII ~
    UNDER THE ROCKETS’ RED GLARE


    ‘OOF!’

    Keegan’s foot caught on a stubby bush and she stumbled, making pebbles skid everywhere until she caught her balance. ‘Stupid trees … can they even be called trees?’ she wondered, kicking the foliage belligerently.

    ‘Frii friiiii~’ Bramble singsonged, then tittered madly as she twirled in the air overhead, her wings glittering in the sporadic sunlight.

    ‘Oh, shut it, you,’ Keegan muttered, hopping over a loose rock and almost skidding on the gravel behind it. A second later she had to duck suddenly as the butterfree’s wings grazed her hair, the pokémon drifting down the steep and craggy mountain on the breeze before performing a mocking twirl.

    ‘Bram-ble,’ Keegan sighed, but didn’t have the energy to tell the pokémon off, her legs past the point of aching and into the realm of feeling downright rubbery. Down at her feet, Hazel huffed in discontent, her ears moving back in irritation before flickering to a neutral upright position as the butterfree fluttered nearer to them once again.

    Keegan didn’t know what she’d been expecting when she took the butterfree with her, but what she got hadn’t been part of it. The pokémon had been quite willing to battle with her in the Safari Zone, and she hadn’t exactly been disobedient since, but there was attitude there. Keegan didn’t think it was because the butterfly was angry with being taken from her home—in fact, when she’d released her for the first time in the Fuchsia Pokémon Centre Bramble had been nothing less than enthralled with all the new things she could look at (and almost been chomped on by an irate and stir-crazy nidoqueen when she turned out to be too much of a nuisance). Same for when they got to Cinnabar (minus the nidoqueen-chomping. This time it was a houndour).

    I think it’s just because she doesn’t like being talked back to. Or didn’t like being told what to do unless it was something that coincided with what she wanted to do.

    Keegan’ stomach flip-flopped as she made this realisation, watching the butterfree glide along on the wind while she herself trudged down the non-existent path, a pang beginning to grow in her side. Uh oh. She could turn out to be more of a problem in battle than I thought.

    Especially considering how many of said battles had, in the past, turned out to be double or even triple matches. Bram had had plenty of time to meet with the rest of the team while they waited out the storm in Fuchsia City, and thus far the outlook hadn’t been encouraging. Firefoot had been a bit bemused, though quite willing to make friends, but he was about the only one. While Tarn was adjusting well to the arcanine once he became sure the massive dog wouldn’t be going around stepping on him (not deliberately, anyway), Bramble’s dominant nature, combined with her energy, seemed to intimidate him, and it was an issue Keegan couldn’t see going away as easily as the former had.

    That same dominant nature, on the other hand, had pegged Hazel instantly as Bram’s rival, and sparks had flown between them ever since. Keegan wished she could say the butterfree was ‘mischievous’, but ‘catty’ was probably the better term. At least Hazel’s trying to be mature about this.

    Mature, right. If sitting/perching at opposite sides of a room and staring at one another for hours on end could be called mature.

    I think what Hazel’s most annoyed at is how Bram treats me, though.

    Not that Bram treated Keegan badly, just not with the respect that Hazel apparently thought was appropriate.

    Why did I decide to keep Bram, again? I didn’t leave Alto Mare to capture pokémon.

    Because if you had let her go you would have had to go out into the middle of the storm and back into the Safari Zone?

    Oh yeah …


    Just leaving the butterfree at the Pokémon Centre to be released later by Nurse Joy had seemed too much of a slap in the face after the battle they’d shared in the Safari Zone (no matter that said battle had turned out to be a disaster). Every time Keegan flexed her hand she would remember that; the way the butterfree had saved her, and then saving the butterfree in return …

    Releasing her at all would have seemed like a slap in the face. Or over the antenna. Or whatever.

    At least she’d had time to think about what to do; the ferries had been stopped for three days due to the storm passing over, and even if they hadn’t been she might have stayed in Fuchsia anyway, just to give herself time to rest up. Her hand wasn’t bad, Nurse Joy had reassured her, but it had been painful and heavily bruised at the time and would probably remain achy for a week or so.

    In the present, Keegan absently flexed her fist in a motion that was almost second nature now, testing just how stiff her fingers were. Nurse Joy had told her she wouldn’t have to see a doctor—which had been rather a bucketful of ice, since Keegan had never even considered what might happen if she had an injury as bad as that—but the nurse had still made her write down a list of common painkillers, right after making sure the girl’s first-aid bag carried a bottle of one of them.

    Then Keegan had boarded a ferry as soon as the storm had passed over, relieved enough to be leaving Fuchsia (and creepy Koga) behind that she almost hadn’t minded being on the ocean again.

    It was two days after that, the sky still overcast and threatening rain and the sheer humidity of the island making the idea of hiking less than exciting. But it’s better than being in Fuchsia, and at least I’m making steps forward.

    … Hah!
    She snorted in between puffing for air, jumping almost nimbly from one rock to another and automatically checking her feet to make sure Hazel had enough space to follow. She’d asked all over town for directions to the gym, and all they could really tell her was that it had burned down a year or so ago.

    But they also told me that trainers still come to challenge Blaine and leave with badges in hand, so he has to be around here somewhere.

    ‘Somewhere’ wasn’t close enough, she decided as the path began to wind past an outcropping which cast several feet of shadow, and the girl detoured up slightly to sit against it. It was with a half-sigh, half-groan that she slid to the pebbly ground, stretching out her legs.

    Really the only drawback, Keegan reflected as she shook off her bag-strap, was that the humidity of the island meant the shade didn’t offer much in the way of coolness. The warmth of the rock doesn’t help either.

    ‘Bii.’ With a grunt Hazel settled by Keegan’s leg, automatically kneading the hard stone beneath her and swishing her tail around her side. For some long moments they just rested, Keegan’s breath slowly evening out along with the fading stitch in her ribs as they watched the blue and glittering white figure that was Bram flitting this way and that against the overcast sky. The butterfree vanished behind a crag and Keegan tilted her head back against the warm rock, staring straight up into the sky as she stroked Hazel absently. Despite the grey clouds and likelihood of rain—again—it was quiet and relatively still and, for once, peaceful.

    It didn’t last.

    Bram had only been gone for a minute or two when abruptly she came shooting back into the airspace in front of them. ‘Brriiifriii!’ she shrilled, her voice thin and slightly echoing.

    What the? Keegan blinked confusedly at the butterfly pokémon as she sped nearer, her tiny claws waving frantically and her small body doing an urgent twirl, darting this way and that, back and forth. ‘Fuuriiiiiiiiiiiiiii!’

    ‘Eeebuui?’ Hazel’s long ears perked up and she scrambled to her paws, glancing uncertainly towards the crags the butterfree had disappeared behind. That was about when Keegan realised Bram’s constant dance was in that direction, and her tiny paws kept motioning towards the rocks.

    The girl’s stomach plummeted while her heart leapt, dual thoughts running through her mind:

    She’s found the gym!

    What the hell’s up
    now?

    With a mixture of dread and excitement Keegan clambered to her feet and heaved her bag onto her shoulder, automatically dusting herself off before following Hazel’s nervously whisking tail towards the contour-pretending-to-be-a-path that led behind the crags.

    It wasn’t long before they heard the echo of unrecognisable voices resounding through the thin hive of gorges which lay further around the mountain, and Keegan felt a pang of apprehension.

    Maybe … it’s some gym trainers?

    Not likely.


    Fingering her pendant absently, shoes stepping lightly over rough stone, Keegan followed Bram’s flitting path. The butterfree looked satisfied now she finally had her trainer’s attention, and she almost seemed to vibrate with energy and determination to do … whatever it was she wanted to do.

    I have a bad feeling about this.

    Have you given any reason to ever give yourself good ones?
    The voice dubbed ‘the little fox’ asked dryly, and Keegan grimaced.

    Okay, so I’m nosy. I blame you.

    Oh yes, blame the imaginary voice in your head, that’s incredibly sane.


    The blonde-haired girl shook her head violently. Dammit, why did she have to talk to herself so much? At least she didn’t do it out loud.

    To keep herself from rambling at herself inside her own mind she focussed back upon the voices, growing clearer as they were. There were two, both male, but while one was young and light, the other was deeper and gruff with age or adversity.

    Keegan was just wondering where she had heard this before—because the déjŕ vu was nearly overwhelming—when she hurried around a jutting rock-face to find herself on the edge of a ravine and the voices abruptly as clear as the day was dark. She froze, automatically ducking and huddling against the crag, Hazel crowding at her ankles and Bram alighting on the jagged stone with an air that was almost smug, and yet also sharp with anticipation.

    ‘—if this is a good idea,’ the younger voice was saying, his tone concerned. ‘If we get caught—’

    ‘It’s our job to make sure we don’t get caught,’ the other, more mature voice said calmly as Keegan shifted quietly to peer over the edge of the rocks mounted on the precipice, eyes swinging this way and that in search. She caught a flash of red—red clothing—and sidled along the edge to get a better look, taking in the scrubby-bushed and stony valley. ‘But we’re to consider all options. You can bet Team Aqua has taken Tohjo into consideration.’

    There!

    She saw them: two men apparently investigating the rocks and cliff below. They were both clad in a baggy, sleeveless grey uniform, cinched at the waist with a belt. The hems of their pants were secured around their boots by thick red bandages a little like something a ninja might wear. She couldn’t see their faces, obscured as they each were by a hooded red mantle set with demonic-like horns.

    ‘—dangerous, but it’s about the only volcano not in Hoenn,’ the older man was saying as Keegan tuned back in, although unable to keep from staring at the creepy hoods.

    Why would they be interested in volcanoes? she wondered almost absently. Then, what’s with the horns?

    ‘Mount Silver would likely be even more risky to investigate than this one if it weren’t already dead and any operation based in Mount Ember would need a lot more planning if we’re to catch Moltres in the bargain.’

    Wait a minute, what?!

    A chill ran down her back, accompanied by the realisation that, once again, she was probably in way over her head. In a knee-jerk reaction she scrambled back against the crag and pressed the heels of her palms to her eyes, her stomach twisting and heart pounding with adrenaline.

    If they’re going to catch a Legendary…

    A Legendary which isn’t anywhere
    near here.

    But they know about it, so that means they’re involved, right?


    ‘Buufurii~’

    At Bram’s soft warble Keegan’s head jerked up, just in time to see the butterfree detach herself from the rock and flit into the valley.

    ‘No, wait! Bram!’ Keegan hissed, but the only answer she received was a gentle twirl and an eyes-screwed-up expression which might have annoyance. Or constipation. Keegan was willing to bet the former.

    Dammit! This isn’t a good idea!

    Since when has that stopped you?

    But all the other times I actually
    had to do something!

    Oh really?


    Slapping a hand to her face with a soundless groan, Keegan bounced a pokéball down to where Hazel was perched, tail swishing wildly, upon the edge of the crag, her eyes huge and round as she stared at the men as though they were fascinating new objects she had never seen before.

    The eevee heard the device coming and turned around sharply, her ears flat against her head, but her distressed mew was lost to red light.

    ‘I know, I know,’ Keegan muttered at the pokéball as she attached it to her belt, swallowing through a tight throat before taking a deep breath and scrambling to her feet. ‘But I can’t leave Bram behind.’

    Time to play a game.



    Brody sighed, running a hand through his sweaty, shaggy hair, then reflexively tugging his hood lower over his eyes when the movement threatened to push it down. Godda—I mean, ****, it’s hot.

    A second later he realised he’d censored his own thoughts and shook his head with a slight chuckle, absently brushing dust off the screen of his radar with a gloved thumb. Out of the corner of his eye he saw his companion turn to raise a thin eyebrow at him from underneath his hood, and grinned. ‘Nothin’.’

    Ten years with Larry as my partner, I’m surprised I haven’t kicked the name-in-vain thing entirely.

    Larry wasn’t religious, per se—he just had a healthy respect for people’s beliefs, and tried very hard to respect those beliefs in what he did and said. Although—Brody’s grin faded—that was a problem considering what their Team goals were, as Brody consistently pointed out, but whenever he did he almost always regretted it afterward. That was when Larry would look at him with hollow eyes and not say anything, because he didn’t have to ask if Brody had really forgotten those days long past when it hadn’t been a problem but an asset.

    Those days before the Magmas had become eco-terrorists.

    Brody shook his head violently, trailing in the wake of his partner’s meandering path as the older man examined rock and cliff for weak points in composition. Stop it. Just … just stop thinking.

    It had to mean something when he thought of his own Team as terrorists, it had to, but they were his Team and his life and his family and no matter how it made him feel the idea of leaving made him feel worse.

    That, he knew, was why Larry stoically kept performing his duties despite the fact that they had long since started to betray his personal moral standards; because no matter what, the Team had begun as something to be proud of. They had given themselves to it, body, heart and soul, and they would continue to give all three if it meant contributing to the Team.

    That was why they were there, in the middle of Team Rocket territory—suicidal!—plotting to influence Mount Cinnabar into erupting—unthinkable!—despite the inevitable loss of life and home for the citizens in the town below them—and we say we’re not terrorists?

    But Groudon’s power spread with flame and rock and the reach of land, and it wasn’t only Hoenn that Maxie aimed to ‘rescue’ from the influence of the ocean.

    He realised he’d put quote marks around the word ‘rescue’ a second later, even in his own mind, and had to stop short and lower his face to take a moment to compose himself, his chest clenched with guilt.

    So much for not thinking, he chastised himself bitterly, and rubbed his eyes with his scarlet-wrapped forearm, pretending it was only because of the dust.

    The truth was, it didn’t matter what his Leader intended to do.

    What mattered was why.

    The why that was the reason they continued to serve.

    The device in his hand chimed and he blinked in mild surprise, having been staring at it unseeingly with his head still downcast. Oh.

    ‘I’ve picked up a possible insertion point,’ he said finally, coming aware that he’d stopped and Larry had stopped and was waiting patiently for him to report.

    Get your head out of the past and onto the now, you idiot.

    It was times like this he almost envied Larry; the man possessed a frightening ability to not think about things which would potentially conflict him.

    ‘Looks like it goes right into the mountain. If we could just get through, we could follow it all the way into the core.’ He examined the green-lined sketch on the graphed screen. ‘It doesn’t seem too thick. I could use Secret Power if—’ He was interrupted by the snap-fizzle of a releasing pokémon and sighed, shaking his head slightly with weary fondness as he finished unnecessarily, ‘if I had a crack or fissure to work with.’

    The orange-haired agent turned around and stepped away, gesturing at the rock wall with a wry twist of his lips.

    ‘Mmrrrg?’ The magmar behind him tilted her head in slight hesitance, her claws tapping together timidly.

    ‘Rock Smash,’ Larry told her from further back to avoid the worst of the heat rippling off her flame-patterned body. ‘On the cliff.’

    ‘Mmrrr.’ Magmar nodded, flexing her fists and stumping forward to the cliff, her blazing tail whipping the air. She drew her arm back, aimed the blow with a squinting eye, and let loose. Her fist impacted the cliff with shattering crunch and a billow of dust which swirled in the faint waver of air around her, hissing as it settled against her red-and-yellow flesh. The rock-face shuddered but held; yet when the dinosaur-like pokémon withdrew her arm there was a lattice of hairline fractures spread where she had connected.

    Magmar turned around on a talon, cocking her head with a waver of her flame crests and putting her claws together in faint hopefulness, waiting for approval.

    ‘That’ll do,’ Brody said without looking up from clipping the radar to his belt, pulling a pokéball off the leather with his spare hand and letting it drop.

    It snapped open with red light as there was a drift of breeze and, in a stray shaft of sunlight gleaming over the edge of the ravine, the air behind and above them sparkled green with dust.

    ‘Use—’

    ‘Ember!’ Larry shouted of his pokémon, and Brody whirled around away from the crag, his spare hand flashing to a spare pokéball and an automatic command already on his lips.

    ‘Protect!’

    The fractured gleam of the barrier distorted Magmar’s exhaled flames to eerily dancing shadows while a Water Gun—coming from somewhere among the rocks—turned to a darkened splatter on a flickering surface, the steam a short-lived hiss. The heat trapped inside the barricade from the two fire pokémon made the air above them shimmer and seem to come ablaze for a few brief seconds.

    Sleep Powder, Brody recognised, just before the Protect splintered and there was a roar of flames not their own.

    ‘Protect!’ the Magma agent shouted again, eyes scanning the ravine, ignoring the flecks of ash which drifted down on them and the itchy sweat which trickled down the sides of his face.

    ‘There!’ Larry pinpointed the direction the attack had come from just before the blaze obscured their sight, breaking upon the green barrier and causing it to dissolve. ‘Fire Blast!’

    Brody backed to the wall both to avoid the heat and in an attempt to get a clear view, his eyes darting this way and that, blinking rapidly against the sting of ash. Magmar’s Fire Blast crashed against the rocks to the left, but it was a rapid, undulating movement across the centre wall which caught Brody’s attention.

    We’re being double-teamed.

    The realisation brought nothing but calm; this was what they trained for, this was what he and Larry in particular were good at. Larry worked best on impulse, but Brody was the strategist.

    ‘Larry. Centre-right, likely the water-type pokémon.’

    Larry nodded slightly, his eyes flickering to see Brody’s hand fingering his other pokéball, the motion hidden by the turn of the younger man’s body towards the cliff. The older agent caught his partner’s eyes and he tilted his head slightly in silent acknowledgement.

    ‘Smokescreen,’ Brody said softly.

    Torkoal huffed, inhaled, and a second later the hole in her back geysered smog until they were surrounded by a thick, billowing haze. It pressed against the rock walls, wreathing around piles and formations of stone and obscuring nearly everything.



    Keegan clamped a hand over her nose and wiped her watering eyes. Beside her, Firefoot coughed and whined deep in his throat for the horrible stench blocking his senses. Oh damn …!

    Her fingers fumbled for Bram’s pokéball—she had managed to return the headstrong butterfree, but only after the men had become aware of their presence and retaliated to the butterfly’s Sleep Powder—and released her into the same mire they were all enveloped by.

    ‘Frriii,’ Bram screwed up her face in distaste at the murky surroundings, perching on a rock and shaking her wings irritably as though to rid herself of any ash or grime that might cling to her.

    ‘Whirlwi—’ Keegan began, but Bram had already drawn her wings back and beat the air violently, sending dust and smoke flurrying through the ravine and up into the sky. Keegan flinched and buried her face in her arms to protect herself from the sharp wind, and when there was silence and stillness the girl looked up gingerly, her eyes searching the lingering haze of dust for the men to find—nothing.

    ‘Viibuuuu!’

    Keegan’s heart skipped at the pained cry and she jolted to her feet. Tarn.

    Something plummeted out of the sky at Bram, and with a surprised squeal the butterfree threw herself off the rock. Its apex crumbled a moment later beneath the force of the vibrava’s claws, sending up a puff of dirt and pebbles.

    Keegan jerked reflexively away from the abrupt appearance of the hostile dragonfly, automatically returning Bram before the irate butterfree could gain her balance on the ground. ‘Bite—’ she started without thinking, but then the girl’s heel caught on a stone and sent her toppling over with a squeak and a whoomph.

    Firefoot surged past her in a blur of orange and black, his massive jaws snapping shut on dust as the vibrava beat its wings and sent itself flying backward. Its mandibles clicked and it spat twisting blue—something—something that weren’t flames but couldn’t be described as anything else either—

    It ripped into Firefoot—and dispelled the after-image of a Quick Attack, crashing against the rocks behind Keegan. She coughed at the thin debris that flecked down on her, tiny embers making her skin twitch slightly with static.

    The vibrava sideslipped, then banked away on the draught of Firefoot’s passing. Keegan pushed herself up, still gripping Bram’s pokéball, her limbs wobbly but willing. She was just rising to her feet when someone seized her shoulder and she instinctively pulled away and around at the same time, her fist striking out at the hand. She caught a glimpse of a shocked, hood-shaded face, right before there was a blur of orange and Firefoot knocked the man away from her, releasing her from his grip with a wrench.

    Keegan stumbled, catching her balance by grabbing Firefoot’s ruff before hauling herself up and onto his back. The arcanine’s head was lowered, teeth bared towards the man in a snarl of warning, but the instant he felt Keegan’s weight he shot off in the direction of Tarn’s cry.

    Keegan clung to him tightly, her heart pounding, and didn’t look back.

    If she had, she might have seen Larry sink, stunned, against a rock and bury his face in one shaking hand.



    Rock crunched as Swellow’s Steel Wing cut a swathe in the ground, slicing through the shimmer of the vaporeon’s suddenly illusory form. The water-fox bounded up a rock and back to jump paw-first at Swellow, but the bird used Quick Attack in turn and instead the water pokémon stumbled as it hit the gravel, its injured hind leg buckling.

    From the shadow and relative safety of a rock, Brody watched assessingly as Swellow spiralled up on the breeze to gain some height, giving the vaporeon the chance to recover its footing. With a cry the eeveelution lifted its muzzle to the air, light reflecting rainbows off the ice building around its nose.

    ‘Aerial Ace!’ Brody commanded, and Swellow pulled in her wings to tumble into a corkscrewing dive, missing the Aurora Beam which lanced past her in a dazzle of sunlight—still close enough to coat her topmost feathers with rime. The vaporeon tried to slide away on the ice-dusted floor of the ravine, but it was limping from the injury from Swellow’s initial attack and the exertion of battle combined.

    Not that there’s anything that can evade an Aerial Ace anyway.

    ‘Flame Wheel!’

    ‘Arrccth!’

    An arcanine?! Brody jerked around, surprised—he knew a fire pokémon was likely in the battle for the other side but arcanine were a rarity for the average trainer in Tohjo, let alone Hoenn.

    He jumped back, catching himself on the rock, his clothes billowing with heat as an orange-and-black shape swept past, leaving a heat-shimmer in its wake. Swellow flared, wings snapping out, and Brody winced—that had to hurt. The bird managed to catch the heat of the massive dog’s attack and lift herself up on it rather than ram right into it as she would have had she maintained the Aerial Ace. Sure, she would have hurt the arcanine—but she would’ve got a lot more than a few singed tail feathers in return, too.

    Not worth it.

    ‘Quick Att—’

    Scarlet light flared, the vaporeon returned, and Brody’s order died on his lips as his eyes properly registered the arcanine’s trainer for the first time: blonde, blue-eyed, with a thin face and thick hair and a flash of red at her throat—

    Keegan …?

    ‘Agility!’

    The arcanine sprang aside from Swellow as she flickered past, the bird flaring and banking sharply, almost tumbling when her wing scraped the ground. Nimbly the arcanine leapt over the scattered debris before it, and then with a flick of its dusty white tail and a flash of white-ruffed paws was gone.

    They were escaping—they—they had escaped—but Brody’s muscles and vocal chords didn’t seem to want to work to stop it.

    He just … couldn't move.

    It can’t have been her, he rationalised. It can’t have been her because she’s dead and has been for years and if she’s alive then all of this was for nothing and it can’t have been for nothing because if it was then what are we worth and—

    ‘Brody,’ a hoarse and broken voice said from somewhere to the side, and then someone coughed and it came again, cleaner, smoother: ‘Brody.’ accompanied by a scuff of dirt and pebbles bouncing off the side of his leg.

    ‘It wasn’t her,’ Brody said. ‘It wasn’t her, it can’t've been her, it couldn’t, it wasn’t—’

    He was shaking—no, he was being shaken, and he snapped out of his transfixed daze to find Larry was before him, his lined face weathered by dust and shock but grey eyes clear—mostly—and determined—desperate.

    ‘It was her. She had the pendant, Brody, it was her—we have to move, Brody, we can’t let her get away. Forget Cinnabar; Keegan is more important than all the volcanoes in the world.’

    Brody took a deep breath, and the world snapped back into place—but it was a different place than it had been five minutes ago. Swellow was crouched on a rock, head cocked with concern; a slight breeze was drifting through the ravine, carrying with it the smell of fire and dampness and burned dust; Larry was waiting for him—again—because he had stopped to think too much—again.

    He couldn’t afford to think anymore.

    Keegan was alive.

    Right then, that was all that mattered.

    * * *

    Tynan kicked at the ground. He was frustrated, he was bored, and there was that kind of clammy humidity in the air which made his clothes stick to him and godammit it was annoying.

    After spending three days trapped in Fuchsia because of the storm, he’d been happy to get out of the city. As far as he was concerned, Fuchsia City and all its surroundings and especially the gym could go drop off the map into non-existence. He didn’t want to think about what had happened there. He could get by perfectly well without thinking about what had happened there.

    Only what had happened there seemed not to want to leave him alone, until as much as he tried not thinking about it, that’s how much he seemed to end up thinking about it, and it was racing around in his mind until his head seemed to throb with Janine’s words.

    Because, fuck it all, as much as he didn’t want to admit it, she was right.

    Well, she was right about the fact that Marowak had taken the lead. Tynan liked to think that if the assertive (arrogant) dinosaur hadn’t done so he’d have done perfectly well on his own—

    But that was the part Tynan knew was a lie.

    Then, when he’d reached Cinnabar—about ready to skip and dance with the knowledge he was out of Fuchsia—he had stopped in at the Pokémon Centre and emerged ready for almost anything (except another ninja).

    That was when he realised he didn’t have a fucking clue what he wanted to do on Cinnabar. Sure, it was one thing to say you were going to go out and train at gyms, but given his recent experience he wasn’t sure he wanted to go near a gym at the moment (assuming he could even find it, because Blaine was known as a riddler for a reason). And other than that, there wasn’t a whole lot to do on Cinnabar.

    There were the hot springs, but he’d been on Cinnabar for two days and had already gone to them, and there was only so much time he could spend soaking before he got bored.

    But what annoyed him the most was the realisation that, despite assertions of the contrary, he was still fucking following someone else’s lead. He had been since Celadon. He had wanted to figure out what the hell made trainers like Erika and that Keegan girl so … not strong, he doubted Keegan would last two minutes against Erika, but confident?

    Not quite the right word, since he was confident, but he didn’t know how else to describe it.

    In any case, he hadn’t known where to start, so he’d followed Keegan. He’d followed her to Fuchsia, and now he’d followed her to Cinnabar, and he hadn’t been following her for long but it still rankled that Janine seemed to be right in more aspects of his life than simple battling. If it could have been called a battle, when he had practically been victimised by the traps in the gym.

    Fucking ninja.

    So now he was doing just about the only thing he could do while on Cinnabar (because he could have left, but he didn’t know where the hell he would go to next, since he was still, fuck it all, waiting for some kind of cue). He was finding a secluded, open stretch of land (which, considering Cinnabar was an island, there weren’t a whole lot of in general, but it was a fairly big island and managed to hide its gym, so there had to be spaces somewhere) so he could train.

    He wasn’t entirely sure how he’d go about doing that either, since most of the training done at the academy had been battling with other students or strategising and not a whole lot of actual individual practice, but he decided he could figure that out when he found a place he liked, and meanwhile he felt as though he was actually doing something under his own steam.

    It wasn’t much, but it kept him from feeling like he had to punch out a wall, which was a rather new feeling, all things considered.

    With a growl Tynan peeled the front of his shirt away from his body, cursing the humidity and the overcast sky and half wishing it would just rain, dammit, because even though he’d be wet at least it wouldn’t be stuffy. Or as stuffy, anyway. He trudged down the path, rounding an elongated boulder jutting out from beneath a tangle of rocks, weeds and the shrubbery that passed for trees on this god-forsaken oven of an island.

    He ended up almost tripping over the very spiffy if slightly dusty motorbike lying on the ground in the pile’s shade. As it was, his toe caught on the tyre, wrenching his ankle slightly, and he spent several seconds hopping, skipping and stumbling over the bikes—there were four of them—to avoid either stepping on them and possibly breaking his ankle as he fell, or just falling over and possible breaking his ankle on the pebbly ground anyway. He resisted the urge to kick the things: with his luck, that would probably just give him a broken toe.

    Instead he swore mightily, leaning against one of the rocks to massage his ankle. There were obviously people nearby, so he was going to go out on a limb and say this wasn’t the kind of area he wanted to be training in.

    Shaking his foot as if that would help ease the slight twinge in his ankle, he set it down and stomped past the bikes, following the path—if it could be called a path—beyond them where it led between a copse of bushes and another jumble of rocks.

    Before he got there, however, voices sounded remarkably near in front of him, somewhere through the foliage, and he stopped short. I don’t want to meet anyone—may as well leave.

    He barely managed to move before a group of people came up the path, through the undergrowth. They froze when they saw him, all of them clad in black and red—and the red was in the scarf around the lead man’s neck and the big ‘R’ adorning the front of their shirts.

    ‘R’. An ‘R’.

    Team Rocket.


    Tynan stared at the letter, unable to look at anything else, its black backdrop seeming to expand to fill all his sight like the great untameable and unstoppable force it represented. Then a pokéball snapped with a releasal and Tynan’s head jerked up, his entire body moving with him in a backward step as he was abruptly presented with the grim, staring eyes of the leader and his weezing.

    For an instant he was aware of everything: the coarse feel of his damp clothes sticking to him; his hair, limp and heavy from the humidity but still drifting on the slightest of breezes; his breathing, quick, too quick, so that he felt as though he couldn’t possibly be getting enough air; his heart pounding in his ribs, so harsh that it pulsed throughout his entire body; his skin tight and close as if only he could shed it he could flee light as a bird, because right then he couldn’t fucking move

    ‘Sludge.’

    The dispassionate voice seemed to make everything snap, the broken pieces of a window—mirror, life—shoved back into places that weren’t quite the same as they had been, but close enough that between one moment and the next Tynan found himself behind a far-too-small rock on the furthest side of the clearing, away from any exit and huddling into the rough stone like a little kid terrified of the monsters under the bed.

    But Team Rocket was the monster under the bed. They were every sane trainer’s worst nightmare—to be confronted with them, to be reminded that not all was right with the world and monsters existed. The worst nightmare, but the kind that no one ever believed would happen to them.

    And yet there he was, confronted by the monster and cowering like a child. He felt like a child.

    A child who was going to die if he didn’t fucking do something—but what could he do? If he tried to run on foot they’d get him even if he made it to the path he’d come down by, but his murkrow didn’t have the strength to Fly him away and he had no other pokémon which could possibly help him to escape—

    No other pokémon.

    The bikes. Fuck, the bikes!


    The sky was turning into a filmy purple haze, but his mind was starting to clear, and he pulled his coat over his mouth as a filter. He still felt like a child, but one with enough foolish courage or confidence to strike out at the monster rather than run to his parents’ room.

    They’re trying to smoke me out. Made sense; why bother running after or directly attacking a panicked trainer (who likely had pokémon and could still do a bit of damage) when you could poison him and wait for him to keel over himself? But they didn’t know he had Murkrow. Or maybe they suspected—flying pokémon were a dime a dozen—and just didn’t care; after all, who but a truly strong trainer—or one insanely suicidal—would bother to have the courage to fight back, if courage it could be called?

    Suicide. he found himself thinking vaguely as he released Murkrow with a wince at the loud-seeming snap. Definitely suicide.

    But it would be suicide
    not to do anything.

    ‘Gust,’ he whispered, and buried his face in his arms, which were resting on his knees. He lifted Murkrow up as far as he could, the bird’s claws pricking his palms where he held her, and felt her shift, her centre of balance changing as she drew back her wings. A moment later his hair and clothes were caught by gusts of wind, tugging at them violently, harsh fingers of air raking through them. He heard the snap of the gale, the whoosh of gas pushed back, the skate of debris and distantly—a shouted, but unintelligible, command.

    Might not have been expecting it, but I guess they weren’t unprepared for it.

    That thought flitted through his head, and then Tynan flung Murkrow into the air and was on his feet, throwing Flareon’s pokéball out, moving before he considered what he was doing. ‘Fire Spin, Whirlwind!’

    ‘Fuuburuu!’

    ‘Kkrkkrkk!’

    With a roar of flames the side of the clearing leading past the thicket lit up and Tynan sprinted for the bikes—and then abruptly found himself pitched forward, his ears ringing with an explosion and an inhuman scream of pain. Cinders drifted down on him as he stumblingly regained his balance and whirled around.

    The image of Murkrow plummeting, tumbling in air currents, her feathers all but gone, was something that would be seared into his mind for a long time afterward. So was the smell of burning flesh, although that wouldn’t hit him until after it was all over, and neither would Flareon’s great keen of distress.

    Later, he would try to recall the exact events and remember only the sensation of his heart thudding, breathing in ash that tasted literally like shit, and the sight of his pokémon falling against a backdrop of flames. Later, he would figure out that the flames had made the gas in the air—pushed back, but not swept away, and pushed higher overhead—catch alight. Later, he would realise he had almost killed her because he hadn’t thought out his strategy well enough, and not even the knowledge that he hadn’t had the time—or complete lucidity—would make up for it.

    Now, it was only the knowledge that Murkrow couldn’t stop herself from falling—fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck—that had him reacting, although he honestly couldn’t remember thinking anything. He could barely see the pokéball’s red light against the flames, and for a moment it looked as though she’d been swallowed by them; but then the pokéball dinged and locked down to standby as they did whenever there was a critically injured pokémon inside, so that they weren’t released accidentally by an inattentive trainer.

    The flames were dimming, Flareon was darting towards him before vanishing into red light, and his mind had apparently taken a holiday because suddenly he was hurtling towards the four bikes still lying innocuously on the ground beneath the sheer ledge.

    They weren’t quite like the ones he knew, but that was only a dim realisation to the overwhelming gogogogogogogogogogo

    He heaved one up and slung his leg over it, gunning it barely before he was properly on it, when he just barely heard another order from behind—‘Air Cutter!’—and didn’t wait to look. Tyres squealed on gravel and he shot off, the rock beside where he had been bursting with dust and debris and thin slices.

    The engine roared beneath him, seeming to join with the pound of his heart in his throat and ribs and everywhere else too, and every time the bike skated on gravel and he skidded—too fast—around a bend it seemed as though his veins surged with adrenaline. He knew they were behind him: he knew it without a doubt, without even thinking it or needing to hear the roar of their bikes behind him, because they had to be—because they were the monster.

    He soared over a ridge and came down on top of a speeding blur of orange and black. He didn’t even have time to curse; adrenaline pumped, his arms jerked on the handlebars, and the bike wrenched beneath him. For a moment the world turned on its axis, the orange-bullet-thing slewing away from underneath him in a tumble of orange and black and yellow and blue and a tint of red. He hit the ground and the bike didn’t skid so much as spin, seeming to twist beneath him while his body instinctively fought for control.

    The bike jolted, his unstable seat disappeared from beneath him with a lurch, and he found himself tumbling across the ground in a flurry of clothes, dust and gravel.

    And then his world abruptly stilled and he was left, gasping, on the hard, hot ground.


    A/N: I am quite aware that technically growlithe/arcanine don't learn Quick Attack, but they can/do learn Extremespeed, and considering the perchance of small furry pokemon to learn Quick Attack I found it odd that growlithe don't.

    The thing I wasn't sure about was Tynan's panic attack after being confronted by Team Rocket. I figured that living in Celadon he'd have heard an awful lot about their crimes and be very much aware that they're real and 'out there', but since he's never been out on his own he simply doesn't know how to deal with unexpected pressures or dangers--and, as he said, it's always something that happens to someone else.

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