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Thread: Lost Evolution

  1. #326
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    Damn you, Dragonfree! You've stolen the initiative from me!!

    Ahem! That aside, I've opted to save my microscopic sights for all those other works, as I know what to expect from this precious gem. For this chapter, I'm just going to comment.

    At looking at the title for this chapter, & judging by the fact that Velotus was frozen at the sight of Sceptile, I at first thought that Sceptile was going to crush him into a pulp like he did last time, & then torture him for some evil, evil reasons before slitting his jugular & letting him bleed to death.

    Unfortunately, I couldn't be any more wrong than this...

    In actuality, Velotus did managed to keep his emotions, especially his anger, in check, & that combined with his Fire-Typed Hidden Power & Leaf Storm Combo, was the thing that brought that Sceptile down. I'm really sure that Velotus felt at the top of the world, going, "I am the Alpha Male, foo!!"

    I'm not a Velotus fanboy myself, but he sure did rise up to this challenge.

    But... the surprises never cease as the surprise entry of Archopy was definitely a hell of a surprising cliffhanger for this.

    That's all I have to say, but before I go, would you be so kind as to put me on your PM list, Groovy Eli, so that I "might" be able to get the initiative on your next chapter?

  2. #327
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    I trust you got my msn message that sums up my thoughts?

    Yeah, Crescent was my favourite thing here... Too bad his potential character development got shafted to a couple of lines in favour of Velotus being Velotus.

    Again.

    I noticed that in previous chapters he was acting very "Sceptilish". No one gonna mention that, because THAT would make him more interesting to me, how he deals with his ferocity and behaviour. Afterall his character appears to be heading that way, so they would realistically be...

    Banner credit: Jakotsu.
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  3. #328
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    barriers he'd need to face. Perhaps Archopy could mention it? Who knows?

    But Velotus, either you'll get full character development and overcome all obstacles to become a truely mature character, or you'll just overcome your new insecurities and be the same Velo from chap 1.

    Thoughts anyone?

    Banner credit: Jakotsu.
    Quote Originally Posted by MSN
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  4. #329
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    You're awesome Velotus, but you just stole away a chance for Empathy and Crescent to get more character development ;_; I like Absols a lot and i just think it's been a while since its had a bit more focus, although understandably you would be more focused on writing about the Grovyles seeing as they're the main part of your story. But even then, i think the other Grovyles are now a bit lacking if you understand my point, because everything seems to be about Velotus.

    I do think his emotions were portrayed very well in the chase sequence, but somehow the actual battle seemd quite short. But yay, we finaly get to see Archopy! Hopefully...

    And on a completely different more random note which has nothing to do with the fic:- The new Doctor sucks does he not?

  5. #330
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    So, uh, turns out I was pretty on the money about being hugely distracted from Christmas onwards. D: But! I'm back in business now. I'm writing, I'm enjoying the heck out of it, and the next chapter will be ready soon. Ish.


    Review replies!

    First, on a general note, I'd like to clarify something regarding the comments a couple of people have made about the recent few chapters having rather a lot of focus on Velotus. Basically, I just want to assure you that this isn't simply because I fangirl over him way too much that I've let him take over the story. Rather, the story ended up shaping itself so that the most effective and convenient way to fit the events together happened to have a lot of Velotus all in one place.

    Okay, so that probably sounds far too much like an excuse of some sort even though I don't mean it to be one, but the point is this: Chapter 28 was always intended to be a spotlight chapter for Velotus in which he battles the Sceptile again, even long before I came up with the idea for what happened in Chapter 26. It was pretty much a coincidence that those two things happened so close together, but the events of Chapter 26 fit in well with the character development I knew Velotus would be getting in 28, so I decided to run with it and make it a character arc sort of thing. It's just the way things turned out.

    The reason I'm trying so hard to justify myself here is that Chapter 29, which I'll be posting soonish, has also come out seeming kind of Velotus-centric despite being mostly meant to be about other things, and I'm just really hoping those of you who had this issue with Chapter 28 aren't going to hate me for it. >.< You have my word that I am not deliberately doing this out of rabid fangirlism at the rest of the fic's expense. It honestly was the best way I could see for the structuring of the chapter to work, and it gives some needed rounding-off to Velotus' current character arc.

    (Yes, this means that the fic will be shutting up about him for the most part after Chapter 29. You can rejoice!)

    Dragonfree - ...whoa, I still haven't corrected any of the things you pointed out in your review. D: Fixing mistakes that have been there for nearly three months for the win?

    Reworded the first sentence slightly. As for the issue of the first paragraph, that is a very good point that somehow utterly failed to occur to me while I was writing this. Rewriting that bit would take a lot of awkward fiddling around with stuff, so, uh... I'll just pretend that it's because Velotus is too busy thinking that he's awesome and unstoppable and doing everything perfectly that he failed to notice the logicfail of trying to be silent in treetops? D: That is the state of mind Velotus is in anyway, I just... was kind of too preoccupied with trying to portray that mindset to realise how epically I was failing in the realism department. :x

    Yay for the fangirling of Velotus. :3 I especially like how you picked out that one sentence and rambled about the effects it had which I completely didn't consciously put in. You should do that more often. =D

    Fixed the other small things you mentioned, and yeah, I admit Crescent rubbing against Carrie's legs is kind of unexpected, but it just sort of happened while I was writing that scene, so I put it in. It's probably because he's feeling extra-affectionate towards her after the trauma of the whole Perish Song business, or something.

    More yay for the loving of Velotus during the battle - I put quite a bit of effort into making the battle intense and exciting while also keeping his Velotusness in there as much as I could - and of the mad cackling at the end, which as you know was ridiculously fun to write. :3 And yes, it was indeed Archopy who attacked the Sceptile towards the end, although Velotus himself hasn't realised this quite yet...

    Thanks as always for being awesome. :3

    Brumrha - You know, getting the first review really isn't that big a deal. :/ It's not like I'm going to pay any less attention to what you said just because someone else happened to comment before you did. Nonetheless, thanks for commenting.

    I don't know so much about Velotus keeping his anger in check. =P It's probably a large part of what was driving him for most of the battle, and it does fuel his Hidden Power, after all. But you're definitely right that he felt on top of the world after winning. :>

    Darkfall - Thanks for commenting. I do like how you've noticed that Velotus' actions can be considered rather Sceptilish - it may very well be true, but it's certainly not something Velotus would ever realise about himself, much less admit to. We will see how things go next chapter with those possibilities you mentioned...

    Sinnohdragon - Thanks for giving your thoughts. Admittedly, Empathy and Crescent's appearances this chapter were short, but I'm afraid that whether this was Velotus' chapter or not, they're basically minor characters who aren't likely to get all that much development anyway. :/ The other Grovyle should start coming into focus again a little more once Velotus' arc ends; Foliano in particular has a POV scene in Chapter 30, which I've been writing, so...

    And I'm glad you liked Velotus' emotions in the first part. Those were fun to do. :3


    So... stay tuned? The next chapter will probably be coming in the next week or so. At the very latest, I should have it up before Easter.
    Last edited by elyvorg; 20th March 2010 at 10:24 PM.
    .: Evolution is a battle .:. Something has to lose :.
    LOST EVOLUTION
    Chapter 33: Inside has been posted.


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

    Three Heads Are Better Than One

  6. #331
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    Default Chapter 29: Prelude [part 1]

    The new chapter is here! And it's the first one so far that's too long to fit in one post. But still. Enjoy.


    Chapter 29: Prelude

    Carrie had been searching the forests of Steel Hill for Velotus for a good half hour or more. She was beginning to appreciate just why Bad Light still hadn’t managed to find Archopy here despite having spent days looking. Even with all her experience in areas like this, and even with how spacious these woods were compared to the claustrophobic jumble of trees on Route 119-and-a-half, the fact remained that it was a huge place, and Velotus could have been anywhere.

    She’d only just finished this thought when she felt a gentle nudge at her mind, the psychic equivalent of someone clearing their throat in order to be noticed.

    “Oh, hi, Empathy. Have you found Vel –” Carrie's half-finished question answered itself as she turned around and saw who the lilac feline had brought with him.

    Velotus looked terrible. A legion of painful-looking burns ran all over his bruised and battered body as he practically dragged it across the ground towards her. He was breathing heavily, close to exhaustion, and his eyes seemed somehow haunted. It was like a storm had raged behind them and left him reeling in its wake.

    As soon as he’d reached his trainer, he all but collapsed in front of her, as though now that he’d managed to reach her he’d simply given up.

    Carrie stared, horrified. “Velotus,” she said shakily, “what happened?”

    He looked up at her, and a trickle of smugness returned to his expression as he spoke.

    I’ve found Archopy.

    * * *

    Velotus’ eyes met with the ancient creature’s for what felt like an eternity, seeing so many things swirling behind her gaze – alarm, uncertainty, confusion. Then the moment broke, and with a rustle of the bush she was hiding in, Archopy fled.

    Frantically, Velotus whipped his head around to look for her, seeing the shrubs surrounding the blackened battleground shake one after another as a flash of dark green rushed through them. In an instant, he leapt off the unconscious Sceptile and shot away in pursuit, following each slight shiver of undergrowth that he knew had to be Archopy. She had circled around and was heading back in the direction Velotus had approached the Sceptile from – had she followed him there?

    That didn’t matter right now. He had to focus on keeping her in sight; he could not afford to let her get away. She moved so fast, though, darting from cover to cover, and he was exhausted from the battle. Velotus forced himself onwards regardless, insisting that he could rest later – Archopy was getting further and further ahead of him, and she was skilled enough at keeping herself to the undergrowth that he’d lose track of her if he stopped for even a moment.

    Scrambling haphazardly between the trees, limbs threatening to buckle underneath him from sheer overexertion, Velotus watched as the dark shape up ahead poked its head into a small grassy mound and wriggled inside, disappearing completely from view.

    Seeing her vanish before his eyes like that, Velotus all but gave up, a heavy sigh of defeat pushing its way out of him as he collapsed onto the forest floor. He stared, unfocused, at the tiny hump of grass in the distance. There was no way Archopy could be hiding inside that, he thought. It was far too small to conceal her properly. She must have had some kind of supernatural ability to disappear from the sight of her pursuers. It wouldn’t have surprised him, given how amazing she was with her mere existence. A Grovyle evolution that could fly…

    Velotus screwed his eyes shut and shook his head vigorously, pushing away the irrational thoughts that his mind was too exhausted to filter out on its own. Archopy was a living creature just like him. There had to be some logical reason for her vanishing into that grassy mound.

    He lay there for several moments, listening to his own pounding heartbeat, until it came to him. His trainer had told him a long time ago about “bases” that humans made inside certain natural objects – bases that were deceptively bigger inside than they looked from the outside. Velotus smiled to himself. Archopy may not have had any supernatural talents, but she definitely knew what she was doing when it came to hiding. He would never have found her if he hadn’t seen her enter.

    And neither would anyone else. She was totally, utterly safe in there.

    Despite this, the urge for Velotus to follow Archopy hadn’t got any weaker. Pushing himself up on the ground, he made his way forward at a more subdued pace, keeping his sights constantly locked onto the hillock of grass ahead of him like he was worried it would disappear if he looked away.

    As he came closer, though, he noticed something which managed to avert his gaze. A somewhat familiar shrub grew half-heartedly from ground fairly close to Archopy’s mound. Velotus stared at it, taking in the shreds of its foliage that were littered around its base, the way some of its stems looked like they’d been slashed haphazardly by something – recently, in fact. Of course. It was the same shrub that he’d stood in front of and… and practiced on while deciding if it was worth going after the Sceptile or not. And all along, Archopy had been
    right behind him.

    Well, that answered one question, at least. She
    had followed him there.

    Not that it mattered, he told himself, focusing his attention on the grassy mound behind the shrub and moving towards the side where the grass seemed the least firm. He grinned to himself and crouched down, heart racing in anticipation as he pushed himself through the loose vegetation.

    As the grass tickling his back receded, he found himself in a spacious, vegetation-lined cave. He looked around, barely taking in the table with the Treecko doll as his eyes locked on to what they sought: Archopy.

    She was crouched in the opposite corner, her pastel green wing leaves flaring out around her like a wreath. Her tail lay curled underneath the diamond shape on her dark red stomach, the foliage at its tip twitching wildly. A crest of quivering leaves, each one long and thin, ran from her forehead and down her back. Her eyes were wide as they stared back at Velotus, framed by the smooth, light green scales that covered her face.

    A shiver sped down his spine as he realised what the look in those eyes was. He could have been looking at himself one night ago. Archopy’s expression was filled with confusion, desperation – and fear. It only intensified as she continued to stare at him, and horror stabbed at Velotus’ heart.

    Archopy wasn’t just terrified. She was terrified of
    him.

    * * *

    “No-one else will find her? You’re sure?”

    Kneeling down beside Velotus, Carrie finished spraying a Full Heal over the Grovyle as she spoke, making sure she caught all of his burns. A little of his vigour had returned to him now that he was no longer on the brink of fainting, but he still didn’t quite seem himself.

    When was I ever not sure?” he said. “No-one will find her unless I show them where she is. But we need to get to her as soon as possible.

    Grabbing the empty Hyper Potion bottle that was lying on the ground and shoving it into her bag, Carrie stood up. “Obviously, but…” She looked down at Velotus and frowned, Empathy mirroring her scepticism at her feet. “If she’s completely hidden where she is, why does it have to be right now? Why the big rush?”

    What are you saying?” Velotus snapped. “We can’t afford to waste any time here –

    “Except that half my Pokémon are still spread out around this damn hill looking for you,” Carrie pointed out. “Don’t they get to meet Archopy too? I’ve had enough of working around what you want, Velotus. We’re finding them first.”

    We don’t have time!” he insisted. “That’ll take too long!

    “But you said no-one else can find her!” Carrie said, feeling her exasperation rise.

    “Esp espeon,” Empathy cut in, looking pointedly at Velotus and then up at his trainer. “Speon.”

    “Yeah, I know, there’s something he’s not telling me,” Carrie sighed. “Always is with Velotus, isn’t there?” The Espeon flexed his tail pointedly, his deep blue gaze firmly on the Grovyle, and she realised what it meant. “And you know what it is. Well, Velotus!” Carrie rounded on him with false cheeriness. “Since I don’t speak Espeon, would you care to translate what Empathy has to say for me?”

    Velotus’ accusing glare faltered, and he averted his eyes before she could see what was going on behind them. Whiskers twitching in discomfort, Empathy padded closer, forcing the Grovyle’s attention to him with a few quiet words. A familiar defensive stubbornness burned in Velotus for a few seconds, but then it went out.

    Fine.” He sighed. “The Sceptile was there.

    It took a moment for Carrie to realise what he was talking about, but then it clicked. “The one Aiden had?” she said. It made sense, she supposed, since the leader of Bad Light was presumably here on Steel Hill. “So… Aiden knows where Archopy is?”

    Velotus shook his head emphatically. “No. Its trainer wasn’t there. The Sceptile itself doesn’t know where Archopy is either, because I made it faint.

    Carrie felt a grin make its way onto her face. “So, wait – you beat the Sceptile? The same one from before?”

    Velotus wasn’t meeting her eye. “I made it faint,” he repeated. “But that was a while ago, and it’s probably close to coming round now. And it’s near where Archopy is hidden.” His head suddenly snapped up, staring imploringly at his trainer. “Don’t you see? We have to get there now, before it finds her, or it’s going to kill her.

    Carrie stared, stunned into silence momentarily.

    “Speon esp,” commented Empathy. There was a dry, “He never mentioned that before, did he?” kind of tone to his words.

    “It wants to kill Archopy?” said Carrie, aghast. “And you knew this? You could have told us that earlier, you know!”

    It… I felt it was my own business,” said Velotus, glancing away briefly. “That’s beside the point now,” he added insistently, looking back at her. “Do you finally understand what the hurry is?

    Carrie was inclined to agree with him, but stubbornness prevented her from doing so. She was fed up of Velotus being the one in charge. “We’re not going with just the three of us,” she said flatly. “The rest of my Pokémon deserve to see Archopy just as much as you do. We’ve all been in this from the start. All of us…” Trailing off, Carrie’s eyes widened as she realised just who else deserved to see Archopy as much as she did. “Including Theo.”

    What?” Velotus spluttered, his frustration peaking. “Him? Archopy could be murdered at any moment, and you want to waste your time looking for that idiot of a human?

    “He’s not an idiot,” Carrie told him, keeping her gaze level. “He never was. He’s been with us all along, helping us out, and it’s about time I actually showed him that I appreciate it, rather than abandoning him at the last hurdle. I’m finding my Pokémon, and I’m finding Theo. Before we go and see Archopy,” she said firmly.

    But –

    “Oh, come on!” she exclaimed. “You said yourself that Archopy’s completely hidden. The Sceptile’ll probably never find her, even if it does wake up!”

    Velotus continued his frustrated glare but said nothing.

    “Right then,” said Carrie. “I’ll look for Theo. His trail should be easy enough to follow once I’ve found it. Empathy, you can look for the others. Once you’ve found them, try and figure out where Theo went and head towards him.” Empathy nodded in acknowledgement and dashed off through the undergrowth. “And Velotus,” she said, looking down at the Grovyle, “you can either stay here and sulk or go and help Empathy with finding the others. Either is fine by me, but the second one means we get to Archopy faster.” She raised an eyebrow. “Which is it going to be?”

    Velotus seemed almost swayed for a moment, then he shook his head. “Neither,” he said shortly. “There’s something else I need to do.” The carpet of leaves beneath him rustled as he leapt into the nearest tree. “I have a Sceptile to deal with.” With that, he was off.

    “Wait, Velotus!” Carrie called frantically after him, but it was too late; the Grovyle had already raced across one branch and glided towards the next, far enough away to pretend he was out of earshot. “Don’t do anything drastic!” she yelled after his retreating form.

    Heck, what’s the use? she thought as she turned to search for Theo. It’s Velotus.


    * * *

    Velotus stared helplessly back at Archopy, unable to look away as the terror rose in her eyes. Seeing her edging further into the corner in desperation to get as far away from him as possible gave him all too vivid a reminder of himself futilely craning his head away from the syringe the previous night, unable to escape. He couldn’t bear to see her like this, couldn’t bear the undeniable knowledge that it was his fault. Somehow, he was inflicting his worst nightmare upon the creature of his dreams.

    He wanted to leave, to turn and run from the place then and there, just to save her from it. He almost did. Almost.

    But this was
    Archopy. He’d found her at last. He couldn’t just disappear and pretend nothing had happened.

    Frozen to the spot, watching Archopy go through a hell that he could have been saving her from but wasn’t, Velotus hated himself more with every moment he stood there.

    The tense silence between them was finally broken as Archopy managed to form words. “Who are you?”

    On edge, Velotus urged himself to calm down, stay unthreatening, think of something to say that would automatically clear away her fears and make her trust him.

    “I… my name is Velotus,” was all he could think of.

    “Your name means nothing!” Archopy's voice was becoming more frantic by the moment. “Who are you? Why follow me? Are you…” She fidgeted nervously in her corner, her leaves rustling. “Are you with Them?” The loaded meaning in that last word was almost tangible.

    Velotus flinched under the gaze of her accusing, frightened eyes. “I don’t want to hurt you!” he blurted defensively, sounding a lot angrier than he’d meant to. “I’m sorry! I just…”

    They always said that!” she hissed, looking at Velotus coldly. “That’s what he said, when he killed my… her…” Screwing her eyes shut, she turned her head away, clearly pained by the memory of something. “Please, leave me alone,” she murmured, her voice breaking.

    “I can’t just do that,” Velotus said without thinking, and almost instantly he saw her look back at him in terror. “No, I don’t mean it like that!” he protested, feeling his frustration overtake his sympathy for her. “Just listen to me! I’m on your side, damn it!”

    He knew almost straight away that that had probably been a bad move, but stubbornness kept his gaze locked onto hers, watching the suspicion and fear swirl behind her eyes.

    Then Archopy seemed to pull herself together, and her expression turned hard. “Okay,” she said. “I will hear you out. But be aware that if you attack me, I will fight to my last breath. I have nothing to lose. And…” She looked him up and down. “You are not yet evolved. You stand less chance than They would.” Straightening up from her frightened crouch and folding down her wing leaves, she remained tense, alert, ready to defend herself at any moment.

    Not yet evolved? Velotus thought furiously, seething at the implication that he intended to become a Sceptile and was simply not powerful enough. Hadn’t he just been proving that he was the complete opposite of that, back there in the battle? Hadn’t she seen that about him?

    But this was Archopy. Velotus couldn’t lash out at Archopy. She was letting him be the first to explain things to her. He took a deep breath, forcing himself to calm down.

    “Okay,” he said, frantically trying to work out how to make everything make sense to her. “You escaped from the place you started your life in, didn’t you?” She nodded warily. “I – and some… friends, of a sort – saw you escape, and we’ve been searching for you. And now I’ve found you.”

    Archopy didn’t seem much happier with this than she had with his frustrated outbursts earlier. “Why search for me? Why
    me?” she asked, regarding him with puzzlement. “Why not just leave me be?”

    Velotus couldn’t help but smirk to himself; Archopy really had no idea of the importance of her existence. “You mean a lot to all of us,” he said simply. “The others – they just wanted to talk to you about how our world works, to make things less confusing for you.” He saw her eyes widen in surprise. “But I came here to save your life,” Velotus went on. “And now I’ve done that.”

    Archopy stared. “You’ve done what?”

    A smug grin found its way onto Velotus’ face. “I encountered a Sceptile. It intended to murder you, and I knew I couldn’t let that happen. So I defeated it.” He looked across at Archopy, waiting for her rush of gratitude. “Surely you saw the end of the fight?”

    She was staring at him like he was insane. “I saw all of it,” she muttered, still trying to make him out. “You did that… for me? But… you were going to kill him. He might have tried to kill me before, but –”

    “So he – it –
    was trying to murder you!” Velotus exclaimed gleefully. “So I did save your life!” He snickered. “That thing deserved everything I gave it and more.”

    Archopy still looked horrified. “You were going to
    kill him,” she repeated slowly, as if he was the one who didn’t understand. “I thought you were one of Them! I thought They had resorted to killing each other after having killed all of us! And yet…” She shook her head, seemingly lost for words. “How can you save one life and yet intend to take another?”

    “Its life is worth nothing compared to yours,” Velotus spat. “Those things – they have none of the elegance and grace they had as Grovyle, and yet they claim to be better than us. They’re despicable.” He stared feverishly into Archopy’s eyes, delighted by the chance to put his opinion across to someone who would definitely agree with him.

    She didn’t. Her expression had changed back to one of fear, but there seemed to be some pity in there too. “You sound like one of Them,” she said disbelievingly. “That is exactly how They used to speak of our kind. What is
    wrong with you?”

    The grin that had been quite at home on Velotus’ face died abruptly as he felt a tiny but harsh pang of shame. It quickly became indignation; Archopy shouldn’t be telling him things like this. He didn’t know who “They” were, but her tone of voice and disgusted look had made it obvious that it had been anything but a compliment.

    Anger flared up within him, but he stamped on it as soon as it had begun to rise. This was Archopy. He mustn’t lash out at Archopy, no matter what she did.

    “Who are They, anyway?” he asked, unable to help wanting to know exactly what she’d been accusing him of.

    Her eyes turned hard again. “I have memories of a past life that I did not live. I don’t know why,” she said. “In them, They are the murderers of our kind. They dedicated themselves to wiping us out, and They succeeded.”

    Velotus blazed internally. “The Sceptile?” he spat.

    Archopy shook her head hastily. “Not all of them,” she said. “There were some – most – who had no part in it. I shouldn’t hate the whole species for what a mere few of them did.”

    “But it was the Sceptile who wiped out your kind?” Velotus said fervently. “Not just because of the way they bred with you, but – they actually
    murdered you?” He grinned a triumphant grin of having been right all along. “I knew it,” he muttered, beginning to pace back and forth, animated by his righteous hatred. “And that Sceptile today is exactly the same – you said that it tried to kill you once before!” He looked emphatically across at Archopy, not stopping his pacing. “I should have got here sooner; I could have got here sooner, if that idiot of a human hadn’t led us in the wrong direction.”

    “Human?” said Archopy suddenly, sounding rather like she was frantically attempting to change the subject. “I’ve heard that word before. What does it mean?”

    Velotus came to a halt and waved a claw airily. “Humans are a kind of creature that live in this world nowadays,” he said. “They’re not Pokémon – they’re nothing like Pokémon – but…” He frowned, trying to think of how best to describe creatures as complicated as humans. It struck him that it would be far easier if Archopy could just see his trainer first-hand. Which suddenly reminded him – he’d almost forgotten – that she and her other Pokémon needed to talk to Archopy, too.

    “It’s pointless me telling you all about humans when you can just meet my human instead,” Velotus told her.

    “Your human?” she asked curiously.

    “One of the others who have been searching for you,” he said. “She has some other Pokémon with her as well. They’ve been waiting a long time to talk to you, to explain things to you. I could bring them here, but…” Velotus looked Archopy in the eye. “Only if you want me to.”

    She frowned at him and drew back slightly. “I still don’t understand why you value me so much above everything else. It is clear you didn’t agree with me earlier, and yet, the way you look at me…” Trailing off, Archopy shook herself down and came back to the matter at hand. “Fine. I can at least be sure that you would never do anything to harm me, so I will see your friends. I still have many questions.”

    Velotus nodded and grinned, beginning to back away towards the entrance of the Secret Base. “I’ll bring them to you. Soon,” he said, before turning to leave, not quite able to believe how easy it had all been. Save Archopy’s life, talk to her, arrange for his trainer to come and meet her. Simple.

    “I will see them for their own sakes, not to please you,” Archopy said as he left, loud enough that he was clearly meant to hear it. Then, under her breath so that Velotus only just caught her words, she added, “You make me wonder why I saved you.”


    * * *

    “Theo!” Carrie yelled to the figure she’d been walking behind for a while, now that she was finally close enough to be heard.

    Theo jumped and turned around in surprise. “Carrie! What’re you –”

    “Velotus has found Archopy,” she said, grinning as she came to a stop in front of him. He still looked dumbfounded, so she added, “We agreed that one of us would tell the other if they found her, didn’t we?”

    Theo stared at her like she was mad. “Yeah, but I didn’t think you’d really…” He trailed off as his face lit up with a smile of real gratitude. For the first time, he didn’t just seem like someone who happened to be heading in the same direction as Carrie; he seemed like a friend. “Thank you,” Theo said, and it sounded like he really meant it.

    “Yeah, well,” she muttered, breaking eye contact and glancing around the forest. “Don’t thank me yet – we’ve still got to get to wherever the hell she is.”

    “You don’t know?”

    “Velotus is refusing to tell me until he absolutely has to,” Carrie said with a roll of her eyes. “He’s adamant about protecting her and thinks its safer that way.”

    “Oh.” Theo’s face fell. “I see. So… what do we do? I don’t see Velotus anywhere.”

    Carrie shrugged. “I’m waiting for the rest of my Pokémon to come back, anyway. He’ll turn up sooner or later. He just ran off to go and…” She looked away and sighed. “You don’t want to know.” Wandering over to a tree with a sturdy-looking, low-hanging branch, she heaved herself off the ground and perched in it, crossing one leg over the other. “Might as well make ourselves comfortable while we wait.”

    Theo frowned, looking agitated. “But – shouldn’t we – I mean –” He stopped himself and tried again. “We need to get to Archopy before any of MemorCorp’s thugs find her. Surely just sitting here waiting for Velotus isn’t…”

    “Velotus seems convinced that wherever she is, it’s completely hidden,” Carrie said. She shrugged again. “And, well, it’s Velotus. He does his own thing. You’re lucky he even let me come and tell you.”

    “I suppose,” Theo said with a heavy sigh, coming to lean against the tree Carrie was in. “So… wait. How are they meant to find us here? How did you even find me?”

    She pointed at the ground, where it was pretty obvious that someone with heavy boots had walked across it recently. “You’re not exactly a hard person to track.”

    “Oh.”

    They fell into silence, one which Carrie found considerably less awkward than silences between her and Theo had previously been. It made the waiting more bearable, at least, especially with none of her Pokémon there to make her feel comfortable. She wished they’d hurry up – the sun had fallen beneath the horizon a while ago, and the dwindling light wouldn’t last much longer. It’d be a nightmare getting to Archopy in the dark.

    Her steadily waning patience was eventually rewarded with the sound of claws in treetops and the sight of something small and feline making its way along Theo’s trail of footprints. Carrie perked up so suddenly she almost fell out of the tree. “Empathy!” she exclaimed. “Have you –”

    Two blurs of green shot towards the ground. Only Foliano and Ivyx had been following the Espeon. There wasn’t any sign of Crescent, either.

    Carrie sighed and leaned her head against the side of the tree trunk. She supposed it was too much to hope that Velotus had decided to go with Empathy after all, but… “Couldn’t you find Crescent?”

    The two Grovyle leapt up to join her on her branch. “I’m afraid not,” Foliano said. “We looked for a while, but then we decided to just come here and hope he’d show up…” He trailed off. “We can keep looking if he doesn’t.

    “Sol,” came a low voice from behind them, accompanied by another of rustling in treetops. Carrie turned around to see Crescent walking towards them and something fast and green darting into the branches over her head.

    “Was that Velotus?” Theo asked, scanning the treetop that the green blur had disappeared into. “Does this mean we can go now?”

    No, we can’t,” hissed the Grovyle. Theo flinched as he dropped from the tree to land right in front of him. “Because thanks to my trainer insisting on finding you, I had to deal with some unfinished business, and now we might have some of those humans on our tail.

    “Hold on, Velotus, slow down,” Carrie said. “And stop glaring at Theo like he’s your next victim; he’s on our side, for goodness’ sake. What do you mean, humans on our tail? I thought you’d –”

    Crescent ran into one of those humans,” Velotus said, cutting her off and snapping around to look at her. “The ones who work for the Sceptile’s trainer. We led the human towards where it had fainted, and the human called his boss. The Sceptile’ll be too weak to break out of its ball once it’s recalled, and even those humans don’t want Archopy dead if they can help it. They won’t let it out until this is over.” He gave this a moment to sink in, before adding, “But now I think that human is tailing us. If we go to Archopy now, they’ll just jump in first.

    “So… you’re not going to tell us where Archopy is yet,” Carrie said.

    No. Not until I’m sure the humans have given up on our trail.

    “And when might that be?” she asked, giving a glance towards Theo.

    It should be worth checking once it’s completely dark,” Velotus said. “They’re probably too impatient to stay that long.

    “Right. Middle of the night, then,” Carrie said, more for Theo’s benefit than anything else. “Great.”

    Theo sighed and slid his back down the tree trunk until he was sitting on the ground. “I hope he means it when he says she’s completely hidden,” he muttered. “Still, I guess that gives us some time to ourselves.” He fished in his pockets for a couple of Poké Balls and threw them, releasing their occupants in a flash of light. Omanyte squeaked in alarm as soon as she was out and squirmed hastily towards her trainer. Kabutops stretched and looked around, catching Foliano’s eye.

    There was another pair of Poké Balls in one of Theo’s hands as he stroked Omanyte’s shell absently with the other. “I need you two to be as quiet as possible. And Aerodactyl, try and stay nearby,” he muttered to the balls before throwing them.

    The beginnings of Cradily’s enthusiastic greeting were silenced by a pointed glance from her trainer, and she recoiled sheepishly as the white light faded from her form. A moment later and Theo was smiling and allowing the sea lily to cling happily to the arm that wasn’t patting Omanyte while Aerodactyl finished flying in tight loops around the tree Carrie was in and came to land on Cradily’s head. She barely noticed, too wrapped up in affection for her trainer – and the pterodactyl hadn’t made a sound.

    “No Armaldo?” asked Carrie.

    Theo’s smile faded, and for a moment he looked tired, downcast. “There’s no point,” he said.

    Carrie raised an eyebrow – that hadn’t stopped him before – but said nothing. She gazed around, seeing that Foliano had left the tree and retreated a short distance with Kabutops; from the gleam in his eyes and the fact that his Leaf Blades were lit, he seemed about to start another friendly battle with the fossil Pokémon.

    Velotus was still on the ground in front of her. It looked like he’d been waiting to regain her attention.

    You didn’t think I’d led the humans towards the Sceptile, did you?” he said, fixing her with a steely gaze. “You thought I’d killed it.

    Carrie glanced away, not wanting to meet his eye. “I didn’t say that.”

    But that’s what you thought, isn’t it?” Velotus insisted. “You thought I’d killed it.

    She sighed and looked back at him. “It wouldn’t have surprised me if you had,” she said.

    Velotus scowled, a flash of anger and pain passing across his eyes. Then he shook his head and shot upwards into the treetops, disappearing from sight.

    “Sol absol?” said Crescent, who was sitting below Carrie’s branch. It sounded like a question – one about Velotus, if his puzzled look up into the tree was any indication.

    “Search me,” she said.

    * * *

    Velotus emerged into the fading light, taking in the now-familiar expanse of forest around him. He caught sight of the mutilated shrub he’d practiced on before and smirked to himself. The Velotus from back then was gone now. The only thing he had left to do was find his trainer and bring her here. Still grinning, he shot off across the ground to search for her, barely feeling the aching in his limbs.

    He hadn’t been on the move for long before he realised just what he was running towards, his shadow stretched out in front of him like it was trying to beat him there. Without thinking, he’d headed in the direction of the place where he’d defeated the Sceptile; he could smell the stench of burnt vegetation in the air. Still, Velotus thought as he saw the fire-charred battleground loom before him, it wouldn’t hurt to be reminded of his victory.

    He came to a halt in front of the Sceptile’s unconscious body, feeling the snickering rise within him again at the simple fact that
    he had done this. By the look of it, it would still be out cold for a good while longer – plenty of time for Velotus to bring his trainer to meet Archopy. But all the same, he thought, wouldn’t it be better if he made sure it never woke up?

    With considerable effort, he forced energy into one of his blades, edging closer to the Sceptile, preparing to slit its throat. It deserved it. Of course it did. It had tried to murder Archopy. Its species had wiped out hers. Velotus had to kill it now, for her sake. For revenge.

    But as he stood over the Sceptile, his scythe glinting in the setting sun, a tiny part of his mind that spoke in Archopy’s voice wouldn’t let him do it. The thought of killing disgusted her. She’d seen her entire species murdered – and Velotus realised with a painful jolt that she’d been comparing him to the very kind of Sceptile that had done the murdering. If he killed here and now, whether the victim was also a Sceptile or not, he’d just be proving her right.

    Velotus took a shaky step back, his Leaf Blade fizzling out of existence. He couldn’t do something that would make Archopy despise him. He simply couldn’t. He stared at the Sceptile, thinking back in horror to when he’d been standing over its body, laughing with unrestrained glee as he prepared to end its life. He’d been so ready to do it – ready to
    enjoy doing it – and Archopy had seen that. No wonder she was terrified of him.

    Velotus felt his legs buckle underneath him, and he collapsed onto all fours, suddenly exhausted and acutely aware of every ache and pain he’d accumulated during the earlier battle. His head throbbed, his side stung intensely, and all over him he could feel the scorching of his own flames flaring up again. Breathing heavily, he gazed emptily ahead, desperately trying to fight away the shame that was consuming him. There had to have been
    something right in what he’d done. He couldn’t have gone through all this for it to all be wrong. He’d saved Archopy’s life, hadn’t he? – but she’d only been in danger in the first place because she’d followed him out of her Secret Base. That was his fault. She’d have been completely safe if she’d stayed inside.

    No, his mind insisted savagely, rising up against the pain and exhaustion that threatened to drag him down. There was something that made all of this worth it, made all of this right. Velotus had defeated the Sceptile, all by himself. He’d proven that he was stronger than his evolved form. He’d have endured a thousand times the searing flames that had blazed over him during the battle if it meant he could achieve that.

    Yet, a flicker of doubt remained. He remembered being about to die, lying helpless in his own inferno, completely at the mercy of his foe, and then… the Sceptile had reeled back as if hit. That was all that had given him the chance to win. But how?

    He wanted to insist that it had just been because the Sceptile was weak, but the truth came to him in Archopy’s voice – not just a thought this time, but something she’d said as he left.

    You make me wonder why I saved you.

    Of course. Archopy had been watching the whole thing and had fired off an attack in that moment to save Velotus’ life. That knowledge should have made him admire her even more, but he couldn’t find any gratitude in him. Not with what else it meant.

    Velotus hadn’t defeated the Sceptile on his own at all. He should have lost the fight. His victory meant nothing.

    Velotus flinched as the reality hit him like a physical blow. It couldn’t be true. He must have been mistaken somehow. He had to be the victor – he
    had to be. Even after all this time, to not be able to defeat his evolved form without outside help…

    Screwing his eyes shut, he let loose a roar of anguished rage, reeling from losing the exhilaration of pride and power that he’d waited so long to feel, furious at the ancient creature for daring to take it from him. It left him with nothing but a gaping hole, burning in his rage. This was all Archopy’s fault. She should never have done that to him. She should never have –

    – saved his life?

    Velotus recoiled, suddenly disgusted with himself. What was he doing lashing out at Archopy, and for that of all reasons? It was wrong, pathetic of him, when he only needed to look at himself to see who was really at fault. He wasn’t the heroic victor at all – he was simply an obsessive, sore loser who’d blame the one that had saved him rather than admit he wasn’t strong enough. What even made winning so important anyway? A years-old, meaningless prejudice that he should have dropped long ago? Was he really someone who would stoop to murdering another creature in a show of arrogance over such a tiny thing?

    All the rage drained away, leaving Velotus shuddering in despair, curled up tightly like he could escape from himself. At the edges of his awareness, he could hear the padding of paws on the charred ground, feel a soft nudge at his mind. He flinched away from Empathy’s attempts to gain his attention, knowing the reason the Espeon would have come to find him. He didn’t want to have to face his trainer. Not any more.


    * * *

    Last edited by elyvorg; 16th April 2010 at 8:13 PM.
    .: Evolution is a battle .:. Something has to lose :.
    LOST EVOLUTION
    Chapter 33: Inside has been posted.


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

    Three Heads Are Better Than One

  7. #332
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    Default Chapter 29: Prelude [part 2]

    [...continued]

    * * *

    Carrie rested the side of her head against the tree trunk, barely taking in the sight of the darkness-filled forest, her vision blurry through half-closed eyes. She hadn’t expected to feel sleepy at all, but the exhaustion of a long day seemed to have finally overtaken her excitement and caught up with her. It wouldn’t hurt for her to get some rest before they met Archopy, anyway.

    It fleetingly crossed her mind that she really shouldn’t still be up on one of the tree’s branches if she was about to fall asleep, but the thought never latched anywhere solid. She was just too tired to be bothered about it.

    Her eyelids fell closed, surrounding her in fuzzy darkness and sleepy half-thoughts. The next thing she was aware of was a sick, whooshing feeling, and she was tipping backwards, overbalancing, falling helplessly through the nothingness towards the ground –

    Carrie jerked awake with an abrupt, uncomfortable jolt, gripping the branch tightly and staring around with wide eyes to assure herself that she was still in the tree. She scowled into the darkness, her breathing fast and hard. This was exactly why she never stayed in trees at night time – that damn falling sensation that people felt every now and then as their mind switched from waking to sleeping was bad enough with solid ground beneath her.

    Gritting her teeth, she levered her body off the branch with shaking arms. She wasn’t even remotely sleepy any more – the shock of almost falling had seen to that – but she had no intention of staying up in that tree any longer. A frustrated sigh escaped her as she slid to the ground and leaned her back against the trunk. The branch wasn’t even that high. It was stupid of her to be so nervous about sleeping in trees – didn’t she spend most of her waking hours in the things anyway? If it weren’t for that accident when she was younger…

    No, Carrie told herself, it was a good thing she’d learned her lesson then. She’d been eight years old, invincible, convinced it would be a great adventure to camp out overnight in a tree that was really too tall to be safe for her even in the daytime at that age. She was lucky to be alive. Specifically, she was lucky to have been sharing the tree with a wild Grovyle that had mostly kept to itself, except at that one moment when it had swiftly sliced off a branch to hold out to her as she fell, saving her life.

    It struck Carrie that she really shouldn’t begrudge that accident for giving her a silly little fear of sleeping in trees when it had also given her her favourite Pokémon.

    She’d got her least favourite Pokémon that night as well, for that matter, thanks to a Sceptile that had muscled in over what Carrie had later admitted was probably some kind of territorial dispute but had seemed at the time like an act of pure malice. She could still picture the way it had struck the Grovyle down and laid into it mercilessly, her imagination embellishing the parts where her memory had faded over the years.

    She’d never seen that Grovyle again. By the time she’d stumbled home on shaking legs and dragged her dad back to that spot, it had gone.

    Regardless, ever since then, Carrie had known exactly which species of Pokémon she wanted by her side on her journey. It was thanks to that day that she had Foliano, Ivyx and Velotus, and that Raptola had been born; it was thanks to that day that she’d never once considered having any of them evolve into their final form.

    It was thanks to that day that she was sitting here now, waiting to meet with a Pokémon whose kind hadn’t lived on this world for millions of years.

    But things could soon change, couldn’t they? If the Director of MemorCorp had her way, Archopy could soon be living wild in Hoenn again. It was a second chance for a species that should never have died out in the first place. Some other overly-adventurous eight-year-old could one day have their life saved by a beautiful creature with wide, leafy wings, catching them as they fell. All it took was the sacrifice of one individual Archopy hiding out somewhere in the night, no doubt frightened and lost in this alien world.

    It was worth it. Wasn’t it?

    If Archopy refused to give herself up for the cause, it was worth it to capture her and bring her in against her will, wasn’t it? It was for the good of her species. If she fought, then surely it would only be because she didn’t understand?

    As her mind conjured scenarios of having no choice but to take Archopy by force, Carrie found herself tugging open her bag, just a little. Her hand reached into its deceptively spacious inside, delving down towards something that lay right at the bottom, hidden there and almost forgotten about until now.

    She hesitated as her fingers curled around the smooth surface of the Master Ball. No. She couldn’t. To fight Archopy for it was one thing, and horrific enough, but to give her absolutely no say in the matter, no chance of a way out? Wasn’t that the reason Carrie had despised Vanessa for showing off this same Master Ball days ago in the desert?

    But the fact remained that this Archopy was the only one in existence right now, the only one who could make the rebirth of her species a reality. If she wasn’t brought to MemorCorp, the chance might never come again.

    Carrie’s fingers grasped the Master Ball more firmly, and she began to pull it up out of her bag. Besides, she couldn’t even remember if she actually had any other kinds of ball lying around in there. Archopy had to be captured in something to be taken to MemorCorp, even in the likely event that she was indeed willing to come.

    A rustle of leaves sounded above Carrie, and the shape of a Grovyle dropped down beside her. With a jolt, she hastily whipped her hand all the way out of the bag. The ball came with it, seized tightly in her fingers in the moment of panic. She wished she’d had the presence of mind to let go, not wanting suspicion or awkward questions from her own Pokémon, but there wasn’t anything she could do about it now.

    Velotus peered at her through the darkness. Carrie returned the look as neutrally as she could and shoved her fist into her pocket, still with the ball clutched in it, in what she hoped was a casual gesture.

    You were up there not long ago,” Velotus said, motioning to the branch above them.

    Carrie frowned at him. “Yes,” she responded, somewhat glad that he at least hadn’t mentioned anything to do with the Master Ball. “And?”

    But you’re not any more,” he continued as though she hadn’t said anything. “Why not?

    “Uh…” she said dumbly, now thoroughly confused as to where he was going with this. “Because… I felt like coming down?”

    Velotus shook his head. “It was more than that,” he said. “You were almost asleep, and you nearly fell. You’re never usually in a tree when you’re almost asleep.

    Carrie scowled. “Look, Velotus, I’m not in the mood for you being enigmatic right now. What are you getting at?”

    You’re afraid of falling asleep in trees,” he said. “It happened once when you were younger, and you nearly died.” He wasn’t speculating; he was stating a fact.

    Her frown grew. “Yes, but… I never told anyone about that. Except my dad.”

    I know.

    A pause. “You’re not my dad.”

    Velotus evidently didn’t think that comment was worth the bother of verbal agreement. He simply held her gaze evenly through the darkness.

    And then it clicked. Carrie’s eyes widened as she drew back from the Grovyle in surprise.

    “It was you.”

    Velotus dropped her gaze and looked away, almost as if ashamed. “It was me,” he agreed.

    “But…” Carrie fumbled for words, hardly able to believe that she was having this conversation, that it was that Grovyle standing in front of her right now. That it had been all along. “You saved my life.”

    Velotus’ eyes flickered to regard her briefly. “I suppose I did.

    “Then why are you looking so annoyed with yourself about it?”

    He said nothing, staring unreadably into the distance.

    Carrie replayed the memory of that night in her mind, this time seeing not just any Grovyle but a younger Velotus reaching out to throw her a lifeline as she fell. A younger Velotus howled in pain as a Sceptile’s Leaf Blades slammed into him again and again.

    “Actually,” she mused out loud, “that kind of explains a lot about you.”

    Velotus shot her another brief glance. “It explains too damn much,” he said, spitting out the words like they tasted sour.

    Another silence hung between them as neither of them said anything for a while. Then Velotus’ careful, guarded manner seemed to fall away from him somewhat, and he took in a breath.

    I was young,” he said. “I was full of myself. Loved battling and getting stronger. I looked forward to evolving again someday.” He broke off and spat out a pathetic, humourless laugh. “Can you believe me wanting to evolve?

    I thought it was clever to hang around in the Sceptile’s trees when they weren’t there. They were big on territory, but I never quite crossed the line. I just wanted them to notice me, to know who I was. That one Sceptile whose tree you were in that night – I’d been getting on his nerves for a while. So when I sliced off that branch…” Velotus shook his head slowly. “I don’t think he noticed you. He didn’t realise why I’d done it. To him, it was just the final straw. And he attacked me.

    A faint shudder ran through him as he swallowed and closed his eyes, and when he opened them again, they were distant, haunted. Carrie could see in them the young, naive Grovyle he used to be. “He was so damn powerful. I couldn’t even fight back. I thought he was going to kill me.” Velotus drew in a breath. “I was so scared.” He winced as he said it, like part of him wanted to crucify himself for admitting to it. “I managed to drag myself away after he’d left me there. And I just sort of… lay there, in the dirt.

    A smile containing something very far from joy crept across his face. “That was when I realised the truth,” he said, lacing the words with a heavy dose of irony. “That the species I’d wanted to become were all despicable abominations who barely deserved to live. I suddenly saw the point of all those Grovyle who found their form more elegant and didn’t care about the power that came with evolution. But I wanted power.” Velotus snarled, the shadow of his old fury blazing in his eyes. “I needed power. I needed…” He sighed, and the fire faded. He flicked another fleeting glance at his trainer, almost ashamed to meet her eye. “You know what I’m like.

    Carrie half nodded, knowing all too well the rage that always surged through Velotus every time his evolved form was mentioned, the utter conviction that he was in the right. But then she frowned. “That’s not who you were when I met you, though,” she said. “You seemed kind of… tired, like you were fed up with life. Heck, you practically let yourself get caught, going easy on Foliano like you did. I thought…”

    She was cut off by another mirthless chuckle, louder this time. “You know what the most ridiculous thing was?” he said. “None of the Sceptile would fight me. Years of nothing but training, focused – obsessed – with gaining more power; I even taught myself fire so that I’d have an advantage. And when it came right down to it, none of them even cared.” He hissed resentfully. “They all just laughed at me. I tried provoking them into it like before, but they deliberately refused to take the bait. Of course, I told myself that they knew they’d lose, but that wasn’t enough. I needed to prove it.” The frustration left his voice, leaving only weariness. “I lost all purpose after a while. Then I came across you again, and you were the only thing other than revenge I found myself actually caring about.

    “So… you really did let yourself get caught?” Carrie said.

    Pretty much.” Velotus snorted. “I think part of me was hoping you’d battle someone with a Sceptile one day, and then it would have no choice but to face me.” He scowled viciously at nothing in particular. “Even when handed a chance for a fresh start, I still couldn’t stop clinging to that pointless vendetta.

    Carrie could hear the pain in his voice, see how much he was hating himself, and while she couldn’t figure why he’d started feeling this way all of a sudden, she had to try and help somehow. “That’s not who you are,” she told him. “Not most of the time, anyway. I know you; you love battling just for the fun of it. You’ve been that Grovyle ever since soon after I caught you.”

    But it never went away, though, did it?” snarled Velotus, practically shaking with anger. “I never really changed. I just hid that obsessive part of me beneath the surface, taking every excuse to let it out and spew some hatred. It feels so good to do. It fuels my Hidden Power; did you know that?” He fixed Carrie with a pained glare of frightening intensity. “And it’s still in me. Even though I know that it’s wrong, that’s it’s stupid, that it makes me worse than one of them, when I think about Sceptile, I still can’t help but want them all dead.” He let out another laugh that became more of a whimper as it died away. “I don’t even know if being worse than them should be such a bad thing any more, but it still feels… I just…” He gave a roar of frustration as he broke off. Shuddering, he turned away from her and dug his claws into the ground, breathing heavily.

    Carrie watched her Grovyle helplessly as he slowly calmed down. This wasn’t the first time today she’d seen Velotus hurting and been completely out of her depth when it came to making him better. She almost found herself wishing she’d never caught him in the first place, just so she wouldn’t feel so irrationally that she should be able to help him somehow – but then again, if she hadn’t caught him, what would he have become?

    A minute later, Velotus turned back to her, a strained, wheezing sort of laughter escaping him in short bursts. “Kinda pathetic that everything I am now came from such a tiny, stupid little thing,” he muttered drunkenly in between breaths.

    Carrie’s eyebrows rose. “You’re not the only one,” she said. “I probably got a little too much of myself from that night, too.”

    Velotus chuckled to himself, regarding her out of the corner of one eye. “I noticed.

    She snorted. “So, if we both got our entire worldview from an insignificant little thing that happened to the both of us when we were young and stupid and way too quick to judge,” she said, feeling somewhat infected by the Grovyle’s hysterical derisiveness, “what are we even doing sitting here waiting to meet Archopy?”

    Velotus’ laughter came to an abrupt stop. “No,” he said, entirely serious. “She still matters.” He gave her a heavy, level gaze, and his usual calculated intensity seemed to re-form around him as he did. “She needs help, and we’re the only ones that can give it to her.

    Carrie sobered. “Yeah. You’re right.” The Master Ball, still clutched in her hand inside her pocket, suddenly seemed awfully hot and heavy against her fingers. She tried to ignore it and glanced briefly up at the sky. “Isn’t it pretty much the middle of the night now?” she asked Velotus. “If the thugs are going to give up on us tonight, they’ll probably have done so by now. You should go and check.”

    He nodded. “I will.” With that, and as if the conversation they’d just been having had never happened, Velotus locked his sights onto a branch above him and shot off upwards, disappearing into the darkness.

    As soon as he was gone, Carrie let out tension she hadn’t realised she’d been feeling and drew her hand slowly out of her pocket, uncurling her fingers to see the Master Ball resting against her palm. She stared at it mutely for a moment, not daring to let herself think anything at all. Then she shoved it hastily back into her bag. This time, it stayed near the top.

    With a forced sigh, she leaned back against the tree trunk, folding her arms as she stared up at the stars to wait for Velotus’ return. If he came back with confirmation that they were no longer being followed, she’d be meeting Archopy – tonight.

    ~~~

    << Previous chapter
    Last edited by elyvorg; 23rd April 2010 at 9:02 PM.
    .: Evolution is a battle .:. Something has to lose :.
    LOST EVOLUTION
    Chapter 33: Inside has been posted.


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

    Three Heads Are Better Than One

  8. #333
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    Iceland
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    Default

    I love the way you write about places. You can make them feel so big. Why can't I do that? ;_;

    She’d only just finished this thought when she felt a gentle nudge at her mind, the psychic equivalent of someone clearing their throat in order to be noticed.
    Hee, I love that for some reason.

    Ha, Velotus is being all worship-Archopy-no-there-must-be-a-logical-reason!

    As he came closer, though, he noticed something which managed to avert his gaze. A somewhat familiar shrub grew half-heartedly from ground fairly close to Archopy’s mound. Velotus stared at it, taking in the shreds of its foliage that were littered around its base, the way some of its stems looked like they’d been slashed haphazardly by something – recently, in fact. Of course. It was the same shrub that he’d stood in front of and… and practiced on while deciding if it was worth going after the Sceptile or not. And all along, Archopy had been right behind him.
    CHEKHOV'S SHRUB! :O

    I love the way he just barely glances at the Treecko doll that Archopy was so terrified of when she first came there and pays it no notice. You always do these little things. :3

    Her eyes were wide as they stared back at Velotus from between the smooth, light green scales that covered her face.
    I'm a bit iffy on this description - it seems a bit odd to me to speak of staring at someone from between the scales on her face. I mean, you wouldn't say "She stared at him from between their cheeks" even though that's where the eyes are located. It sounds weird.

    Also seems a bit weird Velotus would recognize the look in his own eyes a few nights ago, since he couldn't exactly look at himself. The comparison to that night is a nice touch, but worded like this, it doesn't quite make sense.

    “And you know what it is. Well, Velotus!” Carrie rounded on him with false cheeriness. “Since I don’t speak Espeon, would you care to translate what Empathy has to say for me?”
    Hee. x3

    “What?” Velotus spluttered, his frustration peaking. “Him? Archopy could be murdered at any moment, and you want to waste your time looking for that idiot of a human?”
    Oh, Velotus.

    I can't help thinking Carrie's reaction here is a bit odd, though; even if she's annoyed about Velotus always calling the shots, x, y and z "deserving to see" Archopy seems like it ought to be magnitudes less important than saving Archopy's life, especially since, well, what's to stop them from seeing her after they get her safe? Even if the Sceptile isn't likely to find her, you still generally don't want murderers stalking about extremely close to where somebody you care about is hiding. Especially when the person you care about doesn't quite know the murderer is there and wants to murder them and might therefore come out at any moment.

    I... also don't get why she isn't telling Velotus that no, he can't go deal with the Sceptile, because he's the only one who knows where Archopy is and if he goes away they'll have to look for him again.

    “Your name means nothing!” snapped Archopy
    Hm, maybe it's just me, but "snapped" has more angry connotations than frightened ones, making her seem kind of grumpy all of a sudden.

    Oh, God, you have no idea how much I love the conversation between them and Velotus's glee over having protected her from the Sceptile and how to her he just seems like one of Them. <3

    Wait, how does Velotus know immediately she's talking about the Sceptile when she says they were trying to wipe them out? Isn't all Velotus knows just that Sceptile, thanks to their genes, did happen to wipe them out?

    Then, under her breath so that Velotus only just caught her words, she added, “You make me wonder why I saved you.”
    Ouch.

    I love how Carrie's idea of making herself comfortable is perching in a tree.

    “No Armaldo?” asked Carrie.

    Theo’s smile faded, and for a moment he looked tired, downcast. “There’s no point,” he said.
    Awww. D:

    Of course. Archopy had been watching the whole thing and had fired off an attack in that moment to save Velotus’ life. That knowledge should have made him admire her even more, but he couldn’t find any gratitude in him. Not with what else it meant.

    Velotus hadn’t defeated the Sceptile on his own at all. He should have lost the fight. His victory meant nothing.

    Velotus flinched as the reality hit him like a physical blow. It couldn’t be true. He must have been mistaken somehow. He had to be the victor – he had to be. Even after all this time, to not be able to defeat his evolved form without outside help…

    Screwing his eyes shut, he let loose a roar of anguished rage, reeling from losing the exhilaration of pride and power that he’d waited so long to feel, furious at the ancient creature for daring to take it from him. It left him with nothing but a gaping hole, burning in his rage. This was all Archopy’s fault. She should never have done that to him. She should never have –

    – saved his life?

    Velotus recoiled, suddenly disgusted with himself. What was he doing lashing out at Archopy, and for that of all reasons? It was wrong, pathetic of him, when he only needed to look at himself to see who was really at fault. He wasn’t the heroic victor at all – he was simply an obsessive, sore loser who’d blame the one that had saved him rather than admit he wasn’t strong enough. What even made winning so important anyway? A years-old, meaningless prejudice that he should have dropped long ago? Was he really someone who would stoop to murdering another creature in a show of arrogance over such a tiny thing?

    All the rage drained away, leaving Velotus shuddering in despair, curled up tightly like he could escape from himself. At the edges of his awareness, he could hear the padding of paws on the charred ground, feel a soft nudge at his mind. He flinched away from Empathy’s attempts to gain his attention, knowing the reason the Espeon would have come to find him. He didn’t want to have to face his trainer. Not any more.
    Velotuuus. :3

    I really like the writing in that last paragraph. Everything is perfectly worded and aaaa.

    It fleetingly crossed her mind that she really shouldn’t still be up on one of the tree’s branches if she was about to fall asleep, but the thought never latched anywhere solid. She was just too tired to be bothered about it.
    Ha, there is something way awesome about this.

    It struck Carrie that she really shouldn’t begrudge that accident for giving her a silly little fear of sleeping in trees when it had also given her her favourite Pokémon.
    Awwwwwww. I don't know why, but this actually gave me warm fuzzy shivers.

    ...damn it, the next half a page or something is also giving me warm fuzzy shivers. I love Carrie contemplating all this; it's a good time for it and just feels right.

    The writing in this chapter is really good. Sure, there are a couple of awkward moments, but this is a really long chapter and by far the most of it is just really absorbing and well worded. I wish I could write like you.

    Her frown grew. “Yes, but… I never told anyone about that. Except my dad.”

    “I know.”

    A pause. “You’re not my dad.”
    x3

    Seriously, though, warm fuzzy shivers!

    “I was young,” he said. “I was full of myself. Loved battling and getting stronger. I looked forward to evolving again someday.” He broke off and spat out a pathetic, humourless laugh. “Can you believe me wanting to evolve?
    Eeeeee Velotus! <3

    A smile containing something very far from joy crept across his face. “That was when I realised the truth,” he said, lacing the words with a heavy dose of irony. “That the species I’d wanted to become were all despicable abominations who barely deserved to live. I suddenly saw the point of all those Grovyle who found their form more elegant and didn’t care about the power that came with evolution. But I wanted power.” Velotus snarled, the shadow of his old fury blazing in his eyes. “I needed power. I needed…” He sighed, and the fire faded. He flicked another fleeting glance at his trainer, almost ashamed to meet her eye. “You know what I’m like.”
    Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww Velotuuuuuuuuus!

    This final scene is perfection as far as I'm concerned - just two characters discovering something about themselves and one another in a calm, natural way, smoothly written and well timed. This may very well be the best chapter of this fic yet, even all Velotus fangirling aside.

    Anyway, I need to go, so... *runs off*

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

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

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

  9. #334
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    Dragonfree - I can make places feel big? That's... good to hear, since I don't think said places actually seem big enough to me when I picture them myself. All I really have in mind for Steel Hill are various slightly different-looking patches of forest where the various scenes take place. I'm fairly sure my mental idea of the hill as a whole is nowhere near as big as it's meant to be, so... I guess it's good that I can get its proper size across in writing even though it's not there in my head? D:

    (Also, you so can make places feel big in your writing. Champion Island is huge as far as my mental image goes.)

    Hee, it was fun to play with Velotus' Archopy-worship when he was going a little loopy from exhaustion. Well, Velotus' Archopy-worship is fun in general, for that matter.

    As for the Chekhov's Shrub, I like to think of it as less the shrub being the Chekhov object and more the Secret Base itself. Because back in Chapter 28, I actually slipped the words "grassy bump" into the description of Velotus skidding to a halt in front of said shrub. And then promptly got paranoid that someone might make the connection between those supposedly-throwaway words of description and the Secret Base and wonder why the heck Velotus couldn't have just turned around. But yeah, it was there. Chekhov's Grassy Bump, perhaps?

    That tiny glance at the Treecko doll was less a deliberate contrast between the way Velotus and Archopy see it and more a quick mention to assure readers that I hadn't forgotten it was there, made brief simply because it wasn't important. But, uh... what you said! That's totally the effect I meant to give by doing that! *nodnod*

    Reworded those things you had issue with near the end of that first Velotus scene. Hopefully they work better now.

    You probably have a very good point about Carrie's reaction during her scene, but rewriting it would take a lot of hassle, and I'm not sure I can actually figure out a way for it to make sense and still result in the scene playing out the same way, so, uh... More logicfail from me that I will hopefully learn from in future! ^^;

    An alternative to "snapped" with the connotations I wanted there apparently doesn't exist in the English language, so I went and reworded that whole line.

    Whee. Writing that exchange between Velotus and Archopy was seriously fun. They're just on such completely different wavelengths, but Velotus is so delightfully oblivious to that fact because he's too busy being all HA I SAVED YOUR LIFE I'M AWESOME NOW. x3

    His mental leap to the fact that They were Sceptile was admittedly just a guess on his part. But with his prior knowledge that they helped wipe out Archopy due to their genes and his current state of hatred towards the species, especially focused on the fact that Aiden's Sceptile really was trying to murder Archopy... it's not that much of a stretch that Velotus would instantly assume that the ones trying to actively wipe out Archopy in the past were Sceptile, surely?

    You know what he's like. =P

    Carrie's idea of being comfortable amuses me too. I didn't even really make that connection while I was writing it, but... yes, it is very her. xP

    I'm kind of surprised - although not unpleasantly so - to hear that you find that last paragraph of the last Velotus scene well-worded. 'Cause apart from the first sentence, those are probably the most recently-written sentences in that chapter. That paragraph was almost completely different for a long while, until I eventually decided that I didn't like it and rewrote all but the first sentence, about, ooh, a day or so before I posted the chapter? Didn't think I'd have nailed it quite so well with such an on-the-spot change.

    Yay for warm fuzzies! It never really occurred to me that this chapter might produce them, so I was never really trying for it, but it's nice to know that it somehow managed to give rise to them. I hope the chapter will induce warm fuzzies in other people who read it, as well. :3

    Whee for Velotus-fangirling, too. I thought he'd be kind of difficult to write here because he's so unlike his usual self, but once I got into it he became really adorable and fun. And I love that the end result made you squee over him that much. x3

    I'm also really surprised to see that you think this is the best chapter so far, since throughout all my proofreading of it I really began to think that, aside from Velotus being delightful, it wasn't one of my favourite chapters at all. But this is definitely a good thing, because the whole contemplation-before-the-big-moment feel was very much the feel I hoped to give this chapter when I planned it however many months ago.

    Thank you very much for your generally awesome review. :3
    .: Evolution is a battle .:. Something has to lose :.
    LOST EVOLUTION
    Chapter 33: Inside has been posted.


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

    Three Heads Are Better Than One

  10. #335
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    Woop, it's getting exciting again - time for Carrie to finaly meet Archopy. Archopy did actually surprise me a little with her personality and the fact that she didn't have the hate for Sceptiles that Velotus has.

    It was also interesting to find out about Velotus' backstory which explains his violent temperament. Are we going to get any for the other three?

  11. #336
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    RAAAAH~! I CAN'T TAKE THIS ANYMORE! THE GRADUALLY FLOODING SEA OF WORDS ARE DRIVING A HOLE INTO MY HEAD! I HAVE ABANDONED MY POST! I HAVE ABANDONED A RESPONSIBILITY! I'VE BECOME AN UNPUNCTUAL, ARROGANT FOOL! WHAT HAS BECOME OF ME?! WHAT HAS BECOME OF MY VERY SOUL~?!

    And by that I mean good day/morning/evening/midnight sun to each and every one of you and I hope the rest of your _____ goes well. Kaw. :V

    So yes, it's been a while...a long while. Like, one regular chapter and a double decker chapter while. Which is about four months without me stopping by to say anything at all. Which means I've got a technical triple feature on my hands to get through. Yeah.

    Triple length.

    Triple.

    Three times.

    Three.

    Number of starter Pokemon.

    About nine hours of work.

    Yeah.

    3 <--- This thing.

    Three.

        Spoiler:- HOLY SHIFTED SHOES! I HAVEN'T SEEN ONE OF THESE FOR A WHILE:



    -_________________- Kaw.

  12. #337
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    Holy. Poop. On a stick.

    o.o

    I've been creeping around the chapters you've sent me in PM's, not bothering to post anything since I'm not exactly what you'd call a skilled reviewer.

    But, I don't really give a damn now. This chapter literally brightened my day which pretty much sucks, since it's the last day of my spring vacation and I've basically been sick the entire time.

    I love the personality you give to the characters, and the situations you put them in. This fic makes me feel like I'm actually reading from a novel that's won awards. :3

    I'll be waiting for Chapter 30. Sorry for creeping and not posting for... how long has it been? Little over a year?

    Anyway, yeah. Great Chapter. Great Fic. All that good stuff.

  13. #338
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    Sinnohdragon - Thanks for commenting. Archopy's lack of hate for Sceptile was actually briefly mentioned in her scenes back in Chapter 22, but yeah - she's not a prejudiced idiot like Velotus is. xP

    You're unlikely to get much backstory for the other Grovyle, I'm afraid. I mean, Foliano was given to Carrie as an egg, and Raptola was also born in her care, so both of those basically don't have any particularly interesting history that I could include. Similarly, Ivyx's life in the wild before she was captured wasn't that eventful, although there is ever such a tiny allusion to it to come in Chapter 30.

    SlowCrow - Whee, quoteyspoilers.

        Spoiler:- It's a three-legged crow!:

    And stop being so self-deprecating about your review, you. This was plenty amusing, perceptive and giving-me-things-to-think-about-improving-in-future-ish. Replying to it all was a perfectly fun way to pass the time on this lovely Saturday afternoon. :3

    Piekid11 - Thanks a lot for stopping by to comment; it's always really nice to hear from someone I haven't heard from in ages whom I can't even be completely sure is still reading due to their lack of a reply. =D And I was really pleased to hear that the chapter actually brightened your day - apparently it really is as warmfuzzy-inducing as Dragonfree seems to think. :3


    Status update because I feel like one! Because I've been getting through Chapter 31 fairly quickly compared to my usual chapter progress, even despite some distractions, and I'm actually sort of nearly done-ish. Admittedly, today is Saturday (8D), so I'm very unlikely to get anything done either today or tomorrow, and then I have another distraction coming which will probably last two or three days, but I will try my best not to get too overly distracted, because I really want to try and finish this chapter and get the next one up soon. So, well, watch this space.
    .: Evolution is a battle .:. Something has to lose :.
    LOST EVOLUTION
    Chapter 33: Inside has been posted.


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

    Three Heads Are Better Than One

  14. #339
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    Oh dear, this is going to take yonks to read up to now.

    I did love the Prologue though. So charged with emotion, very saddening. Excellent writing. For some reason, I thought that it was about a Dragonite. I guess I shouldn't have looked at that Art you put up about Archopy without reading the story first...

    Well, I'll see you again in a few days, and hopefully give a better review than this short piece of nothing =)
    Quote Originally Posted by Dresden View Post
    Don't you kids read any comic books? Geez. Radiation gives you magical powers. Now go play by the nuclear waste dump.

  15. #340
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    Default Chapter 30: Another Perspective

    vareki - Ooh, it's always nice to see a new reader that isn't put off by the mountain of already-existing chapters they'll have to get through to catch up. I'm glad you liked the prologue, even though I've improved a whole lot since then and no longer consider it particularly well-done myself. Hope you can give me some more comments as you read more, and that you enjoy the rest of the fic.


    So. Lost Evolution finally reaches its next multiple of ten. This chapter has been such a long time in the making; I hope you enjoy.

    Edit on March 21st 2013: This chapter has been rewritten. A lot of it is unchanged, and the overall outcome is the same, but certain parts are significantly different. If you had originally read it before this edit, I recommend you read the altered version, as the changed parts will be referenced in later chapters as if they are what always happened.


    Chapter 30: Another Perspective

    Velotus had returned with the all-clear. He led the way to Archopy in silence, moving through the forest like a phantom while those behind him did their best to keep him in sight in the near-darkness. Ivyx kept up with ease, followed by Carrie and Theo, the latter of whom seemed to be trying far too hard not to make any noise and succeeding only in making his movements even louder.

    Foliano travelled at the back of the group, staying with Kabutops, who was having an even harder time navigating the undergrowth than his trainer. While Carrie had recalled Empathy and Crescent so as not to overwhelm Archopy with too many strange kinds of Pokémon – both of them had been fairly indifferent about meeting her anyway, having no relation to her species – Theo had insisted on bringing one of his own Pokémon to talk to Archopy. Foliano was glad he’d chosen Kabutops. He already felt quite comfortable with the shellfish’s presence, and the two of them walked together in companionable silence aside from the sound of Kabutops muttering to himself as he hacked his foot free of entangling vegetation for the umpteenth time.

    Foliano couldn’t help but smile. It seemed his friend still hadn’t quite got the hang of how not to be tripped up by plant matter. They’d had another friendly battle earlier that evening, and Grass Knot had once again proven to be a hindrance to Kabutops. To his credit, the fading aches of several stinging slashes still lingered on Foliano’s body – it had by no means been a one-sided fight.

    But that all seemed oddly in the past now, despite it having only been a few hours ago. Compared to the meeting that they were heading towards, everything else felt somehow small and insignificant. Foliano chided himself for thinking that way – bonding with a friend was significant, after all – but he couldn’t help it. They’d spent so much of the past few days looking forward to finding Archopy, doing everything they could to get to her first, and that coupled with the fact that she was the lost evolution of his own species meant that Foliano was, despite everything, really rather psyched up about seeing her. He couldn’t remember feeling this excited since he’d been a Treecko.

    Looking at the figures of the others ahead of him, Foliano wondered if they were all feeling the same buzzing tension that he was. No doubt Ivyx would be, and doubly so, if he knew her. She’d always been more excitable than him.

    A pang of disappointment hit Foliano when he thought of how Raptola wasn’t here to share this with them despite his childlike glee at setting eyes on the pretty flying thing that was Archopy. He had to be sensible, though, he reminded himself, kicking his fatherly protectiveness firmly back into place by thinking of the humans still skulking around in the forest. This search had become something far too dangerous for his son.

    Velotus’ voice rang out through the darkness, stopping Foliano’s thoughts in their tracks. “We’re here.

    Everyone came to a halt and glanced around, confused. It was hard to tell from the lack of light, but they didn’t seem to be close to anything remotely big enough to hide Archopy.

    “There’s… nothing here,” Carrie said uncertainly.

    Didn’t I tell you she was well hidden?” Velotus responded. He lit one of his blades, illuminating their surroundings; Foliano noticed that the shrub he and Kabutops were stood next to looked oddly like someone had hacked and slashed at it for whatever reason. In the greenish-white light, Velotus indicated a mound of grass at his feet and said simply, “In there.

    Foliano saw the realisation dawn on Carrie’s face after a moment of puzzled frowning. “It’s a Secret Base?” At these words, he got it, too, vaguely remembering her telling him about them several years ago. “Must be an old one,” Carrie mused, crouching down to peer more closely at the entrance, which was barely more than a large, grassy bump in the earth. “It looks half-collapsed – this kind’s usually way bigger. I suppose that’s why no-one noticed it.”

    “Archopy’s in there?” Theo asked, coming to stand next to Carrie.

    She nodded at him, grinning.

    “Then what are we waiting for?”

    For once, I agree with him,” Velotus said shortly, and he promptly vanished into the base, plunging the forest outside into darkness.

    Foliano sighed and pumped energy into his own leaves to give everyone some light to see by, conceding with a hint of irrational disappointment that this meant he’d have to be the last in. He watched the two humans crouch down and wriggle inside one at a time on their hands and knees with some difficulty, small as the entrance was. Kabutops went next, carefully trying not to damage anything further with his scythes. Ivyx had stayed to wait for her mate, but Foliano simply smiled and gestured for her to go first. He followed right behind her, crawling on his belly with his blades extinguished, feeling his heart pounding in anticipation against the soft, grassy floor as he entered.

    Trying not to be too disoriented by the impossibility of the space he found himself in, lit by an odd, ambient light that seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere at once, Foliano looked towards the opposite corner and laid eyes on Archopy.

    He’d only been able to catch a brief glimpse of her the time she’d flown over their heads, and he’d been half-expecting her to look somehow exotic and alien up close. She wasn’t at all. Her appearance seemed perfectly natural, like a Grovyle but more mature – taller, leaner, darker. Not in an imposing way, though; the pale green scales that covered her face and the curved leaves that cascaded down her back and extended from her arms to make up most of her impressive size lent her a softer and calmer air.

    This was rather offset, however, by the expression of horror with which she was staring at the two humans who had just entered.

    Square-dwellers,” she breathed. Her frightened glare shifted to Velotus. “Why did you bring square-dwellers here?

    Part of Foliano observed that Archopy’s voice sounded both strangely birdlike and like the only kind of voice she could possibly have had; the rest of him watched Velotus as he floundered, looking uncharacteristically uncomfortable under her scrutiny.

    I didn’t,” he mumbled eventually. “I mean… these are the humans I told you about. I… I suppose you could call them square-dwellers.

    You said they wanted to talk to me, but…” Archopy looked warily back at the humans, confused. “I didn’t realise you were referring to the square-dwellers. The last one I saw could control that Sceptile – I don’t…

    Velotus hissed almost reflexively. “We are not in league with that Sceptile,” he spat.

    Archopy half-flinched but then shot a disturbed look at Velotus. The Grovyle winced and avoided meeting her eye.

    “What are they talking about?” asked Theo, sounding utterly lost.

    Carrie had evidently been able to figure out the gist of what was going on from Velotus’ half of the conversation. “Archopy,” she said, keeping her voice calm and unthreatening, “we don’t want to hurt you. I’m Carrie; this is Foliano and Ivyx. I gather you’ve already met Velotus.” She jerked her head towards the human next to her and then to the Pokémon beside him. “He’s Theo, and, uh, that’s Theo’s Kabutops. We’re on your side, all of us.”

    Archopy regarded the girl with suspicion. “Why should I trust you?

    “Uh…” Carrie mumbled, having not understood. Velotus took it upon himself to translate Archopy’s words for her, but even then she still didn’t have an answer. “Um.”

    Foliano stepped forwards, looking Archopy in the eye. “She’s telling the truth,” he said. “We’re here to help you.

    A Grovyle’s word seemed slightly more reassuring to Archopy than a human’s, but she remained frowning at him, clearly unsure what to think.

    Look, you can at least hear us out, can’t you?” Ivyx said from beside her mate. “We came all the way here so that we could explain things to you. We can tell you about humans. And our humans want to talk about where you came from, why you’re here. They can make everything clear.

    At that last part, Archopy’s eyes shone with sudden hope. “Okay,” she said. “I’ll listen.” She shot the two humans and Kabutops a distrustful glance and added, “But I’ll tell you what I told Velotus before: if you try to hurt me, I will fight with all I have. I may not be able to overpower all of you, but I will go down fighting.

    She clearly meant every word. Foliano found himself admiring her spirit. “We understand,” he said.

    “Okay, seriously,” came Theo’s voice again from behind him, sounding frustrated, “what are they talking about?”

    “From the sounds of it, Archopy just agreed to let them – us – explain stuff to her,” Carrie replied.

    “Right,” Theo muttered. “You know, you’re going to have to translate for me. I want to hear this.”

    A flicker of annoyance passed across Carrie’s face, but it soon faded. “Fair enough.” She took off her bag and dropped it by the base’s entrance, giving it a strangely stern look, before coming to sit cross-legged behind Foliano and Ivyx. Theo deposited his bag as well and sat beside Carrie; Velotus stood on her other side, apparently abandoning the opportunity to be in the midst of the conversation in favour of acting as Carrie’s translator.

    So, then,” Archopy said, surveying the two humans carefully. “If the squa – humans – aren’t Pokémon, like Velotus said, what are they?

    They’re…” Foliano began, then hesitated, trying not to be distracted by the echoing of her words in the background from Velotus and then Carrie as he attempted to think. “I don’t really know what they are,” he admitted, feeling somewhat foolish for having spoken up in the first place. “They’re just… humans.

    Archopy looked unimpressed.

    They’ve lived all over this world for as long as any living Pokémon remembers,” said Ivyx, the wording somehow familiar to Foliano. “While they lack our strength, they make up for it in imagination and cunning. They build cities and use tools where a Pokémon would rely on its powers alone. When that isn’t enough, they’ll enlist Pokémon too, using our abilities for their own ends. In a way, they’re more powerful than any of us.

    There would have been an impressive silence if Carrie hadn’t been busy giving Theo a hastily muttered translation. As it was, she still found the opportunity to raise an eyebrow at the Grovyle while she spoke. Foliano remembered where he’d heard those words before; Ivyx had given a somewhat altered version to Raptola when he was a lot younger.

    Ivyx glanced around sheepishly. “It’s what my mother used to tell me, at any rate.

    “That’s not true,” Theo said, looking somewhat accusedly at Ivyx; indeed, Archopy had begun to look a little disturbed by him and Carrie. “It makes us all sound greedy and selfish. A lot of humans aren’t like that.”

    Well, no,” Ivyx admitted. “My mother was always a wild Pokémon – she never really understood. But she had the basic idea. She was just a little…

    “Anti-human?” suggested Carrie. She proceeded to half-sigh and backtrack in the conversation in order to repeat everything Ivyx had just said for Theo’s sake.

    I don’t understand,” Archopy said while the girl was preoccupied. “Are humans like Ivyx said or aren’t they?

    Oh, come off it,” Velotus said, chipping in all of a sudden. “We’re the ones with blades and fire and thunder. What do you think they can do to us? If we didn’t want them here, they wouldn’t be here.

    He promptly shrank back and returned to translation duty before Archopy could respond, muttering quickly at Carrie and pretending not to notice the way the ancient Pokémon was staring at him. She turned to Foliano instead, and he shrugged. “It’s like Velotus says, pretty much. We work together with the humans. We give them protection, and their imagination and cunning – Ivyx’s mother was right about that part – helps us become even better at battling. You enjoy battles, don’t you?

    Archopy’s eyes lit up fleetingly, but then she shook her head and glanced away, looking confused. “I… I don’t know.

    Foliano wanted to smack himself. Archopy had been born in a human laboratory and had known nothing but escaping and fleeing for the duration of her short life. How would she have known whether or not she enjoyed battling?

    “Hold on,” Theo said as he caught up with the conversation. “What about the memories, Archopy? Did you ever like to battle in those?”

    She stared at the ground, her expression faraway. “I did. Until…” She trailed off, her voice becoming harsher, more pained. “You don’t want to know what is in my memories.

    Having the words repeated by Velotus and then Carrie lowered their impact somewhat, but Theo still winced when they reached the language he understood.

    For that matter,” Archopy went on in the same rueful voice, “how do you even know of the memories?

    Foliano had almost forgotten that the laboratory of Archopy’s birth placed false memories inside its subjects’ minds. He felt a pang of sympathy for her; he couldn’t imagine what it would be like to have a life he had never led floating around in his head. “We know about how you were born,” he told Archopy, and she perked up a little in interest. “Kabutops was born in the same way, sort of.” He gestured towards the shellfish, who had so far kept silent, staying by his trainer and looking awkward and out of place.

    Archopy eyed Kabutops and his scythes warily, having clearly never seen anything quite like him in either of her lives.

    Foliano smiled at her reassuringly. “Don’t worry. He’s not as savage as he looks. He can probably explain this better than me, too. Go on, Kabutops.

    Kabutops smiled appreciatively at him and edged forward, a little less awkward now that he had something to do with what was being talked about. Behind them, Foliano heard Velotus sigh and complain about having to translate someone else.

    You and I come from fossils,” Kabutops said. “They’re sort of imprints that a Pokémon’s body can sometimes leave behind when it dies. That’s how I always understood it, anyway. Some humans, like my trainer, like to go searching for these fossils. When they find one, they can take it to some different humans, who – don’t ask me how they do this – can bring that Pokémon back to life. Or… well, not that same Pokémon. A new version of it. It’s kind of the same, but different, if you get what I…” He waved a scythe in frustration. “I never fully grasped it, myself. But that’s where I’m from. My species died out a long, long time ago, but here I am.

    Archopy’s eyes widened, her leaves rustling as she fidgeted in her corner of the Secret Base. “The same thing happened to my kind,” she said fervently. “All of them died.

    Something about her saying that unsettled Foliano – why did she sound so sure about it? Even with the memories, wouldn’t she just remember a time when the world had been full of Archopy?

    Archopy was looking earnestly at Kabutops. “Do you have memories, too?

    Not the kind you’re talking about,” he said, shaking his head. “Most of the humans who bring us to life don’t do that. The ones who made you, though, they’re… different. They put the memories of the Pokémon who made the fossil inside the mind of the one they bring to life. Again, I have no idea how. I don’t think even my trainer does.

    I have little interest in how,” Archopy said. “I want to know why.

    “Actually,” Carrie spoke up as soon as she’d finished hurriedly relaying everything to Theo, “the reason why is something we really need to talk to you about.” Archopy turned to regard her, and she hesitated before carrying on. “Well, another thing about humans is that we’re really inquisitive. The humans who gave you those memories – they did that because they wanted to watch them and find out what things were like back when your species was still alive.”

    The ancient Pokémon frowned. “What is the point of that? Those times are long gone.” She shuddered slightly. “I would happily be rid of them myself, if I could be.

    There was a delay while this was translated for Carrie and she muttered a shortened version at Theo. “Like I said, humans are curious,” she continued. “Normally, that’d be enough for them. But the ones who made you have a better reason than that. They want to make your species live again.”

    Archopy stared at the girl in utter astonishment. “What? These humans can actually do that? But – they all died… I…” She glanced from one person to another, looking to the Pokémon for confirmation. “Is that really the truth?

    They can do that, yes,” Kabutops said, his eyes shining excitedly – of course, Foliano realised, because the humans were going to do the same to his species, too. “From what I understand of it, they really can bring so many back that it would revive our kinds in the wild, if they wanted to.

    “That’s why they need your memories,” Carrie put in. “They’ll use the stuff they find in them to work out where best for you to live when you’re brought back, what you eat, and so on.”

    Archopy’s amazement seemed to have faded into sadness. “Then if they looked at my memories, they would know,” she said. “It wouldn’t work.

    “There’s just one problem,” Carrie went on, speaking in such a hurry that Velotus hadn’t had time to translate Archopy’s last part for her. “They’d need you. You’d have to go back to the place you came from and get prodded and poked and who knows what again. It’s the only way they can bring your species back. You’d lose your freedom, but your kind would – ow.” She broke off, rubbing her arm.

    Velotus had been poking her impatiently. He muttered something to her under his breath.

    Carrie’s head snapped back towards Archopy. “Wait, what do you mean, it wouldn’t work?”

    If the memories tell me one thing,” she replied quietly, “it is that bringing my kind back into this world would not be a good thing to do.

    Why not?” asked Foliano, curious despite himself. It wasn’t hard to tell that whatever past was locked up inside Archopy’s mind wasn’t a pleasant one; she was clearly haunted by it. But Foliano couldn’t help wanting to know more, to try and understand. “What do the memories tell you?

    Archopy looked troubled, unsure. She lowered her head, not meeting any of their gazes.

    “You really ought to tell us, you know,” Carrie put in, although not without a note of sympathy in her voice. “If there’s something in them that’ll stop your species being brought back, it’s… really pretty important.”

    There is,” Velotus muttered, only just loud enough that Foliano could hear him.

    “Wait, what, Velotus?” Carrie scowled at him from close range. “You already know what’s in her memories, and you didn’t think to tell us before?”

    I only know a small part of it,” he replied evenly. “It’s enough. But if Archopy doesn’t want to tell you, then it’s not my place to do so for her.

    Foliano could see Carrie suppress a frustrated groan. She turned to Archopy pleadingly.

    Archopy gave a wilted sigh, her leaves almost drooping. “All right,” she said. “If this is what it will take for you to understand, then you need to know.” She took a deep breath. “My kind didn’t just die out. They were murdered by a group of Sceptile we Archopy knew only as Them.” There was a loaded meaning, an unspoken fear, in the way she said that last word.

    “Sceptile?” Carrie said once the translation had gone past her. “Wha… really?” She seemed almost hesitant to believe it. Foliano glanced at her, slightly concerned; the last thing she needed was a reason to feel vindicated in hating the species.

    Velotus, for his part, was staying quiet and subdued.

    It wasn’t all of the Sceptile,” Archopy stressed. “At least, I don’t think so. I was always told to remember that most Sceptile were peaceful and They were only a few. That was what I was taught, but it’s easy to forget that when your entire life becomes running and hiding and They are the only Sceptile you ever see. And even…” She glanced away for a moment, and Foliano could see real pain in her gaze. “Even the best Sceptile could be made to join Them. Sense tells me that it still couldn’t have been all of the Sceptile, but it’s hard to feel that way. They were just so… huge.

    “Why, though?” Carrie asked, sounding faintly disgusted. “Why would they – They? – do that?”

    Prejudice,” Archopy said simply. “They thought a Sceptile was better than an Archopy. It might have started from the way we bred – do you know how that works?” Foliano nodded, remembering being told that an Archopy and a Sceptile breeding would always produce a Sceptile. “Even that should have been no reason at all,” Archopy went on. “But They decided to kill us because of it.” She shuddered. “Again, that was only what I was told. When They are chasing you, all They seem like is predators, made to wipe you out.” She shook her head, seeming annoyed with herself. “But They’re not; I know They’re not. They can’t be, because…” She trailed off and abruptly looked up at her audience, eyeing Velotus in particular. “Please don’t think any worse of Sceptile as a species because of what I’m saying. I’m trying to make you understand, but I don’t want to make you prejudiced, too.

    At these words, Foliano glanced at Velotus and Carrie; Velotus seemed hesitant to translate them, while Carrie stared unreadably ahead, her voice strangely monotone as she repeated the words for Theo.

    “We’re… we’re not going to be,” she said to Archopy once she was finished. She met Velotus’ eye briefly. “We don’t think that. Go on.”

    That is what I’m trying to say, though,” Archopy said. “The prejudice. If my kind is brought back into the world, I fear that it would happen again. Sooner or later, another Sceptile would come to the same conclusion about the way we breed, and They would return.” She screwed her eyes shut, shuddering. “I don’t want that. All that suffering, all that… that evil… I don’t want to bring that back. Even if it means my kind will stay lost.

    There was a bitter edge to Carrie’s voice as she translated this. “So… that’s it?” she said. “You’re… not going to come.”

    Archopy shook her head forlornly.

    “No. No, that can’t be it,” Carrie insisted. “Archopy, look. I’m sure things really were terrible for you last time. I’m really sorry that had to happen to your kind. But what if it doesn’t happen again? The Sceptile nowadays might be perfectly fine about being joined by Archopy.”

    Archopy still wasn’t convinced. “Last time, the Archopy were there first, and still the Sceptile – some of the Sceptile – eventually took to killing us. Surely it would be even worse if we were the newcomers?

    As he waited for the translation to catch up, Foliano noted with some surprise that he hadn’t heard any kind of disdain in Carrie’s voice as she defended the Sceptile.

    “No, but…” Carrie looked frustrated. “Humans!” she suddenly came out with. “We’ve told you about all the stuff humans can do – if the Sceptile did start killing you again, we’d be able to stop them!”

    Foliano nodded to himself – that seemed like something humans were capable of to him – but as Ivyx caught his eye, she didn’t seem so sure. Neither did Velotus, for that matter. Maybe the affairs of wild Pokémon weren’t something humans could have much of an impact on? Foliano supposed he wouldn’t really know, having never been wild.

    Really?” Archopy looked rueful. “I can believe your kind can bring ours back from the dead, but no power on this world could stop Them once They get started.

    If any of Archopy’s words had made it clearest to Foliano how terrifying a force They’d been in her memories, it was those.

    “No, Archopy, please,” Carrie begged. “We’ll do everything we can to protect your kind once they’re back, I swear. Surely it’s worth a try?”

    It isn’t,” Archopy insisted, screwing her eyes shut; there was so much pain in her voice. “You don’t understand. It wasn’t worth it.

    * * *

    Her eyes still closed, blocking out her view of the square-dwellers – no, humans – and Pokémon, she tried to force the swirling mass of memories back down.

    These humans were such inexplicable creatures. Almost everything that had been mystifying her about her life – her own life – was down to their whims. Even the disturbing not-dead Treecko in the opposite corner that she’d tried to avoid looking at must have been made and put there by humans; it seemed the best explanation. In a way, everything made sense now – and yet it completely didn’t, because she couldn’t fathom why in the world they’d done all of these things. She’d seen enough of humans now to believe they could do almost anything, but it still made so little sense why they would. They were just so alien.

    No other species had ever cared about the plight of her kind before. The humans wanted to bring Archopy back into the world; did that mean they cared? The green human, Carrie, gave every impression that she did, but that was only one human. She thought of the fake, human-made Treecko in the corner, remembering all she’d been told about humans’ inquisitiveness and cunning. Fleetingly, she found herself picturing a false Archopy there instead, its limbs all wrong, its eyes dull and glassy as it sat on the square wooden plinth.

    She shuddered. She couldn’t explain why, but something didn’t seem right about the humans’ desire to bring her kind back.

    Then again, did their reason for doing so matter? What mattered was what would happen if she agreed to it. She didn’t mind the thought of going back to the box in which she’d begun her life and reliving that ordeal, not if it would give her species another chance, but…

    But there was the threat of Them. In the memories, all the time, there had always been the threat of Them. Even though she was supposed to be her own Archopy now, the offer put to her by these humans meant she still hadn’t escaped that.

    Her life in the memories – not her life, someone else’s – hadn’t even been that bad, if she thought about it. She could remember so many good times, enjoying herself with people she loved. But behind it all, in the background of every golden moment, there had always been the creeping, growing fear of Them taking those loved ones away from her someday – and every time, when it inevitably happened, it had broken her heart.

    However tiny the chance of Them returning might be, the risk would not be worth it. She couldn’t bear the thought of anyone else going through the same heartbreak that had happened to her.

    Not her, she reminded herself; she was her own Archopy, and not the one from the past. But did it really matter whether that had been her or not? It had still been someone, and she could still remember, the emotions as raw as if they were her own, how badly that someone had been hurt. Never again. Not to anyone. Not if she had anything to do with it.

    Her eyes still closed, Archopy shook her head, firmly and surely. “No,” she said simply. “I have made my choice. I will not –

    She froze as something round and hard bounced off her body. Snapping her eyes open to see what was happening, Archopy cried out in alarm as her vision was consumed by glowing red light and she was thrust into a realm of nothingness, her body nowhere to be found.

    She recognised this feeling. It had happened once before – that human with the Sceptile and the Pokémon of dreadful cold. There was no cold to weaken her this time, and she had no intention of being taken against her will by these humans. But even though she fought with all she had, it was useless. The red haze was impossibly strong, trapping her in a grip infinitely tighter than the previous one had been. It simply had no give in it at all; no matter how frenzied her struggles, they didn’t have the slightest effect. She couldn’t do a thing to stop it.

    As her mind called out in desperation and despair, Archopy felt the red nothingness close completely around her and seal shut.

    * * *

    Carrie watched the Master Ball wobble for the last time and then ping still. It was done. Despite her wishes otherwise, Archopy was going back to MemorCorp.

    At least, she would have been, had it not been for one small problem.

    Carrie had not thrown that ball.

    With slow, hesitant steps, Theo walked forward and picked it up.

    She stared at him. A dumbfounded spluttering noise escaped her as she stood up to get closer to his eye level so that she could stare at him even more.

    Velotus hissed viciously at Carrie’s side. “She’d said no, you idiot,” he spat, glaring murderously at the man in front of them.

    Carrie looked down at Velotus then back at Theo, aghast. “She’d said no,” she echoed. “She doesn’t want to go back to MemorCorp. Why did you –”

    Theo, who had been staring mutely at the Master Ball in his hand the whole time, shook his head forcefully, cutting her off. “I’m not catching her for them,” he said with surprising fervour. “Why would I catch her for them?” He turned to her, his gaze intense. “She’s my Pokémon.”

    Carrie’s mouth flapped open and closed a few times before she managed to find words. “Wait, what?”

    “Did you forget that I was the one who dug up her fossil?” Theo demanded, his tone passionate, almost angry. “I found her. I took her to be revived. That makes her mine. Mine to raise, mine to care for. It’s not my fault that MemorCorp wouldn’t let me have her.” He looked at the Master Ball, and a flicker of a smile passed across his face – the same warm, genuine smile she’d seen on him every time he’d been with his Pokémon. “I’m just getting her back.”

    It hit Carrie then that this couldn’t just have been a spontaneous move on Theo’s part. He had to have been meaning to capture Archopy for… for how long? Why the heck hadn’t she noticed anything about him that might have indicated that? Why hadn’t she paid attention to the look of longing he’d been staring at Archopy with during the conversation just now? Why had she been too busy worrying about Archopy’s decision to see Theo creeping backwards, reaching into her bag to find the Master Ball that she’d left ever-so-conveniently near the top?

    For that matter, why had she not buried that thing right back at the bottom where nothing and no-one would ever find it?

    The shock that had been holding Carrie in one place broke, letting loose a tide of anger. With a strangled yell, she lunged at Theo, grabbing madly for the Master Ball in his hand in what wasn’t the most well-aimed of moves. Yelping, he dodged around her, leaving her clutching at thin air, knocking the Treecko doll off the table against the back wall as she stumbled forward. She whipped around to see Theo backing up towards the side they’d entered from, almost tripping over Carrie’s bag by the entrance – dammit, she’d only left it there to try and stop herself from getting tempted to use the Master Ball, and look how that had worked out.

    Despite having the exit right behind him, Theo looked cornered. He stuffed the Master Ball into one of his pockets, his gaze flicking nervously between Carrie and the three Grovyle, who wore expressions ranging from astonishment to loathing. Even Kabutops was staring at his trainer like he wasn’t sure what to think.

    “How long?” Carrie managed to ask, fuming beyond belief. “Have you had this planned the whole time?”

    “Not the whole time,” Theo replied quickly, defensively, as if he hoped that would magically make this forgivable. “I was going to, to start with – why else did you think I was out looking for her in Petalburg Woods? But then you managed to convince me with your let’s-just-talk-to-her-and-warn-her-about-the-human-world stuff.” He half-laughed. “Like that was going to help. It was only when we were in Northern Canyon and I’d got it wrong that I realised – I didn’t just want to talk to her! I wanted to be her trainer. I always had.”

    There was a manic, desperate gleam in his eyes, as though he really believed that he was in the right. Carrie scowled furiously. This was not meant to be happening. Theo was supposed to be the calm, quiet guy who happened to want to talk to Archopy too. He was not supposed to have secretly had his own motives all along.

    Heck, she thought she’d become friends with him recently. Why on earth had she insisted to Velotus that she went and found Theo before coming to see Archopy?

    “You’re only even here because I thought I could trust you,” she snarled quietly.

    As she glared at him, the conviction slipped away from Theo’s expression, leaving only anguish. “I know. I’m sorry, Carrie,” he said in such a genuinely pained tone that under any other circumstances she would have believed him. “I really am. I didn’t want to mislead you, but I knew you’d be like this if I ever told you.”

    “Damn right I would,” she growled. Theo practically flinched.

    “You have to understand,” he stammered, becoming increasingly frantic. “I’m doing this for Archopy’s sake.”

    Really?” Carrie snapped. “Because to me, it looks more like you took her against her will, out of your own selfish greed. You, a complete stranger. She’ll hate you for this.”

    Theo faltered. “She won’t,” he said too quickly, not sounding at all convinced by himself. “I can make her trust me.” He looked desperately at Carrie as though he still thought he could somehow win her over. “And it isn’t selfish – I just want to help her. She’s got all those terrible memories inside her head; she doesn’t have a clue what’s going on in this world, even with everything we’ve told her. I want to make things better for her. I can do that, as her trainer. I know I can.” He paused, not breaking eye contact, and Carrie really wished he’d stop looking so damn much like he really cared. “You can’t possibly have thought that taking her back to MemorCorp would help her,” he said, almost pleadingly.

    Carrie shook her head coldly. “She’s going to hate you,” she repeated.

    Theo said nothing, his expression fraught with doubt. After a moment, though, it hardened. He clenched his fists, staring down at the floor in resolve. “I’m not changing my mind now.”

    Damn it. Archopy was supposed to either willingly come back to MemorCorp or continue being wild and free. It wasn’t supposed to end like this.

    “Fine, then,” Carrie said, glancing towards her Grovyle. “Velotus, Foliano, Ivyx.”

    Theo’s eyes widened in alarm, and he fumbled in his pockets, frantically flinging out Poké Balls with a cry of, “Protect me!” Mere flashes of light later, four of his Pokémon were ranged in a defensive semicircle around him, blocking the space between Carrie and the exit. Kabutops hesitated for a brief moment, glancing at Foliano, before coming to stand in front of his trainer at the centre of the group and raising his scythes protectively. Aerodactyl hissed and spread his leathery wings, his claws raking at the ground. Cradily let out a threatening gurgle. Even Omanyte was out of her shell for once, waving her tentacles as menacingly as she could for something so small.

    Armaldo did nothing, staring blankly off to the side.

    “Do you see?” said Theo, some of that wild conviction returning to him now that he had his Pokémon’s protection. “They trust me. They’d do anything for me. I’m like a father to them.” He took a deep breath. “And I can do the same for Archopy, if I just have enough time with her.”

    Carrie stared. It sounded ridiculous – but then again, the look in four-fifths of his Pokémon’s eyes as they stood ready to defend their trainer was one of genuine undying support for him. Could Theo possibly be right about being able to win Archopy’s trust?

    It didn’t matter. She couldn’t just let him waltz off with the Master Ball containing the most wonderful Pokémon she’d ever encountered tucked away inside his pocket like he owned her. Gritting her teeth, Carrie reached for Empathy and Crescent’s Poké Balls and released them in a burst of light. The Espeon and Absol emerged, taking in the standoff: Carrie and her Grovyle on one side of the Secret Base, Theo and his fossil Pokémon on the other. Empathy flattened his ears, his whiskers twitching. Crescent just looked bewildered.

    Carrie grinned ferociously at them. “Hello, you two,” she said, false cheer lining her voice. “Here’s the breaking news: Theo is about to run off with Archopy in a Master Ball. We cannot let that happen.”

    “Oh, god,” Theo said, staring at the Pokémon that now matched his own in number, panic all over his face. “Oh, god, I didn’t want to have to do this.” He pulled his bag onto his back and backed away further, ducking down by the small, grass-covered exit to the Secret Base. “All of you,” he said, looking up at his Pokémon, his voice wavering and frantic, “I need you to do this for me. I need you to keep Carrie here for as long as you can. You cannot let her escape and follow me.” He closed his eyes and gritted his teeth, taking a breath. “I just need enough time. As soon as I can, I will come back for you, I promise.”

    Theo gave an earnest look to each of his Pokémon in turn, then faltered when he reached Armaldo at the end of the line. “Oh no, Armaldo,” he mumbled. “This isn’t going to work with you. Return.” He pulled out a Poké Ball and recalled the emotionless Pokémon back inside it before looking even more imploringly at the others. “I’m counting on the rest of you. Just use your initiative. You’ll be fine without me.” He didn’t sound at all sure that he thought they would.

    Carrie stood there dumbly, not giving her Pokémon any orders yet out of not quite being able to believe that Theo was really doing this. He couldn’t just run off and leave his Pokémon, surely? He must have gone mad.

    She remembered the sight of the Master Ball pinging shut and decided that yes, he definitely had.

    Theo glanced back at Carrie, wordless apology in his eyes. Then he turned and crawled hastily out of the Secret Base, calling, “I’ll come back for you!” to his Pokémon one last time before he was gone.

    Carrie stared at the four fossil Pokémon, still ranged in front of the exit, daring to hope that they might be unwilling to protect a trainer who had just fled and left them in here on their own. It wasn’t looking likely. At the head of the group, Kabutops didn’t waver, his scythes still raised protectively. Around him, the rest of Theo’s Pokémon looked equally committed.

    “Damn it,” she hissed. Even with all five of her Pokémon battling them as hard as they could, it would take time to get them all out of her way. Outside, the still-darkened forest held countless places to hide.

    Theo was going to get away.

    ~~~

    << Previous chapter
    Last edited by elyvorg; 29th March 2013 at 1:31 PM.
    .: Evolution is a battle .:. Something has to lose :.
    LOST EVOLUTION
    Chapter 33: Inside has been posted.


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

    Three Heads Are Better Than One

  16. #341
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    Wow, that's one huge chapter list. I wonder how I'm gonna get through that ^ ^; Either way, the title kind of lured me since it's all epic and stuff :3

    There was no hope. She was the last.
    Especial this. It's so very dramatic and it got me hooked right away. Now, since we don't get any information as to who she is (or rather, what she is) I'll bold parts that I think may be hints.

    Glancing behind her, she saw the forested island which she had grown up on fading into the distance.
    So I'm guessing a forest-type Pokémon... Grass or Bug-type, maybe?

    They had spared her, for she was a child, so much like Their own children in so many ways. Yet she differed completely from Them now.
    The sentence confuses me, but perhaps because I don't know her situation :/ I'm guessing a split evolution then, but I'm having a hard time finding a Flying type in there...

    With her mate, the penultimate one, dead, she was alone.
    Another dramatic sentence :3 Kind of makes me emphasize with the main character.


    The great plain of water looked closer now. Her wings were tiring; she was losing height. For the last ever time in her life she marvelled at how exhilarating it was to fly, rushing through the air with no regard for gravity, no limits. The freedom, the incredible feeling of going anywhere she wished, of not being tethered to the ground.
    This is a very nice paragraph. You really have a way with words, almost poetic, it really makes me envy you for your skill :3

    Her power of flight was failing, a power gained upon evolution for her kind.
    Odd, so only this species can fly? I'm going to check Bulbapedia later, because none comes to mind at the moment xD I thought it could've been Tropius in the beginning but it doesn't look like it now.

    With the last of her strength, she powered herself downwards through the water’s surface, sending up a spray of white frothing foam. For a moment that spot was stirred into a frenzy, the liquid bubbling and thrashing about. Then the ripples subsided, leaving the ocean calm, flat and empty once more.
    You made your main character die in the prologue? That's an odd, yet original, way to go at it. At least the death felt painless, peaceful almost. I hope it's not the end of this character yet, but I guess I'll figure it out later.


    Now then, I think it's a wonderful, original way to start off and you leave us with heaps of questions. Most important, of course, "Who is she?" and "Who are They?". I hope to find me some answers myself, though I was never that good at reading between the lines (so far, I've got nothing on who she might be :/). Either way, consider me a reviewer ;3

    Small message I wanted to leave as well; I've recently posted the first chapter of my own fic and I was hoping if you could give it a try. If you don't feel like it, don't feel obligated (though I'll be impatiently waiting anyway >3)

    I'll combine my future reviews, since I wouldn't make any progress otherwise xD

  17. #342
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    I just read your first chapter today and I have every intention of coming back to finish this story. If you have a PM list I'd love to be on it. Can't wait to get the time to read more.
    DW list got too long. I can breed most DW pokemon from the forest, sky, sea, and manor, quite a few from the mountain and a couple from the cave. Pm if you want to ask about something specific.

    White FC: Buddy 1034 2330 4878 Times are GMT -5
    Black FC: Colt 0734 4838 0690

    Been SRing since Nov 2011. 4/11/12 finally caught Twayblade, my shiny !

  18. #343
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    Blitzy - Whee, another person who's been enticed in by the prologue despite the thirty chapters they'll have to read to catch up! Welcome to the fic, and I hope you enjoy reading through it. :3 I'm also pleased to see that it was the title that managed to catch your attention - that's one of the few things from the beginning of this fic that I'm still completely satisfied with and would never change.

    It's an odd feeling but quite a fun one to see you being all in the dark and wondering who "she" is during the prologue, because her identity is pretty much revealed in about Chapter 2, which was obviously such a long time ago for me, and my readers have all known it ever since then, so it's unusual for me to see a reader who still doesn't know. xP As for me supposedly killing off the main character in the prologue - well, prologues are often fairly separate from the main story, so who says "she" was ever the main character? =P It may not completely be the end of her, either. Well, it sort of is, and it sort of isn't. You'll see. I'm being vague here, but I get the feeling I might be saying a little too much for someone who's still at your point in the fic, so I'll shut up now and just wait for you to read more.

    On the subject of you reading more - I love that you picked out individual lines to comment on in the prologue, and I totally wouldn't mind if you did it again, but while you're reading just be aware that I wrote all those earlier chapters ages ago. I've improved a lot since then, to the point that I don't see a lot of things in the older chapters as being particularly good writing any more, so bear in mind that if you see anything that you think is badly written, I most likely completely agree with you.

    Well, either way, I hope you still enjoy the fic, and again, thanks for reading. :3

    Punk Lion - Whoa, another one? This is getting pretty insane - you're the second new reader this evening and the third in two weeks who's willing to tackle the mass of existing chapters. :O I don't know where you people are coming from, but you're all awesome. Enjoy the fic, and I hope you'll have lots of comments to give me once you've caught up. I'll put you on the PM list in the meantime.
    .: Evolution is a battle .:. Something has to lose :.
    LOST EVOLUTION
    Chapter 33: Inside has been posted.


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

    Three Heads Are Better Than One

  19. #344
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    and that coupled with the fact that she was the lost evolution of his own species
    :O Title drop!

    He lit one of his blades, illuminating their surroundings; Foliano noticed that the shrub he and Kabutops were stood next to looked oddly like someone had hacked and slashed at it for whatever reason.
    Chekhov's Shrub strikes again!

    I love the way you've been describing secret bases, by the way. It's one of those game elements that make no sense and you get it to somehow work while faithfully keeping to that sense of alien freakiness.

    Huh, Carrie can't understand Archopy? Makes sense, since she can only understand Grovyle, but it still threw me off for a moment because with all the talk about talking to Archopy and all, I somehow didn't realize this would be a problem until now.

    I love Theo here, being all frustrated that nobody's telling him what's going on. x3

    She took off her bag and dropped it by the base’s entrance, giving it a strangely stern look
    She's thinking about the Master Ball, isn't she? :3 I love these little details.

    Aww, Velotus is going to be a translator. I don't know how much you meant to convey of his change of character with this particular little detail, but it does say a lot. :3

    I really like how you chose Foliano for this POV. It makes all sorts of things possible, from these innocent-looking observations about Velotus and Carrie looking at her bag to the fact it's easy to write him as tuning out the translating that's going on (even while you make sure we don't completely forget about it), which wouldn't be so easy if you were writing this from Carrie or Velotus's POV. Plus that we just don't see much of Foliano - in fact, isn't this the first POV he's gotten in the fic so far?

    She fixed him with a cold, haunted stare. “You do not want to know what is in my memories, human.”
    Awww. D: Poor Archopy!

    Kabutops is adorable. Just want that out there.

    Awwwwww Archopy's friend! D: How does he know he's going to be a Sceptile when he doesn't know his father and his mother is an Archopy, though? I mean, if she told him his father was a Sceptile, it sounds almost like you're going out of your way to not tell us that, and it ends up confusingly coming off as if it's supposed to be a mystery but not being treated that way by the characters. I'm also confused by his reference to his father when he's about to kill Archopy's mate. Are you saying he found his Sceptile father? How on earth did he know it was his father? I mean, surely his mother can't have identified him for him, if the father was one of Them and she was an Archopy. I'm not sure how much of this is intentionally mysterious and supposed to be revealed later and how much I'm just missing.

    I can't help wondering why Archopy is telling them so many technically irrelevant details, though - they just asked her about why bringing her species back wouldn't work, and surely she doesn't want to delve into more painful foreign memories than she needs to to answer the question. All she'd have needed to tell them was that some of the Sceptile had concluded they were superior and nature wanted the Archopy wiped out and that then they'd banded together to systematically murder them, really, and then the conclusion that it would surely happen again. It doesn't seem like she needed to talk about her friend or her mate in particular at all, and therefore I'm afraid this section feels kind of infodumpish - it really feels like something for the benefit of the reader more than something she would actually tell them here. Perhaps it would work out better if you had them ask some more specific questions at some point that would reveal the extra information, or she could just think about it in her POV (assuming here, of course, that it won't be of direct significance that Carrie and company know about it).

    Foliano's reaction to Archopy's initial refusal is also a little underwhelming - it feels like you just wanted to get to Carrie's reaction instead of spending time on him. It would be nice to spend a little more time on his thoughts than just this "Oh, well, if she doesn't want it" we get.

    “You won’t know unless you try,” Carrie was saying. “Don’t you want to give your kind a second chance to live?”
    The "was saying" seems odd to me, since it seems to imply she's sort of in the middle of saying it already, while we just saw her saying something else; it's the kind of wording I'd at least only use if the narrating character sort of comes into the middle of a conversation. I'd reword it if I were you.

    I can't help not quite seeing Archopy's logic in refusing if it doesn't concern her that she'd have to go back to MemorCorp and she does want her species to repopulate the earth, in principle. I'd always assumed if you went the Archopy-says-no route (which you probably would since you said the fic would be around forty chapters) it would be because she didn't give a damn about how many of her species were around and just wanted to be left alone after all the trauma she's been through. However, if all that's stopping her is the thought that maybe Sceptile are evil and will try to wipe them out again (despite that there are humans - who, she's just had explained to her, are in many ways more powerful than any Pokémon - who desperately want them to live and will be protecting them), it really doesn't seem like a very reasonable decision, especially when you've just been telling us that telling them about it has distanced her from the memories and she's not quite as personally immersed in the horror of the ancient Archopy's life anymore. It would work out better if you had her not distanced from them in this way, if she was still shuddering at the very thought of something like it possibly happening again, but you're setting it up as if her final conclusion is a lot more logical than it honestly is.

    The description of Archopy being sucked into the ball was nice; you can really feel her struggle and how she associates it with being caught by Aiden.

    ...asdfgjkh I love Theo and he reminding me so, so much of the Mew Hunter right now. Holy crap. I think you broke my brain a little. @_@

    Why didn't he do anything earlier, though? I mean, if he didn't want to take Archopy to MemorCorp, surely he shouldn't have waited this long - what if Archopy had said yes? I can't quite think of a reason he'd have made his move just now, but that might be because my brain is still broken.

    Well. That's a Wham Episode stamp for you. You and your cliffhangers! Curse them! ;_;

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

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

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

  20. #345
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    *ensue speechlessness*

    Theo how could you?

    Well i certainly never saw that coming, and i think its utterly brilliant. And even though he's essentially betraying Carrie you can still understand how he thinks, because you've made it so we can empathise with him and his Pok&#233;mon by having him as such a dominant protagonist for so long. Wow.

  21. #346
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    Hey, new chapter in not that much time! For the...uh...tree or so regulars here, this is a refreshing rate of new chapters, even though it's almost been a whole month since the last chapter was posted! Maybe it's the posts made on the 1st, 5th, and 11th that made the topic seem a bit more active than it really was and hence the whole "that was fast" vibe I'm getting. And maybe that's the same reason that you've managed to reel in three more readers. :D

    But now I'm speaking too fast in too little space, let's pad out my opinion some more!

        Spoiler:- Lawl at Blitzy's location:



    -_____________________- Kaw.

  22. #347
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        Spoiler:- Britney Sheers. Also SPOILERS. (Duh):

    Banner credit: Jakotsu.
    Quote Originally Posted by MSN
    Profesco says:
    You were an admirable baby.
    Quote Originally Posted by L0L View Post
    They named a game after me?

  23. #348
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    I have yet to read the whole thing but so far its great.

    The only problem I have is that your obvious hatred for Sceptile is a little creepy.
    Last edited by adhdguitar; 26th April 2010 at 4:09 PM.
    My HG team.

  24. #349
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    Blitzy is back, with a double review sandwich! Also, I will be your primary reason for staying on the first page for a while, so you better thank me :3 Either way, here are my thoughts on Chapter 1 and Chapter 2

    Quick note before I post the chapter: for anyone who has reviewed here so far and has a fic of their own, I will try and review it at some point.
    BTW, does this still hold true? :3


    Chapter 1:

    High up in the boughs of a tree sat a girl in her mid-teens.
    Let me guess... the actual main character?

    And he happened to be heading straight towards her tree. The girl wasn’t all that bothered. With her leaf green jacket and matching trousers, coupled with the fact that her messily ponytailed hair was dark green, she was practically camouflaged amongst the foliage. There was no way he would be able to see –

    “Excuse me? You in the tree?” the boy asked, brown eyes staring directly at her.
    I so saw that coming! Besides, something had to happen besides her launging around in that tree, which, in my opinion, are less than comfy, but I digress :3

    “What?” the girl replied irritably.
    She might not be a people person :/ I don't think I'd be that irritated if I was sitting in a hypothetical tree, with my hair in a hypothetical ponytail, and hypothetically balancing myself on a "smooth-barked" tree, as you described it to be.

    So yeah, I doubt I needed the whole explanation thing, but yeah, she does not appear to be that social (oooh, me and my 'reading-into-things'-skills)

    She grabbed hold of the branch and swung herself down, landing easily on the ground.
    Let's hope she did not jump from too high, after all, she probably has a whole journey ahead of her for whatever reason that is yet unknown :3

    Following her out of the tree, darting like bullets and landing equally effortlessly were no less than four Pok&#233;mon, all slightly different in looks but all clearly the same species. Their bodies were shaped like that of a raptor, green all over except for a red throat and belly, broken by a strip of green. A long, blue-green leaf extended like a crest from the head of each, clusters of three smaller leaves from the wrists, and two more from their rears.
    I kind of had a feeling these guys would appear sooner or later :3

    “My name’s Roy, and I was wondering if you could give me a Pok&#233;mon battle? I need to train for the Rustboro Gym.”
    Just once, I wished they came up with a different opening liner T__T

    “I’m Carrie,”
    Nothing as convenient as introductions before a battle >__>

    “Okay. I’ll battle you. Only three-on-three, though; I have six Pokemon, but three of them don’t feel like battling at the moment.”
    Okay, this struck me as awkward, unless Carrie has crazy telepathic powers that allow her to read her Pok&#233;mon's minds, she couldn't have known this to such perfection (without asking) in my mind. Unless those three who won't battle are very lazy, I can't see how Carrie jumped to that conclusion so quickly. Also, I quote too much >__>

    Realising that this had probably been what had made Roy notice her, she made a mental note not to hang it so far out in the future.
    Confirmation received: Carrie is definitely NOT a people person xD

    Foliano – that was his full name – and Ivyx
    Nice names; especially Ivyx sounds particularily mysterious ;3

    The fourth, and by far the smallest Grovyle jumped up onto Carrie’s back and clung onto her shoulders with his small claws. She winced slightly as his foot claws dug into her back, then smiled as he poked his face over her shoulder, next to hers. It was large in proportion to his body, with a rounded nose and huge, angelic yellow eyes peering out into the world with innocence.
    Awwwww...

    CUTIE - check
    TOUGH GUY - check

    now I just need some stereotype for Foli and Ivyx and my job is done here >3

    Roy stared at the girl and her Grovyle in disbelief. “Er, should he be…”

    “This is Raptola,” Carrie told him as if it explained everything. “He likes to do this. I get used to it.”
    I like the "as if it explained everything" part. It made me snort for some reason xD

    An Absol.
    I skip description because I CAN, muahahahah... >3

    Carrie looked on, worried. She couldn’t risk Crescent going near that venomous horn again – not that she particularly cared if she won or lost, she just didn’t want him hurt too much. Pok&#233;mon battling was fun, but it lost its point if your Pok&#233;mon ended up too badly injured…
    True, and I felt it needed pointing out because this shows Carrie cares quite a bit for her Pok&#233;mon (not that other parts didn't show this, but I felt that this partition illustrated it the best)

    “Okay, use a Faint Attack – but hit him from behind.”
    I'm gonna do a jab here and say "Don't Faint Attacks always hit from behind?" and it kind of gives away where the Nidorino should look in case the Absol disappears-

    Crescent nodded and began to fade away.
    -Oh, hey, it disappeared!

    The kicks subsided as Nidorino realised he was kicking at empty air.
    Whee, for a "not the brightest crayon in the box"-comment.

    “Keep your guard up, Nidorino,” Roy advised his Pok&#233;mon. “It could be anywhere.”
    *whispers* I'd look behind you...

    She winced as her Grovyle, Raptola, started letting out excited, high pitched cries right next to her ear.
    Give the thing (nah, I love him too) a cookie so it'll shut up >3

    With a cry of “Growl!”,
    This sounds odd xD

    At this, her Grovyle, the one who had been watching the battle hungrily from the start, hissed to obtain Carrie’s attention then motioned that he’d quite happily take the Fire type on. Foliano, who was watching lazily, rolled his eyes.
    Correction, TOUGH GUY with ego :3

    This praise, though not necessarily truthful, seemed to satisfy Velotus, and he resumed watching as he had before.
    The poor guy has no idea that he, somewhere along the ficroad, will be horribly stripped of his arrogance; as is the destiny of all overconfident characters. If I'm wrong, then I wonder how you're gonna get character development for him... ooh, a crush of some sort might work as well >3


    “Now Psychic, in a wave form,” Carrie told her Pok&#233;mon
    And make it a real fancy one too!


    Carrie sighed as Raptola began making another celebratory racket in her ear.
    All this cuteness, it must be deliberate >3

    He stopped, giving her an innocent, “I wasn’t doing anything,” look.
    I told you so!

    Roy pulled another ball from his belt – a blue and white one with red marks. He hurled the Great Ball into space, shouting “Electabuzz! I’m counting on you!”
    Excuse, me how does he have all these Pok&#233;mon that are native to Kanto, when we're obviously in Hoenn? (unless Petalburg Forest spontaneously relocated xD)


    “Velotus, I choose you,” Carrie muttered sarcastically,
    LOL :3


    He leapt backwards before the Electric type could get a punch in, then retreated the last few metres with an elegant somersault, showing off his agility.
    Show-off >_>

    Looking back, she caught a last glimpse of Roy’s confused face as it faded into the distance between the trees.
    Though I don't like it, he probably won't return, right?

    ------------------------

    Chapter 2:


    Memories.

    Such terrible memories.
    I'm guessing we're not where the previous chapter left us O__o Or Carrie decided to go emo as she went to see what the mysterious thing was that her Grovyle sensed.

    They burned through her mind like an awful chain reaction; one memory would trigger the next, which would in turn cause her to recall something else.
    The first part sounds good, but "which in turn caused her to recall something else" seems a bit awkward. Meh, might just be me :/

    Few of them were moments worth remembering. Most were simply filled with fear and grief and loss. Like her parents – she had found them dead one morning, killed by… Them? Who exactly were They?
    Mystery Creature! I missed you <3

    It was as if she had known nothing but this dreary box all her life – her real life – and the memories were just a dream. They never happened. Or perhaps... they had all happened to someone else?
    Well, she wouldn't be a Mystery Creature if she didn't even sound mysterious :3 On a more serious note, this creature might not be the same as the one in the prologue?

    So it wasn’t her parents who had been killed? It had been another creature whose childhood was plagued by fear and oppression? Someone else had had their best friend torn from them in a single moment?
    All right, guess the question was a bit redundant xD

    She cried out in alarm, but could already feel herself growing, stretching, becoming stronger. A tickling sensation ran down her still glowing arm as she saw leaves sprout from it, joining and growing with the three that were there already. The back of her neck itched; the same was happening there. She stood up in surprise as she felt a tail force itself out from her rear. Oddly enough, none of it hurt; rather it filled her with a rush of power and newfound strength. Watching as the tip of her tail sprouted leaves too, she stopped glowing.
    "What? Your Mystery creature is evolving?!"

    *music starts*

    "Congratulations!Your Mystery Creature has evolved into an Even More Mysterious Creature!"


    The stranger from the past had lived a fleeting adult life, with the now very real fear of being killed by Them.
    Yeah, my question was pretty much answered here :3

    She frowned and regarded her arms – several leaves extended from the sides, like giant feathers.
    Tropius comes to mind, but I know it's not him >_<

    She looked through the irregular hole and saw a small plain of yellowish grass – and beyond that, trees.
    Look people, Trees! Not that we haven't seen them before but let's emphasize (this is so spelled wrong, I know it is >3) a bit here xD


    It worked. She could feel herself lifting from the ground, supported by the full spread of her leafy wingspan.
    Freedom!!!

    Her soul mate from the past had lived in fear and misery her entire life; it was time for this Pok&#233;mon to start making the most of what she had.
    I really like this sentence for some reason, it just makes me smile :3


    Carrie ducked and dodged, branches whipping past her face as she ran, masses of trees threatening to block the path of someone travelling so quickly.
    Ah, there she is. I almost started wondering what she was doing in that forest...

    Over the years she’d grasped the basics of their language and could understand the gist of their speech.
    A more creative variant on the "I UNDERSTANDZ POK&#233;SPEECH!", but it'll do :3

    Raptola nodded excitedly.
    I wonder how this still managed to create such a cute image in my head xD


    “Grooooo,” Raptola moaned from her shoulder. He was young and not as articulate as the other Grovyle, but Carrie knew it meant something along the lines of “Quiiiiick.”
    You're killing me! xD

    As it approached, Carrie realised that this was no bird. No bird Pok&#233;mon were various shades of green; none had featherless arms, none had a face that looked like…
    MEGAGASP!!! Could it be...

    Immense wings with large pastel green leaves instead of feathers whooshed through the air, spread out to catch the wind on a downbeat as it soared over. The body, similar to a Grovyle’s but longer and darker, rushed past, allowing Carrie only a glimpse of a diamond shape on its underside. The tail flexed elegantly, the five or so leaves on its tip rustling as it did so. Twisting around to see it fly away, Carrie stared at the creature with awe and complete respect.
    For the love of god, A FLYING GROVYLE (mutation of some sort... al right, "split-evolution")

    Velotus let out a long hiss of satisfaction as he watched it leave.
    And this seemed really cool for yet another unknown reason :/

    Raptola bounced on Carrie’s back, overjoyed by what he had seen. Ivyx was still staring at the Pok&#233;mon as it dwindled to a mere speck in the distance, murmuring, “It’s… beautiful.”
    Finally, I was wondering when we were going to get to her. She's been showcased the least of all Grovyle (hell, even Roy had more screen-time :<)


    Carrie was proud to train Grovyle, and she knew all of her Grovyle prided themselves in what made them the creature they were – their elegance, agility and light, featherlike leaves. Not one of them had ever considered the option of evolving; the concept was practically alien to them. Carrie grimaced as the image of the… thing that Grovyle normally evolved into came into her mind. Sceptile.
    Obligatory backstory coming up...

    A large, upright lizard with a squat, triangular head and leering, bloodshot eyes. A skinny upper body atop a wide lower body that looked almost fat in comparison, the whole of it a bright, unnatural green. None of the featherlike leaves of Grovyle, this Pok&#233;mon’s two arm leaves jutted from its wrists at pointless angles. Its back was studded with six bulbous, yellow seeds, and the tail was long and dark green with spiked “branches” coming off in all directions. Some people found its tail cool. Carrie thought it looked like a Christmas tree.
    Oh, and description of what seems to be something you, and not just Carrie, seem to dislike immensely. I think you might have immersed yourself a bit too much here (then again, this was from long ago)

    And in her mind’s eye Carrie could see a Sceptile, its arm leaves formed into two glowing blades on each wrist, violently slashing a Grovyle and sending it slamming into the ground. The Grovyle which, only moments before, had saved Carrie from falling to her death from high up in a tree by quickly slicing off a branch and allowing her to grab onto it, slowing her fall. The Sceptile had attacked suddenly, presumably annoyed about the tree’s loss of its branch, caring little that a human’s life was saved.
    You know, somehow, I cannot see a chain of actions in this description. It all seems very unlikely to happen, and may even be formulated a bit awkwardly :/


    Though Carrie rarely spoke about Sceptile to them, Velotus and Ivyx had informed her that upon evolution, a Sceptile was generally so pleased with the sudden abundance of spiked objects on its body that it became insanely arrogant.
    Forgive me here, but the reason sounds absurd :<


    It was as if she had spent her entire life crawling to get around, not knowing there was any better way, and just now she had seen someone walk past her on two legs.
    I like the analogy here, really nice :>


    “I think I want to talk to Dad about this.”
    Ah, the parents. One of the most important characters in the main character's life, yet they barely get any screen time. I fear that here will be no different.

    To her at least, he was solid and dependable, perfect to call on if she had a problem, though she was largely independent and thus didn’t speak to him that much.
    Yeah, but if she is, doesn't she have some place to stay then? Because, as was just mentioned, your character comes from Fortree. That is a long way from Petalburg Forest, and I doubt she'll travel that distance very often, so...

    There was a background noise of slight rustling, and Carrie assumed he was in a forest too, on ranger duty.
    Nice detail here :3

    “Go ahead.” Carrie could hear a sigh coming from the other end of the line.
    Asociality runs in the family?


    “You saw a flying Sceptile?”
    Amusing image that creates. You might as well say it pranced from cloud to cloud with a fairy wand xD


    Brian was silent for a moment, contemplating. “I can’t think of anyone who might know,” he told her. “But other people must have seen the creature, and maybe one of them knows more about it. If so, they’re quite likely to be tracking it, so they won’t be far from where you are… wherever that is,” he finished ruefully.
    I find it a little odd that he does not know where she currently is, I mean, "mid-teens" as you described her to be leaves a rather tiny range, and to be responsible enough to be that far from home, she'd be 16-17, I think :/

    bar Raptola, who was currently poking around in a nearby bush, bored.
    By now, you should see this coming, but he's freaking adorable xD

    Carrie’s eyes widened slightly; it wasn’t like Ivyx to feel guilty. “All right then,” she said. “And really, I didn’t mind.”
    Though the apologizing thing is rather sweet, it feels a little awkward because we haven't seen much of Ivyx up until now. And suddenly, we hear she doesn't usually feel guilty.. I don't know, it just looked a bit off to me.

    ----------

    *phew*

    My fingers feel numb xD

    Well, all that remains for me to say is that I'm looking forward to read the next chapter (when I have time) and that I hope this character we're bound to meet next chapter will be fun, since he/she will probably serve more than a role than Roy... I just though, "maybe it is Roy", but it seems unlikely he followed her so, I'm fantasizing a bit about what kind of new character it will be. I'm looking forward to his Pok&#233;mon as well, and I hope he will serve as a bit of a foil to Carrie :3

    Still hoping for a review, but if you don't plan to, mention this in your reply (you've gotten my hopes up). All right then, I'll see your next review

    P.S Next time I'll put it in a spoiler (it's quite a bit of text >3)

  25. #350
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    You, my friend, are fantastic.

    I allowed myself a little treat catching up with these last few chapters: I decided to just read and let the story soak in, and you’ve really taken it places. I mean, first off, the conversation with the director over the transmitter was beautiful, and then you go off and really take Velotus’s character to a thrilling climax in his development. I don’t know any other fic I’ve read that has had me so involved in the development of a Pokemon character. The way you take him to a breaking point and pull him through it – glorious.

    And of course, as a plot twist lover, I ADORE the thing with Theo going rogue on them in the most recent chapter. The fact that he did it so sincerely as well just made it creepy. In one moment, you took the exact same character and altered the way he was perceived.

    Reading all of these at once really allowed me to gain a good perspective for how your story is flowing as a whole, so I think I can offer a few helpful “criticisms” at this juncture.

    You seem to have many brief encounters with villains in the woods, and each of those scenes tend to have the same tone: the good guys are always guarded, the bad guys are always smug and nasty. Now each of these scenes was finely written (and especially the one with the walkie-talkie conversation with the director was long enough that it had its own arc), but you need to be careful that if you have any more villain encounters in the woods that you make it distinct in visual feel and tone. And a bunch of the Bad Light villains tend to run together, so make sure that you keep giving the audience villains that are familiar to them. It doesn’t do much good to have a lot of random faces acting as antagonists unless they are at the very least headed by a very distinctive person. Now you’ve been handling this fairly well so far, I just want you to be cautious as you continue to progress that you keep the story arc moving rather than repeating scenarios.

    You’ve done some EXCELLENT work with developing your primary characters. I have felt a bit like some of the secondary characters have fallen to the wayside though as a result. I’m not saying you need to restructure your plot to give each of them a chapter or anything, just attempt to highlight them when the opportunities present themselves.

    As always, It’s great to come back every now and then and find this on the first few pages. Sorry for my absences, my life has taken a turn away from writing, and I’m at that part of my life where you kinda have to pick and choose what you’re going to do. But hey, reading this makes me want to pick up an old project of mine, so who knows? I might just put it up here someday soon. You're just an inspiring person!

    You’re awesome, keep up the good work!

    Good Fortune!

    Now up in the Fanfiction Forum!


    banner a collaboration between Warlord-Pickle and myself

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