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Thread: Lost Evolution

  1. #126
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    Wee, nice chapter again, as always. I'll leave Haychtoo to give the grilling.

    : And so the enigma of Archopy brings me back some memories of the icebery on which I drifted for months on...aah. Anyway, this is a nice fic, what with Velotus' character development and Raptola's kidnapping by Vanessa/MemorCorp/my owner making for a major change in pace. Keep up the good work.

    Hey, stop struggling in there, Raptola! I can make you into an Archopy through gene alteration.

    *flees suddenly with Haychtoo in tow*


    I reject your Nyancats and replace it with my own.
    FB

  2. #127
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    Griff4815 - I shall forever curse your food to be uneatable while reading my fic. And yes, I do know you know I know why. =P Also nice to see that Foliano and Kabutops' friendship went down well.

    And that was my crappy reply to the crappy review.

    Foo - OMG. I do remember you. I hope you enjoy the rest of the fic, and I hope I get some more in-depth comments once you've read it, because in-depth comments are nice. :3

    fishyfool - =O Closet reader alert! You'd be the first one to actually show yourself. If there's any other closet readers out there, I'd love to know who you are ;D

    Can't really say much to the review, but it is fun to read people's theories on the kidnapper's identity. Incidentally, if DP479 is reading this, I'd love for him to PM me his theory (not that I'd actually reveal anything, but I like to know reader speculation).

    So yeah. Foo and fishyfool, do you want to be added to the PM list?
    .: 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

  3. #128
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    Heck yeah! I mean, I'm not on SPPf that much anymore, but add me. When I do come on, the fic will be read.

    Oh, and glad to hear you remember me. I can't be on #SPP (my new-ish comp doesn't support it) D:
    ~This sig is a sig. If yours isn't, copy and paste this onto your sig.~

  4. #129
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    Default Chapter 13: Separate Paths

    Whoo! So, here's Chapter 13. You'll be glad to hear that I've caught up with my chapter writing/posting rhythm, so gaps between them should start getting shorter again. I say "should" as I've deliberately chosen to post this chapter today because it's my birthday, which means that I may have a few distractions from writing for a week or so.

    Enjoy!

    Chapter 13: Separate Paths

    Raptola was crying.

    It was so dark that he could barely see, so dusty that he could barely breathe. He was curled up into a tiny ball to try and keep away from the rough, scratchy walls of his prison, but they only pulled in tighter, making him feel like he was inside the mouth of some great beast. He desperately made himself smaller, trying to disappear altogether, whimpering when it failed. And his only company in the smothering, lonely darkness were the tears trickling down his face.

    It felt as though he was moving, but he couldn’t see himself move. He couldn’t see anything. Something big and hard suddenly hit him through the thin wall. He squealed in pain – it hurt, it really hurt – and scrabbled blindly to turn himself around so he wouldn’t be hit again. Lost in the darkness, grit making him cough and choke, he could only cry out once more as a second hard lump battered his tiny body. Sobbing, he scratched desperately at the walls to let him go, but they were too strong. He curled himself up tight in despair, wishing he was like Omanyte, wishing he had a place to hide.

    He thought of his mother and father, of his trainer, yearning to see their kind, smiling faces. What if they could hear him now? Encouraged by a tiny spark of hope, he cried out their names as loudly as he could, again and again. He cried until his prison shook with anger, making him feel sick. Something bigger and harder than before slammed into his back as if ordering him to be quiet. Letting out a final cry of pain and terrible sadness, he fell silent. They weren’t coming. No-one was coming. He was alone.

    He was crying. But nobody was there to see.

    * * *

    Carrie stared numbly at the trail along the dusty ground that led higher up onto the mountain. Vast rocks jutted from the hillside, concealing the terrain, hiding Raptola from her. She grappled with the sudden desire to run, to get up there and find him, whatever the consequences, but she managed to fight it back. Rash actions produced bad results; she needed to be careful.

    A voice from the cave’s entrance drew her thoughts off course. “I’m going now.” Theo’s words were hesitant, but his face seemed set.

    Carrie gaped at him. The Pokémon standing around him wore a similar expression to hers. “What?” she spluttered. “Where?”

    “On to find Archopy. I’ve waited long enough.”

    “But –” Carrie stumbled, almost lost for words. “Raptola! He’s gone!” She stabbed a finger towards where the drag marks led in an attempt to make him see how bad the situation was.

    Theo’s gaze followed her indication, and his voice softened. “I know. But I’m more worried about Archopy right now. Vanessa’s probably already overtaken us, and there could be more people looking –”

    “You don’t get it, do you?” Wide-eyed, she waved her arm around for emphasis. “Raptola has been kidnapped!” A lead weight seemed to drop through to her stomach as she spoke. Saying it only made it more real.

    “Yes,” said Theo, with forced patience. “And he’s more important to you. But Archopy is more important to me, which is why I’m leaving.” He pointed two Poké Balls back into the cave to recall Cradily and Anorith. “Goodbye,” he said shortly, walking past the dumbfounded Carrie and returning two more of his Pokémon as he went. Kabutops was the last to be sucked back into his ball; he shot a final, helpless glance at Foliano as his form faded.

    Carrie’s anger at Theo faltered as she saw Foliano’s face. There was a fear and despair in his eyes that she had never seen in him before as he gazed higher up into the mountain with longing. Beside him, Ivyx clung to her mate as though he was the only solid thing in existence. She was shaking with shock, tears glistening on her face. Neither seemed to have registered Theo’s retreating figure – they probably wouldn’t have cared if they had.

    It’s my fault,” Ivyx mumbled between sobs. “I shouldn’t have taken my eyes off him…

    No, it’s mine.” Foliano stroked her soothingly, but his voice betrayed equal panic. “My battle distracted you. It’s not your fault.

    But it is!” She pulled away suddenly and turned to face him, eyes shining with tears. “Don’t you see? I promised him I’d never let anything hurt him.” She took a deep, shuddering breath in some desperate kind of determination. “I need to get him back.

    Carrie tensed in alarm. “No!” she yelled, louder than she had intended. Controlling herself, she looked down at Ivyx with the most reasonable expression she could muster, which wasn’t much under the circumstances. “Think about it. Why would anyone want a little thing like him?”

    The Grovyle’s eyes widened further, and Carrie cringed at such bad phrasing. “No, I mean, he’s bait. It’s got to be a trap. They don’t want him, they want me. They want you.”

    Foliano placed his claws on her trembling shoulder. “She’s right. We can’t rush in.

    Ivyx gazed at them both with big, frightened eyes. Her head shook just a fraction. “I don’t care.” Abruptly, she snapped into life and clambered swiftly up the slope, following the trail in the dust.

    Carrie almost ran after her, but she was too far gone already. “Ivyx, stop!” she called in desperation.

    Ivyx halted and turned to face her trainer. Even at a distance, the terrible fear and guilt in her face was enough to make Carrie falter. “You don’t know what it’s like,” the Grovyle said, her wavering voice filled with sorrow. “He’s not your son.

    Without another word, she continued up the slope until she was out of sight.

    Carrie looked at Foliano, worried he’d follow. He hadn’t moved from where he stood as he gazed unseeingly into the distance. For the first time in as long as she could remember, the Grovyle looked confused. Lost.

    “Aren’t you going after her?” she asked warily.

    His pain-filled eyes gazed up into hers. “Should I?” he murmured. “I don’t think so, but…” He turned back towards the spot where Ivyx had last been visible. “I don’t want to lose her, too.

    * * *

    Ivyx’s eyes were locked on the ground in front of her, following the faint trail of disturbance in the dust. Her gaze remained fixed as she ran, refusing to lose sight of the only lifeline that connected her to her son. Nothing else mattered; finding him was the sole thing on her mind.

    So focused was she that she barely paid any attention to the treacherous jumble of rocks in her path. A jagged boulder loomed in front of her. She caught her foot on it and tripped, slamming into the ground.

    The pain jolted her to her senses for a moment. She gazed around blearily, taking in the barren maze of rocks that continued to rise before her, breathing heavily while her body ached from the impact. Her eyes closed briefly from fatigue, squeezing out a fresh pair of tears.

    Raptola could have been hurt far worse than this.

    The thought pained Ivyx more than any physical injury could. Her eyes snapped open, and she struggled back to her feet, ignoring the scrapes that now ran down her stomach and thighs. More tears threatened to blur her vision, but she blinked them back and stared at the dusty trail that snaked over and between the boulders. It was faint, but still there, as though her son was calling out to her from afar.

    Without wasting another second, she urged her steadily tiring body on.

    Rocks and boulders were navigated more carefully, as she knew now that stumbling and falling would only eat up time that Raptola didn’t have. Focusing on trivial things such as her footing or the awkward shape of that rock up ahead took her mind off the despair threatening to overcome her. And it helped; she didn’t want to forget her son’s peril entirely, but neither would an emotional breakdown on her part be any use at all.

    Then everything changed. Ivyx didn’t know what it was at first, but something was giving her renewed hope. Slowly she became aware of it; it was everywhere, surrounding her, in the very air she breathed. Such a warm, sweet smell – Raptola’s scent. He was close.

    Her mind flared back into chaos. Stirred into a frenzy, she raced ahead with freshly discovered speed, desperate to sate the overwhelming desire to protect her son. A bumpy stretch of ground nearly threw her off-balance, but she managed by a miracle to stay running and carried on, oblivious to the terrain. Why had she been so worried about her footing earlier? It wasn’t important – Raptola needed her.

    She tore her eyes from the trail to look where she was going and caught sight of three large, dark-clothed humans ahead, standing in the sort of position humans stood in when they were being intimidating. Her insides performed an ominous somersault of both elation and anxiety. Raptola’s scent was stronger than ever.

    Feeling an unexpected growl rise from her throat, Ivyx forced her screaming muscles to leap towards the humans. Little was on her mind other than tearing them apart and taking her son safely back to where he belonged.

    The humans had noticed her. A flash of white light formed in her path, and before she could process what was going on, her way was blocked by some sort of bulky purple creature which grunted in displeasure. It raised a thick, clawed arm and slammed it into her, sending her skidding unceremoniously away across the rough ground.

    She lay still for a moment, suddenly aware of how much she hurt, and looked up at the creature which had attacked her. The leering, bestial face of a Nidoking stared back down. She felt herself shake as the spiked Pokémon’s muscular tail thumped the earth behind him.

    A Pokémon. Of course the humans would have had Pokémon. What had she been thinking?

    Foliano had known. He and his trainer had tried to make her stop and think. He was always the sensible one; she cursed herself for not listening to him.

    Ivyx dropped the Nidoking’s gaze and let out a defeated sigh. Two more bursts of light heralded the coming of two more attackers. And either her sense of smell was fading in her exhaustion, or Raptola was being taken further away.

    What was the point? She was exhausted and battered, and Foliano would come soon, she was sure of it. Gentle, strong Foliano. He would make everything right again. She trusted him.

    The two new Pokémon were out of their Poké Balls and beginning to approach her. She gazed blearily at them but couldn’t make out what they were, whether due to tears or dizziness she neither knew nor cared.

    A pitiful sound suddenly pierced through the fuzzy blur of her senses, striking her very heart. Raptola was calling out desperately, calling to her. He was muffled, distant and so afraid, but he was still there. And he was worth fighting for.

    Renewed desperation forced her leaves into blades; she leapt up and threw herself at a flailing purple shape which was swooping at her face. A few seconds of reckless slashing and several ear-splitting screeches later, she registered that it was a Crobat. The airborne Pokémon retreated and shook herself down before swiftly drawing one of her four thin wings across her in a swiping motion. A knife-like gust of air scythed into Ivyx, forcing her backwards and stinging her already smarting body.

    She shot a yearning look at the retreating humans as Raptola’s cries faded from her hearing and worried that her actions would be too little, too late. A skinny black canine Pokémon that she didn’t recognise stood between her and them, growling softly. A quick glance around found the Nidoking to be somewhere off to her left, and with the Crobat in midair, this demonic, unnerving hound was the only thing in her way. Ivyx gritted her teeth, thinking of her son, and dashed headlong towards him, intending to leap aside at the last second.

    The dog’s blood red eyes gazed hollowly into hers as she approached. She tensed her strained muscles to spring to the right but exhaustion made her stumble on the bumpy earth. In a blur of movement, an orange muzzle shot down, and vicious jaws clamped onto her crest leaf.

    Ivyx bit her lip to avoid screaming. More tears forced their way from her tightly shut eyes. The agony from the fangs piercing into her sensitive foliage had shocked her to a complete standstill. She remained frozen, breathing rapidly, terrified to move should she damage her leaf further – not that she thought it would tear in half, as it was tougher than it looked, but the redoubled pain would be the final blow for her already ebbing consciousness. And she would be no use to Raptola if that happened.

    She opened her eyes slowly and gazed unseeingly straight ahead. “Please,” she begged, her voice filled with pain and wracked by sobs. “They’ve got my son.” She shuddered, helpless in the grip of the strange creature as the seconds went by in silence. Dreadfully aware of how hopeless it was, how pathetic she sounded, she tried one last time. “Please, let me go.”

    The dog’s teeth shifted slightly, but he did not release her. From the corner of her eye, she registered two fuzzy purple shapes making their way towards her. Coming to finish her off.

    She swallowed and rolled her eyes up at the clear sky, panic threatening to overwhelm her as she made her decision. Summoning up the dregs of her strength, she pulled forward and yanked with all her might at the jaws holding her.

    They clamped down tighter, sending needle-sharp pain spearing through her mind. Her leaf felt as though it were about to rip itself from her very skull. She screamed a piercing, blinding scream of pure agony and felt herself begin to slip away.

    The last thought which wandered into her mind before sweet, blissful unconsciousness claimed her was of her beloved, trusted mate.

    Foli, I’m sorry.

    * * *

    Carrie clambered over the jumble of rocks, staying low to keep her balance. Empathy leapt from boulder to boulder close beside her, never putting a foot wrong. Following came Foliano, staring emptily at the ground. The two Pokémon were the only company she had; Velotus and Crescent had both been recalled with a promise to be sent out again if they were needed.

    After a conversation with one distraught and one annoyingly calm Grovyle, the occasional emotional nudge from Empathy and some unhelpful whimpers from Crescent, a rather desperate plan of action had been finalised. The drag marks were too obvious; they were clearly expected to follow them and be lured into some kind of ambush. Instead, Carrie and the two Pokémon were climbing a stretch of terrain some distance from the trail in the hope that they could circle around and attack from an unexpected direction. It wasn’t a particularly ingenious plan, but it was all they had.

    Then there was the unnerving fact that they could all too easily get lost. It clawed at the back of Carrie’s mind, forcing her to ask unwelcome questions. What if they ended up travelling in circles forever? What if they never found Raptola? What if they should have just followed the obvious path, and to hell with the consequences?

    She pushed the questions out of her mind and gave Foliano a concerned glance. Whatever turmoil was going on in her brain must have been happening a hundredfold in his. It had taken a lot of gentle persuasion to convince him that following his mate wasn’t the best option, and still Carrie remained worried that he could snap at any moment and head off after Ivyx, trusting instinct over rationality.

    She saw the helplessness in his eyes again and felt a tug at her heart. Foliano wasn’t supposed to not know what to do. It just wasn’t right. Sighing, Carrie drew her gaze away from her Grovyle to face where she was going.

    It took her a moment to realise that she didn’t even know where she was going. The three of them were just wandering aimlessly. None were making a decision on when to change direction and circle around, none were taking control. Carrie sighed.

    She came to a halt atop a slab of rock and looked at Empathy, frowning. “D’you think we’ve gone far enough yet?” she asked.

    The Espeon blinked and flicked his ears in a way that clearly said, “You tell me.

    Frustrated, Carrie surveyed the scenery before her. The slope rose and fell irregularly, covered with a vast array of crags and boulders, both large and small. The mountain contained so many places where kidnappers could hide that she didn’t know where to start. Still, she was the trainer; she was supposed to be in charge.

    “Okay,” she said. “Let’s try that way.” She pointed off to the right in a vague direction, trying and failing to keep the hopelessness out of her manner.

    Foliano followed her indication with no complaints, no hint of an objection. Carrie let him walk ahead of her, saddened that her friend seemed to have lost the ability to think for himself in his confusion and grief. She wanted desperately to tell him everything was going to be all right, but she knew the words would be empty, meaningless. They continued in gloomy silence, the only audible sound being the thudding of trainers on stone.

    Then the silence was broken as a far-off, high-pitched scream tore through the air.

    Carrie flinched and looked around frantically. Empathy’s ears pricked up. Foliano jolted upright as though he had just had an electric shock. His terrified gaze reached far into the distance.

    Carrie stared at him, trying to keep the fear out of her face; the scream had sounded familiar…

    Ivyx,” he gasped, confirming her worries. “That was Ivyx.” His rasping voice teetered on the edge of hysterical; his eyes remained fixed almost obsessively on the distant mound of rocks where the sound had come from.

    Abruptly, he snapped into action, leaping up and speeding over the bumpy ground, leaves trailing behind him. Carrie stumbled in her haste to follow before she lost him too; beside her, the surefooted Empathy raced to catch up. Despite their best efforts, Foliano was far quicker and reached the top of the mound first. Carrie saw him freeze in his tracks on the immediate horizon, focused on something she couldn’t see.

    She and Empathy reached the pile of rocks and scrambled up it. Before they were even halfway, Foliano seemed to realise where he was and disappeared from sight over the edge. Carrie put on a risky burst of speed as she approached the peak of the mound, craning her neck to see what he was headed for – or who he was headed for.

    Her eyes widened in horror as she caught sight of Ivyx’s pale green body slumped unceremoniously a little way off from the mound. Foliano was dashing towards her, fixated on her prone form. Driven by desperation, Carrie threw aside all thought for safety and careered headlong down the craggy pile, coming to an ungainly halt in front of her fallen Grovyle.

    “Is she breathing?” she asked Foliano urgently, forcing the words out between pants for breath. She took a closer look at Ivyx, and her question was answered for her. The Grovyle’s chest rose and fell raggedly, though her eyes were closed and showed no sign of life.

    Unconscious,” murmured Foliano, more to himself than to his trainer. He knelt by his mate’s side, his claws stroking her tear-encrusted face. With one arm, he traced the normally smooth curve of her head leaf; it was unnaturally crooked, almost crumpled, in the middle. Carrie bent down for a closer look and saw vicious teeth marks standing out against the bluish foliage.

    Wordlessly, she pulled out a Poké Ball and pointed the beam at the Grovyle. Ivyx’s form dissolved into a pool of red light and was drawn in. Foliano stared blankly at the bare ground for a moment, then blinked as if only just realising she wasn’t there anymore.

    He tilted his head and looked into his trainer’s eyes, his own full of horror and grief. “What have they done to her?

    Carrie returned the gaze sadly, not knowing what to say. After a moment she murmured, “At least you know you did the right thing by not following her.”

    Foliano frowned. She could see the guilt behind his eyes. “Did I, though? What if I could have saved her?

    To this, Carrie had no answer.

    The silence hanging in the air was broken by a hiss of, “Esp!” A fresh awareness of danger shoved itself into Carrie’s mind as she turned to see Empathy – and then saw what he was looking at. Sitting against a rock several metres away and staring into the distance was a rough, dark-clothed thug of a man who had apparently not noticed them. Beside him, bulging and tied up at the top, was a sack. One which looked to be the perfect size to hold a small Grovyle.

    Foliano hissed in such a savage way that he could easily have been mistaken for Velotus. With lethal efficiency, he darted across the short stretch of terrain between him and the man. Carrie’s eyes widened in alarm; she shot a brief order of, “Hold him still!” at her Espeon as the feline dashed forward too.

    Empathy was one step ahead of her. This was his and Foliano’s part in the plan, and he knew it well. Already his eyes were glowing and the thug’s face shining with a blue aura which held his mouth closed so that he couldn’t call out. His features tensed in alarm; he started to lift his arms, but soon the blue light was shrouding them too, pinning them to his sides. The man could only stare at the furious Foliano as the Grovyle skidded to a halt.

    Foliano’s forehead creased in effort; within moments, snaking vines were splitting rocks to force their way up through the ground, twisting around the stranger and dragging him to the floor to render him completely immobile. The Grovyle paused, glaring into the man’s eyes, then he turned and shot the sack a dirty look.

    He’s not here.” One arm’s leaves morphed into a glowing blade which sliced the top clean off. Rocks, stones and pebbles spilled out from the open hole; it was a decoy.

    Her panic mounting, Carrie looked at Foliano. He seemed to be the one in control now. Taking a brief sniff, he gazed around the rocky terrain with an expression of longing. “I can smell him. He’s close.

    Without warning, his blade, still formed, pressed itself up against the thug’s throat. “Where is he?” Foliano spat. “Where is my son?

    For the first time, the man looked scared rather than merely surprised. Carrie stared at her Grovyle with redoubled respect and even a hint of fear; she had never known him capable of such violence. But as she looked into his eyes and saw the anguish mounting behind his mask of rage, she realised how much Raptola meant to him.

    And to her.

    Suddenly filled with fury, Carrie rounded on the stranger – the kidnapper – and glared at him, her eyes hard. “Tell me where my other Grovyle is,” she growled. “If you don’t, Foliano here may well kill you.”

    The blue sheen faded from his face as Empathy allowed the thug to speak. “Close,” he said, his voice worryingly calm given the circumstances.

    “We know that!” Carrie snapped, accompanied by a warning hiss from Foliano. “Where?”

    Behind her anger, doubt was creeping into her mind. The man was clearly playing for time, and it worried her. What did a nobody she’d never met want with her, anyway?

    He kept his mouth resolutely shut this time. Foliano’s arm twitched, but it seemed that the last shred of decency still present in the Grovyle was preventing his blade from slitting the thug’s throat.

    Carrie stared at the man, feeling that there was something vaguely familiar about him. She noticed the words on the shirt beneath his open, shabby jacket: “BAD LIGHT”. They rang a bell – but wasn’t it just because she’d been thinking about evolution a lot recently?

    The thought of evolution brought to mind Sceptile, and the thought of that brought to mind a large man in a leather jacket with the same words emblazoned across his front. Carrie gaped at the kidnapper, realisation dropping. “You’re with Aiden?”

    Foliano shot her a brief glance, then turned back to the man, snarling. The grim slash of a mouth on the thug’s face twisted into something resembling a smile. “Clever, aren’t you?”

    She stared at him, still bewildered. “But why does he of all people want Raptola?”

    “Actually,” came another voice, “he’s not involved with this. He just tipped us off.” Two more men were approaching from the right, both dressed similarly to the one still held in Foliano’s Grass Knot. The man who had spoken, a tall, bald thug in a studded jacket, stood in front, while the second looked to be taking orders from his larger companion. “Still, it helped,” the bald man went on. “Every trainer should have a small, cute, mostly useless pet that makes good hostage material.”

    Carrie glared at him in indignation – and then noticed what he was carrying. Hanging by his side, held nonchalantly in one hand, was another sack. A sack which was moving.

    A dead, empty sigh escaped Foliano as his blade flickered and died. His vines withdrew, scratching across stone and disappearing into the ground, leaving large cracks in the rock. He stood still for a moment before collapsing to his knees, breathing heavily as the exhaustion from maintaining the attacks caught up with him, all the time keeping the wriggling sack within his yearning gaze.

    Suddenly feeling sick, Carrie could do nothing but stare with an expression of disgust and horror on her face. Seeing the fake, motionless sack had been one thing, but now she knew that Raptola was in there. She tried to imagine what it must be like for him, trapped inside – and immediately wished she hadn’t. The thought hurt too much.

    She looked the kidnapper in the eyes. “Let him go,” she demanded, the words coming out far less threateningly than she had intended. “I don’t care what you want, just let him go.”

    The bald man ignored her and barked out an order. “Dave, get your Crobat ready.”

    “Right,” said Dave, the smaller, unshaven man behind. “Crobat, get over here an’ get ready for a Mean Look!” A purple bat swooped into view from somewhere, its four thin, pointy wings flapping with gusto. The Crobat’s creepy yellow eyes stared greedily at the sack, which was being hoisted up, the top being untied…

    They were letting Raptola out, but they clearly didn’t want him escaping. Carrie fumbled in her pocket for her Grovyle’s ball, hoping that she could recall him quickly before the move was performed.

    The lead thug reached into the sack and roughly pulled Raptola out. A series of heartrending sobs and squeals found their way to Carrie’s ears as she drew the Poké Ball and frantically pointed it towards her Pokémon.

    A dark purple aura oozed from the hovering Crobat. The Pokémon’s eyes seemed to have grown to twice their normal size; the already tiny pupils contracted to slits; shadowy tendrils floated around the terrifyingly blank yellow irises. Raptola stared at the horrifying sight and screamed in pure terror.

    Then it was over. The Grovyle was reduced to shivering and sobbing, looking smaller than ever in the leader’s massive grip. Crobat retreated towards Dave as if nothing had happened, the creepy grin on its face wider than ever. Carrie stared emptily at her pitiful Pokémon and felt her insides deflate as if they had simply given up.

    The Poké Ball was still hanging limply from her fingers; she raised it and bitterly fired the beam at Raptola. His form was shrouded in warm red light for a second, his face brightening in momentary hope, but then it dissipated into nothing. Carrie scowled and threw the useless ball angrily at the ground.

    And realised what a stupid thing that was to do.

    It smashed upon impact with the solid rock. The pieces scattered, gleaming as the sun reflected off tiny mirrors, clattering against the stone. She stared at what had once been the Poké Ball for a moment, not quite believing that she’d been so thick. Foliano dully took in the shattered fragments. Empathy blinked a few times. Raptola whimpered.

    Carrie looked guiltily into the young Grovyle’s eyes. “Oops.” She didn’t know what else to say.

    The lead thug spoke, sending reality rushing back to her. “Mike, give me the syringe.”

    Syringe? What little was left of Carrie’s grip on the situation threatened to peter out entirely. They can’t want to poison him…

    Mike, the man they had tied down and who had since found his way to his boss’ side, produced a syringe from his pocket. Pulling off the plastic cap, he passed it to the leader, who took it with the hand that wasn’t holding Raptola and held it up, examining it. The ugly needle glinted in the sunlight. Carrie shuddered.

    “Now,” said the bald man, removing his gaze from the syringe to look at her. “Our boss says you should recognise this.”

    She stared at him, frowning. “Aiden?”

    The man snorted. “He’s not our boss. Sure, he’s the one who happens to be in charge whenever he’s around, but I’m talking about our employer. The one who pays us.”

    “Who’s that?”

    “Oh, only the Director of MemorCorp.”

    Carrie’s eyes widened in horror.

    “She knows about your little bit of infiltration,” he went on. “Apparently you’ve seen this stuff before.” He pressed the plunger of the syringe just a fraction. A drop of fluid slid from the tip.

    Unbidden, memories of a Grovyle shining with a terrible white light came flooding into Carrie’s mind. She gasped and stepped back involuntarily. This was the chemical that forced evolution.

    “Aww, she gets it.” The leader’s face twisted into a grin. “Now, there’s something our boss wants to know.” He pointed the needle at Raptola. The Grovyle squealed and twisted away, scrabbling desperately at the massive hand holding him, but the grip was too strong. The sharp tip was placed up against his neck, and he fell silent.

    No…” murmured Foliano. His eyes blazed with a desire to intervene, but his body seemed frozen in terror.

    The thug holding Raptola smiled. “Where’s Archopy?”

    ~~~

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    Last edited by elyvorg; 15th June 2008 at 12:38 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

  5. #130
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    : HEARTLESS WANKERS! POKEMON SHOUD BE GIVEN A CHOICE TO EVOLVE!

    : As you see, Haychtoo's clearly not a fan of Memorcorp and their ******* grunts, and the cowardly tactics involved clearly notes that they must be Hyper Beamed into oblivion. As for the chapter, it's very good and another cliffhanger came here, like many other stories having omni-cliffs. The greatest irony of course would be if Raptola evolved into the aforementioned Archopy and proceeded to glass the mercs, but that seems unlikely. I can't wait for the next chapter to show itself.


    I reject your Nyancats and replace it with my own.
    FB

  6. #131
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    Happy birthday, elyvorg. :3 I might draw a Grovyle for you later if I get around to it.

    Nice job making Raptola's location seem bizarre and mysterious from his point of view. He's actually in something perfectly ordinary (a bag of some sort, I presume), but you really got that claustrophobic, dark feeling of actually being in there across.

    Whoo, Theo running off is awesome. I'm glad to see he's not following Carrie around like a mindless drone as traveling companions tend to do a lot of the time whether the author intends or not. It's nice to see him make his own decision here rather than just tagging along with Carrie when he could be getting to Archopy.

    Beside him, Ivyx clung to her mate as though he was the only solid thing in existence.
    Awwww. ; ; Very good line.

    She tore her eyes from the trail to look where she was going and caught sight of three large, dark-clothed humans ahead, standing in the sort of position humans stood in when they were being intimidating.
    ...okay, I have NO idea what sort of position that is. o_O

    The dog’s teeth shifted slightly, but he did not release her.
    God, I love those little details. Suddenly that random background Houndoom is a character, somebody with his own individual feelings and his own motives and thoughts, just by that one little mention of teeth shifting in wavering doubt. Awesome.

    I also like how Ivyx tries to yank herself away and you think she's going to make it by the laws of the cliché, but she doesn't.

    Foliano followed her indication with no complaints, no hint of an objection.
    I love the way you write your characters.

    Foliano stared blankly at the bare ground for a moment, then blinked as if only just realising she wasn’t there anymore.
    I really, really love the way you write your characters.

    Foliano hissed in such a savage way that he could easily have been mistaken for Velotus.
    Seriously.

    Without warning, his blade, still formed, pressed itself up against the thug’s throat. “Where is he?” Foliano spat. “Where is my son?”
    Foliano love skyrocketing...

    A dead, empty sigh escaped Foliano as his blade flickered and died.
    *wants to hug him* ;-;

    Nice cliffhanger. Usually I'm not overly fond of cliffhangers, but I really like this one for some reason. Something about the last line just really works.

    Nice chapter, at least. I like how the thugs fooled everyone, showing that they can actually think unlike far too many Generic Fic Villains (tm). (Why didn't Empathy do something, though, like attack the Crobat or just freeze the thugs so that they can't move? Again, we get to Empathy's slight omnipotence problem - here it seems like he should be able to do something but he doesn't, for no reason that I can see unless I missed it.) Foliano was awesome. You're really good at probing my brain into worshipping your characters within the space of a few pages.

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

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

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

  7. #132
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    to get up there and find him, whatever the consequences,
    Personally, I'd insert a comma in there as a separator.

    Well, I had a feeling that MemorCorp was behind the kidnapping (yeah, that was my prediction from last chapter)

    What struck me about this chapter (besides your usual excellent characterizations), was how Ivyx and Foliano reacted differently to Raptola's disappearance. Both are based on a parent's concern for their child's safety. When that child is threatened, the parent can act in ways they normally wouldn't.

    Ivyx is so fearful for her child's safety that she rushes headlong up the mountain and into danger, putting the thoughts about the risks involved out of her mind. And, as a result, she got herself mixed up with three VERY strong Pokemon (all with a type advantage) and was quickly overwhelmed, paying the price for that spur of the moment decision.

    Foliano, on the other hand, goes into bada** Velotus mode upon spotting the kidnappers, which I think took everyone by surprise. This angry, primal side of him hasn't come out before, as far as I can remember. Well, they say that hell hath no fury like a parent whose child is being threatened - or something like that.

    Well, after my little excursion into the psychological reactions of two parents whose child is in danger, I have to say that this was another well-done chapter with ANOTHER cliffhanger! Now, the questions begin:
    Will the MemorCorp thugs succeed in injecting Raptola with the serum? If they do, which form will he take after the forced evolution?

    Now I'm reminded of the evolution serum my villains used to use... though in my case it was only used to gain a tactical advantage in battle.

    Well, I'll close by saying great chapter and Happy Birthday! And, yes, it's because it's your birthday that I got in gear and reviewed right away. Consider it a birthday present

  8. #133
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    Hi Ely(I'm very sorry but your nickname is just that cute and so much faster to type) because there was a very small statement within the introduction I rushed my lazy a*ss over here so I could review, namely, this one:

    Quote Originally Posted by elyvorg View Post
    I say "should" as I've deliberately chosen to post this chapter today because it's my birthday, which means that I may have a few distractions from writing for a week or so.

    Congratulations, my fellow Grovyle lover *hands you basket with Grovyle-shaped cookies and a big Birthday cake* now, you don't need to answer but how old are you exactly gettin', oh well, it's not really of importance, I'm just curious, now, let's get to the freakin' chapter before I eat your whole cake




    Ely, you really, really have outdone yourself this time (actually, I was planning to review last time because this would have so much character development, which you damn well did, congrats on that) with everything from the chapter (and Darkpersian only found one tiny error, now that's good).


    First of all, there's Ivyx, the overly terrorized mother with the strong urge to recklessly charge after her only son, and to be thruthful her reaction is exactly what I loved so much in this chapter, her desire to rescue Raptola is just so touching, I actually found myself wiping away a few tears, so I'll give you a few excerpts of her scenes that I really liked:


    Beside him, Ivyx clung to her mate as though he was the only solid thing in existence. She was shaking with shock, tears glistening on her face. Neither seemed to have registered Theo’s retreating figure – they probably wouldn’t have cared if they had.

    It’s my fault,” Ivyx mumbled between sobs. “I shouldn’t have taken my eyes off him…
    I just wanted to hug Ivyx here, she feels so guilty, Oh, if I had a bazooka, your bad guy was already obliterated.

    But it is!” She pulled away suddenly and turned to face him, eyes shining with tears. “Don’t you see? I promised him I’d never let anything hurt him.” She took a deep, shuddering breath in some desperate kind of determination. “I need to get him back.
    Guilt makes way for determination, come on Ivyx!


    Ivyx gazed at them both with big, frightened eyes. Her head shook just a fraction. “I don’t care.” Abruptly, she snapped into life and clambered swiftly up the slope, following the trail in the dust.
    And off we go, I find her determination so strong that I wouldn't be surprised if she would sacrifice herself for Raptola *hugs the cute baby in the bag*


    Foliano was pulled off even more expertly than Ivyx, his main emotion confused, which is something totally new, in my opinion. Foliano is normally the level-headed one isn't he, the rational-thinking one. Oh god, I feel sorry for him even more, facing the possibility that you might lose your lover to the ones that took your son, and now they threaten to evolve him, I really think that was your best move in the whole chapter, threatening with evolution, oh I hope there's some weird substance that'll cause him to evolve into an Archopy (a cute, tiny Archopy, squee, that'd be fun )

    Oh, and as an extra birthday present, I'll sprite Carrie for you (A Grovyle drawing and a Carrie sprite, man, I wish I was the one that had her birthday yesterday)


    Congratulations once more, Ely and I hope I'll see your review in my thread soon too Enjoy the presents you'll be getting (or already have gotten)



    +Frosted Heavens+
    Searching for Inspiration...

  9. #134
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    Thank you for the birthday wishes, everyone. Seems it was a good thing that I chose to mention that, as it got some of you to review a little quicker. xP

    fishyfool - I don't know why you and Frosted Heavens seem to think that Raptola might evolve into Archopy. Modern Grovyle can't; it's simply not in their genes.

    Dragonfree - Thanks for all your positive comments. :3 I'm glad that someone noticed the Houndoom's moment of doubt as I thought I hadn't drawn quite enough attention to the fact that he's not particularly happy with what he's being told to do.

    Looks like I failed on Empathy. >.< The general idea was meant to be that he can't risk freezing one of them, as by the time he's got someone good and properly immobile, one of the others could have pressed the syringe's plunger. But yeah. I'll try and add in a little mention of how he doesn't want to risk anything in the next chapter to clear things up a bit. Thanks for pointing that out.

    I really enjoyed writing Foliano and Ivyx in this chapter. =D

    DarkPersian479 - I'd actually guessed what your suspicion was thanks to something you said several chapters back about Aiden, hence me asking for your theory by PM (though, obviously, that's pointless now).

    I'm happy that you liked Ivyx and Foliano's reactions. It's true that Foliano has never gone all Velotus on anything before, but the confused and lost side of him is also something which hadn't previously been seen.

    And yay. The cliffhanger provokes questions. :3

    Frosted Heavens - Tears! I now consider this chapter officially a success. :B My aim was to make at least one person cry, specifically from the Raptola scene, but if Ivyx's part made you cry, then that'll do me.

    Anyway. More thanks for liking Foliano and Ivyx again, and, um...

    Raptola can't evolve into Archopy, but you've put an adorable mental image of Raptola the Archopy into my mind now. Whoo. :3

    Yay, a Carrie sprite. I saw your sprite of Lisa, and it rocks, so I'm expecting something equally good. =P


    Seeing as most of the people to whom I owe reviews read this thread, I'll mention something here: I have this week off school, so I should be able to use the time to catch up with reviewing everyone's fics.
    .: 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. #135
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    Looks like I failed on Empathy. >.< The general idea was meant to be that he can't risk freezing one of them, as by the time he's got someone good and properly immobile, one of the others could have pressed the syringe's plunger. But yeah. I'll try and add in a little mention of how he doesn't want to risk anything in the next chapter to clear things up a bit. Thanks for pointing that out.
    I was more thinking of before that, actually - for example, why he didn't attack or freeze the Crobat before it had managed to use Mean Look, or freeze the thugs at any point before they got out the syringe. Empathy does absolutely nothing from the mention of him allowing the thug with the fake bag to speak until Raptola's Pokéball has been shattered. Heck, it's Mike who has the syringe and Empathy was already holding him frozen (or at least his arms, but it could easily be extended to the legs as well, I'm presuming), but still for some reason seems to release him, because then we suddenly get this line:

    Mike, the man they had tied down and who had since found his way to his boss’ side...
    Shouldn't he have been careful to hold that guy, perhaps as a hostage for their side? Couldn't he have levitated the syringe out of his hands and broken it on the rocks all around? I can think of a million highly useful things that Empathy could have been doing in that space we don't hear of him, but apparently he's just been standing there doing nothing. o.o

    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.

  11. #136
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    Default Chapter 14: Choices

    Dragonfree - Ah. I see. Thanks an awful lot for pointing that out, as you got me thinking about it, and I've managed to tweak the events of this chapter to hopefully provide a satisfactory explanation.

    For clarification, Empathy released his psychic hold on most of Mike's body as soon as Foliano had him tied down to save energy that he might need later, and only kept the man's mouth closed so that he wouldn't call out and alert anyone.


    So here it is. Enjoy.

    Chapter 14: Choices

    Mountains rose into the clear blue sky as far as the eye could see. Adorned with pale rocks and the occasional patch of grass, the terrain sloped steeply upwards to the left and rolled gently downwards to the right. Directly ahead, a hint of sandy yellow was visible between two distant peaks. The desert was in sight – beyond that, Northern Canyon would be waiting. And now Theo had nobody holding him back.

    He took a deep sniff, savouring the fresh mountain air. He loved the freedom of being out on the hillsides – freedom which he had only truly regained a few minutes ago upon leaving Carrie behind. A small amount of regret at abandoning her stayed within him, especially with her Pokémon’s abduction, but it did feel good to know that she wouldn’t be telling him what to do any more.

    As more minutes passed, he became more used to not having anyone else there and being his own self once again. He began to wonder what on earth had compelled him to wait for her back in the cave when he could have been out here, in the wide open, making his way towards his goal. He supposed he’d felt that Carrie deserved a part in finding Archopy, and that it would have been unfair to leave her. But she wasn’t the important one in all this, he reminded himself; the important one was Archopy.

    Then again, hadn’t he unearthed the fossil by himself? Didn’t he deserve to see Archopy more than Carrie?

    Theo took another breath of air to clear his mind. Selfishness wasn’t him. He reached into his Poké Ball pocket, feeling that there was no reason not to allow Kabutops and Aerodactyl to taste that fresh air too.

    Before he could pull them out, an electronic trilling noise emanated from another of his pockets. He frowned, thinking initially that Carrie was still managing to bother him even from a distance, but then he remembered that she didn’t have his PokéNav number. Curious, he took the device out, flipped it open and read the name on the screen: Milo.

    Of course. That made sense. And then again, it didn’t.

    He pressed a button and held the PokéNav up to his ear. “Hello, Milo – why the call? I saw you only yesterday.”

    “Theo.” Milo’s voice had an oddly worried note to it. “That’s exactly it – yesterday’s visit. Or, well, I think it might be.”

    “What do you mean?”

    “I think you might be in danger.”

    Theo frowned, remembering the cameras they had failed to sabotage. It followed that MemorCorp might take some kind of legal action, but – danger? “Okay, calm down,” he said. “Start from the start.”

    He could hear Milo taking a deep breath on the other end of the line. “I wasn’t followed home last night.”

    “Right…” said Theo patiently, feeling that Milo’s intonation suggested there was more to it than that.

    “No, but this is really significant,” Milo gabbled. “We always get followed home – us Geneticists at least – the guards almost seem to enjoy it. But last night, I was alone.”

    “Couldn’t you have told me this last night, if it’s this important?”

    “I didn’t want you to feel I was getting jumpy at the slightest thing, so I planned to investigate more in the morning. Besides, I wanted to make the most of a night of privacy. You have no idea what it’s like…” Theo detected a shudder in Milo’s voice.

    “Spare me the details. What did you find out?” he asked.

    “The guards have gone. All of them except the two guarding that hole in the wall that you two came in by,” Milo said. “And that’s quite something – there’s usually a good twenty or so roaming the corridors, but not any more.”

    Theo nodded; he had found the almost complete lack of guards the previous day strange. “Why?”

    “I did a bit of eavesdropping,” came the reply, “and there are a lot of rumours going round the department. Half of them say they’re after Archopy, the other half say they’re after the intruders – you. Which makes less sense, as they left before you came, but they could now be trying to kill two birds with one stone.”

    “So, basically,” Theo said slowly, “there are twenty security guards searching Hoenn for Archopy, but if they can’t find it, they’ll settle with me?”

    “Or your friend.”

    “She’s not my friend.”

    “Whoever she is, they’ll be after her as well.” Milo’s voice became more urgent. “And they’re not security guards. There’s more than twenty of them, too.”

    “Okay, now you really are starting to worry me.”

    Milo paused. “Due to the ethical instability of what we do, our Director thought it better to hire people who don’t ask questions. The guards all belong to a gang named Bad Light. The Director pays them to watch over us and mostly lets them do their own thing, and they’re happy with the money and freedom they have. Everyone’s happy except us, the scientists.”

    “And this is a bad thing, right?” Theo asked in a low voice.

    “Yes,” replied Milo gravely. “They’re quite a shady group, and they don’t mind resorting to violence to get a job done. If they find you and want information on Archopy’s location, they won’t care if they get it legally or illegally.”

    “Okay,” Theo said hollowly; realisation had struck. “Thanks for the warning. I’d better go.”

    “Me too. If any more of them return, I’m bound to be targeted because I helped you…” Milo trailed off. “Yeah. Bye.”

    There was a clicking noise as he hung up. Theo placed the PokéNav back in his pocket and stared unseeingly into space.

    He’d insisted to Carrie that her Pokémon’s kidnap had nothing to do with Archopy – but what if he was wrong? What if this Bad Light group were using her to find out where the creature was?

    He turned back the way he’d come, torn between two options. He could push on towards Archopy and hope that with a head-start he’d reach it before the gang did – or that Carrie managed to fend them off without giving anything away. On the other hand, having more people in his way wasn’t a promising thought, especially such an imposing sounding group. If he could help Carrie to fight them off and keep them guessing where Archopy was…

    He took a step forward before hesitating. There were at least twenty people in this gang, and there was only one of him. What could he possibly hope to do?

    The part of him which just wanted to keep savouring the breathtaking mountainside without worries pushed the argument onward. Milo could just have been being paranoid; he didn’t know that the kidnap had anything to do with Archopy at all.

    * * *

    Raptola remained completely still, clearly too terrified to move as the cruel point of the needle was pressed to his neck. The hand holding the syringe tensed, thumb ready to push the plunger at the slightest notice and seal the Grovyle’s fate.

    Carrie watched in horror, blind to everything except the poised syringe and Raptola’s desperate, pleading gaze. This, she decided, was what it felt like to stare down the barrel of a gun. No, it was worse; this “gun” was aimed at someone so young, innocent, and terrified – terrified not of the awful fate that he couldn’t have known anything about, but simply of the big, frightening men who grabbed him so hard that it hurt and pointed scary sharp things at him.

    The last time she had seen him afraid had only been the previous day. Raptola had begged her to promise that no-one would ever make him evolve. The thought terrified him. She couldn’t let them do it.

    If they did, this time it really would be all her fault.

    “Well?” came a rough voice. Carrie blinked, and a bald, grinning face loomed into view behind Raptola as the bigger picture began pushing its way back into her head. She wracked her brains, hearing the words of only a few seconds ago: “Where’s Archopy?” Their meaning finally clicked.

    These men worked for MemorCorp, which meant that they would take Archopy back to the prison in which it was born. Carrie did not want to be responsible for that, either.

    A raging war blazed up in her mind, but as she caught Raptola’s pitiful gaze once more, she knew which side would win. Archopy was a vague presence far off in the distance; Carrie hadn’t even seen it properly. Raptola was here, now, and needing her. And if she lost him, she could never get him back.

    “I’ll tell you,” she said to the men, speaking as firmly as she could, “if you give him back.”

    In the corner of her vision, Carrie caught sight of Foliano edging forwards as though straining against something invisible. She discreetly flicked her eyes sideways to see that his face was wracked with inner turmoil; longing to save his son battled with fear of acting should the thug deliver Raptola’s fate.

    “I think you’ll find we’re in charge here,” the man with the syringe said, fixing Carrie with a confident gaze. “Tell us now, or he evolves.”

    Raptola’s eyes widened further as realisation hit him. His mouth opened in a silent, almost pathetic plea for help. He shot the needle another frightened glance out of the corner of his eye – but the syringe was no longer there.

    The man’s arm was yanked away by Foliano, who clung to the limb like it was a tree branch, forcing it downwards with his weight. Vines from a nearby Grass Knot flailed in the air, snaking around the arm holding Raptola and grasping to pull it further away from the needle. Foliano’s claws dug viciously through the thug’s jacket as determination and rage blazed in his eyes.

    The man had been caught off guard while focusing on speaking to Carrie. Now furious, he strained to lift an arm with the entire weight of a Grovyle hanging off it, to pull the hand holding the squirming Raptola closer to the syringe, but to no avail. The men behind him stepped forward to help, but looked momentarily unsure of what to do. The leader swore.

    “The small one evolves now,” he snarled, “and the next dose can go to –”

    The man broke off and looked at the arm with Foliano clinging to it. The arm which still held the syringe. The Grovyle froze, staring cross-eyed at the needle above him, centimetres from his face.

    Her mind awhirl, Carrie stepped forward, unsure quite what she was going to do. There was a crunch as her foot met the shards of Raptola’s Poké Ball still scattered on the ground. Of course – the possibility of recalling was void for the young Grovyle now, but it could still be used on his father. Her hand darted towards her pocket.

    Foliano gave a sudden yelp as the needle stabbed down into his neck. The plunger of the syringe descended as his form became bathed in a red glow. Raptola began to scream in terror for his father, drowning out the humming of the Poké Ball beam. Seeing that his victim was getting away, the leader redoubled his efforts and pushed every last drop of the substance into the Grovyle.

    Carrie caught a glimpse of what may have been dull resignation in Foliano’s eyes before he turned into shapeless red light and vanished inside his ball. She desperately looked at the syringe but saw with a heavy heart that it was completely empty.

    The Poké Ball in her hand felt hot, as though it would burn her. But Foliano might still have had a chance. The beam could have dissolved the chemical, or he might be able to fight it off while in stasis inside the sphere, or… or something. Carrie stared at the ball, refusing to admit the inevitable. As Raptola’s screams died down, she numbly replaced it in her pocket, knowing that she alone would have to find a way out of this.

    Then she remembered that she wasn’t on her own yet. Empathy was still meant to be there somewhere – where was he? She looked around frantically for a glimpse of his lilac fur. Why hadn’t he done something?

    Carrie twisted to look behind her and saw why. Sitting calmly beside Empathy, its thin, pointed tail curled neatly around its paws, was the black figure of a Houndoom. The canine had its eye on the Espeon, quietly making sure that he did nothing to intervene while not drawing any attention to itself. Empathy was stood rigidly, ears twitching in discomfort, not even quite daring to look up at Carrie as she looked down at him.

    There was a whistle from the man with Raptola, and the Houndoom stood up, shook itself and padded obediently towards its trainer. Empathy relaxed and flexed his tail as though ironing out stiffness, giving Carrie a quick “I’m fine” glance. But when she drew her eyes away from her Espeon and towards her Grovyle, she saw that it was now Raptola being fixed with Houndoom’s solemn, unmoving gaze.

    The young Pokémon stared down at this new terror with wide eyes, taking in the curved horns, the bony ridges on its back and the long, fanged snout. Raptola ceased his struggles and fell still, tears dripping down his face.

    More confident now that the creature was away from him, Empathy stepped forward into Carrie’s field of vision. She hissed a brief, “Quick!” at him out of the side of her mouth, but his eyes were already glowing blue. Raptola let out a muffled gasp of surprise as the hand holding him shimmered with psychic energy and began to relinquish its grip. The Houndoom’s gaze did not waver, but neither did it do anything to help its trainer. Empathy kept his focus, slowly forcing the man’s fingers apart – and then a knifing gust of air slammed into his side.

    The Espeon gasped in pain and shook his head as if to clear it, now trembling with the effort of maintaining his concentration. Carrie looked around for the source of the attack and found it – the thug Dave’s Crobat still hovered silently above its own trainer, a manic grin plastered to its face. With a screech of glee, it descended upon Empathy and slammed one of its scything wings into him.

    “Esp!” With a cry of pain, the feline lost his focus and stumbled backwards. He growled softly and rounded on Crobat, sending a fierce wave of purple energy at it. The bat screamed and performed several wild midair backflips before righting itself.

    Raptola gasped as the hand redoubled its grip, squeezing tighter than ever. Houndoom had removed its stare from the Grovyle and was now watching Empathy, but it seemed unwilling to attack of its own accord.

    Its trainer barked a short, “Get it, Houndoom!” at the canine Pokémon. The dog dutifully leapt up and rushed at Empathy, jaws bared. Too focused on Crobat, the feline could only scream as fangs clamped down on his side, tossing him through the air like a rag doll.

    Carrie winced as her Espeon landed with a thud on the hard ground a few metres away. She quickly recalled him before Houndoom could follow up its attack – and then realised that she was now alone, the thugs still had Raptola and the dog was returning to its owner’s side. Velotus and Crescent could battle, but these men no doubt had more than two Pokémon at their disposal. Looking more closely at the rocky area behind them, Carrie saw that she was right – a Nidoking was edging into view around a rock, watching with apparent interest. She was outnumbered already. Fighting her way out was not going to work.

    She felt exhausted, emotionally drained and – now that there was nothing to distract her from her thoughts – desperately worried about Foliano. Raptola was once again fearfully eyeing the Houndoom, and as she watched, Carrie realised that right at that moment she just didn’t care about some prehistoric Pokémon which was miles away and really had very little to do with her. The Houndoom may have been reluctant, but it could certainly do some serious damage when it was ordered to.

    She sighed a long, tired sigh of simply wanting to get this over with. “Okay,” she said. “Archopy’s in –” Her voice caught in her throat as a sound entered her hearing. If her ears could have done a double take, they would have. She hadn’t just heard what she thought she had, had she?

    “Where?” the man holding Raptola pressed her. “If this is another distraction…”

    Carrie wasn’t listening. She could hear the sound more clearly now, a rasping, primeval screech she never thought she’d be glad to hear. Aerodactyl’s cry rang out over the mountainside, as welcome as it was unexpected. She looked to the sky as the three men did so too and saw the pterosaur soaring towards them on outstretched wings.

    Aerodactyl came to a halt in midair, hovering for a second, before darting at his target – the man with Raptola. The thug cried out in alarm as a grey wing slammed into him, knocking him backwards. Carrie watched with delight as Raptola fell out of the startled thug’s grip.

    She was vaguely aware of Houndoom being ordered to defend its master; she was vaguely aware of a large, brown-clothed figure appearing behind the men and sending out more Pokémon in flashes of light. But the only thing she cared about was Raptola, scampering towards her on trembling legs. She ran forwards and scooped the Grovyle up into her arms. Shivering with prolonged fright, he clung to her as if he planned on never letting go. His tiny claws dug into her with a vicelike grip, but she didn’t care. He was back.

    Raptola loosened his hold to gaze fearfully into Carrie’s eyes. “Daddy won’t evolve, will he?” he asked with an innocence that was perfectly ready to believe reassuring words, however unlikely they were.

    Carrie blinked and quickly looked away before, she hoped, he would notice the fear and doubt in her face. “No, he won’t,” she said distantly, deliberately not making eye contact with her Grovyle. “He’ll be fine.”

    Still gazing away from Raptola towards the battle which had ensued between the three men and Theo, she caught sight of a wayward stream of flames which made her duck instinctively. The fire scorched past where her head had been moments earlier. She could feel the searing heat on the back of her neck, feel Raptola shudder in the wake of the attack.

    The Grovyle may have been back with her, but the broken shards of Poké Ball on the ground meant that he was far from safe. She looked back towards the melee frantically, noting that there were definitely more than three enemy Pokémon in the fray by now. And Theo wasn’t exactly the best battler on earth, she was uncomfortably reminded.

    She wasn’t either, but Theo needed all the help he could get. Besides, she’d promised Velotus action if there was going to be any. Soon two spheres were arcing through the air, releasing their occupants in brief bursts of light.

    Velotus emerged immediately alert; within seconds he had dashed into the fray, dodging around the smallest of the men and delivering a strike to a Golduck with an already-primed blade.

    Crescent shook his head and looked around, taking a few moments to size up the situation, presumably searching for an opening. He found one and rushed in to slash with darkened claws at the Nidoking which had been preparing to bring one massive foot down on the defenceless Anorith. The beast roared and changed target, jabbing his horn into the Absol’s flank.

    Carrie winced, remembering Crescent’s battle with a Nidorino only a day ago. Was it really only a day ago that she had fought a random trainer just to pass the time? It seemed far in the past.

    Her thoughts were brought back into the present as she caught sight of Theo waving his arms to get her attention. Between frantic commands to his Pokémon, he was motioning for her to join him on the other side of the battlefield. Carrie decided that this was a much better idea than remaining a sitting target where she was, and began making her way around the outskirts of the fight.

    She clutched Raptola tightly to her as she navigated the treacherous ground, keeping an eye on the battle in case an attack was deflected her way. Hastily counting the enemy Pokémon, she saw that as well as the additional Golduck, there was a Cacturne and a Medicham in the fray, which meant that the thugs had sent out one extra Pokémon each. No doubt they had more in reserve. Her and Theo’s Pokémon were holding their own for the moment, but they would never be able to keep it up forever.

    Carrie snuck past the Cacturne as it exchanged a hail of spines for a faceful of acid from Cradily, their fight barely interrupted by Omanyte’s half-hearted spray of water at the scarecrow’s chest. She saw Kabutops sparring with the lithe, energetic Medicham, noting with unease that the ancient Pokémon was being driven back, unable to block each and every one of the fighter’s blows with his scythes. Above them, Aerodactyl and Crobat were engaged in a vicious dogfight against the clear sky.

    Reaching Theo, Carrie shot him the one question at the front of her mind. “What are you doing here?”

    He ignored her words, his eyes focused on the battle in front of him. “Those people had better be after Archopy,” he muttered.

    Carrie stared at him. “Yeah, they are. How did you kn –”

    Theo spared her a glance. “And you’d better not have said anything,” he said, his gaze surprisingly stern.

    “No,” she replied, taken aback. “I was about to, but –”

    Not listening, Theo had turned back to the battle again, his eyes fixed on the Golduck which towered over Anorith, inhaling in preparation for an attack.

    “Anorith, move!” Theo yelled.

    The trilobite obediently moved – he lifted a claw. It was sent shooting through the air along with the rest of him as a blast of water powered from Golduck’s beak. Anorith skidded along the soaked ground, upside down, his featherlike limbs shivering slightly.

    His face deadpan, Theo recalled his Pokémon. “Battles needing initiative aren’t exactly his thing,” he mumbled, almost apologetically.

    “You seem to be the one with the big plan,” Carrie hissed. “What do we do now?”

    “I was hoping we run,” he said.

    “Right.” She stared out over the battlefield. “And leave our Pokémon here?” With Raptola still clinging to her, reminding her that safety was a long way off, Carrie felt almost hysterical. “Look at them!”

    The opposition did seem to be gaining the edge. Battered and bruised, Kabutops had given up on Medicham and was firing spurts of water at Houndoom’s flames, easing the fight for a slightly scorched Velotus. The Medicham was making the most of its free space by darting around in the melee, delivering powerful kicks from its pink, muscled legs to Theo’s Rock-types and Crescent, all of whom looked to be having a hard time of it. The only success they seemed to be enjoying was in the air; Crobat, scratched and bruised, was spiralling lower and lower as Aerodactyl lunged in for repeated assaults.

    Theo watched, distress evident in his face. “They’ve got to hold the men back to give us a head start,” he said, clearly not too happy about the decision he was making. “Otherwise we’ll just be followed as soon as we run.”

    Carrie wasn’t pleased with leaving her Pokémon alone in the battle either, but there wasn’t time to think of a better plan. Crescent chose that moment to stumble over to her side, the fur on his chest stained purple with poison. He looked up at his trainer with pained red eyes that told her he’d had enough.

    She gave him a sympathetic look, bending to his level. “I need you to go back in there,” she said, eliciting a whine from the Absol. “You don’t have to fight,” she added hurriedly. “Just let everyone on our side know that we’re going to run, and they need to keep fighting until we’re far enough away. Then they can run, too.”

    With reluctance, Crescent nodded and limped as quickly as he could back into the fight, doing his best to avoid incoming attacks and murmur softly into his allies’ ears.

    Theo watched approvingly. “That helps.” He turned as if to start running, then doubled back, eyes scanning the battle frantically. “Cradily!” he cried.

    “What about her?” Carrie asked, eager to get going; she didn’t know how much longer Raptola would handle being scared out of his wits.

    “She can’t run. I’ve got to recall her,” Theo replied.

    Carrie’s eyes fell upon Cradily, flailing around on her weighted base as she sent rocks flying towards Cacturne. The sea lily was unexpectedly turned into shapeless red light mid-squirm; the boulders, however, continued on their path and cannoned into the spiny scarecrow.

    As soon as Cradily was inside her Poké Ball, Carrie turned and pelted across the rugged ground, not wanting to waste any more time. She heard thuds of footfalls as Theo followed, heard a frantic shout of, “Don’t let them get away!” from one of the thugs, presumably the leader – and she felt something snag against her foot, tripping her. Instinctively, she threw her arms forward to break her fall, and Raptola soared out of her grip, squealing as he landed against a rock.

    Knocked to the ground, Carrie lay for a moment regaining her breath. She tugged with her foot, hoping she could pull free, but she had been witness to enough Grass Knot attacks to know what one must have felt like. Ruefully, she thought of the Cacturne, no longer distracted by having Cradily as a target and obviously keen to heed the leader’s order.

    In front of her, Raptola suddenly shimmered a bright blue and gasped as he was lifted off the ground. With difficulty, Carrie rolled over and saw Medicham approaching, its skinny arms glowing in the same psychic hue, palms pressed together as if in prayer. She reached up frantically, trying to grab Raptola before he could be taken; the Grovyle squealed desperately and reached out for her in vain as the psychic energy simply pulled him a little higher.

    Helplessly, Carrie watched Raptola’s hope fade as he floated back towards the battle, back into danger. Free of immediate opponents, Nidoking stepped towards the Grovyle, gazing eagerly up at the glowing form with a fanged grin on his face.

    Carrie saw Theo skid to a halt and turn around, hesitant; she saw the ongoing battle with her side growing ever weaker which Raptola was being pulled inexorably towards by the meditating psychic. She cleared her throat and yelled as loudly as she could, “Stop!”

    The sound carried across the distance between her and the chaotic group of Pokémon. The flow of yelled commands from the thugs halted; without orders, most of the battlers stopped what they were doing as well. Aerodactyl finished with a triumphant roar as an unconscious Crobat flopped to the ground.

    Raptola still hung in midair, confused and tearful. Carrie gazed at him longingly. “I’ll tell you,” she said loudly. “I mean, I really will this time.”

    Theo shot her an accusing stare and a hiss of, “What?” She glared forcefully at him, daring him to change her mind.

    The leader of the thugs ambled over to her as if he had all the time in the world. He grinned down at Carrie, sunlight shining off his bald head. “Well?”

    Still lying on her back, she stared up at him as defiantly as she could given the circumstances. “It’s in Northern Canyon,” she hissed. “Now let Raptola go.”

    The man squinted at her for a moment, as if he was thinking, and then he nodded. “Wasn’t so hard now, was it?” He turned back to his henchmen and barked a loud order of, “Retreat!” – the first word out of his mouth that Carrie had been happy to hear.

    The vines detangled themselves from around her leg, and she scrambled to her feet. Gravity suddenly took hold of Raptola, and he dropped to the ground with a bump and a pained whine. Ignoring her protesting limbs, Carrie rushed over to him and drew him into a second tight embrace, stroking his crest leaf to calm him down.

    Over the little Grovyle’s shoulder, she watched the men simply walking away, recalling their Pokémon as they went. Carrie frowned; she had never expected them to give up on her so easily after getting what they wanted. If she had known that, then perhaps this could have been over sooner.

    Her two Pokémon came towards her. Crescent was stumbling, practically dragging his bedraggled form over the rocks. Not letting go of Raptola, Carrie awkwardly pulled out his Poké Ball and recalled him for some hard-earned rest. Velotus leapt from boulder to boulder, apparently still energised. A few scorch marks covered his body, but she knew that he would never admit to being bothered by them, so she let him stay outside.

    “Why?” came Theo’s exasperated voice from beside Carrie. She looked at him; he was staring at her as if he couldn’t quite believe someone could stoop so low. “I ran all the way back here so you wouldn’t do something stupid like telling anyone where Archopy was!” For the first time since she had met him, he seemed quietly furious. “Why did you go and do that?”

    Carrie ignored him. Still holding Raptola firmly, she turned and walked away.

    ~~~

    << Previous chapter
    Last edited by elyvorg; 15th June 2008 at 1:14 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

  12. #137
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    I'm not sure if bad light is as imposing a name as you make it out to be. I can see how it connects with the aversion to evolution, though.

    Link to my fanfic.
    I was Superkeeleybro on Nsider
    Another great fanfic is The Saga of Team Supernova by FPE

  13. #138
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    Then again, hadn’t he unearthed the fossil by himself? Didn’t he deserve to see Archopy more than Carrie?

    Theo took another breath of air to clear his mind. Selfishness wasn’t him.
    Heh, irony much?

    He’d insisted to Carrie that her Pokémon’s kidnap had nothing to do with Archopy – but what if he was wrong? What if this Bad Light group were using her to find out where the creature was?
    I first found it a bit odd he'd figure this out immediately, but then again there's awfully little motive for anyone else to steal Raptola, so I guess it makes sense.

    He could push on towards Archopy and hope that with a head-start he’d reach it before the gang did – or that Carrie managed to fend them off without giving anything away.
    I like this part - how he's worried Carrie might actually give something away about Archopy. I'd feared his reaction could be something more like "Oh now I must go help her immediately and how could I ever have left her!" but he's still thinking on more Archopy-centered notes. I like that.

    This, she decided, was what it felt like to stare down the barrel of a gun.
    I can't help feeling the analogy seems a bit odd. Even if it's just as if not more terrifying, it has to be a fundamentally different feeling to watch somebody else being threatened than to be threatened oneself, hasn't it? Additionally, I'd think that staring down the barrel of a gun in particular (as opposed to, say, knowing of one being pointed at the side of your head) would be a very particular feeling thanks to our eye-centric worldview: the idea that the bullet will not only come at you somehow, but that you'll in fact watch it approach and that it might actually pierce through your eye. (Playing the scenario in my head and assuming I can't move my body, I inevitably get the urge to at least close my eyes and turn my head to the side as a means of pointlessly protecting my eyes.) It just doesn't seem to fit this situation. Of course she'd be terrified, but I'd really not think it would be in the same way as if she were staring down the barrel of a gun.

    Nice twist to have Carrie recall Foliano just as he's injected, since we have absolutely no idea how this might affect him. It builds up excitement.

    Ooh, nice putting the Houndoom there watching Empathy, since it gets everything to make a lot more sense. Especially because it's this Houndoom. :3 Now I'm itching to know what he/she's going to do...

    I can't help finding it a bit odd that Carrie didn't just send out Crescent and Velotus, even if they'd be outnumbered. Surely it's better to at least try?

    Still gazing away from Raptola towards the battle which had ensued between the three men and Theo, she caught sight of something that made her duck instinctively. A stream of flames scorched past where her head had been moments earlier; as it was, she could feel the searing heat on the back of her neck, feel Raptola shudder in the wake of the attack.
    "Something that made her duck instinctively" is worded like we're specifically not supposed to know what it is, but you tell us in the next sentence anyway, that "as it was" doesn't seem to belong in the sentence at all, and I had to reread the last sentence to figure out what it meant (I think it would work better and be clearer as "she could feel the searing heat on the back of her neck and Raptola shuddering in the wake of the attack"). You should really reword this part.

    Oh, I love Carrie having ended up telling them where Archopy was after all that. Her struggle with herself and eventual realization of where her priorities really lie was well done, and now it's setting the scene for more Theo-Carrie conflict as Theo's entire journey to find her is rendered void. Protagonists not having everything succeed for them for the win.

    Now it's just waiting for the next chapter to see what happens to Foliano...

    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.

  14. #139
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    She wracked her brains, hearing the words of only a few seconds ago:
    Only mistake I spotted...

    Theo took another breath of air to clear his mind. Selfishness wasn’t him.
    “Why?” came Theo’s exasperated voice from beside Carrie. She looked at him; he was staring at her as if he couldn’t quite believe someone could stoop so low. “I ran all the way back here so you wouldn’t do something stupid like telling anyone where Archopy was!” For the first time since she had met him, he seemed quietly furious. “Why did you go and do that?”
    Couldn't help but notice the contrast between Theo's words in the two above scenes. And Theo's "getaway plan" illustrates the different priorities that he and Carrie have. From the perspective of the Pokemon, Theo's plan was reckless and life-threatening. Obviously, reaching Archopy is the number one thing on his mind. So much so that he's willing to risk his Pokemon to keep MemorCorp guessing. Carrie is more concerned with the safety of her Pokemon (particularly Raptola) so she's willing to spill the beans when the little guy's in mortal danger.

    Perhaps an interesting result of this would be to see the reactions of Theo's Pokemon to the fact that Archopy ranks higher on his priority list than they do.

    In any event, whether Theo was wrong in coming up with his risky plan or Carrie was wrong in revealing Archopy's location, the fact remains that MemorCorp's hired help now knows where to look, so the chances of MemorCorp getting their hands on the Pokemon are looking pretty good now. Though we can't forget about Vanessa, who appears to be the wild card in the race to Archopy. She could end up turning the tables once again in the future. And now I'll stop my ramblings about predictions and stuff.

    Of course, the other big question is, will Foliano evolve? Will the Pokeball somehow nullify the effects of the chemical, or will evolution happen anyway? You managed to bring up some very interesting questions whose answers have the potential to affect the characters for a lifetime. And as much as I don't want to see the evolution, I'd also be interested in seeing how having Foliano as a Sceptile would affect his relationship with Carrie, as well as his relationship with his teammates and family.

  15. #140
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    Apotheosis - When I mentioned it being imposing, I wasn't referring to the name as much as the general idea of there being lots of them who don't mind doing stuff illegally. I actually do rather hate the name Bad Light now, though. Slipped it in back in Chapter 7, though, so I couldn't actually change it when coming up to these chapters.

    Dragonfree - Whee, nice to hear about how I keep avoiding some of the pitfalls of clichéness.

    You're absolutely right; the gun thing is weird. I'll try and think a bit more about analogies and stuff in the future.

    Whoo. It's good to know that the Houndoom thing worked, then. I'm looking forward to writing that Pokémon again if he ever crops up in the future...

    I can't help finding it a bit odd that Carrie didn't just send out Crescent and Velotus, even if they'd be outnumbered. Surely it's better to at least try?
    Perhaps if it was the only conceivable way of getting out of the situation - but telling them what they wanted to know would have been a much easier and quicker option. If Theo hadn't turned up, she'd told them and they still hadn't let Raptola go, then she'd have tried to fight her way out against the odds just for the sake of trying.

    Tweaked that paragraph so as to get rid of potential confusion for other readers.

    And yay. Next chapter anticipation. :3

    DarkPersian479 - Edited up the mistake, thanks.

    Okay, so I can't tell whether that sentence about the contrast is a criticism or just an observation. If it's the former, I really have no idea how to justify it. :/

    Theo wasn't too happy about his own plan, either. There weren't many other options - leaving them in to inevitably get creamed would have been just as bad, and then he and Carrie would still have been stuck. But yes, he was rather concerned with not letting slip Archopy's location.

    Wheeeee~ Reader speculation! About next chapter as well as the more distant future. Fun. :3
    .: Evolution is a battle .:. Something has to lose :.
    LOST EVOLUTION
    Chapter 33: Inside has been posted.


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

    Three Heads Are Better Than One

  16. #141
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    Default Chapter 15: Hope

    Whoo. New chapter. Not particularly amazing plot-wise, but it does have a character I'm rather fond of, as well as several lines I like.

    Chapter 15: Hope

    Raptola shivered in Carrie’s arms. Trying not to think about him too much, she scanned the scenery around her. On one side, the terrain rose with a familiar bumpy rockiness; to the other, far in the distance, she could see the reassuring green of trees. Somewhere between the two, she knew, was the desert – and more importantly, the Pokémon Centre at its outskirts. She fixed her eyes straight ahead and started walking, knowing that her destination was far away.

    Once they reached it, they would be safe. The traumatised Raptola needed a new Poké Ball and some proper rest, and the hurt Pokémon – particularly Ivyx – needed healing. More than anything, Carrie was deeply worried about Foliano. She had no idea if he was going to evolve or not, but she convinced herself that he would be fine as long as she got him to the Pokémon Centre quickly. It was the only consolation she had.

    She was drawn out of her deepening anguish by the sound of Theo’s footsteps behind her. She almost envied him; the only troubles his Pokémon had were minor, everyday battle wounds. He had it easy.

    He came into sight at the edge of her vision, a good few metres off to her left. Carrie had the distinct feeling he was deliberately keeping away from her. Then she realised that unlike her, he probably knew exactly which direction the Pokémon Centre was in. Grudgingly, she fell into line beside him, albeit a few paces away; resentment seemed to radiate from him like heat. She tried catching his eye, but he remained staring determinedly ahead, his jaw clenched in apparent anger.

    Absent-mindedly stroking Raptola, she kept her distance and let him sulk. Velotus drew level with her, casting Theo a glance out of the corner of his eye. Carrie saw the darkened patches on the Grovyle’s body and reflected on how he should really get them sorted, whether he agreed with it or not. For a moment, an image of herself mildly offering a Burn Heal to Velotus popped into her mind. The thought almost made her laugh.

    Theo continued to ignore her. Carrie wouldn’t have minded, but it annoyed her to be treated as though she didn’t exist. Her attempts to walk with him in stubborn silence eventually gave way to mounting frustration. “What is your problem?” she burst out.

    “You told them where Archopy is,” he said, his voice infuriatingly calm.

    “And?”

    “And now we have even more people to race to N – no, I’m not even going to say it,” Theo said, anger starting to creep into his voice. “With our luck, there’ll be someone else hiding behind a rock, listening to everything we’re saying.”

    “They had Raptola,” spat Carrie. The young Grovyle whimpered; she held him closer to her protectively.

    “They’d had Raptola for ages, and you’d managed to keep it in you until I came,” Theo retorted, still not looking at her.

    “Yes!” Carrie said emphatically. She steered the conversation away from a topic she didn’t want to think about: the fact that she could have given in earlier, and a certain event wouldn’t have happened. “Until you came! And you did a great job of rescuing me so I wouldn’t tell them anything, didn’t you?”

    He huffed. “I didn’t come for you. I came for Archopy. Only you had to go and make it a waste of my time.”

    Carrie frowned. “How did you know they wanted Archopy, anyway?”

    Theo’s voice reverted back to relative calmness. “Milo phoned me and told me about how the guards have left MemorCorp. Apparently they’re after both Archopy and us.”

    “I’d worked that out myself, thanks,” she muttered.

    Theo didn’t bother replying, so the conversation dissipated into nothing. More minutes dragged by; more stretches of bare ground passed underfoot. Carrie tried to occupy herself by rhythmically stroking Raptola’s crest leaf. As the little Grovyle began humming softly in content, she found herself riled at the thought that there could be anything wrong with wanting to protect such an innocent, harmless creature.

    Now seemed a good enough time to break the silence again. “Would you have kept quiet if it was one of your Pokémon they were threatening?” Carrie asked with a hint of menace. “Omanyte? Your precious, brainless Anorith?”

    “Don’t call him that!” Theo suddenly exploded, rounding on her and glowering. His gaze burned into hers for a moment, then it dropped and clouded, and he turned back around.

    Carrie raised her eyebrows in amusement; it seemed that she wasn’t the only one who felt the need to protect her Pokémon.

    In silence once more, they walked on over the mountainside. High in the sky, the sun was beginning to descend.

    * * *

    “I’m stopping for the night,” Theo said.

    Carrie shot him a sideways glance. They had been walking constantly through the afternoon and into the early evening. Her arms felt stiff from holding Raptola for so long, but she hadn’t the heart to move him now that he’d finally fallen asleep. His eyes were closed, and he was breathing peacefully, though he stirred and fidgeted occasionally as if from a nightmare. Velotus was still going strong, but Carrie could tell from the strained look in his eyes that his burns were taking their toll.

    She cast her gaze towards the horizon, looking at the expanse of sand which now seemed almost within reach. At the foot of a mountain beside the desert, she could even make out the tiny shape of a wooden building with a painted red roof. The sky may have been darkening, but Carrie felt sure that they could reach the Pokémon Centre before night truly fell if they pressed on.

    “It can’t be that far,” she insisted.

    “An hour’s walking, at the least,” Theo told her. “Look at the sky. It’s getting dark.”

    Carrie snorted. “Noticed that without your help today, thanks.”

    He sighed. “And this is as good a place as any to stop and camp.”

    She looked around her. They’d finally ended up on a marked route more commonly travelled on by trainers – Route 112, if she remembered correctly – and the path was smoother and more worn. Patches of grass had started to spring up again, as if making a last-ditch attempt to appeal to travellers before they reached the desert. It was to one of these, rimmed with rocks, that Theo indicated they should set up camp.

    “It’s not as good as the Pokémon Centre would be,” said Carrie, refusing to be swayed.

    Theo sat down on the grassy ground as if the decision had already been made. “When we get there tonight – if we were to get there – it really would be dark, and we’d be exhausted.” He swung his bag off his back and began taking things out. “Besides, I’m starving.”

    She stayed where she was, not joining him. “I can eat while I walk. It’s called multitasking. Males should try it sometime, it’s not that hard.” She gave him a searching stare. “I thought you were the one desperate to get to Archopy, anyway?”

    He stopped his unpacking and looked up at her. “Either we rest here and get to the desert a little later tomorrow, or we carry on to the Centre, oversleep due to tiredness, and get delayed because of that,” he said matter-of-factly. “We’ll be late either way.”

    “Fine,” Carrie said as she turned away from him. “I’ll be late my way. Some of my Pokémon need healing as soon as possible,” she added, putting subtle emphasis on the “my”. With that, she set off towards the distant building. Theo didn’t even bother to protest.

    Velotus caught up to her with a soft growl. She could tell what he was thinking; his current pride would never admit needing to be healed. “No, Velotus, I wasn’t talking about you,” she said.

    Good.

    “Although you could go back into your Poké Ball if you –”

    No.

    Carrie sighed. That would be the fifth time he had refused to do so since they’d started heading towards the Pokémon Centre. Or the sixth. She’d lost count.

    “Enduring a few burns isn’t going to help you, you know,” she told him, exasperated.

    Help me with what?” asked Velotus, as though he didn’t know the answer.

    Carrie rolled her eyes. “Nothing.”

    They continued in silence for some minutes. A rumble of complaint started up from Carrie’s stomach, reminding her that she was famished. Raptola was still sleeping soundly in her arms; she’d have to wake him up to reach her food.

    She reluctantly gave the Grovyle a gentle shake. He stirred, so she shook him again. Abruptly, he snapped into wakefulness, gripping her with his sharp claws and staring wide-eyed up into her face. “Don’t!” he squeaked, before realising who he was looking at and softening.

    Carrie stroked him soothingly. “Rappy, it’s me,” she murmured. “It was just a bad dream.” Raptola nodded and released his claws slightly as he took deep breaths. “I just need you to climb onto my back like you normally do so I can get at some food,” she told him.

    He mumbled something meaningless and drowsily clambered over her shoulder to hang from his usual position. His face didn’t even peer out from beside hers; he was probably too exhausted to lift himself up. Carrie twisted to root through the bag at her waist for some food without dislodging him.

    Are you sure?” came Raptola’s faraway voice.

    “Huh?” she said, preoccupied with finding something edible in her bag. “Sure about what?”

    Are you sure Daddy won’t evolve?” The Grovyle sounded quietly terrified.

    Carrie’s walking came to an abrupt halt. She abandoned her search for food and fumbled instead through her mind for reassuring words. None came. Fear gripped her – a fear which was the very reason she had been trying desperately not to think about this all afternoon.

    What if Foliano did evolve? What would she do? How could she live with him? He’d still be himself inside, hopefully, but outside… She had no idea how she’d cope, how he’d cope.

    Trying to push the thoughts aside, she looked forward and saw that Velotus had come to stand in front of her and was fixing her with a piercing glare. “What did he say?” he growled as soon as she’d met his eye.

    She definitely didn’t know how Velotus would cope.

    Please be sure…” Her youngest Grovyle seemed close to tears.

    Or Raptola.

    Carrie’s legs suddenly decided to go on strike. They buckled underneath her, and she collapsed to the ground, landing awkwardly on her backside. She gazed up at Velotus who now towered slightly over her, thinking oddly that this must be what the prey that he occasionally hunted felt like.

    What is he talking about?” Velotus hissed fervently.

    She stared at him, her mouth hanging open stupidly, but no words seemed to want to come out. Raptola, who had let go of her when she’d fallen, crawled around to her front. She reached for him and held him, more for her own comfort than his.

    “I… He…” Carrie swallowed. “Foliano might evolve.”

    Velotus took a step back and hissed almost impulsively. “Why?” he spat with a mixture of bewilderment and disgust. “What the hell is he thinking?

    “It’s not his fault,” she said hurriedly. “It’s forced.” She took a shuddering breath. “You know MemorCorp? How Ivyx told you about that Grovyle that evolved? Those men had some of the stuff that forces it. They… they threatened to use it on Rappy.” Raptola squealed in fright at the memory, and she rubbed him comfortingly. “But Foli… he got in the way. And they used it on him.”

    Velotus had been listening with increasing horror. “The bastards!” Then he suddenly stopped seething with anger, and his mouth fell open. “Wait. Didn’t he…

    “No. I recalled him before he could…” Carrie broke off, almost choking on her own words. Her Grovyle nodded, his face grim.

    She pulled out Foliano’s Poké Ball and stared at it. “If I sent him out now, that could be it for him,” she murmured.

    Velotus pointed forcefully at the ball, almost physically trembling. “Don’t,” he ordered. “Whatever you do, don’t let him out of there.

    Shaking, Carrie replaced the ball in her pocket. “I won’t. Not here.” With Raptola snugly in the crook of one arm, she pulled herself to her feet and convinced her legs to walk again. “That’s why we need to get to the Pokémon Centre, fast,” she said, forcing more speed into her strides. “And Raptola needs a new Poké Ball,” she added. “I kind of… broke his.” The Grovyle whimpered in acknowledgement.

    Velotus smirked. “That was clever of you,” he commented drily.

    Carrie huffed. “I know it was.”

    She noticed the flap of her bag hanging open and remembered that she was meant to be hungry. This time, she had one arm free to root around while Raptola clung to the other one. After a while, she found a packet of cold meat and some bread that would do for a meal.

    She bit into her makeshift dinner, her eyes fixed stubbornly on the ground in front of her as a means of distracting herself. She couldn’t afford more discouraging thoughts about Foliano – not yet. The Pokémon Centre was only a small shape on the horizon. They still had a long way to go.

    * * *

    Carrie burst through the Pokémon Centre door, panting. In a spurt of urgency, she’d run the last stretch of the way, and now she took a moment to catch her breath. The room she found herself in was as dark as it was outside; apparently, lighting in this place was optional.

    She held the door open for Velotus, who was in less of a hurry than her. As soon as he was in, she slammed it shut and felt around for a chair. The only one she could find was small and hard, but she slumped into it gratefully, waking Raptola up with a jolt. Theo had been right – she was exhausted. Part of her wanted nothing more than to lie down and sleep in one of the Centre’s beds – if the place even had human-sized beds. If not, she’d happily settle for the floor and her warm, comfortable sleeping bag…

    But she had priorities. Pulling herself up from the chair to avoid falling asleep in it, she scanned the room for anything useful as her eyes became accustomed to the gloom. All she could make out was a healing machine which appeared to be rusty standing against the far wall. Apart from that and another pathetic excuse for a chair, the room seemed to be empty. Where was the counter with the bell on it that you whacked manically when you wanted service?

    “Hello?” Carrie called into the darkness. “Anyone there?”

    At the sound of her voice, a thumping started up above her as if someone was moving around upstairs – she was surprised the building even had another floor. She blinked as a dim, bare light bulb hanging from the ceiling spluttered into life, revealing the room to be every bit as empty and shabby as she’d imagined it to be in the darkness. There were only two doors leading off from it – beds were probably out of the question, then.

    One of these doors suddenly opened and out stepped a smiling young man. His sandy hair and brown eyes seemed fitting for a place so close to the desert, and the t-shirt and jeans on his skinny form went well with the all-round haphazardness of the place. He caught Carrie’s look of disdain and grinned sheepishly.

    “Sorry,” he said. “I’d turned in for the night – didn’t think anyone would come.”

    She stared at him, blinking. “And you are?”

    “I’m Nurse Johnson. Call me Sam. I’m the only nurse here.” He indicated the whole building with a wave of his hand. “I know, I know, this place is rubbish,” he said. “But it’s in the middle of nowhere, so the authorities don’t give a damn. Haven’t given me any money to do it up for years. Anyway.” He stepped forward and brightened. “What can I do for you?”

    Carrie was momentarily taken aback, then decided that at least this man made a change from the frustrating, overly-formal nurse she had encountered in Verdanturf Town. She only hoped Sam actually knew what he was doing.

    “Okay,” she said, pulling three Poké Balls out of her pocket and dumping them in the nurse’s hands for lack of a counter to place them on. “They need healing. And him.” She turned and pointed another ball at Velotus. He didn’t protest, but he did shoot the rusting healing machine a rather apprehensive glance as he dissolved into red light. His ball was thrust at Sam as well.

    Undaunted by suddenly holding four Poké Balls in his hands, the nurse darted over to the machine and placed them into the semicircular holes. “Don’t worry,” he assured Carrie. “It’s rusty, but it works fine.” Not encouragingly, he thumped the contraption, making it whirr softly. “Anything else?” he asked while it warmed up.

    “Um.” Carrie felt awkward in having to admit her stupidity to a complete stranger. “I broke his Poké Ball,” she said, indicating Raptola, who still clung onto her arm. “He needs a new one.”

    “No problem,” Sam replied, smiling at the Grovyle. “I can sort that. I think,” he added, not filling Carrie with confidence. But at least he’d skimmed over how foolish she’d been.

    She suddenly realised that he was kneeling in front of Raptola, his face level with the Pokémon. Carrie flinched and held her Grovyle with her other hand protectively. Sam surprised her by reaching out and gently stroking his crest leaf. A flicker of a smile passed across her face; it seemed the nurse did know what he was doing.

    “Why so gloomy, little one?” he asked kindly. Raptola whimpered and clung tighter to Carrie’s arm. Sam looked up at her, concerned. “What’s wrong with him?”

    Carrie’s face tightened. She didn’t want to share details. “Bad day,” she muttered.

    Sam nodded as if he understood. “I’ll get him a new ball, then he can rest,” he said, giving Raptola’s leaf a final stroke before jumping up. “Just let me find –”

    A bleep from the healing machine cut him off. He bounded towards it and peered at its tiny screen on which something was flashing. Carrie watched, worried.

    “I’m afraid your female Grovyle is badly hurt,” said Sam with a note of apology in his voice, as though it was his own fault. “I’ll have to treat her myself. But the others are fine,” he added more brightly. “Here you go.” He took out Velotus, Empathy and Crescent’s balls, and Carrie suddenly found herself loaded with more spheres than she could hold in one hand. Fumbling, she forced them back into her pocket.

    Foliano’s ball was still in there. Slowly, she pulled it out and coughed to gain Sam’s attention; he was headed towards the door that he hadn’t come out of, Ivyx’s Poké Ball in his hand.

    He spun on his heel to look at her. “Another one?”

    She nodded. “It’s complicated.”

    If anything, Sam’s face lit up. “Complicated’s more fun. Waiting around for someone to turn up and then only putting their Pokémon through the healing machine when they do gets boring after a while. What’s the problem?”

    Carrie took a deep breath. “Okay. He’s a Grovyle, and there’s this chemical in him that forces Pokémon to evolve. But I don’t want him to evolve.” She had planned to stress the not evolving part more, but something about Sam’s manner seemed to indicate that he’d understand.

    “Mmm,” he said. “Interesting.” Once again, Sam chose not to ask any awkward questions. He tossed Ivyx’s Poké Ball from his right hand to his left and reached out for Foliano’s. “Can I…?”

    Realising she was clutching it protectively, Carrie loosened her hold on the ball, allowing Sam to take it and place it on the machine. “Stopping evolution,” he murmured as he pressed a few buttons. “Have you ever heard of Everstones?”

    Carrie’s mouth fell open. She felt a sudden urge to bash her head repeatedly against something hard, but a shred of self-consciousness and the fact that there was barely anything in the room to bash it against held her back.

    Sam turned to her with innocently wide eyes. “You have, haven’t you?”

    She said nothing. She knew what an Everstone was supposed to do. It was so obvious – why hadn’t she thought of it?

    He glanced back to the screen and grinned. “Well, your Grovyle’s still a Grovyle. The stuff in him’s pumping him full of energy, so much that he’d have no choice but to evolve if he was out. But he’s okay as long as he stays in the stasis of a Poké Ball.”

    Carrie remained gaping at him. “Everstone,” she mumbled, the only word which seemed to want to come out.

    “Yes – he needs one. Everstones give out an odd kind of radiation which forces everything nearby to stay in the same state. If he’s near to or holding one, he physically won’t be able to evolve. Then we can just wait until the stuff goes out of his system.”

    She could feel her insides beginning to fill up with relief – and hope. “Do you have one?”

    Sam turned to her again and pulled a face. “Nope. That’s the only problem.” He must have caught her look of despair, and he stepped towards her with an encouraging grin. “Don’t worry. If needs be, we can leave him in there until you do find one.”

    Carrie nodded slowly. She was still kicking herself inside. If only she hadn’t been too busy distracting herself from Foliano, she might have worked it out, and then… then what? It wouldn’t mean she’d suddenly have the Everstone she needed.

    “Okay,” she said. “Where do you find them?”

    “Oh, caves and stuff, mostly,” said Sam with a wave of his hand. “People dig ‘em up.”

    The flicker of hope suddenly switched back on like a torch. “Digging? You mean, like digging for fossils?”

    He nodded. “I think it’s pretty much the same thing, yeah.”

    Carrie rushed to the door and yanked it open. “I’ve got to go. I know someone who might have one…”

    Sam chuckled, raising the Poké Ball that was still in his left hand. “I believe both you and I are still holding one of your Grovyle,” he grinned, indicating Raptola.

    She turned in the doorway, feeling awkward. She couldn’t just go haring off with Raptola still clinging onto her. He really did need rest. After a moment’s reluctance, she disentangled the Grovyle from her arm and placed him gently on one of the chairs. He tilted his head to look at her questioningly.

    She knelt to his level. “I’m going to leave you here with Sam,” she said softly. “He’ll get you a Poké Ball, then you can sleep.” After a long pause, Raptola nodded, his eyes still clouded with prolonged fear.

    She stood up to see Sam gesturing back and forth between himself and Carrie with Ivyx’s ball. “Do you want to take her, or shall I…?”

    Carrie thought for a moment, then said, “You take her. Get her healed.” She darted over to the healing machine and plucked Foliano’s Poké Ball from it. “I’ll take him.” She didn’t even know why she was trusting the nurse with Ivyx and Raptola but not with Foliano, but it hardly mattered.

    Within moments, she was at the open door again, the ball safe in her pocket. She shot a final glance at Sam, who smiled encouragingly.

    “I’ll be back. With an Everstone. Hopefully,” she said, before racing off into the night.

    * * *

    A half-moon, silver like a Skarmory’s armour, hung high in the deep blue sky. The stars around it twinkled, reminding the bird Pokémon of himself. If he stared up there with his eyes half-shut, it almost seemed as if there was nothing stopping him from flying out to greet them with just a flap of his miscoloured wings.

    Then the Skarmory opened his eyes properly, and back into focus came the mesh separating him from the world.

    Being a captured Pokémon wasn’t like he’d hoped.

    For one thing, he hadn’t realised how painful it was to be caught. He vaguely recalled the stories mentioning battles, and so he’d attacked the humans’ Pokémon rather than run away, thinking it was what he was supposed to do. But it had hurt a lot – he was sure there must have been a better way to do it.

    And once he’d finally found a human to capture him, he had only caught a brief glimpse of his new companion. It had been talking to another of its kind – about him. He’d glanced quickly around the place he had found himself in, taking in his exotic, human-made surroundings and the contraption in the corner which had gleamed silver like his former flockmates.

    Then the world had disappeared again, like it had done when he was captured.

    The next time he became aware of himself, his armour no longer ached from the battles. That was good, he assumed; this new human, the shorter one in black which had stood in front of him, was going to care for him like humans were supposed to. He’d listened to what it had to say: apparently this was to be his new home; he was going to enjoy it here; and most importantly, he was special.

    While exploring his “home” he’d realised much to his dismay that his freedom was limited. It wasn’t too bad, he supposed; the area inside the mesh keeping him in was still fairly large. It had trees, some water, and a small outcrop of rock – he found the similarity to his old life oddly comforting. There was also an entrance into a cave-like space, but he preferred it outside. Inside, it was too regular and humanish. It unsettled him.

    The others liked it, though. The other freaks.

    The human kept many Pokémon in this “home”, he’d found out. All seemed happy with the life they led. And all of them, including him, had one thing in common: they were the wrong colour. None were normal. As he had asked them about their life with this human, he had begun to realise that there was something wrong about it. Something off. Something forced.

    The food was good, that was undeniable – but in fact, it was just a little bit too good. The area outside with its rocks and trees felt familiar, but it was nothing like the rest of the human’s home inside the cave-space. It was like the real world had been taken and put within the mesh wall for his comfort.

    And the human itself had stressed that he was special – but he had never been special before in his life. Only different.

    No, there was something wrong about this. It wasn’t what being with a human was meant to be like. They were supposed to care about him enough to let him savour the freedom of soaring through the skies whenever he liked, not to prevent him from doing just that. They were meant to give him attention, friendship, even. This human had retreated back into its square cave after telling him he was special, and he hadn’t seen it since. Above all, he had longed simply to be treated like any other Skarmory – but would a normal Pokémon be kept with other freaks?

    He gave the mesh blocking off the sky another rueful glare, wishing it was gone. Then it hit him that this might have been possible. He hadn’t tried to break through – what if he could?

    Feeling hopeful, he took off from the rock he’d been perched on and rose into the air as high as the mesh would allow him to. Focusing glowing white energy into his green wings, he slammed into the barrier, swiping with his bladed feathers. He could feel them weaken, so he slashed again and again. The mesh tore apart with a painful screech of metal that made him wince, but he was through. He was free. Joyfully, he swooped through the opening and out into the night sky.

    For a moment he hovered, unsure where to go. His flock would be long gone by now, and they would hardly have welcomed him back even if they weren’t. He considered trying to find another, better human before deciding against it; he wasn’t that naďve any more.

    The build up of resentment which had led to his escape came back to him, filling him with a sudden purpose. He knew what he wanted to do. Find the human who had captured him – the one who had made it all go wrong.

    Twinkling like the stars above, he gave a flap of his miscoloured wings, turned a somersault in midair and shot off into the night.

    * * *

    With a clumsy mixture of power walking, scrambling and stumbling, Carrie urged herself on towards where she had left Theo. Her aching legs were protesting angrily, and her eyes needed persuasion to keep themselves open. But she pressed on. She was only about halfway, she reckoned – she needed to keep going.

    She kept cursing herself for not bringing up Foliano’s situation earlier. Theo might have put two and two together and offered her an Everstone, and then she wouldn’t have been in this mess. But she’d kept quiet. She hadn’t wanted Velotus to know, and she simply hadn’t considered Theo important enough to be told.

    Ironic that this apparently unimportant person was the one Carrie was desperately rushing towards in the dead of night.

    Her legs buckled underneath her in a moment of exhaustion, and she crashed to the ground, smacking her grazed palms against the dusty path for the umpteenth time. She stayed crouched for a moment, catching her breath. Her eyelids drooped. The dark of night pressed in on her, enticing her to give in and rest.

    She forced her eyes open stubbornly, fixing them on the path she couldn’t even see. She tried to push herself up, to keep going, but the strength she needed refused to come. Reason was beginning to seep back into her thoughts, and her sleep-starved brain egged it on. Foliano would be fine in his Poké Ball until the morning, it told her – why the rush? She didn’t even know if Theo had an Everstone, so why was she wasting so much energy?

    Carrie tried to protest, but the stubborn part of her mind fixed on saving Foliano didn’t seem to be thinking in a straight line any more. The thoughts blurred into black – black that she vaguely realised was not just the dark of night but the emptiness of closed eyes. The notion of opening them again flitted across her mind, then disappeared.

    She was lying down on something – something hard, but her exhausted body didn’t care. As the darkness swirled into her thoughts, she wondered fuzzily why she could ever have wanted to do anything other than lie here and sleep. Something about Foliano? What was wrong with him, anyway?

    Everything ceased to matter as sleep overwhelmed her.

    ~~~

    << Previous chapter
    Last edited by elyvorg; 24th July 2008 at 9:54 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

  17. #142
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    An Everstone. Duh. Why didn't anyone think of that before? Guess it's because we all use Everstones for their other purpose - passing along natures in breeding. It's an interesting development - if it turns out Theo doesn't have one, is she going to want to stop and hunt for one? I can almost picture the two of them arguing over whether to take another field trip to hunt for the Everstone...

    “Would you have kept quiet if it was one of your Pokémon they were threatening?” Carrie asked with a hint of menace. “Omanyte? Your precious, brainless Anorith?”

    “Don’t call him that!” Theo suddenly exploded, rounding on her and glowering.
    Looks like Carrie hit a nerve with Theo here. Maybe now he'll have a chance to think about where his priorities are.

    “I know, I know, this place is rubbish,” he said. “But it’s in the middle of nowhere, so the authorities don’t give a damn. Haven’t given me any money to do it up for years.
    [RandomPokeCenter/HotelDiscussion] I've always wondered how Pokemon Centers can offer free services and stay in business. It's one of the things about canon that continues to baffle me. And yours is only the second fic I've seen (mine being the first) that depicts a Pokemon Center in less-than-pristine condition. It's why I prefer including hotels; it's more obvious where the maintenance funds come from.

    And, something that applies equally to Pokemon Centers and hotels is this: No two are created equal. Each location has its own manager and staff, and that causes the quality of the facility to vary greatly. Some don't get the money (as you referenced), others are kept up nicely, and others have owners with the money but who choose to squander it and let the facility slip into disrepair. And I'll end this (IMO) interesting but only somewhat on-topic with this: IMO more authors need to portray Pokemon Centers as less-than-perfect facilities. Good work here.

    And the shiny Skarmory makes his return! It wasn't really clear to me whether Vanessa still owned him or if she had already sold him off to another collector, but his newfound distaste for humans was crystal clear.
    He knew what he wanted to do. Find the human who had started it – the one who had made it all go wrong.
    Now it seems like Velotus' little fit of rage and aggressive training will once again come back and bite Carrie, as now there's an angry shiny Skarmory on the warpath, with her in his gun-sights.

    I don't really have too much more to say, though you've set up two very interesting plot scenarios with the Everstone and escaped shiny Skarmory, and I'll be looking forward to seeing how all that develops.

  18. #143
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    I have two points I wanted to bring up. First: how does she keep meat and bread good in her backpack? Some sort of thermal backpack compartment for keeping food cold? The reason I wondered is that if I remember right they've been out and about for at least a little while, so food doesn't stay cold and fresh automatically.

    The second is how much the sleep deprivation affects the characters. A single day, and maybe even a few days isn't enough to cause as much impairment as she has. Just thought I'd let you know how it really is.

    Link to my fanfic.
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    Another great fanfic is The Saga of Team Supernova by FPE

  19. #144
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    Thank you, both of you. I was beginning to think this chapter would slip under the radar.

    DarkPersian479 - Heh, it even took me a while to come up with an Everstone as I frantically thought up ways of not copping out on the Foliano situation.

    Carrie hitting Theo's nerve spot on was one of my favourite moments in the chapter to write.

    It amuses me how you seem to be saying how this fic is trying to set a prime example for realism in fics. xP It's not - just look at Apotheosis' post. The run-down Centre was just a minor decision, really, because it seemed odd to have a large, hi-tech building out in the middle of nowhere. Plus it made it more fun to write. ^^;

    It wasn't really clear to me whether Vanessa still owned him or if she had already sold him off to another collector,
    *head hits desk*

    Vanessa did sell the Skarmory off to a collector. In the original draft, I wrote an entire scene about it. And yet I went and deleted that scene from the chapter's final draft. I mainly got rid of it because it was pretty boring, dragged the chapter on too much and basically told readers nothing they couldn't already have worked out from Vanessa's plans at the end of Chapter 11 and the Skarmory's account of his new life. So yeah, I'm annoyed with myself that you happened to be unclear about exactly what was in that deleted scene. >.<

    Also,
    Now it seems like Velotus' little fit of rage and aggressive training will once again come back and bite Carrie, as now there's an angry shiny Skarmory on the warpath, with her in his gun-sights.
    I should mention that I think the wording gave you the wrong impression here. The Skarmory has nothing in particular against Carrie as she never really did anything to him; he means to go after Vanessa. Seeing as that's such a big misunderstanding, I'll change the wording to hopefully not give others the wrong impression, too. I'm glad you mentioned this.

    Apotheosis - Both interesting points. For the first, it is vaguely implied that they bought "supplies" in Verdanturf Town before setting off, which is presumably where they got the food from, and presumably there is something in their bags to preserve it, considering they're in a world with technology that can cram living creatures into tiny spheres. I say "presumably" as I actually don't really have much of an idea myself, and I prefer to gloss over it to avoid filling my plot with insignificant details such as how food is kept fresh.

    For the second, I made a rough guess that with sleeping badly due to nightmares the night before, waking up extremely early thanks to Velotus and having spent pretty much the whole day walking would add up to Carrie being that tired at the end of the day. But seeing as you advised it, I'll try to go a little easier on the fatigue in the future.

    I apologise if either of the above paragraphs sound infuriatingly "I'm right, you're wrong". I don't mean for them to.
    .: 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

  20. #145
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    Hi, and sorry for the late review.

    “You told them where Archopy is,” he said, his voice infuriatingly calm.

    “And?”

    “And now we have even more people to race to N – no, I’m not even going to say it,” Theo said, anger starting to creep into his voice. “With our luck, there’ll be someone else hiding behind a rock, listening to everything we’re saying.”
    I love this bit of conversation. The Theo-Carrie interactions in this fic can get really great.

    “Would you have kept quiet if it was one of your Pokémon they were threatening?” Carrie asked with a hint of menace. “Omanyte? Your precious, brainless Anorith?”

    “Don’t call him that!” Theo suddenly exploded, rounding on her and glowering.
    I really liked this part. Maybe it's just my thing for mental anguish.

    I also really liked the scene where Raptola brings up Foliano's possible evolution (too long to quote), especially Velotus' reaction. And you got it all a lot more centered on their own views of Sceptile instead of the pseudo-facts about Sceptile that were bothering me in the first part of the fic, which I'm naturally very happy about.

    She gazed up at Velotus who now towered slightly over her, thinking oddly that this must be what the prey that he occasionally hunted felt like.
    I loved this line to bits. I can just picture it.

    “The b*stards!”
    I can't help thinking this line looks a lot siller than it ought to with the asterisk in it. Generally I actually think the message gets across better in a fic when the entire word is asterisked than when only one letter is. Of course, that's just me and I can well understand if that doesn't sound appealing to you, but then you really might want to consider just evading the censoring. The line already being italicized even means you can simply format it as [i]“The bas[/i][i]tards!”[/i] and the word will appear in its entirety uncensored with all the formatting intact.

    Velotus had been listening with increasing horror. “The b*stards!” Then he suddenly stopped seething with anger, and his mouth fell open. “Wait. Didn’t he…”
    This line in general, though, I don't really like. The first sentence makes it sound like Velotus is more scared than angry, which I can't really picture him as being in the situation; "The *******s!" looks a bit odd being in the middle of a paragraph on its own without a dialogue tag (although that may just be me; somehow I can't help thinking it would work better with a dialogue tag); and then you suddenly go to saying that he was "seething with anger" all along, and saying he "suddenly stopped" doing so seems mighty odd. And his mouth falling open and the last line just seem a bit... out of character, really, the way they are right now. You're making him seem a lot more scared and concerned than you've been portraying him up until this exact moment. I mean, he'd be concerned about Foliano evolving, but I can't help thinking he'd sound... more urgent and angry about it. Eh, you know the characters better than I do.

    Shaking, Carrie replaced the ball in her pocket. “I won’t. Not here.” With Raptola snugly in the crook of one arm, she pulled herself to her feet and convinced her legs to walk again. “That’s why we need to get to the Pokémon Centre, fast,” she said, forcing more speed into her strides.

    “And Raptola needs a new Poké Ball,” she added. “I kind of… broke his.” The Grovyle whimpered in acknowledgement.
    The paragraph break here makes me expect somebody else to be talking in the latter paragraph. You should just keep it in one paragraph.

    Where was the counter with the bell on it that you whacked manically when you wanted service?
    Heehee. I liked that.

    “I’m Nurse Johnson. Call me Sam. I’m the only nurse here.” He indicated the whole building with a wave of his hand. “I know, I know, this place is rubbish,” he said. “But it’s in the middle of nowhere, so the authorities don’t give a damn. Haven’t given me any money to do it up for years. Anyway.” He stepped forward and brightened. “What can I do for you?”
    Haha, I love this guy already. XD

    Love for Sam Johnson the nurse steadily rising for the rest of the Pokémon Center scene.

    Ah, Everstone. Somehow I hadn't thought of it until Nurse Sam mentioned it, but obviously it makes a lot of sense.

    OOH. Digging for Everstones. I'm thinking Theo doesn't have one and they'll have to go dig one up. Sinnoh Underground flashbacks. Either way it would require Carrie to make friends with Theo again. Whoo. This will be fun.

    So. For some reason my paranoid side gets the feeling as Carrie leaves Ivyx and Raptola with Sam that he's going to turn out to be a MemorCorp worker and steal them or something. But I really hope not. Nurse Sam is too awesome.

    More Skarmory. FREAKING YES. <3

    And Carrie's fallen asleep in the middle of nowhere. Oh, dear. Although I do agree with Apotheosis that she's unnaturally sleepy here. I've had some nights of little sleep in my days and never once felt the need to go to sleep the moment I was lying down. I'd stop being able to concentrate for extended periods of time while sitting or lying in a warm and comfortable environment and find myself dozing off instead while trying to do so (and I can well picture her being worried about falling asleep in the chair in the Pokémon Center), but falling onto harsh ground in the middle of a cold night would be very unlikely to make me fall asleep. In fact, when I was reading it, I thought there had to be some Pokémon nearby that was using Hypnosis or otherwise affecting her for her mind to go so hazy the moment she's fallen down. Especially because it happened so very suddenly.

    It was a nice chapter. I loved Nurse Sam, as I've gushed enough about already, and the solution with the Everstone was the spark of hope it was meant to be rather than the anticlimax it could have been. And more Skarmory is win. I love that Skarmory. His descriptions of things are great.

    By the way:

    Quote Originally Posted by DarkPersian479
    I've always wondered how Pokemon Centers can offer free services and stay in business.
    You may live in America, but an awful lot of other countries have this thing called "free public health care". Including Japan, from what I've heard. It's perfectly natural that the Pokémon world government would run Pokémon Centers.

    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.

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    Dragonfree - Thanks for your review. I really like the type of reviews that pick out lines they liked. Incidentally, the counter-bell sentence was probably my favourite in the entire chapter.

    And yay. Sam is loved. I'm seriously pleased with him as a character.

    Also yay at the Skarmory's return being well recieved. I deliberately didn't mention anything at all about him to Darkfall a few chapters back because I reckoned his return would be more enjoyable if you weren't already expecting him to come back at some point.

    Understood that Carrie should have taken longer to fall asleep. I think I might have been rushing that final scene a bit. :<

    I can't help thinking this line looks a lot siller than it ought to with the asterisk in it. Generally I actually think the message gets across better in a fic when the entire word is asterisked than when only one letter is.
    Personally, I prefer to asterisk just one of the vowels so you still get the consonants that make it sound all harsh and swear-y, whereas with the whole thing asterisked I find myself staring at it for a second trying to work out which word it's meant to be. Of course, that's just my preference, and it doesn't matter in this case because I've gone and done the formatting thing you recommended.

    As for that whole line of Velotus-y stuff, I've looked at it more closely and I'm pretty confident that what he said was in character in my mind; the only problem was that I didn't do a particularly good job of showing exactly what his emotions were. He is indeed supposed to start off angry, then shock hits him as he realises that Foliano should be evolved by now - shock and complete uncertainity at what he'd do if there was suddenly a Sceptile on the team with him.

    So, um, yeah.
    .: 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

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    Default Chapter 16: Rest and Recuperation

    So here's Chapter 16. Due to various things, the next one after this may take considerably longer to be posted.

    Chapter 16: Rest and Recuperation

    “Carrie? Carrie!”

    Drawn from her sleep by something big and hard nudging her, Carrie groggily opened her eyes to see who was calling her name. Theo stood framed against the stubbornly cloudless sky, looking down at her. As Carrie’s mind dragged itself into full consciousness, she came to the conclusion that the thing prodding her had been his boot, though it had thankfully now stopped.

    She screwed her eyes shut, opened them again and saw Theo’s face swim into proper focus. He was giving her an incredulous look, the sort usually reserved for when someone did something as stupid as… lying on a path? Sitting up with a jolt, Carrie realised where she had been sleeping – slap bang in the middle of Route 112. She only hoped that nobody else before Theo had noticed her there.

    “So you didn’t reach the Pokémon Centre, then?” he asked conversationally.

    Carrie pushed away his proffered arm and got stiffly to her feet herself as the implication of his words slowly sank in. The events of the previous night began to piece themselves together in her mind – she had reached the Centre, but had left in search of –

    “Theo!” She jumped and rounded on him with a wild gaze.

    “What?” he said, taken aback.

    Carrie paused, trying to remember exactly why she had run through the night to find him. Then it hit her. “I need an Everstone!” she exclaimed.

    “Huh?”

    She composed herself and gave Theo a look of less insanity and more urgency. Thoughts of Foliano were beginning to push back into her mind, and she didn’t like the knot of anticipation they twisted her stomach into. “Do you have an Everstone?”

    Theo frowned for a moment, considering. “I think so,” he said uncertainly.

    “Think so is not good enough,” Carrie snapped. “Look in your bag.”

    Theo’s hands moved as if he was about to start looking, then he seemed to stop himself. “Why do you want one?” he asked with a frown.

    “To add to my collection. Why do you think?” She watched his face and after a moment saw a flash of understanding in his eyes as he worked it out. “Look, then,” she ordered.

    The man heaved a large sigh and swung his bag off his back, dropping it to the floor with an encouragingly heavy thud. “Can’t promise you anything,” he muttered wearily as he thrust his hand in and began rooting around.

    “I’m not asking you to,” Carrie retorted, her eyes fixed on the bag.

    Moments later, Theo’s face lit up with a triumphant “Yes!” He pulled his hand out, fingers closed around a small object. “Dug this up in the same place I found Omanyte’s fossil.”

    Carrie stared eagerly at the Everstone in Theo’s palm. It didn’t look like much – it resembled a fairly ordinary, oval-shaped pebble – but this small, unremarkable stone held the power to save Foliano’s life. Well, she thought, not exactly his life. But save him it would.

    She reached out for it, but Theo’s fingers tightened around the stone. “You’re forgetting,” he said. “This Everstone is mine. Why should I be expected to just give it to you?”

    Carrie scowled. “I need it more than you do.”

    He shrugged. “It’s still mine.”

    “I just want to borrow it,” she said impatiently. “You’ll get it back.” After a moment without any response from Theo, she added, “Please.”

    He lifted his rucksack onto his back and slipped the stone casually into his pocket. “What makes you so desperate? Your Grovyle weren’t having problems holding back their evolution last time I saw them.”

    Carrie held out a hand insistently. “That was then, this is now.”

    “In that case, what happened?” asked Theo with genuine curiosity. “Has one of them changed their mind?” He frowned. “Forcing a Pokémon not to evolve is just as cruel as forcing it to do so, you know,” he told her with the air of imparting information she didn’t already have.

    Her hand flopped to her side as she blinked and gaped at him, feeling as though she’d been stabbed. “What? As if I’d… As if any of them would…” she spluttered, shoving aside the notion of what she’d do if one of her Grovyle ever did change their mind on evolution before the seed of thought could germinate.

    Theo used her moment of sheer incredulity to turn and head in the direction of the Pokémon Centre, not saying a word. Carrie strode to keep up with him, fuming. “Fine!” she exclaimed. Her urge to keep him in the dark gave up its fight; having him think such things of her and her Pokémon was out of the question. “If you must know, Foliano got injected with that stuff that makes Grovyle evolve. I returned him before he could. But he needs that Everstone.”

    Theo gave her a sideways glance. “How come you didn’t tell me earlier? I could have found it then.”

    Carrie gave herself another mental slap for having not done exactly that. “Because I didn’t see the point,” she said, her voice laced with bitter regret. Her eyes travelled to Theo’s pocket, still with his hand in it – she appeared to have swayed him.

    As expected, he took the Everstone out and passed it to her. “All right,” he sighed. “You can have it. I do want it back, though.”

    Smiling to herself, Carrie snatched the smooth stone out of his hand.

    * * *

    On reaching the Pokémon Centre, Carrie flung open the door and strode inside. With natural light streaming in through the windows, the front room seemed a lot more welcoming than it had the night before, though it was still as ridiculously bare. The nurse was nowhere to be seen.

    “Sam!” she called out as Theo made his way past her into the building. The man headed straight for the healing machine and started placing his Poké Balls on it. “What are you doing?” hissed Carrie out of the side of her mouth. Helping yourself wasn’t usually the way things were done in Pokémon Centres.

    “I’ve been here a few times before,” Theo told her simply. “Sam won’t mind. He’ll be busy with you, anyway.”

    As if on cue, the right-hand of the two doors burst open to reveal the nurse, his sandy hair sticking up all over the place. He caught sight of Carrie and grinned. “Thought it’d be you. Your female Grovyle’s sorted, and the little one’s fine,” Sam said, waggling a hand that contained a Poké Ball. “Found that Everstone?” he asked.

    A thump from the direction of the healing machine alerted him to the other man in the room. The appliance started to whirr quietly – Theo had obviously been here enough times to know how to get it working. Sam turned, his eyes lighting up. “Hey, it’s Theo, isn’t it?”

    Theo nodded, still focused on the machine readout. “Good to see you, Sam. You haven’t changed.” The corner of his mouth twitched in a slight smile.

    Sam chuckled and twisted to look at Carrie. “Your friend with the Everstone? I should’ve guessed.”

    She pulled a face. “Not my friend, but yes.” Carrie took her hands out of her pockets, one holding Foliano’s Poké Ball, the other with the stone. “What do I do with it?”

    The Poké Ball that Sam had been holding was suddenly tossed towards her, and more by luck than judgement, she caught it between the palms of her already full hands. The nurse prized Foliano’s ball and the Everstone from her fingers and held them up for her to see.

    “There’s a little trick,” he explained, “for giving things to a Pokémon inside its ball.” He pressed the two items together so that the stone pushed the button which was normally used for returning a Pokémon. A red glow surrounded the Everstone and sucked it in. Carrie blinked; it was like the object had been recalled.

    Sam grinned. “Good, isn’t it? Of course, most of the time it’s pointless, but it has its uses.” Carrie nodded appreciatively; she had been imagining scenarios roughly equating to sending Foliano out and then frantically shoving the Everstone in his face before anything happened.

    The healing machine against the wall bleeped, and Theo began unloading the Poké Balls back into his pocket. He stepped away, watching with mild interest as Sam crossed to it and dropped the ball containing both Foliano and the Everstone into one of the dents.

    “Just a quick scan ‘cause it’s been a while since the last one,” said Sam by way of explanation as he stabbed buttons seemingly at random. The display flashed lines of text at him, and he studied them, looking more satisfied by the second. He nodded encouragingly. “The chemical’s mostly gone. It’s a stasis inside a Poké Ball, but not a complete stasis, so his body’s been working to get rid of it overnight. It should be out of his system by, ooh, around this afternoon-ish.”

    Sam turned to look at Carrie. Anticipating her unspoken question, he went on. “But he still needs the Everstone. The energy that’s been building up won’t just disappear. There’ll be a big splurge of it as soon as he’s sent out.” He gestured dramatically with his hands, splaying the fingers wide. “Which would normally force him to evolve, but not with that handy little stone next to him.” Giving an encouraging grin, he plucked the Poké Ball from the machine and bounded over to the door, which was still ajar.

    “So he’ll be okay?” Carrie walked hesitantly towards the doorway; she assumed it led to some kind of recuperation room with Pokémon-sized beds.

    The nurse poked his head around the door frame and gave her a reassuring smile. “I’ll make sure of it. Oh, and Theo,” he added, addressing the man who loitered in the room, glancing around unsurely. “Stick around. Once I’m done, I’ll make some breakfast.”

    * * *

    Foliano became suddenly and acutely aware of every part of his body being pumped full of energy, stirring it into a frenzy. Power flowed through him, invigorating him, urging him to move, to run, to leap about, to do anything other than stay still. Urging him to change. It was a restless, exhilarating feeling – but at the same time, Foliano knew what it meant.

    It was his body that wanted to change; he did not. No, he insisted to it, you’re not doing what I don’t want you to. I’m fine how I am. He pushed the words through his mind again and again, fighting against the desire to burst into action, begging his body to take heed. It didn’t listen – it couldn’t listen. The energy pulsing through him was too strong; it was overwhelming him. He had no choice.

    And yet… something was preventing Foliano from changing.

    He forced open an eye, lifting a shaking arm into his blurred vision and studying it. The skin was still a soft, forest green rather than a brighter lime colour; he still had two claws, not three; his leaves were still bluish and flexible. He was still a Grovyle.

    Realising he was lying down, he struggled into a sitting position. What was stopping it?

    As he sat up, he felt something smooth and round slide off his stomach onto the soft surface beneath him. The mass of energy in him flared up again with renewed vigour, but he forced himself to ignore it and reached out for the object. It looked and felt like a large, grey pebble, and as he touched it the battle inside him subsided a little.

    He stared at the stone blankly for a moment before he realised what it was. Gripping it suddenly with both hands, he felt the restlessness begin to ebb away, as though the worst of the storm inside him had passed. His trainer had mentioned something a long time ago about a stone that prevented evolution – this must have been it.

    His trainer. Where was she? For that matter, where were Ivyx and Raptola – were they safe?

    With a burst of energy entirely his own, Foliano jerked his head around wildly, taking in his surroundings. He was in a large wooden room, sitting on a soft bed – obviously in a Pokémon Centre of some sort. Carrie gazed down at him, looking worried; beside her was a kind-faced male human he hadn’t seen before. Foliano looked to his left and saw Ivyx facing him on an identical bed, her loving eyes filled with concern.

    On seeing that he was okay, she smiled, and the room seemed to light up. Foliano felt warmer inside as he returned her smile, but he couldn’t relax completely. He glanced around again, scanning the row of empty beds. Raptola was nowhere to be seen. Foliano’s eyes fell on his trainer and the strange human; each had a Poké Ball in their hand. If one of them was his, he only hoped the other was…

    Don’t worry,” whispered Ivyx softly, noticing his agitation. “Rappy’s safe.

    The news sent a wave of calm washing over Foliano, and he sighed in relief. Finally allowing himself to worry about his own wellbeing, he gripped the stone a little tighter. Carrie came to perch on the edge of Ivyx’s bed; as the female Grovyle turned to look at her trainer, Foliano noticed a bandage wrapped around part of her crest leaf. He gazed sorrowfully at it for a moment, wondering if she was still in pain.

    The human he didn’t know walked forward and crouched so that he was on Foliano’s eye level. “Hi,” he said casually. “I’m Sam. You feeling okay?”

    Foliano shot another look at the stone in his hands and nodded. The surge of energy had almost completely left him. “Thank you,” he told the man sincerely, sensing that Sam was the one responsible for his and his mate’s recovery.

    The human couldn’t have understood him, but he nodded and smiled all the same. “Keep that for a day or so,” he said, pointing at the stone. “Until the stuff leaves you. You should know when it does.” Suddenly, he jumped to his feet. “Right then! I’ll leave you three –” his eyes fell on the Poké Ball in Carrie’s hands – “four – here while I see about that breakfast.” With that, he swept out of the room.

    During the pause that followed, Foliano’s gaze lingered on the ball. “Is Raptola all right?” he asked eventually, unable to hide the note of worry in his voice.

    Carrie nodded slowly, turning the sphere over and over in her hands. “I think so,” she said. “He was still freaked out yesterday, but now…”

    The human said the rest would help,” Ivyx murmured. “He said it was best to leave him in there for the night.

    Foliano shot a quick glance at one of the room’s windows; judging by the pale blue sky visible from it, it was morning. “What about now?” he asked.

    His trainer stared at the ball for another moment. “Well, he didn’t say I couldn’t,” she muttered eventually, and she opened the Poké Ball onto Foliano’s bed. The burst of light materialised into the sleeping form of Raptola, his head resting comfortably between his claws, his breathing soft and calm. He seemed so much more content than the terrified youngster Foliano had risked everything to save.

    He looks fine,” Foliano said through a sigh of relief. “So… peaceful.” He almost wanted to reach out and hold his son, but fear of waking him held him back – and neither did he want to risk dropping the stone in his hands and causing the energy to flare up again.

    Ivyx smiled at Raptola, her eyes filled with motherly affection. Carrie, however, seemed to be studying him intently, and there was something slightly sad in her look. “He wasn’t like that before,” she muttered, half to herself. “He slept a bit, but I think he was having nightmares.”

    Ivyx’s face fell. “Poor thing.

    Her trainer nodded. “And I had to leave him with Sam so I could get Foli his Everstone. I had no choice. Still, at least he’s okay now.” Her optimism sounded almost strained.

    Foliano stared at her, alarmed. “You left him with a stranger just for me? But I was fine in my ball – you could have waited with him.

    Carrie looked into his eyes and shook her head. “No, I couldn’t.”

    It’s okay,” Ivyx put in. “That human – he’s good. He healed my leaf, then he sat by my bed all night, just talking to me. Telling me it would be fine. He told me Raptola was safe and just needed rest, and he told me…” She broke off, giving Foliano a tender gaze. “He told me what happened to you. He said not to worry,” she added quickly, “but I couldn’t help it. I knew what the stuff was, I’d seen it in the place and I…” A look passed between Ivyx and Carrie. “I couldn’t…” She didn’t seem able to find the words.

    Don’t worry,” Foliano told her emphatically. “I’m fine. They would have used it on Raptola, and, well…” He looked down at his bed, not wanting to meet his mate’s gaze. “I’d rather me than him.

    “I think what Ivyx was probably trying to mention,” Carrie began abruptly in an odd voice, sounding as though she was struggling with something, “was that it was me who made that Grovyle in MemorCorp evolve.”

    Foliano stared incredulously at his trainer as her hollow gaze fixed itself on the wooden floor. He didn’t believe her. She wouldn’t. Why was she telling him this? He waited for Ivyx to say it wasn’t true, but the way she was looking at the human only confirmed it.

    Carrie sighed. “There was a drip in it,” she said in the same empty tone, “pumping it with that stuff that would eventually force its evolution.” Her head snapped upwards to look at Foliano. “And I pulled it out. I made its body go into shock, or something. I pulled it out, and that made it evolve,” she spat, her voice dripping with the irony of it.

    Foliano took this in slowly. “Well,” he said after a pause, “you were trying to save it –

    “I know,” she cut in. “But it evolved when it did because of me.” She let out a long breath and leaned backwards on Ivyx’s bed, now staring at a point some way above Foliano. “And you know what?” she added in a strangely cheery voice. “After what nearly happened yesterday, it hardly bothers me at all. Funny what a sense of perspective does to guilt.”

    His eyes widened appreciatively. He hadn’t quite understood the last sentence, but he didn’t need to. “You should tell Velotus that, too,” he said.

    Carrie’s mouth thinned. “Maybe later.”

    He deserves to know,” Foliano pressed.

    She scowled. “Yes, I will.”

    A “Shhh,” from Ivyx cut her off. The Grovyle pointed at her son. “Raptola’s waking up.

    The small raptor was yawning and stretching, leaving scratch marks in the fabric beneath him. He shuffled a little on the bed, raised his head sleepily, and opened his eyes to look straight at Foliano. Raptola blinked.

    Daddy?” he mumbled as if he could hardly believe it. “Not a S… a S… a thingy?” His face suddenly lit up as reality sunk in. “Daddy!” He threw himself forwards and flung his arms around his father. Foliano closed his eyes in sheer joy and accepted the tight embrace, unable to return it because of the stone in his hands. He silently thanked the inanimate object for keeping his family together.

    How are you, sweetie?” asked Ivyx kindly.

    Raptola pulled away from Foliano and stared down at the bed, frowning. “Don’t know,” he mumbled. “Yesterday was… yesterday was…” His eyes started to fill with tears.

    Foliano risked taking one hand off the stone to stroke his son reassuringly. “Don’t think about yesterday,” he told Raptola firmly. “It’s over now.” The young Grovyle nodded, gulping.

    “Actually,” Carrie broke in awkwardly, “there is something about yesterday you should probably know. I told them where Archopy is.” She smirked slightly. “Theo was a bit p*ssed off.” Her eyes widened in realisation. “Yeah, you should also probably know that he came back, and he’s here now.”

    Foliano frowned, wondering if his trainer would ever stop taking other humans for granted. He didn’t share the male’s annoyance, though – after all, he himself had risked far more to save his son.

    We should get going soon, then,” Ivyx muttered after a short pause without much conviction in her voice.

    “Yeah,” Carrie agreed. Foliano nodded, but he couldn’t help thinking that he didn’t feel the enthusiasm he’d had only a day ago for finding Archopy. After almost having his family torn apart, the ancient creature just wasn’t as important any more.

    * * *

    “Toast?” Sam offered a rack of buttered toast to Theo, grinning.

    He took a slice, mumbling thanks. Still carrying the breakfast, the nurse darted through the door to the room where Carrie was. Theo sat down on one of the uncomfortable chairs, taking a bite out of his toast. It was slightly burnt, but it was food all the same.

    And yet he had food of his own; he could set off and eat it on the way. Why was he staying? He frowned and delved through his mind for an answer to why he was actually still there, wasting time.

    He’d met Sam a few times before, for one thing; the man was good company, always able to find the bright side in everything. And the damage done yesterday simply couldn’t be helped – both Vanessa and MemorCorp’s goons knew about Archopy and would be on their way to it, and there was nothing he could do about it. A few more minutes hardly mattered.

    Then there was the fact that, no matter how hard he tried, Theo simply could not bring himself to hate Carrie for what she had told the men. He had never been any good at holding a grudge against someone, and the realisation that he would have done the same for his own Pokémon had stamped on any possibility there was of him feeling more than just mild resentment. What was done was done, and they’d have to manage. There was no point complaining about it now.

    He finished the last mouthful of toast and looked up as Sam appeared at the door again, brandishing two more slices. The nurse offered one to Theo, who was too polite to refuse, and then plonked himself in the other chair, chomping down on his own piece.

    “So,” said Sam indistinctly through a mouthful of toast, “an Everstone, eh? I’d heard those things were quite hard to come by.” His eyes gleamed with eager curiosity. “Where’d you find it?”

    Theo smiled and gazed unseeingly at the wooden wall opposite. “Back in Mount Moon, in Kanto,” he said. “I was on a fossil dig – that’s where I found the Helix Fossil that became my Omanyte – but I also found the Everstone while I was there. Kept it, as a reminder mostly.”

    Sam nodded, then frowned as if trying to remember something. He leaned forward in his seat. “You come from Pewter City, right?”

    “Yup.” Theo took another bite of toast before continuing, allowing the other man to butt in.

    “Don’t tell me – fascinated by the museum as a kid?” Sam grinned. “I’ve met a few people like you,” he added with a chuckle. “Comes from being so close to the desert.”

    Finishing his mouthful, Theo was finally able to speak. “That is about the size of it, yeah…” He thought back to the days out at the museum with his parents. Himself, as a young boy, gazing in awe at all the strange creatures the place had to offer. “I remember my first fossil,” he murmured, more to himself than to Sam. “That was in Mount Moon, too – it became my Kabu –”

    He cut himself short as the door opened again and Carrie wandered through with the now empty toast rack. For lack of anywhere else, she placed it atop the idle healing machine with a clang. Three of her Grovyle walked in after her, the young Raptola sticking close to his mother. Foliano was holding Theo’s Everstone in his claws.

    “Are we going, then?” Carrie asked, filling the silence that had ensued.

    Sam jumped up from his chair, cramming the rest of his toast into his mouth. He chewed furiously and then swallowed. “Actually,” he said, sounding a little sheepish, “there is something we need to sort.” He pointed at Raptola.

    Carrie pulled a “What?” face.

    “You see, when a Poké Ball breaks, the Pokémon inside no longer counts as owned. It’s like it’s wild again.” Sam’s quick speech took on a more awkward tone. “And I kinda sorta had to catch your Grovyle with one of my spare Poké Balls. It’s okay,” he added hurriedly on seeing Carrie’s look. “I’ll release him, just give me the ball…”

    Carrie, cottoning on, was already pulling the Poké Ball out of her pocket. She passed it to Sam, who held it in a strange way and pointed it at Raptola, firing a pulse of bluish light at the Grovyle. The glow surrounded him like an ordinary red Poké Ball beam for a moment, before breaking off. Raptola blinked and clutched his mother even tighter.

    “There you go.” Sam threw the ball back to Carrie. “Go on – catch him.”

    The girl stared at the Poké Ball in her hands as if she’d never seen one before. “And that’ll make everything okay?” She sounded sceptical.

    Sam nodded. “It registers the one who threw the ball as the trainer. Could lead to some awkward lawsuits involving thefts of balls that haven’t been used yet, but for the most part people who’ve had their Poké Balls stolen don’t bother trying to claim a Pokémon they didn’t catch. There’s not much point stealing an empty ball at all, come to that.”

    Carrie apparently hadn’t listened to the latter part of the explanation; she was crouching beside Raptola. Gently, she tapped the Grovyle with the Poké Ball, turning him into shapeless light and drawing him in. The ball vibrated in her hand briefly, then stilled with a quiet ping.

    Having finished his toast, Theo stood up, eager not to wait around any longer. “It’s time we were off.”

    ~~~

    << Previous chapter
    Last edited by elyvorg; 14th April 2012 at 1:21 AM.
    .: 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

  23. #148
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    Default

    and more by luck than judgment, she caught it between the palms of her already full hands. The nurse pried Foliano’s ball and the Everstone from her fingers
    Two grammar mistakes I spotted, and conveniently they were in consecutive sentences.

    Well, at least one major burden is (almost) off their backs; the Everstone did the trick for halting Foliano' evolution. I say "almost" because of the small amount of chemical still in his system, and if Grovyle and mystical rock should be separated... I'm not sure if you intended this to be the end of the whole "Foliano evolution" arc, but with the chemical still lingering in his body, you do leave the opportunity to develop/stretch it out a bit farther.

    On the other hand, I'm also looking forward to getting back to the race to Archopy. With MemorCorp's hired help tipped off to its location and Vanessa likely not too far behind, Carrie and Theo will have a lot of catching up to do. I'm quite interested in seeing what they do to try to gain some ground.

    I'm not going to bother quoting the whole thing, but I felt you did an excellent job (as usual) with characterizations, especially during the scene with the energy flowing through Foliano and the Everstone suppressing it. Also, I thought this scene was full of "Aww, how sweet!"
    “Daddy?” he mumbled as if he could hardly believe it. “Not a S… a S… a thingy?” His face suddenly lit up as reality sunk in. “Daddy!” He threw himself forwards and flung his arms around his father. Foliano closed his eyes in sheer joy and accepted the tight embrace, unable to return it because of the stone in his hands. He silently thanked the inanimate object for keeping his family together.

    “How are you, sweetie?” asked Ivyx kindly.

    Raptola pulled away from Foliano and stared down at the bed, frowning. “Don’t know,” he mumbled. “Yesterday was… yesterday was…” His eyes started to fill with tears.
    I was also glad to see this:
    Then there was the fact that, no matter how hard he tried, Theo simply could not bring himself to hate Carrie for what she had told the men. He had never been any good at holding a grudge against someone, and the realisation that he would have done the same for his own Pokémon had stamped on any possibility there was of him feeling more than just mild resentment.
    Well, now I can stop thinking of Theo as a heartless SOB who puts Archopy over his own Pokemon.

    I wonder how Velotus will take to the news that Carrie inadvertently triggered the Grovyle's evolution back at MemorCorp HQ. Ivyx and Floiano took it well, but Velotus could be another matter altogether - especially judging by Carrie's hesitation when Foliano told her to tell.

    Yeah, I've finding it hard to find things to crit, so I'm basically reduced to speculation, pointing out highlights, and the occasional (as you're excellent at weeding them out) grammar mistake. I'm finding this to be well written and interesting, especially since I prefer the technology/chemistry aspect of the antagonists as opposed to the fantasy element in other fics I'm reading.

  24. #149
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    The internet is my tree.
    Posts
    1,211

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    DarkPersian479 - Thanks for the review.

    I looked up both those grammar issues seeing as I wasn't convinced by either, and it turns out that "judgement" is the British spelling, and "prise" means the same thing as "pry".

    I can assure you that the next chapter will shed at least some light on the status of the race to Archopy.

    And keep speculating, by all means. It amuses me. xP
    .: 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

  25. #150
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    7

    Default

    i love this story

    im still new to the forums and this is one of the first i read and i loved it cant wait for chapter 17

    i also agree on the sceptile thing it completely ruined grovyle it was pointless it completely changed

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