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Thread: Champion Game [M]

  1. #1
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    Default Champion Game [M]

    Unto defeat you must play the game - the Champion Game.

    Chapter List
    00 - Prologue: Sleep Comes Slowly

    Arc 1 - Parodos
    01 - To Triumph Over Someone
    02 - I Will Make a Wish for the Future
    03 - The World of Dreams
    04 - Television
    05 - And Now, Something a Little Magical
    06 - Great Power of a Certain Kind
    07 - Golden Dream
    08 - Approval
    09 - I Think the Cat Has a Problem
    10 - War of Stone
    11 - The Fires of Battle


    Arc 2 - Episode the First
    12 - My House Is . . .
    13 - The Blackest Night
    14 - Blitzkrieg
    15 - The Soldiers of Justice
    16 - Total War
    17 - As Long As I Live
    18 - Peace
    19 - Freedom
    20 - SolarBeam
    21 - More Dreams
    22 - Green and Black


    Arc 3 - Parabasis the First
    23 - Festival of the Sky
    24 - Soar
    25 - Wings Have We
    26 - Every Clap of Thunder
    27 - Catch Your Breath


    Arc 4 - Episode the Second
    28 - Words of Power
    29 - It's a Troublesome Life
    30 - How Far We've Come
    31 - Coruscation
    32 - The Gods Wait to Delight In You
    33 - The Circus of Circumstance
    34 - Boo
    35 - Invidia et Ira
    36 - Can We Please Focus? (coming soon)

    OOC
    0.1 - A Very Misheard Christmas (Non-canon Christmas party with the characters from SGTG)

    NB: All chapters you see named here at any given time are completed and ready to go, with the exception of the last one on the list which is usually the one in progress.
    Last edited by M-Dub; 28th May 2012 at 1:56 PM.

    Champion Game
    Latest: Chapter Thirty-Five - Invidia et Ira
    Next: Chapter Thirty-Six: Can We Please Focus?
    Something's Got To Give (4)
    When the Sleeper Stirs (1) [FFTA2]

  2. #2
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    Default Chapter One - To Triumph Over Someone

    Wow, this is more dialogue-heavy than I was planning it to be. :/ Bear with me for a couple chapters. XD Note: This post contains the prologue AND the first chapter.


    Prologue
    Sleep Comes Slowly

    Five years.

    That was how long it had taken him. Just fifty-nine months, nineteen days, and he was the Champion. It was almost a joke.


    Ren rolled over in his bed, burying his head deeper in his pillow. It was almost physically impossible to stay awake, and yet something . . . something was nagging at him. He knew he should be happy. He had finally made real the goal of his childhood, the goal of so many thousands of aspiring Trainers the world over. He had done what so few had done before, and all before his fifteenth birthday. Just two days ago, he had stood in the Hall of Fame, head high, as the previous Champion bowed out and inscribed his name upon the hallowed list. There had been a whirl of media attention, cameras and press conferences, interviews and talk shows. In such a short time, he had become Hoenn's favourite teenager.


    So why . . . why did he feel so empty?


    Frustrated, Ren rolled over onto his back again, glaring up at the ceiling. The room was dark and bare; the only decoration was a dusty chest of drawers under the window. A single light bulb hung from the ceiling, dim and cold, barely visible in the weak trickle of moonlight that spilled between the dust-heavy curtains. Of course there was no sign of life in the room – it was his first time sleeping in it in nearly five years. When he had left on his tenth birthday, he had packed up all his toys, his books and photos, and stored them away in the attic. He hadn't returned once in all that time; never long enough to stay the night, at least.


    It was all returning to him now. It wasn't that he'd forgotten his childhood; all he'd done was pack it up in those boxes with his toys. When he'd set out to become a Pokemon Trainer, Ren had put the first ten years of his life behind him, dismissing them as a pointless necessity, a stepping stone to where he wanted to be.


    Ren shook his head wryly. He'd come full circle. In five years, he'd travelled all over the Hoenn region and overseas, beaten thirteen Gym Leaders, won the Ever Grande Conference, defeated the Elite Four, and finally taken down the Champion. And now . . . now he was back where he'd started. The irony was almost amusing.


    So if I've returned to where I started . . . have I really succeeded in going anywhere at all?


    Finally, Ren started to feel the dark haze of sleep overcome him, and he welcomed it gratefully.

    Chapter One

    To Triumph Over Someone


    Ten hours later, Ren opened his eyes blearily to find his room full of light. Squinting, he propped himself up on one elbow and glanced over at the window. The curtains were wide open, revealing a sharp, crisp azure sky free of clouds. The sun was streaming in through the casement, painting his whole room golden and illuminating the dust motes in the air.

    Groaning, Ren flopped back down onto his bed. He had forgotten how passive-aggressive his mother was when it came to getting him up in the mornings. She had probably come in and opened his curtains just as soon as she had woken up herself.


    Eyes adjusting to the light, Ren sat up and grabbed his watch off the bedhead. It wasn't even half past eight. With a sigh, he swung his feet out from under the blanket and onto the carpet. Yawning, he stood up to get dressed.


    When he got downstairs ten minutes later, his mother was sitting at the kitchen table with a bowl of cereal. She looked up, beaming, when Ren entered the room.


    “There's my little Champion!” she exclaimed. Ren rolled his eyes and smiled indulgently.


    “I'm nearly fifteen now, mom,” he complained half-heartedly, knowing full well it would make no difference.


    “Aww, don't be like that, sweetie!” his mother pouted. “It's like you don't love your mommy anymore!” Shaking his head, Ren grabbed a bowl off the shelf and poured himself some cereal.


    “Don't be silly, mom,” he said quietly, looking down at the table. “Course I do.”


    “I know, sweetie,” she said, ruffling his hair. “I just wanted to hear you say it. It's been a long time since we sat down together like this, huh?”


    “I came back for Christmas last year,” Ren reminded her, splashing milk onto his cornflakes before getting up to fetch a spoon from the drawer. “It's not like I haven't seen you.”


    “I mean just you and me, like it used to be.” She fell silent for a moment before speaking up again. “Don't suppose you'll be home for long this time, either, huh?”


    “Yeah, pretty much,” said Ren lightly, refusing to meet her eyes. “I've got, you know . . . Champion stuff to do now. Taking challengers, and . . . um.” Ren suddenly realised that he had no idea what was expected of him. Challengers would come infrequently. The Ever Grande Conference was only held once a year, and there had to be some kind of special reason for any Trainer to make a challenge outside of that – for example, if one of the Elites vouched for them personally. That meant he'd be taking perhaps one challenger a year. Other than that . . . what was he to do?


    “That reminds me!” his mother said brightly. “Steven rang earlier. He wants you to meet him in Rustboro City today. Can you call him back and tell him you'll be there?”


    “Steven?” Ren said. “What does he want? I just got back – can't it wait?”


    “Well, I assume he wants to talk Champion business, sweetie. You'll have to go and find out.”


    “Sure. I'll call him now, then,” Ren decided, standing up and snatching the phone off its hook. “Be right back,” he said over his shoulder as he headed back upstairs, dialing the number he had been given earlier.


    Ren sat down on his bed as he pressed the 'call button', idly staring at the ceiling as he waited for Steven to pick up. He didn't have to wait long.


    “This is Steven Stone,” said a familiar voice.


    “Steven! It's Ren.”


    “Oh, hello, Ren,” Steven said. “I trust you've been keeping well?”


    What sort of eighteenth-century greeting is that?
    Ren wondered absently. Aloud, he simply said, “I'm all right. A bit tired, but I guess that's to be expected. But what's this about me having to go to Rustboro City?”

    “I have to . . . talk to you about something very important,” said Steven. Ren frowned.


    “Something important? Is it so important you can't tell me over the phone? I mean, I just got home last night and all.”


    “Yes!” Steven said emphatically. “This is a matter of crucial importance, and I need to speak to you about it in person.There should be a train leaving Slateport at nine thirty. Can you be on it?”


    Ren glanced at his watch – it was quarter to nine. “Can't it wait?” he asked.


    “Not possible,” Steven insisted. “Can you be on the train?” he repeated.


    Ren rolled his eyes. “Sure,” he said, shaking his head as he resigned himself to Steven's stubbornness. “Meet me at the station?”


    “I'll have someone there to pick you up,” Steven said. “I'm sorry, Ren. This must all seem very confusing and inconvenient, but trust me, there's good reason for it. I won't keep you in the dark any longer than I have to.”


    “Alright,” said Ren wearily, biting his lip. “I'll be there.”


    “Thank you, Ren. Goodbye, and be safe.” With a click, the line went dead. Ren sighed and flopped back onto his bed, staring at the ceiling. He had been looking forward to spending some time at home, but it seemed that that was not to be.


    With another sigh, Ren picked up his backpack off the floor and started tossing things into it. Over the last five years, he had gotten used to travelling light, so he knew exactly what he needed. There wasn't much: just his Pokemon, a few toiletries and a change of clothes.


    Out of habit, he straightened the covers on his bed before he left. It might have been a long time since he'd last done it, but it still didn't feel right to leave the house without doing it. He clunked down the stairs again, his durable, hard-soled shoes making an uncomfortably loud noise as he did so.


    “Oh . . . you're going now, sweetie?” his mother said, her brow slightly creased – with concern or disapproval, Ren couldn't tell which.


    “Yeah, mom,” he said. “Steven wants to talk to me in person, so I've gotta catch the nine-thirty train.”


    “Do you have to go now? Can't it wait?”


    “That's what I asked,” Ren said wryly, “but he was quite insistent.”


    “Oh, I don't like it,” she grumbled. “You come home for one night and then you're off again! I hardly see you these days.”


    “I know, mom,” Ren said, “but it shouldn't be for so long this time. I'll talk to Steven about . . . whatever it is he wants to talk about, and then I'll be back. Maybe even tonight, but I can't make any promises.”


    His mother smiled and ruffled his hair affectionately. “Don't worry, sweetie,” she said. “I know it has to be important, so you go and do what you have to do, OK? I've managed without you for five years, after all. I'll be fine for another couple of days.”


    “Gotcha,” Ren said, nodding as he opened the front door. “See you, mom. Love you!”


    “Love you too, honey,” she said quietly as the door closed between them.


    Ren took a deep breath of cool morning air before slapping himself in the face. He worried about his mother. She pretended not to be bothered, but he knew how hard it had to be for her. She had been living alone for five years, after all. Ren couldn't imagine how hard it would be to be isolated, which was why he had tried to visit as often as he was able, but being the Pokemon Champion was a demanding dream. As much as he wanted to, he couldn't spend his whole life in Slateport.


    He'd thought, perhaps, that things would change after he finally became the Champion. Of course, he'd known that he'd still be running all over Hoenn like one possessed, but he hadn't realised it would start this soon.


    I promise, mom
    , he said to himself as he looked back at the gate. After this, I'll come home and stay for at least a month. It'll be just you and me.

    Sweeping his tousled brown hair out of his face, Ren set his eyes on Slateport City – visible just a couple of miles along the coast, glittering like a jewel in the morning sunlight – and stepped out confidently towards it.


    Ren's house stood atop a hill overlooking the sea, and the winding, jackknifing road that passed in front of it offered a spectacular view of the sea to the south-east. The sun bore down strongly despite the early hour, and even the cutting breeze that sliced across the cliff-face did little to alleviate the warmth. Ren could only imagine what the heat would be like later in the day.


    As Ren made his way along the road, he marvelled, as always, at the ingenuity of whoever had built the road in the first place. On one side, the cliff rose up, almost vertically, just inches from where he walked. Covered in tough grass and hardy flowers, the cliff was one of the most steadfast constants in Ren's world. On the other side of the narrow road, the cliff suddenly dropped away again. Even though he had seen it a thousand times before, Ren took a peek over the rickety barrier that separated the road from the open air. Like every other time, it took his breath away. The land dropped away at a ridiculous angle; he fancied that if he fell off, he might bounce once before he hit the water at the bottom – twice if he was lucky.


    With a grin, Ren set his eyes straight ahead again and set off with renewed vigour, the comforting smell of brine in his nostrils.


    The walk was mostly downhill, which made the going easy, although there were lots of switchbacks to traverse. Ren made it into Slateport City proper with twenty minutes to spare, and quickly headed for the train station. He kept his head down and his eyes averted from everyone he passed. It wasn't that he didn't
    want to be recognised, but at this stage, it could possibly delay him and make him miss his train. He wasn't willing to risk Steven's ire simply because he couldn't deal with a couple of fans.

    A couple of times, he thought he saw people pointing at him and whispering to each other, and in each case, he quickly crossed the street or took a different turn. The central train station was near the city outskirts, so he didn't have far to go. He purchased a ticket to Rustboro from a bored-looking attendant, and was just about to climb onto the train when he heard an excited shriek from behind him.


    Ren!” With a wince, he glanced around just in time to get tackled head-on by a small, pink blur.

    “Oof!” he exclaimed, stumbling backwards and just about falling into the train. “Who- what the-?!”


    “Long time no see, Ren!” said the pink blur excitedly, detaching itself from his midriff and beaming up at him.


    “Natasha?” Ren queried. “Is that you?”


    “Of course it's me, idiot!” his twelve-year-old cousin squeaked, bouncing up and down madly. “Don't tell me you forgot about me after just five years!”


    “No, 'Tash, I didn't,” Ren said hurriedly, glancing at his watch. The train was about to leave. “But look, I've gotta go. I'll come visit when I get back, I promise.”


    “No! I want to come with you! Where are you going?” she demanded, stamping her foot. Ren started to answer, but he was drowned out by a piercing shriek from the loudspeaker.


    Nine-thirty to Rustboro is now departing. All passengers, please board the train immediately. Nine-thirty to Rustboro.”

    “Rustboro City,” he tried again. “It's a long way away, but I promise I'll see you when I get back. It's too far for you to come,” he said, climbing onto the train.


    “No!” Natasha protested, leaping nimbly past him onto the train. “I'm coming and that's that.”


    “'Tash!” Ren hissed, making a grab for her, but it was too late. The door shut with a
    clang, and the train began to move. “Oh, damn it!” he sighed, slumping down onto the nearest seat. The carriage was empty but for the two of them.

    Natasha giggled happily. “This'll be fun!” she said happily, jumping onto the seat beside Ren and snuggling into his side.


    “Not really,” Ren said, taking a deep breath. “You're not supposed to be on this train, are you?”


    “Nope! Daddy wanted to take us on holiday to Lilycove, but Rustboro's gonna be much more fun!”


    Ren ran his fingers through his hair in exasperation. “So . . . you were going on holiday, but you just decided to jump on my train? Oh, what am I gonna do with you . . .” Shaking his head, he took out his PokeNav and dialled a number. It picked up on the third ring.


    “Hello?”


    “Yeah, hi there. Uncle Roger, it's me, Ren.”


    “Oh, hello, Ren! What are you calling for? Congratulations on becoming the Champion, by the way. Mary and I were going to drop by and congratulate you in person, because I heard you were in town, but we were too busy packing for our holiday!”


    “Thanks, Uncle Roger,” Ren said uncomfortably. “But, uh . . . about that holiday. I imagine you're looking for Natasha about now, right?”


    “Well, yes, actually, we are,” Roger said, sounding puzzled. “How the blazes did you work that out? We're at the train station, but she's run off somewhere, the little tyke.”


    “Yeah, well, um . . . I've got her,” Ren said.


    “Oh, splendid!” Roger said cheerfully. “Could you bring her back to platform twelve? The train leaves in ten minutes.”


    “Actually, that's why I'm calling,” Ren said, scratching his head and glaring at his cousin, who raised her eyebrows innocently. “Your little bundle of fun just jumped on my train, and now there's nothing I can do about it. It's the express, so it doesn't stop until Rustboro.”


    “Rustb- oh, for the love of-” Roger stuttered. “Well, um, I, uh. Huh, what's that? No, Mary, she's fine. It's Ren . . . Yes, I did congratulate him . . . No, she's on the train to Rustboro . . . How should I know? Well, uh . . .” There was a crackle at the other end of the line, and Ren frowned.


    “Hello, Ren,” said a different voice.


    “Aunt Mary!” Ren said, surprised. “Hello.”


    “Natasha's with you, is she?”


    “Yeah,” Ren said, shooting another glare at his cousin, who was now rolling on the seat in paroxysms of silent laughter. “I'm sorry, Aunt Mary, but she jumped on board before I could stop her.” A crackle of feedback that may have been a sigh filtered down the line.


    “Well, there's nothing to be done about that, is there? Roger and I will catch the next train to Rustboro and take her off your hands at the station.”


    “Well . . .” Ren said. “I kind of have to be in Rustboro on business, you see. I don't know if that's practical. But I can't just leave her at the station, and I wouldn't dare put her on a train by herself . . .”


    “That
    is a problem, then,” Mary said.

    “Uncle Roger said you were going to Lilycove for a holiday,” Ren said thoughtfully. “How long was that going to be?”


    “Just for the night. Why?” Mary asked worriedly.


    “How about this?” Ren said, biting his lip. “I'll take Natasha with me, and you and Uncle Roger go to Lilycove. She'll be fine with me, I promise.”


    “Well . . .” Mary said, sounding unconvinced.


    “I can't imagine you've had much peace for the last twelve years with this mad creature around,” Ren said frankly. “You could use a break.”


    “I guess . . . that does sound nice,” his aunt said. “All right, Ren. You're our favourite nephew, and we trust you, so we'll leave our little girl to you. I know you're grown-up enough to handle it.”


    “OK, Aunt Mary,” Ren said. “Catch you later. Enjoy your holiday.” With that, he hung up and leant back in the seat.


    “So?” Natasha asked.


    “Against my better judgement, it's you and me on holiday in Rustboro,” Ren said.


    “Yay!” Natasha squealed, jumping up and racing up and down the carriage. “I'm going on holiday with cousin Ren!”


    Ren exhaled heavily, smiling. His cousin was the only relative he knew that was even close to him in age, and they had grown up quite close. She was hyperactive and wore too much pink, but she was still special to him.


    “Sit down, you,” he said. “I'm going to go and see about getting you a ticket.” Obediently, Natasha flumped herself down onto a seat and sat as still as a statue, arms crossed. Shaking his head, Ren headed for the door to the next carriage.


    It didn't take him long to find a guard. Apologetically, he started to explain his situation, but before he had even mentioned how Natasha had leapt onto the train, the guard leant down and tipped his chin up, examining Ren closely. A grin had spread across the big man's face as he recognised him, and he had continued – much to Ren's chagrin – to announce to the whole carriage, which was much more densely populated than the one Ren had boarded, that it was 'that new Champion kid everyone's been talking about'. When the guard had asked if anybody had a problem with the Champion and his cousin moving up to first class, the other passengers had responded enthusiastically, although one or two had 'demanded' an autograph as 'payment' for class-skipping. Chuckling, Ren had obliged before going back to fetch Natasha. The guard showed them to the carriage at the front of the train and sat them down in much more comfortable seats.


    “That was nice of him,” Natasha commented as she excitedly pressed her nose to the juddering window. “Are you really that famous now, cousin Ren?”


    “I guess I am,” Ren said bashfully, looking out the window too as Hoenn flashed past. Far to the north, he could see the spire of Mount Chimney thrusting up above the rest of the countryside.


    I am
    , he thought. Life's gonna be a lot different now that I'm the Champion, but I expected that. The question now, though, is . . . where do I go from here? Is there someone else I can beat? Can I get stronger? Or is there no point now?
    Last edited by M-Dub; 27th November 2011 at 10:49 AM.

    Champion Game
    Latest: Chapter Thirty-Five - Invidia et Ira
    Next: Chapter Thirty-Six: Can We Please Focus?
    Something's Got To Give (4)
    When the Sleeper Stirs (1) [FFTA2]

  3. #3
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    seems like a good fic, i'll be keeping track of it. BUT- yes, the dreaded but, you need to discribe more. The only thing you discribed was natasha wears pink. What color are Rens eyes? Hair? What do his clothes look like? Also, although you don't have to, most people tell what pokemon the main person has. Plot seems...interesting...so just work and improve on discreption and you will be good
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chimpchar View Post
    seems like a good fic, i'll be keeping track of it. BUT- yes, the dreaded but, you need to discribe more. The only thing you discribed was natasha wears pink. What color are Rens eyes? Hair? What do his clothes look like? Also, although you don't have to, most people tell what pokemon the main person has. Plot seems...interesting...so just work and improve on discreption and you will be good
    Thanks for reading and reviewing, although I'm pretty sure I dropped some extra description in somewhere. I'm just sick of trying to dump it all in one place. XD Basically I try to spread it out a little bit, over the first couple of chapters.
    Sweeping his tousled brown hair out of his face, Ren set his eyes on Slateport City – visible just a couple of miles along the coast, glittering like a jewel in the morning sunlight – and stepped out confidently towards it.
    . . . and so on.
    And the Pokemon Ren has, interestingly, are not so important right now.

    Champion Game
    Latest: Chapter Thirty-Five - Invidia et Ira
    Next: Chapter Thirty-Six: Can We Please Focus?
    Something's Got To Give (4)
    When the Sleeper Stirs (1) [FFTA2]

  5. #5
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    yeah, but I still couldn't see many..........

    Oh yeah! whats up with the.......is it french?Spanish?Dutch?.......idk...but whats up with the whatever-it-is!!!!!????????
    [IMG]http://i43.*******.com/2vkg5s5.jpg[/IMG]


    don't click this link...

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  6. #6
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    WARNING!!!!WARNING!!!!WARNING!!!!THIS POST CONTAINS A BAD JOKE!!!!













    Quote Originally Posted by Dragon user X View Post



    When he had left on his tenth birthday, he had packed up all his toys, his books and photos, and stored them away in the attic. He hadn't returned once in all that time; never long enough to stay the night, at least.
    I think it would make more sense to say:
    When he had left on his tenth birthday, he had packed up all his toys,books, and photos, and stored them away in the attic.
    OR
    When he had left on his tenth birthday, he had packed up all his things he wasn't bringing, and stored them away in the attic.




    Quote Originally Posted by Dragon user X View Post
    Ren shook his head wryly. He'd come full circle. In five years, he'd travelled all over the Hoenn region and overseas, beaten thirteen Gym Leaders, won the Ever Grande Conference, defeated the Elite Four, and finally taken down the Champion.
    13 gyms? traveled is one l, you put two

    I'll find errors in chapter 1 soon


    This seems like a good fic, but i hope this really centered around pokemon, and isn't a
    [IMG]http://i43.*******.com/2vkg5s5.jpg[/IMG]


    don't click this link...

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  7. #7
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    Hey, wasn't this the last fic I read before I got permabanned from PokeCommunity?

    I'm The_Noob from PokeCommunity. You may remember me as the guy who made the weird reviews, and made a fail-troll-ish comment on your main character's name.

    Well, your fic is doing quite good atm. That first chapter is pretty much filler, however, since it merely shows a few characters other than Ren to us (I'm still hoping on a character named Stimpy), and fleshes out what he does every day as a Champion.

    However, your writing is, pardon my French, c'est magnifique, even for a dialouge-based filler chapter, I could still get a sense of the stress he's going through with his newfound fame and bad nostalgia.

    Good luck with this, I'll keep reading and reviewing!

    Noob out.

  8. #8
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    Hey!! Thought I should critique. All points made are based on my opinions which you are free to ignore if you disagree with them. Nothing much is wrong with the prologue and its a descent start, so I'll start on chapter 1:

    “There's my little Champion!” she exclaimed. Ren rolled his eyes and smiled indulgently.

    “I'm nearly fifteen now, mom,” he complained half-heartedly, knowing full well it would make no difference.
    After the tagged quote, the subject should stay on the mother, even if its a sentence after it. Put when in a new paragraph and combine this with the following dialogue. E.g. Ren rolled his eyes and smiled, "I'm nearly fifteen now, mum." It made no difference.

    “Aww, don't be like that, sweetie!” his mother pouted. “It's like you don't love your mommy anymore!” Shaking his head, Ren grabbed a bowl off the shelf and poured himself some cereal.

    “Don't be silly, mom,” he said quietly, looking down at the table. “Course I do.”
    Same issue. Also, if the following sets of dialogue alternate between mother and Ren, there is no need to tag the dialogue any further (unless the pattern breaks). Tag only the first two and don't tag the rest if it follows an alternating pattern.

    “This is Steven Stone,” said a familiar voice.
    This sounds too formal. Is Steven Stone a well-known public figure? If not, I would either drop his surname or just make him say 'Yes?'

    “Yes!” Steven said emphatically.
    Many people have issues reading too many adverbs in stories. In this case, I noticed you used an adverb almost after every tag. I strongly suggest you to severely limit the usage of adverbs until its necessary. By necessary, it means RARELY.

    This is a matter of crucial importance, and I need to speak to you about it in person.There should be a train leaving Slateport at nine thirty. Can you be on it?”
    I also noticed a lot of awkward phrasing that sounds very unnatural. The bolded phrase is too complex for even a teenager. I would reword it to a more simpler "This is important! I need to speak to you in person." This is only one of the few awkward phrases I picked up. I suggest revision.

    Ren glanced at his watch – it was quarter to nine. “Can't it wait?” he asked.
    Redundancy. If a dialogue follows a sentence with Ren as the subject, readers will immediately know this is Ren speaking WITHOUT the tag.

    Not possible,” Steven insisted.
    Why not the simpler impossible?

    but he knew how hard it had to be for her
    I had to stop reading your fic for a moment to read this carefully. I realised the wordiness of it and I suggest replacing the 'had to be' with was.

    Ren couldn't imagine how hard it would be to be isolated
    Same issue. replace with was.

    --

    Although I haven't heard much of the plot yet, there is some action and a problem Ren has to face -- being with his cousin. You did quite well in this area.
    One thing that concerns me is that the dialogue too unnatural. Some of them are too long and formal for people nowadays. I noticed it was Ren and Steven making the strange phrases, especially during their conversations. People, especially readers, enjoy shorter and simpler words spoken out. To be honest, they don't like reading about people who show-off their extensive vocabulary or expressions. I also noticed a few descriptions are wordy as well. Reread your story carefully and think about how it should be said nowadays.

    Next is characters. I am having troubles differentiating the personalities, especially for Ren and Steven. There will be problems with readers if two characters seem to share the same personality. A wider personality pool will attract readers into these characters. What's more, none of the characters displayed their true personalities clearly enough. I noticed the characters share the same goodness, kindness, friendliness etc. Especially for the protagonist, you need to give Ren some negative traits about his personality and express them. So far, to me, his goodness is care for family, responsibility and able to control temper. Badness, none whatsoever (glaring and nostalgia does not count). Also note the calmness in his tone after he gets tackled by his cousin.

    I think this is it for now. Hope it helps!
    Last edited by MacKareLosity; 22nd April 2011 at 4:22 AM. Reason: Clarification

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    Hmm, I see. Good points indeed. Firstly, Chimpchar.

    a) I spell 'travelled' like that because I come from NZ, where we use Commonwealth English. Even though I made an effort to use the very American 'mom', I feel much more comfortable spelling like this.
    b) In that same sentence, I said that he travelled 'all over Hoenn and overseas', so he would have picked up some extra badges elsewhere. There's no rule that says you have to only get badges from one region, although you do need eight from one region to enter a Conference.

    This seems like a good fic, but i hope this really centered around pokemon, and isn't a
    Oh, I so hate to disappoint, and I also so love your pun, but it's not really Pokemon-centric. I'm more interested in the human characters.

    MacKareLosity - yes, Steven Stone is a well-known public figure, and his speech is supposed to be like that. When I encountered him ingame, he always seemed quite formal and polite, as lampshaded by Ren's 'What kind of eighteenth-century greeting is that?'. Ren's dialogue . . . not so much. The idea is that he's a fairly smart kid, but not some kind of crazy-*** genius. I've tried to make his dialogue a little more natural, but it's hard because . . . well, I tend to speak like Steven. orz

    I'm still ironing out creases with dialogue formatting and stuff - previous fics of mine have focused more on action and description, so I've had less experience with that. And adverbs . . . orz. Using adverbs like that is a problem I have a lot, and I'll make more of a conscious effort in future.

    ~~~

    Oh, and the Spanish? Forgive me. It's just a little stylistic idiosyncrasy of mine. The first chapter's title means 'To triumph over someone'.

    Thanks to all you guys for reviewing, and I'll make sure to keep those points in mind. Future chapters should be less dialogue-heavy; I'm trying to get it out of the way as quickly as possible without somehow fashioning a massive infodump, which . . . may be unavoidable. We'll see. I hope I can avoid it.
    Last edited by M-Dub; 22nd April 2011 at 4:48 AM.

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  10. #10
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    @ Dragon

    k, but i mean like one where it has no pokemon and all of a sudden they travel to earth, just to ellimate pokemon. I've seen it happen on a few lesser known sites, it pretty much changes from a pokemon fic to a real life story. IT ANNOYS ME!!!!!!!!!!!!
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    Well, this has captured my attention it seems. There was only one other fanfic on here that I have been coming back to check, but you got me here!

    I like your ideas. I mean, who hasn't wondered what happens after you become the champion? I have always wanted to see the "what now?" concept explored after a person becomes such a powerful trainer.

    The addition of Natasha is what really makes this interesting for me, for now. I realize that may be slightly random but I would absolutely LOVE for her to stick around and see her develop as a person.

    I'll keep checking back for new chapters

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    Hello...

    Interesting, a frustrated champion we have here. But first I'll point out a mistake

    Para A Triunfar Sobre Alguien

    That's wrong, it should be Para triunfar sobre alguien, the A is unnecesary.

    Oh yeah! whats up with the.......is it french?Spanish?Dutch?.......idk...but whats up with the whatever-it-is!!!!!????????
    And also, Chimpchar, please be respectful with other languages. It's spanish, (easy to tell from other languages like german or dutch, like you think it is). I did not liked the commentary you made; the author is free to write something in the language he wants to, and complaining about it is absolutely unnecesary, that's why babel fish was invented after all.

    Now, back on the fic.

    This really drew my attention by the title, and naming the chapters in spanish is something really original (finally, something in spanish somewhere here, yay! ). Everything looks solid, from grammar to plot so far, and dialogue is not heavy, but it does speeds up the fic. Also, some description could help a little, for I have no idea how does Ren or Natasha look like.

    I liked it, and I am sure I'll be reading you next chapter.

    Thanks for your time, I look forward to the next chapter
    Last edited by RoflLuxRay; 22nd April 2011 at 9:08 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karpi View Post
    Well, this has captured my attention it seems. There was only one other fanfic on here that I have been coming back to check, but you got me here!

    I like your ideas. I mean, who hasn't wondered what happens after you become the champion? I have always wanted to see the "what now?" concept explored after a person becomes such a powerful trainer.

    The addition of Natasha is what really makes this interesting for me, for now. I realize that may be slightly random but I would absolutely LOVE for her to stick around and see her develop as a person.

    I'll keep checking back for new chapters
    Awesome, I'm glad to have you reading. I'm sure Natasha will be around for a while - she's one of my favourite characters so far.

    Quote Originally Posted by RoflLuxRay View Post
    Hello...

    Interesting, a frustrated champion we have here. But first I'll point out a mistake

    Para A Triunfar Sobre Alguien

    That's wrong, it should be Para triunfar sobre alguien, the A is unnecesary.
    From the way you're speaking, I'll assume you're a native speaker or similarly experienced and not argue with you on that one. XP I've only been learning for two and a half years. I'll fix that ASAP.

    EDIT: Just double-checked my grammar to make sure, and yes, you're right. Lo siento.
    Now, back on the fic.

    This really drew my attention by the title, and naming the chapters in spanish is something really original (finally, something in spanish somewhere here, yay! ).
    I may or may not have been reading far too much Bleach of late. >_>

    Everything looks solid, from grammar to plot so far, and dialogue is not heavy, but it does speeds up the fic. Also, some description could help a little, for I have no idea how does Ren or Natasha look like.

    I liked it, and I am sure I'll be reading you next chapter.

    Thanks for your time, I look forward to the next chapter
    OK, I'm glad you're enjoying it! I've been told by a couple of people now that I'm lacking description, so clearly that's more of an issue than I first thought. I'll either drop that in over the next couple of chapters or go back and edit it into the first, if it feels more natural that way. If I do, I'll make sure to mention it so you don't miss it. :P

    Quote Originally Posted by Chimpchar View Post
    @ Dragon

    k, but i mean like one where it has no pokemon and all of a sudden they travel to earth, just to ellimate pokemon. I've seen it happen on a few lesser known sites, it pretty much changes from a pokemon fic to a real life story. IT ANNOYS ME!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Well, um . . . it's hardly going to change to a 'real life story'. There will be less focus on Pokemon and battling, and more on the Trainers and their interactions, but the Pokemon will be there, I'm sure. Heck, they may not even appear for a few chapters, but they'll be there.
    Last edited by M-Dub; 23rd April 2011 at 1:38 AM.

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    whew

    good
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    Default Chapter Two - I Will Make a Wish for the Future

    Chapter Two
    I Will Make a Wish for the Future

    The train pulled into Rustboro City with a rattle and a deafening screech. Ren had spent the whole trip split between controlling Natasha and burying his face in a magazine so he wouldn't be recognised. The friendly guard, who had introduced himself as Simone, saw them off the train with a cheerful wave, and Ren grabbed hold of Natasha's hand to avoid her wandering off as he navigated his way out of the station.

    Steven said he'd send someone to pick me up, Ren recalled as he scanned the throngs of people packing the bustling station. But who . . . ? There was nobody he recognised, so he shrugged and continued to wend his way through the crowd. Maybe there'll be somebody outside? he reasoned.

    Hopefully, he scanned the line of bored-looking drivers standing by the door, checking to see if any of their placards had his name on it. Nothing. Just as he was about to make his way out of the station's grand entrance, he felt a tap on his shoulder and turned, somewhat taken aback, to see a somewhat irate-looking teenage girl in a grey school uniform, her brown hair drawn back, in two bunches, with a large pink ribbon into a pair of ponytails.

    “D-didn't you hear me?” she said crossly. “I was calling you the whole time!”

    “Ah,” said Ren. “Roxanne. It's been a while.”

    “Three years since you won the Stone Badge,” she said, smiling. “You've hardly come by the Gym since.”

    “Ah . . . sorry about that,” Ren said, scratching his head. “What, did you miss me?”

    “I-I just thought I should battle you again sometime,” Roxanne said. “But come on, we're blocking the path.” She was right, Ren realised as he hurriedly followed the Gym Leader out of the station and down a wide flight of stairs towards a large, fancy-looking black car parked on the road below.

    “This us?” Ren asked, gesturing to the car. Roxanne nodded. “After you, then,” he said, opening the door and gallantly waving her inside. Roxanne went a little pink, but climbed in anyway. Ren chuckled and helped Natasha up into the car before following them.

    Inside, the car was remarkably spacious. Roxanne was already seated with her back to the driver, leaving Ren and Natasha to sit opposite her. Once Ren had closed the door behind him, Roxanne pressed a small red button on the armrest and spoke into a small microphone embedded into the side of the car: “To the Devon Corporation, if you please.” Without further discussion, the engine of the car purred into life, and Ren felt the slightest lurch as it pulled out into traffic.

    “Nice ride,” he commented. “Being a Gym Leader paying well, then?”

    “No, ah . . . this car belongs to Mr. Stone. He asked me to come and fetch you from the station, but I think a vehicle of this, uh . . . scale is somewhat unnecessary.”

    “I see. That makes sense, I guess,” Ren said, quietly trying to dissuade Natasha from opening the minibar she had just discovered under her seat. The Gym Leader smiled at the younger girl.

    “Hello, there,” she said in a friendly manner. “My name is Roxanne. What's yours?”

    Natasha tilted her head slightly, sizing Roxanne up. “I'm 'Tash,” she said eventually. “Are you cousin Ren's girlfriend?”

    “Wha-” Ren started, taken aback, but he was overriden immediately.

    “Absolutely not! That's preposterous!” Roxanne said insistently.

    “Then why are you all pink?” Natasha challenged her. She had a point, Ren admitted. At Natasha's comment, Roxanne's face had gone a deep shade of rose that put her hair-ribbon to shame.

    “Speaking of pink,” Ren said quickly, trying to defuse the suddenly awkward situation, “why are you still wearing those pink stockings? I mean, it's none of my business, but they're really quite . . . out there, aren't they?”

    “What? These? Um, I . . . maybe,” Roxanne said distractedly, refusing to meet Ren's eyes. “But never mind that. I wanted to congratulate you personally for defeating Steven.”

    “Ah, thanks,” said Ren.

    “I . . . knew, you know,” Roxanne said hesitantly. “Back when you came to the Rustboro Gym three years ago, I could tell that you were going to go a long way.”

    “Really?” Ren asked, surprised. “But I only had three Gym badges by then.”

    “Still,” Roxanne said, “I could see it. I think it was your eyes.”

    “My . . . eyes?” Ren said, confused. “What about my eyes?”

    “Well, I think . . . As soon I met you, I saw something in your eyes. I didn't know quite what it was at the time, and I still can't be sure, but whatever it was . . . it told me you were going to keep going. All the way to the top. And look at you now! I'm going to have to start calling you 'boss' soon.”

    Ren laughed uncomfortably. “Boy, that'd feel weird,” he said. “But that reminds me . . . exactly how much control . . . no, that's not what I want to ask. What I mean is – how much responsibility does the Champion have?”

    “What do you mean by that?” Roxanne asked, frowning.

    “Well, all my life, the Champion's just been . . . there. Sitting up there at the top of the heap, unassailable and distant, and . . . well, there was a lot of secrecy. I know very little about what the Champion is actually expected to do, other than, you know, take challengers.”

    “That's . . .” Roxanne stared out of the tinted window as if looking for answers in the stone facades of the city. “That's something . . . that Steven will tell you about today, I think. How much did he tell you when he called?”

    “Nothing,” Ren grumbled, leaning back and staring at the ceiling. Something nagged at him, but he couldn't be sure what it was. Something wasn't right. “He told me nothing.”

    “That's Steven for you,” Roxanne said, “although I probably shouldn't be so flippant. However mysterious he might be, he's still Steven Stone, even before he's the Champion.”

    “I met his father when I was here last,” Ren noted. “He seemed like an . . . interesting man.”

    “Yes, that sounds about right,” said Roxanne. “Mr. Stone is, of course, still the CEO of the Devon Corporation. He's one of the most respected businessmen in the world, and I think he plans to have Steven take over from him in a few years.”

    “He's going to retire?” Ren asked, arching an eyebrow. “But he's only, what, sixty?”

    “Sixty-seven,” Roxanne corrected him. “Still, he's in perfect health, from what I've seen, and personally . . . personally, I don't think Steven's going to want to take over any time soon.”

    “What makes you say that?” asked Ren, frowning. “It's not like he has nothing to do, or anything, but I still imagine he'll have a lot of time on his hands now that he's stepping down as Champion.”

    “When I . . . last talked to Steven,” Roxanne said slowly, looking Ren directly in the eye for the first time, “he seemed . . . restless. I don't know if I should be telling you this, but . . . I don't think he's the sort to just settle down peacefully. Did he ever tell you about his hobby?”

    “What, collecting rocks? Yeah, I ran into him a few times in Granite Cave when I was training there,” Ren recalled.

    “Collecting rocks? Well, not exactly, though you've essentially got the right idea. Steven has a great interest in the rare minerals and gemstones that can be found all over the Hoenn region. Hoenn has a remarkable geological makeup, and the bedrock varies wildly from one place to another. Because of this, and the huge number of natural and artificial caves that can be found here, I don't think Steven will ever be satisfied with the results of his research. He is a remarkable man, but he appears to have inherited his father's fortitude. I'm not sure if that's a good thing, frankly.”

    Ren remained silent for a moment, considering. “I don't know. Is Mr. Stone really looking to retire so soon?”

    “Probably in the next few years. It would seem he's quite happy to have Steven available again. At least, that is the impression I get. It makes sense, don't you think?”

    “True,” Ren said. “But I can't imagine Steven actually going directly against his father if it came down to it. You know, if he actually directly said 'I want you to take over Devon Corp.' He couldn't turn that down.”

    “I suppose you're right,” Roxanne admitted, “but it's still worth keeping an eye on. I don't think that's what Steven wants to discuss with you, anyway.”

    “Do you know what he wants?” Ren asked. “Because it seems I'm somewhat in the dark here.”

    “No,” Roxanne said, then paused – for a little longer than necessary, Ren thought. “No, I have no idea at all. All I know is that it's something to do with your new role as Champion, but I imagine you will have worked that out already.”

    “I'd figured as much,” Ren said, nodding.

    “Are you gonna go to a meeting, Ren?” Natasha piped up, reminding Ren of her presence. She'd been so unusually quiet, he had almost forgotten she was there.

    “Yeah, pretty much,” he said.

    “Can I come with you?” she asked. “Daddy never lets me go to his meetings!”

    “Well, ah . . . I guess we'll have to see,” Ren said. “It depends on what Steven thinks, I guess. If it's too secret, you're going to have to wait outside, I suppose.”

    “Here we are!” said Roxanne suddenly, as the car came to a gentle halt and fell silent. After a few seconds, the door opened from the outside, and she slipped out gracefully. Ren followed her, nodding his thanks to the driver as he made sure Natasha was with him.

    “Wow . . .” Ren breathed. “I see this every time I come to Rustboro, but it's still pretty impressive.” The headquarters of Devon Corporation was a large, brown-stone building that managed to look both ancient and solid at the same time. The facade was intricately carved and set with large, fearsome gargoyles that jutted out into the street. Standing on the cobbled footpath and looking up, the building loomed impossibly high, even though it was relatively small compared to those around it.

    “Isn't it just?” Roxanne agreed. “Come on. Steven wanted to see you as soon as possible.” Shrugging, Ren followed her into the building, taking time to admire the classical stone arch as he passed through it.

    Roxanne crossed the empty foyer quickly, her buckled shoes clacking briskly on the tile floor. Ren looked around – he had only been inside Devon Corp once or twice. Quite suddenly, everything was modern. They passed through a revolving door into the building proper, and Ren had to rescue Natasha, who wanted to keep going round and round.

    “Honestly,” he muttered. “You're twelve years old now, but you still act like a little kid! Would it kill you to grow up just a little bit?”

    “But it's so much fun!” Natasha protested, giggling. “I'm not important or famous like cousin Ren, so I can do what I want to and it doesn't matter!”

    Ren frowned, but before he could think too hard on it, he was distracted by Roxanne practically dragging him onward. “Will you get a move on?” she said.

    “Whoa, whoa! Why the big hurry all of a sudden?” Ren asked, walking faster to catch up.

    “Steven told you it was urgent, did he not?”

    “Well, yes, but-”

    “Then come on,” Roxanne said, chivvying him past the receptionist, who nodded respectfully to the pair of them. Ren followed along as quickly as he could, Natasha trotting happily in his wake. Did I do something to piss her off? he wondered. Nothing came to mind, so he left it.

    Roxanne led them into a lift and pressed the button for the top floor. With barely a lurch, the carriage began to ascend, its three occupants standing in awkward silence for the duration. With a soft ding, the doors opened, and Ren stepped out. Roxanne didn't move.

    “Are you . . . coming?” he asked, uncertain. Roxanne shook her head. She opened her mouth slightly as if to speak, but then closed it again as if thinking better of it.

    “Good luck,” was all she said, after a lengthy pause. Ren nodded and beckoned to Natasha, who followed him out of the lift.

    “See you around,” he said, still slightly bemused. Roxanne nodded silently as the lift doors closed and she disappeared from sight. “Well, that was strange,” Ren said aloud.

    “She got all worried when we came into the building,” observed Natasha. “Why's that, Ren?”

    “She did?” Ren arched his eyebrows. He had noticed something strange about Roxanne, but hadn't been able to put his finger on it. Was it worry he had glimpsed in her face? He didn't really think so, but . . . “Girls are so hard to figure out,” he muttered under his breath.

    “They are indeed,” said Steven from behind him. Ren jumped and spun round to face the former Champion.

    “Don't – don't do that!” he squeaked. A flicker of amusement passed across Steven's smooth face.

    “Come with me, Champion,” he said, turning and walking away. They were in a hallway, Ren noticed as he followed Steven's shock of silver hair. An ostentatious one, at that. The floor was covered with plush red carpet that seemed to swallow Ren's feet as he walked, and the walls were painted in a similar shade, with gold trim glinting on all sides. Ornate golden chandeliers hung from the ceiling at intervals, glittering with droplets of diamond.

    “Nice place,” Ren said quietly.

    “Quite. Actually, this floor is the Stone family's personal residence in Rustboro. My father lives here most of the time, as he never likes to be too far from his work. It is a little extravagant for my tastes, but then, I have no real say in the matter as I spend so little time here.”

    “So, will you tell me why I'm here yet?” Ren queried, hurrying to catch up to Steven. Steven glanced across at him briefly.

    “I will,” he said. “But first, may I suggest that your . . .” He tailed off, seemingly uncertain.

    “Cousin,” Ren supplied, seeing where Steven was looking.

    “May I suggest, then, that we find some way for your cousin to entertain herself for an hour or two. I apologise for the seeming lack of trust, but what we have to discuss is for your ears only.”

    “How exactly do you expect a twelve-year-old to entertain herself in a place like this?” Ren asked, gesturing around at the ornate furnishings.

    “I have some idea,” Steven said, before leaning over slightly to address Natasha directly. “Do you like books?” he asked.

    Natasha nodded solemnly, which surprised Ren slightly. His cousin had never shown much interest in literature of any kind, from what he could remember. “Yes,” she said. “I like reading.”

    “Well,” said Steven, drawing to a halt before a dark wooden door, “would you like to see my library?” Without waiting for an answer, he pushed the door open and gestured her inside.

    Ren peeked over Steven's shoulder into the room beyond, and his eyes grew wide. A huge, warmly-lit room stretched out from the door, lined with enormous, floor-to-ceiling shelves packed with books of all shapes and sizes. “Wow,” he breathed. “How many books do you have?”

    “Thousands,” Steven said – a touch smugly, Ren thought. “Katrina!” he said sharply, raising his voice a little.

    There was a scuffling sound, and a girl poked her head out from behind a bookshelf several metres away. She had mousy brown hair and a small pair of square glasses resting on her nose. She looked to be a few years older than Ren. “Yes?” she said. “Oh, hello, Steven! Did you need me for something?”

    “This is our Champion's cousin,” Steven explained, indicating Natasha, who had wandered towards the nearest bookshelf and was scanning it eagerly. “Could you look after her for a little while for us? Ren and I have some business to discuss.”

    Katrina smiled. “Sure thing. I'll keep an eye on her – both, if I can spare them.”

    “Thank you,” Steven said, smiling back. “We'll be back in an hour or two, I imagine.” With a final nod, he closed the door again. “My sister,” he said, upon seeing Ren's confused expression. “She's studying for her Masters in Anthropology, so she spends most of her time in the library.”

    “I see.” Ren followed Steven as he set off again, heading down a different corridor. How big is this floor? Ren wondered. It had taken them a good couple of minutes to get from the lift to the library.

    “Your cousin seems like a sensible child,” Steven remarked.

    “Strangely, no,” Ren said. “She's usually quite hyper, and I just don't know what's up with her today. Ever since we arrived in Rustboro, she's been . . . pretty strange. Normally she'd have been bouncing off the walls all the way up here, but . . . no. I don't know.” He shook his head. Natasha had been acting strange. Perhaps she really had mellowed out over the five years he hadn't seen her? He was willing to put her initial display of hyperactivity down to excitement at seeing him again, but still . . . there was something strange.

    “She'll be fine with Katrina,” Steven said. “She won't brook any nonsense, not while she's studying.” After another couple of turns, he stopped abruptly and opened another door, gesturing for Ren to precede him into the room.

    The room was a lot more understated than the rest of the floor, Ren noticed immediately. The red and gold colour scheme remained, but the floor was hardwood and there were no chandeliers. Light came from quietly humming fixtures on the ceiling, and the only furnishings in the room were two low chairs, facing each other across a plain metal table.

    “This room is where my father holds his most secret meetings,” Steven said. “The ones where it is absolutely imperative that their contents remain confidential, and the ones with clients who are too pragmatic to be insulted by the lack of an extravagant conference room. I don't know the sorts of people he meets with in here, but it's none of my business . . . yet.”

    “It might be, if you have to take over the company from your father.”

    “Who told you that?” Steven asked, his eyes narrowing.

    Ren inhaled sharply. He had the sense he had said something he shouldn't have. “I . . . assumed it?” he said weakly. “I mean, you're the oldest, aren't you?”

    Steven continued to examine him closely as he took his seat and indicated Ren should do the same. “That sounds unlikely. Did Roxanne say anything?”

    “She . . . might have mentioned it,” Ren admitted as he sat down on the metal chair, which creaked slightly under his weight. “Hypothetically, that is.”

    “Tch,” Steven tutted. “That girl . . . oh, well. It is of no great importance.” He paused, staring at Ren for a few moments, looking him up and down. Ren shifted uncomfortably in his seat, suddenly very aware that his unruly brown hair was sticking up all over the place, a pet hate of his mother's. He was only wearing ratty old jeans and a red t-shirt, too – he hadn't had time to get changed before he left for the train station. He felt very scruffy next to the immaculate Steven in his black pants and collared shirt with its purple zigzags. He sank slightly into his chair, as if it would prevent Steven from seeing him.

    “What did . . . you want to talk to me about?” Ren asked.

    Steven leant back in his chair suddenly, rubbing his eyes and sighing. “This is an awkward business, Ren,” he said, his voice suddenly carrying an awful lot of gravity. “A most awkward and tiring business. And, setting aside any matters of Champion and ex-Champion for the moment, I'd like you to listen to me as one man to another. Do you understand?”

    Ren frowned. Suddenly, Roxanne wasn't the only one acting weird. “What . . . are you trying to say?”

    Steven dipped his head slightly and closed his eyes. “I'm trying to say that . . . what I have to discuss with you today is something I'd never hoped to discuss with someone like you. Please don't take offense, but . . . you're still little more than a boy. I always expected to have to tell my successor about this – you can't be Champion forever, after all – but I didn't expect it to be someone as young as you.”

    “Will you please tell me what you're on about?” Ren demanded. “You're just confusing me more and more! And just because I'm fourteen doesn't mean you can be condescending!”

    Steven nodded. “You're right. I'm sorry. I'm insulting your intelligence if I try to hide anything from you. All I need is your solemn promise that you will take me seriously, because without that this conversation will bear no fruit. Agreed?”

    Ren nodded firmly. “Agreed. Now talk, if you have something to say.”

    Steven let out a long, slow breath before opening his eyes and looking directly into Ren's. “Let me begin with a question.”

    ~~~

    All right! Have another cliffhanger! Happy late Easter!
    Last edited by M-Dub; 22nd November 2011 at 6:10 AM.

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    Default Chapter Three - The World of Dreams

    Chapter Three
    The World of Dreams

    “Why do you think we hold the Ever Grande Conference, Ren?” Steven asked at length.

    Ren frowned. He would have thought that the answer to that question was simple. “Uh . . . to find out who's the strongest Trainer in Hoenn?” he ventured.

    “Yes,” Steven agreed, “but at the same time, it's far more than that.”

    “What . . . what exactly do you mean by that?”

    Steven took a deep breath and interlaced his fingers in front of him on the table, staring at them intently as if expecting them to answer for him. “What if I were to say to you, Ren . . . that there is a hidden factor determining how successful each person is as a Trainer?”

    “I'd say you were mad,” Ren said. “Sounds like one of those crazy video games where you don't know how anything's calculated – it just does it for you.”

    “Not so much,” Steven said. “There's no math involved. Just . . . power, if you will.”

    “Power? What kind of power?” Ren felt himself being drawn in, despite his skepticism. Steven was making a face that was far too serious to doubt.

    “That's just it. That's why this is so hard to explain. I . . . don't exactly know, Ren. But every Trainer – no, every person in this world has a measure of this power within them. I suppose you could call it a spiritual power, because it has nothing to do with physical strength or mental acuity. Sometimes you get muscle-headed imbeciles with huge reserves of this power; other times, the exact opposite. I'm at a loss as to which factors affect a person's spiritual power.” He paused, as if waiting for Ren to react.

    “Sounds . . . confusing,” Ren offered, unwilling to give away too much of what he was thinking. A multitude of possibilities, explanations and worries were running through his mind at high speed, but he didn't feel like letting Steven be privy to them just yet. “So what does this power have to do with the Ever Grande Conference?”

    “People will tell you that factors like age, experience, discipline, and the like determine who becomes a Champion, Ren. This is not true, and I am sure you, of all people, will be able to appreciate that. You came into this position at the age of just fourteen. By all rights, there is no way you should have been able to become Champion now. Yet you did.”

    “I did,” Ren agreed. “But surely those things do matter, right? I mean, you get to be the Champion with a lot of hard work! It doesn't just . . . happen.”

    Steven inclined his head. “You're right. It doesn't 'just happen'. And there is some truth in what you say – things like how long you have trained with your Pokemon, research into your opponent's strengths and weaknesses, and your strategy in battle do make a difference.”

    “But that's not what you just said,” Ren pointed out.

    “Perhaps I am going in circles a little,” Steven admitted. “What I mean is that while these factors play a large part in determining the winner of a Pokemon battle, that part is nowhere near as large as some would have you believe. What makes up the difference is something in here.” He tapped his chest with his left index finger.

    Ren looked at him askance. “What . . . you mean, like, friendship or something? I thought that was the kind of stuff that happened in kids' TV shows?”

    Steven shook his head. “No, Ren. Nothing so intransient or idealistic. What I speak of is this spiritual power that resides within everyone. Imagine, if you will, a scale. The scale reads one to ten. Each human being is placed somewhere on that scale, and that number, to a certain extent, determines their success as a Pokemon Trainer, should they choose to follow that path. Of course, the scale is completely hypothetical – there is no way of measuring this power. I consider myself to stand at about nine point three, but this is only a rough estimate. And again, like I said before, you can have something else contributing to your success. Somebody with a 'score' of eight or higher might lack the willpower to persevere in their goals. They might not be quite quick enough to make the split-second decisions that are required to make or break a Pokemon battle. Do you follow what I'm saying, Ren?”

    “Yeah, I think so,” Ren said, nodding his head slowly. “In other words, whether we're going to be a good Pokemon Trainer or not . . . is predetermined?”

    “To an extent, yes,” Steven admitted. “I've thought long and hard about the philosophical ramifications of this, and I would greatly enjoy discussing that with you, but here is not the place. Back to the point: each person has this power, and their Pokemon will react to it accordingly.”

    “The Pokemon can sense this power?” Ren asked, surprised. “So, what . . . they see that their Trainer has this power and work harder?

    “Not as such. Perhaps it would make more sense if I compared your Pokemon to plants. A plant, in normal soil – say, in your backyard – will grow well, provided it is cared for. You can make it grow higher by watering it regularly, keeping pests away from it, and protecting it from harsh wind and rain. Pokemon are much the same. You look after them, care for them, train them, and they will grow strong. Are you with me so far?”

    Ren nodded. “Makes sense, I guess. I never really thought of it like that, but . . . Pokemon are a lot like plants, aren't they? And I don't mean just the Grass-types-”

    “Focus!” Steven said sharply. “Now, tell me what happens if you decide to grow your plant in, say, the vicinity of Mount Chimney?”

    “It . . . grows better?”

    “Because?”

    “Because of . . . the minerals in the soil, or something? It's been a while since I read any books on Geography.”

    “Right. In other words, your plant will grow bigger because its environment is more conducive to growth. Provided you then water it properly and so on like you do its counterpart in your garden, it will turn out much larger and healthier, even though you treated it the same. Do you understand now?”

    Suddenly, Ren did, although he was still having trouble attaching any form of credence to Steven's story. “Yeah . . . if a Pokemon's Trainer has a high level of – what did you call it? – spiritual power, it's like growing the plant in volcanic soil, right? And then it gets stronger more easily, yeah?”

    “Correct!” Steven exclaimed, beaming. “I didn't really expect you to catch on so quickly, I'll admit. Not that I think you're slow, or anything like that, but I am unused to dealing with those younger than me.”

    “No hard feelings,” said Ren, offering Steven a half-smile. “But I'm still taking everything you say with a pinch of salt, I'm afraid.”

    “That's to be expected. I would begin to doubt the wisdom of telling you this if you believed it all instantly. However, I do have proof to back up what I'm saying, which I will show you soon enough. All I desired was to ensure you did not panic when faced with that evidence,” Steven said darkly.

    Ren said nothing. What Steven said sounded crazy, yes, but he couldn't help believing him just a little bit. Steven Stone was not the sort of person to play jokes; Ren had gathered as much from the few encounters he had had with the man.

    “Very well. In any case . . . this all leads back to the Ever Grande Conference. This contest is held annually in order to discover the person in each region who has the highest spiritual power. This has been going on for many decades, and there is a very good reason behind it, but that will become apparent soon enough. What is important is that you have defeated me, Ren. Do you understand what that means?”

    Ren's eyes widened involuntarily. All throughout Steven's explanation, he had completely forgotten to apply what had been said to himself. He slapped himself mentally for the oversight. Steven had been trying to tell him something the whole time, and he had missed it completely.

    “Yes, Ren. It means that you are currently the person in the Hoenn region with the highest spiritual power. You are the most volcanic of the volcanic soil, if that makes any sense. The legacy of the Hoenn League is now yours.”

    “Was this all some elaborate way of handing over the Championship?” Ren asked, suddenly confused again.

    “Essentially, yes, but it was not for any idle purpose that I explained all of this to you. For now, I believe, we are done, actually. Unless you have any further questions?”

    “Hundreds,” Ren said.

    “Many of them will have to wait,” Steven said, “but go ahead. I will answer as best I can.”

    “Why is this important? For now, I'll take your word that I won the Championship because of this 'spiritual power'. Why is it so important that the Champion is someone with high spiritual power?”

    “I think you are still mistaking the purpose of the League,” Steven said, smiling. “The Pokemon League was founded in order to find the strongest person in the region, for a very specific purpose. It was never to find the strongest for the sake of knowing who the strongest was. The annual boxing tournament is held to discover the best boxer in Hoenn. The biennial Dewford Surfing Extravaganza is held to find out who can ride the best wave. The Pokemon League is held so that Hoenn has a Champion. And Hoenn needs a Champion, Ren. They need the strongest Champion they can get, and at the moment, that's you.”

    “Why?”

    “That, Ren, is what must be explained later. Take this.” From inside his shirt, Steven fished out a small, silver pendant, which he unclasped from around his neck and handed to Ren.

    Ren examined it closely. It hung on a silver chain as fine as thread, a chain that looked like it should break if he touched it. The chain pooled gently in his hand, cautiously supporting the emblem that sat atop it. Attached to the chain by a single, delicate ring, it was about the size of Ren's thumbnail, carved intricately into the likeness of a cloud. Or was it a puff of smoke? The shape seemed to billow and flicker as he looked upon it, although when he blinked, hard, and looked at it again, he was quite sure that it was motionless. “What . . . is this?”

    “It is the Dreamlight,” Steven said solemnly. “It must remain around your neck at all times now, Champion.”

    “Looks awfully fragile,” Ren said worriedly as he drew out the gossamer-like chain and looped it around his neck, bringing the tiny, delicate clasp around to the front so he could see it while he tied it. Suddenly, he paused. “Why do I have to wear this?”

    “It is a symbol that you are the Champion,” Steven said, “and to all who may ask, it is nothing more than this! Do you understand?” he pressed.

    Ren nodded. “But . . . it's something more?” he ventured.

    “Yes, of course. It is what will guide you to a further explanation. I have told you all that I am permitted to tell you for now. For the rest of the story, all you need to do is go to sleep any time after sundown.”

    “Go . . . to sleep?” Ren asked skeptically as he did the clasp up and settled the Dreamlight beneath his shirt. It felt cold against his skin, but pleasantly so. “What does that have to do with anything?”

    Steven shook his head. “Sadly, I may say no more. When you go to sleep tonight, you must wear the Dreamlight. This will lead you to your answers.”

    Ren closed his eyes for a moment before standing up and pacing around the room, looking at the barren walls and featureless ceiling. “I don't like it,” he said eventually. “I don't like it at all. You want to know why I don't like it? Because it sounds like a fantasy. Something I'd read in a book. Normally, that would be cool, but . . . you telling me this suggests one of two things.”

    “Firstly, I'm pulling your leg,” Steven supplied, examining one of the fingers on his left hand. “Secondly, there's something huge going on that you can't comprehend. In either case, you feel threatened. If I'm making fun of you, then the joke is on you, and nobody likes that. You fear ending up as the fool. If, on the other hand, I am telling the truth, you instantly find yourself far out of your depth, facing the unknown, and that is what you fear most. Am I right?”

    “Exactly,” said Ren. “I don't get how, but you're right.”

    “It's not too hard,” said Steven, abruptly standing and crossing the room to stand directly in front of Ren. Gripping the boy by the shoulders, he looked him straight in the eye and said, “Because that's exactly what went through my head when I was told about this six years ago.”

    Ren shuddered deeply. Something in Steven's light blue eyes worried him. He couldn't explain what it was, but there was no doubt that it was nothing good. Steven apparently felt the tremor, as he gave Ren a comforting pat on the shoulder before he released him.

    “Tell you what. We've still got some time, and there's no sense talking about this any more. Let's go and find something to do in Rustboro for the afternoon.”

    “But . . . I have more questions!” Ren protested.

    “No, you don't. Ask them to . . . well, the person who will explain the rest of this to you.”

    “But you haven't even told me who that is!”

    “It doesn't matter. You will meet them tonight. I told you – all you have to do is go to sleep with the Dreamlight on. For now, difficult though it may seem, I'm going to have to ask you to put everything I have just said out of your mind.”

    “What? You want me to . . . just forget about it?”

    “Essentially, yes.”

    “What was the point of telling me in the first place, then?”

    “I told you,” Steven said. “It's so that you don't panic when the truth is revealed.”

    “Why don't you just tell me?” Ren asked, his left hand involuntarily balling into a fist. “Wouldn't that be the sensible thing?”

    “It is . . . forbidden.” Steven looked down at the floor.

    “Forbidden? Who forbade it?” Ren ground his teeth slightly. This is getting ridiculous.

    “I . . . can't tell you that, either,” Steven said. “Can you please just do as I ask? This is difficult for me also.”

    “Fine,” Ren said in disgust, folding his arms. “If you're going to be too bloody-minded to just tell me what's going on, then whatever.”

    “Excellent,” said Steven, pointedly ignoring Ren's petulant frown. “And although I hardly feel you need to be reminded of this, everything that was said in this room remains here. You must not speak of it to anybody else unless I say so. Understood?”

    Ren nodded. Who would he tell, anyway? It sounded like a load of rubbish, anyway. Spiritual power? Who did Steven think he was kidding? But still, it didn't make sense if Steven was joking. After all, why would he? There was no good reason for him to, and that was the fact that Ren could not deny. He only wished Steven would answer his questions a bit more directly.

    “In that case, let us return to the library and collect your cousin,” Steven said, unlocking the door. “I imagine she will be pleased enough to be liberated from my sister's dreary company.”

    “She didn't seem that dreary to me,” Ren said as he followed Steven out of the meeting room.

    “Oh, she is, I'm afraid,” Steven said wearily. “Of course, I wouldn't ever say it to her face, but spending time with her is . . . taxing.”

    “How so?”

    “She likes her books, Katrina. She doesn't do people well. It's hard to explain, but . . . having her in the room immediately puts something of a damper on one's mood. It's like she emanates waves of 'I don't want to be here, I don't want to talk to you' that rub off on everyone else.”

    “That's not very nice,” Ren frowned. And this is the girl studying anthropology? he wondered. “She can't be all that bad, surely?”

    “Oh, don't get me wrong,” Steven said. “I'm very fond of her. But I wouldn't really want to spend too much time with her.”

    Ren didn't say anything. What could he have said to that?

    “Katrina!” Steven said brightly, pushing open the library door. “We're done!”

    “Oh, hello, Steven,” Katrina's voice said from somewhere among the shelves. “We're over here, by the biographies.”

    Steven raised his eyebrows at Ren, then tilted his head to indicate that they should both go. The pair made their way carefully through the hazardous-looking maze of loaded bookshelves until they finally spotted Natasha and Katrina, sitting cross-legged on the floor amongst a multitude of books.

    “You didn't take as long as you said you were going to,” Katrina said, raising her eyebrows. “I don't think it's even been half an hour yet.”

    “No, you're right,” Steven said, “but nonetheless, we have finished our . . . business.”

    “Well, that's all right. I'll see you around some other time, Natasha,” Katrina smiled.

    Natasha looked up at Ren curiously. “Why are you back so fast? I was having fun!”

    Ren smiled. “We finished talking about what we needed to, so we're done. Come on, let's not bother Katrina any more than we have to.”

    “Oh, it's no trouble, really,” Katrina said, waving a hand airily. “She's a remarkably intelligent child.”

    “Can't I stay a bit longer?” Natasha begged.

    “Actually, if Katrina doesn't mind, that works out perfectly,” said Steven. “Ren and I have somewhere else to be, and if you want to stay here for another couple of hours, I don't see an issue with that.”

    “Somewhere else to be?” Ren said blankly. “Like where?”

    “Did I not mention it? You and I are appearing on tonight's Hoenn Buzz to be interviewed.”

    “No!” Ren exclaimed. “You did not mention that! And I want nothing to do with it!” he fumed. It was bad enough that people had to recognise him wherever he went, but any measure of anonymity he might have retained would surely be destroyed if he appeared on primetime television.

    “I'm afraid you don't have a choice,” Steven said. “I made the arrangements this morning and they've been hyping it all day via advertisements. Two Champions on TV together is not something that happens often, and you're not getting out of it.”

    “You can't just go ahead and make decisions like that on your own! I don't want to be on TV!”

    Steven gritted his teeth. “Newsflash, Ren: you're going to have to get used to it. The Champion is a media personality as much as he is anything else.” As if suddenly noticing that Natasha and Katrina were still listening, wide-eyed, from their position on the floor, he inclined his head to them politely. “My apologies. Ren and I will be leaving now. We will return later this evening to collect his cousin.” With that, he wheeled and strode from the library, leaving Ren to follow him reluctantly.

    Once the door to the library had closed, Ren stepped in front of Steven and glared at him. “What the hell are you playing at?” he hissed. “I can't do this! I don't want to do this!”

    Steven's mouth remained set in a firm line. “You have no choice in the matter. It is your responsibility as a Champion to be accessible to the people of Hoenn, and you have to learn to do that whether you like it or not. I'll give you a hint – it's a lot easier if you like it.”

    “Steven, I can't! It's not like I can't walk down the street for fear of being recognised or anything, but this is just going too far.”

    “You're not getting out of it,” Steven said adamantly. “Now come on. It's already four o'clock, and we need to be there for five thirty.”

    Reluctantly, Ren followed Steven towards the lift, his heart sinking.
    Last edited by M-Dub; 22nd December 2011 at 4:52 AM.

    Champion Game
    Latest: Chapter Thirty-Five - Invidia et Ira
    Next: Chapter Thirty-Six: Can We Please Focus?
    Something's Got To Give (4)
    When the Sleeper Stirs (1) [FFTA2]

  17. #17
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    This is getting... Interesting.

    Also, Steven's 'Spirit Scale' goes backwards, since you'd expect a higher scorer to have a better level.

    I can't wait to see what acid-trip dream Ren has with the Dreamlight on while he sleeps, or his interview with Steven. With those instructions Steven gave to him, I'm surprised Ren didn't make a sarcastic joke about pouring water on it or feeding it after midnight.

    Also, I noticed Chapter 1 got rewritten. The description is nice, but there's a bigass block of text towards the end.
    Last edited by Sgeckledorf Spoongeblorb; 28th April 2011 at 2:07 AM.

  18. #18
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    So I'm with Ren on this one... what the hell is forbidden to talk about?! Grr my curiosity... I would make a bad champion for sure! I do SOMEWHAT understand Steven's need for secrecy though... if word got out that the champion was nearly predetermined I don't think that would go over very well lol

    It would also be hilarious if his TV appearance went something like: Ren acts like an idiot on camera but people blindly love him anyway.

    Nice chapters!

  19. #19
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    Default Chapter Four - Television

    OK, a bit more's happening now. Sorry for making you read what's essentially three chapters of dialogue. I'm gonna break form here and promise that 'sh*t gets real', as they say, across chapters five and six, which are waiting in the wings with seven and eight, all written up and ready to go at my whim.

    Oh, and I do really appreciate the reviews, Karpi and banned person. XP



    Chapter Four
    Television

    Downstairs, Steven ushered the still-fuming Ren into a car not unlike the one that had brought him to Devon Corp. This time, however, Roxanne was nowhere to be seen. The car ride was silent, frostily so. Ren spent the journey looking moodily out the tinted window as Steven looked on, a slight twist of amusement in the set of his lips.

    When the car finally rolled to a stop, Ren stepped out unwillingly. On the other side of the pavement stood a low metal fence, painted green, beyond which stretched a picturesque expanse of grass, dotted with trees and patches of flowers arranged in seemingly random patterns. Under a tree some distance into the park, people were dashing around frantically, setting up a table, chairs and an enormous array of cameras, microphones and portable computers. Leads were being run from the site to a van parked near where Ren was standing, and in the midst of it all was standing a man Ren recognised instantly: Richard Andrews, the host of Hoenn Buzz.

    Steven stepped over the fence and beckoned Ren to do the same. As they approached the hubbub, Ren examined the man who he had seen so many times on television, interviewing hapless celebrities and smarmy politicians for the whole Hoenn region to see. Richard Andrews was a tall man with a healthy crop of black hair, tied back in a short ponytail. His skin was a dark olive tone, bringing out his green eyes and white teeth. As the two Trainers approached, Andrews was engaged in conversation with a very pretty young lady who looked vaguely familiar to Ren.

    As Steven and Ren drew near, Andrews noticed them and strode towards them, beaming, with arms wide. He embraced Steven like an old friend. “Steven Stone, you old rascal! It's been a while since I had you on the show.”

    “Only since last year's Conference,” Steven said, smiling. Ren was slightly taken aback by his genuineness as he slapped Andrews on the back.

    “Far too long, old buddy! Far too long,” Andrews said jovially, releasing Steven and approaching Ren. Ren instinctively took half a step back; he hadn't realised quite how tall Andrews was on television. The man was well over six feet tall. “This must be Mr. Goodwin, then?”

    Ren nodded, before finding his voice. “Yes, Mr Andrews. Nice to meet you.”

    Andrews guffawed loudly, slapping Ren on the back with such force that he just about fell over. “You hear this kid? 'Mr Andrews'? Ha! You call me Richard, kid – everyone does! And I mean that.”

    “All right . . . Richard,” Ren said, swallowing. It felt strange to be in the presence of such a recognisable figure.

    “Good stuff! And it's a damn fine pleasure to meet you too, kid! Say, s'all good if I call you Ren, right?” Richard put out his hand, grinning.

    Ren took it cautiously and just about had his arm pulled off as Richard shook it energetically. “That's fine,” he said quietly.

    “Right on! Now, if you'll excuse me, folks, I have to go make a phone call. Back in just a minute!” With that, he saluted Steven with two fingers and jogged off towards the van.

    Ren blinked, quite overwhelmed. It was as if a hurricane had just torn through the area, leaving just as quickly as it had appeared.

    Steven chuckled and patted Ren on the shoulder. “You get used to him soon enough,” he said. “He's a good man, Richard. He's not just friendly because he's on TV all the time. That's just how he is with everybody.”

    “Really? He was certainly . . . energetic,” Ren said. Now that Richard had moved on, he remembered where he was. The show was due to go live in little more than an hour.

    “That's one word for it,” Steven agreed. He seemed a little more cheerful than before.

    “Steven Stone,” said a teasing voice from Ren's left. “Are you going to keep ignoring me?”

    The speaker turned out to be the attractive young woman Richard had been talking to when they arrived. She was tall and slim, with gently tanned skin and deep blue eyes. Her brown hair barely touched her shoulders, exhibiting tasteful blonde highlights. Steven smiled and kissed her on the cheek. “Bella! So nice to see you! It's been a while.”

    “Hasn't it just? You must've been so busy lately! What have you been up to?”

    “Ah, I'm sure you've heard,” Steven said, scratching his head. “I was busy losing my title to this gentleman here. Ren, meet Bella Bianchi, singer, actress and a good friend of mine.”

    “Nice to meet you,” Ren said, nodding politely. He didn't feel up to cheek-kissing. He probably wouldn't be able to reach, in any case. “I . . . do believe I've heard of you.”

    “I would be surprised if you hadn't,” Steven said. “Bella is one of the most prolific actors this year, for starters.”

    “Oh, come on, Steven. You can't expect everybody to know me!” Bella laughed. “But yes, that's me. Since I've had my introduction stolen from me, I'll have to settle for hearing yours.” Her voice carried a slightly foreign lilt, pleasing to the ear.

    “I'm . . . Ren Goodwin. Hoenn League Champion.” With a start, Ren realised that it was the first time he had introduced himself with his new title. It felt strange, like it wasn't quite part of him yet.

    “So I take it you're on the show tonight as well?” Steven addressed Bella.

    Ren blinked, but quickly realised he was intruding. Nodding to Bella, he removed himself slightly and dropped onto a park bench, out of the way of the setup for the show. Already, he could see a few curious bystanders gathering around the border of the park. Hoenn Buzz was filmed with a live audience, no matter where it was broadcast from, he remembered. The thought of sitting in front of such a large group of people as the Champion was quite frightening; he had thought that being televised would be bad enough.

    Yawning, Ren pushed his hands through his hair, messing it up even further. Although it wasn't as if he'd been up at the crack of dawn, it had still been a tiring day. He hoped he'd get to sleep before too long.

    The Dreamlight was still cold against Ren's chest as he cast his mind back to his conversation with Steven. It had been pushed aside by the whirl of activity in the last forty-five minutes or so, but now it returned in full force, bringing with it all the confusion it had had before, and then some. Steven obviously expected something to happen when he went to sleep that night, but what, he had no idea. The only clue he had was the name of the pendant resting just below his collarbone – the Dreamlight. Was he going to have a dream? But that wouldn't tell him anything, surely. In his experience, dreams were notoriously unreliable informants. The last dream Ren remembered having was the one with the Glameow with an afro. The feline Pokemon had led him through a maze of candy canes and lollipops before finally turning on him and trying to eat him.

    Yeah. Dreams don't make sense. They don't mean anything. What had Steven been talking about? As much as he hated the prospect, he was forced to resign himself to the fact that he was just going to have to suck it up and wait. He knew that it would nag at him all evening, but at the same time he knew that he had more pressing troubles to deal with. TV . . . I don't want to be on TV.

    Ren wasn't a shy person by nature. He knew that. There was still, however, something painfully intimidating about exposing himself in such a way. Ever since he had become the Champion, he had suddenly become recognisable. It was only his third day holding the position, but the strain was already starting to become too much.

    Was it a bad idea after all? Becoming the Champion had been a glittering, golden dream for years, always hovering at the edge of his consciousness, tempting and enticing him. But now that he had actually achieved it . . . was it actually worth it?

    Ren saw no change in the future. If anything, it would get worse and worse. He was the Champion, and the Champion, as Steven had said, was as much a media personality as he was anything else. He would have to keep doing this. He would keep appearing on TV, and on the radio, and in newspapers. Sure, perhaps the hype would die down after a while, but it would always be there. He wouldn't be able to go out in public without being accosted by someone who recognised him, and he didn't think he could deal with that.

    “Are you all right, Ren?” said a voice near his right ear. Ren jumped, his heart pounding.

    “Jeez!” he exclaimed. “Don't do that!”

    “Ah, I'm sorry.” It was Bella Bianchi, Steven's movie star friend. “Were you thinking about something important? Should I leave?”

    “A . . . little,” Ren said. “And it's fine. I just wasn't paying attention.”

    “You seem a little distracted,” Bella said, leaning back on the bench and stretching. Ren noticed that despite her impending TV appearance, she was dressed relatively casually, in a golden, sparkly top and black jeans. “Are you feeling all right?”

    “I . . . what makes you think there's something wrong with me?” Ren didn't think that he had been looking particularly out of it. In fact, he had made sure to keep his face carefully neutral just to avoid this exact discussion with anyone who happened to pass by.

    Bella smiled gently. “Ren, I've made a career out of putting on different faces at will and pretending to feel emotions I don't feel. After a while, it's not too hard to tell when someone else is doing the same.”

    “Oh,” Ren said blankly. Glancing around, he added, “Where's Steven?”

    “He's talking with Richard about the show,” Bella said. She snapped her fingers playfully in front of Ren's face. “But hey! Stop trying to distract me. What's wrong with you? There's obviously something.”

    Ren took a deep breath, trying to decide how to put it into words, and indeed, whether he even should. He'd only just met Bella, and he wasn't sure if he wanted to burden her with his problems. Still, it'd be nice to tell someone other than Steven, he reasoned. He couldn't rely on the ex-Champion for sympathy. “I suppose . . . it's just that I'm not used to all of this,” he said, waving his hand at the milieu of TV cameras and rapidly growing group of curious members of the public.

    “It's the same for everyone who comes into some kind of fame,” Bella said. “It's especially hard for those who become famous overnight.”

    “I can imagine that,” Ren said. “Still, that doesn't make it any easier to swallow now. I still feel so lost when somebody stops me and says 'Hey, you're that new Champion kid!' I just start to panic . . .”

    “I see,” said Bella, tapping her chin with a manicured finger. “Tell me . . . how do you deal with it at the moment?”

    “Well, it's only happened a few times so far,” Ren said. “Mostly I just smile and try to get away from them as quickly as I can without being rude. If they want an autograph or something, I'll sign it, but it's just hard to not freak out.”

    “When I started getting a bit more well-known, it was much the same for me. Soon, though, I realised that I couldn't just run away from everybody.”

    “I know that!” Ren said, pinching the bridge of his nose. “But still, when I think about getting up on TV and talking to Richard . . . it makes me feel sick.”

    “Haven't you done some of this already? Interviews and such, I mean?”

    “Well, yeah,” Ren admitted. “But it was just with reporters, or for five minutes on a radio talk show. Then there was that one press conference, but Steven did all the talking there. It was bad, but . . . this is something else. This is TV. This is everybody.”

    “That's what Richard's job is, though. He understands how you feel about this, and he'll make it easy for you. He'll start off with some easy questions, and then build it up a little bit at a time. He's really good at making people feel comfortable when they're in the chair. And Steven will be there with you as well, I understand. He won't leave you high and dry.”

    “It's not like I have stage fright or anything! Or . . . at least, I don't think so. It's more . . . the concept of it that bothers me. A little voice in my head is sitting there and asking 'Do these people really have nothing better to do than fawn over someone they saw on TV?'. I know it's horrible, but it's really bothering me. I feel like . . . I'm being turned into an object. Like I'm not going to be a person any longer if I keep it up. Do you know what I mean?”

    Bella nodded slowly. “I think I actually do see now. And it makes it easier, if anything. When people are just scared of being in the public eye, it can take ages to get over. I've seen it in other people in my line of work. But when your problem is that loss of individuality . . . well, it's a far more serious problem with a far simpler solution.”

    “Really? There's something I can do?” Ren asked eagerly.

    She laughed lightly. “Yep. All you have to do is give it a little while. It might sound hard, but just go with it for a few weeks. Throw yourself into every challenge you come up against, heart and soul. That way, you don't forget who you are. Your problem is that you've let what you think other people think about you affect what you actually think about yourself.”

    “I . . . don't follow,” Ren said, blinking. “What I think . . . what?”

    “Maybe that was a bit confusing,” Bella admitted. “Basically, what I mean is that you're not looking at people's impressions of you. You're making assumptions based on what they say to you, and that's colouring your impression of how they view you. To them, you're still a person, even if you're a strange one. A kid as the Champion? It hasn't happened for a while, so naturally you're a fascination. But you're not an object. OK?”

    Ren wished it was. “I see what you mean, but . . . I doubt it'll make a difference. I mean, I'll try, but . . . I'm somehow not convinced. I'm sorry.”

    “No worries. All you have to do is keep thinking about it, OK? I think you can get over this really easily. I won't push you, but just think about it, yeah?”

    “. . . Yeah. Thanks, Bella.”

    “Aha!” she said triumphantly, standing up and tapping him on the nose. “Gotcha!”

    “Huh? What? What did I do?”

    “You called me by my name,” she said happily. “You hadn't done that yet!”

    “Ah . . . didn't I? I'm sorry.”

    “Oh, stop apologising for everything, Ren,” she said. “You're going to get all wrinkly if you keep frowning like that.”

    “Um . . . sor- I mean – I see. All right.” Stretching, he stood up and took a deep breath. Although the air was cool, the sun was still quite high, showing through the buildings, dead west along the main street.

    “Smile!” Bella said brightly. “I know you can, and you're not going to have any fun tonight if you keep worrying.”

    Ren tried to draw his lips into some semblance of a grin, but it still felt unnatural and a bit awkward. “You're being awfully nice to me,” he said. “Why's that?”

    “You looked down. What more reason do I need?” Bella smiled and spun around on the spot, looking up at the sky. “I think you and I could be friends, Ren. What do you think?”

    “I . . . think that could be nice,” said Ren, and with the admission came a realisation. It had been a long time since he'd had anyone he could call a friend. Sure, he had met hundreds of Trainers on his quest to become Champion. Some of them had been bad sorts, others good. Some had travelled together with him for a period of time, but that couldn't last forever. Friends had come and gone over the last five years, but none with any permanence had appeared. “I'd like that.”

    ***

    “Hey, hey, Hoenn! This is your man Richard Andrews and this . . . is Hoenn Buzz! Tonight, we're coming to you live from the picturesque Rustboro City, and man, have I got a lineup for you! First up on the show tonight we have Hoenn's favourite diva, the star of the upcoming blockbuster One Flew Over the Swellow's Nest. She also has three singles in this week's Top 40, including one that's charting in Johto and Unova as well. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you . . . Bella Bianchi!”

    Ren watched in awe as Bella strode confidently in front of the cameras, laughing and waving as if the audience were old friends. She seemed so natural, so at home, as Richard stood up and bowed dramatically. She took her seat on one of the large red chairs set up next to Richard's desk, and the interview began – except that it didn't so much feel like an interview as it did a casual conversation.

    She was masterful. Bella Bianchi played the scene with ease and grace, laughing at Richard's jokes and keeping the momentum going for the full fifteen minutes she was on the stage. When she finally left, blowing a cheeky kiss towards the cameras, the audience applauded wildly. “Game face on!” she whispered in Ren's ear as she passed. His mind was blank as he vaguely registered what Richard was saying.

    “We're going to break for commercials now, ladies and gentlemen, but don't go anywhere, because right after this, I am bringing you Steven Stone – until recently, the Hoenn League Champion – and the gentleman who toppled him from that position, Ren Goodwin!” After the cameras cut out, Richard bounded out from behind his desk and hustled over to where Steven and Ren were waiting, out of the cameras' range. “All ready to go, guys?”

    Steven nodded. “I'm ready.” He seemed completely unfazed. “Ren?”

    Ren took a deep, shaky breath. “I th- yeah. Yeah, I'm ready.”

    “Jeez, don't blow me away with your enthusiasm, guys!” Richard laughed. “Nah, I'm just screwing with ya. Let's get this on. I'll cue you on after the introduction, alright?” With that, he hurried back to his desk again.

    It was a quarter to six, and the sun was starting to creep towards the horizon, but the orange-tinged rays were still falling straight down the main street, offering plenty of light, and technicians were standing by with extra lighting just in case. The two red chairs were adjusted, and the producer counted down the seconds until the show went live again. The cameras started rolling again, and at a cue Ren couldn't see, the audience rose to their feet, applauding enthusiastically as Richard took a deep breath and shuffled his papers before finally opening his mouth to speak.

    ~~~

    Aaand you're gonna have to wait until the weekend to find out how it goes. Ohoho I'm so evil and really kind of an arse.
    Last edited by M-Dub; 14th November 2011 at 1:54 AM.

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  20. #20
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    First of all: Grr cliffhanger fwecuerildsbcweyl *mumbles incoherently*

    Aside from that, I have to say I'm not sure I understand the role of Bella yet... I mean is she just there to be the "sage advice" kind of person or is there something I'm missing? lol

    I do like how you are bringing in Ren's loneliness without making it the main focus though - this makes him seem more real because who really sits around and thinks about how many friends they have?

    Hopefully the interview will divulge what some of his strongest pokemon are... I mean I don't know if you are going the starter pokemon route, but until now I have been imagining Ren with a Sceptile :P

  21. #21
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    Firstly, I love ending chapters on cliffhangers. This won't be the last.

    Bella's role . . . yep. *hides grin*

    Ren's loneliness . . . is interesting. I kinda wanted to avoid the route of 'Trainer becomes Champion, Trainer realises he has no friends' as much as I could, so it's more a secondary concern, I think mainly because it doesn't bother Ren as much as it might other people. As has been hinted at, the only real contact he had growing up was family - his mother, his cousin(s) and so on - so it's slightly less of a focal point than is often seen, I think. It's still there, though, because it's key to his character.

    Oh . . . as of now (halfway through chapter nine) I have thought about which Pokemon Ren has a total of exactly three times. One member of his six-Pokemon party is set in stone, with one or two more possibilities.

    He does seem like a Sceptile guy, I'll grant you that, but I really feel I might steer away from the starter Pokemon route.

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  22. #22
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    Pretty interesting stuff you got now. I really like Richard's character, and the interview will probably tell us a lot about Ren. I really wonder what Pokemon he has,

    Also, from the way you spell things, you're probably British. Oh, and I'm not banned anymore. (but that's pretty obvious)

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sgeckledorf Spoongeblorb View Post
    Pretty interesting stuff you got now. I really like Richard's character, and the interview will probably tell us a lot about Ren. I really wonder what Pokemon he has,
    It's nothing personal, I swear, but right now I am laughing so hard. XD

    Also, from the way you spell things, you're probably British. Oh, and I'm not banned anymore. (but that's pretty obvious)
    I see that. XD

    And I'm from New Zealand, which uses Commonwealth English like every English-speaking country in the world bar one afaik. (Yet Wikipedia says two-thirds of all native English speakers live in the USA. Really, world? Really?)

    But yeah, I do tend to use Commonwealth spelling conventions. I made an exception for 'mom' for some reason, though. (Outside of America, we say 'mum' instead) Not sure why I went for that.

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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragon user X View Post
    It's nothing personal, I swear, but right now I am laughing so hard. XD
    Whatchoo laughin' 'bout, boy?

    Also, what does afaik mean?

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sgeckledorf Spoongeblorb View Post
    Whatchoo laughin' 'bout, boy?

    Also, what does afaik mean?
        Spoiler:- I'm laughing about:


    Also, afaik = as far as I know.

    Champion Game
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