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Thread: The Battle Before Christmas (PG/K+, Comashipping)

  1. #1
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    Default The Battle Before Christmas (PG/K+, Comashipping)

    Oh my GOD, it feels good to not have this monkey on my back anymore! This was a dare from HALF A YEAR AGO!!! SIX MONTHS!!! AND I ONLY JUST WROTE THE ENDING TODAY!!! I swear to God, I am OFF Comashipping forever!

    Also, I threw in Ash's Oshawott and Snivy as a side pairing, just because I find them cute together. It must be because of the NatsuErza elements they have.

    Anyway, I shouldn't have to say this, but I do not own Pokemon.


    It was Christmas Eve in the Unova region’s Nimbasa City, where Ash was ready to make a challenge for his fourth Unova Badge. After a short adventure at the amusement park, the Gym Leader, Elesa, had offered to battle him the day after Christmas.

    So far, the Gym Leaders – his friend Cilan included – were some of the toughest battles he’d faced since the Sinnoh League. Idly, he wondered how his old rivals would fare against them. Especially Paul.

    Ash and Paul had always disagreed on raising Pokemon. While Ash always tried to bring out his Pokemon’s inner strength, Paul expected concrete results, and would push his team to their limits to achieve those ends. The way he treated Chimchar especially bordered on abuse.

    But Ash and Chimchar, now an Infernape, had prevailed over Paul. Seeing how his old Pokemon had grown strong in Ash’s hands, Paul had finally opened his heart to the Pallet Town native.

    Now, though, Paul was challenging the Kanto Battle Frontier, and Ash couldn’t help but wonder if Paul had gone back to his cold, uncaring ways.

    Wait. If Paul was in Kanto, then why was he standing five feet away from Ash?

    “Paul!” Ash called. The lavender-haired Trainer turned his head at the sound of his name.

    “Ash,” Paul acknowledged him curtly. “I suppose if you’re here, then that means you’re challenging Elesa.”

    “Yeah,” replied Ash. “Don’t tell me you’re challenging Unova’s Gyms now, too.”

    “Actually, no,” said Paul. “Reggie and I are here visiting family for the holidays. Come New Year’s Day, I’m heading straight back to Kanto to fight the last two Frontier Brains.”

    “Great, so what Symbols do you still have to earn?” asked Ash.

    “Just the Ability Symbol and… the Brave Symbol.” Paul cringed visibly at the last three words. It was no secret to Ash that he held a deep-seated dislike of Brandon, the Pyramid King.

    “You’ll get that Symbol, Paul,” said Ash reassuringly. “You’re a really strong Trainer.”

    “Don’t patronize me, Ash,” said Paul harshly. “It’s only a matter of time.”

    “Sor-ry!” said Ash. Paul grunted and took out a Poke Ball.

    “Zebstrika, standby for battle!” he shouted, throwing the ball. In a flash of light, a wild looking zebra-like Pokemon reared up on its two hind legs giving a loud whinny as its white stripes and mane flashed yellow, signifying it was ready for battle.

    “Whoa, Paul, what are you doing?!” asked Ash in a panicky voice.

    “The Gym Leader happens to use a Zebstrika, I just so happen to have traded for my cousin’s Zebstrika, and so, I decided to challenge you with it so you could prepare for your Gym Battle,” Paul explained. “Think of it as your Christmas present.”

    “Ohhhh-kay,” said Ash, but as the situation started to sink in, his eyes lit up. Turning to his ever-faithful Pikachu, he said, “Get ready, buddy!”

    “Pi-kah!” Pikachu yelled. And with that, the battle was on.

    “Pikachu, Thunderbolt!” Ash commanded.

    “Pika-CHUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!” Pikachu shouted as a yellow bolt of electricity shot out of its body. Zebstrika just stood there and took the attack, glowing as it did. When the glow faded, Zebstrika was totally unharmed.

    “Why didn’t Zebstrika take any damage?” asked a stupefied Ash.

    “That’s due to Zebstrika’s Motor Drive ability,” Paul explained. “When hit with an Electric attack, Zebstrika’s Speed rises. Now, Zebstrika! Use Flame Charge!” Zebstrika whinnied as it cloaked itself in fire and began to build up speed.

    “Pikachu, match its speed with yours! Quick Attack, now!” Pikachu nodded and was off like a rocket towards Zebstrika, who managed to knock it back quite easily as Pikachu moaned in pain.

    Having seen that electricity wouldn’t work, Ash quickly ordered an Iron Tail. Pikachu’s tail turned to solid steel, and as it came down on Zebstrika, Paul ordered a Shock Wave. Suddenly, electricity started to gather in Zebstrika’s mane and was discharged in a wave of energy, which happened to make contact with Pikachu’s newly metallic tail, causing the damage to be amplified.

    “Zebstrika, Stomp it, and hurry!” Paul shouted. Zebstrika reared its front legs to deliver the finishing blow. Pikachu took the full force of the attack, down, but not out. Suddenly, sparks covered Zebstrika, and it couldn’t move – in short, it was paralyzed.

    “Static!” Paul cursed.

    “Pikachu, now’s our chance!” yelled Ash. “Iron Tail, one more time!”

    “Chuuuuuuu-PIKA!” Pikachu yelled as it slammed the metallic tail on Zebstrika’s forehead, knocking it out. Sighing, Paul returned Zebstrika to its Poke Ball.

    “You should have no problems dealing with Elesa now, Ash,” said Paul in congratulations. “Good battle.”

    “Thanks, but if her Zebstrika is anywhere near as strong as yours, I may be in trouble,” said Ash. “I got lucky with Pikachu’s Static.” Looking down at Pikachu, Ash said, “Can you cut it a little closer next time, buddy?” with a smile.

    “Pikachu. Pika pika, chu?,” said Pikachu, in a tone that clearly said “Oh, screw you, at least we won, right?”

    Paul grinned despite himself. “I’m going to the Pokemon Center to heal Zebstrika. You should do the same for Pikachu.” Despite his earlier grin, Paul grimaced.

    Cousin Ryan was never going to let him hear the end of this.

    *

    Back in the Pokemon Center, Ash and Paul waited for Pikachu and Zebstrika to be healed. As they stood in the waiting area, they forced small talk.

    “So,” said Paul. “What other Pokemon have you captured in Unova?”

    “Well, Oshawott is one of them, and-“ Ash was cut off by the sound of a Pokemon leaving its ball. Unsurprisingly, it was Ash’s Oshawott.

    “Oshawott!” he said proudly.

    “Oshawott, don’t you think it’s a little late to be popping out of your ball without permission? I’m gonna need you at full strength for my Gym battle in a couple days!”

    “Osha!” exclaimed Oshawott. Paul was dumbfounded.

    “Hold on! You don’t actually plan on using a Water-type Pokemon against an Electric-type Gym Leader, do you?” Paul asked Ash as though he was crazy.

    “Osha-osha-wott!” yelled Oshawott indignantly.
    “Actually, Oshawott’s pretty good against Electric-types when it’s using its scalchop,” Ash explained. He pulled out another Poke Ball and released the Pokemon inside, which happened to be his Snivy, who looked indignant at being woken up.

    “Snivy, I want you to use Vine Whip on Oshawott, okay?” Ash told her.

    “Sni?” Snivy said, quirking an eye at her Trainer’s odd request. Then again, she reasoned, that fool Oshawott probably did something to deserve it.

    “Sniiii-VY!” she yelled as the vines extended to whip Oshawott, who panicked and held out it’s scalchop to block the attack.

    Paul was impressed. “Amazing! Oshawott seems to have taken no damage at all!” he said.

    “See, I told you Oshawott was one tough cookie!” said Ash proudly.

    “Wott-oshawott!” said Oshawott in agreement.

    Snivy just gaped at Ash. Did he mean that she was only called out so Oshawott could show off?! This would not stand! With a cry, she extended the Vine Whips again, one for Ash, and one for Oshawott. She smirked at their cries of pain.

    Idiots.

    Paul could only stare. “Well,” he said. “At least your Pokemon have personality.”

    At that moment, the familiar jingle played, meaning that a Trainer’s Pokemon were fully healed. An Audino appeared pushing a trolley, on which rested Pikachu, as well as Zebstrika’s Poke Ball.

    “Pikapi?” asked Pikachu in a nervous tone as he pointed upwards.

    “What?” asked Ash. He and Paul looked up and saw that dreaded plant of the holidays: mistletoe.

    “Oh, for God’s sake,” muttered Paul. He then pulled a screaming Ash into a kiss. It wasn’t anything flashy, just a good smack for luck. Paul wasn’t superstitious, but he wasn’t taking any chances with two Frontier Brains left to fight.

    Oshawott had gathered from Ash and Paul kissing that if you were caught beneath the mistletoe, you had to kiss the person you were with. “Oshawott?” he asked Snivy hopefully.

    “Sni,” said Snivy simply and curtly, which you didn't have to understand to realize it meant "No."

    She would kiss Oshawott on her own terms.
    Last edited by Nightlingbolt; 12th May 2011 at 5:21 PM.
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  2. #2
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    I'm honestly somewhat indifferent to ComaShipping, but I think you did a good job with this oneshot, especially since it sounds like you really struggled with it.

    I've gotta say, a battle is probably the best Christmas gift Ash could ever ask for, so I think that element really worked well. Added to that, I think you handled the battle itself quite well. I know I always dread writing battles and have trouble thinking up ways to keep them interesting (It's rather like choreography, I suppose), so good job handling the flow there.

    But my favorite part of this oneshot was probably Snivy, who is just demonstrably awesome.

    Some elements I've noticed that you might want to work on are chiefly the old standby of "show, don't tell." I think you get a lot better at this once the main action starts, but in your exposition part things just seem kind of ladled out to the reader. I know this is probably because you're summarizing events from the past, so you can't really demonstrate them as easily. A good way to fix that might be through flashback. Instead of just saying that Paul's treatment of Chimchar was abusive, maybe you might want to have Ash remember actual instances of Chimchar's treatment. It would be much more impactful that way.

    I know you also have said in the author's cafe that you have trouble deciding how much background information to give and how to give it. I can kinda see that with the explanations at the top, and I think a good way to fix it is that old trick of starting with the action. That way you can get people hooked a whole lot quicker and then explain the situation more naturally along the way. In this case, you might want to start with Ash meeting Paul and being confused about why he was in Unova, then you can more naturally delve into Ash and Paul's history and their feelings toward each other.

    I didn't really have any other complaints except that the mistletoe aspect is a little rushed. It's a commonly used convention so it's always good to add an extra spin to it, and in this case it just seems like a convenient excuse for them to kiss. I think maybe if you'd delved more into their reactions afterwards that you might have had more of opportunities, but as it is it seems a little shoved in there.

    But all in all, I thought this was quite good. It was shippy, but managed to keep that good old Pokemon feeling.

    ...And did I mention that Snivy is awesome in this? It bears repeating. SNIVY IS AWESOME IN THIS.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the review!

    One of my main flaws is that I feel like I owe my audience the requisite exposition or else they'll just be like, "WTF?" But action, I know how to handle action.

    Yeah, Snivy and Oshawott were nowhere in the original script, mostly because this was written in the early days of BW (and by early, I mean before any of the episodes aired in the US). And you know what? I don't regret it. Oshawott's cute, Snivy's badass, world keeps on spinning.

    You mentioned flashing back to Paul's treatment of Chimchar. Well, in my defense, this was written with Comashippers in mind, and there's really no mention of Chimchar's abuse that they haven't already seen at the same time as Ash, and Chimchar became Ash's too quickly for anything to really build there. Of course, that's just my opinion.

    I do agree with you about the mistletoe bit being rushed, but I think if you look at it retroactively, Paul challenged Ash - and with Zebnstrika, no less - because he wanted to see Ash succeed. But basically, it did kind of flow like an actual episode of Pokemon, and I guess that's a good thing. Back to the mistletoe for a second, I like to think I saved it by having Oshawott notice the mistletoe and ask Snivy for a kiss.

    Sweet Jesus, I need a Beta Reader. And to get over my 1000-1500 word limit.
    Pokemon Y Friend Code: 3282-3535-2249

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    As of now, my focus is on Safaris with starters (barring Wartortle and Quilladin), but give me your Safari anyway. Chances are I'll find something interesting.

  4. #4
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    One of my main flaws is that I feel like I owe my audience the requisite exposition or else they'll just be like, "WTF?" But action, I know how to handle action.
    And exposition is important--I know I don't like to be confused when reading something. But it's not very lively to just plop it into the beginning. That's why I think it's important to think about how you're integrating it, so that you can move from action to exposition and back again in a more natural way.

    You mentioned flashing back to Paul's treatment of Chimchar. Well, in my defense, this was written with Comashippers in mind, and there's really no mention of Chimchar's abuse that they haven't already seen at the same time as Ash, and Chimchar became Ash's too quickly for anything to really build there. Of course, that's just my opinion.
    That's really just one example, you can apply it to other things. But I think the point of the 'showing' in this case would be to ascribe some sort of feeling to it, which is what it's missing when you just flat out tell it. You're showing Ash's tumultuous history with Paul--there ought to be mixed feelings there and you could use the Chimchar thing to convey some of those mixed feelings--vividly, without just stating calmly the status quo. Even if it's a situation they've already seen, you can take a greater interior view of it as to how it effected Ash and his view of Paul. I think that's actually the great fun of working with in-anime scenes.

    I do agree with you about the mistletoe bit being rushed, but I think if you look at it retroactively, Paul challenged Ash - and with Zebnstrika, no less - because he wanted to see Ash succeed. But basically, it did kind of flow like an actual episode of Pokemon, and I guess that's a good thing. Back to the mistletoe for a second, I like to think I saved it by having Oshawott notice the mistletoe and ask Snivy for a kiss.
    Paul's feelings on the issue were a bit lost on me, if that's the case. His wanting Ash to succeed and why he would want that, I didn't really see that when I read it.

    And I *do* agree that the Oshawott and Snivy thing helped the mistletoe situation a lot. It was cute and it was funny and I love the last line. On the other hand, this is a ComaShipping oneshot and without some kind of reaction to the incident it feels like the last punch was pulled. I actually think that mistletoe is an ironically tough gimmick to make work though, so I definitely think you did a great job pulling that humor out of it.

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