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Thread: Chronicles of Unova (PG-15)

  1. #176
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glover View Post
    And thank you, for using the sequel and not the original (best as far as plot, but lacking much thereof) and better of the trio
    I Googled "Transformers movie poster" and clicked on the first one with Megan Fox in it; I know nothing about the movies or their plots or whatever, and didn't see anything past the first one.

  2. #177
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    Hey, I missed your earlire reply, but I could never get into Courage, It was, well, odd in a pseudo-morbid kind of way, and every episode followed the same recipe (oh look, I'm sounding like Cilan): Old guy beats on dog, humans scream, monster appears, dog saves humans, dog gets pummeled. No real development there for much of anyone, except the dog. The mythos they used was kinda cool, but they got more development than Eustence for sure, and usually Muriel too.

    COem to think of it, your homage characters have more development in them than the entire series had.

    Anyway, about that review:

    “‘You boys?’” he asked. “You have to help us too you know, Bianca.” he continued. “I have no qualms with kicking you out in the rain if you don’t help us…” he said with a small laugh sarcastically, but David took it literally and shot him an angry glare.
    Sorry, I'm closer to Cheren than David on this one. I'm fine with not having Bianca doing the hard physical labor, I definately wouldn't trust her with a sharp axe for example, but a camping trio is a trio not a duo+guest.

    you gonna start reading Cosmopolitan Clefairy and Vespiquen Vogue too?” he asked mockingly. David stared at him vacantly.
    Personal quirk, whike I enjoy the twists on classic real names, these two titles don't lend themselves to species names. Alliteration, but in Moderation. For example, I wouldn't be off-put by Ford's musclecar being called a Rapidash instead of a Mustang, though Mustang and Stallion might still apply in the PKMN world, but Cosmo is Cosmo, Vogueis Vogue, and they lose something when you added Clefairy and Vespiquen to them.

    “Uh… yeah, Bianca used to do guy stuff with us as kids in Nuvema Town, Cheren, but the key words there are ‘as kids.’” he said carefully. “We used to sneak up behind you and yank your little Togepi tighty-whiteys up over your head when you weren’t looking back then too, but we grew up, Cheren; we’re 18-years-old now and adults. You and I aren’t little kids anymore and Bianca’s a grown woman. I guess if you want to still be a kid though, that’s fine; what do you say, Bianca? Want to go for an old grab-and-yank for old time’s sake?” he asked fiendishly. Bianca laughed in a deep tone but Cheren moved away nervously out of habit. David laughed too at his friend’s residual fear.
    He said, he said, said is getting reptitive across chapters, and when you've got work as good as this, it sticks out. Maybe replacing it with "He [David] chose his words carefully" On that note though, funny scene, and poor Cheren deserves it.

    “Yeah… yeah, I’m okay…” she rasped. “It’s this skirt; I can’t stretch my legs very far in it.”
    Aaannddd Bianca realizes what the entire fandom has been trying to tell her for the entire release...

    Thoroughly stirred from his nap now, Courage rose and hopped up on Muriel’s lap to be pet.
    I was taught petted. May be different for you.

    “Your friend has caught the Kami’s Curse.” Muriel said ominously.
    From an insider perspecctive, Omnoiously seems repetitive. Maybe it's just that I know the references to COurage, and that it's needed from an outsider relation, but you've already shown us Ominous and Foreboding through David's persistant questioning, and "Said Omniously" was immediately met with "Oh? You don't say? Or rather, you did say, and that's the problem." Personally, I think you can cut the scene at the quotation mark and get a much more effective dramatic pause.

    “When she fell in the mud out there, did she accidentally swallow any of it?” Muriel asked quietly. David nodded, causing her to sigh. “Maybe it is out of spite, I don’t know, but Tornadus and Thundurus do not use regular rainwater for their storms. Legends tell of people occasionally getting sick when they ingest the water. There is something they put in it that has a very adverse reaction on certain people; they call it the Kami’s Curse.”
    The Professor in me is wanting to call this an old native explanation for what modern folk know as Acid Rain. It could also be fertilizer, which is how Landorus works. Maybe it's his trick on those two, and they don't know it?

    “Some people can drink it by the gallon and be fine, but others are effected almost instantly.
    Affected... Wait... *Looks it up* Yep. It's affected, not effected.

    “Bianca could DIE from this?!” he stammered in surprise. “What are you waiting for? What’s the cure?!” he asked. Muriel lowered her head and sighed yet again.
    Aww... after doing Ominous and Forboding so well, I don't get stammered at all. For best effect, I'd either move "David Stammered" to the head of the sentence so I know to read it as stammering, or go extremely heavy on the commas. Personally, I like commas, but if proper punctuation is your OCD, then move the phrase. Otherwise, I read ti with great shock, then see stammered and have to go back and reread that scene.

    “What. Is. It?” he said again slowly and commandingly. Muriel lowered her head and began to reply.
    Bingo!

    “While I do not wish to aggravate the situation, I believe she is correct, master.” Paula spoke up timidly. “I cannot break through and reach Ms. Bianca’s mind as I could when you were rendered unconscious in Relic Castle. I am keeping her stable for the moment with my Heal Pulse, but there is no forward momentum.”
    Strictly from a continuity standpoint, but this seems obvious, and two completely different things.

    “David, I know you care a lot about Bianca and so do I, but it’s a pretty big logical jump from ‘she shouldn’t have to help us set up the tent because she’s a girl’ to ‘I’m going to go screw with a pair of spiteful Legendaries to try and save her life.’ Weigh the risks, man; is being the big macho ‘protector/provider’ role worth getting yourself killed too?” he asked. David considered his words, but approached Muriel slowly after a moment of silence. He knelt down to her height in the chair and took a hold of her hands to calm her.
    Really? When has "Gee, she was nice. Too bad, she's dead now" EVER gotten you any brownie points?

    “Muriel, I’m going.” he said. “I can use my Joltik to draw Thundurus’ lightning from a safe distance and I don’t have to go far. Please just tell me where the seeds are.” he continued. Muriel dried her eyes and pointed to a kitchen cabinet.
    Okay, now I'm nitpicky, and you're limited in options, but short of a Pokemon with Lightningrod, that can't work, outside of being a higher charge than the objects around them.

    David stepped outside and shut the door behind him. The rain and lightning had slowed a bit, but picked up again strongly as David reemerged; Tornadus and Thundurus certainly deserved the “prankster” moniker Muriel had described them with.
    Moniker really isn't a description. The line reads better as "Tornadus and Thundurus certainly deserved the rankster moniker Muriel had given them."

    and lightning strikes hit the mountainside in the distance seemingly every dozen seconds or so. David put these things out of his mind however and thought only of Bianca’s innocent, all-consuming beauty, focusing on his motivation for doing this in the first place;
    those things?

    Also, I really don't get what he sees in her...

    the Legendary Kami flung bolt after bolt at his foes with rage burning in his eyes, much to his brother’s annoyance.
    "Would you just let this go already?"
    "NO! I've Got this!"
    "Seriously? You aren't gonna hit them. Let me..."
    "NO! I SAID I"VE GOT THIS."

    Thundurus took aim, careful to not miss or let his foe divert the stream again. Growling with contempt, he roared and launched the final bolt.
    the stream of lightning bent at a sharp angle just before reaching his foe. Galvantula sprang out of the way on his powerful new array of legs to keep from being struck. He turned in midair and diverted it a second time to strike the seeds behind him.
    Must... resist... urge... to point out logic... must enjoy... story...

    “I was a little afraid of him at first too, but you get used to it.” he said, walking over and laying a hand on Galvantula’s back. Galvantula purred like a cat at his trainer’s touch.
    Am I the only one who was in love with Galvantula at first sight?
    Last edited by Glover; 11th November 2011 at 3:32 AM.
        Spoiler:- Breeding stuff:

  3. #178
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    Question! How come you don't give nicknames to your characters pokemon sans Paula, Gus and whatever Bianca's Crobat was called?
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  4. #179
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quackjack29 View Post
    Question! How come you don't give nicknames to your characters pokemon sans Paula, Gus and whatever Bianca's Crobat was called?
    Answer! Because I always thought it was considered taboo or semi-against-the-rules. After a bit of investigation upon seeing your question though, it turns out that this was what I was thinking of.

    Don't think of it as "Paula and Gus have nicknames and everyone else doesn't," think of it as "No one has nicknames and Paula and Gus prefer their real names to their species names." Given that Paula can "talk" and is just as much of a main character as David or Cheren, I figured I should give her a real name when I was creating the character. Paula's name is actually drawn from a real-life friend of mine, although Paula the Gardevoir's character is not necessarily based on Paula the human's. As for Gus, remember that, as Chapter 10 explains, Gus was a human for 20+ years before he was a Yamask/Cofagrigus. He presumably would prefer being called by his original name over being called by a species name. The name "Gus" comes from "Cofagrigus."

    As with most of your (plural "your") questions, I think you guys will be pleasantly surprised by the opening few chapters of Part 2. Next chapter will be up soon, guys; thanks for reading.

  5. #180
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    Ok? I think it's kinda weird not having nicknames, it's like naming a dog "Dog".
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  6. #181
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quackjack29 View Post
    Ok? I think it's kinda weird not having nicknames, it's like naming a dog "Dog".
    I reject your assumption and substitute my own.

    Hey everyone, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but Chapter 19 will not be up tonight. However, I'd like to offer this as a cop-out explanation. It's 36 Goddamn pages. I did some writing during the week, spent all day Friday writing, and spent all day Saturday writing. The thing is massive. It is almost necessarily going to be three parts, or possibly a very jam-packed two. I have done no editing to it except for the preliminary bits I did while actually writing it, but as it stands right now, it is a bit over 100,000 characters, which makes it head-and-away the longest chapter by far. Hopefully you can excuse a week of lateness when it comes given the length.

    I have another linear algebra test on Thursday, so I probably won't have time to get it posted before next weekend. I don't think I'm going to try and pull any miracles to get it out some time during the week; it'll be higher quality and easier on me to just take my time. Hopefully you guys are cool with this given the length.

    Thanks for reading, as always.

    Edit: Wow, this post marks the start of 10 pages! Awesome!

  7. #182
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChaosBlizzard View Post
    Hopefully you guys are cool with this given the length.
    No, we're not.

    Alright everyone! Ready your Berries, begin with the pelting with the fruit!!

    I kid, I kid. Oh, to have a story that goes for 36 pages, let alone a chapter...
        Spoiler:- Breeding stuff:

  8. #183
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    in slovenia, we would say: 'kapo dol'
    that means respect. 36 pages for a chapter. Whew
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    credit to: ~.:Northern Lights:.~




    credit to leyniar

  9. #184
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    In Florida, we'd say "Hurry up the **** up!"

    JK, JK. I can wait. As long as it's your usual quality i'll be more'n happy to waiy.
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  10. #185
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    add me to the PM list. This is very well thought out. I cannot wait for chapter 19 to come out.

    Btw, are they all gonna have a full team of 6 pokemon when they reach the pokemon league? I doubt it by the way you've made them catch pokemon.
    Yep we should ban baton pass, and weather too. Oh and Trick Room, I'm tired of having to worry about Trick Room all the time. Just ban the move Trick Room, and prankster, it's broken. Ban all status moves on prankster users, they're too cheap. Oh and ban Probopass to it's so cheap. Just ban everything except Magikarp with splash.
    Well, actually Blaziken isn't really Uber because some people whined about how they were getting owned by it. I mean, it doesn't stand a chance in the Uber enviroment.

  11. #186
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    Oh gosh, that is going to be a long chapter. I'm really going to be looking forward to reading it.
    Witness the truly awesome power of my claimed Gyarados.

    Gyarados used Epic Awesomeness!
    It's super effective!
    The foe lost OVER 9000% of its health!

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    "I moved my Monopoly piece forward two squares when nobody was looking, but I didn't use an action replay so it's totally okay"

  12. #187
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    WHOA. The next chapter's going to be Separation. And it's that long.

    We're in for a very good chapter. Can you say, "Excited?" Cos I am.

    EDIT:
    Quote Originally Posted by irock245 View Post
    Btw, are they all gonna have a full team of 6 pokemon when they reach the pokemon league? I doubt it by the way you've made them catch pokemon.
    No, not by the League. Chaos stated that during the post-game chapters, he would, but for the main storyline, in order to have enough space to develop characters at a nice pace, he'd stick with three per. ^_^
    Last edited by jstinftw!; 15th November 2011 at 2:49 AM.

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  13. #188
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    Quote Originally Posted by NACHOE! View Post
    WHOA. The next chapter's going to be Separation. And it's that long.

    We're in for a very good chapter. Can you say, "Excited?" Cos I am.
    I did my first complete proof last night. Somehow, I accidentally another page; it's now 37, lol. It is on track to be posted Saturday as of right now, although there's maybe a chance it'll be our regular Sunday. Hopefully the thing that came up won't take too long though and it'll be Saturday... *rambling*

    Quote Originally Posted by NACHOE! View Post
    No, not by the League. Chaos stated that during the post-game chapters, he would, but for the main storyline, in order to have enough space to develop characters at a nice pace, he'd stick with three per. ^_^
    This is correct. David, Bianca and Cheren have caught all the Pokemon they're going to catch in Part 1. David and Cheren will obtain full 6-Pokemon teams in Part 2, and I'm undecided on Bianca; it'll all make sense soon.

    You guys always get on me about how I have evolutions happen too frequently, and you used to say I needed to flesh out the personalities of the non-Paula Pokemon some more (although you guys seem to think I've gotten better about this). All those concerns were/are legitimate, but imagine how much worse they'd be if the group had 18 collective Pokemon compared to 9. If all three of them had full-sized teams, there would literally have to be an evolution every chapter, and the majority of their teams would be filler with no personality.

    EDIT: I just remembered the whole reason I posted this in the first place, derp; I updated a few upcoming chapter titles slightly. Not a significant change, but some of you may want to take a look.
    Last edited by ChaosBlizzard; 15th November 2011 at 7:08 PM.

  14. #189
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        Spoiler:- Author's Notes:


    Chronicles of Unova

    Chapter 19: Separation
    Part 1 of 3

    A sheer, jagged cliff jutted out from the side of Twist Mountain, looking out over the winding path of Route 7 about fifty feet off of the ground. On the western side of the ledge was a cave which led into the sprawling, maze-like interior of the mountain; on the eastern side was a rough, natural set of stairs which rose from the ground to the ledge and which were carved out of the stone itself. Somewhere in between those two extremes was a small divot, etched into the stone by centuries of erosion. It was not deep, it was not wide, and it was not conspicuous; in fact, it was decidedly non-unique and uninteresting in every way, and had never been of any significance to anything, ever. A passing Gurdurr had taken a misstep and almost tripped on the divot exactly 79 years prior, but that Pokémon had long since passed away and no one else had been around to observe the phenomenon when it had occurred; that small event aside, the divot had never been in interaction with any living creature since the rains dug it out all those centuries ago. Nevertheless, the divot was there, providing texture and character to the mountainous terrain; the sun’s rays hit it the same as any other spot, as did the snow, the wind and the rain. The rain in particular had been hitting it a great deal as of late; its upward concavity made the divot ideal for collecting rainwater as it fell. Today was a special day for the divot; today the divot was filled with rainwater from the previous night’s storm. This fact made the divot very useful to a passing traveler; for the first time in 79 years, the divot had struck someone’s eye. The man knelt down and pressed his cupped hands against the divot to collect some of the residual water it held; he brought his palms toward his face and took a drink.

    “Hmm…” Alder murmured. He carefully examined the taste of the contaminated water before spitting it back out on the ground. “Yep, that’s Kami’s Curse water alright; guess they were here…” he muttered to himself. Alder looked back down at the unassuming divot and decided to sit next to it, hanging his feet off of the cliff like a schoolchild. He looked out over the scenic route and smiled at the natural beauty before him. He sat in silent reflection for several minutes, keeping the divot company.

    “Good morning, Unova…” he murmured peacefully under his breath.

    A short distance down the road which led to his perch, David, Bianca and Cheren were traveling onward and having a discussion; Bianca spoke.

    “I don’t know why you’re being so uptight about this, David; I’m glad Paula told me about what you did. It was sweet of you to not want me to worry, but like you said, you took care of it, so why not tell me? If I wasn’t still in any danger, then what could I have worried about?” she asked from behind a wry smile. David walked with his hands in his pockets and his head turned away, the brim of his cap blocking his eyes.

    “I dunno…” he muttered. “I just didn’t want to make a big deal out of it…” he continued. Cheren scoffed.

    “I can tell you what the real reason is, Bianca. David’s what we call ‘modest to a fault.’” he said with a laugh. “He did battle with a Goddamn Legendary Pokémon and then won, but he can’t admit it was impressive.” he continued. Bianca pursed her lips and laid her hand on David’s shoulder.

    “Actually, that kind of makes sense. Is that true, David? Is that why you didn’t want me to know?” she asked in a sweet, concerned voice. David lowered his head farther and looked away.

    “Well… you know…” he started to mutter under his breath. “Galvantula did all the work… I hardly even gave him any commands…” he continued; Cheren laughed loudly, but Bianca grew more concerned.

    “Read! You! Like! A! Book!” Cheren shouted through his laughter. David glared at him spitefully, but Bianca simply tuned his immature chatter out and waved her hand dismissively in his direction; she tightened her grip on David’s shoulder and walked a little closer.

    “David, listen to yourself.” she said quietly. “This was just the most recent on a long list of things you’ve done that impressed me. Can you really not admit to any of them?” she continued. David shuffled uncomfortably beneath her grasp.

    “Like what?” he asked with pitiful indignation staining his tone. Bianca smiled.

    “Well… how about when you saved my Zubat from those Plasma goons back in Castelia?” she asked; David raised his eyebrow in surprise.

    “How was that impressive? Anyone would have done that if they were worth half their salt; I just had good reaction time.” he replied. Bianca chuckled.

    “Well, what about that song you played for me later that night at the café?” she asked. David again looked perplexed.

    “If playing an instrument is considered ‘impressive,’ then I’d like to know what isn’t.” he scoffed. “A whole boatload of pot-smoking, high school dropout hippies just became ‘impressive’ if that’s true.” he continued. Bianca again chuckled at his obstinance.

    “How about when you protected me from that monster in Relic Castle?” she asked, now almost just egging him on to see what kind of a response she would get.

    “You mean Gus? Cheren’s Cofagrigus? He’s hardly a ‘monster,’ he’s part of the family.” David replied. Bianca laughed loudly at that response.

    “But we didn’t know that at the time!” she strained to say over her laughter. “Okay, okay, okay… I’ve got one that I know you can’t deny!” she continued with a grin spreading across her face; David stared back vacantly in anticipation for whatever else she had come up with to stump him. “That night in Nimbasa City on the Ferris wheel when you told me you liked me romantically; there’s no way you can deny that one!” she said excitedly. David sighed and turned away.

    “Oh for Arceus’ sake, Bianca, that’s the most impressive thing I’ve ever done in your mind?” he asked almost indignantly. “The environment, something completely beyond my control, was about as perfect as it could have been, what with the lights, the atmosphere, the enclosed space and what not, and we had just spent a really nice day together, so you were probably all hopped up on endorphins and in the right frame of mind to be receptive to it. You said ‘it’s beautiful,’ referring to the city, and I muttered ‘it’s not the only thing’ to myself so quietly that I never even anticipated you’d actually hear it. That’s not ‘romantic’ or ‘impressive,’ that’s corny. I’m still amazed you actually went for it…” he continued. That was too much; Bianca and Cheren both started laughing wildly at his stubbornness. David rolled his eyes and looked away.

    “Oh David, shut up…” Bianca wheezed. “Cheren’s totally right; you can’t admit your strong points.” she continued. David frowned and turned his head away again.

    “Fine, whatever…” he muttered. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you right away. I kicked Thundurus’ ass from here to Mistralton and saved the helpless damsel in distress; I’m so awesome, you guys should probably just make me King of Unova right here and now. Happy?” he asked. Bianca giggled again and kissed his cheek.

    Very.” she whispered. David sighed but smiled back at her as their painful conversation finally came to a close. The trio had reached the base of Twist Mountain by now and had caught Alder’s attention; before any of them could speak up to say more on the topic, Alder called out to them from atop the cliff.

    Hallo-ah!” he bellowed. The noise startled the group as they looked around to determine the source of the cry. Spotting him rising from his perch, they waved and began shouting back.

    “Hey Alder!” Cheren shouted. “Hang on, we’ll be right-” he started to say, but Alder moved out of sight before he could finish. Cheren trailed off and a confused look spread across his face; before he could say more though, a peculiar sight struck their eyes.

    Geronimo!!!” Alder shouted. He took a running leap and launched himself from the cliff. His cloak and long, flowing hair blew behind him in the breeze as he plummeted towards the ground. He dropped like a rock, but he spread his arms to expand his poncho, acting like a pseudo-parachute to soften the fall. As he neared the ground, he stretched out a hand and caught hold of a tiny, inconspicuous branch which hung from the rock wall. He flipped around it once to slow his momentum and then dropped the remaining few feet to the ground safely. All of this happened in just a matter of seconds.

    “…up.” Cheren continued. “Or… not.” he said. David and Bianca flanked him with their jaws nearly on the ground.

    “Hallo-ah, Cheren! David, Bianca, nice to see you too!” Alder bellowed in a booming, projecting voice. He sounded a hearty chuckle before putting his hands on his hips and flashing his winning smile/thumbs-up combination. The group of travelers managed to squeak out a timid, meager greeting in response.

    “What are you doing here, Alder?” David asked. Alder smiled at his question.

    “I had heard word that the Legendary Kami were seen here recently, but it looks like I missed them; I was coming to investigate.” he responded. David nodded and replied.

    “Yeah, they were here just last night. We got caught in their storm, and Bianca caught the Kami’s Curse.” he explained. Alder’s eyes grew wide, but Bianca chimed up before he could speak.

    “I’m all better now thanks to David though.” she said with a sly giggle. David rolled his eyes at the subtext of her statement, but Alder smiled magnanimously.

    “Is that so? A run-in with Legendaries isn’t something that happens to just any old trainers; it sounds like you three have been having quite the adventure since we last met.” he said proudly; the group nodded in agreement.

    “We’ve been getting a lot stronger.” Cheren said with confidence. “We’re already up to six badges a piece.” he continued. Alder smiled a wry smile, but shot Cheren a peculiar stare.

    “Is that so, Cheren? ‘Getting stronger,’ you say? But that’s not what I asked; I said that ‘it sounds like you three have been having quite the adventure since we last met.’ Having an adventure and getting stronger aren’t necessarily the same thing.” he explained. Cheren was prepared for his logic this time around though.

    “I know they’re not; I’ve actually been thinking a good deal about what you said to me last time. You’re right, ‘getting stronger’ isn’t an end to itself, but neither is ‘having an adventure.’” Cheren said both confidently and bitingly. Alder raised an eyebrow in surprise.

    “Oh?” Alder asked. “Pray tell.” he continued curiously.

    “Well, you know that old expression ‘Don’t lose the forest for sight of the trees?’ Don’t get caught up in the details and lose the big picture? Well, recognizing that we’re on an adventure and that we’re nearly as far from our homes in Nuvema Town as you can get is important, like you identified, but wandering aimlessly isn’t a viable alternative either; they’re two extremes of the spectrum.” Cheren explained. “It’s important that I not get consumed by our goal of entering and winning the League Championships, but it’s also important that I not lose sight of that goal for the sake of enjoying the trip. So yes, we’re having an adventure that is perhaps even more unusual than that of most trainers, and I recognize that, but pursuit of strength isn’t something I should necessarily shy away from.” he continued. Alder seemed taken aback.

    “Well Cheren, that’s all fine and good, and it sounds like you’ve been doing some real soul searching on the matter, but I’ll have you know I’m not ‘wandering aimlessly.’ My own journey is perhaps a little more haphazard and less procedural than yours, but I do have my own goal and my own reasons for my trip.” he said defensively. Cheren drew back in surprise.

    “I… what?” he stammered. “Who said anything about your journey? I didn’t mean to imply your journey is meaningless or anything like that; what gave you that idea?” he asked in surprise. Alder got wide-eyed for a second, but composed himself before they could notice.

    “I, uh… oh… nothing, nevermind. Sorry, guess I took you out of context there; sorry about that…” he said apologetically. “Well, but anyway, I suppose you three are heading into Twist Mountain then?” he asked, trying to change the subject. The group nodded in the affirmative and his famous “in-control” smile returned to him. “Good, good… across the pass you’ll meet Brycen in Icirrus City; he’s kind of an odd Ducklett, but I think you’ll like him.” he continued. Alder laughed heartily again upon thinking of the Gym Leader; when his laughter subsided he continued to speak.

    “Well, I guess I should let you kids get going then.” he said with a grin. “It was nice seeing you all again; safe journey across the mountain.” he continued. The group of trainers returned the sentiment and bade him farewell.

    “Thanks, Alder. We’ll see you soon!” Bianca shouted as they parted ways. The adventurers began ascending the rough stairs up the side of the mountain as Alder began walking away; he still wore his warm smile, his hands tucked in his pockets beneath his poncho, but as solitude again returned to him, his calm, modest grin started to pass away into a frown. Alder looked down, deep in thought.

    “I’m not ‘wandering aimlessly,’ Cheren…” he muttered to himself. After a pause, he sighed and finished his statement. “At least… that’s what I tell myself…” he continued. “…I’m trying to forget.

    “Neat! Hey look! A divot!” Bianca’s voice rang from atop the ledge. This unexpected sound stirred Alder from his thoughts and returned his focus to reality. He turned over his shoulder and smiled at his young friend’s naivety. With a chuckle, he put his hands back in his pockets and set out on his own way.

    * * *

    Twist Mountain was not, from a bird’s eye view, a very typical looking mountain. Where a peak would have been was actually quite the opposite; a gaping, fog-covered concavity dropped far below sea-level in the dead center of the mountain, seemingly as if it had been carved out by some giant’s spade. The “mountain” looked from the air to be more like a natural retaining wall around the pit, though its depths were frequently obscured by fog and snow. A complex network of caves ran throughout the interior of the mountain and provided any number of paths around its center from either side. Precarious wooden bridges had been built over time around the interior of the pit to connect some of these caves, forcing errant travelers to dart in and out of them as they wrapped around the abyss. The various paths forked at many junctions, and many of those forks had forks all their own; many equally valid paths existed within the cave network to cross the mountain, but a fair number of paths were also simply dead ends. Upon rounding a corner and finding themselves at their first such split, Bianca squealed in delight at a sight before her.

    AWWW!” she cooed, clasping her hands together in front of her face. “It’s SO CUTE!!!” she exclaimed. Sitting in the middle of the Y-shaped fork in the road where two paths came together sat a small, blue Pokémon; its tiny body and innocent face appealed to her more feminine side, but the giant wad of mucus which dribbled precariously from its nose cinched the deal. Upon hearing her cry, the baby Pokémon leaned back on its tailbone, sniffling in the mucus and flailing its legs with wild abandon; upon filling its lungs with as much air as it could, it sat back up straight and the icy, blue-colored snot dribbled back out of its nostril again, unwilling to stay tucked away inside. This show of cuteness incited further girlish squeals from Bianca.

    “Wow, a Cubchoo!” Cheren said, a grin spreading across his face too. “They’re a pretty rare species, actually; they only live around here in northwestern Unova, and don’t typically come out until later in the season. I wonder what he’s doing out here so close to the entrance…” he mused. Bianca couldn’t care less the reason.

    “That snot bubble is just the cutest! What a little goober!” she continued to scream in delight. She pivoted back and forth on her heels and seemed unwilling or unable to unclench her hands from one another in front of her bosom. David grinned at her extraordinary show of joy, but quickly grew concerned as she started dashing towards the wild Pokémon.

    “Yeah, he’s pretty cu– hey, wait; Bianca, no! Stop!” he shouted after her. “It’s not safe to just go running up to it like that!” he continued, but Bianca didn’t hear him.

    “Come here, darling, do you want a hug?!” she cooed, outstretching her arms as she ran. The Cubchoo’s vacant, expectant stare turned to one of fear as the human, easily a good three times his size, came bounding towards him. The Cubchoo struggled to rise but, failing to see fleeing in time as a viable option, started to scream for help instead. Bianca thought his cries were that of receptiveness at her approach and scooped him up in her arms.

    “Aww! Who’s a cute little bear? Who’s a cute little bear?!” she asked, spinning him around in the air; the Cubchoo continued to flail and scream in panic. David and Cheren started running towards her, sensing the impending danger, but they weren’t fast enough.

    “Bianca! Put down the Cubchoo!” David shouted, but she didn’t hear him in time.

    “You’re just the silliest-looking little Pokémon in the whole wide wor-” she started to say, but a fearsome, rumbling “roar!” came from down the right-side path before she could finish her thought. Bianca froze and looked to where the sound had come from in terror, cutting her statement short; the Cubchoo continued trying to break her grasp, managing to wriggle free as she slacked her grip. It dropped to the ground with surprising grace and began running towards the roar with a clumsiness a bit more becoming of its stature and build.

    “Uh… g-g-g-guys?” Bianca stammered timidly as David and Cheren ran up. “What was tha-” she started to continue, but the menacing “roar!” sounded again and cut her short. She yelped in fear as the bloodthirsty noise reached them again, stepping back behind David and Cheren defensively. From out of the darkness farther in the cave, a giant, rampaging Beartic appeared, charging towards them with rage in her eyes. The Cubchoo ran towards its mother, scooped up in her arms and shielded from harm protectively upon reaching her. Satisfied that her baby was unharmed after a quick inspection, she set the Cubchoo back down behind her and turned towards the group of travelers, snarling and growling fearsomely; she looked ready for a fight.

    “Nice going, Bianca; what’s that old expression about not screwing with mother bears?” Cheren asked, drawing a Pokéball to defend himself with. Bianca ducked behind him and started to reply.

    I’m sorry!” she screamed in a panic. “I just wanted to pet the little Cubchoo!” she said mournfully. Cheren rolled his eyes and sighed at her lame excuse, but before he could throw his Pokéball, David stepped in front of him and drew one of his own.

    “It’s fine, Bianca, just get back!” David shouted. “Cheren, take her and start heading down that other path; Paula and I will handle this.” he continued. Cheren was reluctant to let David take the fight, but in the tight confines of the cave, despite both of them having a type advantage, Paula’s Focus Blast would be more adept against the Ice-type Beartic than Aerodactyl’s Rock Slide would have been. He turned and grabbed Bianca by the wrist, leading her down the left-side path; David drew Paula’s Pokéball and released her from it.

    “Paula, use Focus-” he started to say, but Paula cut him off as she sprang from the ball.

    “Already way ahead of you, master!” she responded. She began charging energy for the strike, but the enraged Beartic wasted no time moving in to make a strike of her own. With her baby safely behind her, she fell to all-fours and began charging towards the Gardevoir, teeth bared and fiery anger burning in her eyes. She had traversed about half of the distance between them by the time Paula was able to fire off her Focus Blast; in her rushed haste however, despite the growing amount of practice she had with the move, it went wild and struck the wall just in front of her opponent. The attack was no less powerful than if it had hit its intended mark however; a sizable portion of the stone wall crumbled upon the bundle of energy impacting against it, causing a large rock slide to fall which narrowly missed the Beartic.

    When the dust settled, the Beartic rose back up on her hind legs and tried to blink away the dirt from her eyes. Realizing it was a losing fight against the Focus Blast-enabled Gardevoir, she growled in warning a few times before turning tail and running back to her baby to try and escape with him safely. David and Paula were perfectly fine letting the fight end in a draw, having no qualm with them in the first place and acting only out of self-defense against a false charge, but the Beartic was not so noble. Upon collecting her baby, before retreating back into the deeper recesses of the mountain, she turned over her shoulder and snarled a final time. She raised her free paw, the other holding the Cubchoo against her side, and slammed it against the wall. Veins of ice formed at the point of contact and ran throughout the stone walls, spreading to form dozens of icicles atop the ceiling; the tremor reverberated throughout that entire section of the cave, causing more stones and rocks to fall along with many of the newly created ice shards: Icicle Crash. Satisfied she had done sufficient damage to cover her escape, the Beartic sneered and ran back out of sight.

    Between Paula’s Focus Blast and the Beartic’s Icicle Crash, the structural damage to that section of the cave was too great; it began to collapse under its own weight. Boulders and icicles fell all around them, sending huge plumes of dust and dirt into the air. David and Paula were dumbstruck momentarily as the world literally crumbled around them, but Cheren’s voice promptly snapped them back into focus.

    “Quick! RUN!” he shouted. Recognizing his cry, David and Paula started sprinting as quickly as they could back towards Cheren and Bianca.

    “Master, take my hand! I can just use Tele-” Paula started to say, but David cut her short. A massive chandelier of boulders and icicles came crashing down directly in front of them as she started to make her suggestion; recognizing the danger before she did, David skidded to a halt and threw himself full-force at his Gardevoir to keep her from running beneath the falling debris. The pair fell harshly to the ground, David shielding her more frail body with his own, as the rocks narrowly missed them. The small avalanche-cross-rock-slide subsided shortly after that, but it had completely blocked off and separated the two paths.

    When the danger had passed, David gingerly rose from atop his Gardevoir and helped her to stand. They were slightly scraped and bruised, but otherwise unscathed.

    “Are you alright, Paula?” he asked, wincing as he rose.

    “Yes, master, given the circumstances; are you?” she asked. David nodded.

    “Yeah, I think I’m alright. Sorry about having to tackle you like that.” he said, blushing at the thought. Paula smiled and waved her hand dismissively.

    “Better you than a boulder twenty times my weight, master.” she said with a laugh. She bent down and brushed the dirt off of her gown, straightening it as she stood back up again. Paula collected her breath and emanated a small wave of excess psychic energy from her body, calming her mind in the process. Fully refreshed and collected, she reopened her eyes and smiled, waiting expectantly for further instruction from her trainer.

    David?!” Bianca’s muffled voice sounded from across the rocks. “David? Paula? Can you hear us?” she continued. David walked up to the pile of boulders separating them and shouted back.

    “Bianca! Yes, we can hear you!” he shouted. Cheren’s voice came in reply.

    The cave-in is blocking the path! How are we going to get to you?” he asked. The sound was very muffled as it tried to pass through the rocks; David turned to Paula and began to speak at a normal volume.

    “Paula, can you just Teleport us to them?” he asked. Paula frowned however and shook her head slightly.

    “I am sorry, master, but that is not how my teleportation abilities work.” she replied. “I can Teleport somewhere only if I can visualize it in my mind, but I did not get a clear look at the other side of the path before the cave-in thanks to that Beartic attacking us. Under different circumstances I could try based on the limited knowledge of the area that I have, but the terrain on the other side may have changed significantly since I last saw it; we might accidentally warp right inside of a fallen rock.” she continued. David frowned but nodded in appreciation of her candid answer. He began to speak up in reply.

    “We probably shouldn’t keep shouting back and forth at them in here. Can you let Cheren know telepathically that we’re going to have to find another way around, and that we’ll meet up with them somewhere else in the mountain?” he asked. Paula nodded and shut her eyes to focus.

    As Paula relayed David’s message to Cheren and Bianca, David began ambling around aimlessly, inspecting the damage to the cave. In the frantic excitement of the cave-in, David realized he had misplaced Paula’s Pokéball; he began worriedly scanning the ground for it, thinking he may have just dropped it, but much greater fears were quickly confirmed.

    “Mr. Cheren and Ms. Bianca will make their way down the left path, master. Mr. Cheren said to tell you ‘good luck.’” Paula said cheerily as she walked up after a moment. “Shall I return to my Pokéball now?” she asked. David bent down and picked up the destroyed remained of her ball from the debris in response.

    “I don’t suppose your Heal Pulse works on electronics too, does it?” he asked, showing her the crushed pieces of the ball. A rock had fallen and smashed it during the cave-in; the hinge was broken, the casing was cracked and the electronics were smashed to pieces. “Feel like walking?” he asked apologetically; Paula sighed.

    “We Gardevoir are… err… not particularly well built for walking through terrain like this, master; my gown dragging along the ground would slow us down considerably at the very least.” she said, her mouth twisting into a thin, slanted line. “But…” she started to continue. “…since it would be a chance to spend an extended period of time with you, master, I would be delighted to accompany you via levitation.” she continued. A wry smile spread across her lips and she giggled at her statement; David grinned back and dropped the shards of her Pokéball into his bag.

    “Maybe someone in Icirrus can fix it.” he said hopefully, zipping the bag shut again. “Worst case scenario I guess I could just release you and then catch you again in a new one.” he continued. Paula covered her mouth and giggled at his logic.

    “I believe that since the electronics of my original ball are completely destroyed, master, that means I have already been implicitly released.” she said in a sarcastic tone. Paula giggled again and shot David a wry smile. “Since I am not currently tied to a functioning Pokéball, for all intents and purposes I suppose that makes me a wild Pokémon, master!” she said, continuing to laugh. David chuckled at her joke too.

    “A wild Pokémon, huh?” he asked jokingly. Paula winked and snapped her fingers cutely, putting her other hand on her outstretched hip.

    “Do not get too close, master; I might be liable to attack!” she said, trying to restrain further laughter. David snickered and took a hold of her tender hand.

    “Come on, wild child; let’s try and cover some ground before nightfall.” he said as his own laughter subsided. Paula giggled a final time, rising a short distance into the air and following him. Leaving the cave-in behind, the pair set out through the cave network.

    * * *

    Heading down the left-side path, Cheren and Bianca ambled cautiously onward, wary of possibly running into more wild Pokémon like the Beartic in the dangerous mountain. Ever since their early childhood in Nuvema Town, David had always been the de facto leader of their small group; Cheren saw their separation as a chance to step up and be the leader himself for once. Marching onward confidently, he steered Bianca along what he was certain was the correct path, but in truth was just blind intuition. After a short distance of traveling away from the cave-in, Bianca spoke up timidly.

    “You think David and Paula are alright, don’t you, Cheren? You don’t think they got hurt by the rock slide, do you?” she asked in a quiet voice. Cheren shrugged his shoulders and answered impatiently.

    “You heard David’s voice as clear as I did, Bianca, and Paula told us they were okay and that they’d find us somewhere farther in the cave.” he replied. “Worst case scenario, we’ll just meet up with them at the Pokémon Center in Icirrus City.” he continued. Bianca sighed and seemed unconvinced.

    “I still can’t help but worry about him.” she continued. “Technically he’s heading after that Beartic too, and that can’t be good…”

    “‘Him?’” Cheren asked. “What’s that make Paula, chopped liver?” he continued. Bianca sighed and rolled her eyes.

    “Oh you know what I mean, Cheren, don’t be stupid.” she said in a flustered tone. “This is the first time since our journey started that we’ve been apart…” she said, trailing off. “… I miss him already.” she said under her breath.

    “How about you not be melodramatic if I don’t act stupid, deal?” Cheren said suddenly and angrily with further impatience creeping into his voice. “We’ve been gone for like five minutes; don’t you think you’re overreacting? I’ve gone off on my own for long periods of time twice so far on our journey and you didn’t seem so broken up about me leaving.” he continued. Bianca stopped walking, folded her arms, stamped her feet and shot him an angry glare; she drew a breath of air to speak up in response to his criticism, but before she could say anything, Cheren recognized his mistake.

    “Hey hey hey, now, come on, come on, let’s not fight; I’m sorry.” Cheren said defensively, moving towards her. “We’re both just under a lot of stress right now. Come on, you and I used to be just as close of friends with each other as we were with David back in Nuvema Town, right? It seems like we hardly ever get to hang out just-the-two-of-us lately. Why don’t you tell me how you’ve been doing? I’ve missed hanging out with just you instead of you and David.” he continued. He put his arm around Bianca’s shoulder to try and calm her, but she simply shook it off and sighed, continuing to walk down the path with her arms folded.

    “I don’t really want to talk right now, Cheren…” she muttered. Cheren frowned and ran to catch up with her.

    “Bianca, come on, I’m sorry.” he said again. “I just get tired of hearing about David all the time. I want to hear about you for once; how have you been? Why do we never do anything by ourselves anymore, just the two of us?” he continued. Bianca kept walking in silence.

    “Haha-you know…” Cheren started to say upon realizing she wasn’t going to answer him, chuckling as he spoke. “Gus did the funniest thing the other day. He and Umbreon were–” he continued, but Bianca cut him off.

    “Cheren, I’m not in the mood.” she said shortly. Cheren trailed off and sighed.

    “Okay… sorry…” he said dejectedly. He looked away and stuck his hands in his pockets, trailing behind her through the cave.

    “Some ‘leader’ I am…” he thought to himself. “Can’t even get her to talk about anything other than him.” he continued. Cheren sighed again as the pair continued walking into the darkness.

    * * *

    [Continued Below]

  15. #190
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    Jun 2011
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    Chronicles of Unova

    Chapter 19: Separation
    Part 2 of 3

    It had been a little over an hour since the cave-in by now. David and Paula had continued through the tunnel mostly in pleasant silence the whole time, exchanging passing observations and pleasantries when the opportunity lent itself to such things. Paula had been levitating just off the ground the whole time to keep from walking; her gown fell delicately past her feet, making her look like a ghost or a banshee as she drifted. Growing bored and weary of the silence, David decided to start up a conversation with her.

    “So you know… there’s something about Gardevoir that has always confused me, Paula.” he started to say conversationally, looking at her dress. Paula turned her head to look at him and smiled.

    “Oh? What would that be, master?” she asked lightheartedly.

    “Well…” David said, pondering how to phrase the question. “So like… you’re this very prim-and-proper young lady, and you always talk about Victorian etiquette and Victorian sensibilities and all that, right?” he asked. Paula nodded her head.

    “That is correct, master.” she replied, suppressing a feminine giggle at his oversimplification of her personality and most defining of traits.

    “Well, but see that’s the thing; the Victorian time period refers to the era of the rule of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, which lasted from 1819 until 1901.” he continued. “The fashion, the mannerisms, the etiquette, the style, you do meet all that to a tee, and you say it’s a characteristic of the species as a whole and not just of you specifically, but… well…” he trailed off, straining for a way to ask without offending her. She read his mind and spoke up before he could finish.

    “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” she asked, trying to fill in the question for him. David snapped his fingers and grinned.

    “Yeah, that’s a good way of putting it!” he said excitedly; Paula giggled at his enthusiasm. “Surely Ralts, Kirlia and Gardevoir existed long before 1819, so like… how did your species act ‘Victorian’ before the Victorian time period existed?” he asked. Paula continued to giggle under her breath.

    “Where do you think humans got it from, master?” she asked slyly. David’s expression went blank.

    “I, uh… they… oh, wait…” he said, putting his hand to his chin. “I guess… uh… hmm… I never thought about it that way…” he said, deep in thought. Paula laughed heartily at his revelation of the obvious.

    “Master, you are so silly.” she said, waving her hand dismissively. “Many of the cultural ideals associated with the Victorian time period come from Gardevoir, not the other way around. We do not ‘act Victorian,’ the English acted like Gardevoir during the Victorian time period; you humans just gave it a convenient name for us to use when your sensibilities moved elsewhere.” she continued. David was still deep in thought.

    “So the dress and the morals and all that?” he asked.

    “All copied from Gardevoir culture, master.” Paula filled in for him. “Queen Victoria herself is known to have owned a Gardevoir who she consulted with on matters of pride and personal taste.” she continued.

    “Wow. So that Gardevoir influenced the whole culture through the queen?” David asked in a mystified tone; Paula nodded her head.

    “The notion that ladies should have slim waists and large breasts came from the natural build of Gardevoir; our bodies have this exaggerated hourglass shape to them naturally, but you humans invented corsets to try and gain a figure like this by pushing your stomachs in and your breasts up. The notion that ladies should be graceful and elegant with slender, flowing arms and legs came again from the natural movements and body build of Gardevoir; our arms and legs are very thin, our elbows are very slight, and we do not have wrists at all like you humans do, so what is natural movement to us requires great poise and elegance for a human to mimic. The Victorian style of ballroom dancing comes from the movements we Gardevoir naturally feel upon hearing music; there is a warm, beautiful sensation that comes to us as well as to Kirlia upon hearing it, and your kind decided to try and mimic our movements as ‘dancing.’” Paula explained. “Even Victorian fashion comes from us; this ‘gown’ is not clothing, though it does function as such, but in an effort to emulate our looks even further, Victorian era tailors made gowns for ladies that were hemmed and designed in a similar style.” she continued. Her vast knowledge of the subject fascinated David.

    “You know, that’s something else that’s always confused me.” he said, changing the subject just slightly; he wore a puzzled look and continued to stare at the pristine white skirt of her dress as it waved around her legs in the breeze of her movement. “It totally looks like an evening gown, it’s separate from the rest of your body, your legs are underneath it like a dress, even the top green part looks like an extension of a dress. What is that if it isn’t a dress?” he asked. Paula’s lips curled into yet another wry, mischievous smile in anticipation of the reaction her next comment would surely garner.

    “It is an extension of my skin, master.” she murmured softly. David’s eyes opened wide in shock and horror.

    “It’s your skin?!” he said in startled disgust; Paula giggled at his reaction.

    “I knew you would not like that answer. Yes, master, ‘skin.’” she repeated for him, continuing to chuckle. “The lower, white portion is a thin, sensitive layer of skin which extends from our hips to keep our legs warm and out of sight; the upper, green portion is a second layer of skin on top of the white one that acts like a blouse.” she continued. “The portion along our arms is taut, but the portion near the horn and collarbone is loose and can be pulled aside on females like myself to nurse our young, much like human women.” she continued. David stopped her before she could say more.

    “Okay, too much information, Paula; didn’t really need to know that about one of my Pokémon.” he said, shaking his head and shutting his eyes. Paula brought her hand to her mouth and giggled again loudly.

    “I am sorry, master, but you asked.” she said playfully. David rolled his eyes and continued walking.

    “Well, I guess it all makes sense anatomically…” he muttered. “I had always just assumed your species got it from us, but the way you explain it, I guess it makes more sense that it was the other way around.” he continued. Paula smiled and retook his hand as she floated.

    “Anything else I can enlighten you on, master?” she asked sweetly. David shook his head.

    “No, I think that’s it. Kind of a lot to think about actually…” he murmured. Paula giggled for a final time and tilted her head.

    “Excellent! Happy to have helped, master.” she said in a high-pitched tone. The pair continued on for a ways in peaceful silence, but after a moment, David slowed a bit and appeared deep in thought. Paula noticed this and subtly read his mind pryingly; she smiled at what she heard and interrupted him.

    “Yes, master, Gardevoir do ‘have boobs,’ as you put it, but we do not call them as such and it is not as ‘what the’ obscenity as you think it is.” she answered with a grin. David blushed and quickly looked at her in shock.

    “What? I didn’t say any-” he started to reply defensively, but Paula cut him short.

    “Telepathy, master; I can read your thoughts, remember?” she asked. David’s eyes darted for a moment, but he then blushed and looked away; Paula just laughed.

    “Damn it, can’t a guy get some privacy in his own mind around here?” he asked under his breath. Paula shook her head.

    “Silly master; thinks Gardevoir do not nurse their young and that I would not take an opportunity to play tricks on him if he left his mind wide open to it. Silly, silly master…” she said with a chuckling sigh. The pair returned to their pleasant silence and continued on through the sprawling network of caves.

    * * *

    It had been many hours since the cave-in by now. Though they couldn’t see it, the sun had set and the moon had risen. Cheren plodded on behind Bianca, his hands in his pockets and his head hung; she had barely said two words to him the entire time. He knew she wasn’t really mad at him anymore, but he wished she was; he knew that her real reason for being so quiet was that she missed David. Cheren had no romantic interest in Bianca as David did, so he wasn’t exactly “jealous” of that aspect of their relationship, but what he had said before was true: he often felt like a third wheel when David was around. Cheren had always been envious of David’s ability to command a situation, but that envy had been starting to grow ever since their Pokémon journey had begun. During their childhood in Nuvema Town, David and Bianca had often liked to prank their more nerdy friend, and it had always been David making the final say about things, but they had all at least felt like equals; now it felt as if David was the one on the adventure and as if he and Bianca were just his sidekicks. Where was Cheren’s talking Pokémon? Where was Cheren’s hot blonde girlfriend? Where was Cheren’s lunatic threatening to blow up the world if Cheren didn’t stop him? These angry thoughts swarmed and built in his mind, growing perhaps out-of-proportion without his realizing, until a shout from Bianca snapped him back into focus.

    “Hey! Look, Cheren! I think I can see light up ahead!” she said excitedly as they rounded a corner. Cheren snapped his eyes open and his head back up to see what she was shouting about; low and behold, there did appear to be an end to the tunnel in sight. Before he could comment though, Bianca turned around and grabbed him by the wrist.

    “Come on, let’s go see!” she shouted. She began running towards the exit, dragging Cheren in tow; he had still yet to speak.

    “Bianca, we’ve only been walking for a few hours; there’s no way that’s the exit. I think it’s just the–” he started to say with some concern creeping into his voice, but Bianca hadn’t heard him clearly.

    “What did you say?” she asked over her shoulder as she burst through the archway. Wherever they were, it was outside, but a thick fog obscured everything before them. Seeing the ground turn from dirty stone to wooden planks, Cheren gasped and tried to pull back on Bianca’s arm with all his might.

    “Bianca, stop!” he shouted. He tried his hardest to pull her back, but before she could recognize the danger, Bianca ran right off of the bridge connecting several of the adjacent caves together and began plummeting down into the abyss at the center of the mountain.

    EEEEEEEEKKKK! CHEREN!” she shouted, feeling her weight fall with no ground to support it. Cheren still had a tight grasp on her wrist, but her weight pulling him down caused him to fall flat on his chest against the boards. His own weight counterbalanced her, but they could both feel each other slipping.

    “Hold on, Bianca! Don’t let go! I’ll pull you up!” Cheren shouted. He swung his other arm around and grabbed her wrist with both hands, but her weight was beginning to strain him. He pulled with all his strength, but there admittedly wasn’t a whole lot there to work with. He tried to stand, hoping to gain traction by pushing off of the soles of his shoes, but they were fairly smooth by design.

    “Goddamn… leather loafers…” Cheren stammered and grumbled under his breath, feeling his shoes slide forward every time he gained some ground on pulling Bianca back up. In a final act of desperation, Cheren released his right hand’s grasp on Bianca’s arm for a split second, holding her only by his left, and smashed it haphazardly against the Pokéballs on his hip. He blindly managed to make contact with the clasping mechanism on Gus’, freeing him from within it.

    “Ack, Gus! Help me!” Cheren stammered, grabbing Bianca’s wrist with both hands again as he felt her slip. Gus quickly evaluated the situation and floated behind Bianca to help push her back up. With help from Gus’ sturdy body and his four ghostly arms, they managed to get her back onto the safety of the bridge. Cheren and Bianca collapsed to catch their breath as Gus floated back to them.

    “Cheren…” Bianca wheezed. “You saved… me… thank… you…” she continued, rolling over onto her back to help her lungs fill with air. Cheren stretched his arms out to his sides, feeling them ache with pain.

    “Don’t… don’t mention it…” he replied, equally winded. He gingerly lifted his head up to look at Gus; the two exchanged an appreciative nod before Cheren returned him to his Pokéball. Cheren and Bianca lay on the bridge in silence for several minutes as they caught their breath.

    The chasm was dotted with the exits and entrances to hundreds of different caves that ran throughout the mountain. Those that were near to each other and at an equal height had wooden bridges connecting them, built by other explorers for ease of crossing from one to the next. None of these bridges connected to one another though and no one bridge led all the way across the chasm; travelers had to use them to cross from one cave to the next, simply in the hopes that the new tunnel they picked would lead in the direction they hoped to go. The bridges were all simply anchored to the side of the cliff and only actually extended out maybe five-to-six feet at best. In the darkness of the late-autumn sky, only the full moon gave enough illumination to see how close to plunging to their deaths they had come; the abyss was shrouded in fog and only a few feet below them was visible. After several minutes, Cheren was stirred from his rest by a snowflake landing on his face. Opening his eyes and recognizing the snow that was beginning to fall around them, Cheren painstakingly rose and helped Bianca to stand.

    “There’s a blizzard coming in.” he murmured. “Come on, we’ve got to find shelter for the night.” he continued. The pair began moving quickly and silently down the bridge to enter a new tunnel.

    The bridge at the foot of the tunnel they had been in was one of the shorter ones. The cave dumped out at the bridge’s southernmost point, extending farther north only a short distance to two more caves. One was a dead end that only went ten or fifteen feet back into the mountain in the direction they had come, but another cave at the opposite end of the bridge wrapped around to the north and went deeper into the mountain. They decided to leave the second cave for the morning and set up camp in the dead end. Ducking out of the falling snow, Cheren and Bianca began setting up their sleeping bags and rations in the darkness.

    “I hope David finds somewhere like this to camp too…” Bianca said conversationally as she unpacked her bag and some food. Cheren sighed and shook his head slightly; he wanted to tell her not to start with that again, but he restrained himself and simply murmured in agreement.

    “You think he’ll be okay, don’t you, Cheren?” she asked incessantly, but Cheren ignored the question. He looked away and fell deep into thought; after a moment with no reply, Bianca noticed he had stopped unpacking his bag. Just as she started to question him about it, Cheren finally replied.

    “What do you think about that N guy, Bianca?” he asked unexpectedly. The question caught her by surprise.

    “N? The Team Plasma guy?” she asked. “In what context?” Cheren turned back to his bag and kept unpacking.

    “I dunno… how legitimate of a threat do you think he is?” he clarified. This question brought very obvious worry to Bianca, but that didn’t bother Cheren; after all, it was designed to.

    “Well I…” she started to say, pondering how to respond. “I mean… I guess he did say he had found a way to resurrect Zekrom, right? Who’s to say he hasn’t?” she continued. Trying to get her mind off of the thought, she opened a packet of dehydrated camping food and began preparing it, but Cheren was adamant.

    “Seems pretty dangerous, huh?” he asked. “What if he really does find Zekrom and expects David to battle him? If David can’t also find Reshiram, he’s going to be pretty hard pressed trying to fight back with just Paula, Munchlax and Galvantula.” he continued. Bianca shifted uncomfortably.

    “David can do it.” she said without hesitation. She had tried to sound confident in her statement, but she was saying it just as much to shut Cheren up as she was to reassure herself. “I know he can…” she continued softly, but her voice wavered. Cheren was intentionally trying to play off of her insecurities; not to be an asshole, but instead to lead her to a logical conclusion. With the trap set, Cheren pounced.

    “Why do you suppose N thinks David is the other Hero?” he asked. There was an airiness to his question that Bianca picked up on. She looked at him with slight confusion.

    “Because he and Paula are so close, remember, Cheren? When N tested him back in Chargestone Cave?” she asked. Cheren just shook his head though and chuckled.

    “No no no, I meant before that. N is set on David being the Hero now because of the results of that test, but I mean before the test happened; what do you think made N certain enough to give David the test in the first place? Why not somebody else?” he asked; he had nearly brought her to his conclusion.

    “Oh, well… I dunno, Cheren…” she mused, trying to change the subject; Cheren was too close to give up now though. “Maybe there’s something special in David that he saw.” she continued.

    “What could he have seen though? David lost his first battle to N, remember? Why didn’t N pick someone else? Why not Alder? Or you? Or even… me?” he asked, pausing before referencing himself. The seed was planted in her mind now, ready to sprout.

    “Why not… you?” she asked, picking up on his subtlety. Cheren grinned.

    “Sure! I could stop N, don’t you think?” he asked excitedly. Cheren rose and made a fist. “I’m a better trainer than David is, aren’t I? I bet I could-” he tried to continue, but Bianca cut him off.

    “Pffffff-HAAA! Hahahahaha!” she cried, nearly falling over laughing. This was not the reaction Cheren had been expecting; his face went blank and he froze as the sound struck his ears. He slowly turned and looked at her as she tried to compose herself.

    “I’m sorry… I’m sorry…” she said, still laughing controllably. “It’s just… the thought of you… trying to stop N… instead of David? It’s just… it’s just… pffffff-HAAA! Hahahahaha!” she said again, falling on her back with tears in her eyes. Cheren glared at her and sat back down to ready his sleeping bag, pouting.

    “Fuck you, I could totally stop N…” he said under his breath, but his attempt to sound “angry” and “venomous” had simply sounded like a child who hadn’t gotten his way. Bianca finally managed to contain her laughter and sit back up to explain herself, but the damage was done.

    “Cheren, don’t be such a big baby.” she explained, putting her arm on his shoulder soothingly. “I could see Alder being chosen since he’s the League Champion, but not you or I or any other more regular trainer. David is the best trainer of the three of us, no question, and there is something special about him that N picked up on; why do you think I fell for him?” she asked. Cheren scowled and sloughed off her arm.

    “Because you’re fat and stupid and desperate…” he said spitefully; Bianca just laughed at his overt jab though, knowing he was just reaching now. She lightly punched his arm in jest, murmuring something about “oh shut up” through her laughter, and returned to her cold meal and her bag. Cheren crawled into his own sleeping bag as his temper simmered, foregoing dinner to spite Bianca as a martyr. He tried to roll over and sleep, ignoring her, but a thought continued to plague his mind. After a moment of silence, he rolled back over and began to question her further.

    “Actually, that’s an interesting question, Bianca. Why the hell did you decide to get with David? He’s not particularly good looking or suave or anything; what did you see in him?” he asked. Bianca smiled and blushed as she ate her meal in silence.

    “I dunno…” she said softly after finishing her bite, speaking in a very feminine, sing-song voice. “There’s just something about him, I can’t really explain it. He just makes me feel happy and protected.” she continued. Cheren sat up on his elbow and stared at her to indicate for her to go on.

    “Well geeze, Cheren, I don’t know; you want specifics or something?” she asked. “He’s just really nice to me and we’ve always been such close friends. It’s like he goes out of his way to try and make me feel smart and appreciated, like he really likes me for me.” she explained. Cheren was starting to grow bored and annoyed listening to her sing David’s praises; he tried asking a more pointed question.

    “What about me?” he asked leadingly. Bianca seemed puzzled again.

    “What about you?” she asked bitingly.

    “I do all those things too, don’t I?” he asked. “I’m always nice to you and stuff, right? Hell, not 15 minutes ago I just saved your life!” he continued. Bianca blushed slightly more, looking down and smiling.

    “Yes, you did do that, and I’m as appreciative as I would be if David had done it, but you’re missing my point, Cheren; it’s not necessarily about the things he does that make me feel like that, it’s about the way he treats me.” she explained. “No offense, but you can be kind of a dick sometimes, like when we were talking about setting up the tent the other day. Not that David doesn’t also have his flaws, but it’s just… I don’t know… different with him somehow. I can’t really see myself ever not liking him.” she continued. A serene smile played across her face and she seemed lost in thought as she daydreamed about her future; Cheren frowned as he asked her one final question.

    “Do you love him?” he asked. Bianca got wide-eyed at the question, but almost immediately blushed and looked away; a massive grin belied her modesty however.

    “I dunno…” she murmured happily in another sing-song voice. “What’s with the nth degree, Cheren? You jealous or something?” she asked with a laugh. Cheren rolled his eyes and sighed.

    “Jealous? What, of your fat ass? Hardly. But I asked you a question, Bianca; do you love him?” he asked again. Bianca simply smiled and put her trash away in her bag calmly. She rose without speaking and crawled into her sleeping bag.

    “I’m 18, Cheren, and I’ve never been with anyone else but him. We’ve never done more than kiss, we’ve been together only a short while, and all of this has been happening while we’re alone together on our Pokémon journey; I can’t really say one way or the other whether I ‘love’ David or not, or even what ‘love’ is.” she explained. “But I do know one thing for sure; if what I learned from stories and songs by The Heracross as a kid about love is true, then yes, I do love him.” she continued.

    “I was always taught that love is what you feel when you feel safe with a person; that it’s a natural and intuitive feeling that you’ll know the minute it hits you. Love is what you feel when you can’t stand to be without the object of your affection; love is what you feel when it fills your thoughts at all hours of the day without you even noticing it. Love is the thing that defines constants, Cheren. Everything that is alone is not constant; it is subject to change with the tides and with changing times. Love is the anchor the keeps people from changing; they say that bad breakups happen because one person wakes up one morning and realizes their partner isn’t the person they used to be, but that just means it was never real ‘love’ in the first place. Love keeps you from changing.” she explained. “I know that this is just what my perception of love is as an admittedly impressionable and somewhat airheaded teenage girl, but that doesn’t make it any less true that it is how I see the concept of love. All those things are how I feel about David, so yeah, I guess by analysis I do love him, but we’ll just have to see as time goes on. If it makes you feel any better, I don’t think I could admit these things to him if he were here; I feel somehow a little safer and more open to talk about it with you, Cheren.” she continued, smiling. She finally lifted her head and turned back to look at Cheren as she finished, but she noticed he had rolled over on his side, no longer facing her.

    “Cheren?” she asked after he didn’t respond. “Cheren, have you been listen-” she started to say, but a loud snore came from his side of the cave and cut her off.

    “Heehee… oh well…” she said, giggling to herself at the revelation. “No harm just pontificating to myself I guess; at least no one heard me say all that.” she continued, looking out at the snow silently fall. Bianca yawned tiredly and stretched her arms. She slid down farther into her sleeping bag and pulled it over her head to keep the cold air out. She curled up into a ball and shut her eyes.

    “For all your questions, there was one thing you didn’t ask me, Cheren.” she thought to herself. “There was one prying question about David that eluded you and that I managed to keep to myself.” she continued. She paused before continuing her thought, trying to keep it at bay for as long as she could. Her eyes grew moist within her sleeping bag as she finally had to admit to herself the fear.

    ‘What would you do if N is right, Bianca?’” she thought. “You asked if I think he is right or not, but not what I’d do if he is.” she continued. She shuttered as she followed her logic to its conclusion. “What if David gets hurt trying to stop N? Or what if he gets… no.” she thought emphatically. “He won’t get killed; he promised me that.” she continued. She shook her head to try and banish the thoughts, trying intently just to sleep, but despite her best efforts, they wouldn’t go away. In a final act of desperation, Bianca curled herself up tighter to keep warm and to muffle the sound, and softly began to sing.

    [Author’s Note: Sung to the tune of “All You Need Is Love” by The Beatles]

    ♫ There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done.
    Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung.
    Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game.
    It’s easy…

    Nothing you can make that can’t be made.
    No one you can save that can’t be saved.
    Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time.
    It’s easy…

    All you need is love.
    All you need is love.
    All you need is love… love… ♫


    “Love is all you need…” she whispered. Bianca softly began to cry before falling asleep…

    * * *

    As Cheren and Bianca entered their cave to prepare for the night and escape the coming snowstorm, David and Paula emerged from their own tunnel a short distance down and away. The fog blanketing the chasm was as thick for them as it had been for Cheren and Bianca, obscuring their ability to see across the abyss completely; had it been clear, they could have looked up and to their left and caught a fleeting glimpse of Bianca as she followed Cheren into the cave, but the fog and light snow made it impossible. While Cheren had seen the snow and concluded that they should stop for the night, David still wanted to try and cover some more ground; they could set up camp somewhere within one of the tunnels and still be protected from the coming blizzard if necessary. The pair set out down their bridge in search of a new tunnel to follow, but their bridge was even shorter than Cheren and Bianca’s had been; only one cave adjacent to their old one was connected to the bridge, and it led to a dead end only a few feet in. David sighed in disbelief.

    “Oh come on… don’t tell me we’ve been following a dead end this whole time…” he said angrily. He took a quick check back outside to make sure there really weren’t any other paths connected to the bridge, but Paula remained inside and examined their new temporary domicile in peace. David reentered a moment later grumbling, but Paula seemed perfectly at ease with their situation.

    “Do not fret, master. This cave is perfectly protected from the elements and will be a fine place to rest for the night.” she said soothingly. “In the morning the fog will have lifted and we will find a way across; just you wait and see.” she continued. There was a grace and airiness to her words that did have a calming effect on David, despite his best efforts to want to stay mad at nothing; recognizing his stubbornness, Paula giggled under her breath and gave her trainer a quick embrace, as her species was most famously known for. David sighed and rolled his eyes, but couldn’t stay mad under the pressure of her unwavering support; he held her in return for a quick moment before separating to empty his pack.

    “Well Paula, the kitchen is now… open, and we’ve got two possible entrées on our menu tonight.” David said, rummaging through his bag to find his quickly diminishing food supply. “We’ve got some… uh… dehydrated tuna… stuff… and uh, dehydrated… um…” he continued, struggling to make out the small print on the bag. “Hey, what’s that say?” he asked, showing her the packet.

    “…‘Hearty beef and carrots,’ master.” she replied, also struggling to read the text in the low light of the cave. “Pardon my skepticism if I don’t believe in the ‘heartiness’ of dehydrated food.” she continued with a giggle. David smirked as well and looked back down into his bag.

    “I think that’s all I’ve got actually…” he muttered. “Which one do you want?” he asked. Paula motioned to the first packet silently.

    “Tuna! Nice choice.” David said jokingly. Paula smirked as he handed her a bottle of water to rehydrate her packet.

    “Some nice, light fish seems like a much more ladylike meal than beef.” she mused, emphasizing the last word and saying it in an overtly deep and simplistic tone; David snickered at her humor. In short time their food was prepared and they had dug in; when they were almost finished, Paula spoke up conversationally as she finished her last few bites.

    “You know one nice thing about telepathic communication, master?” she asked.

    “What’s that?” David replied.

    “I can hold a conversation while eating regularly and never have to talk with food in my mouth.” she answered. David chuckled at her joke as he finished the contents of his packet; Paula took one final mouthful from her own before handing her trash back to him to be disposed of. David went to put their empty garbage back in his bag, but before he could do so, something he saw made his eyes light up.

    “Hey, alright! Paula, check out what I found! I forgot I even had this thing in here!” David said excitedly. He took out a small white object and held it up proudly for Paula to see; it was a bundle of rice with a piece of seaweed wrapped around the bottom. “We get a jelly donut for dessert!” David continued.

    “Erm… a, uh… wait, what?” Paula asked in surprise. “Master, I do not believe that is what that is.” she said skeptically. “That is a ball of rice and seaweed, specifically an onigiri; where are you getting ‘jelly donut’ from?” she asked. David seemed equally confused.

    “A rice ball?” he asked. “What are you talking about? There’s no rice on this thing.” he continued as a few flecks of rice fell from the object in his hand. “This is quite plainly a jelly donut, see? Here’s the jelly…” he said, pointing to the seaweed. “…and here’s the dough.” he continued, pointing to the rice. Paula stifled a laugh and smiled wryly.

    “So has 4Kids Entertainment started dubbing our story now too?” she asked. David laughed heartily as she got the joke and started to respond.

    “Wait, wait, jelly donut?! What was I thinking?! This is plainly an onion! Or no wait! A popcorn ball! That’s it!” he said mockingly through his laughter. “Hamburger! Cookie! Submarine sandwich!” he shouted, listing off absurdities. Paula joined him in laughing heartily at David’s stupid joke.

    “Silly master…” she said as their laughter subsided. David took a knife and cut the rice ball into halves, handing one to Paula and keeping one for himself. After finishing all of their food, David rose and began preparing his sleeping bag for bed.

    “So I was thinking…” David started to say as he unrolled the bag. “The next Gym uses Ice-types, so what we should do is… uh… Paula?” he asked, stopping his train of thought as he realized what she was doing. Much to his surprise, Paula had risen after eating and moved all the way towards the back of the cave. She was in the process of straightening her gown and laying down on the cold, hard stone floor when David noticed her. “What are you doing over there?” he asked.

    “Going to sleep, master; go on, I was listening.” she replied shortly. That didn’t answer David’s question though.

    “No, I mean what are you doing over there specifically?” he asked. “Aren’t you going to be cold without the sleeping bag?” he continued. Paula turned and tilted her head to look at him with now equal confusion; his statement had only served to obfuscate her understanding of the question.

    “But the bag is yours, master, and there is only one. I had not assumed I would be the one using it.” she replied. “My species is known for having particularly high Special Defense; I am perhaps more adept to weather the cold than even you are, master, despite my slight, feminine form.” she continued. David was unconvinced.

    “Well… but even if you don’t need it, it’s still the polite thing to do, right? Aren’t Victorian era gentlemen supposed to be courteous and selfless to ladies?” he asked. Paula smiled at where his logic was trying to go, but quipped back.

    “Victorian era ladies are also supposed to be subservient and submissive to their husbands and masters.” she responded. She rolled back over to go to sleep, but David wasn’t about to admit defeat. He silently unzipped the bag all the way and laid half of it over her like a blanket, laying beneath the other half next to her himself.

    “Good thing we aren’t married then.” he whispered jokingly. Paula giggled under her breath, content to have let him win the issue; she rolled over on her other side again and looked him in the eye.

    “Thank you, master.” she murmured as the warmth began to set in.

    “Actually, that raises another interesting question that I’ve always wondered about…” David started to say conversationally. “How come you always insist on calling me ‘master’ and everyone else ‘Miss’ or ‘Mister’ whatever?” he asked. “You’ve done that ever since we met back at Professor Juniper’s lab.” he continued. Paula answered quickly as if it were the most natural thing in the world.

    “I call you ‘master’ because you are my master, master.” she answered in a girly tone. That again didn’t exactly answer David’s question though.

    “Well… okay, does that imply by association that you’re a slave then?” he asked as a strawman. “It could give some people the wrong impression…” he continued. Paula seemed genuinely surprised by that remark.

    “Does that imply… wait, what?!” she asked in shock and confusion. “How would that imply that I am your ‘slave,’ master?” she asked.

    “The opposite of ‘master’ is ‘slave,’ Paula; you’ve never heard those words used together like that before?” he asked. Paula shook her head quickly “no.”

    “No, I have not. That does not make any sense though; I am the one with the psychic powers, so how could I be your slave?” she asked. “That is not what I have ever meant by the use of that word; it seems so foreign and arcane to me…” she continued, trailing off.

    “Well then why do you say it?” David asked. “Do the other Pokémon call me that too?” Paula shook her head again.

    “No, master, just me; the other Pokémon do not say ‘Mister’ or ‘Miss’ before other names as I do either.” she answered. “I say it out of custom, out of respect, and simply because you are my master; it gets back to the whole Victorian etiquette thing.” she continued. David stared at her to indicate for her to go on.

    “Well master, you have to understand what our culture is, and by association what the Victorian culture was.” she began. “The Ralts evolutionary line is native to northern moors and forests like those in Scotland, just north of England. Those who become Gardevoir are taught to cultivate the mind and the home, because that is what our strengths naturally lend us to do; those who become Gallade are taught to cultivate the body and to defend the honor of their families, because that is what their strengths naturally lend them to do.” she explained. “You humans have, from our point-of-view, a very strange culture in that you have some men who try to be domestic caregivers and some women who try to be providers. No wild Gardevoir would complain about her station in life, because she is given every opportunity to do the things she loves, the things she naturally excels at, and typically has a loving, devoted Gallade to help and support her with the things she is less naturally adept to do; additionally, no wild Gallade would complain about his station in life, because he is expected only to defend and provide for his family, protect their collective honor and support their children, but these are all things that we naturally feel is right and which naturally make us happy. Who other than a human could feel unhappy doing what they excel at?” she asked. “That is exactly the reason why Victorian culture ended for humans at the start of the 20th century but why it has endured for my species. Humans are never able to let themselves feel happy; your species always longs for what it does not have. Gardevoir and Gallade are happiest supporting each other in ways your species has long since deemed ‘sexist.’ We do not view our culture as ‘sexist’ or as having ‘gender roles;’ we have never thought to question it because it is what makes us happy. Your species’ ‘feminist movement’ began because its members were unhappy with their station in life, but the very things which made them unhappy in the first place are the things which make our culture function at the most basic level and which does make us happy. We do not ask ‘is there more I could be doing with my life?’ as your species did; we recognize the happiness we already have as the end that your culture seeks.” she continued.

    “As such, the Gallade are viewed as the leaders of our society. Not arbitrarily, but because they are the providers. It is not a master-slave relationship as you indicated or as the English misunderstood when they tried to copy our culture; it is one of mutual respect and admiration, in which both parties recognize the intrinsic strengths and weaknesses of both themselves and the other side. Gallade may be the ‘masters,’ but that does not make Gardevoir ‘slaves;’ no Gallade would hesitate to defend the honor of his partner, ceaselessly standing up for her pride and her virtue, but by the same token, Gardevoir tirelessly love and support their own partner, or in the case of domesticated Gardevoir such as myself, their trainer.” she continued to explain. “Gallade have an inbred sense of duty to defend and protect, and Gardevoir have an inbred sense of longing to love, support and nurture; it is how our culture functions. It is not ‘sexist’ to us, it is called ‘being polite’ and ‘doing what you are naturally endowed to do well.’ These inherent attributes of my species do not go away when we are domesticated; Gallade show that same dedication to their trainers because something has to fill that void, and Gardevoir show that same love and support to their trainers because again, something has to fill that void.” she said, coming to her conclusion. “I call you ‘master’ because you fill the same role for me that a Gallade would in the wild. It does not imply that I am your ‘slave,’ because honestly, if I ever truly wanted to, I think we both know I could escape or harm you if I really tried; I am the one with the psychic powers after all. The term ‘master’ is something that comes naturally to me, because it comes from thousands of years of hardwiring into my genes. I say it out of respect, but also simply because it is a cultural norm for me; it does not imply anything about sexism or slavery however, it is because that is who and what you are: my master.” she concluded. She had given David a great deal to think about.

    A length of silence followed her explanation; David had nothing more to say in response, thoroughly silenced by her logic. He lay deep in thought next to his Gardevoir, quietly pondering all that she had said. There was a calm, serene smile on her face and a twinkle in her bright red eyes as she watched him think; bringing all these thoughts to the forefront of her own mind had brought a wash of soothing calm to it as she thought of the culture she had never truly known first-hand. Her eyes began to cloud as her imagination drifted off to the forests of Hoenn and Sinnoh, the ancestral home she had never known. Before she went too far down the rabbit-hole however, David finally stirred himself from his own thoughts and spoke softly.

    “Hey Paula?” he whispered. Her eyes cleared up and she snapped back into focus.

    “Yes, master?” she replied in a pure tone.

    “It’s been really nice being able to just talk with you for so long.” he started to say. “I’m kind of glad your Pokéball broke…” he continued. “… you’re really smart and cool.” he finished after a pause. Paula giggled under her breath.

    “Well thank you, master. I think you are really ‘smart and cool’ too.” she answered with mocking sarcasm. David smirked back.

    “Hey Paula?” he whispered again.

    “Yes, master?” she replied as levelly and patiently as she had before.

    “Can I ask you a favor?” he murmured.

    “Anything.” she replied unwaveringly.

    David looked down for a moment to ponder how to phrase his request. Her eyes continued to stare piercingly and expectantly at him, both of them facing one another and resting their heads on their arms. “I’ve gotten as used to hearing your ‘English voice’ in my head as hearing my own voice or Bianca or Cheren’s out loud. But…” he started to say, pausing for a moment.

    “Go on…” she whispered.

    “…well, I don’t really know how to ask this…” he muttered. “It feels almost like I’ve forgotten what your normal speaking voice sounds like. You almost never actually say anything out loud anymore, but I mean, why would you? You could just speak telepathically. I guess, like… do you ever… you know? Forget?” he stammered. Paula’s smile grew larger and she shut her eyes.

    “Do I ever forget how to speak out loud, master?” she whispered incredulously. David blushed at her reaction.

    “Uh… yeah, sorry, nevermind. I guess that was a stupid-” he started to say, doubling back on himself, but Paula gently brought her free hand out from beneath the impromptu blanket the sleeping bag formed and pressed it against his lips.

    “Shh…” she whispered sweetly. “Would you like me to say something out loud, master?” she asked in a calm, sweet voice? David blinked in surprise for a moment, still blushing slightly.

    “Uh… sure.” he answered awkwardly; that was actually what he had been trying to ask in the first place though.

    Paula smiled again and shut her eyes. She exhaled carefully, emptying her lungs of all the air held within them. Her breasts rose as she refilled her lungs with copious amounts of air; having redrawn her breath, she opened her bright red eyes, paused for a moment, and sang a brilliant, clear, piercing, beautiful note.

    Gardevoir…

    The tone echoed throughout David’s mind for several seconds. Though only a small amount of time had passed since he had heard it, David knew this was the kind of moment he would remember for the rest of his life; the temperature, the look of the cave, the warmth from the blanket, the texture of the ground, his Gardevoir’s youthful face, and most importantly, the beautiful, pure sound of her cry. A moment after the sound had stopped, Paula exhaled again and reopened her eyes. There was a peaceful quality to them as they stared back at David’s own. Paula spoke telepathically again a moment later.

    “Good?” she asked.

    “Perfect.” David responded. “What did you actually say?” he asked. Paula giggled and rolled over on her other side.

    She scooted in closer to David, cupping her small hips against his waist and her back against his chest. Beyond his control, David felt his free arm begin to move and wrap around her; she was using her telekinesis to control it. Cradled by the warmth of her master’s embrace, the Embrace Pokémon sighed and nestled her head against his arm. Shutting her eyes, she began to drift off to sleep.

    “I said ‘love,’ master.” she whispered. Before David could react, her mind shut off fully as she fell deep into sleep. David lay in thought for several minutes pondering her final waking statement; as pangs of tiredness hit him as well, he clutched her unconscious form a little tighter and fell asleep himself. The blizzard outside had begun in earnest, pouring snow and whipping furiously, but deep within their cave, David and Paula knew nothing of it, locked in their warm embrace.

    * * *

    [Continued Below]

  16. #191
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    Chronicles of Unova

    Chapter 19: Separation
    Part 3 of 3

    The morning came a few hours later, and with it came light and visibility. Though the fog that had filled the deep concavity in the mountain the day before had lifted, it had lifted because the concavity was now filled with something else. David and Paula emerged from their cave and gasped at the vast scene of white before them.

    Damn that’s a lot of snow!” David shouted in surprise, chuckling under his breath as his cry echoed around the bowl of the mountain. The entire chasm was filled with what must have been hundreds of feet of snow at the deepest point; it filled almost to the height of their cave, still too high to jump off from, but still plainly visible. Though the sight was a beautiful and startling one to David, it really resonated with Paula in particular; she had never seen snow before.

    “Oh… oh my…” she gasped quietly, touching a hand to her mouth and the other protectively to her bosom. The majesty of the great white expanse before her took her breath away. Realizing how quiet and still she was being, David tore his eyes away from the snow and looked down at her.

    “What’s the matter, Paula? Never seen snow before?” he asked. Paula shook her head to snap back into focus, but nodded that she hadn’t a moment later.

    “Well… I knew theoretically what snow was, master; it is frozen crystalline rainwater which compacts under pressure. That is altogether different than actually seeing it in person though…” she replied, trailing off. David chuckled at how enthralled by it she was.

    “Didn’t you ever see snow before Professor Juniper got you?” he asked, but again Paula shook her head.

    “There was no ‘before Professor Juniper’ for me, remember, master? I was bred in captivity specifically to be your starter Pokémon. I am the genetic result of Professor Juniper hand-selecting an evolutionary line that was perfect for you in particular.” she replied. David thought in confusion for a second, but then realized she was technically right.

    “Oh yeah… huh…” he muttered. “I guess you’re right actually… that’s kind of weird the way you phrase it though…” he continued. “How do you know so much about history and science and Gardevoir/Gallade culture then if you never lived in the wild?” he asked inquisitively. Paula smiled and closed her eyes as she remembered her early childhood, finally managing to tear her gaze away from the snow.

    “It is not as if I was born and then immediately shipped off to Professor Juniper, master. Mr. Red, Professor Oak’s protégé, was my mother and father’s trainer, and he raised me along with them for the first couple of weeks before I was sent to her.” she answered. “My mother was a beautiful Gardevoir of pure lineage, and my father was a strong and noble Gallade, one of Mr. Red’s most prized Pokémon.” she continued. David was interested to learn these things about her; somehow he had never thought to ask.

    “So wait…” he said after a pause, realizing an unrelated logical end that followed naturally from her statement. “…that means you were only like a month old when we met then, right?” he asked in surprise. Paula nodded.

    “It does, master.” she said plainly; David became even more surprised.

    “Wait… so then how old are you now?!” he asked. Paula shrugged.

    “Somewhere less than a year I suppose. How long have we been together, master? I would assume it is approximately one month longer than that.” she replied. David was flabbergasted.

    You aren’t even a year old, Paula?! How can that be?!” he said in shock; Paula didn’t follow.

    “What do you mean ‘how can that be,’ master? I fail to see the problem with that.” she said, turning back towards the snow as the conversation started to bore her.

    “You act like you’re in your twenties. How are you-” he started to explain, but Paula cut him off.

    “For a human perhaps, master, but Psychic-type Pokémon in general mature much faster than humans, and even than other Pokémon. I will be ‘in my twenties’ for probably most of the rest of my life, but I reached this point at a very accelerated rate compared to a human female.” she said. “If you are truly so fascinated by it, I believe my birthday is some time in late spring or early summer, but you would have to ask Mr. Red for the exact date.” she continued. David stared at her in fascination, trying to comprehend the fact that perhaps the most mature creature he had ever known had an age measured in months rather than years. After a pause, he spoke in a mystified voice.

    “I’ll be damned…” he muttered. “But so then you’ve never seen snow before?” he asked again. Paula shook her head.

    “Never, master. It is… beautiful.” she stammered to say, still looking out at the vast expanse before her. David smiled at her simple joy.

    While Paula was distracted looking out at the snowy chasm, David quietly bent down and gathered some loose snow from the wooden boards beneath their feet. He inconspicuously rolled it into a fist-sized ball and then hid it behind his back.

    “Hey Paula?” he asked, trying to not laugh.

    “Yes, master?” she answered serenely, not breaking her gaze at the peaceful scene before her. Just as David began to move to throw the snowball, Paula sensed in his mind what he was about to do and spoke up shortly.

    “Throw that at me and so help me Arceus you will not live to see- ACK!” she shouted. David launched the snowball full-force at her head, striking her and causing her to flail her arms in surprise.

    Master!” she shouted in a shrill, angry voice as she struggled to regain her senses, but David just laughed.

    “Haha-hi Paula!” he shouted jokingly. Seeing her grit her teeth in flustered anger, David bent over and grabbed his knees from laughing so hard. Blushing bright red, Paula regained her balance, stood back up straight and folded her arms.

    “So that is how you want it…” she pouted. Without moving, she began using her telekinesis to roll a massive ball of snow below them in the pit. A wad of snow easily as big around as David was tall began levitating up from the abyss towards them. David was still laughing and didn’t notice what she was doing until it was too late.

    “I, uh… oh, wait… shit, Paula, I-” he stammered as he finally opened his eyes and saw her impending counterattack, but Paula wasn’t about to hear it.

    Night-night, master.” she said cutely in an overtly feminine tone. Before David could react, the mammoth wad of snow flew over her head towards him; the force caused her dress and her short hair to whip in the breeze. When the powder had settled, David poked his head out from atop the mound of snow which surrounded him and looked around in shock, thoroughly encased.

    “Do not start wars you know you cannot win, master.” Paula said with a smirk, snapping her fingers at him and winking cutely. David had to bite his lip to keep from laughing at her girlish display.

    “We should use that as a Pokémon attack; it’s fundamentally the same thing as Magical Leaf, just with snow.” he said jokingly. “What do you think, Paula? Got a name for your newly invented move?” he asked. Paula pondered the question for a moment with sincere interest.

    “How about ‘Blizzard of Chaos?’” she answered. “Ooh, or better yet, just ‘Chaos Blizzard.’” she continued, snapping her fingers again and grinning. David laughed at her response.

    “Where did you get ‘Chaos Blizzard’ from?” he asked incredulously. Paula shrugged and folded her arms.

    “I do not know; you tell me, master.” she said cutely and in an aloof tone. David chuckled again and began trying to free himself from beneath the snow; he wasn’t making much headway though.

    “Hey, uh… Paula? Can you uh… help me get… unstuck from under here?” he stammered, fighting with the heavy snow. Paula giggled at his pained attempts to free himself, instead simply folding her arms and looking back out over the snowy field before her. David drooped his eyelids and sighed.

    “Yeah, okay, haha, very funny, Paula, giving me the old cold shoulder because I threw a snowball at you, very cute; now help me get out from under here please.” he said again; Paula continued to ignore him. After a moment of carefully examining a spot in particular across the chasm, Paula silently began walking towards him and crawled up on top of the snow. She grasped David’s face with both hands and shut her eyes.

    “Let us take a little shortcut, shall we, master?” she asked. Before David could respond, Paula used Teleport the pair vanished in a burst of light.

    * * *

    Having descended back into the depths of the mountain through the next cave, Cheren and Bianca were on the home stretch to Icirrus City. Only a short distance remained before they would reach the exit. Cheren was still sullen from the day before, but he knew things would be back to normal soon enough, so he just forced it out of his mind; Bianca, on the other hand, was in much better spirits than she had been the day before as the prospect of reunification with David and Paula grew ever closer with each passing step. Wanting to at least break the silence and give himself something to help clear his mind, Cheren decided to try his hand at pleasant conversation one last time.

    “…funny how we haven’t seen any wild Pokémon yet…” he muttered under his breath. Bianca looked up and away as she queried her memory to determine if he was right or not, but a moment of thought confirmed it.

    “Hey yeah… that’s right, huh? We’ve only seen that Beartic and the Cubchoo I guess.” she mused. “There are supposed to be wild Pokémon that live here, right?” she asked. Cheren nodded his head.

    “Maybe it’s just the wrong time of year; too warm for the Ice-types but too cold for the others.” he rationalized. He shrugged his shoulders and kept walking disinterestedly, despite the fact that he had brought it up in the first place.

    “I wonder where that Beartic we saw even went.” Bianca said, trying to keep the conversation going. They rounded a corner in the path as she said this though and quickly got their answer.

    The path before them stretched on for only maybe another fifty feet. At the opposite end was an archway of light; they had made it to the exit after many hours of venturing through the halls of the caves. But between them and the exit lay the answer to Bianca’s question; sleeping in the middle of the path with her back to them was a massive Beartic, the same one they had seen the day before. Cheren and Bianca froze in terror at the sight of her.

    “What are we going to do, Cheren?” Bianca whispered, trying to not wake the sleeping beast.

    “We’ll have to just try and go around it.” Cheren whispered back. Bianca’s eyes opened wide at his suggestion.

    Are you crazy?! That thing will maul us!” she said in a timid panic. Cheren brought a finger to his lips to silence her, waving her down dismissively.

    “Do you see another way around, Bianca? There’s only one exit, so we can either go up there or wait here until it decides to move on its own.” he explained. Bianca shook her head.

    “I vote for that second one!” she said nervously. “The one where we wait for David and Paula and don’t get eaten by bears!” she continued. Cheren shot her a look over his glasses and sighed.

    “Get a Pokéball ready, and come on.” he said commandingly. “We’ll fight it if we have to.” he said, turning to face the Beartic. Bianca gulped but drew Axew’s Pokéball defensively in preparation; despite his weakness to Ice, he would afford her a better chance against the frozen beast than either of her other Pokémon would. Cheren and Bianca cautiously drew near.

    “So far so good…” Cheren whispered when they had covered half of the distance between their starting point and the Beartic. “Just try and keep from waking-” he tried to continue, but movement from the Beartic cut him short.

    Cubchoo!” came a sound from opposite them. The baby Cubchoo from the previous day had woken up and crawled on top of his sleeping mother’s back; he had spotted Cheren and Bianca and remembered their actions from before. A sly, wicked grin lined his face as a plan began forming in his mind.

    “Oh don’t you dare you little fu-” Cheren started to say, but it was too late. The Cubchoo smiled devilishly and then began to shout.

    CUB-CHOOOOOO!” it screamed. The sound awoke his mother from her slumber instantly; she looked around to see what was causing his distress, noticing Cheren and Bianca standing behind her almost at once. She began growling fearsomely and rose with fire in her eyes to defend her baby.

    “Damn it, so much for ‘stealth.’” Cheren said angrily. “Come on, Bianca, we’re going to have to fight it!” he said, releasing his drawn Pokéball. Gus and Axew sprang from their Pokéballs to do battle with the Beartic, but she was already charging in preparation to attack.

    “Gus, use Will-o-Wisp!” Cheren commanded. The Cofagrigus quickly summoned the ghastly bundles of fire in a halo around his golden body, but they did little to slow the Beartic’s advance. Before he could launch the spectral flames to Burn her, she managed to reach the Coffin Pokémon and rake him powerfully with her claws. Thinking it was the Normal-type Slash attack, which shouldn’t have been able to even touch his Ghost-type Pokémon, Cheren was surprised when Gus actually took the attack quite harshly; the Beartic towered over him with her claws glowing in a dark energy: Night Slash. This Beartic was not a foe to be trifled with.

    Cheren was just about to try calling for another command, but before he could say anything, Gus acted on his own, or, more accurately, his wound acted on its own. The spot where the Beartic had slashed at him began to glow bright white; it caught the wild Pokémon off guard momentarily, but before she could get away, several thin streams of ghostly white energy shot out from it towards her. The Beartic tried to back away in surprise, but before she could counter it, the energy encased the paw she had used to strike with in white bandaging. Gus’ ability had taken effect upon the physical contact from the attack and had not only suppressed the Beartic’s own ability, but had temporarily disabled the use of that hand: Mummy.

    “Ah-hall-right Gus!” Cheren shouted proudly. “Way to teach an old dog a new trick! Now just-” he tried to continue, but the Beartic acted before he could give another command. Lashing out in defiant rage, the Beartic quickly utilized her free paw to slash a second time with Night Slash. Gus’ species was best known for the tremendously high Defense stat their solid, bulky bodies afforded them, so he managed to weather the blow, but the second Night Slash struck home and nearly toppled the ancient Pokémon. Mummy rendered her other paw just as useless, but the damage was done.

    “Any time you’d like to help us here, Bianca!” Cheren shouted as he watched his Pokémon tank the hits. Bianca and Axew snapped back into focus after watching the battle thus far unfold and tried to intervene.

    “Right, sorry!” she said apologetically. “Axew, use Dual Chop!” she cried. Axew held his stubby arms out behind himself and began charging as quickly as his small legs would carry him. The Beartic was still distracted trying to get Gus’ spectral energy off of her paws and didn’t see the diminutive Dragon racing towards her; she turned upon catching a glimpse out of the corner of her eye as he drew near, but it was too late. Axew leapt to her head level and twisted his own head with all his might. The first blow struck her frozen jaw, and the second was dealt on the way back down against her knee. The Beartic roared in pain as Axew’s tusks made contact; with the use of both of her hands and one knee crippled, she was beginning to lose her ability to fight back.

    “Great work, sweetie!” Bianca called out to her Pokémon. Axew sneezed a response in what he thought was triumph, but the Beartic had other plans. Axew had turned his back to look at Bianca, giving the Beartic the opportunity she needed. She growled angrily under her breath and lifted her good leg into the air. She brought it back down towards the ground with a “slam!” which caused more ice to flow from her foot and spread to the ground around it. The veins of ice spread to the ceiling and quickly formed a chandelier of icicles; the icicles snapped and fell, falling at a sickening speed towards her attacker. Axew didn’t notice in time and took the Icicle Crash attack head on.

    “Oh no, Axew!” Bianca cried, but it was too late. The small Dragon was weak to Ice and simply didn’t have the physical defenses to stand up to the fully-evolved Beartic’s blow; he was out instantly.

    Things were looking grim for both sides. The Beartic had temporarily lost the use of both of her paws and struggled to stand as she toughed through the damage from Axew’s Dual Chop, but Axew on the other hand was completely down for the count and Gus was nearly there too. Cheren called for Gus to use Shadow Ball to finish the fight, but in truth, a single blow to either of the two remaining Pokémon would probably have been enough to end it. The Beartic painstakingly drew near and prepared to strike a final time to finish the Coffin Pokémon; her encased claws were glowing with dark, fiery energy, struggling to burn through the bounds of Gus’ Mummy ability. Gus struggled an equal amount to generate the energy for the Shadow Ball, but time was quickly running out. Just before either side managed to launch their final blow, a shout came from somewhere up above and a burst of energy struck the ground near the Beartic.

    “Paula, use Focus… ack, damn… just missed.” David muttered. Cheren and Bianca turned around and saw David and Paula standing on a ledge above and behind them. Cheren grinned and Bianca screamed excitedly at the sight of him.

    “David! You’re alright!” Bianca squealed in delight. David shot her a quick two-fingered salute in recognition, grinning confidently. Paula took a quick grasp of her trainer’s hand and Teleported them down to where the battle was taking place; as they reappeared, David offered a mocking summary of events as he saw them.

    “Two-on-one and you guys are still losing?” he asked incredulously. “Damn, what would you two do without us?” he continued with a chuckle. The Beartic growled upon recognizing her opponent from the day before and turned away from Gus; she roared in anger and managed to burn through the bounds around her claws with the dark energy that fueled Night Slash. She was tired and wounded from Axew’s Dual Chop, but not about to let Paula show up without a fight. She fell to all fours and began charging resentfully towards her with her claws aglow.

    “Okay, Paula, just like last time. Focus Blast.” David commanded calmly. Paula calmed herself and began preparing another bundle of Fighting-type energy. The Beartic was coming in fast, but she ran in a beeline towards the Gardevoir. Paula was steady and waited for her chance to strike.

    When only a few feet remained between the opposing forces, the Beartic sprang from her stride and flew at Paula with her claws bared. She roared fearsomely and had a bloodlust in her eyes. She had also left her abdomen completely exposed however; Paula had only to let the attack move forward and strike where it may. The Focus Blast nailed the enraged Beartic right in her weak-spot, cracking her frozen beard of ice. The Beartic fell to her back in defeat and moved no more.

    After so long apart, with the danger passed, the two halves of the group were reunified and began heading towards the exit. The baby Cubchoo timidly ran to tend to his mother’s condition, but the passing travelers were content to let him be. Bianca was quick to speak up and give her boyfriend a proper greeting.

    “I’m so glad you made it through okay, David! I was so worried!” she exclaimed. David smiled and silently put his arm around her, kissing her cheek. She returned the gesture as they walked towards the exit in embrace. Cheren scoffed at her underestimate.

    “She was more than ‘so worried,’ I couldn’t get her to talk about anything but you.” Cheren muttered. David chuckled and looked down at her as they walked.

    “Is that so?” he asked jokingly. “Well I missed you too, sweetheart. It’s nice to be back” he continued. Bianca smiled and wrapped her arm tighter around his waist.

    “Nice to have you back, David…” she whispered. David’s smile grew larger.

    “Well, we had a little accident with Paula’s Pokéball…” David said conversationally as they drew within feet of the exit. “We’ve got to make a little stop when we get to town before going to the Gym.” he continued. Cheren and Bianca scoffed at his comment.

    “The Gym?” Cheren asked incredulously. “Forget that, I need some rest before we go meet Brycen; the Gym can wait…” he continued. David chuckled, but agreed that he and Paula could use a proper night’s rest as well. Stepping out of the mountain and into the moors surrounding Icirrus City, David’s mind finally began to rest as he relayed the events of the previous day to his friends.

    * * *

    The cool, late-autumn sun felt even colder thanks to the overcast blanketing Nacrene City. The evergreen forests surrounding the settlement were still vibrant in color, but every other tree lining the rustic streets had dropped its leaves. Chilling breezes blew throughout the town’s cobblestone roads as its residents prepared for the coming winter. The Nacrene City Gym seemed cleaner and more pristine than it had when David and his friends were there; a bright white gemstone against an equally white backdrop. Two darkly dressed men stood outside the museum at its steps where just a few months prior, David and N had had their second Pokémon battle. One of the men spoke up.

    “Two damn missions we’ve had our new uniforms, and now we don’t even get to wear ‘em.” McCartney grumbled. “We got to wear ‘em for the Chargestone Cave deal, and we got to wear ‘em that time we accompanied Lord N to go talk to that punk kid. Wearing these… civilian clothes again… it just feels unnatural now.” he continued. Lennon checked the time on his watch and looked around cautiously.

    “Yeah, I know, mate, but we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do.” he said under his breath. “If we were in our Team Plasma uniforms, they’d never let us into the museum.” he explained. McCartney sighed, but he knew Lennon was right.

    “You shouldn’t call him ‘that punk kid’ either, McCartney.” Lennon continued to say. “I hate his rotten little guts too, but Lord N seems pretty convinced he’s the Hero of Truth. That ought to tell you something…” he continued, checking up the street to make sure it was clear; the time had almost come.

    “Yeah, whatever…” McCartney muttered. “How much longer ‘til we go in?” he asked impatiently. Lennon checked his watch again.

    “5… 4… 3… 2…” he muttered. A beeping noise came from the watch on his Xtransceiver to indicate the time had come. The pair turned to face each other and nodded with determination; they casually strolled away from their post and began heading up the grand marble stairs into the museum.

    “Hello, gentlemen!” Hawes greeted them as they entered. “Welcome to the Nacrene Museum of Natural History. My name is Hawes, and I am the assistant director of the museum. What brings you here today?” he asked in a chipper voice. Lennon flashed him an insincere smile as McCartney surveyed the massive room.

    “Yeah, hey, buddy. Two tickets, please.” Lennon answered disinterestedly. Hawes flashed a big grin and rang up their admission passes. Lennon paid him and tipped his hat.

    “Thanks, mate; you’re a pal.” he said, palming the tickets. The pair started to walk away, but Hawes shouted after them.

    “Wait! Would you gentlemen like a personal tour?” he shouted. Lennon waved his hand dismissively as they walked off, not bothering with a verbal answer; Hawes seemed a little taken aback by his blunt gesture, but returned to his work without pushing the matter.

    “Alright, McCartney, it should be near the back left.” Lennon whispered. “Let’s just grab it and get out of here real inconspicuous-like.” he muttered. The pair approached the back of the museum and found what they were looking for. They drew near to the small black stone Cheren had noticed when he had been there and stopped to inspect it.

    “So this is it?” McCartney asked in disbelief. “This thing is really Zek-” he tried to ask, but Lennon cut him off.

    “Shh!” he whispered angrily. “Keep your damn voice down… we don’t want anyone overhearing us and figuring out what they really have.” he explained. “The stupid fools running this place think this is just some pretty little rock they found out in the desert. They have no idea what this thing really is…” he continued, trailing off as he examined the majesty of the stone.

    “So what do we do, Lennon? You think they got tight security on this thing?” McCartney asked. Lennon shook his head as he inconspicuously slipped on a pair of latex gloves.

    “I doubt it. Like I said, they think it’s worthless and just looks cool.” he answered. “One way to find out for sure though…” he continued, reaching slowly towards the small object. He made sure no one was looking, and then reached out and cautiously snatched it from its perch. No alarms sounded and no one seemed to notice; Lennon’s lips curled into a twisted grin as he pocketed the small item.

    “Guess not…” McCartney commented. “Come on, let’s get out of here.” he continued. The pair of men slowly began returning to the entrance, trying to not draw attention themselves.

    “Leaving so soon?” Hawes asked as they neared the door. There was an almost hurt quality to his voice, as if their early departure reflected poorly upon him personally as a custodian. His question had almost made Lennon and McCartney jump in surprise, but they maintained their composure and replied without ceasing their movement.

    “Yeah, sorry, buddy; we just got a call about a… um… business… thing, we’ve got to go to, and we saw what we came to see.” Lennon shouted back conversationally. He and McCartney continued to try and leave, but Hawes looked away and sighed.

    “Oh… uh, well… thank you for visiting the Nacrene-” he started to say, but Lennon cut him off.

    “Yeah, yeah, it was a real pleasure.” he said.

    “Have to come back and do it again some time.” McCartney finished for him. The pair of Plasma agents quickly left the building and jogged back down to the street; Hawes sighed again and went back to his work.

    “No one following us?” Lennon asked, not wanting to look over his shoulder as they reached the street.

    “Uh… nope.” McCartney replied, taking a quick check for him. Lennon sighed in relief and darted into the darkness of an adjacent alleyway. He pulled the sleeve of his jacket up and began speaking into his Xtransceiver.

    “Recon One to Harmony One, come in Harmony One. Do you read? Over.” he whispered. The line issued static for a moment, but then crackled to life after a pause.

    “Harmony One to Recon One, I read you.” N’s voice responded. “That you Agent Lennon? Over.” he continued.

    “Recon Two to Harmony One, it kind of defeats the purpose of using code names if you don’t actually use them, over.” McCartney chimed up in annoyance. N quickly rectified his mistake.

    “Harmony One to Recon Two, terribly sorry, Agent McCartney, over.” he replied. By “rectified” I do of course mean “made worse;” McCartney sighed in further annoyance.

    “Look, whatever, Lord N? We’ve got the package, repeat, we have the package. Returning to base, over.” Lennon said quickly, trying to steer the conversation back in the right direction. The line remained silent for a moment and no response came.

    “Lord N? Do you read us? I said we’ve got-” Lennon tried to say again, but N interrupted him.

    “Yes, yes, I heard you, Agent Lennon.” N said quickly, clearing his throat. “This is just… monumental news.” he stammered, searching for the right words. “All this time training, all this time searching, and we are finally so close to reaching our ultimate goal…” he continued. “Return to base, agents; all of Team Plasma thanks you for your service.” he said stoically. Lennon and McCartney shot each other a grin.

    “Roger, returning to base. Over and out.” Lennon said, terminating the communication. Taking a quick peek to make sure no one was watching, he slowly removed the object they had stolen from the museum from beneath his cloak and inspected it one final time. The dark, black sphere had curious markings running along it and was barely bigger than a grapefruit; the significance he had been led to believe it implied filled him with a sense of majesty unbecoming its diminutive size and unornate decoration however. Lennon and McCartney stared at it as though it were a jewel for several seconds before hiding it beneath his cloak once more. They emerged from their hiding place and began heading down the street.

    “Looks like there’s a storm coming in…” McCartney commented stoically as they walked; small flakes of snow were beginning to fall around them as a sign that winter was on its way.

    “Yep, there sure is, old friend…” Lennon replied with equal impassivity. A grin curled along his lips as he looked up into the bright white sky. “There’s one hell of a storm coming, and when it passes, Unova… and the whole world will look different and better because of it.” he continued.

    “Mark my words, McCartney…” he said as they approached the edge of town. “…this is the beginning of a New World Order; the era of Team Plasma, and of Lord N. When Zekrom rises, Pokémon worldwide will be free to do as they please; no longer will they live under the shackles of wretched Pokémon trainers, and we… have just put events into motion that will make that possible.” he continued. A sinister grin spread across McCartney’s face as well.

    “Long Live Lord N, Future King of the Unova region…” McCartney murmured under his breath.

    “…and Long Live the Tertia Pax Unova.” Lennon concluded. As the snow continued to fall, the pair disappeared silently into Pinwheel Forest without a trace.

  17. #192
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    Alright, my first rate!

    I have to say, I liked the chapter, but I wish you won't make cheren have any more of those "talks" with Bianca. To me, it sounds like he's trying to have him break up with David, and you did say he had no in terest in Bianca.

    “Hey Alder!” Cheren shouted. “Hang on, we’ll be right-” he started to say, but Alder moved out of sight before he could finish. Cheren trailed off and a confused look spread across his face; before he could say more though, a peculiar sight struck their eyes.

    “Geronimo!!!” Alder shouted. He took a running leap and launched himself from the cliff. His cloak and long, flowing hair blew behind him in the breeze as he plummeted towards the ground. He dropped like a rock, but he spread his arms to expand his poncho, acting like a pseudo-parachute to soften the fall. As he neared the ground, he stretched out a hand and caught hold of a tiny, inconspicuous branch which hung from the rock wall. He flipped around it once to slow his momentum and then dropped the remaining few feet to the ground safely. All of this happened in just a matter of seconds.

    “…up.” Cheren continued. “Or… not.” he said. David and Bianca flanked him with their jaws nearly on the ground.
    I swear Alder is part gigalith.

    “Yes, master, Gardevoir do ‘have boobs,’ as you put it, but we do not call them as such and it is not as ‘what the’ obscenity as you think it is.” she answered with a grin. David blushed and quickly looked at her in shock.
    Annnnnnd this is why David is the best character out of this whole series.

    “No offense, but you can be kind of a dick sometimes,
    Geez, Bianca, you just noticed? Butr don't hate. Cheren being a dick is why we all love(hate)him.

    And that's all I really have to say.
    Last edited by irock245; 20th November 2011 at 10:14 PM.
    Yep we should ban baton pass, and weather too. Oh and Trick Room, I'm tired of having to worry about Trick Room all the time. Just ban the move Trick Room, and prankster, it's broken. Ban all status moves on prankster users, they're too cheap. Oh and ban Probopass to it's so cheap. Just ban everything except Magikarp with splash.
    Well, actually Blaziken isn't really Uber because some people whined about how they were getting owned by it. I mean, it doesn't stand a chance in the Uber enviroment.

  18. #193
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChaosBlizzard View Post
    -This is kind of how I always imagined Pokeballs might work; when a trainer catches a Pokemon, the Pokemon and the Pokeball are linked somehow.
    I've always heard it's rthrough a NA stamp, that the Pokball network logs that Pokemon's DNA and Identity, and possi;lbly marks it with a genetic tag that chases off the other Balls. The Snag Balls out of Orre then can get around that by checking for a pre-disposed Pokeball ID/DNA combination.


    -For those of you who don’t get the joke about 4Kids and the rice ball, read this and this section of this.
    Right, so you refer to two episodes I don't recall, but not to the Mankey episode? I see how it is...

    -Cutest moment of all time: Paula hiccupping or Paula getting hit with a snowball. The choice is yours.
    Always, the hiccup.

    Now, I have to read this puppy:

    “Read! You! Like! A! Book!” Cheren shouted through his laughter. David glared at him spitefully, but Bianca simply tuned his immature chatter out and waved her hand dismissively in his direction; she tightened her grip on David’s shoulder and walked a little closer.
    Cause. You. Look. Like. a. BOOKWORM!

    “Neat! Hey look! A divot!” Bianca’s voice rang from atop the ledge. This unexpected sound stirred Alder from his thoughts and returned his focus to reality. He turned over his shoulder and smiled at his young friend’s naivety. With a chuckle, he put his hands back in his pockets and set out on his own way.
    You like them Bianca? Come with me some time when I go golfing, there's a million of them...

    RE: The Pokeball
    While an intriguing section, there's something missing. David Should well have had time to store that Pokeball while Paula was charing Focus Blast. I sincerely doubt he would have kept it out expcting just one attack.

    “Paula, can you just Teleport us to them?” he asked. Paula frowned however and shook her head slightly.

    “I am sorry, master, but that is not how my teleportation abilities work.”
    There's a slight divot in your plot here. Technically, Paula has done just that, as a Kirlia and over a much furthur distance, though in a more adreniline filled state, when she shot Cheren across the county from the Relic Castle to a part of a city she'd never seen before. I suppose you could argue it was because she was being drawn to David, and no one else qualified, but she's also been inside Bianca's mind, and should be able to hone in on that from fifteen feet. More likely, Twist Mountian is lead-filled like a Ferreday Cage and unable to be teleported through, for fear of the psychokinetic energy getting scrambled.

    “Some ‘leader’ I am…” he thought to himself. “Can’t even get her to talk about anything other than him.” he continued. Cheren sighed again as the pair continued walking into the darkness.
    Welcome to life as a supporting character, Cheren my boy...

    I have to admit, the Gardevoir secition is interesting, but not here, not in this structure of thus story. Don't change it though, it's filling in a much needed time block that would otherwise be David walked while Paula floated, repated a million times. It's just different, we went from action comedy to Discovery Channel, is all.

    “Where did you get ‘Chaos Blizzard’ from?” he asked incredulously. Paula shrugged and folded her arms.
    You should be ashamed.

    Alas, while this was funny, the Hiccup is still classic.

    “Mark my words, McCartney…” he said as they approached the edge of town. “…this is the beginning of a New World Order; the era of Team Plasma, and of Lord N. When Zekrom rises, Pokémon worldwide will be free to do as they please; no longer will they live under the shackles of wretched Pokémon trainers, and we… have just put events into motion that will make that possible.” he continued. A sinister grin spread across McCartney’s face as well.

    “Long Live Lord N, Future King of the Unova region…” McCartney murmured under his breath.

    “…and Long Live the Tertia Pax Unova.” Lennon concluded. As the snow continued to fall, the pair disappeared silently into Pinwheel Forest without a trace.
    Yay! They did something right!

    reserved(umad nachoe?)
    Nah, but I am. Still, I call shaningans. All points renigged from first posts that say nothing in them.

    EDIT: Something occurs to me. Red did his training on Mt. Silver. Realizing Snow wasn't in the first iteration, but there should be snow on Mt. Silver. So where was Red then?
    Last edited by Glover; 21st November 2011 at 2:23 AM.
        Spoiler:- Breeding stuff:

  19. #194
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    This is the longest chapter? Doesn't seem like it, but then again I skimmed through most of it. Who cares about Cheren and Team Plasma? David, Paula and Bianca are the real stars of this show (and maybe Gus)!

    Wow, I was totally wrong thinking this chapter would be Bianca and David breaking up. Thank goodness it didn't happen or the two would both be in depression!

    -Cutest moment of all time: Paula hiccupping or Paula getting hit with a snowball. The choice is yours.
    It's the snowball now.

    P.S. I happened across this while trying to find a video showing Gardevoir's cry from RSE last night. This is one of the most random, stupid, Japanese-y things I have ever seen, but it made me laugh, so I thought I'd link it. If Gardevoir wasn't your favorite Pokemon before seeing that, and she still isn't after seeing it, you need to gtfo right now. Gardevoir are so cool.
    Heh, I remember seeing that once. The Japanese are indeed a bit odd sometimes, but without it we wouldn't be on this forum...

    Paula giggled for a final time and tilted her head.

    “Excellent! Happy to have helped, master.” she said in a high-pitched tone. The pair continued on for a ways in peaceful silence, but after a moment, David slowed a bit and appeared deep in thought. Paula noticed this and subtly read his mind pryingly; she smiled at what she heard and interrupted him.

    “Yes, master, Gardevoir do ‘have boobs,’ as you put it, but we do not call them as such and it is not as ‘what the’ obscenity as you think it is.” she answered with a grin. David blushed and quickly looked at her in shock.

    “What? I didn’t say any-” he started to reply defensively, but Paula cut him short.

    “Telepathy, master; I can read your thoughts, remember?” she asked. David’s eyes darted for a moment, but he then blushed and looked away; Paula just laughed.

    “Damn it, can’t a guy get some privacy in his own mind around here?” he asked under his breath. Paula shook her head.

    “Silly master; thinks Gardevoir do not nurse their young and that I would not take an opportunity to play tricks on him if he left his mind wide open to it. Silly, silly master…” she said with a chuckling sigh. The pair returned to their pleasant silence and continued on through the sprawling network of caves.
    I have a feeling Paula's going to win an award if her awesomeness keeps on. She can go from lecturing about the Victorian period to just messing around in an instant. And after seeing a bit of Skyward Sword, she reminds me a bit of Fi with her saying "master" all the time.

    What do you think, Paula? Got a name for your newly invented move?” he asked. Paula pondered the question for a moment with sincere interest.

    “How about ‘Blizzard of Chaos?’” she answered. “Ooh, or better yet, just ‘Chaos Blizzard.’” she continued, snapping her fingers again and grinning. David laughed at her response.

    “Where did you get ‘Chaos Blizzard’ from?” he asked incredulously. Paula shrugged and folded her arms.

    “I do not know; you tell me, master.” she said cutely and in an aloof tone.
    I literally was laughing out land from this. Though now it's making me wonder...

    “…and Long Live the Tertia Pax Unova.” Lennon concluded.
    Whoa whoa whoa that guy is actually mildly intelligent to know advanced (or different languaged) words?! And here I thought those two were idiots and sounded like Rex and Weevil from Yugioh Abridged. I'm too used to Pokemon grunts that I forgot what actual villains were like...
    Want to read an epic reinactment of a series that needs more love? Click the userbar! As of 3/16/13, Chapter 50 is up!

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  20. #195
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    Quote Originally Posted by irock245 View Post
    reserved(umad nachoe?)
    FIRST!

    Quote Originally Posted by irock245 View Post
    I swear Alder is part gigalith.
    Gigalith weigh almost 600 pounds and have a Speed stat of 25; wouldn't you need to be nimble to do what Alder did? As in the exact opposite of a Gigalith?

    Quote Originally Posted by Glover View Post
    There's a slight divot in your plot here. Technically, Paula has done just that, as a Kirlia and over a much furthur distance, though in a more adreniline filled state, when she shot Cheren across the county from the Relic Castle to a part of a city she'd never seen before. I suppose you could argue it was because she was being drawn to David, and no one else qualified, but she's also been inside Bianca's mind, and should be able to hone in on that from fifteen feet. More likely, Twist Mountian is lead-filled like a Ferreday Cage and unable to be teleported through, for fear of the psychokinetic energy getting scrambled.
    I think you misinterpreted her explanation a bit. Paula didn't say that she couldn't do it, she said that she didn't have enough information to do it safely. She said she could try based on the limited knowledge of the area that she had, but that it would be unsafe as they might simply Teleport inside of a rock. That doesn't make it impossible, it just makes it very, very dangerous. That same danger was still there when she Teleported from Turnback Cave to Nimbasa City, its just that they were lucky enough to not Teleport inside of anything. They could have done the same thing now, but the risk didn't outweigh the reward this time.

    Think of it like how Slipspace jumps work in Halo lore. Given coordinates, they can make a jump and nobody will say anything about it. However, it is up to the pilot to know for a fact that nothing will be occupying those coordinates when they return to normal space. Paula can Teleport anywhere as long as she can picture the place in her mind (i.e. "has coordinates"), but that danger that something might be occupying the same space when she reappears is always present; sometimes the situation just calls for it though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Glover View Post
    EDIT: Something occurs to me. Red did his training on Mt. Silver. Realizing Snow wasn't in the first iteration, but there should be snow on Mt. Silver. So where was Red then?
    Surely you aren't suggesting Red bred Paula on top of Mt. Silver, are you? :P This story, and by extension all of BW, are presumed to take place after HGSS, once Red has left Mt. Silver. He roams the world as Professor Oak's protege (read: errand boy). Paula, just like any Pokemon any of us have ever bred, was bred either on Four Island, Goldenrod City, Mauville City or Solaceon Town; which one it actually was must have been up to Red's discretion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hilijix View Post
    Whoa whoa whoa that guy is actually mildly intelligent to know advanced (or different languaged) words?! And here I thought those two were idiots and sounded like Rex and Weevil from Yugioh Abridged. I'm too used to Pokemon grunts that I forgot what actual villains were like...
    The term "Tertia Pax Unova" was actually first used by N in Chapter 11, "Romulus and Remus." Given that they are in N's private task force, it is assumed that Lennon and McCartney have been filled in on the plans (as N sees them).

  21. #196
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    I just about caught up with this, after several late night reads. Just have to do separation, and I have to say I'm loving it. The diversity and personalities of their teams, i loved the character of burgh (MOAR BURGH PLEASE) and I'm liking N. Please please put me on the pm list please.



    Major credit to level99love for the bar
    White fc: 3482 1973 6701.

    Uu for true ... i cant find the qwilfish sprite :P

  22. #197
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    man, you are a mastermind an this is a masterpiece. The way you describe emotions. the dialogs are very well made. For more complex critic you will have to wait till weekend. When will the next chapter be up?
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChaosBlizzard View Post
    FIRST!



    Surely you aren't suggesting Red bred Paula on top of Mt. Silver, are you? :P This story, and by extension all of BW, are presumed to take place after HGSS, once Red has left Mt. Silver. He roams the world as Professor Oak's protege (read: errand boy). Paula, just like any Pokemon any of us have ever bred, was bred either on Four Island, Goldenrod City, Mauville City or Solaceon Town; which one it actually was must have been up to Red's discretion.


    Sure you aren't suggesting that I haven't finished HG/SS, are you? Good, cause I haven't. I thought he was still up there, having made a home there. It beat living with his Mother after beating, well, everyone.

    If you;ll excuse me, I have to gread up on Slipspace. Halo is on my list of games I'd love to play, but could never master the ****ed camera angles, I had no clue whaere I was or should be looking half the time.
        Spoiler:- Breeding stuff:

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    I've started reading through this story lately and I have to say, I am not disappointed. People tend to look down on journey fics, but this story is a clear exception to that stereotype. The detail you put in your writing is incredible and the writing quality itself flows so well and is just downright amazing. I haven't gotten very far in the story yet, but here are some specific comments on the chapter I'm on now:

    Quote Originally Posted by ChaosBlizzard View Post
    There it was again: that subtle difference in how she was behaving. “You boys,” insinuating she wasn’t one herself. Not that she was, but she had never gone out of her way to act so feminine before. Was it something about starting the Pokémon journey that was making her this way? Or something different about him? David couldn’t keep forcing the thought out of his mind when it came up so often. The one thing that was changing however was his reception of it. The more and more he allowed himself to think of Bianca as a girl, the more and more he appreciated and welcomed it.
    Dynamic characters are amazing. People tend to have their characters follow the same strict personality because that seems most natural and logical, but then the characters turn out to be just completely flat. I'm glad that Bianca is dynamic, and I certainly hope that other characters will change in future chapters as well.

    A while later, after breakfast had been eaten and showers had been taken, the group of adventurers left the Pokémon Center and headed out for Route 2
    One thing I'd like to point out is that in formal writing (or at least semi-formal in this case), small numbers like two should be written out rather than using the numeral form. It's just more formal and more accepted.

    “Too bad! 2 out of 3, Bianca! Last one there’s a rotten Exeggute!” shouted Cheren as he took off running.
    I love Cheren's personality so far and I hope you continue expanding on it.

    Bianca regained her breath and straightened out her vest and skirt. David stopped and let her catch up, then the pair kept walking together at a normal pace.

    “Mission accomplished.” David thought to himself proudly.
    It's certainly nice to see a plot element like David and Bianca's relationship alongside the Unova league plot. My only suggestion is to make sure that the relationship doesn't dominate the story, otherwise this'll turn into a shipping fic. Keep your separate elements perfectly balanced; romance is good, but you'll need some action and adventure to balance it out.

    “Munna and Musharna are Pokémon very heavily associated with dreams. They are able to visualize and even enter the dreams of people and Pokémon as they are happening. My current research goal is to understand the science of how they actually manage that.” she said. “Munna have the ability to visualize the dreams of anyone they are near, but its evolved form Musharna can create a special ‘Dream Mist’ that allows one to actually enter the dreams themselves. Think of it like a portal that you can step in and out through to enter the dream world.” she continued.
    Don't overuse your italics. They should be used sparingly to put emphasis on important words in a sentence or to stress inflections in a character's speech. If they're used too often, their effect becomes somewhat diluted.

    Looking up from his plate, a bit of sauce dribbling down his chin, Cheren replied “Nah, that sounds lame. You two can handle it.”

    “Cheren! Don’t be rude!” Bianca shouted at her friend.

    Cheren shrugged and said, “Striaton City has a world famous Pokémon Trainers’ School that Professor Juniper used to teach at. I’m going to go study there. Eevee is plenty strong, I just need to hone my own technique. I’ll meet you guys at the Pokémon Center later tonight.”
    Let me reiterate that I'm loving Cheren's personality.

    “I don’t know. Remember our objective, we need to find a Munna.” David replied.
    Try not to use broken grammar, even if you're trying to simulate the pauses in regular English speech. The bolded sentence is two independent clauses joined together without a coordinating conjunction or a semicolon, and that's called a run-on sentence.

    Hey, did you hear that?” someone in the next room said. “Yeah, come on!” said a second voice.
    You seem to be doing this a lot. Don't put more than one speaker in the same paragraph when using quotes. That's just an accepted rule.

    “David! I’m s-s-s-scared!” Bianca whispered in his ear. They were hunched over in the corner, hidden behind the machine. She was knelt right behind him, holding onto him for dear life, her cheek almost touching his. He could hear her breath and could feel her heartbeat. “Well, at least one good thing came of all this...” he thought to himself.
    See above. It probably would have been fine if you used italics to express David's thought, but I'm not an authority on the matter.

    “Bianca, go! Get the police! I’ll keep these two here. Hurry!” David shouted. “That will not be necessary…” said a voice from the other room.
    See above. I'm not going to point out any more of these, so just be aware.

    David was taken aback at this comment, and a moment later heard Paula say “Yes, it is safe to come out now.” The man standing before him faded from sight, dissolving into thin air before David’s very eyes. As he vanished, the Munna floating behind Bianca came out from behind her protector, and a fully grown Musharna came into view from the other room.
    Probably would have been more effective for your description here if you described the shock that David experienced upon seeing a man dissolve into thin air before his very eyes. At least, I would be a little freaked out if I saw that.

    The pair looked at each other, considering the proposition. A moment later, the Musharna uttered a few strange sounds and nodded its head. David heard Paula’s voice in his head say “They said they would be delighted, master. Job well done, if I do say so myself.”
    I really like Paula as a character too. You're really good at making likeable characters.

    She took the machine from Fennel and activated it. It whirred to life and began to hum. Bianca called Pachirisu out of her Pokéball, and had it step up to the machine. Pachirisu began to interface with it, and in a moment of clarity, Pachirisu had learned Hidden Power!
    The description here is especially loose. Most players expect TM's to look like colored discs, so if you're going to deviate upon this, then it would probably be best if you elaborate more on the workings of this machine. First of all, why did Pachirisu suddenly come up to use the machine as if it instinctively knew how it worked? And "interface" is a pretty general verb, so a more precise action would have likely shed some light on the workings of this weird machine with little description. What exactly is this "moment of clarity" and how does Pachirisu learn the move in the first place? Try to add more description where it's needed most.

    All in all, this is a pretty amazing story and certainly stands out from the rest. I hope you continue to do amazing work on it and I'll be sure to catch up soon.

    ^ Click this for good times ^


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    Quote Originally Posted by Gelatino95 View Post


    One thing I'd like to point out is that in formal writing (or at least semi-formal in this case), small numbers like two should be written out rather than using the numeral form. It's just more formal and more accepted.


    In this case, I disagree. Most Highways and REoutes around me are spelled with a number an dnot the word, and Route 2 would fall under that. Tehexcaptions beig Tenth Street,but Instarste 5 or I-5 is alsways Insterstate 5, not I-Five.
        Spoiler:- Breeding stuff:

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