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Thread: Survival Project (PG-13)

  1. #151
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    Chapter 14

    So..I'm caught back up, I figured I would go ahead and review the latest chapter right here and now instead of starting off from where I left off. Feels like its been a while since we've had a Senori-centric chapter, personally out of all the Pokemon Senori comes off as one of the lesser interesting ones. That's not meant to be an insult either since I find him interesting, I just don't find him as interesting as the other Pokemon. Ezrem's deceitful nature, Atis' social anxiety mannerisms, Rennio's innocence and naive behavior, and Kuiora's battle spirit all are interesting. I'll start by saying the chapter was pretty engrossing from the start, I like the way there was some strife between Ezrem and Senori for the leader position, I also enjoyed how Senori's past personal sins were highlighted with him connecting to Rennio in the same way as them feeling guilty for their mistakes. Rennio's sadness over failing at the Goldenrod Gym was a nice touch as well. Ezrem and Kuiora getting so close seems like it might be heading somewhere since Kuiora is under the false notion that Ezrem is legendary and did defend him against Senori. Atis didn't speak much this chapter unsurprisingly. I have to wonder how Sai's backpack got stolen, I originally thought Ezrem did it out of spite. Ezrem more than anything else seems more like an "Anti-Hero" rather than a villain. Sai certainly is an enigma in himself, no appearance from him all chapter and running off like that and abandoning his Pokemon? I really just wonder where he went and he has ties to Team Rocket in some form. I wonder what will happened with stolen backpack, specifically the purloined badges. You really are going for unpredictable unique developments in this story and it certainly breaks the mold of most trainer fics.

    Good chapter!

  2. #152
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    We thoroughly searched the city and its outskirts for two days before we… stopped. I don’t want to say that we gave up, but it almost felt that way. It seemed that we had accepted the fact that Sai was erratic, and to find any sort of predictability in his life was impossible and a waste of time. So we stopped searching—or gave up—all the while hoping that he would come back to us, and soon.
    I can understand what Senori is trying to express here, too much in fact. I feel like you portrayed what he was trying to say very well, but I feel like you almost too hard. You didn't say it too many times in the quoted passage, but after the second sentence I understood that they stopped looking and it felt like you we're almost trying to hard to express that. Meh, i'm not sure if I'm off base or not

    All I had to do was climb on Kuiora’s back and insert the key into the lock, and we were inside, even after a few unsuccessful tries on my part.
    lol I love it when Senori acknowledges the difficulties he experiences due to his height. Kind of a charmingly odd moment

    or if we would have to settle for temporarily living as wild pokémon again.
    When I read that I instantly pictured a badly built club house in Ilex Forest with a 'Beware of Kuiora' sign on the front door, with Ezrem and Rennio patrolling outside. I had the thought that Senori might be with them on guard but then remembered he wouldn't be the best one for that job (for sad/obvious reasons)

    We passed the time mostly by sleeping,
    I liked that you included that little tidbit. It's exactly how I like to pass the day as well haha

    I could feel Kuiora’s subsequent glare.
    Her pride and arrogance are going to get her into serious trouble one day

    “I’m not worried about that. We’re strong, and can’t be caught by pokéballs,” I said, feeling more confident in myself when Ezrem didn’t say anything in response.
    Nice observation from Senori there. I don't really think it was implied that he meant that portion was maliciously, but I like to think he did. Not just because Ezrem is a little bastard but also because I like to think that Senori has a lot of rage potential boiling underneath the surface

    Once you feel guilty for one thing, you pretty much feel guilty for everything bad that follows. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.”
    Your insight into emotion and feelings still amaze me. Wonderful

    “Water is supposed to be a good thing for electric-type pokémon, I know, but I can’t help but be so sad.”
    Sorry if I'm being thick here, but I don't really understand this sentence. Care to elaborate on what he means?

    “I’ve always been so used to having Annie understand me
    I'm not sure if he means that Annie could completely understand him like Sai, or she just got the general point like a lot of the anime episodes. I'm thinking the latter but for a moment I thought that maybe Annie had been somewhat odd like Sai and maybe they had some sort of connection, but then I told myself that I need to stop being stupid and focus on the fact that the explanation for Sai is very simple lol. Sometimes I can't stop coming up with elaborate theories

    “Rennio, who told you that knocking on peoples’ houses and asking
    typo there

    but now I know it’s just the glow of everyone else’s hopes and dreams being incinerated,
    Sometimes I get really jealous about how verbally smooth you are. Perfectly written sentence there. Made me laugh and made me get to the point where I despise Ezrem on the cellular level now

    but the fact that it was still bothering me made me wonder if I would get over it.
    the quoted portion read somewhat weird for me. I might suggest you add an absolute after would to give it a little more definition and make it seem a little bit bigger. Maybe a word like 'ever'. I hope that makes sense

    All in all, I enjoyed myself thoroughly through the chapter. I could be wrong but I felt like there was much more dialogue in this chapter than there usually is, and I liked it quite a bit. The absence of Sai was definitely felt throughout the chapter for me. As much as I sometimes dislike him, I did miss him and his weirdness. Not in a way where I'm disappointed he wasn't in it, but in a way that made me appreciate him more (which is not something I thought I'd ever say about Sai). As I knew you would, you made the chapter work wonderfully without Sai's sticky awkwardness glue that I've come to adore. As always, I'm eager for the next chapter

    An Ancient Treasure, a Terrible Price. Take the Risk, Eat the World
    (Final Chapter added 05-15-2014)

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    All Hail the Six Kings...
    Chapter One added (12-07-2014)

  3. #153
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    Quote Originally Posted by diamondpearl876 View Post
    In one of our many group discussions, it was suggested that we try backtracking and going to Azalea Town, but it was too risky. What if Sai came back while we were gone? The idea of going to the next city, where no one had ever gone before, was worse. Besides, it was even riskier to separate and not be able to keep an eye out on each other—it was especially worrisome for the younger pokémon like Kuiora and Rennio. The only ones capable of taking care of them were me, Ezrem, and Atis. But I had so painfully learned that I couldn’t be in two places at the same time, I wouldn’t be able to trust Ezrem when I was so far away from him, and Atis didn’t seem too interested in the job anyway. I decided it, then: we would stay in Goldenrod City.
    I like the protective leadership role that Senori is taking here. I wonder why he feels he must. Does he think it's his role as Sai's first pokemon? Is he making atonement for his past mistakes? Or both? It suits him, though, better than he would think.

    “You don’t want to know,” Rennio said rather solemnly. He was probably still feeling guilty, and I didn’t blame him.
    Sneaky double meaning. Senori doesn't blame him for feeling guilty...so he DOES blame him for Sai's leaving. But it's not the kind of thing he'd outright say, so... nice way to throw that in.

    “We have food and water in Sai’s backpack still. And we know how to get food in the wild. Is that what you’re afraid of? You don’t know how to be a good wild pokémon, so you want to hide?” I said, grinning.
    Wow, Senori seems to have quite an edge when dealing with Ezrem and Rennio. Does he think they don't really "belong" since they already had a trainer?

    “Fine,” Ezrem said, smiling now and going back to sit with the others. “I’ll let you be the leader if I get to go with Kuiora.”
    Ezrem's going to work on turning Kuiora. Uh-oh!

    It was amusing, at least, watching Kuiora try to be a wild pokemon. I second guessed my decision to let her be paired together with Ezrem, noting his deceitful nature, but he seemed to genuinely help her out. I had suggested that they try to avoid the food and water in the backpack and try to earn it out in the open, so that they always had something to come back to if they were desperate. Surprisingly, they listened, so now Ezrem was teaching her that drinking out of ponds and rivers was the only way to get water, aside from having her shoot out water guns, of course. And since killing wild pokémon for food was apparently against his personal beliefs, Ezrem and Kuiora explored the area to find out where the best berries were, and he taught her how to choose which ones were good to eat.
    Ezrem is pulling a long con. I don't buy it!

    “I understand,” I said. “I went back to my clan after the incident, and it wasn’t exactly the best experience in the world.”
    There's been a few lines thus far that just haven't "felt like" Senori to me, and this was one. This dialogue just doesn't seem to come from the voice I have for him. Just the sarcastic use of "best experience in the world". Senori does seem "edgier" here, but this stretched it a bit for me.

    “Awesome,” I said. “Thank you very much.”
    There's another instance. "Awesome"? From Senori? It rings untrue in my head. Or maybe I don't know Senori as much as I thought.

    “All these gold houses look the same. You would think that all the people inside them would be the same—nice and friendly, like that first guy,” I said.
    What an interesting, quasi-racist (but not in an offensive way; more naive and innocent) way of looking at it. I guess that would be true for pokemon. Nice work describing that.

    That night, I didn’t sleep. There wasn’t anything to protect except one bag of food, but I kept watch over it anyway.
    Such a sad, definitive moment for Senori.

    I lay there all night, wondering what I could do to be better. I thought that I had gotten past this pain already by scrutinizing the team’s individual needs and by deciding that I wouldn’t let Sai’s rollercoaster emotions get to me. Those things had gone over well for me, but now, Sai was gone entirely… and my world was turned upside down. He obviously needed me at this very moment, but I couldn’t help him because I didn’t know where he was. And the team here obviously needed me, too, but in different ways… in ways that always seemed to backfire against me no matter how hard I tried.
    Oh, and it continued. This paragraph was pretty much Senori in a nutshell.

    So why was I still doubting myself? I recalled the conversation that me and Rennio had had earlier in our adventure. And of course, I concluded that the guilt of ruining my entire clan was still haunting me. Everyone’s cries, the sneasel’s lies, being banished after all of my hard work and after all of my heartfelt explanations… I always knew that it wouldn’t be something I could get over so easily, but the fact that it was still bothering me made me wonder if I would get over it.

    There had to be another way.

    I vowed to figure it out, with or without Sai.
    I think the ending might be a bit too much. I already got the sense of all of this from the previous paragraphs with Senori guarding the empty bag of food and thinking about leadership. This section here seemed to be just beating me over the head and spelling out what you'd already "said" with Senori's actions and thoughts. It just seemed a bit extraneous.

    I think some of the dialogue was a bit odd here. The examples I pointed out and maybe a few others. It just wasn't as much in the characters' voices as I had come to know them. But, like I said, maybe that was just my not knowing them as much as I think I do.

    Some good Senori stuff in here, though. And I was genuinely surprised to NOT get any answers on the mystery of where Sai is! I want to know!

    Keep it coming!


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  4. #154
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonicwari View Post
    That should be our
    Fixed, thanks for pointing it out.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Great Butler View Post
    I might be wrong, but it feels like it's been a while since we saw a Senori chapter, too.
    Yeah, seems like Ezrem and Rennio showing up put a big break on things.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Great Butler View Post
    It's worrying that they have to take care of themselves outside of their individual natural habitats, but what really surprises me in this paragraph is Senori using a key. XD;
    Anything Senori does related to humans is either strange or adorable. Lol.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Great Butler View Post
    Wait, wait, wait, I just realized something. Is Ezrem trying to overcompensate for the nervousness he feels about going back to the wild after following a trainer for the second time? If that's the case, I feel sympathetic for him again.
    Indeed.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Great Butler View Post
    Well, in that case, the Poké Balls shouldn't work on any of them but Ezrem himself, right? You kind of touch on that idea but it's not defined clearly whether you mean that they would be too strong to be caught or the Poké Balls would be ineffective.
    Pokeballs would be ineffective. Sorry for the confusion.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Great Butler View Post
    Wait, I'm a little confused. I thought they weren't going to split up?
    They’re still together with a partner, so it’s not technically splitting up.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Great Butler View Post
    Step one, Ezrem has to go. He could clearly not care less about what happens to Senori, Kuiora, Atis or even Rennio. He is manipulative and self-centered; I'm glad you brought up that Sneasel from Senori's past, because Ezrem is lying to him and manipulating him in a very similar way. But it's what Ezrem put Rennio up to doing that was truly cold-blooded - it's just plain as day now that Ezrem has no sympathy even for Rennio.

    I guess you could tell, but I really got emotionally invested in this chapter. Sai disappearing provided a catalyst for a lot of very challenging developments to come forth. At this point, any semblance the story had to a typical trainer fic is gone - the trainer is out of the picture, and now the plot is entirely centered on the Pokemon. This is a great, unique development, but I'm not sure how I feel about its practical effects in-universe. On one hand, it seems to be making Senori and Atis (at least) try their best to do what's right for the group, but on the other, Ezrem has decided to take advantage of and manipulate his new teammates instead of working together with them. I give you credit for actually establishing one of them as not very nice, though, as if the plot was simply a quest to find Sai it would feel a lot less unique than it does.
    Ah, well, don’t count of Ezrem leaving just yet. And I’m glad you were emotionally invested in this chapter. Thanks for commenting!

    Quote Originally Posted by Doryuzu View Post
    Chapter 14

    So..I'm caught back up, I figured I would go ahead and review the latest chapter right here and now instead of starting off from where I left off. Feels like its been a while since we've had a Senori-centric chapter, personally out of all the Pokemon Senori comes off as one of the lesser interesting ones. That's not meant to be an insult either since I find him interesting, I just don't find him as interesting as the other Pokemon. Ezrem's deceitful nature, Atis' social anxiety mannerisms, Rennio's innocence and naive behavior, and Kuiora's battle spirit all are interesting. I'll start by saying the chapter was pretty engrossing from the start, I like the way there was some strife between Ezrem and Senori for the leader position, I also enjoyed how Senori's past personal sins were highlighted with him connecting to Rennio in the same way as them feeling guilty for their mistakes. Rennio's sadness over failing at the Goldenrod Gym was a nice touch as well. Ezrem and Kuiora getting so close seems like it might be heading somewhere since Kuiora is under the false notion that Ezrem is legendary and did defend him against Senori. Atis didn't speak much this chapter unsurprisingly. I have to wonder how Sai's backpack got stolen, I originally thought Ezrem did it out of spite. Ezrem more than anything else seems more like an "Anti-Hero" rather than a villain. Sai certainly is an enigma in himself, no appearance from him all chapter and running off like that and abandoning his Pokemon? I really just wonder where he went and he has ties to Team Rocket in some form. I wonder what will happened with stolen backpack, specifically the purloined badges. You really are going for unpredictable unique developments in this story and it certainly breaks the mold of most trainer fics.

    Good chapter!
    Glad you caught up and that you think the fic is unique. That’s what I like to go for. And interesting that you think Ezrem is an anti-hero; we’ll see how your thoughts about him progress. Hope to see some more of your comments ,they’re insightful!

    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewinder View Post
    I can understand what Senori is trying to express here, too much in fact. I feel like you portrayed what he was trying to say very well, but I feel like you almost too hard. You didn't say it too many times in the quoted passage, but after the second sentence I understood that they stopped looking and it felt like you we're almost trying to hard to express that. Meh, i'm not sure if I'm off base or not
    Well, I did write 80,000 words in one month (11 chapters)… so at some point, something was doomed to sound forced. I guess that was it for you. Thanks for pointing it out.

    [QUOTE=Sidewinder;15444362]When I read that I instantly pictured a badly built club house in Ilex Forest with a 'Beware of Kuiora' sign on the front door, with Ezrem and Rennio patrolling outside. I had the thought that Senori might be with them on guard but then remembered he wouldn't be the best one for that job (for sad/obvious reasons)

    Cute and sad comment at the same time. Rofl.


    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewinder View Post
    Sorry if I'm being thick here, but I don't really understand this sentence. Care to elaborate on what he means?
    Water boosts electricity’s power, right? So Rennio feels that tears should be boosting his power as an electric-type pokémon, but they’re just making him sadder.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewinder View Post
    All in all, I enjoyed myself thoroughly through the chapter. I could be wrong but I felt like there was much more dialogue in this chapter than there usually is, and I liked it quite a bit. The absence of Sai was definitely felt throughout the chapter for me. As much as I sometimes dislike him, I did miss him and his weirdness. Not in a way where I'm disappointed he wasn't in it, but in a way that made me appreciate him more (which is not something I thought I'd ever say about Sai). As I knew you would, you made the chapter work wonderfully without Sai's sticky awkwardness glue that I've come to adore. As always, I'm eager for the next chapter
    I miss(ed) Sai, too. And he’s my own character. Lol. Thanks for commenting!

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    I like the protective leadership role that Senori is taking here. I wonder why he feels he must. Does he think it's his role as Sai's first pokemon? Is he making atonement for his past mistakes? Or both? It suits him, though, better than he would think.
    Indeed, you are correct about why.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    There's been a few lines thus far that just haven't "felt like" Senori to me, and this was one. This dialogue just doesn't seem to come from the voice I have for him. Just the sarcastic use of "best experience in the world". Senori does seem "edgier" here, but this stretched it a bit for me.
    Weird. I wonder why you feel this way, because nothing seems “unlike” Senori to me. egfgjfdj I will watch his dialogue in future chapters and try to see anything.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    I think the ending might be a bit too much. I already got the sense of all of this from the previous paragraphs with Senori guarding the empty bag of food and thinking about leadership. This section here seemed to be just beating me over the head and spelling out what you'd already "said" with Senori's actions and thoughts. It just seemed a bit extraneous.

    I think some of the dialogue was a bit odd here. The examples I pointed out and maybe a few others. It just wasn't as much in the characters' voices as I had come to know them. But, like I said, maybe that was just my not knowing them as much as I think I do.

    Some good Senori stuff in here, though. And I was genuinely surprised to NOT get any answers on the mystery of where Sai is! I want to know!

    Keep it coming!
    I appreciate your honesty. I like to wrap everything up in one fell swoop at the end of every chapter, though maybe I overdid it this time. And again, I’ll watch for dialogue. Thanks for commenting!

    | survival project |
    | this trainer is different. everyone knows it, but no one can explain it. |
    | complete |


    | flying in the dark |
    | he's hiding something. she just doesn't know it. |
    | on hiatus|


    | love and other nightmares |
    | limited time, limited abilities. kyurem says she can be cured in exchange for saving those who need saving. |
    | chapter 3 released 11/22/14 |


  5. #155
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    SURVIVAL PROJECT

    chapter 15 ; [EZREM]
    unfettered

    *

    Ah, how nice it was to have things go my way once in a great while.

    I do mean that. It truly felt like it had been a long time since the positive side of life had catered to me. First, there was Annie’s death… which I tried not to dwell on, but it seemed to keep showing up in my life, thanks to Rennio’s obvious and subsequent grief. Then, I spent the longest time looking for a new trainer. When I finally found him, he had rejected me faster than I could blink! And now… that new trainer was already gone, off doing whatever, wherever. It was like Annie’s disappearance all over again—except this time, an air of uncertainty wafted about us. I couldn’t imagine what that had done to poor Rennio! If things like this kept happening, not only would he have issues about death and loss, but he would have abandonment issues, too. Well, I could at least make sure that I stayed with him, even if Sai despised me.

    And so far, that was exactly what I did. Even when Sai, my main reasoning for staying, left, I remained by Rennio’s side. I stood by the team. I even offered to be the leader! Seeing Senori send us out into the wild once more was the last thing I wanted, especially when it reminded me of Annie, so I wanted to take over. That didn’t go as planned. (I had started learning that most things, when done for my selfish reasons, didn’t go as planned.) I agreed to let go of my offer if I was with Kuiora, because at least she treated me with some respect. She marveled over me every chance she got! It was a boost to my ego which I always so desperately needed.

    Still, I didn’t like Senori for bringing us closer to the place that had caused me so much pain in the past. I looked for any way to get back at him, and when the backpack was stolen (which, contrary to popular belief, I had no part of) I found my chance. I told Rennio that all of Goldenrod City’s citizens were nice people, and that Senori and him should go see them and try to get more supplies. I knew that the city people probably weren’t so nice, as I had learned in the past that snobbish people often lived in big, expensive cities like this one. Apparently, Rennio hadn’t noticed. And I could tell by the look on Senori’s face when he returned that things hadn’t gone as well as he had previously hoped. It was a small victory, but a victory nonetheless.

    Kuiora’s called me evil for it—and various other things—a few times, but I don’t like that term. It makes me sound worse than I actually thought I was. I preferred being called… ethically unfettered.

    Yes, that sounded about right.

    *

    “So, what do you think is wrong with Sai?” Kuiora asked me once. We were sitting against the trees near the entrance—or exit, depending how you looked at it—of Ilex Forest. I was sure that the rest of the team couldn’t hear us, so I didn’t bother telling her to hush, as Sai seemed to be a complex, confusing, and argumentative topic among the group.

    “As if I know!” I said, my eyes closed as I rested. “Haven’t you been with him longer?”

    “Of course I have,” she retorted. “But you’re a legendary, so you should know these things.”

    Legendary. I wasn’t legendary, that much was very clear to me. I had been given special treatment before, for some unknown reason… but no one went so far as to bow down to me. To her, however, I was the most important thing in life! I was the last thing she thought about before she went to sleep at night, and I was the first thing she thought of when she awoke in the morning. I was the one she worshipped and put before her own self. Religion, I knew, was something that people and pokémon believe for the same reason children believe in fairy tales: it gives them false, redeeming hope. I could provide that for her, I supposed. So I had to continue playing my newfound role, or it would be lost forever.

    “Well,” I said, thinking, “it’s like Sai has read the handbook for human behavior, but he didn’t quite understand most of the instructions.”

    “Tell me about it,” Kuiora said, and her calmer demeanor told me I had done well in answering her, even though I was being about as vague as I could possibly get. “You think there’s really someone following him?”

    “Who knows? Paranoia is poisonous. It’s a poisonous wish that makes everything become true, so even if it’s not true, it’s at least real in his mind.”

    “That’s creepy.”

    “I know. He better not go off and get himself killed or anything,” I said softly.

    “Death,” Kuiora said, her chin lifted, “is just a myth invented to scare young children.”

    “You think so?” I said, looking up at her. I knew she was young, but to be this naďve about such a pertinent concept seemed unreal to me. Could I possibly tell her about Annie, about what I did? Surely, she would accept that it was the work of a legendary; it was something that simply had to be done to communicate with other fellow legendaries. Still, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. There was always the off chance that she could tell someone else… and I mostly worried about Rennio finding out. It would have simply broken his heart into a million more pieces.

    “Yeah. There’s all these stories about dying too soon, or too late, or in the most horrible ways, and it’s all meant to scare people and pokémon like me. I don’t know why anyone would go to the trouble to make those things up! If you believe in the legendary pokémon, you can never die. It’s as simple as that. They’ll always remember you, no matter what happens to you.”

    How delusional, I thought, but didn’t say anything.

    A few moments of silence passed before she changed the topic and said, “Do you want to hear a story?”

    “A story?”

    “Yes! I know plenty of stories about rare and legendary pokémon. You might already know this story, but I’d like to tell you anyway. It’s about your evolved form.”

    At this I was intrigued. There were tales about my species? About my evolved form? Now, that was something. I nodded, wanting to hear more.

    “Okay,” she said. “Most stories try to avoid spoiling the end. But you need to know before we decide to continue: she didn’t want to come back.”

    “Who was?”

    “Shut up, and listen to the story!” she snapped, hitting me lightly in the face.

    “With a temper like yours, I’m truly surprised the world is still here…” I said, rubbing the spot where she hit me.

    “Shut up,” she said again. “Do you want to hear this or not?”

    “Yes, yes. I will be quiet,” I said. For thinking I was a legendary pokémon, she sure still had a lot of guts, standing up to me the way she did. Maybe she believed that it was a way for legendaries to remember her better, I thought—it was the best I could think of, and I admired it, in a way.

    And so, she went on.

    There once was a girl who was a con. She was a con because she became close to anyone and everyone she came into contact with in Unova, just to steal their hearts. Everyone became enamored with her at first sight, and they always wanted to be there for her, always wanted to be by her side, even in the darkest moments. But she was only with them for her own benefit. She just wanted their money, their jewelry, their priceless heirlooms—anything that she could get her hands on successfully, and in a decent amount of time.

    But one day, she stole too much. She had taken a diamond ring that her boyfriend—whom she pretended to care for—had bought for her, and then immediately left him in the dust. And she didn’t have an explanation for this boy who had come to love her so much, so he kept bothering her and bothering her, becoming for threatening each time, hoping for an answer. This was the first time that anyone had ever called her out on her selfish crimes, and she couldn’t handle it. Somehow, she had let her guard down, and now, it was time to pay for all that she had done. She decided to leave the town.

    Leaving by train or by plane was out of the question, as it was easy to follow those who left that way. Besides, to take a plane or a train meant that she would know where she was going, and she had not a clue where to go.

    She decided to leave in a hot air balloon that she had taken from an old friend, to put it to good use and to make sure she wasn’t followed to wherever she was going. She made sure it was a light blue hot air balloon, so that if anyone looked into the sky at the exact same moment she was passing by, they wouldn’t notice her, as she was blending in perfectly.

    But her plan still backfired. The boyfriend had been a trainer once, and a very strong one at that. He sent his braviary out to look for her, because he knew that the braviary would not give up, no matter what. It took many days and nights to find her, but the braviary eventually located her hovering above the sea. And then it took many days and nights for the braviary to turn around and come back home, but she wouldn’t listen. She was starting to feel bad for all she had done, and she couldn’t face the past.

    What happened next was both karma and a stroke of luck all at once. A streak of lightning crashed down on the hot air balloon one night when there was a storm, and she went careening, along with the remains of the balloon, into the water below. But the braviary, despite its confusion and disdain for the girl’s audacity and thievery, caught her in its claws just as she was about to break her fall. It took her home, and from there, the girl worked to improve her life so that she could form real relationships that she reciprocated fully.

    “The end,” she said. She added hastily, “Of course, if we were at Professor Elm’s lab, there’d be pictures and stuff, but we don’t have that here. Sorry.”

    I thought about the story for a moment. How appropriate, to hear a story about my species and have the human in question have a similar personality to my own. Perhaps Kuiora had done that on purpose, or maybe it was just fate to have the guilt of thievery follow me wherever I went. The difference between me and the story was simple: I couldn’t save anyone, not even Rennio. That was definite, it was a given. And besides that, there was something else bugging me.

    “I have a question,” I said after a few moments, not wanting to make her angry, but I was genuinely wondering about this, above all else.

    “What?”

    “Legendaries aren’t owned by trainers. It’s just not feasible, right?”

    “Yeah, legendaries are far too powerful. Why?”

    “Well, the braviary in the story is owned by a trainer. So, by default, the braviary is not a legendary pokémon. And, well, Sai has me as his pokémon. Kind of, anyway. So…” I explained, trailing off. I braced myself, waiting to be hit again or something. But surprisingly, she had an answer for me.

    “Rufflet and braviary are really rare. I heard they can only be caught by the toughest of trainers on Victory Road! That’s almost legendary status. You’re right, normal rufflet and braviary aren’t legendary. But you, Ezrem, are legendary, and for a very special reason!”

    “What reason is that?” I asked, so very curious to hear something that could potentially redeem my terrible personality.

    But I didn’t get my answer, as I was knocked in the head by something other than Kuiora’s fist. I let out a tiny squeal of surprise, and looked in the opposite direction, wondering what on earth the team was trying to do to me—probably trying to get revenge somehow, I thought. But I didn’t see the team. All I saw was a red and white object on the grass.

    A pokéball.

    “Oh, man,” I said. “Not this again.”

    “What’s wrong? What was that?”

    “A trainer’s trying to catch me. As usual. It happened a lot in the forest. Look”—I frantically looked around, and saw a girl running up to us—“I have to go. You should hide if you can,” I said, and with that, I darted away from her, away from the rest of the team.

    At first, I didn’t know where to go. All I could think about was why so many trainers were after me. Yes, rufflet were rare. Yes, rufflet were usually only found in Unova. But it didn’t mean that every trainer who looked at my pretty face had to come after me so aggressively! I considered myself lucky because no one could officially catch me by pokéball, thanks to Annie, but there were other means of catching a pokémon, I knew. The trainer could try to battle me and take me by force. I know—trainers have tried.

    Before I knew it, I was heading back into Ilex Forest. I passed the gates and the guards, their expressions more curious than alarmed. It wasn’t the brightest idea, heading back to the place that brought so much pain for me, but it was a lot easier to hide amongst a bunch of trees than it was amongst clear, open paths.

    I dared to stop and look behind me for a moment to see if the girl was still following me. Indeed, she was, and she didn’t seem to have any intentions on losing me in the forest. Well, we would see about that. I darted to the left, crossing a pond by running on the rocks that stood out above the water. The human tried to cross, too, but since she was much larger than me, she was also going much slower.

    I made my way through this part of the forest, and of course came upon the burnt part of it, the one I had so casually knocked down in the past. Though it would hurt, I decided to stay here, because it was more likely for the girl to try to find me in an area with a lot of trees, rather than a part of the forest that had a small amount of hiding places. I slowed down now, sure that she wouldn’t catch up. I started walking, surveying the damage. I stepped over dropped tree branches, had to go around fallen trunks, saw nothing but debris polluting a nearby body of water… I saw no pokémon—surely no one would want to live here anymore.

    And the next time I turned, I came across another pokéball. It was floating in the nearby pond. Curious, I made my way into the water until I could grab it. When I got out of the water, I examined it. The ball showed no sign of being affected by the fire, so maybe it was a fairly new item here, or maybe it had been spared. And it was a special kind of pokéball, not just a regular red and white one…

    It looked like the one Annie had had for me—it was blue on top and white on bottom, with two stripes of red on the sides. A great ball, she had called it once, though I didn’t see what was so great about it. But it hit me—this could be my pokéball! This could have once belonged to Annie! Now, I had to decide what to do with it… Who knew how much time I had to consider, given my situation?

    Part of me wanted to destroy the pokéball. Part of me wanted to be set free of Annie’s grasp—forever. If that was the route I went down, I would crush the pokéball and make it crumble into a bunch of pieces. Part of me thought this was a bad idea, because then maybe other trainers could really catch me with pokéballs now. Is that even how it worked? After all this time traveling, I didn’t know. And then, part of me was skeptical, wondering if it was really my pokéball at all. What if there was a pokémon inside? If I destroyed the pokéball, would the pokémon inside die? I didn’t want to kill anyone else…

    I heard a rustle, and the girl appeared once more.

    So she had followed me to the burnt area of the forest. She was smarter than I gave her credit for. Luckily for her, I suddenly didn’t have the energy to move. I turned to face her, and we stared at each other for a few moments. I realized the direness of the situation once more—she wanted me as her pokémon, when I already belonged to someone else. I went to run again, but she called for me to wait.

    “Wait,” she said again. “That pokéball might belong to my brother! We’ve been looking for it for a long time.”

    I stood there, unsure of what to do. Part of me wanted the ball to be mine after all, and part of me wanted to give it to this girl and forget this whole situation had even happened.

    I looked at the girl again, seeing that she was putting away the pokéball she had in her hand. She put up her arms and said, “My name is Sasha. I won’t catch you if that’s what you want… Please, could I just have the ball, and I’ll leave you alone?”

    “Ezrem!”

    “Sasha!”

    Two new players of this game showed up—Kuiora, and a boy who looked like this Sasha girl. Great, I thought. Now I had to worry about Kuiora being caught—what if Sai hadn’t properly caught her in a pokéball?—and I had to worry about the new guy potentially chasing us.

    “Ezrem, why did you run away like that?” Kuiora said, walking up to me and looking me over, as if to see whether or not I sustained any damage.

    “She was trying to catch me,” I said simply.

    “Look, Marty, it might be Halcyon’s ball. Remember, you dropped it while we were out here?” Sasha said. I looked down at the ball, so curious about its true origins. How hard it was, to think about the possibility of passing up this once in a lifetime chance!

    “Oh. That’s right. So that… bird… has it?”

    “It’s a rufflet, from Unova! I was trying to catch it to give it to you for your birthday, since pokémon like that one are one in a million! But it didn’t work…”

    “It’s the thought that counts, right? Besides, that Sai’s croconaw. Looks like it’s his… rufflet, too.”

    “Sai? I didn’t see him anywhere…”

    “Oh…” said Kuiora. She whispered into my ear: “That Marty kid really hates Sai. We can’t let him know that Sai’s disappeared or they’ll kill each other for sure.”

    Then, to Marty, she said, “Sai’s out shopping.”

    I automatically said, “Sai is sleeping at the pokémon center, and we’re out here exploring.” This, of course, only got me knocked in the head by Kuiora again for telling two completely different stories.

    “I don’t know what they just said, but I’m fairly sure whatever the rufflet said can’t be repeated in polite conversation,” Marty said sarcastically.

    “Idiot,” I said, now realizing that our efforts were futile, since they couldn’t understand us, anyway. “And I was almost destined to be your pokémon? As if.”

    “Sai’s probably letting them run rampant on purpose. Go figure,” Marty said.

    “You should really be nicer to him. He does try.”

    “Not hard enough.”

    At this, I threw the great ball directly at Marty’s face. At this point, I didn’t care if the ball was mine. I was just glad that I hadn’t been caught by this imbecile, and that I hadn’t chosen him during the battle between him and Sai. I felt fiercely proud of having Annie as a trainer, and therefore suddenly didn’t care if I was still bound by her or not. She was never so stuck up and she never looked down upon others the way he did. Sasha, on the other hand, was nice—but it didn’t stop me from being a jerk to her brother! And of course, there was Sai, who was nice to me half the time and completely ignorant during the other half.

    “Thanks a lot,” Marty muttered, rubbing his head as he reached down to get the pokéball. “Let’s go, Sasha.”

    I stuck out my tongue at them as they turned to leave, with Sasha looking back at me one more time, regretfully. I also got another hit in the head from Kuiora once they were gone. Soon, I would have a permanent bump there.

    “Well, should we go back, too?” Kuiora said. “Senori might kill us if he realizes we’ve been gone.”

    “I’ll only go with you if you stop saying that word,” I said, but I was already walking in the direction that would lead us back to the team.

    “What word?”

    “Don’t make me say it.”

    “Don’t make me guess it.”

    I turned, walking backwards so I could glare at her. “If you’re going to say it, then stop following me.”

    “I’m not following you. I’m following the path,” she said, pointedly keeping her gaze on the horizon just to prove a point.

    I sighed. I felt that this was one of the longest days ever. Still, some things had been made concrete to me. Kuiora cared about me, for one. This meant more to me than I could say. There was always Rennio, but Rennio stood by my side because he didn’t know my faults. Kuiora knew I had faults, knew that there was plenty of them to go around, but she stayed with me, and she even put me on a rather high pedestal.

    In addition, it appeared that I cared for Annie more than I originally thought I did. For the first time, I had felt pride over being her past pokémon, and I didn’t mind the fact that I gave up the possibility of destroying my old pokéball. She was always in the back of my mind, whether I liked it or not. She kept my conscience at bay. I vowed to continue trying to be good, for her—once I figured out what good was, anyway.

    In a more general sense, I had learned that having something wasn’t the same as keeping something. It was a lesson I wished I hadn’t learned, but such was life. This meant that just because I had Rennio and Kuiora’s love, it didn’t mean that it would last forever. Just because Annie had been there for me once, didn’t mean that she would ever be there for me again. Just because I thought Sai would make a great trainer for me, didn’t mean that he would actually live up to my expectations. And just because I would have made my home in the future, didn’t mean that it would stay with me forever.

    Yes, there were many levels to my pain. I unraveled each level, one by one, as we went back to the team, wondering and wishing. The pain wasn’t like a knife, or like fire, or ice, or any of a thousand other metaphors. It was simply just pain. And it drowned out the rest of the world as I felt a harsh, white flash of sensation take over, reminding me that I should try a little harder.
    Last edited by diamondpearl876; 12th December 2012 at 9:53 PM.

    | survival project |
    | this trainer is different. everyone knows it, but no one can explain it. |
    | complete |


    | flying in the dark |
    | he's hiding something. she just doesn't know it. |
    | on hiatus|


    | love and other nightmares |
    | limited time, limited abilities. kyurem says she can be cured in exchange for saving those who need saving. |
    | chapter 3 released 11/22/14 |


  6. #156
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    But one day, she stole too much. She had taken a diamond ring that her boyfriend—whom she pretended to care for—had bought for her, and then immediately left him in the dust. And she didn’t have an explanation for this boy who had come to love her so much, so he kept bothering her and bothering her, becoming for threatening each time, hoping for an answer. This was the first time that anyone had ever called her out on her selfish crimes, and she couldn’t handle it. Somehow, she had let her guard down, and now, it was time to pay for all that she had done. She decided to leave the town.
    Is that suppose to be more not for?

    “I don’t know what they just said, but I’m fairly sure whatever the rufflet said can’t be repeated in polite conversation,” Marty said sarcastically.
    Since the croconaw was hit, shouldn't it be what thecroconaw said?


    Nevermind, I re read that and saw what you meant


    ^You ever have that moment you realize you forgot to give credit? Sorry Irra!!^

  7. #157
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    Quote Originally Posted by diamondpearl876 View Post

    SURVIVAL PROJECT

    chapter 15 ; [EZREM]
    unfettered

    *
    Oh boy, an Ezrem chapter! Maybe we'll get his side of the story and it'll make me see things differently.

    Ah, how nice it was to have things go my way once in a great while.

    I do mean that. It truly felt like it had been a long time since the positive side of life had catered to me. First, there was Annie’s death… which I tried not to dwell on, but it seemed to keep showing up in my life, thanks to Rennio’s obvious and subsequent grief. Then, I spent the longest time looking for a new trainer. When I finally found him, he had rejected me faster than I could blink! And now… that new trainer was already gone, off doing whatever, wherever. It was like Annie’s disappearance all over again—except this time, an air of uncertainty wafted about us. I couldn’t imagine what that had done to poor Rennio! If things like this kept happening, not only would he have issues about death and loss, but he would have abandonment issues, too. Well, I could at least make sure that I stayed with him, even if Sai despised me.
    It's a little hard to take this straightforwardly coming from Ezrem, considering how manipulative the "positive side of life" appears to be for him. Yet at the same time, parts of this (namely the parts that don't involve Rennio, who Ezrem has manipulated just as much) come off as surprisingly genuine. I'm having a hard time getting a read on him.

    And so far, that was exactly what I did. Even when Sai, my main reasoning for staying, left, I remained by Rennio’s side. I stood by the team. I even offered to be the leader! Seeing Senori send us out into the wild once more was the last thing I wanted, especially when it reminded me of Annie, so I wanted to take over. That didn’t go as planned. (I had started learning that most things, when done for my selfish reasons, didn’t go as planned.) I agreed to let go of my offer if I was with Kuiora, because at least she treated me with some respect. She marveled over me every chance she got! It was a boost to my ego which I always so desperately needed.
    I'm beginning to wonder if Ezrem genuinely doesn't fully understand how manipulative he can be. He seems to genuinely believe some of the things he's saying.

    Still, I didn’t like Senori for bringing us closer to the place that had caused me so much pain in the past. I looked for any way to get back at him, and when the backpack was stolen (which, contrary to popular belief, I had no part of) I found my chance. I told Rennio that all of Goldenrod City’s citizens were nice people, and that Senori and him should go see them and try to get more supplies. I knew that the city people probably weren’t so nice, as I had learned in the past that snobbish people often lived in big, expensive cities like this one. Apparently, Rennio hadn’t noticed. And I could tell by the look on Senori’s face when he returned that things hadn’t gone as well as he had previously hoped. It was a small victory, but a victory nonetheless.

    Kuiora’s called me evil for it—and various other things—a few times, but I don’t like that term. It makes me sound worse than I actually thought I was. I preferred being called… ethically unfettered.

    Yes, that sounded about right.
    The "ethically unfettered" comment fits with what I just speculated above, but given that he still doesn't seem to understand why it's especially wrong to manipulate Rennio, I still have a hard time finding him sincere.

    “So, what do you think is wrong with Sai?” Kuiora asked me once. We were sitting against the trees near the entrance—or exit, depending how you looked at it—of Ilex Forest. I was sure that the rest of the team couldn’t hear us, so I didn’t bother telling her to hush, as Sai seemed to be a complex, confusing, and argumentative topic among the group.

    “As if I know!” I said, my eyes closed as I rested. “Haven’t you been with him longer?”

    “Of course I have,” she retorted. “But you’re a legendary, so you should know these things.”

    Legendary. I wasn’t legendary, that much was very clear to me. I had been given special treatment before, for some unknown reason… but no one went so far as to bow down to me. To her, however, I was the most important thing in life! I was the last thing she thought about before she went to sleep at night, and I was the first thing she thought of when she awoke in the morning. I was the one she worshipped and put before her own self. Religion, I knew, was something that people and pokémon believe for the same reason children believe in fairy tales: it gives them false, redeeming hope. I could provide that for her, I supposed. So I had to continue playing my newfound role, or it would be lost forever.
    Ezrem's a ... weird character. He's clearly enjoying this power trip he's getting, but at the same time, towards the end of this quote he appears to be becoming sincere about not wanting to disappoint Kuiora.

    It's fascinating.

    “Well,” I said, thinking, “it’s like Sai has read the handbook for human behavior, but he didn’t quite understand most of the instructions.”

    “Tell me about it,” Kuiora said, and her calmer demeanor told me I had done well in answering her, even though I was being about as vague as I could possibly get. “You think there’s really someone following him?”

    “Who knows? Paranoia is poisonous. It’s a poisonous wish that makes everything become true, so even if it’s not true, it’s at least real in his mind.”
    I think Ezrem probably has experience with paranoia, to be able to say that.

    “That’s creepy.”

    “I know. He better not go off and get himself killed or anything,” I said softly.

    “Death,” Kuiora said, her chin lifted, “is just a myth invented to scare young children.”
    This is probably foreshadowing for something that's going to be heartbreaking later, I can tell.

    “You think so?” I said, looking up at her. I knew she was young, but to be this naďve about such a pertinent concept seemed unreal to me. Could I possibly tell her about Annie, about what I did? Surely, she would accept that it was the work of a legendary; it was something that simply had to be done to communicate with other fellow legendaries. Still, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. There was always the off chance that she could tell someone else… and I mostly worried about Rennio finding out. It would have simply broken his heart into a million more pieces.

    “Yeah. There’s all these stories about dying too soon, or too late, or in the most horrible ways, and it’s all meant to scare people and pokémon like me. I don’t know why anyone would go to the trouble to make those things up! If you believe in the legendary pokémon, you can never die. It’s as simple as that. They’ll always remember you, no matter what happens to you.”

    How delusional, I thought, but didn’t say anything.
    Yeah, I'm definitely feeling an ominous sense of foreshadowing here.

    “Shut up,” she said again. “Do you want to hear this or not?”

    “Yes, yes. I will be quiet,” I said. For thinking I was a legendary pokémon, she sure still had a lot of guts, standing up to me the way she did. Maybe she believed that it was a way for legendaries to remember her better, I thought—it was the best I could think of, and I admired it, in a way.

    And so, she went on.

    There once was a girl who was a con. She was a con because she became close to anyone and everyone she came into contact with in Unova, just to steal their hearts. Everyone became enamored with her at first sight, and they always wanted to be there for her, always wanted to be by her side, even in the darkest moments. But she was only with them for her own benefit. She just wanted their money, their jewelry, their priceless heirlooms—anything that she could get her hands on successfully, and in a decent amount of time.

    But one day, she stole too much. She had taken a diamond ring that her boyfriend—whom she pretended to care for—had bought for her, and then immediately left him in the dust. And she didn’t have an explanation for this boy who had come to love her so much, so he kept bothering her and bothering her, becoming for threatening each time, hoping for an answer. This was the first time that anyone had ever called her out on her selfish crimes, and she couldn’t handle it. Somehow, she had let her guard down, and now, it was time to pay for all that she had done. She decided to leave the town.

    Leaving by train or by plane was out of the question, as it was easy to follow those who left that way. Besides, to take a plane or a train meant that she would know where she was going, and she had not a clue where to go.

    She decided to leave in a hot air balloon that she had taken from an old friend, to put it to good use and to make sure she wasn’t followed to wherever she was going. She made sure it was a light blue hot air balloon, so that if anyone looked into the sky at the exact same moment she was passing by, they wouldn’t notice her, as she was blending in perfectly.

    But her plan still backfired. The boyfriend had been a trainer once, and a very strong one at that. He sent his braviary out to look for her, because he knew that the braviary would not give up, no matter what. It took many days and nights to find her, but the braviary eventually located her hovering above the sea. And then it took many days and nights for the braviary to turn around and come back home, but she wouldn’t listen. She was starting to feel bad for all she had done, and she couldn’t face the past.
    Wait, Kuiora is aware of what Ezrem evolves into?

    What happened next was both karma and a stroke of luck all at once. A streak of lightning crashed down on the hot air balloon one night when there was a storm, and she went careening, along with the remains of the balloon, into the water below. But the braviary, despite its confusion and disdain for the girl’s audacity and thievery, caught her in its claws just as she was about to break her fall. It took her home, and from there, the girl worked to improve her life so that she could form real relationships that she reciprocated fully.

    “The end,” she said. She added hastily, “Of course, if we were at Professor Elm’s lab, there’d be pictures and stuff, but we don’t have that here. Sorry.”

    I thought about the story for a moment. How appropriate, to hear a story about my species and have the human in question have a similar personality to my own. Perhaps Kuiora had done that on purpose, or maybe it was just fate to have the guilt of thievery follow me wherever I went. The difference between me and the story was simple: I couldn’t save anyone, not even Rennio. That was definite, it was a given. And besides that, there was something else bugging me.
    That was a good story, and I'm liking the way it already appears to be affecting Ezrem. This might be the catalyst for some changes in his character.

    Does Kuiora know how similar the girl in the story is to Ezrem, or is she accidentally making that point?

    “I have a question,” I said after a few moments, not wanting to make her angry, but I was genuinely wondering about this, above all else.

    “What?”

    “Legendaries aren’t owned by trainers. It’s just not feasible, right?”

    “Yeah, legendaries are far too powerful. Why?”
    Dare I say that this may also be foreshadowing?

    “Well, the braviary in the story is owned by a trainer. So, by default, the braviary is not a legendary pokémon. And, well, Sai has me as his pokémon. Kind of, anyway. So…” I explained, trailing off. I braced myself, waiting to be hit again or something. But surprisingly, she had an answer for me.

    “Rufflet and braviary are really rare. I heard they can only be caught by the toughest of trainers on Victory Road! That’s almost legendary status. You’re right, normal rufflet and braviary aren’t legendary. But you, Ezrem, are legendary, and for a very special reason!”
    I'm surprised that Kuiora knows so much about the Rufflet and Braviary species.

    “What reason is that?” I asked, so very curious to hear something that could potentially redeem my terrible personality.
    This line alone makes me think about reevaluating Ezrem, if he recognizes that he has done some terrible things.

    But I didn’t get my answer, as I was knocked in the head by something other than Kuiora’s fist. I let out a tiny squeal of surprise, and looked in the opposite direction, wondering what on earth the team was trying to do to me—probably trying to get revenge somehow, I thought. But I didn’t see the team. All I saw was a red and white object on the grass.

    A pokéball.

    “Oh, man,” I said. “Not this again.”
    Ezrem's reaction is just about what mine is right now.

    “What’s wrong? What was that?”

    “A trainer’s trying to catch me. As usual. It happened a lot in the forest. Look”—I frantically looked around, and saw a girl running up to us—“I have to go. You should hide if you can,” I said, and with that, I darted away from her, away from the rest of the team.

    At first, I didn’t know where to go. All I could think about was why so many trainers were after me. Yes, rufflet were rare. Yes, rufflet were usually only found in Unova. But it didn’t mean that every trainer who looked at my pretty face had to come after me so aggressively! I considered myself lucky because no one could officially catch me by pokéball, thanks to Annie, but there were other means of catching a pokémon, I knew. The trainer could try to battle me and take me by force. I know—trainers have tried.

    Before I knew it, I was heading back into Ilex Forest. I passed the gates and the guards, their expressions more curious than alarmed. It wasn’t the brightest idea, heading back to the place that brought so much pain for me, but it was a lot easier to hide amongst a bunch of trees than it was amongst clear, open paths.

    I dared to stop and look behind me for a moment to see if the girl was still following me. Indeed, she was, and she didn’t seem to have any intentions on losing me in the forest. Well, we would see about that. I darted to the left, crossing a pond by running on the rocks that stood out above the water. The human tried to cross, too, but since she was much larger than me, she was also going much slower.
    Why doesn't he just hide up in the trees? It would be easier for him to lose her if he went above the tree covering and then hid elsewhere concealed by leaves.

    I made my way through this part of the forest, and of course came upon the burnt part of it, the one I had so casually knocked down in the past. Though it would hurt, I decided to stay here, because it was more likely for the girl to try to find me in an area with a lot of trees, rather than a part of the forest that had a small amount of hiding places. I slowed down now, sure that she wouldn’t catch up. I started walking, surveying the damage. I stepped over dropped tree branches, had to go around fallen trunks, saw nothing but debris polluting a nearby body of water… I saw no pokémon—surely no one would want to live here anymore.
    I'm not sure I support his reasoning, because if she does look in the burned area, it'll be easier to find him.

    And the next time I turned, I came across another pokéball. It was floating in the nearby pond. Curious, I made my way into the water until I could grab it. When I got out of the water, I examined it. The ball showed no sign of being affected by the fire, so maybe it was a fairly new item here, or maybe it had been spared. And it was a special kind of pokéball, not just a regular red and white one…

    It looked like the one Annie had had for me—it was blue on top and white on bottom, with two stripes of red on the sides. A great ball, she had called it once, though I didn’t see what was so great about it. But it hit me—this could be my pokéball! This could have once belonged to Annie! Now, I had to decide what to do with it… Who knew how much time I had to consider, given my situation?

    Part of me wanted to destroy the pokéball. Part of me wanted to be set free of Annie’s grasp—forever. If that was the route I went down, I would crush the pokéball and make it crumble into a bunch of pieces. Part of me thought this was a bad idea, because then maybe other trainers could really catch me with pokéballs now. Is that even how it worked? After all this time traveling, I didn’t know. And then, part of me was skeptical, wondering if it was really my pokéball at all. What if there was a pokémon inside? If I destroyed the pokéball, would the pokémon inside die? I didn’t want to kill anyone else…
    I'm surprised he's actually having this moral dilemma now.

    I heard a rustle, and the girl appeared once more.

    So she had followed me to the burnt area of the forest. She was smarter than I gave her credit for. Luckily for her, I suddenly didn’t have the energy to move. I turned to face her, and we stared at each other for a few moments. I realized the direness of the situation once more—she wanted me as her pokémon, when I already belonged to someone else. I went to run again, but she called for me to wait.

    “Wait,” she said again. “That pokéball might belong to my brother! We’ve been looking for it for a long time.”
    I don't trust her. This smells like a trap to me.

    I stood there, unsure of what to do. Part of me wanted the ball to be mine after all, and part of me wanted to give it to this girl and forget this whole situation had even happened.

    I looked at the girl again, seeing that she was putting away the pokéball she had in her hand. She put up her arms and said, “My name is Sasha. I won’t catch you if that’s what you want… Please, could I just have the ball, and I’ll leave you alone?”

    “Ezrem!”

    “Sasha!”

    Two new players of this game showed up—Kuiora, and a boy who looked like this Sasha girl. Great, I thought. Now I had to worry about Kuiora being caught—what if Sai hadn’t properly caught her in a pokéball?—and I had to worry about the new guy potentially chasing us.

    “Ezrem, why did you run away like that?” Kuiora said, walking up to me and looking me over, as if to see whether or not I sustained any damage.

    “She was trying to catch me,” I said simply.

    “Look, Marty, it might be Halcyon’s ball. Remember, you dropped it while we were out here?” Sasha said. I looked down at the ball, so curious about its true origins. How hard it was, to think about the possibility of passing up this once in a lifetime chance!

    “Oh. That’s right. So that… bird… has it?”

    “It’s a rufflet, from Unova! I was trying to catch it to give it to you for your birthday, since pokémon like that one are one in a million! But it didn’t work…”

    “It’s the thought that counts, right? Besides, that Sai’s croconaw. Looks like it’s his… rufflet, too.”
    Well, I guess that puts a stop to that.

    “Sai? I didn’t see him anywhere…”

    “Oh…” said Kuiora. She whispered into my ear: “That Marty kid really hates Sai. We can’t let him know that Sai’s disappeared or they’ll kill each other for sure.”
    Oh, it's him! It slipped my mind what his name actually was, and I completely forgot his sister's name.

    Then, to Marty, she said, “Sai’s out shopping.”

    I automatically said, “Sai is sleeping at the pokémon center, and we’re out here exploring.” This, of course, only got me knocked in the head by Kuiora again for telling two completely different stories.

    “I don’t know what they just said, but I’m fairly sure whatever the rufflet said can’t be repeated in polite conversation,” Marty said sarcastically.

    “Idiot,” I said, now realizing that our efforts were futile, since they couldn’t understand us, anyway. “And I was almost destined to be your pokémon? As if.”

    “Sai’s probably letting them run rampant on purpose. Go figure,” Marty said.

    “You should really be nicer to him. He does try.”

    “Not hard enough.”

    At this, I threw the great ball directly at Marty’s face. At this point, I didn’t care if the ball was mine. I was just glad that I hadn’t been caught by this imbecile, and that I hadn’t chosen him during the battle between him and Sai. I felt fiercely proud of having Annie as a trainer, and therefore suddenly didn’t care if I was still bound by her or not. She was never so stuck up and she never looked down upon others the way he did. Sasha, on the other hand, was nice—but it didn’t stop me from being a jerk to her brother! And of course, there was Sai, who was nice to me half the time and completely ignorant during the other half.
    Hahaha, serves Marty right. He deserved it.

    “Thanks a lot,” Marty muttered, rubbing his head as he reached down to get the pokéball. “Let’s go, Sasha.”

    I stuck out my tongue at them as they turned to leave, with Sasha looking back at me one more time, regretfully. I also got another hit in the head from Kuiora once they were gone. Soon, I would have a permanent bump there.

    “Well, should we go back, too?” Kuiora said. “Senori might kill us if he realizes we’ve been gone.”

    “I’ll only go with you if you stop saying that word,” I said, but I was already walking in the direction that would lead us back to the team.

    “What word?”

    “Don’t make me say it.”

    “Don’t make me guess it.”
    What word?

    I turned, walking backwards so I could glare at her. “If you’re going to say it, then stop following me.”

    “I’m not following you. I’m following the path,” she said, pointedly keeping her gaze on the horizon just to prove a point.

    I sighed. I felt that this was one of the longest days ever. Still, some things had been made concrete to me. Kuiora cared about me, for one. This meant more to me than I could say. There was always Rennio, but Rennio stood by my side because he didn’t know my faults. Kuiora knew I had faults, knew that there was plenty of them to go around, but she stayed with me, and she even put me on a rather high pedestal.
    Some of this is Ezrem's own fault, though. Especially the parts with Rennio.

    In addition, it appeared that I cared for Annie more than I originally thought I did. For the first time, I had felt pride over being her past pokémon, and I didn’t mind the fact that I gave up the possibility of destroying my old pokéball. She was always in the back of my mind, whether I liked it or not. She kept my conscience at bay. I vowed to continue trying to be good, for her—once I figured out what good was, anyway.

    In a more general sense, I had learned that having something wasn’t the same as keeping something. It was a lesson I wished I hadn’t learned, but such was life. This meant that just because I had Rennio and Kuiora’s love, it didn’t mean that it would last forever. Just because Annie had been there for me once, didn’t mean that she would ever be there for me again. Just because I thought Sai would make a great trainer for me, didn’t mean that he would actually live up to my expectations. And just because I would have made my home in the future, didn’t mean that it would stay with me forever.

    Yes, there were many levels to my pain. I unraveled each level, one by one, as we went back to the team, wondering and wishing. The pain wasn’t like a knife, or like fire, or ice, or any of a thousand other metaphors. It was simply just pain. And it drowned out the rest of the world as I felt a harsh, white flash of sensation take over, reminding me that I should try a little harder.
    I have to say, this chapter succeeded in redeeming Ezrem quite a bit in my eyes. Just having this additional peer into the way his mind works did wonders for making him more sympathetic. I still don't approve of a lot of the things he does, especially to Rennio, but I certainly understand them a lot better now.

    I think what really struck me about this chapter, though, is what's not in it - Sai's absence continues to be a major influence, and I feel like my dread of what has happened involving him grows with every chapter that he's not present.

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  8. #158
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    Quote Originally Posted by diamondpearl876 View Post
    Kuiora’s called me evil for it—and various other things—a few times, but I don’t like that term. It makes me sound worse than I actually thought I was. I preferred being called… ethically unfettered.
    Kuiora's relationship with Ezrem is so strange. She was marveled by him, then angry at him, then marveled by him, and now angry at him again. Let's see where it goes now...

    Legendary. I wasn’t legendary, that much was very clear to me. I had been given special treatment before, for some unknown reason… but no one went so far as to bow down to me. To her, however, I was the most important thing in life! I was the last thing she thought about before she went to sleep at night, and I was the first thing she thought of when she awoke in the morning. I was the one she worshipped and put before her own self. Religion, I knew, was something that people and pokémon believe for the same reason children believe in fairy tales: it gives them false, redeeming hope. I could provide that for her, I supposed. So I had to continue playing my newfound role, or it would be lost forever.
    Nice establishment of Ezrem's self-absorption through crooked narration. Obviously Ezrem is not THAT important to Kuiora, but he imagines he is.

    “Death,” Kuiora said, her chin lifted, “is just a myth invented to scare young children.”
    ....Kuoira is the one that dies. Oh, I might hate you forever.

    A few moments of silence passed before she changed the topic and said, “Do you want to hear a story?”

    “A story?”
    One of my favorite things about Kui! (I'm calling her Kui now, is that okay? I am.)

    “Rufflet and braviary are really rare. I heard they can only be caught by the toughest of trainers on Victory Road! That’s almost legendary status. You’re right, normal rufflet and braviary aren’t legendary. But you, Ezrem, are legendary, and for a very special reason!”
    So the plot thickens...

    Anyway, as always, I love Kui's stories. They add such a beautiful, flavorful level to the story, and really add in a sense of realism that this world has its own fables and tales. Thank you for another such moment.

    At this, I threw the great ball directly at Marty’s face. At this point, I didn’t care if the ball was mine.
    The two "At this" that start each sentence repeat a bit. I would drop the first one and just leave it at "I threw the great ball...". It's more impactful.



    I'm actually curious about two things. One, obviously, is where Sai is. The other, why is this story call Survival Project? I figured by now, I'd have an answer, but not so much. Obviously Sai is the project, and it SEEMS to be a project of Team Rocket's, but... to what end? And why doesn't he seem to want to be a part of it?

    Anyway, another good chapter!


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  9. #159
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    chapter 15 ; [EZREM]
    Ezrem chapter huh? I'm going to go ahead and start a tally of how many times I want to punch him in the face before the chapter is over

    Well, I could at least make sure that I stayed with him
    Hmm, that's odd seeing as how the previous Ezrem chapter showed him as a little bit more uncaring and emotionless. Whereas in this one he's actually worrying about issues that Rennio may develop. I may have to go back and read the last Ezrem chapter because this is confusing me slightly; perhaps I painted him in the wrong light afterall?

    because at least she treated me with some respect. She marveled over me every chance she got! It was a boost to my ego which I always so desperately needed.
    Actually, I think I did paint him in the right light. That statement I quotes screams narcissism and as much as I dislike him, you make his little desires and plans come off pretty damn well. And you do it in a way where I want to follow him even though I destest him. Nicely done

    I preferred being called… ethically unfettered.
    Made both me and my wife actually lol

    it’s like Sai has read the handbook for human behavior, but he didn’t quite understand most of the instructions.”
    Wow, someone finally understands how I feel lol. Ezrem really hit it right on with that line

    “Death,” Kuiora said, her chin lifted, “is just a myth invented to scare young children.”
    That statement, or rather that mindset is kinda concerning to me because it feels like she's winding down a path towards becoming a mini Ezrem. I know she has a little bit of a power complex, especially now that she's evolved, but what she said there really surprised me

    becoming for threatening each time, hoping for an answer.
    Shouldn't that be becoming more threatening?

    caught her in its claws just as she was about to break her fall.
    That read weird to me. I feel like it would sound better if you put something like, 'just as she was about to hit the water.' When you phrase it like you did, it sounds like she was maybe trying to catch herself before she hit, or something. I hope that makes sense.

    felt fiercely proud of having Annie as a trainer, and therefore suddenly didn’t care if I was still bound by her or not
    How delusional is he? So proud to have had had her, but at the same time being responsible for her death. Wow, you've done a wonderful job creating a character that I literally love to hate. If anything, he's almost more disconnected from reality than Sai is, at least when it comes to his thought process. I mean, he has had a few redeeming moments, but on the whole, he's still an ***

    Well, as a whole I really enjoyed the chapter, and my number for punching Ezrem only came to five. Which surprised me because I thought that it was going to be 10+ lol. The only weak spot I found throughout the chapter was the story that Kuiora told. I felt like it was quite inventive and did the job, but I also think that you could have expanded on it little more when it came to the description of the events and went a little more in-depth with the girl. I know going detailed wasn't the point of why you were telling the story, but I do feel like a bit more emotion could have been added. Not just that, but the Braviary tracking down the girl and saving her from dying didn't really seem like enough for Kuiora to have committed the story to memory. Yes, it's brave and heroic, but I don't think those two actions alone warrants her telling a story to Ezrem that exalts his evolved form to the stature that she was portraying it as. Don't get me wrong, you did a good job with it, but those were a few things that struck as I finished reading it

    Other than that, wonderful job as always and I'm excited for the next installment

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  10. #160
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    Chapet 15

    Ezrem, without a doubt, like I've said before is a bit of an enigma with some Anti-Heroic qualities thrown in there. He's a bit of a conniving Pokemon, but regardless he shows normal weakness you find in any human being or Pokemon with him showing he wouldn't have these emotional attachments to these specific people forever. Funny hearing him talk so emotionally about Annie when I thought he didn't really care for Annie hugely. After everything that was done, it certainly didn't seem like he cared for her. The return of Marty, the trainer that despises Sai. I still wonder what overall impact him and his sister are going to have on Sai and where exactly is Sai, looking forward to the next chapter. So, Kuiora, thinks of Ezrem as a Pseudo-Legendary in a way? Not legendary but close to legendary status, it was cute since she's so young and naive, yet so strong. Her personality somewhat reminds me of Korra from The Legend of Korra. Yeah, she was cute.

  11. #161
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    Thanks for the reviews as always, guys. I've been busy due to holidays so I won't be giving individual replies this time, but do know that I read them and appreciate them. I just want to get a chapter out today because it's been a while.

    @The Great Butler: the word was "death".


    SURVIVAL PROJECT

    chapter 16 ; [KUIORA]
    connection

    *

    If I had learned anything about the team this past week and a half, it was this: everyone makes mistakes—even me, unfortunately. Of course, I had known this before, but the consequences of my mistakes had increased greatly since going on a pokémon journey. After all, who at Professor Elm’s lab cared if my water gun wasn’t as powerful as it was supposed to be? Well, I did, but that was beside the point. No one else saw, and that was what mattered.

    On the other hand, now my mistakes were becoming much more noticeable. How embarrassing it was for me to lose to that clefairy when it was a simple normal-type pokémon. It wasn’t my fault that it so luckily had an electric-type attack at its disposal, but the defeat was still unbearable. I had spent the rest of the day lamenting and imagining the scene over and over in my mind while I was in my pokéball, which was different from the peaceful restfulness that the ball had provided for me in the past. Ezrem had told me that Rennio had experienced a loss much more painful, though, and it made me breathe a slight sigh of relief.

    Ezrem was also so nice to inform me that Sai had disappeared… My trainer had made the greatest mistake of all, by leaving his team when they needed him the most! We needed him to retrain us for the gym, and then have us all head back there for a rematch! Where could he possibly have gone to at a time like this? I couldn’t so easily forgive him, no matter where he was. Maybe I was just being stubborn, but I didn’t care.

    Then there was Senori, who went and lost our supplies in the blink of an eye—a blunder that also wasn’t his fault, but the blame was still on him. Atis made the mistake of never wanting to fight or become stronger. And Ezrem seemed to miss the memo, too. He was a legendary pokémon that didn’t even know he was a legendary pokémon! I had been about to tell him why he was so special, especially to me, but we had gotten so rudely interrupted.

    I knew that he was special because I had seen pictures of rufflet and braviary in the past, at Professor Elm’s lab, when I had heard the story I had recited to Ezrem. I had noticed a difference between Ezrem and the rufflet in the pictures—it hit me a few moments after we had met—and I thought: weren’t rufflet supposed to be blue, not red?

    I made a note to myself, saying that I would have to ask him about it sometime, so he knew.

    *

    Two more days passed after the interruption me and Ezrem had during our conversation, but I hadn’t brought it up to him because he had suddenly turned so quiet. Something had clearly happened to him on that trip where he ran away from me and from Sasha, but I couldn’t figure it out, nor would he tell me. He never told me much about himself. The only things that came out of that bird’s mouth were things that made me feel like I had the right to slap him upside the head, even if he was a legendary. And I had done that, several times. But I had stopped entirely for the last two days—that’s how mute he was being.

    Needless to say, he wasn’t making great company. I vaguely wished that I could switch my partner, but Senori wouldn’t allow it. “I think I’m a better fit for Rennio, and you don’t like Atis, anyway,” he had said. Well, fine. I would just find my own, new partner outside of the team, then!

    When Ezrem was napping against the trees we had sat against while talking and laughing, I went over to a pond that he had shown me when we first arrived into the wild. Being a wild pokémon, I had gathered, was nothing special. You had to retrieve your own food and water instead of having it handed to you, and there was other competition out there, whereas everyone at the lab had been… friends. Those who wanted a trainer waited ever so patiently, while those who didn’t want a trainer had to live in fear of being caught. Yeah, it wasn’t anything special, and not for the first time, I was glad to have been raised by Professor Elm. But I would at least put good use to this pond by finding myself a new escort.

    I stood by the edge of the pond, leaning over and washing my face with my paws. I thought I would wait for a water-type pokémon to come around and talk to me—one was bound to swim up to the surface of pond eventually, after all. Getting bored rather quickly, I remembered that I was a water-type pokémon myself, and decided to just plunge into the water myself and find someone. Diving into the water, I wondered what kinds of pokémon I would run into.

    I soon found out. There were plenty of magikarp swimming around together and murmuring to themselves as they passed by. A few psyduck floated around the water, some on their backs, which looked rather odd, but I said nothing. To my dismay, I didn’t see any totodile—I guessed that they were only really found near Professor Elm’s lab, after all.

    The most peculiar thing I found was a pack of poliwag, all huddled around together at the bottom of the pond, away from everyone else, as if they were discussing some secret that couldn’t be known to the rest of the pokémon there. I made my way over to them, curious and hoping to learn more about them. There were a couple psyduck and magikarp in the pack, I noticed as I swam over to them, but not too many. There was also a larger version of the poliwag present, one with arms and longer legs. I assumed it to be a powerful, evolved form.

    As I approached, I heard one of the poliwag say, “The ceremony will take place tonight, so everyone should be there if they can.”

    “Ceremony? What ceremony?” I instinctively said, butting in as I placed my feet on the bottom of the pond. I put myself in between the poliwag who spoke and a psyduck, noting the rough, pebbly exterior of the pond floor. Whatever they had to say, I wished they would say it fast so I could get the feeling away from my poor feet.

    They all looked at me curiously, suspiciously, and no one said anything for a while. Finally, the poliwhirl stepped in and asked, “Excuse me, but who are you?”

    “I am Kuiora, the only croconaw in this pond!” I cried, my voice full of excitement as I was able to prove myself to others. “Since I am the only croconaw, that also makes me the strongest.”

    “I see…” the poliwhirl said, scratching its belly. “You are new to this pond, then.”

    “I have a trainer, but he’s kind of missing at the moment,” I explained, “so here I am.”

    “I see,” the poliwhirl said again. Since it had no real mouth, just a stomach full of swirls that all went in the same direction, I couldn’t tell if he was happy to see me or not. He seemed to accept me, at least, when he added, “Well, welcome to the pond. We have a tradition here that takes place once in a great while, at no specific times. Would you like to join us?”

    “Sure!” I said, filled with glee over finding not just one partner, but several of them. I could least tell that the psyduck were smiling at me with their upturned bills, so I felt comfortable.

    “There are very few staryu around these parts,” the poliwhirl—who I came to see was the leader, now—started. “There are also very few water stones that we come across. They’re either left by trainers who found them in other bodies of water, or they are left from the skies above. We find them around here before anyone else does, with any sort of luck. As you can probably tell, we’ve found a water stone, and therefore we are ready to evolve one of the chosen staryu.”

    “Why is this a ceremony?” I interrupted, remembering some more stories about certain pokémon from Professor Elm’s lab. “Don’t pokémon evolve from stones all the time?”

    “Well, yes,” the poliwhirl admitted, “but the staryu are an interesting, special species.”

    “Special? How?”

    “The creature that staryu evolves into is known as starmie. Starmie are considered to be… alien creatures. That status shows us that they are very rare and are deserving of special treatment.”

    Once the poliwhirl was done talking, I was even more certain that I had come to the right place. Not only had I found several partners, now I had come across the chance to meet another rare, legendary pokémon! This day was just getting better and better.

    “Every participant gathers their own food around the forest. Any food goes,” the poliwhirl went on. “The choice has been given to all pokémon, as we couldn’t reach an agreement on whether or not killing others for food was acceptable. For some, it is okay by their moral standards. For others, not so much. Anyway, you will bring this food to the ceremony, and the rest will be made clear to you during the actual ritual. Oh, and another thing—men are not allowed to know about this ceremony.”

    “Why not?” I asked, suddenly feeling a bit more solemn. I was hoping to bring Ezrem to the ceremony if I was able to. Then again, he wasn’t a water-type pokémon, so he wouldn’t have been applicable no matter what. Still, I wanted to share this momentous occasion with him.

    “Some ceremonies involve only men. It depends on the sex of whoever finds the water stone. This is because staryu are genderless,” the poliwhirl explained. “In this case, a female found the stone.”

    “I see,” I said, my voice quiet and probably barely audible above the magikarp that swam above us, still murmuring the same words over and over.

    “Any other questions?”

    “Nope!” I said, while the others shook their heads no. I wondered why they had been so silent up until now, but I assumed that they were just unaccustomed to my presence, and felt a threat to the unknown water-type that had so dared to take over the conversation.

    “In that case,” the poliwhirl said, lifting her arm, “I will meet you all at the south end of the pond at dusk.”

    Everyone nodded this time, and then they all swam away in different directions. Only the poliwhirl remained.

    “This is the first time we will have a croconaw at our ceremony. I think it’s a bit unnerving for them, to have the ritual turn out a bit differently,” she said, laughing. Apparently, she had been reading my mind. “By the way, my name is Lynn. You don’t have to remember, since I’m the only poliwhirl in Ilex Forest and therefore I’m easily recognizable, but there it is, just in case you were wondering.”

    I thought that it was very nice to meet Lynn, but that it would be even nicer to meet that legendary starmie later on. I looked forward to it immensely.

    *

    One of the drawbacks to being a pokémon was that it was very difficult to tell time. At Professor Elm’s lab, I hadn’t paid attention to the prospect of time. I just knew that when it was dark, it was time to sleep, and when it was light, it was time to wake up and train. Naturally, then, I had no idea how long I had until it would be dusk, until it would be time to head to the south end of the pond for the ceremony. I even asked the entire team, but no one knew, not even Atis.

    “Why do you need to know?” the ever so curious Senori asked me.

    “I have to be somewhere at dusk,” I said.

    “You’re not supposed to be going out on your own. What if we need you and can’t find you?”

    “I’m not a baby like Rennio, you know,” I retorted, ignoring his question. “I’m young, but I can handle myself. I met some friends, okay? I want to spend some time with them before Sai comes back. If Sai comes back,” I corrected myself at the last minute.

    Senori glared at me. “He’ll come back,” he said, just like he had told me once before. His face was strained to the point where I could feel the pain of the situation he held inside him.

    “Well, I need as much distraction from this situation as you do. I don’t like it any more than you or anyone else on the team,” I said, willing to admit just about anything to be able to see that rare, legendary pokémon. I was being vague, but at least I wasn’t lying.

    Senori was quiet for a few moments, contemplating my answer. Finally, he said, “Just don’t go getting into trouble. And make sure that Ezrem is with you or knows where you are, at least. We don’t need to lose another member of the team.”

    “I’ll be fine,” I said. I thought for a moment, wondering how much leeway the sentret was going to offer me. “Say, can I take that bag of pokémon food that you got in Goldenrod City?”

    “Definitely not. Now you’re asking for too much,” Senori said, glaring at me again. “Eat some berries. I know you like those.”

    “Fine, fine,” I said, sighing. At least I had won one battle—the most important one. The second battle was miniscule in comparison.

    I turned, smiling as I did so. I hadn’t gotten much out of the conversation except a full-hearted confirmation of Sai’s future return, which I did hope for, despite my negativity toward the suvject. Again, I wanted a rematch at the Goldenrod City gym. I wanted his continual affection as he saw me grow stronger. I wanted to evolve for him one more time, and grow so tall that he had to look up at me just to see my face. Yes, I wanted him to come back, but knowing his personality, it wasn’t very likely.

    The concept of Sai and his crazy self consumed my thoughts as I searched for the berries that I would eat during the upcoming ceremony. I chose to get Cheri berries, which were my favorite because of the spicy, pungent flavor they offered, but were hard to find because they were located around flowers. There were mostly trees and bushes around the forest, which made my quest difficult. In the end, I had to settle for only a couple of Cheri berries, and a mixture of other types. I hoped that would be satisfactory. I also hoped that the situation with Sai wouldn’t be so similar—what if I had to settle with whatever came my way in the future, and he wasn’t a part of my life?

    *

    I went back to find Ezrem still napping against the trees. He awoke when he heard my footsteps, but he was as silent as ever. Naturally, we didn’t exchange many words. I sat there, counting out the amount of berries I had, and finding a wide leaf from a nearby tree to place them on, making the job of carrying them easier.

    When the slightest hint of darkness came over the horizon, I told Ezrem that I was leaving for a while, and that I’d be back later.

    “Where are you going?” he said, which was the first time he showed any interest in me all day.

    “I met some friends. Water-type friends!” I said. “You wouldn’t understand the joys of water-types, would you?”

    “No, no at all. You’re right. I will stay here,” he said, smiling.

    Good, I thought. And with that, I set out toward the south end of the pond. When I got to the edge of the pond where I had originally dove in, I realized another drawback to being a pokémon: I didn’t know my directions… so I didn’t know what south even meant. Luckily, I saw a group of poliwag on the other side, and swam across the pond to meet up with them.

    “Hello!” I said, trying to be cheerful so they would accept me, just like Lynn had. It looked like they had had plenty of time to reconsider my participation, as they gleefully said hello back. My own glee disappeared, however, when I saw just how thin the poliwag looked when they were outside the water. It appeared as if I could see their internal organs! It made me feel uncomfortable, and I thought vaguely that at least they were going to be putting some food in their stomachs to fatten them up some more during the ceremony.

    Each of them had some food with them, as expected. Some, like me, had berries, while others had some caterpie and weedle with them… I could see some of the poliwag eyeing the dead bugs and shifting around, but no one said anything about it. Lynn wasn’t kidding when she said that some pokémon had different moral standards when it came to killing pokémon, I supposed. I was against it, but I felt no hatred to those who were for it.

    Soon, a couple of psyduck came waddling up to us, joining the group. They expressed their regrets for the magikarp who wanted to attend for the entire thing, but couldn’t make it due to not being able to breathe on land.

    “They’ll be able to see part of the ceremony later, at least. Too bad it mostly has to take place on land,” one of the poliwag said.

    “Why does it have to take place on land?” I asked.

    “You’ll see. Anyway, I think we have everyone. Lynn and the staryu are at the entrance to Ilex Forest, so let’s go,” she said, leading the way.

    We left the area where my team was camping, and we went past the gates and guards so that we could enter Ilex Forest. Once we were inside the forest, we went around what seemed like a million trees that were all part of a labyrinth we’d never be able to escape.

    “I thought they were at the entrance,” I said, growing weary of being lost.

    “Sorry. Here we are,” the poliwag said, moving to reveal a large clearing, filled with even more poliwag and psyduck, all of which were chattering amongst themselves, waiting for the ceremony to start. Lynn and the staryu—the future legendary starmie!—stood in the middle of the clearing, and I could see a blue, shimmering item in Lynn’s hand.

    The poliwag and psyduck from my group went to join the larger group, and I stood there, lost and confused. What was I supposed to do now? I followed behind them and placed myself in the circle, pretending that I knew what I was doing. There, apparently, were downsides to being the only—and the strongest—croconaw here. And I felt like I was the only living thing here among a bunch of bones, since all the poliwag were so skinny. Even from afar, I could tell that Lynn was not so different, though she was evolved. At least the staryu looked normal…

    “Ladies!” Lynn roared. Immediately, everyone stood to face her, and quieted so they could hear her. “Thank you. I am glad to see that you could all make it. Without further ado, we can begin the ceremony. We will make it as quick as possible, as Comerhi here has been waiting for a long time for this day to come. Isn’t that right, Comerhi?”

    “Yes, yes it is,” said the staryu.

    I took a moment to take in the presence of the staryu. As expected, the main shape of the pokémon involved a star. It had five appendages, all of which were a golden-brown color. The appendages were also apparently very flexible, as the staryu was taking every moment possible to move its body around in anticipation. The middle part of the star was a dark yellow, and in the very middle of the pokémon, there was a circular, red ruby that was glowing, like the water stone in Lynn’s hand. So this was what a rare pokémon looked like, one I hadn’t even heard of before! I wondered how that was possible, and mentally scolded Professor Elm for not telling me about staryu and starmie before.

    “Now, we all have enjoyed having Comheri as an addition to our team here in Ilex Forest and Goldenrod City. She—for today, she has stated that she would prefer to be referred to as a female, to fit in with all of you—has lived here for about ten years, and is now finally ready to set forth into the unknown, mysterious adventure known as evolution,” Lynn said, and bowed. “She was born here to two starmie who have unfortunately left us since then. She was a temperamental baby pokémon, but was easily soothed by the presence of all of us. She appreciated our company. As she grew up… Well, there are many stories to tell. Does everyone remember, when she was young, how she used to swim in the ponds and pretend to be a magikarp, spouting off all kinds of nonsense? I bet we all remember. And then, there was the time where she learned to walk on land for the very first time. Her determination was an inspiration to all of us. Finally, no one can forget the moment where her two parents sacrificed themselves so that she would not get caught by a trainer…”

    She stopped, allowing the silence to spread over the group and engulf them.

    “Anyway… I’m a bit jealous. Maybe one day there will be no staryu in Ilex Forest, and I can use the stone on myself, though I am not as special as this well-renowned species,” Lynn said.

    She paused for a moment yet again. This time, the audience chuckled at her joke. I stood there in awe, not knowing previously that poliwhirl also needed a water stone to evolve. How noble and selfless Lynn was!

    “Enough memories. As I said, Comerhi has been waiting a long time for this day. She is ready to move on with her life and become the alien creature known as starmie. Though she will be as mysterious as ever, we vow to love her with all that we have, and for as long as we live. Now, Comerhi will come around to each and every one of you, and she will sprinkle some of her body’s dust on the food you have brought. This is done to bless everyone and to make sure that her un-evolved form will live on forever in our hearts.”

    Just as Lynn said, Comerhi made her way around each concentric circle, shaking her flexible body. I could see her body practically falling apart, appendage by appendage, as she went around spreading dust on everyone’s food. I supposed that was what happened when staryu prepared to evolve in the presence of a water stone. It was peculiar to me—evolution hadn’t been an act of destroying, but an act of creating and molding.

    I was the last circle that Comerhi came to. When she passed me, I felt like I was a part of something unbelievable and unique, as if the staryu had already evolved and become legendary. There was something about Lynn’s words that made the staryu appear special already, with all of her memories and connections within the Ilex Forest and Goldenrod City group. I wondered for a moment, if everyone was rare, including me—just because of the interesting and different lives that we led.

    When Comerhi was finished, she made her way back up to Lynn and the water stone.

    “Now, you may all eat your blessed food,” Lynn said, “as Comerhi finally touches this water stone, which was found by one of the group members among us today. Let us have a moment of silence for this group member, who has allowed this celebratory occasion to take place.”

    For a few moments, all that was heard was chewing among random parts of the group. After the moment of silence was over, Lynn turned to Comerhi and held her arms out, revealing to the world the precious water stone that was so cherished within the group. Comerhi stepped forward, and bent over slowly—as if to savor the moment. Eventually, the top part of her star body touched the blue rock, and she began to glow.

    It was when she first started to glow that I began eating all my berries, ignoring the bitter taste of dust in my mouth. I watched intently as Comerhi star body grew bigger and bigger. I was even more surprised when Comerhi grew a second star behind the first one! Though what astounded me most was how the staryu’s red core was disintegrating and falling apart right in front of our very eyes. All of its red, red pieces fell to the forest floor amidst the white glow. That was all I could make of the new starmie’s form until the illumination finally faded away. Once it was gone, I could see that, instead of golden-brown, her body was purple, still with a darker yellow portion in the middle. What fascinated me the most was the red jewel that the starmie now possessed. Unlike the staryu’s, it was much brighter, much larger, and much more red, as if to signify an intense passion for life. Once the full transformation had taken place, Comerhi let out a deep grunt, which sounded robotic, yet rhythmic—a symbol of its new alien form, I assumed.

    Everyone yelled out for joy or clapped if they had hands. I joined them soon after, and I also finished the rest of my berries. I swallowed the last of the dust that remained on my tongue, and waited for whatever came next.

    After what seemed like forever, Lynn continued, “When you are done eating your food, you may come up here and take a part of Comerhi’s lost core, which is a symbol of its ability to communicate with others. Embrace this piece of jewelry as you sleep tonight, and use it to dream of your lover, or someone important to you. Once everyone is finished, the last part of the ceremony will commence, and everyone will follow Comerhi to the pond of her choice and take her first swim with her alien form.”

    Everyone did as Lynn said. Some pokémon were already finished, so they made their way through the concentric circle and picked up a piece of broken red stone, bowing down to Comerhi as they did so, and giving a few words of respect. Once I saw that they were talking to the new legendary, I was more eager to join. I got up and stepped over a bunch of poliwag and psyduck to get to the middle of the clearing. I chose my own piece of red stone, which was very jagged and sharp, so I had to make sure not to hurt myself with it. Since it was only necessary, I also bowed to Comerhi, and asked her, “So, what’s it feel like to be a legendary?”

    But Comerhi only laughed and said, “I’m not a legendary. There are plenty of staryu—starmie—in the world.”

    “Then why is there a big ceremony celebrating your evolution?” I couldn’t help but ask.

    “Because staryu and starmie are rare among this area, and their rarity is cherished here. It really is nice, and I wish I could say we were rare, but that’s all,” Comerhi said. I wondered if she was smiling or annoyed. I didn’t know which, so I just bowed again and made my leave.

    Comerhi left with me, though. I walked slower to let her pass me, still thinking I owed her my respects. She treaded through the concentric circles one last time, and I watched as all of the poliwag and psyduck stood up to follow her. Lynn also followed her, and ended up walking beside me, looking at me expectantly.

    “So, what did you think?”

    “I think it’s very special for water-types. I learned some things that I will think of tonight,” I said simply, quietly. I was stil trying to get over the fact that starmie wasn’t legendary after all.

    “I see. Well, if you ever come around here with your trainer, you should visit us again, and see if we have anything else going on.”

    “I will.”

    As we kept walking toward the pond that Comerhi chose for the remainder of the ceremony, my walking got slower. It was really dark, now, so no one really noticed—they just kept on walking by. Instead of going to the pond with the group, I turned and made my way back to Ezrem and the others. It took a while, but it gave me plenty of time to think. In the end, though, I couldn’t think about much of anything. It was the first time in a while I had been shaken up. My whole understanding of the world had just been brought into question, after all.

    *

    Ezrem and the others were already sleeping when I returned. I guessed they hadn’t really missed me or worried about me too much, as they had previously said they would. I sat against a tree next to Ezrem, which is where I normally slept, but somehow, I knew I wasn’t going to get any rest tonight.

    I held the red jewel in my hand, thinking back to the ceremony. It felt like it was years ago already, for some reason. The starmie’s words rang in my ears. They weren’t rare! They weren’t legendary! But the group treated them as such. Where was the justice in that? Wasn’t that an insult to the real rare, legendary pokémon? But then, I thought back to the stories I had told the team… All of them had ended up in disaster somehow, someway. Surely, the legendaries wouldn’t want that. The legendaries would want humans and pokémon alike to celebrate each other and lift each other’s spirits. And that’s exactly what the group did. That’s exactly what Sai did, when he tried to make us feel special for being a part of his team. What’s what Senori did, when he wanted to be our leader and take care of us so lovingly. That’s what I did, when trying to impress Ezrem or make myself feel more superior than I really was.

    Being ordinary can be powerful after all, I thought. That meant that even Senori and Atis and Rennio and I were special. Ezrem was definitely special, but now, he was special in an… ordinary kind of way. In the end, I decided that I wouldn’t ask him about his shiny self—it didn’t matter, anyway.

    I lay down, and thought of everyone, holding the jewel close to my heart. Yes, they were all special, and I was glad to have them all here. I was glad that Senori looked out for me earlier, and I was glad for Ezrem’s terrible jokes and manipulative self. I hoped now, more than ever, that Sai would return.

    What happened next was a great stroke of luck. I wished that epiphanies hit me more often, if this was what happened after them. Really. So that is the way of it. You wake up, thinking the day will go as planned. But it never goes as planned. Between all of the exchanges you have with people and pokémon, there’s this and that. This and that may change your hopes and dreams! There’s you’ll never guess… and didn’t I tell you?—both of which may make you feel attacked. But by the end of the day, there’s hey, by the way, I love you, too…

    I heard something. Someone.

    I immediately bolted upright, and listened for the source of the sound. Yes, there was definitely someone approaching, and it sounded like… human footsteps.

    “Who’s there?” I cried, vaguely hoping to wake up the others in case it was a violent intruder. I held up the sharp end of the jewel in my head, prepared to use it if I had to.

    “Kuiora?”

    It wasn’t a violent intruder, or a legendary pokémon, or any other member of the team just happening to wake up and scare me.

    It was Sai.

    | survival project |
    | this trainer is different. everyone knows it, but no one can explain it. |
    | complete |


    | flying in the dark |
    | he's hiding something. she just doesn't know it. |
    | on hiatus|


    | love and other nightmares |
    | limited time, limited abilities. kyurem says she can be cured in exchange for saving those who need saving. |
    | chapter 3 released 11/22/14 |


  12. #162
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    Towards the end Kuorai said that she wouldn't ask about ezrem's shiny self, but when she said ezrem's was the wrong color it seemed like she didn't know what being shiny was or why he was a different color. Maybe you could clear that up some?


    ^You ever have that moment you realize you forgot to give credit? Sorry Irra!!^

  13. #163
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    Quote Originally Posted by diamondpearl876 View Post

    SURVIVAL PROJECT

    chapter 16 ; [KUIORA]
    connection

    *
    Oh boy, Kuiora chapter time!

    If I had learned anything about the team this past week and a half, it was this: everyone makes mistakes—even me, unfortunately. Of course, I had known this before, but the consequences of my mistakes had increased greatly since going on a pokémon journey. After all, who at Professor Elm’s lab cared if my water gun wasn’t as powerful as it was supposed to be? Well, I did, but that was beside the point. No one else saw, and that was what mattered.

    On the other hand, now my mistakes were becoming much more noticeable. How embarrassing it was for me to lose to that clefairy when it was a simple normal-type pokémon. It wasn’t my fault that it so luckily had an electric-type attack at its disposal, but the defeat was still unbearable. I had spent the rest of the day lamenting and imagining the scene over and over in my mind while I was in my pokéball, which was different from the peaceful restfulness that the ball had provided for me in the past. Ezrem had told me that Rennio had experienced a loss much more painful, though, and it made me breathe a slight sigh of relief.
    I'm really feeling Kuiora's pain here. For a Pokemon that staked so much on her strength in battle, that defeat at Clefairy's hands must have been devastating.

    Ezrem was also so nice to inform me that Sai had disappeared… My trainer had made the greatest mistake of all, by leaving his team when they needed him the most! We needed him to retrain us for the gym, and then have us all head back there for a rematch! Where could he possibly have gone to at a time like this? I couldn’t so easily forgive him, no matter where he was. Maybe I was just being stubborn, but I didn’t care.
    Kuiora sounds a little selfish here.


    I knew that he was special because I had seen pictures of rufflet and braviary in the past, at Professor Elm’s lab, when I had heard the story I had recited to Ezrem. I had noticed a difference between Ezrem and the rufflet in the pictures—it hit me a few moments after we had met—and I thought: weren’t rufflet supposed to be blue, not red?

    I made a note to myself, saying that I would have to ask him about it sometime, so he knew.
    Now that was quite a surprise.

    Two more days passed after the interruption me and Ezrem had during our conversation, but I hadn’t brought it up to him because he had suddenly turned so quiet. Something had clearly happened to him on that trip where he ran away from me and from Sasha, but I couldn’t figure it out, nor would he tell me. He never told me much about himself. The only things that came out of that bird’s mouth were things that made me feel like I had the right to slap him upside the head, even if he was a legendary. And I had done that, several times. But I had stopped entirely for the last two days—that’s how mute he was being.

    Needless to say, he wasn’t making great company. I vaguely wished that I could switch my partner, but Senori wouldn’t allow it. “I think I’m a better fit for Rennio, and you don’t like Atis, anyway,” he had said. Well, fine. I would just find my own, new partner outside of the team, then!
    This is not going to go well, Kuiora. I don't think breaking the groups is a good idea.

    When Ezrem was napping against the trees we had sat against while talking and laughing, I went over to a pond that he had shown me when we first arrived into the wild. Being a wild pokémon, I had gathered, was nothing special. You had to retrieve your own food and water instead of having it handed to you, and there was other competition out there, whereas everyone at the lab had been… friends. Those who wanted a trainer waited ever so patiently, while those who didn’t want a trainer had to live in fear of being caught. Yeah, it wasn’t anything special, and not for the first time, I was glad to have been raised by Professor Elm. But I would at least put good use to this pond by finding myself a new escort.

    I stood by the edge of the pond, leaning over and washing my face with my paws. I thought I would wait for a water-type pokémon to come around and talk to me—one was bound to swim up to the surface of pond eventually, after all. Getting bored rather quickly, I remembered that I was a water-type pokémon myself, and decided to just plunge into the water myself and find someone. Diving into the water, I wondered what kinds of pokémon I would run into.

    I soon found out. There were plenty of magikarp swimming around together and murmuring to themselves as they passed by. A few psyduck floated around the water, some on their backs, which looked rather odd, but I said nothing. To my dismay, I didn’t see any totodile—I guessed that they were only really found near Professor Elm’s lab, after all.

    The most peculiar thing I found was a pack of poliwag, all huddled around together at the bottom of the pond, away from everyone else, as if they were discussing some secret that couldn’t be known to the rest of the pokémon there. I made my way over to them, curious and hoping to learn more about them. There were a couple psyduck and magikarp in the pack, I noticed as I swam over to them, but not too many. There was also a larger version of the poliwag present, one with arms and longer legs. I assumed it to be a powerful, evolved form.
    I guess that search for a new partner isn't going so well, huh?

    As I approached, I heard one of the poliwag say, “The ceremony will take place tonight, so everyone should be there if they can.”

    “Ceremony? What ceremony?” I instinctively said, butting in as I placed my feet on the bottom of the pond. I put myself in between the poliwag who spoke and a psyduck, noting the rough, pebbly exterior of the pond floor. Whatever they had to say, I wished they would say it fast so I could get the feeling away from my poor feet.
    I think I know what the ceremony is.

    They all looked at me curiously, suspiciously, and no one said anything for a while. Finally, the poliwhirl stepped in and asked, “Excuse me, but who are you?”

    “I am Kuiora, the only croconaw in this pond!” I cried, my voice full of excitement as I was able to prove myself to others. “Since I am the only croconaw, that also makes me the strongest.”
    Kuiora, I think you're making a mistake.

    “I see…” the poliwhirl said, scratching its belly. “You are new to this pond, then.”

    “I have a trainer, but he’s kind of missing at the moment,” I explained, “so here I am.”

    “I see,” the poliwhirl said again. Since it had no real mouth, just a stomach full of swirls that all went in the same direction, I couldn’t tell if he was happy to see me or not. He seemed to accept me, at least, when he added, “Well, welcome to the pond. We have a tradition here that takes place once in a great while, at no specific times. Would you like to join us?”

    “Sure!” I said, filled with glee over finding not just one partner, but several of them. I could least tell that the psyduck were smiling at me with their upturned bills, so I felt comfortable.
    I don't think this is going to work out the way Kuiora thinks it is, I really don't.

    “There are very few staryu around these parts,” the poliwhirl—who I came to see was the leader, now—started. “There are also very few water stones that we come across. They’re either left by trainers who found them in other bodies of water, or they are left from the skies above. We find them around here before anyone else does, with any sort of luck. As you can probably tell, we’ve found a water stone, and therefore we are ready to evolve one of the chosen staryu.”

    “Why is this a ceremony?” I interrupted, remembering some more stories about certain pokémon from Professor Elm’s lab. “Don’t pokémon evolve from stones all the time?”

    “Well, yes,” the poliwhirl admitted, “but the staryu are an interesting, special species.”

    “Special? How?”

    “The creature that staryu evolves into is known as starmie. Starmie are considered to be… alien creatures. That status shows us that they are very rare and are deserving of special treatment.”
    I rather like the way you're depicting the lake's Pokemon as having a culture of their own.

    Once the poliwhirl was done talking, I was even more certain that I had come to the right place. Not only had I found several partners, now I had come across the chance to meet another rare, legendary pokémon! This day was just getting better and better.
    Kuiora's naive nature is strangely adorable.

    “Every participant gathers their own food around the forest. Any food goes,” the poliwhirl went on. “The choice has been given to all pokémon, as we couldn’t reach an agreement on whether or not killing others for food was acceptable. For some, it is okay by their moral standards. For others, not so much. Anyway, you will bring this food to the ceremony, and the rest will be made clear to you during the actual ritual. Oh, and another thing—men are not allowed to know about this ceremony.”

    “Why not?” I asked, suddenly feeling a bit more solemn. I was hoping to bring Ezrem to the ceremony if I was able to. Then again, he wasn’t a water-type pokémon, so he wouldn’t have been applicable no matter what. Still, I wanted to share this momentous occasion with him.

    “Some ceremonies involve only men. It depends on the sex of whoever finds the water stone. This is because staryu are genderless,” the poliwhirl explained. “In this case, a female found the stone.”
    I have a bad feeling about where Kuiora's going to get that food. I just hope she doesn't make any mistakes and hurt herself or any of the others.

    On another note, the development you're giving the lake Pokemon's culture really is quite fascinating. I love these little details you're showing.

    “This is the first time we will have a croconaw at our ceremony. I think it’s a bit unnerving for them, to have the ritual turn out a bit differently,” she said, laughing. Apparently, she had been reading my mind. “By the way, my name is Lynn. You don’t have to remember, since I’m the only poliwhirl in Ilex Forest and therefore I’m easily recognizable, but there it is, just in case you were wondering.”

    I thought that it was very nice to meet Lynn, but that it would be even nicer to meet that legendary starmie later on. I looked forward to it immensely.
    I wonder if the fact that we got a name for Lynn will mean anything later?

    One of the drawbacks to being a pokémon was that it was very difficult to tell time. At Professor Elm’s lab, I hadn’t paid attention to the prospect of time. I just knew that when it was dark, it was time to sleep, and when it was light, it was time to wake up and train. Naturally, then, I had no idea how long I had until it would be dusk, until it would be time to head to the south end of the pond for the ceremony. I even asked the entire team, but no one knew, not even Atis.

    “Why do you need to know?” the ever so curious Senori asked me.

    “I have to be somewhere at dusk,” I said.

    “You’re not supposed to be going out on your own. What if we need you and can’t find you?”

    “I’m not a baby like Rennio, you know,” I retorted, ignoring his question. “I’m young, but I can handle myself. I met some friends, okay? I want to spend some time with them before Sai comes back. If Sai comes back,” I corrected myself at the last minute.
    Kuiora's overconfidence is making me a bit nervous.

    “I’ll be fine,” I said. I thought for a moment, wondering how much leeway the sentret was going to offer me. “Say, can I take that bag of pokémon food that you got in Goldenrod City?”

    “Definitely not. Now you’re asking for too much,” Senori said, glaring at me again. “Eat some berries. I know you like those.”
    I knew Kuiora would try to get the group's food. I'm glad Senori shut her down, but I am not certain this is over yet.

    “Fine, fine,” I said, sighing. At least I had won one battle—the most important one. The second battle was miniscule in comparison.

    I turned, smiling as I did so. I hadn’t gotten much out of the conversation except a full-hearted confirmation of Sai’s future return, which I did hope for, despite my negativity toward the suvject. Again, I wanted a rematch at the Goldenrod City gym. I wanted his continual affection as he saw me grow stronger. I wanted to evolve for him one more time, and grow so tall that he had to look up at me just to see my face. Yes, I wanted him to come back, but knowing his personality, it wasn’t very likely.
    "subject" is misspelled.

    Kuiora's really getting pretty possessive of Sai...

    The concept of Sai and his crazy self consumed my thoughts as I searched for the berries that I would eat during the upcoming ceremony. I chose to get Cheri berries, which were my favorite because of the spicy, pungent flavor they offered, but were hard to find because they were located around flowers. There were mostly trees and bushes around the forest, which made my quest difficult. In the end, I had to settle for only a couple of Cheri berries, and a mixture of other types. I hoped that would be satisfactory. I also hoped that the situation with Sai wouldn’t be so similar—what if I had to settle with whatever came my way in the future, and he wasn’t a part of my life?
    Really kind of creepy when you think about the way she's talking.

    “No, no at all. You’re right. I will stay here,” he said, smiling.

    Good, I thought. And with that, I set out toward the south end of the pond. When I got to the edge of the pond where I had originally dove in, I realized another drawback to being a pokémon: I didn’t know my directions… so I didn’t know what south even meant. Luckily, I saw a group of poliwag on the other side, and swam across the pond to meet up with them.

    “Hello!” I said, trying to be cheerful so they would accept me, just like Lynn had. It looked like they had had plenty of time to reconsider my participation, as they gleefully said hello back. My own glee disappeared, however, when I saw just how thin the poliwag looked when they were outside the water. It appeared as if I could see their internal organs! It made me feel uncomfortable, and I thought vaguely that at least they were going to be putting some food in their stomachs to fatten them up some more during the ceremony.
    That visual with the Poliwag and their internal organs was simultaneously horrifying and hilarious.

    Each of them had some food with them, as expected. Some, like me, had berries, while others had some caterpie and weedle with them… I could see some of the poliwag eyeing the dead bugs and shifting around, but no one said anything about it. Lynn wasn’t kidding when she said that some pokémon had different moral standards when it came to killing pokémon, I supposed. I was against it, but I felt no hatred to those who were for it.

    Soon, a couple of psyduck came waddling up to us, joining the group. They expressed their regrets for the magikarp who wanted to attend for the entire thing, but couldn’t make it due to not being able to breathe on land.

    “They’ll be able to see part of the ceremony later, at least. Too bad it mostly has to take place on land,” one of the poliwag said.

    “Why does it have to take place on land?” I asked.

    “You’ll see. Anyway, I think we have everyone. Lynn and the staryu are at the entrance to Ilex Forest, so let’s go,” she said, leading the way.
    I'm just getting really, really nervous about this.

    We left the area where my team was camping, and we went past the gates and guards so that we could enter Ilex Forest. Once we were inside the forest, we went around what seemed like a million trees that were all part of a labyrinth we’d never be able to escape.

    “I thought they were at the entrance,” I said, growing weary of being lost.
    Getting really wary here...

    “Sorry. Here we are,” the poliwag said, moving to reveal a large clearing, filled with even more poliwag and psyduck, all of which were chattering amongst themselves, waiting for the ceremony to start. Lynn and the staryu—the future legendary starmie!—stood in the middle of the clearing, and I could see a blue, shimmering item in Lynn’s hand.

    The poliwag and psyduck from my group went to join the larger group, and I stood there, lost and confused. What was I supposed to do now? I followed behind them and placed myself in the circle, pretending that I knew what I was doing. There, apparently, were downsides to being the only—and the strongest—croconaw here. And I felt like I was the only living thing here among a bunch of bones, since all the poliwag were so skinny. Even from afar, I could tell that Lynn was not so different, though she was evolved. At least the staryu looked normal…

    “Ladies!” Lynn roared. Immediately, everyone stood to face her, and quieted so they could hear her. “Thank you. I am glad to see that you could all make it. Without further ado, we can begin the ceremony. We will make it as quick as possible, as Comerhi here has been waiting for a long time for this day to come. Isn’t that right, Comerhi?”

    “Yes, yes it is,” said the staryu.
    Once again, this ceremony is something that I'm finding very fascinating in this chapter. You're giving an excellent deal of detail on it.

    I took a moment to take in the presence of the staryu. As expected, the main shape of the pokémon involved a star. It had five appendages, all of which were a golden-brown color. The appendages were also apparently very flexible, as the staryu was taking every moment possible to move its body around in anticipation. The middle part of the star was a dark yellow, and in the very middle of the pokémon, there was a circular, red ruby that was glowing, like the water stone in Lynn’s hand. So this was what a rare pokémon looked like, one I hadn’t even heard of before! I wondered how that was possible, and mentally scolded Professor Elm for not telling me about staryu and starmie before.

    “Now, we all have enjoyed having Comheri as an addition to our team here in Ilex Forest and Goldenrod City. She—for today, she has stated that she would prefer to be referred to as a female, to fit in with all of you—has lived here for about ten years, and is now finally ready to set forth into the unknown, mysterious adventure known as evolution,” Lynn said, and bowed. “She was born here to two starmie who have unfortunately left us since then. She was a temperamental baby pokémon, but was easily soothed by the presence of all of us. She appreciated our company. As she grew up… Well, there are many stories to tell. Does everyone remember, when she was young, how she used to swim in the ponds and pretend to be a magikarp, spouting off all kinds of nonsense? I bet we all remember. And then, there was the time where she learned to walk on land for the very first time. Her determination was an inspiration to all of us. Finally, no one can forget the moment where her two parents sacrificed themselves so that she would not get caught by a trainer…”
    Very good bit of backstory for Comerhi. I like the way you present it within the context of the ceremony.

    “Enough memories. As I said, Comerhi has been waiting a long time for this day. She is ready to move on with her life and become the alien creature known as starmie. Though she will be as mysterious as ever, we vow to love her with all that we have, and for as long as we live. Now, Comerhi will come around to each and every one of you, and she will sprinkle some of her body’s dust on the food you have brought. This is done to bless everyone and to make sure that her un-evolved form will live on forever in our hearts.”
    Well, that's a pretty unique touch.

    Just as Lynn said, Comerhi made her way around each concentric circle, shaking her flexible body. I could see her body practically falling apart, appendage by appendage, as she went around spreading dust on everyone’s food. I supposed that was what happened when staryu prepared to evolve in the presence of a water stone. It was peculiar to me—evolution hadn’t been an act of destroying, but an act of creating and molding.

    I was the last circle that Comerhi came to. When she passed me, I felt like I was a part of something unbelievable and unique, as if the staryu had already evolved and become legendary. There was something about Lynn’s words that made the staryu appear special already, with all of her memories and connections within the Ilex Forest and Goldenrod City group. I wondered for a moment, if everyone was rare, including me—just because of the interesting and different lives that we led.
    That's a surprisingly deep thought. I almost wouldn't have thought Kuiora had it in her.

    When Comerhi was finished, she made her way back up to Lynn and the water stone.

    “Now, you may all eat your blessed food,” Lynn said, “as Comerhi finally touches this water stone, which was found by one of the group members among us today. Let us have a moment of silence for this group member, who has allowed this celebratory occasion to take place.”

    For a few moments, all that was heard was chewing among random parts of the group. After the moment of silence was over, Lynn turned to Comerhi and held her arms out, revealing to the world the precious water stone that was so cherished within the group. Comerhi stepped forward, and bent over slowly—as if to savor the moment. Eventually, the top part of her star body touched the blue rock, and she began to glow.

    It was when she first started to glow that I began eating all my berries, ignoring the bitter taste of dust in my mouth. I watched intently as Comerhi star body grew bigger and bigger. I was even more surprised when Comerhi grew a second star behind the first one! Though what astounded me most was how the staryu’s red core was disintegrating and falling apart right in front of our very eyes. All of its red, red pieces fell to the forest floor amidst the white glow. That was all I could make of the new starmie’s form until the illumination finally faded away. Once it was gone, I could see that, instead of golden-brown, her body was purple, still with a darker yellow portion in the middle. What fascinated me the most was the red jewel that the starmie now possessed. Unlike the staryu’s, it was much brighter, much larger, and much more red, as if to signify an intense passion for life. Once the full transformation had taken place, Comerhi let out a deep grunt, which sounded robotic, yet rhythmic—a symbol of its new alien form, I assumed.
    Impressive visual. Nice touch with the food, too.

    Everyone yelled out for joy or clapped if they had hands. I joined them soon after, and I also finished the rest of my berries. I swallowed the last of the dust that remained on my tongue, and waited for whatever came next.

    After what seemed like forever, Lynn continued, “When you are done eating your food, you may come up here and take a part of Comerhi’s lost core, which is a symbol of its ability to communicate with others. Embrace this piece of jewelry as you sleep tonight, and use it to dream of your lover, or someone important to you. Once everyone is finished, the last part of the ceremony will commence, and everyone will follow Comerhi to the pond of her choice and take her first swim with her alien form.”
    I really, really like that bit with the core. I could almost see something similar being a tradition with humans in some areas too.

    Everyone did as Lynn said. Some pokémon were already finished, so they made their way through the concentric circle and picked up a piece of broken red stone, bowing down to Comerhi as they did so, and giving a few words of respect. Once I saw that they were talking to the new legendary, I was more eager to join. I got up and stepped over a bunch of poliwag and psyduck to get to the middle of the clearing. I chose my own piece of red stone, which was very jagged and sharp, so I had to make sure not to hurt myself with it. Since it was only necessary, I also bowed to Comerhi, and asked her, “So, what’s it feel like to be a legendary?”

    But Comerhi only laughed and said, “I’m not a legendary. There are plenty of staryu—starmie—in the world.”

    “Then why is there a big ceremony celebrating your evolution?” I couldn’t help but ask.

    “Because staryu and starmie are rare among this area, and their rarity is cherished here. It really is nice, and I wish I could say we were rare, but that’s all,” Comerhi said. I wondered if she was smiling or annoyed. I didn’t know which, so I just bowed again and made my leave.
    Right here is where I bet Kuiora's beliefs about "legendaries" begin to change.

    Comerhi left with me, though. I walked slower to let her pass me, still thinking I owed her my respects. She treaded through the concentric circles one last time, and I watched as all of the poliwag and psyduck stood up to follow her. Lynn also followed her, and ended up walking beside me, looking at me expectantly.

    “So, what did you think?”

    “I think it’s very special for water-types. I learned some things that I will think of tonight,” I said simply, quietly. I was stil trying to get over the fact that starmie wasn’t legendary after all.
    I think I might be right about what I just said.

    “I see. Well, if you ever come around here with your trainer, you should visit us again, and see if we have anything else going on.”
    Why do I get the feeling Comerhi might end up getting captured if and when Sai returns?

    Ezrem and the others were already sleeping when I returned. I guessed they hadn’t really missed me or worried about me too much, as they had previously said they would. I sat against a tree next to Ezrem, which is where I normally slept, but somehow, I knew I wasn’t going to get any rest tonight.

    I held the red jewel in my hand, thinking back to the ceremony. It felt like it was years ago already, for some reason. The starmie’s words rang in my ears. They weren’t rare! They weren’t legendary! But the group treated them as such. Where was the justice in that? Wasn’t that an insult to the real rare, legendary pokémon? But then, I thought back to the stories I had told the team… All of them had ended up in disaster somehow, someway. Surely, the legendaries wouldn’t want that. The legendaries would want humans and pokémon alike to celebrate each other and lift each other’s spirits. And that’s exactly what the group did. That’s exactly what Sai did, when he tried to make us feel special for being a part of his team. What’s what Senori did, when he wanted to be our leader and take care of us so lovingly. That’s what I did, when trying to impress Ezrem or make myself feel more superior than I really was.

    Being ordinary can be powerful after all, I thought. That meant that even Senori and Atis and Rennio and I were special. Ezrem was definitely special, but now, he was special in an… ordinary kind of way. In the end, I decided that I wouldn’t ask him about his shiny self—it didn’t matter, anyway.

    I lay down, and thought of everyone, holding the jewel close to my heart. Yes, they were all special, and I was glad to have them all here. I was glad that Senori looked out for me earlier, and I was glad for Ezrem’s terrible jokes and manipulative self. I hoped now, more than ever, that Sai would return.
    Kuiora surprises me with how deep she can actually be. All I can really say is that I smiled reading this part.

    What happened next was a great stroke of luck. I wished that epiphanies hit me more often, if this was what happened after them. Really. So that is the way of it. You wake up, thinking the day will go as planned. But it never goes as planned. Between all of the exchanges you have with people and pokémon, there’s this and that. This and that may change your hopes and dreams! There’s you’ll never guess… and didn’t I tell you?—both of which may make you feel attacked. But by the end of the day, there’s hey, by the way, I love you, too…

    I heard something. Someone.

    I immediately bolted upright, and listened for the source of the sound. Yes, there was definitely someone approaching, and it sounded like… human footsteps.

    “Who’s there?” I cried, vaguely hoping to wake up the others in case it was a violent intruder. I held up the sharp end of the jewel in my head, prepared to use it if I had to.

    “Kuiora?”

    It wasn’t a violent intruder, or a legendary pokémon, or any other member of the team just happening to wake up and scare me.

    It was Sai.
    Oh ****, he finally returns! Now to see if everything that's happened to his Pokemon has any effect on him, or if he's changed himself at all.

    Good chapter. Sorry I don't have much to say, but I really want to point out how much I liked Kuiora's thoughtfulness in this one.

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  14. #164
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    chapter 16 ; [KUIORA]
    Oh dear lord lol

    Well, I did, but that was beside the point. No one else saw, and that was what mattered.
    Is she perhaps starved for affection? It's odd, I've always thought of Kuiora as having some narcissistic traits, but what she thought there sounded really needy to me. In a good way though lol

    and I thought: weren’t rufflet supposed to be blue, not red?
    Well that's a twist. I looked up Rufflet after I read that, and not to my surprise I saw that it's shiny form is red. It actually works well with how self-important he goes about being (though I've never seen him comment on his shiny status; which makes me wonder if he even knows about it). It could also explain why people try to catch him so often, though the reason could also be because he's rare and so far from his region. Hmm. Nice

    I guessed that they were only really found near Professor Elm’s lab, after all.
    Hell, I have no idea where Totodile comes from, but the sentence I quoted really highlights her youthfulness and ignorance towards, well, alot of things

    There are also very few water stones that we come across. They’re either left by trainers who found them in other bodies of water, or they are left from the skies above
    Care to elaborate on the 'left from the skies above' tidbit? I get what you're trying to say, but I wonder where that comes from. I have my own theory on evolutionary stones, and I'm wondering what yours is

    Once the poliwhirl was done talking, I was even more certain that I had come to the right place. Not only had I found several partners, now I had come across the chance to meet another rare, legendary pokémon! This day was just getting better and better.
    I don't know what Kuiora's problem is, as I have like six Starmie's on my Ruby version lol :P

    I even asked the entire team, but no one knew, not even Atis
    I liked that you called Atis into that at the end, as he is certainly the most humanlike in his way, but it surprises me that he wouldn't know, especially having been with the school for so long and being on a specific routine

    Good, I thought. And with that, I set out toward the south end of the pond.
    It's almost as if she's trying to prove she's the winner of a non-existent battle.

    She—for today, she has stated that she would prefer to be referred to as a female, to fit in with all of you
    I'm glad you called that into play. Too few fics actually call genderless pokemon on being genderless. I wish I could expand on that more but that's all I got lol

    It was when she first started to glow that I began eating all my berries, ignoring the bitter taste of dust in my mouth. I watched intently as Comerhi star body grew bigger and bigger. I was even more surprised when Comerhi grew a second star behind the first one! Though what astounded me most was how the staryu’s red core was disintegrating and falling apart right in front of our very eyes. All of its red, red pieces fell to the forest floor amidst the white glow. That was all I could make of the new starmie’s form until the illumination finally faded away. Once it was gone, I could see that, instead of golden-brown, her body was purple, still with a darker yellow portion in the middle. What fascinated me the most was the red jewel that the starmie now possessed. Unlike the staryu’s, it was much brighter, much larger, and much more red, as if to signify an intense passion for life. Once the full transformation had taken place, Comerhi let out a deep grunt, which sounded robotic, yet rhythmic—a symbol of its new alien form, I assumed.
    Wonderful description there. It unfolded nicely and I could picture every facet of the Staryu's new form as you presented it. Nicely done!

    It was Sai.
    I never thought I would say this, but I'm really glad to see that haha

    I thought this chapter stood out from the last few you put out. I really liked the departure from your usual to delve into your understanding of water-type mentality and the ceremony, and how you melded it so seamlessly around Kuiora to make her understand the flaws in her own reasoning. I really enjoyed myself here and you did a great job

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  15. #165
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    I'm gonna go ahead and START this review... I may have to finish it later because I leave for work soon...

    Quote Originally Posted by diamondpearl876 View Post
    Ezrem had told me that Rennio had experienced a loss much more painful, though, and it made me breathe a slight sigh of relief.
    Self-centered Kuiora; her pain can be eased by someone else having a worse pain.

    I had been about to tell him why he was so special, especially to me, but we had gotten so rudely interrupted.
    I don't think this line is needed because it feels too much like a refresher of last chapter that is still pretty fresh in my memory. Matter of fact, when I saw this was a Kuiora chapter, my first thought was "maybe we'll find out what she was going to say!"

    I knew that he was special because I had seen pictures of rufflet and braviary in the past, at Professor Elm’s lab, when I had heard the story I had recited to Ezrem. I had noticed a difference between Ezrem and the rufflet in the pictures—it hit me a few moments after we had met—and I thought: weren’t rufflet supposed to be blue, not red?
    Oh, he's shiny? I wonder what possible impact that could have on the story. And funny that Annie never mentioned that to Ezrem.

    I stood by the edge of the pond, leaning over and washing my face with my paws. I thought I would wait for a water-type pokémon to come around and talk to me—one was bound to swim up to the surface of pond eventually, after all. Getting bored rather quickly, I remembered that I was a water-type pokémon myself, and decided to just plunge into the water myself and find someone. Diving into the water, I wondered what kinds of pokémon I would run into.
    I like the curiousity here, and the sudden realization that she, too, can swim.

    “Ceremony? What ceremony?” I instinctively said, butting in as I placed my feet on the bottom of the pond. I put myself in between the poliwag who spoke and a psyduck, noting the rough, pebbly exterior of the pond floor. Whatever they had to say, I wished they would say it fast so I could get the feeling away from my poor feet.
    Very Kuiora-esque that. She barges in on their conversation, and immediately wants them to accommodate her.

    They all looked at me curiously, suspiciously, and no one said anything for a while. Finally, the poliwhirl stepped in and asked, “Excuse me, but who are you?”
    She didn't seem to know what an evolved poliwag was called a few seconds ago, but now she does?

    “I am Kuiora, the only croconaw in this pond!” I cried, my voice full of excitement as I was able to prove myself to others. “Since I am the only croconaw, that also makes me the strongest.”

    “I see…” the poliwhirl said, scratching its belly. “You are new to this pond, then.”
    Are they going to sacrifice her?! Oh, and Kuiora is cute, as usual.

    I turned, smiling as I did so. I hadn’t gotten much out of the conversation except a full-hearted confirmation of Sai’s future return, which I did hope for, despite my negativity toward the suvject. Again, I wanted a rematch at the Goldenrod City gym. I wanted his continual affection as he saw me grow stronger. I wanted to evolve for him one more time, and grow so tall that he had to look up at me just to see my face. Yes, I wanted him to come back, but knowing his personality, it wasn’t very likely.
    Misspelled "subject" in there. And it's nice to see Kuiora puts so much faith in Senori seniority. He says Sai is coming back, and--even though she feels his angst as he says it--she believes it. There are nice moments of her naivete and innocence (which I think this whole ritual is going to be about).

    -Okay, I'm going to have to do the rest later. Sorry!

    EDIT: Okay, I ended up reading the rest of this in-between other things during the day.

    I was really surprised there wasn't anything weird/unsavory going on with the water types. They seemed so cultish, from their behavior of standing apart, to their talk of a ceremony, to the creepy politeness of Poliwhirl. I had a sinister vibe from them the whole time. I suppose I was wrong.

    I am definitely convinced Kuiora is the one who will eventually bite the dust by fic's end (assuming she is the only one). She seems to be the one learning the most life lessons, as if her "development" were coming to a head. Or maybe I'm just being negative because I adore and don't want to lose her.

    The paragraph before Sai wakes her up with the groggy, falling-asleep-nonsense-thoughts was a very well-done touch. Realistic, and not the kind of thing you see authors thinking of that often.

    Keep it up!
    Last edited by Sid87; 5th January 2013 at 6:46 AM.


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  16. #166
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonicwari View Post
    Towards the end Kuorai said that she wouldn't ask about ezrem's shiny self, but when she said ezrem's was the wrong color it seemed like she didn't know what being shiny was or why he was a different color. Maybe you could clear that up some?
    She knows why he's the wrong color and she knows what shiny is. If you could point out where you got confused it'd help some. I meant to show that she thought he was special for being shiny, that being shiny isn't a bad thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Great Butler View Post

    Now that was quite a surprise.
    Pfft, when is she ever not selfish?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Great Butler View Post
    On another note, the development you're giving the lake Pokemon's culture really is quite fascinating. I love these little details you're showing.
    I’m glad you thought so. I think like humans pokémon have their own cultures and traditions and stuff, so I wanted to show that at some point in the fic.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Great Butler View Post
    I wonder if the fact that we got a name for Lynn will mean anything later?
    Names are very important in the fic, yeah. Mostly just shows now though that Lynn was a great contributor to Kuiora’s future/current change.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Great Butler View Post
    Really kind of creepy when you think about the way she's talking.
    I find it strangely fascinating when people say she’s adorable and creepy at the same time… YESSS

    Quote Originally Posted by The Great Butler View Post
    That visual with the Poliwag and their internal organs was simultaneously horrifying and hilarious.
    I thought the same thing when I read Poliwag’s pokedex entry, oh lawdy.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Great Butler View Post
    Right here is where I bet Kuiora's beliefs about "legendaries" begin to change.
    Damn right it is.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Great Butler View Post
    Why do I get the feeling Comerhi might end up getting captured if and when Sai returns?
    Nah, won’t happen.


    Quote Originally Posted by The Great Butler View Post
    Oh ****, he finally returns! Now to see if everything that's happened to his Pokemon has any effect on him, or if he's changed himself at all.

    Good chapter. Sorry I don't have much to say, but I really want to point out how much I liked Kuiora's thoughtfulness in this one.
    I think things will change, yeah.

    Thanks for reviewing!

    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewinder View Post
    Is she perhaps starved for affection? It's odd, I've always thought of Kuiora as having some narcissistic traits, but what she thought there sounded really needy to me. In a good way though lol
    Pretty much.

    Well that's a twist. I looked up Rufflet after I read that, and not to my surprise I saw that it's shiny form is red. It actually works well with how self-important he goes about being (though I've never seen him comment on his shiny status; which makes me wonder if he even knows about it). It could also explain why people try to catch him so often, though the reason could also be because he's rare and so far from his region. Hmm. Nice[/quote]

    He doesn’t know about it. He’s just naturally conceited/self-hating. I think you’ll be interested to see how he reacts to it if/when he finds out.

    And that is why people try to catch him so often.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewinder View Post
    Care to elaborate on the 'left from the skies above' tidbit? I get what you're trying to say, but I wonder where that comes from. I have my own theory on evolutionary stones, and I'm wondering what yours is
    Means the pokémon believe they fall from heaven or from the legendaries that watch them from the skies.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewinder View Post
    I don't know what Kuiora's problem is, as I have like six Starmie's on my Ruby version lol :P
    Yeah, but Starmie’s pokedex entry says it’s an “alien creature”. Would sound rare and legendary to her.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewinder View Post
    I never thought I would say this, but I'm really glad to see that haha
    Who doesn’t love Sai? Just kidding.

    Thanks for reviewing!

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    I was really surprised there wasn't anything weird/unsavory going on with the water types. They seemed so cultish, from their behavior of standing apart, to their talk of a ceremony, to the creepy politeness of Poliwhirl. I had a sinister vibe from them the whole time. I suppose I was wrong.
    Lmao! Perhaps you just think I’m so evil since I’m going to apparently kill one of my characters. UGH @ YOU

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    I don't think this line is needed because it feels too much like a refresher of last chapter that is still pretty fresh in my memory. Matter of fact, when I saw this was a Kuiora chapter, my first thought was "maybe we'll find out what she was going to say!"
    Really? I guess I see what you mean. I guess 2 weeks is different from that one 3 month break I took, huh?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    Oh, he's shiny? I wonder what possible impact that could have on the story. And funny that Annie never mentioned that to Ezrem.
    I’m writing under the impression that she didn’t know either, or she didn’t tell him because she didn’t want to risk hurting him. (I personally think there’s a lot of negative psychological impact on being a shiny pokémon, which we’ll see later.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    She didn't seem to know what an evolved poliwag was called a few seconds ago, but now she does?
    Idk what you’re talking about. …Will have to fix it later.

    Thanks for reviewing!

    | survival project |
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    | complete |


    | flying in the dark |
    | he's hiding something. she just doesn't know it. |
    | on hiatus|


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    | limited time, limited abilities. kyurem says she can be cured in exchange for saving those who need saving. |
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  17. #167
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    This is what's confusing me;


    I knew that he was special because I had seen pictures of rufflet and braviary in the past, at Professor Elm’s lab, when I had heard the story I had recited to Ezrem. I had noticed a difference between Ezrem and the rufflet in the pictures—it hit me a few moments after we had met—and I thought: weren’t rufflet supposed to be blue, not red?
    It's obvious she knows he is the wrong color, but it makes it seem like K has no idea why he is (maybe its just me?)


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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonicwari View Post
    This is what's confusing me;



    It's obvious she knows he is the wrong color, but it makes it seem like K has no idea why he is (maybe its just me?)
    Nah, she knows why he is. Here, she just doesn't specifically use the term "shiny pokemon". She's just reflecting on the moment she met him and the process she went through when she was realizing that he WAS shiny. It's not like she sees a shiny every day, so even though she knows what shiny pokemon are, she was just a bit confused. Hope that clears things up.

    | survival project |
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    | complete |


    | flying in the dark |
    | he's hiding something. she just doesn't know it. |
    | on hiatus|


    | love and other nightmares |
    | limited time, limited abilities. kyurem says she can be cured in exchange for saving those who need saving. |
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  19. #169
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    SURVIVAL PROJECT

    chapter 17 ; [ATIS]
    resolute

    *

    Back at the Violet City pokémon school, they all had had high hopes for me. Shannon had thought I’d be a great kick boxer, even though I hardly spun on my top or fought with my legs. Joey had hoped that I would magically turn into a fire-type pokémon for whatever reason. And Jason had wished he could be my trainer someday. They created these scenarios for me without having asked me what I wanted out of life. Well, if only they could look at me now... I was just being reunited with my trainer, who chose to abandon us and leave us to temporarily live as wild pokémon shortly after I decided that he would never do such a thing.

    And living as a wild pokémon sure wasn’t easy—not for me, at least. It was my first time out there on my own, after all. I wasn’t on my own, per se, but since Senori didn’t give me an escort (and preferably so), I was basically all by myself. I didn’t want to kill anyone for food, but it was dreadful to be eating the same kinds of berries day after day. And the dirty pond water surely wasn’t healthy for any of us. Still, I had to fight a few wild pokémon to obtain these undesirable resources, which definitely didn’t make for an ideal habitat. I was scared for my life as I fought these creatures. They had tried to talk to me sensibly at first, but I had a feeling that they were only out to backstab me, so I instigated a battle. It was a peculiar habit I had picked up after being out in the wild for just a few days: fight first, and talk later.

    It was like this for about a week and a half before Sai showed his face again—in the middle of night, no less. We were all woken up by Kuiora’s cry and the two’s subsequent exchanges, dazed and tired. Of course, we all immediately felt more awake when we saw that our trainer had so quietly returned. No one showed any excitement, though. The confusion surrounding the entire situation loomed through the air, and we wanted explanations right then and there. But Sai didn’t offer any. He simply said hello to each of us, and then said it was good to be back, and that he was so, so sorry. So sorry. But that was it. Eventually, we all went back to sleep, hoping this would all appear as a dream in the morning. I noted that Sai was back to his usual self, at least—he didn’t sleep at all.

    Needless to say, I felt betrayed. I thought I knew Sai—as well as I possibly could, anyway, given his odd demeanor. I had felt the closest to him compared to the rest of the team. He held my secret, I knew his secret, and we had had many rather heartfelt conversations in the past. Yes, I felt the closest to him… but still, he had left me—left us—presumably knowing the damage that his actions might cause. Even if he was different, he would definitely know that such a sudden disappearance would cause turmoil.

    There was no way around it: Sai had truly messed up. And the very next morning, he was trying to cover up his mistakes with jokes.

    *

    “I thought about what we should do when I returned,” Sai said. We were making our way back to the Goldenrod City pokémon center, leaving behind the area that none of us would miss. “And I thought, we should take over the world!”

    “No,” Ezrem said immediately.

    “Hey, now, you haven’t even listened to my ideas yet,” Sai said, folding his arms and pouting.

    “No,” Ezrem said again more sharp this time. Clearly, even he wasn’t too fond of Sai at the moment, either.

    “Let him talk,” I said out of nowhere. Even if I wasn’t happy with my trainer, I still wanted to hear him speak, hoping he would crack eventually and tell us what he was doing with his life for the last week and a half.

    “No,” Ezrem said one final time, grinning at me. I looked away, ashamed.

    “Well, anyway,” Sai said. “I thought that we’d continue our journey here, the journey to keep getting the badges, you know, and then, once we have all… eight of them? I think there’s eight. Anyway, when we get all of them, we can become the champion! The strongest team in the Johto region.”

    “Isn’t that the point of this journey, anyway? This doesn’t sound like anything you just made up,” Rennio said.

    “That’s not our goal here,” Sai said solemnly, “but it could be. Then, once we became the champion, every pokémon in the world would want to be on our team! We could form an army of sentret, an army of elekid”—at this, Rennio blanched—“an army of hitmontop, and so on. And we would take over the government and make sure no one in the world ever had to suffer ever again.”

    No one dared to ask the question that we were all thinking, though the suffering part he mentioned gave us a clue.

    Apparently, Senori thought that if he couldn’t make Sai feel bad about leaving, he could make him feel bad about other things, as he said, “Sai, I have something to tell you.”

    “What, you don’t think it’s a good idea?”

    “Not that. Well, if you haven’t noticed already, we… we accidentally got your backpack stolen,” Senori said slowly, carefully.

    “Oh. Yeah, I noticed,” Sai said, the spirit in his voice still there. “Is that all?”

    “That means your badges were stolen,” Senori then said bluntly.

    “Oh,” Sai said. “Oh.”

    “Yeah… Look, I’m really sorry about that. I should have been paying more attention.”

    “It’s okay. We don’t really need them, anyway. Like I said, our goal isn’t to become the champion or anything, right?”

    “What is our goal, then?” Ezrem chimed in.

    “To be the strongest we can possibly be,” Sai said after a few moments, and I could tell there was more to it.

    There was another pause before he said, “Wait. That means we have no money for a pokémon center room, right?”

    “Right…” Senori said regretfully.

    “What about food?”

    “We have one bag of pokémon food, but that’s it.”

    Another pause. Then—“Well, I was going to head to the gym right after the pokémon center, anyway. I guess we’re going there first.”

    There was a plus side to all of this, I supposed: Sai was back to his cheery, careless self. No longer was he self-loathing, but he felt pride in his actions and words once more. It didn’t make sense to me. If he had suffered wherever he had gone, then why did he seem so happy about it? That was what I thought about as we headed to the Goldenrod City gym—much to my dismay, of course—but I couldn’t come to any sort of logical conclusion. My head hurt just thinking about the boy.

    I did see something interesting, though. Since I walked behind Sai, I could see him reach into his pockets at some point. He pulled out a bottle, and held it as his side. He started at it for a few moments, opened it at his side discreetly, and he took out a small, white piece of… food? It didn’t look like food, but that was what I thought the pill was as he put it in his mouth and swallowed it. After a few minutes, it hit me—it was medication, as Earl had called it once. He had taken some for his own sickness, he told me once, though I never found out what that illness was. So Sai had meant what he said: he was always sick. But what exactly was his illness?

    My head still hurt—to the point where it was about to burst. Why did I have to have such a confusing trainer? Admittedly, I was still glad he was back, though I wasn’t glad about heading straight to the gym…

    Luckily for me, we were interrupted by two familiar people before we even reached the gym. I recognized them as Marty and Sasha. Maybe it wasn’t so lucky, after all, since Marty hated Sai, but he seemed calm and collected as he approached us.

    “Yo, Sai,” Marty said. “I saw your croconaw running around Ilex Forest the other day. Where were you?”

    If Marty knew that we were all thinking the same exact thing, then he would immediately call the police and have us taken away from him. So no one said anything. It was also curious to note that Kuiora had escaped our clutches, despite being told to stay around the designated area. Had Senori really allowed that?

    “She’s a strong pokémon,” Sai said, avoiding the question. “She could handle herself, so I let her go out and get some exercise.”

    “Right. Not the smartest thing, you know.”

    “Marty, she wasn’t alone, remember? She had that rufflet right there. See, it really is Sai’s, right?” Sasha said, turning to the black-haired boy.

    “Uh,” Sai said. “He’s not exactly mine. He just likes to follow me around for whatever reason.”

    “Still, she wasn’t alone. That’s all that matters. Eh, Marty?”

    “I suppose,” Marty replied. He looked a lot more sociable now that his sister was around. I hoped that, if he had to keep running into him, that she would be by his side. “Looks like you could have caught that rufflet for me, after all.”

    “What? No way! I never would have allowed that!” Ezrem butted in, jumping up and down to gain attention to his obvious fury. He started hopping toward Marty, threatening to peck him, but Sasha stopped him.

    “Yeah, but not if he’s taken a liking to Sai,” Sasha said, bending down to pet the bird on the head. At this, Ezrem relaxed and accepted the head scratches.

    “Anyway… What are you guys doing in Goldenrod City?” Sai said, changing the subject.

    “Ah, yes. I had a favor I wanted to ask you, so we’ve been looking for you the last few days!” Sasha said. Sai’s head drooped. He was starting to feel bad for leaving not only the team, but his potential friends, I thought.

    “A favor?” he said.

    “Yeah. There’s a pokémon fan club on the west side of the city. We’re here for this month’s meeting. Marty is even going to join this time!” Sasha said, putting her hands together and looking at him. Marty nodded, smiling. “We focus on pokémon types, and we’re asked to bring a pokémon of the specified types to the meeting if we can, so we can show them off and stuff. Well, this week, we’re asking for normal-type pokémon and fighting-type pokémon. But I only raise grass-types, so…”

    She looked at Ezrem, and then at Senori, and then at me. Oh, no, I thought. I wished that I was a normal-type pokémon so that I could at least pass off this opportunity to someone else. But I was, of course, the only fighting-type on the team!

    “Oh,” Sai said. “You want to take Atis and Senori? But we were about to go to the pokémon gym…”

    “The meeting is in an hour, and it’s only two hours long. You can go to the gym tonight! Not a problem,” Sasha said excitedly. “Also, I’d like to take the rufflet, if I can, since he’s so rare.”

    “Well, that’s up to Ezrem,” Sai said. He paused. His face was strained, and I could tell he was torn between catering to his friends and getting on with his journey after being delayed for such a long, long time. Like I was about to burst from my questions about him, he looked like he was about to burst if he didn’t get the Goldenrod City gym badge within the next five minutes. “I don’t know…”

    “What do you say, Ezrem? Do you want to come with?”

    I looked at him, wishing that I was getting a choice. The bird looked back and forth between her and Marty, and eventually shook his head no.

    “I’m not going with that guy. I’m sticking with Sai.”

    “What’d he say?” she asked.

    “He said he doesn’t want to go with you.”

    “Pretty please?” she asked, giving him more head scratches.

    Ezrem pulled away and said, “First you asked for my potential pokéball, and now you want my enthusiasm and obedience? What’s next? Will you be out for my blood? The answer is no!”

    “He still said… no,” Sai said, keeping things simple. A smart idea, I gathered.

    “Aw,” Sasha said, frowning and standing up. “Okay. What about Senori and Atis? Is that okay? I promise that I’ll return them as soon as I can.”

    Again, Sai paused. His face still appeared confused and torn. Finally, he said, “Sure... Just be back by dusk, okay? I really need to go to the gym today.”

    “Deal!” Sasha said, clapping her hands together. She walked up to Senori and picked him up, hugging him and telling him what a great time they were going to have together. Then, she came over to me and grabbed my hand, ignoring the spikes that could easily pierce her skin. She had a lot of guts, I thought. I guessed that was how excited she was for the meeting. She pulled me along, and I forced myself to be dragged in whatever direction she was going to take me. I walked backward for a moment, waving good-bye to Sai and the others, vaguely wondering when I would see Sai next.

    First, Sai had abandoned us, and now, he was sending us off to spend time with other trainers! Okay, the second part wasn’t so bad. It wasn’t as if the trainers were complete strangers or anything. Sasha had proven herself to be nice, and Sai was probably trying to successfully get on Marty’s good side. I still didn’t like the idea, though. A pokémon fan club? I expected it to be everything that I despised, all in one clear setting.

    And it was.

    *

    As it turned out, no one else in the pokémon fan club had a normal- or a fighting-type pokémon, so me and Senori ended up being the center of attention. We really were in the center, too, since everyone was sitting around a circular table, and Sasha put us both on the table when we arrived, telling us to just sit back and relax and have some fun. I didn’t tell her so, but I wouldn’t just be sitting back, relaxing and having fun—of all things, why did she think I would have fun?— during this meeting.

    “All right!” a loud man’s voice boomed once we arrived and took our places. He was wearing a nice brown suit with a white scarf coiled around his neck. His voice was thunderous, and it nearly made me jump. “Everyone look at these beautiful pokémon! Our own beautiful Sasha has brought them for us tonight along with her brother. Everyone give her a round of applause!” The entire room clapped except for me and Senori. He looked just as lost as I did, but satisfied. “Yes, everyone look at these beautiful pokémon! We revel in their presence! We thank them for being here every day! We look at them and smile. They bring us joy, and they help us with our hopes, our fears, our dreams. We owe a lot to these creatures that make our world a ton brighter. So today, sentret and hitmontop, on behalf of all of us… I thank you.”

    The man’s words just made me feel more uncomfortable. Not only was he near worshipping pokémon, he was making sure that everyone was staring at us. I didn’t like being the center of attention... Eventually, I had to sit down because I couldn’t make myself stand anymore without feeling like I was going to fall over. My legs were shaking way too much. Senori sat, too, but for different reasons, I assumed.

    “We will talk today about the relationship between normal- and fighting-type pokémon. Normal-types are just that—normal! But they offer us a great perspective in life and offer a sense of what it means to be unique. Fighting-types teach us to stand up for ourselves”—at this, I cringed, because this is what I only wished I could do—“and, while fighting-types have the advantage over normal-types, we know that they can work in harmony somehow, someway. Sasha”—she snapped her head toward him, as she previously was too busy looking at us and smiling—“why don’t you start out the conversation today, since they are your pokémon?”

    “Oh, no,” she said, laughing. “They’re not mine. They belong to a friend of mine. It is as you say, George. We are very lucky to have them today.” She stopped, and everyone clapped again. “It is also true when you say that normal-types are unique. I know that they can learn almost any kind of elemental attack! This includes fire-type attacks, electric-type attacks, and so on. It truly is a wonder.”

    “It really is!” said the man named George. “This sentret, when it evolves and becomes stronger, will learn many moves that will be useful in battle and useful in learning more about the world.”

    “Now that you mention it, George,” Sasha said, looking at Senori confusedly, “this sentret’s trainer already almost has three badges. Aren’t sentret supposed to evolve at a low level? I’m surprised he hasn’t evolved yet!”

    At this, Senori stood up again. He turned around and around, surveying the audience’s reactions. Everyone was nodding and whispering amongst themselves.

    “What’s wrong?” I asked him.

    “I’ve been around for a long time, and the idea of evolution has never really occurred to me. I didn’t know it was so… commonplace for my species,” Senori said slowly. “They gave me an idea.”

    “You’re going to evolve? Right here?” I asked stupidly.

    “Don’t be silly. I have to put on a show, like Kuiora… or something,” Senori said. I could tell he was only joking, and that he would really evolve now if he could. It seemed to be something like a revelation to him. He sat down again, sighing a breath of relief.

    “Well, I’m glad you’re having a good time,” I said as the man kept talking.

    “You’re not dead, right? That’s all that matters. What’s life without a little adventure?” Senori said, grinning at me.

    “It’s safe,” I said, “and comfortable.”

    “…Fair enough.”

    “Now,” George said, bringing my attention back to him, “what about you, son? Sasha’s brother. I’m afraid I don’t know your name!”

    “Marty,” he replied. He was sitting next to Sasha, and all eyes were on him now.

    “Do you have anything to add?”

    “Well, while normal-types have access to a lot of different types of moves, the attacks aren’t as powerful as, say, a fire-type’s attacks would be.”

    “That’s very true,” George said, nodding.

    “Way to be a downer,” Senori said, glaring at him, but the boy couldn’t understand.

    “Fighting-types, on the other hand, are almost the exact opposite to normal-types,” Marty went on, ignoring Senori. “They have a lot of advantages, too, but they also have a lot more weaknesses, not like normal-types. And they have very limited attacks. I have yet to see a fighting-type that knows a move that doesn’t match their type.”

    “This boy is very knowledgeable! I am glad you brought him along, Sasha.”

    “That’s my brother for you,” she said, smiling at the two of them.

    “Yes, yes. Well, the last thing I have to point out for now is that hitmontop are really rare around these parts. Again, we are blessed to have this one here with us today,” George said.

    I gulped. Why did I have to be such a seemingly rare pokémon? Just because my species and pre-evolved forms evolve a little differently than others, doesn’t mean that we should be so rare! I wished that I was as common as a sentret, like Senori. Then I wouldn’t have to be worrying about this extra attention. I gulped again, and moved my feet back and forth, trying to focus on the rhythm of my movements. It didn’t work; I was still extremely nervous.

    Someone raised their hand. George messed with his white scarf for a moment before called on them and the man, who said, “Can we get the hitmontop to show us some of its signature moves?”

    “Signature moves, my boy?”

    “Yeah. It should be able to spin on its top and do handstands and stuff like that.”

    “A marvelous idea!” George said, clapping his hands, which sounded just as thunderous as his voice. I shuddered. “Hitmontop, will you do this for us? Will you?”

    “Uh,” I said dumbly. How could I say no when they couldn’t even understand me? I tried shaking my head no, but they only egged me on by offering encouraging words that only served to make me more self-conscious in the end.

    “Come on!” Senori even said. “You can do it. I’ll make sure Sai doesn’t use you in the gym battle if you do it.”

    Well, there was some honest motivation. I shakily stood up on my feet, which took a lot longer than it should have. Everyone cheered, to my dismay. I bent forward, my hands now touching the table. It had been such a long time since I had done this, I wasn’t sure if I could still do it. There was only one way to find out. I pushed off of my legs and soon, they were up in the air. I tried to use my hands to balance, but I found myself shaking in all the wrong directions, and I almost fell. Somehow, I moved my hands so that they were in a different, more comfortable location, and I was able to keep myself up. Everyone cheered again.

    There was one trick down. There was only one more trick to do. I kept my handstand position, trying to remember how to spin on my own head. Soon, I thought I had it, and I used my hands to propel myself to the left. I then moved my hands out of the way completely so that the only thing that keeping my upright was the pointed top of my head. I was spinning slowly, as I hadn’t given much power when I moved my hands. There wasn’t much I could do about that except keep moving my body in the direction that I was spinning, but, again, it had been so long since I had done this, that I couldn’t get enough momentum. I eventually had to stop spinning, as I was dizzy and I didn’t have enough speed to keep going. I fell over on my stomach, and sighed.

    Still, everyone cheered and commended my attempts, especially Sasha and Marty. I didn’t say anything, just smiled weakly and waved my hand in a passive manner. I could tell that I was sweating, but at least not profusely.

    When the audience quieted down, George had another grand idea. “It is well known,” he said, “that fighting-types have the advantage over normal-types. These two pokémon, however, have the same trainer! That means they have seen each other battle, and they know each other’s moves well. Why don’t we have a mock battle?”

    Dizzy, a mock battle was the last thing I needed. Senori, on the other hand, was all for it.

    “I need practice now,” Senori said. “Won’t you show me what it’s like to come close to evolving?”

    “Uh,” I said. “Do you really want me to? I mean, we could always say no…”

    “Nah,” Senori said, lifting himself. “I’m making you do this.”

    “I wouldn’t expect anything less from you,” I said, sighing, and also lifting myself.

    “You two don’t actually have to hurt each other,” Marty said immediately, probably seeing the worried look in my eyes.

    “Ah, Marty, you are concerned for these pokémon’s well being, I see,” George said.

    “Yes, I’m always concerned about that.”

    “Why is that? I mean, of course it’s natural, but I’d like to hear your point of view.”

    “Well, mine might be a bit unique. At least, I hope so,” Marty said, rubbing the back of his head sheepishly. “I don’t like admitting this, but… my father used to abuse pokémon”—at this, everyone gasped slightly, some dramatically, but truthfully—“and I hated that. I really, really despised that, actually.” He paused. “There was nothing I could do to stop it when I was younger. Now, though, I’ve rescued my pokémon from him. And since then, I’ve vowed to keep them safe, and other pokémon safe. That includes… these pokémon. I’m not saying their trainer is abusive, but…”

    “But?”

    “He’s concerning. Sometimes.”

    “That’s understandable. These pokémon are lucky to have you.”

    Marty’s story was touching to me. I thought about it for a moment, wondering what my life would be like if Sai was truly abusive. I mean, he had run away temporarily and all, but he didn’t mean to hurt us. He said he was sorry, and perhaps he had his reasons to be secretive. If he was physically abusive, however, we’d have bruises… We’d be scarred while battling and while talking to others—like Rennio was, only worse…

    Yes, things could be a lot worse.

    Then again, things could be a lot better.

    Again, I was torn—did I want to stay with Sai, or did I want to go somewhere else… anywhere else? I was coming closer to my decision, though I was scared of what the future might bring.

    “So,” Marty said after a few moments of silence, “if these pokémon don’t want to fight, I won’t make them.”

    “I want to fight!” Senori said, raising his little paw as high as he possibly could. He ran over to me, then, and raised my hand, too.

    “W-What are you doing?” I asked, forcing it back down.

    “I want you to fight,” Senori said, “and as your leader, you should listen to me.”

    “I-I don’t know…” I said, looking around. Admittedly, after doing all those tricks already, things were a lot less nerve wracking. I could battle if that was what Senori really wanted. I owed him, anyway, for taking care of me when Sai couldn’t… “Okay,” I finally said, raising my hand again.

    “It appears as if they both want to fight!” George cried, and everyone clapped—hopefully for the last time, because I was getting tired of hearing it. “The rules are up to the pokémon. They don’t have to actually hurt each other, as Marty said. You both may begin whenever your hearts desire!”

    Senori went to the other side of the table. I stood on the other end, by the door of the building. I supposed that I could leave whenever I wanted, if I really wanted to… And were we really fighting on a table? We would have to keep our attacks as light and playful as possible, so we didn’t break anything…

    Senori got down on all fours, and immediately charged at me. He lifted his body up in the air and kicked his legs out, preparing to hit me with them. I put up my hands in an X formation in order to block him, and it worked—he barely moved me an inch.

    “As expected of you,” Senori said. “Your defense is high. Always. Even outside of battle.”

    “You… know me so well, don’t you?” I said sarcastically. It reminded me of how I thought I knew Sai, and I felt dispirited suddenly.

    “Yes,” Senori said. “Just like I know that you’ve been thinking of leaving the group recently.”

    I froze. How did the sentret know that? Just because he was the leader… That didn’t give him the right to read minds… or the power…! It wasn’t fair. What if he told Sai and Sai stopped me? Previously, I didn’t think he would stop me, but now, I wasn’t so sure…

    The sentret used this moment to try to kick me again. This time, it worked, and I fell backward into someone’s lap. They immediately picked me up and said it was okay, “just don’t let your guard down again,” as if it were so easy. I climbed back onto the table, trying to appear unfazed.

    “You’ve appeared very distant from the group ever since Sai gave us the choice to leave or stay,” Senori explained, grinning. “It’s very obvious, really. Your defenses failed you, in a sense.”

    “I see…”

    “It really is up to you, though. I won’t stop you.”

    “You won’t?” I asked. Senori nodded. “After Sai disappeared, I was really thinking of leaving… for real this time…”

    “Is that your feeble idea of revenge? You base your life decisions on what Sai does?”

    “Well, he is my trainer, and he dictates everything…”

    “I’m sure that your life revolving around his is all that he’s ever wanted. I’m sure that he hates that he had to put you through such a trial in order to be on your mind night and day, but if hatred and despair are the types of gravity that keep you near him… Well, you know that he will be that force.”

    Senori was being as stubborn and as blunt as always… I was starting to get a little mad, to say the least. My life did not revolve around Sai! It revolved around things that made me happy—like poetry, the seasons, the art of growing older and becoming wiser—things that I didn’t know much about, but wanted to know about…

    And—“You really don’t have to make it look like he wants me so much. He doesn’t like anyone hating him. I’m sure he would think it’s better if I were gone, in that case.”

    “You really think so? Because I don’t. Better prove it to me, then!”

    Fine, I thought. I would. I ran over toward him, pulling my arm back at the same time, preparing for a punch. As I reached him, though, he jumped toward me, bouncing off of m. I stopped myself from running, expecting this, as this was popular way for pokémon to avoid my punches. I turned, and as Senori landed on the other side of the small table, I was able to punch him in the back. As angry as I was, I still didn’t make Senori feel the wrath of the spikes on my head. I couldn’t do that to him. He fell forward, onto his stomach, and stayed there for a moment. The crowd cheered for my apparent victory.

    “Yes, I want to grow older and become wiser, too. I know now that I want to evolve,” Senori said, getting back on his feet. “But I will do it with Sai.”

    “That’s where we differ, then,” I said, and I felt that I really accepted it, really accepted leaving as my fate.

    “Where will you go? What will you do?” Senori asked, facing me now. He looked genuinely curious.

    “I don’t even know…” I said solemnly.

    “Then give yourself some time to think about it. Don’t leave us just yet.”

    “I wasn’t planning on it.”

    “Good.”

    “Don’t get me wrong. I feel trapped if I stay and guilty if I leave… I’m not heartless or anything…” I said, feeling the need to explain myself.

    “That sounds unpleasant.”

    “…It has its moments.”

    “Just don’t act too distant toward us from now until then!” Senori ordered.

    “Yeah, yeah,” I said quietly. It would be easier said than done, as I was afraid that I would change my mind the more that I spent time with them.

    “And let me win this battle!”

    My guard had been let down once more; I was no longer angry. The sentret charged toward me again, this time without preparing for a kick. I stood there, unsure of what his next move was. When he reached me, it didn’t seem like he was going to attack me at all. In the end, he tricked me—he only hit me with a headbutt, not a prepared punch or a kick. I flew backward, this time missing a person and landing on the floor behind everyone.

    Apparently, that meant I had been knocked out of the official designated arena, as George said, “The sentret wins! This goes to show that even normal-types can overcome any obstacle that comes across them!”

    For the last time, everyone clapped. And for that, I was thankful.

    As the meeting came to an end and as Sasha and Marty took us back to Sai, I was lost in my own thoughts. The meeting had confirmed a lot for me. Yes, I was thankful not only for the meeting ending and helping me, but for a lot of other things, even if I didn’t show it sometimes. I was thankful to know that the beginning of understand comes in the small form of knowing that life is hard, but that doesn’t mean it won’t break… I was thankful for the concepts of ritual—like eating three meals a day—and feeling the sensation of fullness, of temporary completeness. I was thankful for the planet’s ability to give meaning to both life and death. I was thankful for simple daily moments, such as the sunrise, and the moment where the clouds break through the moon at night. I was thankful for the odd kindness from strangers, for intense emotions such as grief and ecstasy, for the ultimately unknowable organ that is the heart. I was thankful for having a mind that was curious at all.

    At that moment, I was mostly thankful for the chance to leave. And I knew… I honestly knew now: soon, it would be time to go.

    | survival project |
    | this trainer is different. everyone knows it, but no one can explain it. |
    | complete |


    | flying in the dark |
    | he's hiding something. she just doesn't know it. |
    | on hiatus|


    | love and other nightmares |
    | limited time, limited abilities. kyurem says she can be cured in exchange for saving those who need saving. |
    | chapter 3 released 11/22/14 |


  20. #170
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    Quote Originally Posted by diamondpearl876 View Post
    Joey had hoped that I would magically turn into a fire-type pokémon for whatever reason.
    I like this line because it is SUCH a little kid way of thinking.

    Still, I had to fight a few wild pokémon to obtain these undesirable resources, which definitely didn’t make for an ideal habitat. I was scared for my life as I fought these creatures. They had tried to talk to me sensibly at first, but I had a feeling that they were only out to backstab me, so I instigated a battle. It was a peculiar habit I had picked up after being out in the wild for just a few days: fight first, and talk later.
    I wish we could have seen these scenes. They certainly sound interesting, and I'm wondering about Atis' sincerity here. Was he, unintentionally, being the aggressor because he was scared/frustrated? It seems like it. Even if not, I'd like to have seen Atis in these conflicts with his judgmental mentality.

    We were all woken up by Kuiora’s cry and the two’s subsequent exchanges, dazed and tired.
    Who was dazed and tired? "We"? Sai and Kuiora? Why is that bit even there? I think it'd be better off cut, but that's just me.

    “That’s not our goal here,” Sai said solemnly, “but it could be. Then, once we became the champion, every pokémon in the world would want to be on our team! We could form an army of sentret, an army of elekid”—at this, Rennio blanched—“an army of hitmontop, and so on. And we would take over the government and make sure no one in the world ever had to suffer ever again.”
    This is a very childish and naive world view. Excellent insight into Sai. And the weird part is, it's so hard to tell if he's serious.

    Also: Army of sentret. Lulz. Cute, cute lulz.

    “It’s okay. We don’t really need them, anyway. Like I said, our goal isn’t to become the champion or anything, right?”
    This kid is so strange... he just said it WAS his goal!

    I did see something interesting, though. Since I walked behind Sai, I could see him reach into his pockets at some point. He pulled out a bottle, and held it as his side. He started at it for a few moments, opened it at his side discreetly, and he took out a small, white piece of… food? It didn’t look like food, but that was what I thought the pill was as he put it in his mouth and swallowed it. After a few minutes, it hit me—it was medication, as Earl had called it once. He had taken some for his own sickness, he told me once, though I never found out what that illness was. So Sai had meant what he said: he was always sick. But what exactly was his illness?
    He's probably not a robot, huh?

    “What? No way! I never would have allowed that!” Ezrem butted in, jumping up and down to gain attention to his obvious fury. He started hopping toward Marty, threatening to peck him, but Sasha stopped him.
    I like the imagery of the action here. It makes the normally impudent and proud Ezrem seem tiny and frustrated.

    I didn’t tell her so, but I wouldn’t just be sitting back, relaxing and having fun—of all things, why did she think I would have fun?— during this meeting.
    Atis finds it inconceivable that someone just does not automatically know his wants and needs. Good insight into his character.

    “Oh, no,” she said, laughing. “They’re not mine. They belong to a friend of mine. It is as you say, George. We are very lucky to have them today.” She stopped, and everyone clapped again. “It is also true when you say that normal-types are unique. I know that they can learn almost any kind of elemental attack! This includes fire-type attacks, electric-type attacks, and so on. It truly is a wonder.”
    This whole bit of dialogue was weird to me, because it didn't sound genuine. It felt forced and full of stuff I have no idea who would ever say (but probably not a young girl). "It is as you say", "It truly is a wonder". It just seems weird; I hadn't gotten a sense that Sasha spoke like that.

    “You’re not dead, right? That’s all that matters. What’s life without a little adventure?” Senori said, grinning at me.
    Senori has seemed almost child-like the last several chapters. With the "awesome"'s and the eagerness here. I kind of miss the old guilt-ridden Senori who saw himself as a leader because he needed to atone for his past mistakes.

    “Way to be a downer,” Senori said, glaring at him, but the boy couldn’t understand.
    This dialogue fits with what I just said, but it's a really fun image, so I can live with it. I see Senori developing a bit of Kui in him and just wanting to get stronger and prove people wrong.

    “Well, mine might be a bit unique. At least, I hope so,” Marty said, rubbing the back of his head sheepishly. “I don’t like admitting this, but… my father used to abuse pokémon”—at this, everyone gasped slightly, some dramatically, but truthfully—“and I hated that. I really, really despised that, actually.” He paused. “There was nothing I could do to stop it when I was younger. Now, though, I’ve rescued my pokémon from him. And since then, I’ve vowed to keep them safe, and other pokémon safe. That includes… these pokémon. I’m not saying their trainer is abusive, but…”
    At first I was a little bewildered that Marty offered this up so freely, but then I realized people who go through something like this often LIKE talking about it because the sympathy it evokes kind of balances out the hurt that was caused. Good insight. I'm wondering if this bit of story will be relevant going forward...

    Marty’s story was touching to me. I thought about it for a moment, wondering what my life would be like if Sai was truly abusive. I mean, he had run away temporarily and all, but he didn’t mean to hurt us. He said he was sorry, and perhaps he had his reasons to be secretive. If he was physically abusive, however, we’d have bruises… We’d be scarred while battling and while talking to others—like Rennio was, only worse…
    "It can't be abuse because he says he is sorry!". Oh, battered pokemon syndrome.

    “You… know me so well, don’t you?” I said sarcastically. It reminded me of how I thought I knew Sai, and I felt dispirited suddenly.
    I was shocked here at Atis because Senori's comment SEEMED like a genuine compliment. So why take the offense here? Is he so insecure he doesn't even want his friends to feel like they understand him? Does he feel that far above them while relying on them so much?

    Fine, I thought. I would. I ran over toward him, pulling my arm back at the same time, preparing for a punch. As I reached him, though, he jumped toward me, bouncing off of m.
    You left off the E on the "me" at the end.


    -Like I said... I'm wondering where the old Senori went. He seems to have gotten past his struggles with insecurity and guilt very easily.

    -Atis is giving out ALL the feels lately. Even as he is STILL a more-or-less unlikable character due to his disdain for everyone else. He doesn't like other pokemon because he thinks they're inferior; he doesn't like people because he thinks they are cruel and obsessive. But he likes poetry. Heh. So at least there is something. But he's just so self-conflicted and feels so hurt by things that shouldn't bother him. I don't think leaving will really be the answer.


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  21. #171
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    Joey had hoped that I would magically turn into a fire-type pokémon for whatever reason
    That's what I was talking to you about earlier. The kind of detached feeling to his thought pattern. Well, that's what it feels like to me. Like he's this casual observer and the situations he's thinking of are not really happening to him. I like it

    fight first, and talk later.
    Given his earlier stance (The Bugsy Battle comes to mind), that surprises me. I like seeing how far he's come, while at the same time not changing his other ways of thinking. Slow evolution of the mind I guess

    and that he was so, so sorry. So sorry.
    The second 'so sorry' read weird to me. I think you could achieve the same result if you took it out

    “And I thought, we should take over the world!”
    It finally comes out haha

    And we would take over the government and make sure no one in the world ever had to suffer ever again.”
    I liked that little tidbit you put in. Since he's obviously not talking about any of the Pokemon, he must be talking about himself.

    and he took out a small, white piece of… food?
    You did good job with that little extrapolation by Atis there. Of course that's what he would associate it with since that's pretty much all you put into your mouth. His realization of what it actually was though felt very smooth and natural, great job on that

    “First you asked for my potential pokéball, and now you want my enthusiasm and obedience? What’s next? Will you be out for my blood? The answer is no!
    That actually made me lol. Nice

    expected it to be everything that I despised, all in one clear setting
    That's what I was thinking as she asked Sai. I can't imagine a more uncomfortably awkward situation for him lol

    “All right!” a loud man’s voice boomed once we arrived and took our places. He was wearing a nice brown suit with a white scarf coiled around his neck. His voice was thunderous, and it nearly made me jump. “Everyone look at these beautiful pokémon! Our own beautiful Sasha has brought them for us tonight along with her brother. Everyone give her a round of applause!” The entire room clapped except for me and Senori. He looked just as lost as I did, but satisfied. “Yes, everyone look at these beautiful pokémon! We revel in their presence! We thank them for being here every day! We look at them and smile. They bring us joy, and they help us with our hopes, our fears, our dreams. We owe a lot to these creatures that make our world a ton brighter. So today, sentret and hitmontop, on behalf of all of us… I thank you.”
    That sounds similar to how the Fan Club acts in the game as well. I'm not sure if you were trying to model them after the games, or their dialogue was just random from you, but could you clarify? Hmm, it works in such a way that his dialogue makes Atis uncomfortable, but at the same time it feels almost too over the top. I mean, it works as a whole when you're thinking about Atis, but the dialogue just seems a little too forced in a few spots. But it also works in the sense that the guy really creeps me out lol

    I don’t like admitting this, but… my father used to abuse pokémon
    Wow, that was random. Definitely explains Marty's behavior all the way back to the beginning in the cave. Nice job on that. I have to say that I wouldn't have thought that was the reason for his rampant awfulness but you did a good job with the reason

    “Your defense is high. Always. Even outside of battle.”
    Wow that was a good line

    I honestly knew now: soon, it would be time to go
    I actually didn't see that coming at all. I know he's been thinking on it occasionally, but to actually do it? I thought that would take more determination that he would be able to muster

    Obviously I enjoyed the chapter; you did a wonderful job. I was a little disappointed to see so little of Sai through this chapter, but it didn't take away from it at all. The speed in which Atis is growing surprised me, but it feels normal and expected, even though there's only been a few chapters centered around him. The other little hints about stuff you dropped through the chapter were nice as well, (my favorite being the mysterious pills Sai was taking). But yeah, good job and I'm eager for more

    An Ancient Treasure, a Terrible Price. Take the Risk, Eat the World
    (Final Chapter added 05-15-2014)

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    All Hail the Six Kings...
    Chapter One added (12-07-2014)

  22. #172
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    I'm sorry this took so long to get done. I'm sincerely sorry.

    Quote Originally Posted by diamondpearl876 View Post

    SURVIVAL PROJECT

    chapter 17 ; [ATIS]
    resolute

    *
    Atis chapter right as Sai comes back? Excellent choice.

    Back at the Violet City pokémon school, they all had had high hopes for me. Shannon had thought I’d be a great kick boxer, even though I hardly spun on my top or fought with my legs. Joey had hoped that I would magically turn into a fire-type pokémon for whatever reason. And Jason had wished he could be my trainer someday. They created these scenarios for me without having asked me what I wanted out of life. Well, if only they could look at me now... I was just being reunited with my trainer, who chose to abandon us and leave us to temporarily live as wild pokémon shortly after I decided that he would never do such a thing.
    You can really feel Atis's emotions here. I'm sensing a strong feeling of regret on his part, or perhaps shame directed at himself for his judgment (in the last line.)

    And living as a wild pokémon sure wasn’t easy—not for me, at least. It was my first time out there on my own, after all. I wasn’t on my own, per se, but since Senori didn’t give me an escort (and preferably so), I was basically all by myself. I didn’t want to kill anyone for food, but it was dreadful to be eating the same kinds of berries day after day. And the dirty pond water surely wasn’t healthy for any of us. Still, I had to fight a few wild pokémon to obtain these undesirable resources, which definitely didn’t make for an ideal habitat. I was scared for my life as I fought these creatures. They had tried to talk to me sensibly at first, but I had a feeling that they were only out to backstab me, so I instigated a battle. It was a peculiar habit I had picked up after being out in the wild for just a few days: fight first, and talk later.
    And now you see his thoughts, which paint a very vivid picture of a Pokemon that grew in a civilized environment and is far from suited for life in the wild. The detail here is subtle, but significant.

    It was like this for about a week and a half before Sai showed his face again—in the middle of night, no less. We were all woken up by Kuiora’s cry and the two’s subsequent exchanges, dazed and tired. Of course, we all immediately felt more awake when we saw that our trainer had so quietly returned. No one showed any excitement, though. The confusion surrounding the entire situation loomed through the air, and we wanted explanations right then and there. But Sai didn’t offer any. He simply said hello to each of us, and then said it was good to be back, and that he was so, so sorry. So sorry. But that was it. Eventually, we all went back to sleep, hoping this would all appear as a dream in the morning. I noted that Sai was back to his usual self, at least—he didn’t sleep at all.
    That's very Sai, showing up in the middle of the night, simply apologizing and moving on like that.

    Needless to say, I felt betrayed. I thought I knew Sai—as well as I possibly could, anyway, given his odd demeanor. I had felt the closest to him compared to the rest of the team. He held my secret, I knew his secret, and we had had many rather heartfelt conversations in the past. Yes, I felt the closest to him… but still, he had left me—left us—presumably knowing the damage that his actions might cause. Even if he was different, he would definitely know that such a sudden disappearance would cause turmoil.

    There was no way around it: Sai had truly messed up. And the very next morning, he was trying to cover up his mistakes with jokes.
    That really twisted the knife in my heart for some reason. I get the feeling I'm in for one ride of a chapter.

    EDIT:

    “I thought about what we should do when I returned,” Sai said. We were making our way back to the Goldenrod City pokémon center, leaving behind the area that none of us would miss. “And I thought, we should take over the world!”
    Ummm... is Sai okay?

    “No,” Ezrem said immediately.

    “Hey, now, you haven’t even listened to my ideas yet,” Sai said, folding his arms and pouting.

    “No,” Ezrem said again more sharp this time. Clearly, even he wasn’t too fond of Sai at the moment, either.

    “Let him talk,” I said out of nowhere. Even if I wasn’t happy with my trainer, I still wanted to hear him speak, hoping he would crack eventually and tell us what he was doing with his life for the last week and a half.

    “No,” Ezrem said one final time, grinning at me. I looked away, ashamed.

    “Well, anyway,” Sai said. “I thought that we’d continue our journey here, the journey to keep getting the badges, you know, and then, once we have all… eight of them? I think there’s eight. Anyway, when we get all of them, we can become the champion! The strongest team in the Johto region.”
    I'm... beginning to get a little worried about him. Just what is he going on about? None of this makes sense. (That's a good thing by the way.)

    “Isn’t that the point of this journey, anyway? This doesn’t sound like anything you just made up,” Rennio said.

    “That’s not our goal here,” Sai said solemnly, “but it could be. Then, once we became the champion, every pokémon in the world would want to be on our team! We could form an army of sentret, an army of elekid”—at this, Rennio blanched—“an army of hitmontop, and so on. And we would take over the government and make sure no one in the world ever had to suffer ever again.”
    I think Sai needs help. Seriously, he does.

    No one dared to ask the question that we were all thinking, though the suffering part he mentioned gave us a clue.

    Apparently, Senori thought that if he couldn’t make Sai feel bad about leaving, he could make him feel bad about other things, as he said, “Sai, I have something to tell you.”

    “What, you don’t think it’s a good idea?”

    “Not that. Well, if you haven’t noticed already, we… we accidentally got your backpack stolen,” Senori said slowly, carefully.

    “Oh. Yeah, I noticed,” Sai said, the spirit in his voice still there. “Is that all?”

    “That means your badges were stolen,” Senori then said bluntly.
    Maybe I've just forgotten this from chapter to chapter, but is it bad that this is the first time I really realized that the backpack theft meant the Badges are gone?

    “Oh,” Sai said. “Oh.”

    “Yeah… Look, I’m really sorry about that. I should have been paying more attention.”

    “It’s okay. We don’t really need them, anyway. Like I said, our goal isn’t to become the champion or anything, right?”

    “What is our goal, then?” Ezrem chimed in.

    “To be the strongest we can possibly be,” Sai said after a few moments, and I could tell there was more to it.
    "More to it" is an incredible understatement, I can tell.

    There was another pause before he said, “Wait. That means we have no money for a pokémon center room, right?”

    “Right…” Senori said regretfully.

    “What about food?”

    “We have one bag of pokémon food, but that’s it.”

    Another pause. Then—“Well, I was going to head to the gym right after the pokémon center, anyway. I guess we’re going there first.”

    There was a plus side to all of this, I supposed: Sai was back to his cheery, careless self. No longer was he self-loathing, but he felt pride in his actions and words once more. It didn’t make sense to me. If he had suffered wherever he had gone, then why did he seem so happy about it? That was what I thought about as we headed to the Goldenrod City gym—much to my dismay, of course—but I couldn’t come to any sort of logical conclusion. My head hurt just thinking about the boy.
    I feel exactly the opposite of Atis; I'm incredibly disturbed by Sai's behavior right now.

    I did see something interesting, though. Since I walked behind Sai, I could see him reach into his pockets at some point. He pulled out a bottle, and held it as his side. He started at it for a few moments, opened it at his side discreetly, and he took out a small, white piece of… food? It didn’t look like food, but that was what I thought the pill was as he put it in his mouth and swallowed it. After a few minutes, it hit me—it was medication, as Earl had called it once. He had taken some for his own sickness, he told me once, though I never found out what that illness was. So Sai had meant what he said: he was always sick. But what exactly was his illness?
    Okay, that was a surprise. But he does clearly have something wrong with him, so I suppose it's not that shocking. Wonder what it means exactly...

    My head still hurt—to the point where it was about to burst. Why did I have to have such a confusing trainer? Admittedly, I was still glad he was back, though I wasn’t glad about heading straight to the gym…

    Luckily for me, we were interrupted by two familiar people before we even reached the gym. I recognized them as Marty and Sasha. Maybe it wasn’t so lucky, after all, since Marty hated Sai, but he seemed calm and collected as he approached us.

    “Yo, Sai,” Marty said. “I saw your croconaw running around Ilex Forest the other day. Where were you?”

    If Marty knew that we were all thinking the same exact thing, then he would immediately call the police and have us taken away from him. So no one said anything. It was also curious to note that Kuiora had escaped our clutches, despite being told to stay around the designated area. Had Senori really allowed that?
    I actually caught something here that got me thinking: the fact that you say the police would be called to remove the Pokemon from Sai's custody. Is this just Atis's incorrect impression, or is it a factual reality in your version of the world?

    “She’s a strong pokémon,” Sai said, avoiding the question. “She could handle herself, so I let her go out and get some exercise.”

    “Right. Not the smartest thing, you know.”

    “Marty, she wasn’t alone, remember? She had that rufflet right there. See, it really is Sai’s, right?” Sasha said, turning to the black-haired boy.

    “Uh,” Sai said. “He’s not exactly mine. He just likes to follow me around for whatever reason.”

    “Still, she wasn’t alone. That’s all that matters. Eh, Marty?”

    “I suppose,” Marty replied. He looked a lot more sociable now that his sister was around. I hoped that, if he had to keep running into him, that she would be by his side. “Looks like you could have caught that rufflet for me, after all.”

    “What? No way! I never would have allowed that!” Ezrem butted in, jumping up and down to gain attention to his obvious fury. He started hopping toward Marty, threatening to peck him, but Sasha stopped him.

    “Yeah, but not if he’s taken a liking to Sai,” Sasha said, bending down to pet the bird on the head. At this, Ezrem relaxed and accepted the head scratches.
    Is Sasha the reason why Marty is strangely sociable this time? If so, I hope we see her around him a lot more often.

    “Anyway… What are you guys doing in Goldenrod City?” Sai said, changing the subject.

    “Ah, yes. I had a favor I wanted to ask you, so we’ve been looking for you the last few days!” Sasha said. Sai’s head drooped. He was starting to feel bad for leaving not only the team, but his potential friends, I thought.

    “A favor?” he said.

    “Yeah. There’s a pokémon fan club on the west side of the city. We’re here for this month’s meeting. Marty is even going to join this time!” Sasha said, putting her hands together and looking at him. Marty nodded, smiling. “We focus on pokémon types, and we’re asked to bring a pokémon of the specified types to the meeting if we can, so we can show them off and stuff. Well, this week, we’re asking for normal-type pokémon and fighting-type pokémon. But I only raise grass-types, so…”

    She looked at Ezrem, and then at Senori, and then at me. Oh, no, I thought. I wished that I was a normal-type pokémon so that I could at least pass off this opportunity to someone else. But I was, of course, the only fighting-type on the team!

    “Oh,” Sai said. “You want to take Atis and Senori? But we were about to go to the pokémon gym…”

    “The meeting is in an hour, and it’s only two hours long. You can go to the gym tonight! Not a problem,” Sasha said excitedly. “Also, I’d like to take the rufflet, if I can, since he’s so rare.”
    I don't feel like I like where this is going. It just gives me a bad feeling...

    “Well, that’s up to Ezrem,” Sai said. He paused. His face was strained, and I could tell he was torn between catering to his friends and getting on with his journey after being delayed for such a long, long time. Like I was about to burst from my questions about him, he looked like he was about to burst if he didn’t get the Goldenrod City gym badge within the next five minutes. “I don’t know…”

    “What do you say, Ezrem? Do you want to come with?”

    I looked at him, wishing that I was getting a choice. The bird looked back and forth between her and Marty, and eventually shook his head no.

    “I’m not going with that guy. I’m sticking with Sai.”

    “What’d he say?” she asked.

    “He said he doesn’t want to go with you.”

    “Pretty please?” she asked, giving him more head scratches.

    Ezrem pulled away and said, “First you asked for my potential pokéball, and now you want my enthusiasm and obedience? What’s next? Will you be out for my blood? The answer is no!”
    I'm surprised Ezrem didn't bite her.

    “He still said… no,” Sai said, keeping things simple. A smart idea, I gathered.

    “Aw,” Sasha said, frowning and standing up. “Okay. What about Senori and Atis? Is that okay? I promise that I’ll return them as soon as I can.”

    Again, Sai paused. His face still appeared confused and torn. Finally, he said, “Sure... Just be back by dusk, okay? I really need to go to the gym today.”

    “Deal!” Sasha said, clapping her hands together. She walked up to Senori and picked him up, hugging him and telling him what a great time they were going to have together. Then, she came over to me and grabbed my hand, ignoring the spikes that could easily pierce her skin. She had a lot of guts, I thought. I guessed that was how excited she was for the meeting. She pulled me along, and I forced myself to be dragged in whatever direction she was going to take me. I walked backward for a moment, waving good-bye to Sai and the others, vaguely wondering when I would see Sai next.
    That "vaguely wondering when I would see Sai next" part is really powerful. It really gives you a sense of just how desperate Atis is to not be abandoned.

    First, Sai had abandoned us, and now, he was sending us off to spend time with other trainers! Okay, the second part wasn’t so bad. It wasn’t as if the trainers were complete strangers or anything. Sasha had proven herself to be nice, and Sai was probably trying to successfully get on Marty’s good side. I still didn’t like the idea, though. A pokémon fan club? I expected it to be everything that I despised, all in one clear setting.

    And it was.
    Oh no...

    As it turned out, no one else in the pokémon fan club had a normal- or a fighting-type pokémon, so me and Senori ended up being the center of attention. We really were in the center, too, since everyone was sitting around a circular table, and Sasha put us both on the table when we arrived, telling us to just sit back and relax and have some fun. I didn’t tell her so, but I wouldn’t just be sitting back, relaxing and having fun—of all things, why did she think I would have fun?— during this meeting.

    “All right!” a loud man’s voice boomed once we arrived and took our places. He was wearing a nice brown suit with a white scarf coiled around his neck. His voice was thunderous, and it nearly made me jump. “Everyone look at these beautiful pokémon! Our own beautiful Sasha has brought them for us tonight along with her brother. Everyone give her a round of applause!” The entire room clapped except for me and Senori. He looked just as lost as I did, but satisfied. “Yes, everyone look at these beautiful pokémon! We revel in their presence! We thank them for being here every day! We look at them and smile. They bring us joy, and they help us with our hopes, our fears, our dreams. We owe a lot to these creatures that make our world a ton brighter. So today, sentret and hitmontop, on behalf of all of us… I thank you.”

    The man’s words just made me feel more uncomfortable. Not only was he near worshipping pokémon, he was making sure that everyone was staring at us. I didn’t like being the center of attention... Eventually, I had to sit down because I couldn’t make myself stand anymore without feeling like I was going to fall over. My legs were shaking way too much. Senori sat, too, but for different reasons, I assumed.

    “We will talk today about the relationship between normal- and fighting-type pokémon. Normal-types are just that—normal! But they offer us a great perspective in life and offer a sense of what it means to be unique. Fighting-types teach us to stand up for ourselves”—at this, I cringed, because this is what I only wished I could do—“and, while fighting-types have the advantage over normal-types, we know that they can work in harmony somehow, someway. Sasha”—she snapped her head toward him, as she previously was too busy looking at us and smiling—“why don’t you start out the conversation today, since they are your pokémon?”
    If the discomfort I feel in reading this and placing myself in Atis's position is anything like the discomfort he feels, well, this is a really uncomfortable situation. I can't blame him. I wouldn't want to be at the center of this either.

    I would like to see these events from Senori's perspective.

    “Oh, no,” she said, laughing. “They’re not mine. They belong to a friend of mine. It is as you say, George. We are very lucky to have them today.” She stopped, and everyone clapped again. “It is also true when you say that normal-types are unique. I know that they can learn almost any kind of elemental attack! This includes fire-type attacks, electric-type attacks, and so on. It truly is a wonder.”

    “It really is!” said the man named George. “This sentret, when it evolves and becomes stronger, will learn many moves that will be useful in battle and useful in learning more about the world.”

    “Now that you mention it, George,” Sasha said, looking at Senori confusedly, “this sentret’s trainer already almost has three badges. Aren’t sentret supposed to evolve at a low level? I’m surprised he hasn’t evolved yet!”

    At this, Senori stood up again. He turned around and around, surveying the audience’s reactions. Everyone was nodding and whispering amongst themselves.

    “What’s wrong?” I asked him.

    “I’ve been around for a long time, and the idea of evolution has never really occurred to me. I didn’t know it was so… commonplace for my species,” Senori said slowly. “They gave me an idea.”
    That's a curious concept. I never really considered evolution from the perspective of the Pokemon. Good job getting me thinking.

    “You’re going to evolve? Right here?” I asked stupidly.

    “Don’t be silly. I have to put on a show, like Kuiora… or something,” Senori said. I could tell he was only joking, and that he would really evolve now if he could. It seemed to be something like a revelation to him. He sat down again, sighing a breath of relief.

    “Well, I’m glad you’re having a good time,” I said as the man kept talking.

    “You’re not dead, right? That’s all that matters. What’s life without a little adventure?” Senori said, grinning at me.

    “It’s safe,” I said, “and comfortable.”

    “…Fair enough.”
    You really get a feel for just how different Senori and Atis are from this exchange.

    “Now,” George said, bringing my attention back to him, “what about you, son? Sasha’s brother. I’m afraid I don’t know your name!”

    “Marty,” he replied. He was sitting next to Sasha, and all eyes were on him now.

    “Do you have anything to add?”

    “Well, while normal-types have access to a lot of different types of moves, the attacks aren’t as powerful as, say, a fire-type’s attacks would be.”

    “That’s very true,” George said, nodding.

    “Way to be a downer,” Senori said, glaring at him, but the boy couldn’t understand.

    “Fighting-types, on the other hand, are almost the exact opposite to normal-types,” Marty went on, ignoring Senori. “They have a lot of advantages, too, but they also have a lot more weaknesses, not like normal-types. And they have very limited attacks. I have yet to see a fighting-type that knows a move that doesn’t match their type.”

    “This boy is very knowledgeable! I am glad you brought him along, Sasha.”
    That knowledge probably isn't going to make either Atis or Senori feel better, unfortunately.

    “That’s my brother for you,” she said, smiling at the two of them.

    “Yes, yes. Well, the last thing I have to point out for now is that hitmontop are really rare around these parts. Again, we are blessed to have this one here with us today,” George said.

    I gulped. Why did I have to be such a seemingly rare pokémon? Just because my species and pre-evolved forms evolve a little differently than others, doesn’t mean that we should be so rare! I wished that I was as common as a sentret, like Senori. Then I wouldn’t have to be worrying about this extra attention. I gulped again, and moved my feet back and forth, trying to focus on the rhythm of my movements. It didn’t work; I was still extremely nervous.

    Someone raised their hand. George messed with his white scarf for a moment before called on them and the man, who said, “Can we get the hitmontop to show us some of its signature moves?”

    “Signature moves, my boy?”

    “Yeah. It should be able to spin on its top and do handstands and stuff like that.”

    “A marvelous idea!” George said, clapping his hands, which sounded just as thunderous as his voice. I shuddered. “Hitmontop, will you do this for us? Will you?”

    “Uh,” I said dumbly. How could I say no when they couldn’t even understand me? I tried shaking my head no, but they only egged me on by offering encouraging words that only served to make me more self-conscious in the end.

    “Come on!” Senori even said. “You can do it. I’ll make sure Sai doesn’t use you in the gym battle if you do it.”
    There are at least two or three bad ideas going on here between the characters that could add up to a disaster. Maybe not now, but by the time Sai goes to the Gym.

    Well, there was some honest motivation. I shakily stood up on my feet, which took a lot longer than it should have. Everyone cheered, to my dismay. I bent forward, my hands now touching the table. It had been such a long time since I had done this, I wasn’t sure if I could still do it. There was only one way to find out. I pushed off of my legs and soon, they were up in the air. I tried to use my hands to balance, but I found myself shaking in all the wrong directions, and I almost fell. Somehow, I moved my hands so that they were in a different, more comfortable location, and I was able to keep myself up. Everyone cheered again.

    There was one trick down. There was only one more trick to do. I kept my handstand position, trying to remember how to spin on my own head. Soon, I thought I had it, and I used my hands to propel myself to the left. I then moved my hands out of the way completely so that the only thing that keeping my upright was the pointed top of my head. I was spinning slowly, as I hadn’t given much power when I moved my hands. There wasn’t much I could do about that except keep moving my body in the direction that I was spinning, but, again, it had been so long since I had done this, that I couldn’t get enough momentum. I eventually had to stop spinning, as I was dizzy and I didn’t have enough speed to keep going. I fell over on my stomach, and sighed.

    Still, everyone cheered and commended my attempts, especially Sasha and Marty. I didn’t say anything, just smiled weakly and waved my hand in a passive manner. I could tell that I was sweating, but at least not profusely.
    I get the feeling that they would have cheered no matter how well Atis performed.

    When the audience quieted down, George had another grand idea. “It is well known,” he said, “that fighting-types have the advantage over normal-types. These two pokémon, however, have the same trainer! That means they have seen each other battle, and they know each other’s moves well. Why don’t we have a mock battle?”

    Dizzy, a mock battle was the last thing I needed. Senori, on the other hand, was all for it.
    Two predictions:

    1) Something happens to make Atis lose confidence.

    2) Senori evolves.

    Also, this is becoming a disturbingly voyeuristic spectacle, since you're telling it from the perspective of the Pokemon. It's very powerful.

    “I need practice now,” Senori said. “Won’t you show me what it’s like to come close to evolving?”

    “Uh,” I said. “Do you really want me to? I mean, we could always say no…”

    “Nah,” Senori said, lifting himself. “I’m making you do this.”

    “I wouldn’t expect anything less from you,” I said, sighing, and also lifting myself.

    “You two don’t actually have to hurt each other,” Marty said immediately, probably seeing the worried look in my eyes.

    “Ah, Marty, you are concerned for these pokémon’s well being, I see,” George said.

    “Yes, I’m always concerned about that.”
    Is this a new angle of Marty's personality I'm seeing?

    “Why is that? I mean, of course it’s natural, but I’d like to hear your point of view.”

    “Well, mine might be a bit unique. At least, I hope so,” Marty said, rubbing the back of his head sheepishly. “I don’t like admitting this, but… my father used to abuse pokémon”—at this, everyone gasped slightly, some dramatically, but truthfully—“and I hated that. I really, really despised that, actually.” He paused. “There was nothing I could do to stop it when I was younger. Now, though, I’ve rescued my pokémon from him. And since then, I’ve vowed to keep them safe, and other pokémon safe. That includes… these pokémon. I’m not saying their trainer is abusive, but…”
    Consider my opinion on Marty totally changed. I'm going to look at him differently now.

    “But?”

    “He’s concerning. Sometimes.”

    “That’s understandable. These pokémon are lucky to have you.”

    Marty’s story was touching to me. I thought about it for a moment, wondering what my life would be like if Sai was truly abusive. I mean, he had run away temporarily and all, but he didn’t mean to hurt us. He said he was sorry, and perhaps he had his reasons to be secretive. If he was physically abusive, however, we’d have bruises… We’d be scarred while battling and while talking to others—like Rennio was, only worse…

    Yes, things could be a lot worse.

    Then again, things could be a lot better.

    Again, I was torn—did I want to stay with Sai, or did I want to go somewhere else… anywhere else? I was coming closer to my decision, though I was scared of what the future might bring.
    I just want to say how deeply into Atis's story I am now. I really want to know what his decision will be.

    “So,” Marty said after a few moments of silence, “if these pokémon don’t want to fight, I won’t make them.”

    “I want to fight!” Senori said, raising his little paw as high as he possibly could. He ran over to me, then, and raised my hand, too.

    “W-What are you doing?” I asked, forcing it back down.

    “I want you to fight,” Senori said, “and as your leader, you should listen to me.”
    Ooh, thanks for remembering that little detail about leadership.

    “I-I don’t know…” I said, looking around. Admittedly, after doing all those tricks already, things were a lot less nerve wracking. I could battle if that was what Senori really wanted. I owed him, anyway, for taking care of me when Sai couldn’t… “Okay,” I finally said, raising my hand again.

    “It appears as if they both want to fight!” George cried, and everyone clapped—hopefully for the last time, because I was getting tired of hearing it. “The rules are up to the pokémon. They don’t have to actually hurt each other, as Marty said. You both may begin whenever your hearts desire!”

    Senori went to the other side of the table. I stood on the other end, by the door of the building. I supposed that I could leave whenever I wanted, if I really wanted to… And were we really fighting on a table? We would have to keep our attacks as light and playful as possible, so we didn’t break anything…

    Senori got down on all fours, and immediately charged at me. He lifted his body up in the air and kicked his legs out, preparing to hit me with them. I put up my hands in an X formation in order to block him, and it worked—he barely moved me an inch.

    “As expected of you,” Senori said. “Your defense is high. Always. Even outside of battle.”

    “You… know me so well, don’t you?” I said sarcastically. It reminded me of how I thought I knew Sai, and I felt dispirited suddenly.

    “Yes,” Senori said. “Just like I know that you’ve been thinking of leaving the group recently.”
    Whoa. Senori's that perceptive?

    I froze. How did the sentret know that? Just because he was the leader… That didn’t give him the right to read minds… or the power…! It wasn’t fair. What if he told Sai and Sai stopped me? Previously, I didn’t think he would stop me, but now, I wasn’t so sure…

    The sentret used this moment to try to kick me again. This time, it worked, and I fell backward into someone’s lap. They immediately picked me up and said it was okay, “just don’t let your guard down again,” as if it were so easy. I climbed back onto the table, trying to appear unfazed.

    “You’ve appeared very distant from the group ever since Sai gave us the choice to leave or stay,” Senori explained, grinning. “It’s very obvious, really. Your defenses failed you, in a sense.”

    “I see…”

    “It really is up to you, though. I won’t stop you.”

    “You won’t?” I asked. Senori nodded. “After Sai disappeared, I was really thinking of leaving… for real this time…”

    “Is that your feeble idea of revenge? You base your life decisions on what Sai does?”

    “Well, he is my trainer, and he dictates everything…”

    “I’m sure that your life revolving around his is all that he’s ever wanted. I’m sure that he hates that he had to put you through such a trial in order to be on your mind night and day, but if hatred and despair are the types of gravity that keep you near him… Well, you know that he will be that force.”

    Senori was being as stubborn and as blunt as always… I was starting to get a little mad, to say the least. My life did not revolve around Sai! It revolved around things that made me happy—like poetry, the seasons, the art of growing older and becoming wiser—things that I didn’t know much about, but wanted to know about…

    And—“You really don’t have to make it look like he wants me so much. He doesn’t like anyone hating him. I’m sure he would think it’s better if I were gone, in that case.”

    “You really think so? Because I don’t. Better prove it to me, then!”

    Fine, I thought. I would. I ran over toward him, pulling my arm back at the same time, preparing for a punch. As I reached him, though, he jumped toward me, bouncing off of m. I stopped myself from running, expecting this, as this was popular way for pokémon to avoid my punches. I turned, and as Senori landed on the other side of the small table, I was able to punch him in the back. As angry as I was, I still didn’t make Senori feel the wrath of the spikes on my head. I couldn’t do that to him. He fell forward, onto his stomach, and stayed there for a moment. The crowd cheered for my apparent victory.
    I wasn't going to interrupt this excellent scene to comment, but there's a spelling error in the last paragraph. "Bouncing off of me."

    I have a feeling that this is going to be the trigger for Senori evolving.

    “Yes, I want to grow older and become wiser, too. I know now that I want to evolve,” Senori said, getting back on his feet. “But I will do it with Sai.”

    “That’s where we differ, then,” I said, and I felt that I really accepted it, really accepted leaving as my fate.
    Let me just say that as much of a difference Atis leaving would make in the story, I'll have to admire you if you have the guts to actually have a main character depart.

    “Where will you go? What will you do?” Senori asked, facing me now. He looked genuinely curious.

    “I don’t even know…” I said solemnly.

    “Then give yourself some time to think about it. Don’t leave us just yet.”

    “I wasn’t planning on it.”

    “Good.”

    “Don’t get me wrong. I feel trapped if I stay and guilty if I leave… I’m not heartless or anything…” I said, feeling the need to explain myself.

    “That sounds unpleasant.”

    “…It has its moments.”

    “Just don’t act too distant toward us from now until then!” Senori ordered.

    “Yeah, yeah,” I said quietly. It would be easier said than done, as I was afraid that I would change my mind the more that I spent time with them.

    “And let me win this battle!”
    I think that if Atis does stay, Senori will play a great role in it. Their bond is really on show here.

    My guard had been let down once more; I was no longer angry. The sentret charged toward me again, this time without preparing for a kick. I stood there, unsure of what his next move was. When he reached me, it didn’t seem like he was going to attack me at all. In the end, he tricked me—he only hit me with a headbutt, not a prepared punch or a kick. I flew backward, this time missing a person and landing on the floor behind everyone.

    Apparently, that meant I had been knocked out of the official designated arena, as George said, “The sentret wins! This goes to show that even normal-types can overcome any obstacle that comes across them!”

    For the last time, everyone clapped. And for that, I was thankful.

    As the meeting came to an end and as Sasha and Marty took us back to Sai, I was lost in my own thoughts. The meeting had confirmed a lot for me. Yes, I was thankful not only for the meeting ending and helping me, but for a lot of other things, even if I didn’t show it sometimes. I was thankful to know that the beginning of understand comes in the small form of knowing that life is hard, but that doesn’t mean it won’t break… I was thankful for the concepts of ritual—like eating three meals a day—and feeling the sensation of fullness, of temporary completeness. I was thankful for the planet’s ability to give meaning to both life and death. I was thankful for simple daily moments, such as the sunrise, and the moment where the clouds break through the moon at night. I was thankful for the odd kindness from strangers, for intense emotions such as grief and ecstasy, for the ultimately unknowable organ that is the heart. I was thankful for having a mind that was curious at all.

    At that moment, I was mostly thankful for the chance to leave. And I knew… I honestly knew now: soon, it would be time to go.
    Again, all I can say is if you actually go through with having Atis leave, I'll admire your courage in disrupting the status quo.

    I knew Sai's return would bring a powerful chapter, but this was both completely different and simultaneously far more than I anticipated. Choosing Atis as the focus at this time was an excellent judgment. This chapter showed how skilled you are at subtle characterization; by the time I reached the end, I felt like I had fully experienced Atis's mental journey to reach his decision. Sai was largely absent from the chapter, too, but his presence was felt throughout the whole thing, which makes him a strong character too.

    Really, really good all around.
    Last edited by The Great Butler; 25th January 2013 at 9:23 AM.

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  23. #173
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    Sid87
    I wish we could have seen these scenes. They certainly sound interesting, and I'm wondering about Atis' sincerity here. Was he, unintentionally, being the aggressor because he was scared/frustrated? It seems like it. Even if not, I'd like to have seen Atis in these conflicts with his judgmental mentality.
    I wanted to include these scenes, but I just never could find the time. Does this call for another one-shot spin-off???
    Who was dazed and tired? "We"? Sai and Kuiora? Why is that bit even there? I think it'd be better off cut, but that's just me.
    Lol, will remove it then.
    He's probably not a robot, huh?
    Nope.

    This whole bit of dialogue was weird to me, because it didn't sound genuine. It felt forced and full of stuff I have no idea who would ever say (but probably not a young girl). "It is as you say", "It truly is a wonder". It just seems weird; I hadn't gotten a sense that Sasha spoke like that.
    I can see what you mean. I’ll watch out for it in the future, because she’ll be around.
    At first I was a little bewildered that Marty offered this up so freely, but then I realized people who go through something like this often LIKE talking about it because the sympathy it evokes kind of balances out the hurt that was caused. Good insight. I'm wondering if this bit of story will be relevant going forward...
    I wondered if it’d be weird too, but I know there’s people out there who will reveal just about anything about themselves without being provoked. (I know because I’m one of them, lulz.)
    I was shocked here at Atis because Senori's comment SEEMED like a genuine compliment. So why take the offense here? Is he so insecure he doesn't even want his friends to feel like they understand him? Does he feel that far above them while relying on them so much?
    Pretty much.
    -Like I said... I'm wondering where the old Senori went. He seems to have gotten past his struggles with insecurity and guilt very easily.

    -Atis is giving out ALL the feels lately. Even as he is STILL a more-or-less unlikable character due to his disdain for everyone else. He doesn't like other pokemon because he thinks they're inferior; he doesn't like people because he thinks they are cruel and obsessive. But he likes poetry. Heh. So at least there is something. But he's just so self-conflicted and feels so hurt by things that shouldn't bother him. I don't think leaving will really be the answer.
    We’ll see how the leaving goes, shall we?
    And I know what you mean about Senori… but he has other roles to play. I guess you can say he’s the fastest developing character of the fic.
    Sidewinder
    That's what I was talking to you about earlier. The kind of detached feeling to his thought pattern. Well, that's what it feels like to me. Like he's this casual observer and the situations he's thinking of are not really happening to him. I like it
    Oh, I thought you said you didn’t like it??? My phone really sucks. I’m glad you liked it instead. Obviously.

    Given his earlier stance (The Bugsy Battle comes to mind), that surprises me. I like seeing how far he's come, while at the same time not changing his other ways of thinking. Slow evolution of the mind I guess
    I do personally believe the mind grows slower than the body, so yeah.
    I liked that little tidbit you put in. Since he's obviously not talking about any of the Pokemon, he must be talking about himself.
    He is. I’m glad you noticed.
    That sounds similar to how the Fan Club acts in the game as well. I'm not sure if you were trying to model them after the games, or their dialogue was just random from you, but could you clarify? Hmm, it works in such a way that his dialogue makes Atis uncomfortable, but at the same time it feels almost too over the top. I mean, it works as a whole when you're thinking about Atis, but the dialogue just seems a little too forced in a few spots. But it also works in the sense that the guy really creeps me out lol
    Uhh, it was a mixture of both, and I guess it didn’t work out, since you and Sid87 said the dialogue sounded forced. Oops.
    The Great Butler
    That's very Sai, showing up in the middle of the night, simply apologizing and moving on like that.
    Isn’t Sai just so weird?
    Ummm... is Sai okay?
    Better question: is he ever okay???
    I'm... beginning to get a little worried about him. Just what is he going on about? None of this makes sense. (That's a good thing by the way.)
    I’m glad it’s good… I felt a little insane myself while writing that part so glad it worked out… lmao
    Maybe I've just forgotten this from chapter to chapter, but is it bad that this is the first time I really realized that the backpack theft meant the Badges are gone?
    I mentioned it in a past chapter. Maybe you skimmed over it or something.
    I actually caught something here that got me thinking: the fact that you say the police would be called to remove the Pokemon from Sai's custody. Is this just Atis's incorrect impression, or is it a factual reality in your version of the world?
    Hmm, Marty’s threatened to have them taken away from Sai before, so I think Atis is just recalling that scenario and relating it here.
    Is Sasha the reason why Marty is strangely sociable this time? If so, I hope we see her around him a lot more often.
    Yes, and I had a feeling you’d say this.
    Consider my opinion on Marty totally changed. I'm going to look at him differently now.
    YES! Was hoping for this.
    Again, all I can say is if you actually go through with having Atis leave, I'll admire your courage in disrupting the status quo.

    I knew Sai's return would bring a powerful chapter, but this was both completely different and simultaneously far more than I anticipated. Choosing Atis as the focus at this time was an excellent judgment. This chapter showed how skilled you are at subtle characterization; by the time I reached the end, I felt like I had fully experienced Atis's mental journey to reach his decision. Sai was largely absent from the chapter, too, but his presence was felt throughout the whole thing, which makes him a strong character too.

    Really, really good all around.
    We’ll see what happens, huh? And I’m glad you liked it, even though Sai wasn’t really present. I was hoping that would work to give off an air of “he’s back, but not really back because he’s just totally out of it and being weird”.

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  24. #174
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    SURVIVAL PROJECT

    chapter 18 ; [SENORI]
    crescendo

    *

    Sometimes, I thought that life was defined by the distance between what you wanted and what you needed. I especially felt this way at the pokémon fan club, where the solution to all of my problems came to me in the most unexpected instant, in the most unexpected fashion. Who knew that a human could solve what they had no knowledge about? Who knew that fate would bring such an opportunity to me? I surely didn’t. I just knew that I needed to move on from my past, and that I wanted to do it in the least painful way possible. The pokémon fan club had provided me with some insight I never would have thought of myself; it helped me realize that the distance I originally thought of as so far apart was as close as it could possibly be!

    As Sasha and Marty brought us back to Sai, and as we shortly thereafter made our way to the gym (before Sai went completely insane over breaking the rules once again), I felt like I was at home. I felt as if I were in the forest and experiencing every part of nature as sharply all over again; this was how I knew my answer was correct.

    There was something odd about the clouds moving in our direction that sent shivers down my spine. The few trees in the city swaying in the wind made me think they were speaking to me. There was a silence that emanated from the cracks in the pavement below my feet; it was a distant echo of the times that I was alone. The memories were muffled by all of our footsteps; they were only tearing loose in an attempt to break my shell. What would they find? I could only guess that they’d find my resolution of thinking it was best to stay away from my clan, and then, the memories would try to bring me back to the nightmare that I had already lived through once. Well, I had already vowed not to live there again—the dead, the result of my carelessness, hung below me, muttering to themselves in discontent. While I was deeply sorry and forever would be, I had to do this for myself.

    And why did I believe evolving would help, anyway? The reason was simple, and almost agonizingly so. I would be getting rid of the one thing that every sentret of my clan cherished most about themselves.

    I would be getting rid of my tail.

    When all sentret were born, we held a ritual to bless it. It was a blessing that we hoped would bring about great growth and prosperity to this important part of the body. We even made a point to say that we didn’t want the sentret to evolve, just so they could keep this vital part of them forever. We always had contests to see whose was longer and therefore most efficient in helping the clan succeed—this was how Ari and me were chosen as the leaders. And if I were to lose my tail, no longer would the leader in me be telling me to stand on it and keep an eye out for others, to keep an ear out for danger, just like I had done so many nights in the forest, including the one that ruined me. I could instead look at the path right in front of me rather the one that was miles away.

    And it just so happened that were heading to the gym at this very moment. The timing couldn’t have been any more spectacular.

    I willed my heart to stop pounding, but it ignored me.

    *

    “You’re back again, huh? It’s been a while. You must have been doing a lot of training,” Whitney observed when we approached her for another battle.

    “Something like that,” I said sarcastically. The revelation that I had come to feel was even better knowing that Sai was here to witness it, but I wouldn’t admit it. I was still bitter toward him for leaving at all, and I was still curious as to where on earth he was. My next goal would have to be finding this out, since once I evolved, I would be prepared to deal with him and his emotions even more fully.

    Sai glared at me for a moment, which just made me grin at him. “Yes, we’ve trained a lot for our rematch,” he lied.

    “Well, we can start the battle whenever. We will again use two pokémon each,” Whitney said, pulling a pokéball out of her back pocket. She thrust it forward, revealing the same pink pokémon that had fought and won last time.

    “Clefairy! I’m here!” it cried as it emerged.

    “Can I fight?” Ezrem chimed in, pulling on Sai’s pant leg.

    “No?” Sai said, as if the answer was obvious.

    “Rude… Well, then, what about Rennio?” Ezrem said, now pulling on the elekid’s arm, making him panic in retaliation.

    “I won’t do that to him again if he doesn’t want to fight,” Sai said firmly.

    “On a more serious note,” I said, glaring at Ezrem and taking Rennio from him, “can I fight, Sai? We’re all so eager to fight for you, as you can see!”

    “Kuiora first,” Sai said, just as firmly. “She asked me earlier. She wants a rematch against the clefairy, and I don’t blame her. But you can fight second, okay?”

    “Okay,” I said after a few moments, thinking that this was acceptable. As strong as Kuiora was, I didn’t think she could beat both of the gym leader’s pokémon. They seemed far too powerful and their strategies were better than hers, though perhaps she had come up with something in all of the time we had spent doing practically nothing near Ilex Forest.

    “Yes! Thank you, Sai!” Kuiora cried ecstatically, taking her place in the middle of the arena. She stood her ground in a position that made me immediately question my previous beliefs about her. Maybe she really could beat both pokémon, and then, I wouldn’t have a chance to fight. Well, my trainer’s decision was already made. I would just have to wait it out. Of course, if I didn’t fight now, there would be other opportunities—but why would I want to wait any longer than I had to?

    “Okay, Kuiora,” said Sai, though he didn’t appear to know what to say next; he was talking for the sake of talking. “Uh, just like we planned, all right? Start off with a bite attack!”

    Though she appeared perplexed by his confusing words, she obeyed, and pounced at the clefairy with lightning speed. The clefairy didn’t even have time to move, nor did Whitney have time to call out an attack. Kuiora bit down on the clefairy’s arm, causing the fairy to cry out in pain.

    “That’s so you can’t use your metronome attack this time! No electricity will be coming from those little paws,” the croconaw said through gritted teeth.

    I laughed and marveled over Kuiora. How had she gotten so fast in a short amount of time? And not only was she faster, but she looked more determined. She looked… wiser, older. Just what had happened to her while Sai was gone? Whatever it was, I was suddenly glad that I didn’t have to worry about her being off on her own anymore. If I didn’t end up having a chance to fight against one of Whitney’s pokémon, this battle would at least still be worth it.

    The clefairy tried to use its good arm to cradle the bad one, but its arm just wasn’t long enough to reach over to the other side. Its bad arm hung there, limp and slightly bleeding, apparently now unusable, just as Kuiora had intended.

    “I see how it is,” the clefairy said, wincing.

    “You do? Show me what you’ve got, then!”

    “Clefairy, don’t let it get you down! Use growl!” Whitney ordered.

    The clefairy obeyed. Though its voice clearly showed that it was in pain, it grunted and then let out a high pitched howl that made even Kuiora (and the rest of us) take a few steps backward. It was unfathomable to see such a tiny creature let out such a ferocious sound, but apparently it was possible. And the clefairy’s plan worked—it had regained its self-confidence, and was ready to fight again.

    “Now use pound!” Whitney cried.

    Though the clefairy had one arm out of commission, the other was still perfectly fine. The clefairy proved this by charging at Kuiora while she was out of commission herself. The fairy used its good arm to punch Kuiora in the stomach over and over, causing the croconaw’s feet to slide backward against the gym floor with each and every hit.

    “Good! Try a doubleslap now. Keep her confused.”

    The clefairy obeyed by jumping off of the ground. Keeping itself suspended, it was now slapping its paws into Kuiora’s face, making it move back and forth, back and forth. Kuiora was clearly shown to be dizzy when she tried to swipe away the clefairy with her own paws, but kept missing and swiping the air instead.

    “Kuiora,” Sai said, uncertainty still in his voice, but a hint of excitement, too, “use water gun! It’s a perfect chance!”

    And indeed it was. The croconaw immediately spat out a spray of water, hitting her target dead on, since the clefairy was right in front of her face, her mouth. As the stream of water grew longer, the clefairy was thrown further backwards, as it could not escape the flow. Whitney had to even move out of the way before getting hit, and the attack finally ended once the water gun and the clefairy struck the wall outside of the arena.

    “The pokémon got knocked out of the arena,” Sai observed. “Does that mean Kuiora wins?”

    “That would work in an official tournament,” Whitney said, smiling weakly, “but not here. Clefairy, you can get up, right?”

    “Oh,” Sai said, clearly bummed that the battle would go on.

    As Whitney had predicted, the clefairy was able to stand up, but just barely. After feeling the impact of a limp arm and the full force of a water gun attack done by an evolved pokémon, it looked like it was going to faint at any given moment. It had a lot of spirit, though—I could give it credit for that.

    “All right, Kuiora,” Sai said. “One more water gun and you should win.”

    Kuiora nodded. She thrust her head backward, preparing to shoot another stream of water. When she brought her head forward, a blast of water shot forth as well, heading straight for the clefairy.

    “Clefairy, dodge it!” Whitney said, a hint of worry in her voice.

    The clefairy dodged it in a peculiar way. Instead of moving out of the way, the clefairy suddenly grew… smaller. It happened in tiny increments. Every time the clefairy changed size, an afterimage was left behind, and it disappeared as quickly as it came. By the end of the move, the clefairy was hardly visible, and the water gun ran right above its head, missing completely.

    “Clefairy, why did you use minimize? That may make you smaller, but it makes you hurt a lot more!” Whitney whined. Once again, she looked like she was about to run into the arena, but she restrained herself by keeping her arms folded above her head, and by spinning around on her heels.

    “It was the only way I could dodge,” a voice even higher pitched than the previous growl said. “I can barely move…”

    “Oh, dear,” Whitney said, placing a hand in front of her mouth dramatically.

    “Well, bite isn’t going to work,” Sai said, “and water gun isn’t too likely to hit. Try… stomping on it? Knock it out once and for all!”

    “Okay,” said Kuiora happily. She walked over to the clefairy casually, staring down at it when she reached her target. She smiled and lifted her foot, and at that moment, the clefairy started growing larger again, bit by bit. This time, afterimages of the tiny clefairy were present every time the fairy grew a little bigger. Just when the clefairy was about to reach its full capacity, Kuiora brought her foot down as hard as she could on the clefairy’s head, causing it to fall forward on its stomach with a thud.

    The clefairy did not get up.

    I thought that stomping on the clefairy was a little harsh, but I didn’t say anything. It was a legit pokémon attack, one that had occurred in several battles before today, and one that would continue to appear for all of eternity. The clefairy simply had to suffer the fate of being a pokémon, just like the rest of us. Just like I would be doing soon enough, I hoped.

    And I did get that chance. It was surprising to all of us, but Kuiora stepped down from battling as soon as she defeated the clefairy.

    “I got my revenge, just like I wanted,” was all that she said. But Kuiora—the one that I knew, anyway—wasn’t ever likely to turn down a battle. So this was entirely new. Not unwelcome, but definitely new. Still, I appreciated the notion, and I congratulated her and told her that I would win the battle.

    “If you don’t, I’m still able to battle, right? I’ll pick up the pieces for you,” she said.

    “Don’t worry. I never lose,” I said, feeling confident. In that moment, I honestly couldn’t remember a time that I had lost a battle—one that consisted of fighting, anyway. I was sure that it had happened, but it wasn’t going to faze me. Not today.

    “What if you really do lose, though? It can happen! Even I’ve lost!”

    “If I lose, then you’ll have witnessed the single most unlikely thing to ever happen,” I said, grinning. As much as I wanted to—in order to keep everything a surprise—I couldn’t hide my excitement. This was my answer, my salvation. And it was going to happen now, in front of Sai, in front of my—our—team.

    I eagerly leapt out into the arena, waiting for my opponent to appear. After a few moments, though, it didn’t look like Whitney was going to send anyone out. I looked at her, confused, and saw that she was trying not to cry.

    “My poor clefairy!” she lamented, burying her face in her hands, sobbing.

    “Uh,” Sai said quickly, “Kuiora won fair and square. A gym leader should know that, yeah?”

    “I do, don’t you worry. We can still win!” she said, now wiping her eyes. She recalled the clefairy and took out another pokéball out of her back pocket. “Go, Miltank!”

    When it emerged, I thought that the miltank… Well, at least it lived up to its name. It was a cow, so it provided milk, and it looked like a tank. Yes, the thing was huge compared to me when I was on all fours. It was at least two feet taller, and considerably wider and thicker. It was mostly pink, though not as pink as the clefairy had been. Its belly was a cream color, and there were six well-placed protrusions on its belly that I thought were called utters, I wasn’t sure. Its ears and its feet were black, and it had a pink tail with a black ball on the end of it. I vaguely wondered if a miltank’s tail was as important to the species as it was to my sentret clan. The creature also had notable white horns on top of its head, which could have been important as well.

    “Miltank!” it cried. Apparently, Whitney’s pokémon had a thing for announcing its name to the world when they approached a battle. Well, that was all fine and dandy, I thought, though I wondered if it ever confused Whitney into thinking she couldn’t understand pokémon—if she could even understand pokémon at all, anyway. The human species was certainly an odd one.

    “Okay,” Whitney said. “We’re going to try to end this as quickly as possible. Miltank, use body slam!”

    Ouch, I thought. If I thought that Kuiora’s stomping attack was bad, since she was a big pokémon herself and particularly powerful, then this was terrible. Not only was the miltank probably stronger than Kuiora, but it was at least twice her weight. I braced myself for an awful attack.

    The miltank ran toward me, its utters and body fat flapping along the way. It was an amusing sight to see, but I couldn’t let my guard down already. I got down on all fours, frowning and yet reveling in how big of an adversary I had to face. Well, that was just fine—if my opponent had to look tougher and be larger than me, then it was giving me all the more reason to evolve in the middle of the battle.

    When the miltank was close enough to me, I hopped in its direction, landing on its head and using its head to bounce forward and back onto the ground behind it. The cow took a few moments to stop its momentum, but when it did, it turned and looked at me furiously.

    “How dare you evade my attack!” it said, charging at me once more. But I did the same thing again, successfully dodging. Not only was the opponent fearsome, but it had quite a temper as well. Very fortunate. The scene reminded me of heading into that lady’s house and trying to escape the broom that she so eagerly swung at me with.

    “I’m just doing my job,” I said, teasing. I put my finger up to my head as if to say that was an obvious answer, and that the miltank was rather dull. The move only served to infuriate the cow further.

    “Use your own body slam, Senori!” Sai ordered.

    “My attack is just called slam, thank you very much,” I said defiantly. Still, I did the same thing that the miltank had been doing before, though I was much quicker due to my smaller size. This also meant that the miltank couldn’t jump over my head, or even move in any direction to get out of the way in time. My body blasted against the miltank’s, causing it to lose its breath as it was knocked backward. I noticed that I didn’t move him much, but the impact was still there, as the pokémon’s shoulders had drooped a little and it appeared less confident.

    “Good job, good job. Use slam again,” commented Sai.

    “Yes, yes,” I said, mimicking him. I didn’t say so, but I was glad for his praise, his attentiveness. It would, hopefully, serve me again sooner rather than later.

    I prepared to use my slam attack once more when Whitney shouted, “Miltank, use defense curl!”

    I should have known better than to attack the miltank when it was using defense curl, since it was one of my own moves that had proven to be very useful in the past. With the miltank’s size and weight, the effect was all the more difficult against my small frame. I was running to the cow when it was putting itself into a rolled up position, but I was going too fast to stop myself—one of the disadvantages to being fast. When my body collided with the miltank’s—just as before—this time it was me who was knocked backward. The miltank’s body was rock hard, and I now had a throbbing headache. I grabbed my head, knowing it was futile, but hoping it would stop soon.

    “Okay, Miltank, I think it’s time for your signature move. Rollout!” Whitney commanded, and all hints of her crying self were gone.

    “What’s rollout?” I asked myself, afraid to soon find out. Since we were both normal-type pokémon that hadn’t quite reached the threshold where we could learn the elemental moves discussed at the pokémon fan club, I was expecting for every ordered attack to be familiar and similar to my own. This, however, was completely new to me.

    I waited for the miltank to obey, but it stayed in its ball-like position. It looked daunting just like that, but it was even more damaging to my self-confidence when it started rolling toward me, and at a remarkable speed I wasn’t anticipating from the larger pokémon. Stunned, I wasn’t able to dodge the rollout as it crashed into me, forcing my body to bend back so that I was leaning against my tail in an awkward position. The miltank continued to flatten my body as it tumbled over my stomach, my face, my ears. Out of every body part I had, the tail hurt the most. And it went without saying that I was sick of my tail hurting. It signified pride. It signified strength, and I was tired of pretending that it was an object I didn’t really own just because it was in a location that I couldn’t always see.

    I had to evolve now, or never.

    Up until now, I hadn’t noticed the urge that my body had had to evolve for ages, now. It was a peculiar sensation that other sentret in my clan had reported having in the past, but they never dared act on it. It was the sensation of feeling like you were about to burst out of your skin at any moment. Your eyes bulged at random times, wanting to pop out of your body and watch from the outside as the inside of you was turned completely inside out. Your ears were hearing sounds that didn’t really exist—it was the inner cry of the soul that they were hearing, but they didn’t know that. Only the heart knew, and I had kept it from reacting all this time, but no longer.

    The miltank must have realized what I was about to do, no doubt, since the sensation was so strong within me. It had unfurled and been watching me carefully for the last several moments. It looked entirely unhappy, unpleased. Now, however, it was rolled back up into a ball, and it was heading straight toward me, faster than ever. I had time, though, since it was all the way on the other side of the arena.

    “I’m not going to let you do that, darn it!” it said harshly.

    “Senori, dodge it, and quick!” Sai said.

    But I wasn’t planning on dodging it. No, I didn’t want to dodge it. I wanted to stop the attack dead in its tracks. I had to prove that strength lay hidden inside of me somewhere else, and not just in my tail. I had relied on it in battles and in other situations too many time in the past. I didn’t want that anymore.

    I stood exactly where I was, facing the miltank, keeping my body as straight as I could, not allowing for any twisting or the desire to turn away. I thrust my arm and my paws forward, and waited.

    “Senori, what are you doing? Dodge it!” called Sai.

    “Nah,” I said, grinning and hoping he could see it. He would just have to trust what was to come. He seemed accustomed to trusting people, anyhow—almost too much. So I could follow myself, just this once, and then I would never obey another command from my trainer again.

    Finally, the miltank reached me and collided with me once more. Instead of allowing myself to be flattened like a pancake yet again, I pushed at the big ball, keeping it suspended on the ground. I grimaced; I was using every ounce of my body, every ounce of my power, just to keep this miltank here. And for what? I wasn’t attacking it or causing damage, so this was simply delaying the battle further. I supposed that I was causing the miltank to waste some of its energy but I didn’t know if that would be enough.

    “I… won’t let you… stop me!” I cried through gritted teeth. I couldn’t see miltank’s face as it rolled, but judging by the sudden increase in power at my words, I could tell that it was more angry than ever.

    So I had proven to myself that I had strength somewhere else. It was an enlightening feeling, to say the least. Who knew that I had it in me? Now, I had to figure out how to give myself a chance to evolve. The miltank, given the chance, was going to try to stop me at any cost… I had to keep it distracted somehow, someway…

    And in a battle, the best way to do that was to let the opponent pokémon recover from getting hurt.

    I started letting the miltank push me back on purpose, letting it believe that it was finally beginning to overpower me. It was quite the opposite, but of course I didn’t say so—I was controlling the situation entirely. I looked behind me, seeing how close we were to the wall. It was still quite a stretch to get there, but I could manage. I let the miltank push me back even faster now, and the fury emanating from the cow vanished—it really thought that it was winning. When we were close enough to the wall, I moved my feet to the left and then jumped out of the way completing, allowing the miltank to smash into the wall, just as planned.

    I didn’t waste any time after that. I let go of my inhibitions, and all of the inner energy inside of me that I had been keeping contained in a bottle of sorts. Through my eyes, I could see that I was beginning to glow. I didn’t dare look down anymore—my old body was old news. Surprisingly, the transition didn’t hurt at all. I could feel my body grow longer, more slender. My arms—which had felt sometimes like an odd pair of wings in the past—were now shaped like normal arms, with longer paws. My ears grew shorter, which pleased me as well, as maybe now my hearing wouldn’t be so sharp, as that had also been a prominent feature in my clan… I wondered how my insides were changing, but it didn’t matter, as long as everything significant was present. As far as my color went, I couldn’t tell if I’d still be the dark shade of brown that I had always been. I would have to look in a mirror later, or, preferably, have Sai tell me.

    When the evolution was completed, I immediately looked behind me. My bushy, important tail was no longer there. Of course, I still had a tail—I was expecting this—but it was a longer tail. A natural tail. One that wasn’t blessed. And that was what mattered.

    I looked at the miltank, who was staring at me vigorously. It had stood back up and kicked at the wall a few times while I was finishing. While I was fully happy with myself, it wasn’t happy for me at all.

    “Senori,” Sai said. “You evolved! Wow…”

    Ah, yes, and then there was the spectating crowd. I looked back at him, waving to him with my new arm, which felt awkward, but I was sure that I would get used to it. For now, he seemed content, and that was what counted to me.

    “Miltank, I know things aren’t looking too good, but you can do it! Use rollout,” Whitney said. The hint of urgency had returned to her frail voice.

    Miltank huffed and obeyed, returning to its ball-like form. As he headed toward me, I swished my tail around, reveling in the fact that it was a soft tail now, not one made of any substance at all.

    “Use a new attack or something, Senori!” Sai said.

    I chuckled. “Just because I evolved doesn’t mean that I forgot all of my attacks or anything,” I said, also reveling in the fact that my voice was the same.

    All the while, the miltank was charging toward me once more. Yes, I was treating the miltank like a joke, now. I knew there was no hope for it.

    When it was close enough to take seriously, I focused my senses. While my hearing was still intact, everything else had enhanced. I stared intently at the miltank. When I thought it was best to perform a body slam, I did so—and my prediction was dead on. I hit the miltank with the full force of my new body directly on its head, stopping not only the rollout, but the entire pokémon itself. I returned to my original position, watching the effects take place. The miltank was grabbing its head and going around in circles, dizzy and confused.

    “All right,” Whitney said. “That’s enough. A gym leader knows when she’s… lost…” Before she even finished her sentence, she had already burst into tears. Her sobbing echoed throughout the entire gym, it was so loud.

    “Ah,” Sai said sheepishly. “I don’t know… I’m sorry! I didn’t expect to win! Well, I was hoping to win, of course, but I didn’t want to make you cry! Can I tell you some jokes or something?”

    “Jokes won’t work, you jerk!” she cried as she returned the miltank to its pokéball. I watched it as it was immersed in a flash of red, thanking it for its time and effort silently.

    Next, Whitney pulled one last thing out of her back pocket. She peered down at it in her hand for a moment before she flung it in my direction. It landed on the ground in front of me, so I picked it up in my new paws. The object was shaped like a golden diamond with silver edges. The gym badge certainly lived up to Goldenrod City’s expectations, I thought.

    I ran up to Sai—rather clumsily, I must say—and handed it to him.

    “I believe it’s your win, not mine,” he said cheerfully, petting me on the head, “but I suppose I can hold onto it for you.”

    “If the miltank had made me use any body parts that I couldn’t control yet, I would have been doomed. You flatter me,” I said just as eagerly.

    “Jerk,” Whitney said again.

    I looked at the others, gouging their reactions. Atis looked proud, though he didn’t say anything and kept himself behind everyone else. Kuiora didn’t appear as jealous of the attention as I thought she’d be. Rennio was beyond relieved that I took over his fighting position—when our eyes met, I could tell that he was saying thank you.

    As for Ezrem…

    “How about a good math joke?” he said. “That always cheers everyone up. So, say this gym leader and her opponent have two pokémon. The opponent loses no pokémon, while the gym leader loses both. How many pokémon does the gym leader have now?”

    “Ezrem?”

    “Yes?”

    “Shut up,” I said, but nothing could ruin my mood. My voice betrayed me; I was trying not to laugh.

    *

    We had not only won a gym badge from Whitney, but money. The first thing we did with our money was buy a new backpack, new food, new water, more clothes for Sai. He spent it all in one place, as usual—back to his old self. The second thing was purchased was a night in the pokémon center to celebrate. It was a major step up from being out in the wild, I had to admit.

    Back at the pokémon center, Sai insisted on the idea that the badge was entirely mine.

    “But what about me?” Kuiora cried. So she was jealous after all, I thought.

    “Senori evolved! After all this time. I thought it was never going to happen,” he said. “Your badge is the one you won in your own gym battle.”

    “That badge is lost, thanks to Senori,” Kuiora pouted.

    “Sorry,” I said. “We can share this badge. You earned it, too. And next time, the spotlight can be yours.”

    “Deal,” she said, satisfied.

    All of us—except for Sai—sat in a circle on the carpeted floor, passing the gym badge around and indulging in its presence. That wasn’t the only thing that I was thinking about, though.

    Sai was sitting on the bed, looking happy yet strained at the same time. Wasn’t he glad that we had won? Wasn’t he glad that we could move on to the next part of journey? I got on all fours—finding this position much more preferable to standing on my tail, as if I were constantly watching for danger—and went over to Sai’s new backpack. I dug through it, looking for something. When I finally found it, I wobbled over to the boy, and handed it to him.

    It was the bottle of medication that he had brought back with him Atis had told me about it, and I agreed it was peculiar… but not unwelcome.

    “Won’t you stay with us this time?” I said. “We were worried when you left...”

    Sai took the bottle slowly, turning it over in his hands for a very, very long few moments. He looked at me, smiling sadly, and he patted me on the head.

    “I’ll try to stay,” he said simply.

    And that was what I wanted. This Sai—the loyal one, the excited one, the happy one—was the one we loved and wanted to stay with us. Though he was reckless and his emotions ran higher compared to all of the other people and pokémon I’d met, it wasn’t anything that we couldn’t deal with. Yes, this was the Sai I wanted to protect and serve at the same time. This was the Sai that, with my new form, I wanted to continue growing as a leader with.

    That night, when we were all sleeping, with Atis on the top bunk and with everyone else on the floor, I went up to be on the bed with Sai. He just smiled at me, said his mind was racing, as usual, and he couldn’t sleep… as usual. I didn’t say a word; I rolled myself into a tiny ball and curled up next to his side, silently telling him that I hoped that he meant what he said what he told me he would stay with us.

    It was the most comfortable that I had ever been.
    Last edited by diamondpearl876; 17th February 2013 at 3:22 AM.

    | survival project |
    | this trainer is different. everyone knows it, but no one can explain it. |
    | complete |


    | flying in the dark |
    | he's hiding something. she just doesn't know it. |
    | on hiatus|


    | love and other nightmares |
    | limited time, limited abilities. kyurem says she can be cured in exchange for saving those who need saving. |
    | chapter 3 released 11/22/14 |


  25. #175
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    When the evolution was completely, I immediately looked behind me. My bushy, important tail was no longer there. Of course, I still had a tail—I was expecting this—but it was a longer tail. A natural tail. One that wasn’t blessed. And that was what mattered.
    Is that suppose to be completed?

    When it was close enough to take seriously, I focused my senses. While my hearing was still intact, everything else had enhanced. I started intently at the miltank. When I thought it was best to perform a body slam, I did so—and my prediction was dead on. I hit the miltank with the full force of my new body directly on its head, stopping not only the rollout, but the entire pokémon itself. I returned to my original position, watching the effects take place. The miltank was grabbing its head and going around in circles, dizzy and confused.
    And this stared?

    It was the most comfortable that I had ever been.
    While I can completely understand what your saying, this felt awkward to read for whatever reason. It's probably just me, so don't worry about it
    Last edited by Dragonicwari; 29th January 2013 at 11:12 PM.


    ^You ever have that moment you realize you forgot to give credit? Sorry Irra!!^

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