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Thread: Survival Project (PG-13)

  1. #226
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    SURVIVAL PROJECT

    chapter 30 ; [ENSEMBLE]
    epilogue

    *

    It's strange how the old die so agreeably while the young rot so disagreeably.

    The old are—hopefully, usually—satisfied. They've accomplished their goals. They’ve raised enough money and love and happiness in their lives so that they can go and hold the hands of those they don’t even know. They live with ghosts as well and they don’t mind, because the thing about ghosts is that they can never leave too soon. They spend time together redrawing each other’s bones and blood in the most perfect way possible.

    The young are more delicate. Unfulfilled and unhappy about it, they struggle to cling to life, to breathe. They will claw at each other just to get a chance at their own redemption. Never mind the idea that they all suffer from the same unfortunate fate. They just want to one up each other, at any costs. I don’t blame them. I would have done the same, but now…

    Whenever death comes for me, I’ll be ready.

    *

    It’s just another bird. Just another bug. Just another fallen branch that made a crashing sound.

    That’s what I used to say, anyway. Now they mean everything to me. I talk to them in the most spacious of voices, able to be interpreted in many different ways. No matter what, the outcome is the same. There is no fire except the one in my heart.

    “If I said—listen for a moment, okay—if I said that I had a tiny little pidgey, one just like you, only wounded and ready to die within one more foodless day, and so it needed my care in order to survive, and it looked at me with its sad, sad eyes… Well, if I said that this was all I needed to be content, this poor creature that was useless without me, would you think of me as odd? If I said that I was definitely going to take a nest and move into the middle of nowhere—into these woods, essentially—would you think of me as odd yet again? If I told you that I intended to never be heard of again, that I would become a legend in the making, would you offer to come with me? I think you would. I think you really would.”

    They don’t offer to come with me, but at least I make them think about it.

    *

    I’m thankful for many things I wasn’t thankful for before.

    I’m thankful for the darkness which I can now defeat. I am thankful for a voice to tell my opinions with whenever I have the strength. I’m thankful for both sleepless nights and nights full of dreams, of nightmares. I’m thankful for a world that gives people and pokémon a variety of choices to pick from. Thanks, life, for the simple things and the complex things that make me think. Thanks, life, for providing my team with a sense of toleration for my wavering self. Thanks, life, both for the love that we all deserve, and for the kind of love that is given yet not asked for. I’m thankful. Really. Thanks for friends like the one I’ve been able to come across.

    I’m thankful to be a pokémon that can still do humane, helpful things. I’m thankful to live up to my expectations as a fighting-type. Above all else, I’m thankful for Sai’s safety and willingness to become stronger, mentally and physically…

    *

    The story of this totodile, the story of this croconaw, and the story of the future feraligatr, is a story of naivety and aggression, eventual friendship and supreme strength. She started out as a baby—mature for her age—in the hands of a man who gave her the power and the enthusiasm she needed for success. She was passed on to another boy, one who would treat her with the kind of gentleness that comes from years of wishing and hoping for something great to happen. She went on a journey, hoping to meet a legendary pokémon in the midst of a fantastical myth in the making.

    Legends, to me, are the best of history, retold and embellished until they shine. After years of waiting and searching, I’ve met a legend.

    His name is Sai.

    *

    I like leaders. Real leaders. Not a wannabe who sweetens the day with complaints and false promises. People and pokémon need someone who is bruised and bleeding, healing and suffocating. They need someone with a temper, a sense of humor, someone who throws obscenities at the wind as if they were born to do so. People and pokémon need someone who can both raise their voice and listen with silent intensity.

    Fake leaders sit and wait. Real leaders play the game of life, and they play it right. Real leaders love hard, dream endlessly and act with high ambitions. The real leader knows how to survive in the toughest of situations and watches as his comrades fall asleep so that he can reminisce on the day and think of ways to improve.

    A real leader doesn’t hide from things he knows need validation, doesn’t lie when he says he will both live and die for you.

    I’ll never let you down.

    *

    To the person who will take my heart when I die and the doctors see that I’m an organ donor—

    Treat it nicely. It’s fragile. It has lists upon lists of views it wants to see, sounds it wants to hear. It doesn’t let you hold your breath for too long, lest you should die sooner than expected. It doesn’t contain as much blood as you would like it to. Your ribcage can never be small enough to hold it, so expand its consciousness, in and out, and your ribcage will be filled. Let your senses exhaust you to the brim, and follow the premonitions given to you—you’ll never regret it. Don’t let any other organ suffer from your musings and tears. Most nights, you’ll need to cross your arms and strap yourself down. Please don’t try to fix the extra red and black stitching on the surface. They were made by my pokémon in the midst of their honest curiosity. Blue eyes, messy black hair, skinny frame… The heart knows only those things, but it will accept you anyway. Know that I’m sorry. I tried my best for you. And remember to feel real.

    Sincerely,
    Sai Luart
    Last edited by diamondpearl876; 22nd September 2016 at 8:01 AM.
    don't let me be lonely.

  2. #227
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    Alright, let's get down to it once and for all.

    Quote Originally Posted by diamondpearl876 View Post

    SURVIVAL PROJECT

    My sister told me a soul mate is not the person
    who makes you the happiest but the one who
    makes you feel the most, who conducts your heart
    to bang the loudest, who can drag you giggling
    with forgiveness from the cellar they locked you in.
    — Sierra DeMulder

    chapter 29 ; [RENNIO]
    finality

    *
    A Rennio chapter last? That's quite the surprise; like you mentioned in the previous reply, I expected Senori.

    Great poem choice there, too.

    We were in the middle of our first apartment soon enough.

    After a week of extensively searching the city for all possible living spaces and after a week of sleeping on the grassy ground once more, Sai had finally chosen a place that he figured was suitable for us. The apartment complex lay just on the outskirts of town, near the gym (Jasmine had indeed helped us upon request). Just north of the place was the route that led back to Ecruteak City, and all features of Olivine would require a bit of walking. This was perfect, Sai claimed, for both states of his mind. When he was manic, he could burn off energy walking to wherever he was going; when he was depressed, he’d have to fight himself to get anywhere at all. We also promised to not let him wallow in his self-pity when those times came.
    Does "in the middle of our first apartment" mean they're literally in the middle of the apartment or simply in the middle of looking for the apartment?

    The building we would be living in was actually a series of buildings, all owned by the same company. We were asked to pay a deposit fee. Sai did so, though afterward he compulsively counted all his money over again to see if we had enough to stay for a while. I whispered in his ear, telling him not to worry because I would battle for him some more if I had to.
    Not one but two neat little touches here: first, Sai having to count his money again is an easy-to-miss way to express his character, and second, Rennio offering to battle for him more was quite cute.

    We were on the first floor, specifically requested by Sai. He didn’t want to be reminded of being high up, though three floors high wasn’t particularly high enough to hurt him should he decide to jump again. No one pointed this out. We thought that if we had to protect him from potential burglars, we could do so easily—that’s what pokémon with trainer badges do. Anyway, the room was fairly normal. Kitchen, couches, television, bathroom. Only one bedroom—it was impossible to get a room for all of us. He promised us a room to ourselves at the pokémon center if we ever needed it and we just smiled, nodding our heads as if it really mattered…
    The fact Sai actively sought a first-floor room for his own safety is another amazingly genius touch. You'd lose nothing by not having it, but by including it, you gain so much characterization that it's hard to even say how much you get out of it.

    Time passed at an unbelievable rate. Not only were we incredibly lucky to have found a home so quickly, a place we could relax at and help Sai at the same time, but also we were adapting nicely. Each one of us developed a daily routine that was impossible to break once started. Senori, loyal and faithful as ever, decided to stay home and be the sole protector. He would keep the place clean, would keep watch for any danger, would go out hunting for food when Sai didn’t have time to buy anything. He would be responsible for making sure Sai slept on a regular schedule. Jokingly, he said he’d also keep Ezrem from destroying the place with a huge gust of wind, but Ezrem isn’t around much (thankfully, I thought at first). The bird pokémon spends much of his time in the northern route of the city, where a small forest-like area and several wild pokémon reside. He, too, keeps watch over them, flying in the sky during the day (and sometimes even at night), looking for possible predators and performing good deeds that the pokémon couldn’t do themselves. It’s his stable act of atonement, he told me once, and from that day on he became slightly tolerable to me. I haven’t entirely forgiven him yet, and I doubt I ever will.
    Ezrem semi-leaving the group isn't surprising when I think about it. It makes sense that he actually wants to atone for his actions, and it also makes sense that Rennio may never be able to forgive him.

    Kuiora, in the beginning, didn’t want to hone her battling skills anymore. She was afraid she would have to evolve someday when she didn’t want to. Sai, however, convinced her otherwise, said nothing would change if she evolved, nothing but her appearance, and he asked her to come with him to the Cianwood gym to train. She reluctantly agreed, and she goes twice a month to practice with him. Lately she’s said she’s having growing pains, her limbs are about to burst with the desire of wanting to evolve, and I suspect she’ll have to give in soon enough.
    Interesting... I bet that this could have been used for more story material if it was continuing on further.

    As for Atis… Sai and Atis do even more together now. The hitmontop probably spends the most time with him. He goes the other two weeks of the month to help Sai with type match-ups and commanding a battle. The gym leader himself, named Chuck, helps Sai physically, as the boy’s skinny, pale body leaves a lot to be desired. During the other days of the week, Sai works part-time in Jasmine’s gym as the person who guards the gym and leads challengers in to the battleground. In addition, he volunteers at Olivine City’s hospital in the psychiatric unit. This was a suggestion made by Atis, and Sai had been hesitant because he figured it would be triggering. So far, nothing seems out of the ordinary. He returns home on those days with newfound information about himself, about his illness, about things he can do to help others. Soon, he says, when he’s eighteen, he’s going to sign up to be an organ donor. The doctors can take anything they want, he says, if someone will have me…
    ...I want to stand up and cheer for you with how much you accomplished using just this one paragraph.

    Where to begin? Atis being Sai's most-regular companion is a fitting choice after all they went through together, for one. Them working together with Chuck is a clever idea, too.

    The really good part comes after that, when you get to Sai's job and expand from there. It's great that you showed him managing to get a job despite his problems, and not only that, you managed to get him to volunteer in possibly the most sensitive place for him, yet you handled it realistically. It's an incredible improvement over the earlier chapter, and I'm very happy to see that you took my advice back then.

    But that was in the past now. He had made a vow to tell us whenever he was feeling that down again, and so far, we were in the clear. He’s so open that sometimes we have to ask him to stop talking, he’s going to break our hearts if he speaks anymore. I hope he understands when that happens, but I can’t be too sure. He leaves the room and we find him either looking out the window or we find him sitting at the edge of the sea, as if contemplating himself even more, as if he’s asking himself, “Who spilled this secret about my past, when it was supposed to go with me to the grave?”
    Fitting that Sai can talk so much now. It just feels right.

    I can tell you, Sai—it was the child within you, the one that still lives inside you despite your age, the one you’ll be trying to make amends with for many years to come. I believe you can do it because I’m growing up, too. It doesn’t seem like it, but I am. Remember the first time you brought home groceries? You were so excited that you almost blew down the door with your energy. Everyone asked you what was wrong and you only paid attention to me, told me to come to you, you had a surprise. You held out a shining red apple and explained that the clerk told you apples are definitely one of a pokémon’s favorite foods. You took a bite out of it and handed the rest to me. I’m feeding you, he said. I helped you start it. Now it’s your turn. You reminded me so much of Annie in that moment, but you’re a person all your own, with your own quirks and silly stories to be told. You almost made me melt with happiness, you know that? Yeah, well—I don’t need that anymore, and that’s all right.
    My heart just melted a little. So cute, and yet so well developed.

    Soon enough, it’s time. I’ve heard rumors for the last year that the lighthouse on the southeast part of town is a home to many electric-type pokémon. I’d always wondered—hoped—that there would be an elekid there for me to meet. Ezrem, in his one moment of truth, had told me there are elekid in Johto, after all. Upon asking Jasmine, his words were confirmed, and my chest tightened considerably, so much so that I thought I’d never recover.

    Apparently, Jasmine’s ampharos is in charge, while there are other trainers’ pokémon that give off their electrical energy to keep the light glowing at night for ships. Water-type pokémon trainers are always present, too, to test their abilities. After I explained my situation to her, she encouraged me to talk to her when I was ready, and she would set up a specific day where an elekid could be present. And so I did.

    That day is today.
    Ordinarily, I'd be worried that something unfortunate was about to happen. But here, I feel confident enough that we're past that now and that Rennio is safe.

    Gracie agrees to come with me. I told her about everything because she’s a good listener and she doesn’t like to talk about herself except in vague riddles. She’s too good to me, really. I enjoy her warmth, her kindness, and if all goes well, maybe she can get something out of this, too.

    “Maybe I can get over my fear of water with all those water-types there,” she says cheerfully. She seems just as excited as I am, somehow.

    “Maybe. Don’t tell Kuiora about the place, though, or she’ll drive you crazy by asking you to take her there every day.”

    “I’ll keep it in mind.”
    I like Gracie's presence here; she gives Rennio an understanding ear. They seem to have a pretty positive relationship, too.

    We make idle chitchat like this, nonsensical and only half-witty, until we reach the front of the lighthouse. Jasmine told us to meet her at the very top, so we start at the very bottom, moving ever so slowly, as if we don’t want the suspense to end. Step after step makes me want to cling to her and never let go because I know she won’t lie to me. She’s not Ezrem. She’s not the pokémon whose words still resound in my ears.
    It's a small comment, but I'm intrigued by Rennio's thoughts about Ezrem here. I wonder where their relationship will go in the future, because Rennio seems to really have some conflicting emotions about him now.

    We reach the top but see no one. Gracie doesn’t seem disappointed, though. She scours the place and realizes that the middle of the room is enclosed by a brick wall that extends to the ceiling. She pushes me to the entrance of the middle of the room, and I try to resist her force, but then I see Jasmine and I stop. Jasmine’s smiling that pretty smile of hers and I know she can’t be tricking me.

    “Jasmine?” I say, as if she’s a ghost, a hologram that will vanish in an instant, but Gracie makes one final push and I stumble into her covered feet. The girl laughs and picks me up, unafraid of any possible sparks residing within me. She must be used to this, I think. She must be accustomed to picking up an elekid. One must be here.

    She twirls around, me feeling frantic and her being as quiet as ever, and it is then I see them. Not just one elekid, but two. Twins, Jasmine says. Born and raised in Johto by the daycare people. I remember them. It seemed so long ago. If only Ezrem’s lies had been exposed then, but this makes up for it. They make up for it. The elekid on the left has a red bow tied to her left spark plug, and the one on the right wears a blue wristband. Otherwise, they’re identical, and I can see why trainer wanted to distinguish them. All the same, I know they are just like me. Just like me…
    That's a great touch, making the other two Elekid twins, because it proves to Rennio that not only is he not one-of-his-kind, but there are others like him producing offspring. The Elekid species is more than alive and well, and that's the lesson he needed to see.

    I try to run to them, but I realize I’m up in the air, in Jasmine’s arms, and I ask weakly if I can be let down. She obliges and my legs suddenly seem clumsy. I trudge up to them, trying not to seem too eager but I’m sure I’m failing. Awkwardly, I ask if I can hug them. I don’t want to get electrocuted and have the moment ruined. They nod, grinning in anticipation.

    My life, up until now, has been nothing but a long, long list of events with asterisks next to the ones that would have been better had there been another elekid at my side. I would be lying if I said that everything was marked, but the majority is overwhelming and leaves me to wonder if now I can stop waiting. Is it strange that every day before now suddenly feels like a dream? This seems like a dream, too, my arms wrapped around them, feeling their cold, metal skin against mine.
    I have to admit, I felt pretty moved by this. You could have easily expanded Rennio's story into its own stand-alone story, and this would still be a satisfying conclusion to that story. It's literally perfect.

    Cold, metal skin though? That seems like a bit of a strange description choice.

    I want to know all about them. I want to know where they’ve been, what their trainers are like. I want to save them from their fears, I want to watch them grow old. I want to show them what it means to be broken and then whole again. I want to hold their hands in such a fashion that I won’t scratch them. I want them to see the kind of sparks that respond to the music of them laughing.

    Before I do any of this, I fear they’ll disappear.

    Will they?
    I absolutely cannot blame Rennio for having that fear.

    They’re still in my arms. In an instant I gain two friends and my sanity, my hope. I gain this all in one breath. They tell me they know my story, and they’re very sorry, but there’s nothing more extraordinary than a face that has come so far in life only to finally get what they desire most. They say they can feel my heartbeat—it’s still untainted, despite everything. I tell them they’re a savior from my loneliness and a cure for my fears. My way of showing gratitude in that moment is just breathing, in and out, and not disappearing on them, too.

    When I finally come back to reality, I vaguely hear Jasmine talking to Gracie. She’s saying that Gracie should tell me I can stop by when I can. I can help out around here, too, and see the two elekid whenever I want. Gracie, on the other hand, can help out at the gym by brazing together metal statues, which always get ruined in the heat of battle, despite her efforts to keep the battlefield far away. Gracie agrees.

    “I’ve been listening, don’t worry,” I say, releasing the two elekid. How long had we been embracing? I hope that I haven’t made them despise me already, but they seem resolute right where they’re standing, as if there’s nowhere else they’d rather be.

    “So you’ll help out then? Is this what you want?” Jasmine asks calmly.

    “Yes,” I say instantly. “We’ve been looking for things to do, and this seems right. Now I wonder why I put this off for so long.”
    I'm actually physically smiling. I really am happy to see Rennio getting a good ending after everything he's been through.

    I’ve decided, and maybe Ezrem has, too, but I won’t dare ask. Sai’s home is my home. Here in Olivine City, I’m safe and secure. I have exactly what I want. I visit the elekid whenever I want, just as Jasmine had promised, and we get along just fine. We share hopes and tell stories and meet other electric-types that make us feel closer together than ever. Once, I even offer to bring Ezrem with me so he can meet them and see how happy I am, but he declines gracefully. Yes, Ezrem, you lied to me—but you gave me a half dream, one that I don’t mind if it rests unfulfilled. I want to visit other places, too, with you and with the others.
    Ezrem and Rennio's relationship in the future is something I'd like to see if there somehow was a sequel. Not that there needs to be one - there doesn't - but it's something I know I would enjoy reading.

    “I trust you’re doing fine,” Ezrem said. “I always knew you’d be fine.”

    “Did you?”

    “Yes. I knew I couldn’t fool you forever.”
    I wonder about that, Ezrem.

    I tell Sai, too, on a day where he doesn’t seem exhausted. That’s how he comes home most days, and he crashes without eating. Senori has to wake him up so he can get something in his stomach and gain some weight. Kuiora gives the team baths, but she treads carefully with me and Gracie. The two of us stick to ourselves and take normal baths. Atis speaks more and more with every passing day, and soon I think that I’ll have to tell him to shut up, too.

    We’re in our home, I’m in our home, my plugs sparking to a nice internal rhythm. I’m such a small thing still, though I’m grown up—I’m only up to Sai’s knees, and I can still fly on Ezrem’s back without hurting him. Maybe one day I’ll grow bigger, but I’m not concerned at the moment. No one’s concerned about changing right now—we’ve done this enough. Inside we all feel like nobility, special and lucky and completely right. It’s like we’re draped in gold, watching rainbows glitter at our feet. Here, my team can be anyone they want, can do whatever they want—and so can I.
    Even if there wasn't an epilogue after this, this would be a fitting way to end everything. It just feels so neatly wrapped up and 'final,' discussing Rennio's growth and the home life of the group.

    I do think Atis could have used a little more focus before the ending, but that's fine. It's not a major detriment to the story.

    [quote]
    Quote Originally Posted by diamondpearl876 View Post

    SURVIVAL PROJECT

    chapter 30 ; [ENSEMBLE]
    epilogue

    *
    Clever move, making the epilogue an ensemble chapter. I had wondered previously if you might use that at some point, but saving it for the end was definitely a good way to do it.

    Truly, it is strange how older people and pokémon die so agreeably while younger people and pokémon rot so disagreeably.

    The old are—hopefully, usually—satisfied. They goals are accomplished; they’ve raised enough money and love and happiness in their lives that they can go and hold the hands of those they don’t even know. They live with ghosts and they don’t mind, because the thing about ghosts is: they can never leave too soon. They spend time together redrawing each other’s bones and blood in the most perfect way possible…

    The young are more delicate. Unfulfilled and unhappy about it, they struggle to cling to life, to breath. They will claw at each other just to get a chance at their own redemption. Never mind the idea that they all suffer from the same unfortunate fate—they just want to one up each other, at any costs. I don’t blame them. I would have done the same, but now…

    Whenever death comes for me, I’ll be ready.

    *

    It’s just another bird. Just another bug. Just another branch that’s fallen and made a crashing sound.

    That’s what I used to say, anyway. Now they mean everything to me. I talk to them in the most spacious of voices, able to be interpreted in many different ways. No matter what, the outcome is the same: there is no fire except the one in my heart.

    “If I said—listen for a moment, okay—if I said that I had a tiny little pidgey, one just like you, only wounded and ready to die within one more foodless day, and so it needed my care in order to survive, and it looked at me with its sad, sad eyes… Well, if I said that this was all I needed to be content, this poor creature that was useless without me, would you think of me as odd? If I said that I was definitely going to take a nest and move into the middle of nowhere—into these woods, essentially—would you think of me as odd yet again? If I told you that I intended to never be heard of again, that I would become a legend in the making, would you offer to come with me? I think you would. I think you really would.”

    They don’t offer to come with me, but at least I make them think about it.

    *

    I’m thankful for many things that I wasn’t thankful for before…

    I’m thankful for the darkness which I can now defeat. I am thankful for a voice to tell my opinions whenever I have the strength. I’m thankful for both sleepless nights and nights full of dreams, of nightmares. I’m thankful for a world that gives people and pokémon a variety of choices to pick from. Thanks, life, for the simple things and the complex things that make me think. Thanks, life, for providing my team with a sense of toleration for my wavering self. Thanks, life, both for the love that we all deserve, and for the kind of love that is given yet not asked for. I’m thankful. Sincerely—thanks for friends like the one I’ve been able to come across.

    I’m thankful to be a pokémon that can still do humane, helpful things. I’m thankful to live up to my expectations as a fighting-type. Above all else, I’m thankful for Sai’s safety and willingness to become stronger, mentally and physically…

    *

    The story of this totodile, the story of this croconaw, and the story of the future feraligatr, is a story of naivety and aggression, eventual friendship and supreme strength. She started out as a baby—mature for her age—in the hands of a man who gave her the power and the enthusiasm she needed for success. She was passed on to another boy, one who would treat her with the kind of gentleness that comes from years of wishing and hoping for something great to happen. She went on a journey, hoping to meet a legendary pokémon in the midst of a fantastical myth in the making.

    Legends, to me, are the best of history, retold and embellished until they shine. After years of waiting and searching, I’ve met a legend.

    His name is Sai.

    *

    I like leaders. Real leaders. Not a wannabe who sweetens the day with complaints and false promises. People and pokémon need someone who is bruised and bleeding, healing and suffocating. They need someone with a temper, a sense of humor, someone who throws obscenities at the wind as if they were born to do so. People and pokémon need someone who can both raise their voice and listen with silent intensity.

    Fake leaders sit and wait. Real leaders play the game of life, and they play it right. Real leaders love hard, dreams endlessly, act with high ambitions. The real leader knows how to survive in the toughest of situations and watches as his comrades fall asleep so that he can reminisce on the day and think of ways to improve.

    A real leader doesn’t hide from things he knows need validation, doesn’t lie when he says he will both live and die for you.

    (I’ll never let you down.)

    *
    I'm confused on who the first two are. The others I'm pretty sure are, in order, Atis, Kuiora and Senori, but I'm not sure which one of the first two is Ezrem and which one is Rennio. I'm surely missing something painfully obvious... but I do think Ezrem is the first one, if I had to guess.

    My own inability to pick up on context clues aside, I really do like this approach. Giving each of the major characters their own viewpoint to deliver a small comment is a very smart thing to do, because it's through those comments that the reader really sees how the characters grew at the conclusion. I think you used this device well.

    To the person who will take my heart when I die and the doctors see that I’m an organ donor—

    Treat it nicely. It’s fragile. It has lists upon lists of views it wants to see, sounds it wants to hear. It doesn’t let you hold your breath for too long, lest you should die sooner than expected. It doesn’t contain as much blood as you would like it to. Your ribcage can never be small enough to hold it, so expand its consciousness, in and out, and your ribcage will be filled. Let your senses exhaust you to the brim, and follow the premonitions given to you—you’ll never regret it. Don’t let any other organ suffer from your musings and tears. Most nights, you’ll need to cross your arms and strap yourself down. Please don’t try to fix the extra red and black stitching on the surface; they were made by my pokémon in the midst of their honest curiosity. Blue eyes, messy black hair, skinny frame… The heart knows only those things, but it will accept you anyway. Know that I’m sorry—I tried my best for you. And remember to feel real.

    Sincerely,
    Sai Luart
    This works excellently on more than one level - first, there's the overt, surface sense of it, where you can see how Sai has developed to the point where he can make a mature decision such as this one in order to help someone else. But if you think about it, this could also be seen as a metaphor for Sai's own story depending on how you look at it. Another point where you can see Sai's growth is when you realize that he is very clearly in acceptance of his life with both its good and bad traits.

    I'm not sure I understand the part about the red and black stitching, though. How did his Pokemon scratch his actual heart, if it was still inside of him?

    There it is, folks. The end of Survival Project. First of all I would like to thank each and every reader for following along with Sai and the team on their wild journey. I never expected to have reviewers who would be around the whole time or the extensive reviews I’ve gotten. I never expected to finish a story, as this is the first time I’ve written anything longer than a one-shot since I was 10. Thanks to Survival Project I now feel more confident in my abilities as a writer, especially when it comes to characters and plotting.

    I’d like to thank my characters for being as wonderful as they were. Not a single one of them were particularly closed off to me (except for Sai at times) and I never could have expected to fit so much emotion or character development in a story that changes perspective every chapter. I also never expected to deal with changing perspective every chapter, but I just had to try it. The team always went well with each other in group conversations and I never dreaded writing a single chapter (only a few crazy scenes, lol). Most of all I’d like to thank Sai for being himself despite everything he went through. Sai’s story came to me about five years ago now. He was very vague at the time, but we waited until we were both ready to tell his story. Every night I replayed scenes and sentences in my head until I fell asleep, wondering if I would ever really get to that high point in my fic.

    I’d also like to thank Sai for helping me in my own battles in real life. Four years after deciding Sai was mentally ill and suffering I was also diagnosed with bipolar. I don’t think I would have recognized any of the symptoms or warning signs for mood swings if it weren’t for the research I had to put into this disorder. I don’t think I’d be this far along in my treatment without this story.

    So, thanks for the ride, everyone. Really.
    And really, I think I owe you thanks as well. Not only did you give us a very exciting story with an intriguing approach in the POV you used, you did an overall great job tackling the heavier issues the story took on. Aside from the one brief problematic part that we talked about and resolved, you handled Sai's issues in an appropriate way, never minimizing or fetishizing them. It's extremely rare to see an author able to do that, so it really speaks volumes to your skills that you were capable of doing it.

    Well, there's really not much more for me to say. I'd judge this fic as a complete success; it tells the story it wants to in an effective way, has compelling characters, handles serious subjects in respectful and mature ways, and finally, it leaves just enough open to allow the reader to imagine the futures the characters may have met. I suppose if you pushed me for something I could say that I wish Annie had a larger role, but even then, that's trivial. I loved it.
    Last edited by The Great Butler; 14th August 2013 at 9:09 AM.

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  3. #228
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    Listening to pandora was a bad idea while reading the end.....
    I'm sad its over, but also happy it is complete.

    Thank you so much diamond pearl.


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  4. #229
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    The fact that this has ended makes me sad. Punches/hugs!

    When he was manic, he could burn off energy walking to wherever he was going
    Can you give me a percentage ration for manic and depressed with Sai? I was think 60% Manic and 40% depressed

    No one pointed this out.
    That made me laugh. I love it when you come up with these five sentence humor points. They toe the line of being very funny/a little sad. I always end up laughing though XD

    It’s his stable act of atonement, he told me once, and from that day on he became slightly tolerable to me
    When I first read this I was surprised at that behavior as it didn't seem keeping with the Ezrem that I have come to know and hate. I liked that you used the word atonement to describe his actions as it flipped me from being ****ed to actually understanding. Atonement is something that's always struck a deep chord with me as it opens the door to some really interesting options

    e volunteers at Olivine City’s hospital in the psychiatric unit. This was a suggestion made by Atis, and Sai had been hesitant because he figured it would be triggering
    That's what I thought too, so I'm glad it proved to be the opposite

    They’re still in my arms. In an instant I gain two friends and my sanity, my hope. I gain this all in one breath. They tell me they know my story, and they’re very sorry, but there’s nothing more extraordinary than a face that has come so far in life only to finally get what they desire most. They say they can feel my heartbeat—it’s still untainted, despite everything. I tell them they’re a savior from my loneliness and a cure for my fears. My way of showing gratitude in that moment is just breathing, in and out, and not disappearing on them, too.
    When I saw where you were going with this I really didn't expect you to come up with as much raw emotion as you did. The passage I quoted seriously made me sad in the happiest way. That's what it really was too, raw and passionate emotion. I'm taking notes

    Only real gripe about the moments leading up to the passage was the kinda obvious lack of description. Olivine's lighthouse is a huge focal point of many stories in the games and for the city and after I read this the only thing I wanted to see a bit more of was some more physical detail of it and the surrounding area

    It’s like we’re draped in gold, watching rainbows glitter at our feet.
    Damn good description there, pair

    Epilogue

    Whenever death comes for me, I’ll be ready.
    That's a pretty powerful sentiment that I wish I was more comfortable with lol

    I’m thankful to be a pokémon that can still do humane, helpful things.
    It almost seems like Atis was struggling to come up with those words. Back in the day I would have felt like he was incapable of making such a statement, but the way you set it up now it feels natural and well placed. You showed his psychological evolution well and I feel like that rounded it out perfectly

    Legends, to me, are the best of history, retold and embellished until they shine. After years of waiting and searching, I’ve met a legend.

    His name is Sai.
    You've officially made me tear up three times now. damn you

    Sincerely,
    Sai Luart
    And there it is. I'm gonna PM you about the stuff you talked about after the fic was over mainly because I want to talk to you privately about it. Anyway, the end was appropriate I think in regards to the characters. I feel like you definitely have the opportunity to maybe round some more things off in the future, maybe set ten years from now. For some reason I keep wanting to know what happens to Marty X3. But I feel like you did the best you could with this and you were absolutely the best you could be. I had a veil over my eyes throughout most of this story that consisted on my half-baked theories and suppositions, but I was glad when you pulled it a way and showed me something entirely more simple. And that's a good thing too, because it usually is the simpler things that end up coming out the most beautifully.

    You wrote the most impressively endearing and touching fic I have ever read. <3 you pair

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  5. #230
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    Made edits to chapter 1. Fixed inconsistencies, run-ons, repeated words, and so on. Chapter 1 was written in ~2009 so I believe it needed this edit.
    don't let me be lonely.

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    Made edits to chapter 2.
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    Made edits to chapter 3.
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    Made edits to chapter 4.
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    made edits to chapter 5 yo
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  10. #235
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    Quote Originally Posted by hl23 View Post
    You're right about the picture, that really is awful. Leave the fanart to the fans m8.
    Obviously you're Rembrandt to be making that kind of judgement. Actually, you're probably not so how about you stop being so hyper critical of someone else's art

    An Ancient Treasure, a Terrible Price. Take the Risk, Eat the World
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    Chapter Three added (03-31-2015)

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    SIDEWINDER PLEASE

    also omg @ it being 5am and i just found the first banner ever made for survival project, 2 years before i actually wrote the first chapter. this fic was supposed to be called "Dark World Burden"

    ...until i realized it was a song title

    http://i226.photobucket.com/albums/d...876/mb5pfn.png
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    Released final edits of chapters 1-7. Further chapters will be updated as they are released on Bulbagarden.
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    Chapter 8 edits are posted.
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  14. #239
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    Chapter 9 edits posted.
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    Edits to chapters 9 (again) && 10 are up
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    Edits to 11 and 12 are up
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    Chapters 13-19 have been edited
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    Edits made to chapters 20-24. Chapter 24 is now two posts instead of three.
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    All remaining chapters have been updated with edits. My plan is to start posting the sequel, Phantom Project, sometime before the New Year. Keep an eye out!
    don't let me be lonely.

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    Heya. This is my second time reading this one (though it's seen some edits since then, so in some respects it's almost like the first time around, isn't it), but my first time replying to it.

    I think the strongest point of this story is the character interactions. Sometimes touching, even heartbreaking--Sai and Atis sharing secrets is the example that immediately comes to mind. (Incidentally that made for a hell of a chapter end. "I am always sick"--goddamn. Talk about a wham line.) Sometimes funny--Ezrem's to blame for many of these moments, though Kuiora popped off a few as well. (And so of course, those two play of each other pretty darn nicely at times, especially near the end.) Sometimes... well, indescribable. Actually no, no; there's a word. Enigmatic. A lot of the characters' interactions with Sai, especially early on when so much of his background was still unknown, fall under that category. I think I'd genuinely never read a character like him before, so I could never quite assume what was coming next between him and his gradually growing team, nor did I dare assume his motives.

    And while I'm thinking about Sai... his backstory, when it came, was quite the bombshell. By that point it'd begun to be hinted at--at the very least, we knew TR'd been on his case at one point or another--but getting the specifics from Sai himself, when prior to that we'd only been able to experience him in a secondhand way... yeah. Like the instant I saw his name under the chapter header I was like holy ****, is this really happening?.

    He's probably my favorite character in this overall, come to think of it. And in a story that's a good 70% or so pokémon pov, and given the fact that I tend to favor said genre, that's saying something. Generally speaking, it's a little harder to get me invested in the human cast members as opposed to the nonhuman cast, and yet here it is. Sai's my favorite character here. Achievement unlocked.

    Of course, that's not to say the pokémon were slouches. They were fairly distinct, each with their own foibles and individual outlooks, and a couple of them (hi, Atis; hi, Ezrem) do give Sai a run for the money in the faves department. Ezrem especially, for being a relatively comedic character in spite of having an incredibly dark backstory and legit atrocities to his name--not a combination I see often.

    Somewhat related: LaoN becomes a very different beast after having read this, in a good way. I think I've mentioned something to that effect before elsewhere, but yeah. Would definitely recommend readers of either to check out the other if they haven't already.

    This has been a fun little trip down memory lane. I'm eager to get into the sequel, as well as to get good and refreshed wrt LaoN.

  21. #246
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sike Saner View Post
    Heya. This is my second time reading this one (though it's seen some edits since then, so in some respects it's almost like the first time around, isn't it), but my first time replying to it.
    I suppose so! Though my edits weren't too heavy, just some language polishing and whatnot. Either way, I'm glad you came back to not only read again, but also to comment! It means a lot.

    I think the strongest point of this story is the character interactions. Sometimes touching, even heartbreaking--Sai and Atis sharing secrets is the example that immediately comes to mind. (Incidentally that made for a hell of a chapter end. "I am always sick"--goddamn. Talk about a wham line.)
    Ya know, I wasn't sure how people were going to react to that scene. The idea initially struck me as a bit... too weird, but it seems that my risk there paid off. Always glad to hear good things about that scene. Thanks!

    Sometimes funny--Ezrem's to blame for many of these moments, though Kuiora popped off a few as well. (And so of course, those two play of each other pretty darn nicely at times, especially near the end.)
    Ohhh, I'm glad you think so! Those two are probably my favorite to write together, right along with Sai and Atis. And Rennio and Ezrem. And... Okay, I love them all. But yeah.

    Sometimes... well, indescribable. Actually no, no; there's a word. Enigmatic. A lot of the characters' interactions with Sai, especially early on when so much of his background was still unknown, fall under that category. I think I'd genuinely never read a character like him before, so I could never quite assume what was coming next between him and his gradually growing team, nor did I dare assume his motives.
    I'm glad to hear my risk with Sai also paid off in the originality department. It's... tough, getting a character like him right without being too enigmatic or too dramatic.

    And while I'm thinking about Sai... his backstory, when it came, was quite the bombshell. By that point it'd begun to be hinted at--at the very least, we knew TR'd been on his case at one point or another--but getting the specifics from Sai himself, when prior to that we'd only been able to experience him in a secondhand way... yeah. Like the instant I saw his name under the chapter header I was like holy ****, is this really happening?.
    It happened. Hooray for the rotating first person POV method. 8D

    He's probably my favorite character in this overall, come to think of it. And in a story that's a good 70% or so pokémon pov, and given the fact that I tend to favor said genre, that's saying something. Generally speaking, it's a little harder to get me invested in the human cast members as opposed to the nonhuman cast, and yet here it is. Sai's my favorite character here. Achievement unlocked.
    Achievement unlocked indeed! And as a secret from me to you (and anyone else who reads this, I guess), he's definitely my favorite, too. <3

    Of course, that's not to say the pokémon were slouches. They were fairly distinct, each with their own foibles and individual outlooks, and a couple of them (hi, Atis; hi, Ezrem) do give Sai a run for the money in the faves department. Ezrem especially, for being a relatively comedic character in spite of having an incredibly dark backstory and legit atrocities to his name--not a combination I see often.
    Heh. You know, when life gets you down, you've got to just laugh about it. Or so Ezrem thinks. Atis, not so much. Now I kind of want to go write them together in a scene and watch them fight...

    Somewhat related: LaoN becomes a very different beast after having read this, in a good way. I think I've mentioned something to that effect before elsewhere, but yeah. Would definitely recommend readers of either to check out the other if they haven't already.
    Yes, it does become a different beast entirely, doesn't it? Sometimes, I forget what I mentioned here in SP and think of a happy ending for LaON. But sadly, we both know that's not going to happen (though there'll be happy moments, at least?).

    This has been a fun little trip down memory lane. I'm eager to get into the sequel, as well as to get good and refreshed wrt LaoN.
    Replying to your sequel review next, and I look forward to your thoughts on LaON!
    don't let me be lonely.

  22. #247
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    So I was wandering the fic reviewers thread a week or so ago and stumbled across someone talking about the sequel to this and decided I'd give it a read. *glares at his other authors for not giving him new chapters lately*
    I was definitely an awesome story.
    It was a very neat style to change the perspective chapter to chapter. It made it so much fun to experience similar events through different eyes, along with seeing everyone's image of Sai and how it changed throughout the entirety.
    I had my own theories to Sai's interesting behavior. I first went with a little bit of Autism, but soon figured it was something much different. But I really love how you bring about all these different mental illnesses and such through each Pokemon and characters we meet in here. It's really nice to see.
    I didn't quite see the Rocket twist coming as fast as some I suppose. (I don't pick up things like that very easily it seems) But it was very nice to get all that explanation near the end. It really helped tie the whole thing together.
    The ending to it was very nice too. Helped us get an idea of what life is becoming for the team and how everyone is kind of dealing with all their battles and flaws. It was definitely a needed catharsis.
    I did find a couple typos and missing words and such, but I'm sure it's probably from all the edits to the chapters and everything.
    I really enjoyed each character. Senori is prolly my favorite out of everyone. Though Atis is definitely a close second.
    All in all it was a very fun read. I can't wait to start on story two.
    jirachiman out
    Yes people, I have returned.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jirachiman876 View Post
    So I was wandering the fic reviewers thread a week or so ago and stumbled across someone talking about the sequel to this and decided I'd give it a read. *glares at his other authors for not giving him new chapters lately*
    I was definitely an awesome story.
    It was a very neat style to change the perspective chapter to chapter. It made it so much fun to experience similar events through different eyes, along with seeing everyone's image of Sai and how it changed throughout the entirety.
    I had my own theories to Sai's interesting behavior. I first went with a little bit of Autism, but soon figured it was something much different. But I really love how you bring about all these different mental illnesses and such through each Pokemon and characters we meet in here. It's really nice to see.
    I didn't quite see the Rocket twist coming as fast as some I suppose. (I don't pick up things like that very easily it seems) But it was very nice to get all that explanation near the end. It really helped tie the whole thing together.
    The ending to it was very nice too. Helped us get an idea of what life is becoming for the team and how everyone is kind of dealing with all their battles and flaws. It was definitely a needed catharsis.
    I did find a couple typos and missing words and such, but I'm sure it's probably from all the edits to the chapters and everything.
    I really enjoyed each character. Senori is prolly my favorite out of everyone. Though Atis is definitely a close second.
    All in all it was a very fun read. I can't wait to start on story two.
    jirachiman out
    Ohh, I think I know what post you saw. ;P I'm glad you came to check out the fic and liked it! It means a lot that you took the time to go through every chapter and leave comments, too! I honestly have never had Sai having autism cross my mind, but I can definitely see where you got that idea. There's some overlap between bipolar disorder and autism for sure (as it is for most mental disorders, I think) and the inability to socialize is prominent especially in the beginning.

    I've actually gotten some complaints that the Team Rocket part didn't have enough hints, so I wouldn't feel too bad if you didn't see it coming. When writing I put most of my focus on Sai's strange mannerisms and how his past affected who he is now rather than the buildup of him having to face his past.

    Duly noted on the typos - I've been meaning to go and fix them, though I figured I'd let time pass and see if I wanna do any further edits. Again. Oh boy.

    I'll be excited to see what you think of the sequel! Especially if Senori and Atis are your favorites. I guess I'll just say be ready for more emotions.
    don't let me be lonely.

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