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Thread: Survival Project (PG-13)

  1. #226
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonicwari
    Should be attack or something, also, you would have a typo during a suspensful part D: It's good so far though, as usual
    I usually hold my tounge on these sort of things, and DP, if I overstepped my bounds, please let me know. The above portion I quoted, Dragonicwari, was your entire post...Seriously? All the things in this chapter you could have commented on, corrected, discussed, that's all you put? I know DP is thankful for any person who comments anything, but I feel like if you're really paying attention to her story and are REALLY giving it your time, you could come u with something better than that. I'm not trying to start a flame war with you or offend you in any way, but come on. 'It's good so far, as usual'?

    You should really look at some of the other posts and replies to her chapters because we all take the time to give her opinions on things that can make her better. You saying only what you said, to me, is like giving a horse invisible water. It doesn't make sense and basically says that you don't really care about what the author is posting at all. If the two of you are friends and this is a post that's okay with DP, the once again, I'm sorry. But this kind of flagrant shortness is almost uncaring and lazy to me when compared to the sheer literary genius that DP puts out on a regular basis. kthnx

    Anyway, onto the review

    My goals had nothing to do with the team or with my trainer; I only thought of myself. Not anymore.
    That's a pretty interesting way of looking at the evolutionary connection that Pokemon feel as they evolve. Even more interesting to me is the fact that Kuiora feels that way. I didn't expect her to come to that realization

    but if I had known about your sorrow all this time, I would have loved you hard enough to take your heart and make it start anew.
    That was really touching actually. Not only a triumpth of gripping wordplay, but once again I'm surprised to see Kuiora being this sincere

    “All the pairs of steelix statues look like they’re kissing,” Ezrem commented
    That literally made me lol

    “A good luck kiss… tap… thing,” Ezrem stammered. “Yes, I stole a kiss from you. For good luck. I know he’ll ask you to battle.”
    That was...amusing. I didn't see Ezrem pulling a move like that. Obviously they have a bond, you've opened that up over previous chapters, but that portion was surprising.

    “I will battle and not be distracted by your stupidity.”
    That line felt a little off to me. Too robotic, to stiff. To me Kuiora has always had kind of a flippant and over the top care-free type attitude that doesn't really jive well with that statement

    “We’ll see about that,” Sai said. “Kuiora, figure out a way to use your water gun attack effectively!”

    “That’s not a command…” Atis said, exasperated.
    Lmao that's exactly what I was thinking. Does Sai have any battle prowess at all? After all those years of watching death fighting, didn't he pick up on anything at all...Sigh...Hah! Sigh = Sai

    “As the sixth gym leader in the gym circuit, I will not go easy on you or ask my steelix to be weaker than it actually is. Will you be able to overcome his defense?” Jasmine said
    Once again, the dialogue seems a bit too stiff here. I don't see why the Gym Leader would be slightly taunting Sai the way she is, and using pseudo predictable machoistic lines like the ones quoted above. It just seems a bit too planned and intentional; instead of being more random and spur of the moment, which would be appropriate since they're in the middle of the battle

    His world lay within the unknown and he displayed that uncertainty through words, questions. My world simply lurked in between the spaces of his words, waiting to be discovered.
    God that was beautiful pair. Perfectly sums up a outsiders/insiders perspective of that kind of bond. Loved it. *Tacklehugs*

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

    -Thanks to PopPrincess_Lyra for the banner above, and Sworn Metalhead for the banner below -


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

  2. #227
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    Quote Originally Posted by diamondpearl876 View Post

    SURVIVAL PROJECT

    chapter 28 ; [KUIORA]
    unanimous

    *

    chapter 28 ; [KUIORA]
    unanimous
    Hmm, wouldn't have expected a Kuiora chapter, though in hindsight, I probably should have.

    I could have come up with many of my own myths once upon a time, but after what I had seen, the idea was doubtful. What would be my myth to explain the differences among human language and pokémon language? What would be my myth to explain the origin of the gym challenge? …What would be my myth to explain the entirety of Sai’s life? What if I tried to explain it in a single sentence? Would I ever be able to tell his story with a straight face? I imagine that following the story would come an indeterminable wince because I was a part of it. I was real. I was there. I was there when he jumped. I was there when he survived and tried to get better.
    I have this image in my head now of an older Kuiora sitting at a campfire telling young Pokemon her stories now.

    I look at my body sometimes and connect with Sai’s feelings the most when I wonder if my life has been real. I remember how much smaller I used to be. My fangs used to be much less powerful, less pronounced. I couldn’t release as much water, then, either. As a totodile, I was young and silly. My goals had nothing to do with the team or with my trainer; I only thought of myself. Not anymore. I look at Gracie, too, the newest friend on the team. Gracie reminds me of the cyndaquil I used to know, the cyndaquil Sai could have picked. What if he hadn’t picked me? Would I have ever come this far? If only Professor Elm could see me now…

    I know, now, that death is real. It was right in front of me the entire time and I didn’t even know it. I’m sorry, Ezrem, for having told you otherwise. I’m also sorry to the gods above. This was my punishment that I deserved. Most of all, I’m sorry to Sai, because I stopped believing in him when he needed it most. I overcompensated wholeheartedly on the roof of the building, but to this day I don’t know if it was enough.

    What myth could I use to explain the phenomenon that is death? What about death among the living? That’s what Sai thought he was. He thought he was dead. In the cells, he wasn’t living at all. He was patiently waiting for something better. He was patiently waiting… for me. I wasn’t trying to please the legendaries anymore. I was trying to please him. How am I doing, Sai? How am I doing? I look at my strong body sometimes and wonder.
    Wow, this is pretty depressing. I wonder if it was meant to be that way, but the obvious loss of innocence on Kuiora's part just gets to me.

    Love is a fairly funny thing. The way that it can tear apart and repair itself so seamlessly is astounding. When Sai was falling, his name flowed through my mouth like water, because he had been waiting for someone to acknowledge his true self for a long, long time. And I could easily give away my love in carefully wrapped pouches, filled with songs and food and bits of life too precious to abandon. I am not saying that I do not love you now, Sai, my team—but if I had known about your sorrow all this time, I would have loved you hard enough to take your heart and make it start anew.

    So it goes, I suppose.
    Leaves me wondering if Sai could have been helped more had they known earlier...

    The gym gave off an air of invincible determination. On both sides of our team lay clusters of shining crystals. When we first opened the door to the gym (which took some effort, given that it was made of steel), the crystals glimmered in the sunlight and temporarily blinded us. Sai mentioned briefly about how there could be a trap, but his paranoia was soon settled when we saw the interior of the building. There was no one and nothing around besides us, the crystals, and statues of a long snake pokémon protruding from the top of the walls. The statues hung above us, connecting in such a way that it made us feel as if we were walking under an arch.

    “All the pairs of steelix statues look like they’re kissing,” Ezrem commented, flying up to them to get a closer look.
    Somehow it doesn't shock me Ezrem would say this.

    “Are they touching?” Senori asked.

    “Almost.”

    “How adorable,” Gracie said. “This looks like a steel-type gym, then.”

    “And I bet you anything that the gym leader is a girl,” I commented, nudging the only other female on the team.

    It turned out that I was right. We heard footsteps resounding through the room and we became quiet. A young woman approached, her hands clasped together and held over her heart. She was wearing a white dress that went down to her knees and two orange ball-shaped clips in her brown hair. Her smile was soft and her voice tender as she said, “Welcome to the Olivine City gym. Can I help you?”

    “Oh… Well, we were just admiring the decorations… but I would like a gym battle, if that’s all right with you.” Sai added swiftly, “Or we can come back later if you want.”

    She shook her head. “No, you’re fine. My name is Jasmine, and I would love to have a gym battle with you.”

    “Really?” Sai said, rubbing the back of his head. “I guess we’re lucky… I didn’t make an appointment or anything…”
    It's such a relief to see a Gym that doesn't have horrible tension attached to it for a change. Maybe Sai can begin turning things around here.

    “No need. Follow me,” she said, motioning for us to come. We listened, and as we walked, I noticed that the girl was walking barefoot on the cold ground below. Were her feet used to the slick ground beneath us? Such was the toughness of a steel-type gym leader, though otherwise, she didn’t look the part.

    When we reached the back wall of the gym, we stopped seeing steelix statues and crystals. The emptiness of this part indicated that it was battlefield. The rest of us quit walking, but Ezrem kept flying right past us and almost ended up crashing into Jasmine.

    “Sorry. I was busy thinking,” Ezrem said, though I could tell he was lying. He just had that sarcastic edge in his voice that I was accustomed to. Who knew if even gym leaders could understand pokémon, anyway?

    Jasmine only giggled, and he flew back toward us. More specifically, he flew back to me and passed by me. As he passed by me, I could feel his face turn toward me and I could feel his beak brush against my cheek.

    “W-What was that?” I said, rubbing my cheek in case he had left a mark. I looked at my claws, however, and saw nothing.

    “A good luck kiss… tap… thing,” Ezrem stammered. “Yes, I stole a kiss from you. For good luck. I know he’ll ask you to battle.”
    Well then, that was a surprise. Ezrem, is there something you aren't telling us?

    “What…?” I mumbled as he flew behind the rest of us. I turned and wondered at that phrase he had given me. Why was it called stealing a kiss when he had freely given it to me? Was he stealing anything from me? Was he stealing my concentration on the battle? What a jerk. But I hadn’t retreated from the move, so it didn’t seem like thievery. It seemed like he was only cheating the world from time itself—we could be battling but instead he was doing weird antics, as usual. This was the kiss we didn’t have time for, yet indulged in anyway.
    And yet there's still plenty of innocence to be had. I love her.

    “Stupid bird,” I said, stepping forward. “I will battle and not be distracted by your stupidity.”

    “You want to battle, then, Kuiora?” Sai asked, apparently not having noticed Ezrem’s actions.

    “Yes, I will.”

    “Wait,” Sai interrupted. “Atis, I have a question for you.”

    “Y-Yes…?” the shy pokémon asked, fiddling with his fingers.

    “Is Kuiora a good type match up for Jasmine? I mean, I sent Senori out against some ghost-type pokémon while you were gone, and that was pretty awful, so, yeah… I’m asking you.”
    I like this. Sai is showing Atis a new level of respect by speaking to him as an equal and asking him for advice, and that's something that's refreshing to see.

    “Oh. Is that all? Well, if Jasmine uses her steelix, Kuiora should be just fine. Steelix is part ground-type, which is perfect for her water-type moves,” Atis explained, nodding.

    “Sounds good. Otherwise I would’ve tried Gracie, so she could show off her skills if she wanted,” Sai said.

    “Gracie would be a good choice, too, but she has a disadvantage…”

    “Ground-types are just as scary as water-types,” Gracie said. “I can let Kuiora fight.”

    “I totally agree,” Rennio said, appearing behind the fire-type. “Though I think all pokémon are scary, so I’m not sure how much my opinion counts…”
    ...can I just say how much credit I think you deserve for this? You're actually giving every Pokemon its own distinct personality and leaving time open for them to shine. I wish I could do that.

    Ezrem scoffed, Gracie glared at him, and I knew that she felt she belonged on this team already. We all belonged on this team for some reason or another. Senori was obviously the leader who guided us all. Atis was as human as any of us would ever be, and therefore he could relate best to Sai’s odd ways and help him out when needed. Rennio was the baby we all needed to protect; he gave us purpose. Ezrem was a gentle reminder of how cruel and sweet the world could be at the same time. And Gracie could now be the pokémon who saw right through everyone, through their flaws and strengths, and she could accept them anyway and be our friend.

    Again, I wondered. Where was my place? Was I the strongest? No, that was probably Atis, even if he didn’t show any of his power. I was the baby, once, but I had been replaced. It’s not like I would have enjoyed that title, anyway. So where was I? Perhaps I was an extreme member of the group. I was always extremely eager, extremely angry, extremely worried, but rarely somewhere in between. Perhaps it wasn’t about where I was in the team, but rather it was about how the others complemented me. They kept me balanced. And that’s why I wanted to fight for them still, even now. I wanted to make it up to them and make them proud. Not to mention how Ezrem apparently had high expectations for me so suddenly.
    Well, that got serious fast. It's good to have a little introspection, too.

    I stepped forward onto the battlefield to do what I had to do.

    “Your hitmontop is very smart,” Jasmine said, revealing a red and white pokeball in her hand. “I will be using my steelix. Did the statues give it away?” She giggled, and I thought she was going to thrust the pokéball forward, but she only pressed the button in the middle to enlarge it. She moved her hand forward slightly and the ball burst open, blinding me with the bright light that followed.
    Did Jasmine understand Atis, or did she merely pick up on what he meant?

    True to her word, a live figure of a steelix emerged from the light. The long, silvery, shining snake-like figure definitely was beating me in terms of height and weight already. Its head was massive though the head mostly consisted of its jaw alone, and its long rock body trailed behind it, only interrupted by steel spikes protruding occasionally from its sides. I thought that the pokémon was going to tower through the roof of the building, but I supposed Jasmine had the large gym built this way for a reason. Upon further inspection, I could see that the steelix’s tail had a sharp point; I made a note to watch out for it.
    Good move showing Kuiora observing her surroundings.

    I stood there, waiting for the battle to begin and vaguely wondering if Sai was going to try to give commands for once. I looked back at him and saw him looking at Atis in anticipation.

    “I’ll help you,” Atis said, “but we’ve got to be quick.”

    “I won’t wait just for you to come up with strategies to beat me,” Jasmine said, pointing at us with one of her hands. “I will make the first move. Steelix, headbutt!”
    Yeah, I really think Jasmine can understand Atis. Either that, or she's very, very good at reading him.

    Before any of us could even react, the steelix let out a ferocious, low battle growl as it brought the front half of its body backward. It lunged forward and time seemed to stop. For as long as the rock snake was, it shouldn’t have taken long at all for it to crash into me. Nevertheless, it seemed to be moving in slow motion, and even I was moving in slow motion as I tried to turn to Sai for a command. The pokémon and the trainer, however, were busy discussing other tactics.

    “You should have Kuiora use her water-type moves, yes. Physical attacks won’t do much, no matter how powerful she is…” Atis blathered on, making sure the boy was listening.
    Well this turned bad fast. I guess Sai has a lot to learn about fully working with his Pokemon yet.

    “Tch,” I said, moving my head back. “So much for counting on my trainer.” I didn’t want to count on just myself. I wanted to count on the entire team, mostly Sai. I wanted him to feel reliable and valid as a human being for once. He wasn’t, however, doing a good job right now.

    The steelix was still rushing toward me. It was a simple attack, and simple attacks called for simple countermeasures. I pushed off the ground with my feet and flew out of the way from the steelix’s fearful jaws.

    “Sai, pay attention!” I cried when I landed, my hands automatically showing attitude by placing themselves at my hips.

    “Sorry,” Sai mumbled. I could barely hear him. “I thought it was just common sense to dodge.”
    Sai seems pretty out of it. I wonder what's going on...

    “A little support could never hurt…” Atis said, defending me.
    I almost wonder if Kuiora may end up resenting Atis should this keep happening. I mean, Sai is her trainer, not Atis.

    “Hmm. If you command me even for dodging, you’ll really feel like you’re in control of the whole battle. And that’s what you want, right?”

    “If that would make me more of a proper trainer, then yes.”

    “Better do it, then,” I said, shaking my head.

    Sai sighed, probably thinking about how he still had so much to learn. He was lucky, at least, that I knew what to do in case he was having trouble. Still, I got what I was looking for: a command. “Use water gun!” he shouted.
    Something feels off about Sai in this chapter, though I can't quite put my finger on what it is. I suppose it's understandable, though, considering this is his first Gym battle liberated from the constraints of Team Rocket's experiment.

    I snickered at the poor steelix in front of me. Surely it would succumb rather quickly to my water gun attack. I held my breath, feeling the water swish and accumulate inside of me and up toward my mouth. The steelix stood there, looking unfazed. I frowned. I would show him that he couldn’t just underestimate me and get away with it. I drew my head back and then thrust it forward, releasing my water gun attack at the same time. A hefty stream of water shot out directly at the steelix. I grinned, thinking he couldn’t avoid it. There simply just wasn’t enough room on the battlefield. At the last minute, much like how I had moved at the last minute, the steelix raised its tail in front of its face and slammed it down through the water, dispersing it in all directions. The pokémon’s face still looked unfazed.

    “My steelix may not be able to move around a lot,” Jasmine said confidently, “but his tail can absorb any damage you throw at it. You won’t be able to beat him so easily.”
    I figured Kuiora was being a bit overconfident. Now the question that remains is how she will overcome this.

    “We’ll see about that,” Sai said. “Kuiora, figure out a way to use your water gun attack effectively!”

    “That’s not a command…” Atis said, exasperated.

    I laughed out of sheer happiness over the fact that he was at least trying. If simply trying was going to make Sai feel better, then it was going to make me feel better too. And besides, it seemed relatively simple to obey him. I had to get the steelix’s defense out of the picture, and then I should be fine.
    I'm not sure I'd call that "trying" entirely, but it is admittedly better than how Sai was acting earlier in the battle. Although I wonder how Kuiora plans to get through the defenses of a defensively-oriented Pokemon.

    Atis had said not to use physical attacks, but… what if I tried to use a physical and a special attack at the same time?
    Oh, that was a great move. Kuoira really earned that confidence here.

    I prepared another water gun attack. When I thrust my head backward, I also prepared to leap from the ground, hoping that the steelix didn’t notice. I had to prepare now, though, or I’d never make it. I had to be fast or I wouldn’t make it.

    As expected, the steelix lifted up its tail when I released my water gun attack again. What the steelix wasn’t ready for was how I propelled myself off the ground to dive straight at his tail. I hid myself underneath my water gun so it would take longer for him to see. And as I hoped for, I was faster than the water gun attack itself. When the steelix saw me, he looked surprised, but he had nowhere to go. I reached the long steely snake and swat his tail away with my own, and then fell down to the floor to make way for the real attack.
    I'm kind of surprised Kuiora was able to swat away Steelix's tail with her own, considering how much bigger and heavier Steelix's tail is.

    The steelix was hit by the full force of the water gun, and it struggled not to topple over. By the time the water dissipated, it finally looked like I had made a dent, but not enough damage had been dealt. I scowled.

    “Didn’t you say this thing was a ground-type?”

    “Y-Yes, I did… It must have high defense skills…” Atis stuttered.

    “Obviously.”

    “As the sixth gym leader in the gym circuit, I will not go easy on you or ask my steelix to be weaker than it actually is. Will you be able to overcome his defense?” Jasmine said. Even though I had pointed out how she didn’t look like a steel-type gym leader, she was certainly starting to act like one. Her previously shy demeanor must have been a façade.
    I have to admit, I'm a little surprised at just how formidable Steelix's defense is. I expected strong physical defense, but that Water Gun did far less than I had ever thought.

    You're depicting Jasmine quite well, by the way.

    And suddenly, it made sense for me to be having so much trouble. We only had three badges. Well, we only really had one if you considered how Senori lost two of them. If Jasmine was the sixth gym leader, then that meant we had messed up in our route and we weren’t meant to be here. There was so many other things on our minds that we never really considered that we were doing the gym challenge, of all things, wrong.
    This isn't a problem in your narrative, because the circumstance of Sai doing the Gyms out of order makes sense for your story, but I feel I should point out that this is why having a set order of Gym Leaders like in the games isn't always the best idea for most fics. You're using it correctly because it fits into your context.

    We had also taken on stronger opponents—Marty and Sai’s mother—but those battles had taken place in desperate situations. This was not life or death, loss or gain… If we lost, then it would temporarily break Sai’s pride, but it wouldn’t break our team. If we won, then at most we’d have something to look fondly back on. Was this a slightly more important loss or gain situation, after all? Surely, there had to be something to gain from all of this… Of course, I was aiming to win, but the outcome looked bleak now.

    “Steelix, use tail whip,” Jasmine said harshly.

    One hit from that rock hard tail and I would’ve been done for. I simply wasn’t strong enough. Despite all of my efforts, my training had only done so much for me. My current body could only do so much for me. Was it time to evolve? I had felt the urge to change for some time now, but I never found the right time to do so. The situation called for attention on Sai, not me. But I was the center of this show, now, and I could do whatever I wanted. Could I evolve right here, right now? If only Sai could see me then…

    The steelix stood as tall as it possibly could in this crowded gym, and then it lunged at me yet again, this time with full force. The steel-type was eager to get this over with, it seemed, or he wanted to prove that his trainer’s words were true. Either way, he was coming at me, and he was coming at me fast. I knew that this time, at the last minute, he would fling his tail at me and wipe me out.

    “Kuiora, dodge it!” Sai said. “It’ll hurt you!”
    Tail Whip is an attack that always confounds me when it comes to description, because it actually does no damage. Realistically, of course, it would. Iron Tail might have been a better choice for this scene if only because it provides easier clarity.

    I like that Kuiora is evaluating for herself whether or not she wants to evolve. That's effectively showing her development.

    Ah, there it was, the command I wanted earlier. Thank you, Sai. You never cease to amaze me… but this time, I don’t want to move. I want to show you how strong I really am and I want to show you that I do indeed belong on this team. If I have to do evolve to do that, then I will. But what was this hesitation I was feeling? If I was going to evolve, I had to do it now to give me enough time to react.

    I remembered the time I had evolved from a totodile. I had been in the middle of punching Sai as punishment for not acknowledging me. I had been frustrated and desperate and sad and wanting too much attention for my own good. I didn’t want much of that anymore. I wanted to be stronger not for myself, but for him. If it would always be a fault of mine, then so be it. Needless to say, though, evolving didn’t leave many good memories for me. At the time, Sai punching me had been a grand moment, but now it was just a reminder of how naďve I used to be. Similarly, I didn’t want to evolve now, then lose, and have that failure hanging over my head, too…

    Besides, being a croconaw had offered me some of the best moments in my life. I remembered the look on Sai’s face when the whole team decided to stay with him after the battle with Marty. I remembered meeting Ezrem and Rennio and worshipping the former as a legendary pokémon. I remembered traipsing around Goldenrod City thanks to Atis. I remembered gym battles and regular battles and times of silence during traveling.

    I remembered some of the worst times, too, like Ezrem getting hurt, Rennio crying, Sai jumping… but those situations had made me stronger. They made me realize my mistakes. As a croconaw, I was as mentally strong as I perhaps would ever be. Even if I wasn’t physically strong now, I could work on that to become as fit as I could possibly be. Did I want to ruin that? Did I want to ruin the form that permanently made me into who I am today? I didn’t want to if I didn’t have to. I didn’t have to. I just had to fend off the steelix’s attack and find a way to defeat him. And again, if I lost, the loss could be fixed…
    This character development is just excellent, no other way to describe it. You're showing Kuiora literally going over a large number of important points in her time with Sai and using that knowledge to develop her own decision. This is amazingly well handled even by the standards of a human character, let alone a Pokemon, who rarely receive such extensive development.

    I stayed in my position, ignoring the pleas from my trainer, Atis, eventually the rest of the team. Even Ezrem seemed worried. Don’t you know me by now, Ezrem? Then again, I thought I knew you, but I didn’t. Perhaps we can get to know each other better a bit more after this, because I’m not going to get wiped out here.

    The steelix raised its tail, getting ever so closer now. There was no time to move even if I wanted to. I tried digging my feet into the ground below me, but it was metallic and made it difficult to do so. I put my arms in front of me, indicating that I would be protecting myself.

    But nothing could have prepared me for the impact that hit me. It literally swept me off the ground by several inches, making it impossible to stop the move with force. The only thing I could do was grab the steelix’s cold, cold tail and hold onto it for dear life, which was what I wanted from the beginning anyway. I closed my eyes and waited for the next inevitable impact.

    It took my breath away.

    The only consolation was that the tip of the tail was not as sharp as I originally thought. It was rather blunt, but it still packed a punch. It threw me back into the wall and searing pain soared through my back and then, slowly, throughout the rest of my body. The wall, though it appeared to made of strong material, had been largely dented. The red scales lined on my back had also been embedded into the metal. It took all of my strength to keep holding on to the steelix’s tail as he pulled it forward to be kind and let me drop to the floor in agony.

    The whole steelix species must have monotone faces, because this steelix’s face still hadn’t budged an inch from when I first saw it. Even when he noticed my tight grasp, his face didn’t change. I could tell he had noticed and was angry, however, when he started flailing his tail in various directions to get me to let go. I wasn’t going to let go, not with the cold metal emanating on my skin and into my blood…

    “Kuiora, what are you doing? Just let go!” Sai yelled.

    “Keep going, Steelix,” I heard Jasmine add.
    Very intense, even if I don't fully understand Kuiora's logic yet...

    I tried looking at him out of the corner of my eye. He seemed nervous, as he was pacing back and forth. Was he crying? His voice sounded like he might be, but I was never sure with that boy. At the very least, he was worried. Any good trainer would be in this situation. I would have to make him forgive me later…

    Crash into the floor, crash into the ceiling, another crash into the floor and I was starting to feel the effects. Sooner or later I would have to give in and let go. I was waiting for my chance, but I was starting to think it would never come. I decided to act now.

    I felt cold. Cold enough to do what I wanted to do. I could normally perform this attack by myself, but it wasn’t an attack I had practiced often. It wasn’t as effective if I wasn’t cold enough, either. With the steelix’s cold, metallic body pressed against my skin, I felt like ice. I felt invincible.

    I opened my jaws, charging my teeth with ice energy. My mouth felt like it would freeze, but I would just have to deal with it for now. When I felt that the attached had charged enough, I waited for the steelix to stop moving so quickly. He swung his tail downward one more time, and I dared myself not to look at the ground lest I should lose the energy in my teeth out of fear. The pain threatened to take my power away, too, but it was just a risk I had to take.

    When the steelix was moving its tail slowly upward once more, I took advantage of this. I bit the steel-type’s tail as hard as I could. Finally, finally, the steelix showed some kind of emotion as it yelped out in pain and started flailing its tail yet again. This time, I was more than eager to let go. I dropped down to the ground, barely able to land on my two feet and stay standing.

    Now all I could do was hope.

    Like I said, I could’ve performed this attack without taking so much risk. But with my body being so much colder, it provided a much higher chance of the steelix’s tail freezing upon impact. And that’s exactly what happened. Icicles formed and hung from the entirety of the steelix’s tail, embracing it and holding the rock form in place. Even when the steelix tried to swish its tail around, he couldn’t quite do it as vigorously as he could before. The ice just wasn’t going to break—it had come from a croconaw’s mouth, after all.
    ...wow, I never saw a tactic using Ice Fang like that coming. That was well planned out both by Kuiora in-universe and you as the writer.

    “Wow,” Sai said, gaping. “That was quite the plan. I wish I had thought of it. …Kuiora… your job isn’t done yet, though, is it?”

    I nodded.

    “Use water gun.”

    “Steelix, try to defend yourself!” Jasmine cried, realizing the trouble she was in.

    With the strength I had left, I shot out several streams of water, one after another, directly at the steelix’s face. The steelix had trouble lifting its tail, but eventually he was able to cover his face with it and dodge one of the streams, but by then he had taken a considerable amount of damage. I stopped the attack, surveying my work. The steelix was breathing heavily and was having trouble keeping its tail up. Even if I didn’t attack for the next several moments, he was having his own internal battle.
    Shouldn't Kuiora have activated her Torrent ability by being so weakened, as well? That should contribute to her being able to defeat Steelix.

    Jasmine seemed to realize this as she said, “Enough. My steelix is at a loss.”

    “Really? I mean, it could keep going if it really wanted to…” Sai said, surprised.

    “Sai… Gym leader’s call…” Atis said, tugging at his pants to get his attention.

    “Your hitmontop is right. Any trainer should know when to call out their pokémon,” Jasmine said, recalling the hurt steelix to its pokéball. As the pokémon dematerialized in a red light, I saw it look at me one last time with the most emotion I’d ever seen from it, seemingly unaccustomed to losing as it silently thanked me for a worthy match.

    “Oh… Do you think I should have pulled Kuiora out there?”

    “No. She had a plan and you would have ruined it. I, on the other hand… did not have a plan. Steelix’s tail is its ultimate weapon. Without it, he’s in trouble. We’re still working on it.”

    “A gym leader has a weakness? I never would have guessed,” Ezrem chimed in.
    Ah, Ezrem, ever so innocent despite trying to seem otherwise.

    “Don’t we all? Sai’s is his inability to command his pokémon. I can’t say I’ve ever seen a pokémon try to lead a gym battle before…”

    Sai blushed.

    “…Nevertheless, your croconaw has impressed me greatly. You did something right. And that’s why you’ve earned this mineral badge,” Jasmine said, extending her hand and opening her palm to reveal a small, shining, octagonal-shaped object.
    Wait, so Jasmine can understand the Pokemon when they speak?

    “Thank you,” Sai said quietly as he took the badge and grasped it in his own palm.

    “Anything for a worthy challenger. Will you be heading to the next gym, then?”

    “No… This was meant to be our last gym challenge,” Sai admitted, looking down.

    “Oh, is that so?” Jasmine said, suddenly frowning.

    “Yes. We were thinking about staying in Olivine for a while.”
    I'd love to dive into Sai's psyche here a bit. Did he decide to do this Gym to exercise his freedom or for some other reason? Will he ever reconsider not doing the others?

    “Is that so?” Jasmine said again. “Well, I hope to see you around sometime. For now, I need to go heal Steelix.”

    “Of course. See you around…”

    She smiled and with that, she turned and left, waving us goodbye as she walked in the direction of the door.

    As soon as she left, Ezrem had something to say.

    “You know, Kuiora, there are three levels of stupid,” Ezrem said to me as we left the gym. I had hardly been able to walk after the pain I had gone through so he was letting me fly on his back to the pokémon center. “There’s the kind of stupid you do without thinking; there’s the kind of stupid that bites you in hindsight; and there’s the kind of stupid where you know it’s stupid and you decide to do it anyway. That move right there? That was a little bit of each one.”

    “What are you talking about?” Gracie intervened. “That was a smart and inventive attack.”

    “Yeah, let’s see you beat that giant snake with just those wings and that annoying beak of yours,” Senori quipped.

    “As Senori has implied… Ezrem is just jealous that he’s part normal-type,” Rennio said, shaking his head.

    “Wait… What’s wrong with normal-types?” Senori asked.

    “What? O-Oh… That’s not what I meant… I meant that they just wouldn’t be good against giant steel-types like that.”

    “I guess that’s true… Fine, I’ll accept it,” Senori said, bumping the elekid on the shoulder playfully. “Ezrem won’t accept it, though.”

    “Please, guys,” I said weakly. “Don’t fight over me, okay?”

    “Don’t worry… I’m a humble pokémon, really. I’m actually much greater than I think I am.”

    “Why don’t we talk about something worth talking about?” Rennio said. “Like what we’re going to do now.”

    “We’re staying in Olivine City, obviously,” I said quickly.

    “We are?” Sai said. He was walking alongside us, occasionally looking at me and asking me if I was all right. “We didn’t even have enough money to buy a shack for two nights.”

    “If you didn’t spend money recklessly… we’d be just fine,” the furret commented. I swore I saw him wink at Sai.

    “It’s not like we’d have to travel any longer, either,” Gracie added.

    “Plus, I like the water. And we have a connection already.” I said.

    “A connection?” Sai said.

    “Yes. Jasmine.”

    “Oh… Maybe. Is that really what we all want?”

    “It seems like it,” Rennio said.

    “We just want you to be happy, Sai,” Senori said softly, almost to the point where we couldn’t hear him

    “Come on. Water, no traveling, money from gym battle, the actual gym badge, Jasmine. We’ve got it all. I bet she’d help you out since you beat her.”

    “Must you put it so bluntly, Kuiora?” Ezrem said.

    “Be nice to me. I just won a gym battle for you.”

    “Ezrem is always nice to you,” Sai pointed out. “Anyway, if that’s what everyone wants… then that’s what everyone gets.”
    I wish I could give more specific comments on specific lines here, but I just want to say how great I find the way they all interact. They truly go well together.

    The conversation continued, but I stopped listening. I had gotten the answer I wanted, and now I couldn’t stop thinking about Sai’s words. He had already chosen a home, and so quickly too! Would he really be happy here? It would just be up to us to make his experience as easy and as pleasing as possible. This would be our last step in having him separate from his old home, his old memories… There was nothing better we could ask for. Yes, Senori, I want him to be happy too, and I think he will be.

    And he had noticed how Ezrem was being nice. Had he also noticed that I was close to evolving? What would he have done if he was in my shoes? What would he say if he knew? This boy gave me endless questions, but I could deal with no answers.

    Still, I had to ask. I broke into whatever conversation they were having and said, “Sai, what would you think of me as a feraligatr?”

    “A feraligatr? I don’t even know what a feraligatr is.”

    “Oh. Right,” I said dumbly.

    Of course. Sai probably didn’t even know I could evolve one more time; he probably hadn’t been waiting for anything. He kept me on the team for being whatever I was, whether it be a totodile, a croconaw, or… He would probably accept me if I were any other species. Even a species that kept the team unbalanced and gave us more weaknesses… like another normal-type. He didn’t care. That was just the kind of trainer he was. His world lay within the unknown and he displayed that uncertainty through words, questions. My world simply lurked in between the spaces of his words, waiting to be discovered.
    Hmm, I'm not sure if this as an ending affected me in the way you wanted it to, because I'm not really getting much of an impact from it. Although, maybe going for something understated was your intention.

    I really liked this chapter. While it was much less urgent than any previous one, it still had plenty of action. However, the real shining star here is the character development, which was just handled in such a perfect way that I wish I could do it the same way.
    Last edited by The Great Butler; 4th August 2013 at 9:49 AM.

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  3. #228
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonicwari View Post
    Should be attack or something, also, you would have a typo during a suspensful part D: It's good so far though, as usual
    I would, wouldn't I? Either way, thanks for pointing it out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewinder View Post
    I usually hold my tounge on these sort of things, and DP, if I overstepped my bounds, please let me know. The above portion I quoted, Dragonicwari, was your entire post...Seriously? All the things in this chapter you could have commented on, corrected, discussed, that's all you put? I know DP is thankful for any person who comments anything, but I feel like if you're really paying attention to her story and are REALLY giving it your time, you could come u with something better than that. I'm not trying to start a flame war with you or offend you in any way, but come on. 'It's good so far, as usual'?

    You should really look at some of the other posts and replies to her chapters because we all take the time to give her opinions on things that can make her better. You saying only what you said, to me, is like giving a horse invisible water. It doesn't make sense and basically says that you don't really care about what the author is posting at all. If the two of you are friends and this is a post that's okay with DP, the once again, I'm sorry. But this kind of flagrant shortness is almost uncaring and lazy to me when compared to the sheer literary genius that DP puts out on a regular basis. kthnx

    Anyway, onto the review
    I already told you my opinion on this so yeah.


    That's a pretty interesting way of looking at the evolutionary connection that Pokemon feel as they evolve. Even more interesting to me is the fact that Kuiora feels that way. I didn't expect her to come to that realization
    Character development ftw.


    That was...amusing. I didn't see Ezrem pulling a move like that. Obviously they have a bond, you've opened that up over previous chapters, but that portion was surprising.
    ugh i always pictured them having a romantic bond but i never had enough time to develop it.

    That line felt a little off to me. Too robotic, to stiff. To me Kuiora has always had kind of a flippant and over the top care-free type attitude that doesn't really jive well with that statement
    Agreed... Will have to fix it.

    Lmao that's exactly what I was thinking. Does Sai have any battle prowess at all? After all those years of watching death fighting, didn't he pick up on anything at all...Sigh...Hah! Sigh = Sai
    He was probably ignoring it all on purpose. Bad boy.


    Once again, the dialogue seems a bit too stiff here. I don't see why the Gym Leader would be slightly taunting Sai the way she is, and using pseudo predictable machoistic lines like the ones quoted above. It just seems a bit too planned and intentional; instead of being more random and spur of the moment, which would be appropriate since they're in the middle of the battle
    I can see this. I hate writing gym leader dialogue because I'm never sure what they should sound like...

    God that was beautiful pair. Perfectly sums up a outsiders/insiders perspective of that kind of bond. Loved it. *Tacklehugs*
    AND I LOVE YOU

    Quote Originally Posted by The Great Butler View Post
    Hmm, wouldn't have expected a Kuiora chapter, though in hindsight, I probably should have.
    I think most people would expect a Senori chapter for a finisher.

    I have this image in my head now of an older Kuiora sitting at a campfire telling young Pokemon her stories now.
    Sounds pretty perfect to me.


    Well then, that was a surprise. Ezrem, is there something you aren't telling us?
    Maybe he just likes to kiss random pokemon...



    ...can I just say how much credit I think you deserve for this? You're actually giving every Pokemon its own distinct personality and leaving time open for them to shine. I wish I could do that.
    Somehow, with these guys, it just came naturally most of the time. They all fit in somewhere.

    Did Jasmine understand Atis, or did she merely pick up on what he meant?
    Understood.


    This character development is just excellent, no other way to describe it. You're showing Kuiora literally going over a large number of important points in her time with Sai and using that knowledge to develop her own decision. This is amazingly well handled even by the standards of a human character, let alone a Pokemon, who rarely receive such extensive development.
    I'm glad you liked it. I pondered forever on whether or not to do another gym battle because it may have seemed boring, but it was just perfect for Kuiora's development.


    Shouldn't Kuiora have activated her Torrent ability by being so weakened, as well? That should contribute to her being able to defeat Steelix.
    I always forget about abilities...

    I really liked this chapter. While it was much less urgent than any previous one, it still had plenty of action. However, the real shining star here is the character development, which was just handled in such a perfect way that I wish I could do it the same way.
    THANKS FOR COMMENTING! I've missed your comments.

    | 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 |


  4. #229
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    The next two chapters are very short in comparison to others, so I am releasing this final chapter and the epilogue at the same time. Here it is, guys. The ending of Survival Project. I will leave a few notes after the epilogue if anyone’s interested…


    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

    *

    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.

    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.

    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…

    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.

    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.

    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…

    As for me and Gracie, we try to pass the time as best as we can. She helps me get over my fear of death by fighting with me. Her being a fire-type is especially convenient and helpful—I couldn’t have asked for a better new member for the team. She says she’d like to be productive like the rest of the team, and I feel the same way. We have one idea—but it’s one I’m skeptical of. I’m still gathering the courage.

    Yes, time has passed. It’s interesting, really, how certain events slow down time and other events speed it up. Sitting in a pokémon center waiting room or a hospital hindered our journey in more ways than one, for example. Battles and the calling of death startlingly hasten my life and make it feel shorter. Watching Sai jump was an odd, encumbering mixture of both senses.

    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?”

    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.

    *

    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.

    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.”

    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.

    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…

    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 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?

    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 can understand,” the female elekid says.

    “Me, too,” the male elekid says. “It must’ve been hard.”

    “It was,” I say, but in truth, the pain seems long gone, dissipated into another dimension, somehow, with this one twist of fate.

    I feel utterly relieved and redeemed in the name of my evolution line.

    *

    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.

    “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 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.

    | 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. #230
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    SURVIVAL PROJECT

    chapter 30 ; [ENSEMBLE]
    epilogue

    *

    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.)

    *

    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

    -~-~-~-~-~-~-~

    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.

    To finish this off I have a picture I drew of the team… I never draw but I felt like doing this one day… It’s pretty awful but here it is anyway. LOL. I’m also willing to post other random things like trivia facts, the music I listened to when writing, or my notes if anyone is interested. Sai and his team.

    | 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. #231
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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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  7. #232
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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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  8. #233
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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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  9. #234
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    You're right about the picture, that really is awful. Leave the fanart to the fans m8.

    Otherwise bravo, that was a great read. If you ever came up with a non-corny "10 years later" or "where they are now" sequence that wouldn't ruin what you have I'd love to read it. Maybe with everyone mourning Sai's death at a graveyard or something and they all have a bittersweet moment of recollection or whatever but even that's probably too much. This was a great concept for a story that was both unique and reasonable which is very hard to pull off in the eternal cesspool that is the world of fanfiction and to top if off you coupled it with the rotating-narrator idea and you executed it perfectly.

    Most importantly, you ended the story right before it threatened to become "just another trainerfic" although honestly I'm so invested in the characters that I'd probably gobble that up too. Honestly the worst thing you did was maybe end it a little too soon for me as I was enjoying Sai and the gang's stability but then again that has great potential to get old fast.

    Anyway if you write any more stories I'd be happy to read them. I enjoyed this
    Last edited by hl23; 18th August 2013 at 8:34 PM.
    >having a sig

  10. #235
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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.

    | 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 |


  11. #236
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    Made edits to chapter 2.

    | 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. #237
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    Made edits to chapter 3.

    | 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 |


  13. #238
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    Made edits to chapter 4.

    | 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 |


  14. #239
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    May 2007
    Location
    Illinois, USA
    Posts
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    made edits to chapter 5 yo

    | 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 |


  15. #240
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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
    (Final Chapter added 05-15-2014)

    -Thanks to PopPrincess_Lyra for the banner above, and Sworn Metalhead for the banner below -


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

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