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Thread: Flying in the Dark

  1. #1
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    Default Flying in the Dark

    Hey, Serebii, here is another fic by me that I have recently started. If you don't know me already, I am the author of the finished fic, Survival Project. It was a ton of fun writing and finishing that fic and I want to try my hand at another journey fic.

    The fic will be an epistolary fic, which means the story will be entirely told in letters. While this sounds boring to some, I can ensure you plenty of description, both emotional and physical, will be present enough to keep you interested. The journey will have many ups and downs and there will be many secrets to uncover about the Kalos region and its people. There will be two letters released at a time every two weeks or so.

    I would like to say that there will be no spoilers for X/Y except for town names, route names, and description of game graphics. Another disclaimer is that I do not own pokemon in its entirety.

    Please feel free to read, review, or, preferably, in my case, both. Thanks!

    Story is rated borderline PG-13 for future sexual themes and complex concepts such as death.

    // . PM LIST

    - The Great Butler
    - Knightfall
    - Bulba the Great
    - Luphinid Silnaek
    - Monek_OP
    - Sidewinder
    - Crystal Sneasel

    // . LETTERS

    1, 2 - this post
    3, 4 - here
    5, 6 - here
    7, 8 - here
    9, 10 - here
    11, 12 - here
    13, 14 - here

    xxx

    LETTERS 1 AND 2

    April 21

    Dear Markus Samaras,

    I know I’ll be lucky if you even open this, but please do not throw away my letter just yet. They all told me that this was a stupid idea on my part. They all told me that you’ll probably want nothing to do with me, people “like you” (their words, not mine) don’t want an outsider’s pity, but I’m not here to give you pity. I’ll explain why I’m writing to you later. I need to get your attention as quickly as possible, don’t I? So don’t throw this letter away yet, because I believe in you. I’d bet my life on you—every single part of it. Oh, and yes, I’m well aware that I hardly know you.

    Where do I start? I don’t want to bring you down, but I’ve been asked again and again, “How could you be so foolish, Haley? What are you thinking?” And it’s not just because I’m writing to a man in prison. If that sounds harsh, I’m sorry, but I don’t like to sugarcoat things. I want things to be as realistic and as honest as possible. Let me tell you a little bit about myself. I just turned eighteen. For a while I have been reevaluating my life, wondering if I was really where I wanted to be, being homeschooled in this city with its blinding lights and noises that say nothing. (I’ll tell you where I’m from and where I’m going if you decide to write to me, but not right now. I still have to play it safe.) I was always waiting for something to happen, but nothing ever did. I recently realized that it was up to me to do something about my life. This year I had my golden birthday. What a perfect opportunity, right? I told my parents I no longer wanted schooling. Instead I want to travel from city to city with my pokémon, the only ones that have ever been there for me and understood me.

    I guess you could be asking why I am writing to you if I seem to detest people so much. It’s not that I detest them, really. It’s quite the opposite. I want to know everyone and everything. Someone once asked me if I strive for omnipotence. Maybe, but I know it’s impossible. I want to be that person that someone approaches on the street because they need somebody, anybody at all. I want to be that person who hears all kinds of life stories simply because I look approachable and friendly. That means I want to know everything about you, but I understand if you don’t want to tell me everything right away. I’m hoping this will be something we can do in the long run, so I am okay with learning about you slowly. Anyway, I just don’t think the people here are living up to their full potential. Every day I see the same faces, even though there are so many. Every day I see them going to the same places with the same disgruntled looks and slouched shoulders. How bizarre and unsightly. I don’t like it. There’s got to be something better out there.

    I’m sorry if I’m saying too much all at once. That’s just how I am. I can tell you more basics if it makes you feel better. If you’re wanting to here more of my thoughts, I’m sorry to disappoint you. Well, my father is my teacher and a stay-at-home dad for me and my younger brother, Joey. My mother works as a nurse at a pokémon center. They’re all against what I want to do. They don’t think I can become knowledgeable out in the real world, or, mostly in my brother’s case, they think it’s too dangerous. I’ve tried to see where they’re coming from, but we’re too different. The only person I’m particularly close to is my grandmother. She gave me my first two pokémon, Seybs and Ribbons. Seybs was a gift for Christmas when I turned thirteen. She thought it was appropriate to celebrate my transition into being a teenager. Seybs is a young pidgeotto and I named him because Seybs is a shortened version of my grandmother’s previous surname. People thought this was weird, but Seybs likes it and I do, too. Why can’t pokémon be named after humans, too? I just wanted to show my grandmother that she’s special. I know she’s not supportive of me either, but she is doing her best, and that is what counts. I know she’s trying because she bought Ribbons for me from a professional breeder in Johto recently. She said I needed another pokémon that wasn’t as lazy as Seybs. Sorry, Seybs, but I have to agree. Ribbons is a natu. The red spike on the back of his head reminded me of a ribbon, hence his name. Because he’s so protective and alert, he’s truly like a prize to me. He’s a symbol of what I want to accomplish on my upcoming journey. I’ve only had him for a week and I can already tell he’ll be a great pokémon.

    I guess I should tell you why I’m writing to you. Along with wanting to meet people, I just want to see new sights, things I’ve never seen before. New lights, festivals and parties, anything at all. I don’t think those kinds of things should be left to the eye alone. The view becomes especially spectacular when you can describe it to someone else and make them feel the same as you did when you first saw it. That’s the kind of connection I want with you. Is that too weird? And you’re probably wondering… Why you, of all people? Well, my brother is one year younger than me and he’s been in a whole lot more trouble than I have. He claims that’s why he knows my journey is dangerous. He’s handled drugs with many people of many different ages. He said he knows you because of that. I don’t want to assume you’re in jail because of drugs, but that’s what’s in my mind right now. He says you probably got caught one day and sent to jail for rehabilitation. Is this true? Again, I don’t want to push you, but I don’t want to make assumptions, either. I chose you because I had to choose someone, and someone my brother knows is the best it’s going to get. Also, I feel that you will appreciate knowing about the outside world from someone else’s point of view until you’re free and can see it for yourself.

    I don’t know anything about you, but I would like to. Won’t you write back to me?

    Sincerely,
    Haley Zamor

    xxx

    May 10

    To Haley,

    You can call me Mark. Markus makes me sound like I’m old, though I am already thirty and am having trouble moving and moving on, if you know what I mean. I am indeed a former drug addict, though there may or may not be a part of me—maybe an arm, maybe a leg—that still craves the stuff once in a great while. You say you want to know everything about me, so I start with that. I will not give you details, but I will tell you everything you want to hear. I don’t believe in sugarcoating, either, and as you will learn, I am very blunt. I don’t leave room for questions that I don’t want you to wonder about. Ask me direct questions and I’ll sidestep you the best that I can, but if you ask me indirectly, you will, in time, learn almost everything that you are aching to know. I will tell you the truth, but there will be no honesty. If anything, I would be your enigma. Are you still interested in talking to me?

    I’ve been thinking a lot about what I would say to you. There is not much to say. I too see the same things every day. I hear other inmates yelling obscenities and I see cold, gray bars. I see a blur of orange jumpsuits or an unforgettable shade of blue on the cops that occasionally swing by. All I’ve been doing is lying on my rather uncomfortable cot and looking at the ceiling. Above me is a very vast sky, but I can’t see it, and, even if I could look through walls, first I’d see my neighbors, more ingrates that society deems unworthy of their time! But you are different. For some ungodly reason you want to talk to me… I do not recall your brother, I must say… Nonetheless, you are sweet, and even if you change your mind, I will not forget you.

    The only thing that makes me stand out is that I will tell you stories like no other. I’ve been places, too, from the big places like Lumiose City to the small towns, like Santalune. I’ve had several jobs and met many people. Maybe we can help each other out. I must admit, however, that I tend to exaggerate a lot. My own parents inflated everything that ever happened to them. If a glass of milk was spilled, then the whole house was drowning. Do you get what I mean? Let me tell you the story of my birth, and maybe it will tell you where I went wrong. Supposedly, my mother was having quadruplets when she had me. Unfortunately, she knew not all babies would survive. Sure, we would all be born, and so we were, but my three brothers did not last long. She was, she said, a woman who could spit out fire in her sleep, after all... The fire struck all the babies after one week of her trying to suppress her powers, and I was the only one who survived the wounds. What really happened, I cannot tell you, but here I am, with no kinship to hold or scars to prove there were others like me. Again, are you interested in talking to me? You can still leave.

    Regardless, I will not be like other adults and tell you what you are doing is silly and wrong. I have no place in telling you anything regarding morals. From the words you told me you want to know all about culture. Why do people act the way they do? What do they believe in? Those kinds of questions seem to be the ones you are asking. It should be obvious to you already that culture is not just about the foods people eat and their annual customs, like the schools mostly teach about.

    Cultures are all integrated. They unintentionally bounce ideas off each other and alter themselves based off of what they learn. I will not give specific examples. I will leave it to you to learn about the individual cities here in the Kalos region.

    Cultures are also changing all the time. What Lumiose City was like for me could totally be different from the Lumiose City you will see on your journey. Do not fret about this and think you are being cheated. It just means that you are seeing the better version of the city, and you should be grateful.

    What else can I say? Cultures are strengthened by their values. Each individual you will meet may act in a specific way, either because of their culture or the way they were raised or a combination of both. Cultures are fluid and negotiable—something you do or say could change an entire culture! What would you think of that? Oh, and absolutely, cultures are unique to us human beings. Pokémon do not experience cultures the way we do. They experience communities, yes, but nothing as expansive or as wild as a culture. Perhaps, however, you can teach them what it is like to be you. Assuming you can’t talk to your pokémon yet, they will appreciate it on those days where they cannot communicate with you fully.

    It’s almost just as important to know what cultures are not. A person’s culture is not the sole explanation for anything a person does. Culture is not the result of a complete consensus; you will definitely meet rebels and outcasts. Culture is not the same thing as civilization or society, nor is it the same as being refined or sophisticated, as some may think themselves to be. Don’t fall into these traps. One culture does not define us all, and one culture cannot make another look inferior or superior.

    This is the best advice I can give you. …You must forgive me for taking so long to write to you. I would give an excuse but there is none.

    Sincerely,
    Mark
    Last edited by diamondpearl876; 22nd May 2014 at 9:40 PM.

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


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


    | love and other nightmares |
    | limited time, limited abilities. kyurem says she can be cured in exchange for saving those who need saving. |
    | chapter 1 released |


  2. #2
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    So this is what your banner was for. Let's have a look.

    Quote Originally Posted by diamondpearl876 View Post
    Hey, Serebii, here is another fic by me that I have recently started. If you don't know me already, I am the author of the finished fic, Survival Project. It was a ton of fun writing and finishing that fic and I want to try my hand at another journey fic.

    The fic will be an epistolary fic, which means the story will be entirely told in letters. While this sounds boring to some, I can ensure you plenty of description, both emotional and physical, will be present enough to keep you interested. The journey will have many ups and downs and there will be many secrets to uncover about the Kalos region and its people. There will be two letters released at a time every two weeks or so.
    This is an interesting format, so I'm curious to see where it goes.

    I would like to say that there will be no spoilers for X/Y except for town names, route names, and description of game graphics. Another disclaimer is that I do not own pokemon in its entirety.

    Please feel free to read, review, or, preferably, in my case, both. Thanks!

    Story is rated borderline PG-13 for future sexual themes and complex concepts such as death.
    Okay, sounds good. Let's get going.


    April 21

    Dear Markus Samaras,

    I know I’ll be lucky if you even open this, but please do not throw away my letter just yet. They all told me that this was a stupid idea on my part. They all told me that you’ll probably want nothing to do with me, people “like you” (their words, not mine) don’t want an outsider’s pity, but I’m not here to give you pity. I’ll explain why I’m writing to you later. I need to get your attention as quickly as possible, don’t I? So don’t throw this letter away yet, because I believe in you. I’d bet my life on you—every single part of it. Oh, and yes, I’m well aware that I hardly know you.
    A strong start. The first lines imply that Markus may be someone of high status - perhaps a rich or influential figure - but the later mentions of pity quickly change that expectation. He's rather obviously someone of some sort of scorned group; a person with a type of sickness comes to mind.

    Where do I start? I don’t want to bring you down, but I’ve been asked again and again, “How could you be so foolish, Haley? What are you thinking?” And it’s not just because I’m writing to a man in prison. If that sounds harsh, I’m sorry, but I don’t like to sugarcoat things. I want things to be as realistic and as honest as possible. Let me tell you a little bit about myself. I just turned eighteen. For a while I have been reevaluating my life, wondering if I was really where I wanted to be, being homeschooled in this city with its blinding lights and noises that say nothing. (I’ll tell you where I’m from and where I’m going if you decide to write to me, but not right now. I still have to play it safe.) I was always waiting for something to happen, but nothing ever did. I recently realized that it was up to me to do something about my life. This year I had my golden birthday. What a perfect opportunity, right? I told my parents I no longer wanted schooling. Instead I want to travel from city to city with my pokémon, the only ones that have ever been there for me and understood me.
    Hmm... curious background. I'm assuming Haley is the author of this letter, first of all. She seems to be an interesting character; her personality is coming off as entertaining as she seems a bit bitter and cynical about everything around her, which is a welcome change from many characters, and your explanation of why she waited until eighteen to begin her journey is sound.

    Now I find myself wondering what the significance of Markus is to her, as in, why would she be writing to him. Perhaps he was an influential figure before going to prison after all?

    I guess you could be asking why I am writing to you if I seem to detest people so much. It’s not that I detest them, really. It’s quite the opposite. I want to know everyone and everything. Someone once asked me if I strive for omnipotence. Maybe, but I know it’s impossible. I want to be that person that someone approaches on the street because they need somebody, anybody at all. I want to be that person who hears all kinds of life stories simply because I look approachable and friendly. That means I want to know everything about you, but I understand if you don’t want to tell me everything right away. I’m hoping this will be something we can do in the long run, so I am okay with learning about you slowly. Anyway, I just don’t think the people here are living up to their full potential. Every day I see the same faces, even though there are so many. Every day I see them going to the same places with the same disgruntled looks and slouched shoulders. How bizarre and unsightly. I don’t like it. There’s got to be something better out there.
    She's shaping up to be a very entertaining character, overall. You don't really see too many main characters who are like this.

    I really wonder why it is that she wants to know about him.

    I’m sorry if I’m saying too much all at once. That’s just how I am. I can tell you more basics if it makes you feel better. If you’re wanting to here more of my thoughts, I’m sorry to disappoint you. Well, my father is my teacher and a stay-at-home dad for me and my younger brother, Joey. My mother works as a nurse at a pokémon center. They’re all against what I want to do. They don’t think I can become knowledgeable out in the real world, or, mostly in my brother’s case, they think it’s too dangerous. I’ve tried to see where they’re coming from, but we’re too different. The only person I’m particularly close to is my grandmother. She gave me my first two pokémon, Seybs and Ribbons. Seybs was a gift for Christmas when I turned thirteen. She thought it was appropriate to celebrate my transition into being a teenager. Seybs is a young pidgeotto and I named him because Seybs is a shortened version of my grandmother’s previous surname. People thought this was weird, but Seybs likes it and I do, too. Why can’t pokémon be named after humans, too? I just wanted to show my grandmother that she’s special. I know she’s not supportive of me either, but she is doing her best, and that is what counts. I know she’s trying because she bought Ribbons for me from a professional breeder in Johto recently. She said I needed another pokémon that wasn’t as lazy as Seybs. Sorry, Seybs, but I have to agree. Ribbons is a natu. The red spike on the back of his head reminded me of a ribbon, hence his name. Because he’s so protective and alert, he’s truly like a prize to me. He’s a symbol of what I want to accomplish on my upcoming journey. I’ve only had him for a week and I can already tell he’ll be a great pokémon.
    Good explanation of her background so far.

    I guess I should tell you why I’m writing to you. Along with wanting to meet people, I just want to see new sights, things I’ve never seen before. New lights, festivals and parties, anything at all. I don’t think those kinds of things should be left to the eye alone. The view becomes especially spectacular when you can describe it to someone else and make them feel the same as you did when you first saw it. That’s the kind of connection I want with you. Is that too weird? And you’re probably wondering… Why you, of all people? Well, my brother is one year younger than me and he’s been in a whole lot more trouble than I have. He claims that’s why he knows my journey is dangerous. He’s handled drugs with many people of many different ages. He said he knows you because of that. I don’t want to assume you’re in jail because of drugs, but that’s what’s in my mind right now. He says you probably got caught one day and sent to jail for rehabilitation. Is this true? Again, I don’t want to push you, but I don’t want to make assumptions, either. I chose you because I had to choose someone, and someone my brother knows is the best it’s going to get. Also, I feel that you will appreciate knowing about the outside world from someone else’s point of view until you’re free and can see it for yourself.
    Hmm... perhaps I'm not entirely following you here, but I'm not sure I get the logic behind why she is specifically contacting Markus. Can you explain better?


    May 10

    To Haley,

    You can call me Mark. Markus makes me sound like I’m old, though I am already thirty and am having trouble moving and moving on, if you know what I mean. I am indeed a former drug addict, though there may or may not be a part of me—maybe an arm, maybe a leg—that still craves the stuff once in a great while. You say you want to know everything about me, so I start with that. I will not give you details, but I will tell you everything you want to hear. I don’t believe in sugarcoating, either, and as you will learn, I am very blunt. I don’t leave room for questions that I don’t want you to wonder about. Ask me direct questions and I’ll sidestep you the best that I can, but if you ask me indirectly, you will, in time, learn almost everything that you are aching to know. I will tell you the truth, but there will be no honesty. If anything, I would be your enigma. Are you still interested in talking to me?
    It's drawn me in, so let's see where it goes.

    I like his mysterious attitude, but it feels like it could be a little more... natural, I guess? He feels like he's being obtuse just for the sake of it at the beginning.

    I’ve been thinking a lot about what I would say to you. There is not much to say. I too see the same things every day. I hear other inmates yelling obscenities and I see cold, gray bars. I see a blur of orange jumpsuits or an unforgettable shade of blue on the cops that occasionally swing by. All I’ve been doing is lying on my rather uncomfortable cot and looking at the ceiling. Above me is a very vast sky, but I can’t see it, and, even if I could look through walls, first I’d see my neighbors, more ingrates that society deems unworthy of their time! But you are different. For some ungodly reason you want to talk to me… I do not recall your brother, I must say… Nonetheless, you are sweet, and even if you change your mind, I will not forget you.
    Adding a humanizing element to him was smart. I'm starting to get used to his personality, and his somewhat philosophical approach to things is quite fascinating.

    The only thing that makes me stand out is that I will tell you stories like no other. I’ve been places, too, from the big places like Lumiose City to the small towns, like Santalune. I’ve had several jobs and met many people. Maybe we can help each other out. I must admit, however, that I tend to exaggerate a lot. My own parents inflated everything that ever happened to them. If a glass of milk was spilled, then the whole house was drowning. Do you get what I mean? Let me tell you the story of my birth, and maybe it will tell you where I went wrong. Supposedly, my mother was having quadruplets when she had me. Unfortunately, she knew not all babies would survive. Sure, we would all be born, and so we were, but my three brothers did not last long. She was, she said, a woman who could spit out fire in her sleep, after all... The fire struck all the babies after one week of her trying to suppress her powers, and I was the only one who survived the wounds. What really happened, I cannot tell you, but here I am, with no kinship to hold or scars to prove there were others like me. Again, are you interested in talking to me? You can still leave.
    Well, that's quite a story. I am left wondering how much of it could possibly be true. Given Markus's background, it would be easy to assume he is exaggerating or fabricating these things entirely, but it's entertaining to just imagine that this is true. If I entertain the possibility it is, then it opens an entirely new can of worms. People with pyrokinetic powers? That might explain why Haley sought him out.

    Regardless, I will not be like other adults and tell you what you are doing is silly and wrong. I have no place in telling you anything regarding morals. From the words you told me you want to know all about culture. Why do people act the way they do? What do they believe in? Those kinds of questions seem to be the ones you are asking. It should be obvious to you already that culture is not just about the foods people eat and their annual customs, like the schools mostly teach about.

    Cultures are all integrated. They unintentionally bounce ideas off each other and alter themselves based off of what they learn. I will not give specific examples. I will leave it to you to learn about the individual cities here in the Kalos region.
    That's generally a smart move. If he had held her hand and taught her everything, she wouldn't have gotten the same experience as doing it on her own.

    Cultures are also changing all the time. What Lumiose City was like for me could totally be different from the Lumiose City you will see on your journey. Do not fret about this and think you are being cheated. It just means that you are seeing the better version of the city, and you should be grateful.
    I see some bitterness here on his part, which makes me view the rest of his experiences through slightly different lenses.

    What else can I say? Cultures are strengthened by their values. Each individual you will meet may act in a specific way, either because of their culture or the way they were raised or a combination of both. Cultures are fluid and negotiable—something you do or say could change an entire culture! What would you think of that? Oh, and absolutely, cultures are unique to us human beings. Pokémon do not experience cultures the way we do. They experience communities, yes, but nothing as expansive or as wild as a culture. Perhaps, however, you can teach them what it is like to be you. Assuming you can’t talk to your pokémon yet, they will appreciate it on those days where they cannot communicate with you fully.
    I wonder about his assumption that Pokemon cannot have cultures. Seems like a potential subject the story could explore, perhaps.
    Last edited by The Great Butler; 25th October 2013 at 9:08 AM.

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  3. #3
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    Epistolary sure caught my attention! (That is deceitful, I was intending to read your new fic anyway. But it still did.) I'm not at all familiar with the genre, but that hopefully shouldn't impede things like critique too much.

    I find the slow revelation of details quite pleasurable, which I wasn't expectin. It's not like short stories with their slightly awkward predilection for dramatic surprises. I also like the idea that I might be supposed to reread these letters over quite a few times, there could be many things the writers aren't displaying openly. Maybe your two-week schedule encourages that?

    Another thought came up:

    For a while I have been reevaluating my life, wondering if I was really where I wanted to be, being homeschooled in this city with its blinding lights and noises that say nothing.
    A matter of tone: I feel like this sentence pretty clearly shouts literary intent, in the way it's constructed -- those two gerund clauses modifying-thus-explaining the first thought, very typical of novels -- and more obviously, "with its blinding lights and noises that say nothing". Isn't that a super-compressed, reference, to a long literary tradition? Sound and fury, signifying nothing. At this point I definitely have no idea what kind of person Haley is, but this gives me the impression she has 'poetic' pretensions.

    Oh, and goddamn, this is her being coy, almost dangling a little piece, she's not even intending to describe her reevaluation yet -- I have to play it safe. As a kind of 'teaser' into that particular theme, it's quite fractured and enigmatic -- doesn't begin to convey a full impression of her feelings.

    In that regard I wondered if she would just say outright what she says in the parentheses, that she has to play it safe. My impression is these tactical stances usually go into the subtext, not explicitly spoken. (Maybe she's laying her cards out on the table?) I also wonder if anyone would catch that detail if you didn't nudge toward it -- no need to get over-subtle in pursuit of cleverness, after all.

    I guess you could be asking why I am writing to you if I seem to detest people so much.
    Haha! She didn't really seem to, until now!

    I want to be that person that someone approaches on the street because they need somebody, anybody at all.
    Definitely poetic pretensions.

    That means I want to know everything about you, but I understand if you don’t want to tell me everything right away.
    Clingy much? (I guess not clingy, I mean: kind of up in his grill. This is two paragraphs after "you won't even read this letter".) I wonder if they're total strangers or not.

    If you’re wanting to here more of my thoughts, I’m sorry to disappoint you.
    Homophone. Also, ouch. I'm convinced, whether she loves people or hates them, she definitely doesn't see much of them.

    So far: I find her slightly annoying actually. An 18-year-old, apparently sheltered, brusque in a way lots of kids get who are sure they're being truthful and audacious, buoyed by a sort of intellectual false-confidence that real life eventually loves to deflate. Prone (it seems to me) to abstract reveries of what her age might call "deep thoughts", undefined and dreamy feelings that probably cause a lot of pleasure but that have zero discipline or profit. I think there are people who "see the same faces everywhere, even though they're different" that you can take seriously, but in her case, I doubt she's in real life given a kind ear to someone in need, or successfully convinced someone they can tell her about their life.

    Also: how much of herself she's thrust on someone who doesn't even know her! That timidity and fear of alienating him lasted maybe one paragraph.

    By the way, out there it's common to equate "I don't like your character" to "I don't like your fic", but I don't understand that. No worries if you're thinking this is putting me off your writing. I eagerly await the prisoner's letter.

    Seybs is a young pidgeotto and I named him because Seybs is a shortened version of my grandmother’s previous surname. People thought this was weird, but Seybs likes it and I do, too. Why can’t pokémon be named after humans, too?
    I liked that. I probably like her at thirteen.

    Well, my brother is one year younger than me and he’s been in a whole lot more trouble than I have. He claims that’s why he knows my journey is dangerous. He’s handled drugs with many people of many different ages. He said he knows you because of that. I don’t want to assume you’re in jail because of drugs, but that’s what’s in my mind right now. He says you probably got caught one day and sent to jail for rehabilitation. Is this true? Again, I don’t want to push you, but I don’t want to make assumptions, either.
    Huh, acquaintance of her brother. These are the portions that seem like a normal, socially acceptable letter to a stranger (in jail) -- if you contract it to that introduction of herself, the details of her life situation and pokemon, and this random little trivia that she thinks about Markus, it would make a 'normal' letter. But then I also think that letter would feel not enough; it couldn't justify to her writing to a random stranger and expecting him to show any interest back; some kind of hook was needed. So she put the best she had, more or less everything she had: her inner life, the ill-described, nebulous part of her that is also the most reactive part, the wildcard that might possibly elicit a reaction in Markus.

    I would write back, though that's probably because letters are a novelty to me.

    Ask me direct questions and I’ll sidestep you the best that I can, but if you ask me indirectly, you will, in time, learn almost everything that you are aching to know. I will tell you the truth, but there will be no honesty. If anything, I would be your enigma. Are you still interested in talking to me?
    I knew I would be annoyed if he decided to play games back at her -- a thirty-year-old, post-addict, I would think in prison he wouldn't have anything but honesty left in him -- but I guess it was inevitable. I'll go on.

    Though "would be your enigma" sounds like the wrong form. Doesn't 'will' sound better?

    My annoyance is this: neither of these people would have reason to be heavily invested in the interior life: to be poetic about the things that are happening to them, to play those relationship games of coyness and forthrightness, to act like the baronesses and society children of your traditional epistolary novel. At least not Markus. I just don't see him as saying "I will be your enigma". It seems just a little weird and creepy for him to put "you must be aching to know" in Haley's mouth. I can see Haley as the bored, sheltered Princess doing something irrational as a shot in the dark, but I can't see him as a sad, sensitive poet flirting back.

    All I’ve been doing is lying on my rather uncomfortable cot and looking at the ceiling. Above me is a very vast sky, but I can’t see it, and, even if I could look through walls, first I’d see my neighbors, more ingrates that society deems unworthy of their time! But you are different. For some ungodly reason you want to talk to me… I do not recall your brother, I must say… Nonetheless, you are sweet, and even if you change your mind, I will not forget you.
    On the other hand, I like this as something an adult would say to her: a very gentle nudge towards "You are sad because of career problems, I am sad because I live in jail and have had a drug-trafficking life", and then indeed, that she's sweet: her intent was kindness. Or a desire to get close to someone.

    And then: "I can tell you stories about the outside world"! Lovely!

    She was, she said, a woman who could spit out fire in her sleep, after all... The fire struck all the babies after one week of her trying to suppress her powers, and I was the only one who survived the wounds. What really happened, I cannot tell you, but here I am, with no kinship to hold or scars to prove there were others like me.
    Ahahaha! Awesome!

    I will leave it to you to learn about the individual cities here in the Kalos region.
    I'm excited for how this fic will progress. The long, detailed summary of culture is also one of those things that you just would not say, in a first letter. I love how much fun he's having delivering his lesson. How does he know how much Haley knows about cultures, anyway? Also: this is totally pertinent to what Haley said to talk about herself, isn't it?

    I like this a lot. The idea of doing a journeyfic through letters is already very interesting. And you've sketched out two very distinct personalities in a very small space, and with only a few irrelevant words. It'll be cool to see this go, wherever it's going.

  4. #4
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    Before I leave a proper review on the content, I would just like to say that this is a form of storytelling that I've never seen before. At least, not in any story that I've read for my own enjoyment or had any vested interest in. So, this will be a new experience for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by diamondpearl876 View Post
    Dear Markus Samaras,

    I know I’ll be lucky if you even open this, but please do not throw away my letter just yet. They all told me that this was a stupid idea on my part. They all told me that you’ll probably want nothing to do with me, people “like you” (their words, not mine) don’t want an outsider’s pity, but I’m not here to give you pity. I’ll explain why I’m writing to you later. I need to get your attention as quickly as possible, don’t I? So don’t throw this letter away yet, because I believe in you. I’d bet my life on you—every single part of it. Oh, and yes, I’m well aware that I hardly know you.
    Well then. That's quite the opening. Not even a paragraph into the actual story and already we've got a protagonist saying some rather strange things to a complete stranger, and one that others have warned against interacting with. Nice hook, DP. Nice hook indeed.

    Quote Originally Posted by diamondpearl876 View Post
    Where do I start? I don’t want to bring you down, but I’ve been asked again and again, “How could you be so foolish, Haley? What are you thinking?” And it’s not just because I’m writing to a man in prison. If that sounds harsh, I’m sorry, but I don’t like to sugarcoat things. I want things to be as realistic and as honest as possible. Let me tell you a little bit about myself. I just turned eighteen. For a while I have been reevaluating my life, wondering if I was really where I wanted to be, being homeschooled in this city with its blinding lights and noises that say nothing. (I’ll tell you where I’m from and where I’m going if you decide to write to me, but not right now. I still have to play it safe.) I was always waiting for something to happen, but nothing ever did. I recently realized that it was up to me to do something about my life. This year I had my golden birthday. What a perfect opportunity, right? I told my parents I no longer wanted schooling. Instead I want to travel from city to city with my pokémon, the only ones that have ever been there for me and understood me.
    I do grasp why Haley is writing this letter, but common sense seems to be a bit lax here by my own standards. The intent of complete honesty is fine and all, but she, at this time, does not know if he is even going to write back to her, so it has plenty of risk to backfire. However, based on her attitude in this letter, I feel that the risk is all part of the journey for her. I just learned the protagonist's name, there's not much description or backstory for her yet, and still you've already created a lasting character impression me.

    Quote Originally Posted by diamondpearl876 View Post
    Someone once asked me if I strive for omnipotence. Maybe, but I know it’s impossible.
    Not if you know the right Legendaries... XD


    Quote Originally Posted by diamondpearl876 View Post
    I’m sorry if I’m saying too much all at once. That’s just how I am. I can tell you more basics if it makes you feel better. If you’re wanting to here more of my thoughts, I’m sorry to disappoint you. Well, my father is my teacher and a stay-at-home dad for me and my younger brother, Joey. My mother works as a nurse at a pokémon center. They’re all against what I want to do. They don’t think I can become knowledgeable out in the real world, or, mostly in my brother’s case, they think it’s too dangerous. I’ve tried to see where they’re coming from, but we’re too different. The only person I’m particularly close to is my grandmother. She gave me my first two pokémon, Seybs and Ribbons. Seybs was a gift for Christmas when I turned thirteen. She thought it was appropriate to celebrate my transition into being a teenager. Seybs is a young pidgeotto and I named him because Seybs is a shortened version of my grandmother’s previous surname. People thought this was weird, but Seybs likes it and I do, too. Why can’t pokémon be named after humans, too? I just wanted to show my grandmother that she’s special. I know she’s not supportive of me either, but she is doing her best, and that is what counts. I know she’s trying because she bought Ribbons for me from a professional breeder in Johto recently. She said I needed another pokémon that wasn’t as lazy as Seybs. Sorry, Seybs, but I have to agree. Ribbons is a natu. The red spike on the back of his head reminded me of a ribbon, hence his name. Because he’s so protective and alert, he’s truly like a prize to me. He’s a symbol of what I want to accomplish on my upcoming journey. I’ve only had him for a week and I can already tell he’ll be a great pokémon.

    Aside from more common sense and private information sharing, I do think this is a good foundation for Haley. It shows where she is coming from, her views towards Pokemon training and journeys in general, and the reception she is getting for those views. Also, this is a more personal note of my own, but being a PMD author, I do agree with Haley's notion that Pokemon can be named after humans. It's an interesting thought process, especially since she notes that it was weird of her to do that.

    Quote Originally Posted by diamondpearl876 View Post
    Also, I feel that you will appreciate knowing about the outside world from someone else’s point of view until you’re free and can see it for yourself.
    Depending on how you view this, this is either very touching, or almost heartlessly cruel. Sure, her describing the outside world might be sweet and pretty, but it's like holding a plate of food just out of reach of a starving man in some instances...

    Based upon this one letter, Haley certainly has all the qualities of one who has been sheltered and protected for a good majority of her life. So, I get the feeling that these two letters are going to have vastly different views on the same sights and experiences. Quite a unique nature.

    Quote Originally Posted by diamondpearl876 View Post
    Ask me direct questions and I’ll sidestep you the best that I can, but if you ask me indirectly, you will, in time, learn almost everything that you are aching to know. I will tell you the truth, but there will be no honesty. If anything, I would be your enigma. Are you still interested in talking to me?
    This character is awesome. Anyone who can be that cryptic in their first paragraph in a story deserves some sort of award in my book. I think I can learn a lot from this guy as the story moves on.

    Quote Originally Posted by diamondpearl876 View Post
    I’ve been thinking a lot about what I would say to you. There is not much to say. I too see the same things every day. I hear other inmates yelling obscenities and I see cold, gray bars. I see a blur of orange jumpsuits or an unforgettable shade of blue on the cops that occasionally swing by. All I’ve been doing is lying on my rather uncomfortable cot and looking at the ceiling. Above me is a very vast sky, but I can’t see it, and, even if I could look through walls, first I’d see my neighbors, more ingrates that society deems unworthy of their time! But you are different. For some ungodly reason you want to talk to me… I do not recall your brother, I must say… Nonetheless, you are sweet, and even if you change your mind, I will not forget you.
    As a big fan of description, I enjoyed this very much. There's a lot of power in words, which is why this story has the potential to be amazing even when it clearly lacks some of the basic tenets of telling a story. DP, you chose a unique form of media to bring this story to us, and I highly doubt it would have as much effect if it were merely a traditional story.

    Quote Originally Posted by diamondpearl876 View Post
    She was, she said, a woman who could spit out fire in her sleep, after all... The fire struck all the babies after one week of her trying to suppress her powers, and I was the only one who survived the wounds. What really happened, I cannot tell you, but here I am, with no kinship to hold or scars to prove there were others like me. Again, are you interested in talking to me? You can still leave.
    The thing is, you've built up this character in such a way that I have a hard time figuring out if he's being figurative or completely literal with some of his past. Either way, both are interesting interpretations of the story. I just might go with the more imaginative one until further evidence disproves it.


    Quote Originally Posted by diamondpearl876 View Post
    Cultures are all integrated. They unintentionally bounce ideas off each other and alter themselves based off of what they learn. I will not give specific examples. I will leave it to you to learn about the individual cities here in the Kalos region.

    Cultures are also changing all the time. What Lumiose City was like for me could totally be different from the Lumiose City you will see on your journey. Do not fret about this and think you are being cheated. It just means that you are seeing the better version of the city, and you should be grateful.
    Very interesting philosophy coming from a former drug addict. Though, I suppose he would have had many experiences, both good and bad, and plenty of time to reflect on them to develop this view. It adds a lot to the vagueness that is this Mark person, and only builds up the risk factor with Haley continuing to talk with him.

    Quote Originally Posted by diamondpearl876 View Post
    Assuming you can’t talk to your pokémon yet, they will appreciate it on those days where they cannot communicate with you fully.
    It should be noted that I haven't read any of your previous work, unfortunately (it's on my list of things to read), so I'm not quite certain of your take on if Pokemon can really talk to humans or not. I suppose I'll find out over the story.

    I admit, this is hardly what I was expecting when you said this would be a journey story, but I find myself more drawn into this than a lot of other traditional tales of Pokemon journeys. Both Haley and Mark seem to be shaping into interesting and distinct characters, one symbolizing the innocence of a new life about to take off and the other, a life already broken and well-versed in the cruelness of the world, but not entirely defeated. I can't help but wonder just what advice Mark will be giving during the course of Haley's journey, but like all my other questions, I suppose it's best if I simply observe and let the plot tell me the answers when it's most opportune for it to do so.

    There is potential here, and I await to see it unleashed. I wish you the best of luck in this endeavor, DP, and I'll be looking forward to seeing more from this.

    Knightfall signing off...

  5. #5
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    I'm glad to hear some constructive comments and positive feedback so far. I do individual responses closer to the next chapter release date, so until then, please let me know if you want to be put on a PM list!

    | 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 1 released |


  6. #6
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    Put me on the PM list, please! I literally just typed up detailed analyses of the chapter and my computer crashed. I will re-type them later tonight.
    I am not worried, Harry. I am with you.



    ^This is my new fanfic. It's a work in progress, so please read and comment at your discretion. I hope you like it. I think you will.

    Many, many thanks to Mew, who created this exceptional banner!

    Harry Potter and How I Met Your Mother are currently my life.

  7. #7
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    Well ... I can't really review because basically every person on this thread has done it better then me, SO ... || I do like it, I just don't like the names you chose. I'm weird. PM list me, too, please! || Will this only be two parts like your signature said?
    wow, the inconsistency is real. y'all should message me

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monek_OP View Post
    Well ... I can't really review because basically every person on this thread has done it better then me, SO ... || I do like it, I just don't like the names you chose. I'm weird. PM list me, too, please! || Will this only be two parts like your signature said?
    No, parts 1 and 2 are already released. Parts 3 and 4 will be released in 2 weeks, parts 5 and 6 in 4 weeks, and so on. I don't like to call it a "chapter" since it is not really a chapter. I just wanted to clarify this real fast, I will edit this post later if no one else posts. And sorry you don't like the names! They're personally some of my favorites.

    | 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 1 released |


  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by diamondpearl876 View Post
    No, parts 1 and 2 are already released. Parts 3 and 4 will be released in 2 weeks, parts 5 and 6 in 4 weeks, and so on. I don't like to call it a "chapter" since it is not really a chapter. I just wanted to clarify this real fast, I will edit this post later if no one else posts. And sorry you don't like the names! They're personally some of my favorites.
    Oh, OK! And I guess I should elaborate on my "dislike" for the names: That's the thing, I don't dislike them. The names just seem a bit odd for the characters assigned to them. I'm just about 99% sure that I'm the only person who will have that problem!
    wow, the inconsistency is real. y'all should message me

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by diamondpearl876 View Post
    Dear Markus Samaras,

    I like this name; I can actually already envision him just from the name.

    This year I had my golden birthday.

    Do people still get Pokemon at ten in this world? If so, what is it that signifies the eighteenth birthday as golden?

    I guess you could be asking why I am writing to you if I seem to detest people so much. It’s not that I detest them, really. It’s quite the opposite. I want to know everyone and everything. Someone once asked me if I strive for omnipotence.

    I like this hunger - although I debated several times whether you meant 'omnipotence' or 'omniscience'.

    If you’re wanting to hear more of my thoughts,

    sp


    The view becomes especially spectacular when you can describe it to someone else and make them feel the same as you did when you first saw it.

    I love this line.

    I chose you because I had to choose someone,

    I really like this...makes me think of the letters in 'Perks of Being A Wallflower".

    You can call me Mark. Markus makes me sound like I’m old, though I am already thirty and am having trouble moving and moving on, if you know what I mean.

    You're really nailing this guy's characterization, he's fully realized already in his opening sentence.

    If a glass of milk was spilled, then the whole house was drowning.

    Love this detail.

    Cultures are all integrated. They unintentionally bounce ideas off each other and alter themselves based off of what they learn.

    How accurate an observation!
    I really like this! Definitely keep me in the loop.
    I am not worried, Harry. I am with you.



    ^This is my new fanfic. It's a work in progress, so please read and comment at your discretion. I hope you like it. I think you will.

    Many, many thanks to Mew, who created this exceptional banner!

    Harry Potter and How I Met Your Mother are currently my life.

  11. #11
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    Oh yes, please put me on the PM list.

    Heh, the names are very interesting, aren't they? You can't exactly place their nationality. They make me think of Hunger Games names: almost a common American name, but with a slightly alien twist.
    Last edited by Praxiteles; 23rd October 2013 at 9:36 AM.

  12. #12
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    Yes! So stoked!!

    This entire premise gives me the heebie-jebbies. If this is how you're going to write this story you need to be very careful, which obviously you already know, but still. Tis a very difficult road ahead of you in this format. The fact that you'd even attempt it is a display of outrageously awesome dexterity, and I'm really jacked up for it

    omg I wrote an entire review, closed the laptop, went outside to smoke, and when I came back it was all gone. fml. Starting over

    I know I’ll be lucky if you even open this, but please do not throw away my letter just yet. They all told me that this was a stupid idea on my part. They all told me that you’ll probably want nothing to do with me, people “like you” (their words, not mine) don’t want an outsider’s pity
    Makes him look like a celebrity of some kind

    And it’s not just because I’m writing to a man in prison
    Disregard the previous statement. Unless he's a famous criminal lol

    , wondering if I was really where I wanted to be, being homeschooled in this city with its blinding lights and noises that say nothing
    Sounds like someone I know lol

    I guess you could be asking why I am writing to you if I seem to detest people so much. It’s not that I detest them, really. It’s quite the opposite. I want to know everyone and everything
    And that sounds like you lol

    I’m sorry if I’m saying too much all at once. That’s just how I am. I can tell you more basics if it makes you feel better.
    God that seemed so ****ing honest. I really felt her sincerity there and her eagerness/reservation in writing the letter. Worrying about the recipient in that way kinda speaks to her own insecurities, if that makes sense lol

    Sorry, Seybs, but I have to agree. Ribbons is a natu. The red spike on the back of his head reminded me of a ribbon, hence his name
    Blatant compliment to your originality, but Ribbons is an awesome name for a Natu

    You can call me Mark. Markus makes me sound like I’m old, though I am already thirty and am having trouble moving and moving on
    I don't know if you realize it, but that can speak to a lot of people on a big level. I'm 25, and it feels so odd to me when gas station clerks and others call me 'sir'. It's a weird rite of passage to get older and acknowledge those kind of distinctions. I liked that you put that in there. Made him feel really real to me. Nicely done

    I will not give you details, but I will tell you everything you want to hear
    That makes sense in a way, but it made me stumble a bit. I know someone can give another person a whole picture without going into detail, but at the same time it feels like the wording is off to me

    The fire struck all the babies after one week of her trying to suppress her powers, and I was the only one who survived the wounds
    My god that was a beautiful sentence. It made me feel sad. Loved it

    I would give an excuse but there is none.
    I didn't like Mark until now. That was a beautifully brutal and unquestionably honest sentence.

    I liked it. Everything about this chapter was well placed and extremely well described. The only thing that rang in my head was the openness of the letters. Be careful to not reveal too much, or rather, get too personal with first letters. It felt like they were both getting too personal on first correspondence. However, they touched that line, they didn't cross it so I can deal with it. Anyway, I loved it and put me on the damn PM list pair. <3

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

    -Thanks to PopPrincess_Lyra for the amazing banner-


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    When I saw this was an epistolary fic, I rushed to read. It reminded me a lot of Dracula by Bram Stoker (which is written in letters), a novel I liked very very much.
    Well, people already analised your fic a lot, I think there's nothing constructive I can say. Maybe I can talk more when the next parts are posted? Personally speaking, despite the fact I like stories written using letters, I appreciate your style. You seem to be a person with a strong opinion and you could apply it to your writting (mostly on Markus, he seems to be able to talk about anything with a solid opinion). I also like Haley, his personality is a lot like mine, with the exception of his courage to share his feelings with someone he doesn't know.

    Can you add me to the PM list as well? I would like to continue reading.

    3DS Friend Code: 5300-9278-9414
    Interested in Friend Safari and non-competitive battles.
    Send a PM if you add me.

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    He's rather obviously someone of some sort of scorned group; a person with a type of sickness comes to mind.
    Lol, I'm wondering if you thought of Sai/Survival Project when you thought of someone with a sickness. I wouldn't be surprised.
    Hmm... curious background. I'm assuming Haley is the author of this letter, first of all. She seems to be an interesting character; her personality is coming off as entertaining as she seems a bit bitter and cynical about everything around her, which is a welcome change from many characters, and your explanation of why she waited until eighteen to begin her journey is sound.
    I'm glad about that last part, because no way in hell would I ever be able to write a 10 year old main character.

    I really wonder why it is that she wants to know about him.
    I must say that every character I write has one main attribute that relates to myself. Haley's wanting to know about everyone and everything is also something I experience. There's really no particular reason for it other than sheer curiosity and the feeling of wanting to satisfy it.

    Hmm... perhaps I'm not entirely following you here, but I'm not sure I get the logic behind why she is specifically contacting Markus. Can you explain better?
    Haley wanted to send someone letters in order for someone (besides her family, which is not supporting) to hear about her journey. She chose someone in the prisons because she felt a prisoner would appreciate her journey more. Specifically Markus was chosen because her brother knew him through drug dealing.
    I like his mysterious attitude, but it feels like it could be a little more... natural, I guess? He feels like he's being obtuse just for the sake of it at the beginning.
    That's kind of what I was going for, but it should feel more natural. I'll work on that.

    Well, that's quite a story. I am left wondering how much of it could possibly be true. Given Markus's background, it would be easy to assume he is exaggerating or fabricating these things entirely, but it's entertaining to just imagine that this is true. If I entertain the possibility it is, then it opens an entirely new can of worms. People with pyrokinetic powers? That might explain why Haley sought him out.
    I don't write fantasy. Everything fantasy-related is purely exaggerated/fabricated, though then it becomes a problem when you don't know if his normal stories are true or not! Thus Haley will have to decide whether or not to keep trusting him.

    Thanks for reviewing!

    Quote Originally Posted by Luphinid Silnaek View Post
    Epistolary sure caught my attention! (That is deceitful, I was intending to read your new fic anyway. But it still did.) I'm not at all familiar with the genre, but that hopefully shouldn't impede things like critique too much.
    Your critique was great, so no worries there. I am wondering if you have read Survival Project, though?

    I find the slow revelation of details quite pleasurable, which I wasn't expectin. It's not like short stories with their slightly awkward predilection for dramatic surprises. I also like the idea that I might be supposed to reread these letters over quite a few times, there could be many things the writers aren't displaying openly. Maybe your two-week schedule encourages that?
    Two weeks seems to give me and the readers enough time to think through the chapters and wonder where to go next, yes.

    A matter of tone: I feel like this sentence pretty clearly shouts literary intent, in the way it's constructed -- those two gerund clauses modifying-thus-explaining the first thought, very typical of novels -- and more obviously, "with its blinding lights and noises that say nothing". Isn't that a super-compressed, reference, to a long literary tradition? Sound and fury, signifying nothing. At this point I definitely have no idea what kind of person Haley is, but this gives me the impression she has 'poetic' pretensions.
    I would consider Haley to have a wild imagination that seeks out some bits of reality, and this, combined with her maturity for her age, allows her to be more "poetic." If that even makes sense.

    Oh, and goddamn, this is her being coy, almost dangling a little piece, she's not even intending to describe her reevaluation yet -- I have to play it safe. As a kind of 'teaser' into that particular theme, it's quite fractured and enigmatic -- doesn't begin to convey a full impression of her feelings.
    I must say you have a way with words. I'm not sure why, but this comment seemed like a good piece of description to me. Aren't I supposed to be the one impressing you?

    Clingy much? (I guess not clingy, I mean: kind of up in his grill. This is two paragraphs after "you won't even read this letter".) I wonder if they're total strangers or not.
    If you remember, she is homeschooled, and with this I'd make the assumption that she has little to no real world interaction. She doesn't realize she's "up in his grill."

    Homophone. Also, ouch. I'm convinced, whether she loves people or hates them, she definitely doesn't see much of them.
    Yes, as I just said before I read this part. Haha.

    So far: I find her slightly annoying actually. An 18-year-old, apparently sheltered, brusque in a way lots of kids get who are sure they're being truthful and audacious, buoyed by a sort of intellectual false-confidence that real life eventually loves to deflate. Prone (it seems to me) to abstract reveries of what her age might call "deep thoughts", undefined and dreamy feelings that probably cause a lot of pleasure but that have zero discipline or profit. I think there are people who "see the same faces everywhere, even though they're different" that you can take seriously, but in her case, I doubt she's in real life given a kind ear to someone in need, or successfully convinced someone they can tell her about their life.
    I am hoping she is at least interesting to read about, as I realize unlikeable characters don't necessarily make for an unsatisfactory read.

    Also: how much of herself she's thrust on someone who doesn't even know her! That timidity and fear of alienating him lasted maybe one paragraph.
    I wouldn't view it as timidity, I was aiming more for the fear that she would be rejected by someone who does not know her.

    Huh, acquaintance of her brother. These are the portions that seem like a normal, socially acceptable letter to a stranger (in jail) -- if you contract it to that introduction of herself, the details of her life situation and pokemon, and this random little trivia that she thinks about Markus, it would make a 'normal' letter. But then I also think that letter would feel not enough; it couldn't justify to her writing to a random stranger and expecting him to show any interest back; some kind of hook was needed. So she put the best she had, more or less everything she had: her inner life, the ill-described, nebulous part of her that is also the most reactive part, the wildcard that might possibly elicit a reaction in Markus.
    Yes, you get it, and you eloquently showed me so.

    I would write back, though that's probably because letters are a novelty to me.
    I wish I wrote letters with someone. This epistolary story is all I've got, sadly.

    My annoyance is this: neither of these people would have reason to be heavily invested in the interior life: to be poetic about the things that are happening to them, to play those relationship games of coyness and forthrightness, to act like the baronesses and society children of your traditional epistolary novel. At least not Markus. I just don't see him as saying "I will be your enigma". It seems just a little weird and creepy for him to put "you must be aching to know" in Haley's mouth. I can see Haley as the bored, sheltered Princess doing something irrational as a shot in the dark, but I can't see him as a sad, sensitive poet flirting back.
    Weird and creepy is what I was going for, but we can see how it progresses.

    On the other hand, I like this as something an adult would say to her: a very gentle nudge towards "You are sad because of career problems, I am sad because I live in jail and have had a drug-trafficking life", and then indeed, that she's sweet: her intent was kindness. Or a desire to get close to someone.

    And then: "I can tell you stories about the outside world"! Lovely!
    Okay, so you do like some things about Markus. Good.

    I'm excited for how this fic will progress. The long, detailed summary of culture is also one of those things that you just would not say, in a first letter. I love how much fun he's having delivering his lesson. How does he know how much Haley knows about cultures, anyway? Also: this is totally pertinent to what Haley said to talk about herself, isn't it?
    Yes it is, and I think he easily assumed that she's a bit naive and sheltered.

    I like this a lot. The idea of doing a journeyfic through letters is already very interesting. And you've sketched out two very distinct personalities in a very small space, and with only a few irrelevant words. It'll be cool to see this go, wherever it's going.
    Thank you for reviewing. I hope you'll continue reading since you're on the PM list.

    Quote Originally Posted by Knightfall View Post
    Before I leave a proper review on the content, I would just like to say that this is a form of storytelling that I've never seen before. At least, not in any story that I've read for my own enjoyment or had any vested interest in. So, this will be a new experience for me.
    Epistolary is one of my favorite genres. If you find yourself wanting to read more, let me know. I read about 5 or 6 books like this before writing this story, so I hope I get it right.

    Well then. That's quite the opening. Not even a paragraph into the actual story and already we've got a protagonist saying some rather strange things to a complete stranger, and one that others have warned against interacting with. Nice hook, DP. Nice hook indeed.
    I do what I can.
    I do grasp why Haley is writing this letter, but common sense seems to be a bit lax here by my own standards. The intent of complete honesty is fine and all, but she, at this time, does not know if he is even going to write back to her, so it has plenty of risk to backfire. However, based on her attitude in this letter, I feel that the risk is all part of the journey for her. I just learned the protagonist's name, there's not much description or backstory for her yet, and still you've already created a lasting character impression me.
    I'm glad. It does have risk to backfire, but she is taking a chance for the sake of something happening in her life, you're right.

    Not if you know the right Legendaries... XD
    Haha, I don't think I'll ever write about legendaries. (Aside from Kuiora's obsession with them in Survival Project.)



    Aside from more common sense and private information sharing, I do think this is a good foundation for Haley. It shows where she is coming from, her views towards Pokemon training and journeys in general, and the reception she is getting for those views. Also, this is a more personal note of my own, but being a PMD author, I do agree with Haley's notion that Pokemon can be named after humans. It's an interesting thought process, especially since she notes that it was weird of her to do that.
    Lol, I'm glad you liked the PMD-esque thing I did there.

    Depending on how you view this, this is either very touching, or almost heartlessly cruel. Sure, her describing the outside world might be sweet and pretty, but it's like holding a plate of food just out of reach of a starving man in some instances...
    This is actually something I thought about for a very long time, and it was something I discussed with Mem and Sid, and it's really going to depend on how you view it initially. Whether or not the view changes depends on your initial view and my writing. Guess we'll find out.

    This character is awesome. Anyone who can be that cryptic in their first paragraph in a story deserves some sort of award in my book. I think I can learn a lot from this guy as the story moves on.
    I love cryptic.

    The thing is, you've built up this character in such a way that I have a hard time figuring out if he's being figurative or completely literal with some of his past. Either way, both are interesting interpretations of the story. I just might go with the more imaginative one until further evidence disproves it.
    This is probably something you'll struggle with for a while.

    It should be noted that I haven't read any of your previous work, unfortunately (it's on my list of things to read), so I'm not quite certain of your take on if Pokemon can really talk to humans or not. I suppose I'll find out over the story.
    I believe people learn how to understand pokemon after much exposure to them, much like a child learns their primary language after much exposure to it.

    I admit, this is hardly what I was expecting when you said this would be a journey story, but I find myself more drawn into this than a lot of other traditional tales of Pokemon journeys. Both Haley and Mark seem to be shaping into interesting and distinct characters, one symbolizing the innocence of a new life about to take off and the other, a life already broken and well-versed in the cruelness of the world, but not entirely defeated. I can't help but wonder just what advice Mark will be giving during the course of Haley's journey, but like all my other questions, I suppose it's best if I simply observe and let the plot tell me the answers when it's most opportune for it to do so.

    There is potential here, and I await to see it unleashed. I wish you the best of luck in this endeavor, DP, and I'll be looking forward to seeing more from this.
    I'm glad you'll be reading. Thanks for reviewing!

    Do people still get Pokemon at ten in this world? If so, what is it that signifies the eighteenth birthday as golden?
    No, they leave after school (around 16 or 17). A golden birthday isn’t something I made up, it’s a traditional thing, though I’m not sure where it’s from. Example of golden birthday: Haley was born on April 18. Because of April -18-, her golden birthday occurs when she turns 18. Another example: I was born on April 2, therefore my golden birthday was when I was 2 years old. Sucks for me.
    I really like this! Definitely keep me in the loop.
    Thanks for reviewing! I also liked the parts you pointed out, so I’m glad you liked them too.


    This entire premise gives me the heebie-jebbies. If this is how you're going to write this story you need to be very careful, which obviously you already know, but still. Tis a very difficult road ahead of you in this format. The fact that you'd even attempt it is a display of outrageously awesome dexterity, and I'm really jacked up for it
    I've read a few books like this to prepare myself for writing this, so I hope it works out. I didn't think Survival Project's POV strategy would work out either, but it did, so we'll see.

    omg I wrote an entire review, closed the laptop, went outside to smoke, and when I came back it was all gone. fml. Starting over
    I love you.

    And that sounds like you lol
    How kind of you to notice!

    God that seemed so ****ing honest. I really felt her sincerity there and her eagerness/reservation in writing the letter. Worrying about the recipient in that way kinda speaks to her own insecurities, if that makes sense lol
    She is very honest... unlike some Markus people I know.

    Blatant compliment to your originality, but Ribbons is an awesome name for a Natu
    I can only take half the credit. The name itself goes to my pet penguin, but associating it with a Natu for the reasons I gave is my doing.

    I don't know if you realize it, but that can speak to a lot of people on a big level. I'm 25, and it feels so odd to me when gas station clerks and others call me 'sir'. It's a weird rite of passage to get older and acknowledge those kind of distinctions. I liked that you put that in there. Made him feel really real to me. Nicely done
    I was hoping it would turn out that way.



    I didn't like Mark until now. That was a beautifully brutal and unquestionably honest sentence.
    Ugh, I liked it too. Obviously.

    I liked it. Everything about this chapter was well placed and extremely well described. The only thing that rang in my head was the openness of the letters. Be careful to not reveal too much, or rather, get too personal with first letters. It felt like they were both getting too personal on first correspondence. However, they touched that line, they didn't cross it so I can deal with it. Anyway, I loved it and put me on the damn PM list pair. <3
    Will watch out for it indeed. I think the next two letters work out better.

    Quote Originally Posted by Crystal Sneasel View Post
    When I saw this was an epistolary fic, I rushed to read. It reminded me a lot of Dracula by Bram Stoker (which is written in letters), a novel I liked very very much.
    Well, people already analised your fic a lot, I think there's nothing constructive I can say. Maybe I can talk more when the next parts are posted? Personally speaking, despite the fact I like stories written using letters, I appreciate your style. You seem to be a person with a strong opinion and you could apply it to your writting (mostly on Markus, he seems to be able to talk about anything with a solid opinion). I also like Haley, his personality is a lot like mine, with the exception of his courage to share his feelings with someone he doesn't know.
    I'm glad you like it. Feel free to leave any comments you can think of, even if someone else has already said it. Thanks for commenting/reading!

    | 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 1 released |


  15. #15
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    Unique way to tackle a story. I love the idea and the story so far. I'll definitely be reading more. Keep it up!
    Like to read? Well take some time to read my fan fic:

    Any and all feedback/criticism is appreciated!

    The Fan Fiction Mafia

    [img]http://oi39.*******.com/2w682eq.jpg[/img]

  16. #16
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    Comments on the letter:

    Quote Originally Posted by diamondpearl876 View Post
    Well, my father is my teacher and a stay-at-home dad for me and my younger brother, Joey. My mother works as a nurse at a pokémon center. They’re all against what I want to do. They don’t think I can become knowledgeable out in the real world, or, mostly in my brother’s case, they think it’s too dangerous
    There could be deeper undertones here. As a college kid, my heart sinks when my mother calls me, and I talk to her in a tired tone most of the time. Why? Saying questions which imply orders "Aren't you going to do well on X?" "Did you get a girlfriend yet?" Guilt trapping "We need you to come home" "We need you to do X or else Y." In these conversations, only one side wins, and it's obvious the parents have a desire to influence their children's outcomes. Now, the segment I quoted is fine, but there's a lack of detail of why they're against what he wants, and how they plan to act against their son.

    My own parents inflated everything that ever happened to them. If a glass of milk was spilled, then the whole house was drowning. Do you get what I mean?
    Mark wrote excellently on an example of parental-child conflict.

    She was, she said, a woman who could spit out fire in her sleep, after all... The fire struck all the babies after one week of her trying to suppress her powers,
    If she knew of her powers being uncontrollable, then why did she sleep with her babies? Surely there were ways to deal with fire, even to sleeping outside. Or, perhaps, she killed her babies and told Mark a lie. Keep that in mind, it may need explaining, or could just be never mentioned again.

    Why you, of all people? Well, my brother is one year younger than me and he’s been in a whole lot more trouble than I have. He claims that’s why he knows my journey is dangerous. He’s handled drugs with many people of many different ages. He said he knows you because of that.
    This segment is an example of what I like in the letters. There are things left open to the reader to wonder about that are important to the story. Haley's brother's story implies that Mark is dangerous most likely in an indirect way (due to the nature of the journey or area). Or perhaps Haley got shot at one day and claimed everything was dangerous. Thus Haley's brother might be unreliable, but that's a good quality to have in a fic since some people do BS in life.

    This year I had my golden birthday.
    Okay. How old is Haley? Golden birthday implies that he is as old as his birthday's date. Thus Haley may be 21 because he was born on April 21 in some year. (Google search turned up my definition.)

    Assuming you can’t talk to your pokémon yet, they will appreciate it on those days where they cannot communicate with you fully.
    I can't understand this sentence. Will the pokemon recall the days when their trainer could not communicate with them and say "We appreciate having those days"? I think it's because of the pronoun "it" that this sentence has major problems, I don't know what happened.

    Anyway. I overall find the story pleasing to me, and I'm impressed that the story's format with letters worked well. I find it odd to see Haley doing this communication with a guy in prison, but it interests me to know more about Mark. Anyway, that's a good hook for the start of a fan fic, so I may come back to read more.
    Last edited by Akiyama; 2nd November 2013 at 11:57 PM.
    As I adventured into math and ideas, that old desire for fan fiction came back.

    This review took at least an hour to write, by the way.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eiro View Post
    Unique way to tackle a story. I love the idea and the story so far. I'll definitely be reading more. Keep it up!
    I'm glad you like it. Let me know if you want to be on the PM list.

    Quote Originally Posted by Akiyama View Post
    There could be deeper undertones here. As a college kid, my heart sinks when my mother calls me, and I talk to her in a tired tone most of the time. Why? Saying questions which imply orders "Aren't you going to do well on X?" "Did you get a girlfriend yet?" Guilt trapping "We need you to come home" "We need you to do X or else Y." In these conversations, only one side wins, and it's obvious the parents have a desire to influence their children's outcomes. Now, the segment I quoted is fine, but there's a lack of detail of why they're against what he wants, and how they plan to act against their son.
    I was afraid of giving too much detail right off the bat, but it will be explored later. There are deeper undertones.

    If she knew of her powers being uncontrollable, then why did she sleep with her babies? Surely there were ways to deal with fire, even to sleeping outside. Or, perhaps, she killed her babies and told Mark a lie. Keep that in mind, it may need explaining, or could just be never mentioned again.
    A good question. To keep them protected, most likely.

    Okay. How old is Haley? Golden birthday implies that he is as old as his birthday's date. Thus Haley may be 21 because he was born on April 21 in some year. (Google search turned up my definition.)
    She is eighteen.

    I can't understand this sentence. Will the pokemon recall the days when their trainer could not communicate with them and say "We appreciate having those days"? I think it's because of the pronoun "it" that this sentence has major problems, I don't know what happened.
    It means they will appreciate what they know about the human world on those days where they find it hard to communicate with her.

    Anyway. I overall find the story pleasing to me, and I'm impressed that the story's format with letters worked well. I find it odd to see Haley doing this communication with a guy in prison, but it interests me to know more about Mark. Anyway, that's a good hook for the start of a fan fic, so I may come back to read more.
    I'm glad you like it. Let me know if you want to be on the PM list.

    Anyway, it has been about 2 weeks, so here we go. First I'd like to state thank you to The Great Butler for letting me use a specific statistic in his fic. I would recommend this fic to anyone who's interested in Team Rocket, Ghetsis, or a journey fic.

    LETTERS 3 AND 4

    May 13

    To Markus,

    I don’t think your name makes you sound old, so I’m going to call you Markus from now on. In fact, I think it makes you sound wise, and, let me tell you this—I need someone wise in my life. And yes, I am still interested in talking to you. Telling the truth is the same as being honest to me. Even if you leave out certain facts, I can still form my own opinion based off of what you tell me. As long as I can do that, I am okay with you choosing what I should know. Again, Markus, you sound intelligent, and I bet I can learn a lot from you. I can’t tell you how excited I am. Words can only say so much, but you do well with them, and so I must say thank you for telling me about cultures. It gave me a new perspective. I will tell you about my hometown in a minute, but I wanted to say first that I’m more than interested in all the stories you have to tell. I think I implied that earlier. What can I say? I have been kept up at night with thoughts of starting my journey. I don’t do well with lack of sleep. I just want to get started. I’ve figured out my plan of action, though, which I will tell you about.

    I am from Anistar City. Have you ever heard of it? It’s closer to the mountain areas in Kalos, and the cities you mentioned being in are more central. It’s a quaint city with blue glass ceilings on all the buildings. Every time I look up in my house it looks like the sky is as dark as ever, yet the windows on the side bring in enough light to keep you sane. Even when my shades are down I know there is sun because the plants on the roof of our buildings grow stronger and brighter with every passing day. Why people put plants on their roofs, I’m not sure, but it must have something to do with the blue glass ceilings. I’d tell you about my neighbors, but I don’t think they’d appreciate me telling stories about them. We have a pokémon center here, just like in every place, and we have a gym. Not all places have a gym, right? Anyway, our gym leader, Olympia, is a psychic-type trainer, and her gym layout is a bit odd. She uses her psychic powers constantly in order to give people a view of what she believes is outer space. I’ve been in there a few times, just for a tour. I’ll be there soon, as I’d like to officially face her in order to have a good memory of the city before I leave, and I already know I’ll be feeling a bit woozy over how endlessly vast and outlandish the whole place seems.

    I think, though, that Olympia chose outer space as her inspiration because of the one thing Anistar City is famous for: its giant sundial. On the west side of the city, there are docks overlooking the sea so that people may come to look at and pray for the sundial. In case you were wondering, I’ve seen the sundial many times. My parents may not let me travel to other cities, but they let me relish in what is here. The sundial has the appearance of an enormous pink and yellow jewel. To me, it also looks like a pokéball with spikes on the side, but no one believes me when I tell them this. In front of the sundial lies a circle of plants and a golden rock in the middle. It’s our own, human-made sort of clock, though we know it can’t compare. I sit on the golden rock and ponder. The clock ticks and I wonder where all the time goes. What happens to the rest of the world when I’m dreaming? Where do all the unsaid “I love you”s go, the ones I know I should say but don’t? Do I enter an alternate world where I put the images in my head to use, and communicate with gestures alone rather than with all forms of pragmatics? I’d like to fix myself, but I can’t fix myself if I don’t know what is missing from my life. I would like to dream of my journey and my future, and I would like to tell my family and friends that I love them, but the point seems mute when no one will remember what I have to say when I’m gone. I like writing to you also because my letters are objects that remain as proof as to what has happened to me. I hope you don’t burn them or lose them. Keep them somewhere safe. I’m counting on you.

    As for my plan… Well, I obviously plan on leaving Anistar City. There’s nothing wrong with my city in particular. In fact, I love it very much. I just feel that, with all the cities in Kalos, there is a better one for me. I hope to love all the cities so much that I can’t possibly choose where to live. First I’m going to go west to Dendemille Town, and then even further west to Lumiose City. It wouldn’t be a real journey without visiting the largest city in the world, would it? And then I’ll branch out from all directions to visit Santalune, Laverre, and a few other places. Maybe I’ll branch out further, but for now, this is all I’ve got. I don’t mean to sound like an odd person, but I know that the prison you’re in is in Laverre City. When I finally get there, whenever that may be, would you mind if I visited you? Letters are great, but it’s an entirely different story to meet face-to-face. It’s okay if you say no, and if you do say no, I might just not visit the city at all. Please let me know.

    To travel, I’ll need a lot of money. I hope to train Seybs and Ribbons to be strong so that we can fight trainers and earn money along the way. Without them, I don’t think I’d be going anywhere. If you haven’t noticed, I’m going to be a flying-type trainer. There’s something interesting about birds that makes me want to keep them. The way they travel in flocks shows formality, teamwork and a type of healthy dependency that I could only hope to reach. And to be able to fly anywhere in the world with the ability to overcome any obstacle with a mere flap of the wings—of course, this sounds appealing to me! And the way they sing is beautiful. Seybs doesn’t sing much, but Ribbons does sometimes. It sounds like a beautiful song that tells about a kind of love that does not really mean love in the sense that we know it, but love in a way that says finding someone special means finding home at the same time.

    The only downfall to having flying-type pokémon is that cities aren’t very friendly to them. There are hunters out there, and I’ll never let my pokémon stray too far from me for this reason. Also, cities are so tall that birds have to use a great amount of energy just to fly above them. Usually, they don’t use enough energy and instead get confused and crash into windows. They also fly around buildings, around and around, exhausting their senses, until they are weary in mind and body. In a sense, a city is the worst place to be. My pokémon will be most happy in between cities. I have some plans to keep them at bay and to keep them satisfied at all times, but I’ll see how they do on their own to begin with. Pokéballs may or may not be part of this.

    Oh, have you ever wondered just how many pokéballs are used in a single day? Imagine all the pokémon that are already caught and tamed, and imagine all the times a trainer releases them: to eat, to battle, to bathe, to play, to train, and then a pokéball is again used when it is time to sleep. This doesn’t even count the pokéballs that are used to catch wild pokémon! Broken pokéballs and successful pokéballs should all be taken into account. It’s a crazy thought, but not as crazy as the sundial. I just think of strange things sometimes. People call me naďve and young. I am young, and maybe I’m naďve, but that’s not something a person calls themselves. I prefer to call myself curious. Naturally, my parents disagree, and they’re still against me leaving. They know they can’t stop me, but they try.

    I know that this is what I need to do. I don’t think anyone who isn’t primarily destined to be a pokémon trainer should go on a journey. If people are destined to be something else—a carpenter or a nurse or a gardener—then I think they should do that. Traveling is fine, but to make pokémon training your sole goal when it’s not your calling seems absurd. So much potential goes to waste that way. The world loses something great every time someone chooses to be a pokémon trainer over something else. A person who is destined to be a pokémon trainer is flexible, intelligent, dedicated, and strong mentally and physically. I’d like to think I am all of the above… but what if I’m wrong? Seventy percent of new trainers never make it to the pokémon league. Ninety percent of pokémon trainers never collect more than seven badges. My goal is not the pokémon league or to collect all the badges, but I am still going to be a pokémon trainer in the sense that I will raise my pokémon the best that I can and show them the world. I don’t want to be one of those trainers that makes it halfway and then turns around. What about you? Were you ever a pokémon trainer? Why don’t you tell me about your pokémon? Sometimes I get tired of talking about myself. I need some encouragement, I guess. Help me out?

    Sincerely,
    Haley

    xxx

    May 17

    To Haley,

    If you still wish to talk to me, then there’s nothing I will do to try to convince you otherwise, and I will stick to my word when I say I will write you back. I too have been to Anistar City, many years ago. Maybe I was one of those people you saw and stared at as a baby. Who knew that our lives could change to such a degree? It seems odd to think about, and I try not to dwell on it too much. And, as per your request, I will not lose your letters. We will discuss your second request, the one about meeting me, when the time comes. Part of me believes you will eventually choose to steer away from Laverre City. Your notions on pokémon training, however, seem strong, and I don’t doubt that you will journey to your heart’s content.

    As for other things, you want to know about my own pokémon, you say? The mistake there is that you assume that pokémon are a big part of my life! Well, you’ll probably ask yourself, “Doesn’t everyone’s life revolve around pokémon in some way or another?” And I’ll tell you that’s true so that you don’t have to wait for my answer in another letter. My life indeed revolved around pokémon once upon a time. As I said, I was a drug addict once, and that was when I was interested in pokémon—not the pokémon themselves, anyway, but what the pokémon could offer me. I guess I can explain.

    I’m sure you’ve heard about Professor Sycamore. If you haven’t, don’t bother starting your journey just yet. I mean it. That means you should also have heard about the three mainstream starters: fennekin (the fire-type), froakie (the water-type) and chespin (the grass-type). Oh, how my heart glowed incessantly the night before I got to choose my first pokémon. It lit up the whole sky, but I doubt you were alive to see it. It might as well have been a phenomenon as rare as Halley’s Comet. I was rolling and rolling around in my head, I couldn’t stop thinking, “Which one would I choose?” Such is the biggest concern of a nine-year-old on the eve of his birthday. They all had such strength , such beauty, so much so that my brain couldn’t comprehend only having to pick one.
    I’ll stop here to point this out: my parents, unlike yours, didn’t mind if I went on a journey that young. In fact, they told me stories and tales, as if they were trying to encourage me. I would tell you these stories, but I have moved on from them and, considering your age, I am sure you have, too. Anyway, thinking I was superior, I took advantage of their carelessness while I could.

    When I walked into Professor Sycamore’s lab, I still hadn’t made my decision. I blatantly asked him, “Can’t I just have them all?” I was the only child picking that day, after all. How lucky for me, to be the only one in Lumiose City with a birthday on July 10, and to have it during a time where school wasn’t in session. Of course, Professor Sycamore said no, he needed the other two for two other trainers. He might have been expecting me to whine, but instead I asked how much time I had until the next trainer’s birthday. I had one week.

    I won’t bore you with details. Details are unnecessary, mind-boggling facts that drown the main points you need to know. I ended up with all three starters. Did I steal them? Did I threaten Professor Sycamore? I’d like to tell you, but the obvious difference between dreams and reality doesn’t exist for me. For all I know, what I have told you thus far could be entirely untrue. I only told you what every trainer goes through, and assumed I was the same. I hope you felt that that part of the story related to you in some way, though the story of your first pokémon was a bit unordinary.

    Have I gotten off track here? But I must tell you that those three starters… Well, how happy they were to not be separated! They grew together, learned together, and they taught me many things. I don’t remember the police coming after us, which makes me think Professor Sycamore was scared to death to report me. It is of no concern to me now. What I noticed most was this: while the pokémon were extremely close to each other, they were disconnected from me. I had them for about four years and I never learned to understand their language. They did not talk to me unless I spoke to them first. There’s been research done about this, research about how a pokémon feels like an alien amongst his own trainer because his trainer doesn’t consider his or her special needs. I remember the fennekin being a bit of a nervous wreck. It probably needed help, but what did I know? And the froakie was prone to injury in battle, but I never had supplies on hand. The chespin was the most peculiar of them all, and I will get into that in a minute. They must have felt like they didn’t belong anywhere. They had to accommodate themselves to my kind of life, the kind of life that forces you to survive on your own without the help of others. It should come as no surprise to you that when a young pokémon’s needs are not met, it results in a lack of development physically, mentally, and socially. Perhaps this is why they died so early, but there may have been other factors, too.

    Do you believe in demonology? I’ve jumped the gun again. Do you know what demonology is? Those who believe in demonology are under the impression that everything that happens in life is controlled by a spirit. If we go by this definition, then it makes sense that any criminal who commits a crime is being controlled by a spirit at the time of the crime, and therefore can plead insanity and have this explanation be accepted—unless, of course, the judge wishes to go against his own beliefs. I’d like to believe in this demonology. I’d like to believe that my parents didn’t care not by their own free will, but because something was preventing them from doing so. I’d like to believe I was a bad trainer because I wasn’t meant to be, and I’d like to think that what happened to my three starters wasn’t my fault.

    I didn’t think it was my fault for a long time. It took long enough just for to realize they were gone. One day a sudden gap in my heart appeared when I threw a pokéball out on the battlefield and realized how the creature that popped out wasn’t moving. The other trainer shrieked and fled away on his gogoat as fast as he could. Decayed and immediately attracting bugs, I wondered how long ago this had happened, and how. I fell on my back and fell asleep, unable to process what had just occurred.
    The chespin’s death hit me the most. As I said, he was a peculiar one. This pokémon had a tendency to ram into anything it was angry at. Sometimes he bashed his head on trees, sometimes onto buildings, sometimes he spilled his food just to have an excuse to trample on it. Mostly, though, he had a knack for targeting the front of my knee and causing it to dislocate. I couldn’t believe it every time it happened, and I was never prepared for it. I was only in pain for a split second, after all, before my knee socket popped right back into place. It was never a hospital matter. At any rate, the chespin seemed to be telling me something, but I could never figure out what, I only sent him out in more battles so he could use his anger in a more productive setting. It never worked. Once, he even hit me in the head, and I felt so disoriented that I thought the chespin had grown to human size, and that he suddenly possessed a human voice that was telling me, “I’ve known you in the past.” It seemed to be a reminder to recollect all of my past lives as a human alone, and all the chespin’s past lives, some of them portraying him as a human and others as a pokémon of varying types. It seemed that I had met him in each life, and that during each encounter he tried very hard to ruin me in some way or another. I never quite placed his story. When I had come to, he was just a normal creature with a crazy grin on his face.

    I didn’t have another pokémon for a long time. I stayed in Laverre City, living on the streets and digging in the garbage for food. One day someone came up to me and blatantly offered drugs. I had been given offers from prostitutes and the police before, but this sounded vaguely appealing. They explained to me that drugs could make the pain go away. Drugs could take you into another world. How could I say no? And now that I think about it, perhaps this is where my exaggeration comes from. Rather than from my parents, maybe the drugs messed up the inner workings of my mind so much that I cannot remember anything except what I want to believe is real.

    Similar to how it costs money to go on a journey, I needed money to get drugs. The man who offered me drugs the first time was just looking for a buddy to share with. I don’t remember the details of what happened, but it was appealing enough for me to continue. Still, I needed money. This is when I got back into pokémon. I traveled back to Lumiose City without any pokéballs. I didn’t catch pokémon, per se. I called it “charming” pokémon. I did lots of things to charm them. I pretended to be hurt so that whatever pokémon came to help me grew attached to me instantly. I offered human food to any pokémon that was interested. I told sad stories of my life, knowing they could understand me by the tears in their eyes and the cuddling sessions that followed. Once, I even came across a family that was living in the swamps. It was nearing winter and they wanted enough meat to last them a while so they wouldn’t have to travel in the harsh rain. I offered to help. I befriended a manectric and asked him to fight a bouffalant to the death. He was as loyal as a pokémon could be. When I brought the bouffalant back to the family, they claimed it was too thin and there would never be enough meat for the whole family. “How could you do this to us? You promised us lots of meat,” they said. But I could see through their charade. To complain was their way of trying to be humble and their way of accepting gifts. They bought the bouffalant from me anyway and then offered even more for the manectric, who could hunt for them. I agreed.

    After the three starters, there was only one pokémon I kept. I found him in a dark alleyway in Lumiose City, shortly after he was born. This pokémon intrigued me immensely because of both its worth and its potential personality. He was a zorua. I even went to the trouble to name him, unlike my three starters. His name was Enmity, and, given the stereotypes that surround his species, I was expecting him to live up to that name. Oh, the mischief we could get into! Oh, the amount of money he could earn me with all the tricks up his sleeve! I even used a master ball I had bought off of the black market in case I ran into such a gold mine. Unfortunately, Enmity wasn’t like a normal zorua. He wasn’t hostile toward humans nor did he wish to cause them any harm or ruckus. He was quiet and shy, always wanting to hide behind a tree or behind my legs when anyone walked by. And you must understand another thing: Enmity was a mute. I never heard him speak a word. I never heard even the smallest of grunts. I wanted to release him, but I didn’t want to waste the master ball I had bought. Instead, after I had developed somewhat of a relationship with him, I taught him to do tricks. I thought people would want to see a very rare pokémon perform for them on the streets, and I thought I could put a bucket out in front of us for anyone who wanted to donate money. He didn’t bring in enough for the drugs, but it was better than nothing. Oh, and, before you ask—I have no idea where he is now. He was with me when I was arrested, and I haven’t seen him since.

    Hmm. I’ve seen the sun three times since I’ve started writing this letter. I think that makes it Wednesday. That’s a long time to be writing, but I had to think long and hard about what happened. I could write one letter per day, one for every pokémon I sold, but then you would probably start to think I forgot about you.

    Sincerely,
    Mark
    Last edited by diamondpearl876; 3rd November 2013 at 6:09 PM.

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


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


    | love and other nightmares |
    | limited time, limited abilities. kyurem says she can be cured in exchange for saving those who need saving. |
    | chapter 1 released |


  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by diamondpearl876 View Post
    Anyway, it has been about 2 weeks, so here we go. First I'd like to state thank you to The Great Butler for letting me use a specific statistic in his fic. I would recommend this fic to anyone who's interested in Team Rocket, Ghetsis, or a journey fic.
    Wow, that was very generous of you. ^^

    LETTERS 3 AND 4

    May 13

    To Markus,

    I don’t think your name makes you sound old, so I’m going to call you Markus from now on. In fact, I think it makes you sound wise, and, let me tell you this—I need someone wise in my life.
    I think this opening line really speaks volumes about Haley, particularly with how readily she discards Markus's wishes in favor of her own regarding his name. Her reasoning makes sense, but it's still disrespectful to a degree, and makes me think she's got a real disobedient streak.

    And yes, I am still interested in talking to you. Telling the truth is the same as being honest to me. Even if you leave out certain facts, I can still form my own opinion based off of what you tell me. As long as I can do that, I am okay with you choosing what I should know. Again, Markus, you sound intelligent, and I bet I can learn a lot from you. I can’t tell you how excited I am. Words can only say so much, but you do well with them, and so I must say thank you for telling me about cultures. It gave me a new perspective. I will tell you about my hometown in a minute, but I wanted to say first that I’m more than interested in all the stories you have to tell. I think I implied that earlier. What can I say? I have been kept up at night with thoughts of starting my journey. I don’t do well with lack of sleep. I just want to get started. I’ve figured out my plan of action, though, which I will tell you about.
    First off, I want to say, this dialogue already sounds much more natural. Excellent improvement!

    Personally, I see what might be an intriguing little contradiction here. She says that she can form her own opinions based on what Markus tells her, but then she mentions already having a 'new perspective' due to his comments about cultures. I might be reading the intent of that set of lines wrong, but even if I am, the amount of character development present in every paragraph is just staggering. I think the letter format actually serves to make that even better.

    I am from Anistar City. Have you ever heard of it? It’s closer to the mountain areas in Kalos, and the cities you mentioned being in are more central. It’s a quaint city with blue glass ceilings on all the buildings. Every time I look up in my house it looks like the sky is as dark as ever, yet the windows on the side bring in enough light to keep you sane. Even when my shades are down I know there is sun because the plants on the roof of our buildings grow stronger and brighter with every passing day. Why people put plants on their roofs, I’m not sure, but it must have something to do with the blue glass ceilings. I’d tell you about my neighbors, but I don’t think they’d appreciate me telling stories about them. We have a pokémon center here, just like in every place, and we have a gym. Not all places have a gym, right? Anyway, our gym leader, Olympia, is a psychic-type trainer, and her gym layout is a bit odd. She uses her psychic powers constantly in order to give people a view of what she believes is outer space. I’ve been in there a few times, just for a tour. I’ll be there soon, as I’d like to officially face her in order to have a good memory of the city before I leave, and I already know I’ll be feeling a bit woozy over how endlessly vast and outlandish the whole place seems.
    Anistar City? Interesting choice.

    Not much to comment on here, but there are a few instances of foreshadowing I'm intrigued by. One is her neighbors, who I wonder if you are not withholding details of for a reason. The other is the mention of Olympia, but that's a lot more straightforward. I bet we'll indeed be seeing Haley facing her soon enough.

    I think, though, that Olympia chose outer space as her inspiration because of the one thing Anistar City is famous for: its giant sundial. On the west side of the city, there are docks overlooking the sea so that people may come to look at and pray for the sundial. In case you were wondering, I’ve seen the sundial many times. My parents may not let me travel to other cities, but they let me relish in what is here. The sundial has the appearance of an enormous pink and yellow jewel. To me, it also looks like a pokéball with spikes on the side, but no one believes me when I tell them this. In front of the sundial lies a circle of plants and a golden rock in the middle. It’s our own, human-made sort of clock, though we know it can’t compare. I sit on the golden rock and ponder. The clock ticks and I wonder where all the time goes. What happens to the rest of the world when I’m dreaming? Where do all the unsaid “I love you”s go, the ones I know I should say but don’t? Do I enter an alternate world where I put the images in my head to use, and communicate with gestures alone rather than with all forms of pragmatics? I’d like to fix myself, but I can’t fix myself if I don’t know what is missing from my life. I would like to dream of my journey and my future, and I would like to tell my family and friends that I love them, but the point seems mute when no one will remember what I have to say when I’m gone. I like writing to you also because my letters are objects that remain as proof as to what has happened to me. I hope you don’t burn them or lose them. Keep them somewhere safe. I’m counting on you.
    I wondered how long it would be before the Anistar Sundial got brought up. That thing has so many potential uses in fics... Pray for the sundial or at it, though?

    That comment about it looking like a Poke Ball makes me think, too. There could be something to that...

    I'm really zeroing in on the "I'd like to fix myself" part. That could easily just refer to her displeasure at her situation at home, but knowing you especially, it might not be that simple. If my hunch is right, I wonder what exactly it refers to, because I'd be lying if I said I didn't think of Sai a little here.

    One correction: it's "the point seems moot", not "mute."

    As for my plan… Well, I obviously plan on leaving Anistar City. There’s nothing wrong with my city in particular. In fact, I love it very much. I just feel that, with all the cities in Kalos, there is a better one for me. I hope to love all the cities so much that I can’t possibly choose where to live. First I’m going to go west to Dendemille Town, and then even further west to Lumiose City. It wouldn’t be a real journey without visiting the largest city in the world, would it? And then I’ll branch out from all directions to visit Santalune, Laverre, and a few other places. Maybe I’ll branch out further, but for now, this is all I’ve got. I don’t mean to sound like an odd person, but I know that the prison you’re in is in Laverre City. When I finally get there, whenever that may be, would you mind if I visited you? Letters are great, but it’s an entirely different story to meet face-to-face. It’s okay if you say no, and if you do say no, I might just not visit the city at all. Please let me know.

    To travel, I’ll need a lot of money. I hope to train Seybs and Ribbons to be strong so that we can fight trainers and earn money along the way. Without them, I don’t think I’d be going anywhere. If you haven’t noticed, I’m going to be a flying-type trainer. There’s something interesting about birds that makes me want to keep them. The way they travel in flocks shows formality, teamwork and a type of healthy dependency that I could only hope to reach. And to be able to fly anywhere in the world with the ability to overcome any obstacle with a mere flap of the wings—of course, this sounds appealing to me! And the way they sing is beautiful. Seybs doesn’t sing much, but Ribbons does sometimes. It sounds like a beautiful song that tells about a kind of love that does not really mean love in the sense that we know it, but love in a way that says finding someone special means finding home at the same time.
    Possibility for Sky Battles, perhaps? It ought to be interesting to see a fic tackle those.

    I think her fondness for Flying-types could also be a helpful metaphor for her dreams/reaching for the skies and such, too.

    The only downfall to having flying-type pokémon is that cities aren’t very friendly to them. There are hunters out there, and I’ll never let my pokémon stray too far from me for this reason. Also, cities are so tall that birds have to use a great amount of energy just to fly above them. Usually, they don’t use enough energy and instead get confused and crash into windows. They also fly around buildings, around and around, exhausting their senses, until they are weary in mind and body. In a sense, a city is the worst place to be. My pokémon will be most happy in between cities. I have some plans to keep them at bay and to keep them satisfied at all times, but I’ll see how they do on their own to begin with. Pokéballs may or may not be part of this.
    Oh, that's a curious detail to add that I wouldn't have thought of. I just really like all the details you're putting into this.

    One thing, though, I'd clarify that the buildings in the city are tall, not the city itself. It's really the same thing, but I think saying "the buildings in the city are so tall..." paints the picture more clearly.

    Oh, have you ever wondered just how many pokéballs are used in a single day? Imagine all the pokémon that are already caught and tamed, and imagine all the times a trainer releases them: to eat, to battle, to bathe, to play, to train, and then a pokéball is again used when it is time to sleep. This doesn’t even count the pokéballs that are used to catch wild pokémon! Broken pokéballs and successful pokéballs should all be taken into account. It’s a crazy thought, but not as crazy as the sundial. I just think of strange things sometimes. People call me naďve and young. I am young, and maybe I’m naďve, but that’s not something a person calls themselves. I prefer to call myself curious. Naturally, my parents disagree, and they’re still against me leaving. They know they can’t stop me, but they try.
    I like that she seems to have wandered off on a tangent and gotten excited; it feels natural for her character. I bet that this point about Poke Balls is something worth remembering, too.

    That last line about being young and naive, everything past that, is very distinctive, too.

    I know that this is what I need to do. I don’t think anyone who isn’t primarily destined to be a pokémon trainer should go on a journey. If people are destined to be something else—a carpenter or a nurse or a gardener—then I think they should do that. Traveling is fine, but to make pokémon training your sole goal when it’s not your calling seems absurd. So much potential goes to waste that way. The world loses something great every time someone chooses to be a pokémon trainer over something else. A person who is destined to be a pokémon trainer is flexible, intelligent, dedicated, and strong mentally and physically. I’d like to think I am all of the above… but what if I’m wrong? Seventy percent of new trainers never make it to the pokémon league. Ninety percent of pokémon trainers never collect more than seven badges. My goal is not the pokémon league or to collect all the badges, but I am still going to be a pokémon trainer in the sense that I will raise my pokémon the best that I can and show them the world. I don’t want to be one of those trainers that makes it halfway and then turns around. What about you? Were you ever a pokémon trainer? Why don’t you tell me about your pokémon? Sometimes I get tired of talking about myself. I need some encouragement, I guess. Help me out?
    I'm detecting something in her thoughts about destiny that, if true, ought to be truly fascinating when they develop later in the story. I'm thinking specifically of a certain character from the games who states similar beliefs quite early on. If I'm right, this could lead to some amazing places.

    And thanks for using my statistics. The fact you're inserting them in Kalos is great, too, you know...

    May 17

    To Haley,

    If you still wish to talk to me, then there’s nothing I will do to try to convince you otherwise, and I will stick to my word when I say I will write you back. I too have been to Anistar City, many years ago. Maybe I was one of those people you saw and stared at as a baby. Who knew that our lives could change to such a degree? It seems odd to think about, and I try not to dwell on it too much. And, as per your request, I will not lose your letters. We will discuss your second request, the one about meeting me, when the time comes. Part of me believes you will eventually choose to steer away from Laverre City. Your notions on pokémon training, however, seem strong, and I don’t doubt that you will journey to your heart’s content.
    I had been thinking to ask if he had gone to Anistar City before, but I see I've got my answer. I wonder if they did meet when she was small, though?

    It intrigues me that he would sort-of warn her away from Laverre, though. The reasoning for that doesn't seem too clear yet.

    As for other things, you want to know about my own pokémon, you say? The mistake there is that you assume that pokémon are a big part of my life! Well, you’ll probably ask yourself, “Doesn’t everyone’s life revolve around pokémon in some way or another?” And I’ll tell you that’s true so that you don’t have to wait for my answer in another letter. My life indeed revolved around pokémon once upon a time. As I said, I was a drug addict once, and that was when I was interested in pokémon—not the pokémon themselves, anyway, but what the pokémon could offer me. I guess I can explain.
    That actually raises a good question that isn't explored often in fics; the people whose lives don't revolve around Pokemon, and the prevailing attitude that most people's lives do.

    I’m sure you’ve heard about Professor Sycamore. If you haven’t, don’t bother starting your journey just yet. I mean it. That means you should also have heard about the three mainstream starters: fennekin (the fire-type), froakie (the water-type) and chespin (the grass-type). Oh, how my heart glowed incessantly the night before I got to choose my first pokémon. It lit up the whole sky, but I doubt you were alive to see it. It might as well have been a phenomenon as rare as Halley’s Comet. I was rolling and rolling around in my head, I couldn’t stop thinking, “Which one would I choose?” Such is the biggest concern of a nine-year-old on the eve of his birthday. They all had such strength , such beauty, so much so that my brain couldn’t comprehend only having to pick one.
    Imagining Markus as an innocent, cheerful nine year old is putting a smile on my face.

    I know that won't last, but hey.

    I’ll stop here to point this out: my parents, unlike yours, didn’t mind if I went on a journey that young. In fact, they told me stories and tales, as if they were trying to encourage me. I would tell you these stories, but I have moved on from them and, considering your age, I am sure you have, too. Anyway, thinking I was superior, I took advantage of their carelessness while I could.

    When I walked into Professor Sycamore’s lab, I still hadn’t made my decision. I blatantly asked him, “Can’t I just have them all?” I was the only child picking that day, after all. How lucky for me, to be the only one in Lumiose City with a birthday on July 10, and to have it during a time where school wasn’t in session. Of course, Professor Sycamore said no, he needed the other two for two other trainers. He might have been expecting me to whine, but instead I asked how much time I had until the next trainer’s birthday. I had one week.

    I won’t bore you with details. Details are unnecessary, mind-boggling facts that drown the main points you need to know. I ended up with all three starters. Did I steal them? Did I threaten Professor Sycamore? I’d like to tell you, but the obvious difference between dreams and reality doesn’t exist for me. For all I know, what I have told you thus far could be entirely untrue. I only told you what every trainer goes through, and assumed I was the same. I hope you felt that that part of the story related to you in some way, though the story of your first pokémon was a bit unordinary.
    I kind of wonder why he is avoiding describing how he got all three starters. It feels obvious that he didn't do it through entirely honest means.

    Have I gotten off track here? But I must tell you that those three starters… Well, how happy they were to not be separated! They grew together, learned together, and they taught me many things. I don’t remember the police coming after us, which makes me think Professor Sycamore was scared to death to report me. It is of no concern to me now. What I noticed most was this: while the pokémon were extremely close to each other, they were disconnected from me. I had them for about four years and I never learned to understand their language. They did not talk to me unless I spoke to them first. There’s been research done about this, research about how a pokémon feels like an alien amongst his own trainer because his trainer doesn’t consider his or her special needs. I remember the fennekin being a bit of a nervous wreck. It probably needed help, but what did I know? And the froakie was prone to injury in battle, but I never had supplies on hand. The chespin was the most peculiar of them all, and I will get into that in a minute. They must have felt like they didn’t belong anywhere. They had to accommodate themselves to my kind of life, the kind of life that forces you to survive on your own without the help of others. It should come as no surprise to you that when a young pokémon’s needs are not met, it results in a lack of development physically, mentally, and socially. Perhaps this is why they died so early, but there may have been other factors, too.
    I like that you're delving into the psychology of the Pokemon; it's something that's seen far too rarely.

    Do you believe in demonology? I’ve jumped the gun again. Do you know what demonology is? Those who believe in demonology are under the impression that everything that happens in life is controlled by a spirit. If we go by this definition, then it makes sense that any criminal who commits a crime is being controlled by a spirit at the time of the crime, and therefore can plead insanity and have this explanation be accepted—unless, of course, the judge wishes to go against his own beliefs. I’d like to believe in this demonology. I’d like to believe that my parents didn’t care not by their own free will, but because something was preventing them from doing so. I’d like to believe I was a bad trainer because I wasn’t meant to be, and I’d like to think that what happened to my three starters wasn’t my fault.
    I think I like where this is going...

    I didn’t think it was my fault for a long time. It took long enough just for to realize they were gone. One day a sudden gap in my heart appeared when I threw a pokéball out on the battlefield and realized how the creature that popped out wasn’t moving. The other trainer shrieked and fled away on his gogoat as fast as he could. Decayed and immediately attracting bugs, I wondered how long ago this had happened, and how. I fell on my back and fell asleep, unable to process what had just occurred.
    The chespin’s death hit me the most. As I said, he was a peculiar one. This pokémon had a tendency to ram into anything it was angry at. Sometimes he bashed his head on trees, sometimes onto buildings, sometimes he spilled his food just to have an excuse to trample on it. Mostly, though, he had a knack for targeting the front of my knee and causing it to dislocate. I couldn’t believe it every time it happened, and I was never prepared for it. I was only in pain for a split second, after all, before my knee socket popped right back into place. It was never a hospital matter. At any rate, the chespin seemed to be telling me something, but I could never figure out what, I only sent him out in more battles so he could use his anger in a more productive setting. It never worked. Once, he even hit me in the head, and I felt so disoriented that I thought the chespin had grown to human size, and that he suddenly possessed a human voice that was telling me, “I’ve known you in the past.” It seemed to be a reminder to recollect all of my past lives as a human alone, and all the chespin’s past lives, some of them portraying him as a human and others as a pokémon of varying types. It seemed that I had met him in each life, and that during each encounter he tried very hard to ruin me in some way or another. I never quite placed his story. When I had come to, he was just a normal creature with a crazy grin on his face.
    Curious; could you explain a little more about the Chespin, or is that something that you can't elaborate on right now? Seems there's more going on here than meets the eye, especially with his past lives being brought into the conversation.

    Great use of rather horrifying imagery with the dead Chespin in the ball, too.

    I didn’t have another pokémon for a long time. I stayed in Laverre City, living on the streets and digging in the garbage for food. One day someone came up to me and blatantly offered drugs. I had been given offers from prostitutes and the police before, but this sounded vaguely appealing. They explained to me that drugs could make the pain go away. Drugs could take you into another world. How could I say no? And now that I think about it, perhaps this is where my exaggeration comes from. Rather than from my parents, maybe the drugs messed up the inner workings of my mind so much that I cannot remember anything except what I want to believe is real.
    That actually makes a lot of sense. I can absolutely believe this as an explanation for why he fell into drugs.

    Similar to how it costs money to go on a journey, I needed money to get drugs. The man who offered me drugs the first time was just looking for a buddy to share with. I don’t remember the details of what happened, but it was appealing enough for me to continue. Still, I needed money. This is when I got back into pokémon. I traveled back to Lumiose City without any pokéballs. I didn’t catch pokémon, per se. I called it “charming” pokémon. I did lots of things to charm them. I pretended to be hurt so that whatever pokémon came to help me grew attached to me instantly. I offered human food to any pokémon that was interested. I told sad stories of my life, knowing they could understand me by the tears in their eyes and the cuddling sessions that followed. Once, I even came across a family that was living in the swamps. It was nearing winter and they wanted enough meat to last them a while so they wouldn’t have to travel in the harsh rain. I offered to help. I befriended a manectric and asked him to fight a bouffalant to the death. He was as loyal as a pokémon could be. When I brought the bouffalant back to the family, they claimed it was too thin and there would never be enough meat for the whole family. “How could you do this to us? You promised us lots of meat,” they said. But I could see through their charade. To complain was their way of trying to be humble and their way of accepting gifts. They bought the bouffalant from me anyway and then offered even more for the manectric, who could hunt for them. I agreed.
    Wow, that's... rough. It was actually a little difficult to read because of how desperate his situation was. Yet, it's entirely believable. You're keeping an excellent balance of realism here.

    After the three starters, there was only one pokémon I kept. I found him in a dark alleyway in Lumiose City, shortly after he was born. This pokémon intrigued me immensely because of both its worth and its potential personality. He was a zorua. I even went to the trouble to name him, unlike my three starters. His name was Enmity, and, given the stereotypes that surround his species, I was expecting him to live up to that name. Oh, the mischief we could get into! Oh, the amount of money he could earn me with all the tricks up his sleeve! I even used a master ball I had bought off of the black market in case I ran into such a gold mine. Unfortunately, Enmity wasn’t like a normal zorua. He wasn’t hostile toward humans nor did he wish to cause them any harm or ruckus. He was quiet and shy, always wanting to hide behind a tree or behind my legs when anyone walked by. And you must understand another thing: Enmity was a mute. I never heard him speak a word. I never heard even the smallest of grunts. I wanted to release him, but I didn’t want to waste the master ball I had bought. Instead, after I had developed somewhat of a relationship with him, I taught him to do tricks. I thought people would want to see a very rare pokémon perform for them on the streets, and I thought I could put a bucket out in front of us for anyone who wanted to donate money. He didn’t bring in enough for the drugs, but it was better than nothing. Oh, and, before you ask—I have no idea where he is now. He was with me when I was arrested, and I haven’t seen him since.
    I thinkI like every single thing in this paragraph. Markus's opportunistic attitude is one thing, but the amount of personality given to a Pokemon that has existed for all of one paragraph is impressive. I just love Enmity and I hope we get to see more of him. A shy, mute Pokemon, especially when that Pokemon is a Zorua, could be something that's really very enjoyable to read. Given that his fate was left open, perhaps he will return. There are a few opportunities I can think of for it to happen.

    Great chapter overall! The conversation felt much more natural than it did in the first chapter, and the story covered was all quite interesting, too. I'm much more invested in the characters now.

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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by diamondpearl876 View Post
    Even if you leave out certain facts, I can still form my own opinion based off of what you tell me. As long as I can do that, I am okay with you choosing what I should know.

    For some reason I really love this. "Let me make the judgment of your character." It's something I think we all wish other people would do, it gives a second chance of sorts as opposed to just instantly viewing him as a bad person.

    What happens to the rest of the world when I’m dreaming? Where do all the unsaid “I love you”s go, the ones I know I should say but don’t? Do I enter an alternate world where I put the images in my head to use, and communicate with gestures alone rather than with all forms of pragmatics?

    What a profound thought. It really made me vividly examine the condition of dreaming. Quite powerful.

    would you mind if I visited you?

    Wouldn't THAT be interesting.

    The way they travel in flocks shows formality, teamwork and a type of healthy dependency that I could only hope to reach. And to be able to fly anywhere in the world with the ability to overcome any obstacle with a mere flap of the wings—of course, this sounds appealing to me! And the way they sing is beautiful. Seybs doesn’t sing much, but Ribbons does sometimes. It sounds like a beautiful song that tells about a kind of love that does not really mean love in the sense that we know it, but love in a way that says finding someone special means finding home at the same time.

    I love this very specific and rational reasoning behind loving flying Pokemon.

    The only downfall to having flying-type pokémon is that cities aren’t very friendly to them. There are hunters out there, and I’ll never let my pokémon stray too far from me for this reason.

    Ooph, sounds like Pokemon can be hunted and killed as prey in this world? That's rough.

    Oh, have you ever wondered just how many pokéballs are used in a single day? Imagine all the pokémon that are already caught and tamed, and imagine all the times a trainer releases them: to eat, to battle, to bathe, to play, to train, and then a pokéball is again used when it is time to sleep. This doesn’t even count the pokéballs that are used to catch wild pokémon! Broken pokéballs and successful pokéballs should all be taken into account. It’s a crazy thought, but not as crazy as the sundial. I just think of strange things sometimes.

    I like that this is a thought someone from Kalos has; was this inspired by the trip you take to the Poke Ball factory in X and Y?

    I know that this is what I need to do. I don’t think anyone who isn’t primarily destined to be a pokémon trainer should go on a journey. If people are destined to be something else—a carpenter or a nurse or a gardener—then I think they should do that.

    I connect to this very personally, as this is the exact advice given to people like me who major in theatre. Major points for connectivity

    What about you? Were you ever a pokémon trainer? Why don’t you tell me about your pokémon?

    Hmm...no comment yet because I haven't read letter four, but I'm curious too...

    Maybe I was one of those people you saw and stared at as a baby. Who knew that our lives could change to such a degree?

    Yes, this is a great point. I love that idea that our lives can intersect before we are ever even conscious of the other's being.

    I’m sure you’ve heard about Professor Sycamore. If you haven’t, don’t bother starting your journey just yet.

    Ahaha I like this. Snarky.

    I ended up with all three starters. Did I steal them? Did I threaten Professor Sycamore? I’d like to tell you, but the obvious difference between dreams and reality doesn’t exist for me. For all I know, what I have told you thus far could be entirely untrue.

    Hmm, an interesting point that can only be revealed by somebody who constantly lives in a world where those lines are blurred!

    which makes me think Professor Sycamore was scared to death to report me.

    Why's this?

    Perhaps this is why they died so early,

    Hwaaat? I really like the idea that not all trainers can fulfill their Pokemon's needs, physically and emotionally.

    Decayed and immediately attracting bugs, I wondered how long ago this had happened, and how.

    Holy crap, that's intense.

    I fell on my back and fell asleep, unable to process what had just occurred.

    Bit of an odd reaction to a dead Pokemon...

    I befriended a manectric and asked him to fight a bouffalant to the death.

    Hmm, so people eat Pokemon in this world, and Pokemon can die in battle. Interesting.

    And you must understand another thing: Enmity was a mute. I never heard him speak a word. I never heard even the smallest of grunts.

    Ooh, I like this detail.
    I'd be so interested to see what would happen if these two were indeed to meet!

    Good chapters, looking forward to the next.
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  20. #20
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    Alright. Let's review!

    First off, I am enjoying Haley's personality. Despite what was said to her in Markus's letter to her, she still remains optimistic for her journey and the prospect of finding out more about this prisoner. There isn't that much here to discuss or talk about. Haley basically reveals a small bit of her past and more of how she is reacting to her parents' will for her future. That's not to say it's not interesting to read. I am still quite eager to see how her journey shapes out from her beginnings, but I personally find that Markus's letter in reply to be where the meat of this chapter lies.

    But, before I move on to him, I do like how Haley is going through with her journey. She's being mature about it and making an outline to follow of sorts. I am also intrigued at how she will start her journey, as she's in Allistar and not in any of the "beginner" parts of Kalos. I assume the easiest way around this is to have the Gym Leaders have teams to fit their challengers, meaning that the Allistar Gym, which normally would be quite strong, would have a beginning team for starting trainers in that area of the region. At least, that's what I'm assuming is the case.

    I do enjoy how Haley's letter suddenly lapses into a personal story about how she feels about her city and other random topics. I admit, I too have wondered just how many PokeBalls are used in one day, especially if you consider all the trainers there are in the world (including all of us "trainers" in the real world as well). It's a intriguing question, and one that reveals a a bit about her character. She and others call her young for thinking these thoughts, but, while they might be a little child-like, they are very philosophical when you give them serious thought. Haley is possible more mature than some of the adults around her, if she wants to be. I'd like to see more of this develop from her, and it adds some serious complexity to her initial character that represented innocence to some degree. Perhaps she really is ready to start this journey.

    Now, Markus. It's one subtle (or pointedly direct) revelation after another for you, isn't it? If you hadn't built him up to be such an anti-hero of sorts, this letter would have definitely marked him as one. The story with his previous Pokemon was one that I cringed at reading, especially since my own journey through Kalos is still so fresh on my mind. It's giving fresh memories fresh wounds. But, regardless of how it effected me, I do have to applaud how you add some really nice depth to his character by explaining this event from his childhood that started his road to addiction and eventually arrest.

    His story of the three starter Pokemon was chilling to read, especially as he described when and how they died while under his "care". I do feel bad and try to sympathize, but some part of me says that's just how karma works. The story hardly resolves any of my previous questions about his character and it only increases my intrigue (looks to the portion of hist story about the Chespin talking to him). There's something within those lines of text that doesn't sit well with me, nor would it with any trained psychologist.

    Anyways, I do like how you make his "journey" unique and only to fulfill his addiction. I do find it kind of odd and rather unbelievable that he was able to befriend any Pokemon that he wanted to. Even with tears, and food, I find it extremely far-fetched that able to do what he did so easily. Sure he might have lots of ways of winning over them, but I just don't believe it. For now though, I'll accept what he says as fact and continue. His acquisition of Enmity was another thing that struck me as odd. Not that he caught a Pokemon and it basically backfired on him. No, I'm rather intrigued about the Master Ball you say he bought off the black market. You just drop that fact in suddenly and with no explanation. Why did he feel the need to have such a powerful ball? Didn't most of his money go towards drugs and basic supplies? How on earth could he have afforded this, even if it is cheaper on the black market? This is something that I believe even less than the befriending Pokemon via tears. There doesn't seem to be any logic in why he did that, which I suppose, could be grounds for an explanation, but still. If he was concerned about catching a Pokemon at some point, the logical choice would be to buy a few Ultra Balls and stick with them as they're certainly much cheaper to get than a Master Ball, and work well most of the time.

    Those were just a few things that bothered me about his letter. Other than the things I mentioned, I really did enjoy his viewpoint. There's a certain nature about it that makes it one of the most unique points of view I've read in recent times. This and Haley's portion compliment each other nicely. As always, I await the next pair of letters of their exchange.

    Knightfall signing off... ;005

  21. #21
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    Okay, time for the review that I promised.

    Quote Originally Posted by diamondpearl876 View Post

    LETTERS 3 AND 4

    May 13

    To Markus,

    I don’t think your name makes you sound old, so I’m going to call you Markus from now on. In fact, I think it makes you sound wise, and, let me tell you this—I need someone wise in my life. And yes, I am still interested in talking to you. Telling the truth is the same as being honest to me. Even if you leave out certain facts, I can still form my own opinion based off of what you tell me. As long as I can do that, I am okay with you choosing what I should know. Again, Markus, you sound intelligent, and I bet I can learn a lot from you. I can’t tell you how excited I am. Words can only say so much, but you do well with them, and so I must say thank you for telling me about cultures. It gave me a new perspective. I will tell you about my hometown in a minute, but I wanted to say first that I’m more than interested in all the stories you have to tell. I think I implied that earlier. What can I say? I have been kept up at night with thoughts of starting my journey. I don’t do well with lack of sleep. I just want to get started. I’ve figured out my plan of action, though, which I will tell you about.
    Hmm...Haley sounds very naive and has a touch of a disobedient streak, from what I can tell (not listening to her parents or brother about Markus, refusing to call him "Mark" when he asked, etc.) She seems like the type who would be a rebel to me.

    I am from Anistar City. Have you ever heard of it? It’s closer to the mountain areas in Kalos, and the cities you mentioned being in are more central. It’s a quaint city with blue glass ceilings on all the buildings. Every time I look up in my house it looks like the sky is as dark as ever, yet the windows on the side bring in enough light to keep you sane. Even when my shades are down I know there is sun because the plants on the roof of our buildings grow stronger and brighter with every passing day. Why people put plants on their roofs, I’m not sure, but it must have something to do with the blue glass ceilings. I’d tell you about my neighbors, but I don’t think they’d appreciate me telling stories about them. We have a pokémon center here, just like in every place, and we have a gym. Not all places have a gym, right? Anyway, our gym leader, Olympia, is a psychic-type trainer, and her gym layout is a bit odd. She uses her psychic powers constantly in order to give people a view of what she believes is outer space. I’ve been in there a few times, just for a tour. I’ll be there soon, as I’d like to officially face her in order to have a good memory of the city before I leave, and I already know I’ll be feeling a bit woozy over how endlessly vast and outlandish the whole place seems.
    Hmm? Now we get a bit of Haley's past; not in the matter of living in Anistar, but in that she doesn't want to talk about her neighbors. I wonder why...

    I think, though, that Olympia chose outer space as her inspiration because of the one thing Anistar City is famous for: its giant sundial. On the west side of the city, there are docks overlooking the sea so that people may come to look at and pray for the sundial. In case you were wondering, I’ve seen the sundial many times. My parents may not let me travel to other cities, but they let me relish in what is here. The sundial has the appearance of an enormous pink and yellow jewel. To me, it also looks like a pokéball with spikes on the side, but no one believes me when I tell them this. In front of the sundial lies a circle of plants and a golden rock in the middle. It’s our own, human-made sort of clock, though we know it can’t compare. I sit on the golden rock and ponder. The clock ticks and I wonder where all the time goes. What happens to the rest of the world when I’m dreaming? Where do all the unsaid “I love you”s go, the ones I know I should say but don’t? Do I enter an alternate world where I put the images in my head to use, and communicate with gestures alone rather than with all forms of pragmatics? I’d like to fix myself, but I can’t fix myself if I don’t know what is missing from my life. I would like to dream of my journey and my future, and I would like to tell my family and friends that I love them, but the point seems mute when no one will remember what I have to say when I’m gone. I like writing to you also because my letters are objects that remain as proof as to what has happened to me. I hope you don’t burn them or lose them. Keep them somewhere safe. I’m counting on you.
    This is also interesting...the feeling of needing to fix herself, but not knowing what needs to be fixed. I think that a lot of people can sympathize with her after reading that.

    However, I do wish to point out a typo: the bolded word is wrong. The word you are looking for is "moot". "Mute" means "silent"; "moot" is another term for "meaningless". But it's a very, very common typo to make, and not many people would know about it.

    As for my plan… Well, I obviously plan on leaving Anistar City. There’s nothing wrong with my city in particular. In fact, I love it very much. I just feel that, with all the cities in Kalos, there is a better one for me. I hope to love all the cities so much that I can’t possibly choose where to live. First I’m going to go west to Dendemille Town, and then even further west to Lumiose City. It wouldn’t be a real journey without visiting the largest city in the world, would it? And then I’ll branch out from all directions to visit Santalune, Laverre, and a few other places. Maybe I’ll branch out further, but for now, this is all I’ve got. I don’t mean to sound like an odd person, but I know that the prison you’re in is in Laverre City. When I finally get there, whenever that may be, would you mind if I visited you? Letters are great, but it’s an entirely different story to meet face-to-face. It’s okay if you say no, and if you do say no, I might just not visit the city at all. Please let me know.
    I love the fact that she actually has a plan instead of going out all scatter-brained and the like. It's not often that you see trainers have plans, right? However, I'm currently thinking about what that Robert Burns poem said about the best laid plans...I have a deep suspicion that something is going to go horribly awry.

    To travel, I’ll need a lot of money. I hope to train Seybs and Ribbons to be strong so that we can fight trainers and earn money along the way. Without them, I don’t think I’d be going anywhere. If you haven’t noticed, I’m going to be a flying-type trainer. There’s something interesting about birds that makes me want to keep them. The way they travel in flocks shows formality, teamwork and a type of healthy dependency that I could only hope to reach. And to be able to fly anywhere in the world with the ability to overcome any obstacle with a mere flap of the wings—of course, this sounds appealing to me! And the way they sing is beautiful. Seybs doesn’t sing much, but Ribbons does sometimes. It sounds like a beautiful song that tells about a kind of love that does not really mean love in the sense that we know it, but love in a way that says finding someone special means finding home at the same time.
    So we may see some sky battles? Fate, I hated those things in Y. I get the feeling from the bolded part that Haley is - unconsciously, I might add - seeking a relationship (not with Markus, but with a potential special someone), as the two things I've bolded are quite common in a good relationship. Two partners being able to work as one, and being dependent on each other to help with each other's weaknesses...that's what I'm getting from that part. Of course, I might be horribly wrong, but that's just what I'm seeing. And the spreading of the wings part...I get the feeling that Haley's been really, really sheltered, unlike Markus. Maybe that's why he's writing back to her. Maybe he wants to feel some part of that sheltered life?

    The only downfall to having flying-type pokémon is that cities aren’t very friendly to them. There are hunters out there, and I’ll never let my pokémon stray too far from me for this reason. Also, cities are so tall that birds have to use a great amount of energy just to fly above them. Usually, they don’t use enough energy and instead get confused and crash into windows. They also fly around buildings, around and around, exhausting their senses, until they are weary in mind and body. In a sense, a city is the worst place to be. My pokémon will be most happy in between cities. I have some plans to keep them at bay and to keep them satisfied at all times, but I’ll see how they do on their own to begin with. Pokéballs may or may not be part of this.
    :'( Reading this paragraph made me cry, I must admit; I've seen quite a few birds crash into windows, and it's a very, very sad thing to watch.

    Oh, have you ever wondered just how many pokéballs are used in a single day? Imagine all the pokémon that are already caught and tamed, and imagine all the times a trainer releases them: to eat, to battle, to bathe, to play, to train, and then a pokéball is again used when it is time to sleep. This doesn’t even count the pokéballs that are used to catch wild pokémon! Broken pokéballs and successful pokéballs should all be taken into account. It’s a crazy thought, but not as crazy as the sundial. I just think of strange things sometimes. People call me naďve and young. I am young, and maybe I’m naďve, but that’s not something a person calls themselves. I prefer to call myself curious. Naturally, my parents disagree, and they’re still against me leaving. They know they can’t stop me, but they try.
    Hmm...this shows how sheltered Haley really is. Her parents seem really overbearing, which may have something to do with that.

    I know that this is what I need to do. I don’t think anyone who isn’t primarily destined to be a pokémon trainer should go on a journey. If people are destined to be something else—a carpenter or a nurse or a gardener—then I think they should do that. Traveling is fine, but to make pokémon training your sole goal when it’s not your calling seems absurd. So much potential goes to waste that way. The world loses something great every time someone chooses to be a pokémon trainer over something else. A person who is destined to be a pokémon trainer is flexible, intelligent, dedicated, and strong mentally and physically. I’d like to think I am all of the above… but what if I’m wrong? Seventy percent of new trainers never make it to the pokémon league. Ninety percent of pokémon trainers never collect more than seven badges. My goal is not the pokémon league or to collect all the badges, but I am still going to be a pokémon trainer in the sense that I will raise my pokémon the best that I can and show them the world. I don’t want to be one of those trainers that makes it halfway and then turns around. What about you? Were you ever a pokémon trainer? Why don’t you tell me about your pokémon? Sometimes I get tired of talking about myself. I need some encouragement, I guess. Help me out?

    Sincerely,
    Haley
    Thank you, thank you, a million times thank you for mentioning that! I've always thought that being a Pokemon trainer is like being a professional athlete: only the best become paid, only the best go places, and the rest have to live in the real world like everyone else does. So thank you and The Great Butler (I'm assuming that those are the statistics?) for mentioning this!

    xxx

    May 17

    To Haley,

    If you still wish to talk to me, then there’s nothing I will do to try to convince you otherwise, and I will stick to my word when I say I will write you back. I too have been to Anistar City, many years ago. Maybe I was one of those people you saw and stared at as a baby. Who knew that our lives could change to such a degree? It seems odd to think about, and I try not to dwell on it too much. And, as per your request, I will not lose your letters. We will discuss your second request, the one about meeting me, when the time comes. Part of me believes you will eventually choose to steer away from Laverre City. Your notions on pokémon training, however, seem strong, and I don’t doubt that you will journey to your heart’s content.
    D'awwww...I can just picture the bolded part. It's cute.

    As for other things, you want to know about my own pokémon, you say? The mistake there is that you assume that pokémon are a big part of my life! Well, you’ll probably ask yourself, “Doesn’t everyone’s life revolve around pokémon in some way or another?” And I’ll tell you that’s true so that you don’t have to wait for my answer in another letter. My life indeed revolved around pokémon once upon a time. As I said, I was a drug addict once, and that was when I was interested in pokémon—not the pokémon themselves, anyway, but what the pokémon could offer me. I guess I can explain.
    Hmm...this concerns me a whole hell of a lot. That's a narcissistic and - potentially - sociopathic way to view another living creature. And it eerily reminds me of how the drug cartels use unfortunate stray cats and dogs to deliver drugs...

    I’m sure you’ve heard about Professor Sycamore. If you haven’t, don’t bother starting your journey just yet. I mean it. That means you should also have heard about the three mainstream starters: fennekin (the fire-type), froakie (the water-type) and chespin (the grass-type). Oh, how my heart glowed incessantly the night before I got to choose my first pokémon. It lit up the whole sky, but I doubt you were alive to see it. It might as well have been a phenomenon as rare as Halley’s Comet. I was rolling and rolling around in my head, I couldn’t stop thinking, “Which one would I choose?” Such is the biggest concern of a nine-year-old on the eve of his birthday. They all had such strength , such beauty, so much so that my brain couldn’t comprehend only having to pick one.
    I’ll stop here to point this out: my parents, unlike yours, didn’t mind if I went on a journey that young. In fact, they told me stories and tales, as if they were trying to encourage me. I would tell you these stories, but I have moved on from them and, considering your age, I am sure you have, too. Anyway, thinking I was superior, I took advantage of their carelessness while I could.
    Halley's Comet...clever. That's a very clever way of putting how rare it was, and it's the first time I've ever seen that comet mentioned in a fic. Kudos to you for putting it there.

    When I walked into Professor Sycamore’s lab, I still hadn’t made my decision. I blatantly asked him, “Can’t I just have them all?” I was the only child picking that day, after all. How lucky for me, to be the only one in Lumiose City with a birthday on July 10, and to have it during a time where school wasn’t in session. Of course, Professor Sycamore said no, he needed the other two for two other trainers. He might have been expecting me to whine, but instead I asked how much time I had until the next trainer’s birthday. I had one week.
    Yeah, I'm starting to be really concerned about Markus' true intentions right about now.

    I won’t bore you with details. Details are unnecessary, mind-boggling facts that drown the main points you need to know. I ended up with all three starters. Did I steal them? Did I threaten Professor Sycamore? I’d like to tell you, but the obvious difference between dreams and reality doesn’t exist for me. For all I know, what I have told you thus far could be entirely untrue. I only told you what every trainer goes through, and assumed I was the same. I hope you felt that that part of the story related to you in some way, though the story of your first pokémon was a bit unordinary.
    And there is where I'm starting to believe in him being a sociopath and a pathological liar. I love how you're portraying his character.

    Have I gotten off track here? But I must tell you that those three starters… Well, how happy they were to not be separated! They grew together, learned together, and they taught me many things. I don’t remember the police coming after us, which makes me think Professor Sycamore was scared to death to report me. It is of no concern to me now. What I noticed most was this: while the pokémon were extremely close to each other, they were disconnected from me. I had them for about four years and I never learned to understand their language. They did not talk to me unless I spoke to them first. There’s been research done about this, research about how a pokémon feels like an alien amongst his own trainer because his trainer doesn’t consider his or her special needs. I remember the fennekin being a bit of a nervous wreck. It probably needed help, but what did I know? And the froakie was prone to injury in battle, but I never had supplies on hand. The chespin was the most peculiar of them all, and I will get into that in a minute. They must have felt like they didn’t belong anywhere. They had to accommodate themselves to my kind of life, the kind of life that forces you to survive on your own without the help of others. It should come as no surprise to you that when a young pokémon’s needs are not met, it results in a lack of development physically, mentally, and socially. Perhaps this is why they died so early, but there may have been other factors, too.
    Wow. Just...wow. The way that he seems so unconcerned about their fates, just the way he's writing this down...right now, my sympathy for him is pretty much nil, and I suspect that it's only going to get lower from there. I don't know if you intended to write him that way, but he's coming off as a sociopath to me. Sociopaths have no empathy, no caring toward anyone else, and zero regard for the laws of society. Markus is displaying every single one of those traits - and he's a pathological liar to boot. If I'm Haley, I stop writing to him right now, I burn his letters, continue on my journey, and stay the **** away from Laverre.

    Do you believe in demonology? I’ve jumped the gun again. Do you know what demonology is? Those who believe in demonology are under the impression that everything that happens in life is controlled by a spirit. If we go by this definition, then it makes sense that any criminal who commits a crime is being controlled by a spirit at the time of the crime, and therefore can plead insanity and have this explanation be accepted—unless, of course, the judge wishes to go against his own beliefs. I’d like to believe in this demonology. I’d like to believe that my parents didn’t care not by their own free will, but because something was preventing them from doing so. I’d like to believe I was a bad trainer because I wasn’t meant to be, and I’d like to think that what happened to my three starters wasn’t my fault.
    Another sociopathic trait: blaming something else for his own faults. His parents, demonology, etc. My sympathy for Markus is falling more and more the more I read his letter.

    I didn’t think it was my fault for a long time. It took long enough just for to realize they were gone. One day a sudden gap in my heart appeared when I threw a pokéball out on the battlefield and realized how the creature that popped out wasn’t moving. The other trainer shrieked and fled away on his gogoat as fast as he could. Decayed and immediately attracting bugs, I wondered how long ago this had happened, and how. I fell on my back and fell asleep, unable to process what had just occurred.
    The
    chespin’s death hit me the most. As I said, he was a peculiar one. This pokémon had a tendency to ram into anything it was angry at. Sometimes he bashed his head on trees, sometimes onto buildings, sometimes he spilled his food just to have an excuse to trample on it. Mostly, though, he had a knack for targeting the front of my knee and causing it to dislocate. I couldn’t believe it every time it happened, and I was never prepared for it. I was only in pain for a split second, after all, before my knee socket popped right back into place. It was never a hospital matter. At any rate, the chespin seemed to be telling me something, but I could never figure out what, I only sent him out in more battles so he could use his anger in a more productive setting. It never worked. Once, he even hit me in the head, and I felt so disoriented that I thought the chespin had grown to human size, and that he suddenly possessed a human voice that was telling me, “I’ve known you in the past.” It seemed to be a reminder to recollect all of my past lives as a human alone, and all the chespin’s past lives, some of them portraying him as a human and others as a pokémon of varying types. It seemed that I had met him in each life, and that during each encounter he tried very hard to ruin me in some way or another. I never quite placed his story. When I had come to, he was just a normal creature with a crazy grin on his face.
    Firstly, I want to mention the bolded part: did you intend to split apart that paragraph or is it part of the same paragraph? Secondly, the utter lack of remorse that Markus is showing about the death of his Pokemon is cementing his place as one of the most unpleasant characters I've read about in a long time, even more so than Ezrem was. That's not a bad thing at all; stories need to have a bad guy as much as they need to have a good guy. Thirdly (and finally), that Chespin scares me. Enough said.

    I didn’t have another pokémon for a long time. I stayed in Laverre City, living on the streets and digging in the garbage for food. One day someone came up to me and blatantly offered drugs. I had been given offers from prostitutes and the police before, but this sounded vaguely appealing. They explained to me that drugs could make the pain go away. Drugs could take you into another world. How could I say no? And now that I think about it, perhaps this is where my exaggeration comes from. Rather than from my parents, maybe the drugs messed up the inner workings of my mind so much that I cannot remember anything except what I want to believe is real.
    Why do I find this sentence not at all believable? People don't randomly walk up to other people and offer drugs the very first chance they get, especially if they don't know the person. For all they knew, Markus could've been an undercover cop. They just don't risk that sort of heat, even if they're looking for a buddy to share with (as you said that the man did - and even if he was, how would Markus have known that?). Then again, it could be explained by Markus being a liar and a former addict. You don't know what kind of "truth" he's going to spin.

    Similar to how it costs money to go on a journey, I needed money to get drugs. The man who offered me drugs the first time was just looking for a buddy to share with. I don’t remember the details of what happened, but it was appealing enough for me to continue. Still, I needed money. This is when I got back into pokémon. I traveled back to Lumiose City without any pokéballs. I didn’t catch pokémon, per se. I called it “charming” pokémon. I did lots of things to charm them. I pretended to be hurt so that whatever pokémon came to help me grew attached to me instantly. I offered human food to any pokémon that was interested. I told sad stories of my life, knowing they could understand me by the tears in their eyes and the cuddling sessions that followed. Once, I even came across a family that was living in the swamps. It was nearing winter and they wanted enough meat to last them a while so they wouldn’t have to travel in the harsh rain. I offered to help. I befriended a manectric and asked him to fight a bouffalant to the death. He was as loyal as a pokémon could be. When I brought the bouffalant back to the family, they claimed it was too thin and there would never be enough meat for the whole family. “How could you do this to us? You promised us lots of meat,” they said. But I could see through their charade. To complain was their way of trying to be humble and their way of accepting gifts. They bought the bouffalant from me anyway and then offered even more for the manectric, who could hunt for them. I agreed.
    Starting to believe that Markus is spinning a yarn just because he can. Like Knightfall mentioned, befriending Pokemon just by tears and cuddling doesn't sound at all realistic, as a lot of them would've probably seen right through his act when he started to use them for his own purposes.

    After the three starters, there was only one pokémon I kept. I found him in a dark alleyway in Lumiose City, shortly after he was born. This pokémon intrigued me immensely because of both its worth and its potential personality. He was a zorua. I even went to the trouble to name him, unlike my three starters. His name was Enmity, and, given the stereotypes that surround his species, I was expecting him to live up to that name. Oh, the mischief we could get into! Oh, the amount of money he could earn me with all the tricks up his sleeve! I even used a master ball I had bought off of the black market in case I ran into such a gold mine. Unfortunately, Enmity wasn’t like a normal zorua. He wasn’t hostile toward humans nor did he wish to cause them any harm or ruckus. He was quiet and shy, always wanting to hide behind a tree or behind my legs when anyone walked by. And you must understand another thing: Enmity was a mute. I never heard him speak a word. I never heard even the smallest of grunts. I wanted to release him, but I didn’t want to waste the master ball I had bought. Instead, after I had developed somewhat of a relationship with him, I taught him to do tricks. I thought people would want to see a very rare pokémon perform for them on the streets, and I thought I could put a bucket out in front of us for anyone who wanted to donate money. He didn’t bring in enough for the drugs, but it was better than nothing. Oh, and, before you ask—I have no idea where he is now. He was with me when I was arrested, and I haven’t seen him since.
    Enmity sounds really cute~ I can picture a Zorua doing tricks on a street corner. You've done an amazing job with the description, especially since you're writing in letter-format. But I'm curious about Markus' relationship with Enmity. He tries to play it off, but I think that Enmity is the Pokemon that he's kept for the longest time, and that had to have affected him.

    Hmm. I’ve seen the sun three times since I’ve started writing this letter. I think that makes it Wednesday. That’s a long time to be writing, but I had to think long and hard about what happened. I could write one letter per day, one for every pokémon I sold, but then you would probably start to think I forgot about you.

    Sincerely,
    Mark
    That last sentence gets me. He's deliberately mentioning the lives he's hurt in an attempt to get Haley to stay away. Changes my thoughts a little bit; what if he lied about all of this to make her stay away from him for good?

    All in all, I love this. It really made me think about what's up with both Haley and Markus. I love their contrast, I love the Pokemon mentioned so far, and I love how this story's turning out.

    Sincerely,

    Mem.
    Last edited by SilentMemento; 11th November 2013 at 4:54 PM.
    COMING SOON

    Warmonger - A fantasy fic where peasants fight the wars of kings and lords, where monsters lurk in the night, and where depravity is not only expected, but encouraged...

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Great Butler View Post
    I think this opening line really speaks volumes about Haley, particularly with how readily she discards Markus's wishes in favor of her own regarding his name. Her reasoning makes sense, but it's still disrespectful to a degree, and makes me think she's got a real disobedient streak.
    Yes, she has quite the disobedient streak haha.

    Anistar City? Interesting choice.

    Not much to comment on here, but there are a few instances of foreshadowing I'm intrigued by. One is her neighbors, who I wonder if you are not withholding details of for a reason. The other is the mention of Olympia, but that's a lot more straightforward. I bet we'll indeed be seeing Haley facing her soon enough.
    She doesn't mention her neighbors to Markus because they disapproved of her writing to him in the first place.
    I'm really zeroing in on the "I'd like to fix myself" part. That could easily just refer to her displeasure at her situation at home, but knowing you especially, it might not be that simple. If my hunch is right, I wonder what exactly it refers to, because I'd be lying if I said I didn't think of Sai a little here.

    One correction: it's "the point seems moot", not "mute."
    Ah, I get that mixed up a lot. Thanks.

    I think you should think of Sai more when you see Markus haha.

    Possibility for Sky Battles, perhaps? It ought to be interesting to see a fic tackle those.

    I think her fondness for Flying-types could also be a helpful metaphor for her dreams/reaching for the skies and such, too.
    A sky battle is possible, but I like your other deduction too.

    Oh, that's a curious detail to add that I wouldn't have thought of. I just really like all the details you're putting into this.

    One thing, though, I'd clarify that the buildings in the city are tall, not the city itself. It's really the same thing, but I think saying "the buildings in the city are so tall..." paints the picture more clearly.
    Makes sense. Oops. And yes, details are key in this fic, to me.

    I'm detecting something in her thoughts about destiny that, if true, ought to be truly fascinating when they develop later in the story. I'm thinking specifically of a certain character from the games who states similar beliefs quite early on. If I'm right, this could lead to some amazing places.

    And thanks for using my statistics. The fact you're inserting them in Kalos is great, too, you know...
    Where do you think it will lead? And no problem, your statistics really helped.

    I had been thinking to ask if he had gone to Anistar City before, but I see I've got my answer. I wonder if they did meet when she was small, though?

    It intrigues me that he would sort-of warn her away from Laverre, though. The reasoning for that doesn't seem too clear yet.
    Not likely. That was just him being creepy.

    That actually raises a good question that isn't explored often in fics; the people whose lives don't revolve around Pokemon, and the prevailing attitude that most people's lives do.
    Does it kind of remind you of Atis? haha

    Imagining Markus as an innocent, cheerful nine year old is putting a smile on my face.

    I know that won't last, but hey.
    Very cute nonetheless.

    Curious; could you explain a little more about the Chespin, or is that something that you can't elaborate on right now? Seems there's more going on here than meets the eye, especially with his past lives being brought into the conversation.
    Can't elaborate without giving spoilers, I think.



    I thinkI like every single thing in this paragraph. Markus's opportunistic attitude is one thing, but the amount of personality given to a Pokemon that has existed for all of one paragraph is impressive. I just love Enmity and I hope we get to see more of him. A shy, mute Pokemon, especially when that Pokemon is a Zorua, could be something that's really very enjoyable to read. Given that his fate was left open, perhaps he will return. There are a few opportunities I can think of for it to happen.

    Great chapter overall! The conversation felt much more natural than it did in the first chapter, and the story covered was all quite interesting, too. I'm much more invested in the characters now.
    I think Enmity is cute too!!! I'm glad you liked the chapter so much! Thanks for reviewing!
    Wouldn't THAT be interesting.
    Oh, it’ll happen sometime, believe me.

    Ooph, sounds like Pokemon can be hunted and killed as prey in this world? That's rough.
    Yeah, I would think it’s quite common in the pokémon world, just as it is in ours.


    I like that this is a thought someone from Kalos has; was this inspired by the trip you take to the Poke Ball factory in X and Y?
    It is actually an expansion off an exact line that happens in the games.

    I connect to this very personally, as this is the exact advice given to people like me who major in theatre. Major points for connectivity
    Really? Haha, it wasn’t intentional, but I’m glad that philosophy is out there somewhere.

    Why's this?
    Who knows? Just another gap Markus leaves open.

    Bit of an odd reaction to a dead Pokemon...
    Markus isn’t normal.
    Thanks for reviewing!
    But, before I move on to him, I do like how Haley is going through with her journey. She's being mature about it and making an outline to follow of sorts. I am also intrigued at how she will start her journey, as she's in Allistar and not in any of the "beginner" parts of Kalos. I assume the easiest way around this is to have the Gym Leaders have teams to fit their challengers, meaning that the Allistar Gym, which normally would be quite strong, would have a beginning team for starting trainers in that area of the region. At least, that's what I'm assuming is the case.
    Yep, that’s how I imagine gyms to work.

    Haley is possible more mature than some of the adults around her, if she wants to be. I'd like to see more of this develop from her, and it adds some serious complexity to her initial character that represented innocence to some degree. Perhaps she really is ready to start this journey.
    “If she wants to be” is the key part of that, haha.
    His story of the three starter Pokemon was chilling to read, especially as he described when and how they died while under his "care". I do feel bad and try to sympathize, but some part of me says that's just how karma works. The story hardly resolves any of my previous questions about his character and it only increases my intrigue (looks to the portion of hist story about the Chespin talking to him). There's something within those lines of text that doesn't sit well with me, nor would it with any trained psychologist.
    Agreed on that last part. And it’s really an issue of karma, does this mean that the three starters deserved their fate as well? What did they do to deserve it, if anything at all? It’s something to think about.

    Anyways, I do like how you make his "journey" unique and only to fulfill his addiction. I do find it kind of odd and rather unbelievable that he was able to befriend any Pokemon that he wanted to. Even with tears, and food, I find it extremely far-fetched that able to do what he did so easily. Sure he might have lots of ways of winning over them, but I just don't believe it. For now though, I'll accept what he says as fact and continue. His acquisition of Enmity was another thing that struck me as odd. Not that he caught a Pokemon and it basically backfired on him. No, I'm rather intrigued about the Master Ball you say he bought off the black market. You just drop that fact in suddenly and with no explanation. Why did he feel the need to have such a powerful ball? Didn't most of his money go towards drugs and basic supplies? How on earth could he have afforded this, even if it is cheaper on the black market? This is something that I believe even less than the befriending Pokemon via tears. There doesn't seem to be any logic in why he did that, which I suppose, could be grounds for an explanation, but still. If he was concerned about catching a Pokemon at some point, the logical choice would be to buy a few Ultra Balls and stick with them as they're certainly much cheaper to get than a Master Ball, and work well most of the time.
    I can see what you mean. In a later upcoming chapter there’s a specific instance of his “charming” pokémon. We’ll see what you think of it.

    Hmm? Now we get a bit of Haley's past; not in the matter of living in Anistar, but in that she doesn't want to talk about her neighbors. I wonder why...
    Her neighbors don’t approve of her writing to Markus, so she is at least respecting them by not talking about them to him.

    This is also interesting...the feeling of needing to fix herself, but not knowing what needs to be fixed. I think that a lot of people can sympathize with her after reading that.

    However, I do wish to point out a typo: the bolded word is wrong. The word you are looking for is "moot". "Mute" means "silent"; "moot" is another term for "meaningless". But it's a very, very common typo to make, and not many people would know about it.
    Thanks for pointing out the typo. It actually helped me fix a typo in my English paper in which I did the same exact thing.

    Also, I think many people can sympathize with that indeed.

    I love the fact that she actually has a plan instead of going out all scatter-brained and the like. It's not often that you see trainers have plans, right? However, I'm currently thinking about what that Robert Burns poem said about the best laid plans...I have a deep suspicion that something is going to go horribly awry.
    Things always go wrong, don’t they?
    And, I think trainers do have a plan, they just follow the same plan as everyone else (ie start in Vaniville Town or whatever and go from there, from the first gym to the eighth gym).

    So we may see some sky battles? Fate, I hated those things in Y. I get the feeling from the bolded part that Haley is - unconsciously, I might add - seeking a relationship (not with Markus, but with a potential special someone), as the two things I've bolded are quite common in a good relationship.
    Yes! I’m glad you noticed this! It will play a part later.

    :'( Reading this paragraph made me cry, I must admit; I've seen quite a few birds crash into windows, and it's a very, very sad thing to watch.
    One of my biggest fears is having one of my birdies fly out of my house and me never being able to find them, and then having them die in some stupid way such as this.

    Thank you, thank you, a million times thank you for mentioning that! I've always thought that being a Pokemon trainer is like being a professional athlete: only the best become paid, only the best go places, and the rest have to live in the real world like everyone else does. So thank you and The Great Butler (I'm assuming that those are the statistics?) for mentioning this!
    I can’t take all the credit. I actually got this idea from a character in a book who basically says priests should not become priests unless they are 100% devoted to God and lacking in sin. Kind of similar.

    Another sociopathic trait: blaming something else for his own faults. His parents, demonology, etc. My sympathy for Markus is falling more and more the more I read his letter.
    I already told you he’s not meant to be sociopathic, but yes he is a good liar. So I’ll skip these comments.

    Why do I find this sentence not at all believable? People don't randomly walk up to other people and offer drugs the very first chance they get, especially if they don't know the person. For all they knew, Markus could've been an undercover cop. They just don't risk that sort of heat, even if they're looking for a buddy to share with (as you said that the man did - and even if he was, how would Markus have known that?). Then again, it could be explained by Markus being a liar and a former addict. You don't know what kind of "truth" he's going to spin.
    Maybe I shouldn’t believe everything I see on television or in movies, but I’ve heard of this happening before. It’s not completely impossible—after all, Markus probably appeared homeless to the man who offered him drugs.

    Changes my thoughts a little bit; what if he lied about all of this to make her stay away from him for good?
    That is part of it. I can’t explain fully right now, but that is part of it. Haley just, as you know, has a disobedient streak.

    I’m glad you liked these letters. Thanks for reviewing!

    | 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 1 released |


  23. #23
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    LETTERS 5 AND 6

    May 20

    To Markus,

    I must say that your last letter was a bit disheartening and not what I was expecting at all. Don’t get me wrong, though. I am so glad that you will keep writing to me like this and that you will save my letters. I just can’t believe your pokémon are already gone. Don’t you miss them? Didn’t you try to figure out what happened to them? You’ve had a rough time, it seems. Perhaps I should find it admirable that you were able to survive on your own in a world where pokémon are stronger than humans, especially when wild. Oh, and if you can or want to, you should return to Anistar City sometime. I bet the place has changed since you were last here, though I can’t say I know how it has since I was, as you know, young.

    My journey has begun. Part of me wishes I could meet Professor Sycamore so that I could get one of those three starters and cherish them, as you tried to do. I could have taken care of those pokémon for you and made you feel a little better about what happened to them. I’m sorry I can’t do that for you. For what it’s worth, I don’t think you are a bad person and I am not going to tell you whether or not you can believe in demonology. I at least hope you can reunite with Enmity one day. I’m sure he’s lost without you. I’m actually a bit surprised that the prison doesn’t hold your pokémon for you. Did he flee before they could catch him, too? I’d appreciate if you could elaborate for me.

    I’d ask specifics on how you got a master ball, but I don’t think I want to be associated with that sort of thing. I would have asked a few days ago because our journey began in Terminus Cave. I know I said I was heading for Lumiose City, and Terminus Cave is in the opposite direction, but do you remember how I said I wanted to face Olympia? Well, Seybs is a lazy battler. Sometimes I wonder how he gained enough experience to evolve. Ribbons wouldn’t have done very well because psychic-types are weak against themselves. Anyway, I traveled to Terminus Cave because a certain flying-type pokémon lives there, one that can learn super effective ghost-type moves. Its species name is noibat, and I’ve heard stories about how they like to swoop down and scare passers-by, so I was prepared for it.

    I wasn’t prepared for how… bossy the noibat would be. It attacked us relentlessly right away, not to hurt us, but to make us fall backward, to the entrance of the cave. It was clear to me that the noibat didn’t want us inside of its home. Whenever it was satisfied with our location, it flew around in tiny circles and gave out a victorious battle cry, and then it returned to its roost. I had also prepared to meet a colony of noibat rather than just one alone. The noibat’s loneliness told me something was wrong, but I couldn’t figure out what. Perhaps the noibat’s family had abandoned it, or the noibat was naturally a loner, or something else. It seemed like the perfect noibat for me, then, since I wouldn’t be taking it away from anything special. I ordered Ribbons to use his psychic powers to immobilize the noibat and drag it out of its hiding spot. This worked splendidly, and I threw a pokéball at the noibat and listened to the object ding three times before indicating a successful capture. It’s embarrassing, but I jumped up and down to celebrate my first caught pokémon. Then I released the noibat to greet it.

    “I’m going to call you Kai,” I told the noibat, wanting to see its reaction. Normally, I’d get a chance to know my pokémon before naming them, but I was in a hurry. I didn’t have the time to learn the noibat’s personality because it was supposed to be battling for me very soon, and I wanted it to listen to me. Remembering how protective it had been of its home, I chose a female name that meant “lovable” in another language I had learned in school. I brought Kai home to my grandmother and my grandmother was able to tell that Kai was a boy. Oops. I hope Kai doesn’t mind having a girl’s name. What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him, right?

    I decided to do a bit of preparation before stepping into Olympia’s gym. I made sure Kai knew shadow claw to begin with, and, well, he didn’t know it. I spent a lot to buy that TM from the store so that he could learn it. I used money that my parents had been saving for my future schooling. (Yes, they are going to freak out when they realize this.) TMs are odd things. All Kai had to do to learn shadow claw was press its face against the small machine for a few moments before jumping back and looking as if he had just witnessed a life changing revelation. I wonder what he was thinking. “Wow, I’m really stronger now! I’m ready to take on anything!” Or something like that. That’s how Ribbons would react, I bet. I’ll learn in time.

    So we trained by using shadow claw against some trees. Kai focused on speed and accuracy. Get ‘em where it hurts, I told him, and he might have grinned at me if he had a bigger mouth. That’s the only way to win a battle. You can’t win by being nice. I learned the hard way with Seybs back in his pidgey days. He lost a lot of prize money for me in a short span of time. He evolved after seeing my disappointment, and only then did things change. He was suddenly more confident and aggressive, though still extremely lazy. He didn’t offer to battle or show any enthusiasm at all. It was as if he became stronger simply to finish a battle sooner so that he could get back to napping on my shoulder.

    We went to face Olympia the next day. My parents said that it was probably too soon for a gym battle, but I think they were just trying to keep me home for one more day. I planned to face Olympia early in the morning and then set out soon afterward, maybe after a meal or something. It seemed like the perfect plan. Even though I had my eyes set on leaving, and even though I thought I knew a lot about Olympia, I can tell you that yesterday was the strangest day of my life.

    I walked into Olympia’s gym and nearly cried. I was in space, but my body wasn’t floating, and somehow I feel this ruined a childhood dream of mine. Not only that, but it looked like the place stretched for miles and miles. Immediately my plans for setting out that day were crushed. I must give Olympia credit, though. Outer space seems like a maze in its entirety, and so was her gym. I walked this way and that, and then went backward, and then forward, sometimes in the same direction by accident. Sometimes I took the better route. I knew I was going the right way when I ran into Olympia’s assistant gym trainers. For these trainers, I used Seybs and Ribbons. I wanted to keep Kai’s strength to use for later. I particularly focused on Ribbons and how he dealt with other psychic pokémon. For some reason, I have this notion in my head that someday I’m going to be in this really dangerous situation, and Ribbons will probably be the one to save us, if only because he has psychic powers and can do anything the mind can imagine. My grandmother picked a great pokémon for my journey. I must remember to thank her before I leave.

    Olympia’s assistant gym trainers all complimented my pokémon on their work. Even Seybs got a comment or two, though he hardly put any effort into the battle. I decided not to mention this to the trainers. They all claimed that they knew me and my pokémon because of stories they heard from my parents and the other townspeople. I didn’t want to hear anything that my parents had to say, and so I thanked them for their kindness and moved on. I was in a hurry, and there was my excuse.

    I reached Olympia about two hours later. Two hours! Imagine what I could have been doing in that time span out in the real world. Unless you consider the gym circuit to be part of the real world, then I think I could have made it to Lumiose City and back by now. She greeted me in the odd manner that she always speaks in. Her voice seems half poetic, half robotic. She speaks as if she’s experiencing a revelation all the time. I’d tell you what she said, but I haven’t quite figured out how to work the voice recorder I’ll be using over the course of my journey. I want to save conversations, interesting ones and long ones especially, and so I will be carrying that around. Does that sound a little creepy? I hope not. But I digress.

    Olympia sent out her female meowstic. I know it’s female because everyone in the town makes a point to mention this fact when in conversation. “Can you believe it? The male meowstic and the female meowstic are obviously the same species, but they look so different! I bet not even the famous Professor Sycamore can explain this phenomenon,” they say, and I keep my mouth shut, because in reality, it isn’t that big of a discovery. No human looks exactly the same, and they are the same species. Even pokémon that generally look the same have some differences—one pikachu can be larger than another, a roselia can have petals that smell better than another, and so on. The same reasoning should be able to apply to pokémon. But I have gotten off track again. The point is that the people in Anistar City should broaden their horizons a little.

    But this is exactly the reason why I like Olympia. She understands the world and acts accordingly. She basks in her own beauty, the beauty of the unknown, the creative, and the wonderful psychic-types. The way she commanded her pokémon was exhilarating. Instead of yelling out an attack, she said her order simply and calmly, in the same manner should if she were telling me her name or telling me her gender, or any obvious fact that everyone should know. The meowstic was more than happy to listen. It attacked us, or Kai, rather, as he was my first choice, with a dark purple ray of light–a psybeam attack. Kai flew into the air to avoid it, and I ordered him to perform what we had practiced. It was flawless, and perfect, and it felt very right to see him take his tiny claws and see a burst of black clouds emerge from the impact with the meowstic’s body. The meowstic staggered back, a bit of blood emerging on her cheek. Kai looked satisfied with himself.

    I started to wonder if I had made a mistake. Not only had I chosen my best pokémon as my lead, I had shown off our trump card at the beginning of the battle. I could only hope that it wouldn’t doom us later on. Olympia had agreed to a one-on-one battle, at least, in return for having to use my other pokémon against so many assistant gym trainers while traipsing her mess of a gym. She was sweet, that woman. “I understand that your pokémon’s health is essential to you, the trainer,” she had told me, and pulled out a single pokéball with such swift it made me think she had chosen her fighter days before I had arrived.

    I, on the other hand, was nothing like Olympia. “Kai, use supersonic!” I cried, with enough vigor to have Kai obey me though I had not known him long at all. He wasn’t eager, per se, but he did acquiesce his previous behavior in order to win—or lose—this battle. (Did I just give away the ending? Where’s an eraser when you need one?)

    Well, yes, we won, but it wasn’t easy. What happened next was this: Kai let out a scary, wild cry that emanated throughout, I bet, the whole gym, as vast as it was. The meowstic covered its ears at first, and when this didn’t drown out the noise, she resorted to floating upward, so that she was still in the battlefield but far away from any of our sights. Even this backfired, as she came crashing down onto the ground about a minute later. I thought she would fall right through and never come back, as the floor was rather transparent and below I could see stars, stars, and more stars. We were on the clouds above the sky, in a sense. Olympia didn’t seem worried even as the meowstic started spinning in circle. It then hit me how spectacular it was that a psychic-type pokémon could end up confused from a normal-type attack. This was, hopefully, the first of many realizations I would make on the course of my journey.

    I made my move as soon as I could. I told Kai to use shadow claw again while he had the chance. He sped forward immediately, claws spread out, when the meowstic automatically went into defense mode. A light blue barrier assembled itself in front of the meowstic, protecting it from harm, protecting it from my attack! Kai slammed into it, apparently unable to see it from such a close angle. He shrieked and flew back to me, like a baby would to his mother. He tried to hold his head with his paws but his arms were too short to reach.

    The meowstic was still confused, and I supposed that her survival instincts kicked in despite the inner turmoil suppressing her normal brain functions. I asked Kai, in a more friendly tone, to use shadow claw one more time. “This time, it has to hit,” I said. I swear I saw him nod to me, but it may have been wishful thinking. Either way, he was in the middle of his strike when the meowstic’s light screen attack reappeared in front of her. From my perspective, the barrier looked as strong as ever. Kai didn’t even attempt to stop. He trudged on through, and, even though I may or may not have screamed for him to watch himself, he kept going. When he came into contact with the barrier, a ripple was made, and then another ripple, and then an uncountable amount of ripples, until the barrier was wrecked and the meowstic was struck with more black clouds.

    I expected a gym leader to be tougher, and I wondered if Olympia had gone easy on me because of me being an Anistar City resident. The meowstic fainted shortly after the last shadow claw attack. I chalked it up to the idea that using light screen used an awful lot of energy, and that the confusion eventually took its toll. Olympia recalled her back to her pokéball and walked over to me. She had a smile on her face.

    “Your pokémon’s ability. Did you know it existed?” she asked me.

    “Kai’s ability? No…”

    “Noibat have an ability called infiltrator. It helps with barrier attacks.”
    “Does it?” I said, too stunned to say anything else. So Kai was the perfect choice of a third pokémon for two reasons: his ability, and his versatile move pool! He flew over to me and hovered in the air. He wasn’t comfortable enough yet to perch on my shoulder or head, and he didn’t seem to want to nuzzle up to me like my other pokémon do. Still, a victory was a victory, and he had earned all the credit. We had won our first gym battle, and in only one try, just as I had planned! There was more than one reason to celebrate.

    Olympia pulled me out of my ecstatic thoughts. “You did not know. If one wants to travel on a journey, then one must know certain things about the world. I would like to educate you. Will you let me?”

    “Educate me? I’m not interested in schooling anymore—”

    “Not that kind of education. You haven’t had all your education, but you’ve had enough. I want to teach you something else. Will you let me?”

    “When would you need me?”

    “Come by tomorrow night to the gym. You will perform a task for me, and then you will be free to leave on your journey.”

    I agreed only because I look up to her as a leader, a sort of icon that I had grown up with. I had heard many stories about her and her own journeys, and in a way, she was an inspiration to my life. I can only eagerly await what she has in store for me. I really have no idea what it could be. Do you? Probably not, but it’s worth a shot.

    Sincerely,
    Haley

    xxx

    May 29

    To Haley,

    I cannot imagine what Olympia would want from you. I can, at least, answer your other questions. I do miss my starters, and I must say, it must have been sunny the day they died, otherwise I would have noticed something was amiss. The world seems to spin a little faster during the daytime, and I tend to lose myself in the highlights of the sun’s rays. In my mind I must have been on vacation, in a faraway town in a faraway region, one with a richer history void of war. Perhaps I should have taken this as a warning, too, as preparing to die is a lot like going on vacation. You pay the bills, give away all your pokémon, and you figure out who takes care of the plants when you’re gone. My starters didn’t show any preparatory behavior. They didn’t say good-bye or give away their pokéballs or anything. Perhaps it was sudden and quick, swift and sharp. Was there lots of blood? Was there any at all? Surely I would have noticed if there was. Blood has a peculiar richness when pressed against the grass—there’s scarlet seeping everywhere amidst the blossoming of flower petals, and the contrast is hard to absorb. The pain is palpable and echoes within your bones when you see something like this. Perhaps, if I had known, I would have held them close, but I’d then be afraid that their pain would latch on to me as a response to their dying will. Instead I was probably under the influence, to the point where I could feel the drug piercing through my system as I walked.

    You say you want to know more about Enmity. There is not much to say, not as much as I have said about the starters. You would think I’d have more to say, considering he was basically my lifeline for a few years, but I was also high and in possession of cocaine when I was found on the streets, and, when you’re high, moments blend together seamlessly. All is lost to you when you recover. This means I cannot recall where Enmity was, or what Enmity was doing… If I cannot tell you about the past, I feel I cannot tell you about the present. I apologize for any misunderstanding that comes from this. There are many regrets I have regarding Enmity and my starters, and the only one I can remember right now is that I wished for Enmity to evolve so that he may perform more tricks aside from his usual flips and pranks. Zoroarks are notorious for their ability to transform into any pokémon, similar to a ditto, except that a zoroark might be capable of turning into an inanimate object as well.

    Now I have a question for you. Which pokémon of yours is sending me these letters? I do not get to see your pokémon, and that is probably for the best, considering how I am deemed a threat to society. The administrators collect the mail and then the officers deliver it to us personally. It brings me great peace of mind when I receive a letter from you, and I am asking because, should I ever be able to see a flying-type pokémon out my window or out in the yard, I would like to know if it belongs to you.

    I am feeling particularly downtrodden today. I cannot explain why in full, though I may say that the prisoners here are driving me up a wall, and that I feel deprived of the outside world’s extravagances. I understand this is why you send me your letters, to make me feel better, but I find myself wishing more and daydreaming more after I set your papers down. It is not your fault, and by no means should this discourage you—I am only saying how I feel.

    Since you tell me things, I will tell you about what the subculture is like here. There are various types of people that are forced to cram their entire mindset, their plethora of dreams into one little cell. First of all there are the rats of the place, which are those people who tell the officers when another is in the act of wrongdoing. Some have been caught dealing drugs for this very reason, though not me. (Yes, it is easy to acquire drugs in prison, but I have never been caught.) The gorillas tend to beat up the rats—they are the bullies you would have seen had you been in a public school. The wolves and fags associate themselves with homosexual relations, and they prey on the punks, the subservient men. The toughs cause fights for no reason, and the bail-busters give the passers-by a difficult time. Hipsters don’t want to start any violence; they are all bark and no bite. I would like to say I am a “real man,” that is, a man who is neither submissive nor aggressive, a man who serves their sentence with integrity. I might have had a chance to be a real man had I not helped with the smuggling and using of various drugs once upon a time. The merchants, the final type of subculture in the prisons, are drug smugglers only. They get their satisfaction from the fact that are people are prospering (or, in some cases, suffering) from their trades.

    While we are all different, there is one common bond that we share: we miss the outside world. We are kept away from liberty, everyday goods and services, relationships, autonomy, and security. Well, yes, we are protected, but the officers aren’t afraid to beat a man if they are not cooperating. We have no power in these sorts of situations. We also have no freedom and we are never alone. Someone is always, always watching you, sometimes out of curiosity, sometimes just to spite you. We wish to roam a simple grocery store once in a while, but we do not have even access to that. Everything is provided for us. That might sound good and dandy, but men tend to be independent (I don’t expect you to know about this, young lady) and don’t want tasks accomplished for them. And, of course, we have little to no friends or family. Some of us had friends and family at some point, but eventually they got bored or frustrated and decided to leave and not come back as often. All we have is each other, and it is not enough.

    In prison, dawn comes at strange times. You would think it follows dusk and night, but sometimes it doesn’t. Dawn comes to you in the middle of revelations, during a sudden burst of loving feelings you have for the outside world. Forget the prison world some days! Forget the other ingrates that don’t appreciate what I have sacrificed! I’d sell my soul for a clean glass of water on those days. On those days, I looked like I’ve just visited a cemetery for five hours, and it looks like I drowned there. Maybe I really did that, in a past life, or my current life. Who can say? I just wish all of these officers here would burn. There’s something awful about me, but I can’t put my finger on it. Maybe you can help me out someday, and you can say it to my face. You can pull me out of this hole I’ve dug myself into. Use a rope. I’ll probably tell you that the rope’s thread is a lovely color, but is it all fluff, all cotton. It will never be useful for anything other than the self-respect you gained for trying.

    I pray that someone—it doesn’t have to be you, I could never put that pressure on you—I pray that someone will come to me before the dawn, so that my next experience with dawn will be one to die for. I hope that light and logic come back to me in the midst of a moment’s sanity. I hope my light and logic come out of the shadows surrounding my darkest days. I hope to stop wandering around in my head, looking for a home while separating myself from everyone and everything that has ever disappointed me

    Have I disturbed you? Please let me know.

    Sincerely,
    Mark

    | 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 1 released |


  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by diamondpearl876 View Post
    LETTERS 5 AND 6

    May 20

    To Markus,

    I must say that your last letter was a bit disheartening and not what I was expecting at all.
    Good to see that you're being realistic and not having them hit it off flawlessly. That would have been a misstep, but you avoided it beautifully.

    Don’t get me wrong, though. I am so glad that you will keep writing to me like this and that you will save my letters. I just can’t believe your pokémon are already gone. Don’t you miss them? Didn’t you try to figure out what happened to them?
    Somehow I think Haley should stop going down this line of thought. This may not end too well.

    You’ve had a rough time, it seems. Perhaps I should find it admirable that you were able to survive on your own in a world where pokémon are stronger than humans, especially when wild. Oh, and if you can or want to, you should return to Anistar City sometime. I bet the place has changed since you were last here, though I can’t say I know how it has since I was, as you know, young.
    Leaves me wondering how far Markus is into his prison bid and how close he is to getting out, if he even is getting out.

    Also, I have a gut feeling that there may be some reason making Anistar City a place he doesn't want to return to.

    My journey has begun. Part of me wishes I could meet Professor Sycamore so that I could get one of those three starters and cherish them, as you tried to do. I could have taken care of those pokémon for you and made you feel a little better about what happened to them. I’m sorry I can’t do that for you. For what it’s worth, I don’t think you are a bad person and I am not going to tell you whether or not you can believe in demonology.
    Haley's being surprisingly accepting and open-minded here. I think it might at least partially be because she's fascinated with Markus's tales, which is something I'm strongly picking up on.

    I at least hope you can reunite with Enmity one day. I’m sure he’s lost without you.
    I hope so too, Enmity was a great presence last chapter.

    I’m actually a bit surprised that the prison doesn’t hold your pokémon for you. Did he flee before they could catch him, too? I’d appreciate if you could elaborate for me.
    I'd like to hear that, too.

    I’d ask specifics on how you got a master ball, but I don’t think I want to be associated with that sort of thing.
    Good thinking, Haley.

    I would have asked a few days ago because our journey began in Terminus Cave.
    Well that was unexpected. It might be bad news too, because Terminus Cave is a formidable place even taking Zygarde from the equation.

    I know I said I was heading for Lumiose City, and Terminus Cave is in the opposite direction, but do you remember how I said I wanted to face Olympia? Well, Seybs is a lazy battler. Sometimes I wonder how he gained enough experience to evolve. Ribbons wouldn’t have done very well because psychic-types are weak against themselves. Anyway, I traveled to Terminus Cave because a certain flying-type pokémon lives there, one that can learn super effective ghost-type moves. Its species name is noibat, and I’ve heard stories about how they like to swoop down and scare passers-by, so I was prepared for it.
    Oh, that makes sense. I like her sense of purpose and how dedicated she is to her goal.

    I wasn’t prepared for how… bossy the noibat would be. It attacked us relentlessly right away, not to hurt us, but to make us fall backward, to the entrance of the cave. It was clear to me that the noibat didn’t want us inside of its home. Whenever it was satisfied with our location, it flew around in tiny circles and gave out a victorious battle cry, and then it returned to its roost. I had also prepared to meet a colony of noibat rather than just one alone. The noibat’s loneliness told me something was wrong, but I couldn’t figure out what. Perhaps the noibat’s family had abandoned it, or the noibat was naturally a loner, or something else. It seemed like the perfect noibat for me, then, since I wouldn’t be taking it away from anything special. I ordered Ribbons to use his psychic powers to immobilize the noibat and drag it out of its hiding spot. This worked splendidly, and I threw a pokéball at the noibat and listened to the object ding three times before indicating a successful capture. It’s embarrassing, but I jumped up and down to celebrate my first caught pokémon. Then I released the noibat to greet it.
    I think I'm going to like this Noibat. Seems cute.

    “I’m going to call you Kai,” I told the noibat, wanting to see its reaction. Normally, I’d get a chance to know my pokémon before naming them, but I was in a hurry. I didn’t have the time to learn the noibat’s personality because it was supposed to be battling for me very soon, and I wanted it to listen to me. Remembering how protective it had been of its home, I chose a female name that meant “lovable” in another language I had learned in school. I brought Kai home to my grandmother and my grandmother was able to tell that Kai was a boy. Oops. I hope Kai doesn’t mind having a girl’s name. What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him, right?
    That's... a rather unfortunate way to start.

    I want to mention here that I was wondering if she had run away from home or left with permission, so I'm glad that you've implied that she did have permission to clear that up.

    I decided to do a bit of preparation before stepping into Olympia’s gym. I made sure Kai knew shadow claw to begin with, and, well, he didn’t know it. I spent a lot to buy that TM from the store so that he could learn it. I used money that my parents had been saving for my future schooling. (Yes, they are going to freak out when they realize this.)
    Wait, do they not know she's spending the money, or am I forgetting something? Was she living with her grandparents? This is entirely on me forgetting the past, I'm sorry.

    TMs are odd things. All Kai had to do to learn shadow claw was press its face against the small machine for a few moments before jumping back and looking as if he had just witnessed a life changing revelation. I wonder what he was thinking. “Wow, I’m really stronger now! I’m ready to take on anything!” Or something like that. That’s how Ribbons would react, I bet. I’ll learn in time.
    That's... an interesting way to depict TM usage. Close to the game, though, so it works.

    So we trained by using shadow claw against some trees. Kai focused on speed and accuracy. Get ‘em where it hurts, I told him, and he might have grinned at me if he had a bigger mouth. That’s the only way to win a battle. You can’t win by being nice.
    That's a curious look into her mind. I wonder if she's right about Kai grinning if he could; that could be a clue into his personality as well.

    I learned the hard way with Seybs back in his pidgey days. He lost a lot of prize money for me in a short span of time. He evolved after seeing my disappointment, and only then did things change. He was suddenly more confident and aggressive, though still extremely lazy. He didn’t offer to battle or show any enthusiasm at all. It was as if he became stronger simply to finish a battle sooner so that he could get back to napping on my shoulder.
    Sometimes characterization can be so simple, and this is an example of that. I love it.

    We went to face Olympia the next day. My parents said that it was probably too soon for a gym battle, but I think they were just trying to keep me home for one more day. I planned to face Olympia early in the morning and then set out soon afterward, maybe after a meal or something. It seemed like the perfect plan. Even though I had my eyes set on leaving, and even though I thought I knew a lot about Olympia, I can tell you that yesterday was the strangest day of my life.

    I walked into Olympia’s gym and nearly cried. I was in space, but my body wasn’t floating, and somehow I feel this ruined a childhood dream of mine.
    I guess dreams can't always come true, right?

    Not only that, but it looked like the place stretched for miles and miles. Immediately my plans for setting out that day were crushed. I must give Olympia credit, though. Outer space seems like a maze in its entirety, and so was her gym. I walked this way and that, and then went backward, and then forward, sometimes in the same direction by accident. Sometimes I took the better route.
    Olympia's Gym is a pretty weird place, so being able to adapt it so well is a plus for you.

    I knew I was going the right way when I ran into Olympia’s assistant gym trainers. For these trainers, I used Seybs and Ribbons. I wanted to keep Kai’s strength to use for later. I particularly focused on Ribbons and how he dealt with other psychic pokémon. For some reason, I have this notion in my head that someday I’m going to be in this really dangerous situation, and Ribbons will probably be the one to save us, if only because he has psychic powers and can do anything the mind can imagine. My grandmother picked a great pokémon for my journey. I must remember to thank her before I leave.
    Definite hint for later, I'd say.

    Olympia’s assistant gym trainers all complimented my pokémon on their work. Even Seybs got a comment or two, though he hardly put any effort into the battle. I decided not to mention this to the trainers. They all claimed that they knew me and my pokémon because of stories they heard from my parents and the other townspeople. I didn’t want to hear anything that my parents had to say, and so I thanked them for their kindness and moved on. I was in a hurry, and there was my excuse.
    Hmm... I detect a slight... arrogance, perhaps? Whatever it is, Haley would be well served to come off it.

    I reached Olympia about two hours later. Two hours! Imagine what I could have been doing in that time span out in the real world. Unless you consider the gym circuit to be part of the real world, then I think I could have made it to Lumiose City and back by now. She greeted me in the odd manner that she always speaks in. Her voice seems half poetic, half robotic. She speaks as if she’s experiencing a revelation all the time. I’d tell you what she said, but I haven’t quite figured out how to work the voice recorder I’ll be using over the course of my journey. I want to save conversations, interesting ones and long ones especially, and so I will be carrying that around. Does that sound a little creepy? I hope not. But I digress.
    I'm so glad you kept Olympia's strange speech patterns.

    Olympia sent out her female meowstic. I know it’s female because everyone in the town makes a point to mention this fact when in conversation. “Can you believe it? The male meowstic and the female meowstic are obviously the same species, but they look so different! I bet not even the famous Professor Sycamore can explain this phenomenon,” they say, and I keep my mouth shut, because in reality, it isn’t that big of a discovery. No human looks exactly the same, and they are the same species. Even pokémon that generally look the same have some differences—one pikachu can be larger than another, a roselia can have petals that smell better than another, and so on. The same reasoning should be able to apply to pokémon. But I have gotten off track again. The point is that the people in Anistar City should broaden their horizons a little.
    I rather enjoyed that sarcastic aside.

    But this is exactly the reason why I like Olympia. She understands the world and acts accordingly. She basks in her own beauty, the beauty of the unknown, the creative, and the wonderful psychic-types. The way she commanded her pokémon was exhilarating. Instead of yelling out an attack, she said her order simply and calmly, in the same manner should if she were telling me her name or telling me her gender, or any obvious fact that everyone should know. The meowstic was more than happy to listen. It attacked us, or Kai, rather, as he was my first choice, with a dark purple ray of light–a psybeam attack. Kai flew into the air to avoid it, and I ordered him to perform what we had practiced. It was flawless, and perfect, and it felt very right to see him take his tiny claws and see a burst of black clouds emerge from the impact with the meowstic’s body. The meowstic staggered back, a bit of blood emerging on her cheek. Kai looked satisfied with himself.

    I started to wonder if I had made a mistake. Not only had I chosen my best pokémon as my lead, I had shown off our trump card at the beginning of the battle. I could only hope that it wouldn’t doom us later on. Olympia had agreed to a one-on-one battle, at least, in return for having to use my other pokémon against so many assistant gym trainers while traipsing her mess of a gym. She was sweet, that woman. “I understand that your pokémon’s health is essential to you, the trainer,” she had told me, and pulled out a single pokéball with such swift it made me think she had chosen her fighter days before I had arrived.
    I like your interpretation of Olympia's character. It's hard to get a read on her in the game, but this actually suits her.

    Also, the little details of the fight are nice. It is very easy to picture thanks to the good description.

    I, on the other hand, was nothing like Olympia. “Kai, use supersonic!” I cried, with enough vigor to have Kai obey me though I had not known him long at all. He wasn’t eager, per se, but he did acquiesce his previous behavior in order to win—or lose—this battle. (Did I just give away the ending? Where’s an eraser when you need one?)

    Well, yes, we won, but it wasn’t easy. What happened next was this: Kai let out a scary, wild cry that emanated throughout, I bet, the whole gym, as vast as it was. The meowstic covered its ears at first, and when this didn’t drown out the noise, she resorted to floating upward, so that she was still in the battlefield but far away from any of our sights. Even this backfired, as she came crashing down onto the ground about a minute later. I thought she would fall right through and never come back, as the floor was rather transparent and below I could see stars, stars, and more stars. We were on the clouds above the sky, in a sense. Olympia didn’t seem worried even as the meowstic started spinning in circle. It then hit me how spectacular it was that a psychic-type pokémon could end up confused from a normal-type attack. This was, hopefully, the first of many realizations I would make on the course of my journey.
    Couple of things I need to point out here:

    Meowstic usually keeps its ears closed, so "covered its ears" is a detail that's a little hard to fit with the species. Maybe change it to "tightened her closed ears" or something?

    Also, I was a little confused by the "floating upward" part; if this is Meowstic who's floating, add some details around that to make it a little clearer, because I got confused for a moment and thought it was Kai.

    I made my move as soon as I could. I told Kai to use shadow claw again while he had the chance. He sped forward immediately, claws spread out, when the meowstic automatically went into defense mode. A light blue barrier assembled itself in front of the meowstic, protecting it from harm, protecting it from my attack! Kai slammed into it, apparently unable to see it from such a close angle. He shrieked and flew back to me, like a baby would to his mother. He tried to hold his head with his paws but his arms were too short to reach.

    The meowstic was still confused, and I supposed that her survival instincts kicked in despite the inner turmoil suppressing her normal brain functions. I asked Kai, in a more friendly tone, to use shadow claw one more time. “This time, it has to hit,” I said. I swear I saw him nod to me, but it may have been wishful thinking. Either way, he was in the middle of his strike when the meowstic’s light screen attack reappeared in front of her. From my perspective, the barrier looked as strong as ever. Kai didn’t even attempt to stop. He trudged on through, and, even though I may or may not have screamed for him to watch himself, he kept going. When he came into contact with the barrier, a ripple was made, and then another ripple, and then an uncountable amount of ripples, until the barrier was wrecked and the meowstic was struck with more black clouds.
    Good scene, but I have to offer another correction:

    The move you appear to be thinking of is Reflect, not Light Screen. Light Screen blocks special attacks, while Shadow Claw is physical.

    I expected a gym leader to be tougher, and I wondered if Olympia had gone easy on me because of me being an Anistar City resident. The meowstic fainted shortly after the last shadow claw attack. I chalked it up to the idea that using light screen used an awful lot of energy, and that the confusion eventually took its toll. Olympia recalled her back to her pokéball and walked over to me. She had a smile on her face.

    “Your pokémon’s ability. Did you know it existed?” she asked me.

    “Kai’s ability? No…”

    “Noibat have an ability called infiltrator. It helps with barrier attacks.”
    Nice use of an ability! I never expected it!

    “Does it?” I said, too stunned to say anything else. So Kai was the perfect choice of a third pokémon for two reasons: his ability, and his versatile move pool! He flew over to me and hovered in the air. He wasn’t comfortable enough yet to perch on my shoulder or head, and he didn’t seem to want to nuzzle up to me like my other pokémon do. Still, a victory was a victory, and he had earned all the credit. We had won our first gym battle, and in only one try, just as I had planned! There was more than one reason to celebrate.

    Olympia pulled me out of my ecstatic thoughts. “You did not know. If one wants to travel on a journey, then one must know certain things about the world. I would like to educate you. Will you let me?”

    “Educate me? I’m not interested in schooling anymore—”

    “Not that kind of education. You haven’t had all your education, but you’ve had enough. I want to teach you something else. Will you let me?”

    “When would you need me?”

    “Come by tomorrow night to the gym. You will perform a task for me, and then you will be free to leave on your journey.”
    Hmm... this is rather unexpected. I wonder where it's leading.

    I agreed only because I look up to her as a leader, a sort of icon that I had grown up with. I had heard many stories about her and her own journeys, and in a way, she was an inspiration to my life. I can only eagerly await what she has in store for me. I really have no idea what it could be. Do you? Probably not, but it’s worth a shot.

    Sincerely,
    Haley

    xxx
    Huh, I'm kind of surprised that her letter ends without disclosing Olympia's task. I guess that's for next time.

    May 29

    To Haley,

    I cannot imagine what Olympia would want from you. I can, at least, answer your other questions. I do miss my starters, and I must say, it must have been sunny the day they died, otherwise I would have noticed something was amiss.
    This caught me a little off guard, so I'm a bit confused here. Is it a metaphor, the "they must have been sunny the day they died?"

    The world seems to spin a little faster during the daytime, and I tend to lose myself in the highlights of the sun’s rays. In my mind I must have been on vacation, in a faraway town in a faraway region, one with a richer history void of war.
    I wonder if the mention of war is just a general callback to Kalos's history or perhaps something important to Markus's story.

    Perhaps I should have taken this as a warning, too, as preparing to die is a lot like going on vacation. You pay the bills, give away all your pokémon, and you figure out who takes care of the plants when you’re gone. My starters didn’t show any preparatory behavior. They didn’t say good-bye or give away their pokéballs or anything. Perhaps it was sudden and quick, swift and sharp. Was there lots of blood? Was there any at all? Surely I would have noticed if there was. Blood has a peculiar richness when pressed against the grass—there’s scarlet seeping everywhere amidst the blossoming of flower petals, and the contrast is hard to absorb. The pain is palpable and echoes within your bones when you see something like this. Perhaps, if I had known, I would have held them close, but I’d then be afraid that their pain would latch on to me as a response to their dying will. Instead I was probably under the influence, to the point where I could feel the drug piercing through my system as I walked.
    Wow. That was... disturbing. I don't know what else to say.

    You say you want to know more about Enmity. There is not much to say, not as much as I have said about the starters. You would think I’d have more to say, considering he was basically my lifeline for a few years, but I was also high and in possession of cocaine when I was found on the streets, and, when you’re high, moments blend together seamlessly. All is lost to you when you recover. This means I cannot recall where Enmity was, or what Enmity was doing… If I cannot tell you about the past, I feel I cannot tell you about the present.
    That's rough, but it makes sense. I can understand where he's coming from when he says he can't talk about the present.

    I apologize for any misunderstanding that comes from this. There are many regrets I have regarding Enmity and my starters, and the only one I can remember right now is that I wished for Enmity to evolve so that he may perform more tricks aside from his usual flips and pranks. Zoroarks are notorious for their ability to transform into any pokémon, similar to a ditto, except that a zoroark might be capable of turning into an inanimate object as well.
    You know, that is entirely expected. It doesn't surprise me at all that he wished for Enmity's evolution for a selfish purpose, when you lay it out like that.

    Now I have a question for you. Which pokémon of yours is sending me these letters? I do not get to see your pokémon, and that is probably for the best, considering how I am deemed a threat to society. The administrators collect the mail and then the officers deliver it to us personally. It brings me great peace of mind when I receive a letter from you, and I am asking because, should I ever be able to see a flying-type pokémon out my window or out in the yard, I would like to know if it belongs to you.
    Huh, I hadn't expected that the Pokemon were bringing the mail, I thought there was some kind of postal service. It's an interesting idea.

    I am feeling particularly downtrodden today. I cannot explain why in full, though I may say that the prisoners here are driving me up a wall, and that I feel deprived of the outside world’s extravagances. I understand this is why you send me your letters, to make me feel better, but I find myself wishing more and daydreaming more after I set your papers down. It is not your fault, and by no means should this discourage you—I am only saying how I feel.
    The impression I get from this is that he got into a prison fight and perhaps is doing solitary as punishment.

    Since you tell me things, I will tell you about what the subculture is like here. There are various types of people that are forced to cram their entire mindset, their plethora of dreams into one little cell. First of all there are the rats of the place, which are those people who tell the officers when another is in the act of wrongdoing. Some have been caught dealing drugs for this very reason, though not me. (Yes, it is easy to acquire drugs in prison, but I have never been caught.)
    Is that a subtle confession that he has been doing drugs in prison?

    The gorillas tend to beat up the rats—they are the bullies you would have seen had you been in a public school. The wolves and fags associate themselves with homosexual relations, and they prey on the punks, the subservient men. The toughs cause fights for no reason, and the bail-busters give the passers-by a difficult time. Hipsters don’t want to start any violence; they are all bark and no bite. I would like to say I am a “real man,” that is, a man who is neither submissive nor aggressive, a man who serves their sentence with integrity. I might have had a chance to be a real man had I not helped with the smuggling and using of various drugs once upon a time. The merchants, the final type of subculture in the prisons, are drug smugglers only. They get their satisfaction from the fact that are people are prospering (or, in some cases, suffering) from their trades.
    I'm guessing he was a merchant based on this.

    While we are all different, there is one common bond that we share: we miss the outside world. We are kept away from liberty, everyday goods and services, relationships, autonomy, and security. Well, yes, we are protected, but the officers aren’t afraid to beat a man if they are not cooperating. We have no power in these sorts of situations. We also have no freedom and we are never alone. Someone is always, always watching you, sometimes out of curiosity, sometimes just to spite you. We wish to roam a simple grocery store once in a while, but we do not have even access to that. Everything is provided for us. That might sound good and dandy, but men tend to be independent (I don’t expect you to know about this, young lady) and don’t want tasks accomplished for them. And, of course, we have little to no friends or family. Some of us had friends and family at some point, but eventually they got bored or frustrated and decided to leave and not come back as often. All we have is each other, and it is not enough.
    Wow, those last two lines were rather poignant, unexpectedly so.

    In prison, dawn comes at strange times. You would think it follows dusk and night, but sometimes it doesn’t. Dawn comes to you in the middle of revelations, during a sudden burst of loving feelings you have for the outside world. Forget the prison world some days! Forget the other ingrates that don’t appreciate what I have sacrificed! I’d sell my soul for a clean glass of water on those days. On those days, I looked like I’ve just visited a cemetery for five hours, and it looks like I drowned there. Maybe I really did that, in a past life, or my current life. Who can say? I just wish all of these officers here would burn. There’s something awful about me, but I can’t put my finger on it. Maybe you can help me out someday, and you can say it to my face. You can pull me out of this hole I’ve dug myself into. Use a rope. I’ll probably tell you that the rope’s thread is a lovely color, but is it all fluff, all cotton. It will never be useful for anything other than the self-respect you gained for trying.

    I pray that someone—it doesn’t have to be you, I could never put that pressure on you—I pray that someone will come to me before the dawn, so that my next experience with dawn will be one to die for. I hope that light and logic come back to me in the midst of a moment’s sanity. I hope my light and logic come out of the shadows surrounding my darkest days. I hope to stop wandering around in my head, looking for a home while separating myself from everyone and everything that has ever disappointed me

    Have I disturbed you? Please let me know.

    Sincerely,
    Mark
    I'll be honest, it is a little disturbing, but it's also one of the most genuine shows of emotion Markus has had yet. He really strikes me now as someone who is truly desperate, someone who badly needs a way out of the problems he's dug himself into. I can see why he's communicating with Haley now, it's a lifeline for him.

    Good chapter overall, sorry I took so long to review it.
    Last edited by The Great Butler; 8th December 2013 at 5:22 AM.

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  25. #25
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    Sorry it took me so long pair, life is so tedious sometimes. <3 <3

    Letters 3 & 4

    I don’t think your name makes you sound old, so I’m going to call you Markus from now on. In fact, I think it makes you sound wise, and, let me tell you this—I need someone wise in my life.
    I liked the blatant flattery she's laying on him. I'm not sure if it was inadvertent from her or not, but it seemed a bit forward and open of her to stay. Maybe she meant to do it, maybe she didn't, but I feel like even after the one letter she's already getting attatched.

    Even if you leave out certain facts, I can still form my own opinion based off of what you tell me.
    I don't remember if it was mentioned but how old is she?

    I am from Anistar City. Have you ever heard of it? It’s closer to the mountain areas in Kalos, and the cities you mentioned being in are more central. It’s a quaint city with blue glass ceilings on all the buildings. Every time I look up in my house it looks like the sky is as dark as ever, yet the windows on the side bring in enough light to keep you sane. Even when my shades are down I know there is sun because the plants on the roof of our buildings grow stronger and brighter with every passing day. Why people put plants on their roofs, I’m not sure, but it must have something to do with the blue glass ceilings. I’d tell you about my neighbors, but I don’t think they’d appreciate me telling stories about them. We have a pokémon center here, just like in every place, and we have a gym. Not all places have a gym, right? Anyway, our gym leader, Olympia, is a psychic-type trainer, and her gym layout is a bit odd. She uses her psychic powers constantly in order to give people a view of what she believes is outer space. I’ve been in there a few times, just for a tour. I’ll be there soon, as I’d like to officially face her in order to have a good memory of the city before I leave, and I already know I’ll be feeling a bit woozy over how endlessly vast and outlandish the whole place seems.
    Wonderful description there. It seemed so appropriate and exactly how someone would describe the city in a letter. You didn't exaggerate a single point or try and make it sound more impressive or different than it actually is. You described it for what it was, and stuck to the points that the character herself found interesting, not just what would mean or stick out the most. I'm impressed, nicely done

    What happens to the rest of the world when I’m dreaming?
    That almost seems a little too deep for just the second letter. I can appreciate what she's saying and the thought, but it just seems too early, if you catch my drift.

    The way they travel in flocks shows formality, teamwork and a type of healthy dependency that I could only hope to reach
    I haven't been seeing her mention family or friends. Maybe she isn't just interested in flying types, maybe she envies them? I know that's what the quoted portion alludes to but for me it feels like its even deeper than that

    The only downfall to having flying-type pokémon is that cities aren’t very friendly to them. There are hunters out there, and I’ll never let my pokémon stray too far from me for this reason. Also, cities are so tall that birds have to use a great amount of energy just to fly above them. Usually, they don’t use enough energy and instead get confused and crash into windows. They also fly around buildings, around and around, exhausting their senses, until they are weary in mind and body. In a sense, a city is the worst place to be. My pokémon will be most happy in between cities. I have some plans to keep them at bay and to keep them satisfied at all times, but I’ll see how they do on their own to begin with. Pokéballs may or may not be part of this.
    This made me think of your two birds attacking your head and flying into your face haha

    Help me out?

    Sincerely,
    Haley
    That sounded so sincere that it actually made me smile. That was nice

    my brain couldn’t comprehend only having to pick one.
    I’ll stop here to point this out: my parents, unlike yours, didn’t mind if I went on a journey that young. In fact, they told me stories and tales, as if they were trying to encourage me. I would tell you these stories, but I have moved on from them and, considering your age, I am sure you have, too. Anyway, thinking I was superior, I took advantage of their carelessness while I could.
    Formatting issue

    I ended up with all three starters. Did I steal them?
    Probably. As my father would say, "He seems like a sheep-killing dog"

    Perhaps this is why they died so early, but there may have been other factors, too.
    That made me pout it was so sad. This is actually one of the first times I've seen a trainer get their first pokemon and it be something other than just bouncy and joyous. Why wouldn't they have distinct personalities and character issues from the start? I appreciate and love the fact that you recognized that and chose to do something about it. Nicely done pair!

    One day a sudden gap in my heart appeared when I threw a pokéball out on the battlefield and realized how the creature that popped out wasn’t moving. The other trainer shrieked and fled away on his gogoat as fast as he could. Decayed and immediately attracting bugs, I wondered how long ago this had happened, and how. I fell on my back and fell asleep, unable to process what had just occurred.
    That was a really graphic visual. Wow, right to the point, effective, and wonderfully done. It's also kind of morbidly comical. Throwing out a ball and a corpse hitting the ground. Loved it

    Decayed and immediately attracting bugs, I wondered how long ago this had happened, and how. I fell on my back and fell asleep, unable to process what had just occurred.
    The chespin’s death hit me the most. As I said, he was a peculiar one. This pokémon had a tendency to ram into anything it was angry at. Sometimes he bashed his head on trees,
    Another formatting issue there

    They bought the bouffalant from me anyway and then offered even more for the manectric, who could hunt for them. I agreed.
    It seems a little odd to me that they have money for the meat and the Manectric but not for proper shelter or other types of food. Why is that?

    Letters 5 and 6

    I must say that your last letter was a bit disheartening and not what I was expecting at all.
    That literally made me laugh out loud. Really funny

    I ordered Ribbons to use his psychic powers to immobilize the noibat and drag it out of its hiding spot
    Inventive and practical. I liked it

    TMs are odd things. All Kai had to do to learn shadow claw was press its face against the small machine for a few moments before jumping back and looking as if he had just witnessed a life changing revelation. I wonder what he was thinking.
    That was actually the most explanation I've ever seen from any fic on how a TM Machine works. It reminded me slightly of the 'learning machine' from the film Battlefield Earth. Your explanation was simple and right to the point, and I liked it. Especially how she flat out said how weird they are. It fit well with her and made sense. Nicely done

    No human looks exactly the same, and they are the same species.
    Lmao I love how completely dry she can be sometimes. It's so funny and refreshing. I'm assuming you took the people saying 'they are the same species but they look completely different!' from the games. If you did, kudos to you for calling in how absurd they can be, and if not, I liked how you called that to attention lol

    I made my move as soon as I could. I told Kai to use shadow claw again while he had the chance. He sped forward immediately, claws spread out, when the meowstic automatically went into defense mode. A light blue barrier assembled itself in front of the meowstic, protecting it from harm, protecting it from my attack! Kai slammed into it, apparently unable to see it from such a close angle. He shrieked and flew back to me, like a baby would to his mother. He tried to hold his head with his paws but his arms were too short to reach.
    The battle scenes in this are such a turn from what you had going in Survival Project. It's nice when you write this way because it allows you to focus more on description. You're so excellent at it when it comes to emotional and mental states, and I feel like this is an awesome opportunity for you to flex your descriptive biceps. You're doing a great job so far

    “Noibat have an ability called infiltrator. It helps with barrier attacks.”
    “Does it?” I said, too stunned to say anything else. So Kai was the perfect choice of a third pokémon for two reasons: his ability, and his versatile move pool! He flew over to me and
    Formatting issue

    The world seems to spin a little faster during the daytime, and I tend to lose myself in the highlights of the sun’s rays.
    That's such an awesome observation. It's not something I've ever thought of but it's so true. ah! I'm loving this

    Since you tell me things, I will tell you about what the subculture is like here. There are various types of people that are forced to cram their entire mindset, their plethora of dreams into one little cell. First of all there are the rats of the place, which are those people who tell the officers when another is in the act of wrongdoing. Some have been caught dealing drugs for this very reason, though not me. (Yes, it is easy to acquire drugs in prison, but I have never been caught.) The gorillas tend to beat up the rats—they are the bullies you would have seen had you been in a public school. The wolves and fags associate themselves with homosexual relations, and they prey on the punks, the subservient men. The toughs cause fights for no reason, and the bail-busters give the passers-by a difficult time. Hipsters don’t want to start any violence; they are all bark and no bite. I would like to say I am a “real man,” that is, a man who is neither submissive nor aggressive, a man who serves their sentence with integrity. I might have had a chance to be a real man had I not helped with the smuggling and using of various drugs once upon a time. The merchants, the final type of subculture in the prisons, are drug smugglers only. They get their satisfaction from the fact that are people are prospering (or, in some cases, suffering) from their trades.
    God you're awesome. That was a wonderful explanation of prisoner types. A few weeks ago I spent a week reading stories online about people's experiences in prisons (Don't ask why). Your explanations in the quoted portion perfectly explained multiple terms and things I saw in those stories and you made Mark seem so genuine and true when he was explaining. It was awesome, great job

    Can't wait for the next installment

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

    -Thanks to PopPrincess_Lyra for the amazing banner-


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