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Thread: Earth, Air, Water, Fire

  1. #26
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    Wow, thank you guys so much for pointing out such glaring errors - the sleep deprivation was clear in my lack of edits in this one.

    To Sid87 -

    I don't love the laughing here. Think about it... if real-life terrorists just attacked the town you live in, and you saw an old friend, would you laugh and basically think "Oh man, remember how we used to play together?". No, you'd probably both be thankful the other is safe and asking if the other's family is okay/hurt. And, if you are people in positions such as these two, you'd immediately go about helping the injured and scared around you.
    I kept this moment, although I expanded upon it. I was recently in a play where two characters were fighting with their child, before ultimately slapping her. She ran off, and there was stunned silence, and then inexplicably both began laughing. It's a really weird human response, but sometimes it happens - when bizarre situations occur, sometimes there's nothing for it but to laugh. When I saw West Side Story on Broadway, there was more than one nervous laugh after Tony was shot.

    Did you miss a word there? He hadn't been WHAT a second ago?
    Wow, ultimate brain fart. Thank you ahaha.

    I like the scene with Natalia waking up. Very nice and well-detailed. But I don't like the "luminous" burns. That makes it sound like they're glowing. Heh.
    There's a reason they glow...that will be addressed shortly

    That... is really as good of a reason to stick all these characters together as any. I actually kind of like this setup. How do Chase and Logan know Will, though? He has to know they are safe and extremely competent, otherwise, he's really just endangering THEIR lives by sticking Alec with them. I'm just curious as to how they know each other.

    Also, since I missed it earlier... Will is a psychic? How is that? Is that a thing in your story? Are there other people with powers?
    The explanation for both of these questions can be found in my previous fanfics - but basically, in a nutshell, in Destined, Chase challenged Will to a Pokemon battle - thus both winning his respect, as well as discovering he had a psychic connection with his Pokemon, which gave him a huge advantage in battle.

    Chase right now seems like the stereotypical "I am too cool for this stuff" likable jerk, but I did enjoy his interactions with Logan previously, so I look forward to their dynamic going forward.
    Chase has been going through quite a lot of turmoil - which will come to the surface more next chapter. He's basically covering his true intentions - he's not as much of a jerk as he seems.

    Now for Shadow Lucario -

    I think you mean Arceus. Gawd! If you couldn't tell, I was joking.
    Actually, that was a very good catch - in my universe, the 'God' is Arceus, and I've used the term 'Arceus knows' before. Consistency is key!

    You missed the key you wanted.
    Oops!

    Thank you for the positive response after such a long hiatus! I would like to know - at this point, which characters intrigue you most? Which seem too "Gary-Stu"-ish? The last thing I want is generic characters.

    You guys are the best.
    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.

  2. #27
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    Default New Chapter!

    Earth, Air, Water, Fire

    Chapter Five

    “She seems useless,” Alec observed bluntly, gazing at Logan’s stony face as she scooped olives onto her plate at the salad bar. The new team of travelers Will had put together was out for lunch at Olivine’s hottest restaurant, The Swanna Station. Preston had found a table near the ruined Main Street, and was currently using the facilities, leaving Alec and Chase to put in their first real effort at getting to know each other.

    “You haven’t seen her smile.” Chase still looked distinctly unhappy with the circumstances Will had placed them in. Alec, although also displeased with these new conditions, was at least attempting to make sense of his new companions.

    “So, what, do you two have a history together, or...?” Chase turned his head sharply and stared at Alec, sizing him up.

    “Yes. Kind of. Well, yes. It’s a long story.” Alec took a bite of his steak.

    “I’m all ears. You’ll have to tell it quick, though,” he added, as Logan picked up her plate and headed toward their table.

    “Now’s not the time,” Chase muttered, leaning back and taking an overlarge gulp of soda. The two watched Logan’s return in silence, uncomfortable tension abound. Chase stood and pulled a chair for Logan, who flashed the faintest shadow of a smile at him.

    “Thanks,” she said, sitting and placing her plate neatly in front of her. Chase returned to his seat.

    “You can cut this silence with a knife,” chuckled a voice. Preston had returned from the bathroom. The man sat at the head of the table, folding his hands together and looking at the young adults in front of him.

    “We want some answers,” Chase said, the other two nodding in agreement.

    “I’ll tell you as much as I know.”

    “For a start, who are you?” Alec leaned forward, most curious about the older man, who looked harmless but was certainly the biggest cipher in the group.

    “I guarantee you my answer would do nothing but bore you. Joseph Thomas Preston, former gym leader of the Olivine Gym. Now in retirement.” He said nothing more, and after a moment Logan spoke up.

    “Don’t you have a family, sir?” Preston’s eyes flickered to her, then around the room twice, returning to the girl only after a prolonged stare at the lighthouse through the window.

    “No.” He drummed his fingers on the table, took a breath, and changed the subject. “Look, my story isn’t important right now. What is important, kid, is what’s in your bag.”

    “What, the Rainbow Wi...?”

    “Shh!” Preston snapped his head around to the tables to their direct right and left, and back to the children. “Do not name the item right now. But tell me,” the man leaned in, prompting the others to do the same, “How did you come to possess it?” Alec’s face darkened.

    “It...it belonged to my father. See, my family has a long history in Ecruteak City. My granddad oversaw construction on the towers and shrines for Ho-Oh. I dunno when exactly the...you know...came to him, but it was eventually passed on to my father. And, well, I have it now.” Alec was not comfortable going into specifics with these strangers. He couldn’t tell them how his father was ashamed of him, how he had stolen the Wing from him before running away.

    “Why does Team Skye want it so badly?” Chase asked. Preston sighed.

    “This is guesswork, Chase. Will and I believe Gabriel, their leader, has a personal need to connect with Ho-Oh, beyond the need of the team. He has been ruthless in his search for the deity, and owning an item that would allow such a connection to it...well, it would certainly give him power unheard of.” Alec gripped his bag, which was lying at his feet.

    “I knew it was special, but...I didn’t think it would like, threaten my life.” He stared down at his feet.

    “Well that’s why we’re here, Alec. We’re going to protect you from him.” Chase grunted. “It’s very important that we do,” Preston said, locking his eyes onto the white-haired trainer and frowning.

    “I just don’t know why someone else can’t take it and like, lock it up or something.” He looked at Alec, who raised his eyebrows.

    “I’m not giving this to anybody.” Preston seemed to have expected this answer.

    “Alec said as much to Will earlier. It’s not our place to take a family heirloom from Alec, and honestly, Chase, I’m disappointed in your response to this situation.” Chase looked bewildered.

    “What?”

    “Will recommended you and Logan with the highest of praise. And he mentioned your had an excellent sense of humor. Which I have yet to see.” Chase slumped back.

    “Yeah, well, people change.” Logan looked away. “People change a lot more than you know.”

    “You might want to work on your public image a bit, Chase. People expect you to act more like a hero.”

    “Wait a second. Will said something about you two helping him save the world or something,” Alec said slowly. “I don’t see how that’s possible.”

    “Why not?” Chase snapped.

    “You just don’t seem...like heroes. You look pretty lame.” Chase kicked the empty chair next to him in a flare of anger. Composing himself, he folded his arms.

    “Well, thanks. We do pretty well for ourselves, it might surprise you to know.”

    “These two were integral to saving us all, Alec.”

    “We had help.” Logan had not spoken for some time and her voice made the three men start. She had a steely look in her eyes. Chase shook his head very slightly, looking her deep in the eyes.

    “These two, Alec, were essential to the peace restored to this land during the battle with NeoEarth three years ago. You do remember that, don’t you?”

    “I’m not a five-year-old, I remember. But didn’t that happen over in Kanto? I just heard the broad outline, I never really heard names, or...” Despite his best efforts, Alec had become quite engaged in the conversation, and tried to cover this interest with apathy. “It all seemed kinda dumb, anyway.”

    “Tell that to the entire armies of people out to destroy everything in their way,” Chase retorted. Preston held his hand up.

    “It was not ‘dumb’, Alec. Three years ago, Karen, now-deceased member of the Elite Four, opened a portal that had been closed a long time in our world. A portal, between our world and a world that never should have existed. A world where humans lived without knowledge of Pokémon. And with assistance from a gang of loyal followers, Karen led an invasion of this world. An invasion that was soon responded to.” Alec’s eyebrows knotted together.

    “This other world, Alex, NeoEarth, was made up of people who had no Pokémon to assist in their daily struggles. So they invented technology to aid in the areas we use Pokémon for. Meaning their response to violence...is very different than ours. They had weapons beyond imagination, weapons none of us were prepared for. They poured into our land and began to defend themselves. Many people died, Alec. Kanto became a mushroom cloud of violence and despair. There seemed to be no hope for a victory on our side. Then...” Preston’s voice caught.

    “I offered what I could to assist in the battle. The gym leaders and Elite Four members were beacons of hope to the people, you understand. But one man arose to lead us all...Will. But even he couldn’t hold the tide long. Not without assistance. That’s where Chase and Logan came in.” Chase and Logan both shifted, looking anywhere but at Preston. He plowed on, nodding toward the two.

    “Without their help, Alec, Kanto would not exist as it does today. Neither would Johto or any other regions. This world would be barren and inhabited only by humans.” Alec gaped. “These two helped save Pokémon from extinction.”

    …................................................. ....................................

    The Pokémon was configured most bizarrely; the ten-year-old girl standing in front of it had never seen another creature like it. It was tall, taller than her, with mottled brown feathers that clutched to its round, small body in the semblance of a puff ball. Its long tan legs ended in large, awkward feet which were only out-weirded by the identical stalks rising in the opposite direction from its body - two long necks, each capped with an intelligent head. She reached out to touch, to confirm the reality of two brains, two beaks, four eyes. It snapped at her, more playful than anything. She shrieked nonetheless.

    “It’s okay, Nat-ta-ta. It’s not going to hurt you.” The girl’s father was standing a safe four yards behind her, not trying to interfere with her first wild encounter but ensuring she was on the right track. “Now you remember what Professor Elm told you. You don’t have to try capturing it, but at least try battling it, eh?” The ruby-haired girl played nervously with her big glasses and produced her very first Poké Ball.

    “So I just send him out?” Her father nodded kindly. She felt the orb grow warm in her palm, which frightened her - so much that she dropped it, pulling back a pace or two. She began breathing heavily, staring wide-eyed at the Doduo’s two faces. It crowed, one head cocked in query at her, the other spinning, searching for danger.

    “Don’t be frightened, Talia. Be strong, like your nan. Think of nan, honey. C’mon, you can do this.” His soothing words were interrupted by a shadow overhead. The roar of an engine slowly faded into existence. The man’s kindly expression fell in fear, turning skyward. Doduo squawked and bent its legs, springing in one jump into the surrounding foliage.

    “Daddy, what is it?” Natalia was petrified, unsure of everything. A dark shape emerged high above the clearing, followed by another.

    “It’s Team Skye, Nat, we need to run for cover! The raids have started again!” He grabbed his daughter, sprinting for the shelter of their hotel. The little girl on his shoulder stared at the sky, seeing very clearly silhouetted against the clouds cruel, sleek black planes tearing through the sky. All was silent save for their engines and her own pounding heartbeat.

    “Daddy, daddy, we have to go back! I left Chikorita!” Her father stopped for an instant; the planes were closing in.

    “We have to leave him for now, Talia. We’ll go back!”

    Fourteen years later, Natalia knelt in the shade of the last grove of trees before the open stretch to Olivine City, staring longingly at the Doduo running across the plain. She felt a rush of desire, desire for freedom, for her father, and most importantly, for the two Pokémon she had never seen since that day in the forest. She felt a rush of air behind her and stifled an exclamation; Gabriel had just come to a safe landing five yards from her. Mandibuzz folded its wings and stared greedily at Natalia with beady amber eyes.

    “Sir.” She looked down, choosing subservience in this moment, although her stomach was churning and for the first time, she did not feel safe around her leader.

    “Tell me. What did you assure me I could trust you to receive?”

    “The Rainbow Wing, Gabriel.”

    “You insisted that you could persuade it out of the boy, that doing so would be preferable to my forcing it from him.” Natalia’s eyes remained resiliently fixed on his weather-stained boots. “So, where is it?”

    “The boy still has it. I failed my task.” Mandibuzz flapped its wings and cawed viciously, aggressively. The man looked for a moment as if he might murder; then, he paced for a good minute or two before approaching his servant. He placed his hand on her shoulder.

    “Natalia. I need you to do this for me. Get that Wing from the boy. At whatever cost.”

    “But how...?” He slapped her face on the side with the burns that still glowed after three years. She recoiled, feeling the sting of his gloved hand on her damaged cheek. Mandibuzz shrieked in aggression.

    “Find a way.”

    …................................................. ....................................

    Preston looked from face to face, his story finished. Alec seemed to be so full of questions he was simply rendered speechless.

    “I think...I’m going to get another plate.” Logan stood, indicating the salad bar.

    “Stay here, Logan.” Alec was looking at her in an entirely new light. Neither she nor Chase seemed interested in speaking about their part in the fight against NeoEarth. Preston sensed this and came to their aid.

    “Now, of course, the question becomes, where do we go from here?” Alec answered this immediately.

    “I want to challenge the gym leader. No question.” The gray-haired man shook his head wearily.

    “That isn’t an option, Alec. The gym is closed for repairs and Jasmine is still being treated from her time in captivity. We can return in a month or so, but for now, Olivine Gym is not an option. Besides, remaining in this city after recent events is highly unadvisable. Keeping a steady move on will keep Gabriel off our trail.”

    “That’s ridiculous. I came here to challenge the gym!” Alec pounded the table, agitated.

    “There’s nothing that can be done, Alec. Staying here is highly dangerous.” Chase cleared his throat.

    “I came to this region to train. And I’ll protect you, man, but we need to compromise a bit. I want to head to Mt. Silver and do some head-on work with the Pokémon in there. You’re welcome to come along.” Preston examined his hands for a moment before responding to this request.

    “As the senior member of the group, I would like to propose traveling to Mahogany Town.” Alec’s body tensed.

    “Why...?”

    “I want to learn more about the item we are protecting, Alec. There is a man who lives in Mahogany, Ben Locke, who is an absolute expert on the legends and lore of the great lord of the skies. It would benefit everyone to meet him and learn more about you-know-what.” Alec looked confused.

    “Do we really need to worry so much about this? It’s literally just some old relic my family kept on the mantlepiece.” Preston looked grave.

    “That’s what Gabriel hopes you think, Alec. He wants you to think this item isn’t worth protecting with your life.”

    “Look, if you want our help, you follow our rules, and that means going to Mt. Silver.” Chase said, his voice firm and his shoulders squared. He looked to Logan for support.

    “I think we should go to Mahogany Town, Chase.” Chase looked stunned and betrayed. Before he or Alec could speak, Preston cut in.

    “Vote on it. All those in favor of Mahogany Town?” He and Logan raised their hands. Chase stood his ground.

    “Mt. Silver.”

    “Stay here!” Alec growled, standing up. Preston looked out the window.

    “I would advise against that option, Alec.” The three turned to look where the older man’s eyes rested. There was a figure standing in the shadows of the broken storefront across the street. Alec could just make out ruby hair and the slim waist of the girl with the burned face from the gym. His face turned ashen. After a moment, he turned back to Preston.

    “I vote Mahogany Town.”

    …................................................. ....................................

    “I’m heading out, I think,” Logan said, her long blonde hair swinging as she poked her head through the door. Chase, half naked and mid-shave, turned to look at her bemusedly.

    “Where are you going? It’s not even eight yet! The Unova sun has yet to rise!” Logan smiled coyishly.

    “Don’t you worry about it, sir. I’ll be back soon.” Chase caught her wrist before she slipped away.

    “Aren’t you going to say goodbye?” He grinned, pulling her in for a kiss. She pulled her head away, laughing.

    “You’ve got shaving cream all over, stupid. No kisses for you.” She pushed him away.

    “I’m only shaving because you don’t like your men with beards, which is dumb.” Chase stroked the clean skin on his left side. “I think I grow a pretty good one.”

    “Only you think that,” she teased.

    “Can’t you just stay here a little longer?”

    “Noo, I gotta go!” She was bouncing on the heels of her feet.

    “At least have the decency to tell me where you’re in such a hurry to go!”

    “If you must know, I’m visiting Tracey. I haven’t seen him in ages.” Chase’s face fixed.

    “Ah, yes. Well.” Logan sensed the change in mood.

    “Now don’t get like that. You’ve got training today, anyway. Aren’t you meeting with Bruno in like half an hour for some sparring rounds with Nidoking?” Chase nodded.

    “For a little bit. But then he’s gotta meet with Erika. She’s still getting her bearings, you know, the promotion’s been tough on her. Not everyone can just step into the Elite Four. We’re gonna be done by, like, three.” Logan came closer to her boyfriend.

    “Well then you can pop over to Tracey’s later. I think that’s what Vincent’s doing too. We can have a big party! Bring Snivy, I’m sure Bulby would be pleased to meet her!” She kissed him gently on his newly-shaven cheek. Chase forced a smile.

    “Okay.” She turned happily, heading for the door. “Hey, Logan, how do I look?” He struck a pose, flexing his pecs, winking and wiggling his eyebrows in his best impression of a bodybuilder. Logan shook her head, amused.

    “Ridiculous, Chase.” She blew a kiss and was gone. Chase’s face instantly turned stony. He turned, pacing from the bathroom to the bedroom, picking up his Poké Gear and placing a call. A familiar face appeared on the screen.

    “Hello Chase! To what do I owe the honor?”

    “She’s only getting worse. She just told me she’s heading to his place. She told me I should stop by later.” There was a silence on the other end.

    “Is this her first time since we last spoke?” Chase shook his head.

    “No. She’s been making a lot of calls to unlisted numbers recently. I checked her Poké Gear last night. I’m really worried.”

    “Well I’ll arrange to have her intercepted before she gets there. I don’t think she should come home after this, though. I think I may need to take her for the time being.” Chase nodded.

    “Thank you, sir.” The screen went blank, Professor Hume’s face gone. Chase ran his fingers through his hair, heading back into the bathroom to finish his shave. He didn’t know how to continue putting on a game face to Logan when the truth would need to be revealed eventually. That Tracey Morgan had been dead for three months seemed to have gone completely over her head.
    Last edited by Bulba the Great!; 26th October 2013 at 12:43 AM.
    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.

  3. #28
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    Joseph Thomas Preston, former gym leader of the Olivine Gym. Now in retirement.”
    I think that can be all one sentence. The pause doesn't feel right to me. There's nothing wrong with it. I'm just offering a suggestion.

    “How did you come to possess it?”
    Because of the commas before this point, how should be lowercase since it's still the same sentence and not the start of a new one.

    “It’s very important that we do,” Preston said, locking his eyes onto the white-haired trainer and frowning.
    This should be the start of a new paragraph since it switched speakers. I know that you probably wouldn't want to space it like that for personal reasons, but again, it's mostly a suggestion on my part.

    Just as I told you in our PM, the chapter did not disappoint. No major mistakes and a little plot progression makes for an excellent return. Hopefully since you're out for holiday it means more chapters. Please? Anyway, the characters were great this chapter and while it was difficult at times to follow who was saying what I think I got it. It doesn't hurt to have a Chase said, Logan shouted, Preston whispered here and there. It won't deter from your great writing. It will enhance it. Great job on this chapter. Keep it up. Until next time.
    Credit goes to MagicMochi. Check out their shop.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewinder
    While it is very reminiscent of a lot of journey trainer fics, it held my attention. It stands out among a lot of the other fics I've read lately and I'm excited to continue the story.

  4. #29
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    Earth, Air, Water, Fire

    Chapter Six

    -2002-

    There was a great amount of commotion outside. Cameras were flashing, people were shouting, helicopters were whirring. An outside observer might have thought that either there had been a fire or a death at the Gideon home on 43rd and Vine. Inside the large house, a boy ran to the window, looking out.

    “Juju? What’s going on?” Alec was restless, anxious to discover the reason for the media outburst. He was used to the occasional news crew of six or so visiting to interview his grandfather, or when he was staying with his father having to join him for tours, but never before had he seen this amount of people focused on his family. Juliet, the newest in a long line of sitters for the young boy, pulled him away from the clear glass against his will.

    “Stay away from there, Alec. Your mother will deal with this.” He looked up into her eyes, a difficult task (Juliet was a tall woman), and narrowed his own.

    “Why can’t I ever know what’s going on, why can’t I?” Juliet sighed, bending down to Alec’s level. She held his gaze steadily, warm brown eyes meeting glassy jade.

    “These matters just don’t concern you, sweetie. Come, let’s go feed Sunkern.” Alec ignored her outstretched hand.

    “Is this about Pop-pop’s new thing? The invention?” Juliet did not answer, instead standing and peering out the window for herself. Alec did not like this and kicked her in the sweet spot of her lower left leg. He regretted the kick immediately; he liked Juliet very much.

    “Ouch! Alec, stop this! Do you want me to take you to your father’s?” Alec shrank instantly, shaking his head and looking at his toes. “Your grandfather’s changed the world with this creation. People are getting excited! Life is going to be very different for you from here on out, Alec.”

    “But why? Why does it have to be different? I don’t like different.” Juliet did not seem to have an answer for this. Footsteps sounded in the next room. Alec moved to the door immediately.

    “That’s your mother. Let’s not bother her,” she called, but it was too late. Alec ran out of the room, colliding head-on with Pippa Gideon. She let out a noise of agitation, looking to Juliet to handle her son.

    “I don’t have time for this today, Alec.” She continued her trajectory to the front hallway, sidestepping the seven-year-old’s small form.

    “Tell me what’s happening!” He crossed his arms, stubborn and hurt at his mother’s indifference.

    “Juliet, please handle him. I can’t deal with petulance today.” She strode out of the room, and when Alec attempted to follow, Juliet grabbed his arm. She stroked his angry tousle of dark hair and hugged him in an attempt to pacify the boy.

    “Your mother’s very busy, Alec. The Poké Gear is causing excitement, all over, people are excited, and -” Her speech was interrupted by shattering glass from the room they had just vacated. Juliet shrieked and threw the door open, looking into the library. The window had been destroyed, and in the center of the foyer was a dark rock, surrounded by shards of glass. Alec made to pick it up and Juliet stopped him cold.

    “What is it?” he asked, incredulous.

    “Don’t touch it. Someone just threw that rock.” The boy looked up at her with wide eyes. “Alec, with such fame comes danger. A lot of danger. Your family name is very well known, and there are a lot of angry people in this world, people who are angry because they aren’t famous like you.” She hugged the boy to her chest. “But don’t worry. I will always protect you.” A breeze swept through the broken window.

    …................................................. ....................................

    -2009-

    Night crept over the broken Main Street of Olivine City. The maintenance team was already at work to restore the concrete walls and pillars. A Houndoom wandered the dark street outside a cottage on the outskirts of the city. Much to Preston’s insistence that they move as soon as possible from the city, Logan and Alec had refused to sacrifice the chance to sleep in a secure location once before beginning the long trek to Mahogany Town. Preston had rolled his eyes and muttered his misgivings, but allowed them into his tiny seaside cottage and set up makeshift beds in his living area. The older man was now bustling about in his kitchen, preparing a nightcap for everyone before turning in. Logan was helping him make tea, leaving Chase and Alec to aimlessly look through Preston’s relatively large collection of achievements on his mantle.

    “Winner, Johto Pokémon League, 1982. Winner, Johto Pokémon League, 1984. Arceus’ Plates...” Alec muttered. Chase grunted.

    “He’s pretty good,” he admitted, looking from the picture in front of him to the man now instructing Logan on proper brewing methods of ginseng. Preston had been an impressive looking man in his younger days. The photograph, dated to his first Pokémon League win, showed a man with longer hair that curled with a gentle grace down past his chin, landing just at his shoulders, a strong jaw, high cheekbones and a muscular frame.

    “You can sit down, if you’d like,” Preston called, glancing over his shoulder at the boys. While his face had softened a bit, his eyes were still sharp and Alec could now appreciate that this man, at least, deserved his respect. The two boys sat on the single couch in the living room. Chase was watching Logan pour hot water into four cups.

    “You ever been in love?” he asked Alec. Alec was taken aback by this sudden question. It took him a few seconds to stutter an answer.

    “I...uh, well, no. I don’t think. Should I be?” Chase’s gaze lingered on Logan. He shook his head.

    “It’s a lousy thing to be in,” he answered, fiddling with a Poké Ball-shaped coaster on the coffee table.

    “I disagree,” Preston said, entering the space from his kitchen, carrying a tray with tea and chocolate-covered almonds. He offered the bowl of almonds to the boys, which Alec accepted but Chase did not. Logan followed with a plate of soda bread, still warm. “I was married nine years, and it was worth every second.” He produced a picture from his pocket, showing it to Logan first, then the boys.

    “She’s beautiful,” Chase said, looking in awe at the photograph. Married-Preston was slightly older than League-Winner-Preston, and he also sported a graying beard, although he couldn’t be more than thirty. The woman standing next to him had long blonde hair, almond-shaped blue eyes, and a small red mouth that curled up at the edges, locked in an eternal sweet smile. “What happened to her?”

    “She was killed.” Logan let out a small breath, and Chase lowered his head, sorry he had asked. “Five years ago, this May. She was captured and tortured beyond sanity by a member of Team Skye who was looking to receive a large ransom from me. When I paid it, she was returned to me, but she was gone. I tried to find her help, I sent her to a hospital, but...” He folded the picture up and put it in his pocket. “She was my life. It was after she passed I chose to retire.” There was an uncomfortable silence, which Preston seemed to have expected. “I apologize, I didn’t mean to upset you.”

    “Preston -” Logan placed a hand on his shoulder, which he shook off.

    “Now don’t be ridiculous. My memories of her are wonderful and that’s all that matters. Love is excruciating. But when you get it right, it’s sublime. It’s the clearest, purest feeling you’ll ever experience. You look in her eyes and you see the man you can be, not the one you are.” The children stared at him in silence. “I forgot sugar!” he exclaimed, turning abruptly to stride quickly back into the kitchen.

    …................................................. ....................................

    -2006-

    Rain sprayed against the tall crystal windows in the dining room. Alec was perched on the loveseat, his large green eyes reflecting the stream of glassy droplets roaring outside, making beautiful patterns on the window - ripples and rings, lines and shapeless splatters, all working their way down to the muddy ground below. A flash of lightning silhouetted the new tower being built in Ecruteak City ten miles away, the largest and most expensive project his father had ever commissioned.

    “Alec? Are you ready to go?” The eleven-year-old turned to look at his keeper. Juliet had been working for his family for five years now, and she still looked every bit as beautiful to him as she had the first day she had crossed the threshold, on a day very similar to this one.

    “I’m not going.” This had been his response for the past three months, but he knew it would do no good to continue living in denial; like it or not, his mother had paid for a full four-year admittance to technical school, which she insisted would put some sense into him and make him ‘more like the men of the family’. His dream of training Pokémon had long since vanished, but he did not like the finality of someone deciding his future for him so certainly.

    “I’m not going to try to convince you it’s the best opportunity in the world. I know where your heart is.” She paced over to the window seat, reaching out for the boy’s hand. She sat beside him, leveling their eyes to each other. “But you know that my time here is done. Unless you want to be alone in a house with your mother, school is better than nothing. Right?” Alec did not answer. They sat in silence, watching the rain fall.

    “Don’t go, Juliet,” Alec said, not looking at her. She smiled sadly.

    “I have to, Alec. I have another family already that I’m going to be working for. A girl this time,” she said, smiling very slightly despite her best efforts. Alec knew she had always longed for a daughter. He tried to feel happy for her, he had been trying for a week to let go of his only long-term friend. It was difficult.

    “But you’re the only reason I’m ever happy.” Juliet’s face fell. She felt the next words coming before he said them. “I love you, Juju.” She let go of his hand and looked him hard in the eyes.

    “I have enjoyed my time as your guardian, Alec. Very much so. But you need to meet some people your age. This is probably for the best.” She stood up, tousling his hair. “We need to get you a girlfriend, young man.” She laughed, a wonderful laugh that reached her eyes, the most beautiful sight Alec knew. He smiled, broken inside that she hadn’t returned the sentiment.

    “Can you help me pack for school?” Juliet nodded.

    “Only if you’ll help me pack as well.” She said it with a smile, but there was sadness unspoken from both sides.

    …................................................. ....................................

    -2009-

    The night was old by the time Chase and Logan fell asleep on the floor, a safe distance apart from each other. Preston had retired to his bedroom, and Alec was left alone, staring out the window at the sliver of moon hanging in the velvety blue sky. A shadowy figure crawled across a streetlight that was flickering on the corner. Alec started at this, but breathed again when he realized Logan’s Houndoom was still on self-assigned sentry duty. Seated next to the young man were Larvitar, Magby, and Machop. Preston had encouraged releasing the Pokémon from their capsules for a night, allowing them to sleep in a nice, snug shelter for once. Chase’s hand was resting on the Servine to his right, hugging it close to his body. Logan was using her Leafeon as a pillow to no objection.

    “When the sun rises, we’ll go out for a jog. Alright?” Machop nodded immediately, while Magby and Larvitar vocalized their consent. The noise seemed to be enough to stir Logan out of her light sleep. She stirred, rolling over and rubbing her forehead, opening the soft blue eyes and staring around the dark room.

    “Alec? Why are you awake?” She adjusted herself to a seated position. Alec looked from her to Chase’s prone figure and turned back to the window.

    “Can’t sleep. It’s kinda hard to, ever since that attack.” He was surprised he even allowed himself that honesty. Something about Logan’s hair and quiet voice reminded him forcibly of Juliet. She ran her fingers down her bare arms and yawned.

    “Well that stinks. Want some company?” Alec genuinely had no answer for this question. He had no idea what he wanted.

    “I think I’ll be okay. I don’t want to interrupt your sleep pattern.” Logan’s eyebrows narrowed slightly, and she looked at Alec with a hard, scrutinizing look, so similar to his old guardian’s. She lifted herself, walking over to the chair by the window and pulling it around so she was sitting, facing Alec.

    “Talk to me. I’m wide awake now. My sleep pattern has been a joke for the past few years anyway.” She crossed her arms and sat back, expectant. Alec looked around, glancing at the shadows falling across the kitchen counter, the polished coffee table with the remnants of tea, and the dark void where Preston’s room extended beyond the moonlight.

    “I don’t like traveling in groups, honestly. I can fend pretty well for myself. I really don’t need anyone, and if Will hadn’t assigned me to you guys, no offense but I would’ve taken off on my own a good day and a half ago.” Logan nodded, respecting Alec’s honesty and taking him in slowly before answering.

    “I don’t like traveling much, in general, anymore. Not for a while. If it weren’t for Chase, I’d probably have ended my journey a long time ago.” Magby sneezed, singeing Preston’s plain cream-colored curtains. Alec looked over at the sleeping nineteen-year-old.

    “What’s the deal with you two, anyway? Chase looks at you like he’s in love, but you guys fight all the time...but you sound like you’ve been together for years.” Logan seemed taken aback at the mention of Chase’s loving gaze.

    “We...it’s complicated. We met...through a friend. And he was really what kind of glued us together. And then he...well...” Her eyes were full of tears, which seemed out of the left field to Alec. He looked away, uncomfortable with this fresh display of emotion.

    “I didn’t mean to make you cry,” he muttered. Logan shook her head, wiping her eyes.

    “I’m sorry. No, I’m being silly. Chase and I traveled for a good time after Tracey, and we dated, on and off, but we’re not...it’s just...”

    “Who’s Tracey? The glue you mentioned?” Logan nodded, taking a deep breath.

    “Tracey was my best friend. He was...he was my everything. We just got each other. We could talk for hours with each other, but we could also just sit around for hours not talking, and that would be okay too. We were inseparable. Got our first Pokémon together, traveled together, challenged gyms together. After a certain number of...events, we met Chase. And Tracey seemed to think we were all meant to travel together, that we were destined for greatness as a team. And then...well, then the war happened. And Tracey...um, well, he...” This seemed to be too much for Logan, but she shook her head, sniffed, and continued. “He was taken...from us. He was gone. And the war ended, and we tried to move on. Chase and I stopped traveling for a period, we lived together, I saw someone for my...grief...but well, settling down isn’t for Chase. We all deal with death differently, I guess.” Alec nodded, taking this new information without further questioning. They lapsed into an uneasy silence.

    They made small talk for a little while longer, Logan allowing herself a smile only once. She eventually fell asleep in the chair, succumbing to an exhaustion that seemed to exist eternally for her. Alec waited until six and slipped out of the cottage with Magby, Machop, and Larvitar for their morning run. He took a quick glimpse back at Logan’s sleeping figure before leaving, curled up in a ball in the armchair, and allowed himself a small smile. He quite liked her, much more than the other two. She seemed to understand and see things clearly.

    “Lar, tar!” Larvitar was impatient, running small circles in preparation for their exercise.

    “Alright, alright, let’s go!”

    …................................................. ....................................

    -2006-

    “Alec? Are you going to wish me goodbye?” Juliet was standing at the door, holding onto her one bag of valuables, her thin frame silhouetted by the bright morning sun shining behind her. Alec did not turn from his computer, choosing to play silent with her in this final moment. She took a step into the room.

    “Your mother wants you downstairs for breakfast in fifteen minutes. No exceptions, she says.” She looked wearily around the room, taking in the posters, drawings, and portraits hanging on the walls. Alec’s bulletin board, where he kept pictures of his favorite childhood memories, was bare. It seemed he had decided to clear it in anger at her leaving.

    “Tell her I’ll be down after I shower,” he mumbled, in a voice that wasn’t quite his own.

    “You can tell her that yourself, young man. It’s about time you learned to face the woman yourself, you know.” Although Juliet was serious, her mouth twitched. One more beautiful smile before she was gone forever. Alec turned around to look at her, despite his best efforts, needing to take in everything about her one last time.

    “I’m going to miss you,” he said. She did not answer, merely crossing the room and dropping her suitcase, stretching her arms out to him. He allowed her to pull him into a tight embrace, and they simply stood, hugging, for a long time.

    “I’ll miss you too,” she whispered. And then she was gone. Alec watched her walk to her car out the window, watched the vehicle pull away, carrying the one person who’d ever loved him. He walked to his bulletin board, ran his hands over the empty cork surface, and went to his desk drawer, producing a picture and a thumbtack.

    “Goodbye, Juju.” And he pinned a single picture to the board, one of him and Juliet snapped on his seventh birthday. She had her arms wrapped around his shoulders, and both were laughing. His younger self had cake all over his face, and had managed to smear some on her nose, too. His mother’s stern voice floated from the kitchen.

    “Alec, come down for breakfast in the next ten minutes or it’s going in the trash.” Alec closed his eyes, exhaling slowly. Life would be very different from here on out.

    …................................................. ....................................

    -2009-

    Forty five minutes of intense cardio had proved too difficult for Magby, who was now being carried in Alec’s arms as the jog through the docks of Olivine Harbor continued. Larvitar was far ahead, determined to outrun her trainer, and Machop was huffing and sweating behind Alec by a good ten yards.

    “Ten more minutes, guys, then we’ll head back.” Alec’s eyes were fixed on the lighthouse, apparently the place where Amber and Jasmine had been discovered tied up shortly after the attack on the city. He intended to investigate the place before heading back. His Poké Gear rang twice before he noticed and called for a halt, putting Magby down and running in place as he picked up. Preston’s face appeared on the screen.

    “What’s up?” Alec asked, disconcerted at the distressed expression on the older man’s face.

    “Where are you? Why did you leave the cabin?” Alec shrugged, relaxing a little when he realized the ex-Gym Leader was simply being a worrywart.

    “It was a nice morning. Wanted to go for a run.” Preston did not seem impressed by this answer.

    “Alec, there are people out to find and steal from you. You can’t just up and leave! Who knows who could be prowling the streets for you right now?!” Alec shook his head, putting his finger on the power button, ready to hang up. “Come back, Alec. Please,” Preston pleaded. Alec looked around the empty streets.

    “Dude, nobody’s coming for me. Okay? I think they all up and left a while ago.” He remembered the shadowy figure he had seen at the restaurant the other day and shook that memory from his head. Nobody was out to get him today. He waved at the screen and turned off his Poké Gear before Preston could get another word in. He pocketed his Poké Gear and chuckled, scanning the horizon and bending down to pick Magby up. Magby was staring beyond his trainer, eyes wide, frozen stiff.

    “Magby? What’s up?”

    “Alec?” His heart stopped. A female voice had broken the silence from directly behind him to his right. He spun around. The girl from the gym lockdown stood in front of him, holding a gun leveled to his head.
    Last edited by Bulba the Great!; 25th November 2013 at 7:53 AM.
    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.

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

  5. #30
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    Hey man. Sorry it's taken me so long to get to your new chapters. Have had some personal stuff going on and been away from everything online for awhile. However, as I promised you so long ago, I will review every chapter you post. I meant that and I intend to follow through. Hope you're doing well!

    Chapter 4

    She must have been a child - no more than sixteen.
    Probably would go over better if you had just said, 'She was a child - no more than sixteen.' Obviously she's a child if she's sixteenish, it just sounds like you're trying to doubly reaffirm it to us. Get it?

    They took in the desolation and, after a moment, began laughing - not out of mirth, but at the absurdity of their meeting grounds.
    That was very lovely wordplay. Not only az brilliantly reasonable reaction to the situation, but it was very well written. Nicely done

    staring at the boy’s body
    as she stared at the boy's body? that may read better

    that it’s the most powerful deity known in the Johto region.
    Ho-Oh is? I thought it and Lugia shared that title? Unless there is something I missed, or maybe Ho-Oh is different in your verzion of the mythology?

    I own a Rainbow Wing
    AND THE PLOT THICKENS!

    “Maybe we need to stop travelling together, Logan.”
    Traveling

    He must be allowed to travel the region just as freely as any unconcerned trainer who has the fresh promise of adventure in his heart.
    Sounds a little bit too preachy and scripted. Didn't really seem organic and natural, if you see what I mean.

    Natalia ran a clean twelve miles outside the radius of Goldenrod before pausing, her chest heaving.
    Twelve miles? Is she an olypic level athlete. It seems a little hard to believe that someone could do that, even if they are at peak physical conditioning. Hell, I couldn't do that, and I run 3/4 of a mile every morning before work

    Overall I enjoyed the chapter. Some lovely description and some nice backround info on some important players. I might suggest to maybe cut down slightly on the character shifts. I know you're working with a lot of characters and only have limited space to work with them, but if you tone down more on the shifts between characters, it actually makes me feel more for the characters that you are focusing on. Hope that makes sense lol

    Chapter 5

    The Swanna Station
    Clever

    “I guarantee you my answer would do nothing but bore you. Joseph Thomas Preston, former gym leader of the Olivine Gym. Now in retirement.”
    I love the matter of fact attitude; works really well with the character. Not sure if I was supposed to, but that dialogue made me laugh lol

    [QUOTE]“Alec said as much to Will earlier. It’s not our place to take a family heirloom from Alec, and honestly, Chase, I’m disappointed in your response to this situation.” Chase looked bewildered.[QUOTE]

    Actually, I think that's really reasonable for him to say. There's no need to for him to be disappointed if it's for the greater good and solves the immedeate problem. Screw if it's a family heirloom if there are millions of lives at risk

    “This other world, Alex, NeoEarth, was made up of people who had no Pokémon to assist in their daily struggles
    Was this in the previous fic? If so, I need a link because I feel like I've missed out on a lot. and I'm digging it

    The Pokémon was configured most bizarrely; the ten-year-old girl standing in front of it had never seen another creature like it. It was tall, taller than her, with mottled brown feathers that clutched to its round, small body in the semblance of a puff ball. Its long tan legs ended in large, awkward feet which were only out-weirded by the identical stalks rising in the opposite direction from its body - two long necks, each capped with an intelligent head. She reached out to touch, to confirm the reality of two brains, two beaks, four eyes
    The description of Doduo felt a tad bit lengthy to me but you painted a gorgeous picture. Really, someone who's not familiar with Pokemon at all would have no problem seeing it clearly. Kudos!

    “That’s ridiculous. I came here to challenge the gym!” Alec pounded the table, agitated.
    Doesn't he have bigger stuff to worry about?

    Chapter 6

    “Why can’t I ever know what’s going on, why can’t I?” Juliet sighed, bending down to Alec’s level.
    Age appropriate and worthwhile question. Really realistic and well places. I liked that quite a bit and could see it quite well in my head

    “Five years ago, this May. She was captured and tortured beyond sanity by a member of Team Skye who was looking to receive a large ransom from me. When I paid it, she was returned to me, but she was gone. I tried to find her help, I sent her to a hospital, but...”
    It seems like that may have been a bit too easy for him to share. Believe me, I don't know the character that well at all, but I'm married myself, and if that had happened to my wife, not only would I ever be able to talk about it, but doing so would cause me considerable strain. I'm not saying that the story doesn't mean anything or help the story, but it also is an opportunity to show more emotion from Logan

    Logan was using her Leafeon as a pillow to no objection.
    I liked that bit as well. I've always imagined the eveelutions as very dog like. Maybe I was able to respond to that really well because I use my great dane as a pillow all the time and she never reacts, but either way, it was nicely done

    Forty five minutes of intense cardio had proved too difficult for Magby, who was now being carried in Alec’s arms
    Good chance to mention some description of Magby that I thought was missed. How hot his/her body tempature is and how it makes him switch arms holding him/her. you dig?

    The girl from the gym lockdown stood in front of him, holding a gun leveled to his head.
    That cranks **** up a notch

    Anyway, the only thing I like about not reviewing so many of your chapters until now is the fact that I got to read three in a row. Though there were some things that I believe could be worked on, I really enjoyed myself and what you've come up with. Keep up the good work and I promise I'll be more prompt with my reviews from now on

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

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  6. #31
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    I am so jealous that people actually read your fanfics. I have had 1 read...
    Evanilluxe is my brother. If you have a brother on the forums, put this in your sig. (Started by Seanferno)
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  7. #32
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    Earth, Air, Water, Fire

    Chapter Seven


    Preston hung up the Poké Gear, furious. Logan and Chase were sitting cross-legged on his couch, she alert and attentive, he blearily rubbing sleep from his eyes. Seven was far too early to wake up, considering the amount of sleep Chase had gotten in the past week.

    “So where is he?” Logan asked, sounding worried, although Chase couldn’t understand why it mattered one way or the other. The boy seemed perfectly capable of defending himself if he was attacked for whatever reason. The sun was just starting to become bright and irritating, peeking through the window and throwing streaks of light directly into Chase’s squinted eyes. Preston crossed to the window, peering out onto the street, seemingly checking for danger, which Chase found to be a foolish precaution.

    “I think I saw the Bait and Tackle shop behind him, which would place him right in the heart of the Harbor area. I think he’s probably heading for the lighthouse, because of its involvement in the lockdown.” He ran his hand through his graying hair, sticking his tongue in his drawn, stubbled cheek and pacing away from the window, glancing distractedly at his shelf of trophies.

    “Should we go looking for him, then?” Logan asked, standing and reaching for her bag. Preston held up a hand, rubbing his forehead and looking down at the device still in his hand. He strode to the door, opening it and sticking his head out, checking left and right. He produced a Premier Ball from his pocket, the orb pure white and glistening in his calloused hand. Without a word, he released a great eagle, all scarlet and sea-blue feathers, sharp talons gripping his left arm with a tight yet gentle firmness. Fierce crystal-blue eyes met its trainer’s seafoam gaze, searching for instruction.

    “Search for the boy. If he is in danger, you protect him. If the danger is too great, you know what to do.” The bird let out a surprisingly beautiful, soft caw and flapped its great wings, the eight-foot wingspan brushing up against the walls and knocking the dusty curtains into the windows. It swooped across the threshold in a flurry of feathers, and Preston watched his companion shrink rapidly into the rising sun.

    “Why are you so worried about this kid? I don’t think the people who are after him are even capable of getting back into the city at this point. He’s not a child, he said so himself.” Chase had not moved from his spot on the couch; he was still hoping to get another two hours of sleep.

    “We were charged with his protection by Will! Of all the people to listen to, it’s him!” Chase snorted derisively, shifting lower into the cushions of the couch, fiddling aimlessly with the cushion in his lap. Logan shot him a look that killed and moved to the door, her Pokémon following, Houndoom obediently clinging to her right side. Preston turned, shutting the door behind him.

    “I want to go out looking for him,” Logan said, more of a statement than a request. Preston shook his head slowly, looking at Houndoom distractedly.

    “No,” he murmured. Logan made to protest, but he continued, “Chase is actually partially right.” Chase sat up at mention of his name, alarmed that his derision was well-placed after all. Logan took a step back in confusion, staring at Preston. “Alec doesn’t want to be coddled like a child, and if we treat him like we don’t trust him he’s never going to see us as anything but overbearing authority figures. The little I’ve learned about him tells me he only listens to people he trust. So we need to show him some trust.” He paced away from the door toward the kitchen. “Let’s eat breakfast, shall we?”

    “But...you just sent a Pokémon to trail him…” Logan said, nonplussed.

    “Well,” Preston said, a smile flickering behind his eyes for the first time that morning, “He hasn’t seen my Braviary yet, has he?”

    …................................................. ....................................

    -1998-

    “Tracey?” Logan’s heart was beating so fast and so high it would leap right out of her throat. She and her best friend had been out exploring the forest to the south of Pallet Town for hours; they had entered right after dinner. The once inviting trees, so pretty and vibrant with leaves of burnt sienna, copper, bright orange and green, were now scary and foreboding, casting deep shadows and creating giant, gaping black chasms amongst the dark trunks. Tracey had chased a Spearow with giddy excitement and left Logan quite alone in the giant mass of brush and vines. A dark shadow caused the bushes to her left to shift. The eight-year-old girl shrieked.

    “Logan?” Tracey’s voice sounded far-off, strained. Her worst fears confirmed, Logan instantly calibrated herself, looking in the direction her best friend’s voice had come from. He called again, seemingly from the opposite direction. His voice echoed through the forest, bouncing left, right, north, south, every direction. Logan began running, breathing hard and fast, to her right. All she could hear was the sound of her pounding heartbeat, the gasps of air she took in every few steps, and the echo of her friend’s voice fresh in her ear. A tree branch snagged at her tangle of waist-length blonde hair, pulling and snapping as the girl continued running, her self-concern thrown away. A vine shot up, tripping the girl, and Logan was on the ground as fast as she had started running.

    “Ouch!” she cried in pain, tears stinging the corners of her enormous blue eyes. She looked for the source of the plantlife that had painfully seized her ankle. It was the extended foot of a Bellsprout, which was now snaking its long roots toward her, a hungry sense of mischief playing in its small, beady eyes.

    “Sprout…” it uttered, its yellow head bobbling perilously on its slender brown body. Logan scrambled backward, trying and failing to get to her feet. It was getting so dark.

    “Tracey!” Logan cried desperately, “Tracey, where are you?” The Bellsprout was snaking closer, its wide pink mouth opening, revealing tiny but sharp black teeth. Tracey and Logan had been warned in school about the carnivorous family of Bellsprout and its evolutions, but it was so difficult to be threatened by the little colorful creature...until it was standing so close, its grip tight and green saliva dripping so venomously. A crashing sound broke through the trees behind Logan. She and Bellsprout both turned, confused. A cawing mixed with a small boy’s laughter added onto the crashing, and a large tawny Fearow, a wingspan of some six feet and its neck long and crooked burst through the foliage. Tracey Morgan was riding on the back, his face alive with excitement.

    “Logan, that’s dangerous!” he shouted, pointing at the Bellsprout frozen with its mouth open and roots entangled around the little girl.

    “Yes I know, dummy, where were you?? Isn’t THAT dangerous?” she asked, eyeing Fearow’s sharp beak and talons.

    “Oh, this guy? He’s harmless, we were just playing with his kids, he’s got a whole nest of baby Spearow.” Tracey seemed overjoyed, talking very fast with no break between his words. Logan pulled at Bellsprout’s tendrils in vain, her legs trapped fast.

    “A little help, please?” she said, her teeth gritting against the mounting pressure on her lower legs. Fearow flapped his wings, drawing himself up to full height and towering over Logan and Bellsprout. Tracey kicked at his dark-feathered mount and Fearow shot forward, screeching shrilly at the Grass Pokémon. Bellsprout shrivelled, accepting defeat and shrinking into the long shadows now being cast across the whole forest, shooting one last hungry look at Logan. Tracey hopped gracefully off the back of the gigantic bird, petting its neck and smiling.

    “Where did you wander off to?” he asked, nodding meaningfully at the Fearow, who crooned and took off, leaving the children quite alone in the small clearing. Logan was trembling, massaging her ankle and glaring at Tracey, whose expression went from joy to astonishment very quickly. “What did I do?!”

    “WHAT did you do?” Logan shrieked, standing for emphasis. She had peaked in growth a little earlier than her friend, and the extra half inch allowed her to feel tall and intimidating in this moment of anger. “I turn my back for two seconds and you’re running off after a spare Pokémon that could be luring you to your DEATH for all I know, without even telling me? I was terrified, Tracey, I thought…” The girl stopped very suddenly, and Tracey saw that her rage had ebbed, giving way to tears. Tracey was alarmed.

    “What?” Logan hurried forward, grabbing him and holding tight.

    “I thought I had lost you. I’m never losing you again, Tracey. It’s gonna be just you and me, forever and always.”

    …................................................. ....................................

    -2009-

    The gun remained pointed at Alec for a solid minute of tense silence before anybody moved. Magby was frozen, shivering in his owner’s arms, large black eyes popping, magenta arms clutching at every inch of Alec available.

    “You can’t shoot me,” Alec said, believing this only as he said it, “You’re not allowed.” This did seem to be true; with all this mania involving Team Skye - the lockdown, the hunt for the Rainbow Wing, the street battle - after all was said and done, he was still alive and unscathed. “Your boss doesn’t want blood on his hands.” Natalia lowered the gun very slightly, taking a breath.

    “I’m sorry for the mess at the gym,” she said. Alec noted she had avoided his statement completely. Tactful. “I don’t want you getting the wrong impression of me.” Alec began laughing.

    “Oh, okay. She says as she lowers her gun,” he said. Magby squirmed at the mention of the g-word. “What impression am I supposed to be getting?” He tried to appear calm, in control, but his eyes betrayed this illusion as they shot in every direction, searching for an escape. The girl had changed since last Alec had seen her: her face was pristine and smooth now, all the nasty scars and burns neatly covered with makeup. The nice clothing she had worn in the encounter at the gym had been forsaken; she was now wearing what Alec could only assume was her uniform - a jumpsuit that was all teals and grays, clearly meant for agility more than extravagance. A crystal symbol gleamed on her left breast, a crest: A large, angular ‘S’, crafted to resemble a bird with wings bursting from the top, a tail sprouting from below. She pocketed the gun, putting her hands up in the clear open.

    “I just want to talk with you, Alec.” Machop had placed his small body between Alec and Natalia, attempting to look fierce but unable to mask the sweat gleaming on his ashen body. His tiny stub of a tail was tense, quivering, his gray teeth gritted. Larvitar, however, seemed to have disappeared. Alec assumed she had burrowed away somewhere; she did this as a defence mechanism, digging a hole and waiting for danger to pass over.

    “Talk to me about what? I’m not going to give you the Rainbow Wing.”

    “I don’t expect you to. Let’s be honest, all cards on the table. If I wanted that wing from you, if I really wanted it, I would have gotten it by now.” Alec had no retort for this. She did seem to present a good point. The sun rose a little higher; a flock of Pidgeot flew overhead, punctuated by one splash of color, an eagle with splendid red-and-blue plumage.

    “Well then...what could you possibly want from me?”

    “It’s not something I want from you. I want a chance to explain my actions, I feel that you deserve that. Gabriel doesn’t even know I’m here, if he knew...Alec, he doesn’t want to hurt you. He only wants to see Elijah again, if he -” She was abruptly cut off by a massive blow to the back of the head. Larvitar hadn’t hidden after all, it seemed; she had crept around the periphery of the scene and taken a massive slab of stone from the wall to their left, smashing it over the head of the Team Skye member, who had passed out immediately, uttering only a small “Oh,” before sliding to the ground, blood trickling from the open wound where stone had connected with skull. The ground was now coated in scarlet, her ruby red hair mixing almost too perfectly with blood. Larvitar stood proudly, sternly over her body, her chin up and her eyes narrowed to slits, staring down at her prey.

    “Larvitar!” Alec cried in a mixture of shock and gratification. This certainly solved a lot of problems. Larvitar dropped the slab of rock, pacing back to her owner and crossing her miniscule arms, expecting praise. Alec laughed, placing Magby on the ground and reaching down to shake Larvitar’s tiny hand. “Job well done, miss.” Machop came up beside her, patting her back, to which Larvitar responded with a snarl. She was standing taller than usual, her chest puffed out, clearly thrilled with her revenge on this woman who’d threatened Alec. Although he was thrilled to have dodged the bullet with this encounter, Alec glanced around, hoping nobody had noticed the brutal clubbing that had just occurred.

    “Mag, by!” his companion muttered, staring with wide eyes at the girl lying prone in from of them. Alec picked Magby back up and backed away, slowly.

    “I think we should head back, guys.”

    …................................................. ....................................

    -2005-

    The sun was newly risen over Celadon City. Brilliant red-and-orange rays shattered the dark sky, bleeding across the tall hills surrounding the city. Tracey, Logan, and Chase had pitched a tent on the hill overlooking the Celadon Gym the night before. Light streamed across the cheap blue canvas, pouring in through the tiny opening at the top where the two flaps of a door converged. The stray beam of light shot through the peaceful dark of the tent, burning Logan’s face. Her right eye opened, sky-blue and dilating very quickly at the barrage of searing white light.

    “Arceus’ Plates!” she yelped, sitting up very quickly. Heaving, her chest moving rapidly with fresh breath, she looked around. Bulby, Tracey’s first and absolute favorite Pokémon, was sleeping with a deeply content smile, his head nuzzled into the electric green fur of Rikelec (Tracey’s Electrike). Her eyes fell on Chase, the fifteen-year-old boy she’d only met yesterday. He was sound asleep, drool escaping his mouth in liberal amounts, his limbs splayed everywhere. Tracey’s sleeping bag was empty, his bag open and significantly emptied. She heard a clattering from outside, and as her senses awoke, she became aware of the wonderful musky scent of fire.

    “Good morning,” Tracey said with a gentle smile, his eyes leaving the fire briefly to take in Logan’s disheveled (yet somehow still appealing) appearance, her long blonde hair tangled and her wristbands halfway up her arm.

    “Morning,” she replied, returning the smile. She yawned, stretched, and winced at the new sun. She paced over to the fire, appreciating the added scent of scrambled eggs with a gentle “Mmm” and sitting a body’s width away from her best friend. She closed her eyes, sleep still heavy on her mind.

    “Chase still asleep?” Logan nodded, rubbing her legs for warmth and burying her head between her knees. For a moment, the only sounds were the spitting of the fire and the crackle of eggs on a pan.

    “What do you think of him?” Logan asked, voicing the question that had been hanging in the air since meeting the young trainer the day before. Tracey did not respond immediately, prodding at the eggs and reaching for a stack of plates, laying them by his feet.

    “He’s pretty cool! He’s an amazing trainer, obviously. And he seems to have a pretty great sense of humor.”

    “He’s cute, too,” Logan said, her face still between her legs. The fire popped.

    “You think so?” Tracey scooped up the pan and started doling the eggs in equal proportions for fifteen - himself, Logan, Chase, and all their Pokémon. Logan lifted her head, looking sideways at her friend and then toward the tent, now fully illuminated by the morning.

    “Yeah, he’s not bad on the eyes.” Tracey laughed - not a completely genuine response, Logan thought. The tent flap opened and Logan’s heart jumped - luckily, it was just Bulby, alert and seeking his trainer.

    “Shar!” he exclaimed, leaping over to the plate of eggs set out for him. Tracey smiled, a real smile this time, and rubbed his partner’s head. He got up, going over to the makeshift ‘table’ set out on the ground - a tablecloth Tracey had nabbed before leaving home. Logan followed him with her eyes only, too comfortable in front of the fire to get up. Tracey produced his Town Map from his vest pocket, unfolding it and laying it out in front of him.

    “You’re not jealous, are you?” Logan teased.

    “What?” Tracey had not intended this to come out as a yelp, but squeak he did. Logan picked up her plate, toying with her slightly charred portion of eggs and sausage.

    “Well, he’s a legend,” she said, still mocking but gauging Tracey’s reaction with interest all the same. “Two losses, ever? In his life?” Tracey snorted, which he attempted to cover with a cough. “What?” He turned to look at her.

    “You don’t think that’s true, do you?” Logan shrugged.

    “Why wouldn’t it be?” Tracey didn’t seem to have an answer for this. Bulby let out a burp. He had eaten his own plate of food and, seemingly unsatisfied, moved on to everyone else’s. Tracey let out a groan and ran over to the now-cleared plates.

    “Bulby! That wasn’t all for you!” He moaned and bent down, picking his small sea-green friend up and hugging him in spite of the trouble he’d caused. Bulby looked guilty, lowering his large red eyes and letting out a quiet noise of apology, nuzzling his head into Tracey’s chest.

    “Do you have more supplies? Chase hasn’t eaten yet,” Logan said, looking again toward the tent. Tracey placed Bulby down and ran his fingers through his long dark hair.

    “Yeah. I can get some rolls going or something. I hope you’re happy,” he said admonishingly to Bulby, laughing to show he wasn’t too overly upset. Bulby yawned in response, stretching his stubby legs and hobbling back to the tent for a post-meal nap.

    “Don’t feel obligated to cook anything else! Chase has had to fend for himself for years, I’m sure he’s got something to hold him over.” Tracey merely shook his head in response, kneeling down in front of the food container which was a few feet away from Logan’s seat by the fire.

    “No, no, I don’t mind. We’re three now. Forever and always.” The steely way he said this made Logan slightly uneasy.

    …................................................. ....................................

    -2009-

    Alec returned before Braviary did. Preston was making eggs Sunnyside Up for everyone (except himself - ‘I’m watching my cholesterol,’ he announced morosely), busying himself with spices and margarine for the biscuits in the oven, when there was a knock on the door.

    “Would one of you get that?” he asked, sweating slightly from the heat surrounding him on all sides. Chase was the one to answer the door, his Nidoking answering the door with him, great purple arms flexed and ready to defend his trainer if there was trouble. When Alec’s auburn hair and denim jacket appeared through the crack in the doorway, Chase rolled his eyes and opened it all the way.

    “Nice of you to join us,” he said, stepping back to let the boy in. Alec was slightly out of breath from running (only slightly - he had been cardio training for six months, after all) and didn’t seem happy to see Chase first at all. He crossed the threshold and immediately shut the door behind him.

    “Great to see you, too,” he responded, cuffing Chase on the shoulder and walking to the window, peering carefully through the closed curtains. Logan was on the couch, Leafeon napping quietly in her lap, a game of chess set up on the table in front of her.

    “It’s my turn,” Chase said, returning to the couch and reaching for a black rook, choosing to act as though Alec had never been absent or present at all, looking only at Logan.

    “Alec, I was just wondering where you’d gotten to,” Preston said in a would-be-casual voice. Alec stood in front of the window, nonplussed. He had expected a great deal of panic from all three; well, from Preston and Logan. The conversation they’d had on the phone did not match the relaxed atmosphere permeating the room now. He looked from Preston, sifting oatmeal for himself and humming, to Chase, whose eyes were tired but concentrated solely on the chessboard in front of him, to Logan. She had not uttered a sound or acknowledged Alec’s presence at all, which frankly surprised him. Well, why should she, he thought, she barely knows you. She’s not Juliet.

    “Well, I’m glad you weren’t worried about me…” he announced to the room in general, not sure who to speak to. Logan moved her bishop three squares diagonally. “Nothing happened out of the ordinary,” he continued uncertainly, “I certainly wasn’t attacked by a Team Skye member, or anything…” Logan quivered but did not look at him. Alec was suspicious at everybody’s attitude. There was a gentle tap at the window. Preston slammed his pans down immediately and ran into the living room, pushing Alec away from the window and pulling the curtains back.

    “Braviary!” he exclaimed, pulling the latch on the window and opening it up so that his splendidly-colored Pokémon could fly in, wings brushing the frame. Alec narrowed his eyes suspiciously.

    “There was a Braviary flying overhead back there when that gang member was pointing a gun at me.” Logan let out a cry, and immediately it was as if a spell had been broken. Preston looked sharply at Alec, shutting the window hard and carrying Braviary over to its perch, eyes trained on the young boy. Logan leapt from the couch and ran to Alec, pulling him into an embrace.

    “A gun?” Preston asked, incredulous, “Who was it? Surely not Gabriel himself?”

    “No,” Alec said, his voice muffled by Logan’s body, which had him quite enveloped, “it was that girl who tried getting the Rainbow Wing from me at the gym. She said she wanted to explain something, I don’t remember exactly. But she had us cornered.” Logan pulled back, her light blue eyes trained on Alec. “Larvitar saved the day, really. She hit the girl over the head, knocked her out.” Logan put her hands over her mouth, stunned.

    “And you’re okay? You aren’t hurt at all?” Alec shook his head, looking to Preston, who was deep in thought.

    “Does the name ‘Elijah’ mean anything to you?” he asked the older man, who was rubbing his darkly stubbled cheek in distracted, jerky movements.

    “Elijah?” He frowned, his forehead creasing. “No, no I can’t say that has any significant meaning...Elijah…”

    “We were scared to death, Alec. Weren’t we, Chase?” Logan said, looking over to Chase, who was still sitting on the couch, although he was finally looking at Alec and not the stupid chessboard. He nodded slowly, begrudgingly.

    “Elijah…” Preston was hitting his forehead, as if trying to jog memories that simply weren’t coming. Logan was still very close to Alec, checking his body for any sign of injury.

    “Logan, stop fussing over him like you’re his mother,” Chase said. Alec had no complaints, in fact he quite enjoyed being so near her. Logan calmed him in a way nobody had since Juliet. Preston seemed to have made up his mind.

    “We’re going to have to get to Mahogany Town as quickly as possible, and we should leave now, children,” he said.

    “We’re NOT children,” Chase said immediately, sharply, glaring at Preston. The older man sighed.

    “No, you’re right. I apologize. Sirs and miss, we have to leave as quickly as possible. I don’t know exactly what Gabriel’s next move will be, but that girl from the gym, Alec, her name is Natalia and she is dangerous and one of his most trusted teammates. If he keeps sending her to deal with you, Alec...he’s got something bigger happening. He’s moving, orchestrating something...and he must be doing it now, while we speak, or I think he would be seeking you personally. Pack your things, chil - everyone.” Alec shook his head.

    “You know what? This is my problem. I’ll deal with it on my own, I don’t want to put you in danger.”

    “Thanks,” Chase said. Logan made a face at her friend and shook her head fiercely.

    “You’re not going anywhere, Alec. I’m never losing you again. It’s gonna be the four of us, for now, and it’s going to be that way for a long time. You hear me?” She had his head in her hands and she held it still and looked deep into his eyes. Alec nodded numbly, aware of Chase’s eyes staring at the two of them. “Good. Let’s get moving, then.” There was a great flurry of movement; Alec suddenly became aware of the fact that there were a great deal of Pokémon in the room who had been watching the conversation quietly, awaiting a verdict on the group’s next movement. Chase’s Nidoking began bossing the rest of his Pokémon around, commanding Servine to roll up the sleeping bags with Logan’s Blastoise, who did not take kindly to direction. Preston grabbed a massive bag resting against the wall and crossed swiftly to the kitchen, pulling last-minute provisions from the cabinets.

    “I’ll take you all through the Olivine mountain range, it’ll be much safer that way. It’s not a well-known path, the tunnels to Ecruteak. I doubt even most mountain climbers know about it.” Chase, Logan and Alec were snapping their bags shut, and all Pokémon were returned to their Poké Balls, with the exception of Logan’s Houndoom, who insisted on remaining by her trainer’s side until they were safely out of Olivine. Logan pulled on her pale teal sweater, Chase his scarlet-and-black jacket with an extra-large collar.

    “We’re ready to go when you are, Preston,” Logan said, hoisting her bag onto her shoulders. Preston scanned his house one last time before nodding, confident he had packed everything essential. Pulling on a brown rawhide jacket, he shouldered his massive bag, nearly Houndoom’s size, and opened the door.

    “Off we go,” he said, waiting for the three children to exit before extinguishing the lights, and suddenly the living room that had been crackling with life and warmth ten minutes earlier was dark and silent.
    Last edited by Bulba the Great!; 17th December 2013 at 4:57 AM.
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  8. #33
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    Probing questions for anybody who chances to read this, because this will help me with future chapters:

    -Who is your favorite character?
    -Who is the most intriguing character?
    -Whose story do you think this is?
    -What do you predict happening from here?
    -Do you feel Pokemon are being utilized heavily enough?

    If you guys could at least consider these questions, it would help me a great deal!
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  9. #34
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    [IMG]http://i42.*******.com/34xrtya.jpg[/IMG]

    This is a doodle of the Team Skye logo I drew in class the other day, the one I described in Chapter Seven. For reference.
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    Just a quick question--do you have to have read the other two stories to understand this one?

  11. #36
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    No, if you look back on the first page I have a quick comprehension guide of characters from my previous stories, but it's all straightforward and doesn't require past knowledge
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    Okay--that should make reviewing easier...

    Description: Very nice--I love the attention to detail you have--it really makes Olivine City (and your other locales) come alive

    Characters: I love how each of the characters has their own unique personality--Machop and Magby and the water bottle were my favorite parts

    Plot: I'm very intrigued by what adventure you have planned for this ensemble--will it have anything to do with Team Rocket's return?

    Score:

    A very promising start, but I'm sure once the story gets rolling and my questions are answered, it'll be even better.
    Last edited by FlamingRuby; 25th October 2013 at 8:22 PM.

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    Alright, sorry this took so long, but here is the review I promised.

    Seven was far too early to wake up, considering the amount of sleep Chase had gotten in the past week.
    I can't handle this much truth right away! Ease me into it!

    He’s not a child, he said so himself.
    I don't know why, but I feel a semi-colon would work better here instead of a comma. Just me though. Nothing wrong here.

    An excellent chapter in all regards. The description was amazing as it always is. Larvitar's attack on Natalia was surprising and amazing. I always knew she was a great Pokemon. They're setting out so I assume the action is going to be kicked up a few notches pretty soon. When that happens, I'll be here to read it all. Great work as always. Keep it up.
    Credit goes to MagicMochi. Check out their shop.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewinder
    While it is very reminiscent of a lot of journey trainer fics, it held my attention. It stands out among a lot of the other fics I've read lately and I'm excited to continue the story.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FlamingRuby View Post
    Description: Very nice--I love the attention to detail you have--it really makes Olivine City (and your other locales) come alive

    Characters: I love how each of the characters has their own unique personality--Machop and Magby and the water bottle were my favorite parts

    Well shucks, thanks

    Plot: I'm very intrigued by what adventure you have planned for this ensemble--will it have anything to do with Team Rocket's return?

    It was my intent when I first created Team Skye that they be the answer to Team Rocket - TR has disbanded completely, but that hasn't stopped evil from permeating the Tohjo continent.

    Score:

    A very promising start, but I'm sure once the story gets rolling and my questions are answered, it'll be even better.
    Thanks, Ruby! Glad you enjoyed.

    An excellent chapter in all regards. The description was amazing as it always is. Larvitar's attack on Natalia was surprising and amazing. I always knew she was a great Pokemon. They're setting out so I assume the action is going to be kicked up a few notches pretty soon. When that happens, I'll be here to read it all. Great work as always. Keep it up.
    Thanks so much, Lucario. Expect big things from Larvitar, and soon. The action is definitely going to be on a steady increase. I do apologize for the confinement for the cabin for a few chapters - it is indeed something that was meant to make the reader, as Chase does, feel restless and want the action to begin again.

    Chapter Eight is actually quite close to finished. Expect the first (official) Pokemon battle, finally.
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    Logan and Chase were sitting cross-legged on his couch, she alert and attentive, he blearily rubbing sleep from his eyes
    That sentence felt weird to me. Especially the 'he' and 'she' portion. I'm not sure how to explain other than it seemed somewhat impersonal and it didn't really flow well. It's odd, I can see why it didn't work in my mind, but its difficult for me to type up. Hmm, weird. Take from that what you will

    He ran his hand through his graying hair, sticking his tongue in his drawn, stubbled cheek and pacing away from the window, glancing distractedly at his shelf of trophies
    Too many commas in my opinion. Try running the different thoughts together at least once to cut down on the breaks. When you come across moments where commas are required, trying reading the passage out loud and pay attention to the pauses as it can really shed light where you should take a break and when you shouldn't. You dig?

    Logan’s heart was beating so fast and so high it would leap right out of her throat
    I feel like it would read better if you put, 'Logan's heart was beating so fast that it felt like it would leap right out of her chest.'

    Your version sounds odd to me for some reason

    She looked for the source of the plantlife that had painfully seized her ankle. It was the extended foot of a Bellsprout, which was now snaking its long roots toward her, a hungry sense of mischief playing in its small, beady eyes.
    I was able to picture that quite clearly and you displayed the situation quite wonderfully. Nicely done

    dark-feathered mount and Fearow shot forward, screeching shrilly at the Grass Pokémon. Bellsprout shrivelled, accepting defeat and shrinking into the long shadows now being cast across the whole forest, shooting one last hungry look at Logan
    That's the kind of description I want to see. Very nicely done. Excellent wordplay and great visuals. Kudos!

    Machop had placed his small body between Alec and Natalia, attempting to look fierce but unable to mask the sweat gleaming on his ashen body. His tiny stub of a tail was tense, quivering, his gray teeth gritted
    I liked that bit as well. I liked how you tied his sweat into the emotional feelings. Tis a very hard thing to do and can come off very weird if not done correctly but you did an awesome job. When you think of fear, or concern, or anger, there are physical symptoms that go along with those physical states. I'm glad you paid attention to that

    a tablecloth Tracey had nabbed before leaving home.
    That seems almost unbelievable. Really, grabbed a tablecloth before leaving? He doesn't seem eccentric enough for that to work. Actually, he seems so level headed that it doesn't seem likely that that's something he would grab before he left. It's one thing if he picks one up along the way, but to make that something he actively sought to grab just felt a little odd to me

    (except himself - ‘I’m watching my cholesterol,’ he announced morosely),
    That bothered me a little bit. If you're making eggs (or anything really), unless you add an ingredient to combat certain parts of it, it doesn't change the amount of cholesterol. It doesn't matter if he's making them Sunny or Scrambled, the amount of cholesterol stays the same

    “You’re not going anywhere, Alec. I’m never losing you again. It’s gonna be the four of us, for now, and it’s going to be that way for a long time. You hear me
    Aww, that was sweet. I liked that. Very genuine and believable

    It’s not a well-known path, the tunnels to Ecruteak. I doubt even most mountain climbers know about it.”
    If I recall, that's not part of the games or the anime. I'm excited for you to take this because you have a chance for pure creation there. Which could end up being a lot of fun if you do it the right way. I love it when writers take an established region and add in little twists. I'll be watching the evolution of this. Stoked

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    Now that's the sorta feedback I'm talking bout!

    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewinder View Post
    That sentence felt weird to me. Especially the 'he' and 'she' portion. I'm not sure how to explain other than it seemed somewhat impersonal and it didn't really flow well. It's odd, I can see why it didn't work in my mind, but its difficult for me to type up. Hmm, weird. Take from that what you will.

    Hm, I see what you mean. That's some cliche writing going on, anyway - not particularly coming from any personal need to write it that way.

    Too many commas in my opinion. Try running the different thoughts together at least once to cut down on the breaks. When you come across moments where commas are required, trying reading the passage out loud and pay attention to the pauses as it can really shed light where you should take a break and when you shouldn't. You dig?

    Thanks for bringing this up, I've begun to notice sentence structure is a bit of a recurring problem for me anyway. That actually really helps, a lot.

    I feel like it would read better if you put, 'Logan's heart was beating so fast that it felt like it would leap right out of her chest.'

    Your version sounds odd to me for some reason

    Hm, yeah...dunno what I was thinking when I first wrote that.

    I was able to picture that quite clearly and you displayed the situation quite wonderfully. Nicely done

    Theenks!

    That's the kind of description I want to see. Very nicely done. Excellent wordplay and great visuals. Kudos!

    Aw, shucks.

    I liked that bit as well. I liked how you tied his sweat into the emotional feelings. Tis a very hard thing to do and can come off very weird if not done correctly but you did an awesome job. When you think of fear, or concern, or anger, there are physical symptoms that go along with those physical states. I'm glad you paid attention to that

    This is where it helps me to be involved in theatre while writing dialogue/actions - I try to picture the characters living the scenario. I'm glad it worked for you

    That seems almost unbelievable. Really, grabbed a tablecloth before leaving? He doesn't seem eccentric enough for that to work. Actually, he seems so level headed that it doesn't seem likely that that's something he would grab before he left. It's one thing if he picks one up along the way, but to make that something he actively sought to grab just felt a little odd to me

    What an interesting and dead-on observation about Tracey. I had to go back and reference some of my old writing for this flashback - this one actually takes place right before a scene that is part of "Destined", and therefore is influenced by my older perceptions of characters. My original conception for Tracey back in "One of Many (my first story, of which he was the lead) was actually a lot more similar to Alec - he ran away from home, and a lot of the stuff he took with him was nicked from his parents. So technically, Tracey would have stolen the tablecloth - this is an inconsistency with how the characters developed. I'm really glad you picked up on that, though.

    That bothered me a little bit. If you're making eggs (or anything really), unless you add an ingredient to combat certain parts of it, it doesn't change the amount of cholesterol. It doesn't matter if he's making them Sunny or Scrambled, the amount of cholesterol stays the same

    Wow, my bad. This was a wording error - what was meant by that sentence was, Preston was making eggs for everyone, except himself. Hahaha I don't think there's some secret art to cooking eggs without cholesterol! Geez, major screw-up on my part. My apologies.

    Aww, that was sweet. I liked that. Very genuine and believable

    I'm really glad you liked that. I was trying to find a sort of 'key phrase' to characterize Logan's perceptions of situations, and I honed in on this idea that for her, everything wraps up nice and neat, and people stay together 'forever and always.' This causes some delusion on her part, but it's also a very sweet sentiment I think. I really like writing for Logan. Which is funny because when Tracey was around, Logan really tended to be a drag to write about.

    If I recall, that's not part of the games or the anime. I'm excited for you to take this because you have a chance for pure creation there. Which could end up being a lot of fun if you do it the right way. I love it when writers take an established region and add in little twists. I'll be watching the evolution of this. Stoked

    Yeah, this is completely new. The geography of Johto is something that I've always had kind of figured out in my head, based off the in-game map but extending geographically beyond the set barriers in-game. You can go surfing to the right of the lighthouse in the game, but the standard 'map limitation' rocks block you from going much further. I picture the shore extending into a vast mountainscape, which leads up Northeast to Ecruteak. You'll see in the next chapter, which will be posted very soon!
    Thanks, Sidewinder. You rock!
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    And lo and behold, Chapter Eight is complete!

    Earth, Air, Water, Fire

    Chapter Eight

    “I think we’ve gone far enough,” Chase said, throwing his bag to the ground and staring defiantly at the backs of Logan and Preston’s heads. At least those two had stopped; Alec, who was about a half mile ahead on the rocky mountain trail, was either too far to hear or too stubborn to listen. Two hours of climbing seemed to be more than enough for Chase; he was definitely the worst for wear of the travelers, having slipped and fallen more than once.

    Preston had rushed the group across the bulk of Olivine’s landscape by sticking to the waterline - by staying on the beach, they reached the rocky cliffs to the east of the city by mid-afternoon without major incident, although here had been one minor scuffle with an extremely territorial Kingler (“He was BEGGING me to attack,” Alec would later claim in defense of his choice to sic Machop on it). Soon, however, the coarse sand gave way to smooth purple-and-green jetties, slick and slippery with seaweed.

    “I’ve tripped, fallen, bruised, and scratched myself enough for one day. Let’s make camp,” Chase insisted. Logan looked to Preston for a response. The older man glanced at the sky, back towards the immense stretch of viridian sea where they had come from, and ahead to the treacherous stretch of great black rocks, which they had only begun climbing.

    “How much longer til we reach the caves?” Logan asked. Preston had described a beautiful cavern of immense size and comfort nestled in among the rocks, although Chase very much doubted such a place existed and had said as much. Preston shielded his eyes.

    “Judging by the size of the lighthouse from here…” Preston trailed off, doing some mental calculations. Logan glanced around at the expanse of city stretched below them to the left. Olivine had seemed so big down among the cobbled streets; from here, it looked quite unremarkable. A long stretch of shops ran along the Main Street and the harbor, but otherwise, it seemed the majority of the population had migrated south to the cottages along the sea on Route 40, similar to Preston’s house. “At least another five hours. Let’s rest,” Preston called, loud enough for Logan and Chase, but again Alec’s rapidly shrinking silhouette seemed deaf.

    “Alec!” Logan called. No response. Preston shook his head, producing a Poké Ball and pulling it back. He froze, then lowered his arm again.

    “Ah, he’ll figure it out. Come on, help me set up camp.” Preston pulled his heavy bag from his back, letting it fall to the ground with a thud. He massaged his shoulder blades, wincing at the knots embedded in his muscles. Chase caught up with Logan and the broad-shouldered man. He did, indeed, look the worse for wear, scrapes and tears coating his face and pale arms. Logan walked to him, reaching for his left arm, which sported an angry purple bruise ringed with yellow.

    “Do you want first aid?” Preston asked, glancing up from his rucksack. Chase shook his head, closing his eyes and sighing. Logan gently touched each of his wounds, kissing the bigger ones tenderly.

    “There. That’s better, right?” she said. Preston looked away from this very personal moment, busying himself with crackers, apples and other snacks he had packed in the rush to leave.

    “We’re going to need to find some way to replenish after tomorrow. I packed enough supplies for the climb, but not the entire journey,” he said, privately admonishing himself for this oversight. Logan and Chase knelt down to help with the unpacking process.

    Alec seemed to realize he was not being followed eventually, and his dark-haired figure reappeared on the stony landscape after ten minutes of near silence in the group. “Somebody could have told me!” he exclaimed, hopping nimbly from a boulder and dropping his olive satchel by Logan’s pearly white one. Preston coughed in a rather exaggerated manner, exchanging an amused expression with Logan. Alec took a seat on the makeshift picnic setting Chase, Logan, and Preston had produced, Preston’s laugh not lost on him.

    “Which do you prefer, ham or turkey?” Preston asked. Alec shook his head politely.

    “I don’t eat white bread. It’s fine, I brought my own food.” He produced a RAGE candy bar and a powdered protein mix, which he proceeded to dump into a thermos of MooMoo Milk. Chase watched with an amused expression, Logan and Preston with polite interest. Alec looked up. “What?”

    “Why are you so particular about what you eat?” Logan asked. Alec shrugged, averting his eyes.

    “None of your business,” he said quietly. Chase rolled his eyes. Preston had produced a book, what appeared to be a journal of some kind, and was peering through it with a slight frown.

    “What’s that?” Logan asked, trying to read over Preston’s shoulder.

    “A journal I kept the last time I hiked through these mountains. That was a long time ago, though. Before I even became gym leader. I was just a gym trainer under Eddard at the time.” He turned a page. Alec leaned forward eagerly, taking a large bite out of his power bar.

    “How did you become gym leader? I’ve always been fascinated. I know how to become a member of the Elite Four, you need to beat the League Championships of at least three different regions, and then -”

    “Four,” Chase interrupted. Alec looked at him, nonplussed.

    “Hm?”

    “Four league championships. You need to beat at least four region’s tourneys, plus face off against the already existing Elite Four and champion.” He seemed slightly bitter as he said this, a scowl darkening his fair features.

    “Chase was very close to achieving this status,” Logan said softly, “he’s won three championships and fought two of the current Elite Four.”

    “And then I began my failing streak,” Chase said. He stood up, walking away about six yards and staring out at the sea. Alec stared, jaw slightly dropped. Logan crossed to her friend, rubbing his shoulders consolingly and whispering to him quietly.

    “To become a gym leader,” Preston began, attempting to patch up the sudden wound in conversation, “You just have to beat one league championship and then you express interest in training. The training is the most important part. It’s all very well to have the raw talent of a trainer, but what a gym leader must also be capable of is intelligence, ability to assess an opponent’s exact skill level, and be willing to act as the head of the respective city he is assigned.” Alec was enraptured.

    “What’s training like?” Preston grinned at his thirst for knowledge.

    “Apprenticeship first,” he said, “You become an apprentice of a current gym leader, preferably of the type you’re interested in focusing on. Then you’re put through some endurance tests. And -”

    “Can I battle you?” Alec blurted out. Preston blinked, taken aback.

    “I’m sorry…?” he said. Alec had a hungry look in his eyes, a spark of ambition and determination that reminded Preston forcibly of himself at Alec’s age.

    “I just...well, I came here to challenge the Olivine Gym. Before anything happened, that’s why I came to the city. I can’t battle Jasmine while she’s recovering, so…” He stood up. “You’re the next best thing, right? Preston, I challenge you to a battle!” Preston let out a bark of a laugh, which took Alec by surprise. He stood up as well, highlighting the physical disparity between the two, rather like an Alakazam looking down at a Kadabra, flaunting its experience.

    “I stepped down from the mantle for a reason. A man can become weary of endless battling, among other things. But I don’t see the harm in a seaside evaluation of strength. Now, you can of course battle me, but you understand an ex-gym leader is no different from any other traveling trainer?” Alec nodded, fists balling together in excitement, clenching and unclenching. Preston smiled, taking his brown rawhide coat off, revealing his once-great figure framed by a deep green button-up shirt. “Well then, Alec. Mr. Gideon. I accept your challenge happily.”

    …................................................. ....................................

    -2004-

    The cottage door slammed, signaling the end of J.T.’s workday. “Is that you, Joe?” called a female voice from the bedroom. J.T. strode through the living room, observing the drawn cream-colored curtain and lightly touching his trophies upon the mantle.

    “Does somebody else have the key that I don’t know about?” he mused, drawing a chuckle from his wife. He looked in the mirror set above the table in the corner, rubbing his stubbled cheek and noticing the bags around his eyes. I need to get more sleep, he thought, slapping his cheeks a few times to rouse himself. Carrie appeared, radiant as ever, at the door to their bedroom. She had changed into her nightclothes, soft silk emerald material covering her petite body quite modestly. J.T. met her halfway, kissing her by the open entrance to the kitchen. She had to stand on tip-toe to reach his lips.

    “Any good challengers today?” she asked. J.T. turned to hang his rawhide coat on the hook next to the mirror in the corner, letting out a release of pent-up frustration in response.

    “There was one somewhat-competent trainer. Young guy, he was dressed quite oddly. He had blue hair!” He went into the kitchen, Carrie trailing behind him, a smile spreading across her face. “He was a mono-type trainer, only used Flying types. His father’s Emerson, the leader in Violet City.” He reached into the fridge, searching for the half-gallon skim milk he always kept near the back (‘for maximum refrigeration’ he said).

    “Who won?” Carrie asked, leaning coyly back against the kitchen island.

    “Who do you think?” he replied, shutting the fridge and going to the corner cabinet to pull out a glass. His eyes caught Carrie’s bright blue ones and he paused. “What do you need to tell me?” he said, putting the milk down and crossing to her, concerned.

    “Joe...I’m pregnant.” Tears came immediately to his eyes, and the tall man pulled his wife into his arms, hugging as much of her small body as he could.

    “How?” he asked, gasping this through a sob. He pulled back, looking into a face full of joy, relief, and excitement inches from his own. She shook her head, blonde curls washing across her shining face.

    “I don’t know, Joe. I...I really don’t know.” J.T. was not content towering over her wife; he knelt down, level with her stomach, and kissed it, overjoyed.

    “Doctor Shephard said…” he began, but she interrupted immediately.

    “He doesn’t understand either. He said it didn’t make any medical sense, biologically I’m not capable, it just...I don’t know, Joe, but it’s true Joseph, it’s coming, a baby IS coming…” she choked out, her small mouth stretched into a wide grin, tears spilling freely down her round cheeks. J.T. stood again, grabbing her waist and lacing his fingers with hers, pulling her into a loose, exuberant dance around the kitchen, kissing her mouth, her cheeks, her forehead.

    “I love you. Arceus’ Plates, I love you so much Carrie Preston.” She squeezed his hand, beaming. The Prestons spun around the room for another ten minutes before retiring to the bedroom, where they would stay up all night discussing baby names. J.T.’s choices were radically different from Carrie’s; he wanted ‘Scott’ or ‘Meghan’, she preferred ‘Alec’ or ‘Emily’. The argument, they decided, would be revisited in five months, when it might be possible to determine the child’s gender.

    Team Skye took Carrie three months later. Her husband would never meet the miraculous, beautifully impossible child.

    …................................................. ....................................

    -2009-

    The great mahogany tree that held the majority of the planks making up Team Skye’s daily meeting place shook ever so slightly as a large tawny creature landed gracefully. Mandibuzz had returned from its hunt, a message clutched in its beak. Although most trainers communicated by Poké Gear these days, Gabriel insisted his team members rely solely on their Pokémon to relay messages to one another.

    A new practice introduced during Gabriel’s regime was the construction of tree-dwellings, portable, dependable, and easy to relocate day to day. “It brings us closer to the heavens,” he would muse as the boards were placed and secured carefully. This newest one was located just outside Ecruteak City, quite close to the clearing where Gabriel had first come into verbal contact with Alec Gideon.

    “Gabriel, Natalia’s sent word!” called an older man, pulling the paper from Mandibuzz’s mandible and examining it. August was a seasoned member of Team Skye whose experience with the group dated back to the days of Skylar. His white beard and crinkled eyes were misleading; the man had the youth and vigor of a man much younger. His beady brown eyes stared greedily at the paper, aching to read the words written by Natalia (he was quite fond of her), but the paper was immediately snatched up by an elegantly clad arm. Gabriel was notoriously quick to respond to a summons.

    “Thank you, August.” The leader patted the elder on the back and walked to the Mandibuzz, stroking his bird’s soft feathers without a word as he read the message from his subordinate.

    “What’s it say, Phoenix?” August whispered reverently, eyes averted. On occasion, usually when he was angry, Gabriel insisted he be referred to as ‘The Phoenix’. The lean man shook his head, crumpling the message and looking out over the grassy plain, lost in thought. His eyes were shards of glass, cold, sharp and unwelcoming. Presumably the message had not been a good one.

    “It’s all very well. This just proves what I should have realized long ago. When you want something done, do it yourself.” Gabriel paced, not betraying to his teammate that he was not quite as comfortable with the twenty foot altitude as he pretended. Other members of Team Skye emerged from the simple cabin constructed at the back of the platform. Gabriel observed them with casual indifference, the most important action being the wheels turning in his head. He opened his mouth to speak, then paused.

    “What?” August encouraged. Gabriel spread his arms to the heavens.

    “The clouds part,” intoned the eight members of his gang. He smiled slightly at this, and addressed his team as a whole.

    “Your fellow teammate, Natalia, has yet again failed to do what is asked of her. Let this be a lesson to all of you. Luckily, her part was very small and quite insignificant to our larger goal. We can proceed without her.”

    “But sir, isn’t the Rainbow Wing part of the ritual?” said a female voice. Gabriel glared at Isabel, who never seemed to know when it was appropriate to speak.

    “Eventually, yes, we will need it. When that time comes I will retrieve it myself. But there are other pieces of the puzzle that must be brought together. Angelica is at this moment investigating the legend of the beasts of the Burnt Tower. As soon as we receive her message, we will move operations into the city.” A hand shot up from the group. Brodie, who had been sitting lazily in the shade of the cabin, stood up, a message in his hand.

    “My apologies, Gabriel, sir. This came from Angie earlier. I meant to give it to you, but no offense, I didn’t want to disturb your studies.” Gabriel had been spending the day researching, peering over ancient tomes and whispering to himself in his private quarters. The magenta-haired man’s nostrils flared, but he did not attack Brodie.

    “Give it here, then,” he whispered, beckoning. Brodie stood up, eyes glued to Gabriel’s bright blue ones. He placed the message in his leader’s hand, his own shaking very slightly. Gabriel gave him a steely smile. “Thank you, Brodie.” The younger man sighed. It appeared the Phoenix was in a good mood today. Just as he turned his back, Gabriel glanced at the note and whistled. Mandibuzz swooped down from its perch above them, grabbing Brodie by the leg and pulling him into the air. The poor youth, startled, let out a shriek, limbs flailing. The remaining members of the team fell silent, staring.

    “Make no mistake. This is what happens when I don’t get what I want, when I want it,” Gabriel said. He advanced on Brodie, who was hanging upside down a body’s length above the already elevated platform.

    “G-Gabriel...please…” the young man stammered. Gabriel’s right hand struck Brodie’s cheek with incredible speed, leaving an angry red patch. He turned to survey the rest of his team with agitation.

    “Angelica has discovered the key to our success. Pack up camp, quickly. Ecruteak will be ours before nightfall.” Mandibuzz dropped Brodie, and as he stood, wiping himself, stammering apologies, Gabriel turned to look out on the just-setting sun. “Oh, and remember.” He reached out his arm for Mandibuzz, not looking back. “Not a soul gets hurt.”

    …................................................. ....................................


    The rules decided on for the match between Alec and Preston were very simple: Three Pokémon apiece, Alec was allowed substitutions while Preston was not. “If I were a gym leader, I would assess the level of experience you have and adjust my Pokémon’s levels accordingly, but, well, I’m stuck with what I have,” Preston had apologized, allowing Alec to choose the three that he would be facing. After a small debate Chase agreed to referee.

    “Are the rules clear?” he asked both trainers. Alec nodded, Preston grunted. He had a hardened look, and suddenly years had stripped off his body; echoes of the powerful man Alec had seen in old pictures were now evident. “Oldest chooses first,” Chase stated, looking to Preston. The aged man presented a Great Ball and tossed it nimbly onto the rocky terrain that Alec had chosen for the battle. In an explosion of red energy, a great hulking form appeared - exactly Preston’s height, entire body coated in short cocoa fur, Ursaring landed on the battlefield. She extended her gigantic paws, each white claw five inches in length, and let out a guttural snarl.

    “And now, the less experienced trainer,” Chase continued. Alec shot an angry glance his way; he should have asked specifically for Logan to monitor. He had chosen the Normal-type specifically for his first challenge; if he could beat Whitney, he could beat an Ursaring.

    “Machop, don’t let me down!” he cried, throwing Machop’s Poké Ball. The small gray humanoid appeared, getting a good look at Ursaring and allowing one split second of terror to flit across his simple face and large red eyes before fixing it into a look of grim determination.

    “Round one, begin!” Chase called, taking a seat on the rock behind him.

    “Ursaring, Swords Dance!” Preston said immediately. The massive bear raised her long claws, extending them and slashing the air, sliding them nimbly across one another, sharpening them and honing her attack power.

    “Machop, Low Kick like we’ve worked on!” Alec yelled almost immediately, hoping to make Ursaring lose her bearings before the battle began proper. Machop maneuvered his way towards the figure three times his size, his face fixed in a frown of concentration. About a yard from the bear he dove, feet-first, letting out a cry.

    “Protect!” Preston said, calmly observing Machop’s form and demeanor without taking his hands from his pockets. Ursaring swept her bulky arms in front of her and growled, a low, sonorous noise that filled the entire battle area. A jade shield enveloped her body, seconds before Machop could attack her stumpy legs with all his might. Instead, the small figure crashed into the bubble, yelping and flying in the opposite direction, Ursaring quite unscathed.

    “Aerial Ace,” Preston said, not allowing Alec reaction time to his last move. Ursaring sprang into the air, lifting her right arm and extending her claws for a downward swipe. Alec bit his lip, quickly flashing through all of Machop’s preventative strategies. If Aerial Ace hit, he didn’t think his small companion could survive the Flying-type move; he had been so focused on raising Machop’s muscular strength he had forgotten to worry about defense.

    “Karate Chop!” he commanded, hoping perhaps he could meet Ursaring blow-for-blow. Machop, still on the ground and clutching his left knee, pulled his arm back and tightened his muscles when CRASH, Ursaring slammed into him. Gravel flew from the immediate impact site, causing Alec to flinch and Preston shielded his eyes with his arm.

    “Machop is unable to battle,” Chase said almost immediately. Alec yelled out involuntarily. He knew Chase had called correctly, though; Machop was definitely out of the game. His limbs were splayed in angles at odds with the alignment of his prone body, eyes shut in a grimace. Ursaring stood over him, staring down at her fallen opponent with little sign of fatigue. Alec produced Machop’s Poké Ball and pulled his newest team member back with a beam of scarlet light. “That’s Preston one, Alec zero,” Chase reminded everyone.

    “That wasn’t necessary,” Alec said through gritted teeth. Preston raised Ursaring’s capsule.

    “Return,” he said. The bear disappeared instantly, causing Alec to frown.

    “You don’t have to do that!” he uttered, looking at the ex-gym leader angrily.

    “Ursaring is my oldest Pokémon, Alec. I’ve had her for twenty years. I think maybe it might be a little better to use some of my slightly less experienced teammates on you. No offense meant,” Preston said, and he meant it. Alec shrugged.

    “Whatever.”

    “Can we continue, please?” Chase asked, arms folded. Alec nodded.

    “What’s next?” the boy called to Preston. The man produced a regular Poké Ball and tossed it into the air. An elegant four-legged Pokémon appeared, unfamiliar to Alec up until Preston had shown it to him: Sawsbuck, native to Unova, apparently. Right, Grass-type, he thought, recalling Preston’s quick description of all of his Pokémon and their types. He assessed the stag’s long, fuchsia-leaved antlers and clean brown fur.

    “Go, Magby! Let’s hustle!” Magby appeared ten feet away from Sawsbuck, lying fast asleep on his back. Alec groaned; of course he would be taking his afternoon nap right now. The tiny red creature figured out the situation quickly enough. He opened his droopy black eyes and let out a squeal, hopping up and waving his arms, apologizing profusely to his trainer.

    “Round two, go!” Chase announced impatiently.

    “Sawsbuck, Nature Power!” Preston reacted immediately; his reflexes were impressive in battle, Alec realized. His mind was blank, and he tried frantically to snap himself into the same energy the older man was emanating.

    “Magby, Flame Burst!” was the boy’s answer. Sawsbuck had glowed a bright pearly white, shaking its head and kicking the ground with a hard black hoof. Nature Power was a move unfamiliar to Alec, but he suspected it was a grass move. Much to his displeasure, just as Magby finally released a searing wave of fire from his tiny body, gigantic rocks flew in every direction into the small bobble-headed creature.

    “Nature Power is a rock move?” he said aloud, frustrated.

    “It transforms, based on the Pokémon’s surroundings,” Preston explained. Magby was buried, the rocks covering him at least twice his size and weight. Sawsbuck had been singed by Flame Burst and was recovering on its own time as the trainers spoke. It pawed the ground restlessly, eyeing the pile of rocks Magby was trapped under.

    “Inactivity from a Pokémon for more than a minute is considered forfeit,” Chase called. Preston shot him a look, knowing completely that this was not a rule.

    “Magby, break free! Fire Punch your way out!” Alec called. There was a rumbling sound under the rocks, and a bright orange light emanated from the core of the pile. Logan came up behind Chase while the battle raged, putting a hand on his shoulder.

    “Be nice to him, Chase. He’s clearly not an Elite Four member, but he’s developing. Let him learn,” she said.

    “I’m being completely impartial, honestly.” The young man’s soft brown eyes met hers and she saw truth. “I don’t particularly care who wins,” he muttered, “the old guy’s just better.”

    “Horn Leech!” Preston ordered. Sawsbuck charged at Magby, now freed, lowering its magnificent head and pointing its long red plant-covered antlers right at its target, Magby’s creamy dew-drop shaped belly. A green energy pulsed between the horns, and Magby’s eyes widened.

    “Fire Punch!” Alec called, biting his lip and wishing he’d worked with Magby on his speed much more than he had. The little fingers clasped, the fist pulled back and ignited, but Magby never even got a chance to swing at his opponent; Sawsbuck picked the Live Coal Pokémon up and tossed it, the green light enveloping Magby and extending in long coils back towards the stag, absorbing hit points rapidly. The diminutive figure hit the ground, knocked cold by the attack.

    “Round two goes to Preston, to everyone’s surprise,” Chase announced. Alec kicked a small rock at his feet, sending it flying, and grabbed Magby’s Poké Ball. This is impossible, he thought, looking at Preston incredulously. The man was petting his Sawsbuck calmly on the head; he wasn’t even breaking a sweat. For years of inactivity, he was incredible.

    “Who are you?” he said, very quietly. Preston locked eyes with him across the field, smiling with his eyes and returning Sawsbuck to its red-and-white home.

    “I wonder what his final Pokémon will be,” Chase said, leaning back and looking up at Logan. “He used to be a Normal-Type leader, right?”

    Logan shook her head, unsure. “I hope he uses his Manaphy,” she said, staring intently at the final Poké Ball in the tall man’s hand.

    Chase’s eyes widened. “Say that again?”

    “He had a Manaphy, or at least he did during that battle on Main Street,” Logan told her friend, taking a seat next to him. Chase’s mouth fell open, and he looked at Preston in a whole new light.

    “How does a man like him get a legendary?” he wondered aloud.

    …................................................. ....................................

    -2008-

    “How about you, anything new and exciting happening over in Ghost Town?” Preston asked, chuckling. He had his Poké Gear extended in front of him, the face of Morty the Ecruteak Gym Leader illuminated on the screen. Morty allowed a small smile, shaking his head.

    “No, I can’t say we’re having any luck on the reconstruction effort with the Burnt Tower, and somebody’s been snooping around the new one, somehow they’re getting past the sages guarding the area.” The gym leader sighed, and Preston appreciated the bags that had formed under his already tired-looking eyes. “I wish you’d come back to the force, J.T. We could really use you in the reconstruction effort.” The war had not affected Johto nearly as much as the neighboring region where it had begun, but there was still much to be done to restore everything to peace after Ho-oh’s Sacred Fire had purged the land of evil.

    “I’m doing everything I can, Morty. I just...well, you know,” he said. “If you’d like, I’ll come to visit next week. After the anniversary.” Morty nodded.

    “That would be very helpful. I send all my love to the family. Tell Carrie’s mother she’s still missed by everybody who knew her in Ecruteak.” A beeping noise interrupted them. “Is that you?” Preston checked his home screen.

    “No, I think you’re getting a call, Morty,” the older man said. Morty glanced downward.

    “So I am. Ech. Alright, well, I’d better take this. Talk soon, J.T.” There was a click, and Morty’s face disappeared, leaving Preston sitting alone in his very empty house. He sighed, staring down at the blank device and tossing it lightly between his large hands. It had been four years since Carrie died, and as autumn crept over Olivine City he felt more than the seasonal chill; this weekend would be the exact date of her passing.

    He stood up; now would be a great time for a walk, he mused, glancing out at the darkening sky. If he did a lap around the beach, it would give him his daily exercise and allow himself to release the tension that had been building in his body all week. This would also be an excellent opportunity to do some grocery shopping. He turned on the spot, taking in the living area as the fading sun cast long shadows across the rich hardwood floor and lumpy couch he would have replaced long ago if it hadn’t been Carrie’s favorite. Not an inch of this room had changed since her passing, not even the oil painting of an elegant Dewgong leaping out of the sea, flecks of seafoam and crystal water droplets frozen in time. Preston had always hated the painting, but now that she was gone it was the most beautiful thing in the world to him.

    He left the cabin dark and deserted for his run, a ritual he had only begun last year. It helped unburden his mind of dark thoughts that sometimes threatened to overwhelm him. He passed by the Gideon’s cottage; it, too, was empty. I really must call Pippa and see what she’s up to, he reflected, turning his eyes out again to the horizon, where the sun was just touching the water. Ruby red drifted into salmon pink, crossfading with the hazy blue sky that then became dark, velvety indigo. The stars were going to be quite visible tonight, he could tell. The older man’s eyes tracked inland, observing stray pieces of driftwood and Tentacool heads bobbing in the water, coming to rest on an oddity he had not seen before, stuck in the sand with water licking its rounded end.

    It seemed to be an egg of some kind, but it was nothing like Preston had ever seen before. The exterior was translucent and crystal-blue, with flecks of gold lurking closer to the core of the object. The core was a warm red, pulsing intermittently, the orb wriggling very subtly with every pulse. It looked almost like a fire captured in a solid casing of freshwater, and Preston found he couldn’t take his eyes off it. He walked to the water’s edge and turned his head in all directions, checking to see if he was alone.

    “What are you?” he asked softly, crouching down and reaching his hand out. The egg seemed to sense his calloused hand, lurching and rolling into the sea again. He grabbed it, rescuing the object from being whisked into open water. The orb was warm to the touch, which was odd because the evening was rather chilly. Preston stood up, looking around for some explanation of what this egg contained and how it had ended up on the edge of Route 40.

    “Let’s take you home,” he said, clutching the warm round sphere to his brown jacket and shielding it from the cold.

    …................................................. ....................................

    -2009-

    Contrary to Logan’s prediction, Preston had released his Braviary for the final round. Alec, glad that Preston had allowed him to request the Pokémon he would be facing, had thrown Larvitar into the arena, confident that she at least would prove a somewhat even match for the experienced trainer.

    “Rock Slide!” he yelled, eager to prove that he could turn the tides of this battle. Larvitar narrowed her eyes, frowning in concentration and digging her stubby green feet into the ground, launching herself at a large boulder by her side. The boulder shattered into piece, which she hurled at the large red-and-blue eagle.

    “Double Team,” Preston said, not missing a beat. Braviary flapped its wings and shrieked, blurring and suddenly sending shadowy blue images in either direction. The Pokémon became a wide blur that spread for fourteen feet in the air; Larvitar had lost her target. The rocks spun uselessly back to earth, not connecting with the Flying type. “Superpower,” Preston continued. He considered taking this back; it would certainly end the battle, and he felt slightly guilty steamrolling all of Alec’s Pokémon so quickly. The boy could not help the disparity in their experience levels.
    This doubt was hampered by the impact of Braviary’s feathered body with Larvitar’s hardened rocky shell. The bird had dive-bombed into the Rock type with wild abandon; Larvitar screamed, her body plowing into the earth. Braviary coasted back into the air, screeching victory. “Larvitar!” Alec shouted, panicked. The small creature was prone, eyes shut in pain.

    “Round three also goes to Preston. Larvitar is unable to battle. What a surprise,” Chase said, tacking the last part on for his own amusement. Alec glared at him, wanting nothing more than to punch his smug face into a pulp. Chase’s face was not smug, though; in fact, his expression was more surprised than anything. His eyes were fixated on Larvitar’s damaged body, which Alec turned his own eyes back to. Larvitar had stood up again; her olive-green body was glowing. Beams of light shot out from the jagged holes in her stomach and chest, and her mouth opened, letting out a noise of disbelief.

    “Looks like your Larvitar’s evolving, Alec!” Preston announced, smiling with his eyes at the young man. Alec stared with confusion at his Pokémon’s body, now white and morphing. It seemed the ex-gym leader was right: Larvitar was well on its way to transforming into a Pupitar.

    Alec let out a groan. “Does she have to?” he asked.

    Preston frowned, confused. “I beg your pardon?” Chase and Logan had stood up and were coming closer to behold the magnificent metamorphosis that was evolution. Everyone seemed happy for Larvitar except Alec, whose face was twisted in disgust.

    “This is the worst day of my life.”
    Last edited by Bulba the Great!; 25th November 2013 at 8:03 AM.
    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.

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

  18. #43
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    I would like to stress that the questions I asked a little ways above this chapter would really help me a whole lot in the writing of future chapters. If nothing else, those questions I would like considered.
    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.

  19. #44
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    ... You summoned me, oh Great and Leafy one? *Snicker*

    Well, anyway, here I are. Let's se what I can pick apart to pieces and dash hopes and dreams. Mwa. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha.

    “You’re sure it’s him?” The girl nodded. “I see. Where is he?”
    Need a couple of line breaks there, or so I was taught, since you're showing the words of Person A and the action of Person B

    “We have every exit carefully monitored, sir.” The man returned his gaze to the expanse in front of them, his electric blue eyes seeing further than the disappearing sun.

    “Return to your post, Natalia. And alert me when he arrives. I’ll be in the lighthouse, likely. Waiting.” The girl saluted, a gesture he did not return, and turned to her partner.
    Here as well, it should be grouped more like

    “We have every exit carefully monitored, sir.”

    The man returned his gaze to the expanse in front of them, his electric blue eyes seeing further than the disappearing sun. “Return to your post, Natalia. And alert me when he arrives. I’ll be in the lighthouse, likely. Waiting.”

    The girl saluted, a gesture he did not return, and turned to her partner.


    Person B's speech and action, Person A's Speech and actions, and then Person B's actions again.

    Also, props for usage of a Crobat in the opening scene. I liek Crobats, you see.

    Gabriel, but in her three seconds of distraction, the man had vanished without a sound.
    Don't you hate those kind of people?

    “The point of the Macho Brace is to make you work, Machop! It’s supposed to increase your muscle mass by at least ten percent! And until you show better results than that dismal failure against Happiny, you’re keeping that on. Now here...” He produced a zippered green bag and pulled out a Super Potion. “Drink this. We’ll take a break, but don’t think you’re getting out of push-ups every half hour. Got it?” Machop nodded wearily, propping himself into a sitting position and taking the medicine with shaking hands.
    I'm beginnign to think I'm not gonna like this Alec's training styles. I do like your usage of the MAcho Brace as an anchor weight, though.

    And Whitney... you know, I never had any trouble with her, in any of the games. Although my sadly unfinished attempt at writing did involve a trainer getting punked by the Clefairy, probably something along the lines of a battle story I saw on Facebook (for a laugh look up the Level 35 Clefairy, it involves Cute Charm, Minimize, Ingrain ((via Metronome)), a Full Restore, and Stored Power) but I digress... got milk?

    Alec Gideon hated to lose, because it was simply not an option in his family.
    Yes, I think I'm gonna really not like this guy.

    Also, I think it makes more sense as Alec Gideon hated to lose; it was simply not an option in his family.

    Alec dropped out and left his house a disgrace, with nothing more than the clothes on his back and his family’s most precious heirloom, stolen and now hidden in the deepest pocket of his rucksack.
    The poor, disgraced, unloved little... prick.

    A baby Rattata, its amethyst fur just sprouting and its front teeth barely protruding from its lips, crawled nervously across the path to its mother.
    Oh, please tell me he's not going to order Machop to...

    Machop reduced to a thin beam of glowing reddish light, pulled into his container with a gentle click.
    *Whew*

    “This is the person that gave us your number!
    Not so sure about the excamation mark, either.


    No, only ordinary people needed their assistance.
    Well that certainly says a lot about Alec's ego. Namely, that its approximately 350% of the size of an obese Wailord

    “Ladies and gentlemen, the S.S. Helen will dock in Olivine Harbor by nightfall. Please be sure your luggage is together for departure. We hope you have had a pleasant voyage and that you enjoy the rest of your time on board. Thank you.” A click was heard, and then a short series of beeps. “Lord, this has been a long trip. I’m getting too old for this, Terry. I can’t even stand half the people on this boat. It’s hard enough smiling at them at meal time, let alone making small talk about their absolutely captivating adventures through the wondrous and magical land of Unova. Give me some of that. What is it, Fuchsia’s Best?” Evidently, the captain had not pressed the correct button.
    Honesty: 1
    Customer Appreciation: 0

    “He didn’t help Tracey much in the end, did he? And I will never forgive him for what he did to Sceptile. Never.”
    Has me piqued. Me thinks that if I'd read the other two, I might have a better clue as to what the heck they;re talking about, but I don't know that for sure. If I'm right, you'e still left enough of a hook for me as a new reader without ruining the suspense of information. So good for you. Just don't drag it out too long, or I;ll have to dribble my Ditto on your face. Kay?

    The miniature cherry-colored creature was curled in the fetal position, its beak-like mouth wide open and emitting wisps of smoke. Alec rolled his eyes. He had a strong suspicion Magby slept only when out of the confines of his Poké Ball, and wasted his precious free time in the sphere running and exerting all of his energy on pointless activity. Any time he was actually needed, he was exhausted.
    Interesting insight to the Pokeball, be curious to read more into your headcanon on them. And I think I'm going to like your magby... yep yep.

    Team Skye is gathering strength again,
    and the antagonists have a name now. Let's see what these people are up to. Nothing good, I suspect.

    excepting Larvitar’s brutal pummeling of a sleeping Farfetch’d in an effort to defend her trainer.
    Cute.

    ----
    For anybody curious, I write characters with celebrities in mind. I constantly picture Diana Aggron as Logan, Hunter Parrish as Chase and Logan Lerman as Alec.
    I have no idea who any of those people are... does that make me a bad person? Cause really hope it does!

    “Arceus’ plates...t
    That's a new one to me. But I kinda like it.
    perched against the Inn wall. A shadow swept out of the graffitied container and flew
    ove the usage of perched and a flying type. Nice unrelated parallellism.

    “Larvitar can be so stubborn, can’t they? My boyfriend lives right near a colony of them. The trick is finding their soft spot. Does she have a nickname?” Alec shook his head. “Well, I suppose I’ll just have to tell Jasmine you’re not interested.
    Non sequiter... how'd we go from Larvitar to the battle, I thought this was just a tour?

    ... A Crobat in the opener and a steel type gym... I wonder...

    Henri Perrineau, because all communication out of the city was completely cut off to the citizens. He continued denouncing the team, however, perhaps because there wasn’t much else to be done.
    Intriguing name, but not sure the However should be there since the perhaps is right next to it.

    Also, what happened to a good old fashioned Pidgeotto with a hastily scrawled note?

    We’ve got Pokémon same as you! Go, Barboach, Skiploom, Baltoy!”
    Its Discipline you lack, I suspect

    “Jasmine will not be joining us.” Alec turned, curious. The girl was wearing an odd smirk and was reaching for her belt. “It’s just us, Alec. Why don’t you hand that bag over and be a good boy?”
    As I suspected, how about a heck of a battle right here?

    And where is Jasmine in al of this?

    “Yes! I feel so trapped on the sea. I’m not a water person,” he laughed, seating himself gingerly between Logan and the large pile of bags spilling to the floor. A loud hiss told him he had sat on a Glameow, who promptly tore into his exposed skin with delight. Chase yelped, throwing the cat a good fifteen feet away from him. It landed delicately, turning its intelligent gray face to him and turning its nose up, swaggering away to find its trainer. Chase sat, wincing and letting out a cry.
    Poor Galmeow. but if it ever evolves, please feel free to squash the thing...

    “We’ve got to heat this pole up, Magby. We need to get this whole room hot. Aim as high as you can on the pole and use Heat Wave. And don’t let up, whatever you do.”
    He's going for the sprinklers, maybe? Good boy!

    “And what would they be?” The blue creature in his arms stirred, glowing brilliantly and turning to face the loud female voice. Preston lifted it slowly, all attention drawing to the blinding new source of light. It was a Manaphy.
    Let's see how you write the legendaries then.

    ---
    Alright, so to ease your pain a little, here's a complete comprehensive of things you need to know in order to continue reading without your brains hurting.

    First, a character list of important players.

    *Snip*
    First off, speaking as someone who's made this mistake, info dumps between chapters, not the most preferred method. Sure, lots of books and oublished authors have done it, but a good many of them don't... because they're supposed to be announcing the characters in the story.

    And the problem, at least for me, wasn't so much the introduction of the characters themselves, its that they're not sticking and they're not memorable, yet. Lotsa words, no actions, and the dialogue isn't exactly clear as to who's doing what. I don't like the "he said She Said He replied They did" stuff either, its sounds an awful lot like " She sells seashells by the seashore" but you need it here, we're getting lost in who's doing what.

    Part of the problem is where you introduced them; into a setting where there's nothing they CAN do, other than sit on a Glameow, and there's really nothing you can do to change that until you get them off the ship. Right away, I connected (and disliked...) Alec and his PKMN team. I pretty much pegged Natalia in the gym, though more as a hunch than relatability but these two on the cruise ship, its like throwing puddy at a wall, its not sticking to the wall. Best suggestion, when they get off the ship, get them and their Pokemon doing something defining for each of them (if you haven't already, I'm writing this as I go) and do an almost re-introduction. You don't need to repeat the backstory you've told so far about Tracey being dead, and how Logan doesn't want to give him up, and how the other guy (See? I can't even remember his name.) would rather Dialga just remove that part of the timeline altogether, but get them doing something the way you started Alec.

    Also, I still don't know who any of those real-life people are, but she's cute. Rowr.
    “Could you come help me turn this thing off? It’s gonna bug me ‘til I figure it out.” But of course.
    Needs a line break in there before but, I feel.

    Six rounds of artillery flew into the portly young man, stopping him cold.
    I'm assuming that Jesse is the portly young man, but the last gun mentioned was his so the reader is kinda waiting for him to be the first to shoot. Also, and this is just a cultural thing, but you've done this a couple of times with gender neutral names (Logan...) "Jesse" I've met people of both genders by that name. But "Jess", at least around me, is only used to abbreviate the feminine form. Possibly, because around me he ratio of male to female is 1 to 12, but something to keep in mind when you're writing in a forum where a people form any state or country is going to potentially read it.

    “Gabriel, I didn’t mean - he shot, and I...” Gabriel ignored her, cradling the blonde head of the fallen guard. When reinforcements arrived, the other thieves were long gone, but their leader was still on his knees, unmoving and stone-faced, unable to forgive himself for his brother’s death.

    …............................................ ..... ...........................................

    Two years later, Gabriel Pahria could be barely recognized as his former self. The figure standing in the center of the weathered lighthouse was still lean, but his shoulder were broader, his stature straight, composed. His hair had changed from thick chestnut to reedy, damaged crimson. His eyes, though still a piercing blue, were hard, unyielding. His back, visible upon removal of his fitted gray jacket, was covered with scarlet flames, black smoke billowing to either shoulder blade and a magnificent golden phoenix erupting from the center, climbing his spine to the base of his neck. Gabriel stared silently at his struggling guest.
    I love it, the whole section is very well writtem, great insight to Gabriel. Not sure the front of the chapter is the best place for it?



    trapping and brutal murder of Lance, the former Champion.
    Well, that certainyl tells us what we need to know for the story, but you might want to go back over THAT little detail, since you're killing off (have killed off) one of the more prominent Gen1 characters.

    Also, most code systems actually have two codes: the "I need help" code, and the "I need help but you're probably gonna need the really big stick" code. Especially since putting in a code o sommon someone to a trap is going to defeat the purpose of a code...

    A click and release of a loud, screeching whistle told Alec that the woman’s orders had come too late - the fire alarm had been triggered by the intense heat emanating from the pillar.
    smart man.
    “They’re all five blocks down, dealing with complications.
    Well, here's a complication for you...

    Alex Gideon
    Alec
    ...wha?
    She kicked her now useless Poké Gear ten yards
    ... Are these things not Wrist phones? Doesn't Alec have one that... you know... your BOSS called him on? Surely the redhead can remember SOMEONE's phone number?

    “I’ve sentenced us to death.”
    Doubtful, if you could; you know, swim...

    She was within earshot, but her ears were now ringing, and she was resorting to acting purely on impulse and sight. To her left, an older man with grey hair was lying prone on the ground, a miniature aqua-blue creature standing between him and a very tall woman, a Swellow and Staraptor circling their prey. The little blue imp had projected an orb around itself and its master, but the repeated attacks were wearing it down - Logan could see its tiny body heaving with the effort.
    Sweet, a not ovewrpowered Legendary doing, well, normal things. I could kiss you, but, well, that would be weird, and require matter dissplacing teleportation and well... [/sarcasm]

    “How hard is it to break one Protect?
    ...You've ever had the pleasure of battling a wild Meditite in a video game, have you?

    “It’s Will! Champion Will has arrived!” Nearly all fighting ceased, foe and friend alike awed by the beautiful wide wings of Lugia spread above them.
    And let's see how this one plays out...

    Gabriel was clinging onto his Gliscor for dear life, still not completely at ease with flying. It was curious that the leader of a group so taken with the skies be afraid of heights, but he never said a word to his teammates, and nobody ever asked.
    i find it ironic that the man afraid of heights is clinging to a Pokemon reonowned for NOT ACTUALLY BEING ABLE TO "FLY"

    On the ground, efforts had redoubled on both sides - Team Skye seemed determined that as little opposition remain as possible when Will joined the fight.
    , That's probably a good idea, when one is knowingly about to face a LUGIA.

    Also, enjoying the slight sleight of hand here, I'm betting Skye is slightly more interested in a Lugia than what Alec has to offer, unless his prized possession is a Silver Wing...

    Chase was down four Pokémon, depending entirely on his Nidoking and Torkoal to defend him
    Wait, the Nidoking was his? I didn't get that impression, though it was the old guy's. The way the story read, i"finishing what its trainer started" almost makes it sound like Nidoking was doing what the guy behind Chase (So that
    s his name!) was attempting to do, but that didn't make sense either.

    Not fifty feet above the wounded, increasingly few moving shapes loomed the two wide-winged beasts Lugia and Gliscor
    ... Gliscor aren'tt hat big. Not that an RC plane couldn't take down an F16, but that would probably require said RC plane going through an air intake...


    And that sentance structure doesn't make much sense. I think there should be a comma after shapes.

    You know what I'm wondering? This is a steel type town, right? Pewter city is full of trainers with Geodude, right? Ghost types abound in Ecruteak, no? So where are all the Magnemite? Magneton? Flying Pokemon who can learn DISCHARGE?

    the doors to the gym broke open.
    That took longer than expected. Fire Alarms even in a gym where you don't want them dousing someone's beoved Charizard, should override the any lockouts almost immediately unless someone's stuffed a desk in front of the door.

    ---
    Will, Champion of the Johto Region, leapt from the long neck of his trusted companion. Lugia roared, flaring its wings and staring longingly at the shrinking figure in the dark sky. Gabriel had chosen to retreat, giving the cowardly order to his teammates before turning in mid-battle and fleeing. The remnants of Team Skye were now left leaderless and confused, and the dark figures were running in every direction.
    Okay, so maybe I was wrong, or is Gabriel simply changing the field of battle?

    “I’m glad to see this city still has somebody to help in a time of crisis,” Will muttered, “It helps these days. Team Skye isn’t the only group poisoning Johto right now.” Preston nodded, glancing about the ruined streets before replying.
    interesting...

    “Gabriel gets more lethal by the day, though, Will. He’s after something new. I’m not entirely sure what. But I think it has to do with Ho-oh.” Will sighed.

    “When does it not? He needs to be headed off, and soon. Where was Jasmine in all of this?” Preston shook his head.
    Okay, wrong bird.

    retching
    I'm familiar with that being speled Wretching, but I looked it up to be sure. Thanks for teaching me!

    No further details about the situation, why two people had chosen to take a swim in the Olivine City Gym.
    clever

    Gabriel twofold: One, for not capturing the boy or his possession, and two, for allowing herself to question whether she was right in following the man to begin with.
    If it makes you feel any better, Toots, you're now a lot closer to that backpack than you think you are... Lots of things go missing in Hospitals, you know...

    “Rainbow wing.” Both men stopped short at Alec’s uttered words.

    “I beg your pardon?” Alec sat up, much to the displeasure of Dr. Sonclair, and stared with urgency into Will’s eyes.

    “They were after my bag. I know why...I own a Rainbow Wing.”
    Welp, right concept, worng bird...

    a good two thirds of the cruised
    cruise

    “I was at the top of my game before I met your guys. Traveling with you was incredible, life-changing. We’ve been through so much, we’ve been through a war, love, loss, all that. But we’re past that now. And when I travel with you, it’s like these...ghosts just prevent me from doing anything worthwhile. Nothing earth-shattering.”

    “But Chase, we have to keep together, Tracey said so, you’re -”

    “I know, I know, I’m destined to...” Their argument was interrupted by the sliding door of the hospital wing. Will and Preston emerged, both faces set.
    Oh dear, that "D" word... Destiny. So often abused in Pokemon fic. You've done so well with Manaphy, Lugia didn't really do anything but be a large bird, so don't blow it now. Phht!

    “But why not just like...keep him here? Or I dunno, put him in disguise or something?” Will shook his head.
    Realizing you won't have read my first comment yet, but Will's action shoulkd not be coupled to whichever person is saying this.

    it’s the three that stand here before you.”
    There's four people in the room. One of them is talking to Alec, the other is Alec, so who's the thrid person Will's referring to? or are they being haunted by Tracey's ghost?

    Natalia ran a clean twelve miles outside the radius of Goldenrod before pausing
    If that girl can run from Olivine to Goldenrod, what the farfigneuton'd heck is she doing in Skye? The girl should be running cirlces around Mr. Bolt!
    ---
    And because I read comments (Although I think Sidey coverede everything I'd have said)

    I like the scene with Natalia waking up. Very nice and well-detailed. But I don't like the "luminous" burns. That makes it sound like they're glowing. Heh.
    There's a reason they glow...that will be addressed shortly
    Scorched, by a Ho-Oh, the feather of which is in Alec's backpack...

    The explanation for both of these questions can be found in my previous fanfics - but basically, in a nutshell, in Destined, Chase challenged Will to a Pokemon battle - thus both winning his respect, as well as discovering he had a psychic connection with his Pokemon, which gave him a huge advantage in battle.
    This, bad thing. COver it in the story. I felt confident enough in Will's speech and theirs about "The War" And "I trust my life" scenes, but others disagree, so details in the story, please.

    ---
    “This is guesswork, Chase. Will and I believe Gabriel, their leader, has a personal need to connect with Ho-Oh, beyond the need of the team. He has been ruthless in his search for the deity, and owning an item that would allow such a connection to it...well, it would certainly give him power unheard of.”
    Hmm, Ho-Oh are not know for being Recreationists, although it did give new life for the DOgs, so what if ELijah is stuffed and mounted somewhere?

    “Well that’s why we’re here, Alec. We’re going to protect you from him.” Chase grunted. “It’s very important that we do,” Preston said, locking his eyes onto the white-haired trainer and frowning.
    Seperate paragraphs between Ches and Preston's lines

    “Alec said as much to Will earlier. It’s not our place to take a family heirloom from Alec, and honestly, Chase, I’m disappointed in your response to this situation.” Chase looked bewildered.
    Why? Not knowing its an eirloom, The top two places I can think fo putting it is Indigo Plateu and the vault under Mt. Silver... there is a vault under Mt. Silver, isn't there?

    “You might want to work on your public image a bit, Chase. People expect you to act more like a hero.”
    No, actually, I'm kinda expecting him to act like a prick.

    Logan's gonna have to wake up soon, she can't keep relying on other people claiming how epic she is. Even if her head is in the clouds, she must've fought pretty well in Olivine if Will recognized them.

    “It was not ‘dumb’, Alec. Three years ago, Karen, now-deceased member of the Elite Four, opened a portal that had been closed a long time in our world. A portal, between our world and a world that never should have existed. A world where humans lived without knowledge of Pokémon. And with assistance from a gang of loyal followers, Karen led an invasion of this world. An invasion that was soon responded to.” Alec’s eyebrows knotted together.
    Ooh! Cool concept. Not sure I'd read it, but I love the concept.

    Although we've now crossed into a realm of "Logan and Chase being mega super awesome heroes. Be careful where you tread...


    ...Poor Natalia...

    “As the senior member of the group, I would like to propose traveling to Mahogany Town.” Alec’s body tensed.
    Well, that's sorta on the way.

    He looked to Logan for support.

    “I think we should go to Mahogany Town, Chase.” Chase looked stunned and betrayed. Before he or Alec could speak, Preston cut in.
    You need to respace your lines here, too. I count three seperate lines He looked, "I think" and :Chase looked"

    And personal taste, but I wouldn't be against your finding a way to mark flashback as flashbacks, its kindajarring to get halfway intoa scene and find a dead guy still has a house... Although the first tip-off was Logan being coy.

    “Thank you, sir.” The screen went blank, Professor Hume’s face gone. Chase ran his fingers through his hair, heading back into the bathroom to finish his shave. He didn’t know how to continue putting on a game face to Logan when the truth would need to be revealed eventually. That Tracey Morgan had been dead for three months seemed to have gone completely over her head.
    Okay, now I'm confused. She seemed to be aware of this on the cruise ship, so if this is a flashback, we REALLY need to find a beter place for it...

    “Your mother’s very busy, Alec. The Poké Gear is causing excitement, all over, people are excited, and -” Her speech was interrupted by shattering glass from the room they had just vacated. Juliet shrieked and threw the door open, looking into the library. The window had been destroyed, and in the center of the foyer was a dark rock, surrounded by shards of glass. Alec made to pick it up and Juliet stopped him cold.

    “What is it?” he asked, incredulous.

    “Don’t touch it. Someone just threw that rock.”
    That seems rather unplausible, I don't think Alexznder Grahm Bell was stoned for the telephone... and the Apple guy certainyl was nto stoned for improving it... that's allt eh Poke Gear is, a smartphone.

    Poké Ball-shaped coaster on the coffee table.
    I'mma gonna be a amartaft, but how well does setting your drink on something round actually work?

    Magby sneezed, singeing Preston’s plain cream-colored curtains. Alec looked over at the sleeping nineteen-year-old.
    And that would be why I named one of my Magby Plasthmatic

    “Lar, tar!” Larvitar was impatient, running small circles in preparation for their exercise.

    “Alright, alright, let’s go!”
    Well, alright, I'kll give Alec some credit, if his Pokemon do enjoy the training session, despite his nearly killing his Machop

    Forty five minutes of intense cardio had proved too difficult for Magby, who was now being carried in Alec’s arms as the jog through the docks of Olivine Harbor continued.
    I thought Magby had a free pass, or have we skipped a day? Or did Alec count that day he spent in the Hospital as the skip day? The prick.

    “Dude, nobody’s coming for me
    Of course they're not coming, they're already here.

    ---
    he trust
    trusts

    The Bellsprout was snaking closer, its wide pink mouth opening, revealing tiny but sharp black teeth.
    I'm pretty sure they're pearly silver, but anyway, since it ts attached to her leg, why isn't Logan using Low Kick, or Stomp? Use the other foot!

    "Let's play with a Fearow! That sounds liek fun! yeah!

    “It’s not something I want from you. I want a chance to explain my actions, I feel that you deserve that. Gabriel doesn’t even know I’m here, if he knew...Alec, he doesn’t want to hurt you. He only wants to see Elijah again, if he -”
    And I like being me sometimes.

    “Larvitar!” Alec cried in a mixture of shock and gratification. This certainly solved a lot of problems. Larvitar dropped the slab of rock, pacing back to her owner and crossing her miniscule arms, expecting praise.
    I want that Larvitar. but tell me, how did it reach Natalia's head? It doesn't come up to her shins?

    “You’re not going anywhere, Alec. I’m never losing you again. It’s gonna be the four of us, for now, and it’s going to be that way for a long time. You hear me?”
    well, at least she's not attached to "foreve and always"

    -Who is your favorite character?
    -Who is the most intriguing character?
    -Whose story do you think this is?
    -What do you predict happening from here?
    -Do you feel Pokemon are being utilized heavily enough?
    -Haven't got one yet, but Alec's Pokemon are all in the running.
    -Potentially one of two, Poor Logan's coping has me intriguedm because I've been in similar loss, bu also see 3)
    -Gonna go on a limb here, and say its still Natalia's to tell. We've told about everyone's so far except hers. And while you you have most of my predictions to date up in my review, the only thing left I see is figuring out why a Ho-Oh singed her, and finding both her closure (probably in/through Alec) and Gabriel's own closure.

    But don't change the pace of the story for them, and don't close them up in flashbacks, the way you have the others. Don't let me influence the story, or anyone else. let's jsut keep going and see if I'm right?

    -Pokemon should not HAVE to carry a Pokemon story. If anything, they should be characters, and you've doen pretty well at that. I might like to see more than snippets of Chase and Logan's teams, but they realyl aren't main characters.

    Team Skye took Carrie three months later. Her husband would never meet the miraculous, beautifully impossible child.
    quick Math, Preston stepped down how many yaears ago? and how old are the current characters... probably not one of them...

    “Oldest chooses first,”
    “And now, the less experienced trainer,”
    Ouch...




    ---
    “Do you want first aid?”
    That's an odd way to phrase it.

    I seemd to have read throguh CH8 without stopping much, so I'll go back and read it again, but I'm gonna post this now so you have it to work from.

    Again, don't let us dictate the story, unless that's your intention. We can Mad Lib all we want, but this is your story, and it wouldn't be fair to you, or to the characters if we started dictating the story for you. If that makes sense.

    One other one, I really don't think you needed to tell us right aqway how the Manaphy came to him. IIs not an integral part of the story as a Pokemon, and the backstory doesn't show any sign of plugging in usefully. So leave it a mystery to us, and call it a day.
    Last edited by Glover; 10th November 2013 at 8:22 PM.
        Spoiler:- Breeding stuff:

  20. #45
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    Glover, you are a god among mere mortals. That was an incredible catch-up marathon read that you just accomplished.

    I shall humbly take most of what you say without comment, and answer a few of your (remarkably thorough) critiques!

    Quote Originally Posted by Glover View Post
    Let's se what I can pick apart to pieces and dash hopes and dreams. Mwa. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha.

    All my hopes and dreams have indeed been ruined. I'm never writing again. :P

    Need a couple of line breaks there, or so I was taught, since you're showing the words of Person A and the action of Person B

    Yes! Thank you for addressing this. Ironically, this is a lesson I've finally learned the hard way in my creative writing course this semester. All these years WASTED writing dialogue/actions the incorrect way.

    Also, props for usage of a Crobat in the opening scene. I liek Crobats, you see.

    Me too! LeafGreen was my first experience using one and I loved it. Vastly misunderstood creatures, Crobat.

    Yes, I think I'm gonna really not like this guy.

    I'm iffy on Alec. I am trying so hard not to make him a generic Ash Ketchum wannabe but I also don't want people to HATE him. But I'm glad you find him interesting, at least.

    Well that certainly says a lot about Alec's ego. Namely, that its approximately 350% of the size of an obese Wailord

    Quote of the day.

    Has me piqued. Me thinks that if I'd read the other two, I might have a better clue as to what the heck they;re talking about, but I don't know that for sure. If I'm right, you'e still left enough of a hook for me as a new reader without ruining the suspense of information. So good for you. Just don't drag it out too long, or I;ll have to dribble my Ditto on your face. Kay?

    K.

    ... A Crobat in the opener and a steel type gym... I wonder...

    Hm?

    Also, what happened to a good old fashioned Pidgeotto with a hastily scrawled note?

    Lolz. Carrier Pidgey are long forgotten today.

    Poor Galmeow. but if it ever evolves, please feel free to squash the thing...

    Preaching to the choir, here.

    First off, speaking as someone who's made this mistake, info dumps between chapters, not the most preferred method. Sure, lots of books and oublished authors have done it, but a good many of them don't... because they're supposed to be announcing the characters in the story.

    And the problem, at least for me, wasn't so much the introduction of the characters themselves, its that they're not sticking and they're not memorable, yet. Lotsa words, no actions, and the dialogue isn't exactly clear as to who's doing what. I don't like the "he said She Said He replied They did" stuff either, its sounds an awful lot like " She sells seashells by the seashore" but you need it here, we're getting lost in who's doing what.

    Part of the problem is where you introduced them; into a setting where there's nothing they CAN do, other than sit on a Glameow, and there's really nothing you can do to change that until you get them off the ship. Right away, I connected (and disliked...) Alec and his PKMN team. I pretty much pegged Natalia in the gym, though more as a hunch than relatability but these two on the cruise ship, its like throwing puddy at a wall, its not sticking to the wall. Best suggestion, when they get off the ship, get them and their Pokemon doing something defining for each of them (if you haven't already, I'm writing this as I go) and do an almost re-introduction. You don't need to repeat the backstory you've told so far about Tracey being dead, and how Logan doesn't want to give him up, and how the other guy (See? I can't even remember his name.) would rather Dialga just remove that part of the timeline altogether, but get them doing something the way you started Alec.

    Yeah, I wasn't trying to just pass this information between chapters, it just hadn't worked its way into the story yet. As I said, all the relevant background information about characters WILL be revealed through the coming chapters. It's a lot of baggage to sort through.

    Also, I still don't know who any of those real-life people are, but she's cute. Rowr.

    Don't I know it. Look her up; her name's Britt Robinson. Gorgeous girl.

    I'm assuming that Jesse is the portly young man, but the last gun mentioned was his so the reader is kinda waiting for him to be the first to shoot. Also, and this is just a cultural thing, but you've done this a couple of times with gender neutral names (Logan...) "Jesse" I've met people of both genders by that name. But "Jess", at least around me, is only used to abbreviate the feminine form. Possibly, because around me he ratio of male to female is 1 to 12, but something to keep in mind when you're writing in a forum where a people form any state or country is going to potentially read it.

    Hmm, fair point. Jesse was almost verbatim described/conceived due to my love of Bruno Kirby's character in "When Harry Met Sally", so I guess it never struck me as odd that a man be named Jesse, or "Jess"

    I love it, the whole section is very well writtem, great insight to Gabriel. Not sure the front of the chapter is the best place for it?

    Hmmm, interesting. I guess I could change the placement...

    Well, that certainyl tells us what we need to know for the story, but you might want to go back over THAT little detail, since you're killing off (have killed off) one of the more prominent Gen1 characters.

    I kinda wanted it this way; certainly I can go into more detail about the power changes in the Elite Four/Gym Leaders, but I kinda found it irrelevant as it's casualties from a war. Maybe I could clear this up? Idk.

    Well, here's a complication for you...

    Welp, the 'x' vs. 'c' key fiasco strikes again.

    Sweet, a not ovewrpowered Legendary doing, well, normal things. I could kiss you, but, well, that would be weird, and require matter dissplacing teleportation and well... [/sarcasm]

    Ahaha, the words are enough.

    ...You've ever had the pleasure of battling a wild Meditite in a video game, have you?

    OH TRUST ME, I have. The little blue bastards...

    i find it ironic that the man afraid of heights is clinging to a Pokemon reonowned for NOT ACTUALLY BEING ABLE TO "FLY"

    Yes, well.

    Also, enjoying the slight sleight of hand here, I'm betting Skye is slightly more interested in a Lugia than what Alec has to offer, unless his prized possession is a Silver Wing...

    SO close, but so wrong.

    ... Gliscor aren'tt hat big. Not that an RC plane couldn't take down an F16, but that would probably require said RC plane going through an air intake...

    Very valid point.

    You know what I'm wondering? This is a steel type town, right? Pewter city is full of trainers with Geodude, right? Ghost types abound in Ecruteak, no? So where are all the Magnemite? Magneton? Flying Pokemon who can learn DISCHARGE?

    Jasmine has them. But where's Jasmine...out of the equation :/

    I'm familiar with that being speled Wretching, but I looked it up to be sure. Thanks for teaching me!



    Oh dear, that "D" word... Destiny. So often abused in Pokemon fic. You've done so well with Manaphy, Lugia didn't really do anything but be a large bird, so don't blow it now. Phht!

    Cut me a break, the last story I wrote was entitled "Destined"! Trust me, it's not a whole bunch of weird prophecy chosen one prophecy stuff. Just...just...okay?

    Scorched, by a Ho-Oh, the feather of which is in Alec's backpack...

    You are a very smart person.

    Hmm, Ho-Oh are not know for being Recreationists, although it did give new life for the DOgs, so what if ELijah is stuffed and mounted somewhere?

    Well, not quite. In this canon, Ho-oh is THE GUY. Like, the almighty one. This will become abundantly clear in good time.

    No, actually, I'm kinda expecting him to act like a prick.

    I'm so glad this expectation had been created.

    Although we've now crossed into a realm of "Logan and Chase being mega super awesome heroes. Be careful where you tread...

    What they did will be shown. And they aren't superheroes.

    ...Poor Natalia...

    RIGHT that's what I'm sayin!

    And personal taste, but I wouldn't be against your finding a way to mark flashback as flashbacks, its kindajarring to get halfway intoa scene and find a dead guy still has a house... Although the first tip-off was Logan being coy.

    Yeah, I'm thinking about going back and at least indicating "Flashback", at least as a placeholder until I figure out the precise timeline beyond 'pre-war, post-war, pre-death'

    Okay, now I'm confused. She seemed to be aware of this on the cruise ship, so if this is a flashback, we REALLY need to find a beter place for it...

    Yeah, it's definitely flashback.

    I'mma gonna be a amartaft, but how well does setting your drink on something round actually work?

    AHAHA meaning the coaster is round and has a Poke Ball design...wording failure at its finest.

    And that would be why I named one of my Magby Plasthmatic

    Clever.

    I'm pretty sure they're pearly silver, but anyway, since it ts attached to her leg, why isn't Logan using Low Kick, or Stomp? Use the other foot!

    I was taking a slight artistic liberty to make Bellsprout more sinister. And yeah, Logan using Low Kick would CERTAINLY dispel the superhero worry.

    I want that Larvitar. but tell me, how did it reach Natalia's head? It doesn't come up to her shins?

    Very strong thighs.

    -Haven't got one yet, but Alec's Pokemon are all in the running. Okay, I can get behind that.
    -Potentially one of two, Poor Logan's coping has me intriguedm because I've been in similar loss, bu also see 3)
    -Gonna go on a limb here, and say its still Natalia's to tell. We've told about everyone's so far except hers. And while you you have most of my predictions to date up in my review, the only thing left I see is figuring out why a Ho-Oh singed her, and finding both her closure (probably in/through Alec) and Gabriel's own closure.

    But don't change the pace of the story for them, and don't close them up in flashbacks, the way you have the others. Don't let me influence the story, or anyone else. let's jsut keep going and see if I'm right?

    See, I already have a Gabriel flashback story set, so you may hate me in a few chapters. I'm so glad you like Natalia though. She's awesome. One of my two favorites to write for.

    quick Math, Preston stepped down how many yaears ago? and how old are the current characters... probably not one of them...

    There is NOT going to be an "No, Luke, I am your father" twist. Preston and Carrie were married fourteen years in the past, five years she's been dead, putting the 'impossible child' at five, even if it lived.

    I seemd to have read throguh CH8 without stopping much, so I'll go back and read it again, but I'm gonna post this now so you have it to work from.

    Thank you for posting! I would like to know more of your thoughts on this chapter, if you ever have time, but this has been...more than adequate, haha!

    One other one, I really don't think you needed to tell us right aqway how the Manaphy came to him. IIs not an integral part of the story as a Pokemon, and the backstory doesn't show any sign of plugging in usefully. So leave it a mystery to us, and call it a day.

    The importance in that flashback was more to set up precisely what was happening in Ecruteak, which will be important later. Plus, Preston post-Carrie.
    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.

  21. #46
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    Mar 2004
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    Well then, here we are. Any and all thoughts are appreciated!

    Earth, Air, Water, Fire

    Chapter Nine

    -2005-

    “Didn’t I tell you it was beautiful here?” Chase said, stretching his legs out in front of him, shutting his eyes peacefully and allowing a sigh of relief.

    The war between NeoEarth and their own world had escalated to extreme levels of chaos, with entire cities being decimated - Saffron City had been razed to the ground, the Steward murdered and many other horrifying details that were piling so quickly that each new piece of news was just another grain of salt in the open wound. The Elite Four and Gym Leaders of Kanto and Johto were rallying an army to fight back against the militia of tanks and helicopters and other awful pieces of war equipment the people of NeoEarth were using, and a draft had been issued - Chase’s name included. This was all too painful and frightening for the fifteen-year-old, and with his Sceptile weakening every day he finally got Tracey, Logan and his girlfriend Kira to agree Kanto was no longer safe. Earlier in the month the four youths had stolen away from the entire continent, traveling southwest to Chase’s home country, Hoenn.

    “I can’t help feeling like they need us back there…that we’re deserting,” Logan had said hesitantly when they had climbed onto the S.S. Charlize to set sail. Now, however, the young blonde-haired girl was blissfully unaware of war and pain, lying on a beach towel between Chase and Tracey on the sprawling beach outside Slateport City. She nodded in agreement with Chase’s statement, eyes closed in a beautiful world between sleep and consciousness. Kira had gone to purchase some Soda Pop from the sporting goods store further inland.

    “If there’s one thing Hoenn’s known for, it’s the scenery.” Chase was allowing himself to tan again, as he had gotten frightfully pale during his time in Kanto. The sun felt amazing on his skin, and he let out another breath of relief. “I really missed this view,” he continued, opening his left eye very slightly to check on his Pokémon playing up on the tall dunes between the beach and the harbor city beyond. Absol was digging with his wide furry paws for some treasure or other. Nidorino was attempting to prod Sceptile into a sparring match, but Sceptile seemed beyond the ability to play - his eyes were jaundiced and saggy, his jade skin papery and hanging off his dreadfully thin frame. Tracey followed Chase’s gaze, staring at Sceptile and sitting up very quickly.

    “Chase,” he began, but Chase didn’t need to be alerted; he had already noticed that his first Pokémon was staggering, falling before any of its teammates could help; Absol tried to catch him but Sceptile was rolling head over tail down the dune, crashing into the sandy base with a giant cloud of grit and dust.

    “Sceptile!” Chase cried, jumping up from the towel, fearing the worst. The doctors had diagnosed his companion with a year to live almost exactly fourteen months ago; Chase had felt his luck wearing thin for a long time. Sceptile was lying prone in the sand, his once-muscular and sleek body now bent at odd angles, his long neck outstretched and his tongue hanging loosely from his open pink gums. He was emitting a high screeching sound of absolute agony.

    Kira was found and the medics summoned, and Sceptile was pulled in the Emergency Care Ward in the Slateport Pokémon Center as quickly as possible, oxygen administered and many other tubes and wires hooked onto the Grass Pokémon. Only Chase was allowed in the room with his Pokémon, leaving Tracey, Logan, and Kira to wait outside, Kira pacing with her hands on her face.

    “I wish I could help him,” the tall brunette girl said, staring through the single window at her boyfriend and biting her bottom lip so hard it drew blood. Tracey had his arm around Logan, who had her eyes shut, trying and failing to close the pain out. He stroked her long blonde hair numbly, his dark blue eyes staring but not truly taking in the world around him.

    Chase spent a half hour in the room with Nurse Joy. The time stretched so slowly that when the white-haired youth emerged, Tracey was startled to register that it was barely dinner time. “How is he?” he asked, looking warily at Chase’s haggard expression.

    Chase shook his head numbly. “He’s dead.” Kira rushed to the trainer’s side, grabbing at his arm and taking his head on her shoulder. Tracey and Logan leapt up, horrified.

    “Oh, Chase…” Logan said, reaching out to take his hand and stroke it. Chase pulled away from everyone, choosing to stand alone at the window into the ward, his forehead attached to the glass.

    “This is all his fault,” Chase said. His voice was level, devoid of emotion. Tracey and Logan exchanged glances. They knew he was talking about Vincent, the last trainer Sceptile had been used in battle against. “If he didn’t exist, Sceptile would be alive right now.” Kira went to wrap her arms around his waist, but he shrugged her off again, walking further away from his friends.

    This was a true statement; Vincent, who had set off from Pallet Town at the same time as Logan and Tracey, had challenged Chase to a battle fourteen months ago. It culminated in a battle between the two boys’ starting Pokémon, Sceptile and a Charizard. Sceptile had put up a good fight, but eventually passed out...only to stand back up, going into what was referred to later as ‘Adrenaline Rush’, a rare condition a Pokémon occasionally passed into during battle. Essentially, Sceptile drained at its remaining years of life in an attempt to win the battle for his trainer. “Don’t get hung up over him, Chase,” Tracey advised, looking at the floor. “Sceptile wouldn’t want you to.” Chase was silent, his back to them.

    “Chase? Can we get you something?” Kira asked. Chase again did not answer, his shoulders shaking through his jacket. Tracey registered that the boy was crying, sobs wracking his body, and chose to pointedly look anywhere but at his friend.

    “Don’t forget, there’s still Snivy,” Logan said quietly, who unlike the others was staring straight at Chase, moving slowly toward him. Sceptile had been encouraged to mate before passing away, and Chase brought him to a breeding center, where the lizard met a very gentle Serperior he had taken a liking to. An egg had emerged a month later, soon hatching into a male Snivy, bearing little resemblance to his father, although Chase insisted he had Sceptile’s eyes. Chase turned around, eyes wide, cheeks stained and rosy.

    “Snivy?! Do you think,” he said, his voice quivering, “that I could EVER look at that snake as anything other than a cheap knockoff of his dad?” Chase’s voice rose with emotion, and he clutched at his face, letting out a yell of anguish. He collapsed, rocking back and forth, all control forsaken for pure emotion. “I can’t, I can’t, how can I go on?” he asked, looking up at his friends with red eyes; they were all looking at him now. “How can I keep going without him? Sceptile was my baby, he was my best friend, he was my everything,” he said, words tumbling out now. He was cut off by Logan, who pulled his head to her chest and held him, rocking slowly with him. Tracey and Kira joined on, and the four trainers huddled in a single mass, not another word spoken.

    …................................................. ....................................

    -2009-

    Chase stood with his arms crossed, apart from Preston, Alec and Logan. He had to respect the way Alec conceded defeat to Preston; after his shock at Larvitar’s post-loss evolution, Chase had expected protests that Pupitar could continue the battle. Instead, Alec quietly returned the Pokémon and bowed his head slightly at Preston, accepting the ex-gym leader’s superior skill.

    “Aren’t you happy for Pupitar?” Logan prompted, startled at the level of apathy Alec was exhibiting.

    He nodded, his eyes on the ground, and kicked a small rock so that it skipped, ricocheting down the inclined slope the group had made camp on. “I’m just worried,” he said after a while. Preston had begun packing their equipment back into his large bag, and Chase stood torn between helping the older man and speaking with Logan and Alec.

    “Worried? Why?” the blonde girl asked gently.

    “Larvitar has been working toward evolution for ages. She was so sick and tired of being smaller than her opponents, she wanted to feel more on their level. But...this middle stage is so frustrating.” He kicked another rock. “Pupitar is so...limited. It can’t move! Not properly.”

    Logan nodded in understanding. “I know that feeling. I had a Weedle, once. When it evolved, I felt so trapped using a Kakuna. It didn’t have any of the mobility or offensive power of its first form. But I just had to...play to his strengths. You know?” She had noticed Chase standing at a distance and turned to him for support.

    “Pupitar will be great,” was all the young trainer could muster.

    Preston stood up, hoisting his traveling bag over his broad shoulders and calling out to the three youths. “We should keep moving. At least get to the first cave of the tunnels by nightfall.” Logan and Alec nodded, but Chase frowned. “Do you have a problem with this plan, Chase?” Preston asked, nonplussed.

    “Can’t we enjoy the seascape one last time before shutting ourselves in a cave for three days? We never even got to see Cape Peridot, I hear it’s gorgeous.” Chase looked to Logan for support on this; he was annoyed to find her looking at Alec.

    “Is it safe to spend any more time out in the open? Especially as it gets dark, Chase, with those people out looking for Alec,” she said.

    Preston stared at the Olivine sea in the distance, thinking. “Alec, do you particularly feel like going to the cape?” he asked. Alec shook his head, and Preston nodded. “Me neither. Chase, if you and Logan want to go swimming, you may. I’ll take Mr. Gideon to the Purpleheart caves. If you have trouble finding your way back tonight, call my Poké Gear.” Chase looked for approval from his friend, but Logan looked torn.

    “Will you be okay?” she asked Alec.

    Alec looked at Preston. “I’ll be fine. Seriously. Why’s everyone so worried about me?”

    “We were assigned to keep you safe, Alec. You are our priority,” Logan said.

    “He’s fine, Logan, he just said so. Come on, let’s go before the sun sets,” Chase said impatiently. He stepped away from the mountains, looking expectantly at Logan.

    “There’s a shortcut to the water further east. If you go left, far left,” Preston said, pointed emphatically, “you’ll find the water comes in from the cliffs where the lighthouse sits.” Logan looked at Alec one last time.

    “I’m fine,” he said. Logan nodded, turning and finally moving toward Chase.

    “We won’t be too long,” Chase said, beginning to walk in the direction Preston had motioned, “Just enough time to...sort things out.” He turned, looking to Logan and beginning the descent.

    “You’re not worried for them?” Alec asked Preston as they watched the fair-haired teenagers fade like shadows into the surrounding dark rocks.

    “No,” Preston said simply. “Now let’s get moving. The sun’s going down. Is the Rainbow Wing safe?” Alec nodded. “Good. After you, sir.”

    …................................................. ....................................

    -2006-

    “We have to go back to Kanto,” Chase said, watching Kira’s face carefully. The two were out to dinner for the first time in a month, and Chase had dressed up to commemorate this occasion; he was wearing a well-tailored corduroy jacket, hunter green button-up and black bowtie, with suspenders to boot. The same could not be said for Kira, who still looked nice but had hardly dressed up; she hadn’t even broken out her signature carmine purse that accompanied her for all occasions. This news didn’t seem to surprise her. She was drumming her fingers and twitching her left leg restlessly, and merely nodded at Chase’s announcement. “Okay, Kira, what’s wrong,” he said finally, voicing the question that had been building up for the past two weeks. Since the two had settled down together in a nice apartment in the Lavaridge Springs community, she had been growing increasingly cold.

    “Why do you have to go back this time? Is it destiny related?” she asked, avoiding his question.

    “Tracey had a dream -”

    “Oh, of COURSE he had a dream. And dreams mean everything, don’t they?” She uncrossed her legs, looking fiercely at Chase, who was bewildered at her response.

    “Bad things are happening in Kanto, very bad things. You know that, it’s why we left. But Logan and Tracey both have roots there, Logan’s family is still there, and well, yes, Tracey had a dream. But it was a special dream.”

    “Oh, yes, a special dream, well I guess that is reason to throw ourselves back into the fire.”

    “In this dream,” Chase continued, “Arceus came to visit him. He said it spoke to him, Arceus’ voice was inside his head, and he told Tracey we’ve run away, we’re meant to go back to Kanto and we will end the war.” Kira snorted. “It told Tracey he had to die,” Chase said, and the mood shifted slightly. Kira stopped looking derisive, at least. “Why would he make that up?” he asked finally.

    “I’m not saying he made anything up, Chase. I had a dream last night that I adopted a Growlithe. That doesn’t mean I will.” Chase made to respond, but she cut him off. “Look, Chase, you can go if you want. Really. It’s your choice. But me? I have a life here, now. A good job. A reliable network. And I’m not giving that up.”

    Chase opened his mouth, and shut it again. He played with the napkin in his lap and stared at the ziti in front of him. Silence stretched until he finally said, quietly, “What changed, Kira?”

    “What?”

    “We had a really good thing going. For like a year, I really loved you. I didn’t care why we broke up the first time, I was just...happy. You left Kanto behind for this, for us. What’s changed that you won’t go back?”

    Kira sighed, looking long and hard at Chase before responding. “That’s the first time you’ve said the word ‘love’ to me in a month, Chase. To me, specifically. You say it all the time to Tracey, to...Logan.” There was special emphasis on the female’s name. “But sometime last month, you stopped saying it to me.” Chase shifted his weight uncomfortably in his chair. She knew, she had caught on finally. “You don’t want me to come back with you guys,” she said, inferring the unsaid wish Chase had made.

    “That’s not true,” Chase said, but they both knew he was lying.

    “I think you should go to Kanto, Chase. Go with your friends. Okay? I’m giving you permission.”

    “Kira…”

    “But Chase, Logan doesn’t love you. She likes you, a whole lot. But her heart belongs to Tracey. So please do me a favor, and choose someone else to devote yourself to. Because some girl out there deserves you. You’re a wonderful guy,” she said, and her voice was many things at once, but it was not sad. Chase felt as though he’d been slapped in the face repeatedly, and met her words with silence. He stood up, eventually.

    “I have to go to the bathroom,” he said, and Kira smiled.

    “Many things have changed, but your small bladder never will,” she said, and for some reason, this of all things brought tears to her eyes. “You don’t have to come back, Chase. I can pay for myself.” Chase took Kira’s hands, and got down on his knees in front of her, kissing both hands.

    “You’ll always be my first love,” he said, and he meant it. Kira nodded.

    “But not your last,” she said. Chase stood up, and buttoned the top button of his jacket. “Call me sometime, will you?” she continued, as he made to leave. Chase turned, nodding and smiling gently at Kira.

    “The moment we get back.”

    …................................................. ....................................

    -2009-

    Peridot Cape was gorgeous, and strangely empty. For being such a well-known tourist attraction, Chase supposed the recent scare in the city was keeping people from visiting the surrounding areas as well. The beach seemed to extend for miles on either side, shooting straight out to his right and curving gently northward to his left.

    Logan and Chase stood for a long while, just staring out at the water, until Logan spoke. “What are you thinking?” she asked, looking at Chase’s face, framed by the fading day’s light.

    “I’m thinking we should have stayed in Hoenn,” he said, staring in the approximate direction he knew his homeland was located.

    “What makes you say that?”

    “There was a lot we left behind when we came back to fight in the war,” Chase said. “Tracey died because of us. If we had stayed home...well, he’d be alive. Kira might not hate me.”

    Logan reached out, taking his hand and squeezing it. “Kira doesn’t hate you, Chase. And as for Tracey...well, I think he knew he was going to die.” Chase was afraid she might start crying, but she didn’t. He wondered what had changed; even the slightest mention of Tracey would have reduced her to tears two days ago. “And Chase, if we hadn’t come back, Kanto wouldn’t exist. I don’t think any of our world would. Johto would probably be gone at this point, too. Maybe even Hoenn,” she continued, staring out at the point Chase had been staring. “We had to come back. And that’s that.”

    “And you don’t hate me for bringing us to Johto? I know you were enjoying Unova, and I know you hate being dragged around while I do my thing,” he said, looking at her. She looked so different from when he had first met her; her hair was still its beautiful flaxen color, her eyes still swimming pools of turquoise, but there was distance in her eyes now.

    “I don’t hate you, Chase. I could never hate you,” she almost whispered, holding his hand tighter.

    “Well, then. That settles it. There’s only one way to move forward from here,” Chase said solemnly.

    Logan moved closer to him. “What’s that?” she asked gently.

    “Race you to the beach!” he cried, pushing her into the sand and bolting forward, causing Logan to sit, dumbfounded, staring in disbelief at her friend before she started laughing, her face flushing. He turned back, picking up a pile of sand and throwing it in her direction, his face lighting up in a smile that Logan hadn’t seen for more than a year, and then he turned and ran, arms flailing, toward the sea.

    “No fair, you got a head start!” she shrieked, pushing herself up, feeling sand everywhere, on her jeans, her sweater, grits between her soft hands, and launching herself, pounding her feet against the coarse sand, but Chase was already at the waterline, throwing his jacket off and looking back at his friend, his mouth split into a wide smile.

    “No way the water’s warm enough to swim in,” he said as Logan joined him in the shallow depths of the beach. Logan could feel the chill of the cooling autumn seawater on her bare feet, and she nodded agreement.

    “We’ll just have to surf,” she said, grinning at him. The two stood in the water together for a second, breathing the salt air and just looking at each other, until Chase bolted back up the beach to their small pile of bags and shoes, pulling a Poké Ball from his bag and one from Logan’s, jogging back to the water’s edge and handing her the red-and-white sphere.

    “After you, m’lady,” he said, indicating out to the expansive sea. Logan threw her orb, releasing her Blastoise right into the water. The large turtle Pokémon seemed momentarily disoriented, but then it let out a deep growl of approval and dove into the swells, paddling through its home environment with a deep smile of contentment on its face.

    Logan turned to Chase. “And you, Mr. Tang,” she said, her eyes bright. He let out Starmie, its cerulean body and pink plating a departure from the traditional purple the starshape Pokémon was known to possess; a ‘shiny’, Preston had called it. The two trainers climbed onto their Pokémon and began a leisurely swim that would extend into the night.

    …................................................. ....................................

    Alec and Preston reached the entrance to the tunnels by nightfall; the last light of the day was dancing on the surface of the far-off sea. The way in was hidden; Preston had to show Alec the way the opening was cleverly concealed behind a sparse crop of brush (“Limber pine”, Preston called it) that grew specifically in mountain ranges; stunted, mostly branches with little green. Nevertheless, the bushes were positioned in a way that from even ten feet away, the gaping hole in the side of the mountain couldn’t be seen.

    “You first,” Preston said, glancing around to make sure they were quite alone. Alec climbed around the bristly plants uncomfortably, cutting himself more than once and grunting a few times, but he disappeared swiftly and totally into the Purpleheart Tunnel, as Preston had named it. The older man followed, the last rays of sunlight catching in his light hair, illuminating more than ever the flecks of gray. He adjusted the plants behind him so that the tunnel was thrown into complete darkness.

    “Do we have a flashlight, or something?” Alec asked, pulling out his Poké Gear and using the small light embedded in the top to look at Preston.

    “Oh, we have better than a flashlight.” He released an Electivire, a great golden tiger-like creature that stood at eye level with his trainer. “Electivire, give us some light.” The Pokémon growled, rubbing his two black cable-like tails together, producing a shower of sparks that crackled and spit. Eventually a low humming resounded steadily through the tunnel, and Electivire glowed, illuminating the entire cavern.

    For it was a cavern. Alec had been expecting some small, dingy, winding tunnel that had lots of dirt and unpleasant things. Instead, his jaw dropped at the majesty of the place, high-ceilinged and quite clean, the walls shining and reflecting Electivire’s light almost like glass. Deep veins of tyrian purple ran through the cobalt walls, and if Alec squinted he could make out faint traces of gold in the floor.

    Preston stepped up beside him. “Nice, isn’t it?” he said, his deep, quiet voice resonating nicely in the wide space.

    “This is amazing,” Alec said, turning on the spot in wonder. Preston smiled, looking up, and something about the way the light hit him revealed a man ten years younger.

    “Well, this is as far as we said we’d go until Chase and Logan return. Let’s get a little further in, and we can set up sleeping bags and the like.” Alec nodded in agreement, still astounded by his surroundings. The two set up camp, Electivire lighting the area for them until Preston could send his Ursaring to fetch some branches of limber pine, which Alec then had Magby ignite, the orange embers spreading into a deep red fire. Preston pulled some loose smooth boulders from the cavern into some semblance of a circle around the fire and set a pot over it. “Now watch this,” he said, his eyes crinkling in a smile. The gray-haired man produced a Manaphy, the tiny blue imp filling the pot to the rim with crystal-clear pure water.

    “Where did you get a Manaphy?” Alec asked, stunned. Preston merely smiled, shaking his head slightly. “Seriously, isn’t Manaphy super rare?” Before Alec could push the topic any further, Manaphy was back inside her Premier Ball, and Preston had moved the conversation away from the mystery.

    “Logan was right on point back there, Alec.” The boy blinked, not quite sure what Preston meant. “Part of being a successful trainer is learning to play a Pokémon’s strengths, and how to cover for their weaknesses. The type match-up is only the first of many parts. Pupitar is going to be a completely different creature from Larvitar, but that doesn’t mean it’s useless.”

    “I know that,” Alec said, slightly frustrated, “I’m not a toddler. I HAVE learned things, you know.”

    Preston raised his eyebrows. “You have? Then you know that Pupitar will absolutely be able to sense you lack of faith in her ability.” Alec lowered his gaze. “And won’t that work wonders for her strength.” The boy nodded in glum response. “I’m not trying to tell you off, Alec. I just thought maybe the words of a retired gym leader might be -”

    “No, this is helpful,” Alec said, his voice meek. “I never considered that Pupitar might feel she’s let me down somehow.”

    Preston shifted so that his hands could stretch closer to the fire, rubbing the rough skin together. “You remind me a lot of me at your age, Alec.” Alec look surprised. “Oh, you’re certainly more headstrong. A little more reckless. But your eagerness, your commitment, your spirit...very similar.” Preston scratched at a spot on his leg, staring at the fire.

    “I don’t have your skill,” Alec said.

    “No,” Preston agreed, smiling. Alec’s face fell slightly; he’d hoped Preston would deny this statement immediately. “But nobody does until they’ve been a gym leader, seen and learned from so many different faces and battles.”

    “I see,” Alec said. He rummaged through his bag, pulling out a water bottle and taking a prolonged sip.

    “You know, Alec, I felt my heart skip a beat when Will first told me your name.”

    Alec swallowed the water, considering this. “Why?” he asked finally, perplexed.

    “Carrie wanted to name our child Alec, if it was a boy,” Preston answered softly.

    “Was Carrie your wife?” Alec asked, knowing the answer already; Preston nodded. The boy looked the man full in the face for the first time, taking in the haggard stubbled cheeks, the bags under the eyes, the thick eyebrows and strong jaw; the eyes that only lived when they smiled. It was a face full of sadness, but also warmth, kindness.

    “You said...IF it was a boy...did the baby turn out to be a girl?”

    Preston smiled with his mouth, but his eyes remained gray and reserved. “I never met our child. Team Skye got to her first.” Alec did not know what to say to this; he reached hesitantly to pat Preston’s arm, but thought better of it. “You also grew up for a while right down the street from me,” Preston said. “Your grandmother used to borrow Teddiursa from me so you could have your fun with a Pokémon before you could legally own one.

    Alec let out a noise of understanding and recognition. “Ursaring! THAT’S the Teddiursa from the beach?” Many things clicked for the young man at this moment. “You’re the tall guy with the pretty wife!” Preston smiled, nodding.

    “She was beautiful.” The two sat a while by the fire in mostly silence, Alec reeling over the revelation. A falling stalactite and the scuttling of a Paras by the northern fork of the tunnel broke the energy of unspoken words swimming between the two; suddenly, Alec stood up.

    “It’s been so long. Where are Chase and Logan?”

    Preston reached into his bag, looking for his Poké Gear. “Here, call them,” he said, handing Alec the device. The boy took it, considering for a moment, before handing it back.

    “I don’t want to interrupt...whatever they’re doing.” Preston raised his eyebrows again. “Treat others the way you want to be treated, I guess,” he continued. This elicited an impressed nod from the older man, who put the gear back in his bag. “So, you’ve seen some interesting things, huh?” Preston nodded, smiling and leaning back against the luminous boulder behind him. “Tell me the top five best battles you’ve ever had.”

    Preston chuckled, running his right hand through his graying hair. “Where to begin?”

    …................................................. ....................................

    -2006-

    Air was rushing by Chase’s stubbled face; he was falling, falling, forever falling, the ground far below yet immediately in front of him. He was going to crash! Wait a minute, he said, reason catching up with him, I don’t have stubble, I’m sixteen, I can’t GROW sexy old man stubble. “This is all a dream!” he yelled. A red-haired man sped past him, mounted on a six-winged fiery beast.

    “If this were a dream, you’d be waking up right around...now!” the man said in a high, cold voice. Chase didn’t wake up; he kept falling in his old man body. The ground sped up at him, and then impact was made; except the ground wasn’t solid, in fact it was water. He was in the water! But I don’t have any way to stay afloat, he realized, Where’s Logan when you need her? Right on cue, the blonde-haired girl surfed up beside him. Chase realized neither he nor Logan were soaked; in fact, the water didn’t seem to be made of water at all.

    “Can I catch a ride?” he shouted through gulps of water that wasn’t wet. Logan nodded, extending a beautiful pale arm and pulling him on her floatation device. Chase realized with a relief his body wasn’t old anymore, but he still had a beard. He and Logan floated along the dry sea wordlessly, although he had many things he wanted to say to her.

    “Kira says you don’t love me,” he said, looking at his friend. Her eyes were larger than he remembered. Logan shook her head, her hair suddenly much shorter.

    “I don’t love you. I love Tracey.” Chase’s heart skipped a beat. It skipped several beats, actually. In fact, his heart stopped beating altogether.

    “You can’t love Tracey,” he complained, pointing to a motionless body floating just beyond his reach, “Tracey’s dead.”

    Logan shook her head again, her expression not changing. “You were never supposed to come back to Kanto, Chase. You’ve killed us all.” Her hair grew long again, but suddenly it was deep ruby red, and her face sagged and grew agitated, as if a fire had ravaged it.

    “We don’t deserve to be loved,” the girl with the burnt face said in a hollow voice, reaching out and grabbing Chase, pulling him towards her; he thought they were going to kiss, but suddenly he was passing through her body, burning with her, the flames excruciating.

    The boy woke up still screaming and sweating, as if on fire. Logan was lying next to him, wide awake, watching him anxiously. “Chase? Chase? Are you alright?” Chase sat up, leaning over and throwing up on the bit of floor Logan wasn’t occupying. His face was drenched; he grabbed it immediately.

    “No beard,” he said with a relief. His next thought was of Tracey, and he jumped up, looking around the tent wildly. Tracey was a small distance from him, curled up with Bulby and Quilber (his Quilava) wrapped in his arms. Logan placed a hand on Chase’s shoulder, brow furrowed in concern.

    “Were you having another nightmare?” she asked, turning him to look at her, feeling his forehead. “Your fever’s breaking, thank goodness.” Chase shook his head wildly. Tracey stirred, disturbed by all the noise that was atypical of three a.m. in the deep south of Fuchsia City, the only area of Kanto completely removed from war. The three travelers had arrived in Kanto yesterday not via ferry, but by a small private biplane rented under Kira’s name.

    “Chase? What’s wrong?” Tracey asked, rubbing his eyes. Chase was breathing slower, but his eyes jumped and he yelped at the sound of Tracey’s voice.

    “Oh, thank god, you’re alive,” he said, kneeling down by his younger friend’s side and hugging him. Bulby coughed, rolling over and continuing his peaceful slumber.

    “Of course I’m alive, why shouldn’t I be?” Tracey asked, alarmed. Logan was frowning at Chase.

    “No reason, no reason. Sorry for waking you guys,” Chase muttered. He looked at the pile of vomit that had just recently parted with his stomach. “Do you want me to clean that up?” he asked guiltily.

    “Chase...what happened in the dream?” Logan asked, her arms crossed and her eyes clouded, confused and afraid. This was so unlike Chase, who had been a complete wreck the past two days. Chase shook his head, going into his bag for some cleaning equipment. Logan bent down next to him, and Tracey crawled across the floor, so both trainers were looking Chase in the eye.

    “Is it about Kira?” Tracey asked gently, not pushing. Chase shook his head, averting his eyes and going to scrub the floor.

    “Why were you worried Tracey was dead?” Logan prompted.

    Chase sighed, leaning back so that he was sitting on his heels. “It was a really bizarre dream, guys, I don’t think it meant anything. But...Tracey was floating. We were in the water, Logan, and Tracey was kind of...dead, facedown, hair swimming all around him, just beyond our reach.” Logan put her hands to her mouth. “It was lame,” Chase added, not looking Tracey in the eye. All three of them knew that Tracey held a great deal of store by dreams ever since his visit from Arceus.

    “Did anything else happen, in this dream?” Tracey said, ignoring the detail about himself. Logan shot him a cryptic look.

    Chase shook his head. “No, not really. Well. You told me we shouldn’t have come back,” he said, looking at Logan. “You said we were all going to die.” Tracey and Logan were silent. “Like I said...it was just a dream.” He couldn’t help feeling he had just borne witness to some sort of vision of the future, and the next morning did nothing to assuage his fear.

    The three awoke to screams, flames, and the whirring of motors. Shells lit up the sky behind the Safari Zone. Fuchsia City had officially entered the war.

    …................................................. ....................................

    -2009-

    Logan was a little ways ahead of Chase on the water, her Blastoise leaving Chase and his Starmie in its wake. The sky was almost too dark to see, save the many stars that were out, gems set in a velvety blue display, blazing forever in the endless night. Quite a bit of time had passed since leaving Preston and Alec; neither of them thought anything of it.

    “Keep up!” she called back to Chase, who let out a moan.

    “I can’t, Starmie’s tired!” he said, his voice breaking slightly.

    “Yeah, yeah...Starmie,” Logan muttered, smiling in amusement and squeezing Blastoise’s shell gently with her legs, whispering “Slow down a little, bud,” in his ear. Chase’s wet mess of light hair soon floated up behind her, and soon they were side-by-side.

    “YOU have the luxury of sitting on Blastoise’s back,” Chase said, spitting out a stream of seawater.

    “Well, come on, then,” Logan said, shifting over. “There’s room for two.”

    “Coulda said that a while ago,” Chase grumbled, grabbing onto the turtle’s shell and hoisting himself up. He shivered in the cool night, wringing his shirt out in chunks, dripping water everywhere. The young man motioned to Starmie that it could go swim on its own for a while. “It’s FREEZING!” he said, shaking his head and spraying water all over Logan, who cringed, laughing.

    “Stop!” she cried. Chase obeyed, after one final flourish.

    “We’re a long way from shore,” he said once he was satisfactorily dry. “We should probably go back soon.” The two did not show any indication of following this suggestion.

    “Chase?” Logan asked after a while. The boy turned his stubbled face, which had been focused on the lighthouse, to his friend.

    “What’s up?” he asked.

    “Yesterday, you said you wanted to stop traveling with me. That I’m too caught up in the past. Is that...did you mean it?” Her blue eyes pierced, searching for the truth.

    “I...I don’t know...if it’s the best idea,” Chase said, choosing his words carefully. “I think at this point you know how I feel for you. And I don’t think you’re ever going to move past Tracey.” Logan made to defend herself. “Don’t. I feel like things are just moving in circles with us, like a song on repeat. I love you, you love someone else, they’re unavailable...you settle for me.” Silence.

    “Chase…”

    “I don’t mind being second best. I could live with that, Logan, I could live my whole life with you knowing I wasn’t your first choice. But I don’t think...you could. I think you need to find somebody you love as much as...somebody you love,” he finished. Logan’s eyes were wet.

    “That’s unfair, Chase. You’re...you’re putting a lot on me.” Her hand moved to touch his, but he pulled away. More silence passed. Chase heard a gentle sloshing sound that signaled Starmie’s return.

    “We should head back,” he said, dipping his toe into the water to test the temperature again, making to swim back to Starmie. “Starmie, over here!” he called. No response. The lapping sound was closer, now, and there was definitely a form in the water with them, bobbing closer very fast.

    Chase suddenly recalled a dream he had experienced vividly two-and-a-half years beforehand. He reached up to touch his bearded face in horror, and looked at Logan, then back at the water. There was a dark shape floating toward them, a body. Dirty-blonde hair spread from the skull, the clothing loose, the skin clammy. Chase felt a chill go down his spine that was quite unrelated to the night air.

    “Tracey?” he whispered, petrified.
    Last edited by Bulba the Great!; 12th November 2013 at 2:27 AM.
    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.

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  22. #47
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    Glover, you are a god among mere mortals. That was an incredible catch-up marathon read that you just accomplished.
    Well, I suppose a magician should never reveal his secrets, but aside from keeping odd hours of the night, this is what my laptop screen looks like. Attachment 10983

    And yes, my laptop does have a seperate VGA port, think what I could do with SIX windows!!!

    ---
    “I’ve tripped, fallen, bruised, and scratched myself enough for one day
    That's what YOU think...

    “How much longer til we reach the caves?”
    I'm gonna go out on a limb and say "too long"

    “Somebody could have told me!”
    They did, you're a chump.

    “I don’t eat white bread. It’s fine, I brought my own food.” He produced a RAGE candy bar and a powdered protein mix, which he proceeded to dump into a thermos of MooMoo Milk.
    I'm not sure that qualifies as "food", but hey, some people need their sawdust...

    “How did you become gym leader? I’ve always been fascinated. I know how to become a member of the Elite Four, you need to beat the League Championships of at least three different regions, and then -”

    “Four,” Chase interrupted. Alec looked at him, nonplussed.

    “Hm?”

    “Four league championships. You need to beat at least four region’s tourneys, plus face off against the already existing Elite Four and champion.” He seemed slightly bitter as he said this, a scowl darkening his fair features.

    “Chase was very close to achieving this status,” Logan said softly, “he’s won three championships and fought two of the current Elite Four.”
    Intriguinging. You and I had similar theores on League admittance.

    “Can I battle you?” Alec blurted out. Preston blinked, taken aback.
    Very "Ash Ketchy" moment there. prepare to be polishing rocks with your face...

    “It’s all very well. This just proves what I should have realized long ago. When you want something done, do it yourself.”
    Welp, she's written off...

    Not literLLY, but looks like she's no longer his most trusted agent...

    Gabriel turned to look out on the just-setting sun. “Oh, and remember.” He reached out his arm for Mandibuzz, not looking back. “Not a soul gets hurt.”
    Interesting that you'd say this, considering that you tried to drop a guy form a mandibuzz two minutes ago.

    he had been so focused on raising Machop’s muscular strength he had forgotten to worry about defense
    This seems aout right,

    “Machop is unable to battle,” Chase said almost immediately.
    ... and so does that.

    Nature Power was a move unfamiliar to Alec
    Me too.

    ---
    -2005-
    I approve

    but Sceptile seemed beyond the ability to play - his eyes were jaundiced and saggy, his jade skin papery and hanging off his dreadfully thin frame. Tracey followed Chase’s gaze, staring at Sceptile and sitting up very quickly.
    Poor thing,

    Kira was found and the medics summoned,
    Who's Kira?

    “Snivy?! Do you think,” he said, his voice quivering, “that I could EVER look at that snake as anything other than a cheap knockoff of his dad?”
    OUCH. But probably.

    But...this middle stage is so frustrating.” He kicked another rock.
    Proving once again he;s a short-sighted rainer. One, Pupitar have a much needed Defense in his team. Two, the fact that they levitate means speed. Three, I've always seent he little leg protrusions as foot pedals... not unlike those of a motorccle. They lean, forawards, and there's enough mask to grab onto...

    And at least in the anime, Pupitar can be very fast. A good defense is never ale to actually be hit by anything.

    Look at me, rambling like Alec can even hear me.

    But I just had to...play to his strengths. You know?”
    Which is, what exactly? Spin the Bottle, Perhaps?

    “We won’t be too long,” Chase said, beginning to walk in the direction Preston had motioned, “Just enough time to...sort things out.” He turned, looking to Logan and beginning the descent.
    Gee, I seem to remember Alec saying that... and then he was Introduced to Natalia, and a pair of gentlemen by the names of "Smith" and "Wesson".

    “Tracey had a dream -”
    ...the tailor Mottel Kamzoil

    “Oh, yes, a special dream, well I guess that is reason to throw ourselves back into the fire.”
    I'm with the new girl on this one.

    “You’ll always be my first love,” he said, and he meant it. Kira nodded.

    “But not your last,” she said. Chase stood up, and buttoned the top button of his jacket. “Call me sometime, will you?” she continued, as he made to leave. Chase turned, nodding and smiling gently at Kira.

    “The moment we get back.”
    Love this scene, touching and well written. But even if his body touches soil, he'll never be back.

    “And you don’t hate me for bringing us to Johto? I know you were enjoying Unova, and I know you hate being dragged around while I do my thing,” he said, looking at her. She looked so different from when he had first met her;
    Really enjoying this look into relationships on the road in a Pokemon world. We don't get that much.

    Logan threw her orb, releasing her Blastoise right into the water. The large turtle Pokémon seemed momentarily disoriented
    News article, the Olivine Times "Blastoise drowns in sea."
    In all seriusness though, with as attentive as you are aout Pokemon being new to their surroundings, drowning seems like a valid concern,

    “Do we have a flashlight, or something?” Alec asked, pulling out his Poké Gear and using the small light embedded in the top to look at Preston.
    What could be better than a flashlight?

    . “Electivire, give us some light.” The Pokémon growled, rubbing his two black cable-like tails together, producing a shower of sparks that crackled and spit. Eventually a low humming resounded steadily through the tunnel, and Electivire glowed, illuminating the entire cavern.
    Clever detailing, but I aska gain, what's better than a flashlight? For one, you can club Zubats with it.

    And doesn't Magby know Flash?

    “I know that,” Alec said, slightly frustrated, “I’m not a toddler. I HAVE learned things, you know.”

    Preston raised his eyebrows. “You have? Then you know that Pupitar will absolutely be able to sense you lack of faith in her ability.”
    Voice of reason

    Preston smiled with his mouth, but his eyes remained gray and reserved. “I never met our child. Team Skye got to her first.” Alec did not know what to say to this; he reached hesitantly to pat Preston’s arm, but thought better of it. “You also grew up for a while right down the street from me,” Preston said. “Your grandmother used to borrow Teddiursa from me so you could have your fun with a Pokémon before you could legally own one.
    Its a small world, after all...

    “We don’t deserve to be loved,” the girl with the burnt face said in a hollow voice, reaching out and grabbing Chase, pulling him towards her; he thought they were going to kiss, but suddenly he was passing through her body, burning with her, the flames excruciating.
    that'll be Natalia. I'm enjoying the cross stitch you've got going between the characters

    “I don’t mind being second best. I could live with that, Logan, I could live my whole life with you knowing I wasn’t your first choice. But I don’t think...you could. I think you need to find somebody you love as much as...somebody you love,” he finished. Logan’s eyes were wet.
    If only you knew what he'd done for you,

    and he's still dreaming...
        Spoiler:- Breeding stuff:

  23. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glover View Post
    I'm not sure that qualifies as "food", but hey, some people need their sawdust...

    Surprisingly, some people do live this way. *coughmysixthgradehistoryteachercough*

    Intriguinging. You and I had similar theores on League admittance.

    I just figured it was time somebody lay out the formal rules of league acceptance. Glad we see eye-to-eye!

    Who's Kira?

    Hmm, perhaps I should have set her up better? I did introduce her with the descriptor of "Chase's girlfriend", but I do suppose she seems to come from a bit left-field for those who have only read this story. She's a carry-over from Destined. I just didn't want to BORED anyone with too much exposition!

    Proving once again he;s a short-sighted rainer. One, Pupitar have a much needed Defense in his team. Two, the fact that they levitate means speed. Three, I've always seent he little leg protrusions as foot pedals... not unlike those of a motorccle. They lean, forawards, and there's enough mask to grab onto...

    Ahahaha a use sure to come in handy, that motorcycle idea.

    Which is, what exactly? Spin the Bottle, Perhaps?

    Oh my god I'm laughing so hard.

    Gee, I seem to remember Alec saying that... and then he was Introduced to Natalia, and a pair of gentlemen by the names of "Smith" and "Wesson".

    Nothing good ever happens when you wander off in this world.

    ...the tailor Mottel Kamzoil

    I could kiss you.

    Love this scene, touching and well written. But even if his body touches soil, he'll never be back.

    Quite perceptive. Tis very true.

    Really enjoying this look into relationships on the road in a Pokemon world. We don't get that much.

    I'm glad you find them interesting; I certainly do.

    News article, the Olivine Times "Blastoise drowns in sea."
    In all seriusness though, with as attentive as you are aout Pokemon being new to their surroundings, drowning seems like a valid concern,

    I'm not writing that out of the realm of possibility...

    Clever detailing, but I aska gain, what's better than a flashlight? For one, you can club Zubats with it.

    VERY valid point.

    And doesn't Magby know Flash?

    Will-o-Wisp; surprisingly can't learn Flash.

    that'll be Natalia. I'm enjoying the cross stitch you've got going between the characters

    So glad you picked up on that. Dreams can be telling...

    and he's still dreaming...

    Not exactly.
    Thanks for the time, Glover!
    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.

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

  24. #49
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    Earth, Air, Water, Fire

    Chapter Ten

    Purpleheart Tunnel’s first antechamber echoed with ritualistic grunts and shouts, quite alien to the usually silent cavern. Alec was in full-blown workout mode; Preston watched with amusement as the trainer pumped out set after set of push-ups, squats, crunches and planks, Machop keeping pace next to him. The small gray Pokémon was again locked into the Macho Brace, crying out every now and again. Preston couldn’t help pitying him slightly; the tears gathering in his wide eyes, the sweat pooling around the creases in his forehead and between the ridges that protruded from his otherwise bare skull, all to please his trainer seemed excessive to the more experienced trainer. He kept his mouth shut, though.

    Preston was writing in his journal, making new notes and observations about the landscape, when a ringing interrupted the sounds of Alec and Machop’s routine. Alec stopped mid-squat, blinking at Preston, disoriented.

    “Is that you?” Preston asked, referring to the two bags lying by the fire. Another ring cut through the cave, and Preston swiftly crossed to the bags, Alec wiping his forehead and allowing himself a long swig of water from the bottle Machop held up for him. The trainer let out a long exhale and handed the bottle back, allowing his Pokémon a grateful sip as well.

    “Who is it?” the young man asked.

    Preston shook his head, digging fruitlessly through Alec’s bag. “Where do you keep your Poké Gear?” he asked.

    “That’s not mine that’s ringing,” Alec said, still catching his breath, “someone must be calling you.”

    Preston paused, a shadow crossing his tired face. “Who would be calling at this hour?” he wondered, shifting his attention to his own large rucksack. He produced his Poké Gear, a slightly older model than Alec’s, and looked at it, frowning. “Oh, it’s Logan.” He hit a button, allowing the video screen to light up. Alec, whose face lit up at the mention of Logan’s name, crossed so he could see the screen as well. The pale face and piercing blue eyes were unmistakable; however, her expression was quite foreign, a mixture of terror and disgust.

    “Preston?” she asked. Her voice came out unnaturally high.

    “Logan, is everything okay? Do you need help finding the tunnel’s entrance?” Preston looked quite alarmed at the haunted expression on the girl’s face.

    “No...no, um...Preston, Alec, I think...I think you need to come to the cape,” she said, looking to her right; Chase’s voice could be heard in the background. Logan muttered something to her friend offscreen and nodded, passing the Poké Gear to him. The young man’s bearded face was haggard, his eyes dead.

    “Preston, we were out swimming, and...well, we found something by the lighthouse.”

    The lines on Preston’s forehead deepened in concern at this statement. “What did you find, Chase?” The camera shook, the picture blurring in a jerky, disorienting manner as Chase turned it downward. Alec caught a brief glimpse of pale pink beach, dark water lapping at a jetty that extended into the sea, and the Olivine Lighthouse in the top right corner, until finally the image focused again on its new target. Preston glanced warily at Alec, whose expression changed from mild curiosity to absolute shock.

    Stretched out on a jet-black rock, limp, swollen and soggy, was Amber Janson’s body. Her skin was mottled and clammy, her lips blue, her eyes open, empty. She was unmistakably dead.

    It took half an hour to sprint from the tunnels to the halfway point Chase and Logan agreed to meet at. This window of time seemed both freakishly quick and nightmarishly long to Alec. Images kept flashing through his head of his years of tech school with Amber. These were mixed with a ghastly composite image he had created in his mind; the last time he had seen her, alive and bound on the floor of the Olivine Lighthouse, but soaking and pale, her eyes empty, already dead, her soul long gone. Preston jogged at a safe distance behind the young man, allowing him space to absorb the loss of his childhood friend.

    Chase and Logan’s silhouettes were barely visible in the dusk, but it was near impossible to miss them amidst the slate-and-ebony rocks they had come to rest on. Alec slowed down when he caught sight of them, and for one brief, hopeful moment, it seemed the only bodies present were their living ones. As he drew closer, his eyes caught on the prone, waxy figure lying on a flat ledge behind them; it seemed they had carried Amber from the beach.

    “Alec!” Logan jumped up, her eyes trained warily on the boy. He certainly did seem younger; the death of his childhood friend seemed to have caused a temporary digression in maturity - his eyes were wide, unsure, lost-looking. Logan ran to him, pulling him into a gentle embrace, patting his back. Chase walked to meet Preston, who had stopped a respectful distance from the body. The two turned away from the scene; a sob broke the silence behind them.

    “Where exactly did you find her?” Preston muttered, his voice level.

    Chase stole a glance back at the embracing pair and shuddered. “Her body was floating face down about a half mile off the cliff-face where the lighthouse is. I didn’t know who or what I was seeing at first...we pulled her body onto Logan’s Blastoise and checked for signs of life. And...well, obviously…” He trailed off.

    Preston ran his fingers through his hair. “Do you think she was murdered? If I’m not mistaken, this was that girl Gabriel had tied up in the lighthouse during the raid…”

    “She must have been. Her neck is bent in a really weird way, it looks like it’s been broken. And there are bruises all over her arms. Honestly, I’m surprised she held together so well...her body, I mean.” Alec and Logan had moved to join them; Alec appeared to have calmed down. His face was pulled into a sort of grimace, but there was no sign of tears.

    “We went to school together,” Alec said, although he was fairly certain he had mentioned this to every person in the group at some point. Logan rubbed his back, Preston gripped his shoulder, and Chase attempted to appear sorry, only somewhat successful.

    After a moment of silence for the deceased girl, Preston looked to his right, toward Olivine.

    “Somebody’s going to have to take her body back to the city. I hate to delay our journey any longer but...it’s really the only decent thing to do.”

    “I’ll go,” Alec said immediately.

    Preston looked sharply at the youth. “No you will not. You need to be kept away from major cities as long as possible. Shake Gabriel off your scent.” Alec frowned at this, but Preston had turned his eyes to Chase. “I think it’s clear who it needs to be.”

    Chase immediately protested. “Why me? Why not…” But the dots had all connected in his head; Logan wouldn’t leave Alec alone, not with her ‘Forever and Always’ policy. “Fine, okay. I’ll take the body. But I won’t like it.”

    Preston nodded, giving Chase an appraising look. “Very good. I think I’d better go with you, though,” he said cautiously, looking at Logan and Alec, wheels turning in the older man’s head. “Yes, I’ll have to. They’ll want a figure of authority to explain the situation.”

    “I’m a legally grown man, you know, I’m turning twenty in May,” Chase said dryly, but Preston ignored him, crossing instead so he stood in front of Alec, who was staring with morbid fascination at Amber’s soggy pale body.

    “Alec,” he said, again taking the young man’s shoulder, “listen to me. The man who brutally murdered this girl is after you. I’m so sorry for your loss...trust me, we’ll take care that she is well taken care of. But, listen to me, are you listening? You have to hide. You and Logan, and that item in your bag...take Logan to the Purpleheart tunnels, and stay in there until we return. Okay? Promise me.”

    Alec still stared silently at the body, but he nodded his head. His normally sea-green eyes had muddied, clouded over so they seemed to be a deep brown, almost black. Preston squeezed his shoulder and turned to Logan, but found she and Chase were talking softly a safe distance away. Preston cleared his throat and Logan jerked, looking guiltily at him.

    “You two had your time to talk at the cape. We need to get moving, and now, while we at least have the cover of dark. This business shouldn’t take half a day. Chase...” He beckoned to the young man, who looked at Logan before crossing to stand with Preston. Logan quietly aligned herself with Alec. “Good. I suppose...yes, I’ll carry the body.” Preston said this quietly and delicately as possible, glancing at Alec, who made a point to stare at the mountains in the distance.

    Preston scooped Amber’s body up in his strong arms, quickly and cleanly, and began walking toward Olivine City, Chase in tow. “We’ll be back by morning,” the older man promised, turning back to look at Alec and Logan. “Logan?” The blonde’s weary gaze met his. “Keep him safe,” he said, and Logan was surprised to hear a slight quaver in his voice, as of fear. This, more than anything, scared her. The tall man turned back, his powerful silhouette loping towards the city, strangely lopsided with Amber in his arms. Chase waved grimly at his friends before following a good ten yards behind.

    If he or Preston had been more observant, they would have noticed the shadowy figure dodging out of sight just as they reached her hiding spot. Natalia watched the two walk by from behind a large stone formation, eyes wide. Gabriel had not told her about Amber Janson’s death. His words echoed through her head: “Deception is an art, only to be used sparingly as a means to an end.” She had been confused at this, so he clarified, “Don’t lie to somebody if you want their undying trust and devotion. Lie, if you must, to get what you want. But also do not be so foolish as to ever truly trust somebody other than yourself. Trust is weak. Lying is cheap. Simple enough for you?”

    This withholding of truth, that he had murdered an innocent girl, was the first time he’d ever deceived her...or was it? Did he not trust her with the truth? He shouldn’t, she thought bitterly. I don’t even trust myself with it.

    …................................................. ....................................

    -2000-

    Natalia glanced at her watch before stealing into the house; she was an hour later than she had intended. Fortunately, her parents seemed to have retired to bed early; there hadn’t been any lights on upstairs, even in the guest room, in which her grandmother had taken permanent residence. She padded across the foyer light as a Skitty, her senses alight as they always were recently; ever since her father had taken ill her paranoia had escalated to extreme heights. She placed her coat on the rack in the small welcome room and entered the main house, the door clicking ever so slightly as she turned the greasy knob.

    She was met at front landing by the family’s Poochyena, Shadow, who yipped twice. “Shh, shh, hi Shadow, hey there,” she said, bending down to pet her, placing her hand on the dog’s muzzle and stroking her grizzled coat of grey-and-black fur, causing the Pokémon to close her yellow eyes and kick her back leg involuntarily, satisfied.

    “Talia?” croaked a male voice. Natalia froze, panic shooting through her entire body. The hall lamp switched on, throwing warm orange light across the sickly face of her father, who had apparently been waiting in the kitchen for her. She stood up, her palms clammy and her heart racing. Shadow pawed at her leg for more attention; Natalia ignored this.

    “Hey, dad. Sorry I’m late, I -” Her words were cut short as he pulled her into a tight embrace.

    “I missed you today. It was a bad one,” he said, and she could hear it in his voice; it was thick with phlegm and disease. She also caught a whiff of something strong on his breath: cough syrup or alcohol, or (as it was likely), both.

    “I missed you, too, Dad,” she said, reaching her thin hands up to take his beefy arms and pull back, looking critically at his sagging face. “You look fine to me,” she lied.

    “Did you get your paycheck today?” he asked, turning the kitchen light on and leading his fifteen-year-old daughter to the kitchen island.

    Natalia paused, hesitant to answer. “No, um, Jacob paid me in cash again,” she said, producing a large wad of money. Her father tried to whistle; his chapped lips couldn’t produce the noise, so he clucked his tongue instead.

    “My little Nat-ta-ta, making all the money! And under the counter, now that’s smart,” he said, touching his nose and crinkling his eyes conspiratorially, “you’ve always been too smart for me, Talia. I suppose that’s why you’re working in a lab and I’m not.” He sighed, placing the money on the counter and counting the bills. Natalia watched his face carefully. “This really is a lot of money, Arceus’ Plates! All this for opening Tympoles up?” His small eyes looked at her.

    “Yeah, Jacob pays good,” she said quietly.

    “Well, I’ll owe him a big old favor when I get my strength back,” her father said, his mouth cracking into a smile, his fat cheeks forming the two wonderful dimples that usually filled Natalia with warmth; now they made her feel nothing but misery. “Bad day for you, too?” he asked gently.

    Natalia’s eyes were shiny with tears. “Yeah, just...probably the weather or something. I don’t know,” she said, eyes focused on the patterned floor.

    “I know what you need.” Her father crossed to the cabinet by the sink, producing two mugs. “Some hot cider with cinnamon.” Natalia’s face broke into a grateful smile, and she nodded. Her father always seemed to know how to cheer her up. He pulled some cider from the fridge while Natalia found the cinnamon in the back corner of the spices rack, and the two converged again at the counter.

    “Hey, dad?” she said, her voice shaky.

    “That’s my name,” he said, smiling broadly, his eyes sparkling.

    “I love you,” she said, burying her head in his shoulder. He rubbed her back gently.

    “Hey, hey, let it out,” he said soothingly. Her small body shook, her long ruby-red hair getting caught in her mouth as she cried. “What’s wrong, honey?” he asked, frowning slightly. She looked into his warm brown eyes and swallowed a lump in her throat. She took off her glasses to rub her eyes dry, silent. “Is it a boy? I know you don’t like talking about boy stuff with us,” he said, teasing.

    “It’s nothing,” Natalia said, adding another lie to the growing pile of deceptions she’d used in the past two months. But she didn’t have the heart to tell her father the truth, that she had been caught stealing from Jacob, that she’d been unemployed the past month, that she’d needed to continue stealing for her father’s welfare. She looked him in the eye, the look of genuine concern and affection on his face making her sick.

    He can’t ever know the truth, she thought. She took a sip of her cider.

    …................................................. ....................................

    -2009-

    “Do you really want to go back to the caves?” Alec asked, stumbling slightly on a loose patch of gravel. “I don’t. They’re nice to look at and all, but they’re so stuffy.”

    Logan sighed but did not answer. She looked at him for a long time, studying his face as they continued climbing uphill. “How are you dealing? With...Amber, it is?” Alec nodded. “Amber’s death. When Tracey died...I was an absolute MESS.”

    Alec’s ears perked up at this; Logan had seemed uncomfortable discussing the subject of Tracey earlier. He supposed the death of his old friend had opened a new window of opportunity as far as dead people were concerned. “How did you deal with the pain?” he asked.

    Logan shook her head. “I honestly don’t remember much from those months. Something snapped, I think, for a long time. Chase hasn’t really been helpful at filling in the blanks,” she said, shrugging. “Talk to me, Alec. I care about you, I want you to feel like you can trust me.”

    Alec tugged at his jacket sleeve. “I do...trust you,” he said hesitantly. “I just...don’t want to think about it, I guess? Death is weird for me. It’s like, she’s dead. We were friends, once, and then we weren’t. And I mean...I don’t know. Tell me a story.” Logan looked quizzically at him. “Not a sad one. A fun story,” he added, and Logan suddenly marvelled at his understanding that dwelling on grief does nothing more than dig a grave of depression deeper and deeper, until the outside world becomes unreachable.

    “Okay...okay, well. Hm. Well,” she said, smiling a little, “I’ll tell you one about Tracey. Chase is in it, too! See, we travelled through Kanto mostly, before the war. Chase had just begun his first real attempt at growing a beard.” She laughed. “He was dating a girl named Kira at the time and she hated the ‘beard’. She also didn’t like travelling, so Chase would have to return to Celadon City once every week, as well as nightly video dates on his Poké Gear. Kira got on Tracey’s nerves. So, one night, as a prank, Tracey made sure Chase was distracted...he asked Chase to cook dinner for once, and Chase…” She shook her head, beaming now. “Chase could not cook. Arceus’ Plates he was awful. Anyway, so while Chase was doing that, Tracey and I stole his Poké Gear and brought it into our tent. Kira called; it rang three times before Tracey decided to pick up. And he said, ‘Oh, Chase is busy. He’s shaving his beard because he knows you hate it.’” Logan’s smile was infectious, her eyes alive with excitement. “Well, Chase heard our voices and came in, fuming that we stole the Gear from him. And Kira saw he still had that stupid patch of hairs and began yelling, and they both began screaming about the most...mundane things. Chase was red in the face,” she said, giggling.

    Alec smiled. “And?”

    “And?” Logan looked nonplussed. “Well...and it was really funny!”

    Alec laughed charitably, although Logan could tell he had not actually found the story amusing. The two had reached Purpleheart’s entrance, still hidden by brush and the added dark shadows of night.

    “Here we are,” Alec said, pulling a branch aside to reveal the entrance. His eyes shot to the right suddenly. “Did you hear that?”

    “What?” Logan asked, looking around. Alec continued staring at a spot beyond sight. “Come on, Alec, let’s go! Preston said -”

    “I know. Alright, let’s go.” Alec’s Poké Gear rang. They both stared at his bag for a long moment, allowing it to ring. Alec pulled the phone out, frowning. “It’s...it’s not a video call.” He put the device to his ear, eyes narrowed. “Hello?”

    “Who is it?” Logan asked immediately. Alec waved her off, plugging his left ear and listening.

    “I miss you, too,” he said loudly, turning and walking a few steps away from the entrance. “It’s my mom,” he whispered to Logan. “Go on in and set up your stuff. The fire should still be functional.” Logan looked concerned, but Alec took another few steps away. “Yeah, yeah, I’m fine,” he said, looking at Logan and gesturing impatiently for her to go inside.

    “Five minutes,” Logan said, and she didn’t move until Alec nodded begrudgingly. Appeased, the blonde girl climbed inside, her own Poké Gear outstretched, its flashlight application switched on. Alec watched her enter the tunnel completely before sprinting away from the entrance, out of hearing range.

    “What do YOU want?” he asked.

    “I hear you discovered your friend (Amber, was it?) washed up on the beach, dead.” Gabriel’s musical voice floated from the Poké Gear. “I want you to know, that was not me. As we continue to negotiate -”

    “I’m not ever negotiating with you,” Alec said firmly.

    “...the ownership of the Rainbow Wing,” Gabriel continued, unperturbed, “I want you to feel you can trust I won’t kill anyone.” The special care he took to say ‘kill’ made Alec uneasy.

    “Who told you about Amber?” Alec asked.

    There was an amused sigh on the other end. “Alec, you ask all the wrong questions. Why not ask, ‘what next?’ ‘What do you want from me?’ ‘What’s your master plan?’” The man’s voice laughed, and what was unsettling was how normal it sounded; he didn’t sound unhinged or crazy in the least. Alec heard another noise come from the same area as earlier.

    “You sent someone to get me,” Alec said, peering around carefully.

    “No, Alec, I did not. I don’t even know where you are right now,” Gabriel said innocently. He sounded honest...Alec paused. There was definitely a crunching sound coming from his right.

    “I don’t know what you wan -” Alec’s question was cut short by a streak of purple as a Crobat shot by him, grabbing his Poké Gear, swooping around in a circle and returning to its red-haired owner. Natalia stood, eyes focused on Alec, a look of complete empathy on her face, hands held up, empty.

    …................................................. ....................................

    -2002-

    Natalia’s father was dying; that much had been clear to her since the beginning of the year. It did not come as any less of a shock when it was announced he had twelve hours to live at the hospital. The seventeen-year-old girl was led into his ward at the Blackthorn Hospital by his nurse, her stepmother at her side. Claudia was Hector Solos’ third and final wife, a woman with curly orange hair and too much make-up. Natalia had never liked her much, and the lack of support the woman provided for her father had sealed the deal; she had made the decision upon the announcement of his imminent death. Natalia was going to run away.

    “Nat-ta-ta, is that you?” His voice was almost a whisper. His skin was yellowed, his eyes unfocused.

    “It’s me, dad, and Claudia’s here too,” Natalia said. She hung back; she did not enjoy seeing her father in this state. Her stepmother rushed to his side, reaching out and grabbing at his now-thin hands. Hector had lost upward of eighty pounds in the past year, another side-effect of his illness. His skin hung in great folds around the neck and arms.

    “How are you, boo?” Claudia hugged his head to her chest.

    “I’ve been fatter,” he replied, his eyes locked on his daughter, a hint of the old sparkle in his small black eyes. He shook his wife’s clawing hands off his and reached out for his daughter. “C’mere, Talia, don’t hang in the shadows like that.”

    Natalia took a hesitant step forward. “Did you get my card?” she asked quietly, taking her glasses off and wiping her eyes. Her father nodded, smiling weakly and indicating his powder-blue pillow.

    “Wouldn’t be able to sleep without it,” he chuckled, the chuckle erupting into a round of coughs, his chest heaving and his head shooting off the pillow. He clutched at the surgically white blankets and writhed in pain.

    Claudia shot an angry look at Natalia and looked back at her husband. “Take it easy, now, honey,” she said, but he shook his head.

    “Claudia, leave me with Natalia, please.” Both women’s ears perked at this; it was the first time he had used Natalia’s proper name in a very long time. Claudia stood stiffly, reaching out and stroking his balding head before walking out of the room, throwing a look over her shoulder at Natalia. “Come closer, dear,” he said, his voice a whisper.

    Natalia came to his side, bending down so that their eyes were level. “So...you read everything in there?” she asked hesitantly.

    Her father nodded. “That was very brave of you to tell me, Talia. And I have to say, I have never been prouder of you.” His chapped lips split into a genuine smile.

    “You aren’t angry at me? I stole from a lot of people, dad, isn’t that bad?”

    The fading man shook his dead, eyes staring at the ceiling. “Way I see it, Laurie, there’s too much bad in the world to live a purely good life.” Natalia quietly ignored the fact that he had called her by his first wife’s name and grabbed his right hand, just the gentlest of touches. “It was noble of you to do that for me, focus on the good in your actions, Ana.” The name of his second wife.

    “I’m just worried, dad, I’m so worried, I’ve been stealing all this for you, it’s become a habit, what if it doesn’t stop? What if -” she stopped to swallow, choking back tears, “...what if, this is just step one? When you’re gone…” She steeled herself. “When you’re gone, what if I keep stealing, get worse?”

    Hector Solos coughed again. A dribble of saliva was caught under his lower lip and dripping down his chin; Natalia reached for a tissue, dabbing at it gently, wondering if he was still hearing her.

    “Talia, I know you.” This was nothing more than the barest of breaths, his lips hardly moving. He reached and held her face in his hand; she closed her eyes, burying her face in his shrunken grip. His next words were very clear. “You’re a good person.”

    “Am I?” she asked quietly.

    He had fallen asleep; he would never wake up to answer that question.

    …................................................. ....................................

    -2009-

    The Olivine police station was still experiencing a rather high amount of cleanup activity, dealing with the aftermath of the Team Skye siege a few days beforehands. When J.T. Preston, the city’s former gym leader, walked in the front entrance with a wet, pale corpse and a white-haired youth in tow, there was a general outcry by the officers on duty, as well as from the people milling about the damages counter.

    A report was filed and Amber’s body was rushed to the coroner immediately. After making certain the homicide had not, in fact, been committed by Preston or Chase, Officer Reinhart informed them Amber’s death was officially the police’s business, and that the two were free to go.

    “Do you really think it could’ve been anyone other than Gabriel, Reinhart?” Preston asked.

    The officer shook his head. “It’s hard to say. Official record is that the girl was held captive in the lighthouse, and that when the building was investigated after Team Skye’s attack, Gabriel and the girl were missing. Jasmine was unconscious, tied up and bruised. She has no recollection of anything occurring after a certain point in time, at which point Gabriel and Amber were both still present.” Reinhart sighed, stroking his dark goatee and adjusting his cap, looking at the two men apologetically and shrugging. “We’ll let you know if we find anything out.”

    And so Chase and Preston began the trek back to the Olivine mountains, Preston insisting they keep a brisk pace.

    “It’s such a shame, about Amber. That poor girl,” Preston said, shaking his head, keeping his gray eyes focused on the dark cliffs in the distance.

    Chase nodded, burying his hands in his pockets. “I feel bad for Alec,” he said. Preston raised his eyebrows. “What?” Chase asked.

    “I think that’s the biggest show of compassion I’ve heard from you so far, Chase.”

    Chase looked at his feet. “Yeah, well.”

    The two made good time to the base of the rocky slopes, mostly in silence. Preston kept glancing at Chase, who seemed determined to avoid the older man’s gaze.

    “Chase, do you mind if I say something?”

    Chase shrugged. “I can’t stop you.” He kept walking, his muddy white trainers pounding on the crumbling rocks with unnecessary force.

    “Why the act? You insist on keeping this facade of anger and irritation and heard-headedness towards everyone. What are you guarding?” Chase didn’t answer. “Nobody human is as hard as you’re being toward Alec, and frankly you haven’t been too kind to me, either.”

    Chase stopped walking. Preston followed suit, studying the younger man’s blank face. “Is it Logan? You two seemed to have a lot to talk about when you left for the cape,” he said, again waiting for any response from the trainer.

    The mention of Logan’s name seemed to trigger something; Chase’s jaw clenched, cheekbones drawn and nostrils flaring. “I don’t have to tell you anything,” he said.

    “No, you don’t,” Preston said simply.

    “Okay, it’s just, Logan. Logan,” the young man said, her name carrying ten emotions at once. “We’ve been travelling together for almost five years now. And I’ve been there for her through everything. We watched the entire war, we survived it together. We’ve been to Kanto, Hoenn, Unova, and now Johto. We’ve dated, we’ve...you know...kissed, more than kissed, SUPER kissed,” he said, adding a gesture for emphasis, eliciting a chuckle from Preston, “and after all that, it always comes back to Tracey. She loved him, in a way I don’t think she’ll ever love me. And he died, and, well, that was very sad, but some small part of me, some evil part of me thought, “Well, now he’s out of the picture.” And everything should’ve been great. But then she started pining for him. And then we found you guys,” he said, pointing to Preston, “and now, oh of course, now it’s all about Alec. ‘Let’s protect Alec, what does Alec think, are you okay with this, Alec?’ And, well…” he trailed off, looking guilty, but setting his face and saying it, “When do I get my turn?”

    Preston’s face had softened during the story, and Chase avoided eye contact, afraid to see pity etched into the man’s lined face. But when he looked up finally, all he saw was a face full of understanding. “Chase, when was the last time you hugged someone?”

    This was not the response Chase had expected at all. “Um...I don’t know? What?”

    “I figured as much.” Preston reached out, taking Chase’s shoulder with his broad hand, and much to Chase’s astonishment, pulled him into a hug. Chase did not reciprocate, too surprised at this uncalled-for embrace.

    “Chase,” the older man said gruffly, “I know how you feel.” He stepped back, smiling, his eyes flickering with warmth. “You know, they say that to be happy, the average person needs to have real human contact a minimum of five times a day. It lets you know that you’re not alone.” This struck Chase as very deep and very unnecessary. “You are a young boy -”

    “Man,” Chase corrected immediately.

    “...sorry, man, a young man in love. And that can be quite difficult.” Preston’s eyes crinkled. “Because girls can be real *****es sometimes.”

    …................................................. ....................................

    Natalia had not done a thing to Alec this time; no guns, no threats of attack. She merely stood, her hands up, Crobat hovering next to her, and requested that Alec follow her a safe distance from the Purpleheart Tunnels. Alec obliged, more curious than anything. Something seemed to have changed about her, almost imperceptibly; she seemed stronger, more in control of her actions. She was also no longer wearing a Team Skye jumpsuit; this had been discarded in favor of a very pretty, if plain, white sun dress, which seemed out of place in the autumn air, but as Alec reasoned, I’m not a girl, what do I know?

    The young woman stopped near a small lake embedded in the rocky slopes, a pool collected from rainwater and high tide that seemed to siphon into the sea eventually. A lone Remoraid swam circles in the pool, its pale blue scales shimmering, oblivious to the humans standing a few yards away. Moonlight refracted off the water in a very pretty way, causing Alec the smallest of half smiles before he looked back at Natalia; her cocoa-brown eyes staring at him steadily. She really was very pretty, although he knew her face was a constructed mask of make-up; he remembered what he had seen underneath.

    “How’s your head?” he asked, suddenly remembering the brutal pummeling his now-Pupitar had given her. She reached up, touching her flaming ruby hair and patting the scalp area.

    “Gabriel healed it up,” she said.

    Alec froze at mention of his name. “Your wonderful leader killed my only friend from school. Is killing kids a thing for you guys? Just some casual pastime?”

    Natalia shook her head very fast at this. “No, Alec, and it’s very important you know this; he did NOT kill Amber. He left her to join the fight in the city.”

    Alec cocked his head, confused. “Well then how did she…?”

    “I think she killed herself, Alec. Jumped from the lighthouse, or something. Just speculation.” Natalia seemed quite sure of her answer, so Alec allowed this to pass, figuring he would come back to it later.

    “Gabriel said he hadn’t sent anyone to find me.” His hand went to his belt, gently tracing his Machop’s Poké Ball.

    “Well, no, he didn’t. He was telling the truth, Alec.” It still felt odd to the young man to hear his name from her lips; villains don’t say your name so kindly, he thought. “I came on my own. I’ve been trying to talk to you for some time, Alec, because I need to warn you. This is me talking; Gabriel does not want me personally interacting with you, he calls me ‘too sympathetic’. Ever since I failed to get the Rainbow Wing from you at the gym, he’s been hesitant to trust me with anything. He made me swear not to meddle, actually.”

    Alec narrowed his eyes. “Why?”

    Natalia shook her head. “I don’t know. But Alec, I have limited time. He thinks I’m stealing fresh supplies from Ecruteak; he’ll get suspicious if I’m gone more than a certain number of hours.”

    Alec still was not sure if he trusted this woman. But she didn’t seem to be armed…

    “Prove you don’t have any weapons,” he said, his grip on the Poké Ball tightening. Maybe he would just sic Machop on her anyway. Natalia spun, showing there were no concealed pockets on her sun dress, keeping her hands up. “Okay. What do you need to tell me?”

    “Alec, it’s something you need to tell me. Is there anybody in the world that you would put your absolute faith in, hands down?”

    Alec’s answered immediately, without hesitation: “Myself.”

    Natalia nodded, choosing to look at the small lake other than at the young man. The stars blinked gently in the ripples caused by Remoraid, burning intensely in the velvet black sky. The moon was partially covered by some clouds; in its weak light, Natalia could see herself reflected dimly in the pool. She looked away; she hated her reflection.

    “That’s not enough, Alec. Gabriel’s influence is wrapped around the entire region. People fear him, and fear is what drives every single human motivation. Nobody is a hero, when given the chance; we all have a little coward in us. There’s too much bad in the world to live a purely good life,” she said, her hand twitching involuntarily. “Only a true friend and ally will fight to defend you. And you will need someone to fight with you, Alec, when the time comes.” A ripple of fear crossed her own face, although of what Alec could not be sure.

    He took her words to heart. Do I know anyone I could trust completely? His mind jumped to his travelling companions; immediately it was swarmed with images of Chase’s snappy attitude and bitter glances when it came to Alec. Chase was strong-willed but selfish. If presented with the chance, Alec didn’t think Chase would fight the better opportunity. Preston certainly seemed concerned for Alec’s well-being, but what had Alec done for the old man? He had felt perfectly fine leaving Alec to go back to the city; there was no doubt to the boy that Preston had higher concerns than a fourteen-year-old. Logan...her beautiful blonde hair swam through his mind, so like Juliet’s...she seemed genuinely invested in his well-being, staying with him when the others didn’t. She was frail, yes, but…

    “Yes. There is one.”

    Natalia nodded, her eyes darting around nervously, her light skin looking especially peaky in the moonlight.

    “Good. As you continue to Mahogany Town, or wherever you’re going, stick close to this person. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, of course, that would be unwise, but...also remember to keep your chosen ally in the know. Gabriel can be very persuasive. He has a strong following in Ecruteak, especially in the local areas. Don’t trust anyone you don’t have to.” Her Crobat beat its violet wings, clicking and narrowing its bloodshot yellowed eyes.

    “How can I trust you, then? That you’re not going to sell me out? You were totally all about Gabriel the first time we met.” Natalia’s eyes filled with tears. She said nothing, only extending her left arm up and wiping her face with the back of her hand. The careful make-up was wiped away, revealing the ugly, charred mess of glowing flesh coating one side of her skull. Alec fought every impulse not to cringe, but his disgust was evident all the same.

    “Gabriel is an angry person. Once, early in our time together, I failed to carry out his orders word for word. He shouted and screamed for what felt like forever, and then...it was dark out, and we were at a large camp with a fire. He…” She choked back a sob; Alec saw her face twist in anger, frustration, revulsion. She looked miserable, as if she hated herself for saying this to the boy. “He shoved my face into the fire. You don’t want to trust me? I understand. But if you think, for a second, that I enjoy working for him…”

    A shout rang across the rocky landscape. “Alec?” Preston’s voice rang clear, a half-octave higher than normal; it seemed he was very worried. Manaphy’s glowing body could be seen from a half-mile away. Apparently Preston and Chase had returned from their journey into the city. Natalia’s eyes widened and Crobat’s wings flared.

    “Remember what I said. Trust no one,” she said. She was gone before Alec could speak a word.

    “Logan, he’s over here!” A female voice, shrill and concerned, shrieked Alec’s name in response. Crashing and spouts of fire could be seen near Manaphy; it seemed Houndoom had helped in the search for the missing boy. Alec looked at the spot Natalia had last stood, hugged himself against the chill of the night, and stepped onto a high rock by the lake. He shouted out for Logan, waving his arms.

    After a stern telling off by Preston, which Alec had expected, Logan suggested the group finally enter the tunnels as one unit, which Chase rolled his eyes at. The four set off, Alec making sure to stand close to Logan, reflecting on Natalia’s words. Her soft hand reached out, grabbing his and squeezing as they walked. She smiled at him, a smile he partially reciprocated, his eyes glancing at Chase, who was staring determinedly forward. Alec smiled fully at Logan; he was certain he had chosen right.

    …................................................. ....................................

    Crobat landed on a ledge high above the entrance to Purpleheart Tunnel, clear out of sight and sound to any in Alec’s party. Natalia crawled to the nearest tree, her chest still heaving from the emotion of her meeting with Alec, eyes darting around wildly, before she let out a high, specific whistle. A rope ladder was let down silently and immediately, and a man with reedy crimson hair descended from the treetops.

    “Natalia,” Gabriel said, his voice almost a purr. “I hope the meeting went well.”

    The young woman ignored this, producing a mirror and looking into it, angling her face so that the luminous burns were in focus. She began the careful and tedious task of concealing this great scar to the outside world. Gabriel waited a full minute before growing impatient and slapping the mirror from her hand, causing her to grab his wrist, hissing. She immediately regretted this impulse. Gabriel shook free, very still for a long moment.

    “I take it he believed you, then, that you were there on your own free will?” he said, choosing to ignore this outburst of aggression. Natalia looked at her hand in horror, not sure where her sudden surge of anger came from.

    “Yes, he did,” she answered softly.

    “And the bit about the scars? I liked that bit, myself,” he said, smirking slightly. Natalia merely nodded. “So you have his trust?”

    “As much as he’ll trust anyone. He certainly seems like he will be opening up to his friends a little more after my warning. He looked frightened. I think he really does fear you, Gabriel.” We all do, you bastard, she thought silently.

    “Then we can soon target the three he’s travelling with. I need you to do some sleuthing for me, Natalia. None of the other members of our team can know; they all think I’m punishing you. Find what each of that group has lost, and then the game gets really fun,” he said. His face was aglow with excitement at this prospect. “You’ve done well, Natalia.” He took her face in his hand, stroking the burned area; she flinched. “We really ought to get those burns fixed, they don’t do you any favors,” he said critically.

    “Am I allowed in the shelter tonight?” Natalia asked despondently.

    Gabriel shook his head. “That would let the team know I had already chosen to forgive you, Natalia. What kind of respectable leader does THAT so easily?” He shook his head, smiling at her naivete. “I’m sure you’ll find somewhere to make camp,” he said, gripping the rope ladder. He chuckled. “That poor kid. Alec Gideon really thought you were helping him. I wish I could’ve seen his face.” And with that, he disappeared to the night.

    You’re a good person, she heard her father say, his words ringing through her head. She stared in the direction of Purpleheart Tunnels for a long time before pulling out her mirror and make-up, rebuilding her broken face.

    But who will rebuild me?
    Last edited by Bulba the Great!; 26th November 2013 at 5:54 PM.
    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.

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  25. #50
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    I'm a bit confused by your first scene--what year is that heartbreaking scene supposed to take place in? And which of all these years is considered the present? Jumping around between all those times made it a bit hard to follow the action.

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