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Thread: Requiem (PG-13)

  1. #126
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    Sorry I have not updated in so long. But we're moved and finally completely settled, so from now on you'll be able to read the story at my usual pace of about one chapter every week and a half. As always, reviews are welcome for those of you who have time to do it, and thanks to all of you for reading!




    Chapter 15


    Dorian was wondering what it would be like to pull his brain out through his forehead.

    What brought the thought to the surface of his mind was his attempt to quell the vicious headache he had by pushing his fingers as hard as he could against his forehead. As the pressure against his skull increased, the queer thought of pulling his brain out occurred to him. If he could somehow phase his fingers through his skull and pull it out, what would his brain look like? Moist? Dry? Would each section be labeled? Would he see Ethan, Shelton, Ronnie? If he was able to examine his brain would he be able to figure out what he was supposed to do?

    “What are you doing?” Shelton’s voice rang.

    His concentration broken, he uttered, “Just thinking.”

    “Okay, well, just don’t push too hard unless you want to lobotomize yourself.”

    “Thanks for the tip,” Dorian said, looking her up and down.

    Shelton had her traveling pack slung over one shoulder, her blond hair pulled in a loose braid over the other. A form fitting, knee length blue sundress clung to her body as she floated down the stairs. Golduck lazily clambered down behind her, the shade of his plumage matching her clothing almost exactly.

    “Really?” Dorian asked.

    “What?”

    “That’s what you’re wearing?”

    “What’s wrong with it?” Shelton questioned.

    “Nothing really, it’s just that we’re traveling to Orre on an international manhunt to find and citizenly arrest the man who killed our uncle, and you look like you’re on your way to a party.”

    “Citizenly?” Shelton laughed.

    “It’s a word!”

    “Oh Christ I know it’s a word, but Dorian it’s not like we’re going to run into him at the airport. Hell, he may not even be on the same continent. I look nice and I feel comfortable, so get over it.”

    “All I’m saying is that it might compromise your attack readiness.”

    “Oh really?”

    “Yup.”

    As quick as he could, Dorian snagged a magazine from the cocktail table and hurled it at her. The magazine blossomed open like a flower as it sailed through the air, obscuring him from her vision. Dorian sprang forward and closed the distance between them with speed that surprised him, his fist drawn back and clenched. Unfortunately, he wasn’t nearly fast enough. Before he realized what had happened he was on the floor with both knees and each shoulder throbbing painfully.

    Shelton had barely moved from her original position, but was now holding two asps in front of her face in the shape of a cross. Almost three feet long when extended and made from segmented steel, her two weapons were formidable enough in unskilled hands, but much more so considering that she held two degrees in combat with them. With a snort Shelton pressed two small buttons on each of the batons, collapsing them back into themselves. She lifted the bottom of her dress and returned them to each of the thigh holsters she was wearing. She cocked her head sideways, a small grin etched on her face.

    “I tripped,” Dorian explained.

    “I saw that.”

    “Shut up.”

    “Anyway, have you figured out what you’re going to do with that Spoink you caught?”

    “I was going to ask what you thought,” Dorian said as he picked himself up off the floor.

    “Well, you need to figure it out before we leave. Obviously most Pokemon are going to be unruly after they’ve been caught, but that Spoink pretty much tried to kill you. You’re either taking it with you or releasing it. You need to decide.”

    “I know. On one hand I’m not really in the mood to try and train it, but at the same time it’s pretty strong. It lifted me up and tossed me like it was nothing. I wouldn’t mind having something like that on my team, but I’m not sure that it won’t try and maim me once I let it out again.”

    “How about this,” Shelton started. “We’ll release everyone then call the Spoink out and figure out whether it wants to be trained or not.”

    “That’s inspired,” Dorian responded. “We could surround it and make sure it doesn’t try and throw me to Hoenn.”

    “We have about six hours before we need to check in at Cerulean International, so how about we just do it now?”

    “Alright, you get the rest of the gang and I’ll meet you outside.”

    “Okay.”

    Dorian pulled himself up from the sofa with a groan, not looking forward to the thought of being tossed around like a ragdoll again. Bright sunlight blinded him as he opened the door. With a yelp and a flash he pulled on his sunglasses. Bright, so bright. The sun had no mercy at all. Did the celestial ball of molten plasma not realize he was still nursing a hangover? The grass on the front yard was baked yellow and brown, a cruel reminder that summer was still hanging on even though it was halfway through October. The porch behind him lit up brightly as he and Shelton’s Pokemon we’re released, adding to the awfulness of the brightness situation. Shuppet floated, Growlithe sprinted, and Machoke carefully walked down the stairs alongside Nuzleaf and Vibrava. After they were assembled in the front yard, Dorian called for attention.

    “As all of you know we’re leaving for Orre today and I’m trying to decide on whether to take the Spoink I caught with me. You guys are going to surround it and I’m going to release it. You have my permission to beat the shit out of it if it attempts to attack any of us,” Dorian explained.

    They nodded the best they could in agreement. Taking a breath and uttering a silent prayer, Dorian withdrew the Spoink’s pokeball and released the psychic Pokemon into the newly formed circle of guards. The Pokemon materialized in a flash of white light, particles of energy dancing off the bodies of the Pokemon circling it. Immediately after forming the Spoink started bobbing rapidly up and down, only to stop once it saw the threatening looks all around it.

    “Spoink, oink oink!” the Pokemon shouted angrily.

    “Did you catch that?” Shelton called from the porch.

    “Nope, I’ve actually never heard Spoink before so I’m not sure.

    “Spoink, spo, oink oink, Spo!” the small creature bellowed louder.

    “Can one of you guys translate?” Dorian called.

    At the sound of his voice the Spoink turned his attention to Dorian and glared. He didn’t believe in transference of emotion on the physical plane, but he could swear that the psychic Pokemon was trying to saw him in half with its eyes. It started to glow when it saw the pokeball clutched in Dorian’s hand but the aura quickly evaporated when it saw the glares of the assembled Pokemon around it.

    “Spo-oink, Spoink, Spoink!”

    “Nuzleaf?” Dorian asked.

    “Nunuz, Nuzleaf nuz, Nuzleaf leaf Nuz,” Nuzleaf explained.

    “I wasn’t fair, I cheated?” Dorian repeated.

    ”Spoink Oink!” the Spoink affirmed.

    “Nuzleaf, leaf!” Nuzleaf said, throwing up his hands.

    “I caught it unfairly?” Dorian questioned.

    “He also said that it was asleep in the bushes. Did you catch that?” Shelton asked.

    “Yeah,” Dorian said.

    He approached the circled group of Pokemon and bent down low to look the Spoink in the eye.

    “Will you let me be your trainer?”

    “Spoink!”

    “Nuzleaf?” Dorian asked.

    “Nuzleaf, nuz,” Nuzleaf repeated.

    “Okay then, what can I do to make you want to come with us?”

    “Spoink, oink oink, spo, Spoink!!” the psychic Pokemon exclaimed.

    “Nuzleaf, nunuz, Nuzleaf Nuz,” Nuzleaf translated.

    “So apparently you have to catch it honorably?” Shelton asked.

    “Apparently.”

    Dorian breathed in. No real harm could come to him with all of the Pokemon around. He had heard stories of prideful Pokemon like this before, one’s that refused to listen unless they were caught after being bested in battle. The Spoink was obviously powerful, and though Dorian had never owned a psychic type, he knew that it would be good against Ethan once they finally confronted him. Dorian was caught between not wanting to bother with it and also wanting to have an extra member on his team. He decided quickly, not wanting the Spoink to think of him as weak for taking his time.

    “Will you listen to me if I beat you fairly?” Dorian asked.

    “Spoink!” the Pokemon exclaimed, bouncing up and down vigorously.

    Dorian needed no translation. Nuzleaf was the obvious choice with his dark type movepool, but Vibrava had the advantage of being able to fly. Growlithe was still too new for Dorian to be able to trust, and even though any of Shelton’s Pokemon would fight for him if he asked, he was more comfortable using his own.

    “All of you back away,” Dorian commanded. “Nuzleaf, you’re up.”

    “Nunuz!” his Pokemon cried excitedly.

    Dorian pressed the button on his Pokeflect and his body glowed blue as the energy from the device expanded. His Pokemon and Shelton’s retreated to the porch to make room as Nuzleaf took up position in front of Dorian. The Spoink started hopping angrily up and down, psyching itself up for what was about to come. Mother Nature decided at that point to blow a quick breeze across the city, amplifying the showdown feel of the moment. Nuzleaf was twitching with anticipation, his hands opening and closing in eagerness. Choosing to take the first move, Dorian shouted, “Bullet seed!”

    Before the words left his lips, Nuzleaf was already sprinting forward, a pale yellow glow emanating from his mouth. He closed the distance between them quickly and released a barrage of glowing pellets from his mouth that flew straight towards the psychic type. The Spoink responded to the attack by bouncing straight up into the air, passing high above Nuzleaf and the attack. Nuzleaf slid to a stop as the Spoink came back down, and cried out as the Pokemon telekinetically grabbed Nuzleaf’s attack out of the air and hurled it back at him. The pellets struck Nuzleaf full in the chest and flipped him backwards towards Dorian. Just as Nuzleaf regained his footing he was sprinting forward again.

    “Faint attack!” Dorian roared.

    Nuzleaf took a high jump forward and landed on his hands only to shove himself to the Spoink’s right just as a hearty purple glow started taking shape around the psychic Pokemon. Nuzleaf vanished in a flash of black light, causing the Spoink’s glow to flicker and its eyes to widen. Nuzleaf reappeared behind the Spoink and ran forward. Whether the psychic type felt his presence come back into the world or just heard Nuzleaf’s feet pounding the ground, Dorian didn’t know, but the Spoink bounced up high again and spun, shooting three globules of purple energy directly at Nuzleaf. Just as the balls of energy closed to within a few feet of Nuzleaf, his body glowed black again and he vanished, immediately appearing in the air beside the Spoink and tackling it to the ground.

    The Pokemon landed heavily on the gravel below sending up small sprays of rock in every direction. With its stubby arms and lack of legs the Spoink was quickly overpowered by Nuzleaf and pinned to the ground.

    “Pound!” Dorian called.

    Nuzleaf’s right fist flashed white and he drove his clenched hand repeatedly into the belly of the Spoink. The psychic Pokemon tried to roll left and then right to escape, but Nuzleaf had the advantage of weight and kept the Pokemon firmly planted beneath him. The Spoink started moaning in pain and frustration as Nuzleaf started slamming his fist into its stomach harder and harder. Suddenly, a sharp purple glow took the shape of a shield between the two Pokemon. Nuzleaf’s punches stopped connecting and he was forced back up into a standing position. The Spoink sprang back upright and started spastically bobbing up and down again. The glowing shield of energy widened itself and flipped Nuzleaf over, and before Dorian could call out, the shield started bouncing him up and down against the gravel.

    “Spoink, Oink!” the psychic Pokemon cackled.

    “You look like a bobble head!” Dorian screamed at the Pokemon, hoping to distract the psychic type and buy Nuzleaf some time.

    The ploy worked as Dorian hoped, and as the Spoink turned towards Dorian to glare, Nuzleaf was able to get his feet underneath him and jump upwards while swinging a heavy wooden fist above his head. The shield that was bouncing him up and down shattered explosively upward, sending glowing shards in all directions; they hit the ground with sharp clinks and evaporated as they rolled.

    “Nuzleaf!” Nuzleaf screamed.

    He took a jump forward and released another bullet seed attack, this one glowing brighter than the last. Despite his best efforts though, the result was the same. The Spoink used the power of its mind to stop the glowing pellets in the air and send them back toward Nuzleaf. Fortunately though Nuzleaf ran forward to meet the attack and dove underneath it, the pellets passing inches above his body.

    “Nuzleaf, line up in front of me!” Dorian called, wanting to test a theory. As Nuzleaf leapt backwards and positioned himself properly, Dorian yelled again. “Do another bullet seed and get ready to dodge it!”

    Nuzleaf followed his orders exactly and began charging the required energy in his mouth. The Spoink stayed rooted to the spot in anticipation. With amber energy trickling from the corners of his mouth, Nuzleaf threw his head back and darted forward. The glittering attack split through the air like a knife and arced straight towards the Spoink. Just like before however, the psychic Pokemon caught the attack and held it above its head. With a bob and a small bounce, the Spoink wrapped the bullet seed in a purple ball of energy and sent it back at Nuzleaf.

    “Dodge it and faint attack!” Dorian yelled.

    Just as the double ball of energy would have reached Nuzleaf, he did a split and missed being struck. Nuzleaf vanished on the spot and reappeared about ten yards to the Spoink’s right. The Pokemon growled at each other and Nuzleaf sprinted forward with his fists clenched. The ball of energy and bullet seed kept traveling after Nuzleaf dodged it, and came straight for Dorian, just like he intended. Taking a step back then forward, Dorian spiked the glowing orb like volleyball, his Pokeflect protecting his body and sending it in the opposite direction with even more velocity. The Spoink cried out in pain as the attack connected and it was sent flipping down the road, smoke trailing from its body.

    Nuzleaf followed the injured Pokemon and drew back a fist as he got close. The psychic type growled softly as he approached, but offered no further resistance when Nuzleaf planted one foot on its chest and called out to Dorian.

    Dorian deactivated his Pokeflect and strode forward. He pulled out the Spoink’s Pokeball as he walked, impressed by his own cleverness. The Spoink squirmed out from beneath Nuzleaf’s foot and stared at Dorian as he approached. The familiar hate was still there but it seemed to Dorian that it lessened slightly. Well maybe not, but at least the Spoink didn’t look like it wanted him drawn and quartered. It would probably be okay with having the skin on one of his fingers flayed off, but Dorian thought he was relatively safe now.

    “So, are you going to let me train you?” Dorian asked.

    “Spo. Spoink,” the Pokemon said, hanging its head low.

    “Nicely done,” Dorian complimented, returning his now battle decided capture.

    “Nunuz, Nuzleaf, nuz,” Nuzleaf complained. Dorian’s grass Pokemon bent over and retched onto the ground. After dry heaving for a few moments his Pokemon stood up erect and wiped a bit of sap away that was oozing from his mouth.

    “You okay?” Dorian asked.

    “Nunuz,” Nuzleaf nodded.

    “You want to go inside your ball for awhile? I’m planning on taking you both by the Pokemon Center before we leave.”

    “Nuzleaf, leaf nunuz.”

    “Alright man, well how about you go to my room and take it easy for a bit.”

    “Nuzleaf,” the grass type agreed, turning back towards the house.

    “Hey,” Dorian called.

    Nuzleaf turned.

    “That was pretty damn impressive, buddy. Thanks.”

    Nuzleaf smiled in return and climbed up the steps to go back inside. He paused long enough to get a couple congratulatory claps on the back from Shelton and their Pokemon, and then swung the door shut behind him as he went inside.

    The wind died down as Dorian gripped Spoink’s pokeball tight. A cloud passed in front of the sun and the ground around him darkened, relieving his body from the burning rays. He had done it on the Spoink’s terms and he had won. Well, Nuzleaf had been the one fighting but that was beside the point. Nuzleaf had looked good while doing it though and he had taken a hell of a beating doing so.

    “Nicely done, buddy,” Dorian whispered to himself with a smile.

    “Believe me,” Shelton started. “I’m not trying to further inflate your already monstrous ego, but that was pretty impressive.”

    “Hah, thanks. I thought that the Spoink would stick to its pattern and it did, it was its own fault.”

    “Regardless, it was pretty smart. You figure out whether it’s a male or female?”

    “No, but I’m hoping that the Pokemon Center will be able to tell me. I’m not exactly an expert on Spoink physiology.”

    “Well anyway, we have to be checked into Cerulean two hours before our flight leaves, which leaves about three hours and some change until we need to be there.”

    “Yeah, we’re pretty much packed and we have all of the Pokemon’s documentation, right?”

    “Everyone’s except for Spoink’s, but they can check the date on the ball you caught it in and know it was a recent capture. Registration is only required after about thirty days anyway.”

    “So we’re pretty much good?” Dorian asked.

    “Pretty much,” Shelton affirmed. “Here, give me Spoink’s pokeball. I’ll take it by the center, I have to run by the mart before we leave anyway.”

    “Alright,” Dorian said, handing the shiny orb over.

    “Anybody want to come with me to the store?” Shelton called.

    Machoke, Shuppet, Vibrava and Growlithe all came forward and followed Shelton as she turned and started off towards town. Dorian climbed the steps to his house, putting extra weight on the creaky step as he ascended. It squealed loudly as he trod on it, reminding him of where he was. Dorian passed the living room and went straight to the kitchen. He opened a beer from the inside and quaffed deeply. The realization of what he was doing shocked him and a squirt of beer came out of his mouth as he swallowed wrong. This was Ronnie’s beer.

    Ronnie had bought this before he died and he was drinking it. Dorian could almost imagine Ronnie at the local mart buying chips and fruit then stopping at the liquor aisle and picking up this six-pack. Looking down, Dorian saw a half eaten pie and a clear takeout box full of steamed vegetables. His sadness suddenly came back in a wave that swallowed him whole. He swayed to the left and grabbed the refrigerator door for balance. His breathing was quick and deep as he struggled to unwind the knot in his gut.

    After a moment it passed and he slammed the door as hard as he could. His right hand tightened so hard around the beer bottle he was surprised it didn’t shatter. The clang as the door hit reverberated through the house like a shout in a cave. Quick footsteps followed the sound as it echoed through the home. The source of the steps became softer as Kecleon rounded the corner, his skin a slightly healthier shade of green than the last time Dorian had seen him.

    “Kecleon? Kec, leon leon?” he asked.

    “Yes, I remember whose house this is,” Dorian retorted.

    “Kecleon Kec!” the Pokemon said, pointing a finger at Dorian.

    “I’m sorry; it has just been getting to me a little more than usual.”

    “Kec, leon Kecleon.”

    “Yeah I’m ready too. Shelton’s finishing up a few things and we’re going to leave in a few hours.”

    Kecleon walked over to Dorian and wrapped both arms around his right thigh, which was as far as he could reach without jumping. The warmth that the Pokemon transferred to him comforted him and relieved him of the burden of his sadness. Reaching down, Dorian broke the embraced and gave one of Kecleon’s scaly hands a squeeze.

    “We’re going to get him, you know that, right?” Dorian asked.

    “Kecleon kec!” he responded, squeezing his hand.

    “Let’s go outside and wait for the princess.”

    Hand in hand they crossed the living room and went back outside. The swing at the far end of the porch called to them and they quickly acquiesced. No words were exchanged as they sat, none were required. They both looked up the road towards the town and passed the time by organizing their thoughts and waiting for Shelton. More than half an hour passed before a spray of golden hair appeared at the far end of the road. Other figures flanked her as she came forward, two flying, and two more walking.

    “Your Spoink is all patched up,” Shelton informed him, tossing the small orb.

    “Thanks,” Dorian said, pocketing the pokeball.

    “I would have been back sooner but the technician there went on and on about how long it’s been since he treated a Spoink. In the end I snatched her pokeball off the counter and just walked away. Oh yeah, the tech said she was a female.”

    “Good to know.”

    “Anyway, I changed some cash for some Orre currency and picked up a few traveler’s checks. The market was out of full restores so I got a few full heals and a refill on our potion containers. We have enough food for them and us to make it to Phenac, but beyond that I can just stop by the bazaar when we need more. You ready?”

    “What? Now?”

    “Yes, now.”

    “But we still have a few hours before our flight. It’ll only take us thirty minutes to get us to Cerulean with that new bypass they put in.”

    “Oh come on Dorian, you know I hate waiting around for something to happen. We have our passports, everyone is fed, the bags are packed, and we’re ready. Let’s just get on with it,” Shelton said.

    “I know, I just, well,” Dorian started.

    “Look I know and I don’t want to leave the house either. But the more we stay here the sadder I get. I can’t be around his stuff right now Dorian. It’s too hard.”
    “I know what you mean,” Dorian affirmed.

    “So I’ll call the cab?”

    “I thought about that actually. I’ll drive us. The airport has long term storage and it’s not like we have anywhere to put the bike when were gone.”

    “Alright,” Shelton nodded. “I’ll get the bags, you corral everyone.”

    “Sounds good,” Dorian said, catching her arm as she passed him. “It’s going to be okay. We’re going to find him, and he’ll answer for what’s he’s done.”

    Shelton inched closer and wrapped both arms around his neck. She leaned forward and pressed her forehead against his. When he looked into her eyes he saw a bright sheen of tears starting to cover them. Dorian pulled her closer and embraced her tightly. He held her there for a moment then cupped her face in his hands.

    “We’re going to be fine,” he assured her.

    “I know,” she replied. “I just miss him.”

    “I do too, and that’s why we’re going. That piece of shit is going to rot in jail for the rest of his life for what we did. And we are the ones who are going to make that happen. All of us.”

    “Sounds good, dummy,” she said with a smile.

    Shelton walked inside and Dorian turned quickly to make sure she didn’t see him breaking down. He believed every word he said, but this task was so far beyond anything he had ever attempted that he felt the creeping shadow of doubt. Dorian shrugged it away as quickly as the thought came to him. He could do this and he would, and regardless of what Shelton wanted, he was going to make sure that that bastard never saw the inside of a courtroom. Dorian knew as soon as this plan was set that he was going to kill Ethan Bernard. He didn’t know when and he didn’t know how he would do it, but he would. Shelton would forgive him eventually, and if they were in a foreign country his odds of evading prosecution were stacked in his favor. Dorian contemplated what it would feel like for several minutes until Shelton came back outside with Nuzleaf, Golduck, and Kecleon in tow.

    They returned the assembled Pokemon to their balls and stowed them in the holsters attached to their waists. After Shelton locked the door behind them they descended the steps and stopped when they got to Ronnie’s motorcycle. Shelton clamped each of the packs to opposite sides of the back of the bike and opened her mouth to say something but instead stopped and stared. Dorian followed her gaze to see the blue sky morphing into an ugly shade of purple and black to the west. Late summer storms were not uncommon in this part of Kanto, and his thought was confirmed when he heard a barely audible rumble of thunder far in the distance.

    “Think you can outrun it?” Shelton asked.

    “Absolutely,” Dorian said with a grin.

    As the words left his lips Dorian swung a leg over the motorcycle and swung the kickstand up. The weight of the bike beneath him felt good. Shelton got on behind him and wrapped both hands around his waist as the engine roared to life. With the sun in their face and the wind behind them, Dorian pulled back on the throttle.


    ************



    Marco watched the wind transform the rain into sheets of grey behind the glass doors of the Pewter City Pokemon Center. Night had fallen and the storm was moaning its pleasure as a violent wind tore across the city. Behind him, various trainers and Pokemon sat with eyes glued to the television as a special weather statement was issued. The Kanto National Weather Service warned the storm passing over Pewter City could contain winds in excess of forty miles per hour and one inch hail.

    Mother Nature has no hold over me,” Marco thought with a smile.

    He knew that the storm posed no danger to him; it was barely worth a moment of his time. His targets were less than a mile away. Probably sleeping at this hour, or else winding down for the night. As soon as the rain let up he would stalk his prey, and as always, he would emerge victorious. Turning on his heel, Marco walked past the anxious teenage trainers to the restrooms on the far side of the establishment. He caught a glimpse of himself as he walked past but paid it no attention. Marco knew what he was. He was a Gengar, a Dusclops. He was shadow and rumor, he was a light breeze that strengthened and faded. His average height and build along with his facial features made him one of the most ordinary people anyone would ever see.

    Marco quietly entered a stall and locked it behind him. He reached down and extracted both pistols that were strapped to the holsters beneath his arms. He depressed the release button for each clip and made sure they were loaded. The projectiles the gun released were made of thin glass, hard enough to withstand the force of the hammer, but fragile enough to burst on contact with a target. The liquid inside shone dark amber as he shook the clips and replaced them back inside the guns. The substance was a refined version of stun spore he had bought from a Unovan merchant which had been derived from a captured Vileplume. When absorbed by the skin it produced a numbing sensation similar to a foot falling asleep, but when inhaled it resulted in a full body paralysis that lasted several hours in humans.

    Satisfied that his equipment was in order, Marco returned the guns to their holsters and zipped his jacket back up. He left the bathroom and the building without a sound. The rain had lessened somewhat, and though lighting still flashed in jagged lines across the sky he knew that the worst had past. His boots squealed softly on the wet grass as he made his way to the house. The targets address had been listed in the local phone directory so finding them had been no ordeal. As the lightning flashed around him he glimpsed the house a few hundred yards away. No lights were on, and the curtains were drawn.

    Marco quickly sprinted forward and flattened himself against the side of the house. He crept slowly to the rear of the home, body bent as low as possible. Marco gracefully lifted himself over the railing of the back porch and crouched down beneath the back door. With his left hand he drew one gun and chambered a round, with his right hand he removed a thin pocketknife from his pocket. He chambered a round and pressed his ear against the door. Though it was hard to discern whether there was any sound inside because of the storm, he correctly assumed that no one was awake. He pressed the knife against the rubber leaf near the handle and pushed inward. The lock clicked quietly and the door swung open a few inches.

    Marco slinked inside and closed the door silently behind him. He could make out the general layout of the place. Living room, open floor plan to the kitchen, stairs to the right, front door to the far left. He eased out of his boots to make sure that their wetness would not make a sound against the wood floor. He crept silently through the living room taking note of a sofa and loveseat. One door was ajar in front of him, and he slid through the darkness of the home into the room. As he crept, his eyes adjusted to the darkness and he quickly found that the room was unoccupied. Shifting his gun to a tighter grip, Marco reversed his course and slowly walked up the stairs. He saw that the second story had five doors. He checked all three bedrooms as well as the two bathrooms but found no one.

    It was possible that the two targets were out or had perhaps gone back to their home in Johto, but one had been left with the bed unmade, and judging from the cleanliness of the rest of the house, it seemed likely that they had been here very recently. Marco knew who the house belonged to. He had known since he had gotten to within a hundred miles of Pewter City. Ronnie Dvakna was the former owner of this home and it had recently been passed to Dorian and Shelton Dvakna. As he thought about the two people he was hunting he shuffled back to the moment when he realized who his employer was. The man who had hired him was obviously Ethan Bernard.

    As he pictured the man in his mind he shifted his weight and felt the uncomfortable bulge of the pokeball in his pocket. Bernard had insisted that his Scyther accompany him, but after passing through Vermillion Marco knew that it would be the height of folly to release a Scyther anywhere near Pewter City. Marco didn’t know why his employer had killed and butchered Ronnie Dvakna, and in all honesty he didn’t care in the slightest. Nor did he care why he wanted the heads of his niece and nephew. A job was a job, and Bernard was obviously well off if he could afford him. Marco holstered his weapon and ascended the stairs again. He slid into the room at the end of the hall that was decorated with martial arts belts and plaques. He booted up the computer on the left side of the room and found to his surprise that it wasn’t password protected.

    He quickly shuffled through the recent internet history and found a link to Cerulean Airport. Intrigued, Marco clicked it and found the flight confirmation for Dorian and Shelton Dvakna. The destination was Phenac City and the plane had apparently left Cerulean International about five hours ago. Bernard had not told him that they would be leaving the country so it was entirely possible that he didn’t know. Though it would be harder to get back into Kanto with the cargo that was expected of him, he knew that it wasn’t beyond his abilities.

    “Orre it is then,” Marco said softly.
    Last edited by Sidewinder; 13th September 2012 at 2:30 AM.

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

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  2. #127
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    Dorian was wondering what it would be like to pull his brain out through his forehead.

    What brought the thought to the surface of his mind was his attempt to quell the vicious headache he had by pushing his fingers as hard as he could against his forehead. As the pressure against his skull increased, the queer thought of pulling his brain out occurred to him. If he could somehow phase his fingers through his skull and pull it out, what would his brain look like? Moist? Dry? Would each section be labeled? Would he see Ethan, Shelton, Ronnie? If he was able to examine his brain would he be able to figure out what he was supposed to do?
    Really like this intro here. It may have been redundant to say “what brought the thought to the surface” and then “the queer thought of pulling his brain out occurred to him,” but it’s just like Dorian to make a joke out of something that’s so important to him, so I like it.

    “I tripped,” Dorian explained.

    “I saw that.”

    “Shut up.”
    LOL! You certainly haven’t lost your touch writing these two, I see.

    The porch behind him lit up brightly as he and Shelton’s Pokemon we’re released, adding to the awfulness of the brightness situation.
    “were” not “we’re”

    “Nope, I’ve actually never heard Spoink before so I’m not sure.
    Forgot a quotation mark at the end.

    He didn’t believe in transference of emotion on the physical plane, but he could swear that the psychic Pokemon was trying to saw him in half with its eyes.
    Lmao. Like this line, good imagery and just generally amusing.

    He had heard stories of prideful Pokemon like this before, one’s that refused to listen unless they were caught after being bested in battle.
    “ones” not “one’s”

    Shelton walked inside and Dorian turned quickly to make sure she didn’t see him breaking down. He believed every word he said, but this task was so far beyond anything he had ever attempted that he felt the creeping shadow of doubt. Dorian shrugged it away as quickly as the thought came to him. He could do this and he would, and regardless of what Shelton wanted, he was going to make sure that that bastard never saw the inside of a courtroom. Dorian knew as soon as this plan was set that he was going to kill Ethan Bernard. He didn’t know when and he didn’t know how he would do it, but he would. Shelton would forgive him eventually, and if they were in a foreign country his odds of evading prosecution were stacked in his favor. Dorian contemplated what it would feel like for several minutes until Shelton came back outside with Nuzleaf, Golduck, and Kecleon in tow.
    You did a good job with this entire section really, with Nuzleaf’s battle against Spoink and with Dorian trying to reassure Shelton about everything. The battle strategy was fun to read and I always enjoy emotional scenes, so I definitely enjoyed that one. I also like Dorian’s resolve about killing Ethan, and how he’s keeping it a secret for everyone else’s sake. I’ll be interested in seeing if he actually follows through with it or not.

    The rain had lessened somewhat, and though lighting still flashed in jagged lines across the sky he knew that the worst had past.
    “lightning” not “lighting”

    He booted up the computer on the left side of the room and found to his surprise that it wasn’t password protected.
    That was probably pretty dumb of them to leave that. Anyway, Marco seems like a rather mysterious person (seems like that’s what you were aiming for), and I’ll be interested in seeing how his character develops since we know next to nothing about him so far. Looks like Dorian and Shelton are going to have quite the adventure ahead of them.

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


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


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


  3. #128
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewinder View Post
    Dorian was wondering what it would be like to pull his brain out through his forehead.
    Very nice and fun starting line.

    “Nothing really, it’s just that we’re traveling to Orre on an international manhunt to find and citizenly arrest the man who killed our uncle, and you look like you’re on your way to a party.”

    “Citizenly?” Shelton laughed.

    “It’s a word!”
    This strikes me as something I would write. Almost exactly. It's pointless, but it's silly and adds more flavor to Shelton and Dorian. I enjoyed the exchange.

    As quick as he could, Dorian snagged a magazine from the cocktail table and hurled it at her. The magazine blossomed open like a flower as it sailed through the air, obscuring him from her vision.
    Nice! Very visually described.


    Shelton had barely moved from her original position, but was now holding two asps in front of her face in the shape of a cross. Almost three feet long when extended and made from segmented steel, her two weapons were formidable enough in unskilled hands, but much more so considering that she held two degrees in combat with them.
    Kinda silly here, but you might want to call them batons or something because when I read this, I immediately thought she was suddenly carrying around two snakes.

    Did the celestial ball of molten plasma not realize he was still nursing a hangover?
    That description of the sun seems a bit too flowery for Dorian, who strikes me as a bit more of a blunt fellow.

    “Spoink, oink oink, spo, Spoink!!” the psychic Pokemon exclaimed.

    “Nuzleaf, nunuz, Nuzleaf Nuz,” Nuzleaf translated.

    “So apparently you have to catch it honorably?” Shelton asked.

    “Apparently.”
    This may have been something that was described a while ago that I just forgot, but I'm going to ask now since it was kind of relevant here: How does one, in this story's universe, learn poke-talk? Each pokemon is apparently different, but how does one learn the speech. Do they have to attend 649 different classes? Is it an intuitive thing? It seems like they understand complete phrases and not just, say, the "idea" behind what they are saying. So it is complete, thorough translation, but not all pokemon have the same "language". I'm just piqued on curiousity.

    Also: irrelevant info time--I have newfound love of Spoink/Grumpig because I just used one in my first ever successful Nuzlocke. It was a beast for me.

    Nuzleaf took a high jump forward and landed on his hands only to shove himself to the Spoink’s right just as a hearty purple glow started taking shape around the psychic Pokemon.
    Something about this sentence was a bit awkward and hard-to-ascertain. I had to read it a few times to get it. Not sure what I'd fix, but I had to read it a few times to digest it properly.

    Just as the double ball of energy would have reached Nuzleaf, he did a split and missed being struck. Nuzleaf vanished on the spot and reappeared about ten yards to the Spoink’s right. The Pokemon growled at each other and Nuzleaf sprinted forward with his fists clenched. The ball of energy and bullet seed kept traveling after Nuzleaf dodged it, and came straight for Dorian, just like he intended. Taking a step back then forward, Dorian spiked the glowing orb like volleyball, his Pokeflect protecting his body and sending it in the opposite direction with even more velocity. The Spoink cried out in pain as the attack connected and it was sent flipping down the road, smoke trailing from its body.
    What a beautiful idea. Very nice. Also, can I AGAIN reiterate how much I love the Pokeflect? I want a spin-off story about the origins of the pokeflect!

    “I know, I just, well,” Dorian started.
    I think, and this is just preference I suppose, that the comma after just should be an ellipses instead. That more successfully details hesitation than a comma.

    Shelton inched closer and wrapped both arms around his neck. She leaned forward and pressed her forehead against his. When he looked into her eyes he saw a bright sheen of tears starting to cover them. Dorian pulled her closer and embraced her tightly. He held her there for a moment then cupped her face in his hands.

    “We’re going to be fine,” he assured her.

    “I know,” she replied. “I just miss him.”

    “I do too, and that’s why we’re going. That piece of shit is going to rot in jail for the rest of his life for what we did. And we are the ones who are going to make that happen. All of us.”

    “Sounds good, dummy,” she said with a smile.
    There haven't been many "intimate" scenes between Dorian and Shelton, so I sometimes forget they are a couple. This one was a nice breath of fresh air to see the heart of their relationship.

    Shelton walked inside and Dorian turned quickly to make sure she didn’t see him breaking down.
    Should be "HIS breaking down". It's a weird, obscure rule. But "breaking" is the noun in that sentence (it's a gerund), so the "his" is an adjective to describe whose breaking down it is.

    He believed every word he said, but this task was so far beyond anything he had ever attempted that he felt the creeping shadow of doubt. Dorian shrugged it away as quickly as the thought came to him. He could do this and he would, and regardless of what Shelton wanted, he was going to make sure that that bastard never saw the inside of a courtroom. Dorian knew as soon as this plan was set that he was going to kill Ethan Bernard. He didn’t know when and he didn’t know how he would do it, but he would. Shelton would forgive him eventually, and if they were in a foreign country his odds of evading prosecution were stacked in his favor. Dorian contemplated what it would feel like for several minutes until Shelton came back outside with Nuzleaf, Golduck, and Kecleon in tow.
    OHHHHhhhh.... the plot thickens. Nice flawed character, this Dorian. Something fun about protagonists that wrestle with morality in the face of something that is obscuring their ability to see right from wrong; I dig that.


    -The Marco bit at the end was interesting. To be honest, I don't really remember Marco's being mentioned before, but it's probably just been a while; I'll have to re-read and catch back up at my leisure.

    Again, your battle scene was very nicely done. Imaginative and brutal and well-described (aside from that one line I mentioned that threw me). And I really liked the soulful moment between Shelton and Dorian. I get that it's not really their characters to be lovey, but it was a joy to see their caring about one another.

    Dorian's struggle morality and his willing descent onto corruption/deceit is good to see, too. Reminds me of another guy I know from Johto who is currently running around a far-away region and struggling with a loss in his family.
    Last edited by Sid87; 14th September 2012 at 11:16 PM.


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  4. #129
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    Back with a bang. Excellent chapter. Both sid and diamond have done my job of pointing out the errors. I couldn't spot any others. Average length for you. Wasn't too long where it dragged on and not short enough to need more. Marco intrigues me. I look forward to learning more about him. Dorian and Shelton still remain excellent. Can't wait to see how they handle both Marco and Orre. 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.

  5. #130
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    Dorian was wondering what it would be like to pull his brain out through his forehead.
    That, has got to be one of the best ways to open a chapter. The reader is sitting here going: Wait, wha?

    What brought the thought to the surface of his mind was his attempt to quell the vicious headache he had by pushing his fingers as hard as he could against his forehead.
    That being said, this is an awfully long sentence. And I'm not sure we actually ever adress where this headache came from: Did Shelton thump him? Did Machoke thump him?

    “Okay, well, just don’t push too hard unless you want to lobotomize yourself.”
    I'd put either a comma or a semi-colon between hard and unless. It reads better to me with a partial stop

    “Oh Christ I know it’s a word, but Dorian it’s not like we’re going to run into him at the airport. Hell, he may not even be on the same continent. I look nice and I feel comfortable, so get over it.”
    I sually see "Oh Christ" with an exclamation point, seeing as its an exclamation. If you want to get more technical and complain about not being a sentence, it needs a comma or a partial-stop.

    I look nice and I feel comfortable, so get over it.”
    And... everyone look out, Shelton feels pretty AND is comfortable! I'm sure every man or adolescent slug is familiar with the "My feet hurt" "Then why are you wearing six-inch heels?" "because they make me feel pretty." "But your feet hurt." "But I'm pretty." argument, and here Shelton is comfortably pretty...

    I'm gonna get slugged, aren't I?

    The magazine blossomed open like a flower as it sailed through the air, obscuring him from her vision.
    You know, for being a dunce, Dorian's really a good tactician. A bit outclassed perhaps, but quite bright.

    Almost three feet long when extended and made from segmented steel, her two weapons were formidable enough in unskilled hands, but much more so considering that she held two degrees in combat with them.
    You explain them, but I still had to look up an Asp, since that's a new one on me and I doubt she's holding a bug. For the rest of the world who doesn't know: Shelton's holding a pair of retractable batons that look sorta like an old radio antennae...

    “Well, you need to figure it out before we leave. Obviously most Pokemon are going to be unruly after they’ve been caught, but that Spoink pretty much tried to kill you. You’re either taking it with you or releasing it. You need to decide.”
    iiiittttt's BACON!

    “That’s inspired,” Dorian responded. “We could surround it and make sure it doesn’t try and throw me to Hoenn.”
    Save a Plane ticket!

    “Nope, I’ve actually never heard Spoink before so I’m not sure.
    Missing a quotation mark at the end. Yeah, I can't believe I caught that either.

    “Bullet seed!”
    I'd capitalize Seed, but that's me. Or knock the B down.

    Faint attack
    Same here, although in this case the F is the leading letter, if you prefer leaving your attacks lowercase.

    Fortunately though Nuzleaf
    comma after though

    but at least the Spoink didn’t look like it wanted him drawn and quartered. It would probably be okay with having the skin on one of his fingers flayed off, but Dorian thought he was relatively safe now.
    This is progress? I think this is the part where Machoke grabs Spoink by the tip of his tail and his body, stretches him, and then uses the little pig as a paddleball. But maybe not.

    Nuzleaf had looked good while doing it though and he had taken a hell of a beating doing so.
    break after though

    His sadness suddenly came back in a wave that swallowed him whole. He swayed to the left and grabbed the refrigerator door for balance. His breathing was quick and deep as he struggled to unwind the knot in his gut.
    Been there before

    “Kecleon? Kec, leon leon?” he asked.

    “Yes, I remember whose house this is,” Dorian retorted.

    “Kecleon Kec!” the Pokemon said, pointing a finger at Dorian.

    “I’m sorry; it has just been getting to me a little more than usual.”

    “Kec, leon Kecleon.”

    “Yeah I’m ready too. Shelton’s finishing up a few things and we’re going to leave in a few hours.”

    Kecleon walked over to Dorian and wrapped both arms around his right thigh, which was as far as he could reach without jumping. The warmth that the Pokemon transferred to him comforted him and relieved him of the burden of his sadness. Reaching down, Dorian broke the embraced and gave one of Kecleon’s scaly hands a squeeze.

    “We’re going to get him, you know that, right?” Dorian asked.

    “Kecleon kec!” he responded, squeezing his hand.

    “Let’s go outside and wait for the princess.”

    Hand in hand they crossed the living room and went back outside.
    Very cute scene. Keckleon's first lines were a tad confusing to follow, but its a cute scene to imagine.

    “Look I know and I don’t want to leave the house either. But the more we stay here the sadder I get. I can’t be around his stuff right now Dorian. It’s too hard.”
    “I know what you mean,” Dorian affirmed.
    ---
    And finally:

    Should be "HIS breaking down". It's a weird, obscure rule. But "breaking" is the noun in that sentence (it's a gerund), so the "his" is an adjective to describe whose breaking down it is.
    Oh holy crap; shits gettin' deep now. Sid's pulling out gerunds. Phht!
        Spoiler:- Breeding stuff:

  6. #131
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    Quote Originally Posted by diamondpearl876
    I also like Dorian’s resolve about killing Ethan, and how he’s keeping it a secret for everyone else’s sake. I’ll be interested in seeing if he actually follows through with it or not.
    I'm eager to see if he follows through with it as well. Dorian is very fun for me because he lays out so many plans that just go completely to **** and he never seems to notice that it keeps happening haha

    Marco seems like a rather mysterious person (seems like that’s what you were aiming for),
    I'm glad that's what he seems like, because that's exactly what I'm aiming for. He's my wildcard right now, and to be completely honest I still don't know what he's going to do and exactly how far he's willing to go to accomplish his goal.

    Thanks for the review as always

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    Kinda silly here, but you might want to call them batons or something because when I read this, I immediately thought she was suddenly carrying around two snakes.
    Lmao I love that you said that. About two hours after I posted the chapter I wondered if people would think she was holding up two vipers haha

    How does one, in this story's universe, learn poke-talk? Each pokemon is apparently different, but how does one learn the speech. Do they have to attend 649 different classes? Is it an intuitive thing? It seems like they understand complete phrases and not just, say, the "idea" behind what they are saying. So it is complete, thorough translation, but not all pokemon have the same "language". I'm just piqued on curiousity.

    Also: irrelevant info time--I have newfound love of Spoink/Grumpig because I just used one in my first ever successful Nuzlocke. It was a beast for me.
    I'm glad you asked, and how you asked basically answers the question. After spending a lot of time with a particular Pokemon, it always seemed reasonable to me that a trainer wouldn't just pick up on the words themselves but the rise and fall of vocal tones and how body language is mixed in along with tone of voice. It seems acceptable that after years of study on a particular Pokemon, and especially after interracting with them as much as a trainer does, you would learn to pick out different parts of speech and translate them into a language you can understand easily.

    What a beautiful idea. Very nice. Also, can I AGAIN reiterate how much I love the Pokeflect? I want a spin-off story about the origins of the pokeflect!
    Believe me, it's coming. And if you like the Pokeflect, you're going to love my next invention that appears in the next chapter

    There haven't been many "intimate" scenes between Dorian and Shelton, so I sometimes forget they are a couple.
    I can see how you arrived at that, but as I stated a few chapters ago, the love and affection they show each other is just the closeness they got as they grew up together. They are not a couple and I seriously doubt they could ever be because they grew up as brother and sister and that's really the only way they see each other. I may have to work on amping that up a bit.

    Thanks for the review buddy

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow Lucario
    Back with a bang. Excellent chapter. Both sid and diamond have done my job of pointing out the errors. I couldn't spot any others. Average length for you. Wasn't too long where it dragged on and not short enough to need more. Marco intrigues me. I look forward to learning more about him. Dorian and Shelton still remain excellent. Can't wait to see how they handle both Marco and Orre. Keep it up.
    Thanks for taking the time to read and review. Sometimes I think that a single continent is not big enough for Dorian and his ego, so adding Marco to the situation should make for a pretty fun situation lol

    Quote Originally Posted by Glover
    That, has got to be one of the best ways to open a chapter. The reader is sitting here going: Wait, wha?
    That's exactly what I was going for lol, I'm glad you liked it

    I sually see "Oh Christ" with an exclamation point, seeing as its an exclamation. If you want to get more technical and complain about not being a sentence, it needs a comma or a partial-stop.
    Thanks for bringing that to my attention. I think putting a comma after it would read a bit better

    You explain them, but I still had to look up an Asp, since that's a new one on me and I doubt she's holding a bug. For the rest of the world who doesn't know: Shelton's holding a pair of retractable batons that look sorta like an old radio antennae...
    Very good explanation. Since you're the second one who had trobule with calling that to mind I may go back and change asps to batons. I probably should have done that to begin with but I drew the thought of the weapon from my stepfather who's been a police office since before I was born. I've seen them on different officers and played with his for as long as I can remember so I just assumed that other people would know exactly what the were. Thanks for bringing that up

    This is progress? I think this is the part where Machoke grabs Spoink by the tip of his tail and his body, stretches him, and then uses the little pig as a paddleball. But maybe not.
    I'd agree with you if I thought that Machoke was actually brave enough to grab anything in anger haha

    Oh holy crap; shits gettin' deep now. Sid's pulling out gerunds. Phht!
    Lol, I have to admit that I had to look the term up haha. Thanks for reading/reviewing as always

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

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  7. #132
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    This may have been something that was described a while ago that I just forgot, but I'm going to ask now since it was kind of relevant here: How does one, in this story's universe, learn poke-talk? Each pokemon is apparently different, but how does one learn the speech. Do they have to attend 649 different classes? Is it an intuitive thing? It seems like they understand complete phrases and not just, say, the "idea" behind what they are saying. So it is complete, thorough translation, but not all pokemon have the same "language". I'm just piqued on curiousity.
    Sidewinder and I have had this conversation, and we basically run the same theories. In general, most Pokemon are more personified than the example I'm about to give, but the language barrier is about the same. Do you have dog? Maybe a nice cat? (Is there such a thing as a "nice" cat?) You know how you/some people baby talk them, and sometimes they give you that "look" that says "How old do you think you are? Shut up and feed me." And then maybe during loud noises like fireworks, you can read a look that says "I don't like this." or "This scares me." You can tell a difference between a low growl and a solid growl that's "I don't like something" and not "There's something outside"?

    If not, you need pets. :-P
        Spoiler:- Breeding stuff:

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    Credit for the name of my new Pokemon inspired invention goes to my good friend Garett. Miss you buddy, get home soon


    Chapter 16



    The roaring grew louder as Ethan moved closer.

    The sound was soon joined by the frantic shouting of several people and the unmistakable crash of something very heavy slamming into the ground. The trees to the northwest of Jubilife City were ancient and thick, giving him plenty of cover as he slinked towards the sound of chaos further ahead. A flash of blue flame appeared as he closed to within about thirty feet, which was then followed by crashing limbs and swirling smoke. The sunlight overhead was dying along with the color of the leaves all around, which amplified the golden glow above his head. Pulling the collar of his jacket up high Ethan looked up and saw a hefty branch
    about fifteen feet above his head.

    Gathering his strength Ethan leapt straight up, covering the distance easily to the branch; upon grabbing it he used his forward momentum to swing upwards another ten feet to a branch close to the middle of the tree. At this height he could observe what was happening below and ahead of him far better than he could from the ground. Four men dressed all in black riot gear and helmets had the Salamence forced up against the trunk of an ancient oak. The Salamence’s scales glittered dashingly in the failing light as it darted forward and retreated back. It was bleeding heavily from multiple cuts on its torso and mouth, the blood turning a cringe worthy shade of black as it released torrent after torrent of sapphire dragon fire.

    The humans were using shehnai against the dragon Pokemon and they seemed to be gaining the upper hand. The weapons had been extended to about fifteen feet for safety and the umbrella and barb ends were both glowing electric blue. A relatively new form of Pokemon control, the device worked to use a Pokemon’s power against it. While not effective against physical attacks, the spear provided a powerful defense and offense against energy based attacks. The umbrella, or suction end of the spear sucked in the energy released by a Pokemon and compressed it, sending it down a special membrane tubing that amplified the collected energy and sent it to the barb. The energy that was absorbed by the umbrella made no difference, it could suck in the energy released by flame and ice just as easily as it could by that made of water or even the mystical energy of a ghost Pokemon. While not lethal on its own, once the barb was charged with the Pokemon’s own power, it delivered it back in the form of concussive bursts when touched by a Pokemon’s flesh.

    As Ethan shifted his weight and noticed that the four men were growing more confident in their steps towards the dragon Pokemon. The Salamence belched another tongue of blue fire; the attack was intentionally sent high to sever branches above, but the men reacted quickly and managed to roll away before they crashed down to where they were standing. The boldest man of the group darted forward and slashed at the Salamence with his shehnai, scoring a direct hit on the dragon’s brow and leaving a scorch mark. The dragon recoiled backwards from the blow and slammed into the tree behind it once again. A weak growl parted his lips as gravity took hold as he fell forward and came to rest face down at his attacker’s feet. The men strode forward cautiously and lifted the visors of their helmets. One nudged the sternum of the Salamence’s pale underbelly while another poked at its scaly tail. The biggest of the group strode forward and dropped two clinking duffel bags in front of the dragon. The man revealed a full head of blond hair as he removed his helmet and dropped his spear. He leaned down close to the dragon Pokemon and began to speak.

    “That was my brother’s Buneary and Luxio you ate, you filthy piece of shit. Jubilife wants us to send you back to Hoenn, but we’re going to lock you in a hole so deep you won’t ever be able to see the sky again.”

    “Sir?” one of the other men asked.

    “Start shackling its arms and legs, I’ll get the brace,” the large man commanded, kicking the dragon Pokemon viciously in the mouth as he walked away.

    From one of the bags, the man removed a large steel plated device that he clamped down on either side of the dragon’s jaw, effectively eliminating the Pokemon’s use of its razor sharp fangs. The other men did as they were told and soon the Salamence’s legs and arms were both bound tightly with steel chains linking each to the next. The dragon still struggled, and when stretching its legs didn’t work, it began slamming its head up and down in an attempt to break the muzzle over its jaws. Blue fire burned its snout and blackened the dirt around its head as it released a wave of energy. The steel around its mouth began to melt and fall to the ground like mercury rain before the lead man came back and gave it another sharp slap with his spear.

    Ethan watched the events with a sort of macabre fascination at the dragon’s plight, until just as he was about to climb down an idea occurred to him. Grasping a branch with his left hand and another with his right, he tightened his grip until he felt a familiar tickling sensation wrap around his muscles. He launched himself from the tree with shocking speed and plummeted to the ground thirty feet below, landing silently behind two of the humans. He jumped forward and smashed a clenched hand against each of their helmeted skulls. The ceramic crunched loudly and shattered as both men dropped to the ground unconscious. Just as the other two heard the sound and began to turn, he pulled the hood of his jacket over his face and grabbed one of the men’s shehnai. Ethan pulled back and threw the spear at one, who promptly fell to the ground in convulsions. The one left, the obvious leader of the group lowered the visor on his helmet and charged forward yelling curses. The man held the spear like a lance as he sprinted forward, seeking to gore him.

    “Pathetic,” Ethan whispered.

    Sliding his right foot back for balance like Alakazam had taught him, Ethan quickly sidestepped the barb and swung a hand upward, severing the spear in two. The man swung a gloved fist in his direction, and uttered a surprised gasp as Ethan effortlessly caught it in one hand. Smiling, Ethan drew back with his remaining hand and punched the man in the torso. His ‘adversary’ folded around his fist as the air left his lungs and flew fifteen feet straight back where he hit a tree. The crack of his helmet on wood echoed through the air as the man slid down to the ground and did not move. With his enhanced hearing he could hear the heartbeats of all four of the men and could tell that they were all still alive. While the thought of ending them certainly had its appeal, it was the best idea to keep as many bodies away from him as possible at the moment. One in particular was causing him a lot of unwanted attention right now and it was probably best not to exacerbate the situation.

    “Saler-ssss.”

    Ethan turned.

    “Sss, salasssssss.”

    The dragon’s words came out slurred because of the muzzle around its mouth.

    “What’s that?” Ethan asked.

    The Salamence glared as menacingly as it could from its bound position.

    “A thank you is customary when someone saves your life.”

    No response was offered in return.

    Ethan had been dreading this moment. He hadn’t released Alakazam since he had attacked him and Scyther outside Pewter City. Though they had both had time to mellow out since their disagreement, Ethan knew for certain that he would still be fuming. However, he needed his power right now if he had any hope of carrying through on his plan with this angry serpent. It was hard psyching himself up for this. Ethan didn’t feel guilty for what he did to that man in Pewter City, and by extension to those officers. He had not been in the wrong, but Alakazam’s self-righteous mantra of good was getting to be extremely tedious. As much as Ethan loved his partner he had long sensed a growing fracture in their relationship and he knew that one of them would have to cave in. Either Ethan would leave his dream behind or Alakazam would learn to go along. Greatness was never achieved by being nice, and it certainly was not taken without stomping over people in the way. Not only was Alakazam the smartest Pokemon he had ever meet, but his intelligence outstripped that of any human he had ever met. Surely someone that smart would be able to understand what he was trying to do; surely someone that intelligent would be able to put apart simple ideals for the greater good.

    Ethan opened Alakazam’s ball and released him back into the world.

    Alakazam formed and stared. Nothing was given away. Each of them refused to speak first, and each was holding on to that with all their will. Besides the sounds of their own breathing and the Salamence’s low growls, the forest around them had gone silent. Breaking the stillness, Alakazam reached out with his hand and pulled his mustache tight, which Ethan had learned throughout the years as a physical tell of extreme annoyance from his Pokemon. Ethan didn’t have time for this.

    “I need your help,” he stated flatly.

    “Obviously. What happens if I refuse? Are you going to attack me again? Maybe have Scyther carve me up like you did that human?” Alakazam spoke to his mind.

    “Scyther is away for the moment, and if you recall, you disobeyed me,” Ethan responded.

    “I disobeyed? I apologize, master,” Alakazam snorted, taking a deep exaggerated bow. “Am I just a servant to you now? Are you going to discipline me like Scyther?”

    “Of course not, but you must realize there will be some casualties along the way to our eventual goal.”

    “Correction. Your goal, not mine.”

    “You have participated in every action I’ve taken along the way so you are just as much a part of this as I am.”

    “I’ve never helped you mutilate and kill, nor will I.”

    “So you think crime shouldn’t be punished?” Ethan asked.

    “Crime?” What crime did that man commit exactly? The shards do not belong to you; it is not your right to judge those who end up obtaining them. Do you even hear the way you’re talking?” Alakazam asked.

    “It is my birthright,” Ethan hissed, taking a step forward.

    “I know that’s how you feel, but Ethan please, see the logic of the situation. You murdered someone over your obsession. You do realize we’ll probably never be able to set foot in Kanto ever again.”

    Ethan closed his eyes for a moment and reeled his anger back in before he did something stupid. When he opened them again twilight was falling and the sky was glowing a creamy purple. No wind, no sounds, just a still forest with decaying leaves and splintered wood. He knew that Alakazam was not going to let this go, and no matter what he said or promised he would remind him of what he did for years to come.

    “That’s right, I will,” Alakazam affirmed

    “It was not my intention to make you uncomfortable, and I do apologize to reacting towards you the way I did when you took us from Pewter, but this is bigger than both of us. Granted, I’ve let my temper get the better of me recently but what we’re doing is coming to an end soon, and we will both be better once they are restored to the physical plane,” Ethan explained.

    “I’ve heard this argument before, and as I said last time I don’t care. The chance to talk you out of this crusade has long past, so I won’t try. But if you ever take another life unnecessarily there will be no more us,” Alakazam said, pointing a finger at his chest. “I will leave you, and I won’t look back Ethan, I swear it.”

    “Fine, but don’t expect me t-,” Ethan started.

    “Stop it,” Alakazam said, cutting him off with a wave of his hand. “Your promises or threats mean less to me now than they ever have before, so don’t try it. I love you with all my heart Ethan and I don’t wish to be parted from you. We’ll do what we have to do until this is done and then we will put this behind this, but I’m serious when I say that there will be no more killing. If you want to proceed down that route you will have to do it without me.”

    “Agreed,” Ethan said.

    “Then what are we doing and where are we?”

    “It’s been seve-“ Ethan started.

    “Sinnoh? Snowpoint is still a long ways off, and I don’t have the energy to fly us. Which makes sense as to why the Salamence is here.”

    Perhaps Alakazam was more powerful than he gave him credit for, or maybe it was because he only very rarely tried to hide things from his brother in all but blood, but he still hated when Alakazam plucked things from his mind before he was able to articulate a sentence.

    “Yes, I intend to use it for transport and anything else that pops up along the way. I need you to translate,” Ethan explained.

    “It’s not a hard creature to read, and just so you know it’s trying to think of the fastest way to kill you after it releases itself,” Alakazam said. “I don’t think you’ll be able to reason with it.”

    “Nah, Salamence are proud, but it took about five hits from those shehnai that I know of so I have a pretty good idea about how to get it under control.”

    “In that case, be my guest,” Alakazam said, opening his arms wide.

    “Tell it that I mean him no harm, and I will release it if it agrees to hear a proposal.”

    Alakazam turned towards the dragon and narrowed his eyes. The Salamence recoiled slightly as the psychic Pokemon touched its mind. It released another torrent of blue fire from its maw in protest, but only succeeded in scorching its own face. The dragon nodded towards Alakazam and growled as deeply as it could after the fire around its face died down.

    “He said that he’s going to rip out your spine after he’s done with the other humans lying around,” Alakazam explained.

    “Tell him that he should consider what I have to say carefully before making any hasty decisions and I decide to do the same thing to him.”
    Alakazam relayed the message.

    The Salamence brought himself up to his full height and made a gurgling in his throat that sounded like a chuckle. The dragon started raking its claws against the muzzle on his mouth before after turning completely around and showing him their back. Ethan sighed loud enough for it to hear and when that didn’t illicit the dragon’s attention he walked around to where he could look the Pokemon square in the face.

    “Repeat what I said again,” Ethan said.

    After repeating what he had said a moment ago, Alakazam said, “He says that he has no reason to listen to a human and that you are no more dangerous to him than a light breeze.”

    Ethan hadn’t expected anything less from the creature, and a small part of him admired the Pokemon’s defiant spirit; a very small part. Closing his eyes and centering himself Ethan focused on the flakes inside his body. Their power flowed into his muscles like a boiling rain shower and he felt a tickling sensation envelop his extremities. He spied a dining table sized boulder a few feet away and walked over to it, gesturing towards the rock with his hands like a game show host. The Salamence cocked his head sideways and studied him. With a small smile Ethan pulled back with his right fist and punched the top of the boulder with all his might.

    The rock disintegrated spectacularly with a loud boom and sent slivers of rock in all directions, some embedding themselves three inches deep in the trunks of nearby trees. Ethan turned back towards the Salamence and found to his pleasure that its heart was now beating thrice as fast. The Pokemon sat down on its haunches, dumbfounded. Now that he had the dragon’s full attention, Ethan walked forward and stopped about four feet away. Extracting his dagger from the holster inside his pants, Ethan gestured towards the weapon with his eyes and ran it slowly down his exposed forearm. Crimson blood lazily followed the dagger as it bit deep into his skin through the fatty tissue and into the muscle. Within seconds the wound was billowing black smoke and the skin was stitching itself back together. Ethan leaned his face forward through the haze and smiled at the dragon.

    “You are correct in the fact that you don’t have to listen to any human,” Ethan said, checking to his right to see if Alakazam was relaying what he was saying. “But I am no human, not anymore. I’ll show you power, dragon. I’ll show you how to focus your strength and make it grow. And I will show you prey, and if you help me you shall have more than could ever sate your hunger.”

    The Salamence started breathing again after Ethan stopped speaking and stared at him. There was no hint of understanding, and Alakazam didn’t respond with anything from the dragon, so Ethan waited. The Salamence leaned his head forward and sniffed Ethan through the two holes bored into the muzzle. Ethan reached up, and while the Salamence arched its head back, it slowly slid it back forward and allowed him to slide a hand onto the top and bottom of each side of the muzzle. Ethan clenched both his hands and pulled outward, bending the metal back until it sheared itself into two pieces that he dropped to the ground.

    After he had snapped the shackles and chains binding the dragon, Ethan said, “You’re free to leave if you like, as I have urgent matters to attend to, but if you want to unlock your true potential and make sure people like the ones around you never harm you again, you should come with me.”

    Once again, the Salamence didn’t relay a message, but after a moment he dipped his head until his chin brushed the dirt below. Ethan removed a pokeball from his pocket and tapped it against one of the red crests following the circle of his skull. The dragon disappeared in a flash of white light and was absorbed into the confines of the device without any struggle. Making a note to heal the tired dragon at the next Pokemon Center that presented itself, Ethan turned back to Alakazam. His partner still had the light shadow of contempt on his face that he had been wearing on the day Ethan had attacked him, but he knew that his love for him was slowing pushing that feeling further away.

    “That’s correct, it is,” Alakazam confirmed. “It’s hard for me to stay cross with you, but remember what I said. As much as you say the voices love you, I’m actually here, right now, in front of you, and you can actually see that I do. I will not let harm come to you if I can help it, and I’d sacrifice myself just as quick as you would for me, but I cannot be a party to more murder. I won’t.”

    “Understood.”

    “I know that you feel special Ethan, and you are, but don’t let delusion guide you, let knowledge.”

    “I am. I know you’ve long thought that these voices aren’t real, but how else do you explain what I can do. I’ve left humanity behind, and I’ve only been able to from the guidance they’ve given me. How else can you explain these flakes and how I know exactly where to go to get them?”

    “I can’t explain how you know where they are, and I still don’t know what they even are exactly. Have these voices actually told you what you’re absorbing inside yourself?”

    “Well no, but they said I’m not ready to understand like I told you. They have my best interests at heart, our best interests. Everything they’ve ever told me to do has made me stronger, and unless you can’t think of an extremely persuasive argument to get me to stop, I’m going to keep doing it.”

    “You know I can’t, I’ve tried before. All I’m saying is use the considerable amount of intelligence you have to make rational decisions.”

    Ethan gave him a curt nod to end the conversation. Alakazam’s argument had affected him even less than the last time he had attempted to dissuade him. Maybe he was getting more immune from his friend’s influence, but a larger part of him knew that he was embracing the idea of what he was becoming more than he ever had before. He had three shards of the tablet now, and after he found the other three he’d be able repair the tablet and release the voices back into reality. Then they would carry him to his destiny, they would embrace him like a son. They understood him more than anyone, even Alakazam. They too thought he had a special place far above those of normal men. Not only did they introduce him to that philosophy, but they encouraged his attempts to make it so. They were his heart and his mind and they were guiding him. To what end he did not know but he had the drive and the willpower to trust in their wisdom.

    Ethan nodded towards the forest and Alakazam fell into step with him as he melted through the trees and into the failing light beyond.


    ********



    The smell of Floaroma Town made him light headed.

    The scents of the manicured berry and flower patches combined themselves into a mosaic of olfactory pleasure as the wind picked up and swirled them all about the town. It was intoxicating enough outside, but once he settled down into his hotel room and opened the window, the smell bonded to everything in the room. He and Alakazam had checked in close to three and after spending a few hours organizing his thoughts and smelling the air, the sun had begun to rise. The psychic Pokemon came forward out of the chair in the corner without being asked.

    “How long?” Alakazam asked.

    “Just a few minutes. I want to tell them where we are,” Ethan replied.

    Purple energy blossomed from Alakazam’s hands as Ethan rested his head backwards. After dragging once finger across his forehead, Alakazam’s hands blotted out his vision and he felt a strong pressure on the bridge of his nose. The familiar sensation of weightlessness and darkness engulfed his being as he was forced into unconsciousness. The journey to meet the voices was like traveling through space without stars. No light, no sound, no feelings, just blank space and no gravity. Then as always he would feel heat blossom across his fingers and he would know to open his eyes. Just as always he knew that he would be greeted with the sound of soft crashing waves and the feeling of sunlight on his skin. When he opened his eyes though, was the first time he had ever been wrong.

    The sun wasn’t visible and neither was the blue sky. The waves were crashing against the island softly as always, but the grey color of the water made the sound seem almost wicked. A soft rain drizzled onto his body as he rose and turned towards the tower. Against the dark grey sky it was blacker than he had ever seen it. Ethan couldn’t feel them coming yet, but he knew they would arrive momentarily. He walked forward and rested his cheek against one wall of the tower. He had not experienced this environment before when coming to visit them. Ethan was so wrapped up in the sagging clouds and sprinkling rain that he almost didn’t notice when a force behind him whispered in his ear.

    “Hello Ethan,” the voice said with unmistakable kindness.

    “Hello,” Ethan said with a smile. “How are you?”

    “Somewhat scattered at the moment, but I’ll get better, thank you for asking.”

    The sound of the lone voice bothered him. They had all come whenever he visited. While the one voice comforted him and still had a measurable presence, it was less than what all of them had together. Had he done something wrong? Were they angry with him? Was he the cause of the lone voice and the different weather?

    “You are wondering where my companions are, correct?”

    “Yes, have I displeased you?” Ethan asked.

    “Not at all, child,” the voice assured him. “Our strength grows weak as time passes. We know you’re trying your best, but the others are trying to conserve their strength. As the years have passed our power has faded, and for some reason it’s happening more quickly than it ever has before.”

    “What can I do to help?”

    “Nothing, child. You’re doing your best, we know. It wouldn’t hurt to pick up the pace slightly, but we know you’ll save us.”

    “I am trying, I promise,” Ethan said. “Today I aided a Pokemon that will be able to help us. With his help we should have the next shard in just a few days”

    “That’s wonderful, Ethan.”

    “To be honest, I’ve been think-,” Ethan started. His voice left him as he caught sight of the entrance to the tower. It wasn’t grandiose or a shock, but he realized this was the closest he had ever been to it before. The voices had never let him go inside. As he moved closer to the sound of the voice ahead of him, he caught a glimpse of what looked like stairs through the opening of the archway.

    “Go ahead,” the voice laughed.

    “I, are you sure?”

    “Yes. Go ahead, child. It will be our little secret. Just a quick look though.”

    “Thank you,” Ethan nodded.

    He nervously cracked his knuckles in anticipation as he edged closer to the opening. This was actually happening. He had been given permission. It was a happy permission too, the voice sounded almost excited to let him see what he had been denied, for whatever reason he had been refused before. The archway was mere inches away and what he thought had been had been stairs turned out to be actually that. Too afraid to put his whole body inside Ethan stuck his head though the opening and followed the staircase. It was a spiral of stairs leading straight up, but it wasn’t angular like the walls outside, the inside was more like a cylinder with the stairs curving upwards in a circle as high as he could see.

    “That’s enough now,” the voice said.

    “I apologize,” Ethan said as he pulled his head back.

    “Please Ethan, don’t worry, no harm was done. What did you think?”

    “It was beautiful,” Ethan admitted.

    “We think so as well. The one’s who knew their place built it for us as tribute, as they rightly should. We governed the world from the clouds above and for a time the world prospered greatly. As you know, that changed when the rebels tore us from reality and placed us in this halfway place between worlds.”

    “I know, and it was an unforgiveable injustice. I will restore you to the world. You do believe that, don’t you?”

    “Of course we do, Ethan. That’s why we chose you above all others. You will piece us back together and help us reclaim what was ours. We see through your eyes and we know the world has changed greatly. When we return, you will be our guide, and after we are restored back to where we belong, you will become one of us.”

    “Thank you, my lord,” Ethan said with a bow.

    “Hah, I grow fonder of you every day, child. I’ve not heard that title in a great while and it is much appreciated.”

    “It’s what you deserve,” Ethan smiled, his eyes starting to tear as the sky above began to flicker.

    “We love you, Ethan, and we’ll see you soon,” the voice assured him.

    “I love you too,” Ethan affirmed as his feet left the ground.

    The clouds raced to meet him as Alakazam drew him back to consciousness. The rain became steadier as he rose and left the island behind. It become so steady actually that he had to close his eyes to block the pain as the droplets collided with his eyes. When the rain stopped he opened his eyes and found himself once again in the hotel room with Alakazam. His Pokemon waited for him to speak with a quiet patience as Ethan sat up and passed a few minutes trying to figure out his next move.

    “We’re leaving,” Ethan decided.

    “You need to rest, I know you’re tired.”

    “I’ve rested enough.”

    “Ethan, just clear you’re head and rest for a bit, we can spare a few hours.”

    “No, we can’t. We’re leaving, now.”

    Alakazam knew better than to try and talk him out of this even though he didn’t know the reason behind his newly increased conviction. Ethan crossed the room and pulled on his pack while removing the Salamence’s ball from his pocket. He had healed the dragon as he entered Floaroma Town so it should be ready for travel. Not wanting to waste the time using the elevator to go downstairs or check out, Ethan simply walked to the open window and dropped down to the ground twenty feet below. He opened the Salamence’s ball and started speaking as soon as the blue dragon had formed.

    “We need to go north, with haste,” Ethan informed him.

    The Salamence began to speak but was quickly cut off by a raised finger from Ethan.

    “Alakazam?” Ethan asked.

    His psychic Pokemon floated down from the room above and settled down next to him. Alakazam nodded and relayed his message. Once again the Dragon began to speak but Ethan took a step forward and bared his teeth at him.

    “Tell him I do not care what he has to say. He chose to come with me and this is what I need from him. He can either do what I ask or he can continue to test my patience. And since I can already see some kind of remark from him, tell him this is the way it’s going to be.”

    Alakazam did as asked and after a moment of consideration the Salamence lowered the right side of his body so Ethan could climb on top. Alakazam mounted the dragon behind him and wrapped one arm around his waist. The Salamence’s scales were cool beneath him and coarse which provided a good grip. As the dragon shook his head and started moving its wings back and forth in an effort to get used to the weight, Ethan leaned forward and wrapped both arms around the dragon’s neck. A rhythmic thrumming broke the stillness of the air as the Salamence started moving its wings up and down, faster and faster. They lifted off the ground through the cool morning fog below and up into the rising sun.

    Once they were above the treetops surrounding Floaroma, the Salamence released a vibrating roar and accelerated to the north.
    Last edited by Sidewinder; 1st October 2012 at 3:41 AM.

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

    -Thanks to PopPrincess_Lyra for the amazing banner-


  9. #134
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    Soo... First off, I was skimming as I scrolled down the page, and found this in Chapter 2:

    The man’s Alkazam dropped to its two legs
    Sounds like a good name for a Psychic/Poison type, (Alchemy)

    ----
    as he slinked towards
    Slunk? I really don't know for sure though.

    The sunlight overhead was dying along with the color of the leaves all around, which amplified the golden glow above his head.
    Kind of awjkward, actually. I think its the "along with" since your using two slightly different definitions for "dying"

    "the fading sunlight and the dying leaves"?

    hefty branch
    about fifteen feet above his head.
    Gathering his strength, Ethan leapt
    needs a comma

    branch; upon
    and that can actually be the end of the sentence, because of the subject preposition there.

    At this height, he could
    Comma there? Gerund Boy could give a better answer, I suspect.

    The Salamence’s
    is it me, or does that Salamence appear out of nowhere?

    Shenhai
    Quote Originally Posted by Wikipedia
    The shehnai, shahnai, shenai or mangal vadya, is an aerophonic (wind) instrument, a double reed conical oboe, common in North India, West India, Iran, and Pakistan, made out of wood, with a metal flare bell at the end.[1][2][3] Its sound is thought to create and maintain a sense of auspiciousness and sanctity and, as a result, is widely used during marriages, processions, and in temples of West India, although it is also played in concerts. The South Indian equivalent of the shehnai is the nadaswaram. 122px-Shehnai.jpg
    That's... not what you're describing. Hmm.

    A relatively new form of Pokemon control, the device worked to use a Pokemon’s power against it. While not effective against physical attacks, the spear provided a powerful defense and offense against energy based attacks. The umbrella, or suction end of the spear sucked in the energy released by a Pokemon and compressed it, sending it down a special membrane tubing that amplified the collected energy and sent it to the barb. The energy that was absorbed by the umbrella made no difference, it could suck in the energy released by flame and ice just as easily as it could by that made of water or even the mystical energy of a ghost Pokemon. While not lethal on its own, once the barb was charged with the Pokemon’s own power, it delivered it back in the form of concussive bursts when touched by a Pokemon’s flesh.
    Kinda cool. SDomeone needs to shoot the man who invented this with his own arrow though, its only Karmatic...

    “That was my brother’s Buneary and Luxio you ate, you filthy piece of ****. Jubilife wants us to send you back to Hoenn, but we’re going to lock you in a hole so deep you won’t ever be able to see the sky again.”
    Me likey

    The one left, the obvious leader of the group lowered the visor on his helmet and charged forward yelling curses. The man held the spear like a lance as he sprinted forward, seeking to gore him.
    You and I need to get out of each other's heads... Never mind what I said a minute ago...
    like Alakazam had taught him,
    This, that we can learn something from our Pokemon. Although I'm not sure Ethan would have been my first choice to empjhsize that, and not from his Alakazam

    “Sinnoh? Snowpoint is still a long ways off, and I don’t have the energy to fly us. Which makes sense as to why the Salamence is here.”

    Perhaps Alakazam was more powerful than he gave him credit for, or maybe it was because he only very rarely tried to hide things from his brother in all but blood, but he still hated when Alakazam plucked things from his mind before he was able to articulate a sentence.

    “Yes, I intend to use it for transport and anything else that pops up along the way. I need you to translate,” Ethan explained.

    “It’s not a hard creature to read, and just so you know it’s trying to think of the fastest way to kill you after it releases itself,” Alakazam said. “I don’t think you’ll be able to reason with it.”

    “Nah, Salamence are proud, but it took about five hits from those shehnai that I know of so I have a pretty good idea about how to get it under control.”

    “In that case, be my guest,” Alakazam said, opening his arms wide.

    “Tell it that I mean him no harm, and I will release it if it agrees to hear a proposal.”
    I love this Salamence. Proud, Old-worldsy, when Dragins ruled the sky and pickout our Cattle. But he also seems to be rather
    He said that he’s going to rip out your spine after he’s done with the other humans lying around,” Alakazam explained.
    Stupid. Or Nieve, but this is Eathan.

    I'm going with stupid. :-)

    His partner still had the light shadow of contempt on his face that he had been wearing on the day Ethan had attacked him, but he knew that his love for him was slowing pushing that feeling further away.

    “That’s correct, it is,” Alakazam confirmed. “It’s hard for me to stay cross with you
    Be careful doing this. You doid it a couple of times with Alakazam; your mixing narration with Ethan's thoughts, and the way it reads Alakazam is actually breaking Fourth Wall by reading the narration and not Ethan's mind. Comical once, but that's not really how you intended it...

    After dragging once finger across his forehead
    Then, as always,
    Two commas. You may not actually need the first one, but that's how I've seen the phrase.

    The sun wasn’t visible and neither was the blue sky. The waves were crashing against the island softly as always, but the grey color of the water made the sound seem almost wicked. A soft rain drizzled onto his body as he rose and turned towards the tower. Against the dark grey sky it was blacker than he had ever seen it.
    If I didn't know better, I'd say that sounds like Dragonspiral near the ever-rainy Iccarus, but that doesn't match "The Voices". Does it ran near the grave tower or the Odd Keystone tower?

    Against the dark grey sky, it was blacker than he had ever seen it.
    comma comma comma comma comma comma-cameleon... We come and go...

    “Somewhat scattered at the moment, but I’ll get better, thank you for asking.”
    You know, I think this voice may become my new favorite character.

    As the years have passed our power has faded, and for some reason it’s happening more quickly than it ever has before.”
    I think there should be a comma after passed. It has to do with that As, but I'm not 100% on that one either.

    It wouldn’t hurt to pick up the pace slightly,
    Subtle.

    “Today I aided a Pokemon that will be able to help us.
    ddiing depths to Ethan's character and development, I have to admit this reads more like a six-year old saying "Daddy Daddy guess what I did today! I aided a Pokemon Daddy, aren't you pleased?"

    “To be honest, I’ve been think-,”
    I wanna know what he was thinking.

    It become so steady actually that he had to close his eyes to block the pain as the droplets collided with his eyes.
    An oldd section, I don't think you need the actually, its a bit of a stumbler. And this guy neesds his head thumped solidly checked if his dreams are trying to kill him...

    Ethan took a step forward and bared his teeth at him.
    Ethan must have really bad teeth, because somehow I can think of a million things that can pull that trick off a lot better than a human. Newborn Nidoran, for example.


    ---
    *Whew* I'm done. Wonderful chapter. And Ethan-centric while Dorian and Shelton get shot out of the sky fly to my favorite region. See ya next chapter!
        Spoiler:- Breeding stuff:

  10. #135
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    As Ethan shifted his weight and noticed that the four men were growing more confident in their steps towards the dragon Pokemon.
    Would remove “As” otherwise the sentence turns into a fragment.

    The Salamence belched another tongue of blue fire; the attack was intentionally sent high to sever branches above, but the men reacted quickly and managed to roll away before they crashed down to where they were standing.
    I think you meant “it crashed down”, as you’re referring to the attack rather than the people.

    Not only was Alakazam the smartest Pokemon he had ever meet, but his intelligence outstripped that of any human he had ever met. Surely someone that smart would be able to understand what he was trying to do; surely someone that intelligent would be able to put apart simple ideals for the greater good.
    “meet” should be “met”

    I also really like the second sentence there. It really shows how much faith Ethan has in his partner, and how wishful his thinking really is. It also nicely shows how high of a pedestal Ethan places his Alakazam on due to their past relationship, even though it is now fractured. Nicely done.

    “Crime?” What crime did that man commit exactly? The shards do not belong to you; it is not your right to judge those who end up obtaining them. Do you even hear the way you’re talking?” Alakazam asked.
    Remove quotation mark after “crime”.

    “That’s right, I will,” Alakazam affirmed
    Forgot period at the end.

    We’ll do what we have to do until this is done and then we will put this behind this, but I’m serious when I say that there will be no more killing.
    Should be “behind us”

    “I am trying, I promise,” Ethan said. “Today I aided a Pokemon that will be able to help us. With his help we should have the next shard in just a few days”
    Forgot period at the end.

    “Ethan, just clear you’re head and rest for a bit, we can spare a few hours.”
    Should be “your”

    Alakazam knew better than to try and talk him out of this even though he didn’t know the reason behind his newly increased conviction.
    Couldn’t Alakazam just read his thoughts to find out the reason? Not knowing some things makes sense, but this isn’t quite one of them.

    He had healed the dragon as he entered Floaroma Town so it should be ready for travel.
    “should be” is present tense, so it should be “should have been”.

    An Ethan/Alakazam only chapter, huh? I do miss Dorian and company, as I think you write them splendidly. Nothing wrong with Ethan, Dorian and co. are just more interesting to me. This chapter was certainly very well written (despite the various grammar errors—it happens), as your description is wonderful and really paints a picture in my head when I’m reading. The dialogue was also good, though in a few places it seemed to be a bit too overdone to me (ie you repeat the same things during Ethan’s/flake’s conversation over and over again, or you use similar dialogue from the last few conversations they had). Overall, nicely done, and I can’t wait to see what you have next, as always.

    Also, clear out your inbox so I can actually send you messages! wahhh

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


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


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


  11. #136
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    Reply time!

    Quote Originally Posted by Glover
    is it me, or does that Salamence appear out of nowhere?
    Well yeah, Ethan kinda stumbled across him

    That's... not what you're describing. Hmm.
    That picture actually gave me the inspiration for the weapon haha. I kinda picture it looking like that but much longer like a spear and with a iron barb where someone's mouth would go. Besides that, I just really liked the name of the instrument and thought it would fit well

    This, that we can learn something from our Pokemon. Although I'm not sure Ethan would have been my first choice to empjhsize that, and not from his Alakazam
    Believe it or not my fiance kinda said the same thing. She was like, "since when does Ethan learn anything from something that he thinks he's stronger than"

    I love this Salamence. Proud, Old-worldsy, when Dragins ruled the sky and pickout our Cattle. But he also seems to be rather
    When I was much younger I was completely addicted to any story involving dragons and got really entranced by the pride and power they all seemed to show. I thought it would be cool to see if I could pull off the same thing

    Stupid. Or Nieve, but this is Eathan.

    I'm going with stupid. :-)
    I'm gonna go with stupid too

    If I didn't know better, I'd say that sounds like Dragonspiral near the ever-rainy Iccarus, but that doesn't match "The Voices". Does it ran near the grave tower or the Odd Keystone tower?
    You're somewhat on the right track there, but at the same time not really. I like the theory though

    I have to admit this reads more like a six-year old saying "Daddy Daddy guess what I did today! I aided a Pokemon Daddy, aren't you pleased?"
    I'd stay with that sort of thinking. You may be on to something there

    And Ethan-centric while Dorian and Shelton get shot out of the sky fly to my favorite region
    I'm actually going to probably PM you with questions about Orre pretty soon. I know you like it a lot so I hope I don't disappoint haha

    Thanks for reading/reviewing as always, and thanks for pointing out my assorted grammatical mistakes. I swear for some reason I feel like I've gotten comma fever or something lately

    Quote Originally Posted by diamondpearl876
    It really shows how much faith Ethan has in his partner, and how wishful his thinking really is. It also nicely shows how high of a pedestal Ethan places his Alakazam on due to their past relationship, even though it is now fractured.
    I'm glad you picked up on that because it was something I'm slowly and delicately building on. The subtle and slow rifts that form between two people have always fascinated me and ever since I started writing I've wanted to try my hand at it. Believe me, Alakazam's love for Ethan and their bond is going to be tested thoroughly

    Couldn’t Alakazam just read his thoughts to find out the reason? Not knowing some things makes sense, but this isn’t quite one of them.
    He can on most things, unless there's a way for someone or something's to block that out of Ethan's mind so that his mind can't be read in exactly that way. Can you think of anyone or anyone's who would/could do that?

    I do miss Dorian and company, as I think you write them splendidly. Nothing wrong with Ethan, Dorian and co. are just more interesting to me.
    I gotcha. You'll get your fill of them soon enough, believe me lol. Next three chapters are revolving around them and whatever mess they manage to get themselves into. Thanks for reading/reviewing as always! I appreciate the mistakes you pointed out as well and should be able to clear out what both you and Glover suggested out by Friday

    And BTW for anytone else reading, new chapter will hopefully be up by Friday night

  12. #137
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewinder View Post
    The roaring grew louder as Ethan moved closer.
    Awww...no Dorian and Shelton?

    The Salamence’s scales glittered dashingly in the failing light as it darted forward and retreated back.
    I'm not sure I like "dashingly" as an adverb there. Dashingly, to me, implies a certain smoothness and fanciness. I don't imagine anything about a Salamence--especially under attack--to be dashing or chivalrous.

    It was bleeding heavily from multiple cuts on its torso and mouth, the blood turning a cringe worthy shade of black as it released torrent after torrent of sapphire dragon fire.
    Cringe-worthy should probably be hyphenated there. And I'm not sure I like it. It feels a little too "telly" and not enough "showy" to me. Maybe a "dead" shade of black. Or a "cruel" shade of black. Something that lends itself to the pain Salamence is feeling.

    As Ethan shifted his weight and noticed that the four men were growing more confident in their steps towards the dragon Pokemon.
    This sentence is not complete. WHAT HAPPENED as he shifted his weight and noticed the men?

    The Salamence belched another tongue of blue fire; the attack was intentionally sent high to sever branches above, but the men reacted quickly and managed to roll away before they crashed down to where they were standing.
    You have a few "they"s there referring to multiple things (the men; branches). I was able to follow along all right, but watch out for that going forward.

    Sliding his right foot back for balance like Alakazam had taught him, Ethan quickly sidestepped the barb and swung a hand upward, severing the spear in two.
    I like the subtle way of showing Ethan's continued dependence upon Alakazam and all that the pokemon has done for him. They've been disagreeing lately, but Ethan knows deep-down that he'd be a lesser man if not for Alakazam.

    His ‘adversary’ folded around his fist as the air left his lungs and flew fifteen feet straight back where he hit a tree.
    I think that, instead of the sarcastic quotation marks around "adversary", it would be more effective to say "His adversary--though Ethan would hardly consider him even that--folded..." It adds a little more bite to the way Ethan is unaffected by him.

    Greatness was never achieved by being nice, and it certainly was not taken without stomping over people in the way.
    I'll be honest...I hadn't loved the paragraph leading up to this point (the one about Ethan being wary of releasing Alakazam since they hadn't spoken since their argument). It almost feels like it was hastily written as a recap of where we've been so far. But I like this line here because it mirrors Ethan's narrow-minded, physical confrontation-laden world view with Dorian's. They actually aren't so dissimilar.

    Not only was Alakazam the smartest Pokemon he had ever meet, but his intelligence outstripped that of any human he had ever met. Surely someone that smart would be able to understand what he was trying to do;
    Something better than "do" to end that sentence. "Achieve". "Accomplish". "Create". "Bring about". "Do" is just so plain.

    Ethan opened Alakazam’s ball and released him back into the world.
    More nice, quiet imagery. What is a pokemon's life like in the ball? Are they not a part of the world anymore while they are within? Or is that just how Ethan views it? Short, nondescript line, but it makes me ponder.

    “I’ve never helped you mutilate and kill, nor will I.”

    “So you think crime shouldn’t be punished?” Ethan asked.

    “Crime?” What crime did that man commit exactly? The shards do not belong to you; it is not your right to judge those who end up obtaining them. Do you even hear the way you’re talking?” Alakazam asked.
    Oh heavens, more brilliant mirroring. Ethan/Dorian on the quest for violence and hate; Alakazam/Shelton incredulous at how the person they love as changed. Will either be able to save their friend from the road they are on?

    Ethan closed his eyes for a moment and reeled his anger back in before he did something stupid. When he opened them again twilight was falling and the sky was glowing a creamy purple.
    I don't think you meant it to, but the way you jump to description or a time of day after having Ethan open his eyes makes it feel like he had his eyes closed for HOURS.

    “Stop it,” Alakazam said, cutting him off with a wave of his hand. “Your promises or threats mean less to me now than they ever have before, so don’t try it. I love you with all my heart Ethan and I don’t wish to be parted from you. We’ll do what we have to do until this is done and then we will put this behind this, but I’m serious when I say that there will be no more killing. If you want to proceed down that route you will have to do it without me.”

    “Agreed,” Ethan said.
    Oh ho ho...but what is he agreeing to? No more killing? Or that he's willing to do it without Alakazam? Sneaky sneaky, Ethan.

    “Nah, Salamence are proud, but it took about five hits from those shehnai that I know of so I have a pretty good idea about how to get it under control.”
    Gotta be honest...I REALLY don't see Ethan as the kind of person to say "Nah". He seems to proper.

    “Tell him that he should consider what I have to say carefully before making any hasty decisions and I decide to do the same thing to him.”
    It took me three readings to understand that sentence. You missed a comma, at least (after decisions... and you actually have had a few comma problems this chapter, but I didn't point them out because I thought they might have been typos), but that's not all. It sounds like, the way he says "do the same thing", Ethan is referring to his own sentence (basically threatening to "make a hasty decision" since that is the last action before Ethan threatens).

    The Salamence brought himself up to his full height and made a gurgling in his throat that sounded like a chuckle. The dragon started raking its claws against the muzzle on his mouth before after turning completely around and showing him their back.
    Before after? So is that just "now" then?

    “You are correct in the fact that you don’t have to listen to any human,” Ethan said, checking to his right to see if Alakazam was relaying what he was saying. “But I am no human, not anymore. I’ll show you power, dragon. I’ll show you how to focus your strength and make it grow. And I will show you prey, and if you help me you shall have more than could ever sate your hunger.”
    Another comma thing. There should be one after "if you help me".

    “Well no, but they said I’m not ready to understand like I told you. They have my best interests at heart, our best interests. Everything they’ve ever told me to do has made me stronger, and unless you can’t think of an extremely persuasive argument to get me to stop, I’m going to keep doing it.”
    Couple things here: Should be a comma before "Like I told you". Change the comma before "our best interests" to either a semi-colon or an ellipsis. And it should be "unless you CAN think of an extremely..."

    “What can I do to help?”

    “Nothing, child. You’re doing your best, we know. It wouldn’t hurt to pick up the pace slightly, but we know you’ll save us.”
    Hmmm...this doesn't sound like the voices as we last saw them. What are they playing at?


    --Okay, I finished it up. I can honestly say I have no earthly idea what is going on with the voice[s] and their tower. I just can't gleam a clue from anything what they are. Maybe if I went back and JUST read all the scenes with them I'd get an idea. But as for now...I'm lost.

    I once again would like to mention that I adore the mirroring or Ethan to Dorian and Alakazam to Shelton. It's a shame I hadn't picked up on it to this chapter.

    Ethan has a Salamence now; his team is WAY overpowered for what Dorian and Shelton have. What chance can they have against him? None, I imagine. Which makes sense, as the story can only culminate with the voices being restored and being found to be the TRUE villain (or maybe not so villainous...who knows?)

    Sorry it took me so long to get here!


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  13. #138
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    Sorry I'm continuously running behind, but I sat down to read chapter 12 today and here are my thoughts on it:

    I feel like before this, hints that Alakazam is uncomfortable with the situation and what Ethan is becoming were really done well. So you’d neatly set-up that this turn from him was going to come. I will say, however, that the impact of Alakazam realizing the horrible act that Ethan has committed—his real tipping point that gets him to fight back—doesn’t come off as strong as it really could. I’m not sure I can explain entirely why. I think part of it is that the scene of him realizing what Ethan’s done isn’t a full-fledged scene, but instead a summarized flashback, so it doesn’t have a very in-the-moment feeling to it. The other part is may be that it relies heavily on Alakazam explaining what he’s feeling instead of letting the action show it. It’s not bad, but all in all, for an important character turning point like this, I felt like it could’ve been a lot more visceral.

    Alakazam’s fight against Scyther and Ethan, I think, really comes off well. I really liked the way this scene ended with Ethan withdrawing him back into the Pokeball. It creates this poignant feeling of futility at the end of a scene filled with rebellion. Though I do admit that “single tear” bits tend to strike me as maudlin. Alakazam’s a noble Pokemon, though, so I’ll give him that one.

    Granted, the officer’s showing up was a tremendous hiccup in the plan
    Should be “officers.”

    Ethan deposited the Pokeball into his pocket and drug his hands across his face.
    I think “dragged” is the proper word here, not “drug.” I’m not sure if “drug” is an acceptable substitute, but it’s not showing up as a past-tense form of drag in my dictionary.

    He felt no remorse for the man he had killed, or for the police that Scyther had maimed.
    Now see, I feel like you could get this concept across without making a “he felt x” statement. His narrative does that splendidly already without direct lines like this. I think if you wanted to be this direct, you should tie it in with Alakazam’s rebellion. Something like “Why should Alakazam expect him to feel remorse for the man he killed or for the police that Scyther had maimed?” And then go on with the “They were beneath him” stuff. It just feels more natural and less obvious that way.

    As Alakazam had lifted them above the city he had glimpsed more cars coming to the aid of their fallen brethren.
    I’m nitpicking here because after all the heaviness going on so far, I could probably use a laugh, but since “their” goes with “cars” this sentence made it sound for a minute as though the “fallen brethren” the cars are coming to the aid of are, in fact, other cars.

    The thought of his psychic Pokemon quickened his breathing and filled him with angst.
    This is back a bit to that naming emotions part again, though in this case it’s mainly the choice of angst that feels rather off to me. I suppose it could work here, but I think using dread or something of the like would be better. You may mean the same thing, but when I think angst, I think teen angst, and I don’t think that’s the association you’re going for.

    Uh… Ethan, you know sharp blows to the head like that can cause some serious—Oh, never mind. You’ve already done it.

    The crackdown from the voices is interesting. It lowers hope that Ethan will be slowed down by making the decision to lay low (and, more importantly, have time to think about his friend turning on him and whether he was wrong all along).

    The scalding water felt fabulous on his skin as it washed away the sweat and dirt he had accumulated over the last several days.
    Not sure how I like the word choice with “fabulous” here. Its connotations tend to be a little more glitzy and glamorous than a grimey shower.

    After about thirty minutes of conversation with a man from Olivine City, he had acquired the name of a man who would be capable of the task.
    Mild nitpick, but I feel like changing one of these “a man”s to a “someone” would help differentiate them and make it clearer that we’re talking about two different people—also to avoid repetition.

    He loathed their smiling faces, cursed their common appearance.
    I think this is a moment that could be expanded on. It could be really effective if instead of just saying that Ethan loathes these basic aspects of the characters, if you really took some time to describe them in detail—in Ethan’s voice, with the overtone that he hates them all over it. He doesn’t have to outright say he hates or loathes them if you go that route—readers will have that hate brought home to them through the description. Not to mention it would create a great opportunity to see our main characters, our “heroes” through completely different eyes.

    Well! That is quite a chilling last line! Great way to end the chapter.

    All in all, I think this was a good chapter. Lots of foreboding and setting things up for later. I look forward to seeing what happens next, particularly to Alakazam. My main complaint is that I feel like this could cut a lot deeper emotionally if it relied less on expositional proclaimations of emotion. Ethan's tone, in particular, comes across really strong in these piece. You can do a lot with that tone alone and have it be effective, without having to spell things out too much.

  14. #139
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    Awww...no Dorian and Shelton?
    Believe it or not, that's the first thing my wife said when she sat down to read this chapter lol

    I like the subtle way of showing Ethan's continued dependence upon Alakazam and all that the pokemon has done for him. They've been disagreeing lately, but Ethan knows deep-down that he'd be a lesser man if not for Alakazam.
    I'm glad you picked up on that. He really has no idea how much he depends on Alakazam especially, and that's going to be really fleshed out soon

    I think that, instead of the sarcastic quotation marks around "adversary", it would be more effective to say "His adversary--though Ethan would hardly consider him even that--folded..." It adds a little more bite to the way Ethan is unaffected by him.
    Awesome suggestion, thanks!

    Oh heavens, more brilliant mirroring. Ethan/Dorian on the quest for violence and hate; Alakazam/Shelton incredulous at how the person they love as changed. Will either be able to save their friend from the road they are on?
    Lol I hope so. Funny thing, the fact that you're picking up on that mirroring is awesome, and it makes a lot of sense, but I didn't write that with that in mind. To be honest I feel like it just flowed out of me and I'm only now realizing that it's in fact going on. Nicely done buddy

    Ethan has a Salamence now; his team is WAY overpowered for what Dorian and Shelton have. What chance can they have against him?
    Stay tuned

    Sorry I didn't have more time to comment on more of what you wrote, but I sincerely appreciate it. Especially the grammatical bits. I can't believe they escaped both me and my beta, but thanks for bringing them to my attention.

    Quote Originally Posted by Skiyomi
    I will say, however, that the impact of Alakazam realizing the horrible act that Ethan has committed—his real tipping point that gets him to fight back—doesn’t come off as strong as it really could. I’m not sure I can explain entirely why. I think part of it is that the scene of him realizing what Ethan’s done isn’t a full-fledged scene, but instead a summarized flashback, so it doesn’t have a very in-the-moment feeling to it.
    Hmm, good point. When I was writing the scene it was hard for me because I was struck with wanting to convey his inner struggle, while at the same time wanting to keep up with the action that was going on in the previous chapter. I found myself thinking that taking so much time delving into Alakazam's feelings would take away from the real time craziness that was going on. Thanks for bringing it to my attention

    Something like “Why should Alakazam expect him to feel remorse for the man he killed or for the police that Scyther had maimed?” And then go on with the “They were beneath him” stuff. It just feels more natural and less obvious that way.
    To be honest, that's one of my problem areas I've been working on. Dorian is based so much on myself that I feel like I write his emotions pretty well, but when it comes to characters like Alakazam who is completely made up, it's a lot harder for me to connect. Hopefully with time I'll get better at it

    I think this is a moment that could be expanded on. It could be really effective if instead of just saying that Ethan loathes these basic aspects of the characters, if you really took some time to describe them in detail—in Ethan’s voice, with the overtone that he hates them all over it. He doesn’t have to outright say he hates or loathes them if you go that route—readers will have that hate brought home to them through the description. Not to mention it would create a great opportunity to see our main characters, our “heroes” through completely different eyes.
    Excellent point as well, and I appreciate you bringing it up. That's another portion I'm really trying to work on. Talking and or reflecting on inner feelings rather than outright saying them. When I first started this I thought I would be able to express that easily, but as it turns out it's a lot harder than I imagined it would be.

    Thanks for all your input as well, as well as the grammatical corrections you suggested, I really appreciate it!

    To all the Requiem fans out there, the newest chapter should be posted by Friday, with the chapter after it to be posted by the following Monday since a lot will be going on. To all the people that have been reading/reviewing, thanks for the support

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

    -Thanks to PopPrincess_Lyra for the amazing banner-


  15. #140
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    Finally my life is back to normal. Hope everyone enjoys



    Chapter 17


    “Absolutely?” Shelton asked.

    “Will you please just let it go?” Dorian begged.

    “Oh come on, please humor me. Do you actually know the literal definition of the word?” Shelton challenged.

    “You know what, when we land in Orre I’ll let you crucify me for getting you a little wet. Somehow though, like always, I doubt that will be good enough.”

    “For example, if I ask you if you can outrun an approaching thunderstorm and you say absolutely, to me that means that you’re completely and utterly positive you can. If you have even a hint of doubt, you shouldn’t use that word; because it makes me people think you actually know what the hell you’re doing. Do you know what happens to hair that’s been sprayed with hairspray then immediately has water dumped on it?”

    “Just, I don’t know, wet down your hair and run a comb through it,” Dorian suggested.

    “Thanks for the suggestion Dorian; I’m really surprised I didn’t think of that. I ABSOLUTELY appreciate your input,” Shelton hissed, rising from her seat and inching towards the back of the plane.

    She crossed the narrow aisle past snoring elderly and screaming children with her head held low to avoid the embarrassment of people thinking Medusa had somehow boarded the plane. Shelton quickly closed the door to the bathroom behind her and let out an exasperated sigh. The whining of the jetliner steadily and slightly vibrated the mirror as she flipped on the light and took a long look at herself. Polished metal gleamed all around her, from the hoops in her ears to the toilet and sink in front of her. The silver of the room bathed her skin in a pleasant glow that made her think that it wasn't as bad as she thought. Sure, her hair had turned brittle with the copious amounts of hairspray mixed with the drenching downpour they went through on the way to Cerulean. Sure, her makeup had run down her face until she looked like a Zigzagoon. People had looked at her like she was some sort of side show clown when she and Dorian had checked into Cerulean International.

    As she tried her best to wipe away the ruined eyeliner and plaster down the erect portions of her hair, she attempted to assure herself that she wasn't being stuck-up. As a struggling trainer who had challenged two different regions, Shelton was no stranger to camping for days without a shower or shaving her legs. Hell, for almost a week she lived without a toothbrush after an unfortunate encounter with a monstrously pissed-off Macargo. She had just spent so much time this morning trying to look nice that it angered her that an hour’s worth of work could be completely ruined by a little water. Well, the word flood was more appropriate. She and Dorian had only been thirty minutes outside Cerulean when the thunderstorm that had been following them for an hour finally caught up. How he managed to keep the motorcycle on the road through that was beyond her. Maybe she was being too hard on him.

    As soon as that thought crossed her mind she always tried to physically slap the thought out. She knew she was being too hard on him, but he needed and deserved it. Her brother just straight up did not think ninety percent of the time. It wasn't enough that she took care of the finances, the house work, the yard work, but now she had been forced to go along with him across the world to make sure he didn't do anything to get himself killed. She was two years younger than him and now that they were in their twenties she still had to be his babysitter. Well, that wasn't quite correct either. Dorian hadn't made her come along, in fact; he had been quite content to go without her. She knew a small part of her wanted to rip Ethan’s head from his shoulders, but a larger part had no idea of what to do. Ronnie had been all she had besides Dorian and her Pokemon, and now she had a hole in her that couldn't be filled. Her own parents had died on the day of her birth, and as much as she wanted to feel love for them she couldn't. She genuinely smiled at the pictures she had of them, and marveled at the stories Ronnie use to tell of her parents. She didn't feel the love for them like she did for Ronnie and Dorian. Maybe that made her cold hearted, maybe it just made her more of a realist for caring for what was real instead of the memory of what was.

    “Absolutely,” Shelton said while giving herself a smile.

    Things would make sense after they found Ethan Bernard, or at least she hoped they would. Removing a hair band from her wrist she gathered up her hair the best she could and pulled it into a bun, finally crossing over to the realm of where she didn’t care what she looked like anymore. The floor of the plane shook spastically for a moment as she reached for the door, which in turn made her check her phone. Two hours left and they’d land in Phenac. After that they’d check in to their hotel and see if Dorian’s little vision or whatever was actually real.

    “Feeling better?” Dorian asked as she plopped down into the seat next to him.

    “Yes, no thanks to you,” Shelton said with a sneer.

    “Well, that’s one way to treat people. Anyway, the flight attendant stopped by while you were gone and told me there hadn’t been any problems with The Box.”

    “Good, now let’s not talk about it anymore. It freaks me out that they’re just hanging around like that underneath us,” Shelton admitted.

    “Agreed.”

    Ever since the Air Kanto flight of 1991, trainers all over the world dreaded flying with their Pokemon in tow. That particular flight had made lasting implications for trainers traveling abroad that most now accepted as a necessary precaution. The incident that sparked the new laws implemented by the various continental governments had come at a tragic cost; the lives of 274 humans and sixty Pokemon to be exact. From what the FAA gleaned from the frantic calls made by the pilot, somewhere about halfway through the flight an elderly man accidentally released his Magmar into the cabin. The Pokemon promptly had a panic attack when it realized how high up he and his trainer were and unintentionally loosed several jets of flame. Though the Magmar had been returned to its pokeball almost immediately, the damage had been done and the flaming remains of the plane had crashed to the ground outside Pallet Town. That incident, combined with Unovan terrorists using Pokemon to try and hijack a plane out of Nimbasa City a month later led to new rules governing Pokemon transportation.

    All Pokemon traveling with trainers from then on were remanded to travel in the cargo hold in a special device known as, ‘The Box’. Upon check-in, all Pokemon were returned to their balls and registered with that particular flight. Trainer’s submitted identification, and their Pokemon were stored in a special cube in the cargo area. The device underwent months of redesign before the final model was released to the various governments. Equipped with an electrical current running throughout that temporarily shorted out the pokeball’s ability to be opened, a transmitter that continuously broadcasted its location from anywhere on the planet, surrounded with enough armor plating to put a tank to shame, and six parachutes that opened automatically if the box had to be ejected, the risk of another of either incident was hard pressed to occur again. An extra crew member was added to all flights to watch The Box from a live feed inside the cockpit; and given the task of ejecting the device in instances of extreme life threatening jeopardy.

    “What do you want to do when we get to Phenac?” Dorian asked.

    “Sleep,” Shelton responded. “And if you’re thinking of talking about the reason why we’re going to Orre on a crowded plane, I’ll make sure you’re unconscious for the rest of the flight.”

    “You’re certainly a bundle of joy today,” Dorian said with a roll of his eyes.

    “Oh shut up,” Shelton said, reaching over and shutting the plastic curtain of his window.

    Wrapping both her arms around his left she leaned over and rested her head against his shoulder and closed her eyes. “Wake me when we get there.”

    The last thought she had before she drifted off was of Golduck.


    ********



    “Wakey wakey, eggs and bakey,” Dorian cooed.

    “Ugghhmufas,” Shelton replied, using her left arm to shield her eyes from the sunlight.

    “Oh get up, we’re landing.”

    As if the plane was confirming his statement, an almighty screeching filled the cabin as the plane touched down on the tarmac. The landscape outside slowly became visible as the plane slowed down, revealing an ocean of orange and red. It wasn’t as desolate as she imagined though, there were several patches of rolling green and shocking pink; along with splashes of brown trees and sparkling water. Whether this was just the natural décor that surrounded Phenac City’s mantra of being a desert oasis, or this was the fruit of Orre’s government’s attempts to revitalize the harsh landscape with their ‘re-greening’ undertaking, Shelton didn’t know. Regardless of which it was, the result was gorgeous to behold.

    “You ready for this?” Dorian asked, absentmindedly bobbing up and down.

    “What’s wrong with you? You look like you’re on your way to space camp. Chill out, we still have another hour of customs to go through, the Pokemon to collect, the hotel to check in to, and I’m hungry.”

    “Fine, mother. It is kind of exciting though, right? We’re one step closer to finding him.”

    Shelton felt something inside her mind give in slightly, and when she spoke she did it with a smile. “Yeah, it is.”

    The plane began its slow and deliberate turn towards the terminal with the boarded passengers beginning their usual routine of wondering how fast they could circumvent the other passengers and get to the door. Bags were retrieved from the overhead bins, courtesy nods were thrown, and people shuffled as politely as possible towards the door at the front. Since she and Dorian were seated at the rear of the plane they silently agreed to just wait until everyone had disembarked before following suit. They both got the expected smile and curtsy from the flight attendant as they stepped through the door and down the stairs to the ground below.

    The first thing Shelton noticed was that the air was dry and thin, almost suspiciously so. She wolfed down deep gulps of air and found to her surprise that Dorian was doing the same as well. After breathing in the same recycled air from the plane for the last twelve hours their lungs were unaccustomed to the actual thing. It wasn’t just that though, the air was different from what she had grown up with in Kanto and later Johto. There the air had at the very least a hint of moisture at all times. It wasn’t as hot as she imagined it would be either. Surely the temperature was approaching the upper nineties, but it felt almost cool against her skin as she and Dorian followed the waving employees towards customs at the far side of the tarmac.

    “Orre’s pretty liberal about incoming I’ve heard. I say we’re through in twenty minutes,” Dorian said.

    “Bet you fifty credits the wait is over forty-five,” Shelton dared.

    “You’re on,” Dorian grinned.

    After more than an hour wait to get through customs, and another thirty minutes to collect their bags and retrieve their Pokemon, Dorian angrily handed over the money he had bet. Finally, they we’re back in the bright sunlight and waiting in line for the taxi service in front of the main terminal. Dorian had released Vibrava, who had settled down to the ground to people watch after taking a few laps around the roof. After they hailed a cab and loaded their bags they climbed inside and attempted to endure a twenty minute ride towards Phenac with the driver who seemed to have no greater pleasure in life than to complain about the problems that foreigners brought to his region. About ten minutes into it though Dorian had sarcastically made some comment about the driver’s possible ancestry and how they were the only reason he had a job at the moment, which not surprisingly landed them both on the side of the road with their bags piled neatly beside them.

    “Are you capable of not being a smartass?” Shelton honestly asked.

    “Oh come on, the guy was being a moron. I’m not going to sit there and listen to him complain about how underdeveloped my region is when he can barely articulate words that have more than three syllables,” he replied.

    “Granted. But did you have to suggest his ancestry had some Snorlax mixed in?”

    “Probably not, but it was pretty inspired, right?”

    “Definitely Dorian, and believe me, despite the looks of utter hate I may give you, it was completely worth us being thrown out on our ass in the middle of the desert,” Shelton said dryly.

    “For some reason I think you might be being sarcastic.”

    “I’d probably stick with that idea for awhile, you might be onto something.”

    It was almost thirty minutes later before they were able to catch another taxi. The rest of the ride was thankfully uneventful, in part because she had threatened Dorian with serious bodily harm if he opened his mouth for anything except breathing. As the cab entered the outskirts of the city, the thought of hitting him with something very heavy vanished.

    If the area outside the airport had been gorgeous, the actual city of Phenac was easily a step above. Streams of sparkling water randomly leapt from fountain to fountain in the shade of lightly billowing palms. Sunlight glinted off the white marbled buildings and streets in such a way that it inspired thoughts of cleanliness and well-being. People walked freely across intersections and sidewalks, all with a pace that seemed lethargic and content. As their taxi slowed to a halt in front of their hotel Shelton thought she glimpsed the gargantuan top of the scarlet bazaar at the edge of the city.

    “Thank you,” Shelton said as she paid the driver.

    “My pleasure, little lady,” the driver said with a smile.

    Removing two pokeballs from the holster on her hip she released Machoke and Shuppet. The Pokemon had completely different reactions upon being released. Whereas Shuppet joyously rocketed into the sky, cackling loudly and spinning around, Machoke stayed rooted to the spot. After a few moments of stillness and frantically looking left and right, Machoke spied Shelton and quickly lumbered over where he crouched down and slid both arms around her waist.

    “Oh come on honey,” Shelton giggled, shaking him off. “You’re almost seven feet tall now; nothing is going to mess with you.”

    “Besides, Vibrava’s got your back,” Dorian added.

    “Bravaaaa,” the diminutive dragon agreed.

    “Do me a favor and grab the bags for me, okay sweetie?” Shelton asked.

    After taking a steadying breath, Machoke acquiesced and followed them up the steps. Inside, trainers and tourists alike lounged in strategically place leather sectionals surrounding the reception desk. The owned Pokemon inside were generally of the smaller variety and almost all of them stopped what they were doing to stare at Machoke’s impressive stature.

    “May I help you?” The receptionist asked.

    “I have a reservation under Street; I want to check in.”

    “No problem,” the bored looking woman said, turning to her monitor. “Ah, here it is. One smoking adjoined room, two queen beds in each, is that correct?”

    “Hold on a second,” Dorian interrupted. “You got us an adjoining room?”

    “Yeah, so?”

    “I want my own room.”

    “You’ll have your own room; they’re separated by a door in the middle.”

    “Whatever, I’ll just get my own room.”

    “No, you won’t. We don’t need to waste more money on another room when we already have separate ones,” Shelton said, turning back to the receptionist. “The adjoining room will be fine.”

    She heard Dorian mutter something about her being a ‘killer of joy’ before he pouted and walked away towards Vibrava who was playing with another trainer’s Eevee. Did he always have to be so damn difficult?

    “I apologize Ms. Street, but your room is being cleaned right now. It should be ready in about an hour. You’re welcome to leave your bags here if you’d like to leave the hotel while you wait.”

    “That’ll be fine.”

    Shelton handed over each of their suitcases and walked back to Dorian on the far side of the lobby.

    “Apparently the room is being cleaned and won’t be ready for an hour. Want to check out the bazaar while we wait?”

    “Sounds good to me. We need to check out the main fountain for the door anyway.”

    “Oh come on, Dorian. Can we just give it a day or two before we start cloak and daggering our way through the city?”

    “I just want to check it out, chill.”

    “Fine, let’s go.”

    With Vibrava perched on Dorian’s shoulder and Machoke and Shuppet following close behind, they stepped back out into the midday sun.

    “Are you going to let Nuzleaf and Growlithe out?”

    “In a minute, I’m trying to think,” Dorian replied.

    “About?”

    “What do you think? About Ethan fucking Bernard, and trying to remember how to open that passageway, that’s what.”

    “Yeesh, calm down. Let’s just check it out on the way. Like I said before, it’s not like we’re going to run into him on the way.”

    Dorian nodded and kept walking, though she saw more of a directness and intention in his stride. Though she said that she didn’t think they would see Ethan Bernard while they were in Phenac, it was entirely possible that they would. Dorian’s experience with the shard still made her uncomfortable. His mental journey with it went way past supernatural and crossed straight over into unbelievable. She had known Dorian her entire life and despite her reservations, she had believed every word he said. Dorian had seen three shards in Ethan’s pack, and with three more scattered around the planet it did seem logical that he was trying to gather him. To what end Shelton didn’t know, and to be honest she didn’t care. The goal was taking in Ethan Bernard, whatever he was doing or trying to do be damned.

    “There it is,” Dorian said.

    Shelton looked up as they entered the city square and saw the fountain. From her view it looked to be perfectly round and stretched out over seventy feet in every direction, with several streams of water erupting from its center. Various water Pokemon played throughout the interior of the fountain while their trainers lounged on the wrap around seating that followed its curves. She even saw a Golduck swimming lazily near the northernmost curve, taking measured strokes with both webbed hands. It almost pissed her off to think that that Golduck still had the benefit of all its limbs when her own was still trying to learn how to do everything right handed.

    “I was almost at this exact angle when it brought me here. In fact,” Dorian said, moving over few feet to his right. “I was right here, and almost straight in front of me was this button in the rock. It wasn’t a button though actually, it was one of the smooth rocks on the bottom that acted like a button.”

    Shelton moved forward to the edge of the fountain and saw that the floor of the pool was actually small bumps in the shape of small smooth stones.

    “It’s weird, Shelton, I just, I can still see it.”

    “Okay, well, first off we need to come back when everyone is gone and we can have som-“ Shelton started.

    She stopped because all the water Pokemon in the pool stopped swimming at the same time. They looked around at each other in a shared confusion that made her very nervous. It was at that moment that she felt the ground shake beneath her feet. Shelton looked down to the blocks of marble that made up the street and saw that the lines between the stone were vibrating steadily. She could hear Dorian talking but for some reason she couldn’t hear what he was saying, she was too focused on the stones. It was more than just the lines vibrating now; the entire street was bucking wildly up and down. An almighty crash of shattering stone rang out about fifty feet to their right as something exploded out from under the surface of the earth.

    “Get back!” Dorian shouted, grabbing her arm and pulling her backwards.

    Shelton reached over with one arm and broke his grip and took a step forward. She saw him come around again yelling something, but to her relief he stopped when he saw the smile etched on her face. Shelton took another step forward as Vibrava roared and the assorted people on the square began to run and shriek. What they were running from though had to be, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful things Shelton had ever seen.

    The Steelix was easily thirty feet long, it’s snakelike body carving deep ruts into the ground as it slithered out of the hole. Screeching filled her ears as its segmented body slithered across the street and out of the hole it made. Its monstrously armored head waved slightly from side to side as it roared a challenge to anyone present. When none presented itself, the Steelix turned its red eyes toward the building it had appeared next to. The Pokemon rolled itself into a crude ‘u’ shape and swung its tail with a grunt. The building the Pokemon had aimed at suddenly had a skylight as the roof practically exploded up into the air when the Pokemon’s tail struck. Bits of mortar and drywall shattered against the Pokemon’s solid steel skin as the pieces came back down, but the Steelix made no indication that it felt it at all.

    “That’s a fucking Steelix,” Dorian said aloud.

    “Looks like it,” Shelton said, barely blinking as she continued to watch its serpentine body.

    “What the hell is it doing?”

    The Steelix had begun to arch its massive head up and down into the building whose roof it had just demolished. As Shelton struggled to understand why it was doing that, she saw the crumpled remains of the sign that used to hang from the roof. ‘Phenac City Diamond Exchange.’

    “It’s going after the diamonds in the store,” Shelton laughed. Sure enough, when the Steelix arched its head back and gulped, she saw that its mouth was covered in a glittering dusting of shattered diamonds.

    “Well, fine, whatever, let’s just let it do whatever and let’s get as far away as possible,” Dorian said with a nervous laugh.

    “You go if you want, but I’m not leaving without it,” Shelton grinned, slapping the button on her Pokeflect that expanded the sapphire shield of energy around her.

    Before Dorian could protest, Shelton was already sprinting to the far left of the Steelix, towards the northernmost edge of the fountain. Shelton planned out every strategy she could while she ran, weighing every option as she got closer to the Pokemon she was intent on capturing. Machoke was obviously out, too prone to panic attacks when Zigzagoons tried to play with him that putting him up against this Steelix would likely give him a brain hemorrhage. Golduck was still healing, and besides that, she never wanted him battling again. Kecleon’s type disadvantage and move-pool wouldn’t pose much of a threat, which left one option.

    “Shuppet, shadow ball!” Shelton shouted.

    Her ghost Pokemon swooped forward and low in front of her, black energy forming in her open mouth. When the sphere was charged and crackling with violet energy Shuppet blew it towards the steel type. The attack connected and bounced off the Steelix’s back and arced straight up into the sky where it dissipated. The Steelix lifted its head to glare at Shuppet, then after a moment returned to rooting around inside the ruined store.

    “Shuppet, try it again with more power,” Shelton suggested.

    Shuppet nodded and began charging the necessary power again, but instead of shooting it out again, she dipped her head low and allowed it to settle down on the point that topped her head. Once it was there she closed her eyes in concentration and started adding more energy to the ball, which promptly doubled in size and darkness.

    “Hey Steelix!” Shelton shouted. “Look at me! I think I’m gonna go and use my hands to pick something up off the ground; doesn’t that piss you off!?”

    The steel Pokemon turned at the mention of its name and roared at Shelton. The sound shook more brick from the ruined storefront and made her skin break out in goose bumps.

    “That was insensitive, I apologize. Here, let’s just shake hands and put this behind us.”

    “LIIIXXXX!” Steelix roared again, sliding his body around to face her.

    “Shuppet, now,” Shelton whispered.

    Shuppet screeched loudly as she released the glowing ball of energy. The super charged ball streaked through the air and collided with the side of the Steelix’s head in an explosion of silvery ghost fire. The sheer magnitude of the explosion forced the Steelix’s head almost to the ground but it quickly righted itself and came back up to its full height to glare at Shuppet. Pulling its head back and then forward, the Steelix retaliated by blowing a rather impressive sheet of purple and red flame straight towards Shuppet. She dodged the attack by executing a corkscrew in the air and diving low, the skirt of her body barely an inch above the ground.

    “Double team three times and charge another shadow ball,” Shelton commanded.

    Shuppet continued to fly low to the ground towards the Steelix who twisted its tail around in front of itself into a defensive stance. As Shuppet came within thirty feet of the steel type she split herself into six glowing copies that circled the Steelix while bobbing up and down. The Steelix lashed out at two of the copies with its tail and destroyed them, while it took out another with a well placed dragonbreath attack. The real Shuppet and her two copies all started charging shadow balls in their mouths as the Steelix started slithering down the road towards Shelton. All three of the Shuppet suddenly fired simultaneously at the Steelix. The Pokemon deflected all three with a wave of its tail and sent them spiraling up towards the sky.

    “Shuppet, will-o-wisp!” Shelton screamed.

    Growling at Shelton one final time, the Steelix turned back towards Shuppet and readied itself. Shuppet shot forward and spun in a quick circle in front of the Steelix, conjuring a ring of grey flames that zoomed towards the target. Seeking to block the attack, the Steelix lifted its tail and tried to batter it aside, but found to his surprise that it wrapped around the last three feet of its tail and scorched it black. The Steelix roared in rage and snaked its head forward to where Shuppet floated and released another dragonbreath point-blank into her face. Shuppet screeched loudly and lost altitude, body smoking heavily.

    Just as Shelton was about to issue another command, no less than twelve jets of water suddenly shot from the fountain behind her and struck the Steelix full in the face. The icy blasts of water forced the steel type to the ground where it began beating its head against the ground in pain and frustration. Shelton turned and saw that the water Pokemon playing in the fountain from earlier were slowly creeping closer while keeping the streams of water steady on the twitching Steelix. Despite Shelton’s insistent yelling for them to back off they continued their assault and she turned back to the Steelix in time to see it slowly disappear into the hole it had created when it came to the surface.

    “You’ve got to be kidding me,” Shelton said.

    “You’re acting pretty calm,” Dorian said as he trotted over.

    “What?”

    “That Steelix just demolished a building, ate who knows how many diamonds, then charged you. And you seem fine.”

    “I am fine, and it wasn’t its fault. What the hell’s the problem with all those water Pokemon?”

    “I’m assuming they thought you needed help, so they helped,” Dorian stated, making it sound like she might be the dumbest person in the world.

    “I had it under control,” Shelton replied.

    “Oh yeah definitely,” Dorian agreed sheepishly, doing his best to hide a laugh.

    “Screw it; I’m going back to the hotel. You guys just, well, do whatever bye,” Shelton said with a groan.

    Shelton wasn’t surprised to hear Machoke lumbering along behind her, and after a few minutes of not seeing Shuppet she assumed that she was staying with Dorian. Shelton was pissed, almost livid actually. That Steelix had been so beautiful, so strong. It had taken the roof off the building like it was nothing. That Pokemon exemplified power in its rawest form. Body of solid metal, thirty feet long, that Steelix was a powerhouse. Shelton could have trained it up the right way too, she knew it. For a moment she pictured an empty field with Ethan Bernard standing in the middle of it. Him looking up, then screaming as the Steelix slammed his head into him until his body was nothing more than a thick paste.

    She checked in with the receptionist and to her surprise found that her room was ready. After informing her that her suitcase was awaiting her upstairs, the receptionist gave the expected smile and slid her a keycard. In the elevator Shelton returned Machoke to his ball and found that her and Dorian’s room was at the very far end of the third floor. Except for the thick fake plants lining every inch of available wall space, the hotel room was just like every other she had ever stayed at. A mattress that was almost perfect except for being just slightly too firm, the scent of used air, and fluorescent lighting in the bathroom that managed to highlight every imperfection on her face. The first thing she did was change out of her dress and into a t-shirt and some sweats. After that she checked the mini-fridge and found to her delight that it was stocked with every kind of alcohol she could imagine. Shelton took out a miniature bottle of whiskey and sat down on the bed. Lighting a cigarette and taking a long draw from the bottle, Shelton began to think.

    It wasn’t like her to go out on a limb like this based on some half-baked theory. Dorian’s vision or whatever he went through was something out of science-fiction. He’d been convincing enough sure, but now the idea was wearing on her. What Dorian said he went through had brought them to a completely different continent; this wasn’t just a walk down to the corner store. They had used Ronnie’s money to get here and now she was questioning herself again. The only thing she was sure of was Ethan Bernard. Video evidence verified he was the one that did this to Ronnie, but the reason she agreed to go had nothing to do with what Dorian went through at all. While she was fighting Ethan’s Scyther in Pewter, she had seen Ethan running forward to attack them, and he had been so fast. Inhumanly fast actually, more so than any Pokemon she had ever met. Shelton knew she was here to avenge Ronnie’s death, but a small part of her was curious about Ethan Bernard. How could someone be that fast? If Ronnie’s death drove her here then the mystery of who Ethan Bernard was made her put her foot on the gas.

    Shelton stubbed her cigarette out in the ashtray beside her and laid down. It wasn’t long before she fell asleep, and while she slept, she dreamt of Ethan Bernard.


    ********



    As Shelton Street slept and Dorian Dvakna pondered their next move, Marco and Ethan’s Scyther moved through the shadows cast by the streetlamps outside of their hotel. He had landed in Phenac a little over two hours ago, and had found out where Dorian and Shelton were in less time than it took him to get through customs. Hotels really needed to beef up their security in a big way. Upon landing he simply found a phone book and dialed every hotel in the city asking for them until one had said, “please hold while I connect you”. After ending the call before it could connect, he had his answer and his destination.

    The Scyther was an annoyance to say the least. One of the firm points Bernard had made was that his Scyther had to witness what happened, when it happened. It wasn’t that Marco particularly disliked Pokemon, but they were too unpredictable to be relied upon, and this Scyther was the reason for the rule. Maybe it was because they were both killers, or kindred spirits, but Marco could smell the blood on her as soon as he released her from her pokeball. The Scyther was antsy, quick to anger, and undeniably vicious. Marco had commanded her to stay by his side was she was out, and not to do anything without his express command. He was sure that the only reason she obeyed was because Bernard had put the fear of Arceus in her before he handed her over back in Pewter. So, with a somewhat firm agreement between them, they waited.

    Marco had witnessed Dorian Dvakna enter the lobby of the hotel about thirty minutes ago, and though he had yet to confirm the exact whereabouts of his second target, it was a safe assumption that she was already inside. Hours passed as Marco watched the entrance to the hotel, and though the passing time stirred the Scyther up more and more, an occasional glare from him kept her in check.

    Dorian Dvakna appeared at a little past three in the morning. He walked with purpose, but he also stopped every few yards and looked around, like he was expecting someone to jump out at him. Not only that, but Marco saw in the low light that he was clutching something hidden in the back of his jeans; probably a dagger or some kind of blunt instrument. From his research and what he had been told by Bernard, both of his targets used Pokemon only, so Marco didn’t think he had anything to worry about in terms of firearms. Reaching into both holsters under his armpits, Marco checked both his weapons and chambered a round in each.

    “Follow me and stick to the dark. Let’s see where he goes,” Marco told the Scyther.


    *******



    “What?!” Shelton snapped sharply as someone poked her in the ribs.

    “Nunnuz,” Nuzleaf said from the dark.

    “What?”

    “Nuzleaf, leaf!”

    “Come on, I’m trying to sleep, he can do whatever he wants.”

    Nuzleaf sighed loudly in exasperation and flipped on her lamp.

    “Nunuz!”

    “Christ!” Shelton cried, flinging up her arm to shield herself from the brightness. “Fine, I’m up! Now what are you talking about?”

    “Nu, Nuzleaf nuz, nu Nuzleaf Nuzleaf nuz,” he explained.

    “He was acting weird how?”

    “Nuzleaf nuz.”

    “Like he was possessed? What are you talking about?”

    “Nuzleaf, leaf leaf Nuzleaf.”

    “Oh Christ, he’s probably at the fountain looking for that stupid button,” Shelton moaned. “He’ll come back later, just go back to sleep.”

    “Nuzleaf!” he responded with an angry glare.

    “You’re not going to give this up, are you?” Shelton asked.

    “Leaf!”

    “Fine, let me get dressed.”

    Shelton quickly slipped on a pair of jeans and her boots, and after pulling her hair back into a bun and pocketing one of her batons, she threw her arms out wide at the miniature wooden figure standing by the door. Nuzleaf opened the door and left her to follow, which she did quickly after checking the clock by her bedside. Three-thirty in the morning, just perfect. Why couldn’t Dorian have just waited until the morning? Was it really that pressing?

    They exited the lobby with Nuzleaf in the lead, catching sight of the receptionist from earlier in the day asleep with her head face down on the counter in front of her. Phenac City was dead at this hour, and their only companions were a few drunken morons who yelled at them as they passed by a side street. Unabated they kept walking and found Dorian exactly where she expected; waist deep in water near the middle of the fountain, his hands beneath the surface. As she approached the edge of the fountain she watched Nuzleaf jump into the water and start trudging towards him. Dorian whipped around when Nuzleaf splashed in, his right hand shooting towards the small of his back. When he looked past Nuzleaf, his face fell and he hung his shoulders down lower.

    “Seriously?” Shelton asked. “Dorian, its three in the morning, have you completely lost your mind? Get out of there and let’s get back to the hotel. We’ll check it out tomorrow, I promise.”

    “Shelton, you don’t understand, I can’t. I just, I need to do this now, it keeps calling for me.”

    “What keeps calling for you?”

    “The shard. It woke me up; it wants me to hold it. I know the button is around here somewhere. I have to find it.”

    Just as Shelton was trying to come up with a counter argument, she heard two soft pops behind her. She caught a glimpse of yellow and as she stared forward, Nuzleaf fell backwards into the water. Two more pops echoed across the square and she heard the tinkle of breaking glass a millisecond later. Shelton spun around and heard Dorian yelling behind her, but she couldn’t pay attention to him because something was coming out of the shadows.

    The Scyther from Pewter City was bent low to the ground, its feet a blur as it rushed forward, moving its head from side to side as it charged. Before Shelton fully processed the situation her baton was already out and extended to its full length. She backed up as the Scyther streaked towards her, the synapses in her brain firing wildly as it got closer. Shelton jumped backwards into the fountain as the Scyther raised its arm to strike and threw her baton as hard as she could. The weapon struck the Pokemon in the neck, which threw off its balance and sent it crashing into her stomach. Shelton was flung backwards from the impact and was instantly soaked up to her neck in lukewarm water. More pops echoed across the square as a humanoid figure became visible at the edge of the street. Shelton felt a strong arm grab her and haul her backwards as she struggled to catch her breath.

    Turning around, she saw Dorian dragging her with his right arm, and the unconscious form of Nuzleaf with his left. The sticky sweet smell of stun spore hung over them like a cloud, making her eyes water. Shelton looked back towards the edge of the pool and saw the Scyther once again rushing towards them, with a man holding a gun in each hand close behind it. She pushed her hands down in order to get upright, and while her left hand found a firm grip, her right hand sank lower as one of the cobbled bubbles of stone sank beneath her weight. There was a sudden grinding sound of metal on metal and she found herself weightless as a large hole opened up beneath her.

    As the Scyther and the man closed in on them, She, Dorian, and Nuzleaf fell into the blackness below.
    Last edited by Sidewinder; 14th November 2012 at 5:54 PM.

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

    -Thanks to PopPrincess_Lyra for the amazing banner-


  16. #141
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    May 2007
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    “For example, if I ask you if you can outrun an approaching thunderstorm and you say absolutely, to me that means that you’re completely and utterly positive you can. If you have even a hint of doubt, you shouldn’t use that word; because it makes me people think you actually know what the hell you’re doing. Do you know what happens to hair that’s been sprayed with hairspray then immediately has water dumped on it?”

    “Just, I don’t know, wet down your hair and run a comb through it,” Dorian suggested.

    “Thanks for the suggestion Dorian; I’m really surprised I didn’t think of that. I ABSOLUTELY appreciate your input,” Shelton hissed, rising from her seat and inching towards the back of the plane.
    Lol, their bickering never ceases to amuse me.

    Also, it should be “because it makes people think…” You put “me” in there out of nowhere.

    Hell, for almost a week she lived without a toothbrush after an unfortunate encounter with a monstrously pissed-off Macargo.
    Lol, sounds like an interesting story.

    Should be “Magcargo”

    Her own parents had died on the day of her birth, and as much as she wanted to feel love for them she couldn't. She genuinely smiled at the pictures she had of them, and marveled at the stories Ronnie use to tell of her parents. She didn't feel the love for them like she did for Ronnie and Dorian. Maybe that made her cold hearted, maybe it just made her more of a realist for caring for what was real instead of the memory of what was.
    Not sure why, but this portion really sticks with me. Nicely written and a good portrayal of character.

    Trainer’s submitted identification, and their Pokemon were stored in a special cube in the cargo area.
    Should be “trainers”

    Finally, they we’re back in the bright sunlight and waiting in line for the taxi service in front of the main terminal.
    “were” not “we’re”

    She even saw a Golduck swimming lazily near the northernmost curve, taking measured strokes with both webbed hands. It almost pissed her off to think that that Golduck still had the benefit of all its limbs when her own was still trying to learn how to do everything right handed.
    Almost? That’d definitely piss me off. Also, I like how you still bring up memories of Golduck’s accident to show how effected Shelton was by it, as well as Golduck. The comments always sting.

    What they were running from though had to be, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful things Shelton had ever seen.
    Shelton has an interesting idea of what’s considered “beautiful” LOL.

    Machoke was obviously out, too prone to panic attacks when Zigzagoons tried to play with him that putting him up against this Steelix would likely give him a brain hemorrhage.
    Lol, poor Machoke. He’s so adorable.

    “Shuppet, now,” Shelton whispered.
    Amongst a Steelix roaring, I doubt a whisper would suffice here.

    “Seriously?” Shelton asked. “Dorian, its three in the morning, have you completely lost your mind? Get out of there and let’s get back to the hotel. We’ll check it out tomorrow, I promise.”
    “it’s” not “its”

    As the Scyther and the man closed in on them, She, Dorian, and Nuzleaf fell into the blackness below.
    “She” shouldn’t be capitalized.

    Overall, a good chapter. The highlight of it all, I think, was Dorian and Shelton’s bickering with each other, lol. The description was good as always, and it looks like things are going to start getting bad for Dorian and co.--so your chapter ending proves to be effective when I say update soon, I look forward to what's going to happen next!

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


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


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


  17. #142
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    I ABSOLUTELY appreciate your input,” Shelton hissed, rising from her seat and inching towards the back of the plane.
    Gee, I get the feeling that despite her using that word, she completely and utterly does not appreciate his suggestion...

    Hell, for almost a week she lived without a toothbrush after an unfortunate encounter with a monstrously pissed-off Macargo.
    This totally needs to be in the "Bonus Features" section after you finish this story.

    As soon as that thought crossed her mind she always tried to physically slap the thought out.
    needs a comma after mind

    Her brother
    Wrapping both her arms around his left she leaned over and rested her head against his shoulder and closed her eyes. “Wake me when we get there.”
    comma after left,

    The last thought she had before she drifted off was of Golduck.
    This is not entirely unfitting of Shelton, but the thought seems to come from nowhere. We spend several long segments talking about Shelton's family, planes falling from the sky, and then Golduck comes out if nowhere. not even of her Pokemon "trapped" below her, just Golduck, who's had little mention for a while.

    It wasn’t as hot as she imagined it would be either. Surely the temperature was approaching the upper nineties
    You've got this a little bit backwards, if you'd like my advice. While a "dry heat" is one thing, The Orre region is based around Arizona, keep in mind. Low, flat, boiling Arizona, where things tend to be rather so dry that its going to drain out of your skin. Also, there's absolutely nothing between you and the sun, so that dry heat on tarmac is going to boil you live.

    they we’re back in the bright sunlight
    Dorian had released Vibrava, who had settled down to people watch on his shoulder after taking a few laps around the roo
    Slight physics problem, given that (and I looked this up to be sure) Vibrava are three feet long. Smaller than I had thought given how big Flygon are, but still quite a bit larger than a human's shoulder.

    Man, Vibrava's going to love the Orre region though. Sand, for as far as the eye can see. A trapinch haven for sure.

    After they hailed a cab and loaded their bags they climbed inside and attempted to endure a twenty minute ride towards Phenac
    comma after bags

    with the driver who seemed to have no greater pleasure in life than to complain about the problems that foreigners brought to his region.
    Kinda seems about right, although from a video game canon, the influx of trainers on vacation, going to the various Colosseums is probably more than half of the Orre region's economy... Silly short-sighted citizens...

    and how they were the only reason he had a job at the moment,
    yeah, something like that, actually.

    But did you have to suggest his ancestry had some Snorlax mixed in?”
    Um, I don't get it?

    Shelton reached over with one arm and broke his grip and took a step forward.
    and... and... and...

    The Steelix was easily thirty feet long, it’s snakelike body carving deep ruts into the ground as it slithered out of the hole.
    -Snake! Big Snake! Big Angry fireproof steel snake!
    “What the hell is it doing?”
    Offhand? I'd say whatever the hell it wants.

    “You go if you want, but I’m not leaving without it,” Shelton grinned, slapping the button on her Pokeflect that expanded the sapphire shield of energy around her.
    yay for Shelton trying to catch a Pokemon. Now, let's see how well...

    Once it was there she closed her eyes in concentration
    comma after there

    “Hey Steelix!” Shelton shouted. “Look at me! I think I’m gonna go and use my hands to pick something up off the ground; doesn’t that piss you off!?”

    The steel Pokemon turned at the mention of its name and roared at Shelton. The sound shook more brick from the ruined storefront and made her skin break out in goose bumps.

    “That was insensitive, I apologize. Here, let’s just shake hands and put this behind us.”
    Oh, yes, let's just go and peeve off a thrirty foot long byulletproof snake in the middle of Phenac Friggin' City. Because that worked SOO well for the miners in the Under...

    “Double team three times
    Seems too gimmicky and like a game mechanic, what does Double Teaming three times do?

    Seeking to block the attack, the Steelix
    Yay! The comma's there!

    Despite Shelton’s insistent yelling for them to back off
    you should have a comma there, though.

    Despite Shelton’s insistent yelling for them to back off they continued their assault and she turned back to the Steelix in time to see it slowly disappear into the hole it had created when it came to the surface.
    Well, that went better than I thought it would. Shelton's at least upright...

    In the elevator Shelton returned Machoke
    comma after the elevator, too. Remember, natural pauses.

    He had landed in Phenac a little over two hours ago, and had found out where Dorian and Shelton were in less time than it took him to get through customs.
    tee hee

    “Nu, Nuzleaf nuz, nu Nuzleaf Nuzleaf nuz,” he explained.

    “He was acting weird how?”

    “Nuzleaf nuz.”

    “Like he was possessed? What are you talking about?”

    “Nuzleaf, leaf leaf Nuzleaf.”
    Now see folks, this is why you never let your humans off their leash... Oh, wait a minute...

    So, anyway, yay for random big-honkin' Steelixes. (I might be biased there) Although Phenac seems the wrong place for one to pop up to rob a diamond exchange... I'd think a Steelix would go for something with a little more sustenence, like a billboard or a big I-beam structure.

    Also, big YAY for being in the Orre region. Would like to see if they get to any other parts of it or if this is the only stop in Phenac.
        Spoiler:- Breeding stuff:

  18. #143
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewinder View Post
    “For example, if I ask you if you can outrun an approaching thunderstorm and you say absolutely, to me that means that you’re completely and utterly positive you can. If you have even a hint of doubt, you shouldn’t use that word; because it makes me people think you actually know what the hell you’re doing. Do you know what happens to hair that’s been sprayed with hairspray then immediately has water dumped on it?”
    I like the dialogue here because the bit preceding it is Dorian saying something, and here's Shelton just ignoring him and moving on with her point. It's very realistic and humorous and it feels authentic.

    “Thanks for the suggestion Dorian; I’m really surprised I didn’t think of that. I ABSOLUTELY appreciate your input,” Shelton hissed, rising from her seat and inching towards the back of the plane.
    Nice touch; I like the witty sarcasm here.

    She crossed the narrow aisle past snoring elderly and screaming children with her head held low to avoid the embarrassment of people thinking Medusa had somehow boarded the plane. Shelton quickly closed the door to the bathroom behind her and let out an exasperated sigh. The whining of the jetliner steadily and slightly vibrated the mirror as she flipped on the light and took a long look at herself. Polished metal gleamed all around her, from the hoops in her ears to the toilet and sink in front of her. The silver of the room bathed her skin in a pleasant glow that made her think that it wasn't as bad as she thought. Sure, her hair had turned brittle with the copious amounts of hairspray mixed with the drenching downpour they went through on the way to Cerulean. Sure, her makeup had run down her face until she looked like a Zigzagoon. People had looked at her like she was some sort of side show clown when she and Dorian had checked into Cerulean International.
    Nice description here. I like the touches of the metal around her. Metal usually de-humanizes things, but here it makes her feel better about herself, which is an unusual take on such an environment. Good thinking.

    As a struggling trainer who had challenged two different regions, Shelton was no stranger to camping for days without a shower or shaving her legs. Hell, for almost a week she lived without a toothbrush after an unfortunate encounter with a monstrously pissed-off Macargo. She had just spent so much time this morning trying to look nice that it angered her that an hour’s worth of work could be completely ruined by a little water.
    I like that you just left the story there, too. It adds a bit of mystique to a storypoint that really isn't important. The reader can imagine his/her own scenario.

    Her brother just straight up did not think ninety percent of the time. It wasn't enough that she took care of the finances, the house work, the yard work, but now she had been forced to go along with him across the world to make sure he didn't do anything to get himself killed.
    I feel like the "brother" bit was thrown in for me since I've had such a hard time staying on top of their relationship. It all seems so weird; they AREN'T really related, they were both just taken in by Ronnie. But now they are adults and live together and have different last names. It is unusual, at least.

    Her own parents had died on the day of her birth, and as much as she wanted to feel love for them she couldn't. She genuinely smiled at the pictures she had of them, and marveled at the stories Ronnie use to tell of her parents. She didn't feel the love for them like she did for Ronnie and Dorian. Maybe that made her cold hearted, maybe it just made her more of a realist for caring for what was real instead of the memory of what was.
    A realistic emotion blended with realistic twinges of guilt and rationalization. Very nice.

    Though the Magmar had been returned to its pokeball almost immediately, the damage had been done and the flaming remains of the plane had crashed to the ground outside Pallet Town. That incident, combined with Unovan terrorists using Pokemon to try and hijack a plane out of Nimbasa City a month later led to new rules governing Pokemon transportation.
    I connected to this because I write a lot of original superhero world kind of stories, and one thing I always have touched on is how certain things (flight chief amongst them, but also elections and gambling to name a few) become impossible to have in such a world.

    “Ugghhmufas,” Shelton replied, using her left arm to shield her eyes from the sunlight.
    I'm generally not a fan of writing out "sounds" in writing. I think it tends to be possibly distracting and makes the reader stop to think "Wait, how does that sound?"

    The plane began its slow and deliberate turn towards the terminal with the boarded passengers beginning their usual routine of wondering how fast they could circumvent the other passengers and get to the door. Bags were retrieved from the overhead bins, courtesy nods were thrown, and people shuffled as politely as possible towards the door at the front. Since she and Dorian were seated at the rear of the plane they silently agreed to just wait until everyone had disembarked before following suit. They both got the expected smile and curtsy from the flight attendant as they stepped through the door and down the stairs to the ground below.
    Nice description of a plane landing and everyone's reaction to it. Good real-world touch.

    “For some reason I think you might be being sarcastic.”

    “I’d probably stick with that idea for awhile, you might be onto something.”
    I think this exchange was all right leading up to this two lines, and then it felt like it dragged on just a bit too long. I think it might have been time to cut and move on. These two lines, to me, felt a little forced.

    She stopped because all the water Pokemon in the pool stopped swimming at the same time. They looked around at each other in a shared confusion that made her very nervous. It was at that moment that she felt the ground shake beneath her feet. Shelton looked down to the blocks of marble that made up the street and saw that the lines between the stone were vibrating steadily. She could hear Dorian talking but for some reason she couldn’t hear what he was saying, she was too focused on the stones. It was more than just the lines vibrating now; the entire street was bucking wildly up and down. An almighty crash of shattering stone rang out about fifty feet to their right as something exploded out from under the surface of the earth.
    I liked the detail here of the pokemon reacting before people and Shelton focusing on the details and losing sense of Dorian's words.

    Shelton wasn’t surprised to hear Machoke lumbering along behind her, and after a few minutes of not seeing Shuppet she assumed that she was staying with Dorian. Shelton was pissed, almost livid actually. That Steelix had been so beautiful, so strong. It had taken the roof off the building like it was nothing. That Pokemon exemplified power in its rawest form. Body of solid metal, thirty feet long, that Steelix was a powerhouse. Shelton could have trained it up the right way too, she knew it. For a moment she pictured an empty field with Ethan Bernard standing in the middle of it. Him looking up, then screaming as the Steelix slammed his head into him until his body was nothing more than a thick paste.
    Interesting detail on Shelton's innermost desire there. Will she be able to control herself when they confront Ethan? MYSTERY!

    As Shelton Street slept and Dorian Dvakna pondered their next move, Marco and Ethan’s Scyther moved through the shadows cast by the streetlamps outside of their hotel. He had landed in Phenac a little over two hours ago, and had found out where Dorian and Shelton were in less time than it took him to get through customs. Hotels really needed to beef up their security in a big way. Upon landing he simply found a phone book and dialed every hotel in the city asking for them until one had said, “please hold while I connect you”. After ending the call before it could connect, he had his answer and his destination.
    I had....COMPLETELY forgotten about this guy. Again, I think... I'm pretty sure every time you bring him up, I'd forgotten he exists. I'm not sure what role he plays. It FEELS minor/negligible at this point--like he's a mini-boss leading up to Ethan--but who knows what will come?

    “Shelton, you don’t understand, I can’t. I just, I need to do this now, it keeps calling for me.”

    “What keeps calling for you?”

    “The shard. It woke me up; it wants me to hold it. I know the button is around here somewhere. I have to find it.”
    Oh, ****. That's bad. But reasonable! New wrinkle added to the plot.


    -Not a bad chapter. Besides the one point I mentioned in the desert, there were a few segments with Dorian/Shelton that seemed a bit flat to me; they just didn't QUITE resonate as humorously as I think they were intended to be.

    But the chapter was overall pretty good. Nice details all around (the lead-up to the Steelix attack, Shelton's inner hatred for Ethan, the plane stuff).

    I do want to see more relevance from Marco because I worry I'll forget him again by next chapter. He just feels too much like a generic lackey/nuisance antagonist at this point.


    Sid87's Gen 6 Igloo Shop!

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  19. #144
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    Quote Originally Posted by diamondpearl876
    Lol, sounds like an interesting story.
    Lol, the one I thought of sure is. I'm glad so many people commented on it and it's made me want to ad a little bonus feature as Glover suggested

    Shelton has an interesting idea of what’s considered “beautiful” LOL.
    I agree. Though I think she made that comment because at her core she values power more than anything else. And since I've always felt that an outside gameplay Steelix would be extremely powerful in all other aspects of the Pokemon world, I felt like she would really respond to it.

    Amongst a Steelix roaring, I doubt a whisper would suffice here.
    Yeah you're probably right lol

    Thanks for reading/reviewing as always! I'll fix the errors you mentioned as well, thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by Gover
    Gee, I get the feeling that despite her using that word, she completely and utterly does not appreciate his suggestion...
    I'm glad you picked up on that lol. Sometimes I feel like this story would be a lot easier if she just went ahead and battered him unrecognizable

    This totally needs to be in the "Bonus Features" section after you finish this story.
    Yup, it's gonna happen

    You've got this a little bit backwards, if you'd like my advice. While a "dry heat" is one thing, The Orre region is based around Arizona, keep in mind. Low, flat, boiling Arizona, where things tend to be rather so dry that its going to drain out of your skin. Also, there's absolutely nothing between you and the sun, so that dry heat on tarmac is going to boil you live.
    Good points. I knew I should have spoken to you more about this before I started. I looked up a few tempratures and thought for that this time of year it wouldn't be too unbearable. I'll go back and figure something out

    Slight physics problem, given that (and I looked this up to be sure) Vibrava are three feet long. Smaller than I had thought given how big Flygon are, but still quite a bit larger than a human's shoulder.
    I'm glad you looked it up. I should have clarified this a little better, but Vibrava is on his shoulder but he's sort of wrapped around the top of Dorian's shoulders like a neck pillow lol

    Um, I don't get it?
    I was suggesting he was overweight :P

    Oh, yes, let's just go and peeve off a thrirty foot long byulletproof snake in the middle of Phenac Friggin' City. Because that worked SOO well for the miners in the Under...
    Lol exactly

    Thanks for the reading/reviewing as always. I appreciate the help on the errors as well, I should have time to go back and fix them tomorrow

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    Nice description here. I like the touches of the metal around her. Metal usually de-humanizes things, but here it makes her feel better about herself, which is an unusual take on such an environment. Good thinking.
    I'm glad you commented on that because you're right, it usually does de-humanize, but for me it has always been the opposite, I like the way I look surrounded by silver. For some reason I've just always really liked it.

    I feel like the "brother" bit was thrown in for me since I've had such a hard time staying on top of their relationship.
    Lol of course not :P

    Sometimes I just want to srop a line like that so people don't forget, otherwise things may get weird down the road haha

    I'm pretty sure every time you bring him up, I'd forgotten he exists. I'm not sure what role he plays.
    That was kinda what I've been going for. I want people to like him, but at the same time I won't people to forget him as soon as his little portions pas, because that's who he is and how he lives his life, as a shadow of a shadow

    And to you as well thanks very much for reading/reviewing and for pointing out the errors!

    And for you three and all the rest, the newest chapter will be added later tonight. I'm pretty excited about it so stay tuned!

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

    -Thanks to PopPrincess_Lyra for the amazing banner-


  20. #145
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    Chapter 18


    Pain flashed across Dorian’s back as he connected with the stone floor below, and almost immediately afterward the wind was knocked out of him as Nuzleaf and Shelton landed on top of him. Just as he took in a frantic breath, the water from the fountain above hit him full in the face. The back of his head slammed back into the floor from the force of the water and he once again found him on the flat of his back. The flow of water ceased quickly as a thick door sized disc of stone slid forward to cover the hole they had just dropped through. It was too dark to discern much from his surroundings, but from the way the water echoed as it finished splashing down made him think they were in a very large room.

    “You fucking idiot,” Shelton hissed.

    “Where’s Nuzleaf?” Dorian growled in reply.

    “I’ve got him, he’s paralyzed I think but he’s breathing; he reeks of stun spore.”

    “It was Ethan, I saw him right before I fell,” Dorian explained as he found Nuzleaf’s leg and followed it to his face.

    “Unless he’s undergone some sort of extreme pigmentation change operation, it wasn’t him. The guy who shot at us was black.”

    “That was his Scyther though,” Dorian suggested.

    “Yeah, I recognized it too. We have to get outta here and call the police; where’s the exit at?”

    “How the hell should I know? This is what the shard showed me but I can’t see more than two feet in front of my face.”

    “Don’t get an attitude, Dorian. It’s your fucking fault we’re down here so don’t even start.”

    As much as he wanted to he couldn’t argue with that logic.

    True enough this is where he wanted to be, though not exactly in this fashion. He could feel Nuzleaf’s heart beating and his chest rising and falling with regularity, so for the time being Dorian didn’t think there was too much to worry about. The sooner he got him out of here and to a Pokemon Center the better though. Dorian hadn’t brought his phone or his Pokeflect, and judging from Shelton’s exasperated sighs she hadn’t either. So with no source of light Dorian shuffled into a crouch and waited for his eyes to adjust to the darkness. Unfortunately for all three, they didn’t have to wait long.

    Suddenly, coils of light sprang to life across the ceiling, causing Dorian to duck his head low in surprise. Dorian opened his eyes as slowly as possible to get used to the new found visibility, and found to his surprise that the room was round and that someone down here had been very busy.

    Several ladders were standing upright at random intervals near the walls with ungodly amounts of opened paint cans scattered between them. The floors near the walls were a whirlwind of color; sunburst yellow, marlboro red, with one section drenched in an enormous pool of black. The walls were about fifteen feet tall and every single inch of available wall space was covered with a painted curving mural. As Dorian slowly turned and drank in the images on the walls, he saw out of the corner of his eye that Shelton was doing the same.

    Cities were burned, forests were razed, humans and Pokemon alike ran through depictions of absolute destruction. Most were being slaughtered by what looked to be long white claws, and the artist had been extremely liberal with the red paint that surrounded their bodies. Further on, the pictures of terror morphed queerly into a cloudless blue sky, where below six robed men sat lazily yet grandiosely on thrones of black metal. Past that was a highly detailed picture of all six regions, with a white drop of paint at some point on each of them. As Dorian turned almost completely around to follow the painting he noticed a thick curving line of black paint following the mural from beginning to end. Whether it was at the top, or the bottom, or wrapped around someone’s foot, it was always somehow in every picture.

    The final depiction in the barrage of terror was of a simple island in a dark blue ocean. Grey clouds circled above, and on the small island was a massive black stone tower that reached up and through the clouds.

    “Let’s get out of here, like now,” Shelton whispered.

    “What about the shard?”

    “Dorian, are you seeing this? We’re getting out of here.”

    “But if we ju-“ Dorian started.

    “No, we’ll figure out another way to get to it. I’m not really in the mood to meet the button-down psycho who painted this. Look, there’s a door,” Shelton interjected.

    Knowing that she wouldn’t give this up until she had her way, Dorian pulled Nuzleaf onto his shoulder and started forward after Shelton across the slippery stone floor. Silently he berated himself for being so careless. He didn’t want to meet the person who painted this either, but more so than that he had tried to argue for finding the shard over getting Nuzleaf healed. He never would have chosen an object over Dorian if he was hurt. Shelton was right; they’d get out of here for right now and come back after Nuzleaf was healed and they had dealt with the Scyther and the random person who had shot at them. Just as they came within five feet of the simple oak door at the far side of the room, the knob began to turn from the other side.

    Shelton slid to her right in front of Dorian and crouched down to leap forward as the door flew open. She faltered as a huge violet armored foot crossed the threshold, revealing near the top of the frame the grimacing face of an adult Nidoking. Taking care to keep its tail rigid as possible, the horned Pokemon stepped through and made way for an identically colored and muscular copy of itself. The two Pokemon obediently took up positions on either side of the door, clawed hands flexing in practiced repetition. A flashlight came through the doorway next; followed by the robed man Dorian had seen when the shard had taken him on his mental journey.

    “Are you him?” the man asked quietly, his face hidden by the heavy hood drawn across his head.

    “We, I mean I’m not ex-“ Dorian tried to explain, only to be cut off by the man repeating the question.

    “Are you him?”

    “Look,” Shelton said, taking a step forward. “We fell down here accidentally and we’re looking for a way out. If you can help us with that, great. If not, get out of our way.”

    “You’re not him,” the man said with obvious disappointment. “Take them.”

    Both Nidoking shot forward and quickly pinned both of them to the floor before they could react, hands taking no care with their soft flesh. Dorian yelped as one of the Nidoking yanked him to his feet and slid a bicep around his throat, the other hand dragging Nuzleaf by his leg. Dorian saw Shelton try to fight at first but she quickly gave up as the Pokemon tightened the arm around her throat to the point where it became difficult to breathe. At the sight Dorian started struggling as well, just to have the same punishment inflicted on him as well. Both Nidoking loosened their grips on them as they crossed through the door and into a narrow hallway, but both looked down to growl threateningly at each of them every few seconds as they walked.

    As Dorian’s mind raced to figure out a way out of this situation, his thoughts suddenly halted and presented him with a counter thought; this was all real. Dorian had known this when Shelton had accidentally found the button in the fountain, but it was even further cemented now that he had been presented with the man in the robe and the two Nidoking. They were just as the shard had told them, and as hopeless of a situation as this was for them, he couldn’t help but marvel at the simple fact that he was right, and all of this was real. After he was done congratulating himself on finally knowing for sure he was not crazy, he was presented with an even more pressing situation, namely the one they were in now. He opened his mouth to say something at the man walking ahead of them but as soon as he did the Nidoking tightened its grip on his throat again.

    White light became visible as they neared the end of the passageway, which ended in another room identical to the first except for that it was about a quarter of the size. On the side that they entered a jackhammer laid on the floor next to piles of pulverized rock and buckets of sand, and on the other side of the room were shelves upon shelves stacked to the ceiling that glittered with an array of white, emerald, and dark red. Near the center of the room was an iron jail cell just big enough for the two of them. The man opened the door with a key from his robe and motioned toward his Pokemon. After Nuzleaf was tossed inside the cell, the man searched Shelton’s pockets and then Dorian’s, where he found the pokeballs containing Spoink and Growlithe along with his dagger. The man tossed all of it onto a rusted workbench then nodded at both Nidoking.

    “Look,” Shelton started as they were both shoved inside.

    “Silence,” the man threatened as he closed the door and locked it. “Who are you?”

    “We’re not here to interfere in what you’re doing down here, we just want to get back to the surface, that’s it,” Dorian explained.

    “Who are you?” the man repeated.

    “Like I said, we’re not trying to get involved with what you’re doing. We accidentally fell down the hole and we’re just trying to get back to Phenac.”

    The man took a step closer.

    “Who are you?” the man said for the third time.

    “My name is Adam Howard, this is my friend Tracy Jones, and that’s my Nuzleaf,” Dorian lied.

    The man lowered his head and looked at the ground as if deep in thought. After a moment he looked back up and resumed his questions.

    “Are you operatives with the rebels?”

    “I have no idea what you’re talking about man, just take a step back and think about this. We haven’t done anything wrong. Whatever you’re doing down here is your own business and we have no intention of tell-“ Dorian explained, only to be cut off once more.

    “You’re here to take the marker, aren’t you?” the man assumed, a hint of a smile rising in his voice.

    “No.”

    “You lie poorly, boy. You are here for it. Which of the rebel commanders gave you this mission? Where are they stationed?”

    “We don’t have any idea what you’re talking about!” Shelton yelled as she slammed her hands against the bars. “Let us out of here you fucking psycho!”

    “Shelton, stop!” Dorian warned.

    “Let us out!” Shelton continued.

    As the man repeated the question Dorian noticed that Nuzleaf was starting to move his feet and hands.

    “Look man, we just want to leave.”

    “You don’t know where they are stationed, do you?

    “Like I said, we don’t have any idea what you’re talking about.”

    “You don’t even know what you were trying to steal, do you?” the man laughed.

    His patience starting to wear thin, Dorian said, “We weren’t trying to steal anything. Let us the fuck out of here!”

    “Do either of you know why I’m down here?” the man asked quietly.

    When neither of them gave an answer the man laughed softly and strode over to the far wall and began running his hands over the glittering objects placed on them. As Dorian looked closer he saw that the objects were actually precious stones of various sizes. There were diamonds the size of softballs, rubies as big as walnuts, even a few rocks he recognized as evolutionary stones. That’s what the jackhammer was for, the man was some sort of miner, and judging from the sizeable collection he had unearthed he was quite good at it.

    Looking back towards Shelton he saw her pacing back and forth, alternating between staring at the hooded man and the two Nidoking perched by the far door. She was tenser than Dorian had ever seen her. Shelton was sweating profusely and dragging her feet across the floor while her face went through shade after shade of increasing red. He could almost feel her rage from here and shuddered to think what she would do to this man if she was able to get out.

    “Let me ask both of you something. If you don’t know who you’re working for and don’t know what you were trying to steal, surely you don’t know the true history of any of the regions on the planet, do you?”

    Once again, neither of them could figure out an appropriate response.

    “I’ll take your silence as a no,” the man said, following it with another quiet laugh. “Long ago, thousands upon thousands of years ago in fact, with the exception of Johto and Kanto, the regions were as separated as they are today, and each lived in complete ignorance of each other. That changed when sea travel was made possible and available to all the far reaches of the world. For a time, the world prospered as new ideas and customs spread from region to region like wildfire. The biggest surprise of all perhaps was that every region had its own monarchy, each with a king, each region having adopted the practice before even learning of each other.”

    “Look, I don’t see how this is relevant,” Dorian said with a wave of his hand.

    “Don’t be rude now,” the man said. “As I was saying, all six kings eventually met in a neutral location and exchanged ideas and knowledge. After much discussion they decided to rule the known world together, each with authority over another’s region. This way it was balanced, and to watch over the world they had a tower of obsidian built that was said to be so tall it could touch heaven. For a long time under their leadership and watchful eye the world grew, but like any great undertaking there are always those who resist. A small rebellion grew out of each region to oppose the six kings, and with each new soul to their cause a war grew against them. Facing overwhelming odds and fearing for their people, the six kings searched and found the god Arceus and begged for him to aid them against their people’s coming doom. In his wisdom, Arceus gave them one of his most precious treasures. They linked their bodies and mind to the treasure and swiftly crushed the rebellion.”

    Dorian struggled to think of an argument to throw at this madman but he couldn’t think of anything. Looking behind him he saw that Shelton had stopped pacing and was listening intently despite her rage.

    “Over time though, the treasure inspired new ideas in the six kings, and they unlocked more power in order to make sure that their lives were never threatened again. Eventually, a new rebellion grew out of the region of Orre, and in a show of their new found power, the six kings destroyed Orre and turned it into the desert we know today. One blasphemous soul escaped the destruction however and found a way to use the treasure against them. This worthless man broke the tablet of power apart and used the pieces to scatter the six kings to the wind. He destroyed their bodies and casts their souls to a different reality so that only their voices remained. The so called hero of the world took the pieces of Arceus’s treasure and a single piece of each king and placed them around the planet so the six kings might never reassemble again. That’s what I protect here, a piece of the treasure and a piece of my kings. One day soon, their chosen one will reassemble the pieces of the tablet and restore the six kings to their rightful place above you undeserving mortals.”

    Dumbfounded by the man’s clear insanity, Dorian asked, “Why are you telling us this?”

    “I thought that you deserved to know the reason why you’re never leaving this room alive.”

    Just as Dorian was formulating a counterargument to their assured death sentence, a red light bulb began blinking in the corner of the room. Both Nidoking stiffened as they noticed the flashing light and looked towards the robed man for instruction. The man nodded and together they walked back towards the door, only pausing to flip the light switch behind them so that Dorian and Shelton were left in darkness.


    **********


    Marco’s leg ached something fierce where he had landed. After his targets had fallen through this hidden door, he and Scyther had searched for the trapdoor and eventually found it. While she floated down by the blessing of her wings, he had landed on his side and now he had a throbbing pain in his right leg that refused to abate. Forcing the pain to the back of his mind, Marco picked himself up and drew one of his pistols. He knew as he fell down the hole that the room was unoccupied. However past experience had taught him to be more cautious when no threat was immediately obvious.

    He and Scyther heard the sound at the same time; a heavy pound of footsteps on the floor that resonated from the closed door across the room. Marco drew his other pistol and backed up until he was about twenty feet from the door.

    As softly as he could Marco called out to the Scyther, “Get near the ceiling and kill whoever comes through that door.”

    The Scyther shot straight up at his command and hovered a few inches from the ceiling, the only thing betraying her presence being a soft buzz as her wings vibrated. Two Nidoking walked slowly through the door in front of him, followed by a person wearing a scarlet robe. Marco thought nothing, felt nothing. As with every situation he willed himself to be a spectator as his body reacted to these new stimuli and acted accordingly. He had already crossed the first ten feet before the Scyther dropped down from the ceiling and decapitated the human below. As the human’s blood sprayed across the backs of his Pokemon and they turned to see the body of their headless master, Marco powered forward, covering the remaining distance as they stared blankly in shock. As he moved, Marco saw the Scyther shoot back up out of their reach and the Nidoking turn back around to search for the only other intruder they were sure of.

    Marco bent low and slid to a stop in front of them and while their jaws were parted in mid-roar he shoved a pistol into each of their mouths and pulled the trigger. One round of concentrated stun spore exploded against their esophagi and immediately collapsed their airways. As both the Pokemon’s hands instinctively went to their throats, the Scyther descended from the ceiling and began to slash away. Marco backed away a few paces as the Pokemon fell to the ground in bloody convulsions and readied himself for the next attack from beyond the door. After the Scyther was finished and several minutes had passed, Marco holstered one of his weapons and carefully passed through the door into the hallway beyond.


    ********


    Dorian frantically shook Nuzleaf to expedite his awakening. Once the light had been switched off the darkness was total, which made his half-baked plan even more ridiculous but he had to try. The man that had put the three of them in here had said they were going to die, and whether that meant that the Nidoking would kill them or the man would simply let them die of starvation he didn’t know, but after feeling how thick the bars were Dorian knew that Nuzleaf was their only hope.

    “Come on buddy you gotta wake up,” Dorian pleaded.

    As if she was very far away, he heard Shelton muttering under her breath.

    “Nuzleaf, get up!” Dorian quietly exclaimed.

    “Nunuz,” Nuzleaf offered in return, followed by a retching sound and something splashing off the ground.

    “Buddy, I know it hurts but I need you to get Spoink and Growlithe’s Pokeball. The table is somewhere behind me. Buddy they’re going to kill us, you have to faint attack past the bars and release them so they can get us out.”

    “Nuzleaf nuz,” Nuzleaf said weakly.

    “I don’t know exactly where but I’m pretty sure it’s directly behind my voice. Can you get there?”

    “Nu, leaf nuz.”

    Dorian felt Nuzleaf’s body warm rapidly beneath his hands, then suddenly he was gone and he heard his voice again behind him.

    “Leaf,” Nuzleaf said, followed by the sound of his wooden body clanking loudly against the floor.

    “Nuzleaf?” Dorian asked.

    No response was given.

    “Nuzleaf?” Dorian said a bit louder.

    Again, there was no response.

    The paralyzing effects of stun spore must have been too much for his body to take and now they were back at square one; except for the fact that Nuzleaf would be caught in the act outside the cell when the man came back.

    “Shelton, give me something. I don’t know what to do.”

    “We need to find the door, then if we lay down and kick against it at the same time we might be able to bust it open.”

    “They’re made out of fucking iron! How are we supposed to kick through that?!”

    “I don’t know Dorian! Don’t snap at me!”

    “I’m sorry but what the hell are we going to do? You heard that lunatic; he said he was going to kill us. We’re missing something, let’s just take a step back and think. We can find a way out, we just need to figure-“

    The lights suddenly sprang back to life.

    A dark skinned man walked through the door, a gun clutched in his right hand. The man quickly scanned the room and Dorian could tell from the way he purposefully walked around the room that the man was completely in his element. Not far behind this man was the embodiment of the Pokemon version of the grim reaper. The scythes and thorax of Ethan’s Scyther were painted burgundy instead of emerald, the blood leaving a dotted trail behind it as it walked.

    The man found Nuzleaf’s unconscious body in front of the cell and turned him over with his foot. After verifying that he was not a threat and holstering his weapon, the man walked over to a nearby bench and began rooting through his pack. The Scyther paced back and forth, alternating throwing a glare at the man, then at Dorian and Shelton.

    Dorian turned his head to look at Shelton and found her standing completely still, following the movement of the Scyther with her eyes. The insect Pokemon noticed her gaze and stepped forward towards the bars with a large grin etched on its face. It dragged one scythe across the bars at about eye level while emitting a gurgling sound that sounded like laughter.

    Dorian felt an emotion rise up from inside him as the sound reached his ears. This feeling was a tidal wave that overrode his seldom rational mind and made his fingers vibrate. He had seen the video of this Scyther mutilating his uncle like he was nothing, and not only that but he had seen the glee in the Pokemon’s face as it did so. Firmly pushing the gun wielding man from his mind, Dorian articulated a thought and delivered it quietly and purposely.

    “Before I kill you, I’m going to carve something into your chest too.”

    “Only after I rip your wings off, you piece of shit,” Shelton added for good measure.

    The Scyther gave them a smirk in return and strode back over to where the man was waiting. He held two very large Ziploc bags in his left hand while his right was now holding a gun again. The man’s face betrayed no emotion whatsoever, and with a practiced step he walked towards the bars while chambering a round in his weapon.

    “Look I don’t know who the hell you are or why you’re here, but we haven’t done anything wrong and if you let us out of here I promise I can rectify whatever problem you think you have with us,” Dorian explained.

    “Stop, just don’t,” the man said. “Good bye.”

    As he raised his gun and leveled it at Dorian two things happened in immediate succession. The first was a flash of white light as Nuzleaf’s pound attack collided with the man’s kneecap, which was followed a millisecond later by an unusually shrill scream of pain from the man as the said appendage was dislocated and he collapsed to the floor. Nuzleaf roared his name in challenge as the man began thrashing across the stone floor, clutching his injured leg and screaming obscenities in Unovan.

    The Scyther swung both arms towards Nuzleaf absentmindedly while watching the man it had entered the room with. Nuzleaf ducked his head low as the strike whizzed by and blew a barrage of multi-colored seeds into the Scyther’s torso. The attack made the insect Pokemon stumble backwards into the bars of the cell, prompting Dorian and Shelton to both jump forward and grab it by the torso and neck. Using their combined strength they held the Scyther in place as Nuzleaf struggled to get to his feet.

    “Hit it again!” Dorian screamed as he began to lose his grip.

    “Nuz!” his Pokemon yelled as he drew in another breath.

    Nuzleaf tried to expel another attack but the energy fizzled as soon as it left his mouth and he slumped back to the floor. A moment later the Scyther broke free of their grips and bounded forward towards Nuzleaf. Although he did not move, Nuzleaf bellowed as the Scyther opened a long gash down his back; the sound merged with Dorian and Shelton’s frantic yelling to create an unbearable auditory pain in the confined area.

    Despite Dorian’s screams of protest, the Scyther began hacking his way through Nuzleaf’s body, and after a few seconds Nuzleaf was covered with deep lacerations from his face down to his knees. The effects of the weaponized stun spore had proven to be too much for Nuzleaf to offer a resistance and he could only scream as the Scyther took more of his flesh away with every swipe. As Dorian watched, Nuzleaf’s body glowed black and he disappeared, only to be thrown backwards through the air as the Scyther swung a scythe at eye level and caught his teleporting body.

    Nuzleaf flew through the air and crashed into the neatly arranged shelves across the far wall spilling jewels that rained down across his body.

    “Kill it!” the man screamed from the floor. “Kill it now!”

    “Scyther sai!” the insect barked back at the man, slowly walking forward towards the wall.

    “Leave him alone you bastard!” Dorian yelled, slamming his shoulder into the iron bars of the door.

    Shelton took up place beside him and began adding her own weight into the attempt to break down the door. The added strength made no progress against the thick bars, and as they slammed against it again and again, the Scyther stepped closer and closer to Nuzleaf.

    Covered in blood and sap, missing the last six inches from the leaf that adorned the top of his head, Nuzleaf pushed against the floor one last time. As the Scyther closed in he managed to fight against the numbness and fleeting strength in his body to rise to his knees, a rock clutched in his right hand.

    “Nuzleaf, faint attack out of here!” Dorian ordered.

    Nuzleaf focused on the Scyther approaching and ignored him.

    “Dammit Nuzleaf I command you to get out of here. Get the fuck out of here!” Dorian screamed again, tears beginning to pool in his eyes.

    Nuzleaf again gave no inclination that he heard him and instead drew his arm back to throw the stone at the Scyther. Seeing his futile attempt to fight, the Scyther guffawed loudly and stopped its approach, allowing Nuzleaf to climb completely to his feet.

    Rather than throwing the stone as the Scyther already expected to dodge, Nuzleaf shocked it by lowering his arm and giving the insect Pokemon a small smile. This confused the bug Pokemon greatly but it quickly understood Nuzleaf’s intention as he turned the rock over to expose the shape of a small fossilized leaf on the rock’s surface. The Scyther shot forward to intercept but was unable to prevent Nuzleaf from pressing the stone against his chest.

    Dorian was instantly blinded as the stored energy of the stone was transferred to Nuzleaf’s body in a constant blinding stream of white light. Dorian faintly processed a few sounds; the sound of something brittle snapping, liquid splashing against the stone floor, and the sound of a familiar cry becoming much deeper. Every time Dorian tried to open his eyes he was met with a whirlwind of light too bright to open his eyes. Eventually though, the red veil lightened over his eyelids and he was able to see again, albeit hazily.

    A Shiftry stood where Nuzleaf was a moment ago, tendrils of smoke and energy coiling to the ceiling from his body. In his right hand was a blackened leaf stone that had shrunk down to a quarter of its previous size. Shiftry dropped the rock to the floor and took a step forward, shaking his new white mane of hair from his eyes and growling. Much to Dorian’s relief all of his open wounds had vanished and he was walking forward with such fluidity that it seemed the effect of the stun spore had dissipated as well.

    Newly leaved hands shaking in rage, he shouted, “SHIFTRY!”

    “SCYTHER!” the insect Pokemon screeched in return.

    Both Pokemon leapt towards each other at the same time with arms raised. They collided with a crunch and started hurling blows at each other faster than Dorian could track. Shiftry’s mouth began to glow as he dodged the swipes from Scyther, culminating in flash of yellow light and the Scyther being hurled backwards with Shiftry running after it. Small pops echoed throughout the chamber as Shiftry’s next bullet seed attack went wide and destroyed the table where Dorian’s pokeballs were resting and embedded a large metal beam into the wall. Both pokeballs rolled towards the cell and as Shiftry and Scyther traded blows, Dorian dropped to his belly and stuck his arm through a gap to try and grab them. A split second later he was dragged backwards by Shelton as two loud bangs sounded and he saw a splash of yellow liquid where his head had been.

    The man crumpled in the corner was firing round after round at them as they scrambled towards the back of the cell. Thankfully the bars added a buffer for the bullets and most shattered against them instead of striking him and Shelton.

    “You couldn’t hit me if I was standing right in front of you!” Shelton screamed, seeking to infuriate the man.

    “Crawl back to Unova you bastard!” Dorian joined in.

    “Kill them all!” the man bellowed at the Scyther.

    Suddenly there was a loud bang as Shiftry was thrown against the bars of the cell. The man switched targets and began firing at Shiftry; who rolled to the right to dodge the incoming projectiles. To Dorian’s amazement, his Pokemon quickly slashed the air in front of himself and sent an invisible gust of wind at the man. The rush of air pressure tore the gun from the man’s hand and forced it backwards where it collided with the man’s forehead and knocked him out cold.

    “Shiftry behind you!” Dorian called, seeing the Scyther moving to his right.

    Before his Pokemon could turn however, the bug Pokemon raked a glowing scythe across his back. Shiftry howled and fell to the floor as the Scyther flourished his scythes and sprayed the cell with Shiftry’s blood. Powering up another arm the Scyther swung down again but before he could strike, Shiftry flipped over and kicked out with both legs, striking the Scyther in the face. The bug reeled backwards but almost instantly righted itself and began making an intricate motion with both its scythes.

    “Shadow ball now!” Dorian yelled.

    The ball of shadow energy coalesced between Shiftry’s outstretched palms and zipped forward, catching the Scyther in the stomach as a golden glow began enveloping its wings. The Scyther was blown back across the room in an explosion of purple energy, which was followed by a wet crunch as it was impaled through the chest by the metal beam entrenched in the wall. The room was deathly silent except for the slight clink that sounded as the Scyther’s head dropped forward to collapse against the three feet of iron protruding from its body.

    “Try,” Shiftry said with finality.

    “You okay buddy?” Dorian asked quietly.

    “Shift, shiftry shif,” he offered in return.

    “Do you have it in you to try and get us out of here?”

    “Shiftry,” his Pokemon replied, motioning for them to get back.

    Enveloping his right fist with a white glow of energy, Shiftry began jabbing the locking mechanism until it shattered and the door to their cell swung open. Shelton was a blur as she jumped past Dorian and wrapped both arms around Shiftry in thanks. She proceeded to stroke his new head of hair after she broke the embrace and planted a kiss on his sizable pointed nose. She made room for Dorian after that and proceeded to slowly approach the dead Scyther hanging a foot off the ground.

    Dorian looked his old friend up and down, taking in his increased height, width, and the cascade of brittle white hair that completely covered his face and back. Other than his knees being much knobbier and the leaves that sprouted from the top of both wrists, he looked fine, despite his new feet looking like wooden high heels. As he embraced his Pokemon, he filed that last little joke away for later use

    “You saved us, you know?” Dorian acknowledged.

    “Try, Shiftry shif.”

    “Well, you did so get over it. Turn around and let me see your back.”

    His Pokemon did as he was told and Dorian parted the hair running down his back to survey the damage. The cut wasn’t as bad as Dorian thought it would be, and the start and end of the wound had already begun to clot. Tapping him on the shoulder and turning him around, Dorian smiled at Shiftry, his brain a mixture of astonishment mingled with pride.

    “I don’t have your Pokeball so you’re going to have to tough it out until we get topside. Are you going to be okay?”

    “Shiftry shif, try Shiftry.”

    “I know you’re tough,” Dorian said, turning his attention to Shelton. “Is it dead?”

    “Sure is,” Shelton replied.

    “Good,” he said with evident satisfaction.

    It wasn’t in his nature to be excited or uncaring when a person or Pokemon was killed, but this monster was a definite exception. Having tried to kill him and Nuzleaf once was enough, but after trying to do the same thing to Shelton twice and mutilating their uncle, Dorian knew that it deserved its fate. Hell, they had probably saved several people by Shiftry killing it. Based on its vicious behavior and what Ethan had ordered it to do to Ronnie, who knew what other atrocities it may have committed on its masters behest.

    “Shiftry shif,” his Pokemon spoke. Dorian looked up, but the grass type was addressing Shelton.

    In the palm of his hand was a large ruby about the size of an apple. He handed it over to Shelton and tapped the center of his forehead.

    “Try?” he asked.

    Shelton beamed and gave him another hug. Shiftry was really racking up points with her. Saving their lives was something to be eternally thankful for, but having the clarity amidst all the chaos to remember what Golduck needed for his operation was truly quite impressive. So impressive was it that it inspired Dorian to formulate a similar, yet tremendously more selfish idea.

    Walking quickly and ignoring Shelton’s raised eyebrows, Dorian started stuffing his pants with every diamond and precious stone that he could fit into his pockets. By the time he was finished he was about five pounds heavier and assuredly millions of credits richer. Looking up from his thievery he saw Shelton narrow her eyes at him slightly, which usually meant he was about to get screamed at for something. However, after a moment of consideration she too walked over and filled her pockets.

    “Alright well, it is what it is,” Shelton explained.

    “Agreed,” Dorian replied.

    “Now let’s get the hell out of here,” Shelton said over her shoulder as she started towards the door.

    “Yeah, let’s get the shard first and we’ll go,” Dorian nodded.

    Shelton stopped in her tracks and turned. “Seriously?”

    “Well we’re already down here and what was the point if we don’t at least get what we came for?”

    “You do realize that we narrowly escaped being left to die by some batshit crazy person, almost carved up by a Scyther and some Unovan mercenary, and that we’re still underground and have no idea how to get out, don’t you? Actually, I’ll answer for you. You do. Knowing all of this you still want to go try and find the item that lead us to this gigantic catastrophe anyway?”

    “Well, yeah?” Dorian said with a shrug.

    “Wow,” Shelton said. “Look, you do what you want. I’m going back to the house of pain back there to try and find a way out. You’re going to help me tie this guy up and put him in the cell and then you have ten minutes to exercise your stupidity and then I’m leaving with or without you.”

    “That sounds like a plan.”

    They approached the man cautiously with Shiftry in the lead. Dorian’s Pokemon poked him several times in the ribs several times before nodding at them. They removed a gun from a holster strapped to his midsection along with a wallet and passport from his pants that both verified he was from Unova. Upon further inspection Dorian noticed that both his arms were heavily tattooed but the designs were barely discernible against the darkness of his skin. Using several coils of rope that Shelton secured from a utility closet nearby they wrapped the man from head to toe in the best knots they could manage. After they literally tossed him into the cell and slammed the door closed they used another length of rope to secure the door shut by wrapping it through the bars and tying the other end around a nearby beam.

    “I’m not kidding Dorian; we need to get out of here. If you’re not in that room in ten minutes I’m coming after you and if I have to, I’ll kick your ass and drag you out,” Shelton ordered.

    “Christ, okay mom,” Dorian replied.

    Ignoring him completely Shelton turned to Shiftry and said, “You’re with me, let’s go.”

    Shiftry snapped to attention and followed her out through the door after giving him an ‘I’m just going to do as I’m told’ look.

    He could work with ten minutes, and he’d have to knowing that Shelton would deliver on her threat. Dorian quickly investigated a black curtain on the far side of the room and found exactly what he hoped he would, a small room just beyond. Inside were a small bed, a toilet, and not much else. The only thing that drew attention was a pedestal in the center of the room with a roughly cut piece of black stone standing straight up. Swallowing his nerves he approached the pedestal and snatched the shard from the top of the pedestal. Nothing happened. No light from above or rush of wind. For a fleeting second he felt the sort of cold heat he felt whenever he held the other shard he had found near his home, but after that passed there was nothing to signify how huge of an event he had made this out to be. Carved into the stone were more screaming faces, but a new detail that wasn’t on the previous shard was hugely apparent. The figure of a massive clawed hand.

    Gripping the stone tightly he backed out of the room and quickly hurried towards the door on the far side of the room that lead back to the painted entrance chamber. As he passed by the bound man in the cell he felt a sense of worry mixed with anger, but it wasn’t enough to keep him from moving.

    “Did you find anyth-“ Dorian started, stopping his sentence when he saw the wide pools of blood spread across the floor.

    The man who had taken them prisoner earlier was decapitated on the floor, flanked by both of his Nidoking that sported open lacerations from most of their major arteries. Streaks of red were randomly spaced everywhere, from the walls to the floor, even a long line across the ceiling above his head. Dorian felt his stomach turn as he surveyed the gore around him and fought the urge to vomit as he tiptoed around the bodies.

    “Yeah, that’s what I’ve been dealing with,” Shelton said with visible revulsion. “And there’s no switches I can see to open the trapdoor. Even if we could open it, there’s no way we could get back up through the pouring water.”

    “So we’re screwed?”

    “Not exactly. Shiftry found a door,” Shelton said, motioning with her hand.

    “Trytry, Shiftry,” his Pokemon agreed.

    The door was more of a sliver of empty space about three feet wide on one side of the room. As he peeked through, he saw that it opened into a hallway that was lit by light bulbs every fifty feet. He focused his eyes but could see no end to the tunnel, which meant that it probably opened up outside of Phenac, which made sense if the newly deceased man wanted to enter and leave the city undetected.

    “Well?” Shelton asked.

    “I don’t see any other option,” Dorian admitted.

    “Then either get to moving or get out of the way.”

    Dorian acquiesced and started off down the hallway, absentmindedly patting the diamonds in his pocket to make sure they were still there. The light bulbs above glowed brighter and dimmer as they walked, highlighting the bland featurelessness of the grey stone tunnel they we’re walking through. After a half hour of walking they decided that they had gone too far to turn back and agreed to walk for another ten minutes. After almost another forty minutes of walking they noticed that the path had adopted a slight incline and eventually they found themselves at a plain steel door with a rather impressive lock. It took the combined efforts of both Dorian and Shiftry to force it open and after they did they found themselves in the presence of the lazily rising sun. As they stepped through the door it fell backwards on its own and locked itself.

    Breathing in a gulp of fresh air, Dorian surveyed the scene around them. Phenac City looked to be about a half mile away and over a quarter mile below them. The three of them were about ten feet from the top of a mountain of boulders that circled them for several hundred yards. As he looked backwards he saw the door they had come through was completely indistinguishable from the rocks around it, owing to the fact that someone had either bolted or somehow melted the rocks to its surface. Dorian had no way of knowing what time it was but from the way the sky was morphing from purple to blue he assumed it was a little past sunrise.

    “Great,” Shelton sighed.

    “No use bitching about it, let’s go,” Dorian said.

    He was about to take his first step down when a small stone rolled past his feet and came to stop by Shiftry’s right foot. The three of them turned in unison to see what had loosed the rock from its place, and all three instantly wished to be extremely far away at the same time.

    The Steelix that Shelton had battled the day before was perched at the top of the small mountain, its blackened tail curled protectively behind its head. The steel type gave a throaty growl that made Dorian’s head vibrate and Shiftry draw back a fist. For a few seconds none of them spoke or made any movement whatsoever. As the Steelix pulled back its head and drew in a deep breath, Shelton broke the silence.

    “There is no way our luck is this bad.”

    “LIXXXXXXXXX!”

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

    -Thanks to PopPrincess_Lyra for the amazing banner-


  21. #146
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    Gateon area, Orre
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    Attachment 6808
    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewinder View Post
    I'm glad you looked it up. I should have clarified this a little better, but Vibrava is on his shoulder but he's sort of wrapped around the top of Dorian's shoulders like a neck pillow lol!
    http://media.giantbomb.com/uploads/1...77-383__1_.jpg

    I think after having a Vibrava on it, I REALLY want to be Dorian's chiropractor... $$$

    Good points. I knew I should have spoken to you more about this before I started. I looked up a few tempratures and thought for that this time of year it wouldn't be too unbearable. I'll go back and figure something out
    Well, for this time of year, it might not be. I'd forgotten what season Dorian was in. When I was there in September, I can confirm it was Friggin' hot for only being 94, and you REALLYREALLYREALLY didn't want to be standing on unshaded concrete without shoes or sandals at least. Then again, it was 104 in Indiana this year too and not much better. Or so I've been told, I tried to be as much of a nightowl then as i could...
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Glover; 14th November 2012 at 6:49 AM.
        Spoiler:- Breeding stuff:

  22. #147
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glover
    http://media.giantbomb.com/uploads/1...77-383__1_.jpg

    I think after having a Vibrava on it, I REALLY want to be Dorian's chiropractor... $$$
    That's how big they're supposed to be?! WTF? On Bulba and Serebii it says they are three feet long, and in that piucture they're at least five. I've always pictured them about the size of a small dog, nowhere near that monstrous size. Damn, I guess I'm going to have to change that lol. Thanks for the visual

    Well, for this time of year, it might not be. I'd forgotten what season Dorian was in. When I was there in September, I can confirm it was Friggin' hot for only being 94, and you REALLYREALLYREALLY didn't want to be standing on unshaded concrete without shoes or sandals at least. Then again, it was 104 in Indiana this year too and not much better. Or so I've been told, I tried to be as much of a nightowl then as i could...
    Ah okay, thanks for being so involved I assumed for this time of year it wouldn't be completely terrible, and after looking up current conditions on NOAA, I think I might leave it as it is.

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

    -Thanks to PopPrincess_Lyra for the amazing banner-


  23. #148
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    Gateon area, Orre
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewinder View Post
    That's how big they're supposed to be?! WTF? On Bulba and Serebii it says they are three feet long, and in that piucture they're at least five. I've always pictured them about the size of a small dog, nowhere near that monstrous size. Damn, I guess I'm going to have to change that lol. Thanks for the visual



    Ah okay, thanks for being so involved I assumed for this time of year it wouldn't be completely terrible, and after looking up current conditions on NOAA, I think I might leave it as it is.
    Well, it's really not that shocking for me, considering FLygon are rideble....

    Hmm... And Ethan has a dragon too... But Viby just evolved early on and hasn't seen that much combat since then...

    Anyway, Flygon are rideable, (Though being honest, the one seen in the Jirachi movie was a bit big for its species), and they have to start out as those infant sized Trapinch. So yeah, Vibrava's gotta be a good middlesize for them.
        Spoiler:- Breeding stuff:

  24. #149
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Saltus Valley
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    522

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    Well, I'm sorry for not keeping up with my reviewing, because I'missing out on the chance to analyze the most exciting parts of this story.

    I've been busy with life and my own fic, but after reading these last two chapters, I wanted to drop by and let ya know that I am going to review the next one, without a doubt.

    Anyways, I'll just sum up my thoughts on the plot so far. I'm very intrigued about the mythology you've incorporated into the story, and with the bit about the six kings, I'm seriously wondering what are the implications of bringing these damned souls back together. I'm guessing a future of death and darkness, filled to the brim with despair and evilness.
    Or, hell, these kings may bring about a modern renaissance and fill the world with joy and love, making us reconsider who was the evil side in this. You never know, I've seen similar things happen before.

    You have no idea how happy I was when Scyther was killed, I mean, great job on your part, giving us a character we could truely hate and would gladly dance on their grave if given the chance.

    And I'm loving Shiftry, killing Scyther, saving them, being awesome about doing the later two, and finding a gem for Golduck, that last one honestly makes him my new favorite Pokemon in this fic.

    I couldn't help but laugh as Dorian started shoving the gems into his pockets, because it would be exactly what I'd do if I were him. Life threatening scenerio or not.

    Well, it certainly seems they have sucker's luck, now don't they? I can't wait to see what comes next, or how Ethan will react to Scyther's death when he finds out.

    Oh, I ranked up. See? I benefit from posting here. More reason to do so more often.

    Knightfall signing off...
    Last edited by Knightfall; 15th November 2012 at 12:27 AM.

  25. #150
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Illinois, USA
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    Pain flashed across Dorian’s back as he connected with the stone floor below, and almost immediately afterward the wind was knocked out of him as Nuzleaf and Shelton landed on top of him. Just as he took in a frantic breath, the water from the fountain above hit him full in the face.
    It’s just one thing after another, isn’t it? Poor Dorian.

    . So with no source of light Dorian shuffled into a crouch and waited for his eyes to adjust to the darkness. Unfortunately for all three, they didn’t have to wait long.
    Wouldn’t that be fortunately not unfortunately?

    That’s what the jackhammer was for, the man was some sort of miner, and judging from the sizeable collection he had unearthed he was quite good at it.
    I wish I was good at that, too… so I could be rich…

    He destroyed their bodies and casts their souls to a different reality so that only their voices remained.
    Should be “cast” not “casts”.

    She proceeded to stroke his new head of hair after she broke the embrace and planted a kiss on his sizable pointed nose.
    Cute imagery. The rest of the chapter, however, was bloody and evil!!! Just kidding, your description was superb as always. What struck me in particular was the description during Scyther/Nuzleaf’s battle, where Dorian was about to cry over thinking his pokémon would die and such. Powerful scene. Nicely done.

    “There is no way our luck is this bad.”
    But it is.

    Way to end the chapter. The oh so beautiful Steelix is back!

    Overall, a good chapter. I already mentioned the description. I felt that the dialogue was a little weaker this chapter for some reason, though. It mostly consisted of Dorian and Shelton insulting each other, insulting other people, or asking to be set free. There wasn’t much else, despite the large amount of dialogue. The highlight of this was the story that the decapitated man told, which I presume will be of great importance to the plot in later chapters, so I kept it in mind. I think my next favorite part would be Nuzleaf’s evolution. He certainly saved them all and was certainly lucky—but awesome—in doing so. I’ll be interested to see what you have in store next.

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


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


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


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